Tag Archives: Sabbath

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: Sabbath Quaking

“Sabbath was (and is) a gift from GOD – a pause, a stopping point, a decision to take a break from going and buying and accruing.” Priscilla Shirer, Awaken, p. 108

This morning, the choc lab girls woke me up by barking and barking and barking. Ugh. I stretched and looked at the clock it was a little after 8 AM. I figured they were just ready to go out or heard a strange sound in the neighborhood.

Not the first time I’ve been wrong!

We got up and began our first early morning walk – pulled some weeds – cut back some branches – walked the newspaper up to my neighbor’s house – swept leaves off the deck and patio – cleaned out the garage a little – and then – one of the neighbors hollered at me: “Did you feel the earthquake?”

Huh????
Earthquake????

“It is the Spirit empowered choice to cease striving and enjoy our GOD.” Ibid.

After he explained what had happened, I sat down on the patio swing and enjoyed the morning under a bunch of semi-blooming wisteria, birds calling out their own news of the morning and a couple of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flitting in and out of the sweet smelling salvias and around the swing. 2020 has certainly been a year filled with things I really hadn’t ever anticipated.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1

It was a good day to cease striving and enjoy God, so I did. I read some books. Threw the ball with the girls. Played with silly, spooky kitty. Made a few pickles since they were already cut up and sitting in the fridge – – but basically – – just spent time enjoying GOD and all His bounty that surrounds me everyday.

Prayed over my prayer list. Sang a few songs that never fail to stir the spirit within me. “Closer My God to Thee” Listened to a few Bible teachers who seemed to have the very wisdom I needed to hear. And just basically, ignored the outside world that so often intrudes on my time with My Father.

“It is the peace that comes in the midst of all the whirlwind and flurry of activity.” Ibid.

Sometimes – it takes a little bit of shaking to wake us up so that we stop whining and start shining. Tonight, I’m already yawning. School starts tomorrow, and I can’t wait to shine a little more. There is always something invigorating about a new school year. While this year will be a little more complicated, it will still be good to be back.

Setting the compass on the Father today was important to make sure my direction is sure and in line with the Son’s Grace and Love.

Sabbath Shaking was one of those treasure chest memories of 2020 that I will ponder in my heart for times to come.

“Sabbath is what beats our lives into submission, giving us the breathing room for getting our sanity back. We cannot afford to neglect the Sabbath principle.” Ibid. 

 [personal images/google]

VISION 2020: Sabbath

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

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

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

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

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

GOD is good, all the time.

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

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

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

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

Our Father’s promises always lead to Joy.

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

ONE PERFECT SABBATH

Today was one of those days made perfect by the tiny small acts that happened throughout it. Acts that have warmed my soul and reminded of the holiness of the day.

A day that really didn’t start out so well. Our youngest lab girl woke me up at 3:30 with that dreaded sound that all pet owners or kidlet parent recognizes – regurgitation breaths. Getting untangled from the the bedding in the middle of the night is not one of the fastest things I do anymore – but I managed, and Koay managed to hold it in until I got her out the door. The old dog didn’t even get up. She just rolled on her back, thinking she might get a belly rub when I returned.

Needless to say, I was not in the mood to rub anyone’s belly, and Ryndi just sighed as she rolled back over. Luckily, Koay did what needed to be done fairly quickly and was back in the door within a few minutes wanting her belly rubbed. Again, I was not amused. I crawled into bed and hoped I could fall back to sleep.

I did – – – eventually.

The last time I glanced up at the time reflected on the ceiling, an hour had already crawled towards dawn, and I was yawning my way through one more Bible verse (which is what I do when I can’t sleep). Obviously, my plans on rising early to do some mulch moving during the coolest time of our 90-degree-really-really-humid-days got lost in catching up on some much needed 💤 .

Early morning chores followed. Walk the dogs, sweat. Pull some weeds, sweat a little more. Throw the ball and listen to panting dogs hunting for it – sweat. Sit on the patio swing while glancing through the paper and – you guessed it – sweat. By that time, it was time to get cleaned up and go over to the daughter’s for breakfast and help the oldest Grand paint her room – or should I say – help her parents paint the room as she added a couple of brush strokes here and there.

In any case, it was there – standing in her room – in between playing with clay, talking about “Hatchables” and the habitats we had made from clay for them, tossing a “Wubble” up and down the stairs, and those few swipes of a brush in her bedroom, we found ourselves pretty much alone for a few minutes.

We were talking about the color of her room – a very striking turquoise – when she curled under my arm and wrapped her arms around me. We kept talking and laughing for one of those moments which you know is searing itself as a treasure chest memory into your heart. The almost 11-year-old, leaning into me just like she used to do when she was tiny – just like her mama used to do when she was tiny.

My heart was blessed beyond measure with such a gift.

The ultimate gifts of any day are not usually fancy. Usually they come so quickly that we don’t even notice. They don’t usually cost money. They can be as simple as having a butterfly land on your finger at the end of the day as it flutters its wings and probes your skin for its salty moisture. The gift of a Lab girl that wiggles under the inversion board as you stretch your back, so she can rub her head against your head just to show how special she thinks you are in her life. A Father who sends His blessings in so many ways if we only take time to notice.

It was a good day – a perfect day – a day to praise God and remember why we should keep the Sabbath and make it holy.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

~Ex 20:8-11

 

POP GOES MY HEART

226_5It’s one of those silly nights. I spent the afternoon making a wreck of my daughter’s house by creating a multitude of hanging, spiraling snakes, strings of family hand-drawn pictures, add in an additional hand puppet or three (cootie catches to all you former friends and students) and you kinda of have a picture in your mind. So tonight needed to be a night just to relax. A glass of wine. A little cheese. A few olives and nuts (no, I’m not talking about hubby – he’s already asleep on the couch). Pop goes my heart, and I am ready for movie night.  I enjoy fun movies. Ones that make me smile. No deep thought-out themes on good vs evil. No serious contemplations in characters analysis. No reality based plot. Just a little music – a tiny plot – a few laughs.

The kids laugh at me. No Cloud. No Netflix. No Apple TV. Not even my Roku. When I want a movie night, I pull out my favorite DVD’s, turn up the BOSE video wave TV so that the bass reverberates in my head (don’t worry the hubby sleeps through it all), turn down the lights, push back the recliner and smile contentedly (after one of my giant choc labs finally gets comfortable on my lap). I love my home theatre. Love my labs.  Love the snoring hubby.  Music carries me to fantasy land and reality doesn’t reach me for awhile.

It is good to think that there were nights when Christ kicked back with his friends and just relaxed. After all – He (and we) are made in His Father’s image, right? I’m sure there were times when He needed a break from deep thoughts…serious contemplations…and I’m positive that since He knew the Father (Jn 14:4), He knew the reality of His future all too well. Friday night was Sabbath, and Rabbi Yeshua followed the Jewish traditions and laws of His Father.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” ~Matt 5;17

Family. Food. Wine. Relax. Get on a boat. Sit under the stars. Tell a few stories. Can you imagine listening to the stories told by such a rabbi? Pop goes my heart as I wonder if Our Father came down to the garden on Friday evenings – before the gates were locked – and told stories to his beautiful new children. Can you imagine that!?!?! Listening to a story told by the author of all creation??? Maybe it is in our nature to want to push the world out of our way on the Sabbath and to remember what life could be like if we actually prayed the “Our Father Prayer” the way it was intended…

“…on earth as it is in Heaven…” ~Matt 6:10b

Sabbath Friday. Sitting in a garden. Eating a little cheese. Sharing a glass of wine with our close friends. Under the stars. Watching a movie created just for us by the author of life Himself. I could (to utilize an old 60’s term from my past) – I could really dig that!!!

Tomorrow, I will stretch my mind a little more. Tomorrow, I will read the WORD a little more. Tomorrow, I will pray a little more Tomorrow, I will watch the news and trust God a little more. But tonight, I am enjoying the Sabbath and someday soon – maybe the cherubim will lower their swords, unlock the gates and we can truly worship on the Sabbath the way it was intended  “Pop Goes My Heart”, a silly song that opened my eyes and heart tonight to the One who love us best.

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,a
but deliver us from the evil one. ’~ Matt 6:9-

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Attitude of Gratitude #1-7

Thanksgiving is all about the giving of thanks.  As we approach the holy days of Advent, November seems to be the perfect time for An Attitude of Gratitude.

300px-Hands_of_God_and_Adam

Gratitude #1: Just remember – everyone doubts themselves at one time or another. In 1509 while working on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo wrote: “My work does not seem to go ahead in a way to merit anything. This is due to the difficulty of the work and also because it is not my profession. In consequence, I lose my time fruitlessly.” Just smile, keep looking up and doing what you love. God reaches out constantly – you just have to reach back. I am thankful. Let the holiday season begin.

Gratitude #2: “Remember the Sabbath…” I LOVE Sundays. I love being Rabbi Bradley Shavit ARtson pic“commanded”(#4) to relax and observe this sacred day. I love a church that reminds me I’m not alone in a storm because Jesus walks out to be with me, so “DON’T BE AFRAID!” (Matt 14:22-27). I love when the Grands call me three times because I’m taking too long coming over to see their tent or read the dinosaur counting book we made last spring or play “This is the way the farmer rides – hobble-de-hoy” or leave so they can play WII with mommy and daddy before bedtime. Sundays are “holy observances” in Jewish tradition. Sundays are the blessing that start my week. Sundays remind me to be so thankful to have Sundays.

Gratitude #3: The sweet things in life. Left over, frozen,Halloween candy in the form of miniature Reese’s cups. A husband planning a surprise mini-trip to the beach. Puppies, who are not so minature, curled up on the couch with me when I need a mini-nap. Grands that scream and jump up and down when they see me sweet-things (2)walking up to their school or curl into me as we read stories. Laughter of a kid who understands a new concept. A Savior who embodies “Amazing Grace”. Sweet!

Gratitude #4: Thankful for the the Republic of the United States of America. So thankful that our fore-fathers knew the difference between a republic and democracy (even though we seem to have forgotten it). Thankful for all the responsibilities of researching, gaining knowledge, seeking spiritual guidance, and making the effort to vote. Thankful for those who have made sacrifices so that I can express my opinion in the voting booth. Thankful to VOTE.freedom to vote

“The genius of a nation strikes but once in its history. It is its glory and its immortality in the annals of men. It is aristocratic, discriminating, radiant and selective, and abjures all that is mediocre, plebeian and mundane. It is regnant. It is spiritual. It is the flame emanating from the core of the Universe, which is the generation of life. It is the lightning which sets fire to the small spirits of men, and raises them above the field and the plow, the house and the hayfield, in a sudden revelation of grandeur. It is, above all, masculine, for the aristocracy of the soul is purely masculine and never feminine, which is concerned only with petty matters and insistent trivialities. It transcends the humbleness of daily living and stands even the least important of men upon Olympus for a brief hour. It is never democratic, for democracy is a destructive thing, conspired in the inferior minds of envious men.
“If that nation which would survive in glory would cultivate only the masculine principle its name in history will be written in gold and blaze through the centuries.” ~Zeno of Elea, The Glory that was Greece as quoted by Taylor Caldwell in her foreward of Glory and the Lightening

Gratitude #5: Ocean. The immense power and beauty of the ocean never fails to download (1)amaze me. It is little wonder that Rabbi Yeshua used the seas and storms in so many of His parables. The storms’ wildness that calls to our own natures. The harmonies that sings 24 hours of the day. The habitat that it provides to a world downloadbeyond my knowledge. His essence is still singing through each wave, melding His love a little deeper into my soul…I am, indeed, thankful.

Gratitude #6: Music in my head. For about a week, I have been waking up with songs in my head. They sing me awake and stay in my mind for the first few hours of my day. Sometimes they are the hymns that have swirled around my head since before I knew what they were. Sometimes, they are simple phrases from Praise songs that I sing on Sunday or listen to in my car. And some of the best are the ones sung to me in my dreams with words I don’t know, but harmonies that echo in my heart and head all day. Blessings abound when we are thankful. This one was the way I woke up today.

Gratitude #7: Children. Children have a way of looking at things that change us on a daily basis. They see the invisible and believe in the magic that lives in between here and there. They dance to music that only they can hear. They laugh when rain falls on their face and hide under the covers when the thunder gets too scary. They are constantly watching and modeling the things they see around them. And – they remind me that I need to be the best I can be in this world, because – one day – they will be the ones that new children are following, and I am relying on in my old age. I’m grateful that I still have children in my life because every day I’m around them—-I learn something new. So thankful for children. “If we experienced life through the eyes of a child, everything would be magical and extraordinary. Let our curiosity, adventure and wonder of life never end…” Akiane Kramarik

akiane-child-life

photos: Google images and Akiane Kramarik

 

Lenten Journey/Journey of the Cross #33


joy-comes-with-the-morningGrandma Mickey cake is sitting in the kitchen waiting for the the final frosting to be made tomorrow morning. Ribs are coated and ready to go into the oven within the hour for a long slow cooking marathon. If I was really dedicated, I would have made Grandma Mac noodles…but I’m not that motivated today.  I caught a whisper of the Grands’ colds, so I spent most of the morning sleeping, and the rest of the day not eating until I ate some yogurt and fruit a few minutes ago. The blessing is that Easter is almost here.

I always wonder what the disciples and Mother Mary did on Saturday. It was the Sabbath, so they would not have done much. A quiet day for many thoughts – many fears – many doubts. Did they have faith in the prophecy then, or did they just curl into themselves in sadness and despair? We’ve all been there. We’ve all curled up in a ball at one time or another. They saw the sky grow dark. The earth shake. The curtains ripped from top to bottom. Did they seek affirmation from Our Father? Among themselves? Did they walk back to the tomb? Whatever they did – I’m sure the day passed at at a crawl for all of them.

Tomorrow, the eyes of the world will open to a new day. The Son, indeed, did rise from “the heart of the earth”. The cup has been emptied and a new covenant is established for the Jews and gentiles alike. Joy does come in the morning.

“For His anger endures but for a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Ps 30:5