Monthly Archives: February 2017

DEEP DARKNESS

The advent candles are growing dim as if they have become sentient and know on some level that it is time to remember – time to remember when the darkness that covered the earth became even darker than dark. So I watch as one by one, the batteries give out and darkness takes over my windows.

I know it is time – after all – Easter is the resolution of Part 2 of His Creation story. Time to remember a climax that had been written in His Son’s blood as it shook the earth, tore the curtains of the covenant and scattered the rest of His children in all directions. But the theme – the theme that had been building through every story written in the His-tory of His children – burst forth on the third day. What English teacher couldn’t love that story?

Tonight I walked the puppies over to the new shed the darkness was fairly deep. The moon still on the other side of the horizon makes it harder for  the old eyes that take just a little longer to adjust these days. But there were stars. Stars bright enough to draw my eyes upward. On the way back, we sat for a few minuets by a smoldering fire. Without so many trees in the way, I can sit on our patio and just enjoy the view. Where, on moonless nights like tonight, the dark is deep and the stars blink patterns that make me wonder about all the blessings in my life.

Rabbi Yeshua hinted that it is in our deepest darkness that we can find the blessings that were created and placed there long ago just for us to find when we need them. Merely by holding on to a mustard seed of faith, we manage to cast of our boat into the darkness of the night and throw out our nets into the deepness of His waters. [Luke 5:4-11]

Tonight as I lock the doors, and coerce the sisters off the couch for our walk to bed, that I begin to let the praises of the day rise to the forefront of my mind. Thankful thoughts for my family, friends and neighborhood circling within my sphere of life like the hours circle the fulfillment of a day.

Thankful for Grandson who runs up the driveway every time I come to his house just to hug me through the window one last time.

Thankful for dogs who love to chase sticks or balls anytime I want to throw one.

Thankful for former students (and Grands far away) who still keep me laughing as I edit their papers and get a peek into their current lives.

Thankful for the beautiful day to rake leaves and plant our tub garden.

Thankful for  a resolution that continues to blaze within me everyday.

Thankful for candle batteries that die to reveal the deep darkness.

Thankful for a boat and the flickering verses of the WORD that light the way.

Thankful for all the blessings that I caught in my net today and for the ones I have yet to discover tomorrow.

“May the God of your father help you;
may the Almighty bless you
with the blessings of the heavens above,
and blessings of the watery depths below,
and blessings of the breasts and womb.
May the blessings of your father
surpass the blessings of the ancient mountains,e
reaching to the heights of the eternal hills.”~Gen 49:24-26a

COVENANT SONG

“I am making everything new!” ~Rev 21:5a

This verse has been drifting through my mind since yesterday, so I guess that is my hint. Got to admit, I’ve been paraphrasing these words – “I make all things new”. I laugh and feel Abba “Gibbs slap” me, but like DiNozzo, I smile because I know it is a sign of affection and pride.

Our home still looks like a construction zone. Lumber piles cover many of our new flat spots. I know, they will eventually disappear into a lumber yard – hopefully to bless someone else’s home in some new way. Piles of brush are still scattered hither and yon. And while my driveway is fairly cleared of Hubby’s toys (due to the highly functional new carport), there are still a few toys piled up along the side of the house. (The racks for hanging them in the “garage” haven’t quite made the “done list” – – – yet!)

“It is done!”~Rev 21:6a

Now these are words I am definitely waiting to hear for I getting antsy to see how our covenanted land will look as G-d knows it will. So while I wait, I’ve been pulling more brush from the edges of my garden, raking leaves and cleaning the front shutters. Did you know that stuff advertised on TV – RustOleum ReColor – really works? Wipe it on – stinks bad so be prepared – and whammo – shutters look new. Now if I just didn’t have to climb ladders to get the rest of the shutters done. sigh

Tonight the body is a little sore, but thanks to our therapeutic hot tub – not bad at all. An earlier shower has given way to a cool breeze chasing away the near 80 temperatures of the day, and I am content. Somehow, I just know the quirky home is content as well.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”~Rev 21:6b-7

Tonight, as I drank my last glass of water, I watched Venus disappear into the horizon of trees. The puppies are snoring louder than the Hubby for once, and I feel a song rising within me. Moses and the people of Israel sang a song of joy when they emerged from the waters of the Nile. Miriam, the prophetess and sister of Aaron (which is a whole ‘nother story that is turning in my head) led them in another new song of joy.

Two prayerful songs of thanksgiving and praise to the Father who had blessed them.

Tonight, I think I might have a clue how that must have felt. It was a new day of song for this fleeing tribe of people – long, long ago. A new covenant was taking shape. Just as there is a new covenant song tonight singing on the wind from my heart to the Father – for my country — my covenanted land – my family – my friends – dancing through the narrow gate where the land has been made new and a garden beyond compare awaits.

“Behold, I make all things new.” ~Rev 21:5a

FIRMAMENT

Long, long ago in a snowy land, my mom took soft, fleecy blankets and cut them into two different sizes. One for the twin beds of my kidlets, two for our larger size bed (for she was sure that the wood stove could not possibly heat such a big house), and one for her bed where nights were chilly and dark since my father died many years ago.

Tonight, I know that it will be much too warm for the heavy denim blanket that covers our bed, so I pulled out one of those old, fleecy blankets and let my fingers linger as I smoothed it. For you see, today was that proverbial “perfect” spring day. Shorts and Tees came out of the dusty drawers and even while North Carolinians know that it won’t last, lots of neighbors found a reason to be outside.

  • Stump grinding.
  • Trimming hedges.
  • Running errands.
  • Reading books.
  • Visiting in the roadway between the fences.

It was one of those days where you could feel “…the Spirit of G-d moving across…” the land. “…and it was good.”

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”~Gen 1:6-8

Firm ground. Firm muscles. Firm mattress. Firmament in the middle of waters – waters under the firmament – waters above the firmament??? Gets confusing. The Hebrew word that was translated into the word “firmament” in English is not exactly how the Jewish Sages look at it. Instead, they look at it as the day God created differences because how do you separate waters from waters? You make them different. And for whatever reason, the Second Day was a necessary day but not pronounced “good”.

As I smoothed that old blanket one more time, the rain started to fall, and I began to think about the “difference” that exists in our days here upon earth. Tomorrow it will be thirty degrees cooler. It will be full of gusty winds. Snow in the mountains. Rain here. By Sunday – the shorts and tees are back in style.

Differences exist in every part of lives upon Terra Firma. Some are good – some not so good – some down right evil. I’m wondering if that is why G-d did not pronounce it “good”. Perhaps He knew that differences that separate the heavens from the waters holds a key of wisdom that we have yet to uncover. Perhaps it was His hint at the narrow gate He would eventually create for us.

In any case, I am thankful tonight. Thankful for a mother who covered me and my loved ones in warm blankets for chilly nights and blankets of prayers that still cover us from across the fence that separates us. Thankful for a day in the dirt. Thankful for the garden we tend. Thankful for differences. Thankful for the firmament. Thankful for the narrow gate that unites the “waters” once again.

“…and God saw that it was good.”~Gen 1:13b  (google image)

HALLELU-YAH

It has been a busy blessed 7 days, yet the days of destruction are still not done. Eleven trees down and one half-way down. Several piles of chipping remain. Massive logs wait for the skid loader to pick them up once again and load them on a trailer to their last destination.

Usually when my life path journeys through a week like this, I just catch a deep breath, put my head down and barrel through it. During my school years, the weeks I graded autobiographies used to be like this. Lots of prayer. Lots of work. Lots of joy in the accomplishment.
Where each day felt like a basket of blessings, and I couldn’t wait to open my eyes each morning.

This was somewhat different. I have a very hard time agreeing to cut down trees. The Hubby and I have been arguing over which ones since we moved here. Trees stir my soul with their strength, their depth in seeking nourishment, their stretching towards the Father in praise, and their prominent place in His-story.

“The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”~Gen 2:9

So – as much as I know it had to be done because some were sick and others too close to the house – cutting down trees was the hardest part of this past week. I comforted myself by thinking about the new trees I will be able to plant once we are able to walk the ground and see the light patterns.

Today was the first day I have actually walked the land sans trees. It is still rough with stumps waiting to be ground – the Hubby has a bit of work ahead of him in the next few days. I moved some stones, picked up some left over brush and added more piles for the chipper. If we get a place with enough sun, maybe I can add a fruit tree or two. We probably won’t be here long enough to see the beauty of the trees filling out and becoming all that they can be, but it is something I have always done.

Cut a tree. Plant a tree.

The Grands said they would help me this summer, so that is another thing to look forward to doing. 12 trees to plant. A couple Rosebuds. Another magnolia. A couple of NC pines. A buckeye as a tribute to home. Maybe a pecan…hmmm…never had a pecan tree – now that might be fun.

Just before the destruction days started, I found a black walnut lying right in front of me with no walnut tree in sight. I laughed. You see, when i was growing up in Blacktown, one of my jobs was to put on gloves and collect all the walnuts that fell in the yard. I would carry them to the driveway where the car would roll over them – smashing the hull enough that the fruit could be harvested without staining the fingers. Then in the winter, Grandma Mac would then make all sorts of tasty treats.

Mom and dad are not any more subtle than our Triune Father these days, so still laughing I picked it up and immediately planted it where I knew it would flourish – beside our massive rock that I will paint this summer with our land’s covenant name and the bible verse we always use.

As much as I hate cutting trees, I know what I know what I know. God’s hand has been guiding this. A black walnut – dried and ready to plant. 12 trees that needed to be cut. 12 trees that need to be planted. A garden to tend. A God wink from the parents. And two happy puppies rolling in the messy red dirt – and leaves – and digging for grubs.

Today as I walked the land, geese flew overhead towards the north. A chicken hawk’s cries echoed between the remaining trees. And I watched the tinier birds return to the feeders that have been disturbed for the past few days.

In Hebrew, the word for praise is Hallelu. Yah is the word for God. Today was definitely a day for Hallelu-Yah.

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever.
May the Lord find joy in what he has made…
He looks at the earth, and it trembles.
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord throughout my life.
I will make music to praise my God as long as I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to Him.
I will find joy in the Lord.
May sinners vanish from the world.
May there no longer be any wicked people.
Praise the Lord, my soul!
Hallelujah!”~Ps 104:31-35

BIG TREES

So – the day went like this. I ran away to avoid having to see the trees that are right next to the house be cut down because – THEY ARE RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE!!! And guess which ones they DID NOT cut down today??

Ya got it! The trees right next to the house are still right next to the house.

I guess I will have to run away tomorrow as well. But Good Golly Ms Molly – what the tree guys got done in one afternoon is beyond reality – not to mention the pole building crafters. A building that the workers started at 4 and continued working long after I was in jammies and wrapped in my comfy blankie stands partially completed.

What a week. A week full of blessed discoveries, familiar voices and golden memories of yesteryear mixed with new ones in the birthing stage. That deep joy of “knowing” when something is right is always beyond words and fills me with gratitude that wants to sing its way to the Triune Father who tilled the soil in a time beyond time, raised the trees and brought us to such a space in time.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”~John 15:1-4

Our neighbor and his daughter came over for a short visit tonight. So while the “men folk” took a walk to take one more look at all the “newness”, the “women folk” enjoyed a cush ball came of questions, answers, and lots of laughter.

Fruit grows in the most unexpected places. Tilling the soil. Scraping a new path in our part of the world. Wondering who else might have stood in this exact same spot long, long ago. Pushing and stretching the confines of our woodsy womb. Feeling Jehovah-Jireh’s smile as the sun sets once again.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”~Gen 1:31

But I am still running away tomorrow. After all – if a tree falls on our house, I still don’t want to be here. I mean – really – those are some big trees.

 

FOR SOME REASON

Tomorrow, the “shop” will be started – again.

Tomorrow, the tree crew will be here to start widening the distance from our home to the woods around us.

For some reason – it is all – finally – coming together.

We thought all of this would done by now. We actually thought we started this process three weeks ago. Land leveled. Permits in hand. Inspections done. Materials bought and sitting in the trailer. But for some reason – the answer was “Nope” – “Nada” – “Not happenin’ “!

Although, Hubby isn’t as calm as I am about it, we really have quit questioning timing issues or even questioning when we have to throw out our entire set of plans and consider something completely different. We did it last year when we thought we were building a house and ended up buying a fixer-upper. We did it again and again and again this year as we worked on this house.

Our timing is not always the perfect timing. Our plans not always the perfect plans. Funny thing – when we back up and open our eyes a little wider, we suddenly begin to see the flaws of our plans and our timing.

It was rainy and windy the past few weeks. Not ideal weather for building or taking down trees. The new plans are – while not as fancy as we thought we wanted – they are more economical and just as practical. The land – that we thought was perfect enough – is even better now.

I’ve talked about this before, but for some reason, I feel pushed to talk about it a little more tonight. Madeleine L’Engle grew up with a father who had serious health issues from WWI. Often as a child, she would pray, “Dear God, do whatever is best for Father, do whatever is best.”

For some reason, this prayer struck a chord in me. It’s childish simplicity resonated initially on one level, but reverberated deeper and deeper into the depths of my seeking soul. I tend to think it has something to do with Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

For some reason – this prayer has made it into my daily war room action, and before I close my eyes at night, it is one of the last prayers on my lips.

“Do what is best, G-d, do what is best.” For our land. For our home. For our friends and family. For our country. For our world.

Tomorrow – the tree guys will begin the process of removing trees.

Tomorrow – a new building will be erected.

Tomorrow – for some reason – must be the perfect time with the perfect plans – – – at least we are praying that is so. [google images]