Tag Archives: 2020 Vision

2020 VISION: Who Will Go for Us?

Got your fingers out of your ears? Got your eyes open?

2020 seems to be the year that the whisper in the deepest part of the heart is swirling a little longer…a little stronger…a little more intensely…than it has since the late 60’s, early 70’s. I felt it then.
My stomach revolted.
My head throbbed.
My heart wept.
I pulled the pillow over my head and burrowed deep into my covers.
I prayed.
I rebelled.
I prayed in the midst of the rebellion – after all, I had a life I wanted to live, and what I heard in my soul wasn’t part of it.

I heard – I saw – I turned away.

“I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Is 6:8

Those early years of adulthood was when I discovered the wisdom and the power of Isaiah, a man who lived in a completely different world than I did, and yet – his words echoed more stridently than the protesters on the Quad. I would crawl out of my top bunk and curl up in the standard dorm room chair, reading his words by a light shining through the window from a nearby parking lot so that I wouldn’t wake the roommates.

“Who will go for Us?”

I heard the question.
I saw it in writing.
I closed His WORD.
I turned away.

50 years later, the call is reverberating all around me once again.

Perhaps it is in the hindsight of that 50 years that I see all of this through a different lens. I know my father and mother tried to explain to me several times what they felt during those unsettled years of civil unrest. Seeing my Father on his knees in prayer in the middle of the night said it best. I heard the words louder than ever that night as I crept back up the stairs and buried my head as deeply as I could.

“Who will go for Us?”

I’m still not sure that I don’t want to crawl into my bed once again. After all – ignoring the call is sooo much easier than answering that question. How many times have I sat in a classroom with my head down, hoping deep within me, that the teacher would not call my name – – – now or ever.

The stories in the Bible are full of people who pulled the covers over their head – ran in the other direction – sank their teeth into an apple – – – until – – – the heart of the Father whispered one last time, grace-to-rebellion, heart-to-heart, love-to-love:

“Who will go for Us?”

The thing I learned over the last 50 years is that I never waited to hear the words that came after His first whisper. I trembled. I hid. I covered myself. I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes. I bit the apple and missed the words that have made all the difference.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Is 41:10

The cloud pillar is moving forward. It is time to stand on His Rock. Pick up my Bible and take a step. Maybe a baby step, but a step. It is time to look up and reach out with open palm to those gathered in my sphere. It is time to pray His WORDS in my heart and then – speak the answer that has been in my heart for 50 years. Speak it aloud because the Teacher has looked in my direction and is waiting for my answer. The birth pangs are coming with more frequency and harder with intensity, and scary as it is – answer the question.

“Hineni.”

“Here am I. Send me.” Is 6:8

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2020 VISION: Sequestering the Quest

“When you are as old as I, my dear
And I hope that you never are…
You could squander away or sequester
A drop of a precious year…”

Sequester is one of those “old” words. The syllables tumble over the tongue as it is spoken. For a long time when I was growing up, I would read this word and thought it had something to do with searching for a dream – after all – “quest” is right smack-dab in the middle of it.

I think I was in high school or jr hi before I figured out the true definition. I was reading one of those classics, but can’t remember which one….. Bronte, Hawthorne, Twain? Oh well…what I do remember is sitting in my small town library in front of the fan on a hot summer day and being stunned. It changed that picture in my head that words always make.

Sequester, v. , to isolate, hide away.

“What good is a field on a fine summer night
When you sit all alone with the weeds?
Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite
You spit out your teeth with the seeds?”

Sequester will always be mixed definition for me. I liked my first definition. I liked thinking it was partly a “quest”. And as I sat in front of that fan with its soft hum, I figured that it was a little of both. When I “sequester” myself, I am doing a bunch of things that I don’t usually do, and as I do, I learn something new about myself.

Quest – v., search for something.

I’ve decided that as I approach this new school year, I need this combined definition once again. At this point, my school is still set to open, but we are still a couple weeks out, so anything could happen. If I can just lift my chin a little higher if we sequester once again, I can still be on that quest together with my students even if we are far apart. Our Father has a way of closing gaps in all things.

“Now when the drearies do attack
And a siege of the sads begins
I just throw these noble shoulders back
And lift these noble chins…”

Quests are good for the soul. Jesus was on a quest the last three years of His life. At times, he sequestered himself to pray, to quest after His Father’s face, maybe to beat back the “sads” away and regain the strength to “throw [those] noble shoulders back” into his journey.

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Mark 5:16

So tonight as I yawn and think about sequestering myself for the night, I am singing this song in my head. (Actually, it’s been singing in my head most of the night.) Berthe in “Pippin” is one of those roles that I have wanted to sing since Ben Vereen’s performance caught my attention in the 70’s (I actually wanted to sing Ben Vereen’s part back in my 20’s). The good part – I wouldn’t even have to use make-up to play Berthe now. The lyrics ring a little clearer as well.

I think, “Sequestering the quest” is my new motto for the last half of my 2020 Vision. Berte isn’t really good at resting on her morals in this play, but that’s okay. That’s why its called “acting”. Maybe someday, I’ll stand on the OHIO Theatre stage in Loudonville, OH, once again and sing it. As for now, it is time to sequester and think a little more about this quest…and then I’ll rest on my morals.    

 

2020 VISION: Cloud Tufts

“All you people of the world,
you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
you will hear it.” Is 18:3

I’ve been looking at my beautiful lantana and flowering artichoke plants for over a month now. I have three lantana plants. Two have orange and yellow blooms, while the other is pink and yellow. Every year they wake up from their winter slumber and grow larger. I look forward to them because the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are all over them.

But this year is different. The butterflies are missing.

The bee balm, like the day lilies, are on the down side of their season. The salvia will continue all summer; its smell perfuming the air whenever I brush past it. Even the wisteria has ushered a few extra blooms this summer. Bees of different kinds and hummingbirds have certainly feasted well, but only a rare butterfly or two.

I miss my butterflies.

“The physical cannot fully grasp the comprehensiveness of the spiritual…If we limit the scope of our hopefulness to what’s immediately visible, we’ll get an inaccurate reading on any scenario we’re seeking to evaluate. Believers must live by faith, by believing what they cannot yet see.”~Priscilla Shirer, p63, AWAKE.

In this strange year, I sit on my patio swing and wonder about my butterflies often. I talk to My Father about it. As usual, He answers, and I knew as soon as I started my devotions this morning, that this was His answer. It is another one of those “faith-building” things I need to see with my 2020 VISION.

When we have droughts, we look to the sky and search for clouds on the horizon. We look for that tiny wisp of a cloud that will bring a few drops of rain. When an earthquake – tornado – hurricane strikes, we look at the destruction and wonder where to start amid the destruction – until we find one thing to pick up and then another and another. When a plague strikes, we seek wisdom from every source possible, searching for an end to the threat. A tiny sign that it is passed, and things can return to “normal”.

It is our nature…it is that tiny seed of faith within us…to look for the smallest thing to reassure us. It is…

“…God’s way – preparing unfathomable things, even when only the slightest hints of them can be barely detected…to trust that the Father is able to come through at the perfect moment, no matter how far removed the possibility seems from our current vantage point.” ibid, p64.

Today, after several 90 degree days, high humidity, and stuffed sinuses, that a tiny cloud on the horizon multiplied into big, beautiful storm clouds. When I was little, I would sit in my “Thinking Tree” and wait for a storm to arrive. It was a weeping willow tree and not known to be the safest tree to sit in when the wind was whipping around which is probably why my Father would often come and sit in a chair beside me while we waited.

I was never afraid when my father sat beside me.

“This is what the Lord says to me:
“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”~Is 18:4

When the storm finally arrived and started pelting us with droplets, my father would lift me down from the tree, and we would run into the house. Mom would usually have a special treat for both of us, and we would sit on our screened-in porch talking, reading, or Daddy would pull out the guitar/banjo and we would sing.

All because of a wisp of a cloud and an answered prayer.

“Remember that even a little cloud of hope, when God’s WORD is behind it, points toward a downpour of promise, potential, and possibility. Even His silence and seeming slowness are only the quiet buildup to a thunderous revelation of His glory.” Ibid, p64.

Our 2020 VISION may not pick up much of a cloud on the horizon of this crazy, chaotic year, but every promise in His WORD points to the fact that He’s quietly sitting beside us, waiting to lift us out of the tree and run with us into the home His Son has prepared just for us.

I still miss my butterflies, and while I no longer climb into my “Thinking Tree” (probably a good idea in my 70th year around the sun), I’m sitting on my patio swing, watching for that small tuft of a cloud and listening for the sound of a trumpet off in the distance. 

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VISION 2020 – All that Night

 

“…and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night…” Ex 14:21

Earlier this week, I found this Bible verse in my devotions, and it has stayed in the background of my heart.

Perhaps because it has been a long emotional week for many reasons.

Perhaps because the nights have seemed long and dark and lonely.

Perhaps because the seas have been stormy all around the world and those fearful armies just keep coming.

Perhaps because this hugger misses being hugged.

“And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” Ex 14:19-20

Whatever the ‘why’ behind the story, it dawned (get it?) on me today that despite the raging sea in front, the thundering armies behind, the impossibility in the face of reality, the LORD of Angel Armies never, ever forgets His people when they drop their closed, raised fists, reach out with open hands to their neighbor, find their knees, and seek His face.

His eyes shine light into the deep darkness, His hand of grace forms the wall between irreconcilable differences, His loving breath whispering a new reality.

2020 Vision eyes open.

And while 2019 did not go down in my journal as a favorite year, and so far, 2020 ain’t much better…yet…

And yet… all that night…

As I look at the stormy seas – look at the surrounding armies – see the darkness crowding my vision, I see His light piercing through – shining darts that add focus to my eyes.
A Grand reciting a poem he wrote.
A song sung at a Friday Shabbat.
Bittersweet treasured memories of loved ones swirling close to my heart.
Preachers speaking Truth through the Spirit, based upon His WORD.

His Light continues to break open the darkness around me – perhaps – brighter than I have ever seen it – or maybe – it is just my 2020 Vision has kicked in enough to see the immense spectrum of color that radiates within His Light. Whatever it is, I look up from my knees and know that …all that night… He breaths and makes all things new for all of us –
in the past –
in the presence –
in the future.

It is His promise through the whole Bible – a promise to make a way – through the raging seas – through the darkness – away from the overwhelming army at our backs – to return to where He has always wanted us to be – in the Garden of His presence.

“Loving each other with GOD as our Father,
Who loves us as a mother loves a newborn child.”                                          Marty Goetz, “We Being Many” 43573299_2108898659128790_37438499774791680_n[google image]

2020 VISION: Going First – Again

It has been a week.

A very long, deep down, tear-filled week for too many reasons.

I could be talking about the world in general – and in that respect – it has been a long week as well. Filled with so much sadness and heartbreaking issues. Friends and family sniping at each other. Posturing this way or that. But this week, the re-emergence of an old virus, locusts returning worse this month than it was earlier this year, earthquakes, continuing pandemic fears, many ethnos deaths, the rioting chaos of the world in general has been somewhat muted for me. Not because they haven’t made an impact – they have. Not because they are aren’t world changing – because they are. But because my heart is shattered in a different way.

My Big Brother (B.b.) pulled his usual stunt and did what older siblings tend to do. They get to go into the world first. He got to be born first – play with cousins first – watch mom and dad really party first – eat 3 layer choc cake first – know a Ferris grandparent first – he even got to go to school first. All of which he did all before I even arrived on this sphere. He got to go to high school – drive a car – go to college – get married – have kids – live in different places – all before I did……

….and I love that about B.b., my big brother.

The first thing I remember is laughing with his face in front of me. He loved teasing me. He took me for bike rides. He put up with me waking him up every morning when I jumped on his bed as I passed through his room. He taught me to read the letters on my Hop-A-Long Cassidy rug. He won several goldfish and stuffed animals for me at the local fair. He stayed home with me more times than I can count while the parents went to their various community obligations. He put up with me at so many of his Boy Scout outings that I was made an honorary Boy Scout by his troop on one of their camping trips. He wasn’t smiling.

The training of an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow was already showing up because he didn’t throttle me…yet.

He wanted to at times. I was not a perfect little sister. I knew how to get him as mad as a hornet. Not many brothers would put up with a sister who opened the bathroom door while he was in the tub – – – with her best friend standing beside her – – – on purpose. What can I say? I was mad at him for something (must have been really important since I can’t remember what it was). He grabbed a towel and chased me out the door and down the street. Both of us got in trouble that time.

He is my B.b., and I love him.

I cried for a week the day he left for college. I was 9. I stuck close to mom as he said, “Goodbye, kid”, and pulled my pony tail. Later, I went up the stairs and lay on his bed until mom made me go to bed, but after mom and dad were in bed, I went back in and curled up on his bed until I fell asleep. It was the first time I knew the loneliness of an only child. I still can smell the blanket that got wet with my tears.

He is my B.b. and role model.

His grades weren’t perfect in high school, praise the Lord, so mine never had to be – in fact – mom came home really angry one time when the high school guidance counselor suggested that maybe he should consider a trade school instead of college. I laughed whenever she told that story. However, he proved everyone wrong by finding his niche in college – President of his fraternity, law school, Army officer, successful lawyer and speaker, married his high school sweetheart, father of two wonderful kids, and as opinionated as our parents.

He is my B.b., and he got to go first again.

I knew he had cancer. I knew he choose not to have treatment just like our mom. I just didn’t think it would happen so fast. He sent me a text a couple weeks back. He had fallen, and he wanted me to know the cancer was progressing. He wrote: “Don’t worry about me. I never thought I’d make it to 100.” He made me laugh again. So I wrote back and told him to quit falling, and how I hated COVID because I could be there if it wasn’t for that. I also told him, I was a little jealous because “he was going to go first again”.

He was going to see mom and dad and all the family before I could.

It was our last “conversation”. I hoped I made him laugh a little just like he always made me laugh with his stories. Tonight is the 7th day of missing him – his singing me to sleep, his voice as we said prayers beside my bed, his hugs, his eyes when he was telling me something serious that I needed to remember, his encompassing love. He was my third parent – and the one I most want to emulate in oh-so-many ways.

He is my B.b. and – dang it – he got to go first again. 

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Ecc 3:1

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PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: A Mighty Fortress

“Where the eye is focused, there the imagination finds its raw material. The right focus must be won at immense cost and discipline. Train the eye to see the good, and the imagination will follow suit.”~Ravi Zacharias, 1946-2020

A minute. An hour. A day. 7 days. A week. A month. A year. A lifetime. Spans of time that pass with our laughter, our joy, our wrath, our frustrations, our tears, our sadness…our prayers. A twinkling of an eye to the One who listens.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Not sure when I fell in love with this hymn. Perhaps it was as I watched my daddy recover from a heart attack when I was a few years younger. Perhaps it was one of the songs we sang in our small church’s children’s choir. What I do know – – I sang it often with my Mom, Dad and Big Brother standing beside me. I also memorized all the verses to sing during my 6th grade year for a musical audition, “Cowboy on the Moon”. Now why I thought that was the best song to sing for an elementary school production – again – have no idea, but I remember my teacher laughing as she pulled out the hymnal that sat on her book shelf and began to play.

It has come to my lips many times since then – when Mommy gripped my hand on the way to Daddy’s funeral – in the back of that small church where I got married – as tears splashed in my journal when the covenant was broken – this past week as I realized I would not hear my Big Brother’s voice again on this side of the veil.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

In the past few days, many things have happened that have affected me deeply. Deaths of people I love. Deaths of people I don’t know. Friends that I have known forever arguing back and forth on social media with a tinge of nastiness underlining their free speech. Violence erupting around the country I love. Division. Destruction. Fires. Brownness. Whiteness. Purpleness. Fear. Anger. Brokenness. Sadness.

The world has seen this many times – in many forms – a replay of an old script – written by the same author, and I struggle to
focus the eyes before biting the apple once again.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

I know I wrote about this recently, but it bears repeating after this past week. I remember distinctly praying in 1970, that peoples’ eyes would be re-focused on the goodness of Our Father’s grace and mercy – on what we could be – needed to be – instead of the world’s eyes being clouded with the cataracts of all things evil.

Even though I was biting the apple from a different side at that time of my life (and still), I knew from what I had read in history books, I knew what I saw in the streets during those times was some thing that could destroy the world I knew. Would break my parents’ hearts. Would break me.

A birth pang. A Braxton Hicks of things to come.

That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

A Mighty Fortress IS Our GOD…

Powerful words in answer to those with unfocused eyes. Powerful words that are the corrective lens to give us 2020 vision in a darkened world. Powerful words that remind us that birth pangs last for just a little while. Powerful words that usher in a peace that passeth all understanding as He makes all things new. Powerful words that lift us out of the gravity of the world. Powerful words that let us become new astronauts soaring towards home with 2020 vision once again.

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”~Jn 14:19

“But tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.” Richard Baxter, “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care”

“Surrender to Him
Love Him.
Follow Him
Serve Him.
Live for Him.
And take His message wherever you go.” ~Ravi Zacharias a-mighty-fortress-t-c-hoffman [google image]

2020 VISION – New Path

The quince bushes have bloomed. The forsythia in some of the neighbors’ yards have also bloomed. Tonight – it is already in the low 20’s. Such are the season of life. Separate – blended – messy – beautiful.

Sunday it was still “spring” warm and sunny. While the lab girls chewed sticks, dug for squirmy things in the dirt to eat (yuk) and chased ball, kitty chased birds, stretched in the sun and slept on a lawn chair. Thus we spent the Sabbath. I stayed home from church to soak in some sun and do a little work outside before the predicted return of “winter” cold.

“There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees”

2020 vision oft brings work. The “keeper” had seen a new path in the woods. It just needed a little smoothing out – well – a lot smoothing out. In fact, there are still a couple places that could use a little more help, but that will come. The “keeper” can’t do it all in one day anymore.

“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.”~Jer 16:6

Rest for the soul. Working outside always clears my vision and helps me focus on whatever is rolling around in my mind. “Power in the Holy Spirit” has been one of the focus areas for my vision quest 2020(Acts 1:8) – figuring out my new path in this life has also been a wrestling point. Seems only appropriate that Our Father would point out physical path through the woods as I work on the metaphysical one that begs attention with each passing day.

“EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH”~Lk 3:5

As I filled in holes from rotting roots, moved rocks hither and yon, loped off surface roots, limbs and baby trees, I felt the power of work swirl into the deeper part of my quest and my vision cleared a little more. At one point – just as it happens on our life paths – I got off course, but a slight nudge from the Master Gardner got me back on course and a few wheelbarrow loads later, the path was – fairly – established.

The lab girls love it – especially the older one. She no longer has to go the long way around to get to the upper shed when we take our walks. I think I like it for the same reason. We don’t even have to walk along the road at all now – unless we want to do so.

Vision, a little power, and a whole lot of prayer is all it takes.

“The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.”~Rudyard Kipling, “The Way through the Woods”

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2020 VISION – PART III

I love those mornings I can just amble through. Nothing pressing. No schedule to hurry me out the door. Just time to breathe deep while I scratch the lab girls’ ears, and they stretch. Rub Shadow/Spooky/Sparkle kitten’s head until she jumps off whatever strange place she decided to claim as hers for the night. Best of all – if I’m out of my prayer closet on time – I stand on the porch and watch the first rays turn the top of the trees bronze as the dark clouds of night sink further into the west.

Today was one such day. After reading the paper, my morning devotions, doing a couple word puzzles and a reading a chapter in a book my daughter gave me for Christmas, I read a few poems from my other new book.

“Imagine a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – – – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” Ann Morrow LIndbergh

A North Carolinian friend of mind gave me a basket of small things that have to do with gardening. A poetry book. A pair of gloves. A plaster wall hanging. A small tote to carry hand tools. She already knows me well. She and her husband befriended me 3 years ago when I first moved to this neighborhood. Both educators in their 80’s, they have taught me a lot about the history of the neighborhood, the Southern viewpoint of the 60’s desegregation in education, and gardening. Many starts of wild plants from their property have started anew just up the road with me.

God sends people into our lives for a season, and sometimes – you just wish that season would have started a lot earlier or would last forever.

This is a hard week of bittersweet season endings for me. On the 9th – 49 years ago – my father went to the room prepared just for him by Yeshua Mashiach. I know he was ready even if I was not. He told me so just a few days before Christmas. 9 years of heart issues had definitely taken their toll on him and all of us. 10 years later, my fiance and I decided to get married on the 9th to give all of us a happy memory. But when the winds begin to blow and seasons end, sometimes you have two bittersweet memories instead of one.

However, the ultimate, most wonderful thing that happens at the end of one season is that another one begins. And – while it may not be our favorite season, it is a season that He has given, and we find that we are exactly where we are supposed to be to bless others with what we have learned. All I have to do is wait for the light, rain, warmth, rooting or seedling, and a new garden will begin to flourish all around me. When my friend gave me the blessing of a garden on that cold December day, the Father’s wings enfolded me as He showed me a new garden gate opening just for me.

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the awe of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”~Ex 20:20

Did you notice the notation of the verse in Exodus?

20:20.

2020

His promises never fail. Gardens are His thing. And I? I am His child. That 2020 Vision just continues to improve, and if I’m lucky, I will have more mornings of standing on the porch watching the first rays of His light cross the horizon and beginning my day with His Light, Grace and Love.

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2020 VISION — PART II

My 2020 vision is already crystal clear. I am positively not going to make it to the bewitching hour of 12 A.M.

Mama Mick used to say – “No sense letting a holiday go to waste. Celebrate even if you are by yourself.” So there you go. My wise mama, who would always babysit for me but never go out with me on New Years Eve, shared her wisdom once again. And – thus – no matter where I was, what I was doing, I would find a way to call her as the ball began to drop.Back in the day, when I was singing on New Years Eve or involved elsewhere, this became a little complicated – especially since cell phones were a few decades in the future. But I can still hear her voice as she answered the phone, “Happy New Year, Brynie.”

No caller ID needed. She knew – I knew. A tradition that continued until she no longer remembered to stay awake to answer, and I cried. Still want to pick up the phone and call her tonight.

“Baby Face, you’ve got the cutest little baby face
There’s not another one could take your place,”

So – since I am already yawning, watching my favorite movie for New Years Eve, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, munching away on Mama Mick’s traditional shrimp, chips, cheese (brie instead of swiss) and some OH trail bologna, all I needed to do was add a little mead wine from a local meadery, and my 2020 celebration began a little early..

“Baby face,
My poor heart is jumpin you sure have started somethin’…”

Much is being made about the new decade – the roaring 20’s – which just kinda adds to the ambience of this New Years Eve celebration. I was raised on the music of the 20’s
“Baby Face”
“Ain’t Misbehavin'”
“Someone to Watch Over Me.”
“Rhapsody in Blue”
“Melancholy Baby”
“April Showers”
“Swanee”
“My Blue Heaven”
I have a feeling, there are a few other Loudonville “kids” who grew up watching their parents sing these songs out there, just like me.

The Roaring 20’s were just that. The Charleston. The new-fangled radio. Movies. Cars. WWI was officially over – the war to end all wars kicked it off with a roar. But a word of caution…the 20’s didn’t end that way.

“Therefore I live for today. Certain of finding at sunrise – Guidance and Strength for the way, Power for each moment of weakness, Hope for each moment of pain, Comfort for every sorrow, Sunshine and joy after rain!”~Anon.

We never know what the new walk around the sun will bring. It is often a mixture of opposites – of darkness and light. Last year, God gave me the Bible verse that set the tone for 2019.

“Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”– Rev 21:5

I had one idea of how that would work out. Our Father had am entirely different idea. Valley faith walks grow a whole lot faster than they do in the bright sunlight of a meadow – especially since I have this tendency to lay down, close my eyes and just enjoy the beautiful day around me while I take a little nap.

Sigh.

This year, I’ve been reading and re-reading about Hanukkah. Listening to podcasts, watching videos, then reading the Bible. After listening to one Rabbi speak on it tonight, I pulled out the Catholic Bible so I could read Maccabees. Did you know the only place Hanukkah is mentioned in the protestant Bible is in John 10? Jesus celebrates it. He is the only one mentioned celebrating it anywhere in the Bible. I am fascinated for way too many reasons to list here, but it is leading me on a new adventure, and I love these kind of adventures. While I haven’t found my verse of the year – yet – I know He will supply it in His own time.

In the meantime, I found this tonight, and it’s just too beautiful not to share on this last night of the decade/the last night of the year.There may be dark times ahead – there may be armies so vast that I am completely dumbfounded and overwhelmed – but I have read the end of His book. My eyes are on Him, so how can I not be optimistic about 2020?

I would say my 2020 vision is working better than I deserve.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Rev 22:1-5 

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2020 VISION

It is the 5th day of Christmas. It is the last day of Hanukkah. It is two days until New Years Eve. My windows and doors are still open. There will probably be a fan in my window tonight – – – and at 10 o’clock at night – – it is still in the sixties!

“Hey buds below … up is where to grow
Up with which below can’t compare with.
Hurry – it’s lovely up here …”

I have been outside everyday since Christmas singing this song. Can’t help it when daffodils are popping up in a couple gardens, and green shoots are everywhere. Took all I had in me, not to clear away the leaf barriers that will protect the roots/shoots when winter remembers her blustery self and breathes on us some of that stuff that makes us remember why we like spring.

“Life down a hole takes an awful toll,
What with not a soul there to share with,
Hurry – it’s lovely up here!”

Cleaned a new path in the woods. Dug a couple trenches for drainage and to hold wooden borders. (Our one lab girl would dig to China the gardens didn’t have something to keep her out of them). Cleaned dead things out of the gardens.Hauled 4 wheelbarrows of mulch to remove more of the temptation for said lab girl. Straightened patio steps – a little. (I’m not too good at that, but helped it a little). Created new artwork and watched “Eloise” with the Grands as we munched on popcorn, washed down with root beer floats.

“And what a gift package of showers, sun and love
You’ll be met above everywhere with…Hurry – it’s lovely up here!”

To say I am tired and the arthritis aggravated is probably an understatement, but that is why I have my prayer closets, comfy bed, physical therapy exercises and an inversion board, right?

“Thou dost keep them in perfect peace, whose minds are stayed on Thee, because they trusts in Thee. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting Rock.”~Is 26:3-4

I have to admit, the last two weeks leading into Christmas were filled with little anxiety. The last six months – from the 24th to the 24th – have been the hardest challenge in my faith walk. Evenso – blessing after blessing cushioned each step. New promises appeared daily to dry each tear. Friends – far and near rallied round with prayers and thoughtful words. And each night, His wings covered me with His peace. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Christmas was no different – in fact – it was one of the ones I will stash away with other special holy times in my life.

Times spent in His presence: As a 7 year old on a sunny day, lying under an oak tree as the Son appeared between the leaves. A teenage Christmas Eve communion service in an upper room. January 4,1971, when my father held me extra long before I returned to college, and the following Saturday when I got the phone call that he had gone to the room prepared just for him. A few years later, lying on my bed in a small apartment watching the sun set as tears of repentance brought me to my knees once again. A Christmas Eve surprise trip home that brought me a son and a new life journey. Standing at the back of the church on another early January night by myself before I got married. The birth of three blessings in fairly rapid succession but always perfectly timed by Him. My mother’s smile at the corner of the room as she squeezed my hand one last time before she went to dance with daddy.

It IS lovely here.

Hopefully, like me, not all my flowers and bushes will be too stressed out when the cold weather does return. Cold weather and darkness hits each of us at one time or another. Bittersweet days threaten to smother us with the bitter memories, but – that is when His promises – if we remember – pull His wings tightly about us and the aroma of sweetness lifts us into His perfect peace.

Early January memories are coming, but His peace is constant when we are tethered to His Word. His rock solid promises continue to line our paths and support our feet on this new path in the woods. Personally, I can’t wait to open my eyes in 2020 to see what is behind that door.

Best of all – my 2020 vision – get it? – 2020 vision??? Anyway, my 2020 vision is about to see all the possibilities that He has promised. GOD is good – all the time. All the time – GOD IS GOOD. 

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