Tag Archives: My Father

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2018: Field Treasure

Baby born in Bethlehem.
Angels sang.
Shepherds came.
Animals bowed.
Samuel, Anna, Wisemen wait in line.

“The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.”~Matt 13:44

Santa came.
Presents opened.
Family gathered.
Food devored.
Games, laughter, stories, hugs shared.

“Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man is looking for fine pearls, and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl.”~Matt 13:45-46

Field treasure found, buried and purchased for the heart of love and spirit for all time.

On this first day of Christmas. So many blessed memories made in such a short time. Sometimes it all goes as planned. Sometimes, it just falls apart from the “get-go”. Most of the time – it is somewhere in the middle. Long ago, the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote:

“But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain: 
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men 
Gang aft agley, 
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, 
For promis’d joy! “

Which boiled down to the basics just states that age-old adage you’ve probably heard repeated in part: “The best laid plans of Mice and Men…”

Joseph, Mary had a plan. GOD had a plan. 
I have a plan. GOD has a plan.
I’ll let you figure out which one has the better plan.

So as I get ready to close my eyes tonight, I continue to dig out gems that I found in my field over the past few days, and let the joy cascade over me. He planted the gem seeds long ago.  All I had to do is find them. They may not have grown according to my plan, but the gems shine so brightly that I can’t wait to open up the gate and run back into the field just to hold them in my hands again.

Faith is like that. Peace covers all the twists, turns and craziness that life brings our way. It causes the “SON” to shine brightly on those treasures, so that each one takes a lustre far beyond the physical touchstones that they once were.

Hope.
Love.
Grace.
Repristination.

It all started with a baby in a manger, and I can’t wait to see what other gems are waiting for me to discover when my plans get thrown out the window, and HIS plan is allowed to grow and blossom in my field.

“On the first day of Christmas, My Father gave to me…”

“Go to now, you that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”~Jm 4:13-15

little seed   [personal image]

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CHRISTMAS MOCKING STOCKING (2 Days and Counting)

Where did this holyday season go? Wasn’t it just Halloween? Seems like just yesterday when I was pulling out the Christmas stockings with a big ol’ smile, thinking I really was getting a head start this year.

So much for that.

I did get Grandson’s stocking done a couple weeks ago – well – mostly. I have a few more things that need a few finishing touches. Nothing big, so I’m good with that. HOWEVER – I set aside this day to work on the Granddaughter’s stocking. Nothing like waiting to the last minute, right? Let me remind you (kicking myself in the rear as I do so), that procrastination is not a virtue because today has been one interruption after another.

Good interruptions. Fun conversations and laughter. Dragging a few pine branches from fallen trees to add a few more decorations to the home. Cooking down beef bones to make beef and noodles.

BUT – nothing that has anything to do with getting the Grands’ stockings completely done. – Not to mention – they wanted me to add something to their mom and dad’s stockings as well.

THIS IS NOT GOOD.

It probably has something to do with the full moon or the asteroids flying overhead or the winter solstice, right? I bet you didn’t know that Christmas stockings can mock lowly humans, did you?!? Well they can. It is right here – sitting on the coffee table, staring at me, and laughing hilariously as it states unequivocally that Christmas is only two days away.

LIKE I DON’T KNOW THAT!

“Waken up and strengthen what remains.”~Rev 3:2

I found this verse this morning during devotions. Like usual, I never know why something inside of me prompts me to write down a verse, but I have found that I’m always very sorry if I don’t write it down. Tonight, as I listen to the mocking stocking, my eyes fell on this verse and the verse encircles my heart with a hug.

MOCKING STOCKINGS have no power over me tonight.

Today – with all its interruptions – was truly blessed. I got to share time and food with neighbors. While cutting up fallen branches from our roadway, I found the tops of two small pines that now make our first “real” Christmas tree since 2009. Then – of course – I had to look for something we had from ten years ago to decorate it (don’t laugh). The old sled our kidlets used to ride down our monster driveway in OH, has a bit of greenery as it stands in the corner of our deck. I found a piece of wood that denotes our new spot of the world which was made by a new friend. And tonight, as I eat a piece of fruit from a gift basket that one of my “golden” friends sent me, I felt the Spirit take hold and those pesky tears formed behind the eyelids once again.

Praising My Father, watching bubble lights, and pondering all the treasure chest memories those bubbles and few decorations hold that are attached to this holyday, I am indeed blessed much more than I deserve. The mocking stocking is silent now and as soon as I finish this rambling thought, I will get back to adding a few more stitches.

One more important thing – in fact, the only important thing of this season, is finding that babe wrapped in swaddling bands and lying in the manger; or seeing the star giving out great light for all to see; or perhaps – hearing a great army of angels singing for all to hear:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”~Lk 2:10 

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]

ABSOLUTELY

945925_589268661094942_510126471_nI absolutely – positively love going to our church. I totally – completely love singing old hymns or praise songs in a come-unity that is so large that no one can hear me sing – just me giving back (one of the gifts He gave me) to My Father. I happily – amazingly love jumping from book to book – verse to verse- in Our Father’s guide book – trying to keep up with a pastor who seems to store the whole book in his bald head and talks faster than any ol’ country boy I’ve ever heard.

“And he did not doubt The Promise of God as if his faith were lacking, but he was strengthened in faith and he gave praise to God.” Rm 4:20

Blue. Red. Black. Purple. Green. My relatively new Bible has gotten pretty marked up in the past few years. After the house fire took away my old Bibles and my mom’s Bible, I had to get a few new ones. (Luckily, my father’s Masonic Bible was spared) But – there is always that one special translation that becomes a favorite. One that sleeps close to me when the hubby is gone (mostly because I love reading in bed until my eyes can no longer stay open, and I wake up hours later to turn out the light). One that seems to speak in God’s voice more than the others do. Its tissuepaper pages are torn – creased – marked. Dates crowd the margins around verses that speak loudly to me while underlined phrases – boxed in words – and silly doodles weave in and out of the small spaces that remain. More notes on notebook paper are pasted into my journal —- just incase I need to look something up later.

“Therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God, that it is so according to what was spoken to me.” Acts 27:25

Every story – every parable – points us to having faith. A faith so strong that we begin to understand that no matter what happens, God keeps His promises. A faith that allows us to see beyond all logic and reason to see the hope of His promises. It may happen immediately – it may happen decades later, but God keeps His promises, or if you think in Hebrew or Jewish tradition – he keeps His b’rits. The fantastically – wonderfully cool thing is – – – – God works to build faith in our lives through every situation that we experience. Every terrific- awful – funny – sad – hateful – beloved situation that develops in our lives.

“For it is by faith that we walk and not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7

At the end of this night, my heart absolutely identifies with Mary, Martha’s sister. I can easily visualize myself sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to Him teach, yearning to absorb every syllable of His stories into my finite mind until finally – safely, I fall asleep, wrapped in the comforter of His voice. That is the peace of faith – a faith in God the Father – God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – a faith beyond all understanding. A peace byond all logical thought. A peace that is just  absolutely “knowing”.(Lk 10:38-42)

[images:The Lamb’s Chapel]

 

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PRISIM

Star of BethlehemAfter two nights of restless dreams, today was a blessings of small things. An hour gyrokenesis (https://www.gyrotonic.com/gyrokinesis.aspx) class that turned into a discussion of meditative philosophy. An unexpected day with the Grands laughing as we read our “new” old books, and one drowsy, sweaty little one curled tightly in my lap. Dogs knocking me sideways and almost down as they race for the elusive ball on the wooden floor under my chair. Friendly banter with a policeman as he directed traffic at a newly opened Popeyes in our area….unbelievable line of people waiting for a little taste of Cajun. Prayers answered, yet more to add to the list. I’m glad I keep a journal these days.

However, June 30, 2015, brings a couple extra blessings. First: we get .002 extra 11232227_839892132763342_6769764443596886690_nseconds of life in our year. Isn’t it amazing that someone keeps such an exact accounting of how long it takes for our earth to spin in its orbit? I don’t deal well with numbers, so for me this is almost miraculous. And then I wonder, if any of us would notice if someone hadn’t told us? After all, in the scheme of this immense universe and all our important busyness and thoughts, how do we even notice .002 seconds extra? Stay up and extra .002 seconds? Go to bed .002 seconds earlier? Play Jigsaw puzzle just a little longer?

“And some of the teachers do stumble for refining by them, and for purifying, and for making white — till the end of the time, for [it is] yet for a time appointed.” Dan 11:35 [YLT]

download (1)Second: the “Star of Bethlehem” is visible for the first time in 2000+ years. Another interesting blessing that I wasn’t counting on today. How did I miss this one? I’ve known about the Blood Moons and Solar Eclipse tied to the Jewish holy days for several years. I’ve known about the Jewish Shemitah and the Jubliee years for awhile. But this one – this one – I missed. So I read the article. Double check with another article, and sure enough – I found out something else I didn’t know until today.

I love learning something new. I ponder new things. Toss them around like I used to toss my babydoll when I was little. Catching it in my hands. Examining it from the front…back…sides. Comparing how it feels in my hands. How it feels when I close my eyes and rub my face in its softness. Tossing it again until I am satisfied that I have observed every possible angle. I love blessings that beg me to understand the wisdom that lies within them..

“And God saith, ‘Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens, to make a separation between the day and the night, then they have been for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years, 15and they have been for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth:’ and it is so.” Gen 1:14 [YLT]

Today, in my devotions, Living Free by Beth Moore, she stated: “Since the day sin damaged all areas of human life, we have been re-making the Creator in our own image. We think He acts, feels and thinks the way we do.” p16 I’ve been tossing this little gem around in my mind with all the other blessings. I’ve decided we do treat God much like we treat those around us. After all, weren’t we made in the image of God? So we see people and The LORD through the prism of our own experiences, emotions, thoughts. “wisdom”. If you need an analogy – just look at the pictures on FB with the rainbow superimposed upon them.

We see through the glass darkly.

A Prism.

I think I need to change the way I am approaching prayer and My Father. I need to ACT like Him. FEEL as He does. THINK the way He thinks. I know that I won’t be very good at it. I know that I probably won’t even come close. But I want to strip the prism off my eyes and try to actually look into the blessing of Light that has been given unto me.rainbow_prism_by_elflordtim

Begin a New Work

cliff sittingThere are times when the air conditioning blows hot air into an already sweltering house; the dishwasher screams in protest as it grinds to a stop mid-cycle;  and the monthly paycheck seems insignificant to the mountain of bills looming overhead. Bills that I thought I’d have under control this month, just doubled in size.  The nightly news carries unspeakable human atrocities done to other human beings.  Visual images (even though I refuse to watch actual videos) that I never, ever dreamed would happen in today’s enlightened world.  Prodigal children.  Marital/Racial/Gender/Sexual Abuse. Child sex trade.  Anti-semitism. Mass murders. Beheading.  And the last one catches in my throat and stops my forward motion…Crucifictions. I drag my feet forward as my tongue traces a newly sensitive tooth.  Where are You?  I know You can make this STOP!  Why don’t You intervene? PLEASE!

Breathe deep.

Eyes close.

Cries choke.

‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ Isaiah 47:10

I almost hate free will.  It would be so much easier to live in a world without choice, wouldn’t it?  The body hurts because of this or that, and I think that whoever called these years, “the golden years”, was really good at misnomers.  Doctor bills jut out of the mountain waiting to catch the toe as I stumble up the trail with checkbook in hand.  Worries that have been tucked into the corner of a smile, hidden from most of the world, threaten to pull the lips into a tight line revealing the fears held in check.  Are You listening?  Can I scream any louder? Strong winds of human frailty that seemed inconsequential when standing on terra firma below; now whip at my body threatening to send me plummeting into the dark abyss below.

Faith falters.

Darkness descends.

Harmony halts. 

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt 26:41 

The mountain’s height still seems insurmountable while the weight of the backpack stuffed full of prayers pulls my shoulders backward; it is way too heavy to carry any further. I think about slipping it off and just letting it fall away from me, beyond the narrow ledge a foot length away. Another choice.  Another curve.  The knees crumble and rocks slice the tender joints.  Precariously balanced, I wedge my body tightly between the ledge and the sheer surface.  Tears course through the soul, leaving salty tracks upon physical cheeks as I manage to look up.  The rocky path still threatens to cut and scratch and trip any foot or knee that struggles to maintain their tenuous grip.  Yet there is something.  Something in this foreign land that beckons me to stand and try again.

Word whispered.

Lantern lit.

Eyes searching. 

“You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.”  Samuel 22:29 

A Hand outstretched steadies my shaking, physical body.  It knocks away loose rocks and straggly brush to reveal words etched upon the face of the mountain; rough foreign letters that mold my fingers tracing their path. The thought that others have climbed these mountains make them not quite so scary.  Too often, I think, I rely on this world instead of placing my hand firmly on the rope-line of His Hand. Promises long forgotten begin to light the path with their wisdom. My eyes open wide.  Handholds and foot holds noticed. Forgotten is the weight of the backpack as each step forward brings new light to each promise. Questions formulate about those who have gone before.  How did they endure?  Where they saints or mere mortals – like me?  I am so like Peter. My faith is strong until I start to think.  Then the consequences overwhelm me, and I begin to sink until Christ’s Hand reaches down to pull me out.

Hope rises.

Faith emerges.

Peace envelopes.

“ ‘Father,

hallowed be your name…’”  Luke 11:3a  

A journey of choices is still in front of me.  Tight curves, protruding rocks, unpredictable weather, knee-shaking fear, and my own steps forward threaten my path.  Yet, the back-pack is no longer heavy.  It has sprouted wings and helps me to avoid many of the obstacles.  It is just one of the blessings – miracles that is now so readily apparent.  It is the manifestation of my faith in My Father’s love.  The world with all its intellect, studies, and well-educated people call it an addicting drug…a myth…a crutch…a historical fallacy.  Yet, all MY intellect, studies, education knows it is not.  I wish I was better with words.  I wish that I could give the world what is inside my heart.  I still, sometimes, wish that there was no such thing as choice and free will.  But what I know for sure is that My Father sees what even His Son and Holy Spirit cannot see, and He wants us to choose to love Him.

“…your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins,

for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

And lead us not into temptation.’ ” Luke 11: 3b-4 isaiah

(pictures via FB images)

A Shard of Faith

Storms of LifeA day without anything on the schedule is rare for me – even in retirement. Today was one of those days. The Grands are loving on their other grandparents. Daughter and husband are enjoying being hosts. So I putzed in the garden, worked on dad’s memory book of artifacts and pictures, read a little, worked a jigsaw puzzle, read a little more, planned a trip to Boston to see an old friend, mapped out a tentative trip to OH/MI, and finally decided to get a family doctor…are you bored yet? But through it all, found an hour to spend reading the WORD – which I sorely needed.

After that I spent some time reading “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. It makes me think about how I pray. It is easy to say the words – “I’ll pray for you…I’m praying for you..You’re in my prayers…” and then follow through by writing it down in my prayer journal and saying a small prayer at some point during the day. A vague prayer spoken in response to someone’s need. Does God listen and answer vague prayers? I’ve been thinking about this all weekend.

I decided that I think He does…especially when it concerns someone else’s needs. He knows that we don’t know the specifics in those cases, but He honors the love being shown to His children by listening and honoring even our short prayers. However – Batterson makes the point that Jesus stressed being being specific when we come before Him in prayer for ourselves.

“As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.” Matt 20:29-34

He knew they wanted to be healed so that they could see, and yet – He asked them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Batterson states: “Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in a well-lived life.” p25

I don’t know about you – but when it comes to answering Christ’s question -“What do you want me to do for you?” – I am not so well-defined. I stutter. I croak. I cringe. But over the past few days – I’m trying to find the words. I’m trying to “spell” them out in a more definitive way because that is how faith grows. If I have faith enough to trust My Father to approach Him in prayer, I should have faith enough to be specific. Get logic out of the way. Get the “reasonable” words out of the way. I don’t have to “justify” His potential answers. Just lay it before Him and KNOW that while His answers may NOT be my answers – His answers are ALWAYS the BEST answers.

I love it when My Father allows me to catch a glimpse – out of the corner of my eye – of a shard of truth. I continue to pick them up whenever I am blessed to find them – and the amazing thing is – they fit together so perfectly that they are no longer individual broken pieces. They have just become a more beautiful shard – still small – still incomplete – but growing larger and larger as my faith grows.

“Often during a busy day
I pause for a minute to silently pray.
I mention the names of those I love
And treasured friends I am fondest of —-
For it doesn’t matter where we pray
If we honestly mean the words we say,
For God is always listening to hear
The prayers that are made by a heart that’s sincere.” Helen Steiner Rice