VISION 2020: I CAN II

Today, I got new bookshelves in our little school library. Like most things in our library, these shelves were donated. The joy started bubbling over as I realized that they were exactly the answer to one of those unspoken prayers in my life. One of those things, I never really prayed over, but thought about often. Needless to say, my arthritic back was a little sore when I came home from school tonight. You can’t move close to a thousand books without experiencing a twinge or two.

In these “elder” years of my life, “I CAN do all things through Christ that strengthens me” always springs to mind when I see something I need to accomplish – especially when it is physical. Who am I kidding? It springs to mind whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual, and I am glad it does. It is His promise and I need those desperately.

But there was something more. The power of this answered prayer continued to nag at me with each stack of books I moved. I continued to chew on it as I worked. I ground my teeth a little as I sat in my chair icing my back. And finally – after being called into serious prayer in the Spirit for family, it hit me. Our Father cares about even those silly little everyday things that absorb our attention in daily life. The things we don’t really pray about – but somehow mean something to us – enough that it pulls at the depths of our heart and touches the Spirit that lives within us.

I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I looked down at my feet tonight as I stood outside and realized how strong that rock is under my feet. The Aaronic prayer of Numbers circles through my head. Not the verse as much as the song that I sang over and over throughout my early life. His peace reigns. The Amen chorus ringing its 4-part harmony even after all these years.

My heart has been heavy for the past week. Several prayer requests from family and friends light up my heart throughout the days and whisper in my sleep. The Spirit nudges me to pray – not in the comfort of my chair or bed – but on my knees – to fast – to listen – to seek His heart within my own; to open my eyes to the glory that is about to be made manifest to those who have been called.

“We know that in all things GOD works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” Rm 8;28

The world whips around us at amazing speed. Technology filling our heads with topics, music, pundits, knowledge pulling us far from the inner core that allows us to withstand the storms of life. Tumultuous quakings, shakings, of the soul that mimics the physical rebellion of the earth itself.

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.” Ps 46:1-3

I often go out at night and stand on my front porch. It is not big. It does not need to be. It is comfortable and fits me perfectly. It has heard joyous songs. It has felt tears fall on its planks. It has provided shelter from the weather swirling beyond its confines. It is where I often feel closest to the Father and His Son. Whether the snow is falling or the humidity so thick that breathing is hard, whether skies are cloudy or the moon shining brightly upon the neighborhood, I feel His presence keenly. I savor whatever it is that calls me out to stand on its decking almost every night, and am humbled by the power of His glory that I can barely comprehend.

I CAN.

Valentines Day was today at our school. Tomorrow is a work day – which I really need to get the library back in shape. On my desk were little blessings, but as always, the best ones were from the kids as they peeked in the library, laughing at the mess, asking when they could come again, sneaking out of line to give me so many hugs, and giggling as they saw the candy tattoo on my tongue at lunch.

I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I CAN pray for those I can’t hug. I CAN move a bunch of books. I CAN love as HE loves. I CAN walk on water. I CAN do all things through Christ, and I’m so blessed that He is my rock and salvation. 

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VISION 2020: I CAN

I CAN ride a stationary bike for 15 min without the knee complaining of serious pain. (Yeah – I know it isn’t a lot, but it is a start, right?)

I CAN do my various gym machines that contort my body i various ways to strengthen the back and core muscles within a half an hour. (3 reps of 15 – not bad for this old lady after only a few months, right?)

I CAN do my stretches and bouncing runs in the salt water pool then stretch a little more in the hot tub as the muscles relax and the arthritis begins to use her inside voice rather than the loud, obnoxious outside voice. (That’s good as well, right?)

I CAN walk and play with my lab girls everyday and rejoice as we walk the paths around our neighborhood several times a day. (Am not mentioning how many times I have to go find the ball they lose, ok?)

All in all – – –

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”~Phil 4:13

Been doing Physical therapy since November and have finally graduated to working on my own. I am blessed that my insurance covered not only the physical therapy, but now also covers the gym and any classes that I want to take.

When I am feeling at my lowest, I remember to praise My Father and His Son for their grace and love. I have been blessed more than I deserved, and I don’t thank Them enough. But I am getting better at it – step-by-step – inch-by-inch.

I am re-reading a Priscilla Shirer book, FerVent. I read it 3 years ago when she wrote it in conjunction with the movie, War Room. Like the movie, it reminds the reader how important prayer is to navigating this chaotic thing we call life. “…prayer is the divinely ordained mechanism that leads you into the heart and the power and the victory of Christ.”~ p14

Prayer
Releases
All
Your
Eternal
Resources ~ p23

2 months into 2020 and my War Room closet door is filling up with slips of paper, note cards, pictures and curiosities that pulled at me. I am not very good at writing down my prayers and all the answers (but I do get some recorded…I think). I am pretty good at writing down each promise that the Holy Spirit has highlighted in my brain during my daily devotions or Bible Time (until I spill water on them or lose them as I carry them around). I’m much better at writing down the names of people I know (and even some I don’t know), so that I can remember to pray for them when I am in my closet — and — even when I leave the physical closet, the Holy Spirit remains and reminds me – time after time – to continue in prayer throughout the day.

I have come a long way since the first time I read FerVent. I hadn’t realized how much I had internalized until I started re-reading it again. Looking back, re-reading and praying over the wisdom presented, always reminds me why I need to continue to read and re-read the WORD. It’s wisdom is a never ending font of Living Water and pulls the chaos out of my narrow vision of my adventure at that moment and inserts His peace instead.

Our life journey is not easy.
Chaos’s call is hard to resist at times.
Fears. Worries. Darkness. Temptations. Hurt. Divisions. Hatred.
Many things pull at us.
Spending time in a prayer closet is certainly not what the world thinks is important.

But it is – – – and I CAN – – – and – – – YOU CAN!

Fervent prayer is that key which release all Our Father’s promises into our life. Fervent prayer opens the door as we ask Jesus to join us in our closet. Fervent prayer allows us to rest in His eternal presence for as long as we let Him hold our arms up in Praise and Thanksgiving.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still,” ~Ex:14:13-14.  Forgiven [artwork/Greg Olsen]

2020 VISION – New Path

The quince bushes have bloomed. The forsythia in some of the neighbors’ yards have also bloomed. Tonight – it is already in the low 20’s. Such are the season of life. Separate – blended – messy – beautiful.

Sunday it was still “spring” warm and sunny. While the lab girls chewed sticks, dug for squirmy things in the dirt to eat (yuk) and chased ball, kitty chased birds, stretched in the sun and slept on a lawn chair. Thus we spent the Sabbath. I stayed home from church to soak in some sun and do a little work outside before the predicted return of “winter” cold.

“There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees”

2020 vision oft brings work. The “keeper” had seen a new path in the woods. It just needed a little smoothing out – well – a lot smoothing out. In fact, there are still a couple places that could use a little more help, but that will come. The “keeper” can’t do it all in one day anymore.

“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.”~Jer 16:6

Rest for the soul. Working outside always clears my vision and helps me focus on whatever is rolling around in my mind. “Power in the Holy Spirit” has been one of the focus areas for my vision quest 2020(Acts 1:8) – figuring out my new path in this life has also been a wrestling point. Seems only appropriate that Our Father would point out physical path through the woods as I work on the metaphysical one that begs attention with each passing day.

“EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH”~Lk 3:5

As I filled in holes from rotting roots, moved rocks hither and yon, loped off surface roots, limbs and baby trees, I felt the power of work swirl into the deeper part of my quest and my vision cleared a little more. At one point – just as it happens on our life paths – I got off course, but a slight nudge from the Master Gardner got me back on course and a few wheelbarrow loads later, the path was – fairly – established.

The lab girls love it – especially the older one. She no longer has to go the long way around to get to the upper shed when we take our walks. I think I like it for the same reason. We don’t even have to walk along the road at all now – unless we want to do so.

Vision, a little power, and a whole lot of prayer is all it takes.

“The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.”~Rudyard Kipling, “The Way through the Woods”

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VISION 2020 – EPIPHANY PART II

“I was lost in shame,
Could not get past my blame,
Until He called my name.
I’m so glad He changed me.”
When you wake up with one praise song singing in your head most of the morning – even through a very traditional church service – until it morphs into another by evening, what else can you do?
You write about it; that’s what.
“I’ve met the author of my story,
And He’s mine, yes, He’s mine.”
After a somewhat stumbling life journey, I’ve finally figured out not to ignore the little things. A thrum that rumbles my tummy until I turn off everything around me and kneel in prayer. The knees complain, but I just tell them to shut up. A soft nudge that points my eyes to a student in my classroom. I wonder why but tell the brain to shut up and take note. A song that repeats over and over until it drives me a little crazy.
Little things that add up – when I take time to notice.
The furnace and gas logs have been off for the past couple of days. Windows and doors wide open. A fan softly humming in the window. But tonight, the clouds are moving back in, and I can smell rain in the air. Tonight, when I stood on the porch watching over the lab girls, the moon was shining just enough through the clouds that I could see its hazy shape, yet within a minute, it disappeared completely. The dark skies covered me and the tears gathered once again.
That is the way the past 6 months have been.
Clouds everywhere.
A hazy shape.
A little light.
Clouds returning over and over.
And yet – that tiny moment of light – as dim as it is – is always enough – enough to steady my steps and find my balance once again.
” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;”~Act 1:7-8a
On New Years Eve, I was still struggling with what Bible verse and word would be my focus for the year. A friend sent me a verse, and just like that – problem solved. Since then, I’ve been puzzling and praying over it. It hangs in my war room, written in my journal, and stuck in my mind. Then today, both of the local preachers that I listen to added to it. One talking about Baptism – the other focusing more on the Holy Spirit. (v,5-6)
Jesus went to be Baptized – not because He needed to do so, not because some religious tradition required it, but to model and fulfill His journey on a path that was written for Him from the very beginning of time. Only known as a carpenter up until that point in time, His baptism signaled a change. After that, a name reverberated over the river bed and calling all to Truth: Yachid – Beloved Son. A new name repeated only once again – at the transfiguration.
I’m still puzzling why this is important to my journey right now, and yet, the more I look at this verse and the verses surrounding it, the more His hope rises within me that the clouds are beginning to break. The Light that has been so hazy over the past few months seems to be brightening the skies and overpowering that darkness just as I knew it would eventually.
Valley journeys are just like that sometimes. The good news? Even though there are tribulations in this life, valleys and clouds full of darkness, I know that Yeshua Mashiach has overcome the world, and through it all, I am keeping my eyes on Him.
“I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am…”
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2020 VISION – PART III

I love those mornings I can just amble through. Nothing pressing. No schedule to hurry me out the door. Just time to breathe deep while I scratch the lab girls’ ears, and they stretch. Rub Shadow/Spooky/Sparkle kitten’s head until she jumps off whatever strange place she decided to claim as hers for the night. Best of all – if I’m out of my prayer closet on time – I stand on the porch and watch the first rays turn the top of the trees bronze as the dark clouds of night sink further into the west.

Today was one such day. After reading the paper, my morning devotions, doing a couple word puzzles and a reading a chapter in a book my daughter gave me for Christmas, I read a few poems from my other new book.

“Imagine a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – – – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” Ann Morrow LIndbergh

A North Carolinian friend of mind gave me a basket of small things that have to do with gardening. A poetry book. A pair of gloves. A plaster wall hanging. A small tote to carry hand tools. She already knows me well. She and her husband befriended me 3 years ago when I first moved to this neighborhood. Both educators in their 80’s, they have taught me a lot about the history of the neighborhood, the Southern viewpoint of the 60’s desegregation in education, and gardening. Many starts of wild plants from their property have started anew just up the road with me.

God sends people into our lives for a season, and sometimes – you just wish that season would have started a lot earlier or would last forever.

This is a hard week of bittersweet season endings for me. On the 9th – 49 years ago – my father went to the room prepared just for him by Yeshua Mashiach. I know he was ready even if I was not. He told me so just a few days before Christmas. 9 years of heart issues had definitely taken their toll on him and all of us. 10 years later, my fiance and I decided to get married on the 9th to give all of us a happy memory. But when the winds begin to blow and seasons end, sometimes you have two bittersweet memories instead of one.

However, the ultimate, most wonderful thing that happens at the end of one season is that another one begins. And – while it may not be our favorite season, it is a season that He has given, and we find that we are exactly where we are supposed to be to bless others with what we have learned. All I have to do is wait for the light, rain, warmth, rooting or seedling, and a new garden will begin to flourish all around me. When my friend gave me the blessing of a garden on that cold December day, the Father’s wings enfolded me as He showed me a new garden gate opening just for me.

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the awe of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”~Ex 20:20

Did you notice the notation of the verse in Exodus?

20:20.

2020

His promises never fail. Gardens are His thing. And I? I am His child. That 2020 Vision just continues to improve, and if I’m lucky, I will have more mornings of standing on the porch watching the first rays of His light cross the horizon and beginning my day with His Light, Grace and Love.

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2020 VISION – EPIPHANY

Epiphany – 12th Day of Christmas – The arrival of the wisemen – put away decorations – an idea that takes hold in the mind.

Everyone seems to have their own ideas on what Epiphany is – that is – IF they even remember that there is such a thing.

“On the twelfth day my true love gave to me
Twelve drummers drumming…”

The 12 disciples – the Apostles Creed – the 12 tribes of Judah – the prayer of Yeshua…

GOD IS!

The wisemen raised in a tradition started by Daniel during Babylon sojourn (or so I’ve read). They read their histories. They read the stars. They trusted something beyond belief and rode into the unknown following only a star to a baby and his family.

GOD ACTS!

Long before any could put all the pieces together, God was already doing so. Aligning stars. Using Daniel’s captivity to unfurl another mystery. Protecting His newly given Son. Drumming history into the words of a song that people would sing far in the future.

GOD CHANGES!

People reason. Ideas take shape and wallah – there is a plan to act on – an answer to the problem. “We are so smart,” we think. We march forward only to find a river in front of us. A storm on the horizon. A mountain that won’t move. A fig tree without a bloom. An empty garden. Silence around us. What now?

“I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.”v.16

I am eclectic. No other way to put it. I bounce between genres of music, literature and religion. Any day you could find me bouncing between Lauren Diagle – Beverly Sills – Streisand – Julie Andrews – Ella Fitzgerald and singing – singing – singing. Did I mention? There has been a miracle over Christmas – my voice is back. Still pretty weak, but back. The squeaks are rare. The doctors wrong. So like any physical therapy – I keep exercising it – pushing it – testing it’s limits.

Praising GOD.

While I am still mostly reading non-fiction – Bible, poetry, history, and devotionals. I’ve started adding some fiction. That also started over Christmas. I read several Christmas novels – Charles Dickens, Lloyd C. Douglas, Truman Capote, T. Davis Bunn – not to mention – the wonderful Christmas stories I read as a child that still sit on my shelf. I cried. I giggled. I gleaned some wisdom. I promised myself to read and re-read some of my favorite fiction authors in 2020.

“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,”v.17

Sundays find me going to my traditional early service at a local Methodist church. Especially this year of trying to step onto the dry riverbed with towering walls of water all around me. I am savoring the comfort of rituals learned at my parents’ knees – the old hymns – the majestic chords of classical choral music – the organ that thrums deep within me. Then I come home to feed on the non-traditional services – Ravi Zacharias, Brian Biggers, Rabbi Johnathan Cahn, Priscilla Shirer, Max Lucado. I mark up my Bibles. I look up verses and re-read them again. Note cards get filled. Walk the lab girls. Hug my teddy bear. Sing. Play the piano. Talk to My Father.

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.” Hab 3:18-19

GOD IS!
GOD ACTS!
GOD CHANGES!

Not sure I like changes. I have a friend whose focus word is “trust” for 2020. Last year, that was my word. It changed my life because that is what Our Father does. He changes us – from the inside to the outside. My 2020 vision seems to be clearing a little. His “power” (which is my focus word this year) – his powerful presence continues to overwhelm me – clearing my path when I see no path – opening my throat when the notes are lost in tears – reminding me of a tiny book written by a prophet 3000 years before I was born.

Just a matter of trusting the power of the Spirit in 2020 and remembering always: GOD IS – GOD ACTS – GOD CHANGES!!
What an Epiphany! 

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2020 VISION — PART II

My 2020 vision is already crystal clear. I am positively not going to make it to the bewitching hour of 12 A.M.

Mama Mick used to say – “No sense letting a holiday go to waste. Celebrate even if you are by yourself.” So there you go. My wise mama, who would always babysit for me but never go out with me on New Years Eve, shared her wisdom once again. And – thus – no matter where I was, what I was doing, I would find a way to call her as the ball began to drop.Back in the day, when I was singing on New Years Eve or involved elsewhere, this became a little complicated – especially since cell phones were a few decades in the future. But I can still hear her voice as she answered the phone, “Happy New Year, Brynie.”

No caller ID needed. She knew – I knew. A tradition that continued until she no longer remembered to stay awake to answer, and I cried. Still want to pick up the phone and call her tonight.

“Baby Face, you’ve got the cutest little baby face
There’s not another one could take your place,”

So – since I am already yawning, watching my favorite movie for New Years Eve, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, munching away on Mama Mick’s traditional shrimp, chips, cheese (brie instead of swiss) and some OH trail bologna, all I needed to do was add a little mead wine from a local meadery, and my 2020 celebration began a little early..

“Baby face,
My poor heart is jumpin you sure have started somethin’…”

Much is being made about the new decade – the roaring 20’s – which just kinda adds to the ambience of this New Years Eve celebration. I was raised on the music of the 20’s
“Baby Face”
“Ain’t Misbehavin'”
“Someone to Watch Over Me.”
“Rhapsody in Blue”
“Melancholy Baby”
“April Showers”
“Swanee”
“My Blue Heaven”
I have a feeling, there are a few other Loudonville “kids” who grew up watching their parents sing these songs out there, just like me.

The Roaring 20’s were just that. The Charleston. The new-fangled radio. Movies. Cars. WWI was officially over – the war to end all wars kicked it off with a roar. But a word of caution…the 20’s didn’t end that way.

“Therefore I live for today. Certain of finding at sunrise – Guidance and Strength for the way, Power for each moment of weakness, Hope for each moment of pain, Comfort for every sorrow, Sunshine and joy after rain!”~Anon.

We never know what the new walk around the sun will bring. It is often a mixture of opposites – of darkness and light. Last year, God gave me the Bible verse that set the tone for 2019.

“Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”– Rev 21:5

I had one idea of how that would work out. Our Father had am entirely different idea. Valley faith walks grow a whole lot faster than they do in the bright sunlight of a meadow – especially since I have this tendency to lay down, close my eyes and just enjoy the beautiful day around me while I take a little nap.

Sigh.

This year, I’ve been reading and re-reading about Hanukkah. Listening to podcasts, watching videos, then reading the Bible. After listening to one Rabbi speak on it tonight, I pulled out the Catholic Bible so I could read Maccabees. Did you know the only place Hanukkah is mentioned in the protestant Bible is in John 10? Jesus celebrates it. He is the only one mentioned celebrating it anywhere in the Bible. I am fascinated for way too many reasons to list here, but it is leading me on a new adventure, and I love these kind of adventures. While I haven’t found my verse of the year – yet – I know He will supply it in His own time.

In the meantime, I found this tonight, and it’s just too beautiful not to share on this last night of the decade/the last night of the year.There may be dark times ahead – there may be armies so vast that I am completely dumbfounded and overwhelmed – but I have read the end of His book. My eyes are on Him, so how can I not be optimistic about 2020?

I would say my 2020 vision is working better than I deserve.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Rev 22:1-5 

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2020 VISION

It is the 5th day of Christmas. It is the last day of Hanukkah. It is two days until New Years Eve. My windows and doors are still open. There will probably be a fan in my window tonight – – – and at 10 o’clock at night – – it is still in the sixties!

“Hey buds below … up is where to grow
Up with which below can’t compare with.
Hurry – it’s lovely up here …”

I have been outside everyday since Christmas singing this song. Can’t help it when daffodils are popping up in a couple gardens, and green shoots are everywhere. Took all I had in me, not to clear away the leaf barriers that will protect the roots/shoots when winter remembers her blustery self and breathes on us some of that stuff that makes us remember why we like spring.

“Life down a hole takes an awful toll,
What with not a soul there to share with,
Hurry – it’s lovely up here!”

Cleaned a new path in the woods. Dug a couple trenches for drainage and to hold wooden borders. (Our one lab girl would dig to China the gardens didn’t have something to keep her out of them). Cleaned dead things out of the gardens.Hauled 4 wheelbarrows of mulch to remove more of the temptation for said lab girl. Straightened patio steps – a little. (I’m not too good at that, but helped it a little). Created new artwork and watched “Eloise” with the Grands as we munched on popcorn, washed down with root beer floats.

“And what a gift package of showers, sun and love
You’ll be met above everywhere with…Hurry – it’s lovely up here!”

To say I am tired and the arthritis aggravated is probably an understatement, but that is why I have my prayer closets, comfy bed, physical therapy exercises and an inversion board, right?

“Thou dost keep them in perfect peace, whose minds are stayed on Thee, because they trusts in Thee. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting Rock.”~Is 26:3-4

I have to admit, the last two weeks leading into Christmas were filled with little anxiety. The last six months – from the 24th to the 24th – have been the hardest challenge in my faith walk. Evenso – blessing after blessing cushioned each step. New promises appeared daily to dry each tear. Friends – far and near rallied round with prayers and thoughtful words. And each night, His wings covered me with His peace. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Christmas was no different – in fact – it was one of the ones I will stash away with other special holy times in my life.

Times spent in His presence: As a 7 year old on a sunny day, lying under an oak tree as the Son appeared between the leaves. A teenage Christmas Eve communion service in an upper room. January 4,1971, when my father held me extra long before I returned to college, and the following Saturday when I got the phone call that he had gone to the room prepared just for him. A few years later, lying on my bed in a small apartment watching the sun set as tears of repentance brought me to my knees once again. A Christmas Eve surprise trip home that brought me a son and a new life journey. Standing at the back of the church on another early January night by myself before I got married. The birth of three blessings in fairly rapid succession but always perfectly timed by Him. My mother’s smile at the corner of the room as she squeezed my hand one last time before she went to dance with daddy.

It IS lovely here.

Hopefully, like me, not all my flowers and bushes will be too stressed out when the cold weather does return. Cold weather and darkness hits each of us at one time or another. Bittersweet days threaten to smother us with the bitter memories, but – that is when His promises – if we remember – pull His wings tightly about us and the aroma of sweetness lifts us into His perfect peace.

Early January memories are coming, but His peace is constant when we are tethered to His Word. His rock solid promises continue to line our paths and support our feet on this new path in the woods. Personally, I can’t wait to open my eyes in 2020 to see what is behind that door.

Best of all – my 2020 vision – get it? – 2020 vision??? Anyway, my 2020 vision is about to see all the possibilities that He has promised. GOD is good – all the time. All the time – GOD IS GOOD. 

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ADVENT #21 2019

Winter Solstice.

What can I say? I love, love, love the shortest day of the year. I can turn on the Christmas lights earlier in the day. I only had to walk the spoiled labs girls 3 times instead of 4 or 5 – after all – once it is dark, they curl into their favorite spots and start to snore. (I can barely get them outside to do their business before I go to bed.) And best yet – – – hope flies up out of the pit of my stomach shouting: “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow – darkness starts to lose it’s hold on the world.”

Gotta love it when Light puts her dainty, little foot down, and darkness starts whining as she drags her big, clod-hopper feet backwards.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”~Jn1:5

It was one of those busy days that wasn’t the one I planned, but exactly the one I needed. The lab girls and I worked outside – well – I worked while they sat exactly in my way, dropping the ball and begging for me to throw it one more time. Wrapped presents – one of my dreaded Christmas chore. I am not the world’s greatest wrapper. I get impatient and want to bang my head against the nearest wall most of the time. I think next year, everyone gets a beautifully decorated bagged gift instead. Thus, to regain my peace, I grabbed on of my older Christmas books and sat down by the gas logs. This book, read so often, it’s outside binding has lost its color and outer shell of protection. Published in 1937, Home for Christmas by Lloyd C. Douglas is the story about a grown family that decides to reunite in their childhood home sans spouses and offspring to spend one more Christmas as they did as children.

Your homes too, as I remember them, were similarly blest by the uninquiring confidence of parents to whom faith was the substance of their dearest hopes and sufficient evidence of things unseen.”~p.104

Towards the end, Douglas, who wrote The Robe, Magnificent Obsession, The Big Fisherman (to name a few), hit the premise of this tiny book.We all just need to come home. Come home to the heart of Christmas. It seems to me – and even Douglas in 1937 – as if the bustle of our technologically savvy world, a gazillion choices of anything we think we desire, and the bright disco ball of colors dazzling and blinding our eyes in this world in which we live, we tend to gloss over or stray a little farther from the real “Home” of Christmas.

“…if all the great musical composers were met in conclave to decide which of all the immortal songs had stirred mankind to its best endeavors, they would unanimously vote for the anthem of peace chanted one night above the Plains of Bethlehem…”p.105

As always, Douglas hits my spiritual sweet spot. It is why I have kept several of his books sitting on my bookshelves since high school. In my retirement move to the South, I purged a majority of my personal library; however, Douglas was one of those writers that traveled South with me. Wisdom comes in many ways – even in books written long ago.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”~Jn1:1

A friend and I were talking about all the theories surrounding the birth of Christ. The date (December or Nissan 1 or Feast of Tabernacles) – the place (a cave or a stable or a family room that animals shared in the typical Jewish home) – why Our Father chose the richest and the poorest to pay tribute to a baby born in Bethlehem – swaddling clothes richly embroidered rather than rags…….details that are fun to debate, but when it comes down to it, but just that – physical pinpoints of our world. What we really need is to go to the eternal heart of it all –
the “Home” of Christmas –
a tiny baby named Yeshua –
Whose name means “He who saves”.

“He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life,and the life was the light of men”~Jn1:2-4

3 more days till I need to be Home for Christmas. 323449537558 [Google images]