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Secret Disharmony


Life just isn’t what it seems; most of the time. We think we understand the motives or reasons for the behaviors of others, but often that isn’t the case at all.

Thoughts drop in our loaded minds or the “jumping to conclusions” appears as if to fault ourselves for what we don’t really know. Initially, the hurt, pain or unresponsive response we receive may or may not be what we thought it was. Very possibly much of the time what we thought it was, wasn’t.

Efforts to reason, analyze or figure out why, where or when we missed it becomes a reality that can last for years. Maybe that’s a good time to ask God about it. Or before.

Deception being one of the enemies’ countless assaults we fall for it over and over. Later we discover the lie but it wasn’t intended to be a lie.

The depths that some people will go to withhold or suppress their inner pain/secrets/feelings continues to astonish me. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, usually their intentions are good.
The noble armor one wears is a twofold objective.

Self-preservation: The notion one believes burying an immense trauma, fear, dread, or emotional distress over an uncontrollable circumstance is the only answer to overcoming it.

Overprotective Guardianship: Guarding this trauma, fear, dread or emotional distress from those around us by concealing or secretly keeping it from them to protect them.peace

Either way you are suffering from inward disharmony. Neither is positive but will be pursued no matter what.

Self-preservation is accomplished by ignoring it, delaying the inevitable or not understanding that “denial” is not a river in Egypt. Acting as if it never happened or won’t in the future is like wrapping it in a carbon fiber wrap, placing it in a “fire box” and throwing away the key.

Overprotective Guardianship keeps the secret from those cared about for their benefit.  The idea is “it would only upset them if they knew.” Exposure to others might lead to arguments pressuring the one hiding the trauma to face and deal with it, therefore it is better off never being discussed.

The outcome of truth can only be decided between God and the one living this conflict. However, if someone else discovers their secret a no holds barred attack may arise. After all, the point of no one ever finding out is the motive to begin with.

From my perspective having observed such pain in a number of people during my lifetime my conclusion is this.

Whatever the trauma, bearing witness to it is virtually impossible. In some instances the burial is so deep the reasons for the original seclusion has been forgotten; but not the emotional and mental abuse of exposure. Simply put, it is too much to bear.

Results of inward disharmony will eventually appear affecting the individual and those closest to them in a vast array of negative but often subtle actions or mannerisms.  Over time a cover up set in place becomes normal.

But what it does to other people is or can be devastating. Confusion, misinterpretation, clarity and disorder escape unintentionally and they don’t recognize it due to blocking it out.  A trickle here or a drip there but eventually damage is done to everyone involved.communication

More than any adverse reactions is the lack of being able to communicate with God. How can a secret one holds dear as a crutch for life be discussed with the Creator of the Universe? He knows everything so it isn’t like he hasn’t seen the grave.  Sadly, no real and personal relationship can be established with God, therefore there is nothing to give to others in the same respect.

As one who is an open book with Jesus, I have confessed and openly cried my heart out over many mistakes, bad choices and dreams that await in my future.  If I have left anything out, I can’t imagine what it would be. He is used to me bending his ear.

When we don’t completely open up to God on a regular basis about every area of our life, we not only grieve the Holy Spirit, we usher in baggage that is never unpacked. Eventually that baggage becomes old, smelly and falls apart. It is no different with the soul who harbors intense confidences; at some point they will show up.

Jesus will walk ahead of anyone who is willing to follow. He is the only answer to unloading baggage whether it is the one holding the secret or those it has affected. Take time to speak to him and listen. Read his word daily and pray.

He yearns for companionship with the hurting so he can lead them to safety, healing and harmony.

It isn’t that difficult. Just give him your luggage.British Airports Terrorist Alert

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All your movements, your comings and goings, controlled by God. Every visit, all blessed by God.

Every walk arranged by God; there are blessings on all you do. 

Not only now, but in the time of your difficulty, but from this time forth and forever more. 

We are joint heirs with God and joint heirs with Christ. 

Suffering has it’s purpose. It’s proof of Sonship; it leads to perfection of character and
   union with God. 

Think of and dwell upon the rapture of this. (Psalm 121:8)

     God Calling


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The Price of Gold


This past week my husband and I watched the mini-series “Klondike.”  DVR recordings make it easy to view a 6 hour broadcast at our convenience.

My reservation before starting this venture was the ratings it was given. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. The Directors and Writers researched this gold rush so it was based on actual events along with a few of the characters.

The story began in 1897 when gold was discovered in the Klondike River in the Canadian Yukon Territory. The following statistics explain the mission of those who attempted this trail blazing feat.

→Miners had to pack a year’s worth of supplies equaling or more than 1000 lbs; or $40,000.00 worth of stuff.

→Winter produced elements unbearable to survive including temperatures of 60 degrees below 0 or worse, piles of snow and ice and wind strong enough to blow you away.klondike claim

→The Klondike River stretched 2000 miles; and it wasn’t an easy ride.

→“Dead Horse Gulch” killed over 3000 horses and mules called “pack animals” who were left to rot.

→The “Golden Staircase” was a 30 mile trek straight up the Chilkoot Pass. If you were fortunate enough to avoid an avalanche it took 3 months of travel to reach the top. Rain, wind, and snow so bright it was blinding; many did not make it.

The Golden Staircase

The Golden Staircase

→Main Street in Dawson City, the hub of Klondike Gold was so muddy, those with horse drawn trailers were charged to use it.

→Gold is 19 times heavier than water so panning was popular. The ground was so frozen dynamite would not work so fires burned around the clock to soften it to dig down deep into the earth.

→Underground mining was dangerous. If you didn’t die from falling into a dug-up hole, many were plagued with frostbite, malnourishment to pneumonia to scurvy. Those who survived became rich men.

→Witnesses say they saw prospectors pulling the equivalent in today’s money of $500,000 out of the ground in a day and over $20 million in a span of weeks.

The movie made the lives of these gold seekers as real as if it happened yesterday. If you chose to take this adventure, daily life was nothing short of living in mud, illness, violence, jealousy, and death. Forget bathing; it was unnecessary.klondike claim

A Priest appeared on the scene as if he had a calling from God to try and save this replica of “Sodom and Gomorrah.” If the miners weren’t mining they were filling the saloons for whiskey, poker and women.

The Klondike Gold Rush dramatically exposed the “Survival of the Fittest.” More died than lived.

Staking a claim for a block of ground was worth fighting for even if it meant murder.  Leaving your “claim” for a short walk was an open door for the next thief.dog sled

Proverbs 16:16 “How much better to get wisdom than gold!”

Believing people really took this journey under the conditions it produced left me with some questionable conclusions.

Anyone in their right mind would never have attempted such a trip.  For those who did they had to be stupid, crazy, desperate or so greedy risking everything including their lives was worth it.

They couldn’t have possibly placed much value on life.

Making it to Dawson City would have been a 4-5 month jaunt in who knew what kind of weather. Upon arriving would be a daily fight to keep the necessities just to make it another day.

Proverbs 28:25 “A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.”

Staking a claim didn’t guarantee it was yours to keep.

And if you were one of the very few who found gold the best advice was to keep your mouth shut.

And even then, somehow others found out.

Greed. An ugly, self-indulgent, gluttonous craving.

I’d rather find gold Solomon’s way.


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Lost at Sea


Is it possible to lose a ship?Lyubov Orlova

Evidently so.

An Antarctic Cruise ship has been lost at sea since February 2013.

When I first read this story I thought to myself,
“How does one lose a ship weighing over 4 tons and 295 feet long? And…is anyone on it?”

Named after a Russian actress, Lyubovy Orlova, the Yugoslavian built ship was set to be scrapped only the tow line broke after she sat alone for 2 years in St. John’s Harbor.

Suffice it to say she wasn’t very good at managing money. 51 of the crew had not been paid due to cruises that never left shore because of mechanical problems which also landed her in debt.

Sightings supposedly of this “derelict vessel” as they called her have been noted. She has made quite a few trips in unknown waters but as recently as this month it has been reported by the British Media the wind is blowing her toward the coast of the UK.

The old girl may not be as welcomed as one might think. She managed to hire her own crew; hundreds, possibly thousands of cannibal, diseased rats.

From the movie  The Life of Pi

From the movie
The Life of Pi

“Oh, what a wicked web we do weave, when we are…. lost at sea….”

I couldn’t help but make a parallel between this ship and our lives.

We often feel we are drifting alone in uncharted waters. With no destination point, we get off track and float. Unwanted guests attempt attack.  Cut off and isolated from the shore is like a sitting duck in a firing range.

Just like this ship, we are no good drifting aimlessly around in the depths of endless emptiness. Productivity is zilch which can result in low self-esteem and depression.

When you have no idea where you are, life becomes a journey of pursuing the wrong goals, useless activities and annoying people who are just as lost as the next person.

Like this ship we need a Captain who is trained to keep us going in the right direction.

God is much more than a Captain but the theory is the same.

Acts 17: 26-27 “ From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”

He placed in each individual that has ever lived a need for him; a natural desire to seek him because he knows what is best. He will always steer us in the direction of his Son, the Resurrected Christ.

Last I heard he is giving free tickets to a life worth living with rewards for accepting his Son as your Savior.

God is the order of our affairs: the greatest tour guide in the history of the world.

Just sign up for his next cruise and he will lead you on the trip of a lifetime.

Who knows; after training, he may make you Chief Officer.


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A Life Well Lived


Charles “Drew” Ansley

1949-2014

 

Getting hit blindsided is like falling in a hole you didn’t see in front of you.  Lately the ditches have been dug deeper than usual.

I shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore; for the most part I’m not. But yesterday I found out a dear friend had passed away last week on my birthday of all days.

Totally unaware he was sick, it was one of those moments of a “double take.”  Surfing a website from where I used to live his photo showed up on what I thought was a huge mistake. Switching back to the Obituary page, there he was. And it was no mistake.

Reading he had died in the hospital after a long illness, I sat still for a moment trying to wrap my brain around what I had just read. Texting my husband and daughter to tell them the news they were as shocked as I was.

64 years old is too young to leave this earth especially when you have lived your life in service for others. Believing he had been so blessed he gave much away.

He told me a little about his life when I first met him in the early 1990’s.  He would “bop” into our office and chew gum like it was the greatest invention on earth. Without fail within a few minutes of his arrival, his fun-loving, joke cracking had everyone laughing.  Honestly in the beginning I thought,

“This guy can’t be for real.” But he was. All the time. He was one of the funniest human beings I have ever met.

Extremely intelligent, witty, quick-thinking his story began in Brazil where he grew up. The oldest of 5 children, his parents were missionaries. The one area he was serious was this one. He told me how frightened he was every day of his life. At the age of 9, he was not to go anywhere in Brazil without a gun. His father made sure he could protect himself from the killings, hatred and murders he witnessed on a regular basis.

There was a camp of missionary families. His family made it out alive, but many didn’t. The memories became a force he reckoned with.   If you thought he was peculiar that is because he was. And a lot of it had to do with the heartache and pain of his childhood. 

Privacy became his lifelong friend. Certain conversations brought no responses. If you knew him like I did, you simply respected those topics would never be discussed.

As an adult back in the states, his family moved to the mountains of WNC. For many years he managed a huge plant and did it quite well. Leaving that job he became a Real Estate Agent building his own business. He was known and awarded the Best Real Estate Agent by The Asheville Citizen Times. His small company of a few agents sold properties that placed it in the ranks of a multi-million dollar organization.

He was involved in every community effort there was including President of the local Chamber of Commerce and Town Planning Board.

He was an avid Motorcycle junkie; but rode in pure style with efforts to aid children.

As successful as he was, his most prized accomplishment was the many children he fostered and mentored. As a NC Guardian ad Litem, he took in many abused and abandoned children and raised them as his own.

Charles “Drew” Ansley was a man of many qualities, character traits and a vivid imagination. He was always smiling and happy even as he lived with such a dark side of hidden pain.

But one thing I do know is he was truly a man after God’s own heart; and he lived it. 


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Upstairs or Downstairs?


Getting hooked on 18th- to 19th century protocol is easy if you watch “Downton Abbey.” Admitting this backdrop of history has taken America by storm is an understatement.  Here we are at the end of football season and “Carson” brings as much attention as does the playoffs.abbey house

The storyline is tense and at times “quirky” but very old English at its core. Interestingly is the downstairs servants quarters is as exciting as the Aristocratic “Crawley” family drama upstairs. Either way there are few dull moments even with an elaborate table of exquisite china set for a bunch of prudish, gossiping, wealthy tea lovers.

When my husband and I began watching this sequel of histrionic theater I began questioning the “class” system that is so prevalently displayed.

Upstairs were the lives of the rich and famous.
Downstairs were the lives of those born to serve those rich and famous.

Upstairs were the affluent and educated of society. The men spent their time hunting, playing poker and smoking smelly cigars. The women strolled around in ugly hoop skirts eventually becoming the very unflattering “Flapper Dress.”  Hair was covered in a Pompadour Hair Frame that worked well with the Edwardian Hats. Evening wear included ornamentation such as feathers. Sorry, but the “fashion designers” would not have sold much to me.Lady with an Ostrich feather hat

Downstairs the servants and maids worked long hard hours making sure the upstairs was fit for the elite crowd. .  As employment went, many preferred to work in these great homes of the wealthy opposed to farm labor or worse.

The difference in living upstairs or downstairs depended a great deal on your inheritance or quality. Whatever your status was when you were born became your legacy.  Great emphasis was placed on keeping the sacred family line a tradition. Unfortunately the Christian church encouraged these classifications to continue blood lines. Due to such a breach of life, thriving any higher for those who were born downstairs was almost impossible.

downton-abbey-servants

The truth statistically was only 2-3% of the general population were considered aristocratic or of noble descent.

“Lifestyles of the rich and famous” was not advocated in the Bible, but neither was class warfare.

Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

It is no secret Jesus fondness for the Pharisees was less than desirable. His unique responses or reactions to their accusations left these men of educated fervor constantly wondering what he was going to do next. He referenced his wisdom with mystery.

The scene he made in the temple revealed “justified anger.” His emotional love for the Father and his House wasn’t questioned once he began turning over tables of money. (Matthew 21:12)

The actions Jesus mirrored when he rescued the woman caught in adultery were priceless. Who would think to bend over in the middle of a public accusation to write in the sand? What did he write? Was he passing time? Was he waiting for the other half of the accused to show up?

Hopefully one day we will know what he wrote. But his delay or pause created a sense of anxiety and frustration in the Pharisees.  Handing them a rock to be the first to throw at her was unexpected especially when he added “if none of you have ever sinned…”

Jesus was fair, balanced and the master of charismatic expression. His perfect oratory qualities could minister to the poor or shift the tone in a room full of hypocritical Jewish leaders.

His example of heeding the call to the truth lends to impartiality. No lie comes from the truth. When truth prevails there is no bias. Therefore what is true for one person is true for the next person.

In other words, there should never be an “upstairs or downstairs.”

God wants us all on the same floor; his floor.

“Jesus Told Us Where to Find Him. Just Look for an Outcast.”

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove


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Living Life Up Side Down


After Christmas seemed to be a good time to attack some changes in home “decor.” Re-arranging only comes with a mood to make adjustments especially when it comes with dusting.  The incentive arrives when the mind becomes weary with no change. Like everything else, the rooms we live in need a little upgrade or re-positioning.

Over the years we either have collected books, inherited books or bought books. A good library is a plus especially when it adds to the “design” but more importantly is a “good read” for knowledge, wisdom or just for fun. Getting away in a John Grisham book is an adventure into the legal world of Mississippi Justice.

Underneath our big screen TV in the den is a book lover’s display dream. Stack them, give them some bookends, or add some flair. Books from family hold special meaning even if “Little Women” or the “Bobbsey Twins” fight over the front row seat.

4 of my college yearbooks were taking up space on a nearby table.
Moving them above the National Geographic’s and Anne of Green Gables looked like a perfect fit.upside

Hurriedly I finished and headed for the kitchen to fix dinner.

There are some people that need a good slap upside the head. These are the ones who enter a room and find the one piece of “style” out of place.

While rushing to finish (so I could make dinner for that someone) I mistakenly placed one yearbook upside down.

Even as orderly and dust-free as the entertainment center was that was never mentioned.

Making it clear to me the yearbook was wrongly positioned I shrugged it off AS I CLEANED THE KITCHEN!

The next morning I poured me a hot cup of New Orleans Famous French Market Dark Roast coffee and sat down in my swivel chair to have a conversation with God.

As I began to enjoy a moment of peace it stared at me.  The upside down yearbook stood out like a book out of place. Of course I would accidentally picked the one of the four that is the most noticeable.

Ignoring the need to make it right, I continued my warm cup of coffee with the Creator.

Turning my chair away from the books kept my mind on what I was doing but not long. After that I swiveled back around only to find the upside down book still upside down.

I guess the “book police” hadn’t received my memo to do something
about this blunder but I surely wasn’t going to fix it.
upside down

Why wasn’t I going to fix it? I didn’t want to bother? It wasn’t my job? Then…..who was going to flip it?

No one.  Some things need not to be changed.

That still small voice spoke, “Leave it. Let it be a reminder every time you feast your eyes upon it of your flaws; your mistakes; your inaccuracies. And then remember who fixed them.”

Enough said.

John 16: 33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (AKJV)