A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART 

Unless you have been secluded in a monastery, you know that there will be a solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. If you are very lucky and planned ahead, you could be on Royal Caribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruise in a position on the ocean to see the total eclipse and hear Bonnie Tyler sing her 1983 smash hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at the peak of the eclipse. Here, in Big Sandy, Texas, we will see only a 77.3% eclipse at 1:14 p.m. Central time on Monday.

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DOING WISDOM RIGHT

Wisdom supposedly comes with age and experience. I have plenty of both, but I recently came across a Scripture that made me wonder if I might be doing this wisdom thing all wrong. Yes, it sounds odd to me, even as I type it out. How can you get wisdom wrong? Please, hear me out and see if you don’t think there may be more to this wisdom thing that just what old age and experience can bring you. 

The definition of wisdom that I found on the Web is “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise or the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.” This seems to support the theory that age and experience, coupled with good judgment is enough to be considered wise.

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CHECKMATE

I don’t play chess. I’ve started to learn it a time or two and dropped it for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it takes too much strategic, advanced planning for me to consider it to be any kind of fun. Yes, I confess that I prefer my fun to require less of my mind. I feel like my job, our Friday night live program, my blog, hosting a women’s study and maintaining strong, godly relationships – not to mention leading the planning for an annual women’s conference – requires plenty of mental and spiritual focus, as well as advanced planning and preparation for success. So, I say “no thank you” to chess. And don’t even get me started on the 3D chess made popular by Star Trek! To me, that seems like the opportunity for a triple headache. I don’t need that kind of pressure in my “fun” time activities.

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INTRODUCING THE ONE, THE ONLY…

I am a fan of the move A Knight’s Tale (Colombia Pictures, 2001) staring Heath Ledger as a commoner named William who poses as a knight by the name of Ulrich von Lichtenstein. It has action, romance (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back), some kickin’ music and the underdog wins in the end. What’s not to love? 

Some of the funniest scenes are the introductions of the knights before a jousting match. Now, as part of my Toastmasters training, I understand that there is a fine art to introductions. You have to learn something about the person you are introducing and help the audience to understand why the audience should be interested in what the speaker has to say. But the introductions in A Knight’s Tale seemed to be intended to do three things: stir up the support of the crowd, strike some fear into the opponent and praise the knight’s accomplishments.  

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LESSONS FROM THE NO FLY ZONE

“Is that yours?” said a kind 40ish man who was clearly traveling with a group of teens headed to a mission trip (their matching T-shirts gave away both their togetherness and the purpose of their air travel). Why yes, it was my little container of hair gel rolling across the floor at the Love Field security check point. Just one of the mishaps of my day, my quart-sized bag of 3-oz-or-less liquids had split open as I was pulling it out of my carry-on bag and several of my personal grooming items had to be chased down.

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LIFE ON THE ROCK

As I write this, I have just gotten back from a trip to San Francisco with some of my family. This trip will figure in another blog or two in the coming weeks as well. You may begin to consider me to be like those people who force you to review vacation photo after vacation photo. Only mine will be mental images of the lessons I learned along the way. Hopefully, they won’t bore you.

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ANOTHER HANDMAID’S TALE

Recently, I learned about the Hulu original series “A Handmaid’s Tale.” It is constantly advertised in Facebook feed, but you cannot learn anything about it that way. What got me interested in the show was that I came across an opinion piece about the series being “timely,” considering “current women’s rights issues.” After reading that piece in the liberal-leaning magazine, I looked up the opposing opinion in a conservative-leaning magazine. Google “opinion, The Handmaid’s Tale” and you will discover that everybody has one – an opinion, that is, not a handmaid.

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FACE PLANT

Have you ever actually fallen and landed on your face? I wish I could answer “no” to that question. I’d have to say “Yes.”

It happened just a few weeks ago. I tripped on a curb in Chicago because I was looking down at my phone, trying to understand Siri’s next direction toward my destination of Navy Pier. I’m not sure how I fell with so little damage from my 5’ 9” height – except to think that God mercifully protected me. However, I did actually land on my face after taking the first hit on my knee. I busted my lower lip and scrapped my upper lip. But didn’t break anything. Praise God. I could have broken my nose or busted some teeth.

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WHAT DOES DAD WANT?

Father’s Day is coming up. Are you stressing about what to get your Dad or the father of your children? Have you been watching him to see what he is searching online? Has he mentioned a book or electronic gadget he’d like to get? Have you rushed out to buy it, hoping he doesn’t buy it for himself before Father’s Day? Did you ask what he wants only to be told, “Just a day with my family” and plotted how to make that day great?

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THE ROOF IS ON FIRE

I hope you had a blessed and spiritually nourishing day of Pentecost. After all, you counted off, waited and marked 50 long days to get there. Imagine the New Testament church waiting with expectation for the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit!

At my house, we celebrated the beginning of the day of Pentecost with fireworks. It was an exciting and dramatic way to bring in the day that pictures the first pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the church of God – an event that included tongues of fire coming down from heaven.

The event at my house was exciting for sure – especially the strips of Black Cats going off under my porch awning and the pieces of rockets and mortars raining down on my garage. Not one to skimp, my husband had purchased enough fireworks to put on a 40 minute show. Thankfully, neither the roof nor anything else caught on fire.

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DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR

“Disruptive technology” is all the rage these days. It’s an industry buzz word that I hear a lot. Apple made its reputation on shaking up the norms with disruptive technology and it remains a hallmark of the brand. 

Just in case you are not familiar with the term, I copied part of the explanation found here: 

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/disruptive-technology 

A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.  

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the term disruptive technology. In his 1997 best-selling book, "The Innovator's Dilemma," Christensen separates new technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to an already established technology.

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A MOTHER'S ❤️ IN FOUR PIECES

Last week was Mother’s Day here in the USA. So, I took the week off from blogging to have fun with family. That, as I was slammed at my day job. 

Mary, mother of Christ, is an incredible example of motherhood – maybe the best one in the Bible. No, we should not worship her or pray to her – worship is reserved for God alone and we should pray only to Him. However, when my morning study sent me to John 2, I began thinking about this extraordinary woman, who many theologians say was a teenager when called upon to give birth to the Messiah.

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THE AGENT ORANGE OPTION

Recently, my husband, Wes, and I were talking about his continuing efforts to keep the wilderness just across our fence line from creeping back onto our property. 

Wes, with the help of my sons and, sometimes, me, has cleared off pine and scrub trees. We’ve battled stickers, pulled up weeds, poisoned the poison ivy, planted grass and cut back the brush that hangs over the fence from the neighbor’s property. Wes is out there, almost daily, weed-eating, moving, cutting branches, disposing of leaves, killing fire ants and using a humane device to drive away gophers.  We now have a lush, green three-acre plot that looks like a well-manicured golf course. 

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THE ONLY CARBON COPY 

Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 1:3 [KJV] says, Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

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TAINTED BLOODLINE

This past weekend, my younger sister came down from the Dallas area to visit. We spent time, as we always do, reviewing fun, funny and sometimes frightening stories of our childhood. We rehashed the shenanigans that still make us laugh and our shared memories of indulgent grandparents, crazy uncles, dare-devil cousins and our own “perfect” children. 

One sister is working on trying to uncover a sort of medical mystery from the past. I’m thinking about having my DNA checked to see what ancestral soup (besides the Irish, English and Austria-Hungarian we know about) might be lurking in our genetic code.

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THE BIG REVEAL

You’ve most likely seen one or more of those makeover-style TV shows. Somebody’s house gets remodeled. Someone gets a beauty and wardrobe makeover. At the end of the show there is a “big reveal” when the house or the person is shown to be “shockingly better.” 

During the last hours of His life, Jesus had a lot to say to his disciples about God the Father, His work, and how things would be after His death and resurrection. Among the gems of information, instruction and encouragement is this passage:

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

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THE CHRISTIAN KOBAYASHI MARU

If you are not a Star Trek fan, you have no idea what I’m talking about. If you are a fan, you are probably wondering what the famous Starfleet Academy training lesson from the fictional show, Star Trek, has to do with being a new church lady. 

First, for the non-fan, let me tell you that in the Star Trek franchise the Kobayashi Maru was a training exercise required for all Starfleet Academy cadets. It was engineered to be a no-win scenario in order to test the character of cadets in a situation where the outcome of their choice (whichever option they selected) would be the loss of many, if not all lives from their own crew and/or the people on the civilian vessel Kobayashi Maru, which they were sent to rescue.

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LESSON FROM A PLANT ASSASSIN

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being a green thumb and 10 being plant assassin, I come precariously close to being a 10. My saving grace is that I have managed to get some rose bushes so firmly established that they thrive even if there is a bad year, weather-wise, or if I neglect them for weeks at a time. The key being that they are so firmly established that they can make it through tough times (man-made or nature made). 

I give myself a 9-ish on that scale, at least this week, because I nearly lost all my newly purchased vegetable plants. You see, I have been traveling for work and working some long hours in the office, when I am in town. However, with my usual enthusiasm for buying vegetable plants at the start of spring, I had stocked up at Lowes a little over a week ago without considering the fact that I would not be able to plant them the next few days, or even in that next week. Therefore, I was disheartened (but not too surprised) to find Friday, when I did make home in time to get down to the hot house to check on my plants, that all of my plants were as limp as an over-cooked spaghetti noodle.

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DO MILLENNIALS MAKE BETTER CHRISTIANS?

Let me just put it out there: I think Millennials (and the generation after them) may just make better Christians than all of us pre-Millennial generations. 

People love to analyze and complain about Millennials. I hear it at work and at church. If you are a Millennial reading this blog (maybe your Mom passed it along to you), I want you to know that the Gospel message and the Christian life was tailor made for your success.

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THE ROMAN TURTLE

The Roman army reportedly had a very special “turtle” they used in war. I caught about 30 minutes of the 4 hour movie, Cleopatra (staring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison), on Turner Classic Movies last week. 

In one scene, Harrison, as Julius Caesar, called for “the turtle.” According to the movie, this “turtle” was what they called their unique method of moving strategically into battles where the enemy was not just in front of them, but surrounded them. When my Bible study group was doing the Armor of God study (Pricilla Shirer), we learned that the Romans did use this method of creating an shell with their shields.

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