Tag Archives: Father

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #5

“There probably won’t be a next year for most of us,” said my father. The farmers were looking steadily at him now, and not at Lester Hartwick. “We’ve got just one court of appeals now,” my father said, “and I don’t suppose most of you have given it any thought.” Ibid.

I should have changed the title for this one, but as usual, my plans are not His plans. I had a whole list of things written down the first day. Positive, up-lifting things that might catch someone’s attention and encourage them during these High Holy Days of 2020. I think I have – – maybe – – used one of them.

The Father never fails to surprise me – – ever.

“Oh, I suppose you’ve prayed…in church. But have you ever prayed: ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner,’ like the publican in the Bible?” Ibid.

In January I started re-reading one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t pulled her books off the shelf for years except to move them here or there – but I have moved them with me ever since college – all 40+ of them. I started with my favorite one. Then the next favorite. And the next. I haven’t been reading much fiction. Most of my reading time has been focused in other directions lately…and yet…for whatever reason…her books came off the shelf.

“Because every man in the world is a sinner against every other man, and against God. It isn’t only all the wars we’ve had in this century. We’ve forgotten God.” Ibid.

Today, the morning sun lit the pages up. I said, “No”. He said, “Yes”. I re-read the chapter and sighed. This is not sweet. It is not up-lifting. It is what it has been for the past 60 years since she wrote this book in 1959.

If you can find her books, I would highly recommend them. Some are about the banking system. Some about the political system Some historical in nature. Some fantastical dreams. All thought-provoking. Her name is Taylor Caldwell. The book (my 2nd favorite): Your Sins and Mine.

And as if to prove His point one last time – – – I had written several verses down to wrap this up. They were not the right ones. This was His choice.

“My righteousness draws near, My salvation is on the way, and My arms will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look for Me and wait in hope for My arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its people will die like gnats. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never fail.”-Is 51:5-6

Artwork by Yoram Raanan “Bridging Heaven and Earth”

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #8

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer today.  After all, that is what these next few days leading up to Yom Kippur are all about. Introspection, seeking, and repentance. 

“I have poured out my soul before the LORD…all this time I have been praying out of the depth of my anguish and grief.” 1 Sam 1:15b-16

Hannah’s first prayer seems to be my prayer so often lately. I wonder what My Father thinks of me sometimes, when my tears drown out my voice, and anger blots out coherent thought. And yet…and yet –  –  – I know He hears and His compassion never fails.

S    F   T

I saw this in a movie a few years ago, and it pretty much describes my prayer journey of the past couple years.  

S – eek Him

F – eel His presence

T – rust Him

  High Holy Days 2020 is touching me in different ways this year.  Prayer is primary, but more encompassing than ever before. Prayers not just for me and mine, but circling for our country as well.  Prayers circling for all the birth pangs that we have seen this year – pestilence, droughts, wildfires, anger, earthquakes, hurricanes/fire tornadoes, infestations, lawlessness, rebellion (personal and societal)….. 

The list seems endless, but as always, I continue to…S F L. And like Hannah, I know He hears and covers me as He does the world and this country with His compassion, love and grace.

“My heart rejoices in the LORD in whom my strength is exalted. My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, for I rejoice in Your salvation.” 1 Sam 2:2

The Prayer marches in Washington DC are only 7 days away. The Vine and the Branch together in prayer. A national day, during the Jewish High Holy Days, to find our knees, repent as a people and S F L as a people.  If you can’t be there, there are multiple ways to join together digitally. If you don’t want to watch, pray. After all, we already have his promise…  

“If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:13-14

2020 VISION: Weekend Streams.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Refreshing weekends were something my parents loved as well.

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

Weekends are special time of renewal.

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

Sunday mornings would swirl all the days into His days.

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

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

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

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

Weekend Streams of living water – refreshing water.

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

[Greg Olsen artwork]

2020 VISION: Sabbath Quaking

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

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

Not the first time I’ve been wrong!

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

Huh????
Earthquake????

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 [personal images/google]

2020 VISION: Pandemic Unrest Fireworks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humble and proud…
Young and strong…

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

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

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

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

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

[google images]

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: Resurrection Sunday

“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.” Ex 12:22-23

I have not been writing in this time of solitude. Instead, I have been learning. Learning like all my students have been told to learn at home. After all, what is good for the student is good for the teacher as well. Sitting on my small front porch/deck, I see the signs everywhere. Spring is here.

Resurrection Sunday just around the corner.

The flowers are blooming with abundance in my small piece on Terra. The trees which were in bud last week are providing shade when I walk through the woods with my happy choc lab girls. Baby spinach is peeking up through the large lettuce plants, and tiny peas have started to sprout the roots that will lead to more food. Mulch is being hauled here and there, and my wheelbarrow doesn’t seem to mind as much as my back does.

With all of that said, the mind keeps turning. I find it interesting that in Israel, most of the United States and a good portion of the world, people are re-living Passover much in the way the first Israelites experienced it over 3000 years.

The eight plagues had come and gone. The ninth was outside the door – – the door that Jewish people had been commanded to shut and not leave until morning. They were sheltered at home. Shelter in their homes – alone – unsure of what might come – waiting for the first rays of the morning, and trusting the words of Moshe who spoke the words given by the GOD of Abraham, Jacob and Issac.

I wonder at the “Godwink” of timing as I sit outside and look up. Passover – Easter.
Jewish – Christian.
Holy celebrations to the same GOD or “Abba” as Yeshua referred to Him. The two religions linked together by the One who was both. And – in this year of Pandemic 2020 Vision – both religions sheltered at home during this same space in linear time.
A plague outside their doors.
Alone.
Unsure of the future.
Waiting for the first rays of the morning.
Trusting the words of Moshe and Yeshua Mashiach.

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Lk 21:29-33

Teachers often re-teach concepts. Parents may be seeing that they need to go over a concept more than once as they work with their kidlets in home schooling. History repeats for a reason.

In case you haven’t noticed – humans don’t always listen so well. Sometimes we may get that concept for awhile, but then we get lazy and let it drift away into that nether world of the “past”. The concept that was so clear yesterday becomes a little fuzzier over time. Hence – the all “nighters” pulled by many a collegiate crammer.

Is it any wonder that a Father – Who loves His children beyond anything we can imagine – would want to remind us to trust Him once again?

Personally, I am looking forward to being sheltered at home during this Pandemic 2020 Vision: Resurrection Sunday. No egg hunts. No bunny hiding baskets. No large family get-together. Instead, I plan on getting up and sitting on my porch where I will watch the first rays of the morning cross the horizon.

Resurrection ‘Sunday may be rainy and cold here in NC, and seeing the sun’s light is improbable. But, it is not the physical light I will be waiting for on this Resurrection Sunday because I have the Son’s Light in my heart and His holy manna and praise cup within me after tonight’s Seder. He is worthy.  And so – I wait with expectation and His songs circling in my head.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To Him who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb,
be praise and honor and glory and power
forever and ever!” …
“Amen,” Rev 5:12-14

 [personal/google image]

VISION 2020: Pandemic Basket Blessings

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

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

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

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

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

Where do I stop?

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

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

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

A Basket of Blessings He designed just for you.

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

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

VISION 2020: Best of Times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote a story. A story of civil war. Long ago – in 1969, I read that story again. A story that I had read first as a sophomore in high school but didn’t absorb. It was a country far away. A different culture. A country divided. I didn’t think much of it. When I re-read it, I had change. I had been quarantined to my home after a week spent in the hospital.  A week I don’t remember much about except one imprinted image of my daddy kneeling by my beside.  Mom told me later that they did that night after night. I had a bad case of mono that changed my journey. 

I think that is where we are now.  The world’s journey has changed.

When things weigh on my mind, i generally start reading – lots and lots and lots. Different genres. Different biases. Different forms of wisdom that circle and start to form a picture in my mind. A picture that I pray over and begin to look for confirmation from the Spirit that it is His wisdom that I am absorbing.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer 29:11

I have read too many articles to count since last Sunday night, but a couple have stuck with me. Two of them just happened to be written by Jewish rabbis. (I think I’ve said it before – but I don’t believe in coincidences)

One compared this time-out-of-time experience – this Pandemic 2020 – as a time-out. A time-out allowed by a Father who has seen His children struggling. A Father who loves His children so much that He knows they need a Sabbath rest – times of quiet – times away from the normal – times to re-think their journey- times to see what is right in front of their face – times to open their eyes and ears to what they have been given – times to seek the path to the Tree of Life that has been there since the beginning but has been cluttered by the dirt and grime of human life.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matt 6:25-26

The other article had nothing whatsoever to do with the Pandemic, but was all about the cherubs who guard the way to the Tree of Life. I’m still not sure how those two separate ideas are meshing together in my head, but something is still swirling them around together. I think I know what wisdom it is pointing out in my journey, but still waiting for the confirmation.

All-in-all, while this may SEEM to be the worst of times, this absolutely COULD BE the best of times. It depends on us. It depends on our choices. It depends on where we focus our eyes and our hearts.

“O God…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chron 20:12

I’m certainly not looking forward to giving up my gym time. After all, who doesn’t like an hour of water play? (Notice – I didn’t mention the dreaded half hour of machine workouts.) I am definitely not looking forward to weeks without teaching, and all those hugs I get from my students. I’m unquestionably not looking forward to giving up my lunches with friends or picking up my Grands from school.

However – there are folders upon folders of writings and poetry that I have promised myself to finish. There are my lab girls who love having me take them outside a million times a day. There is a garden of lettuce (that I just planted today) that will need tending. There are letters to write to residents in nursing homes. There are care packages to send out. There is a path to look for to the Tree of Life.

As for me, on this unusual St. Patrick’s Day, I am thankful. Thankful for a Father who loves me enough to allow me to live in times like these. I am thankful for family and friends who continue to check in with me. I am thankful for the healthcare professionals who are on the front line of this “time-out-of-time”. I am thankful for the leaders who have been appointed to lead in these times.

“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

Most of all, I am thankful for the Father who sent His Son to walk beside me every step of this Pandemic 2020, and I am keeping my eyes on Him in the worst of times – in the best of times.

[Pastor Doug Bouquist photography/google image]

VISION 2020 – EPIPHANY PART II

“I was lost in shame,
Could not get past my blame,
Until He called my name.
I’m so glad He changed me.”
When you wake up with one praise song singing in your head most of the morning – even through a very traditional church service – until it morphs into another by evening, what else can you do?
You write about it; that’s what.
“I’ve met the author of my story,
And He’s mine, yes, He’s mine.”
After a somewhat stumbling life journey, I’ve finally figured out not to ignore the little things. A thrum that rumbles my tummy until I turn off everything around me and kneel in prayer. The knees complain, but I just tell them to shut up. A soft nudge that points my eyes to a student in my classroom. I wonder why but tell the brain to shut up and take note. A song that repeats over and over until it drives me a little crazy.
Little things that add up – when I take time to notice.
The furnace and gas logs have been off for the past couple of days. Windows and doors wide open. A fan softly humming in the window. But tonight, the clouds are moving back in, and I can smell rain in the air. Tonight, when I stood on the porch watching over the lab girls, the moon was shining just enough through the clouds that I could see its hazy shape, yet within a minute, it disappeared completely. The dark skies covered me and the tears gathered once again.
That is the way the past 6 months have been.
Clouds everywhere.
A hazy shape.
A little light.
Clouds returning over and over.
And yet – that tiny moment of light – as dim as it is – is always enough – enough to steady my steps and find my balance once again.
” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;”~Act 1:7-8a
On New Years Eve, I was still struggling with what Bible verse and word would be my focus for the year. A friend sent me a verse, and just like that – problem solved. Since then, I’ve been puzzling and praying over it. It hangs in my war room, written in my journal, and stuck in my mind. Then today, both of the local preachers that I listen to added to it. One talking about Baptism – the other focusing more on the Holy Spirit. (v,5-6)
Jesus went to be Baptized – not because He needed to do so, not because some religious tradition required it, but to model and fulfill His journey on a path that was written for Him from the very beginning of time. Only known as a carpenter up until that point in time, His baptism signaled a change. After that, a name reverberated over the river bed and calling all to Truth: Yachid – Beloved Son. A new name repeated only once again – at the transfiguration.
I’m still puzzling why this is important to my journey right now, and yet, the more I look at this verse and the verses surrounding it, the more His hope rises within me that the clouds are beginning to break. The Light that has been so hazy over the past few months seems to be brightening the skies and overpowering that darkness just as I knew it would eventually.
Valley journeys are just like that sometimes. The good news? Even though there are tribulations in this life, valleys and clouds full of darkness, I know that Yeshua Mashiach has overcome the world, and through it all, I am keeping my eyes on Him.
“I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am…”
8a875c0e583e9d9294b5c0b016db593c

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 

  [personal/google images]