10/03/2014

NIGHT FALLS Night falls, oh yes, it does. The four dark corners untangle from the heavens falling in gentle folds sliding under the stars, and settling with great tenderness upon my world covering all the broken pieces of the day with the weight of comfort, and the promise of hope in the new dawn to come.

 My heavenly Father holds the night tenderly in hands; if we listen we can we can be comforted as he breathes his sweet peace in the hearts of his restless children.


The night; it’s a time of rest and refreshing.
 The night; when excitement comes alive and living continues on in a different mood and mode.
 The night; when your world closes in and hurt and pain fall afresh shattering the blackness surrounding you.
 The night; fading as day breaks.

Preparing for a time of (I hope) deep sleep and recharging I often search and find peace in the Psalms. There, warm reminders wrap around body and soul and are as personal as my comfortable fleece throw. "You own the day, you own the night; you put stars and sun in place. You laid out the four corners of earth, shaped the seasons of summer and winter." (Psalms 74:16 MSG) I acknowledge the greatness my God, and I am transported to a place of trust, rest and strength. He possesses my days, nights, all my seasons...my very life, and as in days of old, the words from childhood still bring sweet comfort knowing my Father is near; "Now I lay me down to sleep..."

 "Night life," is becoming an alien thought now-a-days, although there is Sunday and Wednesday nights when we (hubby and I) gather with our church family for prayer, praise, and fellowship, with an overarching time of worship. But leaving home in the evening for times of entertainment for entertainment’s sake is coming less and less. I still love a decent movie, and enjoy dinner out with good company in a relaxing atmosphere, no after clean-up just a pleasant afterglow.

It is lovely walking in our beautiful river side park in the evenings with the moon reflecting in the black water, while the fountains compete with the stars in their glittering display. Live music of every genre is playing in the background. There is even an old upright piano sitting under a gazebo waiting for some frisky fingers to come to add to the cacophony of music made under the stars. God is pleased with the good happiness of his children as they enjoy the things of the world he has made. "Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It is all yOh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors and scarves. ou get for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up grab it and do it. And hardily!" Ecc.9: 7b-9 (MSG) .......................................not a trite message.

I do understand when experiencing night time refreshments I am extremely blessed. My husband and I still live, and we still love and care for one another. In this stage of our lives, despite of our defective hearts, and dropping various body parts as we go, we function. Still feel awe, amazement, and tender times living on God's beautiful earth, especially In the twilight where lingers reflections of the day.

I don't live in a fairy tale, just as most of you, I have known the cold light of day when everything is rough and has sharp edges, I have felt despair creep stealthily on me as the sun disappears over the Ohio River and dips behind Indiana. This is when I long for the Lord's intense touch of comfort, his cradling; and for his peace, even though I cannot fully understand as it washes over and through my soul like an unrelenting river. It carries me along on streams of trust to the throne of the One who holds the answers, and eases the pain ; yes, these are nights of another kind indeed, and even still, he provides.

Night may be a state of mind no matter the light of day or the season of my life, it can harshly crash to the earth, and with it the fractured pieces of the day are ground to ashes never to be made whole again. Many fragments are too painful to be remembered, others; a living shard piercing physical bodies, emotions and spirits. Night; the midnight blackness stealing rest and relief, and leaving grief and pain, echoing in the recesses of a wounded heart as it invades my inmost being. I'm not speaking of wallowing in self-pity, but of being overwhelmed, overtaken by a life storm rushing down, a mountain of misery erupting ahead of the lava of heartbreak. It is even worse when I bring it on myself. Although the reason for his prayer differs from mine, I have empathy with David’s plea: "I’m tired of all this—so tired. My bed has been floating forty days and nights on the flood of my tears. My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears. The sockets of my eyes are black holes;nearly blind, I squint and grope." Psalms 6:6(MSG)

There are times I have owned these "nights of the soul" experiences; only the Holy Spirit living within and amid my turmoil can understand and bring the solace I long for. Until I release it to Him, the nightmare and dread--I can't awaken from--goes on and on. As humans we face, in due time, certain death; a day with no night, a night with no tomorrow on this earth. There are worse things to bear than physical dying. I often think of the things some people I love have borne. In each case in a short time the joy of the Lord was revealed through their lives again.

Some things suffocate (not the joy of Jesus, but) the happiness of life almost completely : deceit (a continuous killing,) betrayal (killing of self-worth,) lies (slaying trust,) abandonment (destroying hope.) To use descriptive words for only these four categories would fill a thousand books. How many ways of deceit are there, how many kinds of betrayal...etc. Our Saviour faced them all. Jesus' prayer, his beseeching, his cry...can I comprehend? "He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, 'I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.' Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: 'Papa, Father, you can—can’t you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?'” Mark14:34-36 (MSG) Is this a prayer I could pray in my grief, can I surrender it?

To find the dawn, to search for the light becomes an all-consuming desire. Through times of faith testing I find opportunity; I come to know the Lord Jesus in a more intimate and trusting way, maybe even deeper than before the suffering and crushing pain. As I pray, listen, and wait, I learn his purpose for my life through this situation.

In brokenness, if I lean fully on the Lord I am reshaped, I start to resemble him. I am awakened to the fact, he is the daylight, he is the song of the morning; he is stability for my time of rising, and the strong protector of my heart in the deep, black, midnight.

At the end of the long darkness, as the stars lose their strength in the rising of the sun, and the dew refreshes the face of the earth the Christian prays: "I have no strength; be my strength. I have no courage, be my courage. I have no will, be my will. I cannot stand under this, be my legs and feet. I have no more tears, cry for me. I cannot carry these burdens, carry my load and carry me. As I hide my head in my hands, be the light that slips through my fingers, shine on me, and warm me. Be my life, my self-worth, my trust, and my hope. Cause my adoration for you, my God, to weigh more than my burdens."

Again and again he compels us to come to him, bring him our burdens; bring him ourselves. Because of the suffering he endured, and the God he is; he understands our sorrows, and intensely, earnestly desires to bring the peace he has purchased for us. Our rest is in him.  "Once again Jesus spoke to the people. (Including us; the restless in the night) This time he said ‘I am the light of the world! Follow me; you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.” (CEV ) Emphasis mine.

As our Saviour, he is the light who sheds his presence driving away fears hiding in the earthly shadows. He will care for us through eternity, including “there” and “now.” In Psalms 112:4 I am assured those who fear— in awesome wonder—their holy God will receive these words, "Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—God’s grace and mercy and justice!" (MSG)

 This we know and can rely on: 
"We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (CEV) He brings peace, he is peace. Standing in the cool evening waiting for darkness to fall I sing with the night birds, “When peace like a river…” Ah, to know that river! ```````````````````

6/18/2014

My Daddy's Dance






Dancing, one more time, on a windy midnight with my Daddy...
*

The deep summer night was a bit more than warm; a moist upper western (with a touch of surface southern) wind was blowing with strangled gusts as though trying to gain the strength to stir all of the misty clouds into a "full blown" straight- line wind. I would worry about that later.

In the meantime I was enjoying my porch swing in the delicious darkness, I was (at that time) a night person. I scratched Zebo's ears, and ran my fingers through his curly red  hair, the soft sounds that escaped this throat sounded like the purr of a cat; my sweet, gentle, loving cocker spaniel.

The blackness was complete; we lived in a country neighborhood. There was a house to the left of us and one across the street, others down the road on the other side of the barn. Distant security lights shed their glow in tight circles and invaded my yard not at all.  I found an oldies station on my radio; it sat in the frame of the raised window, and it seemed to intertwined melodies from my memories in the singing swing chains. The wind pushed from the other side, and a rhythmic metallic creaking added another layer of music to night around me.

My husband wouldn't be home from work until midnight and I was experiencing a strange euphoria, a lightness, a secure feeling of peace, yet excitement was in the wind around me. I slipped my precious pup over to the pillow nestling by us, and settled him. I left the porch and wandered through the yard I knew by heart. I circled the huge sugar maple; the one we once tapped, and spent at least $70.00 trying to cook it down to syrup, we got about a pint; it was good, but we never tried again!

We had inherited, for a while, an old green glider, it sat in the grass. I sat on it and glode (?), glided for a while, its music wasn't pleasant; it grated, and awakened Zebo. We walked together on the lawn. The music changed; it was from an even older era. It beckoned; I complied; tossed off my sandals, the grass was not cool but comforting. My toes wiggled through the thick mat; I gazed at the lawn as though it was a living, moving being. White heads of clover were undulating in the moonlight adding to the, almost surreal, moment.

I breathed in great gulps of fresh country aroma; I call it the "green" smell; grass, trees, flowers, freshly turned earth, it all drifted around me on the "Westernly" Kentucky wind that lifted my skirts, tousled my hair, and breathed down my neck. It caused me to sway to its rhythm and to my Daddy's favorite songs drifting from the little plastic radio sitting on the window sill, the ones that grabbed my heart. I  turned into the wind; I positioned my arms, as though he was holding me (trying once again to teach his graceless little girl to dance, to feel the beat) guiding me, leading me as he whistled to the melodies drifting on the wisps of the frisky wind.

I twirled, whirled, dipped, and circled. I stumbled;I laughed, and I cried in my Daddy's arms one more time, on a hot Kentucky night, with storm clouds rolling in; my puppy nipping at my heels. A low chuckle lifted to the tree tops as I whispered, "Must you go?" The car headlights broke through the heavy night and turned into our driveway as I gave God thanks for memories that had—for a moment— become flesh, breath and dancing feet.

Because of this one night of memories I have learned a beautiful thing; It is not keeping time to the dance, but the time of dancing that lingers timelessly.
Love you Daddy!
~~

Thank you Father for the earthly Father you chose for me, for the years past and the future we shall spend together. And thank you for words of yours he lived daily,they caused me to have a clear understanding of the kinship we all share!

1 Corinthians 13:3-10
The Message (MSG)
 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
[U][FONT=Arial Black] Love never dies.[/FONT][/U] Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

The Message (MSG)* Reflecting this story; my hand painted memory bracelet, for my daughter.

5/21/2014

I AM COMPELLED...


We are compelled to "Live Deeply in Christ."

 "And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives."
1 John 2:28 (The Message)

John writes beautifully, soulfully, and with true concern about repentance, forgiveness and the Christian "way" for believers.

If browsing this Holy book (God's breath given to us in writing) for the first time one may ask, "Who are these believers, John is speaking of?" and "Who is this Christ?" As they continue exploring the Bible, they will find the answer, because it is a living book, it speaks to the hearts of men and it guides and directs "real" lives. It poses questions to ponder and speaks with clarity; it brings logic to naught and gives faith flesh and a heartbeat.

The quick answer: Christ is the same as God; He is God, and the salvation of mankind. A peacemaker who rescued us, (by his death on the cross)  when we repent of our errors; the sin of our unbelief. He is the "reconciler"  and makes us presentable (in our new-found purity) to Father God.

And, the Christian is one who believes that Jesus, the son of God, is truly Christ, and His death for us was real. God is love, and His people must be like Him. To live a victorious life, we must love others as well as ourselves.

Now we're back to the reminder to "Live deeply in Christ." Can I just as swiftly give directions for this?  In a word, or two...just give your "all" up to Him. However, doing this becomes a more personal dilemma or a search for our own special need for help. Turn again to the book that holds all answers, one scripture making clear another.


"So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

                         'They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
                       We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.' (Paul quoting Ps. 44:22)

"None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
 Romans 8:31-39 (The Message)

Wow! This is how to live deeply in Jesus Christ! Why don't we put our trust in these words every single day, and live out our faith on the foundation and source of these words given to Paul?  Now that is something I don't understand and I disappoint myself all too often by failing to do this.

 I am the culprit causing the "felt, experienced, and noticed" rift between me and the Father (bad grammar; I know but ...) Not outside forces, I move away from safety, love, security, etc.; most certainly not God, he is unmovable. I am the one who retreats, and I must make the decision to draw near. I must use my will, after all it was given to me to bring glory to Him "who is above all names!"

As an explanation to the fresh Bible reader, the new searcher; they way I do this, make right my relationship with Him, is stay in His "Word!" I have a God-given compulsion to do so. I will be a victor; His word is my sword it fights for me in dealing with the things of life; with relationships (all,) distress (from any reason,) times of want (there are many kinds of needs,) wrong desires (many kinds of those too.) These thoughts are scattered all through the Bible. You will come upon directions for handling  them almost on every page.

Yes, it is the living Word. You will begin to realize this fully as you read, and the Holy Spirit opens your understanding. And oh "Who is the Holy Spirit?" He is the one tugging at your heart in this very moment, and the best way I can answer is to say read on...






4/16/2014

ONE EASTER MORNING

THE CAUSE:
 John 3:16 CEV "God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and, never really die."

  Love The Lamb:
 John 1:29 NIV The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

  Worship The King:
 Luke 19: 38 NIV "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!"

 Luke 23: 48 CEV "A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. Then after they had seen it, they felt brokenhearted and went home."

  As they left that torturous place that day so few knew a sacrificial Lamb had been slain, and a King would arise, and rule in any heart choosing to believe. The ransom was paid; humanity set free. He lives; death died! The glory of the cross; Father God's heart of love; Jesus bearing the sins of the world, my sins…your sins; I feel so inadequate to speak of it. I know the truths of the act; the facts, yet my heart is shredded when I read and think about it again.

Once I rise from stumbling over that obstacle (guilt) pure joy washes through me. Jesus suffered in a manner humans cannot begin to understand. With His God -power, He broke the hold of death: He made me worthy to be in the presence of holy God. He is eternal; He is eternally with me. He gave me soul healing; the finest gift! He arose, and He lives; the greatest truth.

 1 Peter 2:24 The Message "He used His servant body to carry our sins to the cross, so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing!"

 Praises, praises to my living King.

 THE EFFECT:
 John 14:3 New Century Version   " After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am."

  James 1:22-25 New Century Version   " Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy."

  It was very early that Easter's morning, during our Tennessee years; the day was not yet sunlit. We were all awake and happy, and because we were early for the service, we drove through the park to the stone wall overlook that encircled a bluff high above Lake Barkley. The water was a dull gray in the wee hours. Soon, at daybreak we would celebrate our risen Christ with a smallish but faithful group from our church.

 Earlier, "in the still dark," the Easter baskets had been opened, well explored, sampled, and put aside for a later sugary feast. They would be emptied after dinner just in time for the egg hunt prepared by "ham filled," sleepy adults ready for "The" Sunday afternoon nap.

 On a sugar high and excited by the unusual activity going on so early, the kids literally sprang from our car and immediately headed for the wall. It had a natural attraction for the boys; it lured them to an active adventure. Due to their sizes, I am sure it appeared as, "a rock precipice."

 Our smaller daughter was not to be denied, so I lifted her up holding tightly to her hand and shivering in the dewy mist we walked for a while. As I was reflecting on the fullness of the Christian life, Jesus had bought for me, I glanced toward the east, and there on the lower edge of the sky were faint streaks of light teasing the night, making promises of an orange-hued dawn takeover. Already the day seemed warmer. The mist was rising and of course, as it continued up the bank its tendrils played "kissy" with my curly-"ish" hair, which shortly turned to fuzz.

 The service (held in another area,) would soon start; we gathered our chicks; it was time to go.

 It was time to go…, and time went; I don't know where, but it flew by. In half a breath 45-48 years passed and life happened all over the place. I'm going back someday and walk around that overlook. I know the air will be thick with the presence of my little family, of the thoughts invading my mind on that occasion. I will walk up the mound (so appropriate) where we gloriously celebrated, and I will worship my Lord in that spot once again, with a grateful heart for His sacrifice and my salvation, and the bit of glory He has let me taste; it leaves me with a great desire for more, so fill me Holy Spirit!

 ~
  My desire for you is this; read the gospels*, go deeper this Easter season, pore over "living Word" with an open heart, be moved in your spirits for the blessings and glory of the Cross. You may travel along new paths, and find answers to questions never asked. Pray for a clearer understanding of His words, and a renewing of your hearts by absorbing the full meaning of His crucifixion, and resurrection. Have the will to be made aware of the "God directed" cause for His death, His resurrection, and the effect it can have on the everyday world in which you live.

 Oh yes, and give Him praise when He answers.

 Praises for the Cross and Happy Resurrection blessings!
And as we go...

  "But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.
Isaiah 43:1-3
 * gospels:
"Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John"                                           



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                































gospels: "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John"

3/11/2014

God is...

Praises to the God of all creation! We’ve had two bright days in a row. The late-afternoon March sun is both reflecting from and shining through a dark-green tall-necked bottle perched in the middle of my deck table. One side of the bottle is in the direct light; the other is slightly turned toward the shadows of the porch. Thus, the difference in the ways it reacts to the rays of the sun can be seen.

 From where I sit I can see one chair pulled back a bit from the table; the seat cushion is striped in both bright yellow and dark red; the yellow is drawing in the sun's warmth and the dark red is sending it out again.

The Holly bush,standing afar, appears as gilded silk, edged in gold reflections from the back-lit side; the near side seems to have swallowed the beams and internalizing them into velvet warmth of an emerald tinted midnight.

 My spirits are lifted, and my thoughts drift deeper as I consider the ins and outs of the bounds of nature and the soul of man. The receiving and reflecting of both shout the glory of a creative God. In the order of nature, and in the free-will of man; God is and has always been!

The Father's natural world is both reflective and receiving in a per-ordained way, there is no choice, yet it grows and bears fruit. The desire to know God was placed in the heart of man from time's beginning. Our longing to receive and reflect is activated by belief and faith, (because of God's Son and through His Spirit.) We too grow and bear fruit.

 I will live out my natural and spiritual existence in relationship with a holy God, absorbing and emitting His Spirit in this "fixed world." It was set in motion to be my earthly living womb; it carries me along to the birth of eternity, and when I cross through the entryway as time ends, I will forever know...

"In the beginning...God
Genesis 1:1


12/22/2013

"CHRISTMAS" as told in *Luke 2 (KJV)

The prologue:

 "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
 keeping watch over their flock by night …"
 Winter's chill is in the air, and the moon is a sliver of frozen light,
The world pauses, and silence wraps the shepherds in a holy hush.
The black crystal canvas of the sky reflects white flaming stars. 
Singing voices, indescribable, suddenly overwhelm the waiting night.
A rhythm unknown to man came from the heavenly angel band.

The setting:

 "…there was no room for them in the inn."
 The travelers are offered a musty stable backed into the stony hillside'
A shelter found; a refuge, for a working man and his expecting wife.
There is a stirring, and others gather as the birthing time draws near.
Cows, donkeys, and sheep draw together taking it all in stride.
The mother softly weeps, while her husband the vigil keeps.

The coming:

 "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord."
 The baby Jesus is born; the celebration of glory, gentle but swift, 
While Bethlehem sleeps on, God took His first breath. 
This night, the soul of believing of man, became heaven-bound. 
With purpose, the Lord came, bringing salvation, an eternal gift. 
He grew, and followed His Father's plan, the Son of God, Son of Man!

 The life:

 "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with 
God and man."
 A carpenter, and an humble fisher of men; a roamer he came, 
Turning lives, calling men, answering His Father's call.
 Blessed with healing in His fingers, and with words to fill the thirsty soul, 
Trust, and have faith in Him, for heaven is offered in His name. 
In contemplation, I kneel in place, so amazed by His saving grace.

  His destiny:

 Calvary.

"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, 
there they crucified him..." 
 (Luke 22:33a)
Without the reason for His coming, His birth would just be a beautiful story.

 The epilogue:

Still He lives! "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."( Hebrews 12:2*,)
 He abides in heaven and His Holy Spirit dwells in you and me. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever…" John 24:16*
~~~~~~

These words I have heard through the years, express so well (in part) who He is in reality. They remind me, call me and impart to me, a longing for His presence.
 1. "He is the eternal who took on time."
 2. "He is the hope of the world."
 3. "He is the infinite who took on infancy."
 4. "Bound by a manger, freedom came."
 5. "He is God, son of God; seed of woman."
 6. "He is God come down."
 7. "He is mine."

 Be blessed at Christmas, hold Him close throughout the year.

 * All scripture is the old King James Version, which I consider most appropriate for the telling of Christmas; I am drawn to its poetic verse, and the way it pierces and speaks to my heart. It is my prayer these few words will lure you to fill in the missing parts by reading once again the beautiful, and powerful story of our Kings birth, it is found in many of the Bible's books, I especially enjoy Luke 2.





















































12/12/2013

A GRANDMA'S REVELATIONS

I've taken a break from the fun task of making Christmas goodies; slow but syncopated music fills the air; thoughts of family stir in my heart. I am spending imaginary time with my grandchildren this morning; the music leads the way; they flesh it out. I’m letting my ideas run their erratic course. Something like this…

The soulful weeping of the tenor sax causes wave-like movements of emotion within me when I hear the old blues music. The sensations are laid down in a layered formation; the foundation is the beat, and it builds on the story told ~ with or without words. I think the blues and jazz music often mingle. Jazz carrying the “be-bop” element is yellow bright, in contrast to the blues which are shadowy tones leaning toward bruised shades. Throw in an acoustic, or maybe an electric guitar, old-time southern piano, and the music can flow in either direction. I compare them to a pair of train tracks traveling along together, veering apart on occasions only to merge once more. I relish the ride.

I chuckle when I imagine repeating these thoughts to my group of six, “the world’s grandest” grandchildren, since they are incredulous when discussing topics that include “Grandma and deep thoughts and/ or feelings,” in the same conversation… Perhaps, the discussion would resemble this:

Them~ “Uh, music can make you emotional? Wha-ch ya’ mean? Sad? Happy?"

 Me~ “No; I mean deep and personal, thought provoking…”

 Them~ “Blues, jazz… weren’t they from a couple of centuries back? You can actually say the word ‘acoustic!’ You know what it means? Shouldn’t you be making chocolate-chip cookies? You said something about being moved; does that have anything to do with, uh, uh your bowels? No? I’m out of here!”

 Me~ (in action and thought) I would (most likely) jump back into my grandma suit and become the comfortable object of their affection; the one they know so well. “Oh yeah?”

What if I told them (in my style) the memories I have of the strings of the classical guitar being artistically plucked by a young man in a black tuxedo. Twenty years ago this formal attire was foreign enough in our church, but not much less than the playing of a guitar. How the times have changed; we now have live music on Sunday mornings and no one has lost their hearing, no one has experienced deadly attacks due to the music’s rhythm pulling one's heart rhythm out of sync. I love it. I clap; yes, I clap! My grandchildren don’t mind this, but it is rather off-putting for them because I can’t keep time, I have to watch their hands without seeming to, but they notice; uh-huh.

Now; let’s go back to the young man and his beautiful classical music. (A sure-fire way to bring on another monumental sharing moment.) “I was lifted to another realm as worship fell all around. It was as though I was transported to the very gates of heaven. When his mini concert was over, I longed for more, my praise and celebration were wafting on the vibrations and sounds of strings being caressed by steel like nails on nimble fingers. I absorb this type of music thought my skin, and it goes right to the heart of me; it draws me to pure worship. My Lord and I; bound by the strong rushing flow, as though lashed together for all eternity by a melody, of salvation and thanksgiving”

This particular “soul swaying” musical conversation would surely bring forth glazed focuses, and lips twitching wordlessly while trying to keep up with the questions grandma’s reflections brought to mind. And, yes, I can read their minds:

Them~ (in thought only, taking care not to be audible since it’s near Christmas!) “Who is this woman, was that empty bottle of pure vanilla full when I came in a while ago? She has been looking at young men, in tuxedos? Where’s Grandpa? She thinks she has been whipped by music. Wonder if I should take her for a walk, better yet shopping? Classical music? It’s her speech that's classic!”

I do like to startle them occasionally; I break off a piece of my mind and let it casually slip out from behind my teeth and enjoy the air for a while. I think it adds emphasis to the points I try to make. Influencing the direction of their pathway is my desire. I pray they will investigate ~ be aware of ~ the life God has given them. My prayer is ~ as they pass through earthly circumstances ~ they will learn to look deep within themselves, to search out those special, spiritual, and often secret ways God speaks. He can use every life situation to make Himself known to a heart He is pursuing.

Some things I’m sure to say to my grandchildren, along the way, in general, and at most any time; in my own particular or, peculiar leading way. ”I, your Grandmother, am more than a plump, willing, and pleasing “patsy” (easy victim) for you, although I love being that. I am a real person; I have loved well, oh yes I have. I can fight; I have fought battles no one knows, and have been the victor. I can reason, and I understand you; I possess logic, and know without Jesus and His armor, I am lost. Seeking His knowledge and wisdom has strengthened my faith. My seasons on earth have not been lived in fairy-land, but in brick and mortar-land where feelings are important, yet experiences are vital. I’d like to think I’ve lived my life in His purpose. Christ living in me is my purpose.”

“God gave me some odd, but pleasing blessings; one of which ~ even though I have no rhythm, or play an instrument ~ is to be touched and re-defined by music. He also gave me the desire to share with you the woman who lurks inside your loving grandma, so from time to time I will. Be prepared, for although you may find this unsettling, someday as you look into a mirror I will flash across your face; you will see a bit of me in the way you smile, wink, or scratch your neck. Furthermore, when you speak I will slip through; you may swallow me down, but I’ll find my way back out again, for I’ll never be just a memory, I am a part of you.”

Remember, I love each one of you with all my hear. You ask can I do that all at once, and how can that be? It is a mystery of God. He owns my heart; I gave it away to Him many years ago, and He can work His wonders with it. One thing more; listen to the music! He may be singing the words in your heart, and yes, it’s ok ~ be emotional.

I’m going back to the kitchen now. Butter should be soft, come on in; we’ll turn the radio music on low and see what we can stir up…
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Here are some biblical truisms to instill in grandchildren as you use God~given instincts, talents, and special grandmotherly ways.
 Proverbs 14: 1-13
 1 Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.
 2 An honest life shows respect for God; a degenerate life is a slap in his face.
 3 Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile; wise speech evokes nothing but respect. 
4 No cattle, no crops; a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.
 5 A true witness never lies; a false witness makes a business of it. 
6 Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it; the open-minded find it right on their doorstep! 
7 Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.
 8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.
 9 The stupid ridicule right and wrong, but a moral life is a favored life.
 10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends will be an outsider at their celebrations. 
11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks; holy living builds soaring cathedrals. 
12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak. Sift and weigh every Word.                               (The Message Version) 

Perhaps someday I’ll hear, “Well done good and faithful, Grandma’!”

11/22/2013

MANY TOUCHES of GOLD

Dark roiling clouds gathered over Tennessee and the newly turned “matte” brown football field; the game would start soon. Ah, if only the rain held off. The lowering sky held many layers and hues of somber, ominous colors. I embarrassed my family, but huddled anyway under a clean, white, plastic garbage bag found in the backseat of my car.

 The raindrops were small, fast, and hard; I was hoping they would pass over quickly. However, as far as I could see over my shoulder, the heavens were playing a dark “cover-all” game, and I was losing.

 Yes! The phrase “The things we do for family know no bounds!” kept flashing through my mind as I sat there on this cold November day in this cold November rain. The band and my majorette would soon start; I would rejoice, and enjoy the performance, feeling great pride! Knowing after the “half time” show my husband and I would hop in our warm, cozy car and head for Kentucky aided in my comfort.

 Then God sent a spectacular thing to capture my attention and get my thoughts away from “woe!” ~ I may be the only person in the whole stadium to have noticed; I was so awe-struck; I found myself speechless. I didn’t want to spoil the moment by calling attention to it, or trying to explain what just happened with words…

As I peeped from under the white plastic on my head I spotted, flying in from the south, an enormous flock of large, fat, drab birds. I thought, “They look so miserable and dreary.” They were non-reflective and black due to the murky evening. I watched as they carved their way in an arc aiming their flight towards the east and then swooped around to the left, and headed north flying over the mid-field.

 With nothing else to hold my attention, I continued to watch their flight-path. Suddenly, from the horizon behind the stadium, the hand of God made a sliver of a crack in the dense shroud of grayness and a late autumn shaft of sunlight broke through. It lasted only for seconds; it was not enough to warm or dry me, but it set on fire the birds above. As they were banking with left wings tilted upward and bellies exposed, their undersides turned into rippling liquid gold. They captured me as they shone and gleamed in the quick flash of sunshine, they were emblazoned on my eyes, and in my heart. Oh thank you Father for sharing this with me! The rare sight warmed me, and sent my mind on spiritual a path. It was the Lord’s pre-game show. Then, in the blink of an eye, they straightened their bodies and changing their course they turned back into the indiscernibleness and flew away.
 
 After a time I ask my husband, “Did you see those birds?”
 “The ones that just flew over?”
 “Yes, those. What were they?”
 “They were just Pigeons.”
 “Oh.”

 The gentle glow remained with me, and as I (more) gracefully endured discomfort, I thought of the wonders of my heavenly Father; His mercy, grace, and understanding for one of the least of His children. Did He remove me from my “uncomfortable” zone? No! Did He clear up the bad weather? No! Did He bless me “in the middle of it all” with something tangible? No! However, He most certainly did bless me “in the middle of it all” with an experience, one transporting me to His presence! He surprised; He delighted, and taught me (once again) to live beyond my circumstances.

 I have used such a small and insignificant (on my part) example… there was no desperate need, or life-and-death situation, just me being rather petulant. I think the Lord wasn’t enjoying my mood. But, because He loves me, He favored me with just the slight of His hand. And, knowing me so well; He personally touched an inner place, quickening me to Himself. He being actively aware of my small inconveniences, causes me to think about the depth of His concern, and His solving power over the large issues we, as His children, face in this earthly life. He is our true source, and the only answer to every want, at all levels and in each happenstance.

 The band was great, the twirler was beautiful and perfect; I was thrilled tho’ chilled! The game, sad to say, was of no consequence to us; we were there for the show, and it was over, and so were we.

 In a reflective state, I bid my family a loving good-bye, the weather no longer mattering; the countdown had already started until we could be together again.

 Our car seats are soft and dry. The radio turned med-low; a small battle ensued over elevator music and “old school” jazz; I won. While being lulled by the (sometimes hidden) melodies, I slowly drift into a semi-trance where the scenery passes by in a Technicolor blur; I don’t notice every single separate limb, branch or twig just the ambiance of the whole view from my window. There, just ahead flying low over the busy highway is a flock of dark gloomy birds. I hold my breath. I am aware; in this moment, everything is as it should be in my world. I slowly exhale praise, and a prayer.
 ~~
Ah, the lowly pigeon, once a sacrifice for sin; then came the Lamb, true atonement for men.

"But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring for his guilt offering to the Lord two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. (Leviticus 5:6-8 Amplified Bible) God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public ~ to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now ~ this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness." (Romans 3:25-26 Amplified Bible)
 AMEN

10/31/2013

DOUBLE T'S. (Thanksgiving-Tennessee)




I find there is excitement along the winding, rising and falling local roads of the East Tennessee ridge country. They are intriguing as well as amazing. I have many "holding my breath" moments.There are sharp, short curves, not to be seen around ahead of time, no long sweeping vistas, unless you are peering down from high above the valleys on an interstate speed-way! Care to come for a ride?

When driving, I never know what is waiting around the bend; the road (for the most part) holds my complete attention. From the corner of my eye, I appreciate the glory of gently colored turning leaves, an event which is late in arriving this year.

Occasionally, there are wisps of smoke rising from chimneys hidden deep in the woods, and I realize how heavily populated this area is even though camouflaged by wild, free beauty.  I don’t dare to scan the trees as I would like, for the shoulders of the roads are close, and I sometime tend to veer where I am looking.

Though my eyes hold a steady bead on the road; my thoughts are prone wander. The branches of the hardy growth and undergrowth reach out to entice me, and cause me, in my mind, to skip through the patterns of shadows cast on the roadway in a dizzying driving dance, as I avoid their embrace. Occasionally I will lift my eyes to the rear-view mirror to see if that vine clinging to the trunk of an ageless golden maple tree really was a Mother with many appendages not wanting to let go.

Tennessee’s birds dodge and get caught in autumn’s breezy current, and I try using discipline to avoid my favorite pastime “watching!”  Tit-mice, chickadee, the abundant cardinals, I can, for the most part ignore, but when a flash of blue with a pink-yellow breast crosses my vision; I throw caution to the wind and watch, as long as I dare. Ah, the bird of my childhood my “Blue Bird of Happiness.” Many of my young dreams and waking fantasies were induced by an imagined “sweetest melody” never actually heard.  I give thanks for parents who gave me the desire to adventure after creative thoughts to see where they could lead; most importantly they taught me to trust Jesus at an early age, the greatest adventure.

Oops! I’m back to full awareness now; eyes still glued to the curves, and dips.  The challenge of the back-lanes stirs a strange excitement. I revel in the challenge, and detect a slight taste of victory when I make the last turn. My car shifts down as we pull the steep hill; I suddenly slow down and swiftly make a sharp right sweep and careen down an equally sheer driveway. I apply the handbrake, emerge among falling leaves and scampering chipmunks. 

My eyes are now free to take in the beauty around me as I slowly trek up the curving drive. I step upon great slabs of stone laid out to form a pathway that guides me to the door, all the while I’m giving thanks to the Almighty God, for oh so many spiritual and earthly things; the blessings of his beautiful  self, his nature lavished upon the earth, all of my family, and my safety are enmeshed in glorifying praises in this precious moment!

Wherever you are; sing with me…out loud:
 Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above you heavenly host-praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!!!

 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 (The Message)
David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation: Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father from of old and forever. To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might, the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor; Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth; the kingdom all yours! You’ve raised yourself high over all. Riches and glory come from you, you’re ruler over all; You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand to build up and strengthen all. And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you, praising your splendid Name.













10/16/2013

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN


The drawer on the right-hand side on my computer desk holds various and sundry of things, as I am sure
yours does.  My prized possessions in there are pencils and a fist full of wooden or plastic rulers.  I think I developed this obsession in the third grade, and I seem to be stuck there.
The pencils: I’ve always doodled, sketched, and killed time with a sharp lead point.  The rulers: I can’t explain that fascination.  I think it has to do with the four straight edges and the perfection of it; I desperately need some perfection in my life, and evidently, it must come from an outer source!
Yesterday, I dropped rather heavily into my desk chair.  I just needed time to think and let my brain stop whizzing in circles for a bit.  The computer screen was dark… good!   I did not want to be distracted by anything, and for a while, I wasn’t.  But there, gracing my desk in all of its “finger stained, natural wooden” glory was twelve inches of pure “thought~capturing” diversion.
A ruler, reflecting older times in my home-town, had made its way to the desktop, and compelled my fingers to trace its smooth “silken with use” length and read the inscription printed indelibly so long ago.  The name of the company, the address, and then, “Live Plants in Season” ~ it mentioned roses, bedding plants, etc.  I was hooked; I flipped it over, expecting to see, perhaps, a blank side, but no… “Plant Guide” ~ ok then!
I read, the wheels turned, and God led.
Sub-title:
(On a ruler?  Yep, there is.)
“Distance Between Plants”
4″-6″ Lettuce, Beets, Carrots, Onions, Beans.
On down the ruler I kept reading, and at the bottom was 36″-48″ Muskmelon, Watermelon.  If it was spring-time I could use this ruler to plant the correct distance from each tomato to the other!
Um, how about studying other meanings or measurements of the word “distance?”  First, please understand these are my conclusions.
About the distance between neighbors, my mother always quoted her father’s saying, “Fences make good neighbors.”  I agree with that.  To my way of thinking, a good neighbor keeps neat borders in the front yard where they can publicly visit.  Fenced in back yards are private domains, and “only” when invited to step through the gate and visit in the back yard, do you know you are getting more personal and involved in a sincere friendship.
The distance between friends can be a good or bad thing.  Take care not to cross lines.  In my youth, I doubt I followed my own advice.  Friendships are to be treasured, and can turn fragile when there is too much contact, or interference, or misguided guidance is offered without praying for wisdom before speaking.  I don’t want to distance myself from a friend in a cold way, but in a cautious way, to preserve the connection we make by choice, as we are drawn to care and share with each other.
Then there is this: distance between family members.  Often it is not measured in inches but in miles, whether the distance is due to dwelling areas, or distance due to emotions.  I feel so sorry for families who have scant love for each other, and have no desire to be together.  I consider the yearning to enjoy each other’s company the gold star in relationships.  Certainly, with closeness comes our feelings, which can be hurt, occasionally boundaries are ignored as we flounder in the act of developing into the family God would have us be.   Forgiveness is the greatest blessing He sheds on a family and all other relationships.  “Love for family” is naturally instilled in us by the Lord, but forgiveness is an “ask and you will receive” deal.  He has offered a blessing only He can supply, forgiveness will adjust distance between loved ones according to His preference.
Finally, distances concerning God and His children (Christians) can be described as “He is close as our breath,” when our relationship is loving, obedient, and learning.  They can reflect an edgeless dark chasm when we have erred, strayed, or just ignored the God of the universe.  How close we think we are to the Father is based upon our perceptions rather than scripture.  How “distant” we get from the truth when we choose not to read and immerse ourselves in His word, and begin to trust our own understanding.  “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.” Proverbs 3:5 CEV
In repentance and worship, we must always remember, Jesus made promises to us: “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.” Hebrews 13:5 The Message
Does He hear me?  Is He always truly near?  “I will answer their prayers before they finish praying.” Isaiah 65:24 CEV.  That means yes, He is near, always.
It is a matter of trust; do we trust Holy Scripture?  God’s word?  “Do not panic.  I’m with you.  There is no need to fear for I am your God.  I’ll give you strength.  I’ll help you.  I’ll hold you steady; keep a firm grip on you.”  Isaiah 41: 10 The Message.  This sounds as if He is indeed very close to you, and to me.
This nearness to God we can experience is due to one thing, one person, and is expressed in Ephesians 2:13, first in “The Message” Version, and the repeated in the New Century Version.  “Now because of Christ ~ dying that death, shedding that blood ~ you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.”  And this… “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near through the blood of Christ’s death.”  I like how it is stated in both versions; once we were afar, now we are near.
Therefore, those scriptures seal it; there is no distance between Father, Son,  Holy Spirit, and His children.
The best bibical use of the word “distance” in modern vernacular when speaking of our neighbor, our friend, our families, ourselves is: He went the distance for us and now is eternally near.
Again, thinking of “distance” in relation to my neighbor, friend, family and myself… I am led to John 17:21-22:  Living Bible: “My prayer for all of them is that they will be one of heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father ~ that just as you are in me and I in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you have given me ~ the glorious unity of being one, as we are~”
My salvation is His glory; His prayer is my glory.  He desires closeness to us.
He desires us to experience a nearness to each other, just like onions and carrots! (See ruler.)
Then in verse 23: New Century Version.  “I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one ~ so that the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.”  This is blessed assurance.
I’m happy my ruler caught my attention and carried me on a spiritual path for a while.  I must now inch my way toward the kitchen and see about supper.
To understand the depth of love the Father has for us, and how vast, no ruler can measure, read Luke 22, and enjoy, worship, and praise; draw near!