Tag Archives: WORD

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #11

I am a former reading teacher, and STILL a lot of time I don’t read the small print placed before me. Ever anxious to get on to the “main” content, I miss some of the truly important stuff.

Having read all 150 Psalms over and over – in liturgy – in song – in devotion, I had no idea that Psalms 120-134 were songs that were used as Jews traveled to the temple festivals in Jerusalem. Of course, I had to go to the Bible and look. Sure enough, under the title Psalm 120 was some tiny print, “Song of Ascent”. Of course, even if I read it at one point or another, I wouldn’t have had a clue of what it meant.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”~Ps 121:1-2

My search continued. I pulled out the well-used, marked-up study Bible that has been in my life for about 8 years now. It has notes on the side of the pages which have added much to my seeking over the years. The notes were well documented about the main ideas and intent of each verse, but I couldn’t find anything that talked about them being used by the Jewish people as they traveled or even – what ascent meant. So next step – what else? On-line Bible, of course.

I use various sites, but I tend to like Bible Hub. They have the Aramaic in Plain English of the New Testament which I love. I understand why the New Testament was written in Greek, but since most of the disciples spoke Aramaic and this version comes from an early source, I like comparing the two. That being said, Bible Hub’s “New Living Translation” had the words I was seeking in small print right under the title, ‘A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.’

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”~Ps 121:5-6

Okay – so far so good, but that didn’t really give me a lot of answers. As always I wanted more. I wanted the Jewish perspective. If there is one thing that I have learned over the past few years, it is that our Christian traditions have robbed us of our roots in the first covenant. The very covenanted roots that Yeshua treasured in His life here on earth.

So the thing is – the Jewish tradition says that there are many interpretations about these “Psalms of Ascents”. One belief is that it was used by pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem or out of Babylon or even one that had to do with the rising of water under King David’s temple.

I guess all in all, one of my devotions today was successful. It got me digging deeper into the WORD itself. And Our Father was faithful as always. When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, you do get filled or as it was said in the Greek, Plero’o – the cup is filled (which by the way – is a word I stumbled over in another devotion). Gotta love how God works all things to His purposes, don’t you?

“But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy and shall keep your whole spirit, soul and body without fault for the arrival of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah. Faithful is he who has called you; it is he who shall perform it.”~1 Thes 5:23-24Forgiven

(Greg Olsen artwork/google image]

JULY 4, 2017

“Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…”

“With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence…”

Strong, powerful words. Words debated – crafted into sentences – layered into a one page document. A document that changed the world. A document that spoke to what was and what was to come. A document that speaks. If – – – we remember to listen.

I tend to think of my big choc labs as my protectors – and, in truth, I think they would be if push came to shove in a tough situation. However, when the 4th of July boomers started in our quirky little neighborhood a couple of nights back, they practically flew into my lap that was not nearly big enough – believe it or not – for the both of them.

After several calming words and hugs, they shook themselves a little and sat down. Ears back – eyes trained on the windows – but they remembered the words. The tone of the words. And – it allowed me a chance to sneak a peek out the windows.

While the boomers are always a nice treat, they aren’t my favorite part of the 4th of July. Even the family gatherings, picnics and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with canons doesn’t make the cut. My favorite part of the 4th of July is thinking about the Words that started it all.The WORD that inspired those men and women in 1776. The WORD that vibrates under our feet. The WORD that is the rocky foundation supporting our steps.

50 years back, America was struggling in a different way. I was a high school sophomore. My parents were worried. People debated. The world was starting to slide into the divide again. A couple years later when I was in college and riots closed campuses, the world was divided a little more. A popular music group put these words to music, and I hung them in my basement room.

Words that brought a bridge of peace over troubled waters.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

Today, Littlest found an article that revealed some background about the first printed copies of the Declaration of Independence. I had always wondered about the name printed at the bottom of the printed document (not the hand-written copies), but had never really searched it out. (Shame on me not being a thorough teacher) It was owned and operated by a woman. Mary Katherine Goodard. She lived powerful words. She wrote powerful words.

Words are the foundation of today”s celebration. Words crafted into sentences. Words layered into a document. Words that still can change the world. Words laid upon the foundation of the WORD in which they put their trust.

The WORD remains the foundation of this country – of this world – of all creation. We just have to remember: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

Advent Peace #7: Sanctified Imagination

Early this summer I was browsing one of our local shops and found a couple familiar books. No one is surprised, right? I can walk down the street and find a familiar book somewhere. The Hubby is very adept at avoiding walking down streets with me because He hates seeing me bring new books into the house. As often as we move, he knows that it is one more heavy box he won’t want to carry.
 
What I haven’t told him is that I have gotten pretty good at passing books on to others. I have it on good authority that it is better to give than to receive. Besides – I totally have no room to store any more books at this point in my life – EXCEPT – I am keeping the two I found last summer. “Let’s Keep Christmas: a sermon by Peter Marshall” is one of them.
 
“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.”~Jn 1:4
 
Over the years, I’ve read many things by Peter Marshall and his wife, Catherine. One of the techniques he used was called “sanctified imagination”. Besides drawing on his own experiences, he would take a story from scripture and draw a picture with his words so that the listener felt it come alive within them. It was a way to help his parishioners bury the WORD in their hearts.
 
“The old message: ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Chist the Lord’ is still the heart of Christmas. It can be nothing else.” ~Peter Marshall ‘Christmas Sermon’ p1
 
I was thinking about this as I re-read this book for the third time this Advent. I think ‘sanctified imagination’ is why Christmas is so strongly buried within me. From the special times when my daddy read the second chapter of Luke before I went to sleep on Christmas Eve – to all the Sunday school re-enactments – to all the Christmas carolings – to all the majestic re-tellings of Handel’s Messiah – to a Christmas Eve service by my childhood preacher who used his own version of “sanctified imagination” – the Christmas Story lives within me.
 
For those of us who have seen the manger, have seen the angels, have seen the wisemen, have seen the star – the WORD lives. It is what makes Christmas such a special season of the year – even if some of us are past enjoying the cold and snow. It is the light of the WORD within us – not just at Christmas – but everyday of the year.
 
In 1955, this tiny book was a gift to someone. A small blessing is written in cursive (thank goodness I learned cursive back in the ol’ days) that I am passing on to all of you. A timeless blessing and reminder that… Perhaps today… Perhaps tomorrow… but definitely – He is alive and is returning soon…
 

“May the Christmas blessings of Peace, Good will, and Happiness be yours today and throughout the coming years.” Monroe and Mickie, 1955

CHUCKLES

chuckles

Okay – today was a whining day. There were stones everywhere I turned (and I do mean that figuratively as well as literally). I hate it when my body aches beyond aches. I hate it when I’m digging in the dirt and keep hitting a endless supply of stones (and yes – again – literally and figuratively) Errrgggggg…

Then – as if to rub it in – God throws this up in my devotional feed: “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” — Ecclesiastes 2:24–25

I was not finding much satisfaction in my toil. I do not do patience well. I want to see results. I want to dig in the dirt, transplant a small, rooted treasure and watch it flourish – – – tomorrow. I want to speak and it becomes. I want to be like my Father. It is also – probably – why there were billions of stones under the spade of my shovel all day today.

While I was mumbling under my panting breath and dragging the shovel that looked totally bent on the sharp end, I’m pretty sure I heard a chuckle. Say what? You see, my mumbling was one of those impromptu complaining prayers. I’m sure you know the kind. Whether you are talking to your bae – your bff – or God, I think we all speak it or at least think it at one time or another. Mine went something like this:

“Seriously, God, I’m old. I’m almost 65. My knees ache. My shoulders ache. Even my feet ache. What were you thinking? How am I supposed to plant a garden and awaken this place to what YOU envisioned when you brought us here?”

The chuckle rumbled over me again. It stopped me in my tracks. It rolled over the hill – in between the trees – lifted the butterfly a little higher in the trees and broke the stone that was hiding a small blessing.

Stones are a pain. They break shovels. They are heavy. They trip us when we aren’t looking. They can block us on our path. Worse, they can blind us to the blessings that are hidden among them.

“In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’”~Josh 4:21

As I stood under the sprinkler, the irony of the chuckle caught me in its grip, and I remembered the verse that has always been our covenant with Our Father. (Did you know that Jesus often prayed the WORD when He talked to His Father?) So after a couple of Aleve and a great salad in my belly, I mumbled a different prayer. One that went something like this: “Okay, quit chuckling. I know I’m pretty slow on the uptake sometimes. So here goes again. I’m asking you, My Holy Father, ‘What do these stones mean’? What am I supposed to learn today?”

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  • Patience, Child.
  • (sigh) Do I have to?
  • Humbleness, Child.
  • I know. I’m trying…kinda.
  • Satisfaction in your toil, Child.
  • (downcast)  But it hurts!
  • Joy in the morning, Child.
  • Promise?
  • Find the diamonds hidden amongst the dirt, Child.

“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear [stand in awe] the LORD your God.”~Josh 4:24

Tonight, I sit and let His “stones” of wisdom sink into my psyche, and I wonder if I will ever figure it out. The child who constantly invades my space and gets under my skin. Worldly drama that invades the simple spiritual peace that I try to establish. Unspoken requests on my long prayer list that seem to go unanswered. A house that has rooms of unending projects begging my attention. Writings, books, music waiting to be explored. Hard packed red clay encrusted with stones upon stones upon stones.

I know tomorrow, I will pick up the shovel again. I will chip away at the stones in my way. I will listen for the chuckle and smile. I might have to take a couple more Aleve, but you know? There are definitely worse things in life – like not finding the blessings hidden in His hand. Missing a child’s smile. Laughing with joy in my toil. Maybe tomorrow, I will be able to dig that golden nugget out and put it in my treasure box. And chuckle to myself instead of whining.

[google images]God's laughter

A WEEK

I wish I was feeling brilliant and had lots of wisdom to share. It seems as if I have not written for a year. Yet, it has only been a week.

  • A week of changes.
  • A week of camping in a broken house.
  • A week of living out of boxes and repairing what has been damaged.
  • A week.
  • 7 days.
  • One day at a time.

I often wonder what Our Father was thinking as He created the world. Did each little creation change what He did next? Or did He have a plan from the beginning that was immutable from the first word He spoke?

Daily I walk around the house changing one thing and then changing my mind about something else. It changes daily. I change daily. The house changes daily. I wish I had an immutable plan that didn’t change daily.

G-d always has a plan and for the last few years I have been looking at the blue print He left for us in the WORD. It is not easy to understand. I give up quickly and get lost in all the translations of all the languages of all the words. Yet – with the help of Jewish wisdom and traditions – little bits are starting to sink into my dense brain.

Understanding is far from being clear yet – after all – I’m not brilliant. I am continually challenging Him, doubting Him and averting my eyes. I am not Miriam, an elder sister, a prophetess who never hid her eyes but trusted Him enough to watch for the miracle unfold that He had promised through her baby brother. I am not a brave disciple who chucks it all to follow Him – giving up home and family to walk with the Bridegroom wherever He leads.. I am more like the child who dares to creep closer – hoping – praying – wishing – with all my heart to just sit near Him.

As I looked out the window today at the snowy landscape and watched the children and their crazy parents run their sleds and 4-wheelers up and down the hilly road to the side of out new home, I realized that Our Father has a plan. He has invited me to sit beside Him as He shares a story to make me laugh. I don’t hear well, and sometimes, I get distracted. More often than not – I wiggle around waiting to get on with implementing my own plan and not paying any attention to His. But slowly – – very slowly – – I am trying to still myself and listen – really listen –  to the stories He is whispering in my tiny ears. His plan for me waits. All I have to do is open my eyes and push through the reeds to see His promised miracle.

  • One day at a time.
  • Seven days in a row.
  • A week of living in a broken home that He loves to repair.

A week of cuddling into His side, trying to be still enough to hear His whisper, and believe in the miracle. It is a start. It is an adventure that compares to none other.

“Lord Jehovah sent salvation to his people and he remembers his covenant to eternity; he is holy and his Name is awesome! The beginning of wisdom is the awesomeness of Lord Jehovah, and his Servants have good understanding; his glory stands to eternity.” Ps 111:9-10 [ABPE]
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25 NAMES OF CHRISTMAS – WORD

word-of-god-updated

Today is the second day of Chanukah.  Yesterday, when I wrote about Jesus being the Light of the World, the Light of Truth.  I didn’t even think about it being the beginning of the festival of Lights, Chanukah – – – – – BUT – – – – – the holy, fantasic, far out thing is – – – – –  G-d did.  That is what I totally, absolutely love about Our Father, and the way He continually works in our physical sphere. All things work together because that is the way He designed it to work.

“But we know that He helps those who love God in everything for good, those whom He preordained to be called.” Rm 8:28

John1_1-14Every weekend I go to my exercise class which has become somewhat essential on keeping my knees mobile and functioning. It works for me, and I love the people that I am beginning to know on a little deeper level.  After class, we sometimes have a meditation time using a quartz F# tuning bowl.  I usually pray and try to listen a little more to God’s voice as the vibrations flow throughout the room and through me.  It definitely cleans out my sinus among other things.

Afterwards, we spend spend some time talking.  Most of them are not believers in the WORD.  They do believe in sychronicity. They believe in some kind of “force” that exists somewhere out there – perhaps it could be God – perhaps Yoda – perhaps science.  It is interesting to listen to them because they are intelligent, kind and thoughtful people.  The know more about muscles, computers, vibrations, compassion than most people I know.  At one point I mentioned that the tuning bowl gave new meaning to the vibrations that must have rippled through out space when G-d SPOKE .  They all looked at me for an overly long second until our instructor jumped in and said something to the effect, “I know, science discoveries are amazing and how it all works together.” I felt sad.

“In the origin The Word had been existing and That Word had been existing with God and That Word was himself God.” Jn 1:1

annunciationLong ago at the beginning of my spiritual journey I percieved of all things that I read literally.  Studying Jewish wisdom has opened new vistas of thought for me.  Light has illuminated a path that has been spoken by the WORD since Our Father first breathed it into existence.  It has existed.  It exists.  It will exist. Time is not linear in the WORD. Jeremiah spoke prophecy long ago.  It would serve us well to listen once again as we enter the gates to worship.

“‘Hear the WORD of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD.” Jer 7:2

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BLESSINGS TRIAD 7-9

A SEVENTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

Today, November 7th, I am thankful for the written word and for special people who sense in their souls what others can not.. Thanks, Ruth Bell Graham

Listen, Lord,

a mother’s praying

low and quiet:

listen, please.

Listen what her tearsRuth-1b

are saying,

see her heart

upon its knees;

lift the load

from her bowed shoulders

till she sees

and understands,

You, Who hold

the worlds together,

hold her problems

in Your hands. ~ Ruth Bell Graham

A EIGHTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

“A land so distant that some never knew it existed.”

rigolettoDon’t you love fairae tales – especially the “happily ever after” endings? They remind us of the theme that we are to imprint in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Painful times – scary times – evil times – all pass. Love – however – triumphs and lives forever. “Restored to his kingdom, Rigoletto took his beautiful bride and left the world of men to dwell happily ever after.” Gotta love fairae tales – especially, fairae tales with beautiful music such as Rigoletto.

sept 1989 at the old brick

sept 1989 at the old brick

Some weekends are just fairae tale type of days strung together. Got to spend alone time with eldest daughter. Nothing special – just a few hours out of our busy lives, but a time shared by just us once again. A time to re-connect. A time to remember watching that tiny baby girl morph through various stages of life into the wife, mother and published doctoral student that she is today. A time to remember how blessed I am to be trusted with such different gifts from Our Father.

Today has a restful, healing day. Finished a book. Took a short nap. Played with the dogs. Watched a couple of fairae tales. The niggles from earlier in the week have turned into a full-fledged cold, but hopefully the happy ending will be watching the niggles ride off to a distant land – one so distant that they can never come back. Now that would truely close the book on this fairae tale weekend.

So today, November 8, 2015, I am thankful for a fairae tale weekend and hopefully – waving goodbye to the cold niggles.

A NINTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

1959 dining roomToday, the ninth of November, I’m thankful that Billy Graham has not gone home yet. With my mom on one side and the dad on the other, black patent leather shoes swinging in time to a tent full of music. white socks decorated by pieces of sawdust, and the hem of my dress twisted around my fingers, I listened, and eventually fell asleep But somewhere in there, I internalize this memory and started an important journey that has never stopped. And – if I can keep my eyes open and my feet on the path, I will find that “…so distant land that some never knew it existed.”

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and upon the heart of man has not come up that which God has prepared for those who love him.”~1 Cor 2:9

As probably most of you know, in the early days of the church, no one had their own Bible or scrolls. They depended on rabbi/priests to teach them. We all know that the stories of the Bible are much easier to remember than those hard complicated verses that jump in non-linear movements and crazy visions that seem too complicated to try to figure out. Hence – enter the teachers who attempted to educate.

ND2015-coverI read a Saturday Evening Post editorial that quoted David McCullough who said if we want to improve the teaching of history, we should, “Tell stories”. Teachers talk, recite, tell stories, – some even sing – crazy ones like me might add a little goofiness and a horse whinny or two.

Fairae tales are one of the earliest forms of story-telling. Some are traced right back to the WORD. A prince comes to rescue his bride from the great dragon beast. After dispatching the evil one, the couple live in rooms especially designed for them in a beautiful castle….happily ever after. Sounds familiar, right? Check out Isaiah or Revelations.

"Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond," by Billy Graham. Photo courtesy of Thomas Nelson

“Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond,” by Billy Graham. Photo courtesy of Thomas Nelson

Anyway, it all comes back to the fact that I am thankful that once – long ago – on a warm summer night, I heard a master story teller who wove music and the WORD into a Light that brightened my path and is still lighting my way when I am tempted to step off the path. His new book is a good one, “Where I Am”.

“I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.” Billy Graham

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OXYGEN MASK

oooo“Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.”
A pretty common clause these days. You hear it recited by airline personnel. You read it as a plane prepares for take-off. Recently, it has become a pop-up in various articles that want to stress taking care of self so that you can take care of others from a much better place. Thus today, when it popped up on my son’s FB feed, I wasn’t too surprised. He’s been reading and self-educating himself a lot over the past few years. You have to love it when your children love education as much as you do.
I made a swift comment about taking it more than at face value and moved on to the next thing on my agenda – the Grandson. Loving on the Grands is always a special blessing, especially when the Grandson comes running and jumps in my arms as I’m leaving and says, “I’m glad Redding took Mama’s shoe outside because I get to kiss you bye.” Now if that doesn’t melt your heart – you definitely are having a bad day.
But today, that simple sentence about a silly oxygen mask kept popping back up to the forefront of my mind and right behind it was another more complicated sentence. “And Jehovah God formeth the man — dust from the ground, and breatheth into his nostrils breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature.” Genesis 2:7

$wm1_0x700_$_M051301409_musAnytime these words ricochet around my head, there are always notes attached to them. In 1947, Aaron Copeland wrote a 16 minute long choral piece called, “In the Beginning”. It starts with an alto solo weaving in and out of the choral group, building intensity until the climactic ending:. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul, and man became a living soul – a living soul.”It is not a very popular choral piece to perform. It is complicated and full of dissonance for the performers. But – for many reasons – this choral piece has become the voice in my head many times throughout my life. It is one of the treasures that sits in my music crates. All my penciled notations and circled notes intact. I look at it and still can see the place my instructor looked right at me as he nailed me for a missed note or shocked me by telling me to understudy the soloist part.

Perhaps it became the wind that gave my voice life because he believed in my voice when I didn’t, and he taught me more about life than just music. Maybe it was because my mom was an alto and my role model. Maybe it was because I learned it shortly after my father died. Maybe it was because of all the stories in the Old Testament, this one has always struck a chord with me.
Whatever It was – it is my oxygen mask. It is the breath that sustains me2UWF000A through all things. It is the life that Jehovah God provided to this particular pile of dust by breathing into my nostrils on day 65 years ago. It is the mask that I must continually put on before I can even contemplate helping others. So many times I think that is where we get into trouble. We think we have the oxygen mask in place. We think we don’t have to check it and make sure the oxygen is flowing. We think we’ve got it handled. But a mask without the oxygen attached isn’t much good to anyone. Not to me – and certainly – not to others I come in contact with during my daily journeys.
When I take time to read the WORD every day, I am putting my oxygen mask in place. I am breathing in the pure breath of the One who first breathed life into a pile of dust. That is the oxygen mask that I’ve been thinking about all day. That is the oxygen mask that popped into my mind as I wrote my son this morning. That is the oxygen mask that the world needs. And if you have 16 minutes I hope you will enjoy some of the oxygen below.
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So – “Put on your oxygen mask before helping others.” and breathe deep.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQcNMFLY0Og

A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME

containersThe home is becoming just a house again.

“A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home….”

Knick-knacks wrapped and tucked into containers. Teacher lesson plans/books/teacher samples that STILL have some sort of power over me, have jumped off the shelf and into their old boxes that they remember well from our school days together. 35 other books (that weren’t so powerful in their magic) raced out the door, jumped into the car for a ride to our local Saxapahaw community bookshelf to be re-homed. And – the piles of containers continues to grow higher.

“A room is still a room
Even when there’s nothing there but gloom;
But a room is not a house,
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart…”

To me, a lot of what makes a house a home is the heirlooms. Today, I watched my daughter climb up on the kitchen counter and pulled down things that sat in our OH homes and even some from my parents’ home. Things that hung in a window. Things that sat on a shelf and lit the night with their simpleness. Things made by hand from someone that loved us. Those are treasures I can’t seem to part with – even as I pack them once again.

“Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears…”

picture wallThere are still a million and one things to pack. There are still pictures hanging all over the walls that defy any container whatsoever. The golden threads that ties four generations together on one wall will be some of the last things to head out the door. After all – it is the people that truly make the home. The Grands laughing and racing to the hot tub every time they come over. The little table that helped me write my first words – the same one that sat patiently as all of my children scattered their treasures on its nursery rhyme top – the same table that now jiggles and giggles as the Grands create new masterpieces of pictures and words.

tableThe neat part is knowing that once it is all packed away – once the house is cleaned and empty – this house will hold a lot of happy memories to pass on to the new owners, so that they can make it their home. And us? After all the times we have moved, I think we know how to make a house a home.

A little hard work.

A few touchstones.

A lot of love.

The daily WORD.

And – tons and tons of prayer – circling and weaving Our Father’s blessing around what He has entrusted to us. That is why Covenant always plays a prominent role in the name of our properties. A simple reminder of a promise given long ago by a promise keeper who never breaks His word.

“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.”~Psalms 105:8-11

Memorial Day 2015

memorial day aToday, I finally finished my own memorial to my parents and hubby’s parents. Plants.  Plaques given at their funerals by loved ones.  Bricks.  I can now sit in my garden, study the WORD, listen to the windchimes or God’s creations, and remember those who gave me the best of themselves.

Graveyards are fine. They serve the community as a rallying point to honor those who have sacrificed for our country. It is a place to erect monuments to those who have gone before. A place for speeches, parades and memories. Humans tend to need those things. Communities tend to need those things. I just seem to need something a little closer to home. A place surrounded – not by other monuments – but by God, and the garden where He placed me.

“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.” — Exodus 23:16

memorial day fThe more I learn about Jewish holidays and traditions, the more I fall in love with the beginnings of my faith. This is not only Memorial Day, it is also the end of Shavuot and also Pentecost. The more I read Jewish traditions and history, the more I believe that nothing is coincidence in God’s timing. Invisible lines intersect over and over in an unending circle of love. Giving us endless clues to His fascinating character.

Shavuot had its beginning as a “first fruits” harvest – the offering of the first perfect,memorial day h unblemished fruits of the harvest being given back to the Father. Later it became the date that Moshe recieved the Torah – the first, perfect unblemished written fruit – from the Father to His children. (Interesting thought always arises in the back of my mind that perhaps this was Rabbi Yeshua’s true birthdate. God seems to like patterns, and I just have to wonder.) Pentecost – the perfect, unblemished gift of the Holy Spirit – from the Father to His children. Memorial Day (although not celebrated anymore on its original date) – a day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – past and present – to return home to Our Father.

May 24 aYesterday, the Grands and family came over for brunch. We laid on the chaise lounge that my father made long ago and identified the shapes of clouds as they drifted overhead – a pig, a dragon, an eagle… Their barefeet walked the path of the cross made of old, imperfect bricks from a long ago Loudonville street. They carefully moved the little elves from place to place in front of the stain glass window that my big brother gave to me also long ago.

Holy-days are special. It is one reason, hubby and I decided long ago to always have our pigroasts on the Sunday before Memorial Day. A day for family. A day to remember. A day to honor sacrifices made long before we were born and those still being made today by those far away. Hope you have a blessed holy-day and remember to honor the first fruits just as He remembers to honor you.grain_offering