Saturday, August 31, 2013
I remember where I was when Princess Diana’s death was announced. My husband and I were up late watching movies. When we finished, we turned CNN on, to discover “breaking news” of her death. I suppose you could call it my “JFK moment." Princess Diana has always meant so much to me. As a little girl, her engagement and royal wedding to Prince Charles captured my fairytale dreams.
Friday, August 30, 2013
As a little girl, I had one of those pink girly hand mirrors. This mirror here is similar to it.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
When I was a kid in school, we studied archery in P.E. There were mixed results for me, someone is already challenged in the sports area. Nevertheless, one thing I did take away from the archery lesson was the importance of “ready- aim- fire.” It doesn’t sound that revolutionary, does it? Yet, it so often gets missed. As does the spiritual lesson equivalent. And that comes into focus when we don’t know what to do next. We’re not hopeless; God has promised to guide us: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 And part of that guidance is His wisdom: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 Also known as Ready… From there we are to focus, or Aim… “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.” Psalm 37:5 And then we are to fire… “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Just because the weapons, be they wisdom, prayer or anything else, for that matter, are not seen by us, doesn’t mean they aren’t in existence. Just like this adorable cat here, we are empowered by God’s amazing weapons to deal with your life circumstances. We aren’t helpless or defenseless. God has given us the equipping we need. The question is, however, do we take it? We are instructed to put on the full armor of God: But again, do we? “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:11-17 We all fall short; we’re imperfect. But each of us, on a daily basis, can strive to be mindful and practice the God-given help offered to us. Will we say yes or no to the opportunity? Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
50 years go today... The speech, in its stunning entirety: I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Hitting Bottom - A Neely O'Hara Moment: God-d-d-d-d!!! discusses the relevant Divine Intervention reality during the recovery process. It appears in the August 22nd issue of Christians In Recovery.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
When I was in high school, my saintly art teacher tried her best to give us rural hooligans some culture. The jury is still out on the results. But, in the study of different styles and artists, we learned about pointillism. The definition reads as follows: “a late 19th-century style of painting in which a picture is constructed from dots of pure color that blend, at a distance, into recognizable shapes and various color tones.” The artist, George Seurat is one such artist who incorporated pointillism. His famous work, “Sunday Afternoon On the Island Of La Grande Jatte,” has made its way into popular culture, as well as in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Surrender. It’s a big power buzz word in matters of recovery. It’s the shift in thinking from disorder/addiction to wellness. And it’s deeply personal and unique. How much more, then, is the surrender issue concerning God? However, often the assumption is that “surrendering” is some King James English version of falling to one’s knees in a prayer posture.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
I know God has a sense of humor. My cat, Gracie is evidence. For anyone out there who knows me, follows me on social media or reads my blogs and articles, Gracie has been the subject matter of many musings. God captured my attention with her when Russell and I went to a shelter site. This was one of the photos that hooked me. Yep. Done for.
Friday, August 16, 2013
When I was a kid, I loved the teeter totter.
“The Race Is Not For the Swift,” an article written by Cruse, appears in the August 2013 issue of Serene Scene Magazine, discussing the ongoing and often marathon-like process of recovery.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Cruse’s article, “Alice in Wonderland Solutions vs. Biblical Solutions” appears in the August 14th issue of Christians In Recovery Magazine. It addresses how substances, disorders and addictions often appear to be our solutions and coping strategies, unhealthy as they may be.
Even Winnie the Pooh is perplexed about the issue.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “First things first.” And the concept of first seems significant, often intimidating. What do you think of, say, first thing in the morning? What is your first thought? What is your first deed? Is it success? Failure? Acceptance? Rejection? The first issue seems to bring up the matter of priority. Scripture emphasizes it as well… “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, ‘If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Luke 14:28 There’s order, deliberation and purposeful thought when it comes to the issue. And there’s a tremendous blessing in that. “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:16 Think about your first thought of the day. Does it set the tone for chaos and stress or for peace, prosperity and wellbeing? And, God views us in a “first” context. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 Therefore, shouldn’t we pay some attention to the principle? Let’s reevaluate what makes “first things first.” Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
Monday, August 12, 2013
I love this clip from the film, "Pretty In Pink." It seems to summarize our feelings of preparedness for life itself. Most of the time, we feel ill-equipped, don't we? But check out God's Word: “...we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 That's who we are, feelings or no feelings. Furthermore... "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37 That's who we are. It's more powerful than any feeling of insecurity. God's in control. Dare to live life in spite of emotions. God believes in you. Now start believing in yourself! Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse