Tag Archives: God

THE HEDGE

In 1966, The Singing Nun won the Oscar for Best Musical. Greer Garson, Chad Everett, Debbie Reynolds, Ricardo Montalban – and one of my favorite movies. Tonight seemed to be a good night to watch an old movie. A movie filled with music, stars I loved to watch as a child, and tied to many memories in my treasure chest.

“Dominique, nique, nique, over the land he plods
And sings a little song
Never asking for reward
He just talks about the Lord
He just talks about the Lord”

The album played over and over on the little gray stereo that sat on our porch until eventually the scratches outnumbered the the playable rings of melodies. Loosely based on the true story of a nun from Belgium who achieved the number one Billboard ranking for her song “Dominique” in 1963, the movie hints at the serpent that waits in every hedge. Waits for an opening into his world.

“…and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”~Ecc 10:8

In real life, the Sister who became famous in 1963 broke the hedge and the serpent bit. Pulled between the two yards, the “Singing Nun” became more and more discontented. In the movie, the Sister reached her hand out to break the hedge, but turned away at the last minute to return to what had led her to build her tent in the first yard.

I have to admit, I loved the Debbie Reynolds’ version better than the real life story. The Singing Nun never had another song reach the pinnacle of “Dominique” and eventually, she drifted from the minds of all the people who lived in those two yards. The venom of the serpent blinded and deafened her to the peace of the covenant that was still there surrounding her. She just forgot the ancient prophet and the words of a resurrected rabbi that still cried to her to bend down and wash her eyes in the pool to find His peace.

“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

Life is like that. We build those hedges around what we love – – hoping to keep the serpent out of our yards and far away from our tent. Yet sometimes, we forget and break that hedge by our own choice. It is then we need to pull up the mustard plant, harvest the seed into our hand, close our eyes and walk back through the hedge to the pool by our first tent.

God has promised He is always there. Yeshua Christus repeated the promise – “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” – the humble – the broken – the poisoned – the outcasts from their own yard – the ones who tore down the tent and broke the hedge but somehow – by faith – remember the faint rambling of an ancient promise – “…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matt 5:4

The songs from the movie are still singing in my head. My eyes are heavy while the growing kitten is already out for the night (still mad that I gave her a bath today to kill some fleas). Our Chocolaty dogs are complaining because I haven’t taken them back to the coolness of the bedroom (but they are happy to be clean once again – for a little while), and I open my memory chest. A memory chest that holds the mustard seed necklace my parents gave me when I was a child. It is time to yawn, stretch and spend some time with He who always fulfills His promises.   [Google images]

“Grant us now, oh Dominique
The grace of love and simple mirth
That we all may help to quicken
Godly life and truth on earth.”~
SOEUR SOURIRE, NOEL REGNEY (Jeanne Paule Deckers)

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

What can I say – it’s a High School Musical type of night.

Some nights are just designed to kick back, forget the aches and pains, the troubles of the world, and just sing – (come on – I know you know the tune) –

“We’re all in this together
And it shows
When we stand
Hand in hand
Make our dreams come true.”

Were you clapping your hands? Moving to the music? Couldn’t you just see – somewhere – in a magical moment out of time – the world rolls out the marching band – joins the curtain call – harmonizes chordal nuances until the the body just can’t sit still – fingers tapping, toes dancing – souls reaching hand to hand – making “all of our dreams come true.”

Can’t help but smile, can you?

And yet – – – some of you are sighing.

The world’s people could choose to dance instead. We could choose to find the hidden talents in each other. We could choose to not bully others to think the way we do. We could choose to throw away the team playbook or the dramatic clipboard. We could choose to reach out our hand to those standing beside us.

We could choose to sing in harmony and create our own movie musical – – a World Musical – – a Garden Musical.

“For we also from the first were without intelligence and without conviction. We were deceived and Servants to changing lusts and were employed in wickedness and in envy. We were despicable and hating one another.” ~Tiitus 3:3

It is easy to get caught up in the sniping these days – the undermining – the possessing of things – the bullying in relationships – the anger boiling in our bellies. Much harder to to be still and listen. Listen to the words. Listen to the pain. Listen to the dissonance. Listen to the soft voice inside of each of us that is still singing… “We’re all in this together…”

“But when the sweetness and the loving kindness of God, Our Lifegiver, was revealed, Not by works of righteousness that we had done, but by his own love [when] he gave us life, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of The Spirit of Holiness, Whom he poured upon us richly by Yeshua The Messiah,Our Lifegiver, That we would be made right by his grace and we would be heirs by the hope in eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7

Tonight, kitten is burrowed deep in the corner of the chair beside me – purring and occasionally stretching her claws to knead my leg. Dogs are snoring and Hubby has already retired into the coolness of our bedroom. Since i’m yawning, I know I’m not far behind all the other creatures of our quirky home. But tonight, after prayers have been said and I crash on the bed, I think I will go back to that magical moment out of time once again. When I will close my eyes, listen to the harmonies and remember…

“When we reach
We can fly
Know inside
We can make it – – –
We’re all in this together…”~Nevil/Gerrad

ERRR….CRAP!

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

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

Errrr…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEAUTY OF THE EARTH

Ever had one of those days with your nose buried in a book, and you just don’t want to leave it alone…but you just have-ta?????

It is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I just love to read. I love learning new things, pondering them backwards and forwards and inside out. It can be a fiction book – like right now – Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddons – a Southern writer who blows me away with her in-depth narrative. A type of writer that you don’t want to skip even a sentence, let alone, a paragraph. She constructs a temporal porthole into the depths of the mid-1900’s South that has been dissipating with the influx or Northerners and the times of which we live.

How better to understand the culture of this new place I’ve chosen to plant roots? Re-reading earlier narratives to see an even older culture of the South is pushing at the back of my mind – even though I’ve read many of them before in college and high school, I may just have to re-read them. Hmmph – – -perhaps I knew that someday, I would have a need for a basic understanding to this culture. And if that premise is so – can’t wait to see how my scroll unfurls in the future since I’ve also been endlessly fascinated by books on Native Americans and the Holocaust.

Like usual though I can’t spend my entire day reading. First, I got interrupted by checking on the eldest daughter’s dog – only to discover Redding (aptly named for her beautiful coat) had caught a squirrel and was proudly carrying it around for all to see. Couldn’t quite catch her to get a picture of that moment, but did get one when she laid it at my feet.

Then, off to get the youngest Grandson who bibble-babbled all the way home about many things including a request that I write the makers of Cracker-Jack and tell them that he wants prizes like the ones Grandma used to get when she opened her boxes of Cracker-Jack. Can’t say I blame him. My prizes were definitely much better than the stickers that he gets every time he tears open a bag. Stickers that are usually the same.

I guess I have just added one more assignment on my to-do list tonight. I wonder if Cracker-Jack has a FB page?

By the time we ate lunch, read one of my old Golden Book about a shy, little kitten (which I just gave to him), watched lego cops endlessly and humorously catch lego bad guys, the neighborhood duo was at the door and Grandson was flying out the door. At least he remember to fly back in and hug me goodbye with a “bushel and a peck” phrase in my ear and a holler at his father that he was going to the neighbor’s.

I gathered my things and smiled. That part of my past hasn’t changed in my daughter’s neighborhood. Kids running outside – cutting through the neighbors’ backyards (who don’t seem to mind in the least) – bikes lying at their appointed drop-off places, laughter and screams from the creek (crick, to some of us) or tree house – and games of pretend that internalize their thoughts and perceptions of this crazy world…not to mention…the give and take of everyday interaction with friends.

It is good to be interrupted sometimes.

When I come home, I tackle the reading again. Pulling out old books – reading copied notes – googling new sites. Right now, it is the resurrection of Christ that keeps me seeking. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I have noticed little things that I never noticed before. I’m sure that somewhere or at some time – a teacher-preacher mentioned these things, but they got lost in the crevices of the overall amazing change that shook the world 2000+ years ago and my innate awe of Our Father.

No matter how many times I’ve read the story – the verses – the words – I continually learn something new. Perhaps, after yesterday’s blog, I should say – that the scroll continues to unroll a few new things to enhance the goodness that I see in my day at this moment. However, I am glad I have books and websites to research. Can’t imagine how much more complicated it would be to have to unroll a scroll to find that tiny piece information that I can’t remember or hadn’t noticed before now.

So – with head spinning with new thoughts – I went out and collected some of God’s beauties. Put them in one of mom’s old vases while absorbing the song of the birds and the panting of tired dogs in the stillness of a late Southern afternoon. The smells and sights after a few days of clouds and rain always seem like a miracle in themselves. That old hymn rose to my thoughts as I arranged the flowers, and I felt blessed all over again.

“For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.”~Pierpoint/Kocher [google images]

SCROLL OF LIFE

Been a busy couple of weeks. Visiting days at the Grands’ schools. Planting new starts for the terrace gardens. Reading umpteen things that I find totally absorbing. Not to mention, Easter and the end of Lent. And – – – loving every minute of it.

Didn’t write much this year about where I was heading with my spiritual journey. I’ve said this before, bu I think it has just been my time to absorb and reflect on the blessings of this past year. I am somewhat healthier. Our new NC home feels so much more like home. Plants are flourishing – just like Hubby and I am. It has been that way since my 100 Day Ration and Advent writings – 140 days of writing and then a restful time by the sea. A time of enjoying the present moment and absorbing all I can as my scroll unfolds before me.

You see, the Jewish word that is usually translated as book in English is “sefer”. Sefer means scroll. Thus – “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your BOOK before one of them came to be.” [Ps 139:16] Would actually be – “…were written in Your SCROLL…”

Books are ‘a whole ‘nother thing’ as Mama Mick used to say. We can easily flip pages in a book. We can look back. We can skip forward. We can even take a peek at the very end so we don’t have to wait for it to unfold. And – while you can do the same thing in a scroll you can only see pieces of the one scroll that you hold in your hands.

“…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ “~Lk 4:17-21

God wink moments happened to Yeshua, the man, and to all those people attending service that morning. He had to unroll the scroll the attendant handed to him – not the scroll He had choosen – and find the place that fulfilled the promise of that moment. Not the moments that lay in the past. Not the moments that would come in the future. But that moment. That moment when a promise was fulfilled. A wrinkle in time being lived to its fullest.

I like to think that this is what I have been doing in the past few weeks. Living my wrinkle in time. Talking with shut-ins. Running errands for those who are struggling to stand without falling. Playing with Grands that won’t be tiny munchkins much longer. Reading and printing things to absorb. Praying for family, friends, and country in my war room.

Speaking of which – this week – I cleaned off the door to my war room. All my prayer lists and Bible verses are filed away in one of my notebooks, so I can look back at them occasionally and see where I’ve been. Good use for a book. I seem to need that reassurance every now and then. A acknowledgment to myself, that my path – while somewhat crooked – is becoming straighter and easier to walk.

Today, I hung 3 new verses on that door. Verses that will reassure me on the dark days and challenge me to keep my path straight through the rainstorms of life. And, as the scroll unfolds a little more, I will write up a new prayer list which will be full of colorful names and requests. I like using different colors because that is the way Abba created everything – – – full of rich hues, vibrancy, diversity. Full of a little heaven on earth.

It’s funny. As I read back through today’s musings, this definitely wasn’t what I had in mind when I started to write. God winks are like that. The scroll unrolls – words leap off the page and into my head – and I just marvel at the path of thoughts that He plants with His WORD and Spirit. As always, I can’t wait to unroll the scroll a little more and see what He has planned for me this day.

Whatever it is – it will be for my good. [google images]

TWO PASSOVERS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10th DAY OF NISAN

I. Did. Absolutely. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
And.
I.
Loved.
It.

Well – – – that is probably a tiny exaggeration. I did the usual devotional time. Wrote my daily letter for Lent. Cleaned the kitchen. Threw sticks for dogs. Mowed the tiny bit of grass that we call a yard. Visited with my egg lady and her daughter with the broken ankle when they delivered my huge duck eggs – even got some extra eggs for the Grands to color next weekend. (Can’t wait to see their faces as they color these huge eggs) Cooked super. Yawned and climbed in the hot tub.

Seriously though – didn’t read books – didn’t plant one thing – didn’t pitch any mulch – didn’t research any of those things that randomly popped up during the day – didn’t walk the dogs on their usual hike – didn’t run to the store – just didn’t do a lot of things that I usually do. Just a lazy, stretch out kind of day.

Not only a lazy day – but a day completely misnamed in my head. I kept thinking that today was Sunday. Ever do that? A computer glitch in the brain labels the day and there you go. It is SUNDAY – even if you aren’t doing all the things you normally do on Sunday. Not once did I think it was Saturday until I got out of the hot tub tonight and turned on the TV. Then it dawned on me that not only was today NOT Sunday, but tomorrow was not just any Sunday.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday.

“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb.”~Ex 12:2-3

The Western Easter calendar and the Jewish calendar do not always mesh. Sometimes the dates are just off. This is one of those years. Passover starts Monday at sunset on the 10th of Nisan – April 10th for us. The 10th of Nisan is important to Passover. It is the day families would walk to all the pens of sheep around the Temple Mount. Pens full of Lambs that the priests had declared pure and without blemish. Lambs that waited for be chosen as a Passover Lamb. Families would choose the lamb that would atone for their sins on the 10th day in the month of Nisan.

Guess what date it was when Jesus rode into Jerusalem?

“They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”~Matt 21:7-9a

Yupper – the 10th of NIsan. Rabbi Yeshua – declared pure and without blemish by John, a priest of Aaron’s line – climbed upon a donkey – just as Issac climbed on a donkey – just as prophesied by Zechariah – and was brought into the home of all Jewish people with great celebration and acclaim. Jerusalem. The holy mount where a stumbling man named Abram looked up and finally gave his heart in faith completely to El Shaddai.

The 10th day of Nisan.

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”c
“Hosannad in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”~Matt 21:9b-11

[google images]

UNENDING QUESTIONS

Today I ventured out into the world beyond our quirky house. Seeing as how Hubby doesn’t like to grocery shop, and my slight flu/cold/whatever virus was somewhat better, I ditched the comfy clothes and headed out to see if the world-beyond-our-neighborhood had changed.
 
Lucky for me – it had not, and I found plenty of good food with relative ease. Not so lucky for me is I was really, really tired when I came home and have felt kind of crappy ever since (so much for the virus being completely gone). Lucky for me, I will get good night’s sleep and wake up feeling even better.
 
Like usual, when I am tired and wanting to crawl into a fetal posture to recover but can’t because I’m still 20 minutes from home, I distract myself with mind explorations of things that have been at the back of the filing cabinet of consciousness. Like: I wonder what it was like for Yeshua in those missing years.
 
It is one of those questions that has been around for a very long time, and I’m sure that I’m not the first one to ponder it. The first time I remember thinking about it was in my pre-teen bedroom. Beside my canopy bed was a night stand. On that nightstand, sat a tri-fold cardboard “stain glass altar” that I made one year in Summer Community Bible school. In front of it, I set my childhood Bible. And – at some point or another – I found this verse.
 
“But Yeshua was growing in his stature and in his wisdom and in favor with God and the children of men.” ~Lk 2:52
 
And here we are some 55+ years later, and I am still wondering and trying to picture it. We know he grew in stature. Did he have best buds that he hung out with after he worked all day with the wood? Did they laugh and joke? Hang out somewhere and eat? After all it said he grew in favor “with the children of men.”
 
Was it irony or a mystery that his hands grew strong, calloused, scarred as he worked with wood? Shaping it. Sanding it. Spending time to find the beauty that it held inside. Wood that would eventually bare the stains of his blood and hold the nails that pierced those same hands and feet?
 
Did he find the pleasure that a fur-baby can bring in this life with nearby shepherds or a dog that cuddled by his side at night? Did he laugh with his family daily? Did he shake with grief or indecision when his earthly father grew sick? Was he tempted to stop it? Did his family ask?
 
Did he dance at weddings? Sing while he was working? Pray constantly? Lay back in the grass on a Sabbath and rest in blessing of the day? Play jokes on his younger sibs or friends?
 
We know from his experience at the temple when he was 12 that his wisdom was manifesting even at that age. Did he continue to debate with the rabbis in Galliee? Did people seek him out even before he declared his ministry? Did he struggle with illness, fear, love?
 
There are so many nuances to life. Yeshua – a name that comes from the base word, yasha, which means “to save, help, defend, preserve, to make free, attain victory, heal, or bring to safety”, had many nuances. He was God. He was man. He was born of woman. He experienced life with all its complexities, sorrows and joys.
 
Love wondering and someday – I hope to ask Him, face-to-face, but tonight – I think I am saying prayers, curling into my pillow and putting all these questions out of my mind. Because – like David – I know:
 
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in Him.” ~Ps 40:1-3
[google images]

21 DAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter. Grace. Salvation.

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

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

MARCH MADNESS

Strange to think that when we wake up tomorrow it will – officially – be Spring. We can walk out the door, and it will be sunny, warm and perfect. Right?

March Madness is never like that.

“March is the month God created to show people who don’t drink what a hangover is like.”~Garrison Keillor.

I laughed today when I read this. “In like a lion – out like a lamb” popped in my mind right afterwards. I laughed again. Spring and March Madness seems to go hand-in-hand with twisty, twirly weather, and this March seems to be no different. February spoiled us this year with its extended warmth and lack of snow. March is just doing what it always does.

Rock n’ Roll. True Madness.

Yesterday, we had a warm beautiful day when out of nowhere, a wind whistled, rain belted the quirky house while the sun continued to shine. Dogs and I stood at the back door, sun in our eyes, wind blowing small limbs from the trees across our back deck, and then we looked at each other. That swirly wind had just blown the kitchen window screen out of its resting place, across the sink and onto the floor. 10 minutes later there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The dogs barked, and I laughed again.

Jewish wisdom says that manifestations within our world represent much more than just the things we can feel, smell, see, and touch. They are the physical representation of the essence of our linear time references…past, present and future.

Solid – fixed in place – not changing. In rabbinical thought, it is like our past. The past is fixed in place. It doesn’t change no matter how much we would like it to do so. Best yet, it is understandable when we look at it because all our questions are answered.

Liguid – malleable – displaceable – just like the present time frame. One decision can change the shape, color, direction, flow. All we have to do is put our finger in – take a step – make a choice. The questions pull at us – is it changing for the worst – changing for the best – why is it changing – how is it changing – – – will I like it?

Gas – nebulous – foggy – just as the future sits in our thoughts. It’s kinda there. We can almost see its shape but not quite. Our questions are now legion. Uncertainties shift each time we look at it. Just trying to grasp it can be frustrating and illusive.

“For it is by faith that we walk and not by sight.”~2 Cor 5:7

I am not a good student of languages, but I do enjoy trying to figure out Hebrew just for this reason: it seems to link all the important things of our lives through each separate letter of the language – grouping them into words and hidden hints of more beyond what is seen. The word snow in Hebrew, שֶׁלֶג, shows that just as snow goes through all the stages – gaseous vapor to solid to liquid – so too do humans go through all the stages of – past to present to future. Those who have come before affect us just as we affect those around us and eventually affect those who come after us.

My fallible mind looks at that one word and wonder how could an ordinary man somewhere – way, way, way back when – come up with that grouping of letters that understood the scientific process that snow goes through and link it into one entity?

March Madness is more than basketball. It is the madness of trying to decide if we should dress in layers, carry an umbrella or pull out the heavy coat again. Can I leave my windows open all day or should I turn on the gas logs? The Hubby wonders if he should ride the motorcycle or lock the four wheel tires in on the truck. That is why I just havta love Spring. It is His physical reminder that we need to not only walk by faith but live by faith.

Trust the plan.

Trust the Creator of the plan.

Trust that March leads to April when the broken seed burst forth with new life.

Trust the Son that was broken and burst forth with new life.

Trust that there is a reason to love the craziness of March Madness. [google images]