Linda's Cozy Mysteries

Growing Up Haunted, Hour-Long Special Radio Show

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tethered through the storms, but to what?

Unpacking is not my favorite thing to do. When I moved into the house we are currently in, I am ashamed to admit there were still boxes I had lugged around since I left the house I grew up in. I never opened them, just moved them from dwelling place to dwelling place until finally my husband gave me an ultimatum. It was time to unpack the boxes.

At this point all memory of what was in them had left. To my surprise it was all my school memorabilia: homecoming mums, old notes, yearbooks, awards etc… but deep on the bottom was a little wooden box with a paper bag full of seeds.

I had completely forgotten about them. They came from my boyfriend’s grandmother in North Carolina. On her farm she had a beautiful house where the orchid trees were magnificent unlike anything I had ever seen here in Texas. I saved the seeds that were hanging off of them in hopes to have one of my own someday.

Nineteen years later, here I sit looking out the window at my prized orchid tree. Unfortunately it has just recently blown down onto the neighbor’s fence. This is the second time it has not withstood the winter storms and this will be the second time we will tether it and pull the tree back up to allow its root system to strengthen again.

Looking at that tree made me think about my own life. How strong is our own “root system”? Are we grounded in Christ? Are we rooted in his word? When the bad weather comes do we feel hopelessness and defeat? Do we run to our friends and family or our monetary temporary fixes? I think at times, we all do. But the ultimate fix always goes back to the one who created us. Isn’t it awesome to remember that our Jesus will still pick us up, “tether” us to him and show us how to strengthen our own feet so that each time a storm comes we will grow stronger and more faithful with each trial that blows in?
Today spend some time with Him. Read His word. Just sit and rest in his presence, and when the change in weather comes, he has you covered.

And one more thing…I married the high school boy whose grandmother I visited. It’s a good thing I saved all those boxes, huh? For those of you who know my l7-year-old, DO NOT tell her I went with him and his family on vacation during high school…

Have a great “storm-free” Thanksgiving..
Love you gals,
Dannelle Woody

Confessions of an Angry Christmas Shopper--by Linda Kozar

The malls are already starting to feel a bit crowded. I wandered aimlessly, wondering what to buy. Teens never like anything I like. The same goes for nieces and nephews. My husband is persnickety to buy for (and yes, I've already tried magazine subscriptions thank you). Early Christmas shoppers pass by smiling smugly as they juggle packages on the way to the car. Well, enjoy the glow of the moment why don't you? I've done the early shopping thing too and guess what? You always, always, always forget something!

It's true. In years past, I thought I could avoid crowded malls and throngs of weary shoppers, but try as I might, there was always one more thing I needed. One crucial gift I had to drag myself to the mall for. One reason I drove up and down parking aisles cruising like a Seregetti lioness on the prowl--all for a spot to rest my weary wheels. One reason I tried in vain to dance my way past strollers and people herds (groups of family members or friends who travel in packs). One reason I stood in long lines to buy, to use the restroom or buy a big greasy pretzel and a coke. TO buy that last gift. The one I forgot. Or the one I didn't anticipate having to buy.

But in spite of all my complaints, there's something else I can't deny. The intangible thing about Christmas shopping is there in the midst of all the aggravation and frustration. The excitment!  Yup. There's an electric buzz in the air. A rushing wind of like-mindedness. A shark feeding frenzy kind of feeling. AND sometimes I find myself pausing a moment to sniff the fragrance of Cinnabons in the air, listen to a childen's choir or laugh at a toddler sitting on Santa's lap wondering whether to laugh, cry, pull his beard off or test the efficacy of his diaper.

Okay, so Christmas is fun. Sort of. It's I like singing carols in church. I like the glowy, slightly gawdy look of my home after it's tinselized in seasonal splendor. I love velcro-ing reindeer antlers on my reluctant doggie. . .indulging in candies, dips, breads, eggnog, pies and pastries. . .sharing memories with family, friends and neighbors. . .

Here's a confession I have to make though--I love Jesus all year long, but I'm so glad Christmas is only once a year.

How about YOU? Leave a comment.:)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Answered Prayer--by Jill McKechnie

Last week, on a run to the local coffee shop, I had a very encouraging encounter. An anwered prayer, really. Hopefully, this story will also encourage you.

As I sat in the coffee shop with my cup of java and a blueberry scone, I was contemplating family life. In other words, "Would it be illegal for me to hit my kids over the head? Could I knock some sense into them? Would that help to turn around their attitudes?

Seriously, though, I had been praying a lot for wisdom to guide them and train them. They had been drilled with scriptures, grown up going to church, and taught the difference between right and wrong. They had both asked Jesus into their hearts and been baptized. Why were they morphing into meanies?

While thinking these not very motherly thoughts, a lovely older woman sat down next to me. We began to chat. It turns out that she had raised three boys of her own down in the big city (Houston proper). She and her husband had just moved north a few months ago, and she was still getting acclimated to finding her way around.

As we delved deeper into our conversation, we started talking about our families, and I expressed my frustration with my kids (both boys), and how I felt I had no idea what I was doing. I had been feeling really discouraged by their rebelliousness, lack of response to their father and me, etc. I'm sure many of you can relate. Well, the Lord answered my prayer through this lovely woman! Let's call her June.

June and her husband had an awful time with their oldest son in high school. He picked up two DUIs and had been in jail. At one of the darkest times she prayed to the Lord, and God answered her prayer. God told her that He was in control, and that He would speak directly to her son. A couple of days later, her son called to say, "I've got to get out of Houston, can you help me?" They contacted a military academy, their son was accepted, and lo and behold, he did turn his life around. When his two younger brothers graduated from high school, the older brother talked them into also attending this academy. The oldest son is now a successful adult, married, with children of his own. When their family was going through such turmoil and anguish as a result of the older son's behavior, June couln't imagine that one day things would be better, and that her son would become a responsible adult.

As June finished her story, I thanked her for encouraging me, leaned back in my chair and thought about what she had said. Worrying and fretting about my boys accomplished nothing but an upset stomach. I needed to remember the One who is really in charge and trust Him. Matthew has a lot to say about worry in chapter 6, but I'll just quote one bit ."Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" Matthew 6:27.

No, they can't. Though we may not have control over our circumstances (or our children!), God is a loving and gracious God. He will not forget us or forget them.

Thank you, Lord for answering my prayer and assuring me that You will always be there to guide my kids, whether I am there or not.