In Honor of Mother’s Day

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A Mother’s Heart

The pain of a child is magnified
In the loving heart of its mother
She carries the burden and feels the hurt
more deeply than any other.
Regardless of the child’s age,
she never really lets go.
The apron strings may have been cut,
but with heartstrings it’s never so.
Joy to joy and trial by trial
she watches her baby grow.
Tenderly caring, worrying and wondering
in what direction their life will go.

The happiness of a child is multiplied
in the loving heart of its mother.
She cherishes the smiles and records the laughter
all stored in her memory forever.
Regardless of the child’s age,
she lives for those happy moments.
Their laughter is music to her ears.
Her children fill up her senses.
Their smiles are her treasure,
their hugs her fortune,
and when they say, “I love you”
her day is won!

The life of a child is held forever
in the loving heart of its mother.
The deepest pain, the greatest joy,
The heart of a mother is like no other.

                                                                                                      © 2019, Brenda Lenz

Not To Be Remiss

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It occurred to me this morning that I have been remiss in my travel journaling.  I have been to this place twice in the past six months and have yet to share it with you.  For this, I apologize.  ☺️

The place?  Branson, Missouri.  A bit of a mystery to some and home away from home for others.  I, personally, had never heard of the place until I moved from California to Texas.  California has it’s own playgrounds; Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe, Vegas.  Apparently Branson is a playground for the middle southern part of the country.  A lot of folks from Texas and Arkansas in particular visit there.  At least that’s where a lot of the people I’ve met were from.  Branson gets visitors from all over the world though.  I learned this on our last visit while signing a guest book at one of our favorite spots there.  So, if you’re unfamiliar with Branson and curious at the same time, read on.

The first thing I heard about Branson was the shows.  I had not been there yet, but my best friend goes frequently and was telling me a little bit about it.  What I pictured in my mind was nothing like the reality!  I basically pictured a strip of road lined with theatres, and that was it.  Ha!  Was I surprised when I actually saw it for the first time.

My first sighting was a lake and a beautiful bridge crossing over it.  It turns out, there are all kinds of water activities in Branson at Table Rock Lake; Lake Taneycomo, and Rockaway Beach.  Lake Taneycomo runs like a river alongside Branson to Rockaway Beach.  One of the best views of Table Rock Lake can be found at Top of The Rock.  A beautiful site to visit all on it’s own.  There is a museum, a golf course, restaurant, shopping, and Big Cedar Lodge.  A Branson “must-do” in my opinion.

I think of Branson as a combination of Lake Tahoe, CA.; Fredericksburg, TX; and Las Vegas, NV (without the gambling).  Branson is a very family friendly place.  I only included Vegas because of the shows – which are also family friendly.  The shows are too numerous to mention.  I will say, however, that if you go and there is a show at the Sight and Sound Theater – go see it!  I also recommend a group called “Six”.  My words can’t do them justice.  If you like music and comedy – see their show.

In addition to all the shows, there is shopping galore!  Thus the Fredericksburg reference.  Downtown and Branson Landing are my two favorite shopping areas.  There is also no shortage of restaurants should you work up an appetite while shopping.  Paula Deen even has a new restaurant coming at The Landing.  I saw the construction going on during my last visit this past April.

I don’t travel with kids so much anymore, but I know there is plenty for them to do in Branson as well.  Miniature golf courses and go-kart tracks are all over Branson.  I’ve heard tell that Silver Dollar City theme park is a great place to hang out with the kids.  I don’t think there’s really anything you could do in Branson that the kids wouldn’t be welcome to and even enjoy.  Some of the smaller ones may get bored with a show or two, but even that’s questionable.

Branson has something for just about everyone whether you’re into hiking or your idea of hiking is browsing the shops along the main.  Good food, good fun, good people.  That’s my experience of Branson, Missouri and I would be remiss to not share it with you.

Happy Travels!

Poetry Corner

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The Means to The End

The pain runs deep.
There seems no end.
The injustice is just unbearable.

They drove so far
their steely knife,
It feels as if lodged forever.

Innocence is yours.
Nothing have you done
to merit such a blow to your heart.

But remember, dear one
to whom you belong.
”Vengeance is Mine”, He saith.

His is to repay.
Yours is to forgive.
With God all things are possible.

Look to the Healer
to mend your heart.
Choose forgiveness over and over.

Never lose sight
of eternity.
It puts everything else in perspective.

The pain runs deep,
but there is an end
and the means are love and forgiveness.

© 2019, Brenda Lenz

Moving On

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I’m going to be totally transparent here.  I am a dreamer, and I’m a little spoiled.  I blame my husband for the spoiled part.  He does everything in his power to make me happy and  when I really want something, he’ll move heaven and earth to get it for me.  Just as a small example; I decided I wanted a dog a couple months back.  Rich has NEVER wanted a dog.  In fact, he has been adamantly against living with one the entire 27-years we’ve been together.  It is the ONE thing I thought he would never let me have my way on.  I was wrong!  We lived with a little bundle of half beagle/half rat terrier energy for exactly one month. At which time I decided I’m not such a dog person and this particular dog needed a younger home.  My husband spoils me.

This combination of spoiled and dreamer causes me to have a hard time with the harsh realities of life.  I’ve been this way my entire life, even when I was up to my eyeballs in harsh realities; being homeless for one (that story is for another post).  My oldest son once referred to me as an “ostrich mother hen”.  Even he was aware of my need to bury my head in the sand while attempting to control my circumstances  at the same time.  Interesting visual, isn’t it?  😂

I enjoy making things look beautiful, my life included.  So, when things get ugly I do my best to spruce them up.  When my efforts end up being futile I get frustrated, confused, sad.  Eventually, (recently actually) I learned an important lesson.  Sometimes life is just ugly.  Sometimes things are really hard and there’s nothing to be done, but do your best to move on.  Sometimes God’s answer to my prayer is, “No. My grace is sufficient for you.”  Which means that He will help me to move on because that’s what I need to do.  And sometimes I really need His help!

When I’m tempted to try and resurrect something that is long since gone, or recreate the original situation when I don’t like the way it has changed.  Those are the times when I really need the strength, peace, and grace of God.  My kids are grown and they’re not magically going to turn back into 5-year olds.  My health has diminished, I’m aging, and there’s nothing I can do to be 25 or even 30 again.  The one constant in life is change and it amazes me how much I fight against it if it’s not a change I wanted.

In the midst of many changes in my life, I am doing my best to adapt and adjust my attitude. I’m trying to look forward rather than back.  It’s not easy and I have moments when I feel only loss.  Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Attitude is everything.  I believe that.  Every day I need to make the choice to look forward, to have a positive attitude about the future and all the possibilities that are there for me to discover.

God is good and He has good planned for me.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT.‬‬  Sometimes the good takes the path of hardship on its way to me and I have to look hard for it, but it always shows up.  I was never promised a perfect, pain free life.  None of us were.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬. Sometimes things are just hard and there’s nothing to be done except pray for what you need to get through it and move on.


This I Well Know!

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Milestones.  I’m not exactly sure why we mark them except that we seem to have this innate desire to keep track of events that we consider important.  I am no exception. I am our family’s self-proclaimed historian and an avid scrapbooker.  My husband and I recently marked a milestone that we are very thankful for – our 25th wedding anniversary!  Yay!  🥳💕

To mark the occasion and celebrate we spent a fun-filled week in Branson, Missouri with very dear and long-time friends.  It was a wonderful week!  Branson is not just for retirees.  There is something for people of all ages.  We shopped, saw a couple of shows, ate amazing food, and saw some awe-inspiring views.  We took a helicopter ride, rode on a riverboat, and thought about horseback riding 😉  Most importantly, we spent quality time together.  Some of my favorite memories from the trip were sitting on the deck of the condo we were in, watching the river go by and talking.  It was so peaceful!

Twenty-five years is a long time to spend with one person.  My history prior to meeting Rich would lead one to believe that I would never celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary (three failed marriages and many abusive relationships), but God is good!  He changed my path, changed my story, and here we are!  More in love than ever and still the best of friends!  I am convinced that there are two secrets to a happy and long-lasting marriage; friendship and Jesus. Rich and I were friends before we were anything else and Jesus is the foundation on which we’ve built our life together.

It hasn’t always been easy, by any means, but in comparison to what I experienced before Rich it has been bliss!  We’ve had a few rough patches, but our friendship and our faith have seen us through.  We have almost always been able to talk to each other and I have never forgotten why I fell in love with him in the first place. As for him, he gets more adoring with each passing year. He spoils me and truly makes me feel like I’m the most important human on this planet to him. I can’t really put into words all the ways in which he is perfect for me. I truly believe that God created Rich just for me.

As of today, we have made it twenty-five years and one week.  I don’t know whether the Lord will give us another twenty-five years or twenty-five days. Either way I look forward to every minute I get to share this life with my best friend and the love of my life!  I am a very blessed woman and this I well know!


Worth Having

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In my 20 plus years as a Christian I have heard sermon after sermon about the “free” gift of salvation, about how glorious life is after receiving Christ and having your sins washed away.  Well, I beg to differ.  I’m going to make a very bold statement that may upset a few people; salvation is not free.  There is a cost that a lot of preachers don’t want to tell you about because it doesn’t make Christianity sound so attractive, and they want you to want it.  And you can have it for the low price of the life that you’re used to living.  Yes, your life.

Most of us didn’t learn about this price until after we’d signed up.  Once you’re in, they tell you about the sacrifices you’re expected to make; giving up sin, dropping old emotional baggage, letting someone who knows you even better than you know yourself guide you through life, giving up control.  What?!

The “free” part comes when God takes that old life and gives you a new one that’s a hundred times better.  I’m not sure that math adds up, but I guess that’s why they call it grace.  I won’t kid you though, it’s not always easy.  We’re comfortable with our emotional baggage and dropping it can be difficult.  I know I attempted to pick mine back up several times.  And giving up control?  Don’t even get me started!   Then there’s the whole getting to know someone you can’t physically see, hear, or touch thing.  Talk about not easy!

Here’s the thing – Christ sacrificed His life to save us from the penalty of death for our sins, and make no mistake – we are ALL sinners.  When we choose to accept His gift of salvation we are choosing to make Him Lord of our lives; walk with Him, talk with Him, learn His ways and follow His example.  These things are not easy for finite, self-absorbed creatures like us.  He knows that and He loves us anyway.

Sometimes walking with Jesus feels like a big sacrifice.  It feels difficult and even confusing at times.  Bad things still happen to us and we still mess up big time. The difference is that we are still forgiven, AND we have a helper at our disposal – the Holy Spirit.  We can turn to Him at any time for comfort and advice.  This Christian life is not for the faint of heart.  It’s a wild ride!  It’s an ongoing process of one step forward, two steps back sometimes and other times it’s a glorious mountaintop experience.  It’s an adventure like no other!  We don’t receive Christ and immediately move into the castle.  We spend some time in the desert, just like Jesus did.

Like Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”  A relationship with Jesus is worth having!  Eternity in heaven rather than hell is worth everything I’ve got to give!  Christ going to the cross for us wasn’t easy for Him. I guess He thinks that WE are worth having.


The Measure of God’s Goodness

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My devotion this morning addressed the goodness of God.  It asked this question: “Do we believe God is good by what we see or do we believe God is good because of who He is?”  I decided to honestly ask myself that question and the answer surprised me a little.

I believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.  The Bible tells me in no uncertain terms that God is good.  “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” -MARK‬ ‭10:18‬ ‭NASB‬. “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You.” -PSALMS‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬. In addition to these verses and more like them, I have my own proof.  Things God has done for me that I did not deserve – good things.  The greatest of which was to die for me and save me from the penalty of my own sin.  If He did nothing else for me my entire life, that alone would be enough to prove His goodness.  That was not all He did though.

In addition to healing me physically from an incurable disease God has given me countless blessings, been a comfort to me innumerable times, and healed me emotionally from a very hurtful and dysfunctional past.  God is good, I have no doubt, and yet . . . there are times when I don’t feel that He is being good to me.  There are times when I believe God’s goodness based on what I see.

I am a fickle and unfaithful human at my core. Somehow, in spite of my hard-knock life, I am spoiled.  Sometimes, when things don’t go my way, my initial reaction is that of a spoiled brat.  I get angry and pitch a fit.  I whine, complain, and cry out “Why?!”  This is a character flaw that I am not proud of and I end up being appalled with myself when it rears its ugly head, AND it’s the truth.  I KNOW that God is good.  I have personally experienced God’s goodness (by my definition of “good”).  What I forget is that He sees the beginning from the end and He knows what is best for me better than even I do.

When something happens to me that I perceive as “bad”, in truth, God is in control and He has a good reason for allowing it into my life.  He will work it out for good somehow, whether it’s for my good or someone else’s, because HE is good.  Yes, the world is full of evil and God could certainly get rid of it all in one fell swoop.  I often ask myself why He doesn’t.  I don’t really know the answer, but I DO know that He has a plan for this world and all of us in it.  I choose to trust His plan and after the whining and complaining, I usually come to my senses and do just that – trust what I know of Him. He IS good and He DOES good.