Tag Archives: Isaiah

THE BLESSING CUP

“I will give you the treasures of darkness…”

The first time I read this verse was in college. Like God’s first people, I was roaming a desert. A hot, dirty, messy and full of dangerous serpents desert. Hissing. Snapping at my heels. Catching my eye with all their flashiness serpents. Drawing me deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

“…riches stored in secret places,…”

Perhaps it was the prayers of my parents – perhaps it was because a job as a church soloist kept my eyes and ears opened – – perhaps I was just lucky I wasn’t completely pig-headed – – – or –
– – perhaps it happens to all desert wanders – – – – that there are always moments when water bubbles up, manna drops from the sky into a blessing cup and a voice calls out. “Here I AM! Here I Am!”~Is 65:1

“…so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”~Is 45:3

I found a blessing cup today when I went to Goodwill. I immediately reached out to touch it. It was a 1976 copy of “The Living Bible”. The soft green, leather was the same as the one that traveled with me when I wandered my own personal desert in the early 70’s. It had been a gift from a friend who had been lost in that desert with me. Over the years, it somehow disappeared from my bed-stand.

The blessing cup of my past had re-appeared. God never forgets His promise no matter how minimal or how large. Smiling, I needed this reminder today. I also wasn’t surprised when it kept popping up in my devotions and daily wanderings for the rest of my day.

His WORD is full of stories that remind us of this. One of my favorite “His-stories” is that of Zacharias and Elizabeth. You probably know the story – faithful, loving, Godly couple who never lost faith even though they had never had their dearest prayer answered – – to have a child.

Here’s the Jewish wisdom behind story. Zacharias is actually Zicharvah in Hebrew. His name means, “God Remembers”. Likewise, Elizabeth is Elishevah. Her name means “Oath of God”. When they married and became united as one, their names gave a message, “God remembers oaths of God”. Better yet, when Elizabeth gave birth, they named him, John or Yochanan, which means, “Grace of God”.

The blessing cup is full tonight. The daily water turned to rich, sweet wine. Drinking it in, I close my eyes and seek His presence. God remembers His promises and brings grace to the world.

It is good to find treasures in darkness – riches stored in secret places – because it is then we find the blessing cup. Blessing cups that are always waiting to be found even in a desert filled with serpents. [google images]Patricia Polacco Blessing Cup

“HERE I AM!”

“I live. I write. I watch old movies. I read. I watch the sunset. I watch the moon rise.”
― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
 
In the heat of a lazy, humid summer day, the above quote strikes a note. Hubby was up early working on the pergola. I got up (somewhat later) walked the dogs, did my God challenge thingy,. and, amid household chores, devotions, writing and doing a zillion and one laundry loads (working in heat and humidity is not conducive to wearing the same clothes for a whole day), we watched a couple of our favorite movies – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Field of Dreams (which is based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella ).
 
We’ve seen each several times. We know the plots. We know the dialogue (mostly). We know where to wait for the laugh to bubble up inside of us. We still get the goosebumps when Ray turns to see his dad for the first time on the baseball field. We feel tears swimming up to back of our eyes when Oscar turns the swing over and discovers the note his dad left for him to find before he died during 9-11.
 
No surprises – just an enjoyable way to pass some time.
 
The same can’t be said for reading the WORD. I have read chapters and stories and verses many times over, but when the Holy Spirit is at work, verses jump off the page and knock my logical brain for a loop. Verses that I have read more times than I can count, brushed over with a yawn, skipped with a glance – “suddenly” rock my world sideways with wisdom that I had no idea was waiting for me to find.
 
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.”~Is 65:1
 
How can I not respond to a Father’s heartbroken cry, “Here I AM! Here I AM!”?
 
As if I could hear His voice ringing as I read this verse over and over. I read it in several versions. I copied it for my war room door. The wondering continues even now as my eyes grow heavy and yawns more frequent. Could Our Father be any clearer of how hard He has tried to catch our attention?
 
This is not an easy chapter to read in its entirety. The middle has the reader squirming in their seat because dealing with a righteous Father as disobedient children who continually rebel and reject.is not really one of those things any one looks forward to encountering. Yet – just as the Father in the story of the Prodigal, this chapter ends it with His eternal promise that is repeated over and over in both the Old and New Testament.
 
“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,
and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!
And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness.
Her people will be a source of joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and delight in my people.
And the sound of weeping and crying
will be heard in it no more.”~Is 65:17-19
 
You may have noticed that the past few days, I have been ending every post on FB with the hastag: “Praying for Charlie Gard”. Charlie is an infant in England who has a serious disease. His parents have raised money to bring him here where several hospitals and doctors have offered to help treat him. Treatments that have helped other children with the same disease. Instead, England is refusing to allow him to leave the hospital and want to let him “die with dignity”. Please pray for Charlie and his parents. Please pray for the wisdom of righteousness to prevail. Please pray. to hear His voice crying out always, “Here I AM!” Here I AM!”
 
 

NUDGES

Journeys are definitely interesting – especially when they are layer upon layer of the same theme. Since retirement, I’ve been on a crazy journey of revival. Revival of obedience. Revival of faith. Revival of love. Revival of body.. Come to think of it – it actually started before I retired and suddenly – today when I was writing a FB response to a couple of people about “revival”- it finally fell out of limbo and aligned itself with one of those moments that almost seem like it was highlighted in a blinding white..

God has been answering my prayer – – – and in His usual form – – – not at all in the way I imagined.

“For high have the heavens been above the earth, So high have been My ways above your ways, And My thoughts above your thoughts.”~Is 55:9

Before I retired, I kept getting these nudges to pray for revival in our country – in our world – in ourselves. When God nudges sometimes, they ain’t so gentle. His nudges can appear as a soft blink in the cosmos of the brain where everything snaps into place and . other times – – – more like sliding full speed into a snowman that has become a solid block of ice.

The great news is – He is always there to pick me up when I bounce off that sled, face first into the snow.. I may have a few dents in my head, a broken nose, and a lapse in linear time, BUT He’s there. Dusting me off. Wiping off the blood. Carrying me until I can stand. Answering prayers.

God nudges are just powerful things that are meant to move us forward in our faith journeys. Revivals are the same thing. A powerful force meant to move us forward in our faith journey.

“He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.”~Ez 9:9

On July 2, 1776, the thirteen colonies voted to declare independence. The debates were over. The wrangling of aligning all pro’s and con’s to sway the pendulum was pushed to the back of the tables. Voices fell silent. A silence weighing the change of balance in the world as they knew it. A revival of of a dream that started in a Garden.

Document signed. Copies to be made and posted. John Hancock broke the silence by reminding them all the price on their heads had doubled.

Samuel Adams reminded them about the foundation upon which they cast their vote: “We have this day restored the Sovereign, to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven and …from the rising to the setting sun, may His Kingdom come!”

Restored sounds an awful lot like revival.

Journeys tend begin with an idea, a thought, a nudge. It all depends on whether we follow the nudge or ignore it. I’m thankful that our Founding Fathers didn’t ignore the nudges despite of what their logic told them would happen. Since I don’t think I am anywhere close to being as brave as our Founding Fathers were, I’m thankful that I had no idea of how God would answer my prayers for “Revival” because my logic never saw all these answers to prayer. But now that I’m here – emerging out of the density of my own logic – I am continuing to pray in the name of Yeshua Christus for revival – for our country – for our world – for ourselves.

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”~Jn 14:11-14 [google images]

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)

FETTERS

This time of year always makes me smile – A LOT.

Just before Memorial Day, the fetters would fall away as I ran down the steps – grade card in hand.
Freedom.
Dog and cat days.
Bicycle and adventure days.
Endless days of reading book after book from a library that seemed endless.
Play days with friends in the neighborhood and cousins across town.
Hot days before air conditioning and whirling fans.
Singing days with my heart sister.
Wading days at Riverside Park.
Hammock days – covered and screened-in Marine treasure – waiting for the storm or the softness of evening.
Days and days of “No more teacher’s dirty looks”

Who knew I would be a teacher with a dirty look as autobiography deadlines were missed?

The idea of living my adult life connected to the school calendar definitely appealed to my inner child. Even now, as I watch the Grands in MI graduate from high school and finish the final essays in this part of their lives or the tiny NC Grands count down these last days in Montessori, I still feel that smile bubbling up inside me as well. It helps off set some of the bittersweet things that I know come with the beginning of June.

“Surely, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”~IS 12:2

My last HMS class of 8th graders have posed for their final pictures at the high school. The last set of autobiographies have been stored on a shelf once again, and my connecting tethers to education are loosening even more. I have a feeling I will miss those tethers.

A few months back, I ran across a prayer. It was a simple prayer. A powerful prayer that caught my pen and found its way to the back of one of my note cards. Yesterday, as I was hanging some of those cards in my prayer closet, it caught my attention and the Spirit nudged hard..

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”~Robert Pierce,

Jewish sages teach that according to scripture there are two kinds of people that don’t mind being out-done by those they have been blessed to nourish – – – parents and teachers. When a parent watches their child stand successfully on their own or even build a life beyond the parent – the parent rejoices. In the same manner, a teacher who loves their student – smiles beyond measure when that student takes that knowledge and wisdom to soars beyond the classroom – – even when they soar even higher than the teacher.

My mom was like that. She rejoiced when I signed my first teaching contract. It was the first time, I remember being humbled by all her sacrifices. She cried over the phone as I told her how much I would be making because it was more money than she ever made in her life. I remember being dumbfounded – getting off the pay phone in the rooming house I managed,- and sniffling my tears into my Boo-dog’s fur. Don’t get me wrong, my heart was not really humbled yet – but in that moment – I understood the brokeness of God’s heart the first time. It is what I remembered as I prayed this prayer today.

June still makes me smile – just not in the same way. 2017 brings a mingling of those bittersweet memories and covering them in gold. Yesterday – a graduating class and graduating Grands. Autobiographies re-stored on a shelf. Tomorrow – a mother who danced into heaven 12 years as I held her close and whispered a song. The day after tomorrow – a 66th birthday to celebrate for this elder.

Different fetters falling away.
Tethers loosening.
Smiles to share.
Gotta love the freedom of the first week of June – no matter what year.

 

ASHES

The winds pushed through the warm house carrying the constant, varied notes of the multiple wind chimes that encircle our quirky home. When the hail began to pelt the tender plants trying to arise from their winter brokenness, the fearless labs suddenly wanted to be under my feet. Thunder boomers gave way to brilliant flashes, and I looked outside at the early darkness.
 
The ashes of a day drawing to a close.
 
Lent.
 
The period of time when a man pulled his mantle about him and began the final portion of his own days on earth. He knew what lay ahead. Perhaps not the exact ways, hows or wherefores. After all, He was still a man, and it was imperative that the perfect lamb be a lamb of this world in all ways The Spirit of the Father rested within the mantle of Rabbi Yeshua’s shell for the past three years and he pulled it physically and spiritually close around him as he turned his feet towards Jerusalem.
 
The Holy Spirit of God on earth – outside the tent of the temple – inside the soul of a man.
 
The storm has passed by our house tonight. The wind has gentled and only an occasional note blows through my open window. The fearless girls have drifted back to their beds and the ashes of my day are dwindling down to just a few tiny pieces.
 
As always I wish I could have been a bug on his shoulder, a child at his feet, a flower that he picked to give to a friend. To hear. To see. To sit at his feet. To feel his hand on my head as he prayed for a field full of seekers. A rabbi full of wisdom and the Spirt of His Father.
 
The Bible describes some creations that surround the throne of God praying and praising continuously. I used to wonder, ‘Wouldn’t that get boring?’ Wisdom whispers, ‘Wrong’. And I laugh. There is evolution in all things. Learning. Sharing. Praising. Knowing.
 
When the perfect lamb walked towards Jerusalem, he understood that the curtains would be torn and the outer doors of the court would open on their own as a testimony to all who had eyes to see and ears to listen. No longer would the Spirit of the Father be separate. No longer would they stand outside the golden doors waiting for priests to open them. No longer would a curtain separate them from the Holy of Holies.
 
Rabbi Yeshua wore his mantle and talked to the disciples of things they did not understand yet, but they would. He did miracles that they could not do, but they would. He told them to be salt in the earth, and they would. He talked about not faltering, and they didn’t. He talked about sharing love, and they went into the world and changed it forever.
 
As the Perfect Lamb made his way towards Jerusalem, he knew that the ashes of the sacrificial fires would be blown into the annuals of His-story and used only as a reminder of his last journey. Dark ashes spread across the forehead. Dark ashes that speak of an ending. Dark ashes that show the remnants of a dying former life before the glorious birth of a new day – a new covenant.
 
Tonight as I wash my face, I will remember. I will pray.for understanding. Pray for miracles that are yet to come. Pray to be salt. Pray that I don’t falter. Pray that I continue to share love and change the world in His holy name. Blessings!Be!
 
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart
until justice prevails throughout the earth.
Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction”~Is 42:1-4
[google images] [art work entitled: “Jerusalem” by Yoram Raanan]

FOR SOME REASON

Tomorrow, the “shop” will be started – again.

Tomorrow, the tree crew will be here to start widening the distance from our home to the woods around us.

For some reason – it is all – finally – coming together.

We thought all of this would done by now. We actually thought we started this process three weeks ago. Land leveled. Permits in hand. Inspections done. Materials bought and sitting in the trailer. But for some reason – the answer was “Nope” – “Nada” – “Not happenin’ “!

Although, Hubby isn’t as calm as I am about it, we really have quit questioning timing issues or even questioning when we have to throw out our entire set of plans and consider something completely different. We did it last year when we thought we were building a house and ended up buying a fixer-upper. We did it again and again and again this year as we worked on this house.

Our timing is not always the perfect timing. Our plans not always the perfect plans. Funny thing – when we back up and open our eyes a little wider, we suddenly begin to see the flaws of our plans and our timing.

It was rainy and windy the past few weeks. Not ideal weather for building or taking down trees. The new plans are – while not as fancy as we thought we wanted – they are more economical and just as practical. The land – that we thought was perfect enough – is even better now.

I’ve talked about this before, but for some reason, I feel pushed to talk about it a little more tonight. Madeleine L’Engle grew up with a father who had serious health issues from WWI. Often as a child, she would pray, “Dear God, do whatever is best for Father, do whatever is best.”

For some reason, this prayer struck a chord in me. It’s childish simplicity resonated initially on one level, but reverberated deeper and deeper into the depths of my seeking soul. I tend to think it has something to do with Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

For some reason – this prayer has made it into my daily war room action, and before I close my eyes at night, it is one of the last prayers on my lips.

“Do what is best, G-d, do what is best.” For our land. For our home. For our friends and family. For our country. For our world.

Tomorrow – the tree guys will begin the process of removing trees.

Tomorrow – a new building will be erected.

Tomorrow – for some reason – must be the perfect time with the perfect plans – – – at least we are praying that is so. [google images]

INAUGURATION 2017

Old habits die hard.

Patriotic habits die even harder.

Teacher habits die hardest of all.

Today is a red, white and blue kind of day. Put on my flag earrings. Looked for my mom’s flag pin – even though I knew it wasn’t there. Debated on pulling out her red, white and blue sweater vest, but opted for my warmer red vest instead. Tossed scarves around on the floor until I found my flag one and away I went to pick up the Grand.

Inauguration Days have always been on my radar. The first one I really remember is President Kennedy’s. Probably because there was about the same amount of tension in the country then as there has been this past year. Not only Republican vs Democrat, but catholic vs protestant and cold war vs hot war.

No one in our house was happy after that election and yet.. Mom shrugged her shoulders and said she knew some “good Catholics” (you have to understand, she had this teensy bias thing passed on to her  from her parents since her father had been kicked out of the Catholic church for marrying a protestant which by-the-way – made it very hard for me to date a neighboring Catholic boy in high school). Dad said Kennedy was a war hero, so how bad could he be? They didn’t like the change, but they didn’t fear it either. They had faith in God and faith in the American process.

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

Hope.

When Moshe spoke to the Israelites – hope grew.

When the angel spoke to Mary – hope blossomed.

When John sat on an isolated island – hope resurrected.

Hope.

After kinda listening to the inauguration and catching the Grand as he launches himself in mid-air to my arms, chattering with the Grand, hugging on the Grand and reading Pete the Cat with the Grand, I at least got to hear – somewhat – the transfer of power. Nothing new under the sun, but I listened.

Protests and destruction.

Presidents and statuaries.

Parades and pomp.

I did my teacher thing when I got home as if I was still finishing up my speech unit for the umpteenth time. When one starts a speech unit in November, it usually winds up around the end of January because of all the holydays. I love technology on days like this. Come home and – on demand – watch President Trump’s speech as I hold his printed transcript in my hand – just like I did for President Obama 8 years ago…and President Bush…and President Clinton (although – I had to wait a little longer in those days to get the video and the transcript).

Repetition. Allusions. Quotes. Alliteration. Compare and Contrast.

President Trump is not the greatest orator. Compared to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – he is not even in the same ball park, but he brought his vision of hope to the people he will serve. Easy to say the words – not so easy to do – but then – even Christ had trouble with the last part of His “to-do” list.

But tonight, I have hope. Hope in the prayers that have circled our country from the beginning, and in God’s timelessness continue to petition Him for our country. Hope in the prayers that are circling a man I didn’t vote for in November, but am praying for daily now. Hope in the man who used the Bible given to him in 1955 by his mother and President Lincoln’s Bible as he repeated his oath of office. Hope from the blessing of the WORD that My Father nudged rather forcefully into my consciousness tonight as I prayed for our leaders, for the service of the families of leaders that now get to rest, for the service of those who stand the thin line between hate and love, for those who seek peace, for those who are lost and for those who are found.

Hope and not fear.

Joy and not tears.

Love and not hate.

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”~Dan 2:21  [google images]

PHONE HOME

New Year’s Eve 2016

Way back when, before cell phones ruled the world, I would – no matter where I was – find a way to be like E.T. I would phone home. Party years. Baby years. Senior years. Phoning home with shrimp in one hand and trail bologna in the other. Phone home. I would love to be able to phone home one more time this New Year’s Eve.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” ~Is 45:3

So – – – since I can’t phone home, I’ve been reading, crocheting, watching fun movies and preparing for the New Year. God’s promises change lives. It changed the total direction of my life on a New Year’s Eve long ago.

There was no social media to record the event in time. No prompting that pops up in the feed line to kick start the memory banks. And yet – the memory tends to surface every New Year’s Eve, and I find myself looking up with a smile on my face.

In the middle of a crowded party. In the middle of a song. In the middle of a movie. In the middle of my recliner – all by myself. It doesn’t matter. This verse, drifting in and out of my life at the most critical times, encircles me once again, and I want to phone home.

“Treasures stored in darkness…” Air kiss my father one last time before I go to sing; his voice in my ear saying, “Be safe. Bring down the house”. My mother’s voice toasting me across the phone line; her glass clinking the phone as did mine. “Riches stored in secret places…”

E.T. had the right idea. The neat thing – I don’t have to have a phone to call home. The treasures and the riches are stored right there waiting for me. All I have to do is remember to allow the Light to shine in the darkness. No matter what the New Year of 2017 holds for all of us, God has promised and summons us by name.

Blessings!Be! in 2017.happy-new-year-2017

ADVENT LOVE #5: Blessed Memories

“Its here, in the season of lights,…I want our kids to be able to stand on the front walk with us in the days leading up to Christmas…to drink in the long, crisp winter dusk. I want them to see their tree, in their house shining through their windows. I want them to know the kind of warmth I remember coming home to as a child, the thought of Christmas, with all those lights strung around windows and doors, we might be safe in a greater sort of way. Hopeful, even….”~Drew Perry “Home for the Holidays” p28 Our State Magazine

Step by step – each day – we build a bank of memories. Some are immediately discarded into the back files of non-importance. Others stored in closer files for handy reference. And some – marked with a heart or a star or with a golden highlighter so that it can be pulled up at anytime – in any place – to be reviewed and treasured all over again.

Tonight as I tucked the Grands into sleep, I decided this was one of those memories that would be highlighted with that golden highlighter. After watching Miracle on 34th Street (original) and 2 large bowls of popcorn, we talked about the Christmas Count-down Bell that my daughter decided to continue with her children.

“Each night before Christmas,
After prayers have been said,
Take off a loop and hop into bed.
When Christmas will come,
It’s easy to tell,
For that is the night,
You come to the bell.”

We would write the poem in the bell and decorate it – sometimes wildly. Then a colorful construction paper chain finished the bell and allowed us to remember how many days we had to wait for Christmas. And somehow – the poem became ingrained in my important memory files forever.

Tonight the conversation took on a life of its own. Oldest Grand said, “I sing my prayers to God in my sleep.” Younger Grand said, “Yeah, at night, God and I talk a lot.” I said – “I don’t know if I sing, but I talk to God a lot as well. He doesn’t care when you talk to Him; He just wants to hear your voice because He LOVES you. Sometimes, I yak at Him in my dreams, but more often, I just talk to Him in the morning and at night and when some crazy person pulls in front of me because they wanted the parking space that I was getting ready to use.” The Grands laughed…I did too, but not so much when the crazy person cut me off.

“And let us pay attention to one another in the encouragement of LOVE and of good works.”~Heb 10:24

I alternately prayed for that crazy person and stomped my feet all the way into the grocery store . Then I saw one of the cashiers that I always look for when I get in line. She is bent over in so many ways that it hurts to watch. Yet, probably because we are close to being the same age and I understand pain in the joints, we always talk as she checks me out. She leans heavily on the counter as she picks things up from the cart and over the scanner. When she moves, she uses a cart just to move from the cash register to the office. Somehow, her work ethic drove that crazy person and all the other stupidness of this world completely into the discard memory pile. I pray for her tonight just as I pray from the Grands, my family – here or far away – and all the names on my war room wall – which seems to be growing at warp speed.

“You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.”~Is 26:3-4

Christmas memories can be warm and fuzzy – my first bike – my first Barbie – – – they can be scary and sad – a father having a 2nd heart attack on Christmas – a Christmas break 4 years later when I kissed him goodbye for the last time – – – holy and sacred – communion in a small upper room on Christmas Eve – learning to sing the mother’s role in Amahl and the Night Visitors just in case I was needed – Candle light service in my childhood church with my mother on one side and my children and Hubby on the other…

Blessed with peace-filled LOVE. Blessed with memories. [google image]