Tag Archives: John

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #9

Spent some time laughing, sharing space and time with friends that I don’t get to see often enough. Scrubbed and polished my slate end tables. Kicked some leaves with my lab girls while they chased the beloved ball. “Technology Talked” with a couple of cousins and friends. Got a little chilly while I was swinging on my patio swing. And – put most of my fall decorations away.

Yupper. This year, I am one of those that have started the transition to Christmas before Thanksgiving. I usually do try to change everything over the week before Thanksgiving anyway – so this really isn’t much of a stretch. But when push comes to shove, in my mind, there is something about thanking God, eating turkey and enjoying the decorations at the end of that wonderful day. And  this year – I just need to surround myself with His Light a little more than usual since Thanksgiving is a little different for me this year.

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” ~Matt 4:16

There are so many things to be thankful for during this month of transition. One of them is technology. Right now, I am watching the 1955 version of Peter Pan with Mary Martin. How fun is that for this baby boomer? “I Gotta Crow” that it is even more fun than I expected it to be!! How can I still remember most of the words to this play and its songs from so long ago? And yet – here I am – singing along and loving it.

Of course, besides remembering all of the songs, I also remember that I got to stay up late  just to watch it. My daddy brushed my hair while we watched – eating popcorn from a big orange bowl and drinking a soda pop – special treats for a special night. “It is a place where dreams were born…”

A daddy who brushed my hair. A mommy who sang along with the songs and braided my hair when Daddy finished up. An older, big (at least to me – he was huge) brother who tried to ignore us all as he worked on boy scout badges or homework, but casually kept his eyes on the screen. It was definitely a time when I “thought wonderful, happy thoughts” and found that “I’m flying” faster than I thought possible.

Simpler, joyous times. “2nd star to the right and straight on to morning…”

It is good to pull out the treasure chest of memories occasionally. The gold and the silvers ones shine brightly – – especially those shined with Our Father cloth of love. I had a pretty nifty childhood. Church and Sunday School every Sabbath. Sunday drives to visit aunts, uncles, and especially – cousins. Family meals together. Chores done. Bedtimes full of books and prayers. Pretty good model for what a marriage and family should be.

November is that month of transition. The skies darken earlier. The cold wind slows my gait a little more as arthritis clamps down on the joints a little more tightly than I like. And yet, if I go past that silly 2nd star and soar way beyond all stars, the winter morning gets here earlier and sooner than I expected, freeing its sparkling Light to make all things new, and it easily outshines Neverland in the process.

“I, The Light, have come to the world, that no one who believes in me shall abide in darkness.”~Jn 12:46

GOD is good all the time – even on the darkest of nights. All the time GOD is good.

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2019 #2

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”~2 Cor 4:15

The words have started to rumble about getting their say in my life. They have been passive for quite a while, biding their time, waiting to emerge, and that was okay – for a while. Somehow they know that putting one foot in front of another takes a lot of focus which oft leaves the body just plained tuckered out at times, and the mind somewhat befuddled at other times. So the words waited.

Until today.

Well – – – actually – – – they started the clamoring last night.

They bugged me, but I ignored them because – well – I fell asleep. What can I say?

The body was a little weary.
Heart was a little teary.
Eyes were a little bleary.
Mind was a bunch leary.

After all – – – what could be so important that the words wanted to say, and I wasn’t sure i was up to the task of lining them all up in some kind of cohesive order?

It has been a long couple of weeks with every day more blessed than the last. Days filled with things that needed to be learned, accomplished, and enjoyed. Got to admit, I’m pretty good at getting that first two parts – it is what teachers do. Go in the class. Teach. Observe. Absorb wisdom from what I’ve missed – what I need to do next time. But lately, I’ve missed that last part.

ENJOY.

A little word. An important word.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”~Jn 14:26

Enjoying that blessing of “doing” – whatever it is – just enjoying the blessing of “doing”. Somehow – seeing it in print makes it seems obvious and simple. Yet – for me – lately – just putting one foot in front of another has kept me from the blessing of what we were created to actually do – ENJOY. 

Enjoy this temporary garden that He created after we screwed up.
Enjoy the wait.
Enjoy the process.
Enjoy the sweat.
Enjoy the tears.
Enjoy the planning.
Enjoy the people.
Enjoy the journey.
Enjoy His presence, His light, His laughter, His smile at watching me stumble and fall and cry and lift myself up just so He can hug me even closer.

ENJOY.

The Holy Spirit kicked me this morning with a simple song. A song that I loved to sing with my family’s small church choir long ago. It is probably the first choir that started my love of choral music. Anyway – as I was doing this, that and the other thing on my to-do list of the day – the Moses Hogan Chorale started singing: “Let us break bread together on our knees…” and I found myself singing, crying and listening.

The Holy Spirit is like that when He gets a tight hold of my ears and heart. The voice in the choir began to sound more like my mom just as it had sung those same words in my ears year after year. The words – the lyrics – long dormant in some recess of my mind – were brought forth as if they were always at my tongue’s tip. The joy of singing in mixed formation as the harmonics overwhelmed me and went beyond the ears, flowing into the eternal consciousness that always encircles me when I participate in choral music.

“Enjoy this day that the LORD hath made. Enjoy the tribulation. Enjoy the work. Enjoy the refining and molding fire. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the sweat – the tears – the laughter – Enjoy the words that push their way forward – the blessings of all things for indeed,” the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart – “He is there – He is here – He never leaves or forsakes – He is faithful in all His promises – He is Your Father and He wants to see you smile.”

“Let us praise God together on our knees, (on our knees)
Let us praise God together on our knees. (on our knees)
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy if you please. (if you please)”  75407655_10156713434853549_5688404572591095808_n

HOLY DAYS 2019

It started last Monday. I take that back – it probably started Sunday the 6th. I spent the day in an unintentional fast and prayer. It was just one of those days when I was busy doing meaningless stuff when I needed to be in prayer. Somehow in the mix of the mess, I just didn’t find the time or the need to eat. So when Monday arrived, my ears were totally opened to listen to one of my favorite preacher/teachers. He often seems to hit that Holy Spirit sweet spot in my soul. So much so, that I generally cry. I generally take notes – lots of them. I generally do a bunch of pondering over the verses that he covers in his talks.  I generally just seek the presence of the LORD.

Monday night, His presence went beyond the message – it carried on into my dreams.

I don’t remember much of the dream except I was singing in a choir. The music was all in different colored folders that had swirls of colors all over them. and I could hardly wait to open them and begin sight singing. The choral director was someone I had sung with before and was – oh so excited – to sing with again. Best yet, we were to told to make new dresses for the upcoming concert. I wanted the blue material, but only a Christmas red and pink were left when it was my turn to chose. Funny thing, I wasn’t really disappointed and couldn’t wait to get started sewing the pattern for the new dress.

Of course, it was then I woke up. So Tuesday, I said my morning prayers as usual. The beginning of Yom Kippur would start at sundown. The day of determination for the new year. The day of Our Father weighs the heart.

My heart has been heavy for the past few months. Worries. Concerns. Friends/relatives fighting diseases. Prodigals wandering far from home. How I needed to make a decision on getting tires for the car or a new back door or a screen door – or…. Yeah – I throw even those tiny things into my prayers. Sure – enough by sundown and the beginning of Yom Kippur, He had answered that tiny prayer about tires in a most unexpected way. He also had opened my eyes and dried my tears in a way I had not expected.

Every day of that week continued to be blessed including Friday which brought another surprise in the mail and a couple found in a Bible  totally up to three unexpected gifts. I love how My Father knew that I needed a show of His Light-giving miracles this holy week. I love how He inspires people who are anonymous to me – but not to Him – to accomplish His work on earth for the people who love and honor Him. I love how the Jewish High Holy Days are holy for ALL His people. Yeshua celebrated the High Holy Days while He was on earth — after all — He went even though He knew His enemies were looking to destroy Him. I think they are still important to Him. They were the first covenants He made with His first people. Then after His time here was done, He made the gate available for the rest of us and someday – that same gate will open to the second garden He has designed just for us.

“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”~Jn 7:1-5

So tonight, as Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles begins, I am thankful for the harvest of  salad greens, tomatoes and flowers that I have had all summer. Thankful for a summer of life-altering change. Thankful for walks in the rain with the lab girls. Thankful for kitty curled in my lap. Thankful for a Father that hears the smallest whisper thrown into a quickly uttered, frustrated prayer. Thankful for friends who hear God speak to their hearts and put a gift in the mail. Thankful to Elohim Chasdi who dries my tears and carries me when I can’t take another step forward. And while I won’t live in a sukkah this year, I will certainly do a lot of prayers sitting on my patio swing in thankful praise and adoration.

The harvest of thankfulness has begun to a Father who meets all our needs – in all our journeys as we wander through the desert between two gardens.

Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.”~Jn 7:6-13

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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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LENTEN INSIGHT 2019 #3

It has been a month since I have written. The words have been there. The thoughts. The dreams. The joyous bursts of creativity. But the fingers were stayed. For whatever reason – I found myself waiting. So – I waited. I waited some more. Waited for the special silence that always precedes the release of words. And still I waited.

Holy week. 
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday.

A month ago, in one of my many thrift store meanderings, I found a Robert Shaw recording in conjunction with Ohio State University choirs. It was not one from when I was there, but the choral works on it spoke to me once again. The next day, I found myself sitting on the floor of my small utility closet as I pulled out all my classical CD’s. My school room filled with them as I worked. I began singing – not well – but nevertheless – with all my heart in the car on the way home. Finally, letting them filter through my prayers as I lay my head down.

“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”~Lk 9:58

Two weeks later, I found myself walking through the door of a stately, city Methodist church. The steeple bell rang as I walked the sidewalk towards the church – just as they used to when I walked with my parents. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. I was not surprised. I needed the rituals. I needed the music. I needed to hear the oral readings of Psalms and “Our Father”. I needed to remember the community of my history. The birthplace of my faith – my youth – my maturity.

A touchstone of truth.

“Pilate said to him, “You are a King then?” Yeshua said to him,“You have said that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world: to testify of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?” ~Jn 18:37-38

It is Holy Week.
It is Good Friday.

On Maundy Thursday, I was going to go back to the Methodist church, but instead, I watched the Mass of the Basilica in DC and sang with choir during Holy Communion. Tonight, as I watched some of the Stations of the Cross in Rome, my thoughts focused and the fingers found their freedom. Then I turned on the “The Passion of the Christ”. It is always the last thing I want to do – ever. It is a hard movie to watch. I cry – often. And yet, it is the one thing thing I must do. I must remember the gift. I must honor the sacrifice that an earthly mother made in conjunction with the plan that a loving, heavenly Father made for all His children so long ago.

“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”~Jn 15:13

Today was a stormy day in NC. “The swirly winds came and the rain fell on us” as a poem from my high school days stated. I checked my plants. Pulled the flag in under the porch roof. Rubbed the dogs’ heads over and over as they stayed close by my side. Even the cat who has been standoffish all week has spent most of the night on my lap. The winds have quieted and while all three animals and hubby are sleeping in our small TV room, I am at peace.

The stone has covered the tomb, but Grace is about to blow away the cords that hold it closed.

Resurrection Day is coming.

“You are my friends if you will do all that I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master does, but I have called you my friends, because all that I have heard from my Father, I have taught you.”~Jn 15:14-15

It has been an interesting month of being a learner again. Listening to the Teacher of Truth is never easy of me. I am – at this point in life – used to being the teacher in the room. I tend to want to control everything around me. Although – some of my oldest friends say that I have always had that “teacher attitude” – whatever that is. I’m still not sure where it is leading or what is on that path that seems to have very few mile markers. What I do know?

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you also will go bring forth fruit and your fruit will remain, so that all you will ask my Father in my name, he will give to you.These things I command you that you will love one another.”~Jn 15:16-17

 

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LENTEN INSIGHT 2019: #2

When coughing, sniffling and feeling overall yukky, just sitting in a chair and watching your preacher on TV (plus a few others), a few movies and a couple of your favorite TV shows seems like a very good idea.
 
Have I mentioned that I hate being sick?
 
I had all these plans for the weekend. A weekend in the high 50’s, bright sun, Carolina blue sky and perfect for getting those early spring clean-up/planting chores on the road to completion – not to mention a few lazy turns on the patio swing.
 
Have I mentioned that I really hate being sick?
 
So – here I am on a totally “nothing accomplished at all” Sunday night, drinking my cabernet, munching on a cracker or two while a warm cat sits on my lap loving me in her own special way.
 
And…
That is when it happens.
God speaks.
In the sweetest way ever.
 
I laugh and
Sit down in the middle of doing nothing
Until I realize –
I may not have accomplished anything this weekend,
but He accomplished a whole lot in me.
 
Sometimes –
We just need to…
Be slowed down.
Slowed to a bumpy stop…
And notice how broken our path has become.
 
Sometimes –
Coughing out the gunk that has accumulated,
Blowing the stuffiness that clogs our thoughts,
And looking up
Reminds us…
It’s not our world or our plans…
 
It’s His.
 
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”~Jn 3:16-17
 
I’m still blowing the gunk out of my way,
Rubbing Vick’s on my feet,
But somehow –
Feeling a whole lot better as I look at my hiking shoes.
 
However –
 
If I don’t quite get those shoes on tomorrow,
It just means I have another day.
Another day to be still.
Another day to listen.
Another day for my Father’s voice to speak.
Another day to be loved unconditionally.
 
Despite my broken path,
Despite clogged ears,
Despite my near-sightedness,
Despite my whining.
I am His.
 
Can’t say I love the way He knocked me off my path this weekend, but as a teacher in this world, I understand teaching methods that work the best often are the ones that force us to find our knees and lean on a Rock in a dark garden. A Rock that is ever so much stronger than we are.
 
It is what it is. We are a stubborn lot, afterall.
 
We just have to remember the Voice that continues to seek companionship as He wait to walk with us in His garden.I may still be coughing, but His voice caught my attention. I will get to tending my earthly garden eventually. The yard will get cleaned eventually. And Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle will – eventually – get off my lap so I can get up and go to bed.
 
This broken path can be smoothed and straightened.
This cold and brain fog will dissipate in the Sonshine.
His WORD, love and grace is eternal.
Easter is just around His corner –
We just have to roll away a few stones.
 
“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Guard the bed that I lay on.
Two to guard and to pray
And me to wake at break of day.” 
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LIGHTS OUT #2

“The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary…”

It has been one of those winters. Cold – dark – dreary – and – sigh upon sigh – rain, rain and more rain. As I pulled a candle out of the window tonight, I looked out into the darkness. There are only two candles left and on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day, I will pack that last Light of Advent away until late Fall of 2019.

How time flies.

“My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast…”

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring-like day. I dug in the soil. Got my hands dirty. Moved a couple big rocks and pulled a muscle (which – btw – still hurts – hence the whining). Laughed with my Grands as they tried to follow the birds fighting over their place at the feeders. Picked at the flower beds a little here – a little there. And tonight? Not a star in sight. Even the neighbor’s security lights were dimmed in the heaviness of heaven’s tears. And…I sighed again as I turned off the candle’s light.

Just then – as I was beginning to write – that memorable line popped into my head…”Into each life some rain must fall…”

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Rainy Day

I remember memorizing this poem in grade school. We memorized many poems back in the day. Have no idea why or what teachers required them; I just know we did it. Often the lines of those poems will pop up in my head. I never seem to remember the whole, but I remember in part. Luckily, we have search engines, and I don’t have to dig through a pile of books trying to find an obscure line in a poem that I might or might not have on my dusty shelves.

We also read Bible stories, memorized Bible verses, sang hymns/carols and prayed. These tend to be a little more in-focus, but it seems I can never – ever remember the book or the chapter or the number of those verses. (Is that whining again?)  I remember in part but never the whole.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.”~Ps 103:8

Not sure where this going.I started out with one idea in my head, and now, here I am walking in faith with my words. I’ll blame it on this amazing teacher/preacher, Jason Brown, former NFL player turned farmer, who spoke at our church today. I may have extinguished another candle in my home, but Mr. Brown’s sermon is still lighting up my soul with thoughts about faith and how we need to walk through this life with faith. I love it when the Holy Spirit moves me to think and re-think understandings of His WORD.

Better than candles in the window. Better than a man-made light on a rainy night. I have the Living Light of His WORD for this new Lenten season. I needed this reminder today. Come to think of it – I need it everyday. I needed it everyday while I was growing up. I needed it everyday when I was in open rebellion of His WORD. I need it everyday now. When the pain of an aging body gets me down; when I let that ever youthful rebellion surface; when the whining turns into a sarcastic pout, or when I just plain don’t walk in the confidence of faithfulness to His WORD.

“And Yeshua spoke again with them and he said: “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall find the Light of ife.”~Jn 8:12 (Aramaic translation)

Abba is “Behind the clouds…the sun still shining.” Waiting for us to look up. Waiting for us to get tired of the rain – of the darkness – and look behind the clouds where the Son is still shining. Shining bright enough for us to see the next step. Shining bright enough to dry our tears. Shining bright enough to shed Grace over our heavy hearts and grant us peace.

It is the season to reflect. A season of to wonder – to ponder. A season to choose Light over darkness once again. A season to “…go and sin no more.”

“Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”~Jn 8:10-11 Forgiven [Greg Olsen artwork]

BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT

Long, long ago in the Campbell Street house, I heard a song while sitting on my daddy’s lap. His feet were bouncing me up and down until my mom pulled us both up to dance with her. From then until now (and from the way it looks now, probably for all eternity), it is always her voice in my head when I hear this song.

I fell in love with jazz that day. Blue-grass rhythms and harmonies had probably been a part of my genes while I was being knit in my mother’s womb, then add a few spirituals from whatever choir she was singing in, and my preference in music was pretty much set for life.

“I never cared much for moonlit skies
I never wink back at fireflies
But now that the stars are in your eyes
I’m beginning to see the light”~Don George/Duke Ellington

A few years later – I discovered the deep power of vibration as William Warfield sang “Ol Man River” (one of the first songs I remember memorizing just out of love for singing it in the Campbell Street house)- the richness of George Gershwin’s Bess as she sang “Summertime” – the intricate harmonies of the 5th Dimension’s “The Declaration” – the dissonances of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Fantasy” – the heart of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” – the soul of all spirituals that chorally covered me in oh-so-many-choirs over a lifetime of singing.

“Every man has a place, in his heart there’s a space,
And the world can’t erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship fantasii
All your dreams will come true, right away
And we will live together, until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever, as one”~Earth, Wind and Fire

Today, I got to listen as my eldest daughter sang in a new choir. It is one of those unspoken blessings about living close to children we were blessed to raise. Sitting in an audience, swelling with pride as we watch them perform, and somehow – it never gets old. It never goes away. It never changes. Love, heart and soul circles through the music, into a new generation, into the Grands as they fidget in their seats, and into the mind of this elder as she pondered all these treasures clasped as tightly as possible in her hands.

“I must walk my lonesome valley,I got to walk it for myself, 
Nobody else can walk it for me,I got to walk it for myself…
Jesus walked his lonesome valley, He had to walk it for himself,
Nobody else could walk it for him,He had to walk it for himself.”~J.H. Cone

Journeys are individual. Yet – when those paths intersect, there is that possibility of being able to walk together for a short space of time, and today was just one of those blessed days. A day to listen as my youngest Grandson read an entire story to me for the first time while my youngest Granddaughter reached for my hand behind his back for a short minute or two. A day to watch the daughter sing for joy a song I have loved for ages. A day to hear the Grands shout across a big city parking lot, “Bye, Grandma” – not once but twice. A day to rejoice for being in the perfect place – at the perfect time – and looking up to see the Conductor of Life start the up-beat for “I’m Beginning to See the Light”.

“You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, to go bear fruit – fruit that will last.”~Jn 15:16   

CHRISTMAS LOST – (3 Days and Counting)

It is 8:30 P.M. It is dark, cold, rainy and miserable on the shortest day of the year. Worse – our cat is out there somewhere – missing and the house feels empty. Even the lab girls are antsy.

You have to understand – Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle has three names for a reason. She jumps at her own shadows, spooks herself just sitting on a lap and sparkles all the time with little white hairs that dot her coat. Being outside for any real length of time is unusual. Being out after dark? Whoa!

It is 8:35. We just finished another Christmas movie, so it is my turn to go to the door and hollow “Kitty-kitty” like a crazy woman. I don’t think anyone else in our neighborhood hollers for their pets as loud as we do. When they are missing, we holler. We walk the property. We are peer over the edges of the drainage ditches and into the culverts.with our flashlights.

Seeking the lost is serious business.

“For The Son of Man has come to save whatever has been lost.”~Matt 18:11

Good news comes on the darkest of nights – especially when it is cold, rainy and miserable. So too, it came tonight at 8:40. I called one more time, and Kitty-kitty answered from the darkness. She heard my voice, mewed loudly from a distance and came running up the porch steps. And – like the true prodigal story, a tuna feast was thrown in her honor.

The lost has been found.

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow Me.”~Jn 10:27

I’m not sure why this was the important thing to write about tonight – especially when Christmas is just 3 days away. But like Mary and Joseph found out, life experiences happen no matter what time of year it is. We tend to think the special days should follow the schedule of happiness and joy. It doesn’t. My father had his second heart attack one Christmas morning. A treasure chest memory of a different kind.

That first Christmas was just the beginning of new life – figuratively and literally . A special, dark, cold and miserable night when GOD became man in a place that most people find way too smelly to spend even a few minutes – let alone a place to give birth to GOD was the first lesson on modeling the way we should live our lives.

Mary and Joseph became servants to what Father had called them to do. No comforts of home and family. Only faith in the promises given them and in the scriptures that they had buried in their hearts their entire lives. He spoke. They heard His voice. They called out from the darkness and began to run towards Him.

The glorious impossible happened when God was born so long ago.

Christmas is only 3 days away. The lost are still out there, and He is still calling. He is using His flashlight. Peering over the edges of cliffs. Looking deep into the culverts. Walking through the woods. Calling over and over as He waits for His beloved to hear His voice and come running for the feast He has prepared.

“I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”  Ron-DiCianni-The-Promise-Full [Ron DiCianni artwork]

GOD IS SO GOOD

Almost every morning there is a song singing in my head when the last dream ends and daylight starts to filter between my lashes. The thing is – it is always a surprise. Old hymn. Opera aria. Childhood ditty. Praise song. Show tune. And sometimes – something that I don’t recognize at all but leaves a trace of tears in my heart or on my face when I have to give into the urge to wake up.

Logically, I think it must go back to when my mom used to wake me up. It was a rare day when I didn’t have hear her singing somewhere in the house as I kicked the covers back. And – if I wasn’t up on time, that “red, red robin would come bob, bob, bobbin’ it’s own sweet song” , close enough to my ear to chase any remaining dreams completely out the window.

“God is so good…”

The past two mornings, it has been this song. Over and over and over. Popping up throughout the day, as if begging me to notice something – and usually – there was something to notice. A convenient parking spot. Strangers in a hospital waiting room. Golden leaves reflecting a setting son. Grands sharing with each other something special just between them. A headache from getting the flu shot (I always get one when I get a flu shot – sigh). A Hubby sitting by the outside wood stove on a beautiful Fall evening.

“God is so good…”

When the kidlets were little – when we took long drives to MI to pick up big brother and on the way back – we usually had tapes going in the car. Wee sing Bible songs seemed to be a popular one because I still remember most of those songs, AND I replaced that cassette more than once. As they got older the music changed, but for a long time that cassette stayed in the car’s side pocket. When we moved South, I even found one stuck in the corner under the basement stairs (which is a whole ‘nother story for another time).

“God is so good…”

It is 8 more days till the election. My eyes and head hurt. Post nasal drip is yukky. The news is worse. Another school shooting in NC. Politicians blaming each other. A child missing. 18 US volcanoes considered high threat. Earthquakes shaking from the spiritual into the physical. Chaos seems to be shouting from the rooftops in all directions.

And yet – I hear that childish voice on the Wee Sing Bible songs continuing to sing in my head. A whisper of a song that reminds me there is more to this world than what our physical ears and eyes perceive. A reminder that we are His children singing a song to Him with our lives – with the choices we make – with the love that we share with each other. We just have to remember the song and sing it back to Him who sang it to us first.

“You’re so good to me.”

“You are from God, children, and you have conquered them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 Jn 4:4

If you want to hear the song in my head – jump ahead to about 53 minutes in this link.