Tag Archives: Christian

Gift Wrapping, Jesus-Style

Working in a retail store during the Christmas season means I’ve wrapped approximately 413 presents since Black Friday.  I can cut paper and peel the adhesive sticker off a bow with my eyes closed.  I try to match the paper to the customer.  If they buy a cowboy hat, I use the Charlie Russell pattern.  Jewelry purchased by a non-cowboy lookin’ guy gets wrapped in a delicate snowflake design.

One gal came in the other day and bought a headstall with solid sterling silver buckles, a Bill Kane mane hair McCarty, tooled slobber straps, a chin strap and Garcia snaffle.  Unwrapping that fancy outfit would make up for having to feed cows on Christmas morning!  I wrapped it up, taping down the bit so a curious buckaroo couldn’t rattle things around and guess the gift. 

Another couple came in and purchased 3 palm leaf hats, totaling around $76.  I searched for boxes big enough to wrap them.  Someone said “Do you have to wrap each one individually?”  Well, yeah.  Who would give 3 straw hats of different sizes to the same person?  I spent more time locating boxes and wrapping them twice – the paper was too narrow to complete the job in one cutting – than I did on much more expensive gifts.

At first, I caught myself thinking, “I’m spending all this time and energy on less expensive presents!  How annoying!” and then I kicked myself under the wrapping table for being such a Grinch.  I recalled a vendor at Cowboy Christmas who wrapped the $3.50 refridgerator magnet I bought in tissue paper.  She had the right attitude. 

The New Testament records Jesus telling us to show no favoritism towards each other.  We’re supposed to treat the wealthy and the poor equally, regardless of clothing brand worn or liquid assets owned.  What we do for the lowliest of people on earth, we do unto Jesus Himself.  In that spirit, I decided to give equal smiles, offers to help find items in the store, careful gift-wrapping, and wishes of “Merry Christmas!” to all customers who enter the store. 

This sounds like a cheesey ad: “Come to Capriola’s – I’ll be nice to you because Jesus said.”  I just decided to use my employment as a way to practice what the Bible preaches.  It’s a random life experiment that I hope to turn into a habit.

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Cowboy Church

Since it’s Sunday and all, I decided to post my notes from Corey Ross’ cowboy church service the first Sunday of the NFR, held in the arena at Mandalay Bay.  He is a talented singer/preacher from Texas, and delivered a sermon to a sizeable crowd including the deMoss brothers of saddle bronc riding notoriety.

-it’s ok to get called names (goody two shoes, holier-than-thou, etc.) for living your faith
         -if you truly think you’re holier than thou, check your motives, but if your heart is for God, ignore the insults

-takes boldness and heart to proclaim God is Lord and that we love Jesus to others, esp. in un-godly locales (like Vegas)
         -takes boldness to change and say “parties don’t move me anymore; I’m moved by Bible”

-we better guard our ears against words that can enter and tear us down if we take them to heart

-in the Old Testament times, common folk couldn’t approach throne of God; Jesus died so we can

-going to take boldness to say no to sin
        -if it’s difficult, means I’m on the right track
        -can’t live one way sometimes and another way other time (Matthew 6:33)

-joy of the Lord produces strength

-there are people that want us to not serve the Lord
       -just being realistic: the devil is always out to get us
       -enemy comes for us when we are give-out tired (haha, good Texas phrase!) and weak for the fight

-Jesus didn’t back down or relent when under attack for God

-takes boldness to live by the Bible and not let the world tell us how to live

4 ways to do this:

1)  Speak the Word
      -be imitators of Jesus

2)   Find some agreement
       -watch out for friends who try to draw you the other way

3)   Get out of fear
       -Hebrews 11:1
       -opposite of faith is fear
      -we live in economy of God, not world; financial troubles shouldn’t scare us

4)   Don’t quit
      -don’t quit no matter what anyone else might say
      -when I continue on in faith, there is no devil that can stop me from succeeding in God
      -be a doer, not just a hearer of God’s Word
      -don’t let anyone, including self, tell me I am done
                  -do my part and press on
       -boldly start over as many times as necessary

-if I lack wisdom, ask God and He will give it liberally

Hope these deliver a little faith uplift to someone!   Sure was a good service.  On the back of one guy’s shirt were the words “I Am Second.”  Pretty cool for an NFR-qualifier to sport that, don’t ya think?  Good to know God is cool for rodeo cowboys, too.  Keep the faith! 🙂

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Independence Valley BS

I went to one of my favorite events in Nevada today – the Independence Valley ladies’ Bible study.  It’s held every month at a different house, and today we met at the Quarter Circle S on the Van Norman Ranch.  We studied God’s Word, had a baby shower for the lovely Heather, and Chrissy suggested we celebrate she and her husband’s fiftieth move in twenty years (he’s a cowboy).  It was suggested they take no more camp jobs.

There was no danger of a cell phone’s ring interrupting our fellowship, as there is no cell service at the Quarter Circle S.  The driveway was just this side of four-wheel-drive status, so no one complained.  It goes without saying that all the food was made from scratch; you don’t bring Oreos and Raley’s apple pie to a get-together in the Independence Valley. 

Groups like this are rare.  It seems we don’t get enough actual face time with our fellow humans; it’s too convenient to Facebook, blog or text rather than sit on each others’ couches and discuss our lives.  We need to discuss our lives!  There were three pregnant ladies and a whole pack of little kids runnin’ around Bible study.  What better place for a woman to learn how to be a woman who positively contributes to society than by asking and observing others she looks up to? 

I really enjoy not having cell service.  Removing the temptation to check our phones all the time to see what we might be missing elsewhere forces us to fully emerse ourselves and absorb the company we are in at the moment.

I realize I’m going to need to look for a place to stash my soap box here in a minute, but I just thoroughly enjoyed a good old-fashioned dose of wholesome fellowship.  It’s so convenient and socially acceptable for people, especially single twenty-four-year-olds such as myself, to go to the bar and toss a few back, leave with whomever, get sick in the morning, and drag ourselves to work.  It’s reassuring to know some folks still value morals and actively seek godly lives.  And, these gals wear flattering jeans, trendy shirts, dangly earrings, and fix their hair all cute.  Just because you’re wholesome and upright doesn’t mean you’re a stick in the mud.

I’m looking forward to the next study, and not just because I’m not leading it.  I had my notes all prepared for today’s topic, the power of words, and didn’t feel nervous, but for some reason, when I began to talk, I began to sweat profusely.  I had to get a tissue to mop up my face and neck.  It was quite embarrassing and of course made me even more flustered.  Anyway, everyone contributed plenty of discussion so that helped 🙂  I didn’t have to deliver my message all by myself.

Thanks for reading! 

Keep the faith.

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“Silent night, (cough, cough, hack) Holy night…”

 ‘Tis the season for the flu virus. Nothing announces the holidays quite like a fever sweating through your pajamas and coughing until your abs are sore.  Ho, ho…hack, hack, hack.

Most people return from Las Vegas with memory cards full of pictures, ticket stubs from shows, a lingering aura of cigarette smoke, and a worn-out credit card. I came home with the chills and a throbbing head, coughing until I gagged.

Usually, I’m one of those people who’s in denial of when they’re sick. “No, no, I’m fine, it’s just a little cough,” I say. I proceed to go to work and infect those unlucky enough to share breathing space with me for more than two minutes. This time, I decided to be considerate and called in sick. My decision was aided by the fact that I had to rest in between showering and getting dressed. Climbing up one flight of stairs left me winded and looking for a couch.

Previously, illness stressed me out because my first thoughts were I’m going to miss a workout! I’ll lose my muscle tone! I’m just going to lay around and eat and gain weight! This is the first post-bulimia sickness where I told myself and earnestly believed, Hey, it’s ok to rest up when your body needs a break. In the last two weeks, you’ve changed jobs and houses, gone to Las Vegas for a week, and had one day off work. No wonder you’re sick!

I chuckled at the treadmill in the living room and realized I better be able to brush my teeth and stand up at the same time before I jogged any number of miles. I’ve had friends tell me, “You don’t need to run on a treadmill!” but I know one of the reasons I look like I don’t need to exercise is because I exercise. I’m looking forward to resuming my usual four-mile routine, but right now my body needs rest. My eyeballs need exercise, though, so I’ve been lying on the couch watching reruns of That 70s Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, I Love Lucy and of course live coverage of the NFR. You can take the girl away from the Finals, but you can’t take the Finals away from the girl.

Having only worked one job with paid sick days, I usually stress about losing income when I’m out sick. I realized I could be sick a few days and my paycheck would be fine, since I’d been working more than five days a week, and, besides, God’s taking care of me. He always is, I just forget that He knew I was going to be sick before the first cough. God created the world; if one of His children has the flu, her care and financial well-being is definitely within the realm of His power to remedy.

As much as I detest being sick, this illness definitely brought some good, lasting lessons for which I’m thankful. Next time, the devil’s gonna have to try a little harder to steal my joy 🙂 Now, if only the pharmacy delivered aspirin and orange juice….

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Filed under I Love The Lord, Showing My Scars

God Is Everywhere

When I was little, I frequently went to church with our neighbors.  During sleepovers, Mary Ann Fitzgerald would gather us kids on the bed before lights-out and we’d recite, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”  I’m pretty sure I’ve always been saved, but I really started pursuing the Lord like He was something that needed to be roped in a hurry before He got away when I was 17.

I’d fallen into the painful habit of relieving stress by making myself throw up, slicing my skin with a straight razor, and I came as close to a suicide attempt as a handful of pills in one hand and a glass of water in the other.  I saw happy, smiling Christians and decided I wanted what they had.  So, I found a church, warm-hearted church-goers found me, and they inspired me to look for God.

God is everywhere.  He was there all along, only I was not in the habit of looking at Him.  The beauty of Christianity is that a person can pray – converse with the Lord – whether they’re kneeling at mass; in a bikini on St. Augustine Beach, Florida; riding a bridle horse through the Independence Valley, Nevada; driving down I-5 near Stockton, California; or sitting on their couch in front of a fireplace. 

Reading the Bible is a great tool for learning about God’s character, His history with humanity, and His plan for us.  But, plenty of people worldwide, who either don’t have access to Bibles, can’t read, or live in countries where Christianity is illegal, have had tremendous experiences with God.  That’s because God isn’t just in a book….He’s everywhere!

The purpose of my life is to show God to people.  That superceeds my horsemanship, my cowboying, my writing, my dating life, my college education, the whole works.  All those things are just tools for God to teach me more about Himself.  For others, He might use dentistry, world travel, singing abilities, city life, or being born a different nationality/gender/body type/hair color/time period, etc.  My own unique combination of gen0- and phenotype traits is just the way God made me.  And He made you, too, because….He’s everywhere!

I hope that whomever you are, wherever you are, you look for God today.  If you’re already a Christian, do it full-force all day long!  If you’re a beginning Christian, try to find the good in an unpleasant situation.  Think of it as a good mental challenge, if nothing else.  If you’re a not-too-sure Christian, try it for thirty seconds when no one’s looking.  I guarantee you Someone is looking and smiling down at you for your efforts 🙂

Thank you for your time!  Have a lovely day and more to come tomorrow.

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