Saturday, May 23, 2020

Friends

When I hear the word "friends" I often think of the show by the same name.  I have been blessed beyond measure for the friends who enrich my life.  It gives me great comfort when one of them reaches out to me and just asks,"are you doing ok?"  That comment usually manifests into a light-hearted conversation by both of us agreeing that we will stay in touch. But, do we?  Life sometimes just gets in the way. Or maybe logistics, we don't live that close to each other any more. However, I'm chastising myself this morning, and promising myself, I'll do a better job.  Sometimes I whisper the words, "Lord I'm tired."

When the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites, Moses instructed Joshua to fight the Amalekites.  Moses promised to "stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands" (Exodus 17:9, NIV).  Joshua obeyed Moses' directive, and as long as Moses held his hands up, the "Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning (Exodus17:11, NIV).  Moses' arms grew tired.  I'm not sure if Moses said 'hey I'm tired', or they just instinctively knew that Moses needed help. So, "when Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that his hands remained steady till sunset" (Exodus 17:12, NIV).

Having a friend to "count on" is a blessing.  A blessing that we can also be the friend to "count on".  We are still facing difficult and challenging times.  We may be back at work, but if our first check hasn't come, we are still struggling.  Be aware of where your friends are during this time.  A text, an email, or better still, a phone call.  All you have to say is, "I'm just checking on you!"  That pretty much sums it up.

Stand Strong and Stay Safe...


Hugs

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Lean on Him

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).

The past few weeks (months) have been a challenge for most of us.  The past few weeks, as businesses begin to re-open after closing to protect all of us from spreading the Coronavirus, which causes COVID19, we continue to be reluctant.  Telling ourselves we will soon get back to "normal" in itself has been a challenge.  As a mental health counselor, what's "normal"? Is it what we're used to?

This morning I sat in the screen room, listening to the birds making their plans for the day. I drew in several deep breaths, and felt the cool morning air on my face as a gentle breeze tried to fix my "bed hair". I leaned my head back against the cushioned chair, and felt peace, joy and happiness. Where does my strength come from?  Philippians 4:11, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances"(NIV).  While in prison at Philippi, Paul wrote this letter to acknowledge a gift of money from the church.  Some of Paul's best works were written from a prison cell.  I heard one person talking about all the limitations we have had because of the shutdown of businesses due to the Coronavirus.  And the fear she is facing at "opening" those business. 

Another verse I go to often is the one Paul penned about strength.  Not his own strength, but the power, peace and joy he receives from the One he gives credit. " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).

As always, Stand Strong, Stay Healthy, and lean on HIM!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

I miss you Mom


I wrote this several years ago, March 17, 2012, because I missed my Mom...





WAITING AT HIS FEET

I’m wondering if you’d mind Lord
To take the time today
Could you tell my Mom I miss her?
And I’d just like to say.
I know she’s there with you Lord
She’s as happy as can be
I know she feels much better
Content and oh so free.
I’m wondering if you don’t mind, Lord
Could you hug her once for me?
Tell her that we miss her
But we’re glad that she’s now free.
I know she’ll be there waiting
When you call me home some day.
I’m older now myself Lord
My days are numbered too
Tell my Mom and Grandma
I know they’re at your feet
It won’t be so very long
When once again we’ll meet.
Written by Kathryn Neff Perry
Copyright 2012

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Where's the Lamb?

I have tried to be an "obedient servant" however, there are times when I don't really understand what I am supposed to be doing, and "where am I going?" Or why?  Over the years I have heard the same question many times over.  "Why do you think this is happening to me? Is God punishing me?"  Probably not, but there are times I've wondered that very same thing.  During this Coronavirus I've wondered about the people who have succumbed to COVID19.  Or the people who have been out of work.  Including the people who are telling me they don't have a "job" to go back to.  No wonder people are on edge, or angry with each other. 

Now that we are slowly going "back" to jobs,  our lives are still not "normal" yet.  I'm wondering what our "new normal" will look like?  Will we be able to go back to church and sit in our same seat beside people we know and love? Can we go to a movie and sit in the same row with our girlfriends?  What will eating in a restaurant look like?  My guess is, we are not going to know until it happens.  I thought about calling my dog groomer to see if she would cut my hair, since hair and nail salons are still not open!

Scripture tells me to be patient. Seriously? I think two months is adequate.  When I started thinking about how long it's been since I was able to sit face to face with a girlfriend over lunch. How long has it been since we could hug each other hello or good-bye?  Go to the grocery store without a mask? Or keep a doctors appointment by waiting outside in my own car, waiting for them to come get me.  And they approach the car looking like Darth Vader. If I've accomplished nothing else these past few months, I am learning to wait.  My grandmother used to say patience is a virtue.  I apparently wasn't born with that gene. Psalm 27:14, Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (NIV).

I can't imagine how Abraham processed God's command to; "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains  I will tell you about" (Genesis 22:2, NIV).  I'm wondering if Abraham had doubts, if he had questions? Why is this happening to me? Is God punishing me? When Abraham and Isaac were climbing the mountain, Isaac asked his father "where is the lamb for the burnt offering" (Genesis 22:7, NIV)? And his father Abraham replied, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son" (Genesis 22:8, NIV).   I'm wondering what thoughts were in Abraham's head.  Even though Abraham continued to build the alter, place the wood on that alter, and place his son on top.  Now while all of that was going on, on the other side of the mountain, a ram was making its way to the top.  Abraham demonstrated great faith, and obedience.  I don't think I could do that, knowing the love I have for my children. 

So my thoughts for today are that, I want the kind of faith Abraham displayed.  He "took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven...Do not lay a hand on the boy" (Genesis 22:10-12, NIV).  I want to be an obedient servant, just as Abraham was.

 Sometimes I forget, during this "shelter-in-place" and social distancing,  is the sacrificial lamb on the other side of this mountain I'm climbing?  Yes, I think it is.  And the still small voice inside my head is whispering to me, "just be patient, and wait for Me."

Stand Strong and Stay Healthy


Hugs,

Katt

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Hello Bird

I woke up this morning feeling rested and ready to start my day.  I stretched, and glanced at the clock on the night stand.  I read '4:18'.  I rubbed my eyes thinking they were playing a trick on me.  Marley realized I was awake and promptly encouraged me to follow through.  I got up, making my way to the shadows looming in the kitchen.  The boys (Marley and Meko) followed me outside to find the paper, somewhere in the driveway, only to remember we aren't getting a paper two days a week now.  As I walked down the sidewalk, motion sensor lights marked my path.  When I reached the front of the house I heard a faint tapping noise, it sounded like on medal?  The fog started to drift from my brain, and my eyes caught sight of the American flag, proudly showing her colors, flapping in this mornings breeze.  The pulley gently tapped the flag pole, as if to say, "I'm here representing all the men and women who have fought the valiant fight, so that you could live in a country so free." And reminding me that freedom isn't free.  For a few moments, tears welled in my eyes.  I was standing, in the dark on the sidewalk beside my home. I do not live in a war zone.  I do not live in a neighborhood where we are threatened by 'drive-by-shootings'.  I live in a neighborhood where we all look out for each other.

The sun just woke up, and the little bird "alarm clock" must have gone off, because they are outside announcing the beginning of a brand new day.  During my devotions this morning, I lifted several people, families up in prayer.  I don't remember which devotional admonished me to keep praying, not to give up. Don't stop praying. Keep trusting the Lord. Love the people the Lord puts in your path. I've been praying for peace for what seems a very long time.  The flag whipping in the wind this morning reminded me, not to give up.  Keep praying for peace. I'm praying our country can come together. After all, our name implies we are...together.  The United States of America. Stop fighting, stop hating, stop judging. That first little bird, whose voice I recognized, was singing a worship and praise song. I have hope. I have peace, and I choose joy.

A verse that soothes my soul is in Psalms.  "I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears"(Psalms 34:4, NIV).  What would this country look like if we looked through a lens of love?

Stand Strong and Stay Healthy


Hugs,

Katt

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wishing I Could....

Hey, Mom
It’s not the same without you,
When I kissed your cheek that day,
I just stopped to tell you,
But, I really couldn’t stay.

You said that you kept busy,
And you missed me everyday,
I just stopped to tell you,
But, I really couldn’t stay.

I saw the tear slide down your cheek,
Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be back next week.
I just stopped to tell you,
But, I really couldn’t stay.

When I hugged you  that day
I wish that I had known,
That two days later,
You’d arrive in your heavenly home.

Now that I am older,
I know there’ll come the day,
I’ll be there beside you Mom,
And I’ll be there to stay.


Written in memory of my Mom
Bertha M. Neff 
05/20/1921 to 09/13/2005 
Mother’s Day
May 10, 2020
Written by Kathryn Neff Perry
All rights reserved

Copyright 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Finding Comfort





Pastor James Boardman's message this morning was about comfort.  He referenced several scripture verses that do just that, offer comfort.  One of them, which most people are familiar with is in Psalms: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me", (Psalm 23:4, NIV). To hear his message, and the entire service click here:  AP Church of the Nazarene

The things which offer me comfort today are obviously different than when I was a child. I can't remember things that gave me comfort as a child.  Probably because I didn't realize I needed to be comforted.  That is not true today.  Some of the "comforts" in my life are reaching out to my family and friends,  just for a hug.   Or someone sends me a text message, "hey, what's your schedule like today, wanna meet for coffee?" Ahhh, yes, but not yet!??

Another thing that has given me comfort most of my life is playing the piano.  When I sit at that keyboard, it becomes my sounding board.  And probably if truth be told, a way to escape from whatever is troubling me. If I'm sad, I usually play sad songs.  If I'm happy, happy songs.  I think you understand where I'm going with that!  Anyway this is the first time in many years I have had the opportunity to just sit and play the piano until my back gets tired.  I don't have to quit because I have a paper to write, case notes to go over, or an appointment with a client.  So through all of this coronavirus, with shelter-in-place, avoiding crowds, cover my face, and wash my hands, it really hasn't been so bad.

The pastor ended the service this morning with the lyrics and music to "Put your Hand in the Hand"... now that song is playing over and over in my head.  I love it!

Stand Strong and Stay Healthy


Hugs,


Katt