Sunday, May 31, 2020

There is hope!

I don't like politically charged conversations.
I have my thoughts and opinions just like everyone else,
but I don't like conflict,
so I try to keep my political thoughts to myself.
Sometimes unsuccessfully, but I try.
But today I want to talk about a politically charged subject.
Not because it is political,
but because I am confused!
I am heartbroken!
I am even a little scared!

Yesterday, I was called a "white bitch" by a woman in the grocery store.
I was by myself, mask and gloves in place,
pushing my cart down the aisle.
Today, six blocks from my home, peaceful protest is happening.
Peaceful at the moment.
But with evidence of potential escalation.
We are being warned to be prepared to defend ourselves and our home tonight.
Or to leave.
I live in Texas.

Yesterday afternoon, my niece was driving to work.
Her vehicle was attacked and unkind words
were shouted to her through the glass.
She lives in Wyoming.

Last night, the apartment building and neighborhood
where one of my cousin's lives,
was attacked and looted.
Buildings were burned.
Gunshots were fired.
Her apartment building was evacuated to the roof for safety
just in case the looters made it inside the building.
It wasn't safe to leave.
She lives in Chicago.

None of us had anything to do with the deplorable actions
of the Minneapolis police officers who murdered Mr. Floyd.
And yet, we are being held responsible.

I have never considered myself a racist or bigot.
I have dear friends of all colors and creeds.
And many, many acquaintances that span the world.
I have Hispanic nieces and nephews.
Though I look white, I have the blood of an American slave flowing in my veins.

I realize that my experiences are not the same as that of people
who because of their heritage are considered a terrorist threat, or dishonest, or violent.
I don't know the fear of what might happen to me when I am pulled over
by a police officer in a neighborhood where I am out of place.
I don't know the fear of being assumed guilty of more than speeding.
I know that I can't understand completely because I have not walked their path.

Neither have they walked mine.
They may have never been assumed to be a racist
simply because they are a white American.
They may have never been afraid to say to a neighbor
at 3:30 in the morning that their music is too loud
because they may be accused of racism.
They may have never been afraid to discuss current events,
even with close friends,
even friends of the same race and creed,
because they may be viewed as a bigot for not supporting
what they truly believe to be a
"two wrongs don't make a right"situation.
They may never have been concerned
that their home may be looted and destroyed
because of the actions of a racist, evil man more than a thousand miles away.
They may not understand being held responsible
for the deplorable acts of ancestors generations before them,
or for the actions, not of their own ancestors,
but of the ancestors of others of their kind.

What do we have in common?
Sadly, too much!
We are both afraid to turn left instead of right on a walk
because we will cross into a neighborhood where,
experience has shown we will be viewed with suspicion and hatred,
called names and perhaps even attacked.
We both look at the news and feel hated, attacked, violated.
We both wonder why people hate us
simply because of the color of our skin,
the country in which we were born,
or the church we attend,
when all we want to do is live our lives in peaceful, friendly co-existence.
We both know the sting of hateful epithets being flung our direction.
We both feel fear when our law-enforcement loved ones
step out the door on the way to work.

I recognize that there are cultural differences,
have adopted many.
I recognize that my moral compass is different than that of others -
even others of the same race and creed as mine.
Because I am unique.
And so is everyone else.
And I am confused as to why we cannot celebrate and embrace those differences.
Why we cannot learn from one another.
Why we cannot say, "I disagree with you"
in loving, respectful ways.
I don't understand.
I just know that racism and bigotry is wrong
no matter what color or creed it is.

I am an American white woman.
I am proud of my heritage as an American.
I enjoy being a woman.
But I couldn't possibly care any less about being "white".
I am not ashamed of it, I just don't care what color I am.
I don't understand why skin color is such a big deal no matter what color it is.
Why is skin treated differently that hair?
Or eyes?
I love that my eyes are green.
I wish that I had the fabulous skin of a black woman.
I wish that I had the silky, raven hair of a Hispanic woman.
I wish that I had the tiny frame of an Asian woman.
But those are just genetic traits.
They are not who I am!
Why does it matter???
I don't understand.

However, as I was typing this blog,
I found encouragement!
I am sitting on my front porch.
And as I typed, a young man of color whom I don't know
came walking down the sidewalk
talking on his phone about the demonstration a few blocks away.
I swallowed my fear of being viewed as a racist.
I called out to him.
I confirmed that he was coming from the demonstration.
We talked.
We talked about the peacefulness of it.
We talked about the people who wanted to escalate.
We talked about the organizers who said "ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!"
We talked about the demonstrators and the police
walking side-by-side in cooperation with and acceptance of one another.
We talked about the support of the family of Mr. Floyd,
and others like him,
and the support of the majority of police officers
who serve and protect ALL people.
And we grieved the state of our nation at this time.

Maybe there is hope.

Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that 
God is not one to show partiality, 
but in every nation the man who fears Him 
and does what is right is welcome to Him.
~~ Acts 10:35-35

There is neither Jew nor Greek, 
there is neither slave nor free man, 
there is neither male nor female; 
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
~~ Galatians 3:28

But the one who hates his brother 
is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, 
and does not know where he is going 
because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 
~~ I John 2:11

Monday, May 25, 2020

Frozen Moments in Time

Isn't it funny the things that stick in your mind?
We went to Calico County.
I remember where we sat.
I remember, word for word,
a piece of our conversation:

"I don't know what's wrong,
but he's dying."

We were talking about our husbands.
Because, you know,
that's what best friends do over lunch.
It's what we still do over lunch.
But that day sticks in my mind.

It was a half work day.
We lingered.
Then I went home and took a nap.
At about 4:00, he woke me
and asked to be taken to the ER
where a few hours later
we heard the words.
"Mr. Garrett, you do have cancer."
Just like that.
The world stopped spinning.
The stars fell from the sky.

Time froze twice that day.

This morning,
eight years later,
I am once again frozen in that place.
I woke this morning with the memories.
I will carry them through my day.
I will likely fall asleep with them tonight.

But tonight, I will sleep, rest,
wake in the morning to the wonderfully renewed life
with which God has blessed me.
Time will thaw once again,
continue it's forward movement.

I need to say this.
Love causes grief.
Both are lasting!
But both are changed over time.
One is forever.
One is not.

My love for Al was completed that day
eight months and three days later
when he went Home.
It was not ended!
It reached it's earthly completion.
Love is forever!
It will never end!

My grief was only beginning on that day.
It will not only be completed with the return of Christ,
on that wonderful day,
Praise God!!!

Today is Memorial Day.
Today, many are remembering 
frozen moments in time.
May God bless us each with sweet memories,
may He soften the grief,
and may the love shine brightly
as we all remember.

Thank you, Daddy God,
that love does not die!

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Sunday, May 24, 2020



[ luh-ment ]

verb (used with object)

to feel or express sorrow or regret for:to lament his absence.
to mourn for or over.

verb (used without object)

to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret.
to mourn deeply.


an expression of grief or sorrow.
a formal expression of sorrow or mourning, especially in verse or song; an elegy or dirge.
Copied From

Today, our church met exclusively online
for the last time.
Next week, we begin meeting in our sanctuary once again.
With limitations, of course.
Social distancing.
High risk or folks who are uncomfortable 
meeting so soon in our "hot spot" city
encouraged to continue worshipping together from home via live stream.
We are rejoicing!
Exultant in our eagerness to be together again!

But today, our congregation lamented.
I would encourage you to watch as our pastor
shares about lament and our family
shared the losses and suffering that have become
life in 2020.

I did not submit my lament for a couple reasons.
First, I have not personally experienced a lot of loss
during this time. 
I have experienced change,
but I have not experienced loss.
I have still received my exact monthly income.
I have still eaten well.
I have still been able to see my children and grandchildren and friends
via porch visits.
I have lost some inconsequential things:
canceled trips, picking my own fruit and veggies at the grocery store.
I have missed having my granddaughter spend the night,
but that is not a permanent thing.
We will play together, snuggle together again soon,
and porch visits and video calls have been a fun adventure!
And the fact that I'm an introvert
sheltered in place with my favorite person
has made isolation pleasant rather than lonely and depressing.
So I have not personally suffered from this time of isolation.

I have grieved over the losses of others.
Friends and relatives who have been sick and alone,
who have lost loved ones to this virus.
Those who have lost loved ones to other causes
and been unable to honor them and find the closure they wanted,
unable to shelter in the comforting hugs of friends and family.
Those who are sheltered alone and in abject loneliness.
Those who have been hospitalized
without the support of their family around them.
I have grieved for the lost school days, graduations, weddings,
those once-in-a-lifetime celebrations that never be recovered.
I have grieved for those whose livelihoods have been put on hold
or disappeared all together.
I have grieved for the business owners and their employees
as daily announcements of permanent closure make the news.
But while I grieve for my friends,
for mankind,
these losses have not personally touched my daily existence.
This is secondary grief.
It is NOT the same for me as it is for those who are experiencing it!

In fact, for me, this time of isolation
has been a time of recovery from too much busyness.
It has been a time of spiritual reflection and growth.
It has been a time of drawing nearer to my husband and my God.

Secondly, I did not submit my lament
because it was personal.
You see, my lament is not of the physical variety,
but of the spiritual.
It is an ongoing lament,
most assuredly not exclusive to the losses and laments
brought about by COVID-19,
one I have brought before God many times in my life,
and so it did not feel appropriate for our church service today.
Nonetheless, I would like to share it.

Gina's Lament

Oh Lord my God,
Father God,
Daddy God
I am embarrassed.
Here I am again.
And again.
And again.

Do I trust You?
I fear loss.
I have lost one husband.
My best friend.
My companion.
My lover.

Do I trust You?
I fear loss.

Do I trust You?
I fear loss.
I cannot do it again.
My husband.
My best friend.
My companion.
My lover.

Do I trust You?
Do I trust You?

The LORD says, 
My thoughts are not like yours.
Your ways are not like mine.
Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Job 13:15

I trust You,
Oh Lord my God.
My Father God.
My Daddy God.
I trust You!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Blood-washed bitterness

May is a memory month for me.
There are several significant losses and events.
This year has been somewhat more ~ ~ ~
what is the word I'm looking for?
not painful really ~ ~ ~
ah, emotional!
It has been more emotional.
There are fewer distractions during this time of sheltering.

Today is one of those dates
and as I was preparing communion
I saw our bottle of tonic water
next to the juice.
We drink a bit of tonic water each day.
We mix it with juice because it is so bitter.
Even with the sweetness added,
it is still bitter.

It made me think about Christ on the cross.
He was thirsty.
They gave Him gall to drink.


[ gawl ]


impudence; effrontery.
bile, especially that of an animal.
something bitter or severe.
bitterness of spirit; rancor.

  • Gall.
    Not water.
    Something bitter.
    Something that could be described as "bitterness of spirit".

    As His body was broken,
    as His blood was dripping from his body down the cross,
    as He cried out for one modicum of mercy,
    He was given gall.
    And He bore our bitterness of spirit.
    He tasted the bitter taste of sin.
    He tasted the bitter taste of loss.
    He tasted the bitter taste of brokenness.
    He tasted the bitter taste of loneliness.
    He tasted the bitter taste of depression.
    He tasted the bitter taste of abandonment.
    He tasted the bitter taste of death.

    He drank gall.
    For us.

    So this morning,
    as I prepared communion
    in the midst of an emotional day that smacks of bitterness,
    I poored mostly tonic water ~ bitterness ~ in our cup,
    mingled with just a bit of juice ~ the blood of Christ that wipes out bitterness ~
    to remind myself
    that the price He paid,
    He paid for days such as this.

    And I am grateful!!!

    Monday, April 20, 2020

    Offering Grace

    I love grace!
    I really do!
    I have been the recipient of it many times in my 60-some-odd years,
    most notably from God!

    I rarely post here, or on any other social media,
    politically charged comments, memes, etc.
    Recently, I have been reminded why.

    With COVID-19 has come something worse than a virus.
    Fear and panic have come!
    These are far more dread diseases than the virus that feeds them.
    I am sick with them too.
    We all are in one form or another
    and in varying degrees.

    In the beginning, we were passionately opinionated.
    Unfortunately, opinions were often met with derision, vehemence.
    I have heard within my own friends list
    of people "unfriending" one another
    because one thought the situation was overblown,
    the other thought it was not.
    It made me sad!

    Then something wonderful began to happen.
    People began to band together,
    encourage and support one another.
    Neighbors began to share their excess.
    The social media posts became more uplifting and funny.
    Zoom meetings among friends became the norm.
    It made me glad!

    But in the last few days,
    as some states begin opening
    and others are extending the stay-at-home orders,
    I have seen the return of vehemence.
    Everyone is tired of being stuck.
    Everyone is worried about health.
    Everyone is worried about the economy.
    Everyone is concerned about the political ramifications.
    I get it.

    But, please, please, please,
    let's offer some grace to one another!
    I read a statement the other day that really hit me!

    Such truth!!!

    My boat may be in calm seas ~
    Few cases of COVID;
    Secure income;
    Easy availability of life's necessities;
    Friends and family all healthy and safe
    I am a contented, happy individual;
    I am an introvert and don't mind the isolation.

    I may be in a big boat ~
    More space to isolate;
    Pleasant, safe surroundings;
    Plenty to eat;
    Plenty to do.

    I may have a big crew helping me through the storm ~
    Family sharing my home;
    Friends checking in on me.

    But what if:

    My seas are tumultuous ~
    Many cases of COVID;
    Lost my job, no income;
    Wondering how I will eat or feed my children;
    I am or I have loved ones who are sick or have died.

    My boat is a rowboat ~
    Meager surroundings;
    Unsafe neighborhood;
    No computer, internet, cable.

    I am alone ~
    I am single;
    I am widowed;
    I am elderly and cannot have visitors;
    I suffer from depression;
    I am an extrovert.

    The need is so much different!
    One is anxious to get out and about,
    but they are functioning well.
    The other is in a boat about to capsize!

    So try to remember ~
    perspective is everything!

    Those screaming "Let me out!" may not just be bored!
    And those screaming "Stay Home!" may have lost someone precious!

    I love grace!
    May we all be generous with it!

    Friday, March 27, 2020


    Most people dislike it!
    We are accustomed to coming and going as we please.
    This time of pandemic isolation is difficult.
    Especially for extroverts, children, and folks who live alone.
    And MOST especially for the recently separated or widowed
    who feel alone even in a crowd.

    Those men and women who,
    at a time when we really need to be with people,
    when the support of friends and family
    are what keep them going,
    when they are already struggling for anything
    to be worth getting out of bed for,
    suddenly find themselves sequestered,
    And it feels like no light at the end of the tunnel.

    I remember those early days of my widowhood.
    Having to verbally tell myself

    Get out of bed.
    Comb your hair.
    Brush your teeth.
    Take a shower.
    Get dressed.

    I didn't have the strength or desire to do those things.
    But I knew I should, needed to.
    My children and grandchildren,
    my friend Chris and my sister and brother
    kept me going in those days.
    They called, the came over, they pushed me, they asked if I had eaten.
    I don't know that I could have healed -
    or even survived -
    without their love and support.

    My heart hurts for those of you in this position.
    And for those extroverts who,
    while my introverted self is thriving and building energy 
    with this extended opportunity to isolate and rest,
    are falling deeper and deeper into depression and
    desperation for face-to-face human contact!
    My heart hurts for you!

    But, something I discovered during my anguished grief,
    my choice to live rather than merely exist,
    and my subsequent remarriage is this:

    There is a yearning within us 
    that can only be filled by God!

    That loneliness we feel while even in a crowd;
    The dissatisfaction with your spouse, friends, family,
    is borne of the expectation that they can fill that spot.
    And they cannot!

    It is God's spot and God's alone ~
    and He cohabitates all the other spots!

    So when we isolate Him
    or from Him,
    ALL our spots are lacking!

    When Al died,
    I tried desperately to make it stop hurting!!!
    I ran away from home repeatedly!
    I did foolish things!
    I deeply hurt myself and others!
    And nothing I did made it stop!
    I could not give that hole away!
    I could not give it to Harlan.
    I could not give it to Michael.
    I could not even give it to my precious Lanny Love.
    No person could cure the ache and longing for Al.
    Because the spot in my heart that is his
    cannot be filled by another man!

    It was not until I gave that hurt,
    gave that spot that is Al's,
    completely over to God 
    and invited Him to fill it to overflowing,
    that the hurting went away!
    Do I still miss him?
    Yes, sometimes intensely.
    Do I still love him?
    Absolutely and deeply.
    But the intense anguish,
    the persistent pain,
    the constant longing,
    those are gone now.

    So, while we are isolated,
    don't sink!
    Text, Facebook, Face-time!
    And more importantly,
    spend some time with God.
    You are not alone!
    I know, He is not your missing love, or child, parents, friends, or co-workers.
    He is better!
    HE, not other people, makes you complete!

    You are all in my prayers!

    Friday, March 20, 2020

    A good life together

    Today would have been my and Al's 44th wedding anniversary.
    I think of him often, but especially on days like today.
    But, unlike in the beginning of my widowhood,
    now the memories make me smile.
    I do not feel sad today.
    I feel grateful!

    We had a good life!
    We loved each other deeply.
    We raised two amazing children!
    We enjoyed some empty nest time.
    We had a very good life!

    But while I miss my Al deeply,
    while I still love him and always will,
    I am very happy where God has brought me!

    In the first couple years of my widowhood,
    I spent a lot of time with Job.
    I'd get to the end where they all lived happily ever after
    and it would make me mad!

    “Yeah, that’s all well and good, he got new children.
    But the first ones are still gone!
    It’s not the same!”

    And I was right.
    It's not the same.
    Lanny is not my Alfie.
    But neither was Al my Lanny Love.
    And I wouldn't have missed out on
    either of them for anything!

    I understand Job better now.
    I understand God's redemptive love and power better now.

    So today, the 44th anniversary of my marriage to Al,
    I will revel in my memories,
    rejoice in my present,
    and praise God for His goodness!

    Silver Linings

    I am a silver lining gal.
    I always have been.
    Sometimes I've had to
    look harder to find it,
    but it's always there!

    It can be annoying apparently.
    Sometimes we just want to wallow -
    and that's okay for a time,
    we need to lament!

    Like many around the globe,
    our grocery stores' shelves are empty.
    Some people are panicking, hoarding.
    A mild headache or sore throat
    is cause for alarm.
    Last week, I was out and choked on my own spit.
    The resulting coughing fit ensued.
    I was an island instantly!
    It's a scary world right now.

    Our city had it's first confirmed diagnosis
    of the dreaded COVID-19 this week.
    My Lanny Love and I each have a family member
    with a confirmed diagnosis.
    We, like the rest of the world,
    are in self-isolation,
    heading toward forced isolation.
    Our world is struggling!

    We have cause to lament!
    But only for a minute!
    Because long-term wallowing
    is not helpful!
    It makes things much, much worse!

    So, true to form,
    I am looking for the silver linings in all this.

    I'll start with groceries.
    My sweet neighbor down the street
    had an extra bottle of Dawn Liquid Dish Soap.
    She asked if I needed it.
    I didn't, but I know someone who did.
    She left it on my doorstep,
    I'll leave it on theirs.

    A neighbor had NO toilet paper.
    I always have TP.
    (Please don't break into my home,
    I am running low at this point.)
    I gave her a package.

    Another neighbor texted this morning
    just to check in and make sure we were okay.

    I witnessed a pharmacist
    give a customer his own personal bottle of alcohol
    because the woman was diabetic
    and needed the alcohol for finger pricks and shots
    and there were no more alcohol wipes or bottles.
    He gave it to her.

    I saw an old man and a young one
    both reach for the last package of chicken,
    both told the other to take it.

    The middle school daughter of a dear friend
    is doing a daily story time on Zoom
    to help relieve boredom for kids 
    and give weary mom's a break.

    Another friend has made it her mission
    to find and distribute diapers to families with littles.

    Many of my teacher friends are sharing sites and links
    to help moms and dads with education.

    I am experiencing, witnessing, and hearing about
    many acts of kindness, generosity, compassion, and sacrifice.

    These are silver linings!

    Even the self-isolation is a blessing!
    I am an introvert.
    That means being in crowds
    and social situations
    are draining to me.
    I need quiet, alone time to re-energize.
    My Lanny Love and I are always on the go.
    We are with people
    every single day of the week most weeks.
    But now, we are now operating from home,
    using the phone for visits
    rather than face-to-face.
    We are finding time to rest.
    We are reconnecting.
    We have desperately needed some
    extended quiet time.
    I will be a better minister's wife,
         church member,
    when this is over and we are free to roam again.

    So while I know my penchant for finding the silver lining
    can be annoying to some -
    as mentioned above,
    sometimes we just want to wallow,
    and that's okay for a time -
    I would encourage you to look around you.
    Remember that ALL things pass by God
    before they get to us!
    And God is good!
    So let's find the good in this situation.
    Don't miss out on the goodness!!!

    Friday, March 13, 2020

    Cheescake, drugs, fruit inspection, empathy and compassion

    I have learned some things in my life.
    In one month,
    I will embark upon my 64th year.
    How is that even possible!?!
    And in the nearly 63 completed years
    I have learned some things.
    But not everything!

    Recently, during my run ~ 
    why, at nearly 63 years old
    do I find in necessary
    to try to look and act 20???
    But that is another blog...
    ~ recently, during my run,
    God began to speak to me through a podcast.

    In the last several months,
    I have been struggling mightily
    with my weight.
    I have been one of two things most of my life ~
    a person who did not eat at all,
    or a person who overate.
    Anorexia, binge and purge.
    I have worked diligently to overcome those things
    and find the happy medium.
    And I have been very successful
    over the last few years.
    Until this past year.
    Good ol' age 
    and the hormonal issues that come with it
    have reared their ugly heads
    and I have struggled.
    As my weight has gone up,
    I have struggled with my old friends
    and I have found myself thinking,
    "If I'm going to be fat anyway,
    In the words of Dr. Phil,
    "So how's that working for you?"

    This struggle has led to some pondering.
    I have two people,
    dear to me,
    who struggle with drug addiction.
    Both worked diligently to overcome.
    One struggles, but is persevering.
    The other is eating the cheesecake.
    It's hard not to judge.

    Now judgement is one of those sticky wickets.
    We jump all over the Scripture
    that tells us not to judge.
    And we use it to prevent necessary correction.
    Especially as adults.
    But that is taking Scripture out of context,
    one of mankind's favorite past-times.
    But that's not what this blog is about.

    What this blog is about is God pointing out to me
    that one sin is not greater than the next
    and that ALL of us have sinned and fallen short
    and that ALL of us have struggles.

    You see, my food issues are many
    and are partially the result of the fact
    that I am an addictive personality type.
    I could easily have been an alcoholic.
    So I don't drink.
    I could easily have been a drug addict.
    So I take medicines with great caution.
    I could have been easily addicted to many things.
    But I am addicted to food.

    People who do not struggle with this particular addiction
    do not understand.
    I often hear, "Just don't eat so much!"
    And have replied, "Would you say to an alcoholic,
    'Just have one drink three times a day and no more!'
    because that is what you are saying to the food addict!"
    And I still feel that way about quantity eating.
    But quality eating is another story.

    I have to eat.
    Every single day.
    And I admit to you freely
    that portion control is hard for me,
    something I have to be aware of every time I eat.
    But I don't have to eat cheesecake!
    Not even one bite.
    Ever again!
    Doesn't that sound awful!?!?!?!

    God has been reminding me the last few days,
    every single time I think about putting cheesecake -
    or whatever other poor food choice I am considering -
    into my mouth,
    that this is the same as what I expect of my loved ones.
    Give up the unnecessary,
    but greatly enjoyed,
    Not so much as a taste.
    Don't even smell it.
    Pass it by in the grocery store.
    Give up the friends that will serve cheesecake.
    Only go to health food restaurants so I won't be tempted.
    For the rest of my life!

    My perspective has been rocked!
    And my tendency to offer a bit more
    empathy and compassion
    in the midst of others' poor choices,
    has increased.
    This is not to be confused with
    excusing or enabling.
    There are consequences to our choices.
    But maybe, just maybe,
    my fruit inspection can be put aside
    in favor of ~
    dare I say it? ~
    mercy and grace a bit more often!