Monday, May 28, 2012

Glory! Glory!

This is one glorious day!  My heart is encountering one blessing after another!

The beautiful weather enticed me to a nice long walk this morning.  Just Papa and I. 

I sensed His pleasure while reveling in the beauty of His creation.  How gracious of Him to use colors that refresh our souls! 

My eyes and very spirit drank in the sights and sounds.

Blue, blue sky…

Lazy birds, sated by a lovely breakfast, just riding the air currents and then alighting on a choice branch to warble out a tune to the One who does not overlook a one of them.

The green of trees and bushes, that were not shy to show off how beautifully they were made, reaching up in thanksgiving to their Maker.

The ponds teeming with life, populated with bullfrogs that were joyfully celebrating being alive.

During the walk there were snatches of time when the only sounds were from nature.  Ah….

All these blessings and more in our broken world.  Imagine when Jesus returns and sets things aright?!

I am nearing the end of Greg Asimakoupoulos’ book, Prayers from my Pencil.  His offerings are to be savored so each day I read just one.

The one I read today is entitled, Ride On, Victorious Jesus!  I love the picture he drew with his words and want to share it here.
“In the story of the ages,
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Gallops toward the end of time
With majesty and glory.
No longer saddled on a borrowed burro,
He speeds His way on a snow-white steed.
Freed from Death’s dark doorless prison,
He rides from the pages of old John’s vision
Across the miles of centuries
Into out harrowed lives.
Ride on, victorious Jesus.
Ride on with keys in hand.
Dead-bolt our fears.
Unlock our minds
So we can understand
Your most triumphant presence,
Your never-failing strength,
The edicts of Your sovereign rule
That knows no breadth not length.
Hallelujah! Maranatha!!
Ride on, King Jesus! Ride!
Reclaim Your world.
Receive our praise.
Revive Your slumbering bride.”
Don’t his words stir your heart?

Underneath the prayer was the suggestion that I write my own letter to Jesus, explaining why I am looking forward to His return to earth.
It is too intimate to share here, but I will say that the thought that ran through my letter was the joyful anticipation of seeing Him face-to-face.

That will be a day like no other!

Meanwhile, I plan to continue to rejoice in the one He has given me right now!

"For you will go out with joy, and be lead forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Well Loved Ragamuffin

Raggedy Ann was her name.  She was about three foot tall and had loops on her feet designed to slip over my feet, so we could dance together.  She was dressed in a raggedy dress and her hair was not very tidy.  Hence her name.

I loved her.

With time her clothing became more ragged and soiled.  Her clothing was permanently attached to her, so cleaning her up was not an option.

When I first encountered Brennan Manning’s use of the word ragamuffin to describe himself and those willing to admit the truth about themselves, I pictured my doll.

Maybe that is why I didn’t have a problem admitting I was a ragamuffin.    You see I knew how much I loved that raggedy girl.  It didn’t matter how dirty she was.

I had encountered an even greater love and it wasn’t after I cleaned myself up.

Just like Raggedy Ann my soiled rags were attached to me and I could not do anything about cleaning them up.

There ends the similarities.

I may not have been able to clean away all of her dirt, but the One who loves me had no problem cleaning me up.  No problem at all.

He took care of that on the Cross. 

He drew me …

“I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; and I bent down and fed them.”*

And made me clean and new….

“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”**

A friend passed me a CD filled with wonderful songs.  One of those songs is entitled “A Beggar who gives Alms.”

That’s me. 

A beggar, ragamuffin, who has received alms and is simply sharing them.

I may still look a bit ragged around the edges, but, as they say, appearances can be deceiving…

This ragamuffin is someone who is “accepted in the Beloved”*** and “seated in heavenly places.”****

And just like my doll I get  to dance with the One who loves me!

By the way, there’s more than enough room for many more ragamuffins!

*Hosea 11:4
**2 Corinthians 5:17
***Ephesians 1:6
****Ephesians 2:6

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Feast!

There are over four thousand trees populating the Blithewold  Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island.  Ray and I stood with our backs to the Narragansett Bay taking in the beauty that lay before us.

We could identify only a handful of the trees we saw and that with some help from our sons.  These varieties included oaks and magnolias, beeches, weeping pagodas, yews, junipers, ginkgoes, redwoods, hemlocks and even a giant sequoia!  There are over four hundred varieties of trees in all.

At one point I walked beneath the shelter of one tree after another and was overwhelmed with the intricate beauty of each one.  This stirred my heart to praise the Master Designer of these majestic trees!
I could not get enough of this bit of His creation.  It truly was a feast for my eyes and my soul!

The feast was not limited to the trees alone, but extended to include the people who surrounded us.

We were there for the New England chapter of arborists' annual tree climbing competition.  Both Matthew and Timothy were participating, so where else would you find their mom and dad?!

Never have I witnessed such camaraderie and excellent sportsmanship.

Though all were competing, it did not mean that they could not give one another tips, nor cheer each other on.  As one after another took their turn at the different events, it was not unusual to hear those on the ground shouting up reminders and direction that helped the climber do his or her best.

Many families were there to support their loved ones and everybody was a loved one!  The children that were present received a wonderful gift: positive examples that will stay with them for a long time!

I am so grateful that our sons are part of such a community.  To see our youngest so healthful and alive, loving what he is doing, with such strong support and great role models, does this mother’s heart much good!

How gracious Papa is to his children!  How faithful He is to keep His promises!  I am amazed over and over by His great love.

Trees always look to me as if they are reaching in praise to their Creator.
I love a verse that is found in the Fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, the Thirteenth verse. 
“For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
The feast that Papa offers us is one of joy and peace; as I have the privilege of taking part in such a feast, by the grace of my wonderful Savior, I find it impossible to do less than join in applause to my great God!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Special Days

After having driven over twenty-three hundred miles and covering nine states I am back in my humble home.  To say that I am a bit weary is no understatement!  However, it was worth every single minute…..

Time with my beloved grandson, Levi; just the two of us on our grand adventure.  How often does a grandma get such an opportunity to have her grandson all to herself.

Levi and his sister, Jasmine use to visit during the summer, but they were much younger.  This time together gave us time to learn more fully what makes us tick.

My clock says…Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
His a little more complex, but so very interesting!

Before our trip I got to see him in action as a waiter.  I was one of his customers.   Jasmine, as well as her so very adorable daughter and my great granddaughter, Ariana joined me.  We were escorted by Jasmine’s, very polite and kind boyfriend, Jonathan.  I was glad to finally meet him and how could I resist someone with that name?! Smile

It was a full trip in many senses of the word.  Full of miles, certainly, but especially full of good time with loved ones.

I drank deeply of every minute.  Papa gave me the gift of one-on-one with each of my loved ones.  From my great grand baby to my son and his wife, I must declare it was a wonderful trip!

Bookending my travels was a stop at a dear friend’s home.  It is such a gift to be able to break up my driving with an overnight at Anita’s.

She and I have been friends for thirty-nine years.  Another gift from my very generous God.
Today I was reflecting over this friendship as I did my morning pages, especially since this is my friend’s birth day.

So today is no ordinary day.  It marks a special lady’s eighty-first birthday. 
For most of our years of friendship we didn’t know the dates of one another’s birth.  It wasn’t our focus, but it is fun to know now!

I was reflecting upon how we might view a day as very ordinary, yet to many it is far from such.
We all hold many memories within our hearts.  Particular days have a way of stirring up those memories.
Memories of people and events that bring with them emotions.

This day brings a smile to my face and to my heart.
Anita calls me her earth-angel, but she was mine first!

I was a divorced mother of a little boy.
Not an ordinary little boy.  A boy with an inventive mind and a heart that longed for a father.  The two characteristics came together to make some amazing tales of that absent father.

Back in the nineteen-seventies it was much less common to be a child in a single-parent home.  You stood out and felt like you were on the outside.  As that little boy grew, it did not grow any easier.

Little League found him one of the few with just one parent in the stands.  While the other parents gave no thought to that, they did give much thought to the fact that he was not an asset to their kid’s team.  He would come to bat and they would groan.

The young boy, who had no dad to play ball with  him, only had a mom that knew nothing about sports or what little boys needed.  She came from a house filled with girls.
His mother was timid and very insecure back then.  Both she and her son needed an advocate.

Enter Anita.

Often she was the lone voice cheering this mom and her son on.
When she stepped into our life, the intent was for her to come alongside my son.  They would often spend time together and she would express her faith in him.  She truly enjoyed him.
I believe every child can benefit from having someone, who isn’t expected to, befriend them and speak into their life.

Well, the boy grew up and headed off into the world, but the two women stayed connected until this very day.

So this special day is a day to celebrate a wonderful friend.  Though my friend is growing older and is becoming a bit childlike in her ways I delight in spending time with her.  We love each other just as we are.  That truly is a gift!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Corralled Thoughts

Quite a few years ago I heard a teaching on the Fourth Chapter of Philippians, the Eighth verse,
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
The speaker's topic was our thought life and she encouraged us to use each part of the above verse as if it were a piece of fence that made up a corral for our minds.
Being one who thinks in pictures, I liked it.

I have asked the Holy Spirit to get my attention whenever a piece of that corral comes down.  He is very faithful to do so.

Quite often I don't get past the first fence piece, whatever is true.  How easy it is to spend time thinking on things that are not a reality.  They may happen or not, but Jesus told us that today has enough trouble, so don't go borrowing from tomorrow!

Today I want to dwell on things that fit well into the Philippians corral.
It is a joy to do so.
And doing so just lends itself to praising Papa!

On Sunday three of my four guys came with their ladies to celebrate mothers' day a week early, as I will be away next week.

Having my loved ones around me is one of my favorite things.
Listening to their banter makes me smile.
They had all spent Saturday evening together playing in Matt and Mindy's yard.
More smiling.

We discussed the previous day's time at the Connecticut tree competition (where Matt took the championship!). 
As I sat listening I reflected back over how gracious and faithful my God is to this family.

My youngest, no longer strung out, is strong and active, living a full life.
That alone is cause for great celebration.
I spend much time with those in or in need of recovery and know how few make it.
God is the deciding fact.

When I finish this posting I will be getting into Pearly and  making my way to West Virginia with an overnight stop in Pennsylvania where I get to visit a very dear, long-time friend.

In West Virginia, after a visit with my great grandbaby and her momma, I will pick up my grandson, Levi, and we will make our way to Missouri to check out a college.

How grateful I am that I am able to do this with him and that he is equally grateful for my assistance.
What a joy to have this time with him!

Upon our return to West Virginia I will get to see Eric and Amy in their new home.

My honey has chosen to stay home and tend to our mischievous kitties.
People have stepped forward to ensure that he gets to his classes at the gym each week day.

So much to be grateful for!

And as we stop to express that gratitude to the One whose Hand is on all of it the pieces that make up that corral are set more firmly in place!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

His Special Treasure

How I love the Word of God!

As a young Christian I heard the Bible referred to as God’s love letters to us.  The more I read it for myself the more I have to agree!

It is filled with so many treasures for Papa’s children.
You don’t read for very long until you come across a promise from His heart to yours.

I am constantly amazed by His Words of love.

This morning I was reading in the Nineteenth chapter of Exodus and got as far as the fifth verse where I encountered a glorious Word from Him.

In the passage the LORD was telling Moses what He wanted related to His people.  He desired that they obey Him and keep His covenant and as always the promised result is so much more than anyone can possibly grasp.

They will be His own possession, which actually means special treasure!

A special treasure is something that you protect and treat with great care.

The LORD went on to say that they would then be to Him a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. 

The people promised to follow Him, but that promise grew old very quickly.

It is not an easy thing to obey consistently.

How grateful I am for what Jesus has done for us!
His Sacrifice covers all our disobedience and allows us the joy of experiencing the promise of being Papa’s special treasures.

One of my favorite verses is found in First Peter, the Second chapter, verse nine:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him, who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Not... obey and then you can be, are
This is true of all who are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.  The one thing we need to do is receive Him.
It is not dependent upon our keeping the whole Law.  The Law was meant to reveal how weak we are and how great our need for a Savior.

As I read the Words from my glorious Papa I could not hold back the praise. 

Stop right now and reflect on the truth of how the Living God sees you, if you know Christ as your Savior.

Isn't it amazing?  Isn't He amazing??

Now as His precious possessions let's worship!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Today was the National Day of Prayer and I believe it is important to participate.
Noon is the designated time to gather with others to pray.

Unfortunately, I had a prior commitment. 

It is not unusual to find that I have double booked myself.
Not unusual at all.

I felt it was important to keep my appointment, so what to do?
A solution came to mind. 
Pray with the West Coast.
And I did.

Prayer is not to be taken lightly.
It is where the real battles take place and are won.

My heart has been heavy for this nation and its people, actually, for the entire world.
The nations are so far from what Papa intends them to be.
People are so deceived; so lost.

What is the solution?
The Living God.

He is and has the answers.
In His economy prayer is the weapon that will bring the answers.

This week I have been marveling over the privilege of prayer and the difference it can make in our lives and in our world.

Prayer coupled with Scripture is a dynamic duo!

God keeps His Word, so when we claim it in prayer, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be sure we are praying His will.

Each year I sit with my Bible and seek the Holy Spirit's guidance as to how I should focus my prayers for my sons.   He brings to mind the issues and concerns and then ties Scripture to them.

The other night Matthew and I met for dinner. 
It is such a joy to have some one-on-one time with my guys.
During our conversation Matt told me that he is working to strengthen his relationship with each of his brothers and it is happening.  Just the previous weekend he and two of his brothers went backpacking for the weekend.

Papa had given me Psalm One Hundred Thirty-Three to pray for Matt.  The first verse reads like this,
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!"
That is just one example some might say.
Well, I could write for quite a long time testifying to God's faithfulness to His Word.

Many did not expect much in the way of my sons' futures.
Papa knew better and I trusted Him.

I came across a verse I had claimed in the year Nineteen Eighty-Five, and then reclaimed for Tim in Eighty-Eight.
It is found in the Twenty-Second Chapter of Proverbs, the Twenty-ninth verse,
"Do you see a man skilled in his work?  He will stand before kings.  He will not stand before obscure men."
 I took that to describe a man who excels at what he does and asked Papa for each of my sons to be such a man.

And He has answered.
Each one stands out in his field.
Not that they are famous, which is unimportant, but they are respected and truly skilled at what they do.

I am so grateful to my God. 
He is a gracious God.

As I reflect on how He has answered innumerable prayers in my life I grow hopeful for the future.
I have hope for each individual, family and nation because I know the One Who I have placed my hope in.
He does not disappoint!

I was reading the Eleventh Chapter of Numbers the other morning.  At the end of the chapter the Levites' role was described.  The beginning of the Fifty-Third verse captured my imagination.
"But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony...."
They were to be the buffer between the Presence of the LORD and the people.

The picture that came to mind with those few words was one colored by the New Covenant, which Jesus ushered in.
A picture of joy and privilege.

We have the privilege of dwelling in our God's Presence!
Where we can approach Him at all times.

I do not want to neglect this privilege, nor take it for granted.

There are battles to enter and win!
And there are gifts that Papa has waiting for us to claim!

"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.  For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.  And now my head will be lifted up above  my enemies around me; and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD."