Tag Archives: Taylor Caldwell

2020 VISION – Stink Bugs

Caught the first stink bug in the house. Pulled out the ol’ dryer sheets and put them around the doors. I haven’t used dryer sheets in the dryer since 2018, but I do use my left over ones to keep out those smelly little rascals. It works, but I will probably have to buy more this year.

I really was lazy today and just spent the day moving a few things, brushing my choc lab girls, listening to some old music or podcasts as I worked around the house and finally – my personal favorite – reading.

I always have 3 or 4 books going at a time. One in this room – one in that – and a couple sitting by the morning chair with my devotionals. When the sun is shining in the windows or the gas logs glowing, there is no better place to be.

The one I finished to day is an old one, but it could have been written today. Because of that, I read it slower than I have in previous readings. I saw some of the deeper wisdom that I glossed over when I first read in as a teenager or later as a young teacher or later as an aging wife/mama/teacher.

“My name is Will Dowson, an American name, and I come from St. Louis…My father asked in a mild tone: “What made you think I thought you must be a foreigner, son? Don’t you think I know that tens of thousands of good Americans are traitors?” Your Sins and Mine, by Taylor Caldwell, pp124-25

There have always been stink bugs among us. Bugs who want to sneak in and smell up things. The Bible tells many stories of stink bugs – starting with Adam and Eve – only theirs slithered into their lives.

Stink bugs are stink bugs no matter their shape or size.

I don’t like getting on FB much anymore. I get on once a day – check in on friends and family. Usually write down a few prayer requests, answer some messages, play a couple of games, laugh at a few memes, but mostly – just feel sad at the divisiveness that continues to pull us apart. Come to think of it – I’ve pulled away from a lot of TV, movies and “popular” entertainment. Time has become more precious, and I’d rather be learning or worshiping than wasting my time.

I sat in my own version of the Sukkot hut today. The wisteria vines had gotten way out of control. So I spent a few hours on Friday on the step ladder, trimming vines and using other tendrils to tie the thicker vines into a tamer version of their natural state. It was fun, but the arthritis didn’t much like standing on the ladder for that long. But – it reminds me – that humbling comes in all forms to each of us, and I am thankful.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Col 3:15

We are one body. One body of creation by a Father that loves all that He has done………even the stink bugs.

The next few Tuesdays leading up to the November 3, 2020, election are going to be ones of intermittent fasting and prayer for me. It is a national movement that more and more teacher/preachers are starting recognize. I listened to several today as they stood on the Rock and encourage the ones they have been given to shepherd.

GOD be merciful to me, a sinner.” Ibid, p163

It started with the Prayer March in D.C. and The Return in D.C. – the Vine and Branch together in one place on the same day. Starting on Tuesday, there will be a prayer gathering from Plymouth, MA, … a televised reclamation of the covenant that was established in 1620 by the Pilgrims. There will be a revival tent put up next week in Burlington by Cox Toyota.

It’s Time to Pray.org

“This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.” old hymn

Choices to be made. Live with the stink bugs or not? God’s grace and timetable continues.

“We will serve the LORD our GOD and we will obey His voice.” Jos 24:24

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #5

“There probably won’t be a next year for most of us,” said my father. The farmers were looking steadily at him now, and not at Lester Hartwick. “We’ve got just one court of appeals now,” my father said, “and I don’t suppose most of you have given it any thought.” Ibid.

I should have changed the title for this one, but as usual, my plans are not His plans. I had a whole list of things written down the first day. Positive, up-lifting things that might catch someone’s attention and encourage them during these High Holy Days of 2020. I think I have – – maybe – – used one of them.

The Father never fails to surprise me – – ever.

“Oh, I suppose you’ve prayed…in church. But have you ever prayed: ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner,’ like the publican in the Bible?” Ibid.

In January I started re-reading one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t pulled her books off the shelf for years except to move them here or there – but I have moved them with me ever since college – all 40+ of them. I started with my favorite one. Then the next favorite. And the next. I haven’t been reading much fiction. Most of my reading time has been focused in other directions lately…and yet…for whatever reason…her books came off the shelf.

“Because every man in the world is a sinner against every other man, and against God. It isn’t only all the wars we’ve had in this century. We’ve forgotten God.” Ibid.

Today, the morning sun lit the pages up. I said, “No”. He said, “Yes”. I re-read the chapter and sighed. This is not sweet. It is not up-lifting. It is what it has been for the past 60 years since she wrote this book in 1959.

If you can find her books, I would highly recommend them. Some are about the banking system. Some about the political system Some historical in nature. Some fantastical dreams. All thought-provoking. Her name is Taylor Caldwell. The book (my 2nd favorite): Your Sins and Mine.

And as if to prove His point one last time – – – I had written several verses down to wrap this up. They were not the right ones. This was His choice.

“My righteousness draws near, My salvation is on the way, and My arms will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look for Me and wait in hope for My arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its people will die like gnats. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never fail.”-Is 51:5-6

Artwork by Yoram Raanan “Bridging Heaven and Earth”

May Day

bible verse“Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.” Neil Young of CSNY

Usually, I don’t take much notice of this time of year, But this year, it is as if I am reading Jane Roberts/Seth once again.  If you don’t remember that 70’s throwback, she basically channeled an entity named Seth that said all time is concurrent and constantly in motion.  Today it feels like that; where past and present are forming concentric circles with many layers of the same hatreds, chants and evil at its core. My heart aches as it did 45 years ago. and all I wanted was it to go away.  Instead, just like I did in 1970, I wait, read, watch and listen.OSU riots collage

(Above picture is hard to see, but I think  you get the point from the one headline)

“You shall not judge, lest you be judged. For with the judgment that you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure that you measure, it will be measured to you.” Matt 7:1-2 (ABPE)

In the spring of 1970, I often stood on the Oval of OSU waiting, debating with friends, listening, watching, reading whatever du jour literature was available. Sometimes it was the war – feminism – gay rights – abortion – racism – capitalism…(it was a long list of protests). The fact that even some of the names remain the same in today’s protests- although some have become the capitalists they once decried – others are still agitating from one city after another wherever they can find a crisis – gives rise to the memories that circle round and round.declaration of natural rights

(You might not be able to read this poster I made in 19970, but it was the Declation of Natural Rights)

“Why do you notice a chip that is in your brother’s eye, and you do not observe the plank that is in your own eye? Or how do you say to your brother, ‘Let me cast out the chip from your eye’, and behold, a plank is in your eye? Hypocrite! First cast out the plank from your eye, and then you will see to cast out the chip from your brother’s eye.” Matt 7:3-5

Parts of this Matthew 7 decorated my Norton Hall room at OSU. I had collages me - spring break 1970hanging everywhere, decorated with poetry, the WORD and news clippings. I think it was my way fo trying to sort all the categories of conflicting feelings and tumbling knowledge in order to find the wisdom in the chaos (although I’m pretty sure “that girl” who I was then would have laughed at that one – she probably thought it was just a “far out” thing to make her room “cool”.)

Shortly after May 4th, OSU closed for a week. We packed up and went home. Mom and Dad didn’t ask many questions except to say they trusted my judgement. Dad had already had two heart attacks, so I was quiet as well. We went to church on Sunday and a week later returned to campus. ID’s required. We pulled up to the street cloest to the dorm only to be greeted by a policeman who told us we would have to park a far distance away. Dad politely asked for directions and reached out to shake the man’s hand.

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it is opened.” Matt 7:7-8

spring 1970Only later, when I was brave enough to ask how dad managed that one, did I learn that there was something about the Marines and Masons revealed in a simple handshake that had the policeman putting a tag on our car so that we could actually drive right up to the dorm to unload. He also quoted a Bible verse to me. Matt 7:7 as we maurie casey and john evens 1970walked into the dorm. I went on to finish up my classes in good form, sang in a choir concert on my birthday, argued with my tenor boyfriend of the moment over the whole protest movement (he didn’t sing in the concert as an act of protest) and started reading a Taylor Caldwell book which was written in 1955: Your Sins and Mine. Little did I know that I would be re-reading that book 45 years later, and that the concentric circles would be gyrating faster and faster.

“If therefore you who are evil know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask him?” Matt 7:11

(google image and personal photos)taylor caldwell

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

 

Wonder

“Without wonder, learning was dead.”  ~ Taylor Caldwell, pp 34, Glory and the Lightning, 1974

Glory and the LightningClassic literature transcends generations.  It is embedded with truths that not only lived during the author’s time frame, but continue to live in each succeeding age. That is how it got its name. The cool thing about classic books?  They give you a tiny window, constructed in an author’s mind, that allows us to peek into the past.  The words.  The themes.  The struggles.  The technology (or the lack thereof).  The family structure.  The society and mores.  Elements of life that come alive once again through the words of an individual who took the time to open the window for the rest of us, and it allows us to wonder.

My husband, kids, and former students will tell you that I wonder a lot.  They will tell you I drive them nuts with questions that they can’t answer. A lot of times, I just wonder.  Sometimes, I’m driven to try to find an answer.  My favorite thing to do in a new locale is to go to historical museums or older areas of the town – longing to find a new window to peer through.  If I’m brave enough and strong enough, I may even open the window I am gazing through, and let the sweet breeze of knowledge filter through my essence and become part of who I am.  Wonder becomes the first step to wisdom.

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Prov 4:7 (NIV)

In college, I thought I knew a lot about the Bible. In fact, I was pretty sure I had a complete handle on it. I had “read” most of it by then (skipping over those really boring “begetting” parts and tedious laws of the OT…after all, what relevance did they have since Christ brought the New Covenant?), had gone to church, Bible school, Sunday school my entire life, and debated it many times with friends and family in my life.  Not much to wonder about in the Bible (or so I thought) since I already “knew” it.  What else was there? So I decided to  take  “Bible as Classic Literature” at The Ohio State University as one of my electives.  Should be an easy class, right?

Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” Prov 4:8 (NIV)

books of wonder

I didn’t realize how huge the window in the Bible really was until that class.  The professor wasn’t a believer.  He taught it merely from the words he “read”.  He didn’t understand Jewish tradition (I didn’t either at that point). He didn’t like discussion that disagreed with his viewpoint. (This is when I learned that sarcasm used by a teacher is not effective – at all) But the Bible he chose to use for the class was wonderful. The particular one I used for this class (with all its notes and highlighting) is long gone; burned in our house fire in 2009.  But the window I opened during that class carried such a sweet breeze that the book still exists in my mind.  The fine, tiny print in black and red. The sound of the  translucent, fragile paper as I turned pages. The corresponding stories listed side-by-side for easy comparison.  My black ink pen bleeding through to the other side of the page. Even so – the window was thrown wide, and I began wondering in earnest.

“She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Prov 4:9 (NIV)

Classic literature makes us wonder, contemplate, hypothesize and dig deep into our inner core.  It challenges our long held beliefs with new ideas and concepts.  Whether we adapt those ideas and concepts as “truths” is our choice – our free will.  It encourages…discourages; lifts up…tears down; opens…closes  windows; in other words, it offers new knowledge and the optional advancement of wisdom.

I still love to wonder and can’t wait to wonder even more when I get to the next phase of  my soul’s journey.  God created us in His image (Gen 1), so it has to be part of His character.  It makes me wonder what kind of debates go on in heaven.  Is wonder what led to Luciel (Lucius, the Fallen One) choosing to follow his own truths instead of God’s truths? Is there a point where wonder becomes destructive in heaven as it has done here on earth?  I wonder as I wonder as I wonder.

wonder

Google images

10 Book Challenge

Labor Day.  Big party was yesterday at the daughter’s.  Took lots of pictures.  Got my needed hugs and kisses from the Grands.  Today’s plan…dogs to lake…read book…write a little…pray a little more… and just laze around.

Got the first two things started and then made the mistake of checking FB because I had some pictures to share with the daughter.  One of my friends sent a challenge:  “In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the “right” books or great books of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends including me, so I can see your list.”

hopalongI was not tagged – shame on this friend who knew I would love this challenge, but I tagged myself because I loved this idea.   Seeing as how I really didn’t have anything major planned.  Seeing as how the husband was off “laboring” on Labor Day.  Seeing as how books have entirely ruled my life from the time I discovered words on my childhood area rug that said:  Hop-a-Long Cassidy in big white letters (if memory serves, mine was a brown rug – but then again – that is memory for you).  I thought, “This would be a quick and fun thing to do”.   HA!

Hmmmmm….not so quick but definitely a great pursuit for the introspective Jewish month of Elul.  Because – just how do you limit it to 10 books?   I have since thought of at least 5 more books, I should have liked to squeezed into the original “ten”.  Must be Common Core is sinking into my logic – 10 doesn’t necessarily mean 10 – right?  

1. bibleBible (where would my soul be without it?  I read it everyday.  2 chapters of the OT, 5 psalms, 1 chapter of Proverbs, 2 chapters of NT and assorted side tracks into Daniel, Isaiah, etc.)


2. ifjesuscameIf Jesus Came to My House by Joan G. Thomas (1st book I remember reading over and over)

 


3. black like meBlack Like Me by John Howard Griffin (read it in Jr. Hi. and sent me on a quest; took the 1st ever Black Studies classes offered on OSU-Cols campus, read tons more favorites (Malcom X, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, Fredrick Douglas, Langston Hughes…oooh where do I stop???)


4. Edgar Cayce the Sleeping Prophet (found on the self of the Loudonvillecayce Library when I was working there as a page and started me on my own spiritual quest outside of my parents’ faith…and all books by Cayce, Ruth Montgomery, Authur Ford, Jane Roberts, etc)

 

whitman
5. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Thank you, Mrs. Robinson, for this one, the research paper I wrote on his life and all the poetry books that I devoured after that.)


6. atlasAtlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and all her books (changed my politics a little more and challenged my faith since she was writing from an atheistic bias)

 


7. Dialogue with the Devil by Taylor Caldwell handed to me by a stranger downloadin the Whitehall Library in Columbus who said I needed to read it (then I preceded to read every book she wrote, including her autobiography Growing Up Tough which I read portions of for our 8th grade autobio unit)

 

akiane8. Akiane Kramarik: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry (Added depth of thought on SOOOOOO many levels)

 


9.blessingsThe Path of Blessing by Rabbi Marcia Prager (continues to add so much depth of thought behind Rabbi Yeshua actions and words, even though she is not Christian, she is His child.  Thanks to my good friend who didn’t tag me for recommending this book)
10. And all classics – Children – Young Adult – Adult (doesn’t matter) – any genre (doesn’t matter) – after all – that is why they are called classics.

It got me thinking about how much reading has meant to me and continues to mean to me.  When my mom developed Macular Degeneration, we got her books on tape via the library.  She had a hard time operating the tape recorder, but she loved listening to me when I would read to her.  I read her newspapers, books, magazines and letters that my kids sent via e-mail.  It would make her laugh or cry or start a discussion that would last in my heart for many years.

Reading is like that.  It builds and elicits memories on so many levels.  Movies that exist in our heads.  New lands to visit.  New time periods to learn details that we never knew from the history books.  Emotions that we had forgotten.  Dreams to seek – as a child – an adult – a senior citizen.  Reading is all that and probably much more than I have remembered.

I love this Jewish month.  It is appropriate that school starts in this month as students start the long road of reading for knowledge, wisdom and discernment.  I love challenges.  I love a book challenge.

Wisdom is supreme:  therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  ”  Prov 4:7

VOiCE

“In the circle of successful living, prayer is the hub that holds the wheel together.  Without our contact with God, we are nothing.  With it, we are little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor.”  Conrad Hilton in his autobiography, Be My Guest.”

This quote was one of the first things I read this morning.  I was surprised.  I had no idea that that Conrad Hilton (think Hilton Hotels) had written an autobiography, or better yet, that he was a prayer warrior.  Believe me, if I had known he had written an autobiography, I would have been using parts of it to teach my students every year as we worked on our autobiography unit.   I often use quotes or  portions of books when I teach: Ben Franklin – Fredrick Douglas – Eli Weisel –  Roald Dahl – Maya Angelou – Taylor Caldwell – various presidents (yes, even President Obama for those of you who are wondering) and, not to mention, pop culture idols (Michael Oher, I Beat the Odds).  Nothing like using the words of successful people to motivate students.  So Conrad Hilton, I will be adding one more book to my bucket list as soon as I finish this.

I know I have said this before, but I still miss teaching.  I liked teaching about writing –  which is weird because my first year of teaching – I remember skipping all the writing portions of the English book.  It made me uncomfortable.  They didn’t teach me how to grade writing in my course work during college…then again…maybe I just wasn’t listening that day.  I wasn’t the greatest student (I think I mentioned that a few times in class – if any of my former students are reading this).  Eventually, it became one of my favorite things to teach…especially when we were talking about VOICE.  Every writer has a voice and watching students develop their voice was always fun.

“Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire.  You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.”  Deut 4:12

Moses is wrapping things up in Deuteronomy.  He wants to make sure that this tribe of people that he has been in charge of for the past 50 years, remembers what is important when they get to the Promised Land.  He knows they depend on him, and he knows that he won’t be with them as they enter this beautiful new land.  In a sense, Moses is writing his autobiography, just like we write our autobiography every day.  Maybe we don’t physically put a pen to paper and write, but it is recorded in the Book of Life and God hears our voice.  The good news is He is always speaking to us.  “It just – some of them [us] don’t hear so well,”as Racetrack said in Newsies (I think I remembered that quote right).  In the Bible though, David heard His voice real well:

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;  the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”  Ps 29:3-9

God spoke all things into being.  He sent His WORD to save us.  He left a book for us to read His words.  And if we are listening, He still speaks to us.  If we turn off the T.V. – turn off the computer –  put down the book, the phone, the gaming device, and maybe we can find some time to be still.  Can you hear the silence?  Let that slide by and listen to His voice today.  When we are in contact with God, writing our autobiography with Our Father’s Forgiveness, Grace and Love, the inflection changes in our voice – just like it changed the consistency and confidence of Conrad Hilton’s voice.

(Google images)hilton