Tag Archives: Isaiah

2020 VISION

It is the 5th day of Christmas. It is the last day of Hanukkah. It is two days until New Years Eve. My windows and doors are still open. There will probably be a fan in my window tonight – – – and at 10 o’clock at night – – it is still in the sixties!

“Hey buds below … up is where to grow
Up with which below can’t compare with.
Hurry – it’s lovely up here …”

I have been outside everyday since Christmas singing this song. Can’t help it when daffodils are popping up in a couple gardens, and green shoots are everywhere. Took all I had in me, not to clear away the leaf barriers that will protect the roots/shoots when winter remembers her blustery self and breathes on us some of that stuff that makes us remember why we like spring.

“Life down a hole takes an awful toll,
What with not a soul there to share with,
Hurry – it’s lovely up here!”

Cleaned a new path in the woods. Dug a couple trenches for drainage and to hold wooden borders. (Our one lab girl would dig to China the gardens didn’t have something to keep her out of them). Cleaned dead things out of the gardens.Hauled 4 wheelbarrows of mulch to remove more of the temptation for said lab girl. Straightened patio steps – a little. (I’m not too good at that, but helped it a little). Created new artwork and watched “Eloise” with the Grands as we munched on popcorn, washed down with root beer floats.

“And what a gift package of showers, sun and love
You’ll be met above everywhere with…Hurry – it’s lovely up here!”

To say I am tired and the arthritis aggravated is probably an understatement, but that is why I have my prayer closets, comfy bed, physical therapy exercises and an inversion board, right?

“Thou dost keep them in perfect peace, whose minds are stayed on Thee, because they trusts in Thee. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting Rock.”~Is 26:3-4

I have to admit, the last two weeks leading into Christmas were filled with little anxiety. The last six months – from the 24th to the 24th – have been the hardest challenge in my faith walk. Evenso – blessing after blessing cushioned each step. New promises appeared daily to dry each tear. Friends – far and near rallied round with prayers and thoughtful words. And each night, His wings covered me with His peace. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Christmas was no different – in fact – it was one of the ones I will stash away with other special holy times in my life.

Times spent in His presence: As a 7 year old on a sunny day, lying under an oak tree as the Son appeared between the leaves. A teenage Christmas Eve communion service in an upper room. January 4,1971, when my father held me extra long before I returned to college, and the following Saturday when I got the phone call that he had gone to the room prepared just for him. A few years later, lying on my bed in a small apartment watching the sun set as tears of repentance brought me to my knees once again. A Christmas Eve surprise trip home that brought me a son and a new life journey. Standing at the back of the church on another early January night by myself before I got married. The birth of three blessings in fairly rapid succession but always perfectly timed by Him. My mother’s smile at the corner of the room as she squeezed my hand one last time before she went to dance with daddy.

It IS lovely here.

Hopefully, like me, not all my flowers and bushes will be too stressed out when the cold weather does return. Cold weather and darkness hits each of us at one time or another. Bittersweet days threaten to smother us with the bitter memories, but – that is when His promises – if we remember – pull His wings tightly about us and the aroma of sweetness lifts us into His perfect peace.

Early January memories are coming, but His peace is constant when we are tethered to His Word. His rock solid promises continue to line our paths and support our feet on this new path in the woods. Personally, I can’t wait to open my eyes in 2020 to see what is behind that door.

Best of all – my 2020 vision – get it? – 2020 vision??? Anyway, my 2020 vision is about to see all the possibilities that He has promised. GOD is good – all the time. All the time – GOD IS GOOD. 

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ADVENT #19 2019

“He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!”

There are wonderful things that happen when a lot of odd ingredients are mixed together in one bowl and produce a dessert that is way too sweet on such a ….. “O Holy Night”. Unbelievable singers sharing Christ-mass music. Christ-mass lights twinkling in every room. A kitty curled on the arm of the chair. Puppies stretched out under the feet. Devotions that just seemed to hit the sweet spot. Yum!

“Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;”

Didn’t watch the news. Didn’t mess around on the computer. Instead – I played with some rocks, seashells, glitter, and candles while I listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Kristin Chenoweth. Earlier, as I was looking for something else – I found my dad’s journal from his time in China during WWII. He only wrote a few entries. But from the moment I opened it and saw his handwriting, I could hear his voice and feel the love he always showed his family.

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,”

The journal must have been passed out as a Christmas/New Year gift to new units arriving in China in 1946. It had facts about The Republic of China. The National Anthem. Monetary conversion charts. Key phrases for a soldier – written in Chinese – just in case needed. I was impressed when I found the map key he had made so that he would remember the notations on the small yearly calendar in the front of the journal.

74 years ago, my daddy was on a ship – a BIG ship – being socked with 40 foot waves at some points, heading for a far away country with people, animals and sights that he couldn’t begin to imagine. He was on that ship for 5 weeks according to his notations. He spent Christ-mass far away from his wife and little boy. He didn’t get Christ-mass cards or letters until February 1946. Just a small town fellow heading into the giant world of the unknown. Hard to imagine in our days of instant communication, isn’t it?

“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!”

Don’t know why I happened upon this particular Christmas special on TV or why I found Dad’s journal just before I sat down. Don’t know why I never read Daddy’s tiny book before now. Don’t know why I decided to make some last minute gifts of Light. But as I read – and as the Christ-mass music circled around, the devotionals blended into this mixture thoughts and feelings as His presence filled this small home with His peace and grace. I have a feeling that I will continue to ponder all of these things until I tuck myself into bed and commend my soul into His keeping before I close my eyes to sleep.

“Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!”

Some nights are just like that. Nights that make you cry – then smile – then pull out the treasure chest of memories to feel blessed beyond measure. Peace reigns and Christ-mass is only a few days off. Time to:
“…Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.”

BTW – Kristin Chenoweth’s gowns are beyond classy and fabulous if you get a chance to watch this special. They are almost as gorgeous as her voice – especially when she sings “Mary, Did You Know?” or “O Holy Night”. And like me, she thinks Sandi Patti is pretty cool.  How about that? 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”~Is 55:8-9  large960_blur-5a5a26143a23b1ba57e9d591bb21fdbb

https://oklahoman.com/article/5649803/video-pbs-special-christmas-with-the-tabernacle-choir-featuring-kristin-chenoweth-airing-monday

ADVENT #17 2019

“A smile is laughter’s whisper and has its roots in the soul.”~ Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

After my dad had his first heart attack, we stuck pretty close to home for the rest of the summer. There were only 3 stations on the TV. No computer or phone to mess with while sitting in an ‘easy’ chair. But there were lots of things that were so much better – conversations with family and friends dropping in (and they always brought good food to eat since mom didn’t like to cook), tons of books, newspapers and magazines shared, not to mention – music of all kinds – via friends bringing their instruments, radio, and records playing on the stereo. Smiles were everywhere in that stormy time of life.

Storms in life bring changes.

Tonight, instead of banging my head against a wall, I went searching for a Catholic mass on TV. I’m not Catholic, but when the chaos of my world tries to blow out my candle light, I need to close my eyes and let my soul fall into the cadence of songs and traditions of worship that have been passed down through the ages. It is there – in that place – between breathing in [Yah] and breathing out [Weh] – when I remember His presence is never gone; It is in that breath where His voice is never silent; His light never cloaked – – – it’s just me that has forgotten to breathe. So easy to inhale deeply and enter His presence with Thanksgiving.

“Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits.” Ibid

After the mass, a priest asked for prayers for the canonization of Bishop Sheen which in turn was God’s wink at me tonight. I could see me sitting on the floor, leaning against my dad’s leg, listening to mom sing in the other room, and watching to Bishop Sheen on TV. Sometimes, Dad would nudge me with his knee if Bishop Sheen said something I should remember – or something that made him laugh. Dad was intentionally making his own weather in the storm that had changed his life, and as he did so, he was teaching me to color my own skies when the storms buffet my horizon and threaten that Light that is within all of us.

Most years, the holy-days season brings such joy, but occasionally those storms of everyday life overlap and darken the horizon whether we want it to or not. This is one of those years of me. But if there is one thing I learned at my father’s knee, it is this – that I can color the skies of my emotional universe and be thankful to the One who waits for me between breaths.

One of my favorite teacher/preachers likes to say: “I do not live by sight, hearing, or feelings, but instead, by every word breathed by the mouth of GOD”. I like that – A LOT. When the skies darken, it is my mantra, and then I repeat the Ps 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

A week from tonight, Advent calendars will be completely done for 2019. Kids will be squirming with excitement and straining to hear a sound of bells in the distance. Churches will be bathed in candle light. And last of all, stockings will be hung by the chimney with care. But for some of us, the storm clouds are overhead, and  choices need be made. So as for me, I choose to breathe. Breathe deeply and find that place between breaths to remember. No matter what chaos may be swirling, Christ-mass is one of my favorite times of the year. And if I remember to stand, look up, I can rejoice to see a sky colored by many, many treasure chests full of memories of joy and love and most of all – the grace of a newborn baby’s cry.

“Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”~Is 9:6-7 mom's nativity 1940's [personal image]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #10

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #10
 
“…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”~Ecc 3:8
 
On the 10th day of this transition month, my heart is full of gratitude for the Veterans who have stood in the gap for the freedom that the rest of us enjoy.
 
From the Revolutionary War to all the skirmishes that continue in our war-torn world of today. there are those who use their talents, gifts and blessings to honor those who have gone before them – whether out of love for country or love of the principles – or family tradition – they sacrifice what the rest of us do not: time, family life, easy continuity, safety, images that haunt their steps all their days and nights……
 
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”~President George Washington
 
How can I not be thankful and full of inexpressible gratitude to those who volunteer to serve – not drafted – not paid a lot of money – far from home and all its comforts – willing to lay down their life for me? How can I not bow my head and offer a prayer of thankfulness for those who serve now and those who have served in the past?
 
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” — Abraham Lincoln
 
While women may not have always been on the battle lines, some have always sacrificed in their own ways out of their own talents, gifts and blessings. Almost all wars have accounts of women working behind the scenes – serving as spies – healing those injured – making uniforms and flags – traveling to bring much needed food, water and supplies. In fact – it is partly due to a woman poet, Moina Belle Michaels, and the use of her talents, gifts and blessings, that we wear a poppy to honor our Veterans and have a day to honor Veterans of all wars. Besides working during the WWI, she was moved to work with disabled Vets when they returned home. It was her poem that struck a chord and began a movement that was eventually separated from Memorial Day and named “Veterans Day” by President Eisenhower in 1954.
“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”~Jn 15:13
So as I prepare to transition into November 11, my heart continues to hope that someday, we won’t have to walk this path any more. But until that day – I am thankful for the watchman – watch-person if we want to be PC compliant – who stands on the wall of freedom – their sword ready by their side, their eyes always watching – waiting – and prepared to do whatever it takes to protect this precious gift of choice – FREEDOM.
 
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”~Is 2:4

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2019 #4

When the kitty is sick with a cold and just wants to curl in a ball on my lap, I can’t do much else than hold her and pray. After all, it is what I have done with her since she came to live with me a year and a half ago. Way too young to be abandoned on the side of a street, she shouldn’t have survived this long. Her siblings didn’t, and I really didn’t expect her to be the one to live.

I am thankful that she did.

She is still tiny. Tiny enough to lay on my lap as I type on my laptop and be comfortably stretched out. Tiny enough to curl on the back of my chair while she sneezes and snuffles, rubbing her head into the blanket that comforts us both. My heart aches for her, so I move her food and water a little closer hoping to tempt her to eat something.

Yet – through it all – I’m still thankful. Thankful when she turns to me for comfort. Thankful, when she eats a little. Thankful that today, she seems a little better than yesterday. Thankful that the Father trusted me to be her guardian.

“From them will come songs of thanksgiving
and the sound of rejoicing.”~Jer 30:19

How often does Our Father feel this? How often does He hold us on His lap? Rub our back? Whisper a prayer of encouragement? Move the manna and spring of living waters just a little closer for us?

Somehow, I feel as if He does it a lot more than we realize – – –
and I am thankful.

As I finished devotions today, preparing for getting on with my everyday life, I ran across this verse that I had used a few years ago in a blog post:
“The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.”~Is 58:11

I’ve been doing lots of reading in the WORD. More than I have ever done in my life. Intermittent fasting as well. Praying a whole lot more than I ever thought possible. His refiner’s fire is like that as He molds and challenges the new shape that is emerging. I see links between everything that happens during the day. A path outline that He has designed just for me to notice. And – while I do not live by sight, hearing or feelings, I definitely feel His wisdom seeping in through those crevices as the day progresses.

“It [is] the best of times, it [is] the worst of times, it [is] the age of wisdom…” to paraphrase Dickens.

And through it all – I am praising My Father for holding me in His lap, encouraging me with His Grace-filled songs of love. He rubs my back and moves the water and bread just a little closer to my reaching hands. He dries my tears as I reap His songs of joy.

For this – – – I am truly thankful to Elohim Chasdi.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” ~Is 58:9-14  just be held [google images/House of Maria art]

RIGHTEOUS ANGER

Wrestling with GOD is not easy – – – especially when you don’t know you are wrestling with Him. I had no clue – no comparison on which to logically understand any of what was going on inside of me. The restlessness. The questioning. The internal tsunami that seemed to continually wash over me without end. I only knew that today as I broke the communion wafer and drank the “wine” – wisdom managed to bridge all the barriers I had erected and showed me the face of it all.
 
I was angry. Not angry at life or the people or the circumstances which presently surround me. But angry all the same. Angry with my Father. Angry with my GOD. Angry about the fiery lesson that seemed to be burning all around me.  I don’t like fiery furnaces at all.
Why me?
Why now?
What are YOU thinking?
What possible glimmer of goodness can come out of this bog?
You know I HATE this, right?!?!
 
“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”~1 Sam 2:2
 
It is a hard thing when you realize you have been wrestling the One who loves you best. The One whom you love best. The One who is beyond knowing and yet known. The One who is I AM. The One who is Abba Father.
 
Hannah wrestled with this same anger in the Bible. She wanted a child in the worst way. She prayed and prayed. Her husband tried to give her material things to make up for it. The priest accused her of being drunk with her sorrow. When in reality, Hannah was praying out her anger and sharing it with the only One who knew the depths of that anger and pain of the situation. The only One who could understand the depths of all her emotions. The One who would be the Rock beneath her feet until the wisdom of the time could bridge the anger barriers and restore her peace.
 
That was her wrestling.
 
That was when I AM met her. Lifted her out of the miry bog and put her feet upon Himself.
 
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.~Matt 7:13-14
 
Our Father is so good. Wisdom manages to break down the barriers eventually when Truth is spoken. A fire quenched. A deep breath drawn. A trail of tears dried.
 
The mind was – and is still – boggled with the illuminating presence of peace. And yet – as if to confirm that it is of Him – He sends at least two or three confirmations in quick succession to reassure my stumbling mind. A video devotional. A big brother’s phone call. Anger is okay. God understands it. Our Father reaches out to reassure in response. The Son smiles and holds the trembling hands. The Spirit nudges.
 
Righteous anger is something a Christ follower has trouble with in this life – – especially when one has spent a lifetime avoiding “anger” and “out-of-control” situations. However, righteous anger is the exact opposite – it is total control. It is that realistic,
“no-blinders-on” look at a situation and responding in the most simple, basic, organic way possible with the only One who knows every side, every word, every action, every thought, every motivation that led to this point in time. A totally honest – if angry – conversation with the Father who loves us best.
 
And that is what happened today.
 
I’m not sure if any of this makes sense. I’m not sure why I am sharing these thoughts – except – that inner nudge that says – “Share”. So here it is. The rather focused thoughts on the wisdom of my day. Just let it be known that wrestling with GOD is not my favorite thing in the world. The last couple of days have not been fun. Yet as I cuddle this new Wisdom Baby close tonight, and as my eyes grow heavier, I can feel two hands pulling a soft, pink blanket up around us both. (Why it is pink I have no idea – but pink it is.)
 
We are warm.
We are safe.
We are at peace.
And tonight, I realize in that hidden fount  of life deep within me
that I need –
I must rejoice in ALL things –
ALWAYS!
 
“Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Is 65:24 and “This third I will bring through the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”~Zech 13:9
anger   [google image]

RATIONS 100 DAYS #4 2019

“When He giveth quietness…”
 
The quietness of tonight – the moon rising between the trees around our driveway – the soft lights of the patio – made for the perfect evening. The clouds had finally cleared a way for me to see the moon and enjoy it for a short time – at least until the mosquitoes got a little too nippy.
 
It was a busy day. Best of all – I think I’m in love with my new computer. It is smaller. The key action seems perfect for aging fingers. The transition was relatively easy. Bad thing?
I still can’t access my files.
 
The I’ve been in the midst of re-writing some blog posts from a couple years ago that cover a 1942 prayer journey called “Rations 100 Days”. The messages appear timeless, and just like the first time I spent 100 days in prayer over this booklet, the “rations” seem to speak to my life in 2019.
 
God winks and gratitude fills my eyes with happy tears.
 
“When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?”~Job 34:29
 
These tiny “rations”, tailored made to ride in a military pocket, were written when a new war was tearing apart the world once again. A war that killed more than we want to remember. There are many numbers in this life that we choose to ignore – those killed driving a car or killed mining for lithium or killed in abortion or killed in natural disasters. It is a world filled with selfishness, division, danger and strife. But today’s “ration” reminds its reader that all of it – all the narcissism, fear, hatred and tribulation – is external when we know the Father. And when we turn the chaos over to Him on a daily basis we find His peace – even though we might need to do this on a minute-to-minute basis.
 
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him.”~Is 26:3
 
Carbonite is still running in the background. 8 hours of downloading and sitting at only 15%. Dang – I have a lot of stuff stored on my computers and even when it is done, I will probably have to call to have them help me access it all easily. I’m fairly tech oriented but not at all savy. Especially will miss my files again when I go to attach a picture or two to this post. Then again, it is just an external annoyance as the “ration” author pointed out so many years ago.
 
That gift of inner peace – well it has been with me all day as I got a hug from one of my GCA students – laughed with a friend in a phone conversation – “talked” with several OH friends who wanted to remind me how loved I am – and had a Father who pulled aside the clouds for the Lab girls and me to watch the “almost” full moon rise in the East.
 
Rations for 100 Days may have been written almost 80 years ago, but just like the “Book of Life”, its message still circles me and enriches my life beyond measure.
 
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”~Jn 14:27
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WARM, BUTTERY BREAD

When the Holy Spirit is nudging, and I am plugging my ears, Our Father and His Son, Yeshua, will often step in and slap me upside the head with blessing after blessing just to get my attention.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”~Ex 14:14

Last night a neighbor drove his mower over and not only did the road frontage, but also did the whole back yard. All day I had been internally wondering how I was going to fit everything in that I needed to get done this week. I wasn’t anxious about it, just pondering what kind of schedule I needed to implement so I could get to school and get some more books on the shelves and do all the things that seem to make up my day.

Later, I cried because that is just the way He works in my life these days. He knows that I hate traveling in canyons with their high steep walls. In canyons, the sky seems so far away, and daylight is overcast with shadow after shadow. This summer has been one long, huge canyon for me, and He knows it. But as always, He has provided a river of blessings that flows at the very bottom of that dark canyon to up-lift my dingy self.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”~Is 41:10

As I struggled over devotions, I read and re-read the WORD given. It just seemed to not fit my day, and I wondered what I was missing this time. So I gave up and put myself in His hands as I closed my eyes for this somewhat long and uneasy day. “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” was one of the last things I thought before I drifted off to sleep with kitty curled into my side and dogs snoring at my feet.

That is when I had a dream with its roots in a memory and the devotional that I had struggled with earlier.

When I was 7, we moved to a new house. A house where my father could walk to work and where we could all listen to the trains rumble by our house every few hours. The best thing – it was a neighborhood filled with kids my age. Mostly boys, which I didn’t appreciate until much later, but there were a few girls. One was a girl named Annie. Her family brought us freshly baked bread that first day when we were hot and tired and excited. I don’t think I had ever had warm bread like that – ever. Other neighbors and relatives joined us with other treats. Impromptu parties were not unusual to my parents. But it was always Annie and that out-of-the-oven, buttery bread that I remembered.

Last night, I dreamed of that warm bread again. Sweeter, better than I ever remembered. The Bread and Annie were both there. She asked me, “Is it really that hard to understand?” I laughed because suddenly the devotional made perfect sense, and I woke up still smiling. In fact, I can still taste that bread tonight and see Annie’s laughing face.

The Bread of Life. The Living Water. Sometimes, we just need to close our eyes. Be still. Rest in His hand. Let Him carry the battle in the canyon journey that we really don’t like. And – eat some warm buttery bread.

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ “~ Jn 6:48-51 

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ROOTS BY THE STREAM

Zilch.

Nada.

Nothing.

Absolutely – completely – totally – accomplished 
– – – not 
– – – one 
– – – thing.

And you know what?

After four weeks of pushing, driving, writing, devouring books, moving mulch, painting walls, hanging pictures, changing life around in every way possible – – – I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m more than okay with that. I sat on the patio swing and read the Sunday paper. I fell asleep on that said swing until the sun’s heat woke me up. I vegged out doing some word puzzles. I sat on the couch with the lab girls and rubbed their bellies after one of our many excursions of ball searching in the woods.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in Him.”

There has been peace beyond any of my understanding in today. Mostly, because in the past few years (hmmm – decades??), I haven’t had a day like this. A day when my mind has been still. A day when books, crafts, goals are ignored. A day when my thoughts just enjoyed the things in front of me and not even looked over the hill to see beyond that.

What is that?

I don’t do this.

I’m am used to being busy and keeping things running.

But not today.

Today I just let it be. Wet grass before the sun was up. Hummingbirds hovering around all the flowering plants and feeders. Moths landing on my finger and then on the mulch. Cardinals. Sparrows. The elusive blue bird. Squirrels and bunnies dodging away from the lab girls. The last day lily of the season. Tomatoes ripening. Magnolia blooms opening. Squeak of the swing as the sun sets. Hiss of a cat when she loses her butterfly before coming in for a cuddle.

“They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.”

In fact, I don’t think I have done this since – once upon a time – long time ago when I laid under a maple tree in a small yard at 421 Riverside Dr. For whatever reason, today has been re-visitation of that day. That original day came the same summer my father had his first heart attack. It had been a long month for this “Daddy’s Girl”. Days of only being able to see him through a hospital window. Days listening to my mother cry at night. Days when I first grappled with things beyond my ken. Days when I needed to hear my father’s voice in my ear and to feel his arms lifting me into the air again.

“It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.”

GOD is good like that. He knows what we need before we do. On that day long ago, He let me hear His voice as he lifted me high beyond those maple leaves, so that I could see the clouds and feel the same peace I’ve felt today. It was the first time on this earth that I recognized GOD as My Father.

“It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”~ Jer 17:7–8

This morning when I woke up, I was just lying in bed. Stretching. Saying good morning to the lab girls. Saying good morning to GOD. Head full of all plans and things I was going to get done. Finish the last few chapters of the book I am reading. Read another devotional chapter. Play the piano. Move a few wheelbarrows full of mulch. Paint a wall or two. Go to church. But even before I got out of bed to feed the hungry lab girls, He was smiling and showing me that day under a maple tree.

And sometimes –

It is just good to be still; to listen to His voice; to let Him lift you beyond the leaves to see the clouds and to let His peace cover you. I really need to do this more often, Father, I really do. Thank you for always knowing exactly what I need and when I need it the most. “You are good, good, oh-so-good…You are good, good, oh-so-good…” 🎵

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.”~ Is 51:12a   

KA-CHING

The aging or gender app has certainly brought a lot more “seniors” into my feed this week. It has also made me laugh to see my kids look older than I do – at least in my eyes I still look pretty nifty for being in my 69th year. (Hmmm…did I just date myself by using the word “nifty”?)

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
I AM He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”~Is 46:4

Monday was a ka-ching kind of day. Moved 6 loads of mulch. Walked the dogs, or should I say, played ball with the dogs as they lost said ball in the woods 2 times, and I had to go help them find it. Walking them is always a ka-ching adventure – especially when they get excited and try to knock me over trying to get the ball first.

Then it was time for the wonderful, always-look-forward-to yearly check-up with my specialist for blood tests and all the awesome things they have on a medical checklist for the elders of our culture. I am not about to list it all here, but let me say – my doctor is thorough. Everytime I go in he spends a good half hour with me but this time – all he could say as he left was “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it! I wish I could see the turn around in all my patients like you’ve made.”

Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

Take that tick disease. It may still be in the background (along with that “wonderful” mono virus that I got in high school), but for now – it was a jump-up-and-down, smile-on-my-face, ka-ching day.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit; 
they will remain vital and green. 
They will declare, “The LORD is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in Him!”~Ps 92:14-15

Yesterday, was also full. Walk. Dogs. Mulch (just four loads today as I am almost out of this load of mulch, and it is way too hot to want to do more – even at 7 AM in the morning). Met a couple friends for lunch and just enjoyed some laughing and learning new things.

When I got home, the dogs were ready to walk again – even in the heat. I love my neighborhood. It is like a very small version of the town I grew up in so long ago. Neighbors call out greetings and sometimes just stop their trucks to chat for awhile. Others mow my roadside grass because they know I don’t have a riding mower. Others play with the lab girls when we meet on our walks. So yesterday as a thank you, I made refrigerator pickles, and in a couple of days will deliver them.

Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

“But on this forty-eighth birthday I opened the coloring book, and someone had erased all the beautifully drawn lines.”~Lysa Terkeurst, p73.

And then there was today. It was a hard day. Old things popped up that made me reflective. Thoughts strayed and that made me sadder. So I took a nap. But what woke me up was a refrain of a song singing through my dream and shining in my eyes. Our Father sends light into the darkness. My cleaning lady came today as she does once a month, and she shared her sadness with me. I knew then I was right where supposed to be for such a time as this. Even with the language barrier, we were able to communicate about Our Father’s goodness together and the refrain sang again in my heart.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”~2 Cor 1:3-4

I don’t like this dark journey that I am on. “It Wasn’t Supposed To Be This Way”. But this is the journey that God continues to bless almost every hour as He goes before me or stands beside me. I feel Him in every step I walk with the dogs and even sitting in my chair as I write. It may be dark now, but I am not fearful or dismayed because that Light continues to shine until morning comes.

Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it is bursting out! Do you not perceive it?”~ Is 43;18