Tag Archives: Joy

TABERNACLING 2021: Terribly Strange

“Can you imagine us years from today,

Sharing a park bench quietly.

How terrible strange to be seventy…”

Old Friends by Paul Simon

The way I look at things, it’s not Terribly Strange how music and lyrics from my youth suddenly erupt and spew out a phrase that I really didn’t even remember until I suddenly find it covering me with all its essence – sights, smells, songs…………….sighs.

My brain, like all those brains that have come before me, has gotten clogged up with a ba-zillion memories, facts, and details from day-to-day life. So songs that I once sang a million times (at least) in a year – here, there or somewhere – got pushed further back. Those musical files, just like all the other files we need to get through as we number of our days, overflow into every nook and cranny available until that tiny, miraculous computer in our head begins to file things into little the cubbies that exist in those nooks and crannies. 

It is kinda Terribly Strange how those cubbies have stay locked until some weird shape key unlocks it, and the exact file leaps out and begins to sing in your head.

It is not Terrribly Strange that over the past year, my body has repeatedly reminded me that I have, indeed, entered my 70’s – winkles, cataracts, arthritis…ugh. So, it is not like I was surprised when the female kidlets said they wanted to celebrate my birthday with me. COVID had eased and travel possible. It was a go!

I was – however, surprised at how much effort they put into it. They even got the male sibs involved.  Between a video of reminisces from friends and family, a slew of cards from friends, family, peers, and former students, a zoom call with others, they even managed to bake a Grandma Mickey cake from scratch.

I have to admit – watching them make the cake was one of the best things of the day. 

A Grandma Mickey cake is a 3-layer, choc cake with fudge frosting in the middle and a whipped, 7-minute white frosting for the top.  It takes a good part of the day and a step-by-step focus to detail. Even then – rain or humidity can destroy all that effort in a blink of an eye.  I enjoyed it mostly because I got to watch the daughters build a treasure chest memory together that will live long past me.

It is Terribly Strange for me not to remember a lot of the video display they had compiled or zoom call came next. Emotional overload and being the center of attention is way too overwhelming for this ol’ gal to retain.  I tend to be a solitary soul at heart (even though my calling has put me in front of a class or on stage most of my life), and am totally out of my comfort zone when people are doing things for me.

“So teach us to number our days,

That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

– Ps 90:12

70 is an important number in Jewish tradition.  I won’t list them all here, but some of the ones I found interesting are:

  • 70 years in a generation of human life
  • 70 holy days to praise Yahweh
  • 70 perspectives to the Torah
  • 70 sons of Abraham
  • 70 languages/nations after the Tower of Babel
  • 70 names for Jerusalem
  • 70 AD/CE the 2nd Temple destroyed
  • 70 years between the 1st Zionist Congress in 1897 and the reunification of Israel with Jerusalem in 1967

From all these things listed – 70 is wholeness – 70 is new opportunities – 70 is full of potential.

All things being said, while it may be Terribly Strange to be 70 with all its wrinkles and weaknesses, it is also the time to look outwards – to look up – – – a time to fill the lamp and extra vessels with all the oil you can gather from the pressing, because the Bridegroom has almost finished the home He has prepared for His Bride, and He has promisd:

Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.

Rev 21:5
Grandma Mickey cake 2021

2020 VISION: Selah

“Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout unto God with a voice of triumph.” v.1

It has been one of the most peace-filled, joy-filled weeks, I have had despite – my oldest, chocolate lab girl wagging her tail slower and slower – despite my school being shut down for two weeks due to the virus – despite the turmoil of this election season – despite seeing the spirit of anger and lawlessness rising its head higher and higher in my interconnected spheres.

For whatever reason on Monday, the Spirit whispered to turn off the news of the day – on the radio – on the podcasts – on the radio – and tune into her whispering joy. Stranger still – I listened – all week.

K-love station. CD’s full of Christmas music. Positive, affirmative, Spirit-filled podcasts. Devotionals. Friends calling. Friends dropping in for a visit with a new choc lab boy in tow. Finally, starting one of my favorite Christmas books that I found on the free book shelves this summer.

I read this book for the first time in 1965/66 when I was working as a page at the Loudonville Public Library. It was one of the books that brought a human depth to the story I’d heard over and over in the Bible stories my parents and teachers read to me.

How Far Is It to Bethlehem? by Norah Lofts.

“How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!” v.2


This book was a Godwink find. A tan, cloth-covered, 1st printing copy of a favorite book is ALWAYS a treasure. When I got it home, I found a handwritten note taped inside – a Christmas present – a treasure chest memory from one generation to another – a gift to the 4th generation.

The sad thing – between then and now, the torn dustcover disappeared. But now I know why I dug through a box of dusty books to pull this one out – despite being in the midst of a plague – despite the unrest that pulls at the corners of the mind – despite the uncertainties of teaching face-to-face during a plague – despite an old dog that doesn’t eat unless you tempt her with fresh cooked meat.

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD with the sound of the horn. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises!”v.6-7

By the time I finished reading the first paragraph of this old book, I was hooked all over again, and the rejoicing was re-affirmed in my spirit as His Spirit voice laughed with me.

He knew. All the time. He knew. His good gift. Like usual. Like always. Like eternally. Eternal goodness and grace.

That is the thing we forget in this world. We forget that we don’t have to worry. We don’t have to fret – be angry – be sad. The Bible (in all the testaments), says it best – this world is temporary. From the first word – BERESHIT – to the word – AMEN, it repeats it over and over.

He saves. Truth.

Can’t get better than that. I was given two portions of the WORD on Monday night that have been the focus of my rejoicing prayers this week. Daniel 2 and Psalm 47. Rejoicing continues to circle round and round me tonight.

While physically I am concerned with the election, the unrest that is sure to raise its ugly head, my school family as it struggles with this plague, the education of those given to our sphere, and an old puppy who can barely move…….I still feel such joy that I almost can’t contain it.

I am right where I am supposed to be – doing exactly what I am supposed to do – watching a tail wag when I come close – and praying – praying – praying for all the other things swirling around in my mind with full peace that Papa G-D is doing exactly what He has always done – Saving with Grace through His Son and whispering His Truth in every WORD I read in His book.

Be at peace. Rejoice. “For God is King of all the earth…” Then, “sing profound praises to Him…” For, “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne…” And finally rejoice out loud that, “The nobles of the nations have assembled…as people of the God of Abraham…for the shields of the earth belong to God.” Psalm 47:8-9


He is highly exalted and greatly to be praised.

Bible Art journaling google image


Moved 8 loads of mulch.
Cleaned and moved many things in garage.
Stung by 2 wasps.
Bitten by 1 spider.
Given up counting mosquito bites.
Matted eyes due to allergies.
Sang along with songs playing in my head.
Tools moved to shed. Freezer is moved into the house. Kitchen is re-arranged and fairly clean. Whew!! I’m so ready for the Sabbath.
“Standing, standing…”
At the beginning of summer, I could not have rearranged the garage or moved that freezer by myself. The only thing I couldn’t do was get the stupid door off its hinges, so I called on one of my wonderful neighbors to help. Walla – door off. Cleaned areas I hadn’t seen for three years and decided to change everything else. Room-by-room the house is becoming a new creation.
“Standing, standing…”
The house is not the only thing being made new. Ryndiyah (10 year old lab girl) is running and keeping up with Koayah (7 year old lab girl). It has been a long time since I’ve seen both of them running and playing like puppies, and yet – everyday they are tearing through the woods in pursuit of an orange ball, jumping on the bed to wake me up in the morning, or throwing themselves on the grass just to squiggle on their backs. Unless I leave, they still are not more than a few feet from me at any time of the day, and are waiting at the door, balls in their mouths when I get home.
“Standing on the promises of Christ my King
Through eternal ages let his praises ring…”
This summer has had 30+ days of 90 degrees and high humidity. So I’m definitely ready for a “new” weather pattern to bless us with cooler weather. Then I see all the pollinators buzzing around the flowers. Humming birds emptying out the feeders in record time. A rare moment to sit on the patio swing and soak in the quiet blessings of the heat at the end of the day. While close by, Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle traps another bug or frog or lizard as she says, “Meow, meow” and I answer, “Meow, m’ow”. Somehow, the hot summer isn’t so bad, and I relax even more, closing my eyes, swinging back and forth, back and forth.
“Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing
Standing on the promises of God.”
School kicks into high gear next week. Meetings. Rooms to get ready. Visions to turn into lesson plans. Books to catalogue. Decorations to enhance bare walls. Prayers to circle around the room and the students that will come the next week. August is here. Can Fall be far behind?
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”~2 Cor 1:20
It is amazing what can be accomplished when “Standing on the promises of Christ the King.” All of a sudden, I find myself: “Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long…”
Just one song after another.


Four hours of walking the push mower. 2 – changes of sweaty clothes. 2 – breaks to gulp water. 2 -15 minute naps. 1 – shower and another set of clothes. One lost ball in a hole under a tree. A dog trying to dig to China through said hole. Praise the LORD – the yard is mowed for another couple weeks and the heat and humidity is on its way out of NC.


“The very thing we thought would burn so brightly with joy has turned out to burn us.” Lysa Terkeurst, p93.

Needless to say, the rest of the day has been one of recovery and discovery. The lab girls are still pouting about the ball, but I have been reading and watching the rain clouds accumulate over our house. Painted a wall. Hung a few pictures. Opened my ears. After a busy morning, spending time doing the things I love most is always a good thing.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.”~Ps 40:1

We got an inch of rain on Saturday, so the grass and gardens have been growing steadily despite the 12 days of 90 degrees and humidity that has plumbed the sinuses beyond their tiny cavities. Two zucchinis and several tomatoes later, I am reading my book on the porch and enjoying the breeze that always proceeds the storm. Our Father is good that way. He breathes and those that listen hear the storms’ approach and hunker down for the duration.

“He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”~Psalm 40:2

Nice thing about storms. They eventually pass. The thunder and lightning that scared me have disappeared over the horizon. My feet are in a firm place. I can wrap my arms around the porch post, feel the rain wash my face of its salty residue and smile. The hopeful prayer I had whispered in my heart at the beginning of June has come true. Grass so thick and soft has grown beyond what I thought possible, and I can walk barefoot in it every morning without a rock bruising my toes (it also stopped the mower a few times). The volunteer tomatoes are so bushy that they cover a good portion of the garden, full of fruit, and beginning to climb the blooming magnolia tree. And the tiny wisteria spouts that I planted a year ago? Well, they are stretching halfway across the portico that covers the patio.

“My hope is tied to the unchanging promise of GOD.”~Lysa Terkeurst, p94

Sometimes, life is just not easy. There are just a lot of storms that pass by in life. The physicality storm that followed mowing this morning did take its toll on this ol’ gal. The back ached even with my new back brace for the hard part of the yard. The knee hurt – even after using the inversion board – but after icing – much improved. The sinuses were swollen but less so after the essential oils. So with a little help the physical storm passed, and I’m ready to let my body yawn, listen to a little Lauren Daigle or Danny Gokey and bury my nose in a book full of hopeful covenants that are never broken.

Phew and Praise the LORD!

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70’s, my heart is full of joy, and hope is all around me. After all, this little guy came for a visit – until the hummingbirds kept dive bombing him. Talk about unexpected joy.

Phew and Praise the LORD!

  [personal images]


“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”


Not sure why staying home, doing mundane, everyday things bring me want to leap for joy. I just know it does.

Cardinals fussing around the bird feeders. A chicken hawk trying to grab a grey squirrel off a tree (he missed by the way – and boy – did that squirrel scurry down the tree). Dogs sliding in the snow just so they could roll in it one more time. Kitten playing in the box I’m trying to fill with Christmas past. Folding laundry. Cooking hot dogs with onions wrapped in a toasted tortilla. Learning something new during devotions.

It all just makes me – – – full of leaping joy.

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 10 lords a-leaping.”

Traditionally, the 10 lords refer to the 10 commandments. 10 road markers to guide a weary traveler. 10 rock-solid principles in a wacky world of slithering truths. 10 laws that guided a way-ward, stubborn people out of slavery and idolatry into the promise land of new milk and honey sweet manna. 10 laws that Rabbi Yeshua followed faithfully as He walked in this physical world.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O LORD; You surround them with Your shield of Love.”~Ps 5:11-12


One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. One of the words the angels used on the night Our Father sent His Son to live with us. One of the words that Rabbi Yeshua used often. Is it any surprise that I’m leaping for joy tonight? It may be cold outside. I may still have a coughing, sniffling cold. I may not leave the house for another three days because I just don’t want to do so.


“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”~Jn 15:11 

       [google images]



This tiny word can stand alone, and I still just want to smile in thankfulness.



Spread it out List it. Write it backward.

Doesn’t matter. It is not a simple synonym for happiness – – – at least not for me. Joy bubbles. It erupts from a well spring deep within me. The gurgles bounce around until I can no longer contain them and I have to smile. Not a small smile – one of those large, crazy, out-of-controlled smiles.

Gurgles of JOY. Bouncing out into a darkening world. Bubbles of JOY. Flowing rivers of JOY. JOY that can’t be locked away, dammed up or lost. JOY spring of the living waters.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for JOY, and with my song I praise him.”~Ps 28:7

For whatever reason, JOY has been the thought of the day. I can’t say it is because of the weather. The past two days have been rainy, cold and dank. Dogs have been tracking mud in the house. Kitty has been begging to go out until she puts a paw on the wet, cold porch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run so fast for her warm place in front of the gas logs.

JOY is a gift. I tend to think that since God created us in His own image, JOY must be an attribute of God. I can only imagine what JOY there was in the Garden before the fall. JOY to walk together. JOY of communion. JOY of purity of spirit. Peacemaker’s JOY. Face-to-face JOY.

“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”~Heb 12:2

JOY-ous path re-opened that the living water might flow freely ‘…on earth as it is in heaven’. Tap in to the JOY. Seek the well-spring deep within. The Holy Spirit will open the spigots wide. Yeshua will laugh with JOY as it flows out and into the world. And JOY will bounce higher than “…red rubber ball.” as the Father re-JOY-ces with us all.

Yep – I have a lot of JOY in my Gratitude Attitude.

“And I think it’s gonna be all right.
Yeah, the worst is over,
Now the morning sun is shining like a Red Rubber Ball.”~Simon/Garfunkle
[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

Advent JOY #7: Seed

The joy of having an old “new” house is that there are always things that need a little tweaking. The floor in my office/writing/music/memory room is due for a tweak. This wouldn’t be a bad thing except it is crowded with “stuff” that probably only has meaning to me, and half of that “stuff” needed to be moved.


Not exactly what I wanted to do on the morning of finishing a Christmas stocking, preparing food and pine centerpiece for daughter’s Christmas party, painting a few more ornaments as gifts, and wrapping a few presents. BUT – there I was – moving things from one room to another and biting my nails in between – literally. Tweaks are like that. When they squeak, we must tweak……and that is when the seeds fell on the floor.

“All suffering, all pain, all emptiness, all disappointment is seed; sow it in God and he will, finally, bring a crop of JOY from it.”~Eugene Peterson

A couple summers back, I read an easy way to save seeds for an efficient, easier planting in the next spring. So – I followed the instructions and when they were dried and ready – put them away for the spring. The problem was – I lost track of them. Two years later, the squeak of the tweak brought forth an unexpected JOY.

“Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.”~Ps 126:5-6

Obviously, I can’t run out and plant seed today – even in NC, it is not that warm. So I picked them up and put them on the bed in the extra bedroom until the squeak of the tweak is fixed….hmmmm….maybe I better move them, so I remember where they are this time….

Tonight, as I watched the Grands run from one floor to another – their Christmas JOY rattling the windows – while the camaraderie of the parents who were gathered around mounds of finger food permeated the downstairs with even more Christmas JOY – I had to smile. Seeds planted long ago are dropping fruit for a seed plantings of their own. We left before the Christmas play, the caroling, Santa’s visit, a Polar Express-marathon-sleepover – a communion service of it’s own in the making…

The JOY of the LORD is your strength.”~Neh 8:10

So – a day that started out in frustrating busy work that I didn’t want to do became a day that burst forth into an unexpected, beautiful rare bloom of brilliant colors. Colors that I keep revisiting in the quiet of our “new” old home where the squeak of the tweak is still clamoring for attention. Maybe tomorrow, I will move some more stuff so that the fixer-upper person will be able to complete their task without breaking anything. The seeds – not safe in the extra bedroom to my way of thinking – are now tucked securely into a book shelf nook, so I can find them easily two months hence.

Who knows what seeds Abba plans to plant in the next week of Advent? He planted a seed of LIGHT just for us in Bethlehem 2000+ years ago. I just hope that I continue to notice those seeds He plants close to me and am wise enough to nurture them in prayer, tending the garden well so that He may harvest the crop with His blessings in His perfect timing. After all – Christ is coming again soon, and I can hardly sit still.  My JOY is bubbling to the surface.

Now to the LORD sing praises
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and JOY, comfort and JOY;
O tidings of comfort and JOY.

[google images

7 of 7: JOY

Christmas-DayJoy (1)7 or 7: JOY. “God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

After a busy day, it feels good to lose myself in poetry and the quiet world of earphones. Christmas carols gives way to the actual poetry of the lyrics, and I am transported in JOY to the musical, poetic,spiritual world that I love.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of my favoirte poets. She was a woman after my own heart and followed her JOYS despited serious illnesses and tragedies. She learned Hebrew and Greek so that she might understand the the Old Testament and New Testament in a more direct way. She chose to keep JOY in her life despite it all.

Christmas is a season of gifts. Gifts of spending time with family. Gifts of traditions that we pass down from year to year. Gifts sitting under the tree waiting to be opened. Gifts .of JOY. Gifts of HOPE. Gifts of LOVE. I read once a simple alliteration of 3 words that sums up Christmas in the best way. “God gives God”

God gives God. I think Elizabeth Barrett Browning got it right in that first quote.

“Now may the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE in believing, that you may abound in HOPE, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rm 15:13

6 of 7: JOY

6 of 7: JOY. “Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’…and the star…went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great JOY.” – Matthew 2:1-10 NASB

JOY is finding an old Christmas song that you loved listening to – way back when there were munchkins running around the house and beloved parents were still on this sphere.

JOY is remembering that there are people out there protecting our country and and the ones I love.  Thankfulness JOY.

JOY is playing ball with the dogs on a beautiful day in NC.

JOY is sending off Christmas JOY to others far away and trying not to think about them being so far away over the Christmas season.

JOY is treasuring the picture emerging from a book on to a Christmas stocking and knowing that one little Grand is going to be excited when she sees it.

JOY is reading a former student’s first draft of his book, still hearing his voice in your head and knowing that he is still a writer.

JOY is getting cards and phone texts/calls from old and new friends, collegues and family.

JOY is having former students remember you at Christmas with a card or a PM and catching up on their lives.

JOY is reading so many posts that talk about a baby being born in a manger long, long ago.

JOY is knowing that we can still come from far, far, far away – by camel – by car – by foot – by prayer – and still be blessed by His grace – no matter what!

JOY is knowing that “There Will Always Be A Christmas.” A time when JOY became flesh, lived among us and took all our sins upon Him before He returned to the Father. Now that is JOY beyond belief. It is faith. It is JOY.

5 of 7: JOY

Loudonville nativity5 of 7: JOY. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my JOY might remain in you, and that your JOY might be full.” Jn 15:11

Sometimes, God just up and surprises me. Was deep down feeling sorry for myself tonight. Couldn’t figure out just how I was supposed to write about JOY when I really didn’t feel much JOY. Then He just flings a little miracle my way and suddenly, the soul is dancing, and I’m trying to kick that depression demon to the curb. Love when that happens.

“The disciples were filled with JOY with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52

All it took was a picture. A picture from my childhood. Once (like all small towns and large cities of America) nativities were erected around this time of the year. Ours stood in the central park. It wasn’t the traditional nativity with a stable or many characters. To me, it was perfect – stately, simple and spiritual. I loved it and missed it when it was gone. Today, our local museum posted a picture of it, and the JOY of walking past it every day as I walked home from school came rushing back.

“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting JOY upon their heads: they shall obtain JOY and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Is 35:10

Do you realize that JOY is mentioned 422 times in the Bible (give or take a couple depending on the translation)? I love that God is constantly in our face – reminding us that JOY is always there. Yeah – in this world we are attacked emotionally, physically and spiritually. Founder of the Methodist church/evangelist, John Wesley, described these types of attacks daily in his writings. Once, it was reported that he went on a 3 day fast and prayer retreat when he hadn’t been critized enough.He believed that he would grow more spiritually and in wisdom when he was challenged in his faith . His JOY was trying to live his life spreading the JOY of Jesus Christ.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY, which shall be to all people.” Lk 2:10

Christmas break is here. Time to: Finish onE last Christmas stocking for the Grands. Send Christmas cards. Relax with the piano a little. Spend time talking with loved ones. Read an old book. Play with the dogs. Sit down and wait with JOY for the day of the LORD is almost at hand.

“Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart will REJOICE, and no one will take your JOY away from you.” Jn 16:22