Monthly Archives: September 2014

Naughty Girls Need Love, Too ;)

I have friends and family all over the place, so I sometimes get the pleasure of reading about local news from an area other than home.

One particular item over the last few months caught my eye. It seems there is a business near where a particular branch of my family lives, and this business has just caused the height of scandal. Okay, so maybe my tone is a little facetious…

The business has raised many an eyebrow. It’s called the Naughty Girls Donut Shop (please visit the web site and come on back). It has a 1950s theme with images of pin-ups from the same era… you know, Marilyn Monroe and the like. And reading of the harassment the owner was receiving, including threats of boycotts and hell for all eternity, my interest was piqued.

On the surface, the moral outrage is semi-understandable. However, you really should visit the shop. All the help is well-dressed and well-groomed. Not a one had anything naughty on their bodies that could be seen. The entire place was clean, and the help was friendly and had good attitudes despite the long lines. They even had special, easily-accessible booths for mothers with small children (a perk I would have enjoyed anywhere I went about 10 years ago). And quite frankly, you see more flesh going to the beach for the weekend than you do in that shop… do I hear boycotts for Atlantic City, Ocean City, Miami, or San Diego yet?

I think there is a much deeper soul issue going on in the boycotters, and it has to do with the true back story.

Tiana Ramos is a young minor from a minority. She has a true gift for food, the devilishly sinful kind that makes you gain weight just by smelling it. She took that gift and turned it into a business, a quite profitable business. As part of creating a profitable business, she found a theme that gets your attention and sucks you right in either through curiosity regarding the theme or genuine love for all things sweet. This gift even won her a full scholarship to a prestigious school for her trade, the Culinary Institute of America. And her profit profits the entire community as she donates to a wide variety of local charities… as generous as she is enterprising.

I suspect the boycott participants are jealous… jealous of her gifts, jealous of her success, jealous of her generosity, jealous of her opportunity, and jealous of her success. I also suspect there is a bit of judgment and discrimination based on her gender, her age, her family’s origin.

I also suspect there is a bit of high-handed puritanical zeal as everything I’ve read clearly indicates she is trying to create a safe place for all the misfits, all the people who don’t get the social rules or who do get the rules yet refuse to follow them. It’s also pretty apparent that, in selecting the theme for her shop, the teen was just poking fun at a society where brainy, creative women can’t be beautiful and beautiful women can’t be brainy and creative, and if they are, well the entire thread of society unravels into a huge meltdown of name-calling and sin-naming.Katrina at naughty girls

And so, with my scrimped junk change in hand, I was excited to visit this establishment on a recent trip to visit my relatives. (I… um… actually begged for weeks in advance.) I was proud to buy something small.

And I strongly encourage you, if you are ever within a 50-mile radius of this shop, to stop by and support this young woman in her creative, entrepreneurial endeavors!

Keeping It Real

I’m a little overdue for a post. I’ve had one of those lives lately… it’s a whirlwind within a whirlpool (or whirlpool within a whirlwind). I’ve been cleaning out the attic and struggling to stay healthy and trying to get three kids back in a school groove and dealing with the second child having food issues (intolerance not allergy… both a blessing and a curse… blessing in that an Epi-pen is not required… curse in that there’s no proof and all the burden rests on my subjective efforts to be consistent and long-term). My to-do list gets longer each day.

As a result, I find my vocabulary has taken a nose dive. Well, some would call it a nose dive. My euphemisms are getting a little less unicorns and sparkles and cotton candy. “Double dumb donkey butt” is replaced with “j@ck @55 balls,” things start to have the adjective “fricken” every few words, and you catch my drift before I slide into an R or NC-17 rating.

On one hand, I try to make it my heart’s desire to lead a quiet life, work with my hands, and be at peace with all men. I wish to offend no one, and in general, I want cosmic contentment and world peace.

And then there are those days where one tempest after another hits, full of sound and fury and chaos. My hands scream in pain and refuse to take dictation from my mind of the stories and thoughts I want to share, and since I’m racked with pain and without a smart phone and speech-to-text apps, I start five or six blog posts mentally that never make it to the ether sphere. Frustration looms larger than life. And the “be at peace with all men”… well, their chromosomes don’t match, making them incapable of logical thought. Therefore, I shall push the red button, making it all dissolve in a mushroom cloud.

Well, I digress with much melodrama…

In what seems to be a totally unrelated thought (and yet, by the time I’m done, you’ll see how it’s connected…in my mind, at least), I think of all my friends I know in recovery–alcoholics, addicts, etc. I think about all the things I’ve learned from them:

FINE doesn’t mean everything’s all right. Fouled up, insecure, neurotic, emotional… The word “Fine” is the weapon of choice to shut down all communication. People who are FINE usually aren’t; some stressor has pushed them to a breaking point they don’t want to share. The clueless hear the word and think all’s well with the world. Your more sophisticated read the tone and head for the hills.

Accountability means everything. You need two or three people who know you well enough to “call bullsh1+” when you’re using your FINE shield. Without these people, you will eventually believe your own lies. You will lie in a figurative corner, bleeding emotionally just yards from help simply because you’ve used the fetal position to cover a mortal wound that you insist is a superficial nick and you won’t let anyone take a peek. (All right, that might border on melodrama…)

HALT when you need to. Sometimes, when everything’s crashing, we forget to take care of ourselves. We are hungry for physical food or for emotional intimacy or for a spiritual pick-me-up. We are angry because even though we can’t control everything, we continue to try because things simply aren’t going our way. We are lonely, either because we can’t connect to others or our connections of choice aren’t available. We are tired–tired of the storms of life; sick of all the demands on our time, talent, and treasure; weary of the world and our seeming ineptitude at processing all the activity around us. In those moments, stop. Cease. Desist. Halt. Take a break to do some kind of self care. See a movie, get a coffee, listen to a favorite song, phone a friend; do whatever it is you need within reason and morality to give yourself a positive pause.

There is safety in numbers. On every nature show I’ve ever seen with predators and prey, unless the situation is desperate, the predators always pick the stray animal away from the group. It doesn’t matter if it’s a young animal wandering off to explore the world or a sick or old animal that can’t keep up. The predators pick the weakest link to pick off. Find groups with similar interests, and hang out. Meet new people. (Well, the exception may be lemmings. But again, I digress…)

And so, in the interest of keeping it real, I think I’ve just given myself my answer. I need a slower lifestyle for a season (short, I hope). I need some time to process all the change that came into my life with little notice while I was totally unprepared. I will go hang with the flock to ensure I have sufficient numbers to sustain me and protect me from the skirmishes for a brief respite.

I will write more, but first I will get a good speech-to-text app (yes, I’m already looking at the one named for the mythical fire-breathing, wing-flapping creature… ) so my hands can rest a little at the end of the day while I let my mind soar to other realms and share thoughts and feelings from a new perspective in fresh language.

But for now, I will go and try to dream of unicorns and sparkles and cotton candy… And I hope you ponder the necessity of keeping it real…

Spiritual Warfare Lessons in “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”

Author’s Note: I admit it. I miss my college days. The papers exploring ideas; the journal entries connecting life to classwork; the late nights filled with coffee and laughter. I want to do something a little different here… call it a fusion piece. I want to look at literature and see if I can examine it under the microscope of theology, in this case spiritual warfare. Yes, it will be wild, crazy, and zany. Go ahead and check out at this point. I fully understand! =)

*****************************************************************

In the mid-70s, Chuck Jones, creator of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Brothers studios, created an animated short TV show based on Rudyard Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.” A high level summary of the show would be: Mongoose nearly drowns. Family finds mongoose and nurses it back to health. Mongoose expresses gratitude by taking out some nasty snakes, including main characters Nag and Nagaina (cobras), their eggs before hatching, and somewhere in the middle a deadly dust snake.

As a child, I loved watching Rikki-Tikki dart around exploring. The mongoose family motto of “Run and find out” became a subconscious battle cry for a curious, intelligent girl. I remember how Rikki-Tikki’s eyes got red and he snapped to attention in the presence of an enemy. I remember fearing for the life of the young boy. I hated Darzee’s instant presumption that Rikki-Tikki would never survive in the dark tunnel with the enemy cobra. I remember the thrill when Rikki-Tikki emerged triumphant.

My own kids now watch that show. I can hear their squeals of delight thunder through the house. They cheer on Rikki-Tikki and boo for Nag and Nagaina.

Older and more experienced, I see it differently.

I have learned that there is an unseen world of angels and demons. We don’t see them, but they see us. We can be affected by what they do, just as our righteous prayer or weak moment of sin can affect them. We need to admit they exist and can affect the seen world; as we do this, we need to remember that they can do no permanent harm if we are in the center of God’s will.

In watching “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” I see an extra layer. I see the spiritual warfare lessons, and this is what I see.

Lesson 1: When the storms of life nearly drown you, accept help from more sound brothers and sisters.

In the opening scene, Rikki-Tikki is half-dead, nearly drowned by a sudden deluge. He is found by a young boy and his family. They dry him and clean him. He begins to revive. As he revives, he can choose to bolt or he can choose to stay and get food and water. Obviously, he stays or we wouldn’t have a TV show (or the story on which the TV show is based).

As Christians, we need to analyze our lives to determine if we’re being drowned by life’s storms of unemployment or dealing with children’s issues at school or a health crisis. Once we ask for help, we have to graciously receive that help, whether it’s financial or emotional or spiritual.

Lesson 2: Just or unjust, in warfare, the young are hit the hardest.

At the beginning, the tailor bird family tells Rikki-Tikki that a baby fell out of the nest. Nag had a snack, and the fledgling is no more. Toward the end, Rikki-Tikki goes for the cobra eggs. In each case, the enemy sought to cut off a fighter by ending the family line.

We should pray daily for our children; we should also pray for those children that have no one to pray for them. More than that, we should look to be able to offer an encouraging word at the right time or provide a meal or ride in a crunch. We should know the children of our neighbors as well as we do our own. Instead of scrolling past the post from a parent about a child’s bad day or medical issue, take a moment to stop and pray.

Lesson 3: Help comes from the most unusual places.

At the beginning, when Rikki-Tikki is running to find out where his garden needed some effort, he encounters Chuchundra, the musk rat. Chuchundra is a scared, anxious, pitiful creature. Yet, in a moment of clarity, he hears the cobra trying to enter the house and points it out to Rikki-Tikki.

Toward the end, Darzee’s wife, a grieving mother, choose to find the courage to serve as a decoy for Nagaina. She diverted the cobra’s attention long enough for Rikki-Tikki to destroy part of the cobra’s clutch of eggs.

In both of these cases, the unusual yet ordinary served a purpose and provided assistance at the right time. Our still, small Voice so often provides help in His time through unusual earthen vessels.

Lesson 4: Because sometimes the enemy appears without warning, preparation and attention are key.

Karait was a snakeling. The story never indicates whether he’s a cobra or some other venomous beastly creature. It does indicate that Karait has a bite as dangerous as a cobra’s, and he was instantly ready. Rikki-Tikki had to ready even more quickly; without vigilance, Teddy the boy would have been dead.

We too need to be both ready and vigilant. Our enemy prowls about looking for opportunities to steal, kill, and destroy. He is also deceitful, making himself mesmerizing and pleasing in an attempt to lull us into complacency. We need to stay attentive to our still, small Voice. We have some powerful weapons in our arsenal: truth; righteousness; faith; salvation; and the Words inspired by our still, small Voice. When properly applied, these weapons strike a powerful blow. If we don’t have them, it’s difficult to succeed in battle.

Lesson 5: There will always be naysayers prattling about gloom and doom.

When Rikki-Tikki went down the hole to tackle Nagaina in her den, Darzee’s wife immediate wanted to sing a funeral dirge eulogizing Rikki-Tikki for all time in the garden.

Don’t get me wrong; there are times when, as Mercedes Lackey stated, “Glorious destinies result in glorious funerals.” However, Darzee’s wife gave up too soon, prematurely assuming there was no hope.

We must surround ourselves with positive, pragmatic people who will both encourage us with truth and wait for the right time to bring constructive criticism into our minds. When another seems to be sliding backwards into old lifestyles and choices, we must not assume there’s no hope and that’s the way things will always be. We must be friendly and prepared to offer both encouragement and correction in the proper proportions and timing. We must pray without ceasing and love without conditions.

Blessings… Choose Wisely

Sadly, it wasn’t until my 30s that I became an avid reader and rememberer of the Good Book. There was so much that was all in there that I never thought about being in there, and usually when I made an unwise decision, it was because of something I didn’t know was in there or I couldn’t remember that was in there.

One of the biggest “wows” was on the day of my first (doomed) wedding. The church didn’t have a bridal suite, so I dressed at my maternal grandmother’s and rode to the church with my dad. After the bridal party had entered, there was a pause, and my dad did something I will never forget.

I am a charismatic, and he was a charismatic, but he was never openly charismatic. I was always so mad at him because I felt he should have pushed the Holy Spirit more and been more open about the Third Person of the Trinity.

But in that moment, he did something so charismatic–he reached his shaking, faltering hands over my head and said, “I am going to do something I have never done before. I am going to give you the Abramic blessing. Whom you bless I will bless, whom you curse I will curse.”

He rocked my world. I was thinking about bolting and asking for help, and in that moment, he gave me the one thing I hungered for… a shared charismatic identity. The satisfied hunger so rocked my world I couldn’t think, and my mind was calm, but it was an ill-fitting calm. He took me down the aisle then, or maybe I was stunned and leading the charge, and the rest is (fractured) history.

I had always thought dad had written something clever in advance. The only clever thing he had done was remember the blessing God gave Abram (later Abraham) in Genesis 12.

Later on, somewhere around five or ten years ago, I learned about the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6. It was so beautiful to me; it was almost like God was an Irishman at heart the way it rolled off the tongue: The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.

This was the one that gave me an inner peace. I always felt the other haunting and jolting and unsettling. I mean, they are both God and God’s Word and God speaking. However, it wasn’t until this year that I understand the difference.

For me, the difference lies in who (or Who) has the power to act.

The first, the Abramic blessing, makes God’s decisions rest on me and my tongue. My actions and my word choices bring consequences on the listener far above what I am capable of imagining; this blessing says, “I’ve got the power, and God is gonna back me.” It’s almost a bully stick. And since I am usually a control freak, it fills me with a thrill of ultimate, absolute power. It puts too much on me, my power, and my decisions. Definitely not good for this cracked, earthen vessel to contain.

In the Aaronic blessing, it is all up to God. God gives the blessing and keeps the person. God looks favorably on the person and gives great grace. God chooses to look at the person and give peace, all encompassing peace that I and the rest of the world cannot give. It means that as much as I love you to speak the blessing on you I have to trust God to execute my request in His way and His time. I have to speak the words and trust God to act.

We each must choose who we will be and how we will act. For me, I know I am too broken to make the decisions my Heavenly Father would make in choosing words to build or destroy. I have to choose to signal my intent and then put the burden on Him to decide.

For me, for my flaws, for my strengths, I know I need to let God be God and when I choose to bless, I need to follow the Aaronic model and let God have all the action. You must know yourself and make the same choice.

Choose wisely, young grasshopper.

 

My V-ictory Speeh

It’s throwback Saturday on my blog. I’m finding pieces from my past and publishing them for all the world to see.

I have a hard time talking about my past. There are points that are painful because of unwise decisions, and yet I would not be where I am now without those lessons.

High school graduation was one of those lessons. I was the ultimate book worm, a geek par excellence, with limited social skills. I picked some friends wisely and some unwisely. While I was top in academics, I was the dregs when it came to relationships and networking and all the soft skills.

So, I made some unwise choices that some have used to make me feel like a failure. I was “most likely to succeed” in high school, yet in life my car is nearly as old as my twins, and I have months where I rob Peter to pay Paul while I tell Matthew and Mark the check is in the mail and challenge Luke on the accuracy of the bill.

To survive, I had to go back to my roots. I had to find my still, small Voice again and really listen this time. I had to choose to redefine success not as the world does–with cars and houses and money and things–but as my still, small Voice does–with His Word and people and charity.

I don’t actually remember writing what I’m about to post. It’s my high school valedictory speech from 19xx (no, I’m not going to make it easy for you to figure me out). I remember practicing; my dad drilled me in and out so I could give it on auto-pilot. It was good he did; on that hot, sweltering night, the speaker system either malfunctioned or was turned off. I just kept going; I never realized to the end that it was off. And I don’t know that I would have known then in that moment what to do.

So for those who didn’t get to hear it because of time or circumstance and are interested, here is the text. The actual text (with modifications to protect idenitities–theirs and mine) is going to be in black, bold text. My adult self is going to be in purple (or maybe hot pink) italics, and my teenage self is going to respond with the words she wouldn’t have had back then in green.

And I think I still have the copy rights. Even if I don’t, I’m creating a substantially new and different work.

********************************************************

Mr. Graduation Speaker, board of directors, Mr. Superintendent, Mr. High School Principal, faculty, family, friends, and fellow students:

We the class of 19xx have entered a crucial stage of our development that parents like to refer to as “leaving the nest.”

From this time forth, we will become members of a cosmopolitan world to try to fly toward the goals we wish to achieve.

Boy, are you stilted?!? Your future will fix that. What exactly did you mean about cosmopolitan? Was it your vocabulary word of the day?

No, I think I had a feeling that the world was far bigger than anyone wanted to admit. I think I felt like we’d be challenged by so many different ideas that we might not be ready to process.

Oh, okay. Carry on.

As we test our wings on this vastly diversified planet, we should remember that infinite diversity comes in infinite combinations; therefore, we must be open to ideas from any person, no matter how he worships God or what he calls God, what his skin color is, or how his opinions differ from ours.

See, I did explain myself. You jumped too fast.

Yeah, we’re still working on that. I think you need to clarify. Do you really want to be open to ideas?

I think we have to look at ideas and analyze them according to the instructions of the still, small Voice. Even if we don’t agree with the idea, we need to be able to logically and intelligently consider it and our response to it.

You ever going to credit Gene Rodenberry for that infinite diversity line?

I don’t think he wrote it; I think it was used in several books by several different authors.

As we soar to the heights, we should be wary of exercising too much power because “Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads,” according to Charles C. Colton, and under the influence of power, we might soar so high we singe our wings.

Wait a minute. What was that skin color line about?

Um, I was struggling with some issues with the differences in spoken thought and actions. Remember that kid from the military school?

Oh, carry on…

Until this moment, we have been like baby birds, hungry for knowledge.

Our teachers filled in for our parents when the food and feeding techniques were beyond the reach of our parents’ talons; our teachers have given us their all so that we would have the necessities to survive after we left the nest.

Whoa! This is deep and dark. The talon thing was especially dark. What were you really going for?

Okay, so I wasn’t the skilled, educated writer you are. I was trying to create a long analogy, and I didn’t have the words. We all have different gifts. Where our parents didn’t have the gifts, the teachers did. The idea was we were to supplement and complement each other. I hate the phrase, but it takes a village.

With talons, I wasn’t seeing the slasher horror flick. I was seeing food being carried to waiting chicks. I was seeing a snatch at a chick getting a little too close to a nest edge before it’s time.

But even before our teachers, our parents kept us close under their wings to nurture us and to make us receptive to our teachers.

Despite our parents’ lack of technical expertise, they still have a lot to offer us; our parents and grandparent, hard as it may be to believe it, have been where we are now and can open our eyes to the best methods of flight for the various kinds of weather life gives us.

I call bu11sh1+.

You can’t. You yourself told me that the patterns were there. They may not be dealing with the world we deal with, but courtesy and respect and honor are still courtesy, respect, and honor. We and they may not like texting and instant messaging, but it communicates “I’m thinking about you” to the younger generation. We may not like selfies and instant pictures, but I bet a parent with a missing child these days is quite happy when the kid’s last pic from sports practice goes viral.

I still think this is melodrama.

Yeah, well, you have time and experience I don’t.

As I was writing my speech, I learned that a valedictory speech is defined as a farewell address; now I come to the hardest part–the farewell.

I’d like to take the time to do something now that should have been done long ago.

I wish to express publicly my personal gratitude to those who have helped me grow the most.

In elementary…

Stop. You know you really had only 3-4 in each school. Are you really going to be so intellectually dishonest again?

Hey, you wrestled this one with me. Why revisit this and air our dirty laundry?

Do you value truth?

What about truth in love?

Why don’t you speak truth now in the positive frame we’ve been working on over the last decade?

*deep sigh* You know what it was like. Our father wasn’t the most popular teacher, and my favorites tended to not be popular. I saw the struggle our parents had trying to get all the academic things we kids needed. I saw the “agony of defeat.” Do you really think I wanted to draw unwanted attention to anyone?

But we know it’s like that everywhere, from the museum to the cubicle farm to the church…

Yes, but it doesn’t make it any easier when it’s home. And I don’t have to like it.

Let it go. Just let’s say you were thanking your favorite teachers and move on to the next line. Let the past and the dead stay in the past.

Let me rewrite the line and put it in black. No one remembers anyway. *winks nefariously*

I want to thank all the teachers who have helped me grow academically and socially through their words and deeds.

I’d like to thank my family, especially my parents and my grandmothers, for sharing their experiences and flight patterns with me so my route might be less tiring on my wings.

I am grateful to my close friends who served as safety nets when I made solo flights and my family couldn’t be there.

Really?

Don’t go there. We’ve grown a lot, we’ve redefined our values. Who knows? Maybe this was a prophetic look into the future with our current hubby?

I am going to shut up now because I’ve heard it all.

There’s nothing new under the sun.

*coughs*

Finally, there is one more Person to Whom I owe even more than gratitude.

He has been my best and most constant Friend; during the blackest times in my life, He sent people to help me, even though sometimes I neither recognized nor accepted His help.

Despite my faltering and broken promises, my Heavenly Father has always been by my side, and just to reiterate His Presence, He promised, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

You didn’t really understand those words, did you?

No. And as a result, we made some really unwise decisions, and you have to mop up.

But we’re finally having fun, aren’t we?

You are. I still can’t get the skin I’m in.

It’s okay. I’ll tell you like we tell our girls: We’re just different. Different is okay. Even if no one else thinks it is, it is. Do I have to do the “princess of God Most High” speech too? *winks*

No, but how do we finish this? We had that song. You know…

Give me a few moments. I have hyperlinks and you didn’t. Yeah, they’ll notice, but we supposedly have so much more now.

Should we change the lyrics like we did?

No, let the lyrics stand. You know as an author I hate it when they don’t get my words right.

As a tribute to all the people to whom I owe gratitude, I would like you to visit the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItWIYcD6jas

 

The Master Artist

Author’s Note: This was a poem I wrote, probably for my mom’s birthday, at some point in the late 80s. I don’t have an exact date. And yes, mom, I’m still working on my temper. 😉 I have taken the liberty of adding some punctuation and fixing some editing issues, as well as redoing the way the lines are pieced together.

*********************************************************************

The Master Artist

The cosmos is God’s masterpiece surrounding masterpieces.
Each black hole, each mitochondria, shows God’s infinite genius.
Each mountain, each grain of sand, shows Go’d sense of beauty and pleasure.
God creates and God destroys in His own wisdom and time.
For though He is the King of Kings, and His empire is the cosmos itself,
He even notices a sparrow’s fall.
The Father has created His masterpiece.
It has please Him, but it has displeased Him too.
Though this world will pass away, God will continue to create and to destroy for all eternity.
For He is the Master Artist.

 

A Lovely Bunch of Coconut Nuts

There’s an old legend I learned in college. I’m not sure if it was from my advisor in my major or the biology prof who was in the Peace Corp. The story talks about poachers using a coconut to trap monkeys (or maybe apes or gorillas, but I think monkeys are the right size). The coconut was emptied of everything and refilled with nuts. The monkey so focused on the nuts that when the poacher appeared the monkey didn’t think to let go of the coconut and get away. The trapper knew the right tricks to kill the monkey and remove the paw for an ashtray.

I won’t argue that it’s a lovely and scary story used to try to get people to let go of old ideas and reach for the latest fad. And yes, snopes did try to debunk this in 2007. And in a realistic, logical world, it doesn’t make much sense with sizes and proportions.

But what if this story is an allegory for something that happens all the time?

What if we’re the monkey? We don’t have the wisdom and intelligence of the still, small Voice. And we don’t have the right inner nature to connect well enough to the still, small Voice to access His Wisdom.

And what if the coconut is actually an area of our lives where we either refuse to listen to our still, small Voice or we directly and intentionally rebel against the still, small Voice? Furthermore, what if the nuts are all the reasons we make this choice, all the rationalizations for why we are right and the still, small Voice is wrong (whoa, don’t want to even go down that path, so I’ll just keep it at a high level)?

The longer we hang on to those nuts, those ideas, those reasons, those rationalizations, the more the hand of our heart and soul hardens around them. We become less and less likely to let go and get rid of the coconut. And while we’re playing with the coconut and the nuts that support the need for the coconut, we lose sight of the bushes, where a wolf is sniffing the air or a lion is prowling, waiting to devour us, waiting to steal and kill and destroy.

The enemy of the still, small Voice is that wolf and that lion. He’s tricky and deceitful, and he even makes himself look like he serves the still, small Voice; yet he hates all that is good and pure and true and noble and lovely and right and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy. How do we let go of the nuts and coconut to escape the enemy’s wrath?

We make a conscious choice to drop the coconut mindset. We see the coconut and nuts as traps, knock-off baubles designed to pull us away from the still, small Voice. We focus on the thoughts and words of the still, small Voice so we start to think like Him. Then we take those thoughts and words and use throughout our speech and let them form our actions.

And that’s how you overcome the lovely bunch of the nut-filled coconuts of life…