Monthly Archives: November 2017

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #29

So THANKFUL for truth of this prophecy and the gift it brought to the world.

A new name.

A new path home.

A new covenant.

Time for Gratitude Attitude.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past … And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace…”~Micah 5:2-5 (NLT) [personal image]nov 29 2017d (2)

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #28

I love, love, love Christmas decorations. When I am home, it takes all my strength of will not to run around the house turning on every decorated window and story land corners. There’s something about tiny lights twinkling amid pine boughs that still – even after 66 and a half years – tickles me.

Gratitude Attitude kicks in and I smile. Smile at the memories cruising around in my head. Playing under the tree with my brother’s train and my plastic horses. Melting endless candles and crayons on an old pottery jug. Making decorations with mom and dad. Daddy reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve by the tree. Caroling outside seniors’ and shut-ins’ homes on cold, snowy nights with my choir and friends.

Did I happen to mention, I LOVE Christmas decorations?

I even love driving by homes with those twinkling lights shining through the windows. But mostly – I love mine. Sitting in a darkened room after Hubby is snoring in his chair. Dogs under my feet. Cat on the back of my chair. It is still special. ‘Course, now days, most of those lights are blinks in wires and not real bulbs and fragrant pine boughs have been replaced by plastic.

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”~Jn 8:12

These days it is hard to tell the “fake” from the “real”….the “lies” from the “truth”… the “faithful” from the “charlatans”. Since I believe the Bible is the WORD of God, I know the world has been here before. Many times. It has puffed up on its own knowledge – – – fallen on its own sword – – – and brought back from the eve of destruction by a few strong Jewish prophets and the faithful remnant who listened.

Tonight, I walked the dogs outside and looked at our house from the outside. Last year at an end of season sale, we got one of those outside laser lights. We don’t shine it on our house though. Instead, we shine it into the trees on the side of our house. The dots chase each other – collide – bounce and explode into even more dots on the trees, the ground, the outbuildings and even up in the darkness of the sky where they catch a reflecting particle of something.

“But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”~Jn 9:5

And I guess that is the real Gratitude Attitude tonight. Every tiny red and green dot that caught my fascinated eye – bouncing off the physicalities of this world in crazy randomness – is really there to remind me of the LIGHT of TRUTH that it represents.

Dots of Light. 
No as big as the original. 
Not as steady as the original. 
Not as shiny or bright as the original.
But –
all the same –
Light.

Dots of Light bouncing in joy and trying their hardest to reflect the LIGHT that was manifested to us so many years ago. LIGHT that chose to come to a dirty, muddy ball of darkness that there might be bouncing dots and – maybe someday soon – if we reflect a little harder and a just a little more and more and more – the full LIGHT will come once again and bring the sunrise with it.

Gratitude Attitude #28 is just a bouncing dot – but it means the world to me. Wanna bounce? [personal images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #27

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…”

Quiet day – – Jingle Bells happy!

Koayah – – – finally ate a normal supper and begged for more – – – Jingle Bess thankful!

Christmas 2017 update started – — Jingle Bells dancing.

House completely decorated – – – Jingle Bells attitude!!!

Eyes lids drooping – – – Jingle Bells sleepy!!

It is time says my Gratitude Attitude to: “Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.”~Roy Rogers.

Blessings!Be! Sweet dreams! Dreaming of a winter wonderland and jingle bells ringing softly in the distance.

“In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “HOLY TO THE LORD ” ~Zech 14:20a

[google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #26

Gratitude is precious. I know because my heart is bubbling over with Gratitude Attitude.
 
Our 3 year old choc lab was sick on Thanksgiving. Not bad sick, just off her feed. By Saturday, I was cuddled on the floor beside her non-moving body and destroying the full box of tissue beside me. Needless to say, trying to sleep on a cold wooden floor – not to mention trying to get up and down from said flooring – or being awakened by a barfing dog tends to disrupt the sleep patterns of any senior citizen. 
 
By last night – not only was my sleep disrupted – I was off my feed and praying – – or maybe I should say crying and groaning – – a lot.
 
“In this way also The Spirit helps our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, whenever it is necessary, but that Spirit prays in our place with groaning which is unspoken.”~Rm. 8:26
 
The power of prayer is far beyond my understanding. When I was young, I saw my parents in deep prayer a few times. Twice with my dad. Three times with my mom. Prayer changes people who pray. It changes those around them. It changed me.
 
While being mentioned over 260+ times in the New Testament, the name of the Holy Spirit is only mentioned 3 times in the Old Testament; instead it is commonly referred to as the Spirit of God over 88 times. However, it is interesting to note that King David, after being chastised by the Prophet Nathan and becoming “poor in spirit”, says, “Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Ps 51:11
 
When we are shattered into shards of our former self, when we look around us and see the ugliness we have created, when our heart aches so deeply that the world spins into darkness, when no words seem adequate – let alone coherent or effective, that is when the Holy Spirit speaks for us – – to us – – replacing the ravages of the storm with the Peace of the Father.
 
I’m not sure how this whole pet thing works in the scheme of the spiritual realm. Who has eternal souls and who doesn’t. What I do know is that we are all created to glorify Our Father. From the tiniest particle of matter to the complex forms of humans, we are handcrafted in love and heard – – – even if the answer isn’t what we wanted to hear when we started the conversation.
 
Last night, after I had moved Koay’s body close to the couch so I could still pet her and lay on the couch, I had peace (and not just because I was more comfortable on the couch). Somewhere in the midst of sniffling and ranting and groaning, His Peace encircled me and my eyes were able to drift shut.
 
Our Father doesn’t send bad things to us. He is all goodness and love. It is our world that is “crap full” (as mom used to say) of bad apple choices and the resulting mutations of creation. What He does promise is to weave bad things, good things, even the mediocre, minor-things-we-don’t-even-notice together for the good of those who love Him.
 
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”~Rm 8:28
 
We were blessed today and our Gratitude Attitude grew 10 times larger. At 3 AM, Koay lifted her head for the first time in a very long afternoon-evening of darkness. She drank some water that I held for her, then her head fell back on the blanket with a plop. When next she woke me at 6 AM, it was because she had squirmed her body even closer to my hand and curled her head my palm. I got up and offered her some food that I had been trying to feed her for 24 hours. 
 
She ate.
She has been eating, drinking all day.
Better yet – no barfing.
But best of all? She wagged her tail. She had not wagged it for 3 days.
 
We are still keeping her close. Feeding her small portions throughout the day. Making sure she has plenty of water. And – we find that in all things, we see a blessing. The illness had kept her off her torn ACL leg, and now she is putting a little more weight on it.
 
So before I go to bed and try to catch up on all the sleep I have missed over the past two nights, I will take her outside and sing my own song of praise and Gratitude that we get to walk together one more day, find more new life that continues to blossom in the NC sunshine, and hopefully – walk a little further every day after that.
 
God is good and worthy to be praised. [personal photos]

 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #24

When I was growing up, the day after Thanksgiving was always one of the best. My dad and one of his friends planted three acres of pine trees on a north facing hill. The plan was that one day mom and dad would build their dream home in the middle of those pine trees.

“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches.”

As life happens, those house plans stayed in that cardboard tube and never grew at all. Ahhh..but those pine trees? They grew and grew and grew, and after Thanksgiving, the phone rang and rang and rang.

Lucky for me, Dad and I (probably my big brother too, but I was to self-involved to log that into my memory banks) would walk through that towering green forest (at least it was to me) to find the perfect tree to tag just for us. By the time we returned, Mom would have hot chocolate waiting with plenty of marshmallows.

“Your boughs so green in summertime
Stay bravely green in wintertime.”

As the first weeks of December began, Mom would have some kind of Christmas craft for us to do together. Sometimes they were for us; but most of the time, we would give them away. Sometimes to relatives. Sometimes to friends. Sometimes dropped off in secret as a Christmas miracle.

Nighttimes were devoted to watching mom sit at the cardboard table, writing card after card while Dad and I watched TV, read, or individually – a nap for Dad and homework for me. Friends, Relatives, Dad’s Army buddies, Business acquaintances. I still don’t know how she ever managed to work a full time job, put up with me, care for a husband who had his first of three heart attacks when I was 10, and write L-O-N-G greetings to each person on the list.

“Let us all remember
In our gift giving and our merriment
With our family and friends and loved ones
The real and true meaning of Christmas
The birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”

That Gratitude Attitude kicked in today as I finished up my own tradition of decorating around the house by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. My furbaby who tore her ACL now is sick and not eating. We are praying it is a passing thing, but the worry is still lurking as I sit on the floor with her and look at the decorations around the house.

Traditions are treasures to hold close to the heart. However, those traditions tend to change as one family member morphs their traditions with a spouse’s traditions.

There is only one constant. One very precious constant.

While I am thankful for traditions, I am more thankful for the birth of a baby. A baby who brought us more than traditions. He brought us a new covenant – – – a new chance to return to the Garden – – – a new chance to see Him face-to-face.

Grace.

“O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum
How lovely are, are thy branches.”~”O Tannenbaum”, 1824  [personal image]christmas 2017 d

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #22

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”~President John F. Kennedy

54 years ago today my future was being shaped. I was sitting in a 7th grade study hall. At that time our new high school was almost finished – but not quite. So a mixture of 7th through 12th graders were spread throughout an auditorium.

A rustling of papers. 
A note being slid onto a desk as someone went to the restroom.
A brave soul walking up on stage to ask the study hall teacher a question.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”~ JFK, 1957, Profiles in Courage

The ticking of the wall clock. The big hand loudly clicking into place. Marking time in our lives until we could talk in the hallways on our way to the next class. I know it was loud because I had spent lots of time in that auditorium – boy scout meetings with the active dad and brother, minstrel practices every winter I can remember in this life, a joint Easter sunrise services, dance recitals, choir concerts, band concerts, fair activities…… That auditorium was one of the hubs of our community.

But on this particular day, the clock stopped. The everyday noise that a group of people make while going about their business, stopped as well. Where I sat, the color of the wall, the dark curtains that hung on the windows, the utter silence of the room frozen in place. 
An announcement. 
A voice that cracked as it spoke.

“In whatever area in life one may meet the challenges of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces, if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.” ~JFK, Profiles in Courage

l don’t remember the words our principal used that day. I remember the import. And somehow – in that 7th grade developing brain – I realized life would be changed forever. When you grow up in Camelot and see a hole shot through the garden wall, the ground shakes beneath the feet – the sun dims – the birds stop their song – the world holds its breath.

It is a strange thing to write a Gratitude Attitude about a tragedy on the Thanksgiving Eve, and yet – every year as this date rolls around, I remember that 7th grade study hall. I remember reading the president’s books after this day. Listening to his speeches. Starting a new questing path.

Seventeen days before he died, President Kennedy issued his Thanksgiving proclamation. He wrote, “Today we give our thanks [to Providence], most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers–for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek every day to emulate.”

Gratitude Attitude is not always for the easy things, the common things. Sometimes it is being thankful for the hard things – the scary things – the things that make us sit in front of a small TV black-an-white screen to watch a riderless horse with the stirrups turned backwards – a small girl kneeling in front of a casket – a smaller boy saluting a casket – the pictorial book as the torch was passed.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings–let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals–and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world.”~Nov 5, 1963, JFK,Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Tomorrow is a day for family, parades, football and card games, but most of all, it is time to give thanks to God – to Providence – to the God of Nature – to the Great Spirit for all these blessings. Remembering the past, enjoying the present and walking forward into the future.

“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christus Yeshua. our LORD…”~1 Tim 1:12 [google/personal images]

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #21

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Eve. Today is the 325th day of the year. 40 more days, and it will be 2018.

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

And here I sit. Struggling with my Gratitude. Struggling with my Attitude. Struggling with my frailties.

There are just days when life seems to be full of prickly, poking, painful slashes. Days when you want to curl up and go home. Days when you want what was and those who know you best. Days when depression isn’t a big enough word.

Holidays seem to bring two bags when they move into our lives. One bag full of joy. The other bag – not so much. What ever the name of the cat that is in that second bag, it is sure to be the meanest cat who knows exactly how to reach out and draw blood on tender skin.

Break a favorite ornament. Drop a whole bottle of cleaner all over the floor. Arthritis – sinuses – loneliness – loss – the list of causes is long and tedious. Seen before. Known by name. But the cat in the bag is just a symptom.

It is really the snake that is in heart of his garden on these days.

“Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!”~Ps 96:11

It is on apple-biting days when I have to dig deeper – with one of those heavy duty construction shovels – deeper and deeper until I find my Gratitude Attitude. Drag my feet to the war room. Force the mind into obedience of choice instead of wallowing in emotion. Choosing to sew the hole in the bag. Choosing to bite the snake instead of the apple. Choosing to re-claim this garden of life.

“Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise
before the LORD, for he is coming!”~Ps 96:12-13

My Gratitude Attitude on the 21st day of November 2017 is for my frailties. These are the days when I fight to reclaim the precious Joy of the LORD. Find my roots and stand with the trees of the forest who sing His praise. And know – know deeply – that the LORD is coming – is coming soon. [google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #20

Long ago on Saturday nights, I was allowed one bowl of Corell’s potato chips and a glass of coke. Needless to say, that bowl of potato chips disappeared way too quickly. In time, I figured out how to stretch those delicious morsels. I would suck on them until they were on the verge of soft. Prolonging the sensation made them taste all the better as they slid down my throat.

Going to sound a little trivial, but I really do have a Gratitude Attitude tonight for that bowl of potato chips.  But mostly, for all the things that surrounds the memory of eating those tasty crunch-ables.

Even 67 year into this journey, I find myself savoring as slowly as possible those small (and I do mean small) bowls of chips – – even though they won’t ever be as good as the chips that were once made just down the street from my house. That chip house where we all tried to make multiple stops on Halloween (it never worked since they could see right through those disguises and call us by name).

But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”~Is 43:1

Potato chips are a form of tasty food  though my food conscious kids would probably not agree that it should be classified as food. Then again, it isn’t really the food I treasure – even though its salty taste does seem to balance me out occasionally. It is rather the memories that slide out of my brain every time I bite down on those crispy chips that really catch in my throat.

Sitting with Mom and Dad. Sometimes curled into my dad’s side sharing a bowl of chips as we watch the Saturday night shows. Sometimes standing on Dad’s toes as he taught me to dance. Sometimes watching Mom and Dad dance. Mom and Dad singing along with songs on the turntable like Della Reese or Nat King Cole or Perry Como or Judy Garland. Sometimes all of us singing at the top of our lungs with The Mitch Miller Sing A-long Show.

Yupper.

The Gratitude Attitude is real for that small bowl of chips in my hand tonight. Yeah – it isn’t Saturday. Yeah, the parents are dancing in Heaven these days. But – the God who watches Israel continues to watch over me. He sends a tiny Godwink reminding me that He knows me and calls me by name. He put me just where I am supposed to be – at just the right time – with just the right people.

I am overwhelmed with thankfulness tonight and humbled once again.

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #17

It is the strange thoughts that amble through my day that often give me pause and bring a whole new perspective to be thankful.

A random pop-up of a FB live caught my eye. I tuned in expecting to just stay a couple minutes and ended up enjoying a Friday night hour long “tea” of song and Gratitude Attitude wisdom that is still settling in my soul.

Being thankful in all things. All things. At all times. Even when everything has gone wrong from the get-go.

“The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the LORD at their head.”~Micah 2:13

Out and about today. Running errands. Talking to people. Letting the One who breaks open the way before me actually break open the way. Opening spiritual eyes.

Centering on the One who breaks open the way – His way. The LORD. Yeshua.  The WORD – who took on a human name for us. A name in Hebrew that means: “GOD is Salvation”.

A sunny day to sit on the patio. Watch the dogs roll in the dirt and a kitten pounce on a leaf. Listen to an old carol surface on the breeze as I finished hanging lights outside. Words that had puzzled me as a child but now strikes me with so much love.

“Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.”

“Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Sounds through the earth and skies.”

Gratitude. Attitude.

Still more to do tomorrow. More time to fall and figure out how to stand back up. Being thankful in all things at all times in all ways. Even when the brokenness is more than I think I can bear. That’s where this month has led me. A Gratitude Attitude that I don’t want to lose in the busyness of life.

“Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Yeshua The Messiah among you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not reject prophecy. Examine everything and hold what is excellent. Flee from every evil matter. But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy and shall keep your whole spirit, soul and body without fault for the arrival of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah. Faithful is he who has called you; it is he who shall perform it.”~1 Thes 5:17-2420160904_205845

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #19

The Gratitude Attitude kicked in at 7:06 A.M. I am so thankful for God’s blessing of an internal time clocks.

My internal alarm clock still works. Once a week or so, I have to test it out, just to see if I still can do it. It may be a couple minutes off here or there, but that is the nice thing about retirement. Time may be speeding up but we aren’t obligated to keep up with it anymore.

Sunday mornings are a good time for me to check out the “alarm clock” since I kinda like getting to church early. Time to pray. Time to center myself. Time for Grace.

I actually taught myself to set my internal clock back in college when there was no such thing as a reliable alarm clock in my life. Either it was broken or I’d forget to set it or I didn’t check the time on the clock to make sure it was right – or one of my rooming-house mates had borrowed it and re-set it for their time..in their room upstairs or downstairs from me.

College in the 70’s was interesting in more ways than one.

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,”

I was thinking about those long ago Sundays this morning as I watched the band and the praise choir assemble on stage. Back in the 70’s I was singing in very formal church choirs, singing amazing choral works usually with my choir director from OSU. Sometimes, he would get me a job as a soloist for other churches, but mostly he kept me busy being a section leader and soloist for him. During sermons, I wrote poetry, or daydreamed, or looked over the music for next week or planned my week or ……..

I think you’ve got the idea. I wasn’t listening too much in church except for the music.

However, there were some Saturdays back then when I would walk to a couple different churches that would offer a time of “folk” worship. All those old camp songs or hymns played with a guitar – usually in a basement – the youth minister wearing bell-bottom jeans (as we all did) – was an interesting change of pace. And during the “talk”, I would write poetry, or daydream…….

“You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what you have done.
O LORD, what great works you do!
And how deep are your thoughts.
Only a simpleton would not know…”

These days music is secondary. I sit in a chair – not a pew – in jean casual – I kinda sing – but mostly I wait. Not to hear the music. Not to sing the music. To wait. To wait upon the WORD. I don’t write poetry (well not in church – – – much) – I don’t daydream – or any of those other things that seemed so important when I was younger.

I’m thinkin’ I was pretty much a first class simpleton back then.

I do miss standing in a quartet with harmonizing voices. I do miss the dissonance and the harmonics that would ring through my soul and lift me as close to God as I thought was possible. I was wrong. The WORD has transplanted me into the gardens of the LORD’s own house. The music I hear now far surpasses anything I’ve ever experienced.

He is my staff. He is my melody. He is my harmony. He is the rock that my roots wrap around and hold to – – – tightly – – – ever so tightly. He is my Gratitude Attitude in my internal alarm clock.

“But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The LORD is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!”~Ps 92 [google images]