BREADCRUMBS: Crumbly Day

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 

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BREADCRUMBS: Humbled

Seriously! Teach for 30+ years, and I still get finger-shaking-nervous to read in a front of 1-3 years (1st to 3rd grade) at the Montessori school. It was like every 1st day of school all over again. I laughed for being humbled is never easy for me, and I know God is enjoying reminding me. For all things change – the more they stay the same.

That being said, I still have a “can-do” set of objectives in my head when I sit in a teacher’s chair. I can still spot the mischievous ones within a couple minutes and know their names by the 5 minute mark. I can still see the ones who really want to speak and just don’t know how. I can still get pretty much all of them to laugh, smile, and get excited about a book – a stuffed goat – a piece of plain white paper and a pencil.

Not bad for an old woman.

“But the conclusion is that you should all be in harmony; suffer with those who are suffering, love one another, be merciful and humble…”

Harmony…
Suffering/mourning…
Loving…
Mercy…
Humble…

Torah readings. Sermons. Letters. Over and over…from the beginning…these words have been repeated throughout the OT/NT. It doesn’t seem like a very hard list to live by – – – and yet – – – generation after generation still falter in their steps – stumble over the idols – weep over their broken dreams – and struggle with the choice –

to stand or not to stand.

“And you should not repay a person evil for evil, neither insults for insults; but to the contrary of these things, give blessings, for you are called to this, that you would inherit blessing.”~1 Pt 3:8-9

It is a beautiful evening outside even if it is a little chilly – okay – a lot chilly. Even snow bears don’t want to be out there (after all, if there is no snow to roll in what fun is it?). When I look at the stars tonight and see the universe that Stephen Hawkins wrote and taught about so often, I don’t think of it like he did. I tend to be overwhelmed at the vastness and awe-filled fear as I think of the linear time line of this small world. I think of all the generations that have come before me. 
Those who looked up.
Those who have faltered.
Those who have stumbled.
Those who have wept.
Those who have looked up with dust-filled mouths, skinned up knees and bloodied hands.

When I look up I remember the Genesis. I remember the WORD. I remember the songs and the prophets. I remember the covenants, and in faith – I reach for His staff, fallen by my side. Standing when the WORD offers its firmness under my feet. Thinking when His WORD clears the clutter and shines a light for the first step – for what is faith without action? That is the cool thing about thinking and praying; it always leads to new actions. Maybe salty actions that shake those traveling beside me, but humble actions inspired by the One who walked towards Jerusalem so long ago – who waits outside the door and knocks…

Harmony…
Suffering/mourning…
Loving…
Mercy…
Humble…

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.”~Peace Prayer of St. Francis 

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BREADCRUMBS: Go

Jesus said, “Go!”
My preacher’s sermon last night said, “Go!”
Today’s devotions said, “Go!”
The last thing I felt like doing today was – you guessed it – 
GO!

Occasionally when you have severe sinus problems, the world has a tendency to spin a little when you open your eyes. Then the choice is 1) spend the rest of the day either in the doctor’s office; 2) use some homeopathic techniques; 3) wait it out, move slowly and take sitting-up naps off and on all day and 4) don’t put in your mono-vision contacts for the day – after all the brain has enough things to sort through without adding something else into the mix.

Have no fear. If the world is seriously spinning, I get someone to trot me off to the doctor’s office pretty quick. Today, however, was definitely a #2, #3, and #4 kinda day. Boring. Sedentary. And definitely – not a “Go” type of day.

I did convince the brain to “Go” and read devotions. It was not impressed in the morning, but by the afternoon, the brain had re-gained enough of its equilibrium to enjoy the irony of the lessons and help me focus my prayers a little more tightly.

“One sometimes has to go against his or her nature to dig into the dark trenches of life. One has to be willing to lose everything in order to gain what GOD has shaped them for, because there’s a cost to the things that matter most in life and it in that sacrifice that we find our true treasure.” When Calls the Heart, Season 1, Ep 2.

You know God is seriously winking hard at you when He sends His message again through a TV show – just to make sure you heard Him the first couple of times.

David was still just a youngster when God said, “Go!” He took the things that he trusted and the wisdom gained as a shepherd, carrying food from his father and went – lots of not-so-hidden metaphors there. Went against the advice of his older brothers. Went against the laughter trying to shift the sand under his feet. Went into “the dark trench” of a giant’s shadow.

That’s what faith can do. More times than I can list in a short blog – 
God said to Abraham – “Go!”
God said to Moses – “Go!”
God said to Esther – “Go!”
God said to Mary – “Go!”
God said to Jesus – “Go!” 
Jesus told the disciples – “Go!”
Jesus tells us – “Go!”

“Go!” is different for each of us.

Today, I know there was a reason, I woke up with the world spinning. I also know that there is a reason that God is saying “Go!” So I will do a couple more homeopathic stretches of my sinuses. Drink some more water and probably sleep in my recliner just to do my best on this side.

Later, as I prepare to whisper my good-night prayers, I will pray His words back to Him and focus on “Go!” I need to wink back at Him just as broadly to let Him know that I got His not-so-subtle message. 
No more procrastinating. 
No more excuses. 
Time to face the dark ttrenches.
Time to find my treasure in Him. 
Time to “Go!”

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”~Mk 16:15

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BREADCRUMBS: Blessed Day

Whoop!Whoop! Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle caught a full-sized mouse last night. She left it smack-dab in the middle of the hallway and was curled into a ball at the foot of our bed just waiting to be proud when we woke up. 

Annnnnnddddddd…we were. Nature when left alone works very well, and SSS got tuna for breakfast. Who knew we needed a cat? I think you know how I would answer that one.

Today was a totally God blessed day from start to finish. I spent a lot of time being “churched” today. This is a saying I picked up when I was in our small gospel choir in Saxapahaw. The ladies and the choir leaders would use it when they were feeling the Spirit moving among us as we prayed at the start of choir – sang in the Spirit – and at the end of choir when we prayed in the Spirit again.

“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands.”~Dan 9:4

While it was still sort of windy outside, the Spirit inside was so much stronger. He reminded me to circle Daniel 9 in prayer again- – – ALAT – As Long Asit Takes (which is an acronym that Mark Batterson used in “The Circle Maker”). With my Gemini nature, I have to work really hard not to flit hither and yon. So I wrote it down in my prayer journal and circled it. Hopefully, I will stick at it ALAT in the days to come.

“But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. We have not obeyed the LORD our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets.”~Dan 9:9-10

Other than that, didn’t really do much. Read devotions. Spent time catching up with some of my favorite TV ministers. Worked on our front deck for a few hours – stain/painting. (Do you realize arthritis really doesn’t like that chore – especially those individual picket thingies that seemed to have multiplied today?). Played with the dogs and kitty as we walked around the yard. Read some more. Cooked a chicken, potatoes and gravy. (yum) Carried on some conversations with friends that make me smile. And just finished up watching: “Let There Be Light”.

“Yet we have refused to seek mercy from the LORD our God by turning from our sins and recognizing his truth.”~Dan 9:13b

Great movie. Reminded me how much I loved Dionne Warwick back in the day, so I ordered some CD’s. Perfect ending to a perfect day. Kitty curled in my side. Puppies looking at me ready to walk outside one last time and then get a toothbrush treat which they love. Hubby snoring. Me? Yawning big time and ready for saying goodnight to God before I close my eyes for the night.

Breadcrumbs have been dropping hinting at new things, but for today, I was given peace, blessings, and many, many God-winks. And for that, I am oh-so thankful. I needed a day like today. Who knew? I guess you know the answer to that one again.

God is in the world. The Spirit is blowing – sometimes pretty hard. The Son stands beside us with grace in His hand. Who could ask for more? So my wish for all of you is to “have a blessed day” for yourselves some time this week.

“O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”~Dan 9:19

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BREADCRUMBS: Just As I Am

Yesterday was one of those running-around days. Devotions finished. Got some groceries to fill empty fridge. Picked up Grands Laughed all the way to their home. Piano lessons that lasted all of 5 minutes individually. Touched base with eldest daughter and SIL before I left. 
A little piece of heaven wrapped into one day.

Today was completely different. Dreary. Chilly. Sit in the chair and wish I could get outside without getting wet. Dogs whining because they don’t like it much either when they are cooped up. Devotions done. Run the Romba . Dust. Work on some editing that I needed to finish with Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle curled into my side and cry a little.

Yup. Cry a little.

When I am working on things at the computer. I generally have the radio or the TV running as well. When I am by myself it is often just music. If Hubby is home, it could be a show that he wants to watch, and I put on headphones and listen to music. Or it could be the news which I only half listen to anyway, but I like waiting for the weather – which I somehow miss, and so I have to wait for it to cycle around again. Or – – – could be a DVD that I’ve almost got memorized, but still enjoy hearing and dancing across the TV screen whenever I steal a glance to look at it.

Anywhooo (as my mom would say), I cry easily in my old age. Okay – I admit it – and my kids would tesitfy – I cry easily – period. When the kids appear on my door steps. When they leave my doorsteps. 
When I hold a Grand for the first time. 
Devotions.
A sickbed.
A separated family.
At weddings. 
At funerals. 
A classroom – occasionally. 
It is just as I am.
Just as He created me to be.

So today as I worked, I had the time to look at yesterday’s service for Rev. Billy Graham in the rotunda of the Capitol in DC. It was everything I thought it would be, until Michael W. Smith began the piano introduction for “Just as I Am”. Then I cried.

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

Until that piano introduction started, the service fit the bill as any political gathering paying tribute to a man who had lived his life in the spotlight of the American World. But once the piano introduction began, I half expected – no – I wanted an alter call to be given.

Salt.
Light. 
Just as I

This song triggered that ol’ memory treasure chest to open. Sitting in a tent with my parents. A tall man pushing a strand of hair out of my eyes. Watching a TV broadcast of many crusades with my parents. Lying on a broken down couch, late at night, wondering if God could love me
– just as I am 
– just as I am? 
Hearing the deep voice of George Beverly Shea as well as that other singular voice answering my unspokens over the music. 
“Yes, you. 
No matter what you’ve done. 
No matter what has been done to you. 
Yes, even you. 
Come.”

“Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

“Come.”

The word circles through my mind and through the tears, I wonder once again. I wondered how that august audience might have responded to an alter call? I wonder what a difference in our world that singular act might have made? 
One alter call – 
one last time – 
in honor of a man who offered it every time he spoke and that song was sung?

And then again – in all my wondering – Our Father whacks me on the head, and I remember. That call is always offered.  Every second of every minute of every hour of every day in every circumstance of our walk. A call that enters the ears that hear. A simple song that knocks on heart doors as a Son waits for the door to open.

“Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

I couldn’t have sung this song at that funeral. What am I thinking? I am way too emotional to sing at any funeral. The emotion in Michael W. Smith’s voice during his performance tells me he might had a hard time as well. Perhaps they had a set time for how long the song could be since he never got to the last verse. That last verse that always speaks the WORD so clearly – so simply –
at the heart of the Rev. Graham’s message – 
at the heart of Christ’s message:

“Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”~William Batchelder Bradbury

Just as I am.

“God is faithful, for by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Yeshua The Messiah Our Lord.”~1 Cor 1:9

BREADCRUMBS: Lessons

My itchy ankle wouldn’t let me sleep last night. I think it is poison ivy that one of my lovely critters decided to share with me when she cuddled between my feet and rubbed her head against them. I figured going to church was not happening since anything touching it would result in lots of fidgeting and squirming.

I could handle this. A day of rest. A day of rest at home.

Earlier today, I was half listening to a newscast, half listening to a loud snuffling puppy (who is the above said cuddler), half listening to mumbling sounds coming out of the kitchen, and half reading an on-line devotional. Obviously – that meant I was only retaining about one fourth of any of it- – -if I was lucky. Quite a large amount of something was getting lost in the boggle of my synapses.

The mumbler was cooking breakfast and pointed out that the porch needed to be cleaned off so we could paint before the rain arrived. Upon looking out the window and seeing very dark clouds above our neighbors’ roof lines, I decided I should get that done. Turned off TV. Comforted snuffling puppy. Moved one half of million things off the part of the porch to be stain/painted and find new homes for the other half million things.

So much for a day of rest – – – scratching my ankle every step of the way – – – I found lessons waiting instead.

“Blessed is he that mourn for he shall be comforted.”~Matt 5:4

A couple hours later, that Beatitude is about as much as I remembered from today’s early morning devotional, but it set the stage. GOD is good that way. Breakfast completed. Kitchen cleaned. Hubby busy stain/painting porch floor; I squirreled back in my chair and turned on the TV to listen to our church service. Today’s service was a celebration service, but as always, God was winking as He stringing the pearls of lessons in front of me today.

Lesson One: It is easy to mourn in this world. A lot of sad things happen to us that makes us sad, and this beatitude reminds us that it is such a blessing to know that we will be comforted in our sadness. At least – that is the way I mostly looked at it. But if this is an attitude we should have in Christ, why are we supposed to mourn? The devotional looked at it in a broader sense. What if we mourn in the way Jesus mourned for the world around him? Mourned the way He knows the Father mourns for all of us – all of His creation? If we mourn for someone, then we have the ability to offer comfort to them…to pray for them…to put our arms around them in prayer – if not in actual physicality.

Mourn for others.

“Behold, I stand at the door and I shall knock. If a man listens to my voice and will open the door, I also shall come in and I shall have supper with him, and he with me.”~Rev 3:20

Lesson Two: Baby steps are so important. Today’s church was dedicated to the church’s missions work in prison ministries and addiction ministries. So many testimonies. So many who were “mourned over” and comforted. A men’s choir that was more off key than on, and yet, was more beautiful than any choir I have ever heard. Men who had chosen to open the door when they heard a knock. One man described His voice asking one question? “Have you fallen enough yet?” He replied, “You mean I can fall further?” He said it didn’t take him very long to open the door wide and ask Him inside.

Invite Jesus in. He’s still knocking.

“For David served the will of God in his generation and he fell asleep and was added to his fathers ..”~Act 13:36a.

Lesson Three: As I was reading Rick Warren’s tribute to Rev. Billy Graham, I started to see a message repeated. It ended up coming at me from three different directions (our church offered the visual version and Dr. David Jeremiah cited the same verse today as well), and whenever that happens – I know God is winking as broadly as He can for me to notice.

These three pastors were preaching virtually the same sermon. I think Pastor Warren simplified it the best by defining it as his own life verse which, of course, got me thinking some more. The more I thought, the more I could see the value of looking at my life through this verse as well: “…serving God’s purpose (that what is timeless) in your generation,(in a timely way)”.

Inviting Jesus into my life. Mourning for those around me. Living a life through Jesus’s eyes with God’s reflection [purpose] in mine.

Lessons are a goal. I will probably fail the test more than I pass it before I get to look into My Father’s face through the Grace of Christ. Even so, I know He loves my heart – just like He loved David’s heart. One lesson at a time.

Thanks be to Father God that hears our prayers, mourns with us, comforts us, and dreams our dreams with us to His glory. Baruch Hashem Adonai. Hear O Israel the LORD our GOD is one. You shall love the L-rd your G‑d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. The second is liken unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself. In the name of His precious son, Yeshua, we pray. 

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BREADCRUMBS: Prayer Call

In the middle of the TV blaring, the computer discussions, dogs barking or snoring or rubbing against my feet, kitty kneading the blanket in my chair between me and the arm – – – in all that craziness – – – a Bible verse pops into my mind.

It is like bits and pieces of song that I know and yet – – don’t know well enough.I have sung them, but am just figuring out how to sing them back to Him. Slowly – I’ve been working on this. Writing them on cards. Hanging them in my prayer closet. Listening to them on my CD player. Reading them over and over. Incorporating them into my prayers songs.

“Remember your congregation [people] which you have possessed [called] from the first, and you have saved, the tribe of your inheritance, this Mount Zion [Jerusalem] in which you have dwelt.”~Ps 74:2

Tonight it was this one. “Remember your people…” I never remember the reference (I’m working on this as well), so I look it up. The my internal voice is silent now, but the nudge is not. “Pray.”
My internal voice awakens with questions – “What? Now? Here?”
“Pray”
“But – “ My internal dialogue slows, and I begin to pray. People I know that need prayer covering. Prayers for our country. Prayers for the world. Unspokens that touch the heart but not the lips. There is no chaos now. Only the words of the verse and the call.
“Pray”

When the nudge quiets and tears dry, I feel sad. I miss it already. Normal returns while chaos shakes my world with distractions that are way too loud. Then I feel bad because I did not leave this chaos around me and go to my closet when the nudge came. Yet – I know He doesn’t care. He called me where I was. He hears our prayers wherever we are. He speaks and listens in whatever language we speak. In the precious name of Jesus the prayers continue to circle in time for a reason beyond me. It is enough, It is more than enough.

“How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,the light by which we see.
Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
give justice to those with honest hearts.”~Ps 36:7-9

Prayer calls are given everyday to everyone. It is a matter of recognizing the nudge – – – recognizing the voice – – -recognizing the choice to humble ourselves – – listen to His WORD – – turn away from worldly chaos – – and know that He hears our prayer, He heals our land, and in Jesus’a name, He forgives our sin. A day of thanksgiving. A day of Prayer Call. 

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BREADCRUMBS: Dust Motes

Once upon a time in a the far away land of childhood, I sat on a folding chair on a hot summer night. Sawdust clung to my white socks. Patent leather shoes covered with clumps of dust. Mom on one side. Dad on the other.

“Clouds are the dust of His Feet
and watching the evening sky
I chuckled to think, “Now neat. 
God just passed by.”

A man sang. A choir sang. We sang. A man spoke. I fell asleep in my daddy’s lap. My long hair not in its usual ponytail, but loose and sticking to me and to my dad. Later, cradled in my father’s arms, the talking man greeted us and pushed a strand of hair out of my sleepy eyes. His smile bright enough to see the dust motes circling in the lights from the tent as we walked into the darkness towards the car.

Yet something happened that night. Something that caused me to bury that visual memory deep in “never-to-be-forgotten” files. Sometimes, I think it was the breeze that seemed to filter through the open sides of the tent. Sometimes I think it was watching my feet swing back and forth as we waited for people to finish filing into the seats around us. Sometimes I think it was just hearing the voices of my parents in my ears. But most of the time, I think it was the voice and the smile of Rev. Billy Graham, the man who spoke that night.

“Dust my soul tonight
Earth has been dear
Bewildered, I come to You,
Father God, hear.”

Back in 1994 my mom, retired for 8 years, was still traveling around to sing in various choirs. Most of all, she loved singing in the massive choirs of the Billy Graham gatherings. Columbus or Cleveland. Didn’t matter. She was off, singing and loving every minute of it. Big crowds were never my thing, so I never went with her. I think the small tent revival won my heart forever. To this day, I do regret that I never went with her when she asked.

It was 1994, when I bought my mom a book of poetry. She was the first one to teach me to love poetry and reading. Sitting on her lap, listening to the rhythm of the words harmonized to the beating of her heart was heaven. Dad followed right behind her because he would sing me to sleep; the lyrics touching my eyelids softly until sleep was too hard to resist. I didn’t realize it at the time, but later, I read the poetry my dad had written to mom when they were high school sweethearts. No wonder I love to read and write the stuff.

“And He, 
through the echoing of my empty 
heart,
replied,
‘I shall be waiting for you
at the very spot
you left my side.’ “

The poetry book was written by Ruth Bell Graham called, Clouds are the Dust of His Feet. Marked with sticky notes, Mom kept it by her side until she developed Macular Degeneration. Later when she moved to the nursing home, it was on her bedside table with her Bible. And occasionally – once in a great while – we would read together again.

“When the butterfly escapes 
its chrysalis,
does regret
set in?”

Dust motes are almost invisible. Unless the light hits them just right or get some in an eye, we walk right through them and never notice. Sometimes, I think of my memories like that. They are dust motes. Floating. Drifting. Circling. They exist.They are right there within reach. Yet somehow, we just ignore them until something highlights them in such a way that we remember.

His Light highlighted certain dust motes for me this week. Rev. Billy Graham went home. He got to see his wife, loved ones, and the faces he longed to see the most – the Father and His Son, Jesus. It makes me wonder how it all works. I wonder if there is an announcement made before hand in heaven so that all the loved ones can gather or do they just know? I wonder what is like to see the face of Our Father and Yeshua, our LORD? I’ve re-read the words that Ruth wrote to Billy “a day or two” before they were married and wonder about their reunion?

I wonder and wonder and wonder, and I am oh-so thankful. Thankful for dust motes created by two people I never truly knew, but who changed my life in so many ways. Someday, I hope to find them in heaven and say thank you for being dust motes in my life. And just maybe – Mom, Dad and I can sing to them, “Just as I am…”

“I’ll be a bride – –
your bride, dear – –
in just a day or two.
There’ll be white
and a long veil
(like mist)
to see up through.
There’ll be flowers,
and music, 
and after our vows,
a prayer,
and after the prayer
your firm, sweet kiss,
and people everywhere.
There will be rice in showers,
perhaps a can or two.
Distance then
and darkness,
and then
there’ll be you!”

[Poetry by Ruth Bell Graham, Clouds are the Dust of His Feet and Footprints of a Pilgrim

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BREADCRUMBS: Going Deep

Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle is 9 months old. At least – that is the educated guess of our vet. She was a ball of fluff when she came to live with us, and for the longest couple of weeks in history, she pretty much lived deep in the crook of my arm,

With matted eyes, runny nose and only able to eat soft foods, I really didn’t think she would make it. What can I say? God is good and now, she is our totally pampered cat that thinks she is human…….or a dog. It depends on the day and how tolerant our Ryndi and Koay are feeling that day.

SSS knows some words. She comes when she is called – even though she tries to be totally cool about it. She meanders instead of running like our lab girls (who are totally not cool about anything). She knows the word “no”. And – – ta da – – she knows how to go deep when she wants to get something. 
Deep under chairs. 
Deep into the crevices. 
Deep into the darkness where mice like to scurry. 
Two days..
Two mice.
Granted – they were baby mice – but they were two baby mice that will not grow up; two baby mice that I didn’t have to catch, so I’m totally down with that.

Needless to say, SSS (btw – that is sssssssss, for short) got a bunch of hugs and an extra dash of tuna in her bowl on both nights. (A part of me thinks she read my FB post from last Friday when I said she didn’t know how to really catch a squirrel.) She figured out something I am just figuring out. When we go deep – when we burrow into things – into deep waters – into deep crevices – into the deep of night – we will find the amazing at the WORD of the LORD .

“And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Take to the DEEP and cast your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and he said to him, “Rabbi, we worked all night, and we have not caught anything, but AT YOUR WORD, I will cast the net.” [all caps added]

I love the way Luke sets up this story. You can see Simon (Shimeon in Aramaic) tired after a long frustrating night of catching zilch, gets out of mending nets with the other fishermen to take this wandering rabbi out in his boat. The rabbi teaches, Simon catches a few z’s, and then, the crazy rabbi tells him to go deeper out into the water. You can just tell, that is absolutely the last thing Simon wants to do after being awake all night and catching nothing.

“And when they had done this, they caught very many fish and the net was breaking. And they beckoned to their partners who were in another ship to come help them and when they came they filled those two ships, so that they were almost sinking. And when Simon saw it, he fell before the feet of Yeshua and he said to him, “I beg you, my Lord, abandon me, for I am a sinner.”~Lk 5:6-9, Aramaic Bible

With a little foreshadowing, Luke describes Rabbi Jesus pushing Simon to stay awake a little longer and go deeper. 
Deeper in the water. 
Deeper in the WORD. 
Deeper in his own heart. 
Deeper to find the true rewards of a journey.
And what a treasure was found in those deep waters. 
Boats-full of fish.
Lost souls.
Deep joy – love – peace – grace – beyond all understanding.

Going deep is often scary. When I was little, I took swimming lessons. The red cross at our local dam said I was ready to go deep. So I swam out to the raft and dived into the water. The bad news? I dived off the raft and came up under the raft and knocked myself out. Scared everyone there – including my mom who swam out as soon as she couldn’t see me.

My parents didn’t let me quit. They kept pushing me to go back to that deep water in the succeeding days, and I eventually got my swimming certificate. I never did like deep water after that. (which was totally the wrong way to look at it). After all these years, I have figured out that it wasn’t going deep that was the problem. It was the stuff on the surface that “cracked” me open.

Going deep – beyond the surface of things – opens a heart – a mind – to things that aren’t obvious from the top.

“Do not be afraid; from now on, you will be catching men for salvation.” And they brought those ships to land, and they left everything and they came after him.”~Lk 5:10-11

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BREADCRUMBS: Thoughts and Prayers.

As a student, educator, mom, grandmother, and citizen – the past few days brings the violence a little closer to my heart. The world of education has been my world for most of my 67 years of life. It is the world I know. It is the world I love.

Those are my thoughts. I have many thoughts.

I was the 7th grader sitting in a classroom where a classmate stored their hunting rifle in the teacher’s closet. Later, I went on dates with a rifle in a gun rack right behind me. 
I was the young educator threatened with a knife and later a gun during my early years of teaching. 
I am mom who sent her children to schools where I taught and sent them off to colleges and work places in big cities – far, far away. 
I am a Grandmother who weekly picks up her Grands from their school.
I am a senior citizen who cries for her country.

Actually, I cried for my country many years ago while I was still in college. I watched my university close down for a period of time due to violence. As one of two white faces, I sat in a one of the first Black Studies courses taught on campus. I was ridiculed, in-your-face harassed several times by other students in that class, as well as threatened bodily harm in very descriptive terms.
I cried for an ugly war. I cried for people I knew who were fighting there. I cried for the soldiers were spit upon and heckled as they wore their uniforms. I cried over choosing abortion over life because I was a fool.

I have thought about these things over the past few days. I have thought about the posts on both sides that seems to further the division between all sides of the issue. The palpable anger that seems to resonate between the lines on a screen or the voices on TV/radio. I thought about FL.

I have thoughts…….and……I have prayers.

Sometime in my late 20’s I figured out that thoughts are not enough. Life is complicated and way beyond my meager understanding. Humbled prodigals can find their way home. However, there was something that was much wiser than my own thoughts. Something that had guided my path until I got lost. 
An action. 
A choice. 
Prayer.

“This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.”~Mk 15:42-47

As I read this passage today, I thought about the young ladies being buried in FL. I thought about a Father who also watched His Son being buried. I thought about the night before when Rabbi Yeshua prayed. That mysterious connection that opened between Heaven and Terra – between Father and Son. 
That choice. That action. 
That prayer. That blessing.

When people say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” I wonder if those are the words the Father replied to his Son? And if they were, I wonder how closely the Son held them in his heart when he heard the temple guards approach? What I do know – there was no anger in his actions. There was peace and healing.
So I pray and think some more.

Whether a person means those words is not for me to judge – only Our Father can determine that. But if those were the words – or something similar – that Christ held in his heart throughout everything he endured on that last day, that phrase is not a throw-away to be denigrated. 
It is a choice.
It is an action.
It is a blessing.

Thoughts and prayers.

A blessing to those who are suffering – to those in pain – to those who are sorrowful – to those who are needy.

A blessing.             

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