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Harolene
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Posted By Harolene

A dear friend and reader sent a poem to me entitled "Rainbow Bridge" which tells of a happy place where the pets we have loved so much during life are waiting for us, I loved it and was reminded of another poem that Rudyard Kipling wrote titled, The Power of the Dog, about man’s best friend, the faithful dog. You have to read it with a Kleenex in your hand for you will very surely shed some tears. The first verse prepares the reader with: "There is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; And when we are certain of sorrow in store, Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware of giving your heart to a dog to tear."

I remember our first dog, a sad eyed cocker spaniel that we named "Lucky" because we felt he was lucky that we chose him and we were very lucky to have him. As the years passed there were other dogs but one Sunday, which was the last Sunday my dad was to serve as the associate in a beautiful downtown Atlanta church, a small puppy wandered in off the street and someone handed her to the pastor as he was closing the morning service and having the congregation say goodbye to our family, he quickly turned and handed the small puff of fur into the giant, gentle hands of my dad. We named her "Cricket" and as she grew older so did we until the day seventeen years later that the doctor told us there was no hope for her and we had to let them put her peacefully to sleep. It was near Christmas, December 17, 1971 and as long as it has been we still cannot talk about her without crying.

I decided I would never love another dog, just couldn't break my own heart that way ever again, but then along came a five-week-old mixed black lab named Reuben and we all fell in love again. I put Reuben into the hands of my 10-year-old son on April 1, 1991 and they loved each other with all the passion a little boy and his dog can share. It ended the day he came running into the house when he was a freshman at Georgia Tech his face white and his eyes huge with terror, "Mom I think Reuben is dying". Oh my God the rushed trip to the vet, sure enough Reuben, our wonderful and faithful friend had suffered a stroke and died.

Again I swore off having another canine friend, but then a teacup poodle named P'nut lit up the blue eyes of my granddaughter the Christmas she was 5, then a foundling that we called Ruby because she was the female image of our beloved Reuben came into our home, another opportunity to love and wait for the inevitable heartache that will come.

 

 
Posted By Harolene

Last December 16, our sweet P’Nut died and a few days ago I went with my sister as she said goodbye to her little one who had bladder cancer, we still have our Ruby and my sister has her Sophie and we know their love to us is unconditional which reminds us of the love our Father God has for each one of us. 

Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them.

I think about the time when we are living in a new heaven and a new earth that all the animals will be at peace with each other and with us, and yes I expect to see all the pets we have loved waiting there at the "Rainbow Bridge" greeting us with wagging tale and many wet kisses!

 
Posted By Harolene

You’re talking to a girl here who is running on fumes of strong coffee and snatched naps going on night number three, so ramble? I might! If you don’t know the reason I will tell you that I am watching, I think that is a good way to describe what I am doing. Last night my sister watched with me until four in the morning, I looked at her sitting there in a straight backed chair and saw her big brown eyes unwillingly close and quickly open again. That was when I insisted she go home, which is just out my back door, and sleep in preparation for getting up and going to church this morning. Me? I haven’t been to a church service since December of last year and this is something you would never have made me believe in my lifetime would be a statement that would have ever come out of my mouth. Being raised in church sitting on the front pew listening to my dad sing and preach while my mother accompanied him on the piano until I was old enough to join in to form a family trio and then join the musical team as the organist it is safe to say I never missed a service in my life, including the Easter Sunday that I had to sing and play the organ with “pink eye” caught from a congregant’s child! (I think I have just written the longest sentence in the history of writing!)

It is very sad and strange to watch a person who once had a very strong will and was so busy being wife to a pastor, mother of three, Sunday school teacher, and the leader of women’s fellowships raising money for various charities involving the church membership. Yet my mother is the reason for my being an absent church member! I would have never understood the value of the TV preacher until this happened to me. Our family had a wonderful program that aired several times a week where we sat around a table and discussed different themes from the Bible but I never thought of it as something a person would watch instead of attending a “gathering or fellowship of believers” but that is exactly what I am doing!

On Sunday morning I turn on the television and there I have found a group of singers that sing the kind of Gospel music I love to hear. It’s foot tapping, soul rending, heart breaking, joyful, looking for heaven, wanting to fly away, and praising Jesus music and I enjoy it to the max! My mother will sit and stare at nothing for hour on end but when that familiar music starts she looks at the singers and her mouth moves along with the words. I have even seen her bony little hand raised in praise and tears coming out of those eyes once so blue they could stare a hole right through your soul but now so blank of emotion. The real kicker to me was when the minister offered for the congregation both there in the church or in the television audience to say the sinners prayer with him, I watched as she repeated the words and thought that this ninety-year-old saint of the Lord knew exactly what she was doing as she prayed. She never responds more than when you say, “Let me say a prayer for you,” she immediately bows her head, slicked back hair no longer teased and sprayed into a fancy hair-do.

 

 
Posted By Harolene

But I digress I wanted to tell you about the song I heard on that televised church program this morning. At first I just listened to the haunting tune and the beautiful harmony and then I noticed the words and it struck me on so many levels. “When I lay my Isaac down, broken heart but my Fathers proud, on this altar here he lays just to find it wasn’t him, God wanted me.”

I started to think about myself, and all the things I had let become “Isaacs” in my own life. To call something an “Isaac” is to say it is more precious to you than an only son born to you in your old age, knowing that without divine intervention you will never have another. I have hated the fact that I no longer had any ministry at the church that I had helped to start, yes I was only sixteen when it began but I worked as hard as my parents did to have a good music program and youth and choir, and all the things that other churches had. To suddenly find yourself without anything when for years you were the one that started every service was a hard pill to swallow. I felt that my service to God was stripped from me and what could I do on my own, by myself? Well here I am, I write everyday and you read and sometimes it helps you and you even write and tell me about it!

I thought a little deeper and found something I hadn’t thought of as a service to God. One of the Ten Commandments tells us to “Honor our father and our mother” (this is the first commandment with promise) “that our days may be long upon this earth!” Bingo! I don’t start a service or lead a prayer group but I turn on a television and find music, watch the “Golden Girls” and “Fraser”, the Braves and the Falcons and then I make sure she has food with the right vitamins, gets her coffee and the blessed medication that seems to soothe out the wrinkles in her mind for a few moments at a time.

As I sit here writing she is asking me questions about why we are in this house, who brought us here and when are they going to come and pick us up, and the night is young. I have lain my “Isaac” down because as it turns out God wanted me all to Himself for awhile, I’m happy to be here!”

 
 
Posted By Harolene

I heard a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow today and it started a thought process. When we are young, Over the Rainbow sounds like the place where the pot of gold is, the place where our best dreams and wishes come true, it is the hope of where we will be at a certain time of life. What is that time? It's different for everyone, but we all have those dreams. What is the problem with looking at the rainbow? We never see the end of it or the pot of gold because it simply doesn't exist. What did you imagine was at the end of your own rainbow? Was it riches? Is your end-of-the-rainbow a happy marriage with 2.5 children, a home and a soccer-mom van? Is it a brilliant career? For some it would just be to have a full stomach at night instead of going to bed hungry, or the ability to eat food without their body rejecting it, or being able to stand and walk on their own without the assistance of anyone's helping arm. Genesis 9:16-17 "And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."

We look at the rainbow after a rain and remember that God set it as a sign of His faithfulness to us, His covenant to care for us. It is as much to you and me as it was to Noah "back in the day"! Noah found "grace in the eyes of the Lord", that is why he and is family were spared from the destruction of the flood. What is Grace? It is the "unmerited favor of God" Romans 5:1-2 "By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide-open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise." Romans 11:6 "And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved." God has given us life and salvation freely, a part of His grace and mercy towards us!

If you could reach up into the sky to touch a rainbow, you would find it is nothing, we see it, and there are various colors, yet it isn't tangible to the touch. Kind of reminds me of Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." We sing songs about it, admire its beauty, and talk about its pot of gold, yet it isn't there except to our eyes. God's promise to us is that He hears and answers our prayers, we believe even if we are not able to touch it. Isaiah 65:24 "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."

So friend, what IS at the end of your rainbow? Right now, for me, it is to see my mother have a good day, to know for certainty that my family is safe and secure both in this life and in the life hereafter. Of course if things like ice cream could suddenly be eaten with out consequence of calories that would be nice! Look for your rainbow!