Posted in devotional, Inspirational, Tekoa Manning, Thirsting for water, TM

* Free Chapter* Give Your Abused Pets Treats Slowly

Thirsting for Water

A devotional that brings healing to the hurting!

Yes, I’ll admit it, I’ve snapped at my children, gotten angry at friends, and said things I regret. I once told my husband while we were dating that I had been through a lot and that I felt like a dog that had been beaten half to death. I informed him that when people held up their T-bones and said, “Here girl,” most of the time, I was still too afraid to come. I did not trust them.
A year later, after much healing, I noticed a friend’s behavior that was controlling and defensive towards me. She seemed to yell at me a lot when things were taken wrong. As I pondered the snapping issue, I heard in my spirit this message — “If a dog has been abused, it may snap at you.” Oh, my, revelation into the healing of the soul!
So I did what any other certified google-oligist would do, I googled it. “How to care for an abused pet.”
The number one item on the list was to provide a safe place for your abused pet to live. The second suggestion was to make sure they have plenty of fresh food and water. Since I had been abandoned by my ex-husband when I was chronically ill and eventually became homeless, I needed these simple necessities myself afterward. Once you get the basics for your abused pet, you must go more in-depth into helping them heal.
# 1) Give your abused pets treats SLOWLY. Use one hand to approach them gently–two hands may scare them.
#6) Don’t allow the abused pet to interact with other pets until they are whole. If the other pets are pushy or mean, this will cause the abused pet to be even more submissive and scared. Never hit or scold an abused pet. Reward good behavior, but do not punish your pet.
I began to notice how we humans tend to be a lot like these fur companions that have been wounded. We have trust issues, and at times we need to be approached with ease. We don’t like to be pried for information or pushed into doing something. We don’t want to be controlled through harsh words or even bribed with treats. Syrupy compliments can also evoke warning signals. We tend to think things like, “What do they want?” “What are they after?” Yes, too often, pets and people who have been hurt are quickly ready to runoff from a family function or an event that makes them feel worse about themselves. Their lack of self-esteem can be crushed when others are given all the attention in the room, and yet they are not ready for the focus of everyone in the place to be on them.
Next, I wanted to know how a person could tell if their dog (pets) had been harmed or abused, so I researched this topic. While you read the list below, try and think in people terms.
# 1. Check the dog for physical signs of abuse. These could include scars, lesions, burns, or open wounds. Also, missing fur or sores around the neck could indicate a dog was chained up for long periods of time. The pet may have missing teeth that rotted out, cloudy eyes, show no energy, and be generally fatigued. An animal may also have been starved. Repeated vomiting and bloody diarrhea are other signs of trauma.
Did you notice that the signs of abuse are physical illness, mental stress, and fear? Could past trauma and abuse cause sickness in our bodies at times? Yes, I believe it could. Ask a person who has PTSD, and you will get an even broader understanding of what our environment can do to our mental health. Sometimes our sickness and wounds were brought on by ourselves.
(Psalms 38:4-7, CJB) “Your indignation left no part of me intact; my sin made my whole body sick; for my iniquities loom high over my head as a heavy burden, too heavy for me. I have stinking, festering wounds because of my foolishness. I am bent down, prostrate completely; I go about mourning all day long.”
We must heal our spirits, our souls, and forgive the abusers. We have to take action to see a healthy body come forth, for it will not without us making the phone calls to the counselor, joining a fitness program, caring for ourselves by watching the words we speak about ourselves and others.
Abused, tattered souls may need to write their abusers a letter that never gets sent. This type of journaling helps release bottled-up anger. We vent and get rid of the pain. At some point, we will cry out to our Father to help us forgive the person who kept us chained, muzzled, or unfed. And He will because He is a good Abba. Our trauma and fear may not be something that is cured overnight, although it can happen. The mighty hand of HaShem is not too short to save. His powerful Spirit can find the mangiest scrawny, scared pet in the darkest alley and rescue it from the power of drugs, sickness, pain, guilt, and shame. Our Father sweeps in and brings us to an animal shelter. Pets who have mangled and matted up fur have to be shaved and shampooed with medicated ointments. We need the balm of Gilead, the anointing oil, and the covering of prayer.
If you have been abused today, the Father of Lights wants to hold each of you and comfort you. The Father’s love and compassion have no limits; it’s unreachable. He is holding out His arms to you right now! Reach up and take the Masters’ hands. Run to Him instead of getting back into a relationship with a new partner. Chances are you will run smack dab into another person who will harm you if you haven’t healed. We must become whole and healthy to attract someone healthy for us.
“For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; no one cares for her”‘ (Jeremiah 30:17, NASB).
Someone cares for you! Yeshua, the Messiah, is interceding right now on your behalf.

dog

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Posted in devotional, Inspirational, Tekoa Manning, TM, torah, Uncategorized

Wholly Illuminated

This week while scrolling through social media I read a meme (below) that described my week or parts of my whole existence.

survive

The meme, along with the raw words written by a friend, pierced me. Her vulnerability at that moment ministered to me. It went to a place in my soul that needed a bandage. It helped me cry. I believe there is rainwater from heaven in every droplet of our tears. Feelings are meant to be felt.
When I started this blog last week, I had no idea that I would add a portion exposing my vulnerability, but here I am.
I am a person that’s dealt with trauma in my lifetime. None of us are getting out alive.
When my husband and I go for short walks at night, he knows that if a dog barks, I will jump two feet. A loud horn blares. I squeeze his hand until my nails leave indentions. Earlier in the day, he walks behind me unannounced in the bathroom, and I scream bloody murder, my arms flaring and my heart pounding. Later, he wants to look at a property for sale in the country, secluded– and my first thought is a book written by Truman Capote called “In Cold Blood.” It would be funny if it weren’t true. Perhaps this is what helps me write fiction? I’ve lived a thousand lives under the sun. He briefly touches on the topic of my fears, and I blurt out,
“I am fearful of everything and nothing!”
“What?”
“I’m scared of people hurting me, dogs, going for walks, evil men, living in the middle of nowhere—living in the city. I’m petrified of hospitals, doctors, and the whole time we lived with my father I never once went on a walk with you for fear of a dog, a bobcat, a snake, or some ferocious animal attacking me.”
He’s listening, and I wonder what he is thinking, but I continue talking this through.
“At the age of 9 or 10, my brother had a paper route. If he missed a couple of houses, my father would toss me in the back of the truck. He would pull in the drive, and I’d place the paper on the porch and hop back in the bed. One particular house stands out. Before I could reach the porch, a large German shepherd lept over the fence and landed on top of me, gnashing his teeth. Luckily my dad got it off of me. I went on to babysit for our neighbor at 13, who had the most massive, loudest, German shepherd on the block. The fear started after a dream of hungry wolves surrounding me. I was 30, and they were there.
“I’m scared of everything and nothing, I say again.”
“I’m not scared of sickness, death, demons, or losing all my material possessions and becoming homeless.”
He looks confused.
“Honey, “Do you know how crazy that sounded? Do you even understand what you just said? You just named things most people in the world are scared to death of. Even death.”
“Maybe it’s because I have faced those things, I think to myself?”
Some of us have a point on a map, a calendar, a datebook locked in our brain, and we can tell you the exact moment of the car wreck, the diagnosis, or our child that died before it ever learned to talk or even before it exited the womb. There is a moment in time where we look back at the shattered glass, the addiction, the iron bars, the chemo, the foreclosure, the divorce papers, the bruises, the rape, the welfare department, the mental break down, or the charade of pretending to be put together when we were one button shy of EXPLODING!
Yes, we all have our moments, and some of us have another type of trauma. In World War II, with gunfire and bullets whipping around his head, my uncle, wading in freezing waters, stopped and threw his hands in the air and cried, “The war is over!” Of course, it wasn’t. He just had wishful thinking. He had seen too many bodies stacked in piles– stripped of all dignity— He had seen and smelled enough death.
But, some of us don’t have one memory or one vivid scar—it’s not one childhood adventure filled with nightmares, but more of a series of unfortunate events—sometimes it is an everyday battle just to get through.
Sometimes we wonder how we can take another step—breathe– trust again–go back out into the world and try and be a candle burning for someone else. We, too, cry and throw our arms to heaven, exclaiming, “The war is over!” I’m exhausted, Abba. Take the pain, sorrow, shame, guilt, confusion, debt, unbelief, sickness, and trauma and take my weapons of fear. Take the bars I have built to protect me. Take the suffering.

pottery job

Job took broken pottery, and he scraped his sores. He came to a place where he was okay with death. As a matter of fact, he welcomed death. He said the thing he feared the most had come upon him, but what was that thing?
He starts at the beginning of chapter three, cursing the day of his birth. He wishes that he had never been born because his pain is so deep. He explains how those in the grave are at rest. Job 3:16-17.
One morning, in the midst of some of the worst pain I have ever felt, I awoke to this pain in terror that I was going to have to get through another day of suffering. I prayed to die. I quoted Job verbatim. Then I heard an echo, “Do you not value the life I’ve given you? Do you not hope for better days?”
Job goes on to explain his fear.
“Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come,” (Job 3:20-21).
And that is what he feared. A death that does not come. He feared he wasn’t going to get to escape such misery. He had lost children, cattle, oxen, servants, and he was suffering so severely. He wasn’t a man steeped in fear. He was a righteous man who wanted to go rest. I remember relating to such words. “Just take me Abba! I’m finished here. What good am I to anyone laying here suffering? I have nothing left here to do!” But I was much mistaken. I hadn’t even tasted what He had in store for me.
What does it look like when we use all our experiences and healing to help another heal? What does it look like when we embody Him and are a light? A candle. A burning flame that can’t be hidden because His light outshines all the darkness we’ve been through?

lightttttttt

What if The Father of Glory wanted to come to spend an evening with you? What would that look like? What did Shavuot and the tongues of fire sound like?
We often imagine what it would have been like to walk with Yeshua/ Jesus. To intently listen to Him tell parables, but what about as we go through our repetitious life? A typical workday or weekend. What would that look like to meet the risen Savior face to face? I’m talking about something fragrant. Something memorable. Something hard to even articulate.
You may have gathered from my previous blog that I don’t like to be at the hospital without my husband. Our first night back at the hospital, he slept on a couch next to me. By the second evening, between his back and his hip, he was ready to go home and get some much-needed rest. Before he left, he came over and said a simple prayer asking The Father to watch over me and protect me while we were apart. He also prayed for the Father to send compassionate people to care for me. What a very precious husband I have.
After he left, I was exhausted and a tad anxious, but I was prepared to try and rest until he returned. If you’ve ever spent much time in a hospital, you know it’s challenging to get any rest with pain, nurses coming in and out, beeping IV’s, as well as bathroom help, and so forth. On my second return to this hospital, I had some of the best nurses I’ve ever come in contact with. However, there was one that seemed explicitly handcrafted for me. I’ll call her Daffodil.

dafodils

I’m fast asleep, and around 8 pm, I hear my door open. I turn, sleepy-eyed, and look up at this woman who has just entered my room. She is tall– with a smile that made her eyes twinkle like stars in the night. She did not walk but seemed to sashay around the room in ballet slippers, softly checking this and that.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Manning; I’ll make a note that you’re an early sleeper so that I won’t disturb your rest.”
“Oh, I’m not an early sleeper. In fact, I’m a night owl. I was dozing from the medicine.”
We began to talk, and before we knew it, we were knee-deep in cooking shows. The Great British Bake-off! Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were our first topic.
“Did you know that Mary contracted polio at the tender age of 13 and had a weaker arm due to it?
“No, I did not know that.”
“And did you know Paul would help her roll out her dough and prepare items?”
“Really,” I said, trying to sit up more.
“I think Paul looks like the guy from American Idol.”
“Oh, Simon!” Yes! Ha-ha!”
She laughed heartily, and then we were off to our next cooking adventure. Daffodil expressed her aspirations to create fabulous food. Her stories of family and grandparents who loved to bake were sprinkled throughout. I discussed my mom’s homemade carrot cake, and she described a delicate Italian cream cake made by her grandmother. The conversation was light but personal. We left baking and then traveled to World War II episodes on Netflix. Soon, we were reliving Foyle’s War, Land Girls, and Call the Midwives. Before I knew it, we were sailing on to authors and our all-time favorite books.
When Daffodil smiled, her light lit up the room. She exclaimed, “I love books! I love the smell of books!” I responded with an unquestionable, “YES!” Like fresh crayons in kindergarten! We giggled like school girls. Her phone buzzed, and she had to scurry off to another room. Suddenly, I felt revived. She was one of my people, and I was going to be blessed with her light for the next three days.
We discovered we lived very close to one another, right down the road from Barnes and Noble bookstore—a landmark. I mentioned my new grandson.
“Oh, I bet you just want to eat him up!”
She began to tell me about her nephew, who had high jacked her heart.
“Even if I have worked all night, need to clean, do laundry and catch up on things, one call from him “Aunt Daffodil can we go out?” and I am like “Baby, yes, we can!”
Suddenly, we laughed, and I had to hold my side, which was still very sore, to release the joy I felt. She caused me to forget my pain—my fear, and that my husband wasn’t coming back until morning.
Since the surgery, I have met two stoma nurses, both kind and good at what they do. Their profession is to try and prepare people to change a colostomy bag and empty it. For me, it was overwhelming and quite frightening to take in. It was humbling. You notice things and smells and the level of care. Since I had been back in the hospital with my wound, no one had helped me one on one yet, but Daffodil did. She took me in the bathroom and equipped me with gloves, tips for spraying, cleaning, and deodorizing the room, and she did it with the most compassion I’ve ever felt from any human. I wasn’t embarrassed, humiliated, or even scared to allow her to help me, help myself. This woman snuck into my room over and over again. She learned I was a writer of fiction and Torah teachings and wanted to know how to order my books.
She never told me about her religious beliefs. She never preached to me. She never quoted scriptures. No politics. No pushing or pulling, but her words held LIFE—her tongue FRUIT.

tekoa 8

Daffodil walked into my room like a candlelit burning brightly–like a flower pouring out fragrance. She bowed lowly. My husband witnessed her in her other patient’s chambers as he walked down the hall, and he said: “She is that bright no matter where she goes.” That BRIGHT. Like a candle on a lampstand. Oh, Saints, we can be those candles! We can be the hope of glory!”
When we are crucified with Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus, we no longer live, but He lives in us.
The Zohar states, “When a Jew utters one word of Torah, the light [in his soul] is kindled…and he sways to and fro like the flame of a candle.”
CCR, Credence Clearwater Revival, has a song called “Long as I can see the light.” John Fogerty bellows for us to put a candle in the window.
“If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Luke 11:36.
What does Yeshua tell us before this? “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.”
Thank you, Daffodil, for being a light to me, and thank you, Abba, for hearing my husband’s prayer and bringing light into my room.
We can heal from all the trauma by shining our lights on those in need. By listening. By praying. By giving sound counsel. By measuring our words. Even at our darkest moments in our most profound misery, we have LIGHT.
My husband’s picture below seemed to shine with extra light, and I wanted to personally thank him for being a bright light in my life for seven years now. Blessings friends. SHINE!

IMG_0097

Posted in poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

1,000 Words

I am not sure when I started writing this poem or why or whose kitchen I stood in, but possibly it will help us think more about words. Ironically when I was finished, it had a word count of 1,000. I know with social media and texting, we often take words wrong or quickly respond without thinking about our words. Even still, what if all the words we spoke about ourselves were tasted and measured?
Psalms–Tehillim 139:14 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) ” I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy ma’asim (works); and that my nefesh (soul) knoweth very well.”

1,000 Words–

I dropped words
They shattered on the floor.
Right in front of you
He dropped words, 22 letters crowned with Glory.
Splendor
Torah
Holding the cosmos together
I never meant for my words to fall, or me, for that matter.
But you didn’t seem interested in catching them.
His words sailed through the seas.
They were brightly colored blooms of an almond tree.
My words went soaring through your kitchen towards your heart.
You stood awkwardly and let them fall.
I held Words out for you in the palms of my hands.
Big pink balloon blossoms,
You pulled out a needle and popped them.
You squinted your eyes, and then you twisted your mouth.
Yes, you released silent words in ways that needed no explanation.
I acted as if my words were not lying on your cold tile floor.
You stepped on two verses as you maneuvered to the coffee maker.
And flung a few careless words into the air.
Cream?
Sugar?
Not only did you not catch the ones I gave you.
Later you stopped sending any words at all.
The few that made it into your mouth, you spat back out.
I tried to package mine better, and I held them in my mouth for a bit.
Measuring their worth before releasing them to you
I added hues of ruddy sunburst and hints of emerald green.
Tiny delicate touches to make the words kinder, sweeter.
I bounced words up and down like a basketball.
Then polished them up like golden apples.
But you kept looking for a worm.
Inspecting them for flaws
I extended them again.
Take these pretty words from me, I said
Yet they dangled there in mid-air.
Words suspended with no one to grasp them.
Just hanging there like a dangling modifier.
And why?
Was there something so ugly inside of my soul that your eyes bore holes?
I left and came back another day.
I brought different words.
Yes, that day. . .
I held words in my fist.
I clenched them tightly to my chest and blew them into the air.
Into your face
I looked intently into your eyes.
Like a breath of wind, the words breathed.
You made your face like stone and wrapped it in a marketed smile.
A fissure really
Like a pumpkin face
Perhaps you didn’t know how to taste the words I used from His Word?
The power of them is mightier than the sword.
Forged in fire and blasted with Ruach
Words
They are like the gilded wings of a bird taking flight.
Or
Like a wasp stinger embedded in our soul
We wad up words and layer them with love, judgment, and hate.
Then fling them in the face.
Or throw none at all.
To
try
and
Make
Each
other
Feel
small
Some words smell like a rotten corpse,
Lying naked on the floor
Other words float above like a tuft of cotton.
Our jaws can bring stale perfume.
Thoughtless words dissipate before noon.
or
Words that linger on the surface
Words that rattle from a cage
Words that splatter candle wax
And words that type
tap
tap
tap
tap
Empty words from comic books and politicians with a hook
Words from the young still tainted with puffs of air, pride, and sexual flair.
Words like magic carpet rides
And words like diamonds light up the skies.
Words as thick as molasses
Words that comfort, heal and hold
Words that open doors and shut
Words from babes who utter sounds
And all the words that fell to the ground –
That no one caught or let soak in,
To lend an ear or be a friend.
And all these words clutched in my fist.
I hope one day to breathe on paper and send words that sail the seas.
Words layered with Torah seeds and honey from bees.
Words that stand up tall and hold sounds
Words that were spoken on the Mount and words that cause fires to burst
Words that no longer can break or hurt
Or wound or tear
or make feel bare
Yes, Words that bring a shine.
Words that neither run nor hide
Nor bother to rhyme
Words that are tucked away in shoes
Standing on His Word
Words that form a song that soothes
And words that sing a halleluYah
Words that pump through my veins
For all I have to give to you are words
I have no fortune; I have no fame,
All I have are these words in the palms of my hands
The ones I picked up off your floor
The ones I washed and prayed over again
I extend
With my frail limp hands
These
Words
Are
For
you
Please
Accept
My
gift
For it is all I have
To give
My Abba Father—
My best friend
The one who washed me with His Words
Like goat milk soap and the freshest rain
Like precious oil upon my head
His Words hold me still.
Help me heal
Turn my heart
Still my soul
Brokenness
Becomes
Whole
King David’s words helped me through many nights.
And Job’s words I carried in my lungs.
Yes, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
Songs from Solomon
And cries from Jacob.
Wisdom words marching with ants
Proverbial songs and stories that dance
I long to hear from you again.
Without your words, my heart feels bruised.
My Abba’s Words are like aged wine.
That gets smoother all the time.
His Words I’ve wholly stored
Tucked and polished and hidden beneath
Inside my soul forever, they keep
Like a river of never-ending love
Hold me up by Your Word.
Hold me up by Your Son.
Take my Words and wash them in Yours.
Take these words spilled on the floor.
And whisper to those who no longer speak.
Who step over the words I am trying to fly.
That I love them regardless of my inability to form one word to heal
To still
This
Storm . . .
Photo by Robonwriting.

1000 words

Posted in Inspirational, Tekoa Manning, TM

Lady Bug Charlie

red cardinal beetle on green leaf in selective-focus photography

It all started with a dream interpretation. This blog is about friendships, beetle bugs, and fire.

Ladybugs are protected by blood. . .

About a month ago, I received a private dream and one character in the dream– a small talking reddish brown hen, with a bright red ladybug lit upon her back, captured my attention for various reasons. For one, this timid hen was floundering around and trying to hide under a couch cushion of all things.  The other reason was due to a friend the Father handpicked for me over five years ago. A woman with fiery red hair, who lives at a place called Red Hen’s Acre Farm. A Texan. Spunky and full wisdom and good deeds. A woman who appeared at just the right time in my life. There have been several.

selective focus of chicken

After losing my health, my home, my husband–like a bad country song, I spent over a year living with friends and family. Eventually, I settled into my own apartment. It was a tiny space, just 650 square feet– but once you’ve let go of everything, a small space is all you need. It was abundantly sweet. It was the place where I controlled the thermostat. My hands opened my cabinets where my favorite coffee mug lived.

I’m an introvert, but at times it was lonely there. Very. The walls echoed. One day a friend on Facebook told me she felt like the Father wanted her to introduce me to a friend of hers. I said “that’s fine” thinking that soon I would get a friends request and keep scrolling down my feed, but this lady didn’t do Facebook, she typed letters.

person using silver iPhone 6

Not knowing anything about this woman, I was at times slow to respond to her long letters. Since I had been abandoned sick and had trust issues, I was not sure how much to disclose of my personal life. I often found myself reading these letters from Miss Texas with great curiosity.

“Who is this lady telling me about her dogs?” Her Boston Terriers.

Of course, she had no way of knowing that I had just euthanized my dog due to him becoming overprotective of me while sick. I missed Rex terribly and had a picture of him on my table framed with his paw print.

Again, who is this woman talking to me about chickens and bluebonnets? Who is this woman who used to Pastor a “church” of all things?  She seemed so spunky and full of life. I wondered if she’d ever been through anything difficult. We often think that the person right in front of our nose has no clue about our pain, but everyone has a story to tell. This woman had suffered horribly. Cancer had taken both her breast. Her testimonies of His precious Holy Ruach HaKodesh comforting her and getting her through the darkest of times helped me hold on when I was weak.

Her name is Charlene (Charlie), Manning. I didn’t even know a Manning at the time of meeting her, but within just a few months a man would appear in my life who carried the same last name as Charlie and the same first name as my ex-husband. Around the same time, my own mother would get colon cancer, along with Parkinson’s and leave this earth. Who was there encouraging me daily? Charlie was. When I didn’t know how to adapt to a new family that seemed rather affluent compared to the meager means I had found myself in, who was there? Again, Charlie Manning. When was I too sick to get out of bed and having balance issues, who was praying for me? My friend Charlie.

person showing both palms while sitting on chair

After my husband and I became engaged, children, friends and even fellow believers weren’t always the most accepting of this union, and when our church families listened to rumors and attacks festered—you guessed it, good ole Charlie Manning held my arms up. She talked to me about how her congregation left wounds so deep that when she walked down the small square of her town, the ones she loved and prayed over would cross to the other side of the street so they wouldn’t have to speak to her. She taught me how to hold my head up strong and how to forgive quickly–how to love and move on. This older woman was a Feast keeper before many even knew the richness of His Holy days.

macro photography of heart shape sand decor

Soon I was getting lessons in grammar—paragraph structures—manners—good etiquette – and how to handle situations that were way over my head. The more I found out about Charlie, the more I realized we had much in common. She was prophetic. She was and is a writer, faithfully posting a Sabbath day blog weekly. She wrote a beautiful book called Memories of my Earth Home. This book is genuinely filled with creation. If you pick up a copy, it will have you wanting to play in the dirt, explore rocks, trees, water, and all of creation with the eyes of a child, one who has touched the green plush grass with bare feet for the first time. Charlie was just what the doctor ordered. She was a friend, a mother, a sister, a mentor, and a spunky gal that made me take notice of my gifting.
This red-headed warrior–now turned grey listen to me cry—prayed over me, and it seemed when my car would break down, or I’d be short electric money, a check would appear. Birthdays were never forgotten. Not only was she a treasure to behold, sent directly from the throne, but she also had a personality filled with so much Texan charm, she had me often bent over in stitches, laughing my seams apart by her humor. She has taught me so much about the Father, family, integrity, compassion, and healing from rejection and bitterness.

smiling woman during day

Each time we disagreed on a scripture or a topic that I may have commented on, I just expected she would go away, or I would not hear from her again—being abandoned while sick was excruciating. I had been rejected and hurt by so many; it seemed hard to breathe at times. Back then, my wounds were so deep I often didn’t even bother opening the door of my heart and letting someone in full size! I felt sure they’d become someone else added to a long list of hurts–someone else I often think about and miss. Little by little, chisel by chisel, somehow I began to trust this woman with every piece of my heart.

When it was time to get my manuscript ready for my first novel Polishing Jade, again, I felt that gentle nudge from the Father that Charlie was supposed to sprinkle some of her sunshine and rain between the pages of my book. She gave advice and breathed new life into a character named Miss Cotton. I learned later that her family also had some Cottons, and yes, a Cotton-Wood Farm. Why? Because—Abba Daddy is in the details. He intricately weaves a beautiful manuscript of His own in our lives.

I LOVE HIM SO!

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are also someone He has sent past my way.

So what do a red hen and a beetle bug have to do with Abba Father? More than I ever could have guessed. In every culture, the ladybug has an exceptional name and meaning. In Hebrew, it is quite interesting that this tiny creature is called ‘parat Moshe Rabbenu, ’ which means Moses cow. Yes, and it’s also called ‘little Messiah’ and ‘Moses little horse.’

boy wearing gray vest and pink dress shirt holding book

These beetles were part of an old children’s jingle. “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire; your children will burn. “Except little Nan, who sits in a pan, weaving gold laces as fast as she can.”

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According to a blog called Adorable Cow, “This jingle comes from medieval times when farmers who burned the stubble at the harvest’s end to clear and fertilize their fields for the next year’s planting “warned” the ladybugs and their larvae to escape while they could. The “nan” was the ladybug’s pupa, which, immobilized within its cocoon or “pan” of reddish-gold threads while metamorphosing from its larval to its mature stage, could not get away like a larva.)”

“He will immerse us in His (Holy Spirit) and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with inextinguishable fire.” Luke 3:16-17.

Red or gold threads!

These beetles devour pestilence, and they destroy it by their mouth. They eat the very thing that is destroying them. I believe they represent the prophetic. This reminded me of the two witnesses—the Torah and the Prophets. “And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” an If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die” (Revelation 11:3-5).

According to Lori Beth Robinson, the ladybug lady,

“Ladybugs can protect themselves by playing dead. By pulling their legs up “turtle-style,” and typically release a small amount of blood from their legs. (This is called reflex bleeding.) The bad smell and the apparent look of death usually deter predators from their small ladybug snack. After the threat of danger has passed, the ladybug will resume its normal activities.”

(Just like our Messiah who sweated blood)

I want to close this blog with a warm hug to my friend Charlie and a reminder that those beetles and that red hen in the dream were marked with a mark and also given a warning of the destruction that was coming. They were sealed and protected by His mighty Power. I ask you, my reader, this very same question—are you sealed? He is coming to clear His threshing floor. Will you be ready? Please, I beg you, turn around today and return to His Ways and seek His face, for He loves YOU SO.

Blessings!

Tekoa

charlie

Sources

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/memories-of-my-earth-home-charlene-reams-manning/1008121828

Photo http://www.shadesofgreensa.com/Images/Beneficials/ladybug.jpg

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/5541/the-adorable-moses-cow/

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Posted in devotional, Inspirational, Tekoa Manning, TM

Follow me? Meme’s and Me Me

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A few months ago, I took the first steps. Like a crack addict or alcoholic breathing in a bag, I admitted I was addicted to Facebook. A couple of days ago, I hit delete and let the DT’s begin.
I started realizing that I was carrying my phone with me like a 3-month-old baby and not getting much accomplished with my writing.
I’d scroll through Facebook while I drank my coffee in the morning. I’d scroll while my husband drove me to my doctor’s appointment. No need to look out the window. That’s too boring, right? If the conversation at dinner or even an outing were too dull, I’d see what the latest update was.
I read blogs, researched doctrines, studied history and news. I learned about racial tension, global warming, corrupt politicians, digestion tips, natural medicine, and church decline in America. I had a wealth of information at my fingertips, and yes, my brain was rapidly eating and absorbing, but what about my spirit, man?
So the other day, while I was fed-up with yet another political rant and even more so with my addictive behavior, I disconnected my Facebook. It felt so liberating that I swiftly went to work, removing over 500 people from my Twitter account. My husband shook his head. “Why would you do that honey, aren’t you supposed to be getting people to follow you, by following them? Don’t you want to sell books? ”
But you see, I don’t care anymore if they follow me or I follow them. What does “follow” mean? It’s when one has a body of supporters or admirers. If the whole world admires me and yet, the Lord Adonai does not know me, what have I gained?
If I follow HIM, the One who created it all, He will lead me and guide me where I am supposed to be. He created men and gave them gifts like the following thirteen-year-old.
“See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship” (Exodus 31:3-5).
These men did not have to get a few thousand Twitter followers or Facebook friends to do what they were born to do. No. All they had to do was wait for their gift to make room for them.
Why would over fifty people in one day take the time to copy and send me a letter they’ve drawn up and ask me to “Please follow them on Twitter?” Like them on Facebook, follow their blog, follow their podcast, and follow their book, film, movie, brand, product, politician, and ministry? Why? Because we are obsessed with becoming known, famous, liked, wealthy, understood, validated, and so forth. Yeshua healed a man who didn’t even know His Name or who He was.
“But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place” (John 5:13).

I want to slip away and work on my spirit, man, not my flesh, man. My spirit man needs meditation, drinking in the earth, and the beauty of the Creators artwork. My Spirit needs to help make things better without advertising who I helped or how I helped, or what I did. My Spirit needs to take the time to connect with my sons, my family, and my community instead of a Meme, an empty text stating my political or religious belief. My spirit needs to talk to my Maker and LISTEN and wait for Him to speak back. My soul needs rain and humbleness and joy. Becoming the next famous author could be the biggest curse to ever fall on me or my seed, but it does excite me in all honesty.
The things and people we spend our time on tell us a lot about who we are and who we want to impress. Yes, your gift may be your voice, your words, the creative shark brand you’re selling, but could it transpire behind the scenes?
I once had a dream that someone significant was coming to one of my book events. The dream was so real I told my husband about it. I even asked him if he thought the dream was prophetic. I pondered the possibility that there would be an agent there, a publisher, or even my all-time dream of meeting a producer who wanted to make my novel into a movie! I remember waiting and watching the people who showed up. I secretly told a friend about my dream, as she and her husband have a similar desire to see their novel on the big screen.
I had surgery a week or so before the book signing. During the event, I was in my motorized scooter, weak, exhausted, and feeling like death. That evening at the restaurant /lounge area, I met a broken soul who was ready and prepared to take his life the next day. The only thing was, I had no idea. I was able to listen to him and his stories, pray with him, and share a laugh or two. I was able to learn from him, and he was able to learn from me. We both cried tears. We prayed aloud at a bar table. I held his hand, and he held mine, my husband’s hands placed over the top of ours. The next day I was sent a long email about the plans he had for the day–plans to take his own life.
He said he felt better now. He felt ready to tackle some things, change some things, and move forward. He said he felt something as we prayed that he couldn’t describe with words.
I cried reading his letter because it gave me hope. My physical body was broken, but my spirit met his spirit, and we made a connection, and The Father’s Holy Breath blew through the room. His Spirit. I shared the experience with the same friend I mentioned above. She said, “But you knew someone important was coming!” YES, Someone important had shown up at my event, and it was humbling to realize it had nothing to do with my dreams of getting discovered.
These divine appointments are what matters. It’s not how many likes we get or how many times a week we sit on a church pew or whether we know the difference between Easter and Ishtar, Tammuz, and First Fruits. Yes, it helps to be taught right truths, but it helps more to be a person who does Torah, not just knows what it is.

James said, “But prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (1:22). Our self-importance can delude us into thinking we are important, intelligent, right, biblically sound, politically correct, and need to help people who are not quite as smart as us by posting our memes, our views, and our truths. Our self-importance can delude us into thinking that our relationship with Him is just fine.
Sunlight, human touch, nature, ministering unto the Father, and balance all make for a good recipe. Yeshua told Martha that she was busy doing many things, but that Mary had chosen something better. What was that? She was sitting at His feet, drinking in His wisdom and restoring her soul. Good Shepherds lead their sheep to water and feed them good food. Follow Him and His Voice, for it will surely drown out the silence and bring more joy than any meme ever could. Because meme is sort of like “I” phone, it’s about “me” “Me”…Yes, and we can still have an online presence and be in His presence: balance, my friends, balance.

Posted in Author of the Month/Artist of the Month, TM, Uncategorized

Author of the Month

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This month’s author of the month is a young man my husband and I met while searching for a nice restaurant in our area. We live in a rural area now and getting a nice dinner seemed out of the question until we landed at a locally owned BBQ place with a unique menu. After our first visit we made friends with several  staff members, some more special than others.

Ryan was one those uncommon people who leave you better than they found you  and once you read his story you’ll understand why. He has a flare for words. Only “flare” is not a word to describe his gift for writing. Passionate, raw, and exquisite are far better adjectives. I must warn you, the story below will cause you to remember when someone touched you with angry hands or flung their words across your face with intensity and cruelty. It will take you inside the soul of a shattered young man who was rescued by a book  of all things. Words do have power, and this story will leave you wanting more. You can find Ryan Hunters on Tumblr and hopefully one day in a book store near you!

 

“Satan is a Bald Man Drinking Bud Light”

-Ryan Hunters

 

I don’t tend to talk about the past, or how I got to be who I am now. If you’ve heard my stories before they all tend to happen between the ages of sixteen to present. There’s always a reason for such a gap, but sometimes the story begs to be told anyway.

My mother and father divorced within a year of me being born, and despite them telling me repeatedly that it wasn’t my fault, after all I was just a baby, I couldn’t help but blame myself for their divorce growing up. My mother became the single mother, raising her son, while working sixty to eighty hours a week at two different jobs. Saturdays would come, her only day off, and my weekend. While I was young I learned that even if that was our day, there were rules. I did not wake her, and let her catch up on sleep. This required me learning to be self-sufficient very early on. Most parents would cringe at the thoughts of a four or five year old cooking in a kitchen unsupervised, but it allowed myself not only to eat, but for my mother to wake up sometime after noon to food already prepared for her. While often nothing more than slightly burned bacon, eggs, and toast it was the thought that mattered.

Yet we were still what you would call struggling poor, I never knew for certain why we moved so often, seventeen times in a few years, but I always assumed it was the money. Yet worries seemed to diminish for a few months after my fifth birthday my parents started seeing each other again. Those few months seemed great to me, yet like most fairy tales, it was not meant to last. Within the year they stopped seeing each other, and my mother and I moved in with another man, who I learned would soon be my step-father (a foreign concept for he was never a father to me), and that I would soon have a brother (or half brother, as he is not, nor ever will be my father). Welcome Home.

The first few memories I had once we moved in with him to this day stay vague, perhaps on purpose, just the smell of Marlboro reds and bud light everywhere, then my first black eye. When my mother asked about it, I blamed a boy in the neighborhood. She told me just to stay away from him, but there were no boys in our neighborhood beside myself, and she knew that. My mother went into labor on April fools day with my brother, and no one believed her, we did believe my step father was going to attack my father when he picked me up from the hospital that afternoon to take me for a few days, good deeds never go unpunished, but the fight was not that day. Slightly over a year later my (half, once more) sister was born. Once again the fight was delayed.

Shortly after she was born, we built our own home. This was it, the complete family abode, our place of safety, which was never quite safe. Meanwhile we had to invest in bigger trashcans, bud light cans take up a lot of space. Around the age of nine I stole my first Marlboro, and was promptly caught. When my mother saw the burn marks on my arm, I told her it was from the electric fence. I was told to be careful.

A year or so later, we constructed the first barn, and since I was getting older I was put to work to help in the construction. A “random” 2×4 slammed across my temple on the third day of construction, and I awoke on the ground with my head still ringing, seeing that I had fallen from the roof. I staggered off towards the house, yet never made it. I passed out from my first migraine, yet it would not be the last.

I open my eyes again and I am twelve years old. The divorce papers have stated since 1991 that I can choose which parent I wanted to live with at the age of thirteen, I’m counting down the days.   But I can’t leave my mother. I didn’t get a birthday party that year, I invited only male friends that had come the year before, I was promptly informed such behavior was gay, and had all previous plans cancelled. It was okay; my friends hated coming out anyway.   It was during this time that my mother got a job in the school systems. Our pantry began to hold the most food I had ever seen in it. But then my stepfather lost his job. Food went back to how it had always been. That was the year we had to kill three of our cows to eat. That was also the year that the knife hilts in the house began to crack, and the year of full body second-degree sunburns. When my father sees those pictures to this day he still cries.

For my father love was a Toyota truck, in this truck is where we got to talk one weekend a month as he got his partial custody. Then one day he took me back to my moms, only to drive up to an angry storm of cheap hops wreaking destruction. He never forgave my step dad for the dents he put into his truck with his fists, my step dad never forgave my father for the teeth he lost that day. I went and cried that night; I slept with a knife under my pillow from then on, just in case.

If you could find my old chest of drawers, you’d have a hard time missing the massive dent on the front, the one that matches my brother’s back almost perfectly. I had never felt such rage, but had already learned I had no control.

I am finally thirteen…I can’t move. I can’t leave my mother in this beast’s cave alone. I keep wearing long sleeves in the summer, everyone calls me fashionable, I just wanted to keep their eyes off of me. This was the year that a horse almost liberated us all. One drunken Sunday (like they all were) my stepfather decided to take on an unbroken horse. The horse won, throwing him like a rag doll to the ground and proceeding to stomp him. The doctors said the horse missed his heart by four inches, and missed his skull by less than an inch, they could sew the ear that had been ripped off back on, but hearing would be missing on that side. I fed the horse many sugar cubes that day, that night he shot the horse.

It’s October, and I’m realizing I love my English class. My teacher seems to truly care and keeps holding me back, she seems suspicious of me for something. I put it out of my mind. She changes the syllabus and introduces us to the book The Outsiders, this became the only book I’ve never finished. I cannot truthfully tell you how far I got in the book before I started to cry, I can say it wasn’t much longer before I had a complete mental break down. I closed my eyes, when I opened them; it was only my English teacher and myself. I started telling my story as memories flooded back to me, she picked me up and took me to the counselor of the school. They both heard my story, and before I knew it police were guarding the door to this office, I feared what I had done, but knew I had no choice. I assumed (being young and naïve) that the cops would take me away, yet was assured they were there to protect me, and that I would not be touched. My dad appeared within twenty minutes. The counselor spoke with him; I don’t know what was said. Then cops escorted me to my fathers Toyota, and proceeded to escort us to Campbellsville.

I broke my mothers heart when I told her I couldn’t live with her as long as that man was there. I told her that I loved her but I couldn’t be in that house. Within a few years as my siblings went to college they offered similar responses, I always felt terrible, I abandoned them in seeking safety, they didn’t have that option.

I am who I am, because one teacher saw through my disguise and asked me to be open, and because a piece of literature saved me from something I was too afraid to face on my own. I realized I was not alone, and that no one deserves to be treated that way. I will always remember him asking me why I kept my nose in books and my head in the clouds; the answer was survival, for those “damned” books were my safe haven, a place he couldn’t invade. The books were my home.