Tag Archives: Psalms

ADVENT #17 2019

“A smile is laughter’s whisper and has its roots in the soul.”~ Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

After my dad had his first heart attack, we stuck pretty close to home for the rest of the summer. There were only 3 stations on the TV. No computer or phone to mess with while sitting in an ‘easy’ chair. But there were lots of things that were so much better – conversations with family and friends dropping in (and they always brought good food to eat since mom didn’t like to cook), tons of books, newspapers and magazines shared, not to mention – music of all kinds – via friends bringing their instruments, radio, and records playing on the stereo. Smiles were everywhere in that stormy time of life.

Storms in life bring changes.

Tonight, instead of banging my head against a wall, I went searching for a Catholic mass on TV. I’m not Catholic, but when the chaos of my world tries to blow out my candle light, I need to close my eyes and let my soul fall into the cadence of songs and traditions of worship that have been passed down through the ages. It is there – in that place – between breathing in [Yah] and breathing out [Weh] – when I remember His presence is never gone; It is in that breath where His voice is never silent; His light never cloaked – – – it’s just me that has forgotten to breathe. So easy to inhale deeply and enter His presence with Thanksgiving.

“Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits.” Ibid

After the mass, a priest asked for prayers for the canonization of Bishop Sheen which in turn was God’s wink at me tonight. I could see me sitting on the floor, leaning against my dad’s leg, listening to mom sing in the other room, and watching to Bishop Sheen on TV. Sometimes, Dad would nudge me with his knee if Bishop Sheen said something I should remember – or something that made him laugh. Dad was intentionally making his own weather in the storm that had changed his life, and as he did so, he was teaching me to color my own skies when the storms buffet my horizon and threaten that Light that is within all of us.

Most years, the holy-days season brings such joy, but occasionally those storms of everyday life overlap and darken the horizon whether we want it to or not. This is one of those years of me. But if there is one thing I learned at my father’s knee, it is this – that I can color the skies of my emotional universe and be thankful to the One who waits for me between breaths.

One of my favorite teacher/preachers likes to say: “I do not live by sight, hearing, or feelings, but instead, by every word breathed by the mouth of GOD”. I like that – A LOT. When the skies darken, it is my mantra, and then I repeat the Ps 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

A week from tonight, Advent calendars will be completely done for 2019. Kids will be squirming with excitement and straining to hear a sound of bells in the distance. Churches will be bathed in candle light. And last of all, stockings will be hung by the chimney with care. But for some of us, the storm clouds are overhead, and  choices need be made. So as for me, I choose to breathe. Breathe deeply and find that place between breaths to remember. No matter what chaos may be swirling, Christ-mass is one of my favorite times of the year. And if I remember to stand, look up, I can rejoice to see a sky colored by many, many treasure chests full of memories of joy and love and most of all – the grace of a newborn baby’s cry.

“Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”~Is 9:6-7 mom's nativity 1940's [personal image]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #20 2019

“Yank some of the groans out of your prayers, and shove in some shouts!”~Billy Sunday

Now that is some attitude about gratitude right there. A reminder that praising the LORD with loud, joyous shouts did not stop with King David dancing in the streets……at least……it shouldn’t have.

Day to day life does tend to get in the way sometimes. Today, I got up feeling a little better from the “Fall yukkies” that I finally succumbed to over the weekend. Luckily, I have a terrific doctor who knows my immune system pretty well. Anyway, I got everything done in record time. Checked off the list before I left for school. Got a mile down the road and remembered – I had forgotten the cookies I had packed up for a friends’ birthday. Errrr – – –

I didn’t feel like praising My Father at that point – let alone shouting out those praises.

“To quiet the voice inside my head that tells me the good ol’ days have passed me by or that the best is yet to come. To choose instead only the moment that’s unfolding right in front of me. To breathe in every sight and every sound…if I sensed myself drifting, I’d do my best to pause and look up.”~Joanna Gaines

I’d just read this last quote this morning and as I completed the u-turn to make my way back home, I paused and looked up. The Carolina blue sky seemed to wink back at me. Cars zoomed by on their way to someplace. I took a deep breath in – – – Yah. A bird flew between the branches of the trees and dipped its wing as I left that breath ease out – – – Weh.

A simple moment in time.
A simple breath as I looked up.
A praise that rose from the depths and sing a long with the Lauren Daigle song that “just happened” to come on the radio…

Look up child, ayy,
Look up child, ayy…”

God winks happen all the time and most of the time, I miss them, but not today. Today, I paused. I looked up.

In the busyness of life, praise sometimes gets forgotten. Loud praises rarely get passed the mind, let alone the lips. But today – even though I got to school a little later, retraced my steps a few times, I paused. I looked up. And – – – I let my praises rock the car. After all, when the Carolina blue sky winks at you, what else can you do but “shove in some shouts.”

“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.”~Ps 98:4        unnamed (2)   [Ann Voskamp photo]

PERFECT FALL DAY

“Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.”~Lev 23:33-34

Today is the 15th of October. If we were living by the Jewish calendar, it is actually the 16th of Tishrei. The second full day of Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles. It was also – in NC – a perfect fall day. It was a mite cool when it started, and the gas logs came on for about an hour. However, by mid-morning the shorts were back on, the windows open. the lab girls pleading for me to throw their ball by getting in the way, and a small harvest waiting to gather. A perfect day to sit in the sukkah and read and relax and sigh in contentment.

HOWEVER – that wasn’t the day that was designed just for me. It wasn’t even the day I planned to do originally. Wasn’t even the day I contemplated as I lazed around in my bed and whispered my first prayer of gratitude. But it was the day the LORD had made – just for me – so I rejoiced and was glad in it.

Then I got busy.

Tore the spinach and flowering vines off the deck. Cut back a tomato plant that thought it owned one whole corner of the deck. Laughed at how big the asparagus had gotten under said tomato plant. Washed and painted the plant stands so they are ready to move inside for winter. Re-potted a couple plants who whose tootsies were way cramped and yearning to be free. Threw the ball to get the lab girls out of the way, and finally – sat on the patio swing and laughed with a friend and her hubby many, many miles away.

Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the LORD for seven days.”~Num 29:12

Whoops! Didn’t quite follow this instruction. I may have done some laborious work, but somehow – I don’t think Our Father is frowning. There is nothing like being able to finally sit down, take a deep breath, and look around at all the things accomplished and feeling oh so thankful that you live exactly where you live and enjoy the work of your hands. I always feel close to Our Father during these times. It is almost as if I can hear Him pronounce those wonderful words to me: “And GOD saw that it was good.”~Gen 1

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain. I get to go into school and get hugged and blessed by 76 youngins and 15+ adults. And – – life will – – more or less – – hit its normal weekday routine. But I will hold close today and the wonder of being outside for most of it. Working with my hands. Depending on Our Father for everything I accomplished and the glory of His creation that surrounded me on all four sides of my patio sukkah.

When the Grands were over this past weekend, we sat on the patio swing while we ate our Eskimo bars, enjoying a break from painting Halloween creations for their home and mine. The youngest one wondered if the wisteria vines would cover the top of the portico by next summer to shade the whole patio. I looked around and smiled. It grew a lot this summer, so I answered – “Maybe” – and just maybe – my sukkah will have a roof next year for Sukkot. Now how cool is that?

It was indeed a perfect fall day.

“I’m ready, GOD, so ready,
ready from head to toe;
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune;
Wake up, soul!
Wake up, harp!
Wake up, lute!
Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!!”

“I’m thanking you, GOD, out loud i the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes. Every cloud is a flag ato your faithfulness.

Soar high in the skies, O GOD!
Cover the whole world with your glory.”~Ps 57:7-10 Msg 

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KA-CHING

The aging or gender app has certainly brought a lot more “seniors” into my feed this week. It has also made me laugh to see my kids look older than I do – at least in my eyes I still look pretty nifty for being in my 69th year. (Hmmm…did I just date myself by using the word “nifty”?)

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
I AM He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”~Is 46:4

Monday was a ka-ching kind of day. Moved 6 loads of mulch. Walked the dogs, or should I say, played ball with the dogs as they lost said ball in the woods 2 times, and I had to go help them find it. Walking them is always a ka-ching adventure – especially when they get excited and try to knock me over trying to get the ball first.

Then it was time for the wonderful, always-look-forward-to yearly check-up with my specialist for blood tests and all the awesome things they have on a medical checklist for the elders of our culture. I am not about to list it all here, but let me say – my doctor is thorough. Everytime I go in he spends a good half hour with me but this time – all he could say as he left was “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it! I wish I could see the turn around in all my patients like you’ve made.”

Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

Take that tick disease. It may still be in the background (along with that “wonderful” mono virus that I got in high school), but for now – it was a jump-up-and-down, smile-on-my-face, ka-ching day.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit; 
they will remain vital and green. 
They will declare, “The LORD is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in Him!”~Ps 92:14-15

Yesterday, was also full. Walk. Dogs. Mulch (just four loads today as I am almost out of this load of mulch, and it is way too hot to want to do more – even at 7 AM in the morning). Met a couple friends for lunch and just enjoyed some laughing and learning new things.

When I got home, the dogs were ready to walk again – even in the heat. I love my neighborhood. It is like a very small version of the town I grew up in so long ago. Neighbors call out greetings and sometimes just stop their trucks to chat for awhile. Others mow my roadside grass because they know I don’t have a riding mower. Others play with the lab girls when we meet on our walks. So yesterday as a thank you, I made refrigerator pickles, and in a couple of days will deliver them.

Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

“But on this forty-eighth birthday I opened the coloring book, and someone had erased all the beautifully drawn lines.”~Lysa Terkeurst, p73.

And then there was today. It was a hard day. Old things popped up that made me reflective. Thoughts strayed and that made me sadder. So I took a nap. But what woke me up was a refrain of a song singing through my dream and shining in my eyes. Our Father sends light into the darkness. My cleaning lady came today as she does once a month, and she shared her sadness with me. I knew then I was right where supposed to be for such a time as this. Even with the language barrier, we were able to communicate about Our Father’s goodness together and the refrain sang again in my heart.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”~2 Cor 1:3-4

I don’t like this dark journey that I am on. “It Wasn’t Supposed To Be This Way”. But this is the journey that God continues to bless almost every hour as He goes before me or stands beside me. I feel Him in every step I walk with the dogs and even sitting in my chair as I write. It may be dark now, but I am not fearful or dismayed because that Light continues to shine until morning comes.

Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it is bursting out! Do you not perceive it?”~ Is 43;18

THOUGHTSONG SINGS

I haven’t written much lately. Well – that’s not exactly true. I have been writing – – – a lot actually. I just haven’t posted anything to my blog or on FB. The Thoughtsong that flows into the blog or FB has been quiet. So quiet that I wondered if she would sing again. So in corresponding fashion – after all – I have learned over these many years to be silent when the Thoughtsong is not singing in my heart. But tonight, the song began again.

“Declare among the nations: “The LORD reigns!”
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved…”~Ps 96:10a

The promises of Our Father, written way before I entered the chaos of Terra, are amazing. When His promises live in people of prayer, they are even more amazing. I think that is why Thoughtsong began singing once again. Reciting promise after promise and having prayer warriors reciting promise after promise continue to be all the manna one needs to survive. Thoughtsong is singing once again, and I am beyond thankful to hear her song welling up inside of me.

In the past month, I’ve moved over 100+ wheelbarrow loads of mulch and stone. Watched my plants grow – despite weather that has been all over the charts – and produce fruit (can’t wait for the any-day-now-first tomato). Walked the dogs and thrown a stick more times than I can count – but my elbow knows – in both arms. Groaned in the Holy Spirit until there were no more tears and slept in exhaustion. Waited – not so patiently – as the new song began to form.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”~Rm 15:4

Prayer as been the wind under my wings. 
Holding. 
Lifting. 
Carrying. 
Loving.
Directing.

A couple days back another prayer warrior dropped off a book for me, It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way  by Lysa Terkeurst. I read the first chapter and cried. I wrote and I wrote about things that God knew already, but these words were for me. I was the one that needed to see – to hear – needed to sing for myself. God hears and listens when we stand on His promises – just not always in the way we expect.

“Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.”~Ps 96:1

As I continue to step forward on this new God path, I continue to find the path in the darkness with each of His promises lighting my stumbling, tiny baby steps (I am not courageous enough to take giant steps nor secure enough to be confident). New paths are challenging – hard to navigate. But every day, I become stronger. My clothes hang a little more loosely. My muscles a little sturdier. And thankfully at the end of long days, my kitty curls in my lap while one dog snores behind my chair and the other cuts farts under my feet.

Life – while not how I thought it should be – is how HE thinks it should be, and I gulp another big breath as I prepare to step forward tomorrow. Maybe…even…double gulp …a giant step tomorrow.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and ||mighty things, which thou knowest not..”~Jer 33:3 

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MAY STORMS’ PASSING

While there are “blue skies up above”, and I’m thinkin’ that not quite “everyone’s in love” with the heat in NC, it has definitely been a lazy river type of day – especially as the sinus infection seems to slowly begin its meandering journey away from me. Storms never come in singularity for me. Some I talk about and some – I just don’t. Depends on what I hear the Captain speak to my fingers.

Spent most of the day just fidgeting. Making physical copies of Pop Kaufman and Daddy Mike for the Memorial Day display in our home – – Reading some more of Kline’s “Piece of the World” – – Brushing the lab girls as I try to keep some of their hair outside instead of inside clumps floating here – – War room time as I pray, copy Bible verses, and wonder for the umpteenth million time WHY? WHAT possible lesson am I missing in this trifecta of storms? You’d think at 68 it would be a little easier navigating this dinghy – –

When I came inside from trying to move a few plants and failing miserably (since it is too hot and I still just want to curl into a ball and sleep), a few of Mom and Dad’s favorite songs “just happened” to be playing on my list – “Up a Lazy River”, “It Had To Be You”, “Summertime”, “My Foolish Heart”, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”, “Dancing Cheek-to-Cheek” and suddenly, I’m 4 or 5 again, watching from the sofa as they dance around the living room or listening at the top of a dark stairway for the signals that their stormy argument is almost over – – and somehow – – those signals always came as both of them would wander up the steep stair to tuck me back into bed and sing “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” until I fall asleep.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”~Matt 6:33

So today, I guess I’m still looking for signals of the storm’s passing, waiting for the melodies that always soar around me when I reach deep for that “peace that passeth all understanding” which always follow the storms’ path. I just have to keep taking baby steps forward. Listen for His voice. Stand on His WORD. And – positively KNOW that while He is just being quiet in my noisy boat, He has already charted the course and controls the winds and seas with His WORDS.

It’s funny.  I really love physical storms.  I love watching the dark clouds approach.  The way the thunder rumbles not only around the house but deep into my belly.  Oooooo – the smell of rain as it begins to hit the leaves far away, drawing closer and closer until it hits my nose. Not to mention – the wind that blows out all the staleness and dirt that clutters the air.  Lightening that crackles my soul with becomes a small light in the darkness.

All of it.  Powerful. Magical. Miraculous.

Daddy used to say it was just one of GOD’s ways of reminding all us who really is in charge of creation.  I still remember coming down a different set of stairs when a storm had awakened me, on July 4th 50 years ago.  Mom was still asleep in their bed , but Dad was standing by the window watching the storm of a lifetime hit our small town. He heard me and beckoned me forward to him.  We stood together, watching the lightening, listening to the thunder and rain while my earthly father shared his heart of wisdom with me.  Once again, He prayed with me and for me.  I miss that.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”~Ps 90:12

So I am numbering my days. Seeking those signals that the storms of a lifetime are once again leaving my area. Excited to hear the new melodies that will enfold me in their warmth and dry my tears. For Our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit are good…very good…at steering floundering dinghys – even ones with lots of holes in them.  Grace patches are amazing.  

All the time –

They are good.   

MAYFLOWERS

The first Mayflower to appear today was arriving at school and finding the gym full of kids, parents and “Feed the Hungry” ministry leaders. Organized chaos might be too mild of a term. Three schools working together to compile thousands of meals. Kids learning skills they don’t usually learn in school. Parents working side-by-side with teachers and their kids. 
Laughter. 
Sharing. 
Screaming (whenever a new box was completed).

Its joyous aroma permeated every inch of the school today – not to mention the flowers sitting on my desk from a wonderful principal in honor of “Teacher’s Week”

“Thou art good, and doest good.”~Ps119:68

His flowers usually come in bouquets, and – sure enough – the second bloom awaited me at home. All my gardens are starting into their second year of growth and have overdone themselves in their beauty and aromas. Last year’s planting of wisteria is already starting to cover the top of the portico and surprised me with blooms. I really didn’t expect them for a couple more years – especially since they were fresh cuttings last summer. Then there are Mama Mick’s pink hedge roses reaching for the sky with their blooms. Daddy Mike’s red rose that burst into full array of color while I was gone today.

I took a deep breath, sat on my swing and gave thanks.

“The upright shall dwell in Your presence.”~Ps 140:13

I almost missed the next flower. When my NYC daughter called, I was outside sitting on the swing, brushing the dogs and having silly kitty try to eat some kind of critter under my feet. (I tried to save it, but not sure I succeeded). After coming in and checking my phone, I smiled and breathed in another sweet aroma of His blessing in my life. 
Long conversation. 
A few tears (as always). 
Laughter. (as always) 
Joy. (as always).

This time when I went back outside, I hauled four loads of mulch. Laughed as the dogs kept grabbing the bigger sticks out of the pile. Then I looked up and saw the UPS driver pulling into my driveway.

“You are worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honor and power.”~Rev 4:11

The final bloom of the day for my Mayflower bouquet had arrived. It was like opening one of those Christmas/birthday presents that never seemed to end. Wrapped in cardboard, paper, bubblewrap, plastic, I carefully, pulled and cut through each level hoping I wouldn’t damage whatever was hidden from sight.

It was indeed a precious flower. A reassurance of a Father who sees and hears when we call on Him with our deepest faith, tears, love and fears. A piece of art emerged. Art created by daughter-of-another-mother. A daughter of my heart who made me cry tonight – once again.

GOD is good. All the time.

The art now hangs in my bedroom where I can see it – the last thing at night as I read my last Bible verse, and the first thing in the morning as I say my first “Baruch Hashem, Adonai”. Our Father’s bouquets are always the best. Full of bittersweet aromas and beauty sometimes created by the hands of the people I love.

Seasons of testing are never fun. They are the times we hate to think about let alone live them out on this temporal world. Yet, through it all – GOD is good. All the time. And – His Mayflower bouquets are beyond compare.

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting…” Ps 103:17

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MAY’S MERCIES

 

Ya know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a 68 year old curled up with a favorite teddy bear (or fluffy white goat or tattered ol’ donkey) and reciting all the promises of the GREAT I AM in the darkest part of the night. Better yet, there is nothing wrong with both dogs on the bed and a cat squeezed between the pillows while trying to meditate on His WORD in the wee morning hours and waiting for that…
perfect…
wonderful…
“…joy that comes with the morning.”~Ps 30:5

“Pay attention to the WORD which is a light that shines in a dark place until the dawn rises in your heart.”~2 Pt 1:19

Weeping in the dark is nothing new to any human and nights are sometimes the longest part of the 24 hours allotted to our species. Whether it is never-ending physical pain or deep shattering emotional pain or the self-loathing of spiritual pain that is keeping one awake, it can sometimes seem to take forever for daylight to peek between the corners of the drapes and chase the long-fanged monsters from the deep corners of the room.

Then the dogs stir. The cat jumps off the bed. Tears mysteriously dry. And – a new day begins.

“This is the day the LORD hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”~Ps 188:24

Yesterday was a perfect day. After devotions, spent a sports-filled morning with daughter’s family and an afternoon moving loads of mulch and plants around the yard while puppies used those big doggy eyes and begged for walks and lots more time for chasing sticks. The best part? Talking to my sister-of-another-mother; celebrating her special day and our friendship of 61 years and letting those ancient hymns of my childhood swirl around my heart and remembering…

….”Great Is Thy Faithfulness”!

When the darkness covered our part of the earth once more, storms moved in and sang lullabies in my ears until my eyes would no longer stay open.

“Summer and winter, 
Springtime and harvest, 
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above, 
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”
~~Thomas Chisholm, in “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

Today was even better. A little rain. A little sun. Cooler temperatures. Played in the yard. Romped (as much as one can with arthritis) with the critters.Talked with the neighbors. Laughed with another friend. Our Father’s faithfulness was everywhere. Joy dancing in front of me, beside me and behind me – – –

– – – just as He promised.

I am blessed. The dogs still want to play stick. Sooooo – I guess it is time to go for one more walk before dark or the next rain.

“Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Ps 23:6

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LIGHTS OUT #2

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

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

How time flies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2018: Starlight

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was little, I would sit on our porch steps and wait to see the first star of the evening. As I aged, I talked the parents into letting me move into a bigger bedroom. I painted it blue – with a dark blue ceiling where my dad wrote my initials with glow-in-the-dark stars for a second time.  But really, the reason I wanted that room was because it had a roof-top porch. On many nights, I would step from the starlight of my finite room into the eternal room that held the “remembrance of the city of God”.   There, I could sing, whisper, and contemplate whatever wishes or problems or dreams or prayers that were the driving force of my life at that point.

“Starlight, Starbright, first star I see tonight; wish I may, wish I might have this wish I wish tonight.”

Words whispered from my heart into the ear of a Father that is always listening. The great thing, I don’t need my porch anymore. I carry that starlight within me wherever I am. Grocery line. Traffic jam. Angry people. Movie time. Family time. It doesn’t matter. The beauty that lights the universe with an admonishing smile is always there – lighting the way forward with Grace and Love.

It was there over Bethlehem.
It was there when the Wisemen began their journey.
It was there when the angels sang.
It was there as the shepherds made their way toward the inn.
It was there when the Light of the World opened His eyes for the first time as a human.

“Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.”~Is 40:26

Emerson had it mostly right. Those stars do remind us of the City of God –  of Home. They also remind us of all the wonders that have come to us from that city – from Home. The stars that shone over a baby’s birth in a stable, shone just as brightly over a sepulchre 33 years later and continue to shine over our world in Truth and Grace that His Kingdom come  – soon.

Stars that are named. 
Stars that are not missing – not even one. 
A remembrance to all things eternal in a finite world.

“On the Second Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me…Starlight, Starbright”

“Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.”~Ps 148:3-6

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