Tag Archives: Father

THE POET PRESIDENT

Please tell me how I got to be almost 68 years of age and did not know that President Abraham Lincoln was a poet? Why didn’t If figure this out? His speeches alone should have been a clue.

“Four score and seven years ago 
Our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, 
Conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition 
That all men are created equal.”
~ Gettysburg Address

“Fondly do we hope—
Fervently do we pray—
That this mighty scourge of war 
May speedily pass away.”~2nd Inaugural Address

How many times have I read these speeches – taught them to my class and did not see the big hint right in front of me? Errrr…  Just goes to show – we can be oblivious to things that are right in front of us and not have a clue!!

I love teaching again. I love discovering things I never knew, but now I’m kicking myself in the butt for not discovering all of this 40 years ago when I was teaching my poetry classes and speech classes. It could have added a whole new dimension to our discussions.

The power of Lincoln’s word choices and cadence became so clear as I went back through and started looking at his speeches through the eyes of the poet as well as the speech giver.

A man with a satirical sense of humor.
A man who wrote short poems in his boyhood math book.
A man longing for home.
A man chased – at times – by depression.
A man filled with compassion for the world around him. 
A man who had faults like the rest of us.
A man who always tried to rise above the problems.
A poet-man with integrity.

Since I teach younger grades these days, I’m sticking with the his famous quote that he took from the Bible, A house divided against itself cannot stand.”[“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”~Matt 12:25 ] A beginning – a start – an introduction to our complicated, messy world and history.

For me, I’m fascinated by re-reading his 2nd Inaugural Address. As I read, his words take on new depth since our country seems to be tearing apart at the seams just as it was as he was President. Our social/cultural issues as divisive as they were in the 1860’s. It is as if I can hear his voice – his pauses in my head.

“Both read the same Bible…
Pray to the same God…
Each invokes his aid against the other.
It may seem strange 
That any men should dare to ask 
A just God’s assistance in wringing 
Their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces;
But let us judge not, 
That we be not judged. 
The prayers of both
Could not be answered–
That of neither has been answered fully.”

Poetry. 
Prayer. 
Psalms. 
If only all of us and our leaders would remember. It saved our nation once before – perhaps – if we find our knees again – our long-suffering, patient Father will hear from heaven and heal our land. 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: Grace Gifts

And just like that – Thanksgiving – Advent – Christmas – New Years – 12 Days of Christmas have all blown their Grace gifts deep into my soul. I have breathed their essence and tried to absorb them into every cell of my being.

“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.”~Rm 12:6

Tonight, I have already – mostly – turned off the lights for the last time on Christmas 2018 – – -except for my main nativity. As I write, I can look over at the soft white lights and try to hold the Grace gifts just a little closer. The great thing about getting older is that time flies by so quickly that maybe – just maybe – I might not screw up and forget them as often as I have in the past. (Now that is wistful thinking)

Epiphany ends the 12 Days of Christmas. Tomorrow will be a busy day as I pack away the last of the decorations and clean the house. Luckily, it is not so cold this year in NC and taking down the outside lights will be full of sunlight and warmth. A Grace gift for sure.

“If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.”~Rm 12:7

Grace gifts come in many forms. Our school started back up on Wednesday. Teachers were squirrely. Kids were squirrelier. But – there were so many smiles on so many faces that it really didn’t matter in the least. There were hugs upon hugs as if it had been two years instead of two weeks. There were times of sharing, laughter, lessons and times when I opened the treasure chest to fill it with a few more memories.

“If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”~Rm 12:8

Our Father has given (and is continually giving) us many Grace Gifts. He reminds us of them often, but we don’t seem to listen too well. Everyday life tends to plug our ears and throw sand in our eyes. That is probably why He gave a lot of festivals to the Jewish people. After all, when we get to gather together – eat lots of food – hug on each other – and (for me) sleep in until 8 or 9, we tend to listen and see a little more clearly.

Thanksgiving. Advent. Christmas. New Years. 12 Days of Christmas.

Here – for a brief shining moment in each year, these few days shine brightly. A Grace Gift to the world from a Father whose love knows no limit. I’m holding tight to those Christmas Grace Gifts and so thankful for His Light as it continues to brighten my 2019 treasure chest memories. It is the littlest thing that brings a smile or a tear or a Grace Gift to someone in our sphere of living. All we have to do is listen, share, encourage, lead responsibly, be kind, go that extra mile, and do for others as you would have them do for you.

“On the 12th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me…” Grace Gifts.  download [personal image}

CHRISTMAS: TREASURE CHEST MEMORIES (8 Days and Counting)

I love, love, love making things at Christmas. It seems that decorations made with a little love and time make the beautiful even more beautiful. A little glitter. A little help from Youtube. A couple little hands touching a couple big hands. A little creativity… and the world just shines just a little brighter.
 
The Grands were over for our Sunday morning gathering. We colored. We glittered. We laughed. We cuddled. We pulled out the two remaining German stars that my mother’s sister made when I was their age and hung them on our tiny tree. Then – we made our own German star. The oldest Grand persevered through all the intricacies of folding and had the biggest smile as she carried her star to the car. Littlest Grand had the biggest smile on his face as he cuddled in the chair next to me and told me he had just read the instructions on the printer, so it was ready to print his own creation. He also noted that he and his sister used to be able to sit in this chair with me and now it was crowded with just the two of us. (My heart ached a little with this tidbit of wisdom.)
 
Treasure chest memories…“‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things…”~Lk 16:25a
 
It is the same with writing Christmas cards. As time consuming as it is, it is something I love to do, and something I like to get. I love when my former students send me pictures of their families. I love hearing from my childhood buddies, family members, and teaching peers. I love, love, love getting a card from the few elders that remain in my life. Although I have to admit, part of it is the memory of my mom working late into the night as she wrote letters with her Christmas cards. She did this after working a long day and putting up with me. Then together we would hang all the cards around our living room.
 
Treasured memories…“Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”~Lk 2:19
 
A few weeks ago I was over at my daughter’s home and saw my doll collection. Before I became an obnoxious teen, it seemed like every Christmas brought a new doll from some part of the world where my mother’s brothers were stationed for awhile. After struggling to write thank you notes, I remember just touching each doll over and over – wishing I could see where they lived and wondering what it was like…and most of all….really wishing mom would let me play with them instead of just look at them. Even now, as I held and looked at them, I remember my aunts and uncles and love the memories they added to my life.
 
Memories beyond worth…“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…”~Phil 1:3-5
 
Which I guess is the point. Christmas brings many gifts beyond presents under the tree – and yet – if you look – they all point toward the Father who used a little creativity, a little glitter, a bunch of love and sent a present from where He is “stationed” into the hearts of those who are ready. He reached His encompassing hands around our dirty hands and let His grace and mercy “glorious impossible” clean them.
 

Treasure chest memories gleaming like a paper star that points to a babe lying in a manger… “For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him” ~Matt 2:1-2 

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CHRISTMAS VIOLINIST (12 days and counting)

Decorating done – ✔️.
Christmas letter written – ✔️
Cards ready to be addressed – ✔️
Dogs sleeping in front of gas logs – ✔️
Cough pretty much gone – ✔️
Snow – snow – snow – still on the ground but definitely on its way out – ✔️
Christmas Spirit 

My Christmas spirit has not been where it usually is around this time of year. Maybe it is the cold I have been battling. Maybe it is all the bickering going on in the world. Maybe it is – – just me.

Anyway, after 3 days of just enjoying the snow, watching birds and playing with my “snowbears” (otherwise known as silly labradors), I decided to venture back into the world. There were lines of people in every store, lines of traffic, lines of snow banks, lines of Christmas songs singing through the noise, lines of cars waiting for one parking space, so it was not my favorite kind of day to be out-an-about. But then again, these are the days when My Father likes to yank my chain a bit as well.

Just have to get my pesky, negative, whiney attitude out of the way and breathe deeply in my soul and stand back up.

Two stores down, and I was at my last stop. By that point, I was not in the mood to even be there. I had already gotten my exercise in the other parking lots, so when I had to park a “fer” distance from this last store, I was beginning to have one of those whiney conversations with GOD that I tend to have when I am in my “poor-pitiful-me” frame of mind.

Got out of the car to walk toward the store when a familiar song refrain surrounded me. It was Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. The words sang deep in my spirit, and there it was. A twinkle of Christmas light shining in my eyes.

When I looked up, I realized it wasn’t a choir of angels singing the words, but a solitary, outdoor musician. 40 degrees. His black hooded sweatshirt pulled tight around his head as he played his amplified violin. His face full of concentration as his fingers moved over the strings. How he could play when the sun was hidden and snow piled around his feet was beyond me.

His music followed me into the store, but I had lost interest in buying anything or standing in line. So – I walked back outside and stood there. Some children were also listening and talking softly with their mother. As she handed each of them a dollar, they smiled as they put a dollar in the violin case. Needless to say, I added a some as well.

That pesky “attitude” that had been stealing my Christmas joy all day took a quick nosedive after that. In the car, I turned off the podcasts/newscasts/whatever and turned on the Christmas station. All the way home, I listened to Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Michael Buble, etc. sing with joy and perfection, but none of them could match glorious imperfection of the Christmas violinist.

Joys of the season are sometimes hard to find amid the hustle and bustle of expectations and busyness. So tonight, I am thankful.Thankful for a man who stood on a busy sidewalk and shared his gift of hope and joy with the world. Today I gave him some money, but tonight, I am putting a prayer in his violin case. A Christmas prayer that all his dreams come true and that he continues to bless the world with his gift.

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” – Handel’s Messiah:”Lift Up Your Heads”  artsbriefs

VOTE – OR NOT!

The first time I remember voting I was in my daddy’s arms. I think it was at the Youth Building, but memories get mixed up in those back-storage files, so it is hard to tell. At first, I remember standing on tip-toes trying to see what he was doing. Then he lifted me up and told me which circle I could color. I’m sure he probably broke the protocol for such things – maybe even the law, but I never forgot.

Mom took me another time. I was a little older, and I think it might have been at the Fire Department. She told me we were going to vote, and that I had to be quiet because it was very important. For some reason, I remember looking at my black patent leather shoes and seeing my mother’s face reflected in one of them as she concentrated on her choices.

Somewhere along the line, I got the idea that voting was pretty important to our family. There were always political buttons being passed out at the Loudonville Fair, being worn on clothes until the first Tuesday in November, and later when they landed in the sewing baskets, I could play with them and put them on my dollies.

President Eisenhower was the first president I remember. When President Kennedy was running for office, it was huge. There were lots of discussions at home about voting. After all, being the first Catholic person to run for president was a big deal, and everyone had an opinion on it – even in our small village. I listened to a lot of it. Yawned through even more of it. But it sunk in – voting was important.

When mom decided to run for village clerk after driving the dry cleaning truck around town for several years, that was also a big deal. Dad and I would go to meetings with her. Help her practice her speeches. Walk around town to hang up posters. Ride around in a car with a great big sign on it. On on that first Tuesday in November, I got to see first hand how important voting could be. Mom won and worked harder than I ever saw anyone ever work.

Someday, I will have to write something “profound” on how that job changed our lives, but tonight’s focus needs to remain on this – voting is important. The last two rounds of campaigns have been ugly. But from what I have read in history and through biographies, this has been true ever since President Washington gave his farewell address.

Today, I was reading lots of history trying to decide what books I would be using in my library class. Our character word for the month is “gratitude”. Makes a lot of sense since we have Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day coming up. 6 Nations prayers and stories [Iroquois]. Pilgrims first few years. Magna Carta. Plymouth Rock. Crispus Attucks. Moina Belle Michael. George Washington. Then got a little sidetracked by a stack of fiction books all piled in a corner waiting to be catalogued.

That’s what happens when you work with a bunch of books – ya get sidetracked.

Luckily, I know a Father who doesn’t get side-tracked ever. Ever since we walked in a garden and got lost, He has kept His focus on opening a narrow pathway back to Him. As I read several Native American stories today, I couldn’t help but marvel at how similar stories always seem to be pointing at a pathway – a pathway leading home. Be it the Great Spirit or the Wise One, GOD speaks to all of us in language that we can understand because He wants us to “come home”. We have that freedom to walk the path – or not.

Today, we had the freedom to vote – or not. We had the freedom to pray for our choices – or not. We had the freedom to post positive memes – or not. We had the choice to listen to the Spirit speak to hearts – or not. While the seen and unseen principalities are always warring with each other, we always have the choice to believe – or not. Voting is important. But faith? Faith is beyond important.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.d 16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”~Ep 6:12-19 

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ANTICIPATION DAYS

Ya know how you wait and you wait and you wait for special days? Anticipation takes over almost every waiting minute? Lists of things to accomplish before the event occurs? While the pit of your stomach aches just to go to sleep, so you can wake up before it arrives and get more done?

That’s what it has been like in NC this week.

Switching between the weather channel and local news. Walking outside to recheck what might need to be stashed or tied down or chucked in the trash. Checking on friends living close to the coast. Answering notes of messages of concern from friends in other states. Checking on older neighbors. Praying for, not just our coast, but all the other coasts, states and countries that are battling their own natural disasters.
The workers that stand in the gap.
The uncertainty.
The loss of stuff.
The worry.
The prayer.

‘We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act!”~Dan 9:18b-19a

As always – knowing me well and my constant need for reassurance – my many devotions centered on the power of prayer and a merciful and loving Father who not only hears but anticipates our every need – even before we voice it. Oh but He loves to hear our voices cry out to Him, so He waits. Like us – whom He created in His own image – 
waiting – 
anticipating – 
loving – 
completely knowing us to depths of ourselves that even we don’t know.

These are the nights and the days of anticipation. The days of the shofar. Jewish tradition says that every night when sleep comes, the souls rise to heaven and record what they did that day in a book- the real good, the good, the bad, the ugly bad – and then attest to it with their signature.

A part of me likes this idea. Being accountable for my actions was drilled into me over and over as I grew up. Recording them while they are still fresh with joy or heavy with dread – in my soul seems like good parenting. Signing my name in full to the real good, the good, the bad, the ugly bad helps me face what I have done with my day. But in my mind I see something more – something so full of love that my breath catches in anticipation.

When the shofar blows at sunrise, I see a cross stamped – – – completely blotting out my deeds and signature. My tear-filled eyes blink to see His nailed-scared hand holding mine, easing the eternal back into the temporal. Our eyes meet in that silver cord second, and His smile remains within me for the rest of the day. His song singing in my soul as the sun rises above the horizon, and I swing my feet over the side of the bed to start anew.

I am fully known, fully forgiven and fully loved..

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”~Ps 32:1a

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GET WISDOM

Sunshine + rain + some kind of high pressure that is pushing 
that old bag of wind Florence further South = humidity overload to the nth degree.

The head hurts.

It has been a humid summer. Even most native North Carolinians have wiped their brow a few times. Today was no different until about 6:00 when the girls and I stuck our nose outside. The humidity had dropped (a little). Enough that we decided to take our rambling walk down the hill to the neighbors.

I love these walks because the girls are happily exploring, sniffing out new aromas, chasing random squirrels that drop out of a tree, and eventually – checking back in on me. As for me, it is the quiet of the neighborhood and my time to try to listen a little harder to my Father. I have this tendency to talk or think too much. Getting outside – whether walking or sitting on our swing – is my quiet time. Which – believe it or not – is really hard for me.

“The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom.”~Prov 4:7

As much as I like being by myself, I am not a quiet person. I talk to myself. I write stories in my head, Songs may interrupt me at any time. I tend to have this running commentary going on in my head at all times. Meditation is extremely SO hard. If I am quiet – I’m generally asleep within 5 minutes. So listening to God is hard – – – really, really hard.

So today as the sun was setting, I was doing my best to listen and suddenly, last night’s dream popped into my mind. I remembered I was dreaming in French. Now you have to understand that I hated learning French and don’t really remember much. But I understood everything last night – even the song that was being sung by a bunch of dancers in white – except for one. That one had a copper skirt that only showed when she kicked her feet up in the air.

I figured my mind was getting me off track again, so I prayed a little on some prayer requests circling around and tried to still my mind again. By that time, I found a rock that had moss growing on it, and I had to take a picture of it, right? Then the dogs were under foot and smiling at me, so I had to stop and talk to them. Do you see why being quiet is so hard for me?

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the Light of Your presence, LORD.”~Ps 89:15

I tried a couple more times before I finally just smiled up at my Father, shrugged my shoulders, and asked for His forgiveness for not being a good listener, and I swear I could almost hear Him laugh and I was thankful.

Earlier today, I was reading about the shofar blasts that are used during High Holy Days. There is one blast that is a series of 9 notes. The word for it is “teruah”. It is also the original Hebrew word that is used in Ps 89:15. It is usually translated as “to acclaim” in English. Jewish wisdom looks at it slightly different. They say, “Blessed are those who know the secret of the sofar blast…”

Can you keep a secret?

The first shofar was created after God showed His grace, His mercy and His love to Abraham and Issac by providing a sacrifice. Thus, to hear a shofar is always a reminder of His mercy – His grace – His love to all people. A reminder that when we, as a people blow our horn and are able to accept responsibility for our foolishness – our sins – all on our own, God doesn’t have to correct our behavior for us. Instead, He can blow His grace, His mercy and His love over us and smile.

Starting the 4th day of the High Holy Days – a little wiser and a whole lot more thankful that My Father certainly knows and loves my heart and hopefully, as I grow a little wiser, my heart will be a little more like His. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”~Matt 5:8

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17 YEARS

For 17 years, I have worn this one shirt. It is a simple white shirt with an American flag, a bald eagle, the date, 9/11/2001 and one word written in red: UNITED.

Shortly after the attack, one of the teachers I worked with created this shirt for the staff. We wore it quite often that first year, but for the most of the past 17 years, it has just sat in my drawer and waits for that date to arrive.

“Remember your people, whom you chose for yourself long ago, whom you brought out of slavery to be your own tribe. Remember Mount Zion, where once you lived.”~Ps 74:2

We don’t forget where we were on days that change our lives. A father’s first heart attack – or second – or third. The death of JFK – of MLK – of RFK. Graduations. Watching a man walk on the moon. Resignation of a President. First loves – last loves. Death of a parent…parents. Birth of a child – from the heart or from the body……… 9-11-2001.

And somehow – in all of images that superimpose themselves one on top of another – I think of the Bible. If my finite, limited, mortal body puts such emphasis on memorable days, would not a loving Father do this as well – especially since He created us in His own image?

God’s memories of a stiff-necked, stubborn people – one group out of many that walked this earth – written then simplified enough for us to read, speaking in glorious metaphors of his love through each superimposed image – one on top of another. From one fateful decision by one couple under a tree, to a Son choosing to lay down His life on another tree, to the gates of the garden of trees being unlocked, and the return of our King on a white horse to throw those gates wide open.

“I’ve walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I’ve felt the pain of heartbreak
And I’ve seen the brighter days
And I’ve prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held the blessings
God, you give and take away”

The hills and valleys of this life frame our journey. We mark our time by them and – hopefully – grow in wisdom and thankfulness to the One who carved them both. Journeys are never easy. Our emotions rage from one extreme to another. And yet – the blessings of hidden bread and water await us at just the right moments – at just the precise time we need nourishment – at the perfect place in the journey so that we can continue forward.

“No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love.”

There is a song, that my youngest son drew my attention to a few months back. He may be many miles away, and we may not speak often, but he knows his mama’s heart so well. So today as I prepared a little more for that old, bag of wind Florence to hit town, I heard this song twice. It especially spoke to my heart on a day when bittersweet memories were stuck in a repetitive play, and I felt Our Father’s presence so close that I had to pray no matter where I was.

“On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there (to the one who set me there)
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own”
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!

At sunset tonight, a thunderstorm entered our area and thus, the third day of the Jewish High Holy Days began. I look at the question that I have set aside for today and wonder about the vision I see for the coming year. Then I get sidetracked and I wonder what Rabbi Yeshua pondered for his vision during his ministry years? What did his mother, Mary, envision for her life in that coming year as she watched her son set about His Father’s business? The disciples? His family?

You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!” ~”Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells

Sometimes – I think way too much. I just need to turn off the question machine and listen, be thankful, and bend the cranky ol’ knees. After all – 17 years can go by in the blink of an eye.

“Listen Now -Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.” ~Psalm 2:11 

9 11 2018

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A STIFF-NECKED, STUBBORN SOUL

For a couple of years when I was in college, I sang in a choir for the High Holy Days at a nearby Jewish synagogue. It was there that I made the connection that Jesus – Yeshua – was a Jewish rabbi. It’s not that I hadn’t been told that – after all it is in the gospels. He was called, “Rabbi”, and I’m sure that at some point, one of my pastors or teachers must have mentioned it. But it took a Rosh Hashanah and the 10 days to Yom Kippur to make it sink in through my stiff-neck, stubborn self. 
Day after day as I walked into the synagogue and listened to the rituals that had been passed down through the ages, my  eyes opened a little wider and I began to wonder about things that had never entered my thick skull before.
“Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.” Ps 98:1-4
 
It was the first time I heard a shofar. The first time I heard the Jewish language. The first time I saw Jewish words in print. The first time I tried to look through the eyes of the Jewish worldview at the Savior that I had fallen in love with long ago..
 
Jewish oral tradition believes that Tishri 1 – this head of the year – was the day people were created. It continues that this was also the day that Abraham’s Sarah became pregnant, and a few years later – the day when Issac was bound to be offered as a sacrifice. It was only after God provided a sacrifice to replace Issac that He created the first two shofroth from the horns of that sheep. It would serve as a loud testimony down through the ages of His love and faithfulness to all His people.  
 
The LORD remembered His love for His people. The LORD made His salvation known to all the ends of the earth with the sound of the horns. Just as the Father breathed life into His child, man breaths life into the sofar as The Feast of the Trumpets rings throughout the land. 
 
“with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.” Ps 98:6
 
Many continue to use the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as a period of fasting and reflection. A time to look back, and a time to look forward A time to throw out failures and a time to draw a new vision. A time to mourn over foolishness, and a time to sing over successes. A time to look within, and a time to look up to the One who breathed life into clay and continues to love unconditionally.
 
A couple years back, for each of the 10 days of High Holy Days, a question was posed on an electronic billboard in Times Square in NYC. Questions meant to encourage contemplation for the new year to anyone who read them . I don’t know what those questions were, but I do wonder as I start to formulate my own journey for these next 10 days. After all, Jesus honored, as was His habit, His Father’s commands in Leviticus 23 as He walked this earth. It just might do some good for this stubborn, stiff-necked soul as well.
 
“Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
Let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.” Ps 98:7-9 

 

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I CHOOSE

It has been one of those awful, no-good, very bad, terrible days when nothing went right from the minute I left devotions. So these are the days – I stick out my tongue and repeat over and over and over again : I CHOOSE JOY! “For surely, Goodness and Mercy follow me all the days of my life and I WILL dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”~Ps 23

So – hopefully – pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top  –  please???– computer issue fixed, $$ spent, and lesson plan printed. All the million of things that were lost – found. A bucket of cherry tomatoes stored in the fridge. A couple pieces of wood carried back to the fire pit. And – beautiful magnolia blossom from my very own Southern tree to remind me that God knows how I need flowers on such a day as this.

“High times, hard times
Sometimes the livin’ is sweet
And sometimes there’s nothing to eat
But I always land on my feet

So when there’s dry times
I wait for high times and then
I put on my best and I stick out my chest
And I’m off to the races again!”~Newsies, 1992

I think this is definitely a weekend to watch Newsies for the umpteenth time. To listen to Ann Margaret sing those words that still sing in my head on these kind of days while I recite His promises over and over and over.

Be-attitudes to the rescue again.

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”– Matt 5:8

He never promised it would be easy. He never promised that there wouldn’t be days when the head feels ten sizes bigger than it should. Days when nothing seems easy. Days when the Spirit moves you so high in morning chapel, and the evil one tries to pull you so low for the rest of the day.

I choose joy. I choose His promises. I choose to look at my goat pictures tonight – and my magnolia blossom – and sing of His praises forever and ever and ever.

AMEN and AMEN!

And – of course – to end this I had to go back re-take a picture, up-load, down-load because somehow it didn’t get saved the first time. And that is exactly how today has gone. Can’t wait to start a new day with my Father tomorrow. 

Whew! 
“The Son will come up tomorrow…”       [personal images]