As mentioned in a previous post, most of my blogging will now be published on Medium. Looking for today’s Sunday Thoughts, you can find them here!
As mentioned in a previous post, most of my blogging will now be published on Medium. Looking for today’s Sunday Thoughts, you can find them here!
What is marriage? Is it a wedding ceremony and a license? Is it a commitment to love honor and obey? Marriage is defined by Webster’s as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law or by the rite by which the married status is effected, an intimate or close union. No mention of love.
Marriage existed before any government was organized. For thousands of years, people were getting married without a marriage license. Even today, there are some countries that have no governmental recognition of marriage and no legal requirements for marriage. Government endorsement is usually necessary for certain benefits, however. In American history, up to around the 1920’s, there was no such thing as a marriage license. The states invented them as a way to dictate who could and could not get married. Primarily as a way to stop white people from marrying black people. Still no mention of love.
Some people believe that a man and a woman are married in God’s eyes when they have completed some kind of formal wedding ceremony. There is an event, action, covenant, vow, or proclamation that is recognized as declaring a man and woman to be married. Love may be present, maybe not.
But does the very act of getting married constitute a true partnership? Does connecting yourself to another in the bonds of marriage mean that you are equally respected, loved or wanted?
Though many of my characters that I write choose to get married, I for one do not like what marriage has become in today’s society. It is an institution that gives people carte blanche to dictate what another person can and can’t do. I consider myself an expert on how not to be a spouse and how not to preform life as a married person. I should know I have had three failed marriages. Just as it takes two to make a marriage work it takes two to destroy one as well. I know, I have been there. Usually it plays out that one person gives up sooner in the marital timeline than the other. The vow is broken, hurt happens and loss is felt. Often a marriage dies long before the participants are willing to admit it. How many times have you known people who stayed married for the sake of the children or other reason that is not that they truly liked being together? Notice I said marriage not love.
Love is a choice. Love is a promise to cherish the other person.
You choose to love or not. There are couples who are more devoted to each other without a marriage license than others who have been married for years. It is society that has conditioned us to believe that those who are in committed relationships but are not legally married are somehow not valid partnerships. Somehow we are taught to believe that two people can’t be devoted if they do not get married or we think maybe they don’t love each other, trust each other, or care about each other enough to get married.
Marriage as ordained by God is a spiritual connection that is grounded in faith not government. Faith in God, faith in each other and faith in your choice to be together. It is not based on the human’s faulty idea of marriage that is a contract and dictated by social norms. It is the choice and promise of commitment to that one other person that is important. Love and devotion do not require a piece of paper or even a ceremony. Ultimately, that is between the couple and God. Only God knows our true heart (1 John 3:20).
A marriage license is just a piece of paper. If there is no love there is no point.
When you think you are not good enough. When you feel worthless. When you want to give up. Remember God uses the broken. He prefers the company of sinners. Throughout history we see God using imperfect people to get things done. You are in good company. Here are a few of your companions:
Abraham was a senior citizen.
Issac was a daydream believer.
Elijah was suicidal.
Joseph was abused and broken.
Job ran away from responsibility and went bankrupt.
Moses was a murderer and he sucked at public speaking.
Gideon was scared.
Samson used women for sex and liked it.
Rahab was a sex addict and a prostitute.
Samaritan woman was divorced many times and had a live-in boyfriend.
Noah liked to drink wine, a lot.
Jacob was a cheater and was good at it.
David murdered his lover’s husband, so he could keep her.
Peter denied truth.
Martha worried about everything all the time.
Zacchaeus was a greedy little man.
Lazerus was dead…long dead.
Paul brutally killed Christians.
Then there was Jesus. He was a tradesman with a skill. He was a carpenter. He could have lived a life of privilege. Instead he chose to be with the homeless, hookers, thieves and liars. He spent all his time with the imperfect people, you know, the normal ones. He empowered them to do the will of God.
So, what makes you think you are so special that you can wallow in self pity?
Get up. Do the thing you have been scared to do.
Have you ever heard the quote “The will of God will never take you, Where the grace of God cannot keep you” ?
It is a Biblical truth that God’s grace never fails. He is God. It is a Biblical truth that God has a will that wants us to do and be as He deems. When you trust the will of God it is true that you will fare much better in this life.
But, we naughty humans do not usually live that way. We have a will of our own and it often seems a lot more fun to follow it. If God is working in our lives, we will struggle to pull in the direction of our will. We do not always recognize that we are struggling against the will of God. This is where I like to meet my characters in my novels. Like you and me they are living in a state of conflict with God. They usually figure out that God knows better than they do,but not always. I have some rebellious personalities in my stories. We humans often we discover that we do not always make the right choices without God after it is too late and we are at our rock bottom.
That’s where we get in trouble.
Our way always looks easier and makes sense in our frame of thought. Sometimes it is easier. God is not about the easy path, he is about the right path. We have to live as we see fit even if it is against what we know is the right way for us. Like rebellious children or book characters, we stomp our feet and fight against it until the exasperated parent, says “Fine have it your way! You’ll see.”
Lucky for us God has unlimited grace to forgive us, because He knows this won’t be the last time we use our will to get what we want.
Will we ever learn? Probably not.
Well met to all of you who came out to the Gulf Coast Ren Faire! The O’Gara’s had a grand time meeting all of you.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
The O’Gara Clan
Why do we do it? We know it is ridiculous, yet we go there every time. Let someone say something positive or negative, we over analyze and pick it apart. Let that someone be our spouse or significant other and we go in to overthinking over drive. We examine methodically and in detail every word and action, typically for purposes of our assumed interpretation.
Stop it. It is deadly to happiness, peace and love.
It makes no difference if what we know is the truth. If it doesn’t fit in our preconceived reality we will think it to death to make it fit. It never ends up resembling the truth. Oh, it may have tiny similarities of the truth, but it will not save you from the anxiety that will result.
There is only one cure, one solution to correct or stop your over thinking. Communicate openly with your person. Let them tell you the truth. Now here’s where it gets difficult, trust them. Don’t give the trust lip service. Really and truly trust them. What if they are lying to you? So what? If they are not telling you the truth, the truth will come out. It always does. Trusting them frees you from the demon of over thinking.
Love and peace will follow.
This has been a tough weekend. We said goodbye, we worked through some dark thoughts, and we experienced stress. I am almost certain that you, dear reader, had some similar trying days recently. Oh, I am not psychic, it’s called being human.
Today I have decided not to worry. I have decided to focus on love. I have decided to just be thankful for today. I know that the future holds some tough stuff that I will have to deal with too. It also holds amazing miracles I know is coming.
Again, I am not psychic, I know what I know.
I know that God almighty, the maker of all things, the holder of sparrows, the painter of sunsets, the curator of lilies, the feeder of the thousands, the drier of tears, the keeper of souls, the forgiver of sin…..and my Lord will give me all that I need. Nothing can take me from Him.
So, I will not worry or even think about tomorrow and what it might bring, I will be thankful for today.
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
It is no secret that I am a different kind of Christian. I am transparent about what I believe. My Jesus is not like the picture of Jesus that is hanging in the Sunday school classroom. My Jesus does not have silky red and white robes with perfectly combed hair, a perfect completion, and smiling looking up heavenly with crystal blue eyes. My Jesus is dirty from his travels on the dusty Jerusalem roads. He is battered, bloody, poor, tired, thirsty…a fugitive criminal.
What would happen if he walked in chose a pew for himself and took a seat next to Mrs. Never Skip Church in her Sunday best dress and hat? She would smile at him and say good morning, I doubt it. My guess is she would scowl and slide over away from Him. When we attend church, we expect to see a certain group of people around us in the pews. Everyone dressed in his or her good clothes nodding at the pastor. Children listening and not crying disturbing the rest of us. Would Jesus be comfortable in your church family?
It is so easy to attend church on Sunday and walking out feeling good about ourselves. What good Christians we are for not hitting the snooze and staying home. Being a Christian is more than a Sunday and maybe a Wednesday occurrence.
Being a Christian is a daily existence. It is a living breathing part of your life. It is Jesus living through you. The real Jesus, not the made up good-looking one, but the Savior who died for our sins.
To be like Jesus we have to get out of the pew and into the world. We have to go and serve those in need. Many of us do lip service to this effect. Are you opening your doors to the homeless man on the corner? Come in, praise God with us, and let us feed your body and soul. Are you paying medical bills for the pregnant teenager in your youth group? More likely, the parishioners are gossiping about her behind her back and are looking down at her parents for raising a promiscuous daughter. It cannot be that your youth director chose not to discuss abstinence with the teenagers because some parents my get upset. No that’s not it.
As a church, Christians have to get out of that comfortable place where Sunday services feel safe and mundane. We need to be confrontational to the issues of our community. We have to get out there and touch people for Jesus. We have to feed the multitude, step in front of the stone throwers, wash dirty feet, and heal the hurting. We have to agree to change what we can and love everyone.
(Also published on Medium at https://medium.com/@loriogara)
In his famous poem about death, Henry Scott Holland wrote,
“Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.”
Death is just a change in being and a slight change in location. There is no such thing as an after life, it is a continuation of life in a different dimension. Heaven and hell is closer that what you know. It is presumed that when a person dies that it is the physical condition that is responsible, but it is actually the reverse. The soul of the person leaves the body first and then the body, which cannot continue without it expires. Where does that soul go?
The Bible mentions that there is a veil separating the earthly world from the spiritual one. It was witnessed by the disciples when Jesus went on the mount to have a conversation with Moses and Elijah. Elijah and Moses existed on earth 546 years apart, they met in heaven. Since the two men were already dead, Jesus transformed himself in to his spiritual form to meet with them. (Luke 9) Various people have been said to have entered heaven while still alive, including Enoch, Elijah and Jesus himself, after his resurrection. Thus death is not a permanent state, but a shifted state of life.
There are countless stories of humans seeing their relatives who have passed on as if they were sitting in front of them alive. Ask one of those people and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that heaven is a real place that is close. It is not some place above our heads and hell is not in the ground.
If death is just a different state of being, why then do we grieve when a loved one passes through that door? We should celebrate their transition. What we grieve is not what the person is gaining, what we grieve is our loss of them. We can’t see past our own sadness and selfish want to keep them with us. We should try to remember, they are close by, just in the other room. If we could move the veil, we would see them.
As I write this my family is keeping vigil over my grandmother. She was one of the major influences in my life who taught me about love, God and Jesus. She said to me, “Don’t be sad when someone dies. Be happy. Even the angels rejoice when someone dies.” She taught me that heaven is my true home. Not this earthly realm of pain and sorrow. She and my other grandparents, made it a priority to teach me about spiritual things. They also encouraged me to keep studying truth. A legacy I am passing on to my children and grandchildren.
I am sad that I can’t be with her as she takes the journey home, however, I know where she is headed I will be there too one day. I will hold on to the memories of her, not the sick and old her, but the vibrant, Jesus loving her. I will continue to honor her memory by loving God and seeking truth. When she passes on to heaven, I will try to be happy and rejoice with the angels that she is with Jesus who she loves more than life and more than all of us, and she loves us a lot.
A person asked me today what gift I got for Valentines Day. When I told them my significant other fixed my lunch for me before I went to work, he smiled at me and asked me how my day went when I got home and he told me that he loved me. The person said to me, sounds like a normal day, not a Valentines Day gift? Yeah, so?
As I look at all the Valentines Day posts on social media I am struck by the conformity of the holiday. I am not talking about the commercialism of the thing promoted by card companies, florists, and jewelers. Rather the mind set that because it is Valentines Day one must get a gift for their chosen special person. Really? I say, why wait for a made up holiday to let the most important person in your life know that you love them? Tell them today.
I would much rather have a my love tell me how important I am to him or have him express it by his day to day actions than for him to make a show of our relationship by sending an obnoxious bouquet of flowers that will be dead in a few days anyway.
How about doing all the little things that you did while you where pursuing the one you now have. If you are still new and are still wooing them, do not stop once you catch them.
For example, he texted me with this, “13140 days and counting…” When I asked him what he meant he said, “That’s how many days we have had love in our hearts for each other.”
That, my friend, is a gift, holiday or not.
I am not sure where I have been the past couple of weeks. Under a rock maybe. I just saw the amazing pictures of Jupiter that NASA released. They are stunning. Who would have thought that in our life time we would have pictures this clear of a planet so far away?
My next thought was how very small and insignificant we really are in the universe. We are but small specks in this world and if we venture off this world we are barley existent. What’s more, the same God who made this vast universe cares about what happens to you. He calls you his beloved. He calls you his child. He made you in his image.He said of you, “I will make people more rare than fine gold.”
God formed you of dust from the ground and breathed into you the breath of life. You are made from stardust. You are not of this world.
If that doesn’t humble you soul, I don’t know what would.
~ Lori O’Gara
I found this amazing place to read cool stuff. It is called Medium.com. I liked it so much I joined. It is an open forum for writers, artists, and dreamers a like. Check out my page and other cool people there. You can read and applause those you like with claps, similar to Facebook likes….its fun.
During February there is a theme of all things red heart love. There are flowers, chocolates and paper cards proclaiming all sorts of messages about love. It is so everyday dish water that no one even blinks at the notion of love any more. We say it to and about everything. I love those shoes. I love cheeseburgers. I love_____. You fill it in and you see what I mean. Real love is nothing like the watered down version that we see in our lives today. Society has misconstrued the reality of love that when we see real love, experience real love in action, we distrust it.
Real love is not always pretty. It is the holding of hair as your child hangs over a toilet. It is the hand holding as your friend looses her job. It is the 2 am call when your brother is out and too drunk to drive. Love is giving a homeless man your last dollar and no caring if he buys a beer or a cheeseburger. Love is the sighs of peace in the arms of your mate. It is waking up as he shakes the bed in a nightmare and comforting his daemons quiet. Love is reliable, steadfast and true.
In all things let love be your motive. Let love guide you actions. Let love season your words, even the difficult ones.
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 (MSG)
I like that word, nonnegotiable. It has a very simple definition, not open to discussion or modification. I have a few nonnegotiable things in my life. Things that are important. Things that guide your life compass should be nonnegotiable.
Nonnegotiables mirror your values. The define what you will and won’t accept from others and from yourself. Nonnegotiables are the big-time deal breakers. They are unique to you.
For me it is simple, love is nonnegotiable. I love God, nonnegotiable. I either love you or not. If I love you, you are important to me. Even then my family is first. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb when I come home from work. I will only answer it for family, nonnegotiable.
If you do not make some things in your life nonnegotiable, people who do not care about you will take advantage of you. You have to be considerate and you have to be open to change; however, God does not want you to be a doormat.
We wish we could tell each and everyone of you in person who has purchased or read our books Thank you! We wish we could send you a thank you card or even hug you!
It means more to us than you know!
~ Lori and Brendan O’Gara
I am famous for not jumping on the latest and greatest band wagons because I have learned that my values are often not inline with trends. It doesn’t matter if it is a book trend, a product trend or a fashion trend. All trends have a few things in common. They are often short lived and often disrupt my simple peaceful life. I either find out that yes they do test on animals, they do not respect the dignity of people, they are uncomfortable to be worn or used, they waste money time and/or space. Some are simply ridiculous.
Stick to tried and true. However, if tried and true begin to cause you any stress, get rid of it too. Simplify your life in all areas. Focus on positive and simple ways to live. If the storage, cooking or fashion solution makes you spend more money, more time preparing under the disguise of saving money or time later, don’t do it.
No Thank you I don’t need one of those amazing cook everything pots, I have cookware thank you. I do not need any of the free ebooks that are basically word porn with no legitimate real story written in one night with flat characters, no real content and marketed with thirty or more other ones all with half naked people on the covers. Give me a real story I can sink my teeth into and with characters I can love or hate. Also, I do not need those leggings and clothes that all the girls are wearing from a company who’s owners are disrespectful to my fellow disabled humans. Then there is that new amazing eyebrow and make up product that was tested on animals, most probably beagles. Do not get me started on the beagles!
In reality humans need very little to survive and be happy. We need water, food, shelter, clothing, mental simulation, physical touch and love to feel secure and thrive.
Everything else, yes EVERYTHING else, is optional.
All my life I had this image of where I would be when I became an adult. I am nothing like that image. I have not landed in the city that I thought I would live; however, I have a peaceful home. I am not be affluent as I imagined I would be; however, I do have a fabulous career that I worked hard for. I am not alone as I thought I would be. I do have an unbelievably great family, a loving man, brilliant children and awesome grand kids.
While that is true in a sense we are also bound by our station in life. Where we are in society, how much money we have and how much determination we have, and our level of discipline play a part of where we go in life. There is also the factor of our trust.
Our trust in ourselves and in our choices is vital to success. If we lack trust in just one of these areas we can fail, but if we lose our trust in God we are certain to fail. Will we trust God enough to provide for what we need? Will we allow him to lead us to our future? We have to trust that God is in control even when we feel He is not. We have to believe that He is there at work even if we can’t see any results yet. This is difficult and we often give up.
We can break those bounds and be more than what we think, more than society says we can be. We must not give up. We must keep trusting God. We can not allow the alternative to be an option. We can’t trust feelings or emotions or even what we see around us. We must trust ourselves, trust our gut. We must trust God is keeping His promise.
Someone asked me what is the main theme for my second novel, Almost There, and I answered redemption. Briana has to look her ugly past in the face, forgive herself and accept the forgiveness of God before she can move past it to a life of peace.
It’s like this, no one told me that when God forgives sin, he often makes you face your sin to learn from it and that, my friend, is forgiveness that hurts. It is painful to look your sin in the face and say, “I did that and I am truly sorry.” It is even more excruciating to look sin in the face and say, “Wow, that was me? I really did that?” Yes, you did.
God doesn’t offer a caveat on His grace. There is nothing you can do to repay the gift of redemption. You must take it with a remorseful heart. Part of that remorse is facing your sin for the dirty, ugly, pathetic, nasty thing that it is and learn from it. If you don’t see what it is for the truth of it, you risk a repeat performance and more of the same. You don’t have to be scared, God is with you. He forgave you. He will be there to wipe tears and heal the hurt.
Do you remember telling your mom that your leg hurt and she said it was growing pains? Pain isn’t always a bad thing. With facing your sin comes pain, but you must face it to grow in faith. You must realize where it was that God saved you from, what life you had that His grace redeemed you out of, and what mortal sin you were forgiven. When you face your self, your sin, you can grow into that person that God can use for His glory. If you don’t face your sin, deal with it and move on, then this life, this hard, painful, struggling, forgiven life is for nothing but your self-serving purpose, not God’s will.
Think about that thing you are avoiding looking at, that tucked away sin that needs light shined on it, yeah that one, deal with it, today. The sooner it is dealt with the sooner you can praise God for the redemption that follows. Briana learned that lesson the hard way.
Today’s Sunday thought comes from Brendan O’Gara
“Value your time. Until you value yourself, you will not value your time,you will not do anything with it. Ultimately we do not pay for anything with money, rather we pay for things with time. Instead of thinking about what you do and what you buy in terms of money, think about them in terms of time. Is what you are spending your time on worth the time you could be spending with your family ? If the answer is no, then some decisions and changes need to be made. Are the tasks on today’s agenda worthy of your time?”
What is happiness? Is it a temporary feeling of happy? We experience life in moments. We tend to look at life as days, months and years when in reality it is actually moments. It isn’t even past moments. It is the current moment. The right now. We have to learn to be happy in the movement. As the moments go one after the other happiness becomes contentment. Happiness, true soul deep happiness is contentment. Even in a sad moment or a rough day, if you have a content life you can say “I am happy”.
Birthplace: Earth, Race: Human, Politics: Freedom, Religion: Love
Look at the description above….is that you? If not maybe you should reconsider being a human. I hear there are other planets that have space for you. Trust me, I know The Doctor.
All kidding aside, as humans we need the same things. We may desire other things, however our basic human needs are the same. I think we can all agree in the first two attributes, birthplace and race. It is when humans forget those and focus on politics and religion does the air get murky. As humans we like different things. We desire different things. We pursue different creative outlets.
We must learn soul-balance in a vacillating, changing world of differences. We must learn to be fearless. Stand up for humanity. Focus on what makes us human and love each other.
Believe in humanity.
As I look back on my life I see myself as a person I am not proud of. However, when I really think about it I am not proud of who I am now either. I am humbled at where I am in life and how I got here. Looking back I see a person who was often frantic over reaching perfection.
My home, job, and everything else had to appear to the outside world as perfect. I would scramble to make sure everything was just so before anyone saw it. That perfection mentality was absorbed in all parts of my life. I was so obsessed as to what other people thought of me that it controlled me in ways I was not even aware of and in ways that I was fully conscience of.
Not too long ago I was at one of the lowest places a person could be in life. I had no place to live (well I was staying at my mom’s home). My income was cut more than half. I was sad and alone. I gained back all the weight I fought for years to get off of my body. I was figuratively face down in the muck of life with no light. Where was perfection then? Where were all the people that I damn near killed myself to impress?
It is my belief, regardless of what you call God, or higher power or whatever, that we are intentionally put down to our lowest point in life so that we can see that we are insignificant. All the things we claim to be important are nothing. God allows us to use that free will of ours and when we get to that point of destitution we have to look for that power of the universe, God, to show us what is important, what the big picture of life really is.
As a result of me being flat in the muck of imperfection, I am not the same person. I am no longer a slave to being that perfect person with the perfect life. My life revolves around peace and love. My house is a mess, my bank account is scrawny and I am happier than I have ever been. I am surrounded by love and I can see with unclouded eyes what is important in life.
Believe in striving for peace not perfection.
Hope is a powerful word. What is hope? It is the belief in possibility. It is the belief in something better in the future. Hope gets you through tough times. Hope gives you the strength to keep fighting, surviving and progressing forward in life. Don’t confuse hope with optimism. Optimism is confidence in yourself for the future. Hope is the belief that whatever it is will happen or improve, with or without you being involved.
If you want to help others, if you want to live a positive life, be the one who believes in hope. Be the one who pushes out negative thoughts with a radical grip on hope. Hope and courage go hand in hand. You can be terrified of the future but if you have hope you can find the courage to keep going.
Don’t quit. Keep moving forward hoping for better things.
Believe in hope.
Matthew 18:20 (NRSV) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
I am wondering why some people think that every time the church door opens that they have to walk through them. I have seen so many people who think that if they go to church then they are good with God. Then to insure that they are indeed in the good graces of the almighty, they force their children to be there every single time too.
Let me enlighten you, going to church does not make you a Christian.
I understand the keep the Sabbath Holy commandment. I respect it and I honor it. Even that doesn’t say you have to be in Church building to keep it holy. I have read the verses that are quoted about meeting together and hearing the scriptures. I agree that it is very important to meet with other Christians, study, praise and pray together. Even so, nowhere does it say that any of those things have to be done in a church. Nor does it have to be in any sort of service format. What’s wrong with meeting at the beach or in a home? The Christians make the church not the building.
Christians, do yourself a favor, if you want to go to church go, but do not force it on others. While you’re at it stop beating yourself up with guilt about not going.
Love God, love each other, worship, fellowship together and invite the Holy Spirit to join you. No guilt allowed.
I just realized that I haven’t posted since last Monday. I am still trying to get my head screwed back on correctly after the holidays. You know that now it’s over let’s get back to real life routine sort of brain that takes a minute to remember where and who you are.
As I look over the next few weeks I see that there are a lot of things on my agenda. It would be easy to get overwhelmed at it and stressed out. I have made the decision that will not happen My next thoughts were Don’t Panic! and Where’s my towel? ….Actually it went something like this…
“Crap, look at this calendar. I have so much to do…Where is my towel? Do not panic. Scrap it! I can do this! I will do this! I am a strong resourceful woman. Yea…sure I am.”
Just then my love sets a cup of strong coffee next to me and smiles….yea I can do this.
Who’s with me? Pull up your big girl or boy warrior britches and get things done.
We can do this!
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In We Will Get There one of the themes is a very real issue facing Perdido Key even today. The loss of land and change to the horizon. In the book, Krystal fights and wins but in reality the fight was lost years ago.
What we have to remember is that change is inevitable. It is how we react that counts. All we can do is fight when we can and accept the change when we can’t control it.
It breaks my heart to see the monstrous condos line the shore when I top the bridge headed out to Perdido. I have my memories. No one can change that. Home is a place but it is in our hearts as well.
Where is your home? Has it changed in significant ways?
~ Lori O’Gara
Perdido Key now and before development.
I usually do not make resolutions. I can never stick them out all year. I read once that it takes doing a thing for 30 days to make a habit. So this year I am going to try that, 30 days to make a habit. Then do it again the next month and the next. Before long another year will be gone. I only have 3 resolutions.
1. Listen to God, do what he says without following my own rules.
2. Write something every single day even if I don’t feel like it.
3. Read every day, even if I don’t feel like it and by doing so read everything on my shelves that I have not read.
These resolutions are not as easy as the sound. Making my own mind shut up and listen is going to be difficult. God knows better than I do. I need to listen and follow Him.
Write something everyday even if I don’t feel like it. Most of the time I want to write, I have the desire to write. I will first devise some sort of plan listing what projects I really want to work on. Organize my writing and write everyday.
Read read read! I have several unread books. I have serious OCD about buying books. I see something that looks interesting and I buy it to read later. My TBR (to be read) stacks have grown a lot the past year.
So that’s it for 2018. No crazy commitments that I know I won’t keep, no empty promises to myself or God, only a plan to make some progress.
One of the strongest words in the English language is forever. Merriam Webster defines forever as a limitless time (as in He wants to live forever) or at all times, continually. Forever is one of those words that stands in front of you defiantly and dares you to prove it wrong. It is bossy and intrusive. The word forever and I have always agreed to disagree. It says to me, let go trust that I am true. I say no, no you are not. There is no such thing as forever. I am good with the continually definition. It is the limitless time that gives me anxiety. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Seasons change, people die, good things always come to an end and bad times pass. There is no such thing as forever. The difficult lessons in life have taught me that forever is a fantasy, a fairy tale. We all know that fairy tales are not true.
Just recently I have had this needling thought in my head. It is a particularly chatty monkey that says, “You are wrong. Love lasts forever. Real love is never-ending.” I have resisted the urge to toss that monkey out on his head. I try to get my head around the thought that someone could love me so much that it lasts not just my lifetime but forever into eternity. I have even said to that thought monkey and the person who put it in my head, “No, I do not say forever. I can’t trust that to be true.”
Then the monkey chatter says in rebellion, “What if you are wrong? What do you have to lose? What is love?” That definition of love is stronger than that nasty little monkey called forever. The same dictionary defines love as a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person, attraction that includes sexual desire, the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship, a person you love in a romantic way, God or personification of love.
I have said on this blog and in other places that God is love. I have also said that love is worth the risk. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t at least give this forever consideration. I have love in my life that is strong that has the potential to last a long long time. I don’t know if it will indeed last forever. All I can do is hope and have faith that it is enough. That the love I have in my life will last a long time and that it is worth the risk.
At that thought another nicer calmer monkey spoke up in the chatter, “Love is worth everything. Stop listening to your mind and listen to your heart.”
I sighed, conceded and said out loud, “I love you…forever.”
Next to me the one who loves me smiled and said, ” I love you too.”
Thinking about the Christmas wrapping, shopping, and decorating, it hit me. All the stuff that I call traditions and all the seasonal necessities that I think we need are so not necessary. Christmas is about the family that I shop, decorate, wrap, and do the traditions for to try to please. Will my family love me less if I do not go all out for them at Christmas? No, they love me either way.
We are told through media, peer pressure, and social expectations that Christmas would not be special if we do not give our family all the things they want. We believe that Christmas will not be memorable if we do not max out our credit cards on the latest gadgets and greatest toys. This lie that the retail giants of the world want us to believe is fatal and tragic. It most certainly is NOT Christmas.
We have been told over again in all those mushy Christmas specials, Christmas is about loving each other. Christmas is not about stuff. The meaning behind the gifts is important. It does not matter if the gifts are the latest must have or a handmade creation. It is the love that you show that family while sitting around that decorated tree. Once we take this truth to heart, Christmas will be special and memorable.
This year Christmas will be different. Christmas will be about love.
We meet eye to eye
Face to face
No words do we speak
You reach for me
I relax in your arms
My lips find yours
Kissing you pleases me
Freeing me from my inner torment
You stroke my hair
Deep within my soul, I hunger for more
I cry as you release me
Walking away….my heart sighs
© Lori O’Gara
Captain James Tiberius Kirk was wrong. Space is not the final frontier. Time is the final frontier to explore. It is impossible to explore time without investigating space, but that is not what I am talking about here. Let’s look at time as a measurement of our existence. We humans view time from our meager tiny perspectives as a line of beginning, ending and continuing. Time, like God has always been, with no beginning and no ending. The difference is that time as we perceive it and use it is an illusion.
We wake up, travel through the day with the clock at the ready. Time appears to tick on and on. It seems to be a unit of measure. Time is nothing more than a fabrication of our need to know when we are in the existence of the world. There is no time. There is only existence and being. We live on this planet and we move through our lives in one constant motion of life. Generations are born and generations die but the human race continues. Life continues with or without our knowing what time, year or month it is on the calendar or clock.
In my experience my fellow Christians are closed minded to this concept that time is an illusion. Other religions embrace the theory. According to the Hindu theory of creation, time (Sanskrit ‘kal’) is a manifestation of God. Creation begins when God makes his energies active and ends when he withdraws all his energies into a state of inactivity. God is timeless, for time is relative and ceases to exist in the Absolute. The Absolute is the spiritual realm. The past, the present and the future coexist in him simultaneously. God creates the cycle of time, called Kalachakra, in order to create divisions and movements of life and sustain the worlds in periodic time frames. God also uses time to create the illusions of life and death for us the living immortals.
There is Biblical proof that time is an illusion. The Bible tells us God is everywhere and all at once. There is a vail the blocks our human sight from the spiritual. There are several verses that talk about the spirt world being hidden. The most notable is in Mathew 17 where Jesus speaks to Moses and Elijah. To do so Jesus has to transform from the physical and take on his true spiritual self. He moved from the limited physical world to the world of absolute.
What if we could see past time? Past our continuation on this plane of existence? What if we could see time as how God sees it in the spiritual realm? We would see our place in the big picture of creation. The boundaries of the physical would be so unimportant that we would live fully knowing that this is not the end. Time would not control us. All it would take is for us to accept the fact that we do not see the whole picture. By accepting our limited perception, we would be free to be our true selves, not the fabricated versions that society has created us to be. Our daily lives would still be dictated by the clock, it is how we function in society, but the stress of loss and regret would be irrelevant. We would see that this life is a temporary state of being and not our true state. We would know that our love and loved ones are still out there existing. That life continues past what we can see.
If we begin to live in the spiritual mindset outside of time, conscience of the spiritual, we would take away the control of stress and worry. We would live as free spirits only visiting the physical. The small things that disrupt our peace would disappear. Life would be amazingly peaceful and light.
Choose your battles. Sometimes peace is more important than being right.
I have tried to be as transparent as I can. What you see here on this site and on my Facbook page is my digital fingerprint. I am who I am. I am not much of a mystery. What you see is what you get. I am not a drama queen. You won’t see me degrading someone in a comment section of any social media outlet. Even if I totally disagree with the opinion. I will try to express the truth in the situation without confrontation. There is so much negativity in the world these days and I am doing my best to keep it away from me.
I have decided to focus more on my inner being than looking at what is happening on the outside. I am writing everyday, which is challenging. There is this thing called life that gets in the way all the time. Oh and I have this other thing called a job that is necessary for other things like food and a roof.
I think that the battles we choose speak to who we are in our soul. What we fight for and about is what we value. If we value people we fight for them. If we value money we will fight for that. If we value love we will fight for love.
The question is how to balance what we value in our souls with what we need in our life to survive. Sometimes those two things do not match and are not compatible. I think peace is found when we make the important stuff in our being and the needed stuff for our survival the same things.
Something to think about during this time of year when the focus is on material things not always the important things.
I was looking at Facebook (the greatest time suck ever invented) I was scrolling through the ribbon of people in the “People you may know” section when I realized I do not know about 95% of the smiling faces. I was saying, “I don’t know you, I don’t know you, I don’t know you, cute hair, oh I like that outfit, nice, still don’t know you….” on and on. Then it was “Oh, you look fun.” I click the picture and read the person’s profile. I see we read the same sorts of books and like the same sorts of movies. It struck me that, no I don’t know the person, but maybe they would like to know me. I mean we have a mutual friend and she likes me. I am amazing and all.
Is it weird to send a message to a stranger and say “You don’t know me but I think you would like me since so-&-so likes me”….?
Then I ask myself, what would you do if you got a message like that?
It would go something like, oh a message…..no..nope… I do not know you, stalker! Delete.
I think I will keep scrolling down the timeline on the off chance that the 5% of people I actually know may still want to talk to me.
Like I said, biggest time suck EVER invented.
I think it is time for a vacation from Facebook again.
I find myself questioning why things are not going the way I think they should or the way that seems like the best way. I need God to move in my life in a way that is specific, so I pray. I have been here before with God and I know that He always comes through. He keeps His promises and I am always blessed.
This time I am full of doubt that what I need to happen will happen. I keep hearing myself say to God, “Ok, I can do this or that, just let me help move things along, and see what happens.” I instantly know it is the wrong answer. I know that I am to wait, trust and pray. I hate that answer. I want to act…I want to do something, to react..anything!
Hence the struggle. Sit, wait….listen. remain faithful. Trust that God is in control. When all I want to do is move and fidget with my own ideas that are no where near as good as what God has for me. God’s will for my life is perfect for me. All I have to do is be patient and hold on to faith.
Yeah, easier said than done.
James 1:2-4 (NRSV)
2 My brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
William Porter, a self-proclaimed sinner cowboy from the hills of Tennessee, adjusted his black felt cowboy hat, the leather band worn by age and the constant fingering of his strong fingers. His hands not rough and calloused like a factual rancher but soft. Never the less William Porter was at heart a true cowboy. If he had been alive in the glory days of the west, he would have worn a white hat not a black. William possessed all the qualities of a good cowboy and a few of the black hat wearing villains, when necessary. A cowboy always put the needs of the herd before himself. The safety of others, especially the defenseless, was top priority for William Porter.
Excerpt from There and Back, Perdido Key Novel #3, release date, June 2018
There should be more, much more, to life than our traditional definition of success. There is a lot to be said about being successful, not all of it is bad. Having a comfortable life style is nice, sure. How we treat other people is a better way to show our success. We all want to have the things in our lives that make us look to the outside world as having made it, such as a well paying job, shiny car, and big bank roll. Our society defines success by our bottom line. The more zeros in your account the more useful you are.
I challenge you to be significant instead. I warn you, it is not easy to be significant. As difficult as getting those zeros can be, making a difference in this world can be more of a challenge. More than success, creating a significant difference in the lives of others in all you do is more difficult than just simply being successful. It will probably cost you some of those zeros to do it correctly. To be significant you have to take on an attitude of servitude. In all you do seek to serve your fellow man. No you don’t have to join the Peace Corp, work from what you have and from where you are.
Measure your significance by the important little things you can do to improve the life of someone else. This should be your mission in life. Our significance is to serve others in love and respect. Live your life to be significant instead of successful and success you shall have.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
Now Available on Amazon
Gadlin O’Hale’s Fantastic Recipes: From the Seven Kingdoms taken from the greatest Pub’s, Tavern’s, and Inns by Brendan O’Gara
Johan, Wandalor, Dar, Thalin and Gadlin, came from different backgrounds, thrown together by fate and these are their stories.
The first of them anyway. Currently we are collaborating on a high fantasy series to include the band of travelers you will meet in Brendan’s cookbook, more like cookbook fantasy exploit. The story will take you ,dear reader, on a journey through strange new lands where you will meet fantastic creatures and witty characters.
George Washington Carver once said, “Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there.”
I have never understood why people argue about who God is. It does not matter what religion you subscribe to or what name you pin on God. The creator and the universal greater power is the same, God is still God.
When Christians try to put God in a nice neat box and say this God, our God is the only God, they are limiting the very God they claim to be all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent.
How can an omnipresent God who speaks to each soul in a unique way for that soul go by one name or a name at all? He has no need for a name. God just is.
We Christians say, “God has a plan for your life in His perfect will.” He loves us as individuals. It only stands to reason that each of us will have a personal connection to that power of God and communicate with God in the only way our imperfect minds know how. Naming God is a human construct.
God just is. He exists. Even God himself said to Moses, “I am” when Moses asked what His name is. The power of creation, spirit and love that is in the universe, in nature, in us is the One True God. What you call this God is insignificant to the fact that you believe in God and embrace love. The fact God exists and that we find a connection through love and we share that love with our fellow living creatures, that is what is important.
I choose Christianity to serve God. It is arrogant of me to assume that my God will not reveal Himself to a person who chooses a different way to connect with Him through their spirit. All connections to God are sacred. I will go as far to say that all other religions that worship one God are worshiping the same true God. The great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, the Goddess, and others are different connections to God, however, there is still only one God.
I have reconciled this truth with to the part of my faith that says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 6-7) Want proof? The Quran mentions Jesus more often that Mohammad. It doesn’t stop there, I see in other religions that there are other stories of the Messiah. These facts and others appear to make the connections between one God and all religions as a simple truth, there is one God.
I believe that we Christians are making a big mistake by undermining the scope of who God is by saying God isn’t in the other religions and by the way, here is God’s name. We shall call him this. We are molding Him to our image of God, when we should be encouraging others to connect to God in whatever way the spirit is calling them as individuals.
I will continue to search for a closer relationship with God and I encourage you to do the same. Search for God with love and a sincere thirst for truth. The power of God’s Love will find you right where you are, no matter what you call Him.
This past week I explained my foundation of belief so what does this have to do with my writing and my novels? I use this foundation, my life foundation, for all my stories and characters. I think all creative people use their values as a starting point for making art. The most authentic art comes from being true to oneself.
I write from love, humanity, respect, peace,and home with an under current of Christianity. I tackle the things that some Christian authors avoid. I address the gritty and ugly that comes with being a human. Then I show how these things in the light of love, respect, peace, and dignity. I have characters who live in such a way that the reader can see the person’s values.
The reason my novels are not classified as Christian Fiction despite the fact that I have Christian themes and strong characters is that I don’t force Christianity out through the words. I let it evolve in the lives of my characters just as it does in the lives of real people. The Perdido Key novels are full of people who learn and grow as they move through life’s chaos and deal with very real situations. My writings have something for everyone and are enjoyed by Christians and non Christians regardless of their beliefs.
Let me know what you think.
The O’Garas have been busy editing and writing. Today we have an announcement. Brendan’s book is set for release on December 1, 2017 and will be available through amazon.
I believe in home as a place of peace.
Home. It is a place of contentment and security. Everyone deserves this place. It may be your house, where you grew up or some other place you call home. However, home as a place of peace may not be a place at all, it may be a person. When with your person, you feel the words “I’m home” in your soul. There’s a sense of peace and belonging. This is your place in the world.
I believe in respect for others and respect for the dignity of every human being.
I believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things and that everyone deserves respect. I do not have to agree with your values to respect you. I do not have to even like you to respect you. I don’t look at your social statues, your job, your gender or your race. The fact is you are a living soul and I respect you.
I believe in love, pure unconditional love.
Unconditional love that is always giving. It is a total commitment to seek your highest best no matter how anyone may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not. This is the true form of love.
This is not romantic love. It is life saving love. This love feeds the hungry, shelters the cold, loves the unlovable, and concurs hate. Love every soul on earth with this love.