School Daze

trees hugging

Four years old and burning with envy—although I couldn’t name the emotion at the time—to see the older kids walking to school every day while I had to stay home. So I followed them.

Clueless, I ended up in a line in a hallway with a teacher walking along the line asking each child for milk money. Until she came to me. She stopped in confusion and asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I thought that was a rather silly question from a teacher at what was obviously a school. “I’m going to school.” I got sent home for another year.

We had moved by the next year. I was excited to catch the big yellow bus outside my house and ride to school on the first day. On the second day—I hid from the bus. If I had known about math—I’d still be hiding.

Much of what I “learned” in school was misinformation. My first grade teacher criticized my coloring. “Tree trunks are brown,” she said, “the sky is blue.” She had never been to the Texas Hill Country where tree trunks are grey. She had never been to Scotland where the sky is seldom blue.

We were taught that North is straight ahead, East is right and West is left. We marked it on maps. So when someone gives directions and says, “turn North on the next street,” it’s confusing. If North is straight ahead, why turn?

Then math. We were taught counting: “one-two-three-four-five.” I once had to pay back my employer for the extra hour I had marked on my timecard. My hours were from nine to noon. Count yourself: 9-10-11-12. I was getting paid for four hours. Everyone else was getting paid for three.

What to learn out of all the “facts” the world presents is confusing. Separating “truth” is like holding a raw egg in your hand to keep the yoke while the white runs through your fingers.

Thankfully, there is one infallible Book, one Everlasting Teacher—and we all have access. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:3.


Girls, Take it From the Birds

male bird 3

When God created birds, He gave male birds bright, colorful feathers to attract females. Girl birds don’t work to attract boy birds; boy birds work to attract girl birds.

We’ve got it all wrong today. Females wear skimpy to non-existent clothing, color their hair, pierce their bodies, and paint their faces to attract males. Listen up, women: we should learn from the birds.

I saw a young girl yesterday wearing such exaggerated makeup that she looked like a cat. Her eye shadow was so thick and dark that it hid her eyebrows. She wore a short skirt that barely covered her underwear, a top cut so low that her boobs almost popped out, and the expression of a lost puppy on the side of the road.

Women need to reverse the media hype about attracting men and make men work for it. Take it from the birds. Today’s expectations about how women should look, and the pressure for women to hunt down men as if they were prey and capture them is a recipe for mental illness. It makes women feel unattractive, unloved, and unappreciated because they can never live up to the unrealistic expectations. We should learn from the birds.

In Jesus’ time, when a man asked a woman to marry her, he went out and built her a house, then collected his bride. He worked for it and she felt respected, loved and protected. When Abraham wanted a wife for his son Isaac, he sent camels loaded with treasure to the young woman and her family. Isaac loved his wife Rebekah and she felt loved, cherished and appreciated. Isaac worked for it.

The Bible upholds the best image for a woman to have of herself: Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30) Time cannot ruin beauty that is on the inside, nor does it require plucking, painting, pricking, or pruning to perfect.

We should learn from the birds.

peacock 2

The Path of Wisdom

Immediately after 10-year-old Jackie Evancho appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in 2009, she signed a record deal. Music critic Andrew Duckenbrod said, “She is a prodigy; they break the rules by definition.”

Jackie also broke records. “O Holy Night,” released in 2010, became the year’s number one best-selling debut recording. She has since won platinum and gold. She is the youngest ever Top-10 debut artist in history.

Jackie comes from a strong Christian background and is an Ambassador for Mission Humane, an organization that encourages children to help protect animals. Her full length album “Awakening” was her fifth consecutive number one release on the “Billboard” classical albums chart. She sang at the National Christmas Tree lighting service in front of the President and First Lady. She played the part of Robert Redford’s daughter in “The Company You Keep.” No matter how much money and recognition she earns, she retains her reputation as polite and humble.

Scotland’s Susan Boyle appeared in “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009. Her first album debuted as best selling on charts around the globe. She performed at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. She continues setting records in the music industry. She supports a multitude of charitable causes.

Susan Boyle comes from a strong Christian background and sang for the Pope. The woman who was bullied as a child, told she was learning disabled, and was nicknamed “Susie Simple,” is now worth 22 million.

How did they do it? I believe they found the Path of Wisdom and followed it.

Wisdom comes from God. The Lord told Moses in Exodus, Chapter 31, “I have called Bezalel and have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” Then he called by name other workers to help build the temple saying, “I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans.”

So, too, in I Kings, Chapter 10:24, “Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

We all have gifts. God pours into each person He creates some special talent or ability. It is up to us to find it and use it. James 1:5 promises that if any lacks wisdom, they can ask God and He will give it generously.

Jackie Evancho was only 10 when she discovered her gift. Susan Boyle was nearly 50.

If you are still searching for your gift, ask God. Proverbs 3:5 promises, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.” I dislike Bible translations that say, “He shall make your paths straight.” God never promises easy. He uses difficult to allow us to build character and enhance our understanding. The Path to Wisdom is not straight and easy – but with God’s direction, it is achievable.

Like Jackie Evancho, I knew my gift was writing at an early age. I started writing my first book at 11. Unlike Jackie Evancho, I have not achieved worldwide recognition, which is a relief. I’ve seen her schedule! It would take time away from writing.

Like Susan Boyle, I’m a late bloomer having only recently achieved a certain measure of success with my books…after 40-plus years of writing and submitting manuscripts and receiving 150 rejection slips. And like Susan Boyle, I was bullied at school and thought to have a learning disability. I do – it’s math. Out of my six siblings, I was the only one who never made the Honor Roll. I was the only one who ever brought home an “F” on my report card – several, all in math.

But instead of believing the “stupid” label slapped on by others, I found The Path of Wisdom.

light on path

Bird Brain

Calling someone empty-headed and foolish a “bird brain” might be complimenting them. God put a baby seagull in my path this week that proved amazingly wise.

I was walking our collie, Angel Joy, when I saw a fluffy-grey baby seagull settling into the sand. I edged up to take a picture. When it didn’t run or fly away, I realized something was wrong. I picked the gull up and discovered that its legs weren’t working.

That created a dilemma. Angel Joy hadn’t finished her walk. I had nothing with me for the transport of wildlife. Yet if I left the baby alone, other dogs running along the beach might find it and tear it to pieces. Hoping there might be a cardboard box at the distant cafe along the beach, I promised the baby seagull that I would return to help it.

I had only walked a few feet when I heard frantic wing-beating. I turned around. Baby Seagull was following me. Because its legs weren’t moving, the little bird dug its beak into the sand and pulled itself along, flapping its wings to speed up progress. I cried. I stood on the beach with tears biting into my eyes as the helpless bird flopped over to me and stopped.

I picked up the gull and tucked it under my arm, rather hoping that it didn’t poop all over my new jacket. I carried the baby home and called wildlife rescue. Before they arrived to pick it up, the gull drank a cup of water, ate an entire piece of bread – and pooped – not on my new jacket! With treatment, Baby Gull survived. But how did that little bird realize that I was a friend and would help?

Psalm 104:24 says, “O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your riches.” One of God’s riches is wisdom. The baby gull was wise enough to realize it needed help and wise enough to realize that I would help it.

So next time you want to insult someone, think twice before you call them a “bird brain”!

Better yet, don’t insult them! The Wise and Mighty God Who directs flocks of birds across the trackless sky also said, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

Sometimes all the only help wisdom needs to conquer and triumph is our silence.