Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Painful History...

As Black History Month wraps up, we watched a video with our kids tonight about the marches for freedom in Birmingham, Alabama back in the 1960's. It's a crying shame how our black brothers were treated! I'm young enough that I never really experienced much of the hatred. It's beyond me how one race could call themselves superior to another and use the Bible to justify that attitude. White bigotry & arrogance caused great suffering to many! The video doesn't hold back in showing the violence and intimidation tactics that were used to try and keep African Americans from having a voice and equal privileges. I wept to see black people walking peacefully down the street being attacked by dogs, high pressure fire hoses, and brutally attacked by policeman with batons. Did you know that 5,000 young people were put in prison in one week for no other crime than protesting the poor treatment they received?! Inspired by the non-violent approach of Martin Luther King, Jr. they stood willingly & bravely for freedom. When viewing the same footage we saw tonight, President John F. Kennedy said, "It makes me sick to my stomach to see how black citizens are being treated". His last great act was to endorse integration. He was assasinated 5 months later. I grew up around black people- my friends & neighbors. I laughed & cried with them and we played B-ball on the court. I heard their stories & babysat their children. Slavery/Segregation are ugly scars on our nation's history, but today we are healing. Let it happen- don't keep hatred alive... This topic got me thinking about Religious bigotry & segregation which is VERY much a reality today. These attitudes build walls of separation between family, neighbors and denominations. Again, the Bible is often used to justify all of this behavior. If someone else doesn't live, look or believe exactly the same way, can we not respect their freedom of choice and be friends? For many years, God's people have been split into various factions. Many Christians & Jews feel they are superior to Muslims and unfortunately, the opposite is also true. This saddens me. If there is to be mistreatment, let it not be on the part of those who claim to follow Jesus Christ, for there was NO arrogance found in Him! He was humble, obedient to God's principles of love, forgiveness and sacrifice- even unto death. Until I love my neighbor enough to die for him/her I am not Christ-like enough.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bust the Science Myths...

Click on the link below, read the quick facts & determine if they are true or false. Very interesting- Enjoy!!


How Time Flies!

Hard to believe that February brought the 7th birthday of my 3rd child. She has a very tender heart, a beautiful singing voice and a smile that could melt the coldest of hearts. The day of her birth was pretty traumatic as she & I nearly died of a uterine rupture after 32 hours of labor and pushing for 2 hours and they had to do emergency surgery to save us. The moment they brought that little blanket-wrapped bundle to my side to show me my new baby, I saw immediately that she has her Daddy's dimples and I was IN LOVE with her!! She was a good baby- only woke us once a night from the get-go and was sleeping through by 4 months. Today she's a sporty gal with auburn hair- a fast runner who has been a flower girl twice. She loves to be tickled and her giggle is positively contagious. We are very proud of our little darling and expect God will do great things in her life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sweetheart- Mama loves you so!!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

All Good Things Must End...

The cast for 'Two From Galilee' wrapped up our final weekend last night. We finished strongly, even though some of our cast were still not feeling completely better from the Flu that was going around. Opening night 2 weeks ago, I was so sick I lost my voice & my friend Tom sang my part while I lip-synched. Definitely NOT the ideal opening performance, but we pulled it off.
There were SO many talented people involved in this musical. I cannot begin to say what a priviledge it was to present this story with others who have a heart for God. Thank you everyone for being so friendly and easy to get along with. The team spirit was really great! I'm sad that it's over already, but nothing lasts forever... There is talk that we may have opportunity to do more productions in the future. Whatever is the will of God...
As I stated before in my 'Kingdom of Heaven' post, participating in this Ripple Production was a real blessing! http://www.ripple-productions.com To mingle with people from so many walks of life and religious backgrounds was an incredible growth experience for me and my husband as well. We have made some lasting friendships and some in-roads in our community for further service. :o)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What A Night!!!

I have assisted women in labor for over a decade now. My job as a Doula is to coach and encourage the weary mothers, to make them as comfortable as possible and assist in any way I can in order to help create a beautiful birth atmosphere. It's both a priviledge and an honor to do so. I got a call last evening around 6:30pm saying labor had started and they wanted me to come. I made some quick phone calls and arrangements, then headed to the birthplace of my client and friend for the birth of her new baby. Things went slowly at first and we were all able to get some rest for a few hours before things really got underway and her second beautiful, healthy baby boy was born quite speedily! Praise God!! There are few things more sacred to me than having the honor of attending a birth or a deathbed. Life and death- both are rites of passage. Whether someone is giving birth or passing away, the experience deserves to be treated with dignity & reverence. I always pray that a birth will go well and I'm so very pleased that once again, the midwives were skilled and we had no major problems to deal with. I weep with joy along with the baby's parents- so beautiful to see a family grow! This time, I even got to pick the middle name for the child- as they hadn't completely decided what to name him. So I chose the name Kudzahoopi (HA- just kidding!) No seriously, I picked the name Isaiah after my favorite prophet in the Bible. I had MUCH trouble in childbirth as my husband is large and I am small- labor was long- I'm lucky to be alive, but God was merciful to me. All I went through was worth it when I looked into the eyes of my precious newborns for the very first time. (I would have loved more babies, but I am content with 4.) What a precious gift children are! I'm "walking on sunshine" today to have witnessed yet another miracle and I will sleep very well tonight! In addition to this most recent delivery, my sister-in-law Crystal just gave birth to a baby girl, Zoe Michelle 2 wks ago- making me an Auntie! God is good!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Comfort of Prayer...

I love to pray! It is no burden to talk to God. I go to Him with my questions, my doubts and fears. I go to Him asking forgiveness for my sins & mistakes and find strength for my weakness. He hears me. I run to Him when I am broken-hearted and find rest knowing that God sees all, that He is just. He knows the beginning from the end. It's a comfort to whisper in darkness to the One who created all things and find there is no need to fear. I knew from an early age there IS a God. He was grossly misrepresented by those who meant well, but did not know Him. They were harsh, critical and impatient with me. For a time I was angry and turned my back on Him altogether. I sought other philosophies, but found no peace there. My soul has always had a sense of God's presence- I can feel His hand upon me. I cannot deny He exists when He alone can change me from a lonely, bitter, depressed girl, to a woman who can love and lives in hopefulness. I cried out to God in my despair and in His mercy, He heard me. He has blessed me with a husband who loves me and 4 beautiful children- a family to love and care for. God is the song of my life and the rhythm of my soul. I honestly believe prayer changes things... (I tried to post a beautiful painting of Hagar crying out to God in the desert, for the life of her son, Ishmael, but it wouldn't publish correctly.) God heard Hagar's prayer when she was cast out and water sprang forth from the earth.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I've always had a hard time when people ask me who my hero is or if I could be a superhero, what would I be like? I'm really not the kind that hero-worships people- none are perfect- they will let you down. There are many people who have earned my respect- so here they are:
Joni Eareckson Tada & the late Christopher Reeves- who have blessed others despite devastating paralysis.
Ghandi- for his love for ALL men & passive resistence
Corrie Ten Boom and others like her- survived the Holocaust and were able to forgive
Julie Andrews- carries herself with such great dignity & grace, her voice will always be an inspiration to me
Twila Paris- for writing such beautiful, worshipful music from her heart
Rich Mullins- a simple genius who was not ashamed to be called a Ragamuffin
Bono from U2- for being optimistic for peace & humanitarian efforts
Billy Graham- for a lifetime focus on sharing the simple elegance of the Gospel
Helen Keller- though she lacked sight, she did not lack vision
Princess Diana- had many struggles, but chose to do humanitarian work
Nelson Mandela- for his great courage in the face of adversity
Karen Minner- lived life to the fullest and faced an untimely death with courage
Martin Luther- sought and found a merciful God and sparked a reformation
Martin Luther King, Jr.- for being brave enough to have a dream!
Pope John Paul- this man visited and forgave his would-be assasin
Laura Ingalls Wilder- left us a beautifully detailed & entertaining record of life in early America
Cassie Bernall & Rachel Scott- for saying "Yes, I believe in God" that terrible day in Columbine, CO.
Tony Campolo- for being a moderate voice in an extreme religio-political atmosphere.
Prophet Muhammad- a reasonable man who reverenced God, women and his fellow man.
Mother Theresa- for her loving, self-sacrificing work among the poor of India
The Dalai Lama- for his open-heartedness and wise teachings
Jesus Christ- the One who ultimately gave His life because He would rather die than live without me.
My "super-heroes"? They are the single parents doing their best to raise healthy children, those who survive catastrophic events and still find something to smile about, the ones who are faced with insurmountable odds and keep moving forward...
This list will probably grow as I get older. Who do you respect??

Friday, February 17, 2006

An Understanding Heart...

When King Solomon was offered a request from The Lord God, he could have asked for anything. Instead, he asked for wisdom. God was pleased and granted his request. Centuries down the road of history, he is still called Solomon-the-wise. When I was 14, I too asked the Lord for wisdom. This was of great value to me, since life is very confusing and I wished to understand. The Lord has certainly not granted me the wisdom of Solomon, but He is allowing me to have experiences for which I am wiser. University, Marriage, Children, etc. all serve to increase my wisdom. Knowledge is one thing- facts, wisdom is another for wisdom includes understanding. Being a mother has been one of the most humbling experiences for me! From the birth process itself, to changing diapers and discipline, the challenges of everyday living are teaching me. I am learning my own strengths and limitations. I don't have all the answers and that's okay. I'm constantly seeking The Lord for guidance. I want to do right by my children and give them more than I had growing up. I want them to be well-rounded, educated, open-minded people.
I often think fear & predjudice are due to a lack of understanding. When we fear another culture, for example, it is mainly because we fail to understand it's elements. Could it be that sometimes people fail to study, because if they learn about other people, they will find how similar we are and there will be no reason to despise them anymore? Could it be we may find that we are no better than they and this knocks us off the pedastal we place ourselves upon??
Lord, I have learned a lot, but in so many ways, I am still a little child. Give therefore, Thy servant, an understanding heart.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

For My Man...

If You're Asking

If you're asking if I need you the answer is "forever"
If you're asking if I'll leave you the answer is "never"
If you're asking what I value, the answer is "YOU"
and..... If you're asking if I love you the answer is, "I do"

Thanks for working hard to take good care of your family! Your
kind and tender heart makes life more bearable. Your
smile melts my heart, when you laugh it brightens my day.
I am completely yours.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's a New Day!!

- Last night I slept soundly. I've been praying, "God, return my strength so I can get out of my bed and resume daily life." My husband is a kind man who cares for me well, but he's getting tired of doing so much. Today is the first day that my head doesn't pound and I'm feeling better! Not all the way, but very close... God is good!
- Valentine's Day was not a complete waste after all! We called the children to us and passed out the pretty little heart boxes full of chocolate to them, but we told them they must wait to eat it until we are all in better health. I gave my man a BIG Chocolate heart with peanut-butter inside. He bought me a Tempurpedic pillow for my neck and a $50 gift card to Bath & Body Works so I can buy some new sweet-smelling body lotions.

- On top of all my husband's been doing for me, he's been hunting the predator that continues to kill our chickens. We are now down to 11 laying hens! Started out with 60!! I'm watching my business go down the drain and I'm too weak to do anything about it. Before dawn this morning, my husband went down the hill and actually SAW that it's a BIG racoon. Unfortunately, it saw him too and took off! It will be back tonight. It has been digging under the outside wall of our barn, reaching in, grabbing a chicken and dragging her out. I hate to kill anything, I know the 'Coon is just trying to eat, but we cannot continue to lose our hens like this. We don't raise them to be racoon food. We've tried everything we can to stop this brute and he persists, so I think the only solution is to take him out completely... (Well, I guess there are certain things I don't mind killing. Hornets, Wasps, Flies, Roaches, Ticks, Fleas, Scorpions, Fire Ants and certain snakes. I respect bees that make honey- Hornets & Wasps simply build ugly nests in my barn and sting my children!)
- I don't feel so badly about the ranting letter today. We're trying to think of something kind we can do for this lady. Guess I'm getting some of my energy back? Life will beat you down, but you have to get up and keep going. God blessed me with plenty of spunk. I've had to learn to control my fiery ways, but the passion in me I consider a gift. I'm not ashamed of it- I only ask that God will channel that passion in the right direction.
- In the news today:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11362123/ My heart goes out to the father of the children. God rest their souls... Asian Bird Flu also seems to be making Headlines around the world. Heaven help us!

I PROMISE to try and do some light-hearted posts shortly. I feel the need for some joy & laughter!! :o)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Delicate Flower

My soul is a delicate flower
do not tread heavily upon me,
All I need to grow

is to know the One who made me,
It's not your place to uproot or crush,
to pluck my petals and prune away
That is the job of the Gardener
He works with me each day.

It's not for you to decide
what kind of bloom or shade I must be,
(Your opinion will most surely be slanted)
I respond to the Source from whence my life was granted
Pray for me, then let me be, why be so heavy-handed?
With God's tender, loving care,
I'll bloom where I am planted.

~ Paula W. Woodruff

A Red Letter Day- NOT!

Happy Valentines!! Should've had an evening out with my husband for dinner. Instead, Trailady is sick! Last week my children and my man were sick- they're better. I started out with fatigue & a tickle in my throat. Fri. night I got worse. Awoke next morning feeling like I was thrown from a horse! Headache, joint pain, chills, dizziness, chronic cough & nausea. Sun. I was wracked with fever, hands shaking, head pounding. My husband put me in a tub to cool me & soothed my forehead. Sun. night I awoke around 4am to discover my lips had cracked- the fever split the end of my tongue. I was up several times that night trying to quench my thirst and soothe my tongue. Felt like I had one foot in the grave! Mon.- so weak, could barely lift my head. Last night the medicine kicked in, head began to clear, coughing subsided. I'm a wee bit stronger now- still weak/dizzy- NO appetite. (tongue is healing) It's easy to be depressed when I'm unable to help my family. I always feel ashamed when I get sick- like I'm failing. How I needed encouragement today! My husband brought me a letter addressed to us through the radio station. Thought it was a friendly letter from one of our listeners. HA- jokes on me! Instead it was a 5 page rant from a 65 yr. old lady in our former home state of WA about how one of the people who called into our show offended her. (A young lady called to share a touching testimony of how God blessed her with an older woman to mentor her. She said, "I know this was definitely a God thing & I praise Him for it!") The elderly lady just couldn't get it out of her mind that the young girl said "thing". She felt it was our duty to sternly rebuke this young lady on the aire and set her straight for her disrespect and should never have allowed her to call on our show in the first place. She then went on to say how the younger generation is "ignorant". That we are "in apostacy" and if we don't change our ways we'll "grieve the Holy Spirit". Do you feel the love? Neither did we! My husband has been on call for 11 yrs of our married life, we literally moved all over the country, sold a house we just built with our own sweat & tears in order to be with this ministry- hoping it will help people connect with a living Savior. I can't tell you how many of these letters we've dealt with over the years. It wears us down & makes us heart-sick! Each letter-writer feels they are the "next prophet"- experts on both music & theology. This woman went as far as to call herself "The Holy Spirit's Helper". Again, I pose the question to thinking people- does being right, ever give the right to be rude? Peter was quick to defend his religion with a sword. Jesus rebuked him and replaced the ear of the High Priests servant. Jesus did not condone hateful behavior- even in His own defense!! There's not a HINT of understanding in this letter for what we're trying to do. (TGIF is simply thankfulness for God's goodness. People across the country, of all walks call to share how God has blessed. Sometimes we pray with those who are struggling.) I'm weary of religious banter, church politics, mind-boggling theology & wannabe prophets- plenty of that out there already. I've finally tapped into something REAL and I'm gonna hang on to it! WHEN will we be free to serve/worship our God as we feel convicted? We don't hate this woman- she did what she felt was right. I do feel sorry for her as she must be hurting. She could've been a blessing today- instead she pronounced a curse. So perhaps I should send her a card and tell her God loves her? What would you do?? WWJD???

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Fool...

There are many teachings, thoughts and ideas that make no sense to those who's hearts are hard. Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, do good to those who curse us and turn the other cheek. He was considered a fool by the leadership of that day as the Jewish nation suffered under Roman rule. Jesus did not come to argue or play politics, He came to teach us how to love & honor God and our fellow man. Many rejected His teachings, because they were looking for a vengeful warrior who would overthrow Roman oppression. Instead, Jesus fed the poor, showed mercy toward the sick, and loved those who were cast out. Even as He was being nailed to a cross He said "Father Forgive". I cannot help but be drawn to such amazing love!
I know what it's like to be abused and as a result to hate the abusers. But I did not like what happened to me as hatred began to fill my heart. My whole world became dark and I lost my ability to find joy in simple things. The power of love... allows us to rise above the one who sins against us through forgiveness and treat them well. Someone wise once said, "The best way to kill an enemy is to turn them into a friend". This is honorable.
People who considered themselves "wise" called Jesus a fool, but what an impact for good He made! Ghandi was mocked for his non-violent protests, but look what changes occured in India. Martin Luther King, Jr. suffered many insults and violence against him, yet he refused to fight back and his cause was also successful. All 3 of these leaders finally gave their lives for what they believed in. Hatred is strong, but love is stronger! The Bible says, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend." I have so much to learn...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Reach Beyond the Boundaries...

I really enjoy Blogging! I've "met" so many wonderful people in cyberspace. One thing I have realized this week is that Blogging helps us join hands as people. I have made friends in so many countries because of Blogs. Let the slanted media & hatemongers say what they will- I like to get the real story from the people themselves. I want to thank my kind Muslim friends who have visited this site and agree that we should have mutual respect & honor for each other. I've had a chance to share a little snapshot about life in the US this week. We are not all violent, gun-slinging, immoral, unhealthy, rich people here. Most Americans are simple people just working hard to enjoy their lives and feed their families. We are not blood-thirsty Muslim haters who want to control the world! Sadly, I have read several hate blogs that lump all Westerners into one category & encourage violence against them. Is that fair or ethical? I nor my family have done anything against any Muslim- why would you want to kill us?? I choose to see other people as individuals and I truly thank those of you who have chosen to see me in the same light. I dream, I laugh, I hurt, cry, pray and enjoy living as much as anyone else. We may look and believe differently, but beyond that we are all the same. I have learned that many Muslims abroad are quite reasonable, honorable and open-hearted people. I challenge those who are not afraid to love to connect with others. It does each of us good to learn the world is bigger than just what we know or have been told. How I wish we could all live in Peace! Blogging allows us to cross racial, religious and cultural boundaries and reach out to each other. This promotes understanding and I'm ALL for it!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Can You See Me?

There's nothing worse than living your life unseen or rejected. To feel as if you are invisible or lumped into a cruel stereo-type. Many times my heart has cried out "Can you see ME"? Do you know my capacity to love? Do you see my creativity, my desire to know Truth? Do you know the great passion for life that is in me? The answer to this question has often been "no". Few people take time these days to really get to know each other- to let their guards down and be vulnerable. We rarely look beyond the surface of race or religion to find the deep, hidden treasures of a soul. How many opportunities are missed each day because of this?? Emotionally & spiritually anorexic, we work hard for material things that can't love us back and starve ourselves for what we need most: heart-to-heart connections. Someone wise once said, "Indifference is worse than hatred." I count myself fortunate to have a wonderful person in my life. He is witness to my personal & spiritual journey. He knows me better than anyone else and we have a history. I thank God for this special man who shares my life, my bed, my children, life's joys and sorrows. He is faithful to me & I to him.
A most satisfying knowledge is that God sees ALL. He is Omnipotent- all powerful, Omniscient- all seeing, and Omnipresent- always where you are. In the loneliest & darkest times of my life I have found great comfort in knowing God is with me. He doesn't often manifest Himself in big miracles, more often He moves in simple ways. Often Divinity chooses to comfort me through a verse or song, a smile or a soft touch from the warm, calloused hand of my husband. Other times, God speaks to me while someone looks into my eyes, telling me "It's going to be okay". Many people don't ask for much in life- they just want to be seen, felt, heard, understood. They want to know they make a difference in this life. Everyone has a gift, a story to tell. God, help me to notice people.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Throw Your Bible Away?

Many people make it a practice to complain about and condemn books & movies- even those depicting true stories that have a good moral. The main reason is that the characters make mistakes and are imperfect examples. This seems a bit self-righteous to me. Others are still hung up on the fact that movies are shown in a theater. (Keep in mind theaters are not the drinking, smoking, gambling, carousing hang-outs they were a hundred years ago.) I DO NOT condone watching perverse, satanic or degrading films, however, there are many lessons to be learned from watching true stories & allegories that teach a lesson. There seems to be this tendency among certain religious groups to condemn anything that isn't the Bible or SOP as wrong. However, as I was reading the rather racy Biblical tale of David & Bathsheba recently, it struck me, there is also a Judah & Tamar, Gomer & Hosea, Solomon and his concubines, etc. Did you know Noah got drunk? Peter denied His Lord by swearing?? The Bible is FULL of stories of imperfect people who messed up. It doesn't mince words in telling the full scope of the human experience. Another protest is the violence in films. I don't enjoy gratuitous violence either, but you know what? The Bible is full of violence! Whole villages wiped out. Prophets of Baal are massacred. People are stoned. Even King David has a man murdered. The Holy Canon shares these stories so we can see & know what happens as a result of human weakness- without us having to make the same mistakes. If there is a lesson to be learned- learn it from whatever source it comes! Often the phrase "By beholding we become changed" is used as an offensive statement for not enjoying anything not blatantly "Christian". Many believe reading/seeing a story about imperfect people will somehow contaminate us and make us weak. Truly, IF the story is glorifying weakness and saying it's okay- this could be the case. But there are many historical books, films and allegories that show the painful result of mistakes and give us a realistic picture of life. I find them valuable to my growth as an individual. I greatly treasure the tales in the Bible. One of the rituals often encouraged is throwing away anything that has "sinful" content. If the logic follows through far enough- wouldn't the same people who protest the movies need to get rid of their Bibles too? Kinda makes me think...

Word to the Wise :o)

WOW- lucky me!! (You probably didn't know this, but I am SOOO important!!) I'm contacted daily by "high-ranking officials of various foreign governments" asking me to help them move massive amounts of money out of their accounts & into mine. I'm SOOO powerful- they look to me to rescue them from all their troubles. Me- a little housewife, songwriter & chicken farmer in TN!!! Let's see now, I've been contacted by scores of people in Nigeria & countless other countries I've never even heard of. I'm SOOO popular & successful, my Inbox is clogged and I receive at least a dozen or more offers a week to join in this business venture or that. My "successful business reputation" is such that I've been heard of all around the world. However, I'm so busy saving the world that I've had to turn down offers to sell everything from chocolates to insurance. Because I'm SOOOO incredibly rich, I've been invited to invest in hundreds of businesses around the world. I am SOOO loved by my admirers that they are constantly sending me offers for pills that will prevent aging, change my life, help me lose weight & have a better sex life. Yeee-haw!!! Click the link below for a cartoon offering some helpful advice:


Now we don't have to fall for all those e-mail scams!! PS. No Prince, Ambassador or Grand Pooba from a foreign embassy in Kokomahani is really going to deposit millions of dollars into our bank accounts because of war, persecution or plane crash. Don't be gullible and give out Social Security, Credit Card or Bank Account information to these schemers!!

Rules of War from Quran...

As with any Islamic law, the rules of war are derived from the primary source, the Quran, and the secondary source, the Hadith, or collected oral traditions. Sunni and Shi'a Muslims accept different Hadith as authoritative. As you will see in the print I have bolded, many Muslims are demonstrating unethical behavior according to the teachings of the prophet they are rioting & killing for. Again, I'm not sharing this for the sake of upholding Christianity as a faultless model, for it has it's share of inconsistencies:

Relevant Qur'anic verses
- Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah does not love transgressors. (2:190)
- If any one slew a person - except in retaliation for murder and for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people. (5:32)
- You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.[2:191]
- If they (your enemies) refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.[2:192]
- You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.[2:193]
- If they resort to peace, so shall you, and put your trust in GOD. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.[8:61]
... if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then GOD gives you no excuse to fight them.[4:90]
- O you who believe, if you strike in the cause of GOD, you shall be absolutely sure. Do not say to one who offers you peace, "You are not a believer," seeking the spoils of this world. For GOD possesses infinite spoils. Remember that you used to be like them, and GOD blessed you. Therefore, you shall be absolutely sure (before you strike). GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do. [4:94]
- You shall not kill any person - for GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder; he will be helped.[17:33]
- There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.[2:256]
- Proclaim: "This is the truth from your Lord," then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve. We have prepared for the transgressors a fire that will completely surround them. When they scream for help, they will be given a liquid like concentrated acid that scalds the faces. What a miserable drink! What a miserable destiny! [18:29]

Hadith accepted by the Sunni:
Muhammad is reputed to have said:
"You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character, nor one who shouts in the markets. You do not return evil for evil, but excuse and forgive." (
Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 362)
"Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman" (
Abu Dawud)
"Do not kill the monks in monasteries" or "Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship". (Musnad of
Ibn Hanbal) Sunnis believe that one of the most general and encompassing rules of warfare in Islam was given by Abu Bakr to an Islamic army set out for Syria. Abu Bakr was Muhammad's first successor and is considered by Sunnis to have been his closest friend. Abu Bakr is reputed to have said:
"Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic (or humanitarian) services; leave them alone."

Hadith accepted by the Shi'a:
Muhammad is reputed to have said:
"Allah has cursed he who kills one who does not fight him, or strikes one who does not strike him." (related by Imam 'Ali al-Ridha, the 8th Shi'a Imam)
"Go in the name of Allah, and in the way of Allah and according to the creed of the Messenger of Allah. Do not handcuff or tie up (prisoners) and do not mutilate (even the dead) and do not use treacherous means and do not kill old men or children or women. Do not cut down trees unless you are forced to do so. If any Muslim man, be he lowly or lofty, should look towards one of the Polytheists, then he should give him sanctuary so that he might hear the words of Allah. If he follows you, then he is your brother in faith, and if he refuses, then grant him sanctuary and seek succour in Allah." (related by Imam Ja'far al-Sādiq, the 6th Shi'a Imam)
"He who joins up with those who are not his rightful allies will have the curse of Allah upon him. He who denies the labourer his rightful wage will have the curse of Allah upon him. He who commits a crime or aids a criminal will have the curse of Allah upon him... O' 'Ali, the worst of people in the sight of Allah is the killer of one who does not fight him, or he who beats one who does not beat him, or he who gives allegiance to other than his rightful allies. They have committed kufr (non-belief) in what Allah, Almighty is He, has sent down." (related by Imam Ja'far al-Sādiq, the 6th Shi'a Imam)
Ali ibn Abi Talib is reputed to have said:
"Do not fight the people until they initiate fighting for then by the grace of Allah, you will have the justification, and leaving them until they initiate fighting is yet another justification. Then if you defeat them, do not kill one who is fleeing, and do not finish off the wounded or expose nakedness or mutilate the dead." (related by 'Abdullah ibn Jondab, the son of Imam 'Ali)
"Do not pursue those retreating, nor one who throws down his weapon, and do not kill the wounded. For these people are retreating and they have no troop to resort to. This what the Sunnah commended when fighting the trespassers." (related by Salam)

Monday, February 06, 2006


This post is uncharacteristic- as I prefer to dwell on the positives in life and avoid politics as much as possible. I completely understand the Muslim nations being offended by the cartoons, but I think all the hate-mongering is getting WAY out of line! We cannot take ourselves too seriously, folks! Christians and Muslims alike have a choice to be mature and act civil- whether or not someone pokes fun at their beliefs. (I know how it feels to be ridiculed) Is it ever appropriate to throw a big temper fit and go around damaging property with explosives, shooting people and raging over a silly cartoon???? I've read the Quaran & have great respect for Islam, but it's disturbing the way extremists are hateful- to the point of barbarism- yet say they are the "only true religion"?? Unless there's a heart-to-heart connection with God (Allah)- that's what religion does to people- makes them extremists and bigots who cannot love anyone who thinks differently. Are we not all sons & daughters of Abraham? What kind of people deliberately kill innocent children? What follower of Allah could bind and torture humanitarians who put themselves at risk to help others? These people open their hearts, sacrifice their own security and go to feed, clothe and medically treat people in Muslim countries. For this kindness, they are beheaded like Margaret Hassan and their bodies dumped in the street- does that seem like a "righteous" action? Is that the way to win people over to a cause?? Aside from the few good Islamic neighbors I've known, my only impressions of those abroad have been that they are angry, strict and violent people. I'm sure there are good-hearted, sincere Muslims- it saddens me that this is the impression they are giving the world. Fighting, anger and cruelty should NOT be a way of life!! I'm just as quick to reject this kind of behavior in Christianity- for it has a dark past of persecution and murderous actions. I feel terribly sorry for those who may never know peace. Love all-Honor all. This will be the cry of my heart until my dying breath- "let there be no hatred found in my heart for anyone". To read the full article:


What a BIG mess!! In a time when Muslims need to be showing the world they are civilized people, they are strongly convincing other countries they are nearly as hateful as the terrorists. Iran is now holding a competition for cartoons about the Holocaust. If someone is cruel to you, and you in turn are unethical back, are you any better?? Prophet Mohammed would frown on this behavior! Muslims are dying & destroying over a silly cartoon. I agree with China who calls on Muslims to calm down and think rationally about all this:


The sad story continues:


Friday, February 03, 2006


I love to study different cultures- each has something special to offer! I have a Japanese Aunt- by marriage. She lives far away and though I never had a chance to know Aunt Rumiko very deeply, she taught me about honor. The few times we were able to visit her home, she met us at the door, welcomed us warmly into a house filled with candlelight & soft Japanese music. We had pleasant conversation and she served us a wonderful meal! She would bow and say, "I wish to honor you at my table". She would stand at the door, watching us leave as if she already missed us. She had a way of making you feel special. We can learn a lot about honor from oriental culture. When was the last time any of us bowed, stood up- or even smiled to acknowledge someone's presence?? The US has an interesting past and a colorful heritage. Native Americans were not the ignorant, heathen savages that cheap Hollywood films make them out to be. (I enjoyed the more accurate portrayal of ''Dances with Wolves') American Indian culture was based on respect. True, they dressed differently and had some unique customs, but that made them no less human than you or I. In a Native American Book of Wisdom full of profound thoughts, simply spoken, I learned that Indians valued silence. When 2 braves would meet, they stood for a time without saying a word- just to honor each other's presence. They were often misunderstood by the European settlers as being "aloof" because of this. Most Natives were deeply spiritual people and very family oriented. True, there were some parts of their lifestyle that were distasteful- drinking warm deer blood for instance, but overall these were beautiful people who honored the Great Spirit, mother earth and all her creatures. Men who considered themselves "civilized"- some with good intention, others with selfish ambition, virtually wiped some tribes off the face of the earth and thought themselves honorable for doing so. This saddens me and the native blood will not go unaccounted for on judgement day...
Men & women used to protect and defend their honor and that of their families. Today, few of us even know what honor is. It means respecting others- even if they look different or don't agree with our personal philosophies. Honor means giving someone the right to say "Yes" or "No", to form their own opinions. It means being humane & civil to each other. Drawing cartoons that make fun of Islam is disrespectful. I wouldn't like to see cartoons making fun of Jesus or the Dalai Lama. On the flip side, we need to honor each others lives enough not to be willing to kill over a silly sketch on paper- so it goes both ways. Often, one act of dishonor leads to many others and the cycle repeats in acts of retaliation. I wish to honor and live in peace with ALL people.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Do You Know How to Love?

In one of my songs, entitled 'Total Surrender' I state "I thought I knew how to love". The older I get, the more I see what a wharped picture of Love I had. You see, Love isn't being nice to someone so they'll be nice back or do what you want- that's manipulation. Love isn't trying to convert someone in order to gain another baptism notch on your belt- that's pride. Love doesn't ever abandon or abuse a friend, neighbor, family member, child or stranger- that's selfishness. Love doesn't go around condemning people to Hell because they have real struggles- that's self-righteousness. Love doesn't turn people away because they're different or fail to be perfect- that's cruelty. Love doesn't play tit-for-tat. Love is kind just because- no strings attached. We love in part because it does other people good, but ultimately by showing Love, we ourselves expand. I can't tell you how often I pass people at the gym, the store etc. I smile at them and they look at me like I'm nuts! No smile in return... okay, should I stop smiling? Nah- it's good to smile at people! There was a time when I would be friendly and work with someone- hoping to gain them as a church-member, but if after my persuasive efforts, they decided not to follow through and get baptized, I was offended. I took it personally and that was pretty much the end of my interaction with them. I would move on to another prospect.... isn't that pathetic?! I've hurt people on this journey of mine and I'm NOT proud of that. I've learned a lot though- I wouldn't act that way today. Jesus suffered and gave His life, knowing full well that many would never accept the gift. He could have said, "Okay people, that's it, I've worked miracles, I fed you & preached to you and you still don't get it! I've had it- I'm going home- to Hell with you!" But He didn't. He stayed and gave anyway, because that's who He is. What would happen if we loved people- just because?

In the Zone...

There's a certain time about 20 minutes into each of my workouts when I begin to feel my "rush". The music is pumpin', heart is poundin', sweatin' like crazy and feels like I could go another hour. I call this being "in the zone". All the stiffness and pain from my injuries disappears, my joints are moving well and I feel strong. Gotta love that!! I'm learning there is a zone spiritually-speaking too. Reverence, prayer, forgiveness and love are not merely actions/reactions, but a state of being. When we are "in the zone" we aren't hurting, stiff people anymore and we don't have to constantly focus on producing "good behavior"- it flows naturally when the heart is in the right place. True, getting in the zone of fitness takes some effort on my part. There are choices to make. For example, I have to get up, dress, get my girls ready & drive myself to the gym. But it's SO worth it for the results I get & the endorphin fix afterward. Likewise, I must choose each day whether I will connect with God or not. Once I make that connection, I can be "in the zone" with Him for the rest of the day. God desires for us to be physically and spiritually fit so we can have a better life- WAY cool!!

Ephesian 3:14-20, "For this reason I pray to The Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you may be rooted and grounded in love. May you have strength to comprehend what is the breadth, length, height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do far more than all we can ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and ever. Amen."