Tag Archives: Our Father

2020 Vision: Who Am I?

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?”v.1

It was a beautiful day. Windows open. Radio on. Harmonizing to a song I know pretty well. Stretches that really help the knees keep bending. Time in the water at the gym. A great conversation with a fellow Durham school librarian. An old book I’m re-discovering and I wonder why now? A new book that I can’t wait to uncover and wonder why now? A short time to enjoy the patio swing before getting busy wasting time.
I am blessed.

“…what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him?”Ps 8:4b

This verse has been on my mind all weekend. Not sure why – except – that Our Father’s breath has been blowing many new things into my path this weekend. Like usual, I never know what to do with a lot of the information He sends, so I jot information. I write in my journal, my prayer devotional book, and note cards. Some verses leap off the page at me, so I write them down as well. Thoughts pop in my head and beg my attendance upon them, and then – I wonder – wait – while away the time – as it all tumbles around in my head.

I know eventually – He will tell me what to do with it all – but for now I hold them close and ponder them.

I am a flower quickly fading:
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I’m calling.
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
And You’ve told me who I am.
I am Yours, I am Yours.” ~v.2

On my way to the gym, this song came on. Casting Crowns. One of my favorite Christian groups. “Who Am I?” One of my favorite songs, lately. Since Psalm 8:4 had been already wandering around in my mind, I took notice. God winks are hard to miss when your eyes are focused on Him.

Since I had been looking up information, reading, listening to choral music, knitting, and watching some of my favorite Christian movies, the thoughts began to sort themselves out. I still can’t see the clear pattern yet, or where it is all leading, but there is something. Something I am about to discover about “who I am”.

So tonight, I am still waiting and watching. I have to admit, I tend to love it when Our Father starts downloading something, and His Hope takes over everything that I do. My eyes continually look up. My lamp overflows with new oil.

“When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— “ Ps 8:4a

As I sat on the patio swing, I do wonder why He cares so much about each of us. I betray His trust and love over and over – and yet – He is mindful of me. Even as a quickly fading flower or a mere vapor on the wind in the scheme of eternity, He continues to find time for me…and the butterflies that are all over the lantana bush… or the hummingbirds filling up for their trip South…or the two aging choc lab girls who sleep in the shade of a wisteria covered portico. There is much more to come out of this thoughtful weekend, but it is a start.

I reflect back that Job probably said it best, “What is man that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart upon him.” Job 7:7

He trusts us with His heart…His Son…His Grace……..

Since the very beginning, so who am I not to trust Him with mine? 

2020 VISION: Cloud Tufts

“All you people of the world,
you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
you will hear it.” Is 18:3

I’ve been looking at my beautiful lantana and flowering artichoke plants for over a month now. I have three lantana plants. Two have orange and yellow blooms, while the other is pink and yellow. Every year they wake up from their winter slumber and grow larger. I look forward to them because the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are all over them.

But this year is different. The butterflies are missing.

The bee balm, like the day lilies, are on the down side of their season. The salvia will continue all summer; its smell perfuming the air whenever I brush past it. Even the wisteria has ushered a few extra blooms this summer. Bees of different kinds and hummingbirds have certainly feasted well, but only a rare butterfly or two.

I miss my butterflies.

“The physical cannot fully grasp the comprehensiveness of the spiritual…If we limit the scope of our hopefulness to what’s immediately visible, we’ll get an inaccurate reading on any scenario we’re seeking to evaluate. Believers must live by faith, by believing what they cannot yet see.”~Priscilla Shirer, p63, AWAKE.

In this strange year, I sit on my patio swing and wonder about my butterflies often. I talk to My Father about it. As usual, He answers, and I knew as soon as I started my devotions this morning, that this was His answer. It is another one of those “faith-building” things I need to see with my 2020 VISION.

When we have droughts, we look to the sky and search for clouds on the horizon. We look for that tiny wisp of a cloud that will bring a few drops of rain. When an earthquake – tornado – hurricane strikes, we look at the destruction and wonder where to start amid the destruction – until we find one thing to pick up and then another and another. When a plague strikes, we seek wisdom from every source possible, searching for an end to the threat. A tiny sign that it is passed, and things can return to “normal”.

It is our nature…it is that tiny seed of faith within us…to look for the smallest thing to reassure us. It is…

“…God’s way – preparing unfathomable things, even when only the slightest hints of them can be barely detected…to trust that the Father is able to come through at the perfect moment, no matter how far removed the possibility seems from our current vantage point.” ibid, p64.

Today, after several 90 degree days, high humidity, and stuffed sinuses, that a tiny cloud on the horizon multiplied into big, beautiful storm clouds. When I was little, I would sit in my “Thinking Tree” and wait for a storm to arrive. It was a weeping willow tree and not known to be the safest tree to sit in when the wind was whipping around which is probably why my Father would often come and sit in a chair beside me while we waited.

I was never afraid when my father sat beside me.

“This is what the Lord says to me:
“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”~Is 18:4

When the storm finally arrived and started pelting us with droplets, my father would lift me down from the tree, and we would run into the house. Mom would usually have a special treat for both of us, and we would sit on our screened-in porch talking, reading, or Daddy would pull out the guitar/banjo and we would sing.

All because of a wisp of a cloud and an answered prayer.

“Remember that even a little cloud of hope, when God’s WORD is behind it, points toward a downpour of promise, potential, and possibility. Even His silence and seeming slowness are only the quiet buildup to a thunderous revelation of His glory.” Ibid, p64.

Our 2020 VISION may not pick up much of a cloud on the horizon of this crazy, chaotic year, but every promise in His WORD points to the fact that He’s quietly sitting beside us, waiting to lift us out of the tree and run with us into the home His Son has prepared just for us.

I still miss my butterflies, and while I no longer climb into my “Thinking Tree” (probably a good idea in my 70th year around the sun), I’m sitting on my patio swing, watching for that small tuft of a cloud and listening for the sound of a trumpet off in the distance. 

[personal images]

2020 VISION: War Room Wisdom

Do you ever feel like GOD just might be Gibbs slapping you?

It has been a couple wonderful days of Gibbs’ slaps that have just left me smiling. First, I got myself back into the my War Room. It is not enough for me to read devotions – online or book form. It is not enough for me to stand at my home altar as I pray for people on my prayer list or pray for our country. It is not enough for me to sit on my swing and sing old hymns or praise songs as I meditate on the wonder of all my blessings. If I don’t spend time just soaking in His presence first thing in the morning, I just feel a little – nope, that’s not right – I feel A LOT – lonely and a little off-center.

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.” James 5:1-6

After spending time in the War Room, walking the lab girls, meandering around the garden, I came in and started to read my devotions. But the nudge to look further wouldn’t go away. So I walked back to my bedroom and got my favorite Bible. The one I sleep with – the one that is bent and a little broken even though it is only 11 years old. Lo and behold, it opened up to James.

I wasn’t really surprised. When the Father wants me to see something, He usually Gibbs’ slaps me a couple of times with the same thing. First, one of my former students has been doing a short video series on 8 keys of wisdom that are found in the book of James. Second, one of my devotions also referred to James. So to have my Bible just fall open to James made me, literally, laugh out loud.

The first verse that caught my attention was: “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.” v.7a

I don’t know about you, but during these days of division and angry dissonance that caught my attention pretty quickly. And – those who know me, can probably see me laughing as I looked up and shout out loud, “Seriously? You start with that?”

Gibbs’ slaps from the Father are just that – attention getting and a sharp reminder all in One loving palm.

“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” v.7b-9

So often, I find myself strictly guarding my tongue. Words come easy to me- sometimes too easy. The rhythms and patterns of thoughts mixing in my mind before I even realize their shaping into a thought. I learned early in my life that words can be used to hurt or to help. However, I didn’t learn it easily. I tripped over my tongue many, many times, and unfortunately, watched others trip over my words even more. Wisdom came slowly and oft, at the expense of others.

As I read these verses today, I thought about how easy it is – in these days of instant communication – to “grumble against one another…” We watch. We shake our heads – one way or another. We judge. The log in our eyes grow larger and larger.
Such a short book in the Bible, and yet, James packed a lot of wisdom into 5 small chapters.

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”    v. 10-11

It is easy to lose sight of His Love, Light, Peace, Grace and Hope during these times of uncertainty and fear. We have a tendency – at least I do have a tendency – to lash out with those pesky words that we have learned to use so well – instead of leaning back, taking a deep breath and seeking His War Room Wisdom first.

James reminds us to look at Job. How did Job act as his family died? As his friends questioned him and his faith? As he lost everything that he had worked for and acquired?

We are living in the times of birth pangs – and for me – I find it fairly easy to identify with Job in more ways than I ever thought I would. It is my War Room where I lay it down in My Father’s presence and smile despite it all. His presence is the shield, the sword, the helmet, the belt, the shoes that I need to remember why the furnace is so hot, and the wisdom that will get me through it all.

Time is growing short. Birth pangs are hard. But – the miracle is coming. We only need to humble ourselves. Open the door to seek the War Room’s Wisdom. Pray as we have never prayed before for Yeshua Mashiach’s church – our country – our leaders – our family – our friends – even those we disagree with – our enemies – our world.

As I watched one of my favorite singers tonight, he and his wife reminded me of this song. So tonight, I am still, I continue to seek His face, and as I get ready to close my eyes, I am resting on His promises. So that tomorrow – I will try harder to shine His Love, Light, Grace and Peace each and every step of the way on this bumpy road.

We’ve got this – and best yet – Our Father’s got all of us. War Room Wisdom can’t be beat – it can only shine a Light in the darkness.

“As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me” – Shine, Jesus, Shine 

[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Perfect

All social-distancing right now is actually social-togetherness: keeping our distance from each other is the gift we give each other to get through this together. And staying home and staying flat on our faces in prayer is what can flatten this curve.” Ann Voskamp

Blessed beyond measure is the only way I can describe it.

Spring flowers bring…allergies for me. Especially – as one grows older. Never had allergies growing up. Never worried about what food I ate or what weeds were in bloom – until a tiny bug bit me and turned my immune system upside down. Suddenly, spring and fall were not my “perfect” seasons, and I discovered that I was more like my mother than I thought.

Allergies blossomed in my life and show up regularly.

Now taking after my mother is not a bad thing. Everyone loved her including me. She could sing, tell jokes and whistle tunes loud enough for me to find her wherever she might be working. But – she also had allergies. I can remember her sitting at her vanity sniffing penicillin on a pretty regular basis. (I think I’m glad I never had to do that.)

When the world shuts down – – – is exactly when our thanksgiving needs to rise up.” ibid A.V.

For the past few years when ever fall or spring start blowing through the neighborhood, my sinuses start wanting to blow back. Worse – it usually turns into a bronchitis presentation of coughing and wheezing and sniffling and tossing and turning and whining and fevers and doctor visits.

Ugh!

This spring – praise the LORD – I have only had a stopped up left ear. No fever. No coughing. No wheezing. Perhaps a little whining and tossing and turning – after all – going from stereo to monophonic is a wee bit disturbing. Put off calling the doctor until it was really stupid on my part. (“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” as my mom used to say to herself or the TV.)

Good news?

Didn’t have to go to the doctor or anywhere near the hospital in these chaotic times. Got my meds at my drive thru pharmacy. Took a couple naps. Still blowing my nose. Still waiting with lots of thanksgiving for my ear to pop open. But mostly – – –

“Praising my Savior all the day long….”

“Pursue the things which make the peace and the building up of one another.” Rm 14:19

As I was thinking about all of this today, this thought kept repeating itself. Even in the tiniest of potential problems, Our Father knows and provides for His people way beyond what we can conceive. It may not always (or in my case – hardly ever) be the way we think it will be, but it is always perfect – at the perfect time – in the most perfect of ways.

Today was perfect.

I may not hear in stereo yet. I may not feel like mowing the yard yet. I may not even feel like going outside to walk the dogs yet. But it was perfect and full of His perfect words comforting me and nudging me forward. I am in awe of the way He loves me. Can I do anything less than to pay it forward and love those He has placed in my circle?

This is the perfect time to unite. The perfect time to bless each other with our words – even from a good distance away. The perfect time to not jab at others who don’t agree with me, but to find the things we hold in common. The perfect time to pray for my President, my congressmen, my civic leaders who are struggling, making mistakes, but trying their best. The perfect time to find solitude in isolation. The perfect time to bless others with His peace and love in anyway we can. The perfect time to stay home “… flat on our faces in prayer…[and] flatten this curve.”

Perfect – just as Yeshua Mashiach, the Holy Spirit and Our Father are.

“Be therefore perfect, just as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48 


Blessings!Be!

VISION 2020: Sabbath

The house is a maze of throw rugs. Wood floors peeking out in between them. Rugs spaced just far enough apart that a certain four-legged, beloved lab girl feels more secure as she walks from one end of the house to the other. Truth be told, she mostly wanders just one side of the house during the day, but at night she wants to amble back to the other side to protect me and her kid sister. The good news – I’m tickled pink to have her wandering again and praising My Father for her stubborn heart.

Four days ago, the old dog seemed to be ready to leave. I’ve been around the block a time or two with old dogs. I recognize the signs. They don’t eat or drink. Their breathing changes. Their eyes change – as if they are looking beyond what’s in front of them. So because I didn’t want her to be alone, I slept on the floor – with her on one side and kid sister on the other. (Hard to believe that as a kid I used to find sleeping on the floor a treat.)

The great news – she is still here and showing some signs of her old ornery self. Still a little hard for her to get up. Still a little unsteady on her feet. But those big eyes are wide open and checking every morsel that I put in my mouth. Can anything be better than having those big puppy dog eyes watching every move of the spoon? I think not.

“I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” Jn 16:32

Rather hectic days lead this simple soul, to enjoying a true Sabbath. I didn’t do much. Didn’t go to the gym. Didn’t work on much of anything except to move a few piles or sticks and rocks. Washed a couple of blankets and hung them on the back deck to dry. Knitted a few rows of a prayer shawl. Read some devotionals. Walked the dogs. Worked a cryptogram. Laughed when the old lab girl wanted to come with me, carrying her ball and trying to keep it from her kid sister. Sat on the patio swing. Listened to sounds echo through the woods – all the while hoping that the smelly remnant of a skunk was exactly that – a remnant and not a warning of its presence.

GOD is good, all the time.

At some point, I fell asleep with the windows open and the sun shining through them. The rabbi I had been watching on YouTube had turned into a video of Akiane Kramarik. It had been awhile since I had watched one of her videos, so I watched a few more. If you don’t remember – she is the art prodigy that started her career at the age of four. Not only that – she led her family to faith in GOD.

“Heavenly music is always gentle. I can’t tell you how different it is from what you hear on earth! It feels like joy, it looks like love, smells like flowers and dances like butterflies. Music there is alive! You can even taste it.” Akiane Kramarik

Treasure chest memories were everywhere today. One of the videos showed Akiane milking goats – a goat that looked just exactly like our first goat, Ami. Then as I folded the blankets off the back deck, I buried my nose in them. My childhood and OH homes all had clotheslines. What is it about hanging clothes outside to dry that makes them smell so good?

This Sabbath was blessed in too many ways to count. Eldest son’s birthday. Old lab finding her way back to me. Carolina warmth and sun. Treasure chest memories. Kitty curled on my lap. God’s presence drifting over every second of this Sabbath. Just glad my eyes, ears, heart and soul were open to all He has done on this holy day.

Our Father’s promises always lead to Joy.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Is 58:13-14 

VISION 2020: Faith Filled Feet

This morning I woke up with chorus of The Battle Hymn of the Republic marching through my mind. Nothing to get your faith feet under you for a new day with a robust, wonderful chorus of: “Glory, glory, hallelujah…”

But tonight is a little harder. The old choc lab girl is in pain. Her head is down, and she has been whimpering since she she came in after our last walk. She has many tumors, and the vet warned me last fall that it might not be long before the pain would worsen. I upped her CBD chews and laid on the floor with her until she fell asleep. I cried, but I’m still praying that tomorrow she will wake me up by being her old bouncy self. (Her nickname has always been “Bouncer” since she shows her excitement by bouncing.) I really don’t want to think about losing another part of my life right now.

“I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.” v.2

Long ago, most of my early March days and nights were filled by participating in or watching our hometowns’ local talent show. Sponsored by the American Legion, it was filled with all the family and community elders that guided my life as a child; patriotic and sing-a-long songs that everyone in the audience knew; and friends and cousins every where – running up and down the darkened school’s hallways as we passed the time waiting for our parents to finish up.

“I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, “
Since God is marching on.” v3

No matter where we were in the building, we could always hear the finale begin. We would stop whatever game we had going and head for the auditorium – after all – parents weren’t so understanding in those days if we weren’t ready when they were. Some gathered their stuff and headed out to the cars. Others made their way to the back to finish up a conversation or two. I usually sat down to watch and listen.

Usually, my mother or Godmother would start it by singing a favorite patriotic song. Mom’s was always “God Bless America”. Then dad (who was the director for many years) would get the rest of the singers going with “It’s a Grand Ol’ Flag”, “America the Beautiful”, and finally – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. It always changed from year-to-year, but that was the basic formula.

As opening night approached, Dad would sit down beside me, and we watched together. I loved those times. He would ask me what I thought and would tilt his head towards me as he listened.
His arm draped around the back of my shoulders, and one eye the stage or clock, so that he could talk to everyone before they left for the night.

One of the last performances he directed, he decided to drop the American flag behind the Chorus as they sang the last two verses of that last song without the usual chorus in between them. He had the small combo band that volunteered to play every year, drop out with only the drum playing a cadence.

And just like that – the atmosphere of that high school auditorium changed. The low hum of noise stopped. Kids rummaging around in the back grew silent. Dad sat a little straighter, focused entirely on seeing what was transpiring on stage.

Somehow – it almost felt as if I could hear the faithful feet of those who had marched so full of faith – for God – for country – as they sang this song long ago.

The gospel in the midst of the dark valley of war.

“He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.” v.4-5

It was one of those rare times that I remember feeling Our Father’s presence outside of church. As the band rejoined the singers for the final chorus, I heard the kids in the back begin to sing along. Dad stood up, and I stood with him. I don’t remember noticing anyone else, but tears were definitely in my eyes and in those of my father. When the song ended, everyone was quiet as if holding their breath.

Jewish wisdom says that when we breathe in, we say the word “Yah” and when we breathe out, we say the word “Weh”. When feet march to His beat, we breathe a little deeper. We notice more than usual. We fill ourselves with that faith-filled, life-giving sustenance that only He can give.

I think tonight, I just might let my faith-filled feet march me back to sleep beside my puppy for awhile and sing myself to sleep with a little “Glory, glory, hallelujah…”

“for I AM GOD, and there is none lie me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose.’ Is 46:9b-10 

 [personal images]

2020 VISION – New Path

The quince bushes have bloomed. The forsythia in some of the neighbors’ yards have also bloomed. Tonight – it is already in the low 20’s. Such are the season of life. Separate – blended – messy – beautiful.

Sunday it was still “spring” warm and sunny. While the lab girls chewed sticks, dug for squirmy things in the dirt to eat (yuk) and chased ball, kitty chased birds, stretched in the sun and slept on a lawn chair. Thus we spent the Sabbath. I stayed home from church to soak in some sun and do a little work outside before the predicted return of “winter” cold.

“There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees”

2020 vision oft brings work. The “keeper” had seen a new path in the woods. It just needed a little smoothing out – well – a lot smoothing out. In fact, there are still a couple places that could use a little more help, but that will come. The “keeper” can’t do it all in one day anymore.

“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.”~Jer 16:6

Rest for the soul. Working outside always clears my vision and helps me focus on whatever is rolling around in my mind. “Power in the Holy Spirit” has been one of the focus areas for my vision quest 2020(Acts 1:8) – figuring out my new path in this life has also been a wrestling point. Seems only appropriate that Our Father would point out physical path through the woods as I work on the metaphysical one that begs attention with each passing day.

“EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH”~Lk 3:5

As I filled in holes from rotting roots, moved rocks hither and yon, loped off surface roots, limbs and baby trees, I felt the power of work swirl into the deeper part of my quest and my vision cleared a little more. At one point – just as it happens on our life paths – I got off course, but a slight nudge from the Master Gardner got me back on course and a few wheelbarrow loads later, the path was – fairly – established.

The lab girls love it – especially the older one. She no longer has to go the long way around to get to the upper shed when we take our walks. I think I like it for the same reason. We don’t even have to walk along the road at all now – unless we want to do so.

Vision, a little power, and a whole lot of prayer is all it takes.

“The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.”~Rudyard Kipling, “The Way through the Woods”

[personal images]

VISION 2020 – EPIPHANY PART II

“I was lost in shame,
Could not get past my blame,
Until He called my name.
I’m so glad He changed me.”
When you wake up with one praise song singing in your head most of the morning – even through a very traditional church service – until it morphs into another by evening, what else can you do?
You write about it; that’s what.
“I’ve met the author of my story,
And He’s mine, yes, He’s mine.”
After a somewhat stumbling life journey, I’ve finally figured out not to ignore the little things. A thrum that rumbles my tummy until I turn off everything around me and kneel in prayer. The knees complain, but I just tell them to shut up. A soft nudge that points my eyes to a student in my classroom. I wonder why but tell the brain to shut up and take note. A song that repeats over and over until it drives me a little crazy.
Little things that add up – when I take time to notice.
The furnace and gas logs have been off for the past couple of days. Windows and doors wide open. A fan softly humming in the window. But tonight, the clouds are moving back in, and I can smell rain in the air. Tonight, when I stood on the porch watching over the lab girls, the moon was shining just enough through the clouds that I could see its hazy shape, yet within a minute, it disappeared completely. The dark skies covered me and the tears gathered once again.
That is the way the past 6 months have been.
Clouds everywhere.
A hazy shape.
A little light.
Clouds returning over and over.
And yet – that tiny moment of light – as dim as it is – is always enough – enough to steady my steps and find my balance once again.
” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;”~Act 1:7-8a
On New Years Eve, I was still struggling with what Bible verse and word would be my focus for the year. A friend sent me a verse, and just like that – problem solved. Since then, I’ve been puzzling and praying over it. It hangs in my war room, written in my journal, and stuck in my mind. Then today, both of the local preachers that I listen to added to it. One talking about Baptism – the other focusing more on the Holy Spirit. (v,5-6)
Jesus went to be Baptized – not because He needed to do so, not because some religious tradition required it, but to model and fulfill His journey on a path that was written for Him from the very beginning of time. Only known as a carpenter up until that point in time, His baptism signaled a change. After that, a name reverberated over the river bed and calling all to Truth: Yachid – Beloved Son. A new name repeated only once again – at the transfiguration.
I’m still puzzling why this is important to my journey right now, and yet, the more I look at this verse and the verses surrounding it, the more His hope rises within me that the clouds are beginning to break. The Light that has been so hazy over the past few months seems to be brightening the skies and overpowering that darkness just as I knew it would eventually.
Valley journeys are just like that sometimes. The good news? Even though there are tribulations in this life, valleys and clouds full of darkness, I know that Yeshua Mashiach has overcome the world, and through it all, I am keeping my eyes on Him.
“I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am…”
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2020 VISION – PART III

I love those mornings I can just amble through. Nothing pressing. No schedule to hurry me out the door. Just time to breathe deep while I scratch the lab girls’ ears, and they stretch. Rub Shadow/Spooky/Sparkle kitten’s head until she jumps off whatever strange place she decided to claim as hers for the night. Best of all – if I’m out of my prayer closet on time – I stand on the porch and watch the first rays turn the top of the trees bronze as the dark clouds of night sink further into the west.

Today was one such day. After reading the paper, my morning devotions, doing a couple word puzzles and a reading a chapter in a book my daughter gave me for Christmas, I read a few poems from my other new book.

“Imagine a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – – – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” Ann Morrow LIndbergh

A North Carolinian friend of mind gave me a basket of small things that have to do with gardening. A poetry book. A pair of gloves. A plaster wall hanging. A small tote to carry hand tools. She already knows me well. She and her husband befriended me 3 years ago when I first moved to this neighborhood. Both educators in their 80’s, they have taught me a lot about the history of the neighborhood, the Southern viewpoint of the 60’s desegregation in education, and gardening. Many starts of wild plants from their property have started anew just up the road with me.

God sends people into our lives for a season, and sometimes – you just wish that season would have started a lot earlier or would last forever.

This is a hard week of bittersweet season endings for me. On the 9th – 49 years ago – my father went to the room prepared just for him by Yeshua Mashiach. I know he was ready even if I was not. He told me so just a few days before Christmas. 9 years of heart issues had definitely taken their toll on him and all of us. 10 years later, my fiance and I decided to get married on the 9th to give all of us a happy memory. But when the winds begin to blow and seasons end, sometimes you have two bittersweet memories instead of one.

However, the ultimate, most wonderful thing that happens at the end of one season is that another one begins. And – while it may not be our favorite season, it is a season that He has given, and we find that we are exactly where we are supposed to be to bless others with what we have learned. All I have to do is wait for the light, rain, warmth, rooting or seedling, and a new garden will begin to flourish all around me. When my friend gave me the blessing of a garden on that cold December day, the Father’s wings enfolded me as He showed me a new garden gate opening just for me.

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the awe of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”~Ex 20:20

Did you notice the notation of the verse in Exodus?

20:20.

2020

His promises never fail. Gardens are His thing. And I? I am His child. That 2020 Vision just continues to improve, and if I’m lucky, I will have more mornings of standing on the porch watching the first rays of His light cross the horizon and beginning my day with His Light, Grace and Love.

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