Build the Wall – Leave Your Mark

Whether or not you believe in the necessity of The Wall, you should take a moment to consider what is happening with the WeFund the Wall/We the People will Build the Wall movement.

Bottom Line: Individual Americans are rising up and declaring that, rather than wait for the government to fill the need, they will instead do their part to help make it happen. Thousands are contributing to a non-profit that plans to start building parts of The Wall very soon-without the government’s help.

This is huge. We live in a culture where we’re always waiting for someone else to step up, to reach out. It’s the government’s job to do this. It’s the Church’s job to do that. It’s the school’s job to do the other. These people are saying, “No, I don’t need to wait on them, to rely totally on them: I CAN HELP.”

Our Pastor has been ministering a lot, lately, on letting our lights shine, on being that city on a hill, on leaving our mark. In other words, on realizing that WE, the individuals that make up the church, have not only the responsibility but the power to meet needs where we find them. Our church has given us many opportunities to get into the community and meet needs, and is preparing for more, but the idea is bigger – that I, the person sitting in the pew, realize that I CAN HELP…and get myself out there and do it, being the hands and feet of Jesus in ways that make an impact on people’s lives.

Seeing what’s happening with WeFund the Wall brought Pastor’s teachings home. Yes, there are agencies and organizations out there to meet all sorts of needs, but it’s not just their job: it’s also mine. I have the responsibility and the power to make a difference in the lives I touch.

I CAN.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

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It’s Just Color

ruby-and-sapphire-gemstones-300x300

Sapphires and rubies: They’re two very popular stones, and have been through the ages. I may be mistaken, but as I recall the ruby has consistently been the more valuable of the two.

When people think of sapphires, they generally envision a rich blue, but in reality sapphires come in a wide range of colors. My personal favorite is the pink sapphire—the hotter the better. I’ve never bought one for myself, though, because jewelers generally label them as rubies so they can get higher prices for them. Deceptive, no?

Well, it depends on how you define deception…and which deception you’re talking about. You see, rubies and sapphires are both corundum. They’re the same stone. Red, yellow, blue, or white, the only differences are their color and their perceived value.

The same is true of people. We were all made from dirt and will return to dirt. Yes, there are different colors of dirt, but it’s all dirt. Other than our delightfully variegated cultures, the only differences between the so-called races are color and perceived value. Like a customer who walks into a jewelry store, many have bought into the idea that one color is more valuable than another.

But it’s just color.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

The Road Home

Copyright Tammy Cardwell
Copyright Tammy Cardwell

Only a short distance from this bridge, over which I’ve passed numerous times through the years, lies the entrance to New Hope Cemetery. This is an old cemetery with a fascinating collection of aged headstones. This is a rustic cemetery and it holds the earthly remains of some of my nearest and dearest.

Too many times, we’ve followed a hearse over this bridge, taking a loved one to their final resting place. Several times, we’ve crossed the bridge to visit the graves of those we’ve not seen in so very long. The last time I was there–the day I took this picture–we were “visiting” Mother.

You’d think this bridge would represent loss to me, would inspire pain, but it doesn’t. Why?

The answer lies in the cemetery’s name–New Hope. Yes, we’ve laid our loved ones to rest here, but I know that in each and every case they were born again and destined for Heaven. For them, and those of us who expectantly wait to see them again, this place offers hope indeed–hope of that new life, true LIFE that will never end–eternal life in the very presence of God, surrounded by those we love so much…HOME.

So this picture shows a path of hope, a man-made construct that bridges the past and that glorious future as we follow the road home.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

An Appropriate Gift

At one time, I was very much into Victoriana. I read period fiction, collected ephemera and other items from that era, subscribed to Victoria magazine…

That was a long time ago, or so it seems. I’d already moved in other directions when we pretty much lost everything we owned in 2010. Since then, the busy-ness of life and the demands of life’s necessities have drawn me even further away from that time of my life. 

So it would seem inappropriate for one of my oldest and dearest friends to send me a copy of Victoria’s A Woman’s Christmas for my birthday. It would seem…

I picked it up and was instantly drawn in. I was… actually… transported. I suddenly found myself back in those days when our boys were young and Christmas was still a magical time for me, when I could hardly wait to put up the tree and spent months planning and shopping for just the right gifts. 

Those days are gone-hopefully not forever, but to be honest I’ve had a hard time finding the magic of late. So I am very grateful to my friend for empowering me to touch it again. Bless you, Marilyn, for sending me such an appropriate gift. 

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Can’t Afford Not To

When I began actively serving God in August of 1980, it seemed perfectly natural to tithe. I’d been raised at least somewhat in church, so tithing wasn’t new to me, and my new pastor was wise enough to teach a little about tithing at every service. I also eventually discovered Malachi 3:8: “Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.” [AMP] When I saw that we owe God not only our tithes, but our offerings, I actively began to make those offerings as well.

The man I married the next year believed as I did, so we continued to tithe and give offerings until we reached what I think of as our moment of stupidity. In looking at our budget, we decided we couldn’t afford to tithe, that we would continue to give to God as we could, but the 10% just wasn’t possible.

Within three months, all hell broke loose in our finances. Yes, money had been tight before, but we’d had no idea just how much God was blessing us until we started robbing Him and removed our right to that blessing. Three months after we stopped tithing, we admitted that we couldn’t afford not to tithe, repented, and got back to doing what we knew to do. Three months or so after that, things were back to “normal.”

It only took that one time for us to learn our lesson. We’ve tithed and given offerings ever since, and though there have been undeniably tight times God has always blessed us, making our money stretch to seemingly impossible lengths. Clearly, no matter how challenging our financial situation gets, we always know it could be a LOT worse.

No, we can’t afford not to tithe – and give offerings.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

We Lay Our Crowns

There is a line in a song we sing in church: “We bow down. We lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.”

We sing this song in the present tense, and I recently realized the importance of doing this very thing. We may not wear literal crowns today, but most of us have areas in which we feel we rule, parts of our lives in which we take pride (often rightfully so), places where our “hat” is a crown.

When we lay everything else at Jesus’ feet–our burdens, our brokenness, our sickness, our pain–we should lay these crowns at His feet as well. In doing this, in submitting one’s whole life to Him, you see those strong places strengthened even more; also, when you recognize that no matter how much you “rule” in an area it is He who reigns supreme, you steer clear of the sin of pride.

It is far better to lay one’s crown down that to have it removed as a result of sin.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

The Past Comes Back

Several years ago, I was on a road trip and a comment was made about the leaves changing colors. I’d recently learned the science behind it and offered the information that the colors are there all the time; they’re just covered up by the green of the chlorophyll. Instantly, one of my companions said, “There she goes…correcting us again.”

I was stunned, and I was hurt. I explained that no, I just found the information fascinating and had thought they would too. She understood and apologized, and we were good, but the incident stands in my memory as a reminder that, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, your past will sometimes come back to haunt you.

You see, I used to be really bad about correcting people. I assumed everyone was like me, wanting to know how to use good grammar, properly pronounce words, use expressions correctly, etc. When this event occurred, however, I had been actively not correcting people for a long time.

It came about as a result of correcting a friend (with pure motives, I assure you) and offending her. On that day I decided that I would never again correct her in any way unless she asked for it. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was the best policy to use with everyone. I do still occasionally correct people, but when I do it’s a slip up and I try to apologize. I can’t stop the edits that go on in my brain, but I can keep them from passing my lips.

So by the time the “always correcting” comment was made it didn’t apply anymore, but she was so locked into the way I used to be that she didn’t even realize it.

I’m glad I remembered this incident today. It’s a good reminder, to me, to not judge people by what they used to be, to not be the one who brings their past back to haunt them, but rather to accept them as who they are today. Sometimes that may mean I have to really look at them, taking a fresh look and even getting to know them all over again in a sense.

It’s worth the effort. Friendship is that important.
Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C