Old-fashioned Fun

Sterling Municipal Library, Baytown, TX

I have some awesome grandkids, and I love doing things with them. In fact, when it comes to things like birthdays, I prefer doing things with them to buying things for them. So when Connor’s birthday rolled around, we settled on an old-fashioned scavenger hunt.

Our city has been working on adding public art for the past several years, so we got a list of addresses and a map and took off. Well, we took off after mapping the locations of the art installations we were looking for. This made for a great impromptu lesson in map reading. We don’t think about how much we rely on Siri for directions!

Our initial goal was to track down all of the decorated boxes. We met that goal; the cat box is only one of many we found that day. But they’ve been REALLY art busy in Baytown, so we were far from done. If I were an Instagrammer, I’d have had a ball!

This book sculpture at the Sterling Municipal Library is fabulous!

Umbrella Alley, Texas Avenue, Baytown, TX
Art League of Baytown

Connor got REALLY excited when we found this…

Because it meant we’d also found…

…and what felt like a hundred other classic cars. His passion for classic cars, sports cars, etc., is… Wow. According to him, I had officially given him one of the best birthdays ever.

In fact, in the midst of a recent discussion about all of the new decorated boxes that are popping up around town, he said, “It sounds like we need to get back in the van and go hunting!”

Yes. That is what we call success.

If you’re in or near Baytown, you should really check out our public art – this is only the smallest sampling. I’ve lived here most of my life and am only now learning just how much there is to do within just a few miles of my house.

https://www.visitbaytown.com

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

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Girl, That’s Sin

I got a ticket recently, my first in nearly 40 years. I never even noticed that stop sign and blew right through it. My stomach still turns when I think about it.

I immediately started beating up on myself.

Hard

Yes, everyone makes mistakes and accidents happen. Yes, pretty much every adult driver out there gets a ticket at least once every twenty years or so.

Not. Me.

I hold myself to a higher standard than that. I’m a good driver, a careful driver, and getting that ticket, even being pulled over, sent me over the edge into flaming self-hatred.

I’m not even kidding here. I tend to expect a lot out of myself in most things, and if I blow it in pretty much any area I’m going to hate on myself worse than anyone else will ever hate on me.

I asked God’s forgiveness right away, but I absolutely, infuriatingly, could not forgive myself. I continued the self-abuse until I had a Come-to-Jesus meeting with God. The brief conversation went something like this.

God: What would I tell you if you were beating up on someone else the way you’re beating up on yourself?

Me: Tammy, that’s sin.

God: Tammy, the rules don’t change just because it’s you. Girl, that’s sin.

He’s told me this before, in various ways, but this time it hit almost like a glass of cold water in the face. Refusing to forgive myself is as wrong as refusing to forgive anyone else, and every bit as destructive.

It wasn’t easy to do. It took work on my part, but I stepped up and did it. I still hate the fact that I blew it, but at least that gut-churning self-hatred is gone.

We cannot afford to walk around in unforgiveness, my friends – towards anyone.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

My Fear

It’s strange…the places you can stumble across revelation. I was registering on a website when the security question asked me, “What is your greatest fear?” Without hesitation, I typed my answer.

FAILURE

Then I sat staring at it, wondering where THAT had come from. It wasn’t long before I admitted to myself, for perhaps the first time, that this has been the truest answer to that question from the time I was a small child. While others went out and did things that looked fun, I sat on the sidelines.

I never tried because I was afraid to fail.

As an adult, I’ve learned better. I understand that failure is part of the learning process. At least…I understand it on a superficial level. My instant answer to the question, though, shows that I still have some very real issues.

So it’s time to self-assess. I’ve conquered this fear in so many areas, but I’ve got to move forward and eliminate it in more. I mean, really, at this point in my life how bad can failure be?

I’ve already raised my kids; any failures I had there are over and the damage done. That’s one of the biggest potential problem areas I can think of in this life. Well, other than failing where your relationship with God is concerned, and I work in building that all the time.

It’s time to kick my fear to the curb, to realize that it’s STUPID. Yes, I said stupid. Me failing at something might lead to my embarrassment, but it won’t result in WW3. Besides, how many times did Jesus issue the encouragement, “Fear not!”?

What about you?

What is your biggest fear?

And what are you going to do about it?

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Fighting the Darkness

As a church employee and, I believe, trusted friend, I often have people tell me about their struggles, their pain, their darkness. As I looked around the church this morning, I realized once again that most of us think we’re the only ones fighting the darkness. “Yes,” we think, “other people may have their challenges, but their challenges aren’t as bad, as agonizing, as life-altering as mine.”

But they are.

This is an important fact to remember. Unless my neighbor has told me about her struggles, I have no idea what’s hiding behind her smile. Is she wondering if she dares trust that her husband will never have another affair? Is her mother dying of cancer, leaving her feeling like an abandoned child? Did she just lose her job right after buying a new car?

I don’t know. So…

I won’t judge her when she upsets me, because I DON’T know.

I won’t assume that her life is hunky dorey and no one is living through a hell as bad as mine, because lots of people ARE.

AND I WON’T GIVE UP HOPE.

As I looked around the sanctuary this morning, I saw many people who are even now fighting the darkness, but I also saw a room full of conquerors who have battled time and time again and, with God’s help, WON.

Philippians 4:13

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Let Go of Your Seed!

Can you plant a seed without letting it go? No.

Our church is coming up fast on a multi-layer event that raises money for our myriad missions and outreach programs, and a while back God led me to donate one of my newest and favorite possessions. I won’t lie; I choked for a moment, but I’ve learned through the years that God never calls me to give up something unless He has something better in mind, a purpose (or multiple purposes) for my actions. Besides, when you plant a seed you get a harvest – as the Bible says, thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold.

So the other day I had a thought: “I could bid on it and get it back.” In that moment, I had an epiphany. I didn’t need to. I didn’t want to. I had completely let it go and didn’t even want it back. This revelation led to an interesting conversation with God.

Long story short. Years ago, I’d been called to give away one of my favorite things and I’d done it almost instantly, but begrudgingly. For years (not kidding) I’d had this niggling thought of, “Man, if only I’d not…” In our conversation, God reminded me about that event and pointed out that I HAD NEVER LET GO of that seed. Because I had never truly let go, the seed had never been truly planted – regardless of the fact that it was in the other person’s hands. So I had never received the harvest He had wanted me to have.

So… When God calls you to give something, be it to someone personally, to a ministry, to a charity auction…whatever, LET IT GO. Don’t judge how you think that person should handle it. Don’t dwell on the fact that you don’t have it any more. Don’t let regret hang around. LET. IT. GO.

You cannot plant a seed in the ground if you do not let it go first. You cannot plant a seed in ANY ground if you do not let it go first. And if you don’t have a planted seed you don’t have that seed’s intended harvest.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

The Way of Escape

You reach for the door handle and it breaks. In that first instant you may think you’re stuck in your car with no way out. Of course, you realize quickly that you can roll down the window and open the door from the outside, or even slide over and exit on the passenger side. Either way, you do have an escape route.

When this happened today, it started me thinking or, rather, remembering. Waaaaay back in the olden days, before cordless phones and caller ID, when the phone rang so seldom that you always went running to catch it, my boyfriend and I were alone in the house and got a little carried away.

But EVERY time we went too far in the wrong direction, the phone rang, and EVERY time it rang the person on the other end hung up as soon as I answered. After the fourth or fifth time, we realized we were in danger of being late somewhere and I had the sense to insist on us rushing to get ready to leave.

It was some time after this that I discovered 1 Corinthians 10:13.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (NKJV)

What happened that day was clearly God making a way of escape for me, and it is a lesson I have never forgotten. If I give in to temptation, it’s because I ignore the escape routes He has opened for me.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C