Most People Don’t…

Posted: May 23, 2022 in What Matters Most

These four words bounce back and forth in my mind over and over like hail in a storm against the tin roof.  Sometimes the pinging sounds of these words can irritate, hurt, or cause me to be more driven to do what I do.

What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you relax and be like everybody else?”

These words have been thrown at me like those hail stones.  Some days I try to dodge them because I don’t have the strength to withstand the attack anymore.  Other days, I have enough strength to explain myself and try to teach, yet another person, why I do what I do.

Most people don’t…have a son that suddenly and without any warning, depends on you while we both are learning how he can become independent.

Most people don’t…pore over the bank account until their eyes are red because they’re trying to figure out how to bring order to a chaotic world of bills.

Most people don’t…have a husband in full-time ministry.  Enough said.

Most people don’t…take that phone call to offer encouraging words to a friend who says you’re the one that makes them laugh.

Most people don’t…keep their eyes open for clothing for the family who has a need.

Most people don’t…hear the unspoken words in conversations when that person is begging for someone to hear their hushed cries.

Most people don’t…take the time to cook a meal because they know a meal not only fills the belly but feeds the heart.

Most people don’t…throw off their entire schedule because they take time to listen to a total stranger who is having a hard day.

Most people don’t…start a job and see the task to the end.

Most people don’t…care about public recognition only that they made a difference in someone’s life.

Most people don’tdo what I do, love what I love, feel the kind of passion I feel.

I’m glad I’m not like Most People.

Is it ok?

Posted: May 22, 2022 in What Matters Most

I received this email and have decided to share part of it. I have changed the name for privacy sake. As those who know me best know that I have a real love for the mentally handicapped, physically handicapped or just plain different folks! I welcome your comments.

“Please help me with this. When is it OK to ask someone NOT to come to their church? My brother has a mental illness and he was OK except they had changed his meds and he had some facial twitches and his arms would move out, along with him looking like he was mumbling to himself. He is attending the church we have gone to since he was 2 years old. The pastor called the day before Easter and asked Chad not to come to the service. Several of the congregation thought he was “distracting”. Visitors would be attending and they wanted them to return and thought he would deter them from returning. Do you think that was acceptable? I am trying NOT to be upset about it. My brother is depressed and feels rejected by people he has known his whole life. Should I be understanding or am I justified in being angry?”

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My Response to her is how she might address a letter to the Pastor and congregation of the church:

What has been done to your brother is astounding to me. I am trying with all that is within me to continue in a spiritual attitude in addressing this letter.

1 Thes. 5:14 “…be patient toward all men.”

When Jesus lived here on earth, He demonstrated compassion to those who needed it most. It was their apparent need that moved Him to compassion. There is never a time that Jesus asks for someone to be excluded where He was ministering because they had a disability that caused Him to be “distracted”. NEVER! He ministered and cared about the person inside the body.

John 9 The disabled man that was thrown out of the temple. Jesus wasn’t happy about it. As a matter of fact, Jesus healed the man that was thrown out and the ones that threw him out He called them – Pharisees. You might want to consider what you have done and just how Jesus looked upon your conduct.

Luke 14: 12-23 Jesus is very disturbed with the guest list at the Great Banquet! Clearly the hosts made the “distracted” people their 2nd choice! Jesus stated to the Pharisees that they were to include people with disabilities and you will be blessed! Jesus includes the social outcasts, the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind in the invitation to the Great Banquet. The Pharisees didn’t!

Jesus touched the unclean lepers and he touched the demon possessed men that no one else could touch. Jesus spent much time with the people that society OR church calls “distracted”. When others told the beggars with disabilities to be quiet and leave Jesus alone, he called them to himself!

Jesus’ ministry all through the gospels was interacting one-on-one with the people who were sick, hurting, and disabled. He gave them His attention and His time. Jesus did teach in the synagogue and spend time with the educated and so-called upper class, but He spent more of his time with the down and out. NO! He didn’t push them away!

Jesus’ healing of people with disabilities, and spending so much time with those rejected by society or those who you call “distracted” showed just how much He valued them. And how much He values my brother! How very sad the Jesus you claim to know is not the Jesus I know.

I am very thankful that Christ has not put you in charge of who will be invited to the Marriage Supper. Jesus doesn’t mind “distractions” at His table.

Maybe you can ponder this question. Do you like Jesus, touch those who are ill and those who are social outcasts and bring them into your church and share Jesus with them? Or do you allow them to touch you?”

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Many Christians suffer with various forms of mental illnesses.

They are sprinkled all throughout our churches.

Don’t hide from them!

Accept them!

This is our moment to shine!

#mentalillness #churchresponsibility 

Christmas without Ben

Posted: December 28, 2021 in What Matters Most

It’s another Christmas without Ben. Christmas lights and decorations, I am no longer interested and the sound of Christmas music makes me cringe.

As a family, we try to honor his memory on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We specifically do things for several families in honor of him.

I have always been proud to be Ben’s mom. But this coming year, instead of focusing on the fact that he is not here the way I want, I am going to try to focus on the ways that he is still with me. He changed me. He taught me what love is.

I can’t help but think about all the gifts I should be wrapping for him and what Christmas should be like. And I cry.

If your heart is broken into a thousand pieces, I hope that you’ll allow someone to come beside you and say, “I know, me too.” If you are angry, I hope you can find a healthy way to release that anger. I am still searching how to do that. If you feel alone….I promise you that you are not.

Know that grief doesn’t fade, we do not move on. We bear the pain. We carry the grief because that is the only thing left of our child. God does not heal all pain. This is a pain that doesn’t heal. It becomes a part of you are.

I am trying to open my heart so that I may see the brokenness around me. So that I can be the one who reaches out in compassion.

I am thankful, that out of all the moms, Ben chose me.

 

I share this every year in the anniversary of my Dads murder. This year is different, Gary Benton is dead. I have not processed completely how I feel about this.

Dec. 16, 1995 Gary Benton of St. Louis Missouri, committed a violent act of murder against my dad, William Bonner, known as Uncle Bill.  A carjacking, fight between 2 gangs, drugs, all of these things Gary was involved in, took his life.

I have been forever changed.  In some ways, I see life as a puzzle – every experience I have had forms a piece of my unique puzzle. When combined, they form the entire picture of my life. My Dad took a piece of my puzzle with him to Heaven, a piece that will never return. He replaced that piece with his beautiful memories.

I lost my dad but gained something in return. He loved and adopted me at the age of 6 shortly after my mother was violently murdered.  For 30 years my dad taught & groomed me to learn of the Grace of God.  Would I give up everything I’ve learned if I could have my dad back? I don’t have that option. The only option I have is to make the changes I’ve gone through as valuable as possible.

I refuse to waste my life devoted to the horrific violent crime Gary Benton now living in Atlanta, GA, committed. I will spend my life as he taught me…to try and see beauty and His grace in all things…And fight like the devil against drugs, abuse, injustices, and offer God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.

Abandoned Power

Posted: January 17, 2021 in What Matters Most

Single Slice of Cheese

Offline Power Plant Holland Michigan

In a moment, as a movement, we have abandoned our power.

In a world of color, we have blanched, faded, and folded. Unless, that is, we can answer the age old question of “why”, we will become void, an entity of no value.

This time, the question at the end of the “why” is not “…am I here?”! Rather, it is “why do I go?”

Go where? Work? That’s obvious, to collect the participation trophy at the end of the week and enjoy the weekend.

Go where then? The answer is, to church. Why do I, why do we, go to church?

We file in like drones, sitting in rows like clones, we sit there staring, pretending to listen. What are we actually hearing?

We have our bibles on our phones so we can pretend to be following along when we’re really following the feed…we…

View original post 314 more words

Women’s Rights Day…let me choose my words! If we need to have a day to prove our worth or show how we can cripple a society by walking out on our responsiblities, then I wonder how we personally feel about our worth and rights.  The only person’s opinion that should truly matter is God’s opinion.  He created me as a female, designed a specific role for me to place in history and His story.  If I am following His plan for me and fully living in the role He created me to feel, then I will be fulfilled. 

Looking at what I don’t have or demanding to be appreciated reflects my own selfishness.  What happened today is that a lot of other people’s rights were infringed upon so that some people could stand up and say they are important. 

What we do on a daily basis, how we live, the people we impact, are proof enough of our worth and importance and contributions in the world.
Now, I am not ignorant to the fact that women all over the world do not have the rights we have here in America.  But here, in THIS country, we can vote, we can work in roles reserved only for men elsewhere, we have access to education and we also get to bear children, be mothers, cultivate and nurture a home and do many things that males cannot do.  We are so incredibly blessed and it gives me pause when we just want more and more and more at the detriment of other people.
Joining an organized effort on a single day to show how important we are, that, as a result crippled schools and businesses today and put children and parents in a difficult situation scrambling to find childcare and companies left short handed, is just unkind.  And what about the women who didn’t get a choice to participate?  The caregivers, the nurses, the business owners like myself…many women didn’t get a choice today.  And just because you do have a choice, doesn’t mean it was the wisest choice to take that choice.  

It’s not about equality….it’s about being content to fulfill the role we were created to fill.  In a society where everyone is willing to know their role and fill it and not always be reaching to step into another person’s role, there is contentment.  Everyone can’t be the CEO, or the Father, or the Pastor, or the Business Owner.  So, we accept our role in certain areas but rebel against our role in other areas?Doesn’t seem logical to me. 

Contentment comes from knowing who we are in Christ and believing in His ability to know what is best for us.I absolutely love being a female: I was able to bear children and feel what no man will ever feel.  I was able to bury children and know the depth of a mother’s love and loss.  I understand being a sister, daughter, aunt and friend in ways men never will know.  Those are rights God gave me that He didn’t give to men.  He made them physically stronger than He made women…why?  Their role is different.  He gave women intuition and emotions and empathy that is natural.  He gave me discernment that is naturally different that women.  God did not create us to all be the same gender anymore than we are supposed to be the same age or personality.  Let’s embrace who we are, strive to be a better version of who we are and not always be looking to have what someone else has or doesn’t have.

I realize this has the potential to be a controversial post…I also realize that some choose not to speak up when they fear disagreement.  Therefore we often only get one version on the topic.  Sometimes the minority on every subject have the loudest voice and most organized efforts.  Debates are healthy and seeing the world from different perspectives is a beautiful part of any society. 

My intention is not to criticize any female who chose to take the day off of work today, but yet, to remind all of us that we are created by an all knowing, all powerful God and that we are enough…just as He made us to be and we don’t need to stand up and shout that to the world.  We simply need to find our place in Him and know just how important we are to the story of eternity.

Renee Parris

waterfireChristians can know we have a protection in this world and it is a truth that many do not comprehend.  It is always available to the saved.  We have heard and read these stories most our lives yet we fail to claim the promises.

Daniel tells of the 3 Hebrew children that were put into the heated furnace. To survive the fire was totally impossible, and yet they felt no heat or flame while inside. This is an astounding miracle for our feeble mind to embrace!

Isaiah 43:2 kjv When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Some promises we can claim!

̶ Jesus keeps a constant vigil over us.
̶ His attention on us is very deliberate and we can find a strength we did not know was even available.
̶ He covers us and puts an enclosure around us.
̶ We have His protection against the deceitful attacks that are brought against us.
̶ His Grace surrounds our very soul and gives us protection.

In this world we encounter much difficulty but His Spirit controls the effects of the tribulation we face. We travel through intense times when our faith seems to make no sense.

When our faith is weakened ̶ His Grace surrounding us becomes strengthened.

It is as though God is saying to us, “Here are waters, and you must pass through them, the waters are on the road you must pass. The rivers have no bridge over them so you must go through the river. But, I will not let you pass through the waters alone because you would drown. I will go with you and will keep them from overflowing around you. While passing through them I will protect you.” Wow, what a security for the believer!

We can rest on the faithfulness of an unchanging God. It is upon that strong foundation I find rest.

copied from Simple Reminders

copied from Simple Reminders

The older I get the more I realize that I am just not comfortable in groups of people. It is just much simpler for me to stay home than to go to a social gathering. There are times I want to catch up with old friends and enjoy a cup of coffee and a dessert but I find it a daunting tasks to do so.  Most of the time I force myself to put it on my calendar because socializing is out of my comfort zone. Long after the event is over it isn’t important what I wore or how awkward I felt but that I made room for someone or something I enjoy.

I need to learn how to make time for people who need me by making time in my heart and in my home. Time is something we all have and yet everyone has a need for our time. For me to sit selfishly in my home because that is where I am comfortable, is not allowing the Holy Spirit to use me where I am needed.

I am reminded of this verse and He promises me that His presence is with me whether I am comfortable or not. John 14: 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Being sociable is almost always an inconvenience. Being with those who need us is not about my own comfort but it’s about making others feel safe and happy with where they are. Jesus made time for everyone, for all types of people—friends; whether rich or poor, people who betrayed Him, strangers and foreigners, the little ones, and so many more. Making time for others was a character of His ministry.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me to be comfortable but for me to be conformed to His image. Me being conformed to His image is me taking time to give to others…comfortable or not.

 

Dec. 16, 1995 Gary Benton of St. Louis Missouri, committed a violent act of murder against my dad, William Bonner, known as Uncle Bill.  A carjacking, fight between 2 gangs, drugs, all of these things Gary was involved in, took his life.

I have been forever changed.  In some ways, I see life as a puzzle – every experience I have had forms a piece of my unique puzzle. When combined, they form the entire picture of my life. My Dad took a piece of my puzzle with him to Heaven, a piece that will never return. He replaced that piece with his beautiful memories.

I lost my dad but gained something in return. He loved and adopted me at the age of 6 shortly after my mother was violently murdered.  For 30 years my dad taught & groomed me to learn of the Grace of God.  Would I give up everything I’ve learned if I could have my dad back? I don’t have that option. The only option I have is to make the changes I’ve gone through as valuable as possible.

I refuse to waste my life devoted to the horrific violent crime Gary Benton now living in Atlanta, GA, committed. I will spend my life as he taught me…to try and see beauty and His grace in all things…And fight like the devil against drugs, abuse, injustices, and offer God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.

pretzel These are an easy treat especially for the holidays –
They are so versatile. You can use a mixture of milk chocolate and/or white chocolate. You can use pretzel sticks, squares or twist and whole pecans or pecan pieces. I had a batch done from beginning to end in about 45-1 hour.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites

Ingredients
24 pecan halves
24 mini pretzel twists
24 individually wrapped soft caramel squares, unwrapped
8 ounces milk chocolate, melted
Sea Salt

 

Lay out wax or parchment paper, using a spoon, drizzle a little chocolate on the paper and smooth it out a little with the back of the spoon like you are painting a circle. Drop three pretzels, slightly overlapping onto the chocolate and spoon a little melted caramel over all three. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and then drizzle a little more chocolate. Let set and store in Tupperware.

1. Put the pecan halves on a baking sheet, single layer and bake, shaking the sheet once halfway through, until lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.
2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking matpretzel2
3. Arrange the pretzels on the baking sheet
4. Top each pretzel with an unwrapped caramel
5. Bake until the caramels soften (but NOT melting), 4 to 5 minutes
6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and press a pecan half onto each caramel, using just enough pressure for the caramel to fill the pretzel
7. Set aside to cool completely.

pretzel5

 

Remove the cooled pretzel/caramels from the baking sheet
1. Drizzle or spoon small dollops of the melted chocolate all over the pretzel & caramel. Sparsely shake sea salt over the top of drizzled chocolate.
2. Allow them to cool completely before serving (you can cool in the fridge).