Lord, where IS my Blessing?

Lord, where IS my Blessing?

a blessings 2

“Lord, where IS my blessing?”
I see you blessing other people,
. . . but where, oh where, is my blessing?!

The Blessings haven’t stopped or dried up.
They may wait for a small season
. . . While God puts the final touches on the overall outcome.

No, The Blessings haven’t gone away.
They are there, close to God’s heart
. . . Being formed and fashioned to be the very ones you need.

The Blessings ARE yet ahead of you,
And some are even with you right now.
. . . Yet, the feeling “My blessing is delayed; I needed it yesterday.”

So wait on The Blessing, I challenge you
Trust and don’t’ draw back. Wait on the Lord.
. . .He is preparing to “release” a custom-made blessing with
your name on it.

No, The Blessings aren’t hiding or running away.
They are found in the drawing close,
. . .Away from the clamor of the noisy world, they wait. . .
Just ….for…you!

Nancy Kehr 5/2/12

a blessings 3

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Locked in a Dark Garage

a dark garage

Locked in a Dark Garage

The door slammed and the turn of the lock kept click-clicking in my ears. Darkness engulfed us and I wanted to cry. It was the second time today and it was just getting disheartening.

I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t let the other two kids hear me. They were a lot younger and maybe more unsure and frightened than I was.

Three bowls with the familiar dry O-shaped cereal sat on a small card table. My eyes had adjusted a bit and dim shapes began to materialize.

“Let’s count the O’s as we eat them!” I tried to sound cheerful! “We’ll make it a game! …And then we’ll play hide-n-seek. We’ll have lots of fun and there’s nobody to bother us!”

The little kids were pretty good sports. Still, when you’re only three and five and you are abruptly shoved into a dark garage while the door is locked behind you, it’s hard to be brave.

“Bafroom”, the little guy muttered after we eaten our “meal”, and had tired ourselves with some imaginative play.

Oh No! What could I do? I didn’t want to knock on the door. There had been a warning about that. If he messed up his pants, his legs would get whipped and I would also be in big trouble. It wasn’t fair!

Ears throbbing, and teeth hurting from clenching, I was already was shifting from foot to foot myself, to avoid my own accident. Oh well, there was no choice! I knocked. Nothing. Again. Still nothing.

Where was “Aunt” Sonny, the foster mother? Probably just taking another nap.
Fear clutched at my heart. Disturbing her meant a tirade and not doing it might make things even worse.

My arm circled my little brother, and in my most consoling voice I whispered, “Try to hold it a little longer.” I counted to one hundred so many times I lost track.

Soon whimpers from both of the little kids meant I HAD to do something. After all, I was the big sister – a whole six-and-a-half! My fists beat the door, accompanied by squeals and screams from the other kids.

Nearly falling into the room, I managed to gather myself to my feet.

“What’s all the commotion?” asked “Uncle” Chuck, as he pulled the door wide open. “Where’s Aunt Sonny?”

“Why are you kids out there in the dark?”

The tears ripped down my cheek and the other kids joined me. He frowned but gave us a hug and let us go to the bathroom.

Through the walls, muffled, but harsh voices could be heard. The louder voice was his.

Pretty soon, an apologetic foster mom came to see if we were “okay”. She sounded sincere, but her eyes told a different story. My stomach started to hurt again. Her iron clutch tightened on our arms, nails digging into our flesh.

“Okay now, you children get cleaned up,” she chided in this strange falsetto.

It would be okay for a while, but as soon as HE left, there’d be issues.

Why? Why? Why!

Previous inquires had been met with a sour, “…because your father doesn’t pay me enough, that’s why!”

I didn’t get it! Why wouldn’t she call him to come get us if we were SO much trouble! I had asked to call but was never allowed to talk to him. Unpredictable weekend visits by my father brought guarded joy, and we always begged him to take us home. Salinas was a long drive from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, so he could not make the trip often. He was torn between us and a wife, hospitalized in San Francisco.

Not wanting to draw any more flack, we tippy-toed quietly to the little bunk bed we all shared. Maybe we’d be invited to the dinner table for a real meal tonight since Uncle Chuck seemed to be home for the rest of the afternoon. My brother was thirsty. So was I.

We could only hope.

At least Uncle Chuck was kind.

The gentle morning light revealed the sparseness of our room. Involuntary shivers drove sleep away and made me sit up abruptly. Overtaken with the pain of a sudden realization, a myriad of emotions ushered in the tears. I sobbed in disbelief.

Apparently, exhausted from coping with the events of the day before, we had fallen asleep in our clothes while we waited for dinner. I doubt very much if anyone checked on us either. Shoes still on, we lay atop the blankets.

Utter disappointment shrouded my little soul and I sobbed bitterly.

My stomach growled.

“Where are You God? Please help!” It was all I could manage.

The little kids were still asleep. I couldn’t bear another dark day in the garage.

“Kids…” It was Uncle Chuck’s voice.

God heard.

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Is Engaging Older Veterans a Ministry? By Guest Randy Kehr

a flag heart vet

Is Engaging Older Veterans a Ministry? I think so – or at least it is for me. It started when I was rather young.

For decades, I’ve been taking an interest in Veterans’ stories, and I always show my respect while speaking with them. With the ending of Gulf War, I decided that I would not let any returning veteran feel ignored, worthless or hated. I determined to greet them and to give them what so many Viet Nam Vets never received – “A welcome home.”

Recently, I was about to leave a pharmacy where I repaired various computer equipment, and an older gent walked past the front counter heading for the customer seating area along the wall. He sported a ball cap – the sort that veterans wear. I strained to read the front of it. “WWII Veteran.”

No ball cap of any military style or vintage catches my eye like one for WWII Aye Aye.

My duties complete, and the lunch break upon me, I made my way over to him. Rather a small fellow, actually, and rather hunched, his peculiar left arm caught my eye..

Aware that I was staring in his direction, he returned my gaze with a questioning, open-eyed look so common among that generation. He watched my approach with a little trepidation. Squatting in front of him, I started with one of my canned, yet honest, greetings.

“I’m not old enough to have been there. Wasn’t even born, yet; But welcome home. I’m glad you made it back.”

About the time I started the last sentence, his bewildered look gave way to happiness. A big grin brightened his face as he took my offered hand and gave it a good shake. His grip was at least as strong as mine. Pretty good for a man of 97 years!

We spoke for a good while, as snapshot “thank yous” for veterans go. A lot can be learned about a man if the right questions are asked.. . . and, if he wants to share. Spend time with WWII and Korea vets and you’ll know what I mean.

His name was Tony. If I remember this correctly (and I knew I’d have trouble with it) his last name was D’Genova. He was with the US Army, during the Italy campaign….

Tony’s parents were both of Italian heritage. His father fought in WWI, the “Great War” – you know, the one that was supposed to end all wars. When he returned home, he met his future wife, also of Italian blood. She was from near Naples, and he, from Bari, on the other side of the Boot. A lightening-romance culminated in marriage and Tony was born a year later. The loved son of a happy immigrant couple.

Years later, Tony would report for duty with the US Army during WWII. Slated for action in the Mediterranean – and most famously, for Italy, he arrived in Naples in 1944. I asked him if he got to see his mother’s home town while in the area. No, he didn’t. There was too much happening, and he was pretty well occupied with “occupying” whatever part of Italy they were to storm. It was a beehive of preparation, organization and staging. Then it was all business.

During our conversation, I felt like I was talking to an old friend. I watched his eyes closely. The youth of a man can be found in his eyes.

I listened as well as I was able. We both have hearing issues, and that led to some laughter. Neither of us minded repeating ourselves, and we talked as loud as we pleased. I knew people were watching us – the middle-aged guy conversing with the tired, old and bent veteran who likely never rated more than a passing glance from anyone. Both of us just shrugged off the stares.

Giving these guys respect is one of my missions and pleasures. And Tony was a character.
In his words,

“I got pretty banged up over there. A mortar exploded behind me. I took seven pieces of steel.” He reached over with his right arm and pointed to a spot behind his left ear, near where the hearing aid was attached. “Still have a piece of it back here. They said it was best to leave it there. I never checked to see if it could come out later.”

After that, he got around to explaining about his oddly short left arm. It was the work of the A German machine which gun took him down. Hitting the left side of his chest, the bullet didn’t make it past his rubs. Burrowing, instead, into his arm pit and down his biceps, it did its worst, wrecking his humorous and elbow.

I knew there was a story in his elbow somewhere. It had the funny look and feel of a major war wound. Tony told me the doc did his best to set the arm. Healing was slow, and that took him out of the war.

Pretty banged-up, alright. Over the next two years, he had a few operations, but those surgeons were never able to get his elbow to work. In fact, the joint fused solidly and he could not bent it at all.

The final operation was performed as the preferred of two choices: leave it alone and have no control over swinging it around and breaking it often or, have a flesh elbow built. He chose the latter. After the removal of the fused blob of bone, a muscle-and-tendon flex joint was created. He ended up with about 25 degrees of motion in it.

Tony’s arm is an elastic anomaly like nothing I’ve seen before. That it works is phenomenal. “There’s not a day it doesn’t hurt,” he said. Yet smiling, “But I don’t care. I’m alive and lived a long time.” This was obviously a reference to those who died in the war. It was the first time I sensed sadness in his face.

I told him about my old Vet friend, Brandon Babbett, who passed in 2004. Brandon went ashore at Normandy, France, on 9 June, 1944. I shared with him how Brandon was shot in the neck by a German sniper, an 8mm bullet that stayed with him until the 1970s. I shared how Brandon healed quickly, was denied discharge and walked across Europe to Germany. Tony had a knowing look in his eyes. The young man in him was remembering his own walk, and the stories of the walks of other men. It was then that he knew I had conversed with Veterans before, and that I sought to share and understand.

Tony’s arm is seven inches shorter now, but I see a complete man – one that has lived through many kinds of battles in life. We talked about pain and recovery, and swapped stories. He was shocked to hear how my neck disc injury could result in so many symptoms. We tossed stories back and forth in quick little two or three sentence-abbreviated form. It was as if we were catching up after a long time apart. When it came time to go, I didn’t really want to leave. But I felt good that I did what I was supposed to do. I left him with a smile. He sat taller too.

Tony was a compassionate man, and easy to like. He was humble, happy and liked to talk. I felt like I made a friend. I learned that the employees of that store like him a lot as well as him being a regular customer.

Consistent. I think he’s been consistent all his life. Tony is one of the greats in the “Greatest Generation.” Most of the time I get to share the love and protection that is available to all of us through Jesus Christ. Even though they don’t all use the same words, most of these Veterans pretty much acknowledge that they are still here by the Grace of God. Some even preach to me!

Oh yes. For those that want to know. Tony D’Genova was a US Army infantry rifleman. A foot soldier. A Grunt. The son of a Dough Boy. One of those guys who takes ground from the enemy, holds it for a moment, and then moves on into the guts of the beast.

Do or die. But mostly do.

88th Infantry Division. Hooah.

This true story is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Make Those Philistines Jealous 2

a god provides

The year was 2011 and we had been out of work for almost a year – – but God was faithful – –

“….And…just what kind of service vehicle would you like – A Ford Aero-star, a Chevy Astro, or a Ford F150?” (The Ford F150, of course)

“…How about the new laptop computer? Would you like that to come with DVD?”
( You bet!!!)

“…Would a Nextel phone do? How about a 401K?” ( Why not?)

These were a few of the questions that a corporate man from a well-known drug store chain queried my husband today! The God that IS “More Than Enough” brought my husband’s perfect job! After a 10+ month long “dry spell”, these words resounded like fresh rain on parched soil! Faith had brought forth substance!

Mental battles where accusations punctured my soul were well-timed when it came to paying bills or buying food. Only The Word of God could silence those accusations. I poured that Living Word into my mind, freely, and then spoke (no, yelled) it out loud – back to God, the angels and any demons listening.

“I am the head and NOT the tail. I am above and NOT beneath! I am before and NOT behind. God has not left me or forsaken me and it is not His will that I come behind in any good thing.”

To me, that meant a place to live, food to eat and a few clothes to wear! We had liquidated stocks, savings, and many personal possessions in order to survive.

In the midst of ridiculous mental onslaughts, the enemy-of-our-souls conveniently forgot to report to us that a well-known company was planning to expand its service base in our area! Everything looked dry but a well was being unstopped while we exercised faith in our Creator to sustain us and bring us into a better place.

A new service depot for their field techs was to be constructed 5 miles away from our home. My husband would be the primary over that depot.

Everyone told us that there were no jobs like what he needed in our area, and that my husband would probably have to travel over 50 miles to find one.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” The only thing the devil can do is lie. That old liar somehow managed to hide the fact that there WAS a job right up Hubby’s avenue of expertise, and it was right here in our valley! Even my husband’s new partner was a dedicated Christian. Hallelujah!

During our “dry spell”, I had been meditating on Genesis 26:1-33. The Bible recounts the story of Isaac, a time of famine and the fact that no one else BUT Isaac prospered during this famine. This made the Philistines jealous!

They had hoped the monotheistic faith preached by Abraham had passed with him, but NOW they had Isaac to deal with! Abraham’s philosophy, sustained through Isaac, was blatantly in-their-faces! The corrupt Philistines eventually stopped striving with him and came to respect his wealth!

I read that, “He called out in God’s name.” What a great example he was for me to stay in faith during hard times.

For me, steadfastness took over early on. Times were skinny and lots of things changed, but we didn’t really feel like we were suffering. Our needs were met in so many unexpected ways. My heart remains humble and thankful for what was done in us!

We gave, we lent, we sowed time, and spent time on others. Most of all, we stayed put and daily called upon God’s name to see what we should be doing. He spoke to us through His Everlasting Word! He did!

Just when we thought we were out of options, the perfect job arrived. Deep in my spirit, God spoke…”You’re going to make the Philistines jealous!” The poem that follows was a result of that inspiration:

We sowed in time of famine,
The faith our Father gave us
With Isaac, our example
We believed our God could save us

We dug our well and found there
“Living Waters”! Effervescence!
We checked our contract daily
Surrounded by His Presence

We barely noticed adversity
Though continually it battered!
Rooted and grounded in God’s Love
Was all we knew that mattered!

Now it’s time to tend the harvest
Our spirits ever zealous!
We’ll continue our expansion
And make those Philistines jealous!

For The One Who Hurts

a girl crying tears and swimming in them

For The One Who Hurts

I cannot fix what is broken
But I promise to be there
To show you that I care
To cover you with prayer

I cannot fix what is broken
But I can intercede
To The One who knows your need
And who can comfort you indeed

I cannot fix what is broken
But I’ll give you time to heal
And I’ll ask God to reveal
His guidance as you kneel . . .

Before The One who CAN fix what is broken

Nancy Kehr 1-28-16
This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”