Monthly Archives: March 2016

GARDEN DAYS

mar 27 2016dBusy garden days lead to tired, aching bodies. Transplanting plants for the second time in six months wouldn’t be so bad, IF one already had gardens in which to plop them. Of course, it was a lot different when I was 35 instead of almost 65. And yet –

And yet……there is nothing I’d rather do than take a space of land and create 3-dimensional mess of colors, textures and shapes. My own gallery – open to the world – and face upturned – “Did I do good?” “Do you like this one?”

It takes a little longer. Buckets of dirt that were easier to lift 3 years ago, need a little wheelbarrow or shovel help now. Hubby likes the tractor even better since it digs a hole a whole lot faster with a lot less effort.

Mound a small hill here.

A triangle shape there.

Some weird curvy shape in the corner.

Daddy used to say church for him was out on the lake in his little boat. He said it was where he felt closest to God. It has always been the garden for me. From Grandma Mac, who taught me the sweetness found in a weed, to my parents who let me walk in their footsteps as they planted a large garden space below their 3 acres of Christmas trees, I have found I like having dirt in between my toes and crusted in the crevices of my old bumpy fingers.

“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land . . .” — Isaiah 1:19 

Life is good at our Eli Covenant house. It is being shaped. The driveway is being reclaimed and restructured. A new deck planned and etched out in our minds so that the front of the house is more inviting to those who visit. 3 months of letting the house speak to us of what it knows – what its Creator spoke to it so long ago. So we begin to carve its name into the palm of our hands just as Our Father has carved our names into His hand.

My Granddaughter said it best on Easter Sunday. “Love is love.”

mar 24 2016eSo with that, I think I will take this ol’ body off to bed. Time to reflect on the little miracles of the day and the big miracles that I probably missed observing but were happening all around me. And tomorrow – “I will walk through the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses…”

 

RELEASED

The Passover moon was hidden deep in the clouds. Those that He loved were scattered, scared, weeping. Primal screams lodged in their throats, trapped tightly since that last night with Him. Had it truly been just 48 hours past since their peaceful sleep under the soft whispers of the olive trees’ leaves? Two nights since – just like their ancient ancestors – a release from the known for the unknown. Alone, they sat with their backs against their own known walls and wept – afraid of what scary things might lie beyond in the unknown..

“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”~Matt 26:20/Zech 13:7

Yet –

Deep in the recesses of this darkness, a torch burned. Words that circled with a brightness of promise – renting the veil as surely as the curtains ripped in the temple just one day past. A promise that grew brighter as they wiped the tears with the back of their hands and managed to push their knees under their quaking bodies. Facing forward, they craned their head to catch a glimpse of that which was beyond the known wall.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”~Jn 16:20

A familiar voice. His voice. A voice that was different, yet the same. “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Morning. A promise to capture. A promise that burned now within each of them – alone – yet together in His light.

Clouds scattered intermittently – at first – slowly – hesitantly – just as their doubts assailed them over the passing hours of the night. The Sons and Daughters of Israel warred with themselves with what they had known over the last three years and what unknowns lie ahead. Would He? When? How could He? When? How would they know? When? Over and over and over.until the black turned to purple then to a pale blue.

Just as the clouds gave way to the brightness of His word torch, so too did their doubts scatter Standing, the threshold of faith waiting to be crossed, each, in their own way, just as their forefathers had crossed out of Egypt, took the first step into the unknown – releasing their fears and then – their joy adding wings to their feet – running after the pillar of God that swirled before them into the unknown.

f2e3fa750a9bcee4da7b87f173beda55 (1)” Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.”~ Lk 24:5-7

It is Easter Morn. The darkness has been released once again and joy comes with the morning. Blessings!Be! on this Easter Morn. May your darkness be released. As Esther freed her people from the threat of Haman – as Moshe released his people from their captivity in Egypt – so too,did the Son of God release all people who choose to follow Him from their dark night to eternal joy in the morning.

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THE VOICE BEHIND ME

vintage-sheet-music-the-exodus-song-pat-boone-ernest-gold-paul-newman-60c-89bac1663aac6d751984b7935a006499“This land is mine,
God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me
And when the morning sun
Reveals her hills and plains
Then I see a land
where children can run free.”

Long ago, I would sit at the piano,  mom standing behind me as she said, “Brynie, play this for me”. Generally, I would play the song, she would sing it a few times and off we would go in our different directions. But somewhere, buried deep in the creases of my brain, that familiar voice is still behind me just as loud and clear as ever.

“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’~Ez 11:17

Mom didn’t play piano well. It was something she tried to teach herself, but her digits never found the right path easily, and as her fingers became more arthritic mom 1990sand deformed, it became even harder. She didn’t take well to things that she couldn’t do well, so she would ask me to play for her. Sometimes it was for some performance she was working on – a Republican gathering, a minstrel, a choir performance somewhere. Sometimes it was just a song she found and wanted to try out. Most of the time, especially in my teen years, it was a space where our souls met. A place where we stopped arguing or butting heads over principles and found the love and peace that brought us together as mother and daughter.

“So take my hand
And walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Tho’ I am just a man
When you are by my side
With the help of God
I know I can be strong.”

If I learned anything from my mother, it was watching her adhere to her principles. It didn’t matter if it put her family on the opposite side of her stance. It didn’t matter if it put her on the opposite side of those whom she admired because they went to college and she hadn’t. It didn’t matter if they made more money or had more “stuff”. She stuck to what she believed. That can be pretty daunting to the rebellious teen who got a lot of her own stubbornness from the one she was watching.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these .”~ Phil 4:8

img700 - CopyI have been thinking about principles and our country all day. After all – it is Super Tuesday. It is – perhaps – the reason I heard her voice behind me singing this particular song. I can still see the picture on the front of the sheet music as I would open it up on our old, dark upright piano and begin to play. Later, I sang this song as well with my singing buddy/sister. The intricate harmonies circling a prayer around us just like it circled around my mother and I when we would made music together.

“…To make this land our home
If I must fight
I’ll fight to make this land our own.
Until I die this land is mine!” ~ Pat Boone, “Exodus”

Known as the “second national anthem of Israel”, the words and melody of this song still circle easily in my head. A blessing from God on this night of clashes between principles and politics. I’m wondering if I still have the sheet music tucked somewhere in the crates of music sitting by my Clavinova. Hmmmmm….if not, I guess I will be getting on Amazon and seeking out a new copy. My fingers, although slower and not so “piano-fluent” as they once were, still manage to make music. And for a moment – a tiny moment in time, I am back on Riverside Drive on a warm spring night. My mommy pulling me away from the telephone or the latest book find, and hearing her say, “Brynie, I need you to play this for me…”

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, That we would be called the children of God; and such we are.”~1 Jn 3:1

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SIMPLY THAT

462c5a9440ae12beb5875986b41683b50c857935“As I’ve gotten older, I realize I’m certain of only two things.
Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not.
Second a man ‘s character is his fate.
And, as a student of history, I find this hard to refute.
For most of us, our stories can be written long before we die.
There are exceptions among the great men of history,…
but they are rare, and I am not one of them.
I am a teacher… simply that.” Wm. Hundert, The Emperor’s Club

Simply that.

I haven’t written for awhile. Craziness of moving. Unpacking boxes. Finding new homes for old familiar treasures. Walking the land. Planning unseen gardens. Waiting.

It is often harder to wait than it is to do.

After watching an OSU victory in March madness, hubby fell asleep, and I decided to watch a 2002 movie: “The Emperor’s Club”. I’m glad I did – it got me out of my tired funk of moving this, picturing that, wondering if I will ever see the top of my desk – seriously – ever again. Instead, it got me thinking about the Teacher who guides my life.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” — Proverbs 19:21

Students swarmed around me as the spring sunshine warmed the top of our heads and the breeze blew dust in our eyes.Their stories bouncing off my ears as I tried to keep track of 60 moving bodies and monitoring the drama of the day so it didn’t escalate into warring factions of tears and anger.

Simply that…

From the beginning monologue to the ending one, Wm. Hundert (Kevin Kline) got me thinking. It will probably keep me thinking. I took a break this past month from teaching. I haven’t written birthday blessings. I haven’t gone out of my way to listen to those around me. I haven’t invested myself in what I am supposed to do – teach.

El has a way of bringing wisdom to the forefront of my mind when I am in open rebellion and taking backward steps. It is Lent, yet here I was,doing what comes easily – straying into old habits of procrastination and excuses that I was so good at in my youth. I guess old ways never truly leave, they just wait to re-emerge in our weakness.

Simply that….

In this fourth week of Lent, the bowl I had wanted to fill with all my talents sits on my baker’s shelf – almost empty. My Bible has gathered dust of a different kind this past month and my heart is so heavy that I just sit on the path with my head in my hands.

Which brings me to the final monologue of the movie I watched tonight. “The worth of a life is not determined by a single failure or a solitary success…” Teachers are not perfect – save One. Yet – even He allowed us to see His weakness. His sadness. His tiredness. His sweating of blood. His prayers. His total surrender to the holy will of the One who loves us best. [Matt 26:36-56]

A Teacher – in all ways – simply that…

Sometimes we fail. We fail ourselves. We fail our students. But part of a true teacher’s journey is to share our failures as well as the successes. We tend to think we will look weak if we share those things that are not perfect. However, we learn from empty bowls as well as from full bowls. And if we are lucky, we gather the wisdom stones that we tripped over, push ourselves into a standing position or at least to our knees, and begin our forward journey once again.

“However much we stumble,it is a teacher’s burden – always to hope that with learning, a boy’s character might be changed.And, so, the destiny of a man.” Wm Hundert, The Emperor’s Club

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