Tag Archives: Psalms

ERRR….CRAP!

‘s a sad fact of life. Touchstones break. We call them “stones” because they have weight in our life. It is the “touch” part that we sometimes forget. Weighted stones that have touched our lives at some point We can look at them – or touch them – and they release the memories – the smells – the sounds – the music – the faces.

Most of the time a smile may cross our soul as we hold it in our hands. Sometimes a laugh may escape the confines of the binder that held it trapped inside. And sometimes – when we drop them – – – they break.

Errrr…

This morning I walked the dogs as soon as I woke up. We picked some flowers, threw some sticks, and enjoyed the cool of a perfect spring morning. Since I had only picked two small flowers this morning, I pulled out the two small shot glasses that probably were some of my first touchstones ever.

Mom had special glasses for party nights. They were colorful. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. They also had matching shot glasses. I can still see Dad and hear his laugh as he was telling jokes or getting ready to play his guitar and holding one of those glasses. Other times, when I would pick violets for Mom, she would take out the shot glasses, and we would fill them up with the purple and white blessings. She would pull the doilies she had made out of their drawers and place the glasses around the living room. Just thinking about those violets bring back the smell of her hugs, the smell of her perfume and her red-lipstick smile.

Over the years, all the glasses disappeared. And by the time, we moved Mom out of her house, there were only two shot glasses left. Yellow. Green. Today the yellow one dropped into the sink as I was running water to hold a small rose. Errrrr…I don’t deal well with breaking things that have touched my life. But – I reminded myself – they are just things. I rolled my eyes, looked out the kitchen window while having one of those — half prayer — half talk – conversations with myself.

Errr…I looked at the fragments scattered around the sink and said, “Crap!”

A short time later, I broke a tiny winged, patriotic figure that I bought the summer my mother died. I think Mom must have been born to be a politician from birth. She had all the smarts, charisma, and charm needed. She just was a slow starter in the field. However, once elected as village clerk of our small home town, she rose through the state ranks and on to national organization of clerks.

The figurine I broke – out of a set of six – was the one that said held the banner that said, “God Bless America”. So this was a double touchstone. Mom sang “God Bless America” so many times, that I knew all the words by the time I was 5 years old – – – including the introduction. “When the storm clouds gather…”

Errr…I picked the pieces up off the floor and said, “Crap!”

I decided it was more than time for devotions. Needless to say, they shattered my bad mood completely. I read about the “hupogrammos”. An ancient Greek word that basically means example – but more deeply – it is a concrete, hands-on way of teaching someone how to do something. In this case – Christ became the “hupogrammos”. He set his actions, his steps, his manner, his love before all of us that we might easily follow His steps if we just put our feet and heart where He put His.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example (hupogrammos), that you should follow in his steps.”~1 Pt 2:21

As the tears pushed the corners of my eyes, I read this last devotion. “You answered me, when I called You; with Your strength, You strengthened me.”~Ps 138:3

The lesson of the day? Forget the Errrr… and the Crap!
Touchstones of this earth break and easily.  They fall apart. Our Christ Touchstone is just the opposite. He is an eternal cornerstone that hold everything else together when the world seems to be falling apart. He is the “hupogrammos” for our lives.

SCROLL OF LIFE

Been a busy couple of weeks. Visiting days at the Grands’ schools. Planting new starts for the terrace gardens. Reading umpteen things that I find totally absorbing. Not to mention, Easter and the end of Lent. And – – – loving every minute of it.

Didn’t write much this year about where I was heading with my spiritual journey. I’ve said this before, bu I think it has just been my time to absorb and reflect on the blessings of this past year. I am somewhat healthier. Our new NC home feels so much more like home. Plants are flourishing – just like Hubby and I am. It has been that way since my 100 Day Ration and Advent writings – 140 days of writing and then a restful time by the sea. A time of enjoying the present moment and absorbing all I can as my scroll unfolds before me.

You see, the Jewish word that is usually translated as book in English is “sefer”. Sefer means scroll. Thus – “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your BOOK before one of them came to be.” [Ps 139:16] Would actually be – “…were written in Your SCROLL…”

Books are ‘a whole ‘nother thing’ as Mama Mick used to say. We can easily flip pages in a book. We can look back. We can skip forward. We can even take a peek at the very end so we don’t have to wait for it to unfold. And – while you can do the same thing in a scroll you can only see pieces of the one scroll that you hold in your hands.

“…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ “~Lk 4:17-21

God wink moments happened to Yeshua, the man, and to all those people attending service that morning. He had to unroll the scroll the attendant handed to him – not the scroll He had choosen – and find the place that fulfilled the promise of that moment. Not the moments that lay in the past. Not the moments that would come in the future. But that moment. That moment when a promise was fulfilled. A wrinkle in time being lived to its fullest.

I like to think that this is what I have been doing in the past few weeks. Living my wrinkle in time. Talking with shut-ins. Running errands for those who are struggling to stand without falling. Playing with Grands that won’t be tiny munchkins much longer. Reading and printing things to absorb. Praying for family, friends, and country in my war room.

Speaking of which – this week – I cleaned off the door to my war room. All my prayer lists and Bible verses are filed away in one of my notebooks, so I can look back at them occasionally and see where I’ve been. Good use for a book. I seem to need that reassurance every now and then. A acknowledgment to myself, that my path – while somewhat crooked – is becoming straighter and easier to walk.

Today, I hung 3 new verses on that door. Verses that will reassure me on the dark days and challenge me to keep my path straight through the rainstorms of life. And, as the scroll unfolds a little more, I will write up a new prayer list which will be full of colorful names and requests. I like using different colors because that is the way Abba created everything – – – full of rich hues, vibrancy, diversity. Full of a little heaven on earth.

It’s funny. As I read back through today’s musings, this definitely wasn’t what I had in mind when I started to write. God winks are like that. The scroll unrolls – words leap off the page and into my head – and I just marvel at the path of thoughts that He plants with His WORD and Spirit. As always, I can’t wait to unroll the scroll a little more and see what He has planned for me this day.

Whatever it is – it will be for my good. [google images]

NEVER ALONE

It is Grands’ night. Hot tub – mac n’ cheese Papa style – Wii – 2 bowls of popcorn (half of it on the bed) – 1 bottle of Grandma water (a piece) – 3 peep Oreos each – 1 movie – drawing the last picture of the night in their little notebooks – a little Jim Brickman lullaby in the background – 1 Koayah puppy squished in the middle of them – and they are asleep. (and yes – Mama – they brushed their teeth extra good because I threatened never to spoil them again. Although – I don’t think they really believed me. They kept laughing.)

I don’t know who enjoys these nights more. We talk. We catch up on their ball practices and school. We talk about coloring duck eggs with their neighborhood besties tomorrow and laugh over a stubbed toe. There is nothing more precious than getting to spend a night with the Grands. I only wish I could have retired about 13 years earlier so I could have moved to MI to be with my older Grands…well…that is probably stretching it a bit since a MI winter is definitely not on my to-do-over-list.

It is not how I usually spend my evenings on Maundy Thursday. Growing up, we would go to church. Later in college and beyond, our family would go to church. Full of familiar rituals, age-old hymns, prayers, solemnity. In the past few years, this night has been more an internal day and today was an eye opener.

The Grands and I were on the bed, watching Prince of Egypt in honor of Passover when it dawned on me. This was probably a closer way to spend this Holy Day than anything I have everdone. The Grands and I shared a meal. We laughed and told stories. We remembered the Moshe and the first deliverence of the Jewish people. We sang a song – it wasn’t Psalm 118 which is the Psalm sung at the Passover Seder – but in my heart it was singing.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.”~Psalm 118:1

And now – in the quiet of the night – my prayers circling to the darkened, star-lit skies – Grands stretched out all over the large bed – dog snuggled in their own bed while Hubby snores softly in his – I find my cornerstone of this night. The stone rejected steadies my balance and holds me upright. Even has a yawn stretches up through my rib cage and my eyes grow heavy, I struggle to stay awake and pray with Him.

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”~Mk 14:32–34

This is the part of the night that hits Rabbi Yeshua’s humanness – hits my humanness. I don’t do well with sacrifice. I like to think I do, but I don’t. I know my eyes – like the loved ones who shared the meal with their beloved rabbi – mine will also close before long, and my prayers will rise into the darkness above me.
 
Alone. He. Prayed.
Alone. He. Cried.
Alone…but not really.
 
The perfect lamb alone in a garden…waiting to become the rejected stone…waiting to sacrifice himself for the world that rejected him…waiting for you…waiting for me, straining to listen for His Father’s voice. No words came. No sign. Just the quite of the night. But that is where Yeshua’s humanness and mine are miles apart because even though he did not “feel” His Father or “hear” His Father or “see” a sign from His Father. He “knew beyond knowing” that His Father was very much present. Listening. Seeing. Loving. Eternally. 
 
The solemnity of the night has wrapped itself around me once again. I wish I always “knew beyond knowing” like my Savior. It is something I still a striving to find. Another yawn brings tears to the surface of my eyes, and I know it is time to check on the Grands once last time before I give in and close my eyes for the night.
 
Mothering habits don’t really ever go away, and I will probably wake up before daybreak and check on them once again. Tonight, I will remember that Rabbi Yeshua was still awake praying. Praying as he waited. Talking to His Father. Trusting His Father. Waiting. But not alone. Never alone.
 
Tonight that is what I remember when I think of Maundy Thursday. Never alone. Ever. Not once.

 

“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
This is the day the LORD has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps 118:22-24

NEIGHBORHOOD

The Grands have found the joy of childhood. They have friends that live only a few yards away. A barefoot run full of laughter. A stream full of adventures yet to discover. Tree houses with screaming imaginary battles to be fought.. Broken toys refurbished into new toys and bicycles decorating yards – just waiting for the next journey.

It feels as if I am seeing my own childhood through my parents’ eyes as I listen to them play. There is a certain joy that seems to fill me as I watch mothers sitting on the ground in front of their houses as the toddlers explore the smaller confines of their yard. It all sets my mind tumbling backwards. A small yard. A bunny hutch. A dog on a lead wire. Bushes taller than the parents where a kitty grabs some tiny toes and sends me scurrying back to a warm lap and laughter.

“Praise the LORD!
I will thank the LORD with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in him should ponder them.”

It is good to see the resurgence of this type of neighborhood. It is good to hear the older children fighting imaginary dragons. It is good to see a neighborhood model that I thought had been lost to the ravages of a technological age. And I am – oh – so praying that it is not an isolated one. I’m praying that across this nation, parents are walking out their doors, sitting in the yards with their kids, talking to their neighbors and allowing their children to fall, pick themselves up and explore the small part of the world around them.

Our world is a scary one on so many levels. I do worry about those Grands when I can’t see them as I’m sure my parents and Grandmother worried about me. Yet, I remember walking to my Grandma’s when I was pretty young. I remember sitting in her garden while she showed me which plant was a weed and which plant was food. I remember running to my friends’ homes when I was the age of the Grands until I heard the three beeps of a car horn which sent me running for home.

“Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our LORD!”

I think from a very young age, Our Father let me see what the Garden could have been for all His children. I think He is letting me see it again through the joy of the Grands during this Lenten season for a reason. I’m not quite sure what that reason is yet – but you can betcha – I’m looking for more wisdom everyday. Nothing is a coincidence in this life. Nothing.

As we travel through these last few days of the 2017 Lenten walk, I can’t help but wonder if Rabbi Yeshua was thinking and feeling much the same way as I am tonight. He could see the ugliness around Him. He could see the hazy shape of the cross in the skies just over the hills. Listening to the children laugh. Watching them explore the wonders of their world. Praying for them and their parents with each step that he took towards Jerusalem.

“All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.”

I’m sure the Jewish world was every bit as scary – probably more – as our world is today. Much more than I can imagine. An occupied country with all the pain and atrocities that come with it. A religion that was constantly under attack – and this is where Our Father sent His Son. To a land that needed Him the most. To a people that were stuck between that proverbial “rock and a hard place”. To a few that were still seeking and willing to explore the world with child-like eyes of faith.

“He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!”~Ps 111

A son who would pay the ransom for His people. A son who guaranteed His Father’s covenant with them forever and added a new covenant for those who had been separated from the flock.

A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – heeded His Father’s voice when He called.
A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – rode a donkey to a hazy mount in the distance as His Father walked beside him.
A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – carried the wood to the top of the top of the mount for His Father
A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – would voluntarily lay himself down to be bound to that wood.
A Son who – unlike Issac who heard Abraham’s voice at the top of that mount – – – a Son who endured the absolute silence of His Father’s voice.
A Son who, indeed, sacrificed His life for the redemption of all – a redemption that would last for all people everywhere – for all time and beyond – so that His Father’s voice would never be silenced again and His children that had walked in darkness would see a great Light.

One day, the Garden gates will be thrown open and there will be many neighborhoods where parents and grandparents can sit upon their lawns, sharing with one another the beauty of the day. Children will explore wildly as their laughter, joy and song float all around the neighborhood. I feel so blessed tonight. Blessed to have caught a glimpse of His gifts once again. Blessed to hear His words echoing in my heart. Blessed to close my eyes and look forward to the Light that is just beyond that far hill. Blessed to begin the walk forward towards it.  [google images]

UNENDING QUESTIONS

Today I ventured out into the world beyond our quirky house. Seeing as how Hubby doesn’t like to grocery shop, and my slight flu/cold/whatever virus was somewhat better, I ditched the comfy clothes and headed out to see if the world-beyond-our-neighborhood had changed.
 
Lucky for me – it had not, and I found plenty of good food with relative ease. Not so lucky for me is I was really, really tired when I came home and have felt kind of crappy ever since (so much for the virus being completely gone). Lucky for me, I will get good night’s sleep and wake up feeling even better.
 
Like usual, when I am tired and wanting to crawl into a fetal posture to recover but can’t because I’m still 20 minutes from home, I distract myself with mind explorations of things that have been at the back of the filing cabinet of consciousness. Like: I wonder what it was like for Yeshua in those missing years.
 
It is one of those questions that has been around for a very long time, and I’m sure that I’m not the first one to ponder it. The first time I remember thinking about it was in my pre-teen bedroom. Beside my canopy bed was a night stand. On that nightstand, sat a tri-fold cardboard “stain glass altar” that I made one year in Summer Community Bible school. In front of it, I set my childhood Bible. And – at some point or another – I found this verse.
 
“But Yeshua was growing in his stature and in his wisdom and in favor with God and the children of men.” ~Lk 2:52
 
And here we are some 55+ years later, and I am still wondering and trying to picture it. We know he grew in stature. Did he have best buds that he hung out with after he worked all day with the wood? Did they laugh and joke? Hang out somewhere and eat? After all it said he grew in favor “with the children of men.”
 
Was it irony or a mystery that his hands grew strong, calloused, scarred as he worked with wood? Shaping it. Sanding it. Spending time to find the beauty that it held inside. Wood that would eventually bare the stains of his blood and hold the nails that pierced those same hands and feet?
 
Did he find the pleasure that a fur-baby can bring in this life with nearby shepherds or a dog that cuddled by his side at night? Did he laugh with his family daily? Did he shake with grief or indecision when his earthly father grew sick? Was he tempted to stop it? Did his family ask?
 
Did he dance at weddings? Sing while he was working? Pray constantly? Lay back in the grass on a Sabbath and rest in blessing of the day? Play jokes on his younger sibs or friends?
 
We know from his experience at the temple when he was 12 that his wisdom was manifesting even at that age. Did he continue to debate with the rabbis in Galliee? Did people seek him out even before he declared his ministry? Did he struggle with illness, fear, love?
 
There are so many nuances to life. Yeshua – a name that comes from the base word, yasha, which means “to save, help, defend, preserve, to make free, attain victory, heal, or bring to safety”, had many nuances. He was God. He was man. He was born of woman. He experienced life with all its complexities, sorrows and joys.
 
Love wondering and someday – I hope to ask Him, face-to-face, but tonight – I think I am saying prayers, curling into my pillow and putting all these questions out of my mind. Because – like David – I know:
 
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in Him.” ~Ps 40:1-3
[google images]

HALLELU-YAH

It has been a busy blessed 7 days, yet the days of destruction are still not done. Eleven trees down and one half-way down. Several piles of chipping remain. Massive logs wait for the skid loader to pick them up once again and load them on a trailer to their last destination.

Usually when my life path journeys through a week like this, I just catch a deep breath, put my head down and barrel through it. During my school years, the weeks I graded autobiographies used to be like this. Lots of prayer. Lots of work. Lots of joy in the accomplishment.
Where each day felt like a basket of blessings, and I couldn’t wait to open my eyes each morning.

This was somewhat different. I have a very hard time agreeing to cut down trees. The Hubby and I have been arguing over which ones since we moved here. Trees stir my soul with their strength, their depth in seeking nourishment, their stretching towards the Father in praise, and their prominent place in His-story.

“The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”~Gen 2:9

So – as much as I know it had to be done because some were sick and others too close to the house – cutting down trees was the hardest part of this past week. I comforted myself by thinking about the new trees I will be able to plant once we are able to walk the ground and see the light patterns.

Today was the first day I have actually walked the land sans trees. It is still rough with stumps waiting to be ground – the Hubby has a bit of work ahead of him in the next few days. I moved some stones, picked up some left over brush and added more piles for the chipper. If we get a place with enough sun, maybe I can add a fruit tree or two. We probably won’t be here long enough to see the beauty of the trees filling out and becoming all that they can be, but it is something I have always done.

Cut a tree. Plant a tree.

The Grands said they would help me this summer, so that is another thing to look forward to doing. 12 trees to plant. A couple Rosebuds. Another magnolia. A couple of NC pines. A buckeye as a tribute to home. Maybe a pecan…hmmm…never had a pecan tree – now that might be fun.

Just before the destruction days started, I found a black walnut lying right in front of me with no walnut tree in sight. I laughed. You see, when i was growing up in Blacktown, one of my jobs was to put on gloves and collect all the walnuts that fell in the yard. I would carry them to the driveway where the car would roll over them – smashing the hull enough that the fruit could be harvested without staining the fingers. Then in the winter, Grandma Mac would then make all sorts of tasty treats.

Mom and dad are not any more subtle than our Triune Father these days, so still laughing I picked it up and immediately planted it where I knew it would flourish – beside our massive rock that I will paint this summer with our land’s covenant name and the bible verse we always use.

As much as I hate cutting trees, I know what I know what I know. God’s hand has been guiding this. A black walnut – dried and ready to plant. 12 trees that needed to be cut. 12 trees that need to be planted. A garden to tend. A God wink from the parents. And two happy puppies rolling in the messy red dirt – and leaves – and digging for grubs.

Today as I walked the land, geese flew overhead towards the north. A chicken hawk’s cries echoed between the remaining trees. And I watched the tinier birds return to the feeders that have been disturbed for the past few days.

In Hebrew, the word for praise is Hallelu. Yah is the word for God. Today was definitely a day for Hallelu-Yah.

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever.
May the Lord find joy in what he has made…
He looks at the earth, and it trembles.
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord throughout my life.
I will make music to praise my God as long as I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to Him.
I will find joy in the Lord.
May sinners vanish from the world.
May there no longer be any wicked people.
Praise the Lord, my soul!
Hallelujah!”~Ps 104:31-35

SLIVER OF A NEW MOON

That ol’ adage: “Time flies when you’re having fun,” is way too true.
 
Way back when the yard of life seemed to stretch forever, in the sliver of a new moon, I met a girl who worked just down the hall from me in a small, inner city school on the East side of Columbus. I met her when a energetic student ran past my 6th grade classroom and down the hall shouting “Miss WWWW-OOO-LL-FFFFFFFFF!! ” in the best wolf imitation I have ever heard – then or since.
 
Miss Wolf stuck her head out the door of her room and said somewhat quietly, “Robert, lunch is over so get yourself in here and let’s not disturb the other classes.” While Miss Wilson, who mothered all us rookie teachers, looked out of her room that was right next to Miss Wolf’s. With words much more direct and to the point, “Mr. Dixon…”her voice full of the ringing tones of an angry, powerful archangel, stopping everyone in the hallway – including a very remorseful 4th grader who dropped his head as he tried to avoid the crooked, protruding finger Miss Wilson was waggling in his direction.
 
I loved that yard of my life.

 

It is when I caught the first glimpse of a new friend. A friend who carried my secrets. A friend who had lived more in a life time than I could imagine, with struggles that made mine seem petty. A friend who taught me more than I could ever teach her. A friend who testified to the love of Christ when I was failing abysmally. A friend named Wolf.

 
“How many are your works, LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.” ~Ps 104:24
 
Jewish tradition teaches that as we grow into our bodies and lives, we take the life rolling around us for granted. When we were a child, a lady bug could capture our attention. A new friend was a treasure. A shiny stone sparkling in the sun – a gift. But as we age, we forget to see or acknowledge those blessings. Thus, once a month, Jewish tradition encourages the people to remember, when the moon is just a sliver in the sky, the miracles that happen all around us – if we will just open our eyes.
 
“May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—”~Ps 104:31
 
I opened my eyes one fall day in 1975 to find a friend, and wonder of wonder, during the sliver of a new moon of the first month of a new year, we had a great few days that went all too fast. I will take her to the airport tomorrow and wait until Abba brings our journeys to another juncture. While our yard is much shorter these days, it is still filled with so many treasures around us that it doesn’t matter when or where that juncture occurs for we know that it will be perfect in His timing.
 
“Praise the Lord, my soul.

Praise the Lord.”~Ps 104: 35b

Advent JOY #7: Seed

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

Errrrr….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[google images

Advent Joy #1: Rejoice

Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart. — Psalm 97:11

Christmas cards – check. Christmas decorations – check. Watching endless Christmas movies – check. Christmas shortbread cookies and listening to Christmas carols – check and check. 1st Christmas stocking almost complete – check. Fighting off a cold – ugh!!

I know, right? Talk about a downer to the start off my day. i was not a happy camper this morning. Pull out the oils, tissue box, favorite blanket and read the WORD. Somehow – even colds aren’t so bad when I force myself to stick to my devotional time.

And tonight I am rejoicing for I have banished said cold to the nether reaches of the universe. The nose has dimmed to a pale, sucked-on, candy cane pink. The scratchy throat a mere irritant in the memory banks. Cough non-existent and so I say: REJOICE, REJOICE…!

“And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit REJOICES in God my savior.”~Lk 1:46-47

I love reading translations of Bible verse that lean heavily on Rabbinic interpretations. Today, I was reading about Psalm 97:11. The original Hebrew is translated: “Light is planted FOR the righteous…”

I love those little prepositions. When used in conjunction with the right verb the whole power of the verse shifts in a slightly, yet substantial, direction. Suddenly, I can envision a seed of light being planted every time I manage to make time to talk with a neighbor…When a child learns something new because I took time to show them why or how…when the WORD become buried in a picture of words for others to find…when the Hubby smiles before he closes his eyes to sleep…when my pups look at me with all this love and trust in their eyes…when Christmas becomes more than a season…I REJOICE and REJOICE and REJOICE

“There remains one way – – The Way – – untried, untested, unexplored fully……the way of Him Who was born a Babe in Bethlehem.” ~Peter Marshall, (p15)

Long ago a seed of Light was planted for us. A seed of Light that started a whole new garden. Just think, if we keep adding to that garden, imagine what that garden could look like when Christ returns for His bride. It would really be time to REJOICE then. Perhaps today – perhaps tomorrow…[google images]

Advent Peace #1: Sing a New Song

Tonight, after driving home from my daughters’, I made myself a salad and sat down to find a Christmas movie. The movie was to entertain me while I work on the Grands’ Christmas stockings. For whatever reason, my TV remote didn’t log all the numbers correctly and up popped Christmas music that had me sitting back in my chair and ignoring everything else.

Christmas Under The Stars 2016 at BYU was beyond just a seasonal show – it was a blessing.

Michael W. Smith – Amy Grant – Jordan Smith – BYU orchestra and choir – – –

Really? Who could ask for more on the first day of the Peace Advent?

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

Jewish tradition teaches that when the Messiah establishes his kingdom on the earth, the world will sing a new song. Not only will it sing a new song – there will be a new note added to the musical scale. The note will signify to all Creation that balance has been restored. God, man and all creation will walk in the garden together once again.

As Christians we wait to sing that new song through Christ’s return. A Sovereign LORD bringing peace upon this war-torn earth. A Shepherd who has carried us through those wars – who wrapped his body around us, protecting his lambs from the worst of the arrows – who will continue to carry each of us close to His heart as He returns a peaceful balance to the Garden He created.

As we light the second candle of peace. We remember Christ in His first Advent, and we celebrate the second Advent that is just around the corner. We may not know the specific times, but we know to watch the signs that He taught us during His first Advent.

In his devotions for the 2nd week of Advent, Max Lucado quotes Frederick Buechner: “It is He who made us, and not we ourselves, made us out of His peace to live in peace, out of His light to dwell in light, out of his Love to be above all things loved and loving.” (p161)

As I sang those old carols tonight (and some new ones)– because who can possible watch a show with Christmas songs and not sing along??? – right??? I loved finding my voice again, and the memories those songs brought with them. But oooo…with each turn of the earth, I am getting more excited about singing that new Advent song. And of course – that sets of that crazy pondering latch in my head as I try to imagine exactly what that new note will sound like – ? – hmmmm – will all music then be re=written? – – – was there an 8th note before the fall?? when – – – -????

“O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.b
Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”~Is 40:9-11 [google image]

#perhapstoday #singanewsong