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“As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind,
Nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child;
Even so thou knowest not the work of God
Who doeth all things.”~Ecc 11:5
Two weeks of letting sinus pressure build up ✔️
Two more weeks of fun antibiotics ✔️
And now – – – more meds.
This is getting old – especially since all I want to do is work outside, play with the Grands, and do the usual crazy things that I love to do each and every day instead of feeling like my head is stuffed to the gills with yuk.
Grass needs mowing (it’s half done because I couldn’t stand it any longer and cut part of it).
Gardens need mulch and more mulch and more mulch.
Plants need to be stuffed into holes before the dry summer days get here. Begging for water plants is not pretty.
And worse – there is a wonderful swing on our patio calling my name. “Come, come sit on me, curl up in my pillows and write and read.”
AND – I’m tired of taking morning and noon naps. Is that an oxymoron?
Is that enough whining?
Errrr…… I hate when I whine.
There is no explaining why things happen the way they do. All I know is that The Bible never promised an easy time of it. Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Joseph, Jacob, Esther, David, Ruth, – to name a few – and the disciples certainly didn’t have an easy time when they ventured out into the world on their own, even after HEARing His voice issue all of His promises in front of them.
“…behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time. Amen”~Matt 28:20
Luckily, the Holy Spirit continues to speak those words over and over in our souls when our brains are mute and our tongues too thick to work – as we pray for young families who have to introduce topics to their children because of the ugliness of life – prayers for those who stand every day in the gap for the rest of us – prayers for tragedies and illnesses that seem to increase beyond measure – prayers for the souls who don’t know His voice.
In Jewish culture Lag B’Omar is coming to a close and as the light of the bonfires have dwindled to a smolder of ash, we remember that in the deep dark of the world, we can grow light.
We can still light fires of curiosity with a match of a question.
We can still add pallets of wisdom to nourish growth.
We can stand back and watch the fire soar high above our own meager expectations.
And best of all, we can continue to peacefully rest in the Light that has brought true holy fire to our needy world.
“In the morning sow thy seed,
And in the evening withhold not thy hand;
For thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that,
Or whether they both shall be alike good.”~Ecc 11:6
Now if my ears will just stop popping and the eyes stay open, but so thankful for the promise of My Father and His Son. Praising The LORD in all things on this National Day of Prayer.
[google images/art work by Yoram Raanan]
Wisdom learned over the weekend:
1) Antibiotics are not magic pills –
2) Prayer warriors’ worth are beyond rubies –
3) Body needs sleep and lazy days to heal (instead of mowing grass and digging bushes to transplant) –
4) Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle kitten knows when I am sick and sleeps on or beside me all night in my chair (except for the occasional mouse chase in the kitchen) –
5) The big girls – otherwise known as ‘the lab girls’ – don’t leave whatever room I am in while they snore away the time –
6) But most of all – I need to quit being stupid.
7) “Even to your old age and gray hairs, I AM he, I AM he who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you, and I will rescue you.”~Is 46:4
“Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom if you listen.”~Carl Sandburg.
“Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.”~Carl Sandburg [google image]
Back in the day when all I had was a room, a bed to sleep on and miscellaneous things that made me smile, I collected quotes. This was before the days of easy access to quotes, so they were clipped or handwritten from of magazines, books, or songs. I taped them to whatever thing that was handy, the wall or even the boards that served as my make-shift bookcase with the help of some bricks.
When my dad died, I was 19 and this was one of the quotes that was taped to his picture that I kept close to my bed. As is often the case, the quote disappeared from the picture, but not from the memory files in my head.
Blessings are sometimes hard to find when the heart hurts from loneliness. Yet, that is exactly why this quote has stuck with me for such a long time. However, unlike A.A. Milne, I’m beyond lucky – I am blessed.
Blessed to have had a father that taught me the love of our heavenly Father.
Blessed to have watched the great love affair between him and my mother – loud fights and car rides full of harmonizing songs – included.
Blessed to have watched him work a full day in a factory and still find time to be a boy scout leader for the son he adored.
Blessed to have him for 9 more years with him after his initial heart attack.
Blessed to have had a long telephone conversation with him the night before he died.
Blessed to have him serve as a heavenly guardian for my children and father-in-law on this day 24 years later when a car accident occurred.
Blessed to be the daughter curled into his side.
Bittersweet days are hard ones, but they are also blessed ones. I sat outside and watched birds flock around the feeder. I listened to some music that reminded me of my childhood days. I kept busy trying to learn a little more about the Heavenly Father. Fussed with the new mantle that reminds me of the one in my childhood home. Then I pulled out the piece of his old hammer and traced the carved letters with my fingers. Mom had cut this piece from his hammer after he died because he had carved his name in it. She kept it in the night table beside her bed, right beside the needle holder he had bought for her long, long ago.
Bittersweet days are filled with tiny blessings. We just have to remember to look for them.
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”~Jn 10:10
And yet –
For a brief moment – while the rest of the world sat in the twilight of today’s last’s visages – the fiery sun burnt a hole in the thick clouds until the horizon blazed fiery orange through the dark blueish gray around it; giving light to impending darkness.
Tops of trees brushed in burnished brass –
Tips singed first –
Until bright flames shot –
Down the trunks –
Flames coloring the world in its image –
While the Breath of Life swirled new sparks
Golden sparkles –
That spun and reflected the Light back into the darkness –
Flowing over the branches –
Tree after tree bowing in rhythm –
Waiting to be touched –
By the Firestarter’s unfailing hand –
And my breath caught.
Ayn Sof spoke.
“Be still, and know that I am God;”~Ps 46:10
Reminders – that even in the darkest of times –
The saddest of times –
The chaotic mess of times –
The soft twilight times –
His Fire continues to burn bushes –
Tall trees –
Fired with His wisdom –
And immeasurable fiery Light into the world –
Once more –
And over –
And over again –
Until the whole world knows.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”~Ez 36:26
For the past few weeks my head has been full of the thickness of the new spring. Spring pollen does not bode well with aging sinuses and words don’t come easily when the brain is fuzzy, befuddled, and swirling in mild circles.
However, like in most things, there is always the flip side of the coin.The good thing about feeling slightly yukky but not really sick is I do a lot more reading and pondering of ideas that I normally just throw in a file to think about later. Hmmm – – – does that even make sense? I think it does.
Unclench your fists
Hold out your hands.
Let us hold each other.
Thus is his Glory
Manifest.~MLE, Epiphany p.9
My Breadcrumbs journey let me back to a couple of books I found almost two decades ago – both written by Madeline L’Engle. Glimpses of Grace (devotional) written in 1995 and The Weather of the Heart (poetry), 1978,2001. I’ve read both of them before but decided it was time for a re-visit.
I’m glad I did.
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and follow after faithfulness. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”~Ps 37:3-4
For me, reading something the first time is like visiting a room. You walk around,
notice a few things that catch your attention,
enjoy your time there,
and then close the door when you leave with a smile on your face. Re-reading a book is actually sitting down, soaking in things you never noticed the first time around, absorbing the nuances of the colors – light – shadows, and the craftsmanship that went into building it.
To the impossible: Yes!
Enter and penetrate
O Spirit. Come and bless
This hour: the star is late.
Only the absurdity of love
Can break the bonds of hate.~MLE, Annunciation, p.36
Re-reading the WORD is much the same. I was re-reading Psalm 37 today. I’ve read this Psalm many, many times and never noticed the insertion of the Jewish alphabet between verses. It looked like a shorter Psalm 119. Today I was reading it in my Catholic version of the Bible which sent me on a Bible search for other versions. Sure enough, when I looked on Bible Hub there are several other versions that include the Jewish word or letter.
I’m not sure why this was important today, but it was. When our brains are fuzzy and the world is pulling at our time, it is the little things we sometimes miss in our reading of His WORD. Often we need to revisit the room that we think we already know.
Take a chair.
Sit for awhile.
Let the nuances soak into our very being.
Absorb the colors.
Let the Light cascade over us
and catch a Glimpse of Grace.
But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strong hold in the time of trouble. And the LORD helpeth them, and rescueth them: he rescueth them from the wicked, and saveth them, because they have taken refuge in him.”~Ps 37:39-40
When you get to the end, subtle He is not.
Now when I am driving down the highway minding my own business, singing in a cracking, raspy voice along with the Greatest Showman CD playing loudly my car, I really am not looking to hear from God. That is when the first car passes me.
It has 3 7’s on it’s license plate. I love 3 7’s together. It is considered by many as a sign of completion. I always notice because I was born on the 7th day, and the parents always had VM777 on their license plate. (Isn’t strange how we remember such trivial things?) My brother has 3 7’s in his phone number. Needless to say, whenever I see 3 7’s together, I have to smile and say a little prayer for all the 3 7’s I know. This is not a rarity. I see 3 7’s quite often. The next car that passed me was something I’ve never seen.
Car #2 had a bumper sticker that said “Blessings!Be!” – Spelled just like that – exclamation points included. Blue background – yellow letters – bold crazy font. I can still see it plain as day in my memory. “Blessings!Be!” is something that I use often when I talk or write to people. Seeing it on a bumper sticker – exactly the way I write it – made me laugh out loud because I have never seen a bumper sticker like that. However – it was car #3 that made me begin to ponder and turn off the CD player.
The third consecutive car that passed me on our local freeway yesterday had a license plate that said, “MRS K – LOL”. Now seriously, when I have been called “Mrs. K.” for almost all of my teaching career, how could I not sit up a little straighter and think about all these things? How could I ignore the crazy randomness of these three cars without thinking about it? It is my nature to ponder strange things. Always have. From earliest childhood till now, I ask more questions than I ever find answers.
“Wisdom is knowing how much you don’t know. So you have to start there and ask God to teach you.” M Batterson, p223, Day 40 in Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge
Tonight, I finished watching Passion of the Christ. I am not strong enough to watch it without many breaks and lots of tears. To think of what He sacrificed for us is beyond my comprehension. But I do know, that everything in the OT from the first letter to the last letter points to the “Son”. In fact – I read somewhere that the first Hebraic letter and the last letter put together spell “ben” or “son”. Everything in the NT – all that Jesus said and did – points us back to the “Father”.
“LORD, teach us to pray.” ~Lk 11:1
After the Grands and Hubby left today, I began digging up old rotten fence posts and rails that had been buried under years of rotting leaves, dirt, and gravel. It was not fun. I got dirty and sore. My knees crackled here and there. I prayed against finding a poisonous snake or spider. Wore my gloves and used a shovel to prod at things before I reached blindly into the mess, However, I did uncover a rather plump, gray mouse, who, strangely, didn’t run, but more or less, gave me nasty looks for destroying her home and moved under the next pile of leaves and wood until it was all gone. She flung one last look at me and wiggled under the last batch of leaves between two tree roots.
“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.’ ” ~Lk 24:5-7
Tomorrow – or even tonight when I walk the dogs off the porch (since in Jewish eyes we are already celebrating Sunday), I will look up to the sky. I will remember to seek Him who is living with my prayers, and when I don’t know what to pray, I will recite the abc’s and let Our Father put them together into prayers He knows I wanted to say – needed to say.
God knows where we are…
Even driving down a freeway…
Even when we are not thinking about Him at all…
Even when we are deep in our own sin…
And in these latter days – God is not subtle – His knock at your door is happening and the Breadcrumbs continue to drop.
He has risen.
Day 40 – Prayer Alphabet
Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do. And if you’re anything like me, my best is not good enough. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, I’m below average. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Keep praying and believing that the best is yet to come!
[MB image/google image]
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.”~Ep 6:18a
Years of camping – girl scouts and beyond.
Years of living in the country.
Years of sitting outside, listening and watching.
Years of listening to them at night as they hooted me to sleep.
Finally – – – I saw a real life owl in the wild.
Luckily, my life hasn’t been devoid of seeing owls. I’ve seen owls many times on trips to the zoo. White owls, brown owls, gray owls and even saw one up close and personal on a writing retreat while it sat on a park ranger’s arm. But I have never seen one as God created them.
Looking at me.
“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”~Ep 6:18b
Our gimpy little girl who isn’t supposed to run and yet never stops running when she is outside, actually startled it as she raced through the woods. I turned to watch what she was doing when the owl took wing to another branch. It was facing the road away from me, and then it did that awesome cool owly thing that everyone loves. It turned its head all the way around to look directly at me.
I know it was only a moment, and yet – it was one of those moments that takes your breath away and lasts for a lot longer. I can still see it. My own personal miracle and a childhood prayer answered in the best way ever. Koay yipped and off it flew out of sight.
“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.”~Ps 40:1
Lately, I’ve noticed that many times my devotions dovetail each other as if they were written by the same person. And if I’m paying really close attention, I notice that they address those really hard things that I’ve been praying in the Spirit for as well. Duh! Throwback time. Back to the times when I used to sit in choir practice and make mistakes. Hit myself in the head – DUH – literally. While they may have been written at different times by different people, they were inspired by the One who spoke the WORD into being.
“I was dancin’ in the dark when I saw your open arms. Barefoot on the cross, and now I hear you in every song. When my life was still a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but Your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Phillipa Hanna, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
Answered prayers don’t come when we expect them. Often, they don’t come how we expect them. Sometimes, we don’t even know they have been answered. Then again, some may be not be answered until way after we’ve gone home. But all in all, prayers are always answered. We just don’t like all the answers because they aren’t answered OUR way.
Tonight, the kitty that answered a prayer I didn’t know I had keeps sitting on the keyboard batting my hands. For whatever reason, she wants a little extra attention tonight – and I indulge her until she hops down to chase the mousy sounds she hears in the kitchen.
I like to think Our Father God and His Son and Spirit are much the same way. Our prayers sing in Their combined heart – begging for a little extra on some nights – a little more cuddling – a little more encouragement until we hop away to chase after the next thing.
The good news – The Trinity is still there. Waiting for those prayers. Waiting for us to jump up into their laps. Purring a little louder for a little more attention. Kneading their hands with our tiny claws until they smile and sing a new song in our heart with their love.
I look at the breadcrumbs on the road before me. They are no longer abundantly covering the road. They have dwindled to few and far between. The destination that seemed so far away is just ahead. Passion Week – just days away. And I wonder at the journey I have been on for 32 days.
The journey of the owl into my life. A life-long prayer answered. A time to continue to pray with precise language – a time to look forward in prayer – a time to open my eyes to the miracles around me and rejoice. A time of breadcrumbs.
“When I’m dancin’ in the dark, I will raise my weary arms, and thank you for the cross, and the Grace that’s enough for anyone. When you found me in a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but your Grace is perfect. I don’t feel worthy, but your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Ibid.
Long ago, before the printed word and technology was in every home and classroom and before there were people who say that rote memorization was not a good learning strategy – at about the time when Jesus was a little boy growing up in a small town, children in his village would walk into the classroom for the first time and find a slate coated in honey. A rabbi said these words, “How sweet are your words to my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”~ Ps 119:103
Being a teacher it is so easy to see this first century classroom. I can hear the smile in the rabbi’s voice as he issued the first assignment, “Lick the slate clean and repeat after me.” As the students gleefully got to work (because there was no one around who said, “Yuk – germs!), they repeated the verse over and over until the slate was ready to be written upon. Thus, they learned their first verse of the Torah.
“If you abide in Me…”
According to rabbinical writings from that time, the sound of those voices repeating verses over and over and over were like the chirpings of little birds. Once upon a time, rote memorization was the underpinnings of all education all over the world. Books were rare and way too valuable for ordinary folk. Students learned by stories and rote memorization. In the Jewish community, by the time the Jewish children were ready for the next level of schooling, most of them knew the entire Torah by heart.
I’m sure there were those who struggled just like some struggle in today’s classroom. However, what we fail to remember is that the chirpings didn’t stop at the school. Every morning, every meal, every bedtime was filled with more recitation of verses and better yet – discussion – debate – exchange of thoughts – prayers filled with those same words until the verses became alive – vibrant with love between the family members – lustrous with the Breath of the Father’s Spirit – shaded with every jot and tittle of the language.
“And My words abide in you…”~Jn 15:7a
Cool thing to note – most scholars agree that boys and girls – around the age of 4 or 5 – would begin their schooling together. The cooler thing is that school didn’t stop at the doorway of the classroom. All the children in the family would participate in the discussions with their parents, so – for the most part – Our Father’s words took up residence within each family member who comprised this group of people called Jews.
They didn’t have to go look up a reference to string verses together. They didn’t have to google a phrase to find a verse. They didn’t have to look at their notes from school or find an expert. The words were part of everything in their everyday life. Trip over a stone and say a blessing of thanks because it wasn’t a rock. Get an extra few coins praise G-d for His goodness. Prayer rising without thought – never ceasing – because the WORD lives in each individual.
“How sweet are Your words to my taste!”
Tonight, as the thunderstorm and hail pelt our little house, I look at the little gathering of early violets and spring flowers and touch creation with my heart. Life becomes so much sweeter as we chirp. Spring is here – well – kinda – in name anyway. The peepers have started to peep in NC – I think they are probably hiding deep in the mud tonight. The birds were chirping earlier today as they hopped about and hopefully found shelter somewhere now.
And I – well – I think I need a little more of those 1st century chirpings in my life so that the WORD abides in me.
“Sweeter than honey to my mouth.”~Ps 119:103
This was a crumbly day. Bits and pieces smashed together. Not bad. Not good. Just a day when the pieces just didn’t seem to leave me with any sort of cohesive picture or feeling of what was accomplished.
Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle caught her 5th mouse (I wonder when I will quit counting them?) which I almost stepped on as I was racing about trying to get morning chores done before church. Worshiped and tried to absorb another great message. Drove the long way home to pick up some fresh foods – – sidetracked by some colorful flowers, seed packets and children who love to talk. Walked the dogs. Dug weeds in the gardens. Re-filled the garden tub with dirt and planted lettuce (threat of snow/ice for Wednesday – sigh). Watched a couple of movies. Messed with new printer – which I managed to get working all by myself. ……. I think.
And yet – –
at the end of the day – –
I feel like the crumbles are just lying in my hand waiting to be blown away by any stray wind that passes. So tonight, like on other nights when I have this disjointed uneasiness, I turned back to the WORD. It is the only way I know to change the lens in my eyes.
“May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us.” v.1
Earlier, I ran across Psalm 67 in one of my on-line devotions. It is one of the shorter Psalms, and one I have read often. Jewish traditions says that this Psalm was originally given by Our Father to only two people – Moses and David. It is also said that it was given to them both in the shape of the menorah during a vision.
“May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
May the nations praise you, O GOD.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.”v.2-3
I’m not sure why this drew me back this evening. Maybe it was because it was given in a vision. Maybe it is because this Psalm is so full of joy. Maybe it is because this Psalm doesn’t crumble in your hands at the end of the day. It’s strength rings with Truth.
“Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.”v.4
Jewish traditions say that King David engraved the Psalm 67 image from his vision onto his battle shield. The first three verses made up the right branches of the Menorah. The 4th verse embodied the trunk. The last 3 verses filled in the last 3 branches. It is said to be the reason he was successful in battle.
According to Rabbinical wisdom, our eyes are often drawn to the deeper wisdom of G-d by the placement of the verses within the whole. Sometimes this is by repetitive phrases. Sometimes it is by the choice of words. Sometimes the simple placement of “jot and tittle”. In this case, it is the placement of the verse placed on the central beam of the Menorah. The strength of the Menorah as it upholds all the branches.
“May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.”v.5-6
Tonight, the grumbly stomach calmed down as I saw that the day really wasn’t as crumbly as I originally thought. It never was. Like King David I just needed to tap back into trunk of the WORD. Singing for joy in the strength of what has been given and knowing that Our Father is truly governing and guiding me – all of us – every step of the way – even on crumbly, disjointed, unsettling days.
“Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him.” Ps 67:1-7