Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #9

Spent some time laughing, sharing space and time with friends that I don’t get to see often enough. Scrubbed and polished my slate end tables. Kicked some leaves with my lab girls while they chased the beloved ball. “Technology Talked” with a couple of cousins and friends. Got a little chilly while I was swinging on my patio swing. And – put most of my fall decorations away.

Yupper. This year, I am one of those that have started the transition to Christmas before Thanksgiving. I usually do try to change everything over the week before Thanksgiving anyway – so this really isn’t much of a stretch. But when push comes to shove, in my mind, there is something about thanking God, eating turkey and enjoying the decorations at the end of that wonderful day. And  this year – I just need to surround myself with His Light a little more than usual since Thanksgiving is a little different for me this year.

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” ~Matt 4:16

There are so many things to be thankful for during this month of transition. One of them is technology. Right now, I am watching the 1955 version of Peter Pan with Mary Martin. How fun is that for this baby boomer? “I Gotta Crow” that it is even more fun than I expected it to be!! How can I still remember most of the words to this play and its songs from so long ago? And yet – here I am – singing along and loving it.

Of course, besides remembering all of the songs, I also remember that I got to stay up late  just to watch it. My daddy brushed my hair while we watched – eating popcorn from a big orange bowl and drinking a soda pop – special treats for a special night. “It is a place where dreams were born…”

A daddy who brushed my hair. A mommy who sang along with the songs and braided my hair when Daddy finished up. An older, big (at least to me – he was huge) brother who tried to ignore us all as he worked on boy scout badges or homework, but casually kept his eyes on the screen. It was definitely a time when I “thought wonderful, happy thoughts” and found that “I’m flying” faster than I thought possible.

Simpler, joyous times. “2nd star to the right and straight on to morning…”

It is good to pull out the treasure chest of memories occasionally. The gold and the silvers ones shine brightly – – especially those shined with Our Father cloth of love. I had a pretty nifty childhood. Church and Sunday School every Sabbath. Sunday drives to visit aunts, uncles, and especially – cousins. Family meals together. Chores done. Bedtimes full of books and prayers. Pretty good model for what a marriage and family should be.

November is that month of transition. The skies darken earlier. The cold wind slows my gait a little more as arthritis clamps down on the joints a little more tightly than I like. And yet, if I go past that silly 2nd star and soar way beyond all stars, the winter morning gets here earlier and sooner than I expected, freeing its sparkling Light to make all things new, and it easily outshines Neverland in the process.

“I, The Light, have come to the world, that no one who believes in me shall abide in darkness.”~Jn 12:46

GOD is good all the time – even on the darkest of nights. All the time GOD is good.

[goggle images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #26

Gratitude is precious. I know because my heart is bubbling over with Gratitude Attitude.
 
Our 3 year old choc lab was sick on Thanksgiving. Not bad sick, just off her feed. By Saturday, I was cuddled on the floor beside her non-moving body and destroying the full box of tissue beside me. Needless to say, trying to sleep on a cold wooden floor – not to mention trying to get up and down from said flooring – or being awakened by a barfing dog tends to disrupt the sleep patterns of any senior citizen. 
 
By last night – not only was my sleep disrupted – I was off my feed and praying – – or maybe I should say crying and groaning – – a lot.
 
“In this way also The Spirit helps our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, whenever it is necessary, but that Spirit prays in our place with groaning which is unspoken.”~Rm. 8:26
 
The power of prayer is far beyond my understanding. When I was young, I saw my parents in deep prayer a few times. Twice with my dad. Three times with my mom. Prayer changes people who pray. It changes those around them. It changed me.
 
While being mentioned over 260+ times in the New Testament, the name of the Holy Spirit is only mentioned 3 times in the Old Testament; instead it is commonly referred to as the Spirit of God over 88 times. However, it is interesting to note that King David, after being chastised by the Prophet Nathan and becoming “poor in spirit”, says, “Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Ps 51:11
 
When we are shattered into shards of our former self, when we look around us and see the ugliness we have created, when our heart aches so deeply that the world spins into darkness, when no words seem adequate – let alone coherent or effective, that is when the Holy Spirit speaks for us – – to us – – replacing the ravages of the storm with the Peace of the Father.
 
I’m not sure how this whole pet thing works in the scheme of the spiritual realm. Who has eternal souls and who doesn’t. What I do know is that we are all created to glorify Our Father. From the tiniest particle of matter to the complex forms of humans, we are handcrafted in love and heard – – – even if the answer isn’t what we wanted to hear when we started the conversation.
 
Last night, after I had moved Koay’s body close to the couch so I could still pet her and lay on the couch, I had peace (and not just because I was more comfortable on the couch). Somewhere in the midst of sniffling and ranting and groaning, His Peace encircled me and my eyes were able to drift shut.
 
Our Father doesn’t send bad things to us. He is all goodness and love. It is our world that is “crap full” (as mom used to say) of bad apple choices and the resulting mutations of creation. What He does promise is to weave bad things, good things, even the mediocre, minor-things-we-don’t-even-notice together for the good of those who love Him.
 
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”~Rm 8:28
 
We were blessed today and our Gratitude Attitude grew 10 times larger. At 3 AM, Koay lifted her head for the first time in a very long afternoon-evening of darkness. She drank some water that I held for her, then her head fell back on the blanket with a plop. When next she woke me at 6 AM, it was because she had squirmed her body even closer to my hand and curled her head my palm. I got up and offered her some food that I had been trying to feed her for 24 hours. 
 
She ate.
She has been eating, drinking all day.
Better yet – no barfing.
But best of all? She wagged her tail. She had not wagged it for 3 days.
 
We are still keeping her close. Feeding her small portions throughout the day. Making sure she has plenty of water. And – we find that in all things, we see a blessing. The illness had kept her off her torn ACL leg, and now she is putting a little more weight on it.
 
So before I go to bed and try to catch up on all the sleep I have missed over the past two nights, I will take her outside and sing my own song of praise and Gratitude that we get to walk together one more day, find more new life that continues to blossom in the NC sunshine, and hopefully – walk a little further every day after that.
 
God is good and worthy to be praised. [personal photos]

 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #22

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”~President John F. Kennedy

54 years ago today my future was being shaped. I was sitting in a 7th grade study hall. At that time our new high school was almost finished – but not quite. So a mixture of 7th through 12th graders were spread throughout an auditorium.

A rustling of papers. 
A note being slid onto a desk as someone went to the restroom.
A brave soul walking up on stage to ask the study hall teacher a question.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”~ JFK, 1957, Profiles in Courage

The ticking of the wall clock. The big hand loudly clicking into place. Marking time in our lives until we could talk in the hallways on our way to the next class. I know it was loud because I had spent lots of time in that auditorium – boy scout meetings with the active dad and brother, minstrel practices every winter I can remember in this life, a joint Easter sunrise services, dance recitals, choir concerts, band concerts, fair activities…… That auditorium was one of the hubs of our community.

But on this particular day, the clock stopped. The everyday noise that a group of people make while going about their business, stopped as well. Where I sat, the color of the wall, the dark curtains that hung on the windows, the utter silence of the room frozen in place. 
An announcement. 
A voice that cracked as it spoke.

“In whatever area in life one may meet the challenges of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces, if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.” ~JFK, Profiles in Courage

l don’t remember the words our principal used that day. I remember the import. And somehow – in that 7th grade developing brain – I realized life would be changed forever. When you grow up in Camelot and see a hole shot through the garden wall, the ground shakes beneath the feet – the sun dims – the birds stop their song – the world holds its breath.

It is a strange thing to write a Gratitude Attitude about a tragedy on the Thanksgiving Eve, and yet – every year as this date rolls around, I remember that 7th grade study hall. I remember reading the president’s books after this day. Listening to his speeches. Starting a new questing path.

Seventeen days before he died, President Kennedy issued his Thanksgiving proclamation. He wrote, “Today we give our thanks [to Providence], most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers–for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek every day to emulate.”

Gratitude Attitude is not always for the easy things, the common things. Sometimes it is being thankful for the hard things – the scary things – the things that make us sit in front of a small TV black-an-white screen to watch a riderless horse with the stirrups turned backwards – a small girl kneeling in front of a casket – a smaller boy saluting a casket – the pictorial book as the torch was passed.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings–let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals–and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world.”~Nov 5, 1963, JFK,Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Tomorrow is a day for family, parades, football and card games, but most of all, it is time to give thanks to God – to Providence – to the God of Nature – to the Great Spirit for all these blessings. Remembering the past, enjoying the present and walking forward into the future.

“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christus Yeshua. our LORD…”~1 Tim 1:12 [google/personal images]

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Because of Christmas #10: Crown to Cross

Excitement is the day after Thanksgiving. It is the day to put all the fall things away. Play Christmas music all day. Do several loads of laundry. Plunk out Christmas carols on the Clavinova. Walk the girls and wave at neighbors. Get soaking wet while trying to make dirty snow turn white on several tiny fake houses.

Impossible, right? I was afraid so. When I first looked at them, I was pretty sure the paint would be coming out and this would be a several long days’ process. That was depressing, and I was pretty sure I didn’t have enough paint or time or will to accomplish that project.

“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,a
and his life brought light to everyone.”~Jn 1:1-4

As I was debating my strategy for making all houses new, I began to wonder if Elohim ever felt the same way? Which led me to hitting myself in the head and saying, “Duh!” Of course, He did. He gave up His crown and took on a body just like mine. The Creator of all things left behind His crown, didn’t even get a cradle in which to rest
this new body to become human – like us.

Love. Wonder. Walking. Talking. Anger. Silliness. Hormones. Temptation. Frustration. Pain. Death of a parent, pet, friend… Political upheaval. Torture. Death.

I carried my little houses outside, hooked up the fire-hose nozzle, applied dish soap liberally and sat down to wait for the soap to do its work. It was a great day to be outside. Warm. Sunny. Birds singing. A praying mantis sitting on the railing of our deck. The girls lifted their noses and watched the birds come to the feeders while I pondered how God made “…all things new”.

“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”~Phil 2:7-8

Amazing. I whine about a couple hours of work to make fake snow look white again on little houses for a fake village. He “humbled himself unto death” to wipe away the sooty sin covering His real creations carry. Best of all, He is still sitting there, waiting for Elohim to signal the cleansing complete by the blasts of the trumpet.

Lucky for me, His plan is so much better than my own. Although – I have to admit, my little fake houses don’t look too bad tonight and tomorrow – I will decide where to place them in my own little fake kingdom.

“But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.”~Meredith Wilson, 1951

This song is 65 years old. I know that because I was born in 1951, and as the world has probably figured out by now – great songs and people were born in that year. However – the best year ever was the one when Christ gave up his crown and began his journey to the cross. [google images]

Because of Christmas #8: Humble Pie

It as not been a good year for Humbles. There’s been a drought of kindness in the meager water supply. Not to mention, the much needed love fertilizer was held up in production due to an ineffective leadership that had not taken good care of the factory or its workers. If only a Thanksgiving a miracle would occur. But alas, the last sarcastic hail and hate tornadoes decimated the field to only a remnant. There might be no Humble pie tomorrow at the table.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”~Prov 11:2

In its glory, an abundant crop of Humbles is hard to describe. Their fruits are an array of iridescent colors, and when conditions are right, the tree of the Humble seems to dance in the light of the grace-full Son. Harvested, the fruits’ smell seeps free of its flesh and permeates the very air around it with such sweetness that it blesses every Thanksgiving homestead for an entire year.

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”~1 Peter 5:5

Herod didn’t like Humble Pie. Didn’t eat it. Didn’t grow the fruit. In fact, he burned the fields where the trees grew. He even closed his curtains against the light of the Son. He knew he was right. He pursed is lips and refused to listen to anyone’s opinion except his own. He ignored the signs. He avoided the manna that he could have gathered. Worse – he wouldn’t drink from the well that would never run dry. His perversions were well documented, and he missed the grace of Humbles blooming in his fields forever.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”~Phil 2:3

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Not just a day to watch football. Not just a day to eat food. Not just a day to spend with family. Not just a day to debate issues. Not just a day to shop for material things. Not just day off work. Not just a day.

“And everything that you perform in word and in works, do in the name of our Lord Yeshua The Messiah and give thanks by him to God The Father.”~Col 3:17

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to find one of the remnant Humbles. There are a few trees left. Seek it out. Harvest it within your field. Make a pie and offer it as a blessing to those who share your table, that your loving Father might bless your year in the name of the Son who eternally brings grace to a never empty table.

 

“To the humble, God gifts great treasures.”~Max Lucado (p88)

Blessings!Be! and a Blessed Thanksgiving for all. [google images]

THANKSGIVING BLESSING

dad 1955When I was little, I remember climbing on a chair to stand beside dad and watch him make the dressing and stuff the turkey. Later, i stood beside him at the kitchen sink, cutting and dicing, as he taught me how to make his yummy dressing. It wasn’t fancy – no oysters, no cornmeal – just bread (and if you didn’t have enough bread, add some crackers), eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, onions (but not in all of it since big brother didn’t like onions), worcestershire sauce (I don’t think he made anything without that) and turkey broth. If it was cold enough (and it usually was) we would put the aluminum foiled turkey on the screened in front porch until we popped it in the oven the next day.

It is a special memory that surfaces everytime I get a turkey ready for Thanksgiving. A memory of a story-telling father passing on his tradition. A funny mother drifting in and out of the kitchen. With l laughter and love breathing a life-force around us all. There is not a day I am not thankful for these memories.

saiya thanksgiving gift 2015Today, my Granddaughter gave me a Thanksgiving scarf that she made all by herself. She learned to finger crochet sometime this past month at the her 1st grade Montesorri. (needless to say – this is my kind of school). Tonight it is wrapped around the amaryllis bulb that I bought from her school fundraiser (can’t escape school fundraisers no matter where you go) and tomorrow, I will wear it with thanksgiving in my heart for this new memor

God is good all the time. Sometimes, it is hard to realize it when pain tries to blockfather Douglas Bazi our senses. I read the proclaimation by President George Washington on October 3, 1789, a letter written by Edward Winslow in 1621 about the first Thanksgiving feaste and the times before it. I watched a video about Father Douglas an Iragi priest who has been tortured by ISIS for his belief in Jesus Christ. That he is alive is a miracle in itself. That he is still proclaiming and living in Irag ministering his church is another. Both walked through much harder challenges than I could even imagine. Both proclaim the goodness and love of God. Their humble Thanksgiving breathes life into my own journey.

So as we wrap up November 25, 2015, I am thankful for all these things and all the things to come. Blessings!Be! and Happy Thanksgiving 2015.amaryllis_red_for_web

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington”

BLESSING TRIAD 22-24

The Twenty-second Blessing

“There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achora [trouble] a door of hope.” Hosea 2:15

Somedays it is just good to laze away the morning. Sleeping in till almost 9 [rare indeed since the furbabies tend to want their breakfast much earlier than that]. No church. No work on the land. No packing of boxes. Just a televised sermon and an afternoon of eldest daughter, her hubby and the Grands.

It was this day,November 22, 2015, that finds me thankful once again. A day to laugh, soak in the hugs, and observe the presence of hope that surrounds me everyday. It is a day to humble myself to my knees [albeit slowly since the knees are rather painful] and circle prayers around those still in the Valley of Achora seeking the door of hope.

One of my favorite songs to sing is based on Psalms 121:1-8. Sometimes it wakes me up in the morning. Sometimes it is my lullabye. Most of the times – it is my prayer. For all of you in the Valley of Achor this is my prayer tonight, and remember – it is God’s WORD that has authority and the power of the Holy Spirit that strengthens our prayers with power unimaginable.

“I shall lift my eyes to the hills; from where will come my helper?
2My help is from Lord Jehovah, he who made Heaven and Earth!
3He will not give your foot to shaking neither will he slumber; he will keep you.4For the keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.5Lord Jehovah is your keeper and Lord Jehovah will put you in his right hand.6The sun will not smite you by day, neither the moon by night.7Lord Jehovah will keep you from all evils; he will keep your soul.8Lord Jehovah will preserve your going out and your coming in from now and unto eternity.” [ABPE}

The Twenty-third Blessing

Tomorrow, we will sign papers that closes our adventure of this portion of our North Carolina adventure. The crazy idea of just listing the house on Craig’s List to see if anyone cared took on a life of it’s own. Just like a small sign along a back road to Snow Camp, “Land Auction”, blew through our lives within a week’s time to become our new covenant land.

YVWH

A word that breathes.

G-d is like that. A holy breath that sweeps, stealing your own breath away with His wisdom, love, grace and illuminating a path that seems impossible to walk.

Yet – here we are, and today, November 23, 2015, I am thankful for His holy breath encircling me.

19″On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”…“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them…” ~Jn20:19-22

Isaiah-40-31-There are about 100 different idioms using the wind as a basis of comparison: however the wind blows – throw caution to the wind – straw in the wind – knock the wind out of her sails – – –

It has been a good day. A day to listen. A day to pray. A day to let the wind blow under my wings and soar into tomorrow.

The Twenty-fourth Blessing

hands-gray-banner1Today, November 24, 2015, I am “homeless” and thankful. Now there is a sentence I never thought I would write about myself.

Today has been a good one all the way around. Got to wake up, sprinkle a few drops of frankinscense on my hands and talk with My Father. Got to do all my stretches and MELT, making my knees work a little smoother. Got to share an early Thanksgiving meal with my Grandson at his school (talking with other teachers was a bonus). Got to sign the papers we have been waiting for since September. Got to meet the daughter and both of the Grands for dinner at The Eddy Pub for a celebratory meal. Got to yell clear across the parking lot at the Grands who kept shouting “I love you a bushel and a peck” (which made all the people laugh that were outside – not to mention – hubby and me). Got to hold my puppy while she tried to blow something out her nose (sad lab eyes get me everytime). Got to catch-up on some of your lives out there in FB land. Which leads me to almost where I started, getting ready to say prayers and head off into dreamland.

While I am only “technically” homeless, the best part of this day was the breath of love that swirled all around it. From the love of G-d starting our day – to the commitment of a busy daughter who knew we would want her presence tonight (even though she thinks we’re crazy) – to Grands hollering Grandma Mickey’s family song across a busy parking lot – to the faithful love that fills me tonight as I think about all of you who have asked for prayers and those who haven’t (but will get my prayers anyway).

It dawned on me today – homeless and thankful as I am – that the “faith of our o-NORMAN-ROCKWELL-facebookfathers” is really what we are celebrating in two days. It is the picking up of that love and commitment that Abraham made to YVWH with his family – – – to the love and commitment which the Pilgrim families brought to the new land – – – to the love and commitment of my daddy praying at a table surrounded by family and extended family when we sat down to eat our Thanksgiving dinner. It is all about love, commitment, promises, faith family and tiny steps in the right direction.

I LOVE Ps 92 – especially this time of year. “1-It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:2 – To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,”

Love.

Commitment.

Faithfulness.

Family

That is what Thanksgiving is truly about and once again – I am looking forward to it and oh so thankful.

[google images]thanksgiving

BLESSING TRIAD #19-21

The Nineteenth Blessing

Today, November 19, 2015, I am thankful for music – in particular accapella vocal music.Perhaps it is because I know how hard it is to do it well. Perhaps it is the way I imagine it is how the angels sounded at creation or on the birth of Yeshua or on the morning when He rose from the dead. Whatever it is – I am thankful when I wake up with this song in my heart. What a way to start or end a day. “Praising our Savior all the day long….” (I guess I have more songs than one in my heart tonight) 🎵 🎶

“We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!”
~1597 Adrianus Valerius

The Twentieth Blessing

A Grandson’s conversations, hugs and questions, “Do you know everything, Grandma?”

Closing on the house Tuesday – yikes.

A small sentence in a fiction book I found at the “free” shelf in Saxapahaw:
“I believe strongly in prayer,” Silas said with obvious conviction. “It’s the key to each new day and the lock for every night.” p167 Wanda Brunstetter “The Hope Chest”

Our Father talks to us in so many ways. Sometimes the clutter of the day, the noisiness of the world, and the laziness of our own sin nature gets in the way. But if we listen – if we force ourselves to still the distractions – the BREAD is there. We only need to remember to use the key and the lock each day. Pray for the world, our country, our leaders, our friends, our enemies, our veterans, our sick, ourselves and give thanks to the One who never fails to hold us close – if we only let Him.

Today, November 20, 2015, I am thankful that PRAYER IS AWESOME.

The Twenty-first Blessing

the-harlem-renaissance-9703-1-728

Today – November 21, 2015, I am thankful for the Harlem Renaissance. In college, I fell in love with the poetry, the literature, the music, the fashion – Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ella Fitzgerald, Scott Joplin. A time between wars – a time of change – internal/national strife – depression – spiritual growth – – – sound familiar?

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” Titus 2:11-12

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again! ~Langston HughesLangstonHuges_NewBioImage

A TRIAD OF THANKSGIVING BLESSING #1-3

November 1st and I am thankful that Daylight Savings time is over. Ha – for all you old timers out there – remember when parts of OH had daylight savings time and other parts didn’t? Traveling to Wooster for an eye appointment was very interesting during those days.

I am thankful that in 54 days I get to see my Littlest, and that I don’t have 3 hours of difference between us when I call now.last rose of 2015

I gave thanks as I picked one last, fragrant rose of summer to bring inside.

To a lesser degree, I’m thankful for National Authors Day and National Literatacy Day and (for those who care) National Vegans Day and National Cook for Your Pets Day. Whewwww – gotta be thankful they stuck that little preposition in that last one..

Finally, I am thankful for my girls who love their sticks and hate rainy days that keep us inside (even though they didn’t let me take advantage of the “Fall Back Day” as they got me up at the usual time for their breakfast).

It’s November 1st, guys, and I’m thankful that Our Father hears the deeper prayers of my soul and remembers His promises. “ZAYIN- Remember your word to your Servant, in which I have trusted”~Ps 119:49

Blessings!Be!sirach 6 14

A SECOND BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

It’s November 2. School today was crazy since kids had not been outside all day and couldn’t go outside because: IT IS RAINY. IT IS MONDAY. “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down.”

However – I’m pushing “down” out the door and choose to be UP-lifting and thankful instead.

I’m thankful that the new culvert hubby installed on our new property driveway is working perfectly. Driveway intact and waiting for heavy trucks bring materials for the new house.

I’m thankful for my friends. Friends who have been in my life forever. Friends who have just entered my life. Friends who listen to me when I get excited about learning something new. Friends who get as excited as I do over a new book or a piece of music. Friends that fill me with new knowledge and wisdom that they have gleaned over the years of their journeys. Friends who weep with me. Friends who pray with me and for me. Friends that walk with me.

It’s one of those thanks-giving days – even if it was a double whammy of RAINY and MONDAY!wisdom-in-the-ups-downs-ecclesiastes-610714-51-638

A THIRD BLESSING OF THANKFULNESS

In the quiet of the night I start to shut down my mind. It is not a conscious process, but it is one that takes place all the same. It is a little more difficult tonight as I continue to battle the beginning niggles of a cold. Always a irritating consequence when you work with children who like to hug more than they want to do their homework. Of course, Miss Grandma doesn’t mind it too much – except when the niggles start to rise in the back of my throat.

Tonight the music that woke me up (after a restless night of coughing and sniffling) changes to lullabye mode and my eyes grow heavy. The dogs roll and stretch signaling it is almost time for them to take one more stroll outside. Hubby snores softly from the couch. Sleep is not too far away for me either. I know this ol’ body will be glad to catch up on some sleep, and hopefully – the niggles will be gone tomorrow.

I like this time of night the best. Noise of the day starts to drift into the background while free verse prayers form and swirl in concentric circles. Faces of those battling disease. Faces of those missing their loved ones. Faces of the unspokens. Devotional reflections circle in the middle of them begging more attention, more time, more awe for the One who opens His hand to hold me while I stumble through my day and while my body slumbers once again.

“When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this [look]
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future” — Ecclesiastes 7:14

As I look back at the past few hours that we call a day, I try to find God’s wisdom. God in the irritating niggles of a cold. God in the woman who kept talking and changing her order while I waited to order a tall strawberry ‘n creme to cool my throat. God in the silly laughter of my snuggling Grand who curls into my side as we read, ‘just one more story’.
The Hebrew sages are right. God is there. God’s wisdom is speaking. In the aches and pains of a cold. In the delight of a child’s love. In the person in front of me who talked to herself as she considered this and that. In the sweet smell of a rose that I clipped earlier today from a bush I thought had died. In the cricket’s song outside my window. In the noise. In the quiet. In the music. Wholly dependent upon Him, I’m ready to close my eyes and trust my future – good and bad – to finding His blessing in each step. For that, tonight, November 3rd, I am thankful.

Blessings!Be!

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bible-verse-matthew-714-for-the-gate-is-narrow-and-the-way-is-hard-that-leads-to-life-2013

2 of 7: Hope

light-hope_00332387Wasn’t it just Halloween? Suddenly, we’re a whole month past that – past the days of gratitude and into the shortest, darkest days of the year. Just how did that happen? That old adage of “time flies” certainly seems appropriate these days. Wake up in the morning, do half of what was on the day’s list, and before you know it, the yawns signal that it is time for sleep again. Time is hastening by at speeds unknown on this side of heaven. I feel very small at times like these.

“I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant…” Gen 32:10a

It is times like these I understand the word, “humble”. The first Hebrew word in the Bible verse above is “katonti”. It literally means “I am small”, Jacob said these words as he was returning home to re-unite with Esau after 22 years. It was a time of thanksgiving for Jacob. He was hoping for a thanksgiving dinner – a time with the family being all together. I wonder if time seemed like it was flying by for him as well?

During those dark days of travel, Jacob had hope. Hope that his brother had forgiven him. Hope that his gifts would be recieved well. Hope that the family would be together once more. It was the light that filteed through the darkness, lit the path, so that he could keep his feet on the road. Hope.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 Jn 5:14-15

We have Jacob’s hope living in us today. Hope filtering through these dark days in the form of a promise. Hope that our “Brother” will know our name when we walk before our “Father”. Hope that our gifts are recieved well. Hope that there will be a Thanksgiving dinner. Hope that the family will be together once more. This is what the first week of Advent is all about. The 1st of 7 days to concentrate our hope until it forms a point of the Christmas Star.16-shoot-of-jesse2