Tag Archives: Psalms

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #9

Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.

In Your name they rejoice all day long,
And in Your righteousness they are exalted.
For You are the glory of their strength,
And in Your favor our horn is exalted.

For our shield belongs to the Lord,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel” (Ps. 89:15-18).

The sun has set in NC, so the Feast of Trumpets and High Holy Days have begun. When Jesus was a boy, He would walk for 6 days to get to Jerusalem – that is how important it was for family and friends to make the journey.  10 days of worshiping the Father and listening for His voice. 

“But the LORD God called out to the man,“Where are you?” Gen 3:9

Jewish sages say that in the days leading up to the High Holy Days, Abba comes down to earth and wanders among His people as He did during the days of the Garden for this is the day of Creation.  5781 years ago – the Day He drew a deep breath and spoke, “Light Be!”  So He comes.  Calling to His children to return to Him.  Wanting them to seek His face.  Missing His friends and wishing they could walk together as they once did long ago.

“Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the Law.” Prov 29:18

Yeshua Ha-Mashiach brought us a vision 2000 years ago. He walked among us with power, signs and wonders or we would call them – miracles. A reminder that Abba’s desire is always to walk with us.  A reminder that as we look within, seek deep introspection, and find our knees in repentance that Jesus stands beside us, His hand resting on our head, and the Father doesn’t have to ask any longer, “Where are you?”

Blow the shofar. 

Light the candles. 

Eat the Bread. 

Drink the wine. 

Sing praises of Awe to Him who continues to seek us even in the dark of the night because He misses us and loves us beyond comprehension. 

Shofar

[google images]

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: Weekend Streams.

Tonight is the perfect summer night. Been awhile since I’ve been able to sit outside and just listen to the night, feel the breeze and see the stars shining as brightly as they are right now. Hear the trickle of water as it continues to drain through our usually dry stream bed.

A deep breath of night air is a good way to end the Sabbath.

“The Lord has done great miracles for them!”
Yes, he did mighty miracles and we are overjoyed!
Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory!
May streams of your refreshing flow over us
until our dry hearts are drenched again.” Ps 126:3-4

Weekends have always been a time to regenerate the energy level – especially when I was teaching, raising kids, and tending various species of critters that had entered my sphere of influence. I liked walking the land given to me for a space of time. I liked tending gardens. I liked mowing grass. I liked finding time to play the piano, read a few chapters of a book, watch a few special movies. It was a time to re-connect with the basics that have always been a part of my life.

When I was little, we lived in town, but the parents owned three acres “in the country”. It was actually just outside of town. I could have ridden my bike there, but for some reason, I don’t think I ever did. I certainly rode outside of town in all other directions. As I look back, I laugh a little because it was back a small 2-track dirt road that we shared with neighbors who owned the house in front of our land. We went there often but especially on the weekends.

In the winter, there were Christmas trees to help my dad cut down (I really just ran around with whatever kids came to “help cut down a tree” and let the grown-ups do all the work). In the spring, family and friends would gather there as we planted new pine trees and seeds in a big garden. Sometimes we would have a bonfire. Most times, we ended up at our house or someone else’s where the instruments would come out and the party would commence.

Refreshing weekends were something my parents loved as well.

In the summer, I learned to weed with my toes. My dad was the real expert. I didn’t ever manage to measure up to his standard, but I did love digging my toes in the dirt and trying. By late summer, feast time was beyond compare. Corn, tomatoes, beans, peas. Fresh out of the garden as we picked or as a dinner party at our house – where the ice cream maker would magically appear, and we all took turns cranking it.

Weekends are special time of renewal.

Tonight was one of those nights when I could almost see it all again as I sat on my small porch and watched the dogs snap at insects or answer a barking dog that they heard down the street. We had a screened-in porch at both of my childhood homes. They were the perfect places to make music and not have to deal with biting insects (like I had to do tonight). Eventually, I would fall asleep to the music of guitars, banjos and lyrics being sung all around me and wake up the next morning in my bed.

Sunday mornings would swirl all the days into His days.

The walk to church. Sunday school teachers who were often friends of the family or my school teacher. Sitting in a pew with Grandma Mac as she handed me her hankie with a piece of gum tucked inside. Mom singing a solo with the choir. My Godmother playing the organ. My dad sometimes with us, but mostly – goin’ fishin’. Family get-togethers where I got real food instead of boxed or burnt food. Sunday night youth groups.

Streams of living water to carry us into the new week ahead.

“Those who sow their tears as seeds
will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee.
They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow,
but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing!” Ps 126:5-6

My Father continues to send streams of living water every weekend as I relax and breathe in deeply. Those rolling waters are a little different in form these days. Tears are often mixed in, but the shouts of glee are there as well when His presence overwhelms me. As always, the Sabbath wraps the renewal all together. A deep breath of fresh night air clears out the foggy vision that built up during the previous week, and I can see more clearly.

Weekend Streams of living water – refreshing water.

If I have to wait for Him to move His cloud pillar so I can walk forward, I might as well be about His business while I wait. Back to school (with Grands, new students, those in my sphere of influence), and time to walk into the new week with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness. Time to harvest the overflowing armload of blessings that He has already placed on my path.

[Greg Olsen artwork]

2020 VISION: Birth Pang Prayers

The heart is heavy tonight. As a former teacher, Almost every day, I have a messages waiting for me when I log on to social media. I have read the fears and questions of those who lost their jobs in the past few months; fears and questions of parents struggling to teach their children and work from home, fears and questions of lonely seniors who miss their families and struggle with health issues; fears and questions of youngsters (stretched over a few decades) trying to juggle jobs, relationships divorce, confusion; fears and questions of first responders/ military who are struggling with what may lie ahead for them; fears and questions of teachers wondering what the classroom will even look like in August. The messages are from black, white, and all shades in between of friends who are rocking back on their heels – trying to find their balance as birth pangs ripple across the mid-back of their country.

The spine, despite its outer bony strength, weakens and shudders under the constant strain of inner shock waves electrifying every neuron throughout the rest of land. And yet – the Spirit nudges and fills me with a peaceful joy as tears drip down my nose. The promises echo and reset the heart as I write back to those who write me.

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.” (v.1-3)

I’ve been getting up 3 days a week at 5:30 a.m. since the salt water pool opened at our gym. I’m generally there by 7. Bouncing, stretching and talking to new friends for an hour and a half before I head home. The Choc Lab girls aren’t so impressed, but I give them a couple extra treats so they still love me. This week, I upped it to 5 days a week. Songs echoing through my head as I bounce or soothing me as I relax in the hot tub.

I have found – exercise is one of His blessings when the heart is aching.

It has been rainy for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes cold. Sometimes humid. Overall, not great days to be outside for me or the Lab girls. None of us like it, but we find ways to cope. I spend a lot long time with the Father. I play the piano more than once a day as I work on a new song. I wrote a couple of new things. I read a few chapters in my books. I spent time at my home’s altar.

Around the High Holy Days of 2019, I was moving things around in the kitchen and when I was done, I found I had made a small area with all the things that were part of my Christ journey – a home altar. I have had many altars in many homes. A place where my Bible rested. A place where I sat small tokens of the faith journey. Generally, they have been by my side of the bed. I still have one by my bed. A small light. A clay sculpture I made in 7th grade. Treasure from my Grands.

But in this past year of change, I needed one that I would see often throughout the day. The plastic cross and calico lamb that I got for my first Easter. A barn siding shelf that hung in my MIL’s kitchen made by her son. Pictures that hung in my parent’s and grandparents’ homes. Lights. Prayer concerns, requests and thankfulness. His promises. Treasures my kidlets had given me long ago.

An altar where the Living Water and Manna of my life centers my focus and helps me breathe through the worst of the birth pangs.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (v.4-7)

I am exactly where I am supposed to be even though -sometimes – I often wish I wasn’t. I am constantly checking and double checking myself with the fruits of His Spirit as I write and before I speak. I am trying to open my ears and eyes as I listen or watch others. I am waiting more than I move. I am trying to pray unceasingly to the I AM that lives within me – within all of us.

As my home altar – borne of birth pangs, has become a focal point of change within me and within my prayers for the people Our Father has placed in my life and for this country where I was born, I continue to find the stillness and peace of my Fortress even midst of birth pangs. And I find – that the “desolations” sprouting up around me, and around those I care for, are shaping me – and all of us – to be ready for His Revival. A Revival where He will be exalted among the nations and all the earth.

I just have to wait a little longer, pray a little harder, and share his fruits with all who are in my sphere.

“Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Ps 46:8-11family altar 2020 [personal image]

PANDEMIC 2020 VISION: Mother’s Day Addendum

“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, for hers is where yours begins.”- Mitch Albom

Like most of you, I’ve kept myself busy for the past 55 days doing a lot of things that I was just too busy to do prior to being secluded. Like any of you that have pets – mine have become extremely spoiled and used to having me around 24/7. I love it. They love it. I guess we are both spoiled.

I got to talk to all four of my kidlets today, and took the choc lab girls for a social distance visit to my one daughter that lives near by. We walked on the path through the woods they have created during their time at home. Ate some snacks. Watched the kids play on one of the best tree swings ever. Laughed at 4 dogs adjusting to each other again. Held our breaths to take some pictures. Then I came home, washed my hands, and re-applied my essential oils.

All-in-all, a lull in the storm – a break to breathe – a time to remember who taught me how to breathe in storms. My mom…and dad…and Grandma Mac.

From the earliest bedtime stories to watching them face stormy times in their personal lives to the collective times of facing storms with their nation. I remember not swimming on very hot days in the summer during the polio epidemic. I remember standing in a long line on the cafeteria steps of my soon-to-be elementary school to take the first dose of the polio vaccine. I never felt their fear; I just followed them.

I still am.

I watched them both deal with my father’s heart disease. Listen to news accounts of The Bay of Pigs and continuing wars. Get my mother elected as village clerk with my dad beside her every step of the way. Mourn the murder of a president, a civil rights leader, a senator. Shelter, care, and spend time with their brothers and sisters. Be at the bedside of daughter hospitalized for 7 days for mono. Wash hands a lot during the Hong Kung Flu epidemic. Watch out a darkened window during a once-in-a-lifetime flood that came within feet of their home. Prepare for that once-sick daughter to go off to college amid an epidemic.

Yet – – in all those times, I never felt their fear reaching out to me – even though I’m sure that fear was there. After all, their daughter had a compromised immune system, and her father had already experienced two heart attacks. Instead, this daughter saw them on their knees – saw them hold hands in church – heard their prayers – and watched them from the stairs as they danced together the night before they took her to college.

My mom – and dad – both loved to tell stories about their families. Truth be told, I wish I had paid more attention and written some of them down. Later in life, my mom was able to take her mom on cruise. Grandma Mac’s smiling eyes when she talked about that cruise was beyond special. You can see it in the pictures they brought back just as I see it in my memory.

Stories are the threads that tie families into an expanding tapestry of His creation. A Creation story woven together by individuals, families, nations as His artistic Hand weaves the strong, colorful strands with the weakened, broken strands to create His perfect design from the beginning. His Grace blending them seamlessly together.

Honor thy father and mothers – not just today – but in all days.

“Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Ps 139:16 

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VISION 2020: Pandemic Basket Blessings

When I wake up these days, I am full of thankful blessings. Thankful to open my eyes. Thankful to see my choc labs wiggling at my bedside. Thankful to hear kitty-kitty meowing from wherever she is curled up to sleep. Thankful for the first deep breath in – Yaw – followed by the first deep breath out –
Weh. Thankful for My Father who whispers: ‘Kneel”.

“During the days of King David, a devastating plague is said to have claimed the lives of a hundred Israelites every single day. That’s when a council of Jewish rabbis prescribed the practice of reciting one hundred blessings per day to counteract the plague. According to tradition, the plague stopped immediately. I can’t promise that gratitude will cure whatever ails you (or stop the Coronavirus), but gratitude is a good place to start. And it’s where the double blessing begins.” Mark Batterson, author of the Circle Maker, Whispers

This devotion caught me this morning. I laughed. It is so obvious. When I start my day – pause throughout the day – end my day – thanking my Father, the next day radiates His peace in all I do. Even when a pandemic strikes and isolates me from my Grands and students (and cuts my gym time in half), Joy seems to pour out of me and His peace envelops me.

“Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.” Ps 100:1-2

After reading Batterson’s quote, I began to fill my head with all the blessings of the day. There are way more than a hundred. I started writing them down and was at 10 before I got out of the bathroom. Then I began to wonder how many more blessings I missed. The flock of robins in my yard. The music of all the spring birds over my head. The wide array of colors in spring flowers. Tree pollen that swells my sinuses. Essential oils that make it tolerable. The taste of food. The smells of spring.

Where do I stop?

Life is a miracle basket – a basket overflowing with blessings. Basket Blessings – too many to count – Basket Blessings from a loving Father and Son who know all too well the agony and the chaos of this world. Basket Blessings that should bring us to our knees throughout the day. Basket Blessings that fill me with joy even when I dislike the dark valley that is hard to navigate with these old eyes and crackling knees.

“Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.a
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.” Ps 100:3-4

Raise your hands in the air. Yup – do it. Right now. Start circling your hands in concentric circles and repeat this phrase: “He is turning my mourning into dancing and my sorrow into joy.”
Go on…….
Repeat.
Repeat.
Repeat.
Are your feet tapping? Is your soul dancing? Go ahead. I know you want to do so.
Dance.
Dance.
Dance.
And place your Basket Blessings on the holy ground where you check in with Our Father. He’s waiting. Waiting just for you to just acknowledge what He has given you.

A Basket of Blessings He designed just for you.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chron 7:14

“For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Ps 100:5  first day in Heaven [Kerolos Safwat art]

VISION 2020: I CAN II

Today, I got new bookshelves in our little school library. Like most things in our library, these shelves were donated. The joy started bubbling over as I realized that they were exactly the answer to one of those unspoken prayers in my life. One of those things, I never really prayed over, but thought about often. Needless to say, my arthritic back was a little sore when I came home from school tonight. You can’t move close to a thousand books without experiencing a twinge or two.

In these “elder” years of my life, “I CAN do all things through Christ that strengthens me” always springs to mind when I see something I need to accomplish – especially when it is physical. Who am I kidding? It springs to mind whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual, and I am glad it does. It is His promise and I need those desperately.

But there was something more. The power of this answered prayer continued to nag at me with each stack of books I moved. I continued to chew on it as I worked. I ground my teeth a little as I sat in my chair icing my back. And finally – after being called into serious prayer in the Spirit for family, it hit me. Our Father cares about even those silly little everyday things that absorb our attention in daily life. The things we don’t really pray about – but somehow mean something to us – enough that it pulls at the depths of our heart and touches the Spirit that lives within us.

I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I looked down at my feet tonight as I stood outside and realized how strong that rock is under my feet. The Aaronic prayer of Numbers circles through my head. Not the verse as much as the song that I sang over and over throughout my early life. His peace reigns. The Amen chorus ringing its 4-part harmony even after all these years.

My heart has been heavy for the past week. Several prayer requests from family and friends light up my heart throughout the days and whisper in my sleep. The Spirit nudges me to pray – not in the comfort of my chair or bed – but on my knees – to fast – to listen – to seek His heart within my own; to open my eyes to the glory that is about to be made manifest to those who have been called.

“We know that in all things GOD works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” Rm 8;28

The world whips around us at amazing speed. Technology filling our heads with topics, music, pundits, knowledge pulling us far from the inner core that allows us to withstand the storms of life. Tumultuous quakings, shakings, of the soul that mimics the physical rebellion of the earth itself.

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.” Ps 46:1-3

I often go out at night and stand on my front porch. It is not big. It does not need to be. It is comfortable and fits me perfectly. It has heard joyous songs. It has felt tears fall on its planks. It has provided shelter from the weather swirling beyond its confines. It is where I often feel closest to the Father and His Son. Whether the snow is falling or the humidity so thick that breathing is hard, whether skies are cloudy or the moon shining brightly upon the neighborhood, I feel His presence keenly. I savor whatever it is that calls me out to stand on its decking almost every night, and am humbled by the power of His glory that I can barely comprehend.

I CAN.

Valentines Day was today at our school. Tomorrow is a work day – which I really need to get the library back in shape. On my desk were little blessings, but as always, the best ones were from the kids as they peeked in the library, laughing at the mess, asking when they could come again, sneaking out of line to give me so many hugs, and giggling as they saw the candy tattoo on my tongue at lunch.

I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I CAN pray for those I can’t hug. I CAN move a bunch of books. I CAN love as HE loves. I CAN walk on water. I CAN do all things through Christ, and I’m so blessed that He is my rock and salvation. 

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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 

 [personal images]