Tag Archives: Christ

ERRR….CRAP!

‘s a sad fact of life. Touchstones break. We call them “stones” because they have weight in our life. It is the “touch” part that we sometimes forget. Weighted stones that have touched our lives at some point We can look at them – or touch them – and they release the memories – the smells – the sounds – the music – the faces.

Most of the time a smile may cross our soul as we hold it in our hands. Sometimes a laugh may escape the confines of the binder that held it trapped inside. And sometimes – when we drop them – – – they break.

Errrr…

This morning I walked the dogs as soon as I woke up. We picked some flowers, threw some sticks, and enjoyed the cool of a perfect spring morning. Since I had only picked two small flowers this morning, I pulled out the two small shot glasses that probably were some of my first touchstones ever.

Mom had special glasses for party nights. They were colorful. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. They also had matching shot glasses. I can still see Dad and hear his laugh as he was telling jokes or getting ready to play his guitar and holding one of those glasses. Other times, when I would pick violets for Mom, she would take out the shot glasses, and we would fill them up with the purple and white blessings. She would pull the doilies she had made out of their drawers and place the glasses around the living room. Just thinking about those violets bring back the smell of her hugs, the smell of her perfume and her red-lipstick smile.

Over the years, all the glasses disappeared. And by the time, we moved Mom out of her house, there were only two shot glasses left. Yellow. Green. Today the yellow one dropped into the sink as I was running water to hold a small rose. Errrrr…I don’t deal well with breaking things that have touched my life. But – I reminded myself – they are just things. I rolled my eyes, looked out the kitchen window while having one of those — half prayer — half talk – conversations with myself.

Errr…I looked at the fragments scattered around the sink and said, “Crap!”

A short time later, I broke a tiny winged, patriotic figure that I bought the summer my mother died. I think Mom must have been born to be a politician from birth. She had all the smarts, charisma, and charm needed. She just was a slow starter in the field. However, once elected as village clerk of our small home town, she rose through the state ranks and on to national organization of clerks.

The figurine I broke – out of a set of six – was the one that said held the banner that said, “God Bless America”. So this was a double touchstone. Mom sang “God Bless America” so many times, that I knew all the words by the time I was 5 years old – – – including the introduction. “When the storm clouds gather…”

Errr…I picked the pieces up off the floor and said, “Crap!”

I decided it was more than time for devotions. Needless to say, they shattered my bad mood completely. I read about the “hupogrammos”. An ancient Greek word that basically means example – but more deeply – it is a concrete, hands-on way of teaching someone how to do something. In this case – Christ became the “hupogrammos”. He set his actions, his steps, his manner, his love before all of us that we might easily follow His steps if we just put our feet and heart where He put His.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example (hupogrammos), that you should follow in his steps.”~1 Pt 2:21

As the tears pushed the corners of my eyes, I read this last devotion. “You answered me, when I called You; with Your strength, You strengthened me.”~Ps 138:3

The lesson of the day? Forget the Errrr… and the Crap!
Touchstones of this earth break and easily.  They fall apart. Our Christ Touchstone is just the opposite. He is an eternal cornerstone that hold everything else together when the world seems to be falling apart. He is the “hupogrammos” for our lives.

TWO PASSOVERS

 

The moon is up in our neck of the woods and it is full and beautiful tonight. The hubby and I were sitting outside for awhile (until the CAVS game on) as it was rising. The dogs and I took one last walk around the gardens in the twilight before we came in. Now I can see all my friends’ pictures of the full moon from different states as I sit in my easy chair.

In the Jewish calendar this full moon sheds its light on the beginning of Passover. It is a festival that celebrated the days that changed the world of the Jewish people. Changed it from a world full of chains, brutality and oppression and spun it around into a world of choices, courage and freedom.

Sometimes, I wish I was a mouse on the floor of history and could listen and watch the dynamics of historical events. Can you imagine the ancient conversations that were taking place during this week? The rumors – the rumblings – the hushed meetings as they gathered to listen – to learn – to seek wisdom in what was happening.

We tend to take for granted – as we do all historical things – the facts – without remembering the emotional undercurrents. Just like today, there must have been dissension – fear – broken families – friendships burning out as people made their choices. Follow Moses? Trust Pharaoh? G-d really in this? The evil one?

They probably all painted their doorways with the blood of a lamb. That was an easy choice and why not? Better safe than sorry. Maybe it would make the family feel better. The familiar was still there. A swatch on the left. A swatch on the header. A swatch on the right. A triangle pointing towards heaven. A whispered prayer beseeching the protection of G-d. A hope to see the dawn of a new day. A wish for easy answers. A path cut through the stormy waters to a Promised Land.

We tend to think that all the Jewish people painted their doors and gleefully followed Moses out of Egypt. After all, who doesn’t want to be free? The truth falls a little short of that Charleston Heston movie with the multitude moving towards the sea. According to Jewish Sages – the number was more like a fifth of the Ivrim, the Jewish people.

Walking away from the security of all they had known was too scary for some – just like it would be for some of us. After all, there is security in the chains of the familiar. Chains that often keeps us in a job we hate…an abusive relationship…a habit that feeds some sense of being that we think we need more than we need change.

But this is also the first day of Holy Week for Christians. It is the celebration of another Passover that set the Ivrim world on its ear. (Again, being a mouse is appealing to my curious nature.) However, I know deep within me that it was also a Passover full of dissension, fear, broken families, burned friendships. Follow Jesus? Trust Caiaphas? Is G-d really in this? The evil one?

It was not easy. Even the disciples fell away – except for one, his mother and a few others who stood at the foot of the cross. Freedom is never easy. Again, the number of Ivrim that chose to follow was just a small percentage of the nation. Who knew that these few people would change the world forever. A Passover that would change the essence of the festival to its core.

A human lamb who shed His blood in the shape of another triangle painted on wood – an inverted triangle. A left hand. A right hand. His feet. A triangle pointing down from heaven. G-d once more sending an answer to His children – an answer of a Father’s Love – a Father’s Love strong enough to break the chains forever and cut a path through the stormy waters of sin to a Promise Land beyond compare.

It is interesting to note, that when you put these triangles together -one on top of another – they form the Star of David. The symbol that flies in Jerusalem on this first night of Passover and this first night of Holy Week. Two Passovers that changed the Ivrim world and the world around it. Freedom from chain of all kinds. Freedom to remember. Freedom to chose His path or stay in our comfy chains. Freedom to humble ourselves, fall on our knees, and give thanks to the One who gave His all for us – the gift of grace and love.

“For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.”~Jn 3:16   [google images]

21 DAYS

It is 21 days till Easter. 21 days of a journey left. 21 days to follow a path. 21 days till the stone exploded, breaking the binds that tethered it to an earthly kingdom and releasing the radiant light of Grace from the spiritual kingdom.

For the past few weeks, I have not written much. Instead, everyday I have been reading, walking, observing, writing, praying, and drawing a small inked cross on the inside of my wrist. I didn’t think of this idea myself. One of my favorite authors has been doing this on a regular basis for a while now, Ann Voskamp. She talks about it in her book, The Broken Way.

At first, I wondered why she would do this. What possible difference in a spiritual walk could a tiny, inked cross on a wrist do for anyone? Yet, during this Lenten walk, I have noticed a difference. A difference that – perhaps – is more on the inside of me than the physical ink on the inside of a wrist. However, true to my silly Gemini self, that ink is often different colors. One color layered on top of another on some days. Other days, completely washed away by the blessed business of the day.

There is a path just down from our house that our neighbors have given me permission to walk. The dogs and I love it. There are no cars or even so much of the sound of cars, lots of smells, lots of deer prints, and I’m sure a few snakes in the grass that I hope I never see. (Lucky for me, the dogs always run ahead of me.)

As the temperatures warmed, the grass began to appear until it has become a green carpet that pulls us forward every time we walk. Trees and tall grasses from a not too distant past line its edges. Occasionally, a fallen branch from a recent storm also lie beneath our feet waiting to trip us up. Further up the way, there are other vestiges of an older life as well. Man-made reminders of that which was: large trees around a yard of a small deserted cabin, a log shed, horse-pulled tools now covered by weeds, a small, empty water trough.

As always, I wonder about the people who walked these lands before me. Indians, slave, indentured servants, landowner. I wonder and in some weird strange way, find myself praying for them as they walked these lands.

The cross on my wrist catches my eyes as I switch the button on the camera in my phone. For a minute my breath catches, “Baruch Hashem Adonai,” I whisper, “Blessed Be the Name of the LORD.” Koey sniffs the scent of something and is off running. Ryndi rolls in the leaves and tall grass for the umpteenth time. All, just reminders that this world is temporary, and all our education, ownership, accomplishments are -eventually – just “dust in the wind”.

Baruch is the Hebrew word that means “to bless”. It also means “to kneel”. When God sent His Son to walk a footpath on this earth, He knelt in front of all humanity. He squeezed the limitless into a limited body. He folded His greatest sacrifice into His greatest blessing and laid it on the path for all to find.

Easter. Grace. Salvation.

“Therefore strengthen your hands and set your shaky knees firmly. Make straight paths for your feet, that the lame member may not fail, but that it may be healed.”~Heb 12:12-13

My knees don’t bend so well anymore, but there are times when I force them because I can’t imagine not kneeling when His presence is so close. Tonight, it is warm in our house. The cross on the inside of my wrist is faded and fuzzy. My eyes are hurting as I try to hold them open for a few more minutes. It was a warm day in NC and when you have a bit of a fever, the house feels even warmer. But – it has been a blessed day. A day to sacrifice a little. A day to sleep a lot more than usual. A day to whisper a few more times, in thankfulness for these 21 days, “Baruch Hashem Adonai.”

NAP DAY

Today was the absolute, perfect nap day. The book I am reading was almost finished. The dogs were already curled up on the sunny deck. Me? I thought about going out and curling up in the sunshine, but it was just too chilly. High 50’s and a consistent breeze are really not conducive to a restful nap.

I usually don’t take naps during the day, but a cold has been trying to grab hold of me, so I didn’t go anywhere today. I slept a little later this morning and decided to pamper myself with essential oils and sleep. After all, if the dogs could do it, so could I. I traipsed around the house, but we don’t really have a sunny window area, so I just curled up in my chair.

Luckily for me, I can fall asleep at the drop of my eyelids. Often, short prayers will dash past my lips, blips of stories might also drift through or perhaps, or a lullaby of songs may carry me off to sleep. Today, just the notes of a song did the trick. No words. Just notes. When I woke up, the words of that song had made their way to the forefront of my mind.

Stretching, I sat up and realized it was the first Christmas song I had ever learned that sang me to sleep and woke me up. However, it was not the first verse that most of us sing routinely, but the last verse that was singing through my mind.

“Be with me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay….”

The dogs came running in from the deck. When I looked at the clock, I knew why they were bouncing and smiling at me. It was supper time and heaven forbid, if I am ever late in getting it into their bowls. As they munched away. I started preparing our human meal for the evening as I sang the words softly to myself.

“Close by me forever and love me, I pray…”

The nap was a good thing. The blessing of the song was the best thing. I’ve been thinking about it all night and wondering why it was that song and that verse. Lent is generally a time when people “sacrifice” something they love in honor of what Christ “sacrificed” for all of us. Last year and this year, I’ve kind of walked away from that.

I’ve been reading a book by Anne Voskamp, The Broken Way. In one chapter she quotes an Auschwitz survivor and author, Viktor Frankl. Man’s search for the meaning of life become clear when it “…points, and is directed to, something, or something other than oneself…by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love.” p.92

Such a perfect description of Christ’s journey on earth. Every step He took for three years was devoted to pointing exactly towards how to find our meaning for life. We were created in His image. A Father who completely empties His bucket out for those He created. A Father who continues to seek the lost sheep. A Father who sent His Son to point the way.

“Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care…”

So this Lenten cycle, I am trying to pour out my bucket for those who have been placed in my pasture. Writing letters to shut ins. Giving time to others. Crocheting more prayer shawls for those in need. Scrounging change out of the dusty corners to share with groups that I admire. Praying more than I ever knew was possible. And still, there are a couple of other things I want to try, but until I do them, they are just ideas, and I haven’t really emptied my bucket.

Lent is a time to direct our steps just as Christ directed his steps towards Jerusalem. I’m not sure where this journey will lead me. I’m just focusing my steps day-by-day. Today, they led me to a nap, a Christmas song, and bouncing, smiling dogs who are now curled in their beds. Hmmmm….I think it is time to join them an listen to my lullabye one more time.

“And take us to heaven to live with Thee there
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.”

BIG TREES

So – the day went like this. I ran away to avoid having to see the trees that are right next to the house be cut down because – THEY ARE RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE!!! And guess which ones they DID NOT cut down today??

Ya got it! The trees right next to the house are still right next to the house.

I guess I will have to run away tomorrow as well. But Good Golly Ms Molly – what the tree guys got done in one afternoon is beyond reality – not to mention the pole building crafters. A building that the workers started at 4 and continued working long after I was in jammies and wrapped in my comfy blankie stands partially completed.

What a week. A week full of blessed discoveries, familiar voices and golden memories of yesteryear mixed with new ones in the birthing stage. That deep joy of “knowing” when something is right is always beyond words and fills me with gratitude that wants to sing its way to the Triune Father who tilled the soil in a time beyond time, raised the trees and brought us to such a space in time.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”~John 15:1-4

Our neighbor and his daughter came over for a short visit tonight. So while the “men folk” took a walk to take one more look at all the “newness”, the “women folk” enjoyed a cush ball came of questions, answers, and lots of laughter.

Fruit grows in the most unexpected places. Tilling the soil. Scraping a new path in our part of the world. Wondering who else might have stood in this exact same spot long, long ago. Pushing and stretching the confines of our woodsy womb. Feeling Jehovah-Jireh’s smile as the sun sets once again.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”~Gen 1:31

But I am still running away tomorrow. After all – if a tree falls on our house, I still don’t want to be here. I mean – really – those are some big trees.

 

INAUGURATION 2017

Old habits die hard.

Patriotic habits die even harder.

Teacher habits die hardest of all.

Today is a red, white and blue kind of day. Put on my flag earrings. Looked for my mom’s flag pin – even though I knew it wasn’t there. Debated on pulling out her red, white and blue sweater vest, but opted for my warmer red vest instead. Tossed scarves around on the floor until I found my flag one and away I went to pick up the Grand.

Inauguration Days have always been on my radar. The first one I really remember is President Kennedy’s. Probably because there was about the same amount of tension in the country then as there has been this past year. Not only Republican vs Democrat, but catholic vs protestant and cold war vs hot war.

No one in our house was happy after that election and yet.. Mom shrugged her shoulders and said she knew some “good Catholics” (you have to understand, she had this teensy bias thing passed on to her  from her parents since her father had been kicked out of the Catholic church for marrying a protestant which by-the-way – made it very hard for me to date a neighboring Catholic boy in high school). Dad said Kennedy was a war hero, so how bad could he be? They didn’t like the change, but they didn’t fear it either. They had faith in God and faith in the American process.

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

Hope.

When Moshe spoke to the Israelites – hope grew.

When the angel spoke to Mary – hope blossomed.

When John sat on an isolated island – hope resurrected.

Hope.

After kinda listening to the inauguration and catching the Grand as he launches himself in mid-air to my arms, chattering with the Grand, hugging on the Grand and reading Pete the Cat with the Grand, I at least got to hear – somewhat – the transfer of power. Nothing new under the sun, but I listened.

Protests and destruction.

Presidents and statuaries.

Parades and pomp.

I did my teacher thing when I got home as if I was still finishing up my speech unit for the umpteenth time. When one starts a speech unit in November, it usually winds up around the end of January because of all the holydays. I love technology on days like this. Come home and – on demand – watch President Trump’s speech as I hold his printed transcript in my hand – just like I did for President Obama 8 years ago…and President Bush…and President Clinton (although – I had to wait a little longer in those days to get the video and the transcript).

Repetition. Allusions. Quotes. Alliteration. Compare and Contrast.

President Trump is not the greatest orator. Compared to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – he is not even in the same ball park, but he brought his vision of hope to the people he will serve. Easy to say the words – not so easy to do – but then – even Christ had trouble with the last part of His “to-do” list.

But tonight, I have hope. Hope in the prayers that have circled our country from the beginning, and in God’s timelessness continue to petition Him for our country. Hope in the prayers that are circling a man I didn’t vote for in November, but am praying for daily now. Hope in the man who used the Bible given to him in 1955 by his mother and President Lincoln’s Bible as he repeated his oath of office. Hope from the blessing of the WORD that My Father nudged rather forcefully into my consciousness tonight as I prayed for our leaders, for the service of the families of leaders that now get to rest, for the service of those who stand the thin line between hate and love, for those who seek peace, for those who are lost and for those who are found.

Hope and not fear.

Joy and not tears.

Love and not hate.

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”~Dan 2:21  [google images]

ROOTS 2017

Tonight –

I am tired –

Tired of the hate memes –

Tired of the raised fists –

Tired of distorted ‘truths’ –

Tired of the political nonsense –

Tired of rampant disrespect –

Tired of the anger side-winding close to those I love –

Tired of disease decimating my friends, family, community –

Tired –
Tired –
Tired –
and then –
I went searching into the WORD. It is what I do when the twisting snake of this world raises its head once again in my tent, and my tears refuse to stop.

“But if a man will say, “I love God”, and he hates his brother, he is lying; for he who does not love his brother who is visible, how is it possible for him to love God who is invisible? And we have received this commandment from him: “Everyone who loves God shall love his brother also”.~1 Jn 4:20-21

Those two trees that stood in a perfect garden so long ago, still stand within the garden tent of myself tonight. I stand under their lofty limbs, looking up, shaking my head, wondering: ‘How do I ever choose?”

Like the “reality” game shows, do I listen to the snake of the clamoring crowd – cheering me forward to their choices? I swivel my head back and forth – back and forth – back and forth. Do I trust the loudest voice to guide me? Do I pick the fruit based on the color, the taste, the aroma that is perceived to be perfect in this world full of knowledge, training and acceptance?

Or – – –
Tired as I am – – –
Do I fall on my knees, scrape through the hard, rocky surface of my tent, fingers torn and bruised, as I struggle to loosen the surface enough to uncover and bury my nose in the roots of He who Loves and creates all tents? Tents all over the world – in all worlds. Tents that He wants to enter to bless and enhance the essence that resides there.

Roots.
Deep.
Strong.
Nurturing.
Grounded.
Roots.

My eyes are still heavy tonight. My tent buffeted and torn from the winds of this world. I sit upon the roots a little longer. Letting my fingers trace their woody paths. Soaking in their fortitude and nourishing ridges. Limbs curling around me to dry my tears. Unbidden, the prayers begin to circle: “Dear God, do whatever is best for this world, whatever is best for this world.”

Over and over. Over and over. Over and over.

“Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”~1 Cor 16:13-14  

[google image]10436363-the-silhouette-of-a-girl-with-root-stock-vector-tree-roots-silhouette

SNOWBOUND THOUGHTS

“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy.”~Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “Book of Joy”, p11

Snowbound. Icy 15 degrees. Sun reflecting off pristine snow.

Our neighborhood was darn near silent yesterday until about 10 A.M. First one 4-wheeler appeared. By the time, it had made the circle there were 3 and eventually 4. An avalanche of kids and sleds followed. Bundled into huge shapes of warmth and squealing laughter that eeked through our windows and scared the birds away from the feeders kept me focused on the windows with a smile on my face.

I’m sure the roadway will be treacherous when I eventually decide I really have to run away from home. But for right now – I’m content to crochet, read, bake, read some more, watch a couple of movies, bake and enjoy the visual purity of the world around me. After all – by Friday it will be 65 again, and my world will return to normal.

“Joy subsumes happiness.”~ D.T., p32

Extremes in weather always prove we are pretty fragile creatures. We find ways to cope. Lots of clothes. Less clothes. Boats to float. Sleds to slide. Air conditioning. Heating. We find ways to cope and flourish. I have a friend who even flourished in the South Pole and would love to go back. (I have always thought he was always touched by a strange angel at birth – after all – he liked the Beatles over the Dave Clark Five.)

It continues to amaze me that God choose to send part of Himself into such a fragile container. He who was timeless became temporal. He who was eternal became finite. He who created became crucified.

Epiphany has passed. I’m waiting for a warmer day to venture into the garage and start putting away the inside Christmas decorations. I am way too fragile these days, I guess. Hubby laughs at me as he stands in front of the toasty gas logs before he goes out to join the 4-wheeler club. The dogs do, too. They bury their nose in the snow and send it flying while they tuck their butts close and run at each other in mock battle. Laughter wells up inside of me as well. Life is joyous.

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”~Dalai Lama, p.37

The manifestations of pain in our world seems to grow larger every day. I started out this paragraph listing all the painful incidents that circle through my prayer time day after day – night after night. Then I erased it all. “Pain is inevitable…” You already know that. You hear the news. You read the posts, memes, comments. “…suffering is optional.”

When we stand before the two trees of the Garden, we always have a choice. To eat the fruit or to talk with Our Father first. I choose to talk with My Father who understands our frailness because He became fragile. I choose to walk back to the Garden where there is joy that subsumes happiness.” With all my intellectual capabilities employed, I walk away from the ugly, tempting fruit. Instead….

I choose joy.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be obvious to everyone. The Lord is near.” Phil 4:4

ADVENT LOVE #5: Blessed Memories

“Its here, in the season of lights,…I want our kids to be able to stand on the front walk with us in the days leading up to Christmas…to drink in the long, crisp winter dusk. I want them to see their tree, in their house shining through their windows. I want them to know the kind of warmth I remember coming home to as a child, the thought of Christmas, with all those lights strung around windows and doors, we might be safe in a greater sort of way. Hopeful, even….”~Drew Perry “Home for the Holidays” p28 Our State Magazine

Step by step – each day – we build a bank of memories. Some are immediately discarded into the back files of non-importance. Others stored in closer files for handy reference. And some – marked with a heart or a star or with a golden highlighter so that it can be pulled up at anytime – in any place – to be reviewed and treasured all over again.

Tonight as I tucked the Grands into sleep, I decided this was one of those memories that would be highlighted with that golden highlighter. After watching Miracle on 34th Street (original) and 2 large bowls of popcorn, we talked about the Christmas Count-down Bell that my daughter decided to continue with her children.

“Each night before Christmas,
After prayers have been said,
Take off a loop and hop into bed.
When Christmas will come,
It’s easy to tell,
For that is the night,
You come to the bell.”

We would write the poem in the bell and decorate it – sometimes wildly. Then a colorful construction paper chain finished the bell and allowed us to remember how many days we had to wait for Christmas. And somehow – the poem became ingrained in my important memory files forever.

Tonight the conversation took on a life of its own. Oldest Grand said, “I sing my prayers to God in my sleep.” Younger Grand said, “Yeah, at night, God and I talk a lot.” I said – “I don’t know if I sing, but I talk to God a lot as well. He doesn’t care when you talk to Him; He just wants to hear your voice because He LOVES you. Sometimes, I yak at Him in my dreams, but more often, I just talk to Him in the morning and at night and when some crazy person pulls in front of me because they wanted the parking space that I was getting ready to use.” The Grands laughed…I did too, but not so much when the crazy person cut me off.

“And let us pay attention to one another in the encouragement of LOVE and of good works.”~Heb 10:24

I alternately prayed for that crazy person and stomped my feet all the way into the grocery store . Then I saw one of the cashiers that I always look for when I get in line. She is bent over in so many ways that it hurts to watch. Yet, probably because we are close to being the same age and I understand pain in the joints, we always talk as she checks me out. She leans heavily on the counter as she picks things up from the cart and over the scanner. When she moves, she uses a cart just to move from the cash register to the office. Somehow, her work ethic drove that crazy person and all the other stupidness of this world completely into the discard memory pile. I pray for her tonight just as I pray from the Grands, my family – here or far away – and all the names on my war room wall – which seems to be growing at warp speed.

“You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.”~Is 26:3-4

Christmas memories can be warm and fuzzy – my first bike – my first Barbie – – – they can be scary and sad – a father having a 2nd heart attack on Christmas – a Christmas break 4 years later when I kissed him goodbye for the last time – – – holy and sacred – communion in a small upper room on Christmas Eve – learning to sing the mother’s role in Amahl and the Night Visitors just in case I was needed – Candle light service in my childhood church with my mother on one side and my children and Hubby on the other…

Blessed with peace-filled LOVE. Blessed with memories. [google image]

Advent Love #1: The Journey

“God always takes the initiative- – -He blessed first, served first, comforted first, and most of all, LOVED first. An then it’s up to us.”~Max Lucado, p175, Because of Bethlehem
 
This is the week, I really tend to start centering in on the humanity of the Holy family and the journey they actually took I mean – really? Walking and/or riding a donkey for 60 – 100 miles (depending on the probable routes of the times) in the last week of pregnancy has to be the ultimate ‘I-don’t-wanna-do-this-ever’ for new parents. And yet – somewhere deep within me – I know they didn’t even question it.
 
You have to figure that Mary and Joseph came from families that were immersed in scripture study. Visited by an angel – covered by the Holy Spirit – visited by another angel – Mary and Joseph knew scripture. They knew the prophecies – they knew that their son, Yeshua, would be born in Bethlehem – even before a Roman emperor told them that they would have to journey there to be counted.
 
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”~Micah 5:2
 
They may not have liked it, but they knew Abba was faithful in His promises. They knew they were on a journey like no other, and they walked that long distance in faith. Just as they had traveled the last 9 months – of fear – of derision – of lectures – of shunning…. The long distance into the wilderness – the heat of day and the cold of night – the Braxton-Hicks Contractions…the pain…discomfort – snakes and robbers perhaps hidden ahead – or – on good days – staying with relatives, friends or even – perhaps – an inn – resting on the Sabbath – money to travel – maybe? – but – in reality? – no place to call their own…no place to lay their heads… no place to lay their child…the Messiah…
 
Sometimes over the years, I’ve wondered if they thought that God would open a miraculous door, and they would find a place “fit for a king” waiting for them when they got to Bethlehem. I’m pretty sure that Abba didn’t fill in a lot of details for them any more than He does us when He pushes us out the door on our own journeys. As I study the scriptures, El is great at pointing the way, but expects us to travel on faith most of the time. I guess you can tell, that is not always my favorite way of embarking on a journey. I’m still working on that particular aspect of my character.
 
However, as I read over the last couple of paragraphs again, the proverbial light bulb went on in my sometimes functioning mind. Bam!! It made sense. His parents had to travel their own mirror journey of what Christ’s path would reflect. How could they “train up a child the way he should go…” if they didn’t understand what hardships might lie ahead in His earthly, humanoid journey.
 
“Therefore we shall love God because he first LOVED us.”~1 John 4:19
 
Today, hubby put on his shorts and took his own journeys. He ran the four-wheeler, the scooter, the motorcycle and walked the dogs. I worked on Christmas stocking #3, cleaned the garage, delivered a pine decoration to a neighbor and lit the final Advent candle.
 
We are blessed. Prayers circle. LOVE arrives as a baby. Merry Christ-mass. Seek the infant.
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