Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Color of Me

One of the assignments from this week's focus in The Artist's Way required  me to describe myself as a color..  The explanation suggested using one's favorite color, which I did.

"I am purple, a royal purple.

It is the color of the King's daughter, who is all glorious within.

That glory, His glory, causes the purple to shimmer!

In the shimmering Light red hints are seen within the purple.

A deep wine red.

It is the blood of Christ.

The colors merge and together are deeper and richer, as they intermingle with one another.

If you plunge into this vibrant color, you will discover there is no bottom.

It is fathomless.

That is God and His daughter.

They are eternal."

The exercise closed with a question of whether I have anything in my life that is this color.
It is enriching to surround ourselves with beauty that speaks to us.

As a matter of fact, one of the primary colors of my little sanctuary is a royal purple!

This explains, in part, why I am constantly drawn back to the room.
It is a place of peace and joy.
To be reminded of Whose child I am and all that means can't but draw me deeper into the Beauty of  His Presence!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Never Alone

The only time I ever consider jumping ahead in a book is if I have decided I am not going to finish it.
Otherwise I want to wait and allow the story to unfold as the author intended.

I use to handle recipes that way, but soon learned that it is a good idea to know the details before beginning to prepare it.  More than once I would start a recipe only to learn that it would take much longer to get it to the table than would work or that I did not have a key ingredient!

Details!  Details!
Whether in a story or a recipe or even a hike, the details are important.

Yes a hike!
I was reminded of that yesterday when my two hour hike turned into nearly four hours.

It was time for my weekly Artist Child's date and I decided a hike in a nearby State Forest was a good choice.

The forest had a series of Letterboxes that I thought I would scout out.  There were six in total that were part of the series.
I found three.

Two of the missed boxes were due to me not reading ahead.
Thus I missed a few details....

There are a number of details that I missed that would have helped me to not only find those boxes, but would have helped me find my way out much more quickly.

In looking for a sign and a map that were suppose to be posted, according to the clues, I missed the fact that whether I found them or not, I needed to turn from the blue trail onto the red trail.
I did not realize this fact until much later.  I just kept watching for those markers.

Once becoming aware of my gaff I just continued on with the clues in search of the rest of the series.

As I have shared before I am not very visual, so why I thought this scavenger hunt was something I should do on my own, I have no idea!
Seeing the trees in the forest is not easy for me.  
Neither is hunting out a stone wall or bark-less tree among the many details that fill a forest!

Well, the hunt took me over small streams and not so small streams, up rocky hills that lead to more hills, but I did finally find the last box!

At this point the clues ended with a question as to whether I had enjoyed my hike?

This lead me to think that I was near the end of the trail.  After all the information had said it was a two hour hike and I had been hiking for over an hour and a half.  So I just continued to follow the blue trail.

Had I taken time to check out the park map to learn just how long the trail was and where it ended, I would have turned around!  However, contrary to all I know from years of hiking and camping, I kept going...

And going....

Until I reached the cliffs, which were beyond my ability to climb!

I was growing very tired by this point and thought I would call the ranger station to learn what the best way out would be.  I had stuck to the trail even when I spotted bodies of water at a distance that I thought might give me some direction, because I knew that once off the trail it would be very difficult to find it again.

An answering machine is all I reached.
Next I call my friend who lived nearby.  She drove to the ranger station and learned by a posted sign that no ranger would be there until next month!

We formulated a plan.  I had crossed a service road on my travels in, so when I reached it again I would take it out instead of reentering the woods.  I knew my energy level was too low to face the streams and hills that awaited me.

In time I did come to that road and did take it.  My friend drove around trying to find it.  Neither of us had any idea just how far off I had wandered!  It was a long road and at the end of it there was a gate which prohibited vehicles from entering.

Throughout this adventure I could stay calm because I knew that I was not alone.
Yes, though I had not encountered another person during my travels, I had a constant Companion and His Name is Jesus.

That is one of the details that I never lose sight of!

Once I stepped past that gate and began to walk down another wider road I spotted a pick up heading my way.  It turned out to be an old timer who had hiked the woods for many years.  In exchange for a ride out to civilization I listened to him share some of the adventures he has had.

It was with gratitude that I climbed out of his truck and met my friend, who then drove me back to my car.

As I sat in my car gathering my thoughts, I thanked Papa for His care and Presence.
His girl is never left on her own.  He knows better!
In Hebrews we are reminded that He has promised,
"I will never desert you, not will I ever forsake you." 
 I am so very glad!

Something else I am so grateful for is how He always supplies me with something to share with my friends at the rehab.
Since I can no longer use Scripture a little more creativity is needed.

My adventure was easily used to speak to them about how He cares about every step we take.
Any adventure that lends itself to being an illustration of His love and grace is a grand adventure!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The Pyrex tea kettle sat on the counter for a few weeks.
No longer useful, but I was just not ready to toss it out.

My family teased me.
They know I hate to waste and thought that I felt it still was usable.

No, I knew it was a goner, but it was a reminder to me of my oldest son.
Nearly fifteen years ago Eric came to visit with it in hand.  He had found it at a tag sale and knew that he had to pick it up for me.

I am a tea drinker.
I also love a bargain.
Our home is decorated in what I call "early tag sale."
So Eric knew this was just my cup of tea.   :)  (I couldn't resist).

That the kettle lasted all these years is a miracle.
It doesn't whistle and I am a little absentminded at times.

Those two facts finally did the little water-boiler in.
I put the kettle on and then became occupied with something else.

A while later an odor coming from the kitchen came to my attention.
The smell was from the plastic lid melting drip by drip into the pot that no longer had any water in it, as it had boiled away to nothingness.
The lid and glass pot had become one, as the plastic formed a plastic stalagmite that rose up from the bottom.

Yes, I knew it was silly to hold onto it, but I just had to give myself time to let it go.
It did end up in the recycling bin, it just took a little while.

Papa reminded me that I still have the sweet memory of my son's thoughtfulness and that is not something that is at risk of damage.

You cannot break a true treasure.  Neither can it be worn out.
Those are the lasting things.

My relationship with my God falls under that category and actually is the most indestructible gift of all.

This afternoon I needed to remember that truth.

The director of the rehab called to talk with me. 
I must stop reading to the residents from the Bible.
Theirs is a spiritual program, but not a religious one.

I wanted to tell her that I am all about being being spiritual and not religious.
To be truly accurate, I am about relationship, not religion.
But they don't get it and I know that trying to enter into some sort of debate is not the wise course of action.

She went on to say that they love my visits with the residents, as the residents really look forward to me coming and that I am free to end with an inspirational thought, just not from the Bible.

I felt like the air had been knocked out of me. 
This is day eight of the agony of a major case of poison ivy, which has not only caused me to begin to think that Job was onto something with his pot shards, but has also left me sleep deprived.

You could say that I am a little out of sorts.
Which means everything is appearing in darker, more dramatic colors right now.  All troubles seem to be looming larger than life.

Though that is how I feel, I know my God is bigger and is certainly up to the challenge!
So I think I will take the advice of something I read somewhere a while ago.
"Sometimes the most spiritual thing a person can do is go to sleep." 
 This brings to mind the words that Psalm One Hundred, Twenty-Seven, verse two end with,
"For he gives to His beloved even in his sleep."
I think I will put some water in my new tea kettle and try some of those Benadryl tablets and then head to bed.

Tomorrow I will wake to find what treasures He has given to me while I slept.
He will show me how to share His eternal treasures with my precious friends!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reasons to Worship!

As I was cleaning up after dinner I decided I needed a little music so I clicked on my favorites and found Pandora Radio.

Worship music is my go-to genre.
He is so worthy of worship and one song after another drew me to do so.
Right now the song Above All is playing....

"Like a Rose trampled on the ground                                                                                 You took the fall                                                                                                                   and thought of me                                                                                                              Above all."
How can we not worship at such a thought!

The words to another song were easy to own and sing out.
"I would walk a thousand miles to spend time with You."
Oh yes!

If I knew that at the end of that trek my God and Savior awaited my arrival, I would gladly head out right now!
Actually, I do know that at the end of this trek I am on, my God and Savior is waiting to greet me

As Papa inhabited my praise, He brought a young man to mind.
My nickname for this particular man is Eeyore.

How he needs to realize how wonderful our God is and how He loves him!
That the Living God is so beautiful, loving, good, kind, wise, tender and glorious, to name a few, is what my friend needs to discover.
That is what I am asking Papa to do for him.
He is delighted to answer such requests!

I am still working my way through the Gospel of John and find much that moves me to worship my amazing God.
The Sixteenth chapter tells us of the gift of His Spirit that He has given us and all that comes with this gift.

A Helper.
Convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
Guides into all Truth.
Speaks what He hears from the Father
Discloses what is to come
Glorifies Jesus
Discloses what is of Jesus

Which of the above could we do without this Helper?
The Helper who holds all the Power of God.

As we meditate on any one thing on that list, we must worship out of gratitude and love!

The Power, the Resurrection Power is ours!

It is time to worship!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

For Me and All Mine!

This week I have been getting a taste of what it is like to have a obvious disfigurement.  Most of me has been covered in poison ivy and my face did not escape inclusion.

I did not want to forgo all I had to do, so I decided to ventured out with a swollen lumpy face.  Really what did it matter?  I figured I would hold my head up and just be myself.  Anyway, most wouldn't recognize me and more didn't know me.

It wasn't as easy as I anticipated.

Most people had some sort of reaction and then did all they could to avoid looking at me a second time.
It started to affect me and I found myself looking down or away and more than once taking a circuitous route.

After a couple of days of this not only my skin was raw and oozing, but emotions were also in similar shape!  I was feeling pretty much the outcast.  Besides I was and am miserably itchy!

Then I went to visit my friends at the rehab.  They welcomed me and were glad to see me no matter how I looked.  They were looking through eyes of love.  I was encountering my Papa with skin on!

A visit to my dear brother-in-law, Jeff and his wife, Audrey brought additional soothing for this frayed lady.
Of course, Jeff's way of loving me took the form of humor, but since it all was said in love, it actually lightened my spirit.
Audrey did all she could to help me feel better and did a good job of it.
There was Papa in skin again!

It was Papa, Himself, who really refreshed my spirit and revived my sense of worth.

I have been in the Gospel of John this month and the reading today started in the Fourteenth chapter, the twenty-fifth verse and continued through the following chapter.

Here is what Papa reminded me of, as I read His precious Word:

He has given me His Spirit.  He is my Helper.
Jesus left me His peace.
Any pruning is meant to be a blessing for me.  It brings more fruit!
I am attached to the vine.
Answered prayer is mine.
The fruit in my life will bring Him glory.
Joy is mine.
His love is mine to abide in.
I am not of this world.
I am His witness.
I am His friend.

All of this is mine because He loves me.
Just as I am.  At all times.

All of this for me, from Him, is all mine!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Cross

My adventure continues with the twelve week course The Artist's Way and I must say it has been very enlightening and freeing thus far!

Every morning I write my three pages before I begin anything else and I have found that it is a dialogue between Papa and me.
He led me to this study and He knows what He wants me to gain from it, so, as with every other aspect of one's life, He must be included!

The weekly date with my artist child has had its ups and downs, as I explore what really brings me enjoyment.
This week was an up!

The date included a few thrift stores and a light repast, which were enjoyable. 
The highlight, however, was my walk, which took me through the Stations of the Cross.

I have heard this mentioned many times and have even perused a few stain-glass windows that depicted some of the stations, but I never really examined them in their entirety.

As I began the walk I realized that I needed to go back to my car for my notebook and pen.  At the first station many impressions were stirred within my heart and mind.  It caused me to stop and reflect on the agonizing path my Savior walked for me.

Join me, if you like, as I share what I received on this path.

The first Station was entitled Jesus Condemned to Death.
Four figures were included in the scene: Jesus, Pilate, a servant and a soldier.

Jesus'  demeanor was one of grief with no resistance.
I believe He was grieved by the fact that it had come to this.  The ignorance that surrounded Him and the future that awaited those who rejected Him had to weigh on Him also.

Pilate had his jaw set in grim determination, as he attempted to wash his hands of the whole affair.  There was an almost desperate look to his eyes, as if his thoughts were betraying his actions.

The soldier was obviously trained to follow orders with no thought to whether they were appropriate or not.

Then there was the servant. 
With eyes cast down he held the bowl as Pilate washed his hands.
I know that there is no servant mentioned in the Scriptures, but I can very easily imagine one being there, as it wouldn't have been unusual for Pilate to have servants ready at his beck and call to do his bidding.  The Word says that "he took water."  That implies receiving it.  Either way, here are the thoughts that came in regard to this servant.

The servant's face was not harsh, but gentle and humble.  I imagined that he often had many thoughts running around in his head, which he carefully kept to himself, as he observed the behavior of his master.
It would not have been far fetched to think that he knew who Jesus was and maybe even heard Him speak.  If so, then he knew a lot more than Pilate!
I could imagine him first being incredulous and then having sorrow fill his heart.

Station Two shows Jesus beginning to carry His Cross.  Again grief etched His face, along with resignation.  It was the way He had to go. 
The artist sculpted Jesus hands open, as the soldiers laid the Cross across his shoulders. 
Hands open to receive anyone who would come!
The expressions on the soldiers faces were cruel.  It seems to me that, at times, pure goodness, pure light causes evil to grow-puff itself up in self-defense.  Eyes and heart stay blinded to the truth.

Moving onto Station Three Jesus has fallen.  I do not find that in Scripture, but I can imagine that carrying His heavy Cross would cause anyone to stumble.
His Spirit was willing, but even His flesh is weak.

Jesus' mother Mary is the focus of the fourth Station.  In Scripture she is at the foot of the Cross once He is hanging on it.  However, He must have been grieving for the woman who mothered Him on this earth.  She definitely grieved.  How could a mother not?

Station five is Simon helps Jesus.  This scene is mentioned in three of the Gospels.  John is the only one that omits this part of the story.
 Simon was pressed into service.  He was given the task of carrying the Cross for Jesus.
Whether he ever met or heard Jesus before Simon could not have ever been the same after this experience.
There are so many stories left unfinished!  I am looking forward to finding out the rest of them once I get to Heaven!

Veronica's veil is the focus of the sixth Station.  Legend has it that she wiped Jesus face with her veil and the outline of His face was left on the veil.
This is not mentioned at all in Scripture and through further investigation I found that there is no mention of it anywhere until the year one thousand eleven.
At the Station my thoughts went to the women who did follow Jesus, who probably longed to minister to Him in any way possible.  They were later found at the foot of the Cross.

Station Seven states and depicts Jesus falling yet a second time.  This has no Scriptural basis, but it stirred my heart, nonetheless.
My Savior struggled and possibly fell, but kept going; continuing to Golgotha for me.
So He could die for me!

Jesus' words to the weeping women, who followed Him, were the subject of the eighth Station.
Would I have been one of them? 
He tells them to weep for themselves and their children. 
If this is what the world does to the Son of God, imagine what is coming!

Once again we find Jesus falling according to Station nine.  Again I was reminded that His determination was for me.

Station ten shows Jesus being stripped of His garments.
It struck me afresh how He was mistreated.
No respect
Given no honor
Definitely received no praise
My LORD and Savior endured being despised by His creation and finally the Cross.
All for me.

The next Station was very moving.
Jesus being nailed to the Cross.
The artist rendered this scene in such a way that it appears that Jesus is looking right into the onlooker's eyes.
Did those doing the nailing not sense or see who this Man was?
How can man be so cruel to other men?
Even more so, how can they be so blind to God in their midst?
We seek to protect and provide for ourselves and end up with ashes in the end.
Meanwhile totally overlooking His Presence and provision which alone satisfies??!!

Jesus is Crucified and Dies is what the plague says at Station Twelve.

There are two sets of stairs you must climb to get to the foot of the Cross.
There I sat.
Literally, at the foot of the Cross.
Women are weeping there.
I can hear them.
Oh, that is my voice among all the voices.
Sorrow and joy are in my tears.  Sorrow that my sin had a part in putting Him there and joy that He would do such a thing for me!
Oh, how He loves me!

The grief of those who had been at the foot of the Cross was compounded by the fact that they did not know or understand how the story would end.
Or should I say begin?

At the following Station the sign reads Jesus is taken from the Cross.
The scene has three people ministering to His body.
I do not know whether anyone did this.
I am certain He wasn't gently removed from the Cross.
To the soldiers it was just one more body of a criminal.  The sooner they got the bodies down, the sooner they could be relieved of duty.

Of course, the next Station, number fourteen, is entitled Jesus is Placed in the Tomb.
From then on Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were no longer secret followers!

The final Station states Jesus is Risen!
To which I reply, He is Risen Indeed!!

What a wonderful gift walking this path has been for me!
At times I do meditate on the path Jesus took for me.  This brought it to life for me in a way no words or movie ever could. 
I sat at the foot of the Cross!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Useful Banes

Every year I battle one particular weed in my garden.

Matthew tells me that a weed is simply an unwanted plant or misplaced plant.

This thing is definitely unwanted!  I call it the water weed, as its stem is hollow and holds water.
It does flower, but it is very small in comparison to the size of the plant.
The weed is pervasive and takes over very quickly.

I never considered this plant to have any redeeming qualities.
Not until this week.

In an effort to get our yard in order I have been raking out the gardens and lawn, as well as gathering up the numerous twigs and branches that are to be found.  There is much clearing to be done thanks to the crazy storm we had in October.

The weather made it easy to be outside doing the yard work. 
It was too warm for jeans, so I dug out a pair of shorts and a tank top and got to work.

The effort is beginning to show results.  Yay!
But at a cost.

I am covered in poison ivy.  If I could shed my skin, I would!

My ankles and feet, as well as my arms, neck and face all have ugly red pumps that resemble tiny mountain ranges.  Everywhere else has a few scattered welts here and there.  The gloves I wore saved my hands, but I obviously touched my face and neck with the contaminated gloves!

For years a friend of mine would cook up a batch of Sweet Fern and give me a jar of it.  It works wonders on poison ivy, drying it while relieving the itch.
She has moved and no longer has access to the plant.

So I went on line to see if there was anything else that might help.
That is when I discovered that the unwelcome water weed, whose true name is Jewel Weed, is a natural antidote!

This information elevated my opinion of the bane of my garden.
I went out to gather some up and discovered that the plant has not made its appearance for the year.
I just know that it is getting back at me!

It is time to close as I have to go reapply the calamine lotion.....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Signs of Life

What a glorious day this has been!

The weather beckoned for all to find their way outdoors.

From start to finish the day has been brimming with signs of life.

I awoke to the sounds of cheerful birds calling to one another.
Stepping outside I was enveloped by a playful spring breeze and this evening held one of my favorite sounds: the sound of peepers rejoicing over being revived by their friend, Spring.

Everywhere I look I had the privilege of enjoying fresh colors waving from gardens and fields. 
Glorious, indeed!

Upon pulling up to the bank’s drive-thru window I asked the young teller how his weekend had been.  He replied that it had been fine, but now it was like a summer day.  His tone of voice implied that he wanted to be playing, not working.

Don’t we all want to play?  Who wants to be grown up?

That is the joy of being Papa’s girl.
Every day I get to play!

When you are on a grand adventure with Jesus every day holds gifts to enjoy.

I spent some time in the Tenth chapter of John this morning and was reminded that the Good Shepherd knows me and joy of all joys, I know Him!

As one of His sheep I get to hear His life-giving Voice and what does He say?
“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”
He is the Giver of life and I know that it pleases Him when we take hold of it.  How He delights to bless us!

On a day like today I know He  rejoices with us, as we discover and exult in the gifts He scatters before us.

Every sign of life is a reminder that our God is the Living God.
He specializes in signs of life!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Radically Relational

This blog's title was one of the nuggets that was given out this morning.
I love it!
The two words joined together come to life!

I got into my car this morning and headed to a friend's church.

As I drove I talked with Papa about a couple of  things.
One part of our discussion was about about how I could truly sense Him behind the decision to join my friend for church this morning.

She attends a Roman Catholic church.
It is a chapel that is on property maintained by a group of brothers (priests).

Having been raised in the Catholic faith I am very familiar with their rituals and way of doing things.
Or so I had thought.

My readers may recall my sharing an adventure last year where I found myself pulling into a church of that denomination and finding it to be a place of peace and blessing.

So my mind was more open as I headed to church this morning.

As I reflected on the denomination itself I recognized something that I had not given much thought previously.
They have held onto the mystery of God.

Scripture is not silent on the subject, but much of the church that I have been familiar with these past thirty-three years is.

Yes, Jesus revealed God to us and we can know Him personally, yet He is still God.
God is not someone we can wrap our brains around.
If we could, He wouldn't be much of a God.

I love what Paul says in First Timothy, Three, verse Sixteen:
"And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness; He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, beheld by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory."
That is an amazing truth that is more than we can take in.
It is a truth which should stir in us awe and wonder that renders us silent.

As I sat in the service this morning that is what I experienced.

It wasn't a service such as I remember experiencing as a child, no it was one that encouraged each one of us to participate, yet with the sense of awe that we can.

The doors were wide open and the sweet spring breeze filled the little chapel. 
The songs were simple, yet the words stirred one's heart to own them. 

The priest, who was a humble, down-to-earth man, modeled a reverent joy that was catching.
The message he shared addressed the rest of my conversation with Papa.

I have been uneasy with the way my friends at the rehab are treated. 
There is no sense that each individual is a valuable human being that deserves to be treated with respect.
Little care is given to the individual.
The rules must be followed.
This is so important that there is no room for flexibility.

I want to speak into the situation, but need to be able to understand exactly what I felt the lack is before I can say anything to anyone.

The message spoke of how our God is a relational God and what a privilege we have to be His body reaching out to draw others into relationship.
He went on to speak of all the ways that people need to be ministered.

His words just sorted out the jumble of emotions and thoughts within me.

We are called to reflect our God, who is radically relational.  He demonstrates that over and over.

I cannot go into the rehab referencing God in my defense of caring for the individual.
However, the importance of communicating each person's value is very politically correct.
I can get the message across to them without having to explain where I got it from.

They will know anyway, but we will just pretend they don't.
For now.  :)

That is part of being radically relational.
Just like our God.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Gift of Time

It seems to me that some days should be allowed to be longer than others. 
Wouldn’t it be nice if time were expandable now and then?

Today’s weather is simply lovely,  but I had to be inside for a good part of it.  I gladly did so, as I was with my ladies from the rehab escorting them through a day of pampering.  Courtesy of ACTS4.
The day held many blessings, which I would not have forfeited to enjoy the outdoors.  It would have been lovely to expand time for each lady.  Expand the time full enough for them to truly take in and own all that God wants them to receive!

Anyway, now that I am available to romp in the sunshine, I am too beat to do so.  Any time that I have to be on my feet for an extended period of time, leaves me wiped out.
Just so you know, it has nothing to do with age.(!) This is how it has always been for me.  I do not wear well.
So I guess what I would really need is expandable energy.  Smile

Yet, the other day I was wishing for the day to last a little longer.  It was Matt’s birthday and I took some time to savor the memories.

The baby book came out. 

He was never a little guy, as he was over ten pounds and twenty-three inches at birth. 
My attention was drawn to the footprint that was done by the hospital .  No tiny feet for the not so little guy!

Mindy affectionately refers to him as the Yeti.  Actually she thinks she married into the world of giants.

Matthew and I put a peep hole in our front door one day.  It worked for us, but Mindy could barely see out of it on her tiptoes.  She said, “Silly giants!”

Truth be told when we look out to see who is at the door, we usually only see the top of their head.  (Smile) We are considering putting a second one in.

Well, I thought I was going to write about time, but maybe it is more about the memories that time holds.

Our God is so very gracious and I am humbled by all the ways He has and does bless me and my family.

Today marks exactly two years since my husband’s accident.
In that time the blessings have been past counting!

I feel like the Apostle John, who at the end of his gospel wrote,
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.”
Certainly that is true for each one of us, if we just open our eyes to all that fills our lives.

I think I will go outside now and just breathe deeply of the blessing of a beautiful day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


There is much sadness in this world that we live in and at times I cry out to the LORD pleading with Him to return now.

That is where I have been these past two days.

I am not alone.

Upon opening Greg Asimakoupoulos' book "Prayers from my Pencil", I came across this prayer entitled "Maranatha, LORD Jesus":
"Caught in the traffic of daily distresses
Trapped in routines that have lost their appeal
Weary of holding to dreams that elude me
Maranatha, LORD Jesus, I await Your return.
Jaded by broken commitments and losses
Reeling from setbacks that rob my reserves
Fearing the words of a doctor's announcement
Maranatha, LORD Jesus, I await Your return.
Troubled by cultural trends that are godless
Doubting decisions the courts claim as fair
Haunted by laughter that mocks moral wisdom
Maranatha, LORD Jesus, I await Your return.
Longing for what You intended in Eden
Hopeful for meaning beyond what I see
Looking for ultimate justice and mercy
Maranatha, LORD Jesus, I await Your return."

We all share Greg's feelings at times, don't we?

Rarely do I read the newspaper.
I generally rely upon the Internet for news.

Yet, even glancing at the headlines can bring tears to my eyes and it isn't uncommon for me to become overwhelmed with emotion over one thing or another that I notice there.

Yesterday I did open the paper seeking to learn more about the earthquake that occurred in Thailand's vicinity.
I was sorry that I did.

In the Eastern part of our state a family was facing a horrific tragedy.
The father, had taken his three sons to work with him, as they had no school.
He was operating a chipper, which I am very familiar with, as my son, Matt has one for his business.
They are very dangerous.

Well, the dad's six year old son must have thought he'd help his dad, who had turned his back for a minute. As the child fed the branch into the chipper it drew him in also.
What must have followed is more than anyone could possibly bear.

My heart broke for the man and his sons, who witnessed this, as well, of course, for the mother.
I cannot get them out of my thoughts and continue to lift them up to the only One who can possibly bring any comfort or healing to that situation.
At the least, it will take much time for them to even be able to breath again.

Later yesterday I opened my email.
I opened one relunctantly.

Friends of mine are struggling with the husband's cancer.
Their email shared that it is spreading.

He has spent the past eighteen months or so in treatment.
Treatment that has made him sicker than the cancer.
The treatment is not working and now the cancer is causing him much distress.

These dear ones are very close to Papa.

That doesn't mean that they are spared the pain and grief that comes with such a situation.
It does mean that they can have a peace that passes all understanding and be comforted by their God.
It also means that they have a hope that is sure.

This life is not all there is. It is the place where we get to know our Creator and prepare for eternity.

I could go on with many other examples of those struggling who are right around me.

Yes, it is a sad world even with Papa.

He truly does make the whole difference and with Him we have the opportunity to discover much joy and beauty.
And when we experience this life of joy and beauty it is wonderful.

Yet, I cry Maranatha, come LORD Jesus!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Good Father

April is well-represented in the birthday department by our family.

As I tore off another page from my daily calendar yesterday, I was reminded of an uncle who claimed the date.  He is gone, but memories linger.

Some are easier to recall than others.
Let me just say that he was a father figure to me, who left a few scars on my heart.

I wonder if I hadn't had a grandpa who loved me well, though briefly, whether I would have been able to see God as my Heavenly Father as being a good thing?

But I did and I do!

He is the ultimate Good Father.
As His Word says, He is Love.
The ways that He demonstrates that love are innumerable, but I will be glad to mention a few!

One big example involves my husband.

It has been a while since I gave an update on my Honey, so I will.
He had his six month checkup at Gaylord on Monday.

The doctor kept shaking her head in amazement through the entire examination.

Ray is clear-headed.
His doctors did not think that was going to be the case.

He can walk without any aids.
The prognosis did not project that to be a likely outcome.

He has some movement in his left hand and can rotate his arm from the elbow down.
Shouldn't be happening!

His doctor is simply amazed and delighted, as his progress goes beyond anything that can be attributed to the medical community.

The glory goes to our God!
So gracious and so loving!

Tonight we had a family dinner to celebrate our son Matthew's birthday, which is tomorrow.
He shares his birthday with my grandmother, who was very, very dear to me.

It was such a gift to have my child born on her birthday.
I knew he was to be named Matthew.

I didn't know what his name meant, so I looked it up.
It means "Gift of God."

With the meaning came a thought from Papa to my heart.
"He is My gift to you on this special day."

Such a loving God
So thoughtful and caring!

My last example comes from Scripture.

I was reading the account, found in Luke Seven, of the woman who wet Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 

Of course, the Pharisee, whose home He was in, was offended by her very presence.

Jesus told His host a story of two debtors.
His summary got me to thinking.
"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much, but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
I used to think of this in as that some have only sinned a little and just do not have much to be forgiven.
Papa  helped me to see the deeper meaning.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We learn that in the book of Romans.

When we encounter the Living God our true nature is revealed.
Our sin nature.

It is at that point that we either turn away, refusing to acknowledge our true condition...
Fooling ourselves into thinking that we can atone for those few sins we dare recognize.
We accept the truth of our fallen condition and throw ourselves upon His mercy....
And fall in love with this Giver of good gifts.

It is when we admit the full extent of our fallen state that we receive full pardon.
What a burden is taken off our hearts and souls.

How can we not respond with deep gratitude and love!

Such love requires nothing less.

Now that is one really wonderful example of His love!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen indeed!!!

Before I opened my eyes this morning those words resounded in my heart and mind.

I opened my Bible to the Gospel of Matthew and read the account and my heart danced!  In turn I read each gospel account; I just could not get enough of the Good News!

My faith is secure!  It has solid footing.

His Love placed Him on and held Him to the Cross.
His Power raised Him from the dead.

One without the other would leave all the promises and all hope empty.
Together they proclaim that not only are my sins covered, but life eternal is mine!

Paul put it this way in the Fifteenth Chapter of First Corinthians,
“… and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised form the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
During service this morning one of the men sang a song centered on the resurrection (of course).  I had a hard time staying in my seat!  In the end I had to jump up!

Such Good News!

Such a gift!

Such a powerful God and Savior!

So rejoice with me – He is risen indeed!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I enjoy reading out loud and right now I wish I could read something to you.
It deserves to be heard, not just read.

The words are nestled among Brennan Manning's thoughts from today's reading in his Reflections For Ragamuffins.  It is a portion of a quote by a Edward Schillebeecx.

Since I cannot say listen to this! I will type them here with the urging to you to read them through once to yourself and then out loud.

"'Sitting at the right hand of God.' the LORD Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit to form the holy People of God, a community of prophets and lovers who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the shattering omnipresent Word, who would enter into the center of all that is, into the very heart and mystery of God, into the center of that flame that consumes and purifies and sets all aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant love-which is what it means to claim the name "Christian," follower of Jesus Christ."
WOW!  Right?!

As I read these words, my heart burned with the longing to fully enter into this life; 
the life of a Christian, a follower of my glorious God and Savior.

A member of His holy people.
A part of a community of those who speak words of faith that stir more faith and love.and minister to one another in that amazing love.

Oh to be consumed by His Spirit!
And to be more deeply attuned afresh by that shattering Living Word!
To find myself in the very heart of my God.

To be consumed, purified and set aglow!
For that peace, joy, boldness and extravagant love to mark my every breathe!

Jesus opened the way for us by way of the Cross.
His resurrection confirmed it.

Oh Papa, I want all that is mine, as one of Your holy people!

Do I hear an Amen?

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Best Season!

This is my favorite season of the year.
I do not mean that it is spring, which is lovely, but that it is Easter season.

Thirty-three years ago this month I fell in love with Jesus.
He had been drawing me to Himself and what sealed it was the movie, Jesus of Nazareth.

The movie ends with Jesus' Words from the Eleventh Chapter of Matthew,
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
And also His promise to..
"Never leave you or forsake you."
Those Words spoke to my heart.

Today I had the privilege of sharing them with my friends at the rehab.

I also shared with them what I have been sharing on this blog this week.

About half of those in the program gathered to take part.
That meant thirteen people made up our little circle today.

It was evident that the Holy Spirit was ministering to their hearts.

We ended our time together by sharing bread and the cup in remembrance of Jesus' amazing sacrifice.

Each one tore off a piece of bread and then we took part together.

One of the young men poured out the grape juice for us.
And we lifted our cups as one.

And we were.
And the Living God was in the midst of us.

Yes, He is always in our midst, but this day His Presence was felt.

I pray that these precious people hold on to the Truth that His sacrifice was for each one; that He deeply loves each one of them.

We ended our time together in a somber joy.
This day is somber, but Sunday brings the joy!

Had Sunday not dawned over an empty tomb today would have been a hollow remembrance.

However, that tomb was empty and our hearts are full!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Really Real

"He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true."
                                                                                 John the Baptist

I have reflected on God is Love and God is All Mighty or All Powerful; even that God is Truth, but how often have I stopped to consider this very basic word about Him?

As in Real.

Of course, I know and believe that He is real. 
Yet, don't I take that for granted?
It's a given.

For us maybe.
Not for everyone.
Not for many.

Romans Chapter Ten, verse Fourteen puts it this way,
"How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?"
What will stir belief?

The verse goes on to say,
"And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
To be a preacher you simply need to be a herald, one who makes proclamation.

That sounds like it includes all who know Him!

Psalm Ninety-Six, verse Two confirms this.
"Sing to the LORD, bless His Name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day."
Today I had to make a brief stop at a store.

Veronica is the name of the cashier that rang me out.
Before I even made my way to her register she was waving me over.

I noted her sweet face and demeanor.

As she rang me out we began to chat. 
About her name actually. 

Veronica was my mother's name and I told her so.
It is a rich name we both agreed.

As I left I felt led to bestow a blessing upon her.

Her face lit up and she praised the LORD.
I knew it!
The spirit she carried was none other than the Spirit of our very real God!

We were so excited to connect in Him that when I left it was sans one bag.

This beautiful woman ran into the parking lot with it, which gave me the opportunity to do what I had wanted to do. 
I gave her a great big bear hug!

People walking by looked on with wonder.
Wonder over these two ladies hugging and jumping around together out of joy!

Proclamation comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes!
So as we progress through this holy week may the joy we share overflow all over those around us!

Because our God is for real!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sorrow and Sighing on the Run!

Earlier this week I referred to Jesus setting His face.
I continue to reflect upon those words.

All the way back in Luke Nine we read,
"And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem..."
As the shadow of the Cross fell upon Him it served as a constant reminder of what awaited Him.
He held His course.
He was purposeful.

This morning I read Isaiah Thirty-Five, verse ten:
"And the ransomed of the LORD will return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads.  They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
This might have been one of the promises that He recalled on that trek to His death.
A promise He was determined to keep.
The promised joy which would drive away all sorrow and sighing.

In John Three I read the words that He spoke to Nicodemus, explaining that there must be a spiritual birth.  That is the birth that allows us to see the Kingdom of God.
He was determined to make that possible for each one of us.

The other day a dear friend forwarded a devotional to me.  It was written by a priest.
He related the story of a conversation that he had with his young nephew.

The little guy had a role in the Passion play.
When his uncle called him to find out how it went he replied that it was very sad,but it was okay because in the end everybody can roses from the dead.  :)

That young child had it right.

This week is a solemn week.
It reminds us of our Precious Savior's suffering and sacrifice.

However, it is okay, actually, much better than okay, because the end result is that....
Everyone can, indeed, rise from the dead!

Can you see all that sorrow and sighing fleeing?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Shadow of The Cross

"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
Those words from the Second Chapter of the Gospel of John leaped out at me this morning.
I had read them many times before and reflected upon them.
However, today it was as if I had never read them before.

I am waiting on my God.
Listening and watching for what He wants to reveal to me.

He is continuing yesterday's thoughts, which point to the Cross.

Jesus' words from John Two occurred at the beginning of His ministry.
He addressed them to the Jews who had taken exception to His clearing the temple of those who had set up shop there.

They asked for a sign which would justify such a demonstration of authority.

They thought He was referring to the Temple itself.

They were incorrect.

Jesus was pointing to His death.
The Temple was His body.

His words came with a promise, as usual.
He would rise in three days time!

That is wonderful news, but at this point He still had to face dying on the Cross and He knew it.

This is what grabbed me.
My Savior, the Wonderful One, was not oblivious to what faced Him.
No, each day that He walked this earth the shadow of the Cross was with Him.

It did not deter Him.
He was compelled by love.

He knew we were helpless on our own.
He knew that we could never make things right on our own.
He knew we could never atone for our sins.
All we could do is keep sinning and scrambling to balance scales that are one sided.  Balancing doesn't work.  Only something that can wipe them out would do.

We are told by John that many came to believe in Him because of the signs He was doing.

He knew a time would come when the majority would turn away and join the crowd crying for His death.
How easily we are swayed by the crowd and our own flesh!

The Second Chapter of John ends by telling us,
"But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man."
 He knew that our hearts were desperately wicked and yet He followed that shadow until He became part of it.
All out of love!

This week I am walking aware of the shadow of the Cross.
Out of love.

Monday, April 2, 2012

This Week

For the Christian this week is Holy Week.

One could argue that every week is a holy one, yet this week stands apart from all others.
It is the week that feels the weight of a God who is absent; yet, at the same time pregnant with His Presence.

The week begins with shouts of Hosanna in the highest! and will culminate by seeing Him put to death to the cries of Crucify Him!
It is a week that lends itself to contemplation.

What is its meaning?
What does it mean to each of us personally?

It is the week that we find Jesus entering Jerusalem.  The place that He had set His face toward.  He did not allow anything to veer Him off course.

What course was this?

The reason that He came.

The course to overcome evil.

The course to see us free from our sin.

This morning I read something In Reflections for Ragamuffins that speaks to this.
Brennan was quoting a Charles de Foucauld,

“Not by His words or His works, not even by His miracles, but by His Cross.”

He had to go to Jerusalem.

He had to go to the Cross.

And He wanted to.

For us.

So we need to quiet ourselves during this week and reflect.

On the heels of worship our God is turned against.

First by one of His own disciples.
Then by the crowd.
The majority of the religious leaders were never for Him.

All instigated, seemingly, by the one who hates Him the most. 

However, it was our God Himself who was truly behind it all.
He allowed the evil to fulfill His plan for our good.

The disciples didn’t understand that then.
All they knew was it went down hill fast after the last meal they shared with their LORD.

As I anticipate the unfolding of this week I am being still.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

That is the Forty-Sixth chapter of Psalms, the Tenth verse and it is my intention.

As I go through my day, whether I sitting quietly or am busy about the details of life, I am seeking to be aware of Him and what this week means to Him.

And thus what it means to me.

I am listening Papa.
Listening to Your heartbeat and hearing the echo of it breaking out of love.