How to Tell Time with Hope

How to Tell Time with Hope

Until now, I have never lived in one place for too long. My daddy, before he retired from the Air Force and my late husband’s profession caused us to relocate, time and again, every four years. Once, when we did live in the same area for eight years, halfway through, we moved from the city to the country. My oldest, when in high school, was jokingly asked by one of his friends if he thought his parents would ever give up their nomadic lifestyle and finally settle down.

Moving was always an adventure. Besides the headache of packing and unpacking and finding those two ever-so-important-people in your life, your doctor and your hairdresser (you might think I’m joking about the later, but I’m not) it was downright fun. Living in the North, the South, the Midwest, and both coasts, there were so many interesting people around every corner to meet and wonderful friendships that were waiting to grow. Becoming part of the culture where we were transplanted—from taking on the local accents and vernacular, to adopting sports teams as our own—we enjoyed life, seeing the possibilities and the adventures, always in the present. But when my late husband passed away, as if someone had drawn an indelible line from the sky to the ground, we began to see everything through the lens of before and after. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2018/02/14/tell-time-hope/

Why We So Often Miss the Point

I had to laugh out loud the other morning while reading Scripture from my daily devotional. The disciples had just witnessed Jesus turning seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes into enough to feed thousands with seven basketfuls of pieces leftover. Several events followed, one being that the Sadducees and Pharisees in wanting to test Jesus, asked Him to give them a sign from Heaven. Answering their question with less than what they wanted, He left. Meeting up with the disciples a little later, Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

What happens next is what started me chuckling. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2018/01/31/often-miss-point/

Why We’re Missing Out On Our Purpose

Why We're Missing Out On Our Purpose - Laura Sports

When my daughter, Laura, was a little girl, she, like all kids her age, tried different sports to find which was her true fit. First, she went out for baseball. That wasn’t a match as many times, you could find her crouched on the ground doodling in the dirt. In fact, except for the pitcher, catcher, and other key players, you would see many of her teammates doing the same thing. And because she and her compatriots were totally unaware of what was happening around them, her daddy affectionately named them “The Barbies.”

Next was soccer which came to be known in our household, as “swarm ball.” Even though each child played a certain position and was supposed to man that area, it seems that no matter where the ball was on the field, defense or offense, everyone was right there with it. Scrambling around it like chickens attacking the feed when first put in the coup, all those little girls moving as one, were kicking and scrambling to get their foot on the ball. To get that much prized goal.

This past Sunday, my pastor began preaching a series on Genesis. Pointing out in the beginning, there was nothing—not even space—just darkness, it was crucial to him to lay the foundation that the Bible is about God. It’s His story. He was here before anything was, (Isn’t that impossible to wrap your head around), and will be when we leave this world behind. And because that is true, our lives in the here and now should be focused on Him. The point: Only those things that will last throughout eternity should be what we spend our precious time on. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2018/01/11/why-were-missing-out-on-our-purpose/

There’s a Day When Fairytales Will Come True

There's a Day When Fairytales Will Come True

Over the past two months, my granddaughter, Lucy, who has loved music almost from the day she was born, has fallen in love with the 2017 Beauty and the Beast movie. Asking to watch it almost every time she sees me—she knows I most likely will acquiesce—it was my sheer delight when for Christmas, Jerry and I gave her a wifi-enabled microphone that allows her to sing along to the music from the movie. To top it off, we also gave her a Barbie-sized, Belle. No matter what Lucy is doing, when she hears the music, she stops and begins to sing. (As a tickled-pink grandmother, I just know she is a prodigy. After all, she’s only two.) You can watch a video of it here.

But it did make me stop and think. Why is it, that almost every little girl envisions herself as a princess or as a bride in white waiting for Prince Charming? Even those, at an early age who are slapped down by circumstances in their life which buries the dream so deep it seems to disappear, still at some point have had some glimmer of it.

On the flip side, why is it that almost every little boy holds the fantasy of coming in to save the day? Whether it’s Luke Skywalker bursting on the scene in the X-Wing Starfighter, or Captain America bulking up with scientifically made muscles to right the wrong and defend the weak, this scenario is ingrained deep within.

Even though we define and pocket those images as fairytales, I think, one reason why they are treasured in the hearts of children is that they actually point to the truth. And as adults, whether or not we admit it, that ideal which children hold onto, is what we genuinely ache for also. We want someone to ride in and make the world a better place. We want a kinder, gentler day-to-day. We want the pain, suffering, and tears to go away. We want death to be no more. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2018/01/04/fairytales-will-come-true/

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Supplication

fourth-sunday-of-advent

When my two oldest children were in the throngs of dating, they managed to simultaneously find significant others who were terrible fits, not only for themselves but also for the two they were dating. Everyone could see it but them. Even their then 12-year-old brother saw right through the relationships and knew they were toxic. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2017/12/24/fourth-sunday-advent-supplication/

Third Sunday of Advent: How to Worry Less

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We do worry. To say, “whether or not we want to,” is never a true statement because if the option was given, none of us would, with determined gusto, declare, “I choose to worry about this…or that.” But there it is, nipping at our heels, niggling away at the backs of our minds, invading our peace like something sticky that just won’t let go. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2017/12/17/third-sunday-of-advent-how-to-worry-less/

Second Sunday of Advent

Once you come to know, really know, Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are saved forever. Taking our sins on Himself as He went to the cross, and placing in us His righteousness, we become new creations. But living in this world presents opportunities every minute and around every bend, to do the things we know we shouldn’t, and to not do what we know we should.

Often landing ourselves in mud puddles of our own doing—

~ whether by a slow deceptive drift away from the truth;

~ or an eddy that we are pulled into and can’t get out of;

~ or even the human skin we live in that sometimes, microsecond by microsecond, trips us up with good intentions—

we all land in the same boat of needing His correction.

Because we belong to the Lord and have His righteousness, we are already clean, but as Jesus did for the disciples, we find we are in terrible need for our feet to be washed by Him.  

Confession is a beautiful gift from the Lord. Without it, we would needlessly carry rusacks overflowing with sin and brokenness that we cannot possibly bear, fix, or even hope to be rid of. Without it we would almost die.

For it is when we confess our sin, that Jesus tells us, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (See 1 John 1:9.)

Delivering us from that which we can’t escape, delivering us from that which is holding us hostage, is something only He can do. But when He does, such freedom descends unlocking our hearts and lives to live as sons and daughters of the Most High, far beyond what we can imagine or think.

As this new life within us continues to blossom, pushing out old patterns and ways of thinking— serving up judgement for others—begins to take more and more of a back seat in our hearts. For when you know where you have been, what you are capable of, and yet, have experienced mercy, your heart only wants to give the same hope and joy that, like a blessing, has been lavished on you.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17 ESV

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

Compassion and confession go hand-in-hand.

He truly does save us in His love.

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http://dashofstrange.com/2017/12/10/second-sunday-advent/

First Sunday of Advent 2017

first-day-of-advent-dash-of-strange-website

Have you ever walked outside after a really difficult day and looked up when the first evening star is peeking its head out in the twilight? And all that was so hard, the trials and tribulations that held you so tight seemed to melt away? Have you had those times when you felt like you’ve been holding your breath all day, and the moment when you gaze up at the night sky, you finally let go and breathe? Has that ever happened to you? Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2017/12/03/first-sunday-advent-2017/

Looking Toward Advent

Advent-2017-Email-Header

A little less than a month from now will be the day after Christmas. It’s hard to believe, but the rush will be behind us and the tinsel, paper, and garlands along with this year’s cherished memories stored away. But as we approach this holiday season, filled with the laughter of family and friends, gift giving, and loads of good food, we can also steal away from the hustle and bustle when we observe Advent. Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2017/11/29/looking-toward-advent/

Waiting Well, Why is it So Hard To Do?

I don’t do waiting so well. Waiting for cars to move on down the road. Waiting with expectation for a phone call or response. For me, waiting on just about anything is tough. When I get an inspiration for something, that can be even worse. Leaving forethought in my dust and fueled by delusions of grandeur, not waiting on wisdom, I too often leap before the proverbial look. Sure that I can float or fly, more often than not, the wind flutters out of my sails. With my hopes and expectations fizzling to the ground, “What happened?” swirls around my head. Aagh! That’s the problem with us optimistic ones. If it seems like a good idea, it’s full steam ahead. After all, the glass is half full, never half empty. Right? Continue reading

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http://dashofstrange.com/2017/11/22/waiting-well-hard/