Category Archives: Gratitude Attitude

2020 Vision: Who Am I?

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?”v.1

It was a beautiful day. Windows open. Radio on. Harmonizing to a song I know pretty well. Stretches that really help the knees keep bending. Time in the water at the gym. A great conversation with a fellow Durham school librarian. An old book I’m re-discovering and I wonder why now? A new book that I can’t wait to uncover and wonder why now? A short time to enjoy the patio swing before getting busy wasting time.
I am blessed.

“…what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him?”Ps 8:4b

This verse has been on my mind all weekend. Not sure why – except – that Our Father’s breath has been blowing many new things into my path this weekend. Like usual, I never know what to do with a lot of the information He sends, so I jot information. I write in my journal, my prayer devotional book, and note cards. Some verses leap off the page at me, so I write them down as well. Thoughts pop in my head and beg my attendance upon them, and then – I wonder – wait – while away the time – as it all tumbles around in my head.

I know eventually – He will tell me what to do with it all – but for now I hold them close and ponder them.

I am a flower quickly fading:
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I’m calling.
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
And You’ve told me who I am.
I am Yours, I am Yours.” ~v.2

On my way to the gym, this song came on. Casting Crowns. One of my favorite Christian groups. “Who Am I?” One of my favorite songs, lately. Since Psalm 8:4 had been already wandering around in my mind, I took notice. God winks are hard to miss when your eyes are focused on Him.

Since I had been looking up information, reading, listening to choral music, knitting, and watching some of my favorite Christian movies, the thoughts began to sort themselves out. I still can’t see the clear pattern yet, or where it is all leading, but there is something. Something I am about to discover about “who I am”.

So tonight, I am still waiting and watching. I have to admit, I tend to love it when Our Father starts downloading something, and His Hope takes over everything that I do. My eyes continually look up. My lamp overflows with new oil.

“When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— “ Ps 8:4a

As I sat on the patio swing, I do wonder why He cares so much about each of us. I betray His trust and love over and over – and yet – He is mindful of me. Even as a quickly fading flower or a mere vapor on the wind in the scheme of eternity, He continues to find time for me…and the butterflies that are all over the lantana bush… or the hummingbirds filling up for their trip South…or the two aging choc lab girls who sleep in the shade of a wisteria covered portico. There is much more to come out of this thoughtful weekend, but it is a start.

I reflect back that Job probably said it best, “What is man that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart upon him.” Job 7:7

He trusts us with His heart…His Son…His Grace……..

Since the very beginning, so who am I not to trust Him with mine? 

2020 VISION: Weekend Streams.

Tonight is the perfect summer night. Been awhile since I’ve been able to sit outside and just listen to the night, feel the breeze and see the stars shining as brightly as they are right now. Hear the trickle of water as it continues to drain through our usually dry stream bed.

A deep breath of night air is a good way to end the Sabbath.

“The Lord has done great miracles for them!”
Yes, he did mighty miracles and we are overjoyed!
Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory!
May streams of your refreshing flow over us
until our dry hearts are drenched again.” Ps 126:3-4

Weekends have always been a time to regenerate the energy level – especially when I was teaching, raising kids, and tending various species of critters that had entered my sphere of influence. I liked walking the land given to me for a space of time. I liked tending gardens. I liked mowing grass. I liked finding time to play the piano, read a few chapters of a book, watch a few special movies. It was a time to re-connect with the basics that have always been a part of my life.

When I was little, we lived in town, but the parents owned three acres “in the country”. It was actually just outside of town. I could have ridden my bike there, but for some reason, I don’t think I ever did. I certainly rode outside of town in all other directions. As I look back, I laugh a little because it was back a small 2-track dirt road that we shared with neighbors who owned the house in front of our land. We went there often but especially on the weekends.

In the winter, there were Christmas trees to help my dad cut down (I really just ran around with whatever kids came to “help cut down a tree” and let the grown-ups do all the work). In the spring, family and friends would gather there as we planted new pine trees and seeds in a big garden. Sometimes we would have a bonfire. Most times, we ended up at our house or someone else’s where the instruments would come out and the party would commence.

Refreshing weekends were something my parents loved as well.

In the summer, I learned to weed with my toes. My dad was the real expert. I didn’t ever manage to measure up to his standard, but I did love digging my toes in the dirt and trying. By late summer, feast time was beyond compare. Corn, tomatoes, beans, peas. Fresh out of the garden as we picked or as a dinner party at our house – where the ice cream maker would magically appear, and we all took turns cranking it.

Weekends are special time of renewal.

Tonight was one of those nights when I could almost see it all again as I sat on my small porch and watched the dogs snap at insects or answer a barking dog that they heard down the street. We had a screened-in porch at both of my childhood homes. They were the perfect places to make music and not have to deal with biting insects (like I had to do tonight). Eventually, I would fall asleep to the music of guitars, banjos and lyrics being sung all around me and wake up the next morning in my bed.

Sunday mornings would swirl all the days into His days.

The walk to church. Sunday school teachers who were often friends of the family or my school teacher. Sitting in a pew with Grandma Mac as she handed me her hankie with a piece of gum tucked inside. Mom singing a solo with the choir. My Godmother playing the organ. My dad sometimes with us, but mostly – goin’ fishin’. Family get-togethers where I got real food instead of boxed or burnt food. Sunday night youth groups.

Streams of living water to carry us into the new week ahead.

“Those who sow their tears as seeds
will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee.
They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow,
but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing!” Ps 126:5-6

My Father continues to send streams of living water every weekend as I relax and breathe in deeply. Those rolling waters are a little different in form these days. Tears are often mixed in, but the shouts of glee are there as well when His presence overwhelms me. As always, the Sabbath wraps the renewal all together. A deep breath of fresh night air clears out the foggy vision that built up during the previous week, and I can see more clearly.

Weekend Streams of living water – refreshing water.

If I have to wait for Him to move His cloud pillar so I can walk forward, I might as well be about His business while I wait. Back to school (with Grands, new students, those in my sphere of influence), and time to walk into the new week with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness. Time to harvest the overflowing armload of blessings that He has already placed on my path.

[Greg Olsen artwork]

2020 VISION: Sabbath Quaking

“Sabbath was (and is) a gift from GOD – a pause, a stopping point, a decision to take a break from going and buying and accruing.” Priscilla Shirer, Awaken, p. 108

This morning, the choc lab girls woke me up by barking and barking and barking. Ugh. I stretched and looked at the clock it was a little after 8 AM. I figured they were just ready to go out or heard a strange sound in the neighborhood.

Not the first time I’ve been wrong!

We got up and began our first early morning walk – pulled some weeds – cut back some branches – walked the newspaper up to my neighbor’s house – swept leaves off the deck and patio – cleaned out the garage a little – and then – one of the neighbors hollered at me: “Did you feel the earthquake?”

Huh????
Earthquake????

“It is the Spirit empowered choice to cease striving and enjoy our GOD.” Ibid.

After he explained what had happened, I sat down on the patio swing and enjoyed the morning under a bunch of semi-blooming wisteria, birds calling out their own news of the morning and a couple of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flitting in and out of the sweet smelling salvias and around the swing. 2020 has certainly been a year filled with things I really hadn’t ever anticipated.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1

It was a good day to cease striving and enjoy God, so I did. I read some books. Threw the ball with the girls. Played with silly, spooky kitty. Made a few pickles since they were already cut up and sitting in the fridge – – but basically – – just spent time enjoying GOD and all His bounty that surrounds me everyday.

Prayed over my prayer list. Sang a few songs that never fail to stir the spirit within me. “Closer My God to Thee” Listened to a few Bible teachers who seemed to have the very wisdom I needed to hear. And just basically, ignored the outside world that so often intrudes on my time with My Father.

“It is the peace that comes in the midst of all the whirlwind and flurry of activity.” Ibid.

Sometimes – it takes a little bit of shaking to wake us up so that we stop whining and start shining. Tonight, I’m already yawning. School starts tomorrow, and I can’t wait to shine a little more. There is always something invigorating about a new school year. While this year will be a little more complicated, it will still be good to be back.

Setting the compass on the Father today was important to make sure my direction is sure and in line with the Son’s Grace and Love.

Sabbath Shaking was one of those treasure chest memories of 2020 that I will ponder in my heart for times to come.

“Sabbath is what beats our lives into submission, giving us the breathing room for getting our sanity back. We cannot afford to neglect the Sabbath principle.” Ibid. 

 [personal images/google]

VISION 2020: Renewing Covenants

I realized today as I wiped down the bike I had been riding in my gym, that I have not been spending time in my war room. When had that happened? When was the last time I’d read the Bible verses that the Father had given me since this chaotic year began? When was the last time, I touched the names written on my prayer list in that space? When had I forgotten the covenant?

It brought me up short. I finished wiping down the all the areas I had touched on the bike. Said, “Have a blessed day” to the other two seniors working out in that big room, but my mind was reeling with the soft nudge of a whisper. A whisper that spoke louder than the up-beat music that played in this portion of the gym set aside for those who wish to work out with other women.

I dropped the rag in the basket and headed to the pool area. No wonder I’ve been out of sorts. Letting my emotions rule instead of depending upon the One always knows me better than I know myself. I’m an idiot at times. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt – – – especially in the middle of a spiritual war – – – that I need to seek His presence before I do anything else.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5

The physical war on this 70th journey around the sun is easier to fight. I can see it, and as I age – I certainly can feel it in almost everything I do. It has been two months back at the gym and in the pool, but I know I’m still not back to where I was prior to this whole sheltering-in-home thingy. Riding the reclining bike for 20 minutes – 3.5 miles usually at a decent pace. Heart rate finally returning to its previous levels. Water play for the arthritic joints. Energy level on the upward trend.
Better.
Getting there –
but it really made me think about where I was spiritually and what ground I’ve lost as I drifted away from my war room. The evil one is way too subtle at times.
One day here.
One day there.
Pretty soon, a week, a month, a year drift by. I know this because it has happened all my life.

If I lost so much in just 2 and a half months physically, how much more have I lost spiritually?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in prayer, studied my devotions, read the WORD – – – but – – – I haven’t I haven’t spent time kneeling in my Father’s presence, listening, praising, thanking, covenanting as I should – especially during this strife-filled time. This time when havoc reigns in our world from plagues, dissonance and violence as the evil one struggles to keep a grip on this land.

When I came home, I sat down and began watching my church and the other ones I watch on-line, but the uneasiness remained. The nudge was becoming more than a gentle reminder. As I used my inversion board, clarity started to seep through. One of the quotes I have hanging in that small closet is: “Trusting GOD will not change WHAT you see, but will definitely change HOW you see.”

Inversion.

Sometimes I have to up-end things to make a room look better. I have to throw everything in the sink to clean the counters. I have to throw all the clothes in a pile to organize the closet. I have to throw the apple out of my hand before I take any more bites. Bad choices come way too easy for me. Harder it is to throw away the temptations that are easy on the eye and not as much work.

Perhaps, it is what our country is doing right now.
Inside out.
Upside down.
Topsy-turvey.
Sideways sliding.
Perhaps it is these types of shakings which will make the choices clearer for us.

I haven’t liked the past few months. Perhaps listening to the evil one’s subtle suggestion about my war room has been my own rebellious response. Hiding from the Father as my anger as Adam and Eve hid in the garden after letting my hand reach out for that apple dangled by the evil one who wants to keep me from His presence – keep me from the peace that passeth all understanding.

Separation.
Broken Covenant.

Covenants are holy promises between those who love each other. For the past year, I have missed my physical covenant made upon this plane, but I realized today that that it is the spiritual covenant with My Father that I can not live without. I went back to my war room today. I will go back to it again tonight. I will seek His presence once again. To touch the manna that hangs on the door and walls – to drink from the everlasting waters that sparkle as they wait to bring renewal to me.

Perhaps – renewing of the covenants will come at all levels as it came to me today. I found this verse today and will hang it tonight on the war room wall. It is another one of His promises. It is true for He is faithful in His covenants unlike I am. I am working on being just as faithful – just not there yet – but every day, I am getting better and better by His grace and love.

“I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”—       Isaiah 1:26  inspiration-akiane-kramarik [artwork by Akiane Kramarik/google images]

2020 VISION: Pandemic Unrest Fireworks

40 years ago, there was a little house on Michael Street in Kalamazoo, MI. It had a small victory garden in the backyard with a little kohlrabi, corn, tomatoes and carrots where a small boy and an even smaller puppy feasted and rolled in the dirt. The Music Man played on TV and the Wells Fargo Wagon rolled into town. Later, sparklers and fireworks lit the sky and filled their heads with wonder. Shivering puppy cuddled in my lap with one excited boy, a prefect night was had by all.

“This is the land of milk and honey
This is the land of sun and song…”

Fireworks have always been magical for me. Growing up in the 50’s, my small town always had a display in the park by the river. The firemen and police always busy as we watched them set the display up and rope off the area. A few years later, our family sometimes went to a nearby big city to enjoy a “show”. It was different. It was fun – especially since I always had a cousin or friend tagging along. But those were never as special as the one in the hometown where all the friends gathered and ran around with sparklers in the dark away from the parents.
Freedom.
Lights.
Sounds.
Explosions.

“And this a world of good and plenty
Humble and proud and young and strong…”

Fireworks are still magical. Tonight, I stood on my little front porch and watched a small display. Near-by neighbors gathered to have a ringside seat while others drove their tractors or gators up to our cul-de-sac to watch. A throwback to simpler times. And somehow in my mind, this beat all the fancy shows linked with musical scores that seem to dominate the urban areas and our TV’s.
Children laughing
Adults crowing.
Simplicity.
Humble.
A reminder of what was…
And what could still be.

“And this is the place where the hopes of the homeless
And the dreams of the lost combine…”

The ideals of 1776 are still the covenant of this country. A covenant that was made by the Pilgrims on a small rocky part of ground that no native tribe wanted to inhabit. Outcasts themselves, the Pilgrims prayed over this new land, and a humble covenant was established. A covenant made by imperfect men who believed in what they wrote, but knew they were all flawed, save the One they held close in their hearts. They didn’t know what would happen as they prayed over this new covenant, but they had faith that had brought them this far so they bowed their heads to seek their Father’s blessings on this new beginning.

“This is the land that Heaven blessed
And this lovely land is mine…”

The covenant thus blessed, prospered over them all. Crops grew. Friendships established. New people came.
Explorers.
Indentured servants.
Criminals.
Landowners.
Crafters.
Farmers.
Families.
Outcasts.
Some prayed. Some didn’t. The covenant shook under their feet. Until a shot rang out that was heard round the world. Then many gathered once again. They argued – debated – wrote – rewrote and prayed together. A new covenant that reaffirmed the first. A covenant that foresaw a day when its people would be able to celebrate the birth of a nation with fireworks . Sacred honor..

Humble and proud…
Young and strong…

Over the years the covenant remained. Torn and tattered in places. Singed in other places. Words smudged and forgotten by those who asked for the blessing of the covenant in the first place. But then – after 244 years – there is little wonder since – as the Pilgrims knew – people are all flawed save the One who granted the covenant with His promise and blessings.

The line between “humble” and “proud” is hairline. Recognizing, “blessed is the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure of heart, the peacemaker” gets harder and harder for those who love the strength in the explosion of bright lights and sounds over their heads. The covenanted soul loses a little more of the original ink into the dust from which it arose. While the outer shell appears strong and impenetrable, the inner “young” and “strong” has become “wobbly” and “weak” spiritually, and the covenant closer to dissolving completely.

The Father’s warnings shake the idols. They rattle the country a little more each time they come. His prophets, as always, have returned to speak loudly. He wants to remind His children. He wants the covenant to stand forever. He strains to hear the ones He loves the best call out to Him again. He longs for the closeness of the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, the outcasts, the lost, and all those who seek His presence in the fireworks of 2020.

The unrest remains as does the choice: Be ye humble? Be ye proud? Fireworks over head or a covenant of blessings that “lights up the world”?

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

[google images]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Where are you on the Pandemic Tree of Life – Part II.

Like most teachers – if I give out an assignment – I should also do the work to set the example (gotta love Vygotsky). So here is my Tree of Pandemic Life Essay, a treasure chest memory of this time for the future generations. Notice – I changed the words in various places – call it artistic license.

Pandemic –

A word that stopped the world mid-orbit.
A word that we confidently touted as a historical concept.
A word that applied to 3rd world countries – certainly not this country.
A word on the peripheral vision of life – not something in my direct line of vision.

A word of eight letters – the eternal number.
A word.

Yet – here it is on my Tree of Life. I lived through this on a major scale as a baby, toddler, preschooler. Polio kept me out of the water during those early hot summers, but other than that, it didn’t touch me. However, it forged an indelible memory of standing in a line of friends and family on the small steps leading into the cafeteria of my 1955 elementary school. Mom and dad held my hand. My older brother stood off to the side with a group of his friends. A small cup of liquid to drink, and then the word disappeared into the history books.

Pandemic.

The word eased itself back into my lexicon on a whisper of a breeze in late 2019. As I looked out the window, warmed by my gas logs, the full extent of that word was still just conceptualizing itself in my mind. Was this how my parents felt after they had battled their way through WWII and were facing this word? I prayed for those far away who were dealing with it as I prayed for those dealing with locusts invasions, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other illnesses. Surely, this new virus wouldn’t touch the shores of this country. Our society has 2020 vision – science, technology, stability, cleanliness – surely, it wouldn’t float over here. Yet – it did. It picked up speed until gale force winds swept over each of us and the eye of the storm peered down upon us.
Collectively.
Individually.
Nationally.

Pandemic 2020.

The word storm buffets the doors and windows everyday now of this place I call home. No longer a word of the past, but a word brandied about in every day conversation as we “social distance” away from family and friends. The illness itself as evolved with one name into another name into another name – Covid 19. I look out the window. The dogwoods, azaleas, wisteria are blooming. Spring looks beautiful as usual, but the world is different. I look at the picture on my desk. Where am I on this Tree of Life?

Where am I on the Pandemic Tree of Life 2020?

2019 was an especially hard year for me. My 40-year marriage covenant had broken and the “one flesh” shredded. If this pandemic had come 6 months earlier, I would have chosen the little boy lying on the ground. My world and faith in myself scattered about me in pieces. But the promises of My Father, ever faithful, had the golden glue that slowly mended me into a new piece of art. One that He had seen since the beginning of the sparkles in my parents’ eyes. Since then, I have gotten up, brushed myself off, put on a new dress and started to re-climb my Tree of Life.

Pandemic 2020 caught me on a lower branch. And – while I still grip the tree trunk fairly tightly, every now and then I glance up. I see the One who is reaching down – just in case – just in case I need some help. My bare feet feel the rough bark beneath them. My toes tighten at times to keep my balance, and then I glance up again. His face is smiling down at me, and I am ever so thankful for the past two months I spent in the gym. My balance is better. My strength is better. My health is better. Best yet, my knees can bend once again to touch the ground as I kneel in prayer.

I smile up at that Face. Yeshua Mashiach is still there. Not far away. Not sitting on a throne in a far away place. Not judging my mistakes or fears. Just reaching down and smiling. Waiting to help if I need a hand to climb a little higher. Waiting for me to be willing as He sits on a branch of my Tree of Life – as if He had not better place to be in the whole world.

So where am I on the Tree of Pandemic Life 2020?

I am climbing.
I am reaching up.
I am smiling, because I trust the One who is guiding me upward.

[personal images]

VISION 2020: Pandemic Basket Blessings

When I wake up these days, I am full of thankful blessings. Thankful to open my eyes. Thankful to see my choc labs wiggling at my bedside. Thankful to hear kitty-kitty meowing from wherever she is curled up to sleep. Thankful for the first deep breath in – Yaw – followed by the first deep breath out –
Weh. Thankful for My Father who whispers: ‘Kneel”.

“During the days of King David, a devastating plague is said to have claimed the lives of a hundred Israelites every single day. That’s when a council of Jewish rabbis prescribed the practice of reciting one hundred blessings per day to counteract the plague. According to tradition, the plague stopped immediately. I can’t promise that gratitude will cure whatever ails you (or stop the Coronavirus), but gratitude is a good place to start. And it’s where the double blessing begins.” Mark Batterson, author of the Circle Maker, Whispers

This devotion caught me this morning. I laughed. It is so obvious. When I start my day – pause throughout the day – end my day – thanking my Father, the next day radiates His peace in all I do. Even when a pandemic strikes and isolates me from my Grands and students (and cuts my gym time in half), Joy seems to pour out of me and His peace envelops me.

“Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.” Ps 100:1-2

After reading Batterson’s quote, I began to fill my head with all the blessings of the day. There are way more than a hundred. I started writing them down and was at 10 before I got out of the bathroom. Then I began to wonder how many more blessings I missed. The flock of robins in my yard. The music of all the spring birds over my head. The wide array of colors in spring flowers. Tree pollen that swells my sinuses. Essential oils that make it tolerable. The taste of food. The smells of spring.

Where do I stop?

Life is a miracle basket – a basket overflowing with blessings. Basket Blessings – too many to count – Basket Blessings from a loving Father and Son who know all too well the agony and the chaos of this world. Basket Blessings that should bring us to our knees throughout the day. Basket Blessings that fill me with joy even when I dislike the dark valley that is hard to navigate with these old eyes and crackling knees.

“Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.a
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.” Ps 100:3-4

Raise your hands in the air. Yup – do it. Right now. Start circling your hands in concentric circles and repeat this phrase: “He is turning my mourning into dancing and my sorrow into joy.”
Go on…….
Repeat.
Repeat.
Repeat.
Are your feet tapping? Is your soul dancing? Go ahead. I know you want to do so.
Dance.
Dance.
Dance.
And place your Basket Blessings on the holy ground where you check in with Our Father. He’s waiting. Waiting just for you to just acknowledge what He has given you.

A Basket of Blessings He designed just for you.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chron 7:14

“For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Ps 100:5  first day in Heaven [Kerolos Safwat art]

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 – 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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