Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TUESDAY REWIND: SON Therapy For Winter Blues!!

"Why, my soul, are you down
cast? ...Put your hope in God
...my Savior and my God. (Ps. 42:11)
(A reprint from a December 2014 blog post)
D uring my tenure as a marketing assistant with a large pharmaceutical company I had the opportunity to learn a lot about psychological diseases and their symptoms.  One in particular caught my interest.  It was a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  You may know it as The Winter Blues or as researchers dub it... S. A. D.

Generally, it is treated with anti-depression meds, life style changes and sunlight therapy.  Although it can occur almost any time it is more prevalent during the dark, cold, and activity prohibitive winter months. People who suffer from S. A. D really are sad and depressed, so I guess that explains some of the moods we're seeing lately!  But I'm beginning to see a bit of it among a particular group of individuals and in one particular place....The Church!

Here are the symptoms: Lack of focus; sleepiness; irritability; don't care about spiritual things, i.e., bible study, prayer, morning devotions.  If not in the acute stage one can make it out to church, but barely.  Once you sit down the hearing becomes dull.  You're too tired to stand for praise; no clapping or hallelujahs during worship and you can't remember a thing the pastor said even between the dozing!


I don't think it would be much of a stretch to call this S.A.D too...Spiritual Apathy Disorder!  With all the hustle and bustle this time of year it's just too doggone hard to get excited about Jesus!  Too many parties to attend, too much shopping and of course the extra weight we gained from eating all that free food has more than our butts dragging!

No worries my friends.  If you take heed this can be only a temporary condition.  All you've got to do is apply some SON THERAPY to your day. I'm talking about a big dose of JESUS!  Similar to the medical one, exposure to the Light works wonders!  In John 8:12 we find that Jesus is the Light of the World.  Like natural sun light, a dose of Jesus releases spiritual serotonin in your body which means He's an automatic mood lifter.  You just want to smile more!  Gone is moodiness and depression.  Just a few minutes talking to Him in prayer each day makes all the difference!  Wake up early and join us on the prayer line!**

Having problems getting those skinny jeans on with all the cakes and cookies consumed since Thanksgiving?  How about fasting some of those heavy meals and feasting on God's Word the Bible!  John 6:35 says that Jesus is the Bread of Life.  I know you think you could live on bread alone but from one carbohydrate junkie to another...believe me you can't! Extra pounds make you sluggish and sleepy in church. Your clothes become too tight and you get subconscious, so you plant your self on the pew and don't get up until it's time to go home and take them off! Now THAT'S when the church really says AMEN!!

The Enemy works extra hard to keep Christians from focusing on God at church but he takes a vacation during the holidays because we distract ourselves!  
Yes, there's lots of things to do and it seems that everyone and everything demands your attention.  Even the most organized soul finds it hard to keep up...no wonder we're irritable and stressed out.

 So why not pick up the bible, turn to John 10:10-11.  Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd.  Sheep don't go to psychiatrists!  They don't worry or stress out over Christmas lists and dinner preparations.  They just follow the Shepherd's voice and they know that green pastures are straight ahead.   Jesus came to give us a life of peace...we've just got to stop long enough to enjoy it!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

SUITED AND BOOTED (Gearing Up for the Fight of Our Lives!)


"... and with your feet fitted with
the readiness that comes from the
 gospel of peace." (Ephes. 6:15)
As the old song goes...You oughta been there! I'm talking about the Spiritual Boot Camp hosted by the Sisters4Sis-ters ministry of my church this weekend.  S4S is one of several ministries seeking to embrace, encourage, and em-
power women of all ages to serve and fulfill their roles biblically!

About 250 sister soldiers came off life's battle field to prepare their hearts and minds for deeper training in spiritual warfare!  A training that they would get no other place than the incomparable and infallible Word of God!

My heart leaped to see them pouring in from the parking lot Friday evening.  The younger women helping the older women.  Mothers and daughters coming in together.  Old friends reuniting
and embracing. Some hobbling on canes still recuperating from joint replacements. One dear sister weakly making her way after an exhausting day of chemotherapy!  All patiently waiting in line to go through military processing, pick up a gear bag, and report to a waiting squad leader!

This was the first leg of a spiritual journey that many have told me not only changed their thinking and perspective on biblical womanhood but was a starting point for changing their lives and marriages!  They now understand that it won't always be easy....but with God it is possible!

The 2018 women's spiritual bootcamp (the first for the women of our church) has long been anticipated.  For fourteen years we have encouraged husbands, sons, and other significant males to join the men of Emmanuel M.B. Church of Indianapolis in what has become a nation wide phenomena for Christian men empowerment.  It was nowNOT OUR TURN....but OUR TIME to join the fight against a common enemy, Satan!

The goal for this first boot camp was to Reclaim our Spiritual Identity, Authority, and Power in Christ. We are indeed as the apostle Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:9 (NIV):

 A chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
an holy nation, a peculiar people; that
we should shew forth the praises of Him
Who hath called us out of darkness into 
His marvelous light: 

As women of God, I believe we have lingered too long in the shadows and darkness of our present culture.  We have traded in real power for the pseudo and temporary rewards of feminism; denying ourselves the protection and benefits that God has promised!  For those who have stood strong against the waves of culture, we have been mocked and made to appear weak!  Be sure my Sister Soldiers, God's word will prove us right!

To put it plainly, in this present darkness, feminism reigns but disappointment is on the horizon.  We need to be prepared to help those gone astray, pick up the pieces of shattered marriages, sexually confused children, and drug dependent lives trying to escape the dysfunction of it all. We WILL  be there!  Because as one of our Bootcamp mantras declares: 
No Sister is Left Behind! 

The Enemy's attack against Sister Soldiers is unique, strategic and potent.  Therefore, the weapons and the skills we employ against him must be of the highest order.  We've known for ages that this fight is supernatural (2 Corinthians 10:4-6), but we have become somewhat deficient in warfare.  Our boot camp was indeed a basic training in spiritual weaponry.  We revisited not only the pieces and usages of the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) but began to examine the strategies that is needed to assure victory in every type of attack. 

Discipline, Accountability, and Unity were areas of special focus.  Prayers for humility and submission to God's Word prompted confessions, testimonies and drew us spiritually and visually to the very Throne of God!  It was there that we unleashed all burdens and obstacles,   emerging as God-Empowered, Ezer Warriors (Genesis 1:18; 20) suited and booted for warfare. 

This journey has just begun for us.  There is much to learn concerning this good fight
of faith (I Timothy 6:12).  The fight for the lives of our homes, our children, our communities and our nation! Each training session is designed to hone us into stealth weapons against the Enemy of God.  If you're in the Indianapolis area please join us.  If not,  Pray for us and revisit this blog where we will be chronicling our progress in proposed 2019 post-boot camp bible studies!  

Until Next Time...HU-AH! (Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged!)
If you would like to leave a comment please send an email to: sisters4sisters@att.net OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  http://alittlewiser63.blogspot.com  click on the  no comments by the pencil and it will change to a writing space.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The HIGH PRICE of Ignorance!

My people are destroyed for
lack if knowledge: (Hosea 4:6a)
Here we go again, another case of foot in mouth disease. News commentator, Megyn Kelly joins a long list of high profile individuals (black and white) who unwittingly made comments offensive to ethnic, racial, or particular people groups.

In Ms. Kelly's case, she felt comfortable bringing back blackface as part of any costume. (Blackface is the painting of one's body and face to emulate a stereotype of black people during the mid-1800s Minstrel show period).  Costuming involves creating over sized white or red lips; wearing kinky hair wigs and accentuating the whites of the eyes).  Her demotion from a prominent television role, if not firing is surely on the way!

Will America ever find peace living in a diverse country? One that is not homogeneous but made up ethnically and culturally of people who do not always look like each other.  I wonder because I still feel the sting from Roseanne Barr's tweet referring to Valerie Jarrett as the spawn of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.  And, popular chefs, Paula Deen and John Schnatter's (Papa John's Pizza) free use of the "N" word in conversations. (I refuse to patronize either!)

They paid some pretty high costs for their freedom of speech! Roseanne lost her job and suffered a big hit to a lucrative acting career.  Papa John Schnatter was forced to resign from the company and his reputation in Indiana is in the tank.  Purdue University even took his name off a building and offered to return a multi-million dollar donation!  Money, reputation, and fame mean a lot in the good Ole USA.  But they lost something even greater...an opportunity to foster respect and good will among all people!  In this present political climate we can't get enough of that! 

 The defense, at least for some of these offenders has been that they just didn't know their comments were offensive!  I'll buy that!  By and large, I believe we are in the midst of prevailing cultural and biblical ignorance.  So I guess we shouldn't be surprised when supposedly intelligent people say stupid things!  I threw biblical ignorance in there because a simple look at Genesis, the very first book of the bible proves that all mankind originated from the same parents (Adam and Eve) and are created in the image of God: intelligent, decisive, with sensibilities that decry any notion of a superior race. 

Hey folks, whether you like it or not we're all brothers and sisters! Born in sin with attitudes, proclivities, faults and failures common to us all (Romans 3:23).  To hate and disparage any race or ethnicity is to throw shade on yourself!  It is self-hate at its saddest. 

Speaking of that, on yesterday's broadcast (October 24, 2018) of the Dr. Phil show I witnessed what ignorance and self-hatred looks like from an impressionable youth.  Raised privileged by an African American mother and Caucasian step-father, they kept her ignorant of her ethnic history.  When the step-father died the mother had to return to her black roots. The teenage daughter suffered an identity crisis when she was forced to live a typical black teen's life. 

 Click on the link below and meet Treasure:

16 Year Old Treasure

The Prophet Hosea, says that God's people perish for lack of knowledge (4:6). He was referring to the willful ignorance and disobedience of God's Word by the Israelites who sought cultural pleasures over a covenant relationship with Him.   But I say, both Christians and non-Christians who ignore biblical and cultural history regarding ethnicities are also guilty of denying a covenant that causes death.  A human relations covenant that says all humans have value and significance and are deserving of respect. 

 It is the duty and responsibility of each of us to take a moment to learn something about a person before flippantly making comments that could cause them pain. To do as James 1:19 says, to be quick to listen and slow to speak.  We should not assume we know what is offensive or not until we've humbled ourselves enough to do some research or at least ask someone who knows!  Racism, white privilege, fear, and bias are all symptoms of an ignorance that we can no longer afford.  It is killing the spirit of people in this present generation and destroying the hopes of those in future ones. 


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Friday, October 12, 2018

WHAT'S Going On In This World Today?

"Mark this: there will be terrible
times in the last days..
(2 Timothy 3:1 NIV)
"Mother, mother,
  there's too many of you crying.
  Brother, brother, brother,
 there's far too many of you dying.
You know we've got to find a way.
to bring some loving here today,
What's Going on?"
(Song by Marvin Gaye -What's Going On? Lyrics by:
Alfred Cleveland, Marvin Gaye, Renaldo Benson)

Never has this song been more relevant than it is today!  I'm not just talking about the general chaos in the political arena, but in the world at large.  Every morning it seems there's a new level of ethical dysfunction we have to deal with. Hurricanes of historic proportion have been pounding our shores. Wildfires are occurring in unusual places like the one this year north of the Arctic circle.   California continues to burn (approximately 6,906 this year and counting) causing the Northern portion of the state to be declared a national disaster. And let's not even talk about the rise in violence and murder in every major city!

If you have any doubt that we're living in the last days, all I have to say is just open your eyes! 
Here's how the Amplified Bible translates 2 Timothy 3:1


"But understand this, that in the last days there
will set in perilous times of great stress  and 
trouble - hard to deal with and hard to bear."

In eschatology (the study of last things and end of time for humans), the Last Days chronicles the time period beginning with Jesus Christ's resurrection and ends at His Second Coming!

How easy it would be to just shake our heads and bemoan these tragedies, but instead of tearing our hair out why not use these now frequent occurrences as spiritual opportunities.  Professional Spin doctors are skilled in turning bad news into good.  As Christians, there's no better news to share than what we have...God's Word.  Here's an excerpt from an article published on Christianity Today's website in 2005.  I came across it in my files and because it is Family and Friends Month at my church decided to pass it along to you.  Read it prayerfully and be discerning as to when to introduce these thought provoking questions.  Feel free to adapt it to fit your individual conversation's focal point.  With things the way they are, it is only a matter of time before someone asks you:  What's going on this world today?

20 Questions to Help You Share Your Faith
(Transitions you can use to turn a conversation to spiritual things by Worldwide Challenge.
Worldwide Challenge.org

1.  People invest time and energy into developing their career, their bodies and relationships, but often neglect the spiritual dimension of their lives.  How do you actively pursue spiritual growth?

2.  Do you think much about spiritual things? (This usually leads to conversations about what spiritual means, i.e., religion vs. relationship).

3.  How has this experience affected the way you look at God?

4.  We've never had a chance to talk about your religious background.  Where would you say you are in your spiritual pilgrimage?

5. I'd like to tell you how I established a personal relationship with God (Tell your personal testimony)

6. What is your concept of God?  Do you view Him positively or negatively?

7.  Have you come to a point in your life where you have trusted Jesus as your personal Savior or do you think that is something you're still moving toward?

8.  Do you find that faith and spiritual values play a role in your work, marriage, perspective on life?

9. Do you go church? Why or why not?

10.  We've been friends for quite some time now, and I've never really talked to you about the most important thing in my life.  May I take a few moments and do so?


**I've only given you ten of the twenty. To learn more go to the following website: https://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/articles/evangelism/051012.html

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Monday, September 24, 2018

EMBRACE YOUR SEASON!

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under
heaven (Ecc. 3:1)
Stopping by a local discount store, I was struck instantly by the various merchandise displays.  Within only an aisle or two,  I came across Fourth of July picnic supplies; Fall pumpkins, and Christmas decorations all ready for purchase!  It was hard to know what to focus on first!  What a confusing mess!

It made me think about the seasons in a human's life. You know God is so thoughtful and orderly. He designed each one of us with a specific purpose and time frame to fulfill His plan. Furthermore, He did it with such wisdom and loving care.

Each season of life is unique with a special beauty about it.  Within its intricacies and limitations, it develops and matures us for leaving one and gracefully entering the next one.  However, we tend to miss the glory of God's handiwork by either rushing into one season too soon or lingering longer than we should in another!

Read this familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

There are 28 different seasons illustrated in this text!  More than enough to capture the essence of our human existence.  But in our foolish vanity we refuse to embrace the normal ebb and flow of each season and its valuable lessons opting instead to manipulate them for our own selfish desires.

It saddens me to see adult women in one season trying too hard to fit into a season they left long ago.
I'm all for personal expression at any age.  And there's something quite inspirational about a man or woman who stays active and vibrant as they age. But this does not mean that every fashion trend is appropriate for you.  You don't have to dress down or dowdy to be attractive but as an older woman once told me; just because you can get in it....doesn't mean you should wear it! 

Men too, suffer from this cultural phenomenon.  We've all seen the jet black hair and the gray mustaches that don't match. Shirts opened to the navel with gold chains over salt and pepper chest hairs.  Speedos at the swimming pool barely visible under pot bellies and ads for pills promising more stamina and virility. No one it seems is content with being who they are and the consumer industry is making big bucks off of it all!

Staying seasonally appropriate has benefits with long range effects we might not have thought about.  It teaches the following generations how to transcend the ravages of aging in an emotionally healthy and spiritual way.  Robbed of the season of innocence, our children are sexualized early, their minds focused on adult things. This makes it difficult for parents to train and mold them into the moral, productive individual God desires (Proverbs 22:6) .

 Even if we're blessed to get them through the adolescent and teen seasons, there is a tendency for them to languish there.  They do not want to take on the accountability and responsibilities of the adult season and become independent.  Think about it!  Why should they? They now have parents who have become adult playmates with lots of money! 

America has a long way to go in the respect they show seasoned adults!  Perhaps if we caught up with other countries, we wouldn't find it so hard to embrace our seasons:  In Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea to get older is to be revered, respected, and to become an honored member of the family and society.  In fact, in China the elderly can sue their children for financial and emotional support.  In Scotland older citizens are sought after mentors, and founts of wisdom.  They are influential and do not have to fight to be heard. Regardless, the greatest motivation one can have to appreciate the gift of years is to remember that if you're not satisfied with the season you're in, God's love is big enough and long enough to follow you into the next one.  You'll always have a place and a plan in His kingdom!


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ANOTHER WAY TO REMEMBER - 9/11!

But Christ being come an High
Priest of good things to come...
(Hebrews 9:11)
It has been 17 years today (September 11, 2001) that the Twin Towers fell in New York City! The enemy made his way on to sacred ground. The heart of America's finances, the hub of our beloved music and entertainment industry, and home to 8.284 million people!

As we busied ourselves that Tuesday morning, fighting freeway traffic, grabbing coffee before work, we were struck by the news... the enemy was upon us, airplanes were falling from the sky!   For many it shook our world. It certainly did for the families of the 2,977 victims of this terrorist attack.  

Today, even in the midst of the chaos occurring in our own cities and nation's capitol, there will be tributes, memorials, and documentaries reminding us of this tragedy.  I'm asking that while we solemnly honor the victims and heroes of that time that we not grieve as those who have no hope (I Thess 4:13).   Jesus is STILL on the throne and Americans as tragically wounded as we are spiritually, have much to be THANKFUL for!  

In my devotion this morning, I decided to remember 9/11 in a different way!  I searched the Bible (God's word) for scripture references that would bring hope and not despair.  I offer them to you now so that those of us who know the end of the story of life here on earth, may share it and help others who are still suffering.  

In Times of Despair:

1.  Remember the Covenant Promises of God. 

Genesis 9:11
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.  

2.  One day God will Restore all the Broken places. 

Amos 9:11
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. 

3. God will Save His People from Disasters.

Zechariah 9:11
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. 

4.  Our Nation is Hurting but look to Jesus for Healing.

Luke 9:11
And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God and healed them that had need of healing.

 5. Our Prayers will be Answered for the Lord Jesus Himself is Interceding on our behalf.

Hebrews 9:11
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

6. Continue to Praise Him for His Faithfulness

Psalms 9:11
Sing praises to the Lord, which dwellers in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

The Terrorist Attacks of 9/11 will not be last of the tragedies that will befall us as we get closer to the Return of Christ.  These and others visited upon our nation will be chronicled in history until the end of time. The best way to handle calamities like this and others is to put your hope in the One Who promises to protect you and see you through to the end:


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Reprogramming Our Children's Faith!

Hope deferred makes the heart
sick but desire fulfilled is a
tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
America's children are angry, sad, and confused!  Have you ever wondered why? As a grandmother of a teenager and a Tween, I'm concerned about the world they are forced to grow up in!
The turbulent years of puberty have always been rough.  Lord knows I don't want to revisit any one of my own, but I can't begin to wrap my mind around the challenges young people are dealing with today.  Unprepared and scary would be gross understatements! 

 Each morning they awaken with continuing news of the Holocaust of their peers.  Friends and family gunned down in the streets or victimized by drugs, suicide, and other self-destructing behavior.  How do you keep a positive attitude with that going on?
I pray.  I counsel.  I try to engage their hearts, then pray again!  I speak to them with encouraging words, build their confidence with affirmation of their God-given beauty and skills.  But sometimes wonder if it's doing any good...I have to BELIEVE it does!  And here are reasons why:
~~ Our children are engulfed in Spiritual Darkness.  They live in a world that teaches them that they have choices and they can do whatever they desire even when it conflicts with God's Truth.  Yet  it shrewdly hides the reality of the devastating consequences!  They fight and fight for these rights but when they succeed, become disappointed and angry! The sex and drugs don't make them happy! The power trip from Gang Banging last only until the next bullet takes their life. Their gay love connection turns out to be just as hellish as their heterosexual counterparts and there seems to be no escape from the dysfunction of any of it!
Those of us who know the Real Truth must constantly remind them that God's original plan is not only the BEST plan but it's the RIGHT plan for their lives.  What they see before them is not the end of their life but God's strategic pathway to a new destiny in Christ.  They just need Him to show them how to get through it. (2 Cor. 5:17 -Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,; old things have passed away behold all things have become new. ) 
~~Our children are suffering from an Identity Crisis. They don't know who they are and they are not alone!  As adults we've set a poor example for many of them.  The Brokenness of our culture has stolen our children's innocence through mass media and so-called reality shows that constantly blast from our televisions, Blu- Rays, and re-enacted in real-time.  As adults we've got to get our act together! Our children are drawn to celebrities, rappers, and the Kool Kids in their purview because they don't often find a righteous role model in their own homes! 

If the Generation Z's (born between 1995-2010) are labeled less focused, and more savvy with multi-tasking it may be for survival!  Their Boomer (born between 1948-1964) and Generation X parents (born between 1965-1984) are too consumed with getting their own freak on to raise them godly!  We must not only tell them who they are in Christ but show them in our own lives that God's will can be more fulfilling and satisfying than the icons lauded in our society. (Matthew 16:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all will be added unto you. )  

~~Our children have lost their faith in God and the good of human kind. Two important gifts from God have been perverted in this present age...imagination and dreams!  False perceptions of success have been embedded into our children's minds from birth.  They have been nurtured on the belief that one has to look a certain way; possess a certain amount of skill, or charisma to be found valuable or worthy of acclaim.  When our children can't live up to these worldly standards they become demotivated and cease to dream of anything better for themselves!  They seek approval in the other ways but continue to be frustrated. They become even more disillusioned when they see others who appear to have the whole package, abuse their gifts, even using them to belittle others.  They just simply give up!

Instead, those of us who know the Real Truth must reject denigrating labels that place limits on our children and their abilities.  We must devise ways, create opportunities, and speak into their lives empowering and affirming messages of hope and life every chance we get.  We must find the positive in every situation and show our children their worth as God's creation.  We must say it over and over and over and over until the Enemy ceases to bombard them or they simply learn to resist these negative reports!  This is our duty!  This is God's plan! We must Deprogram the anger and violence that dooms our children to destruction and Reprogram a faith in God that unleashes the strength, skill, and intelligence the Devil and his cohorts so greatly fear! We need to do it and do it NOW!!!
(Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to  give you a future and a hope.)

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

If you would like to leave a comment please send an email to: sisters4sisters@att.net OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  http://alittlewiser63.blogspot.com  click on the  no comments by the pencil and it will change to a writing space.