Tag Archives: Father

SICK WHINY WISDOM

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind,
Nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child;
Even so thou knowest not the work of God
Who doeth all things.”
~Ecc 11:5

Two weeks of letting sinus pressure build up ✔️
Two more weeks of fun antibiotics ✔️
And now – – – more meds.

This is getting old – especially since all I want to do is work outside, play with the Grands, and do the usual crazy things that I love to do each and every day instead of feeling like my head is stuffed to the gills with yuk. 
Grass needs mowing (it’s half done because I couldn’t stand it any longer and cut part of it). 
Gardens need mulch and more mulch and more mulch. 
Plants need to be stuffed into holes before the dry summer days get here. Begging for water plants is not pretty.
And worse – there is a wonderful swing on our patio calling my name. “Come, come sit on me, curl up in my pillows and write and read.”
AND – I’m tired of taking morning and noon naps. Is that an oxymoron?

Is that enough whining?

Errrr…… I hate when I whine.

There is no explaining why things happen the way they do. All I know is that The Bible never promised an easy time of it. Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Joseph, Jacob, Esther, David, Ruth, – to name a few – and the disciples certainly didn’t have an easy time when they ventured out into the world on their own, even after HEARing His voice issue all of His promises in front of them.

“…behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time. Amen”~Matt 28:20

Luckily, the Holy Spirit continues to speak those words over and over in our souls when our brains are mute and our tongues too thick to work – as we pray for young families who have to introduce topics to their children because of the ugliness of life – prayers for those who stand every day in the gap for the rest of us – prayers for tragedies and illnesses that seem to increase beyond measure – prayers for the souls who don’t know His voice.

In Jewish culture Lag B’Omar is coming to a close and as the light of the bonfires have dwindled to a smolder of ash, we remember that in the deep dark of the world, we can grow light. 
We can still light fires of curiosity with a match of a question.
We can still add pallets of wisdom to nourish growth.
We can stand back and watch the fire soar high above our own meager expectations.
And best of all, we can continue to peacefully rest in the Light that has brought true holy fire to our needy world.

“In the morning sow thy seed,
And in the evening withhold not thy hand;
For thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that,
Or whether they both shall be alike good.”~Ecc 11:6

Now if my ears will just stop popping and the eyes stay open, but so thankful for the promise of My Father and His Son. Praising The LORD in all things on this National Day of Prayer. 

[google images/art work by Yoram Raanan]

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BREADCRUMBS: The End – not!

When you get to the end, subtle He is not.

Now when I am driving down the highway minding my own business, singing in a cracking, raspy voice along with the Greatest Showman CD playing loudly my car, I really am not looking to hear from God. That is when the first car passes me.

It has 3 7’s on it’s license plate. I love 3 7’s together. It is considered by many as a sign of completion. I always notice because I was born on the 7th day, and the parents always had VM777 on their license plate. (Isn’t strange how we remember such trivial things?) My brother has 3 7’s in his phone number. Needless to say, whenever I see 3 7’s together, I have to smile and say a little prayer for all the 3 7’s I know. This is not a rarity. I see 3 7’s quite often. The next car that passed me was something I’ve never seen.

Car #2 had a bumper sticker that said “Blessings!Be!” – Spelled just like that – exclamation points included. Blue background – yellow letters – bold crazy font. I can still see it plain as day in my memory. “Blessings!Be!” is something that I use often when I talk or write to people.  Seeing it on a bumper sticker – exactly the way I write it – made me laugh out loud because I have never seen a bumper sticker like that.  However – it was car #3 that made me begin to ponder and turn off the CD player.

The third consecutive car that passed me on our local freeway yesterday had a license plate that said, “MRS K – LOL”. Now seriously, when I have been called “Mrs. K.” for almost all of my teaching career, how could I not sit up a little straighter and think about all these things?  How could I ignore the crazy randomness of these three cars without thinking about it? It is my nature to ponder strange things. Always have. From earliest childhood till now, I ask more questions than I ever find answers.

“Wisdom is knowing how much you don’t know. So you have to start there and ask God to teach you.” M Batterson, p223, Day 40 in Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge

Tonight, I finished watching Passion of the Christ. I am not strong enough to watch it without many breaks and lots of tears. To think of what He sacrificed for us is beyond my comprehension. But I do know, that everything in the OT from the first letter to the last letter points to the “Son”. In fact – I read somewhere that the first Hebraic letter and the last letter put together spell “ben” or “son”. Everything in the NT – all that Jesus said and did – points us back to the “Father”.

“LORD, teach us to pray.” ~Lk 11:1

After the Grands and Hubby left today, I began digging up old rotten fence posts and rails that had been buried under years of rotting leaves, dirt, and gravel. It was not fun. I got dirty and sore. My knees crackled here and there. I prayed against finding a poisonous snake or spider. Wore my gloves and used a shovel to prod at things before I reached blindly into the mess, However, I did uncover a rather plump, gray mouse, who, strangely, didn’t run, but more or less, gave me nasty looks for destroying her home and moved under the next pile of leaves and wood until it was all gone. She flung one last look at me and wiggled under the last batch of leaves between two tree roots.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” ~Lk 24:5-7

Tomorrow – or even tonight when I walk the dogs off the porch (since in Jewish eyes we are already celebrating Sunday), I will look up to the sky. I will remember to seek Him who is living with my prayers, and when I don’t know what to pray, I will recite the abc’s and let Our Father put them together into prayers He knows I wanted to say – needed to say. 
God knows where we are… 
Even driving down a freeway… 
Even when we are not thinking about Him at all…
Even when we are deep in our own sin…
And in these latter days – God is not subtle – His knock at your door is happening and the Breadcrumbs continue to drop.

He has risen.

Day 40 – Prayer Alphabet

Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do. And if you’re anything like me, my best is not good enough. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, I’m below average. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Keep praying and believing that the best is yet to come!
Mark Batterson   

   [MB image/google image]

BREADCRUMBS: Owl Wisdom

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.”~Ep 6:18a

Finally.

Years of camping – girl scouts and beyond. 
Years of living in the country. 
Years of sitting outside, listening and watching.
Years of listening to them at night as they hooted me to sleep.

Finally – – – I saw a real life owl in the wild.

Luckily, my life hasn’t been devoid of seeing owls. I’ve seen owls many times on trips to the zoo. White owls, brown owls, gray owls and even saw one up close and personal on a writing retreat while it sat on a park ranger’s arm. But I have never seen one as God created them. 
Soaring.
Sitting.
Looking at me.

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”~Ep 6:18b

Our gimpy little girl who isn’t supposed to run and yet never stops running when she is outside, actually startled it as she raced through the woods. I turned to watch what she was doing when the owl took wing to another branch. It was facing the road away from me, and then it did that awesome cool owly thing that everyone loves. It turned its head all the way around to look directly at me.

I know it was only a moment, and yet – it was one of those moments that takes your breath away and lasts for a lot longer. I can still see it. My own personal miracle and a childhood prayer answered in the best way ever. Koay yipped and off it flew out of sight.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.”~Ps 40:1

Lately, I’ve noticed that many times my devotions dovetail each other as if they were written by the same person. And if I’m paying really close attention, I notice that they address those really hard things that I’ve been praying in the Spirit for as well. Duh! Throwback time. Back to the times when I used to sit in choir practice and make mistakes. Hit myself in the head – DUH – literally. While they may have been written at different times by different people, they were inspired by the One who spoke the WORD into being.

“I was dancin’ in the dark when I saw your open arms. Barefoot on the cross, and now I hear you in every song. When my life was still a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but Your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Phillipa Hanna, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

Answered prayers don’t come when we expect them. Often, they don’t come how we expect them. Sometimes, we don’t even know they have been answered. Then again, some may be not be answered until way after we’ve gone home. But all in all, prayers are always answered. We just don’t like all the answers because they aren’t answered OUR way.

Tonight, the kitty that answered a prayer I didn’t know I had keeps sitting on the keyboard batting my hands. For whatever reason, she wants a little extra attention tonight – and I indulge her until she hops down to chase the mousy sounds she hears in the kitchen.

I like to think Our Father God and His Son and Spirit are much the same way. Our prayers sing in Their combined heart – begging for a little extra on some nights – a little more cuddling – a little more encouragement until we hop away to chase after the next thing.

The good news – The Trinity is still there. Waiting for those prayers. Waiting for us to jump up into their laps. Purring a little louder for a little more attention. Kneading their hands with our tiny claws until they smile and sing a new song in our heart with their love.

I look at the breadcrumbs on the road before me. They are no longer abundantly covering the road. They have dwindled to few and far between. The destination that seemed so far away is just ahead. Passion Week – just days away. And I wonder at the journey I have been on for 32 days.

The journey of the owl into my life. A life-long prayer answered. A time to continue to pray with precise language – a time to look forward in prayer – a time to open my eyes to the miracles around me and rejoice. A time of breadcrumbs.

“When I’m dancin’ in the dark, I will raise my weary arms, and thank you for the cross, and the Grace that’s enough for anyone. When you found me in a mess, You saw something beautiful, and I don’t deserve it, but your Grace is perfect. I don’t feel worthy, but your Grace is perfect tonight.”~Ibid.

 

BREADCRUMBS: Thoughts and Prayers.

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

Those are my thoughts. I have many thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts and prayers.

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

A blessing.             

1d22c-you-are-in-my-thoughts-and-prayers-candle-and-hands[google image]

 

BREADCRUMBS: Led by the Spirit

Most of the time I love a lively, joyous, dancing in the aisle style of worship. A happy time to express all the love that seems to overflow out of my heart for my Father, His son and the Holy Spirit. 
King David’s dance before the LORD sets a fire in my spirit. Praise songs puts taps on my shoes.
A cracking voice that can’t help straining to hit the notes in the head as I clean the house, and I can’t think of a better way to start my week.

But there are other times. 
Times when my heart is heavy with the brokenness of the world.
Times when I realize I – we – have fallen far beyond the Tower of Babel.
Times when I want reach deeply into myself and re-connect with the AWE. 
Times when I seek the solemness – the depth of holiness – in worship.

These are the times when I seek Moses’s attitude of stooping over to remove His shoes. Times when I seek the obedience of the Son who knelt against a cold, stony surface – alone – in the dark. Times when I need to feel the soaring spirit of the classical music and holiness of a Catholic Mass to remind me of the Light He brought to us.

These are the times when I immerse myself in the formality of the Mass or the timelessness of a Requiem. Verdi. Mozart. Faure. Bach. Bernstein. They remind me that there is more than just one side of Our Father, and it brings me to my knees in trembling Awe and Reference.

“Rend not your garments, rend your hearts. 
Turn back your lives to me.” 
Thus says our kind and gracious God, 
whose reign is liberty.”~Hurd/Vaughan-Williams  

I was not raised Catholic, but choral music was my teething rattle. Music that sang me to sleep as my mother’s voice blended and soared over me from the stage. I knew her voice and could always pick it out even when I was too little to understand anything else. I spent my formative years emulating her in my own numerous choral adventures. 
And it was there, there where the music flowed from my heart into my spirit. 
There where I found the beauty and strength of My Father’s grace as the world falls apart.

Tonight there are so many prayers circling – for so many people – for a broken world filled with violence, sickness and heartache. Ash covered prayers for “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”~Gen 3:19 
Repristination seems a long way away tonight. 
And I breath in deeply the sounds of Kyrie, Dona Nobis Pacem and Sanctus.
Listening.
Seeking.

Whoever drinks the drink 
I give shall never thirst again.” 
Thus says the Lord who died for us, 
our Savior, kin and friend.”~Hurd/Vaughan-Williams

While the tears are just under the surface now, the awe-filled holiness of YHWH, His Son and the Holy Spirit have brought me peace tonight. I will never understand the evilness that continues to tear us apart. I can’t even understand my own stupidity most of the time.

What I do understand is that if I really listen, I can hear His voice. I can pick it out in-spite of the noisiness of the world that tries to distract. 
While there is ugliness, there is also beauty. 
While there is violence, there is also peace. 
While there is sin, there is also grace. 
We merely have to pick out His voice, and let the Spirit lead us.

“Led by the Spirit, 
now sing praise to God the Trinity: 
The Source of Life, 
the living Word made flesh to set us free, 
The Spirit blowing where it will 
to make us friends of God: 
This mystery far beyond our reach, 
yet near in healing love.” Led by the Spirit, Hurd/Vaughan-Williams

BREADCRUMBS III: The Sigh.

Tiny black notebooks don’t stay tiny for long. Just like all other baby critters, a notebook can grow with a life all unto itself. Stuffed into whatever corner of light found in my varied classrooms, that tiny notebook flourished.  Over the years it became stuffed with teaching ideas, notes from students, a few stories/poems that students gave me to keep, very few pictures, and even fewer pieces of my own writing (believe it or not, this writing teacher needs to write with her students), that notebook grew into one larger version after another.

In other words: one glorious treasure chest of memories.

Not sure what started me on this journey today. Had no plans to dig into this particular treasure chest. After all, my room is still cluttered with enough stuff that I need to organize from my mom’s last box of memories. But there I was my hand resting on a black notebook that had been stuck totally in a back corner of my photo closet with no other explanation except that a breadcrumb had landed on it and caught my eye.

I sighed and pulled it out. Papers stuck in between pages fluttered to the floor, and I laughed. What else can you do when there is some paczki sitting in my fridge on King’s Day or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras or Carnival or whatever you want to call the day before Lent? You stuff your face with one kind of sweetness and fill your eyes with another kind – sweet memories.

One of the things that fell to the floor was a Peanuts cartoon. Linus holding his blanket. Bossy Lucy sitting in front of the TV. A sigh hanging between them. I remembered this cartoon and a note from a student back in 2000 saying they thought of me when they read it. I smiled and I sighed.

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”

It is the beginning of Lent. The symbolic remembrance of a singular journey. A day when a young Rabbi arose before daybreak to walk into the darkness. A custom that started his day and ended his day. A whispered prayer that started and ended each day for him and all the generations of Jews before and after him.

“She-ma yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad…” 
Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One…

Alone time with his Father before he woke the others. A time of reflection. A time to look deep within himself and out over the countryside that waited for his first step. And somewhere deep inside me, I think, he smiled, took a deep breath and sighed.

The Father knew what was in the heart of his son on that first day. That day when Yeshua turned his feet towards Jerusalem. He knew the humanness that pulled at his first born. He knew the atrocities that lived in the heart of His other children. He knew of the love and repentance of others. And – perhaps – like His son – He, too, breathed deeply and sighed.

Two sighs united in eternity. Two hearts beating in two different realms. A Father – – A Son singing notes that could not be expressed in words until the Holy Spirit harmonized with them. A single note with all the harmonics of the universe blended into one focused purpose. A trinity united for one purpose – Grace began its journey toward Jerusalem in that breath – that sigh.

Valentines Day seems to be the perfect day to start Lent. Whether we give something up or give something away or give of ourselves to others, Lent is an active choice of Love enacted in life. A time to set our sights on Jerusalem, take a step into the darkness and pray for strength to walk forward in a timeless sigh towards Grace.

“And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”~Rm 8:26-30 Peanuts 2000 051[google image]

BREADCRUMBS II

“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me…” ~Jn 11:41b-42a

Sleeping-in on a dreary, rainy morning, picking up the novel of dujour, and snuggling under the covers has always been one of my favorite things to do. It just such a rarity these days that it has become a treasure chest memory of days long gone bye-bye.

First off, it is Sunday. I didn’t need to be sleeping in today. I needed to be up for church this morning. Didn’t happen. Instead my internal alarm clock that usually wakes me 15 minutes before I need to be awake, didn’t go off in my head until an hour and a half later. sigh.

Second, the book dujour that always has rested by my side during the night has been replaced by bouncy, smiley dogs. Dogs that are generally staring at me, tongues out, warm, smelly breath in my face, ready to drag me from sound sleep into their active world before I have even whispered my morning prayers.

In other words, my day didn’t go as I planned. So I do what I tend to do when things go awry, I followed the breadcrumbs. Went to my church via internet and worshiped with the people I usually worship with – only from my recliner. In fact, I could even share my pastor’s sermon with you tonight via YouTube. We live in amazing technological times even though the world often seems darker than ever before – literally and figuratively.

Later in the day, I followed the breadcrumbs back to John 11 as I have done most of this week. The last time I wrote, Jesus wept. He wept with compassion for Martha and Mary’s sorrow. He wept for Lazarus who had lain entombed for the past four days . He wept for His people who needed grace; grace that only He would provide. He wept as the foreshadowing covered them all in front of the tomb.

Then, He prayed.

A simple prayer. “Abba, I thank You that You have heard me…” Then in the same poor in spirit attitude that he taught in the beginning of his ministry, he continued his prayer. A prayer that was filled with faith in his Father’s love and mercy. “And I know that you always hear me, but for the sake of this crowd that is standing here I said these things, that they may believe that you have sent me.” ~v.42

Today, the breadcrumbs led me to see the full circle of Rabbi Yeshua’s prophecy from the beginning of chapter 11, “This sickness is not of death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified because of it.” ~v. 4, to Lazarus walking out of the tomb.

And then – – why am I surprised??? – – another breadcrumb appears on my path. God is good and loves to drop breadcrumbs on my path, which is really great since I would be way overwhelmed with a full loaf of bread dropped under my feet.

In any case, my pastor was really stringing pearls today from OT to NT and back again. As he spoke, the treasure chest of memories opened up. Singing this blessing in my church choir – in my high school choir – with the All Ohio Youth Choir – with my college choir – on the marching band bus – on choir tour buses – in cathedrals – under bridges – small groups – large groups – mixed quartets – college party nights under the stars (seriously – that’s the kind of parties I went to in college – and yes, in all other ways it was a typical college party from the 70’s)…

God blessed me many times over today, and more than I deserved. Such is grace. I am so glad this day didn’t go as I had originally planned. God always does a much better job in the planning department.

‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’Num 6:24-26

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #12

“On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

A King’s Day.

Waking up early to bake Mama Mick’s 3-layer choc cake is always a celebratory way to start the day. I pull out my notebook that holds the recipe. 3 note cards filled with Mom’s beautiful cursive from different stages in her life. One cake recipe that is supposed to be the same, but somehow – appears different on every card. I always end up using bits and pieces from each card to make one cake.

Devil’s food chocolate cake.
Choc fudge frosting for the layers.
7 minute frosting on top (that the Grands call marshmallow frosting)

It takes about 3 hours from start to finish. Best yet, when I get to the last part of making the 7-minute frosting, I get to pull out Grandma Mac’s double boiler. It is getting old, and I dread the day when the rust spots in that blue-spotted, enamel pot completely finish the work they started.

Touchstones on a King’s Day.

“On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 12 drummers drumming.”

Drummers drumming are often loud, bombastic, full of sound and rhythm. Seems like the composer of the 12 Days of Christmas had an epiphany for Epiphany. The day celebrated in honor of the Magi who made their way to the infant newborn King in Bethlehem. The first hint that Gentiles would be welcomed and loved as a part of Our Father’s family.

“…the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” ~Matt 2:9-11

Traditionally, the 12 drummers represent the 12 points of the Apostles Creed. 12 points of faith in the fulfilled destiny of the infant king that the Magi found in a house under a star. 12 points of faith that remind us what that baby modeled for us everyday of his journey on this planet. 12 points of faith that we should let resound with rhythm and sound deep into our hearts.

A King’s Day.

A day when I woke up to make a cake. Felt my parents and grandparents’ love around me as I mixed the ingredients. Rejoiced over the gifts and fruits of the Spirit that I have been given throughout Christmas 2017 – even the cold weather and “cold” cough. Brought my gifts to a young lad who is in the early stages of his journey and hugged my “1st baby girl” who also celebrated a birthday this week. Laughed with the Grands as I tried to play Bop-it with a tiny figure named Groot. Drank the remainder of a NYC son-in-law’s perfect bloody mary mix. Re-affirmed the 12 points of faith tonight as I yawned one more time.

It has been a King’s Day to ponder in my heart and file in my treasure chest of memories. A King’s Day.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.”

*the true Christian church of all times and all places

Blessings!Be! on this King’s Day. 

[google images]

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #1

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

My eyes are tired tonight. Early mornings. Late nights. Food, food, food. Chocolate and more chocolate. Forcing my eyes to stay open for just a little longer, so I don’t miss a moment of this blessed holyday.

The MI son and family started it all off four days ago. Their escape from the cold and snow of the north. My latching on to each of them for one more hug – one more moment – one more ear full of deeper voices, more grown-up stories, and wishing so much that they – and my son – were still little enough to cuddle close to my heart. Our two days together passed way too fast.

“Every good and perfect gift descends from above, from The Father of lights with whom there is no change nor a shadow of variation.”~Jm 1:17

Second daughter and hubby made their way to NC on Christmas Day. Eating Grandma Mickey’s shrimp and trail bologna. Cookies. Then the more formal food as we sit down to stuff our faces again. Swapping white elephants as we bartered with the Grands, stole from one to another; and finally carrying home a pair of hand-made, Peruvian dinosaurs to hang on our window garlands.

“Grandma, can I have your dinosaur?” Grandson whispers as we leave, and my heart melts a little more.

Yet – more than the gifts, it is the laughter – the smiles in the eyes of those I love – which sings its song in my heart tonight and stifles another yawn. Whether it is the laughter over “Say Anything” or “Timeline” board game; the Grands bouncing as the explain/ show all their new toys; or the grown-up versions of my baby girls and their spouses sharing conversations that flow over my head; the holyday is made more holy by just their presence and I soak it in even if I don’t say much.

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.”~Is 54:10

In 12 more days, Christmas 2017 will be in the annuals of time. Pictures will be stored on the computer, posted to various social media sites, and “normal” returns to the land of humankind. My grown-up kids will travel to their far-away homes. Grands will return to their various schools – in MI and NC. But my heart – – –

My heart will be full of the blessings we were able to share in each other’s presence for a few days. I cry easily when they appear on my doorstep and when I wave goodbye. It is then I wonder that if I feel such powerful emotions – how much more deeply does My Father feel over all the coming and goings of His children?

It is His blessing in our lives to glimpse just a portion of His love on Christmas. A Father who sent His Son to a far away land. A Father who sent His Son to be raised by others. A Father who loved so much that He sent His Son to remind us of just how much He loves us.

In this the love of God is known to us: for God sent his only Son to the world so that it shall live by him.’~1 Jn 4:9

As I finish up here, I am yawning a few more times. My sentences have been reversing themselves as i type – which happens often when I am exhausted. And as I make my way back towards my comfy bed, I lay my hand on the door, where my “child” is already sleep and whisper a prayer of thanks once again.

Holydays bring their own blessings when we pray. They slow us down. They open our ears and eyes. New songs expand our hearts. The invisible becomes almost opaque. A slender,silver tie to our first family. So as the music begins, I will sing myself to sleep…

“On the first day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me: a partridge in a pear tree….”

[google images]

ADVENT 2017: LOVE #2

“Why is it easier to make Christmas cookies than to make our hearts ready for Christ?”~Ann Voskamp
 
Even being retired, I find I still set myself up to be way too busy before Christmas. Decorating. Christmas crafts. Present seeking. Writing Christmas cards (cards that I started right after Thanksgiving and still am not finished – mostly because I am such a procrastinator) Stockings to finish. Stories to read. Traditions to uphold.
 
And yet – – –
 
These are not the things that prepare my heart to love. In fact – they are the furthest thing from it. These traditions. These crazy things we love to do in this life – have nothing to do with the tiny baby we claim to honor with them. They are things. Things that have nothing to do with the tiny baby that was born in a stinky, dirty stable.
 
It is in our nature to want to be the “wise kings” in life. We want to ride in on our camels or donkeys or fancy horses and chariots. Our embroidered robes flashing our importance. Our jeweled crowns reflecting our wisdom’s rich rewards.
 
And yet – – –
 
I think I am yearning to be something more this year. More than a flask’s aroma of earthly wisdom. A chest filled with rich foods or embroidered cloth. A writ of fancy words. A tree covered in beautiful lights and delicate memories. Or – well crafted stables with perfectly molded people.
 
This year – I just want to be a shepherdess. His shepherdess. A shepherdess out in His field. A shepherdess watching over His sheep. A shepherdess who hopes deep in my heart that I might find that one lost sheep who always seems to wonder off on the darkest, stormiest of nights. A shepherdess alone in His field with His sheep singing His songs.
 
This year – I want to be a shepherdess. A shepherd girl who has ears to hear and eyes to see the impossible. Angels singing songs. Angels bringing messages. Messages that prepare a heart for love. Love beyond all understanding.
 
I want to be that kind of shepherdess. One who brings my dirty, smelly self from long days and nights willingly spent in the field that my Father created. Fields that I – mostly – muddied up by my own vain, foolish attempts to change them or where I lost lambs that He had given to my keeping.
 
That’s who I want to be. A shepherdess whose heart is full of love.
 
Shepherds brought nothing but their hearts to that small, stinking stable. Shepherds believed beyond the power of reason. Shepherds who couldn’t leave their flocks, so they drove them to that same stable where they will bring their pure lambs for the Passover festival. Shepherds who had prepared their hearts long before the angels came.
 
A place where they saw a perfect Lamb.  A Lamb to be judged. A Lamb to be separated out. A Lamb to be sacrificed.
 
That is who I am striving to be as I walk in my Father’s field of life this night A shepherdess in the field of the Lamb who shed His blood for His Father’s people – for His Father’s world. A simple shepherdess who is preparing her heart.
 
“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” Voltaire [google images]shepherdess