Thursday, August 19, 2010

Make Way! A Dream Is Comin Thru!

For once I am going to take my own advice…….

The fact is…. life never stops throwing curve balls. The main issue is how you deal with them. Do you hit a foul, walk, strike out or hit a home run? Without total focus, energy and full concentration you can lose the game for your team. This analogy is hysterical seeing that I am the most athletically challenged and uninformed of our entire family.

It is far too easy for everyday life to take so many bites out of you and your day that the people you love most get so little of your attention. Silently, very good things can become unhealthy, and hazardous to both you and your family’s health. Unfortunately, if you do not recognize the disorder in time, there can be fatalities. By the time you decide YOU have time…..they may have moved on….or physically be gone.

If your priorities are not in order a dream can steamroll over you or unknowingly become an idol in your life. Actually, I am in the process of several of my dreams coming true, but imbalance can knock the shine off or even suck the life out of it. Honestly, as I watch my life-mate struggle, the things that have called and demanded so much of my time and energy pales in comparison to the real needs.

I have learned that as a woman, our own agenda can interfere or even prevent us from fulfilling the first call, as a wife, to be a help-mate. Yes, a clean house and home-cooked meals can take precedence over our Day Timer, outside relationships or yes, even ministry if these are the priorities of our husbands. The words keep flooding back…”What good is it to be a public success but a private failure?”

No one, but the Lord knows how excited I have been to have succeeded in designing and illustrating my first blog. To finally give voice to what has been dormant for so long. This may sound like I am quitting, but nothing is further from the truth. It has become necessary for the health of the dream and my husband to take time to regroup and get my houses(s) in order.

* Combo of clip Art
I have shared earlier that my husband’s current health challenges have forced us to make different choices. One of the major choices we have made is to have a building built and placed on our property. In addition to additional storage, this would be the new home for High Art Forms Studio. This in turn, will free space up in our home for my husband’s new office. So…within the next two weeks I will have a dream parked in my backyard, and my husband will be able to sit behind his desk once more.

Nevertheless, all of these changes will still necessitate a move on our part, but with our children being at the helm this time. All of our storage contents will have to be u-hauled back to College Street.

Given the current circumstances…doesn’t this seem financially risky? YES! Doesn’t this seem physically demanding? YES! Haven’t you been frustrated, angry or scared? YES! Hasn’t this hurt your pride to ask for help? YES! Are you going to quit? NO! NO! NO! I may go home to be with the Lord with pen and paper in hand, BUT NO!

From the very beginning the blog was to be the first step of many, but my ultimate goal was to develop a website. As I seek the Lord more diligently, and tend to the needs of my husband, the blog posts and Face Book interaction may be temporarily less frequent.

The newest movie release “Eat, Pray, Love” may be great entertainment, but as I look closer at the movie title, for me, it is a reverse of God’s commands personified. So please excuse me as I powder my red nose, wipe my swollen eyes, and together with King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:1) get our house(s) in order.

As I process the process I covet your prayers. I pray that you will always save a sweet spot for MODERN ORANGE and the Flynn’s in your hearts.

Habakkuk 2:2-3

Then the LORD said to me,

“Write my answer plainly on tablets,

so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

This vision is for a future time.

It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,

for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed.

    Ta- ta- for now.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

'Miss Effie"

Clip Art ( I did not draw this, but wish I had )
If I am known for anything by my family, it’s my love for a “fresh cup” of coffee. So much so, I carry my own creamer everywhere I go! Alas, our closest Starbucks is forty-five minutes away. Living in a small rural town McDonald’s makes this daily treat possible. My kids lie down in the floorboard of the car, because, much to their chagrin, I always ask, “Do you have some fresh coffee that’s been made in the last few minutes?”

This has become such a ritual of mine that I believe I am actually part of McDonald’s training manual. The longtime employees that know me put on a fresh pot when they see my car coming around the corner. I truly have been spoiled rotten!

For a couple of years before McDonald’s changed to their Columbian brew, I received the same treatment from the little gas station on the corner in a neighboring town. Each morning I was greeted by a very robust Afro-American lady known as ‘Miss Effie.’ She was missing most of her front teeth with the exception of one gold tooth. Her hair was semi combed, but the one thing that was never missing was her love of life and people.

I looked as forward to seeing my buddy as I did my fresh cup of coffee. When she saw me coming she always stopped whatever she was doing to give me her undivided attention. She would say, “Mornin Dahlin’ ready for your coffee?” I loved her!

'Miss Effie' was blind to skin color. Neither bad news nor bad people intimidated 'Miss Effie'. Bits and pieces of conversations revealed she was intimate with life’s hardships. This was a relationship built unconsciously through repetition.

I often wondered if she knew I had an overwhelming desire to take my cup of coffee and snuggle in her armpit. This beautiful brown faced, grey-haired woman made me long for my grandmother. It was my understanding she had been the caretaker of her ill husband and grandchildren. She was a caretaker not only of her family, but humanity. She never flinched whether she was mopping up someone’s drunken mess or a child’s spilled soda. There was a comfort just standing in her shadow.

I knew she was well advanced in years and was working out of sheer necessity. When the Christmas Holidays rolled around once more I felt an urgency to bless Miss Effie with a financial gift. Out of deep respect for her, I did not want this to be a source of embarrassment - so much prayer was devoted as to how and when to give her the gift.

When the time came, I discreetly gave her the envelope. Her response was anything but… Although I thought the gift might be a blessing, I was not prepared for her response. That day ranks as one of the most emotional days of my life. She opened the envelope and lifted her hands toward heaven and started shouting at the top of her lungs, “THANK YOU LAWD! THANK YOU LAWD!” She laid her sweaty brow on my shoulder and wailed….so did I.

The store was packed, but for a moment in time the anguish of a heart’s prayer cry was united with mercy's answer. I was so overwhelmed by her unashamed thankfulness. I kissed her on the cheek and weakly made my way to the car. I laid my head on the steering wheel and just sobbed. That was the last time I saw Miss Effie.

This relationship lasted until I changed my morning routine. I made new friends along with the good coffee, but I still missed my buddy.

Several months later I had a tug on my heart to go and check on my longtime friend. When I pulled up I didn’t see her out front. She was probably in the office counting the money. I looked around, but could not find her. Someone else was working in her place. I said, “Where is my friend 'Miss Effie'?” A look of deep sadness crossed this pretty lady’s face, “Oh honey…..'Miss Effie' has passed.” My heart was screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I didn’t get to tell her good-bye. By this time tears were streaming down both of our faces. Once more I weakly made my way to the car. I laid my head on the steering wheel and just sobbed.

In our day of ever increasing speed and technology where youth has become idolized – make no mistake about it - there is always a need in our society for the Senior Citizens in the workplace. I am grieved and ashamed at how easily we take the 'Miss Effie’s' in our lives for granted, and presumptuously assume they will be there forever.

Till we meet again my friend…. in the sweet bye’ n bye.
      t-t-f-n (ta- ta- for- now)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Hello from Heaven

For the last several years I have been experiencing a bit of an unusual phenomenon.

Very often while I am out running my errands children, (all different ages) will wave, no conversation, just a wave. I’ve taken notice of it, but didn’t have the full revelation until the other day.

My husband and I had gone for one of our daily lunch “quick bites.” We went to one of our favorite restaurants in a neighboring town. I was circling the parking lot looking for the perfect parking spot when I saw a little boy walking in our direction.

Not giving him any further thought, I continued to search for a more convenient space when something caught my eye. To my surprise, he was waving at ME! He was waving with such exuberance I now gave him my full attention. I was greeted with a grin so wide it barely fit his face. I realized that he was approximately 11-12 years old, and he apparently had Down Syndrome.

No one was more surprised about what happened next than ME. It was as though he had reached out with his chubby little hands and was squeezing my heart into. Tears sprang out of my eyes and down my face. So much so, I had to regain my composure before we could enter the restaurant.

What had just happened? How did this unknown child have the ability to step right into my space and invade my heart? Could it be that he was so close to the age of our grandson, or his apparent vulnerability?

He was innocence personified. Did he walk with angels? Or simply in his very noncomplex way he was loving everyone he came in contact with in this very complex world. I felt so privileged that I had been given the opportunity to cross paths with this very unique little being. Not knowing all the reasons why, I just lifted a little prayer on his behalf. Regardless, he was a very bright spot leaving a lasting impression right in the middle of my life.

I know there are no chance encounters. Did all of these waving children sense I had just returned from my own grandchildren’s home, and had a very real ache in my heart?

Could it be because I am built like a marshmallow and they had never seen one moving?

No, I simply decided that I have a very loving Heavenly Father and He was just waving HELLO to me through His wonderful, small ambassadors!

t-t-f-n (ta - ta - for - now)

*NOTE:  The cupid with the heart is NOT one of my original drawings, but the marshmallow with the red lips is!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Planted Flowers Today. Jeremiah 29 - Turning Your Captivity

I finally obeyed the Lord... I planted flowers today.

Why Sister Flynn….that’s just awful! PRAISE BE TO GAWWWWWDDD – don’t you obey the Lord every day? No, and neither do you? Even our New Testament example, the Apostle Paul, was not one hundred percent obedient, although, he loved the Lord with all of his heart and ultimately gave his life for the Gospel. Apparently it was a daily struggle that gives us all breathing room.

The story behind the flowers…..Anyone who has known the Flynn’s for any length of time knows that when our son, his wife, and our then 2 year-old grandson left our hometown thirteen years ago to further his education, our hearts went with them. In addition, we now have an eleven-year old granddaughter. The deepest desire of our heart was to be there every step of the way.

People would say...they are only four hours away so what‘s the big deal? The point is...if they were 30 minutes away it has been our goal for us to be there within touching distance. I wanted to prepare the Sunday dinners like my grandmother did. For us it has been the biggest deal, and have been praying for twelve years to make the move.

My husband and I took an extreme leap of faith, at our ages, in hopes of fulfilling our dream. We took all the necessary steps in order for this to transpire. When we closed our business we also closed my studio. We didn’t just turn the keys in on our building, but every rough draft of my children’s books, stories, sketches, and teachings were packed into storage....AGAIN.

In the process, I even had one of the most detailed, specific dreams I have ever experienced! I just knew "My" plan was to begin AGAIN…..when we moved.

There is one thing I have learned in my walk with the Lord. If a scripture from the Word of God or someone speaks a logos word that pierces your heart, you may as well go and get your ice pack and lie down to brace yourself for the big "UH-OH."

This "UH-OH" has been coming for months now, and taken many different forms. We have experienced a major hiccup on the road to Dreamville, and have experienced an unforeseen change of events that no one was prepared for. My husband’s recent health crisis and surgery has drastically rearranged our lives.

As “Plan B” has been unfurled….the Lord revealed the building of my dreams was HERE!!!!!  OH NO!!!! NOT IN THE MOVE, BUT RIGHT WHERE I AM!  RIGHT WHERE I HAVE BEEN!  OH NOOOOOO!  PASS THE ICE!

I did the most adult thing you could do. I cried, and cried, and cried, and cried.... The Lord spoke very gently to my heart and told me it took this long for him to show me. He said my heart could not have taken it any sooner. I cried some more.

As if that "UH-OH" were not enough, the Lord spoke specifically to me several weeks ago to plant some flowers. I had pretty much quit planting live flowers, because everyone knew we were moving..."Hasta La Vista, Adios, just plain ole' bye ya'll!" So I half-way obeyed. I did buy some beautiful flowersORANGE of course. Just one problem….I never planted them. I just couldn’t! That seemed so permanent. Even my poor husband determined to keep them alive watered them, but to no avail. They ultimately bit the dust. No big deal – right?

WRONG! I thought I had gotten away with it. Then lo and behold…We were introduced to a powerful new ministry, “Expected End Ministries”, and a fresh voice in our life by the name of Katie Souza. Her teachings were everything we knew to be true, had taught to some degree, and experienced on a limited scale.

Then, "UH-OH", on one of her teaching CD’s, Katie speaks of a very personal surrender experience. As Pooh Bear says, “I began to have a rumbly in my tumbly.” YUCK! I hate that- when that happens! I feel my emotions trying to go into the fetal position.

My previous post about our little journey out of town was to visit a conference where Katie Souza was ministering. We could never have anticipated what a life changing experience this would be. She does not know us from a load of coal, but God does. In the midst of her teaching she quotes from Jeremiah 29. I know that passage. Verse 11 is the one we have always hung our hats on, and one of my favorite all time scriptures…but GULP…has anyone read or quoted the verses prior to the fun part?????


1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin [a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:

4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD.

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Babel was not only a place of exile, but a place of "confusion." The word 'CAPTIVITY'  means, "A FORMER STATE OF PROSPERITY!"  CAPTIVE means, "ESPECIALLY IN A DISGRACEFUL SENSE!" Hello, this means your disgrace is going to be on display, made public for all of your friends, family and otherwise to see! Often times God is a God of if's (requirements) before you can inherit the blessings of the then's.

"UH-OH!" PLEASE PASS THE ICE - AND THE POTTING SOIL! I looked these passages up in many translations hoping this would say something different. Don’t misunderstand – my roots run deep where I live, very deep, and I love my heritage, but I thought my future was somewhere else.

Could it be? Could this passage be a profound clue to turn our captivity? Could a pot of $2.99 end of the season flowers and fresh revelation of God's Word be the key to release all the unearthed junk and release my heart? Just as when God commands us to pray for our enemies, this prayer, very well, is for the sake of our enemies, but ultimately it is the method by which we secure our own release. The bigger issue is…can we trust God when it appears we have lost all manner of control? Could it be that God is trusting you with captivity for the release of a city, a nation, your future generations?

As I have chewed, and chewed, and chewed....I have determined that captivity may be far more involved than the prison sentence, that our conference speaker Katie Souza, was once sentenced to - but just as hopeless.  Captivity could be our marriages, our health, our finances, our relationships, even our ministries. Captivity could be traditions of men, evil imaginations, strife and offenses, addictions or unfruitful cycles, fears....only you can identify the cell block of your soul.

God is ALWAYS faithful to confirm His Word to your heart. In the midst of the conference schedule, my husband adjourned to the church's prayer room to pray prior to one of the services. He was joined by one of the church's youth. We learned that precious child was known as Morgan. Once more...she did not know us from a load of coal, but God did. She gave my husband a scripture not knowing any of his circumstances.

The last night of the services we had the privilege of visiting with both the Pastor and his wife of this wonderful church. This man of God gave us a gift.  He did not know us from a load of coal, but God did. He gave us
one of Morgan's prized paintings.  He had no way of knowing that I was an artist or the significance of the colors. This painting of ORANGE FLOWERS growing out of a dead black tree trunk depicted how God had turned the captivity in this child's life

How many of you know….the Style Magazines will tell you that for a woman; streaming sweat, stinging tears, and black smudgy mascara would be a major faux pas? It’s ok - I will just avoid all the mirrors in the house, for I rejoice knowing it is a beautiful sight to my Lord. It is the perfect picture of a surrendered heart.

t-t-f-n (ta- ta -for - now)