Tag Archives: home altar

VISION 2020: Ouchie

Ugh – I wasn’t going to write tonight, but the nagging voice in my head won’t be quiet no matter how much I argue about being tired and having spent too much time already typing with a defective hand that is all His fault. Well…not really. It is my fault. When you are given a mandate for your gift, it really is not wise to go outside that mandate. That being said, GOD is good and reminds us when we fall down.

It just may be an ouchie reminder.

My mandate is that I am not to comment on worldly things – such as politics. I am to write about His joy – His peace – His love – His blessings. I am to teach as I have taught for the past – almost – 50 years:
Colorblind.
Truth based. (notice: I did not say fact based)
Light giving.
And sometimes – with a little humor/weeping thrown in for free.

Not easy for this very A type – teacher personality. We are used to controlling a classroom of 30+ kids – being an authority on whatever – offering opinions on everything that is thrown our way from those instigator kidlets trying to get us off topic. However, my mama and brother trained me well in opinionated thoughts.
I have opinions.
Strong opinions.

Sarcasm has always leapt to my mind before I even have a chance to think. It was the first classroom wisdom that I gained. Sarcasm is ineffectual as a tool to pass on facts/wisdom/anything. It alienates and decimates those who hear/see it. I outlawed it in the classroom long ago and I avoid it like the plague now. But it still leaps out in my mind at times when I read some of the memes and political stuff on social media.

“I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (v.6-8)

In the past few days, I have returned to this chapter often. The image of a garden – hmmm – perfect setting since the garden was the first place man spoke to GOD. Jesus praying. In a garden. GOD made man speaking to GOD the Father. Jesus, Yeshua, praying.

Praying for me.

I think I love this passage the most because He says the mandate that rings in my ears even when I sleep. “I have given them the words you gave me, and they have received them.”

The Word gives us WORDSHis WORDS that the FATHER gave Him to give to us. Words that created the tiniest part of an atom. Words that breathed into our nostrils the Breath of Life. Creative words that we carelessly throw out so that we might exhibit our own version of truth –

Today, I allowed my fingers to ignore those things that I know that I know and typed a response based on worldly wisdom instead of Truth. Bandwagons are not what I am supposed to ride right now. That might change – but for now – Noper!!! So I typed. Turned off the computer. Stomach aching. I went outside. And out of nowhere, a wasp landed on my left hand and stung me three times – from the wrist to the index finger joint.

I am left-handed. Hint immediately received.

One sting I could understand – if I could see a nest or some reason for him to be around. I looked at him and couldn’t figure out what was hurting and moving down my hand. When he was done, he flew to a near-by rosebud leaf and disappeared under it. My hand is now beginning to return to normal – kinda. It is still swollen but the tingling, itchy pain is receding. Best of all, I can almost see a knuckle.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.” (v.1)

I needed to be reminded that Yeshua is praying for me – for all of us – especially right now. He is crying with us. He is knocking at the door. He is calling us to our home altars. The WORD continues to give us the words, so we need to open our ears, our eyes, our soul – and then – open our mouths – or in the case of social media – our fingers in response.

“Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me.” (John 17:11-12a)

How great is that? He prays for our protection. He prays for our salvation so that we may see the Father, face-to-face. He prays today as He prayed 2000+ years ago. Truth of the WORD does not change but is everlasting to everlasting.

So my wisdom of the day – don’t get stung by a wasp. OUCHIE!! It hurts. Better yet, remember His Truth. It is often said: “Words matter”. Even so, we forget that on social media forums – and sometimes with our friends – and sometimes in our families.

If Jesus, Rabbi Yeshua, thought praying was so important that He chose to do it in the darkest night of His life, I know that praying is still the most important thing we can do in these dark times.

[artwork by Greg Olsen/personal image]

2020 VISION: Birth Pang Prayers

The heart is heavy tonight. As a former teacher, Almost every day, I have a messages waiting for me when I log on to social media. I have read the fears and questions of those who lost their jobs in the past few months; fears and questions of parents struggling to teach their children and work from home, fears and questions of lonely seniors who miss their families and struggle with health issues; fears and questions of youngsters (stretched over a few decades) trying to juggle jobs, relationships divorce, confusion; fears and questions of first responders/ military who are struggling with what may lie ahead for them; fears and questions of teachers wondering what the classroom will even look like in August. The messages are from black, white, and all shades in between of friends who are rocking back on their heels – trying to find their balance as birth pangs ripple across the mid-back of their country.

The spine, despite its outer bony strength, weakens and shudders under the constant strain of inner shock waves electrifying every neuron throughout the rest of land. And yet – the Spirit nudges and fills me with a peaceful joy as tears drip down my nose. The promises echo and reset the heart as I write back to those who write me.

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.” (v.1-3)

I’ve been getting up 3 days a week at 5:30 a.m. since the salt water pool opened at our gym. I’m generally there by 7. Bouncing, stretching and talking to new friends for an hour and a half before I head home. The Choc Lab girls aren’t so impressed, but I give them a couple extra treats so they still love me. This week, I upped it to 5 days a week. Songs echoing through my head as I bounce or soothing me as I relax in the hot tub.

I have found – exercise is one of His blessings when the heart is aching.

It has been rainy for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes cold. Sometimes humid. Overall, not great days to be outside for me or the Lab girls. None of us like it, but we find ways to cope. I spend a lot long time with the Father. I play the piano more than once a day as I work on a new song. I wrote a couple of new things. I read a few chapters in my books. I spent time at my home’s altar.

Around the High Holy Days of 2019, I was moving things around in the kitchen and when I was done, I found I had made a small area with all the things that were part of my Christ journey – a home altar. I have had many altars in many homes. A place where my Bible rested. A place where I sat small tokens of the faith journey. Generally, they have been by my side of the bed. I still have one by my bed. A small light. A clay sculpture I made in 7th grade. Treasure from my Grands.

But in this past year of change, I needed one that I would see often throughout the day. The plastic cross and calico lamb that I got for my first Easter. A barn siding shelf that hung in my MIL’s kitchen made by her son. Pictures that hung in my parent’s and grandparents’ homes. Lights. Prayer concerns, requests and thankfulness. His promises. Treasures my kidlets had given me long ago.

An altar where the Living Water and Manna of my life centers my focus and helps me breathe through the worst of the birth pangs.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (v.4-7)

I am exactly where I am supposed to be even though -sometimes – I often wish I wasn’t. I am constantly checking and double checking myself with the fruits of His Spirit as I write and before I speak. I am trying to open my ears and eyes as I listen or watch others. I am waiting more than I move. I am trying to pray unceasingly to the I AM that lives within me – within all of us.

As my home altar – borne of birth pangs, has become a focal point of change within me and within my prayers for the people Our Father has placed in my life and for this country where I was born, I continue to find the stillness and peace of my Fortress even midst of birth pangs. And I find – that the “desolations” sprouting up around me, and around those I care for, are shaping me – and all of us – to be ready for His Revival. A Revival where He will be exalted among the nations and all the earth.

I just have to wait a little longer, pray a little harder, and share his fruits with all who are in my sphere.

“Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Ps 46:8-11family altar 2020 [personal image]