Tag Archives: North Carolina

FIRMAMENT

Long, long ago in a snowy land, my mom took soft, fleecy blankets and cut them into two different sizes. One for the twin beds of my kidlets, two for our larger size bed (for she was sure that the wood stove could not possibly heat such a big house), and one for her bed where nights were chilly and dark since my father died many years ago.

Tonight, I know that it will be much too warm for the heavy denim blanket that covers our bed, so I pulled out one of those old, fleecy blankets and let my fingers linger as I smoothed it. For you see, today was that proverbial “perfect” spring day. Shorts and Tees came out of the dusty drawers and even while North Carolinians know that it won’t last, lots of neighbors found a reason to be outside.

  • Stump grinding.
  • Trimming hedges.
  • Running errands.
  • Reading books.
  • Visiting in the roadway between the fences.

It was one of those days where you could feel “…the Spirit of G-d moving across…” the land. “…and it was good.”

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”~Gen 1:6-8

Firm ground. Firm muscles. Firm mattress. Firmament in the middle of waters – waters under the firmament – waters above the firmament??? Gets confusing. The Hebrew word that was translated into the word “firmament” in English is not exactly how the Jewish Sages look at it. Instead, they look at it as the day God created differences because how do you separate waters from waters? You make them different. And for whatever reason, the Second Day was a necessary day but not pronounced “good”.

As I smoothed that old blanket one more time, the rain started to fall, and I began to think about the “difference” that exists in our days here upon earth. Tomorrow it will be thirty degrees cooler. It will be full of gusty winds. Snow in the mountains. Rain here. By Sunday – the shorts and tees are back in style.

Differences exist in every part of lives upon Terra Firma. Some are good – some not so good – some down right evil. I’m wondering if that is why G-d did not pronounce it “good”. Perhaps He knew that differences that separate the heavens from the waters holds a key of wisdom that we have yet to uncover. Perhaps it was His hint at the narrow gate He would eventually create for us.

In any case, I am thankful tonight. Thankful for a mother who covered me and my loved ones in warm blankets for chilly nights and blankets of prayers that still cover us from across the fence that separates us. Thankful for a day in the dirt. Thankful for the garden we tend. Thankful for differences. Thankful for the firmament. Thankful for the narrow gate that unites the “waters” once again.

“…and God saw that it was good.”~Gen 1:13b  (google image)

Memorial Day 2015

memorial day aToday, I finally finished my own memorial to my parents and hubby’s parents. Plants.  Plaques given at their funerals by loved ones.  Bricks.  I can now sit in my garden, study the WORD, listen to the windchimes or God’s creations, and remember those who gave me the best of themselves.

Graveyards are fine. They serve the community as a rallying point to honor those who have sacrificed for our country. It is a place to erect monuments to those who have gone before. A place for speeches, parades and memories. Humans tend to need those things. Communities tend to need those things. I just seem to need something a little closer to home. A place surrounded – not by other monuments – but by God, and the garden where He placed me.

“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.” — Exodus 23:16

memorial day fThe more I learn about Jewish holidays and traditions, the more I fall in love with the beginnings of my faith. This is not only Memorial Day, it is also the end of Shavuot and also Pentecost. The more I read Jewish traditions and history, the more I believe that nothing is coincidence in God’s timing. Invisible lines intersect over and over in an unending circle of love. Giving us endless clues to His fascinating character.

Shavuot had its beginning as a “first fruits” harvest – the offering of the first perfect,memorial day h unblemished fruits of the harvest being given back to the Father. Later it became the date that Moshe recieved the Torah – the first, perfect unblemished written fruit – from the Father to His children. (Interesting thought always arises in the back of my mind that perhaps this was Rabbi Yeshua’s true birthdate. God seems to like patterns, and I just have to wonder.) Pentecost – the perfect, unblemished gift of the Holy Spirit – from the Father to His children. Memorial Day (although not celebrated anymore on its original date) – a day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – past and present – to return home to Our Father.

May 24 aYesterday, the Grands and family came over for brunch. We laid on the chaise lounge that my father made long ago and identified the shapes of clouds as they drifted overhead – a pig, a dragon, an eagle… Their barefeet walked the path of the cross made of old, imperfect bricks from a long ago Loudonville street. They carefully moved the little elves from place to place in front of the stain glass window that my big brother gave to me also long ago.

Holy-days are special. It is one reason, hubby and I decided long ago to always have our pigroasts on the Sunday before Memorial Day. A day for family. A day to remember. A day to honor sacrifices made long before we were born and those still being made today by those far away. Hope you have a blessed holy-day and remember to honor the first fruits just as He remembers to honor you.grain_offering

ONE OF THOSE WEEKS

endtimesThis week has been one of those weeks where you weep, shake your head and wonder how the world could get any scarier or darker. It is hard enough to watch the news – stories about people I don’t know –  governments faltering and stumbling –  ancient tortures swirling in the red haze of hatred – division tearing at families, communities, churches. Protests ocurring in schools, outside police stations, on the streets, around the corner.

“…wars and rumors of war…nation…against nation, and kingdom against kindom.”  Matt 24:6-7

It is much harder to have a childhood friend call me from OH and say that the doctors have found pancreatic cancer; next week will determine a course of action. Harder still to watch my home town being thrown into turmoil because a teacher is being prosecuted for drug possession and recording kindergartners in the bathroom. It is probably the same bathroom that I can still visualize from my own kindergarten days.  Life didn’t get any easier as two other friends shared their tears and pain from swimming in the deep, wide ocean of divorce. Finally, a former student is missing; her family painfully posting notices on FB, hanging flyers and organizing search parties. In my memory, her face is still as familiar as it was when she stood by my desk in 8th grade.  I pray often then pray some more.

“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” ~Ps 84:12 pi day 2015a

haven’t felt much like writing for the past few weeks.  Not a normal state of being for me.  Waiting.  My desk is cluttered with a chore that shouldn’t take longer than a concentrated couple of weeks to fix, and yet it sits there.  Waiting.  Painted the bathroom, but haven’t started on the master bedroom even though the paint is still sitting on the counter.  Waiting.  I feel as if I’m fiddling while Rome burns – so to speak.  Just waiting.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Ps 55:22

It is when I stumble upon this verse in my prayer journal that I stop.  It brings me up short.  “He will NEVER let the righteous be shaken.” It pulls my G-d string, and the words begin to tumble and shape themselves around this promise – HIS PROMISE.  No matter how scary the world – how dark the evil – how ancient the story, “He will NEVER let the righteous be shaken.” 

Sax-Lake-PAThe sun is shining in NC today.  The windows are open.  Dogs are sleeping after a romp outside chasing the ball. The hot tub is calling for a pre-supper soak.  The paint is still waiting.  The desk is still cluttered.  My friends are still battling the C-word.  My former student is still missing.  Politicians are still bickering.  Atrocities still topping the news cast.  Nothing has changed physically, but everything has changed spiritually.  His promise.

 “He will NEVER let the righteous be shaken.” 

[google images]

Sunday’s Reflection

Esse quam videri – to be rather than to seem [to be] – NC state motto adoptede in 1893…the last of the original colonies to come up with a state motto, btw.

NC motto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that I have loved about moving has been learning new things about this new state. A lot of time when I am tutoring at the after school program where I work, I “sneak” reading time in my students’ history books. Actually, it serves a couple of purposes as my students observe me learning with them (Vygotski in action),, they get to mentor me, and they accepted my “Yankee” tutelage with bigger smiles on their faces. Can’t tell you how many times they didn’t have history homework but brought their history books just for me to read…not that I got to read it very often. Most times, we were just too busy doing homework. =)

reading“The end of all learning is to know God,
and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him.”
~ John Milton

One of the things I don’t like about moving is leaving my friends and former students behind in OH. This weekend was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t even know I had since I got to touch base with a special friend and her daughter who just graduated high school. Days like these become rare jewels that decorate our lives with their radiance and sparkling facets when we bring them out to shine in the sunshine of our memory. Sharing time with prayer warriors who have been on their knees with me is beyond compare, and I’m so glad they squeezed me into their wonderful vacation plans.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

New things – old things – they blend together in our lives – weaving in and out to form such a artful tapestry that it is very hard to imagine how the completed work could be any more beautiful. Even the broken threads woven back into the picture add depth and highlights that seemed to have been a part of the design since the beginning. Is that possible or is Our Father so merciful that the broken edges are fused so completely where the new thread no long “seems” whole but “is” whole once more? Esse quam videri.

Bible verses – even mottos – are good things in our lives. They can give us direction just as they can give our state and country a direction The important thing is identifying the motto/the verse and keeping it as a light in front of us. As the tapestry leaves the loom, it is the creation that takes on a life of its own, reflecting its Creator’s creativity, design, love — and that is essentially what Sundays are all about. Relating – resting – relaxing – reflecting –

Tonight, as I walked into my writing room (which I totally am in love with), I found a poem that mom had in her Bible. Like most things, she wrote on the back of it where it came from and the year….1985 – Lakeside. Lakeside Summers – another one of those rare jewels that I bring out to polish with love every now and then, and it seemed to be the perfect ending for this blessed day.

lakeside 2

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His Mercy
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His Love has no limit, His grace has no measure;
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus                                                                       He giveth and giveth and giveth again.  – Annie Johnson flint