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Salvation Mountain

I wish I could remember how I heard about Salvation Mountain but I don’t have a clue. I told Emily not only were we taking the Southern route home from California but we were dipping down so I could see it.

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I read up on it yesterday as we were suppose to visit it then, but yesterday’s flat tire made our plans change. Anyway the guy who created it accepted Jesus into his heart in 1967 while in Vermont. He decided he wanted to build a hot air balloon and worked on it for 14 years never getting it to fly. He then decided to stay one more week to make a monument and weeks turned into months and months into years. He started by taking things from the dump and then fill it with sand, cover it with cement and then painted it. A lot of the time he used too much sand and not enough cement. Therefore, after four years and fifty foot high, it came crashing to the ground. He however was not discouraged and started over with more smarts.
The second time he used adobe clay and straw. He would then paint it. The more coats of paint, the stronger it became. This also prevented erosion. After ten years the mountain had gained notoriety but the area was owned by the federal government. They had issues with a religious monument at the entrance to slab city so hired environmental specialists to run tests and declared it a toxic wasteland. The locals did not agree and donated money and he hired his own and there was zero toxic chemicals nor lead in paint. So the government left him alone.
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He lived on the mountain until the age of 79 in his truck.
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He lived a simple life with no electricity, running water, technology etc. He used all donated paints on the mountain using the ugly colors for the bottom coats and the pretty ones for the top coats. He went to be with the Lord in 2014 at the age of 82.
Mole Moral ~ The location may have been shaky but it was awesome. Look carefully and you can see me at the top behind the O in GOD. Emily’s idea!!
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God Friended Me

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If you haven’t seen this show, you should. I think it ranks right up there with This is Us. I started watching mostly because I am a Facebook junkie and I thought how cool would it be to get a friend request from God. Miles who gets the request is an atheist and is convinced someone is behind it so of course his Indian friend is a computer genius and is busy trying to trace who keeps sending the friend requests. It is so well written and it just keeps tying one episode to the next. I usually binge watch TV shows but this one I watch every week.

Although I am sure when the show ends they will discover a person is behind it. Someone is sending him friend requests of people who need his help. I have always felt if a person is quiet and listens (not audibly) they can hear God and things he would like you to do. My Christmas Angel yearly program has always been chosen by God. It’s hard to describe but I just know when it is the right person. I’m thinking about it because that starts again on December 14. It is one of the things I look the most forward to.

Mole Moral ~ Just like This is Us, you need to start from the first episode. Another great show is A Million Little Things and also needs to be started from the beginning. This may be the year of the great TV shows.

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Christmas Angel

It was back in 2004 and I was at church when Pastor Tom spoke about a thing he did called Christmas Angel. For the 12 nights before Christmas you pick someone who may be struggling, had a bad year or just need a lift at Christmas and drop off presents. The first night you leave one of something, and the second night two, and the third night three etc. But there is a catch, you drop the present, ring the doorbell, run, and try not to get caught. Of course if you have your children help, they can do the ringing and running and you drive the getaway car. He had this done to him by a mormon family who never revealed who they were. He said we shouldn’t tell either but if someone did that for me and never said who it was, it would bother me forever. So on day twelve I always left a note revealing who I was. Although he said this was a way to bless others, over the years it has been a big blessing to our family.

The person or people I have chosen were always picked by God. He put their name on my heart at some point during the year. Some years it’s really early like April or May and sometimes its been as late as October. Now God doesn’t talk to me in an audible voice for that would surely make me a crazy person but I just get the feeling this person is the one. Most of the time it is a patient I have cared for, but sometimes its a friend that doesn’t know this secret about me. This year I received a little push back from who I chose, to the point I started questioning myself (and God). But in true God fashion I got the answer loud and clear on day ten of dropping gifts off. I received a note saying this girl had a bad year and every night she had to have painful dressing changes and knowing she would be receiving a gift made the discomfort less. I started crying when I read the note. After all it is the exact reason we have done this every year since 2004.

This is the first Christmas we had without Emily. She is working out in California and ended up spending Christmas with the Lindsay’s. If she had to not be at home, she was at the second best place in the world. After all had Brian and I both kicked the bucket, our kids were willed to them. There were times they threatened to kill us so they could live with them. Emily was very sad that she didn’t get to Christmas angel with us. Allyson said to me she liked houses that were farther away because we had more time to talk. So I started thinking about some of the highlights and I shared some of them with this years girl. I decided to blog them tonight for my girls.

The very first year I worked evenings so I had to drop the gifts off during the day. Since I worked the first three days I dropped them off during the day. Apparently that person worked during the day so finally on day three I made my sister call from her work and say this is your Christmas angel please check your front porch. The next year we did my neighbors I had as a child. She was convinced it was a neighbor down the street and each night would yell thank you and say the lady’s name. She never once thought it was me. One year the family lived in De Soto. We arrive in the dark and not one single mailbox has the address on it. None of the houses do either. I attempt to get on google earth but the houses are blocked by trees. By this time I am freaking out, screaming and cursing when the husband walks out to check the mail. Last year the guy I did was convinced he had a stalker and almost called the cops on us. He also had no numbers on his house so my oldest went rooting through his mailbox (which was attached to the house) to see what address was on the mail. One year we did Allyson’s friends who are twins. The first night she was at their house so I had to deliver by myself. I knocked on the door so loud that the guy across the hall opened his door also. I scared them all so bad they bumped heads on the table they were under. Before I had a smart phone I had to use map quest. I arrive to the street I was supposed to turn on and it had turned into a QT with no way to get through. I had to call Brian who had to get out his street guide to get us to the correct house. One year we pulled up to the house and Kayla says they are in the garage. I say no they are not, deliver the gift. She gets out starts to walk and I hear them in the garage. I say F**k they are in the garage, get back in the car.

This year was no different. The very first night I had worked and went by myself. There were no numbers on this house so I had to walk up to the neighbors to see their numbers. I ring the doorbell, hit the second step and my ankle goes sideways. I almost fell and I said oh hell no, I am not getting caught on day one and made it down the steps. One day just as I was getting out of the car, they came out of the house to go somewhere. I jumped back in the car and hid till they left. Then became paranoid they would forget something and come back and catch me. On the eleventh night just as Allyson was crossing the street a van pulled up into their driveway so she came back to the car. We did a lap around the subdivision and then she delivered. But the thing we will always remember is the stop sign in the middle of a street with houses on each side of the road. No cross-road or anything. The sidewalks are on both sides of the streets as well so we couldn’t figure out the purpose. On the last day I was actually going to ring the bell and wait (I’ve only done this one time in all these years) but they were not home.

So what started out as a way to bless others has turned into a Christmas tradition that we all love and look forward to each year. We’ve had great family talks and great family yelling. We’ve brightened 19 families over the years and hope to do 19 more. Although sooner than I care to admit, it will be me by myself so I better keep on running so I don’t get caught.

 

Mole Moral ~ Ding dong ditch still seems wrong even when leaving fun little presents.

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Session 4 The Wise Filter

Jamie took over speaking for the rest of our time together. I really enjoy him and he reminds me a lot of my sister as he also talks a hundred miles a minute. Tonight’s talk was about the wise filter which made me think of something Pastor Tom has said for years “based on my current circumstances what is the wise thing to do.” Dumb decisions don’t matter until they involve things that do matter. Everyone has filters for how they make decisions. Jamie’s examples:
1. Feelings
2. Thinking
3. Wanting
4. Them
5. Boyfriend/girlfriend
6. Culture
I would venture a guess and say most of my decisions are based on thinking. I really don’t care what culture and others think except for maybe my husband. However he said none of these are worthy of your life decisions and smart people do dumb things. Therefore be very careful how you live, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. So he very careful how you live not as unwise but wise.
Jamie then brought a cardboard car front out on stage and sat behind it to demonstrate how to make wise decisions. When one drives he looks two directions both forwards and backwards. So one knows where to go based on where you been (looking behind) and where you are headed (looking ahead). His example from his high school days was that he was invited to two different parties. The last time he hung out with group a they were a lot of fun but they made a whole bunch of stupid decisions with tough consequences. Group b was a little boring but no bad decisions or tough consequences so he chose group b.

Mole moral ~ God’s “rules” seem restrictive and make for a boring life when they actually release you from experiencing pain from making unwise decisions.

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Session 2 The Us filter

 

Gerald started off the talk with who is your squad, crew, homies, or friends depending on what you call them. My squad is made up of current and past women’s health homies.
Everyone has a filter to choose their friends and some examples are fun, hot, popular, or the same as you. This had me thinking back to my high-school days and what filter I used. I would have to say it was the same filter. Almost all of my friends were in band and everyone knows band kids are the best kids. I think a big factor in this was the group that went to South Africa in August of 1983 Who is this Gary Lindsay character?). That trip and all the fundraising really bonded us together.
Just as we can use filters to include we can also use them to exclude. This then sets up the us VS them scenario. Although this certainly runs rampant in middle school and high school it can also be seen in the adult world as well. In the world of nursing it can be nurse vs techs or management vs the employees.
If we change our view and see everyone as someone God made and someone Jesus died for, it would change the world. When Jesus met up with the Samaritan woman at the well and asked her to give him a drink she said you are a Jew why are you even talking to me. A perfect example of us VS them. By the time he was finished having a conversation with her, she saw him for who he really was, just as he saw her the way God made her.

Mole moral ~ What if we saw “them” through him? It certainly would be a game changer.

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Late night with Andy Stanley

I haven’t been up past eleven o’clock in a long time. Last night I was working on Emily’s laundry and actually made it up past Saturday Night Live. I was in for a bit of surprise when talking points with Andy Stanley came on channel 5. For those of you that have no clue who I am talking about, Andy is the pastor of Northpoint Community Church outside of Atlanta. I visited there once as they are the church that writes Kid Stuf. The place is huge and has like 25,000 members. He was really interesting but then again he always is.

Andy was talking about how if you live your life as if your days are numbered, you will gain a heart of wisdom. Too many people go through life as if they have all the time in the world and often find themselves at the end of life not where they wanted to be. He quoted a nurse who worked hospice who asked her patients what their biggest regret was. Almost every single man’s response was working too much when the kids were little and missing out on their childhood and spending time with their spouse. The second response was not living the life the person wanted but the life others expected them to live. Of course I received validation for something I have said for a long long time. Anytime Brian harasses me about the house being messy and asks why I don’t keep it spotless my response has always been on my deathbed I will not say “I wish I kept the house cleaner.” It will be  “I wish I helped others more, made gifts for others and made time for people.”

I certainly feel i am living the life I wanted except for being married and having kids. I swore when I was younger I was never getting married or having kids. However both of those turned into a huge blessing, I never dreamed possible in my younger years. I always knew I would be a nurse and I wanted to be a burn nurse. I did that for ten years and lived my dream. And now on Women’s Health I have felt it is the place God wants me to be. I have tried to leave a couple times when things were really rough and he told me no. I am glad I stayed because I really do enjoy it 99% of the time. It’s hard to believe in a little over a year I will be fifty. I remember when Brian’s dad turned fifty and I gave him a coffee cup that said “how the hell did I get this old”. Oh that is so fitting and every time I think of it, I smile. Time goes by so fast, too fast and their is no slowing it down. So my goal is to try and follow the two greatest commandments. Love God with all my heart, soul and mind and love my neighbors as myself.

 

Mole moral~ If you stop by my house, it is most likely to be a mess but I will invite you in and we will have a lot of fun. And when I’m gone you will say that girl had the messiest house ever but she sure was a lot of fun!

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Small Group

imageI have been meaning to write this blog for three weeks but have had zero discipline to get it together.

Three weeks ago at church Herc was doing announcements and promoting small groups. The last time I was in a small group was four years ago when I was doing starting point with him. I had Dr. Veronikis surgery about week four of the study and that was such a disaster, I never made it back. After that I used my job hours as an excuse as to why I couldn’t join one. Well then Herc mentioned a 5K running group and a lightbulb went off in my head and I got that prompting Tom speaks of that said no excuses you are signing up. So I did and I saw Christy (Herc’s wife) was the leader-score. So about a week ago I got a group email and Jimmy (Christy’s brother) is co-leading. Double score as Jimmy was my first small group leader. I also saw that Heidi had signed up and she was in my first group as well. Then I found out there was a book to go along with it. I should have known this but sometimes I’m not as smart as I look. I was even more excited about the book  especially when I found out there are only three discussion questions each week

When I arrived tonight I found out Jenna was also a leader. I know her from Facebook only and knew she went to Oak Bridge. I can’t remember exactly how we became friends but I have always enjoyed her posts. So she shared her running story and I wanted to jump out of my chair and say we are sole sisters. Her story is similar to mine. But I figured I better keep it in check for a while. I will let these people discover how crazy I really am over a period of time. No sense springing full CR on them on the first night v

We did a thirty minute run/walk. Jimmy was in charge of keeping time. Some people ran the whole time and no, I was not one of them. My goal for the group is to encourage others and hopefully give them a love for running like I have. Running is my God time and I work through a lot of stuff I wouldn’t deal with otherwise. Sometimes I yell at him or attempt to boss him around. It never works but I feel better afterwards.

I cannot wait until next week. I have asked for Wednesday’s off or to work 7-3 only. Hopefully it works out. I’m pretty much willing to work whatever days or time needed so I think it will work out. After all this was God’s prompting so he’s in charge of my work schedule!

Mole moral~God is smarter than he looks. He had Jenna create a running bible study group to get me back in small group!