Thursday, November 29, 2012

Divine Protection by Cindy Hester

"The Lord will guide you always;
    He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail."
 


I have had a rough time writing this past week or so due to the busy holiday season. I hope you all had a blessed time of Thanksgiving with your family and friends. It seems that time passes much too quickly when we are all together having fun and making memories. We all had a great time relaxing and playing together with my family out at the farm once again, and I am anxious to spend time with my in-laws during the Christmas holidays. I never ceased to be amazed at the blessing of family.



As always, it is tough returning to the "real world" of work and taking care of those daily responsibilities that tend to weigh you down. In the midst of taking care of one such responsibility, I had the sobering experience of having my car broken into in the parking lot of a brand new store just a few miles from my home. I have only had my car about a month, and it is one of the nicest ones I have ever owned. I am especially proud of it because we were blessed to get such a great deal on it giving us much more car for less money.

I had only been in the store for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, and I was not prepared for what I found when walking back out to my car. As I looked up and saw the shattered glass, my mind could not comprehend what I was seeing. I even argued with myself that it couldn't be my car. As I got closer and the reality sunk in as to what had happened. I looked into the front passenger seat to find shattered glass where my makeup bag and lunch kit had been only a few moments before. My console and glove compartment were open, and items were strewn all over. Broken glass had made deep scrratches in the paint on my passenger door.


I knew I had made a mistake by leaving those items out where they were visible, but a makeup bag and a lunch kit? Walking back into the store trembling I faintly remembered earlier having seen an older white car with its break lights on as I was moving toward my parking space. I stopped briefly thinking it was about to back out. When it didn't, I proceeded to park in the spot next to the car. I also remembered looking over wondering what happened to the two individuals I could have sworn were there just a few moments before. I suppose they were ducking down as to not be noticed.

A female eye witness had also noticed the car as well as a man getting out and following me into the store. She had apparently gone in right after the man and came out before him. She saw the man come out of the store a few moments before me, get into the white car and leave. It was then she noticed my broken car window and stayed around to tell what she had seen. I was told that he was most likely the lookout. Store employees reviewed the security tape from cameras inside the store. The man had been smart enough to walk into the store with a cap on with his head bowed low so that his face was hidden. Unfortunately, the store does not have security cameras installed in the designated parking area where I parked.

As the police officer began taking the report, he firmly reminded me of how dangerous of a situation I could have been in. He also began relaying statistics of how these types of crimes are on the rise. People are thinking less and less of taking from others The officer's frustration was evident with the overwhelming task of attempting to protect citizens and make a difference while watching the growing problem.

The theives probably do not know or care, but the crime they committed in less than 10 minutes caused $1,000 worth of damage not to mention the value of the contents taken from the car.
Having said that, I am so blessed that was the extent of the damage. The results could have been far worse. I am also grateful for God giving me a direct revelation of His love and guidance through an individual who chose to allow Him to be seen through her that night. While we were waiting for the police to arrive, the store manager came out to have me fill out paperwork their store requires in situations like this. I began crying as the reality was setting in on me as to what had just happened. The manager put her arm around me, and I will never forget what she said. She looked me in the eye and firmly said, "Be thankful, God is trying to tell you something through this." This made the tears flow harder as I wondered what I was doing that would cause Him to feel the need to tell me something in this way. She smiled kindly and repeated the words. This time they took on a different meaning in my heart. She went on to say, "God does not allow anything to happen to us in order to harm us, but for our good.'

Since that time I have battled with shock, disbelief, anger, and feeling violated. In the midst of it all, however, I keep coming back to what God told me through that precious lady. He is trying to tell me something, and whatever it is will be for my good. This has allowed me to earnestly pray for those individuals. I pray they will be caught and held accountable for their own sake and for the sake of justice. I pray that God will bless them by sending someone into their lives to share Christ's love and mercy. I pray that God would change their hearts to be givers instead of takers. I pray for God's protection around my home since they have some of my personal information.

Most of all, however, I praise God for the protection and comfort He showed to me on a night when I was walking through a "sun-scorched land". He "strengthened my frame" at a time when I felt so discouraged. I am just a normal person with faults who makes mistakes like anyone else. If He will do this for me, He will surely do the same for you.






 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Facts About Me by Cindy Hester

Okay ladies and gentlemen, if you are looking for a serious writing for today's blog, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This is going to be random facts about me you may or may not know and may or may not care about! You see, I think we so often get caught up in the seriousness of life and the "perfect" personna we try to present to the outside world, we fail to be real. Quite honestly, since all of the hoopla surrounding the election and General Petraeus's indescretions, I needed a break from serious. So here goes...
 
I HATED school as a child. For the first four years, Mom literally had to drag me kicking and screaming to class. Now, this is not something I am particularly proud of, but I was a worrier. It was so bad that I developed a double ulcer at the age of seven! What does one have to worry about when he or she is seven years old and has a loving family and good life? Who knows, but it seems to come quite naturally for me. I am learning, however, that worrying is a waste of time, and 99% of what we worry about never even takes place.
 
 
 When I was four, I  buried my brand-new favorite pair of paten leather Easter shoes in the garden because I thought I could grow more shoes just like them. Unfortunately, the dog dug them up never to be seen again. I learned it is not smart to plant shoes.
 
 
 
At the age of eight my goal was to grow up to be the drummer in a band...not a high school band...a rock band. Okay, maybe not a hard rock band. I wanted to be like Karen Carpenter, the drummer for the Carpenters, so Santa brought me a drum set complete with Karen and all of her brothers' pictures on the bass drum. (I was soooo cool!) I learned that while Karen was a talented musician who paved the way for future female drummers, a set of drums in the hands of an eight year old girl mainly serves to irritate anyone within hearing range.
 
 
 
 
My favorite toy as a little girl was a toy truck (my grandpa Hood really, really wanted a grandson :-) I learned that girls could drive a truck as well as boys!
 
 
 
 


 In my early twenties I turned down the offer to go with a friend to hear an upcoming singer/songwriter who had a few good songs being played on a local radio station. He was going to be playing at a small venue near Tyler, Texas where I lived at the time. I had no idea who this guy was, and I declined because I wanted to just go home from work and crash on the couch. My friend came to work the next day with a signed Polaroid picture of her and this handsome new singer. His name? George Strait. I learned it is quite possible to kick yourself in the rear end.
 
 
 

 
 In my mid-thirties my hair started turning this strange white color, so I decided to add blonde highlights to my naturally dark hair in order to cover the gray. Over time my hair became more and more blonde until there was no brunette left. Several years later having moved to a place where no one had known me as a brunette, I decided to go back to dark hair. I cannot tell you how many people told me how I needed to go back to my "natural" blonde color. I learned that people's view of what is "natural" and "real" is often skewed.
 
 
 
 
 
 

In my late 30's I met this guy. We watched each other from afar for over three years until we finally got up the courage to talk to each other instead of being together in a crowd and talking around each other. This was a pretty special guy, and he made me laugh.We genuinely enjoyed being together, and we soon learned what had begun as friendship had grown into love. I learned to let go, to risk, and to love again - and I married him!

 
 
 
In my late forties I became a grandmother for the very first time. I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotion accompanying this turn of events. I was so in love with this little boy who suddenly appeared in our lives taking our hearts hostage. A couple of years later, a sweet little granddaughter arrived,and the love just grew. This past year another precious little man joined us bringing further joy and love to our growing family of grandbabies. I learned there is no control over how much love one's heart feels for grandbabies. It is a wonderfully uncontrollable love that knows no bounds.
 
 
 
 In my early fifties, I watched my Dad, the spiritual, emotional leader of my extended family fight a strong battle against cancer. Along with my brother and sisters, I had the honor of helping to take care of Dad and Mom's needs after they spent a lifetime of loving and taking care of ours. I was able to say goodbye to him before he went home to be with the Lord. I witnessed and experienced God's grace during the time surrounding the loss of my Dad, then I watched God strengthen and enable my Mom to move forward and bravely face a new life on her own. I watched her faith carry her with peace and joy despite her grief. I learned that even during pain and hardship, life is rich, and full, and good.
 
 
 
Okay, so I did get a little serious, but that is really okay. Serious, funny, weird, difficult, it is all part of being honest and real. I've learned it's all part of life. A really, really good life. I'm looking forward to see what I do and what I learn in the years ahead.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Way of Love by Cindy Hester

 
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Longevity, stability, heritage. Each of these words come to mind whenever I think of the opening weekend of deer season at the farm. Over the years it has become a time-honored tradition for all of the Hood family to make the pilgrimage back to their roots at the farm for a time of fellowship, laughter, and deer hunting. The anticipation of cool evenings spent telling stories around the campfire is rivaled by only two other happenings - getting that big buck and eating breakfast at Jerry's restaurant in Onalaska, Texas.
 
 
 

 
Jerry's is a family-owned business that serves, among other foods, a good country breakfast. It is a popular spot with many hunters in East Texas, but it has become more than just a spot for our family...it is a memory. Each year Dad met us out at the farm on opening morning about the time the guys came in from the morning hunt. He would get the campfire started and visit until we heard the familiar sound of four wheelers coming up the hill carrying hungry hunters, and sometimes a deer or two. Once the deer were skinned and on ice, the guys cleaned up and prepared for the next highlight of the weekend, breakfast at Jerry's.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
No matter how many tables have to be joined, no matter how chaotic our ordering process becomes, and no matter how many excited children are running around pumped up on coffee, cream, and sugar, the waitresses always treat us with kindness and patience. The food is always served up hot and fresh, and the coffee cups stay full. The experience, however, goes far beyond the performance of waitstaff and the flavor of the food.

The experience is in the memories of togetherness and laughter from days gone by. It is in the feeling the heart remembers when seeing the chair in a spot occupied just a couple of years ago by a spirit that lives long past the physical body where it once was housed. It is in the memory of a conversation, a joke, a smile. It is the sheer continuity of family, of meeting once again as a cohesive unit joined not only by blood, but by love. It is the strength that comes from the past, and the hope that shines for the future.

 

 
 

 
 
 

"Dear Lord, thank You for traditions that bring us together year after year to renew and build upon family relationships that mean so much. Thank You for my family and for the joy they bring to my life. God, please protect this and so many other families who understand this precious and valuable relationship. Please also be with those who have been divided for one reason or another. Shower them with Your love and peace, and if possible, let them find one another once again. Be with those who are in situations where it is best to go their separate ways. Fill their lives with the peace that only You can bring. Help us all to trust You for our family's future, and may we never allow anything to destroy the love and respect we share. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen."

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.




















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