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Monday, January 31, 2011

Forgive Yourself

So, here's a question that I just can't get my head around... 

"How does one exactly forgive oneself?"

It's easier for me to understand forgiving others because it's someone else that you are releasing, pardoning, finding peace with.  I can maybe go to them.  Talk to them.  Write to them.  It's tangible.  But, it's not like I can step outside myself and say, "Hey, I forgive you.  Don't worry about it anymore."

I decided to ask around.  The dog had little to say for himself.  The kids were sleeping.  So, that narrowed my search and I quizzed my husband.

His answer:

"Well, what I need to do is pour myself out to God about it and be honest with my struggle of why I just can't let myself off the hook.... and it's never a one time thing.  There are things I've had to forgive myself multiple times for because if I start thinking about it, I can tend to start beating myself up over it all over again."

It made me think. 

HE forgives me.  He holds Freedom, not grudges.  And, He sure has a much better perspective on the whole thing than I do.  And, if He says I'm forgiven, than who am I to say I'm not and continue to live in guilt, condemnation and self-punishment?

I may just test my husband's answer and find out for myself.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Insignificants

If you ever had to deal with a leaky roof or faucet, you may have had to reach for a bucket or two.  I know I've had my share of water leaks. 

Though annoying to deal with, it does fascinate me how each little drip eventually can fill my gallon size bucket.  At first, one drip seems insignificant.  But, when it's added with another 'insignificant' drip and then another and another, I eventually have a full bucket of what I would have called 'insignificants', but now redefine as quite significant as I strain my back to empty the bucket.

It
     takes

                 each
                       

                                 drip. 
                                     
                                       
                                          Each


                                                   drip
                                                  

                                                             IS
                                                     
                                                        
                                                             >> significant.>>

                                        drip
                                                                 
                                                   drip

                                                         

                                                                 drip
                                                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, January 28, 2011

Elephant Ropes

Have you ever held yourself captive?

Sounds like a ridiculous question, I know.  But, someone spoke this to me about a year and a half ago and tonight I stumbled across it again while doing a web search:
    “Did you know that elephants are trained to stay where they are by tying a rope around one of their massive legs and attaching it to a peg in the ground?  Can the peg and rope really hold back an elephant? Absolutely not!  Then why does it work? Because elephants grow up BELIEVING it will.  Maybe they tried pulling away when they were young with no success.  After enough failures, they stop trying.  They no longer test the restraint, and confine themselves when tethered to the rope.”  From:  http://christians-in-recovery.org
I relate to the elephant's situation.  I can definitely identify areas in my life that I have allowed myself to be chained and held captive by ropes that don't even have the power to hold me.  And, I've grown so comfortable with the ropes, that the idea of being free can actually make me nervous.  How ridiculous that I'd rather be comfortable in my bondage than take a chance and experience true Freedom!

I've been holding myself captive with elephant rope. 

But, today -- I'm pulling away!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Invitation

There once lived a kind King.  He ruled wisely and was generous to His people. 

One day, He summoned His servants and asked if they would deliver a special invitation.  It was addressed to a 'special young lady'.  She accepted the invitation, but was shy to approach the King.  Though she knew He was kind, she was self-conscious about her appearance.  She suffered from a skin disease and did not want the King to be appalled by her. 

As she entered and He saw her, she was pleasantly surprised.  He did seem to be bothered at all by her infirmity.  This helped her relax and enjoy her visit with the King.  They talked and laughed and had a very good time together.  Being the good Host, He offered her food from His table and a drink from His chalice.  It was the most delicious food and drink she had ever tasted!

After their lovely time together, He asked if she would visit again tomorrow.  She was thrilled to accept the invitation for she felt comfortable with the King and forgot all about her appearance when she was with Him.

So, she came the next day.  And, the next day.  And, soon she became a regular visitor to the castle.  And, each time she came, He would offer her His delicious food and drink.  What she didn't realize though, was that His food was no ordinary food.  And, His drink was no ordinary drink.  It had natural healing elements in it.  So, each time she came and ate and drank, she was slowly being restored back to health.  Soon, her skin was completely rid of all disease! 

Realizing her transformation, she was even more thankful for His original invitation to fellowship with Him and so glad that she had accepted it.  She had not only formed a wonderful friendship with the King, their communion had also become her source for wholeness!

And so it was -- the King and the girl became lifelong friends.  They ate, they drank, and they laughed for all the rest of her days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Two Farmers

There was once a greedy, self-absorbed, yet successful, farmer who raised cows on his land. 

A time came, though, when he fell into financial heartache and he could no longer buy enough food for the cows, and his land became insufficient to sustain them as well.  The cows were his livelihood.  If his cows were lost, all would be lost.

Out of desperation, he sought out kindness from a friend and neighbor who also carried on a successful business.  The friend was compassionate, generous, kind and merciful toward the man.  He helped the man feed his cows, and as a result, saved his business and helped gain his financial stability again.

Then, a time came when the friend fell into his own financial heartache.  He remembered the man he helped years ago and knew that the man was now doing very well in his business.  Surely, he would return the kindness.

But, the man had forgotten how desperate he used to be.  He forgot how needy and helpless he was.  His heart was no longer thankful.  He was only consumed now with his restored wealth and he became very self-focused again.  He reasoned that he could not help this friend for fear that it might somehow take what he might need later.  He was not willing to risk for the sake of charity.  So, he said no. 

The friend was sad.  Not so much for himself, but for the man.  For, the man's situation may have changed, but his heart had not.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy To Be Me

"I want to be a movie star!"  she said as she reached for her mother's lipstick and smeared a generous amount over her lips and beyond its boundaries. 

But, with one glance in the mirror, she frowned.  Not the result she was looking for.

"I know!  I'll wear big sissy's shoes.  I'd love to be a teenager." 

She slipped her toes in and stood up.  At once, she lost her balance and tumbled over. 

"Who can I be?" she thought.

Her sneakers caught her eye from across the room. 

She ran and put them on and stood in front of the mirror. 

'Hum, one thing missing."  she said as she happily flipped her hair up into a ponytail and looked proudly at her reflection.

"Today,

I'm going to be me!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sugar Or Sweetener?

Some substitute.

Their sugar that is.  It tastes similiar.  It looks similar.  Only the aftertaste really gives it away most of the time.  And, actually, you can grow so used to consuming the fake stuff, that you don't even notice the aftertaste anymore.  It becomes familiar.

Some get confused with telling the difference between the Real Thing and the fake stuff when it comes to what they believe in.  The counterfeit seems good to them.  It may taste pretty good.  It seems to offer similar promises.  But, when it all comes down to it...
it's still not the Real Thing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

U-Turn Ahead

I appreciate road signs and policeman when I'm ignorant to what is down the road.  What a kind service they provide.

  • U-Turn signs that let us know the road ahead is closed.
  • Policeman that stand in the road waving their arms -- directing traffic to make a U-turn because flooding or an accident is ahead.  They help us dodge danger as they say "Turn Around!" to each car that approaches.

Our Traffic Controller aids us, too, in our travels in life.

"Turn Around!"  He'll say when He knows there is imminent danger in front of us.

If we are wise, if we have ears to hear -- we listen to that Voice.  We make the U-turn.  We trust that He is trying to help us, not harm us. 

We trust His judgement in the direction we should go because we know He knows something that we simply -- don't.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Star Of The Show

Ya ever have one of those dreams where you needed to be prepared for something, like a test, and you walk into the classroom without looking at even one page of the material?  You're still expected to take the test but you don't know what the heck you're doing! 

Or, if you've ever performed in a presentation (like a music recital, dance show, public speaking), and you walk in unrehearsed.  The show must go on -- with or without your confidence to perform it.

Well, I feel that way sometimes in parenting.

I'm expected each day to do a job that I have no bachelors degree for.  And, even the reading I've done to help me prepare for this job seems to be little help in the situations that go beyond textbook answers.  What frightens me about doing this job is that I feel like if I mess up, my children's future wellness is at stake!  Doctors, nurses and teachers spend years getting ready to take care of people.  But, here I am with 2 little lives to care for and I don't remember being asked at the childbirth classes for a resume!

But, then I remember....  GRACE.

She's my greatest helper.  She fills in the spaces I'm not able to fill.  She knows I can't do it alone and she knows how inexperienced I am.  She never grows tired.  It's amazing.  And, actually, it's when I've completely come to the end of myself that she gladly takes center stage and pulls off a beautiful performance.  I can't boast in those moments.  I simply join the audience in their applause for her. 

Thank you GRACE for being such a faithful friend.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Flower Beauty

If a flower grows in the meadow and no one sees it, can it still be defined as beautiful? 

It's a question of whether that flower is given the chance to be identified for what it is. 

To us, beauty is usually defined by what is seen with our eyes.  Example: We see a painting.  Based on our opinion of what we would call beautiful, we identify it to be (or not to be) beautiful.  So, if this flower is never seen, how can it be called beautiful -- even if it is indeed very much beautiful?

But,

what if there was Someone who saw this flower?  Like, the Creator of this flower.  His Opinion should count, then.  Right?  Even if He is the only One who sees it, He has the right then to identify it for what it is  -- and call it beautiful. 

There are many of us who feel like the flower in the meadow.  Beautiful. Yet, seemingly unnoticed and wanting so much to be identified for who we are.  We wait for others to look at us.  Tell us we are beautiful.

But, the Creator sees.

He is able to look deep into the flower.  He has clothed the flower with unimaginable beauty that never fades. 

He marvels at the flower
                                                      and His Opinion rises above the rest

as He loudly announces:

"BEAUTIFUL!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Prevention

Prevention.

It might be one of the wisest things we can do in life.  It's so much easier most of the time to prevent something than to deal with it happening.

Such as:

Cavities
Obesity
Divorce
Financial crisis
Your car running out of gas
etc...

Many of these things 1) take time to get to that point  2)  may be avoided through some maintenance and care. 


My Father reminds me of this, too.

"Ya know, there's things you can do to keep yourself from getting to this point."  He'd say after He picks me up from my slump and dusts me off. 

He's so patient with me.  A gentle reminder of what I already know and need to be applying to my life, but don't.  I forget (or just plain don't want to) to reach for His Daily Prevention Plan. 

If I take time to eat something from His Table, it prevents me from feeling starved and fatigued all day.  (And, hunger pangs make me grumpy and tempt me to reach for food that's not good for me.)

If I take a dip in His River, I feel more refreshed and it prevents me from walking around feeling dirty all day.  I'm happier, too -- the River is able to get into crevices where sadness and depression stick to me.

If I stop and ask Him for directions,  He's thrilled to lead the way and take me Himself.  The tears and despair are avoided!

Thankfully, He doesn't lay guilt trips on me.  He simply renews the plan daily. 

It awaits my access so I can live this day to the fullest!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Wear

I love taking my dog for walks.  It's a win-win for both our exercise needs.  In the winter, though, my ears get sooo cold.  And, for some reason, I almost always forget to put my headband on before we start our walks.  Then, by the third loop around our neighborhood circle, I start getting irritated by how I'm feeling and my ears start stinging.  It's then that I remember my headband. 

I can start my days like that, too.  I get movin' on whatever the agenda is and forget to reach for the things I'm going to need to help keep me warm and smiling through the day.

Like -- taking a quiet moment to look up.  Then, taking an extra few moments to give thanks to the One I'm looking up at.  And, then maybe even read a Word of encouragement from that same Someone who's looking back at me. 

He knows just the headband I'm going to need to help keep me warm and protected that day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mouth Choice

I used to love playing with Mr. Potato Head. 

The choice was mine.  Did I want his hat on?  Did I want to put his arms where his nose should go, just to be funny?  Make his feet backwards?  It was all up to me.

The biggest question was always -- what was his expression going to be?  Just lips?  His tongue sticking out?  Or maybe flip his smile upside down and make a frown?  Everyday was different.

Today I make similar decisions for my own face.  I start my day with a handful of mouth choices.  And, it's all up to me.

Today,

I choose the smile.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Satisfaction In A Bottle

Life Question:

Hypothetically speaking:  If you had an empty bottle and had to choose 5 things to put in that bottle that you would use for the rest of your life to satisfy you, what would you fill it with? (The bottle is any size you need it to be.)

It might not seem like a hard question.  But, many of us have so many things that make us happy each day, that I think it might be hard for some of us to pin down what it is that really satisfies us.  What really makes it worth opening our eyes each morning?   What gives us reason to do anything?  What drives our goals?  What makes our heart sing?  Do we even have anything that gives us reason to live and makes our heart sing?  And, if we do, would it be able to continue to give us satisfaction our whole lives?  Or, is it just temporary?  Will it stand the test of time? 

What's in your bottle?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A New Day

It's never easy taking a child to get a shot at the doctor's office.   

The kicking, the screaming, the tears, the child begging for mercy.  It's meant to benefit them down the road, but right now it's a crisis for all involved.

The thing with shots is that they are over and done with very quickly.  And, once they're done, it's lollipops and stickers from the nurse, extra bear hugs from dad, and the promise of ice cream on the way home.

But, sometimes the child can't bounce back that quickly.  They just can't get over that moment in time.  They are consumed with the images of the doctor's office and the nightmarish experience as they whimper in the backseat.

"It's over, sweetie.  No more.  We're done."  the parents reassure lovingly. 

**********

I can relate to that child.  An event, a trauma -- heck an entire season of life, can be like a traumatic doctor's visit.  It's scary, confusing and traumatizing.  So much so that it can affect me long after it's all over.  I have a hard time enjoying the good things in life because I'm still thinking, crying and worrying about the shot. 

But Daddy's kind voice speaks over the sounds of my whimper.

"It's over.  No more.  We're done."  He says.

"Look!  The sun is out!  Let's go play.  I have a whole day planned for just you and me!

It's a new day. 

Do you want to play?"


Friday, January 14, 2011

Proceed With Caution

A thought came to me the other day as I was trying to find a parking space at the grocery store. 

There are no sidewalks, of course, in a parking lot.  So, pedestrians and cars share the road.  Mother's holding babies, toddlers walking with dads, Seniors taking their time.  And, here I am in my vehicle that with one push of a pedal, can run them clear over.  They trust that I'm not going to be foolish and hurt them.  When you think about it, that's an amazing amount of trust. 

Then, a second thought came to me as I parked my car and started walking toward the store's front door.  Now, I am the pedestrian.  I'm the vulnerable one here.  Cars came just inches from my cart. 

Thought number three entered my mind.  Proceed with caution when the power to injure is just a pedal away.  At some point, you'll be the pedestrian.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prep Work

When you're getting ready for something new, there's some basic steps that first need to happen.

For example, if you're getting ready to move to a new house, you'd first need to take a good look at each and every item in your home.  Careful decisions are made.  Do I keep it?  Is it worth taking with me?  Or, can I do without it?  If it's useless, then the no-brainer decision is to trash it.  No reason to lug garbage around with you -- especially to a new place.

When you're at the threshold of something new, the Organizer does the same thing before the move.  He lifts every item in our heart.  Careful decisions are made.  Do we keep it?  Do we trash it?  Is it going to benefit us where we're going.  Will it weigh us down or is it a treasure that will be displayed in the new home?  Maybe it's worth keeping, it just needs to be polished a bit.  Or, maybe we think we need it but He says let go. 

He knows this process is necessary so we can fully enjoy what's ahead.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stay-With-Me

I see this scene on TV.  A doctor working on a patient that is struggling to stay conscious  The patient is wanting to give up but the doctor fights on their behalf. 

"I need you to stay with me.  Can you do that?  Look at me.  STAY-WITH-ME." 

----------------------------------------

I think of women giving birth.  Hours and hours of labor can want any woman to throw in the towel. 

"I need you to push.  Can you do that?  Look at me.  Stay-with-me.  PUUUSH."  the doctor says.

----------------------------------------

It's easy to want to give up on an exhausting situation, journey, struggle, illness/injury.  You've been strong up to this point.  You've believed.  You've trusted.  You've applied yourself.  But, where is the breakthrough?  Where is the healing?  Where is the baby??? 

But, the Doctor is there saying. 
You're so close.  Come on. 
We'll do this together. 
We'll get there.  We will. 
Don't fade out now.  Don't give up. 
The bend in the road is just ahead. 

 Look at me. 
STAY-WITH-ME


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Current

Sometimes it can feel like you've lost your way in life. 

You used to know where you were going-- the direction you were swimming in and the destination you were moving toward.  Now, you're just treading water and wondering what's the point of being out here in the water anyway.  Some days, you want to just give up, close your eyes and stop swimming altogether. 

But, you forgot about the Current. 

You know about it.  You just haven't thought about how it can apply to your life situation right now.  It's stronger than the EAC (East Australian Current), but provides a similar service.  The EAC is used as a super highway for many fish every year, helping them get to where they need to go. (It was the current that Marlin and Dory used to find Sydney in the movie "Finding Nemo". ) 

The Great Current flows for us travelers here on earth -- giving lives lost at sea a new hope and weary swimmers a place to relax, enjoy their journey, and stop striving in their own efforts.  It gives a guarantee of correct destination.

How precious it is to be carried by the Current and ride it all the way to the end.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Just Wanted To Say...

I could hear his voice through my door. 

"Please open it."  he said for the fifth time.

I just couldn't bring myself to turn the doorknob.  The door was my only protection.  Opening the door would mean being vulnerable.  And, that was not something I was ready for.

What does he want, anyway?  I'm sure it's just to recap how I screwed up the other day.  Or, maybe he wants to remind me how I can't do anything right.--not that I really need reminding on that subject. 

"Please."  he gently spoke again.  "I'm asking you.  please."

Well,

maybe if I open it real quick he'll go away.

But,

if I did open the door, I better be ready to fight.  Hold my defense.  Get ready to argue my case.  Surely, condemnation will be his first flaming arrow at me.  I must be strong!

I threw the door open and covered my face. 

Silence.  Nothing.

I peeked. 

No arrows.  No yelling. 

Just him and his kind eyes.

"I just wanted to say..." he whispered.

"I love you."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Not-So-Friendly Friend

I have a friend.

Well, he says he's my friend. He told me he has my best interest in mind. He'll help me stay in control and keep me from getting too vulnerable with anyone. His shell is my safety. 

And, he keeps me feeling good about myself. He keeps me puffed up and just slightly above the rest. With him, I feel less inferior.

He's been around for so long, he feels part of who I am now. So, I must defend him. Stick up for him when he's being scrutinized. Be his advocate and reject any thought of removing him from my life!

But, today I found out that he's been lying to me. 

He's not helping me. In fact, he's the one that gets in my way when I am desperately seeking a place to rest my head and lay my burden down. 
 
He's not offering me anything good at all when I need to express myself to someone and open up.  Ointment can't enter unless the wound is exposed. Hands can't receive when their clenched closed.

He's no help when I screw up. He keeps me from humbling myself and finding forgiveness and release.

He's no friend. He's an enemy.

His name?

PRIDE.

Her Wonderland

Aria loved bedtime.  Not because she loved to sleep, but, because she was finally able to enter the doors of her hide-away -- the magical land beneath her covers where her plush characters came to life in the light of her dim flashlight.  There she would run with her friends through the woods pretending to fly through the treetops on vines.  She would then close her eyes and transport herself to space and walk on the moon -- blowing kisses at the stars and waving to the Milky Way.  She'd finish her day on her favorite beach and recall her adventures to her best friend. 

It was her time.  Her time to create.  Her time to be herself.  No pressure to please.  No pressure to perform.   No fear.  No judgement.  Her secret wonderland! 

And, no one could take that away from her.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tangled Mess

Long hair can be gorgeous.  But, it can be pain-staking to comb.  If you're not diligent to manage it daily, it can turn into a nest of tangles.  How hard it is to work through such a mess once it gets to that point!  Where do you even begin?? 

Relationships can tangle, too.  Marriages.  Mother-daughter.  Son-father.  Friend-friend.  And, some require higher maintenance than others.  If not cared for daily, it can twist and get knotted.  How hard it is, then, to straighten such messes! 

Thankfully, there's Hair Treatment available to us.  Daily Conditioner offers everyday care to help keep day-to-day tangles at bay.  And, for the more complicated messes, there's a Detangler Spray/Brush package available that can work through even the most knotted of relationships. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Put The Shoe Down & Back Away Slowly

"Why did you throw the shoe at your sister?" we asked our older daughter after placing an ice-pack on her sibling's nose.

"She forced me! she said. 

Though, we were pretty confident her sister probably provoked her, we answered, "She couldn't have forced you.  You made the decision to throw it, and you did."

My daughter is not alone in her temptation.  There are times I want to react with flying footwear, too --when my patience is depleted and my tolerance yells "ENOUGH!!!"  It's then that the 'shoe' is in my hand and the decision is mine to make.

 ---------
People can provoke and irritation is evoked. 
 Irritation & frustration join forces with aggravation,
giving birth to temptation, making my shoe a fixation.

 But, no one can force me. 
The choice is all mine.
Will I act or react -- be the peacemaker this time?

The voice of the Rule
is calling my name,
"Choose what is right,
do not be a fool!"
This Rule is so Golden and always gives life
to each situation that's full of such strife.








Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wind

It's neat how one element of nature can offer various benefits. 

Wind, for example.  When we're hot, it offers a cool breeze.  When we're flying a kite, it offers its wings.  When we look to it to be an energy source, it gives itself completely.  One element.  Many benefits. 

The Great Wind is like that, too.  It's able to breathe its cool breath on a burnt heart and bring healing.  But, it's also able to hold a dying flame in its hand and breathe new life into it.  It has the power and willingness to both cool/heal and warm/revive. 

How I need this Wind to blow on me today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CANDY STASH!!

One thing I remember about Grammy's house -- her candy stash! My siblings and I would run through the door with a glance in her direction yelling, "Hi Grammy!", as we did a bee-line to the goody bowl. We knew there were delicious treasures in her house. We knew where to find them. And we knew we had the freedom to reach for them. 

My Heavenly Daddy has a Candy Stash of His own!  

Candy bowls of Wisdom.  
Mouth-watering Understanding.   
Variety Chocolates that surprise you when you bite into them.  
Candy Kisses in huge portions.  
Rainbow Skittles of Joy pouring like a waterfall into our laps.  
Marshmallows of Comfort.  
Satisfaction Bars that keep us hunger-free.  
Peppermint Refreshments.  
And, long-lasting Love Gum!

Delicious treasures. 

And I know just where to find them and I have the freedom to reach for them ALL!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Try It

It's a classic scenario.  I put a new food on my daughter's plate and immediately she bursts out saying, "I don't like it!" 

Of course, my parental response is, "But, you haven't even tried it.  Give it a chance.  You might like it."

Most of the time my convincing is unpersuasive and she turns her nose up and pushes her plate away.  She'd rather forfeit the possibility of something good in her mouth than take a chance and try it.

Our Father might offer something new on our plates, too.  Maybe a new opportunity.  A fresh path.  A new love.  A different way of thinking. 

"Taste and see."  He says.  "It is good". 

One thing we can be sure of.  He will never put anything on our plates that isn't good for us. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Home Security

I'm exhausted.  And, it's not because I'm recovering from the holidays. 

I'm exhausted trying to be strong in life.  Trying to hold it together.  I just feel weary.

I had a picture in my mind last night that I was trying to hold up the side of a house.  How impossible is that!  And yet, there I was pressed against it, hoping if I just pushed hard enough, it would stay secure.  Then the Strong One said, "Let go".  In faith, I pulled away from the wall, and to my amazement it didn't fall!  He was already holding it up for me! 

Only He is Strong.  Only He can keep our Houses secure and our Walls from collapsing.  Our Firm Foundation. 

How much easier it is to relax, let go, and rest, when I know He is holding my House in place.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Germs

With winter comes ice skating, cocoa, and enjoying a cozy fire in the fireplace. 

But, it also comes with cold & flu medicine, trips to the doctor, and 14 boxes of tissues.  Germs party-hop and we suffer.  We could be perfectly healthy and feeling good, then visit a friend's house, and suddenly walk away sick.  Germs are ugly.  Contagious.  And, take time to be free from.

Negativity can be the same way.  Some people walk around sick with this Germ every day of the year.  Everyone's-doin'-'em-wrong-glass-half-empty-kind-of-attitude.  And, these Germs are highly contagious!   You could be walkin' on sunshine one minute, have a 15 minute chat with a Germ-infested person, and suddenly, your thinkin' is stinkin', too! 

Two thoughts on this: 

1)  Watch your own health when interacting with a sick individual.  Be sure to stay alert and protect yourself from such Germs.

2)  Be merciful to the person who has Germs.  Their negativity is probably the fruit of a sick heart.  And, ya never know -- your ray of sunshine might be just what they need to help them feel better.