Is your perception of me merely a reflection of you?

“They think you are stuck up.”  
The words of a friend cut through me like a searing knife. 

“They said you snubbed them when you walked by.” 

She was talking about a group of girls from the opposing team we were playing at a high school basketball game in 1976. I walked by the group en route to the concession stand. The thing was—I didn’t snub them. I was actually completely intimidated by them, so I kept my eyes on the path directly in front of me, trying my best not to trip over my fear.

Our perceptions of others, we learn, are not always reality. Perceptions can be biased, often skewed by factors such as our background, culture, past experiences, misinformation, attitudes and even emotions, and are often the very reflection of our own messed-up selves.

"We see the world, not as it is, but as we are." -- Talmud

State of the Heart Address: From the Word of God

(Mouse over scripture links for full verse. May not work on mobile devices) 

Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you, today and always. ( John 20:19)

The more things change; the more things stay the same. (Eccl. 3:15) Nothing takes Me by surprise. (Is. 46:10)

I know the times are difficult, and there are times you feel like giving up, but I will show up and take care of you as I promised. (Heb. 13:5) I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jer. 29:11)

2015 Rose Parade--Blessed Beyond Measure

Taken during the parade. The open book at the front represents the lives of all those affected by organ donation. So many stories. The butterflies represent the number of people who can be helped through ONE donor--only 8 receiving organs, the rest received bone, eyes, skin or other tissue.. The books are individual stories that need to be told for the precious gifts they've given to so many. Consider becoming an organ donor. 

I open with a confession. It has taken me nearly three weeks to write this. I hope I have done so in a way to honor those involved while sharing the joy of this experience. This was a mixed batch of emotions for me and found it difficult to write for a while.  

What do our lives and popcorn have in common?

One evening several years ago, as I fixed popcorn on the stove for my kids (the old fashioned way), an inadvertent blunder became fodder for an object lesson I used years later as a friend and I led our church's junior high and high school youth group.  

We had been discussing personal and spiritual "boundaries" in the group, so I decided to reach back into my kitchen from years before for my popcorn mishap to demonstrate the chaos of a life without boundaries. Ushering all the students into the church kitchen, I pulled out a large pot, added oil and a scoop of popcorn kernels. After turning up the heat, I began visiting with the kids, making sure all were out of reach of any splattering hot oil. This time, I intentionally left the lid off the pot.

The Power of Praise

I have sparingly shared a story very tender to me that occurred during my days following my organ transplant. But it is one I believe will minister to your spirit as it did mine at a time when I needed it, as together we recognize the power of praise to our heavenly Father and Almighty God. 

Many have experienced the negative side effects of anesthesia and pain medications following major surgery. Though I had undergone numerous surgeries even before my transplant, I had never experienced the degree of mental torment I endured in the early days following my transplant surgery in August of 2001. Nurses told me it is common with certain drugs in particular, nevertheless, I want never to experience such horrific sights and sounds again. 

As the chemicals worked in my body, they began to do a number in my mind. When I closed my eyes to sleep, I would see horrifying blood red images shrouded in darkness. They were faces of the most hideous kind—evil, vile, and disgusting, and filled with a look of hatred, wickedness, and malice. So vivid were the images, it seemed I could even hear the hissing and smell the sulfur. 

I became wary of ever closing my eyes, as well as weary from lack of rest.