Saturday, January 1, 2022

Picture/Word of the Year-2022


 My picture/word reveal for 2022, "Revive."

My dog at the beginning of March became lethargic.I put a request out on Facebook for prayers, not for healing, but for comfort. He's an old dog, but until that day, Harrison, at fourteen, was lively with bright eyes, only slightly clouded. We half carried him to the car. My heart broke as legs gave out underneath him. We waited in the car until it was time for him to go in. After a while, they helped us into the exam room. The young vet palpated his abdomen and suggested an x-ray.As we waited for the resluts, he didn't fight to have his nails trimmed and he hates having his feet touched.

Finally, the news came. A tumor grew around his liver and spleen. She didn't suggest putting him to sleep that night or soon, she only said, "You'll know." A few prescriptions came home with us and a suggestion from a friend to use can food seemed to help turn the course. I was cautiously hopeful. I cried at the end of Toy Story 4, as I imagined saying good bye to my long time friend.

A few days, after many mornings of watching if his chest rose, he got stronger. He crawled the stairs.

By the end of March, in this picture, he loved his walks again. They were shorter, but he anxiously watched as I put on walking shoes and grabbed bags. He needed help to get him into the car, but happiness crossed his face.

I started calling him Lazarus. I felt he came back from the dead. He improved every day. He revived. Now, these last few weeks, he has returned to puppy behavior, panty raids, tearing up paper, and attacking the cat. Not just revived, but full of life! Was he anticipating a midnight visit with Santa?

Revive. Harrison's recovery is a symbol for much to revive in the coming year. God gave me more time with Harrison and that gave me hope in a situation that was one of the hardest I have gone through. The evening of that horrid day, my faithful pal laid at my feet, as I was alone. God knew I needed that physical presence of an earthly being, who wouldn't say platitudes. 

Dreams that seemed buried and long forgotten will be revived in 2022. I heard and believe that. I am really writing again. The death shrouds  that kept my flame diminished for writing fell to my feet. A vision I had of working with children thirty years ago came to life in August. So, similar to what I had imagined in 1991, on a prayful morning and  had forgotten, until I saw in the flesh, kids coming up to me for hugs. Confirmation. Revive.

So hang on my dear readers who have been waiting for more novels. I see me writing and finishing them the first part of 2022. It is still a process with editing and publishing, but Godspeed on Revive. Circumstances change and mostly my grit returned to favor this dream.

Like Harrison, an old, almost dead dog returning to puppy vigor, revival will be full tilt. Maybe the dreams were buried or on life support, kept alive with half hopes, but I believe the excitement with discipline, trusting God, will return to life more abundantly. What do you see God reviving in your life?

2 Corinthians 5:17 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.



Sunday, December 12, 2021

Peace in a Weary World

 

As I write this, a front howls through our area. Thankfully, only wind and rain fight with the untypically warm temperatures for the end of fall. They dropped with the front passing; sixty one to thirty seven degrees. I hear about the tornadoes overnight in southern states of Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois. The death toll of historic proportions, the headlines scream, as well as damage we have not seen in that area in years. And maybe the longest tornado on ground, in history.

We're ending the second week of Advent. This week named Peace. Last Friday, as we approached Peace week, it flowed over me. Walking my dog in calmer weather in the evening, catching the Christmas lights, solutions vanquished problems I worked on. Being in God's will, I could say for certain, as it was second Friday in December, I knew peace and rest. It is well.

The next scene in my novel, my work in progress, I saw. I had lost seven chapters with an unexpected computer update a few years ago, so I have been trying to capture what I wrote and wondering if that is really the way I should go. I must admit, some days like the the lost chapters, I had lost interest. Many life struggles lived in the shadow of "I must write," making my novel seem like a mountain. I'll also blame Facebook, which is easy to read, and easily interupted. I felt writing a toll road that I didn't want to travel, but only occasionally. I sprint for a day, then sputtered off course.

This peace I experienced that evening told me everything will work out. My mission is with kids, now. My little patient has made strides over the past six months. I struggled at first as grief I had to suppress over another case and the temporary status of this case checked my heart. By day three, though, his small hand reached for mine and I think he hooked me by that jesture. He does well because I cultivate learning with everything we do. I lead the horse to water and finally, he has taken some drinks. I feel I am where I am to be.

Sunday, members of our family joined David and I in church. I chose the balcony so they wouldn't feel displayed. David and I had joked about sitting in the balcony since we started going there, so that was a reason, too. A wonderful service about peace awaited us. The choir's Silent Night enveloped me. My soul soared like the notes reaching the rafters. Peace.

I carried that peace all day and into Monday. Even the thank you note mentioned they felt peace this weekend staying with us and they felt I created it. Peace has to be within. Peace that passes all understanding.

Yet, Tuesday, circumstances threatened peace. Sickness, death, threats, society not recognizing their sin flooded my mind. I wrote, “I heard the bells on Christmas Day. So much sadness this day and praying. But God is not dead those bells ring out. Peace on earth, good will to man.

“Our Lord is the calm in the storm, the Comforter, the Healer, the Lover of our souls. Now, that's Good News.”

Peace comes with the reason Jesus, a King born a Baby, grew up to be the sacrifice for the sin of the world. His blood changes our sin DNA and we become new creations, in His blood line, now. The angels declared it to the shepherds on that night two thousand years ago. God showed up to the outcasts and He will show up for you. He says, “Peace unto you, with whom I am well pleased.”

The storms do not go away. The Light shines through the storm, only because of Christ. He brings eternal peace in relationship with the Prince of Peace. Enter into that relationship and go deep with the Lord. Peace will not be shaken as you learn more of Him and His eternal peace.

Casting Crowns - I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day Live - YouTube


Acknowledgment: Henry W. Longfellow, and my minister, Rick Stauffer.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Destitution

 


I pray for destitution this Advent season. Wow! That's a weird prayer. I blame it on My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. May we be destitute.

This past Sunday morning I was led to this. I read Psalm 24. The whole earth is the Lord's and all that is in it. It begs the question, Who can go to His mountain? Those with clean hands and pure hearts. Well, who really is that?

The last few days, I was reading Matthew 27 about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Saturday, I read Psalm 22. The words of this Psalm specifically spell out what Jesus experienced, even though they were written many years before- a prophecy of King David's. I can't imagine what David envisioned or lived, to “see” these words. All this points to the Cross, the Great Exchange, the only action that makes a new heart. I had been thinking on the sacrifice.

That is how we go to the mountain of God, by way of the Cross. Our hands are pure because Christ took our sins. I sat to contemplate this after reading Psalm 24. I wrote to God that morning, “You are so great, yet You invite us not only into Your presence, but to be Your dwelling place, Your presence. - Wow! The greatness of You in me, a broken, clay vessel. I should fall, prostrate. I don't want to give up. Fill me more.”

I continued to pray for revival. I'm not praying for a hoopla experience, a flash in the pan. I want one that changes hearts. We may become new hearts, new creations. I finished for us older believers, crack the stone off our hearts.

The Gospel of Mark begins with preparing the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. John the Baptist called Israel to repentance. He baptized with water of repentance. Jesus baptizes with fire. A little later in the chapter, Jesus' water baptism from John shows His identification with us in repentance. His Emmanuel, one hundred percent Man and one hundred percent God, perfect, carried through the water baptism of repentance in preparation for the Cross, where He took on our sin DNA. With this, Jesus forms new hearts- Happy Advent.

This exchange makes us all level. We all sin and we are all on the same level as the worse sinner. This is where Oswald Chambers comes in. “The Gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the revelation which it brings is not palatable. There is a certain pride in man that will give and give, but to come and accept is another thing. ...do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner.”

We need to be destitute. We need to see our great need, or God cannot work with us. We can only “enter into His Kingdom through the door of destitution.” - Oswald Chambers, again.

All of us are not OK. We all need Jesus. We all need the Cross. We humble ourselves to accept what we cannot do on our own. We should have the sense of need only One can fulfill. Like in The Christmas Carol, facing our own death may bring us to new life- the Ebeneezer Scrooge moment. This Advent, I pray we are all destitute. May a revival break out. Admit our need, we are never worthy, yet God in mercy made a way for all people through His Son on the Cross.

Changed hearts or new hearts, for that I pray. Make us destitute- Make us destitute, to be full in Jesus.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Seasons' Colors

                                               Just like that Spring is over

                                                    and summer has come.

                                                  Fallen blooms brown

                                                 crushed on the ground

                                                  Spring has death, too, 

                                                   in a display of color.

                                                Gives way to green

                                         unlike the colors following fall 

                                   giving way to white or dull. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 Word Picture Reveal

Home

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVbPgBGv2to 

Who could have guessed what kind of year 2020 would have been? Maybe Home should have been the word last year, but 2019 was not 2020. Praying 2021 is not 2020.

Home, though, we have grown used to. I look at it this year as the refuge it is to be. We come home. Home can be a sanctuary where are yoked with Jesus. Courage can be built at home. Abundance starts at home. We rest at home. We walk through the door to hope. Our dreams may start in the safety of home, even if the dream makes us soar from home. There is glory at home. Shalom will be on homes as we trust in Jesus. I will write the light at home.


As I have spent more time at home these past months, masking myself deters my wanting to leave. I do walk often. As I noticed families more this year being outside together, I felt nostalgia. Seeing kids riding bikes, roller blading or skate boarding reminded me of home when I grew up. I picked this area, as less hills and being close to Buhl Farm Park would lend itself to those kind of activities for my kids. This picture screams HOME to me. The dog knows he's home. My son-in-law powered washed it that day. I see hope, shalom, glory in my home. I see improvement. I see writing the light there. Dreams will come to pass there. More than shelter, I feel courage to grow. Celebrate me home.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Write the Light-My Word/Picture for 2020


I sit here on New Year's Day afternoon, ready to edit what I wrote in the early morning. The day started gray, but the sun soon broke through. The wonderfully blue sky of low humidity shows off the bright light. Remnants of snow remain on the ground. I plan to go to a contemplative place today. Happy New Year.

Another year. Another picture and word came easily. Like Hallmark, I started watching the Christmas movies early. Of the selection, I viewed Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage second, back in November. Thomas is in college and floundering a bit with his gift of painting. His mother is losing the cottage, but has hidden it from her boys so they will enjoy their Christmas break. A famous painter, played by Peter O'Toole, lives next door. The death of the love of his life stymied his painting, along with health issues. At the very end, he makes this valiant effort of one more painting so the mother can save the cottage. He trudges to their home after the small town spent all Christmas Day sprucing her property up. He discovers he must paint the light and so he leaves that legacy to Thomas Kinkade, “Paint the light.”
I thought, that's it, I must write the light. I had not only my word, but the picture, too. As Christmas grew closer and then intersecting with Hanukkah, the references to Light are too numerous to mention.
I feel like a teenager tackling a term paper with material everywhere and trying to narrow it down.
I remember my first harshly graded paper, I got a C, with “Be concise” written in red. I was upset, but also glad I was challenged. I think before in junior high, high grades came with obedience. Oh, there may have been a spark of worth but certainly not deserving excellent grades. I was a good girl. This social studies teacher pointed out my skating habit and wouldn't let me stay in that lane. I am grateful to him. I wasn't changed by that one paper, though. The C and comment started the journey to maturity.
Light fills this time of year. From the outdoor decorations to candles, trees and the knowledge of the source of all Light. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” In light, there can be no darkness. A flame does not cast a shadow. I love Ted Dekker's promotion for a study he wrote. The little girl starts singing loudly about “This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.” She grows older and the voice falters, till as a young woman, her light goes out. Ted comes out and asks, “Who said your light was little?”
Christians have Jesus living in them. The Light flows through us, or it should. Our faces need to glow with the Light shining from within.
We live in a dark world as we try to illuminate it. Some do not want light. I feared for a while that writing the Light made me seem naive as I struggled again with style and platform. I am confident, I am to write. I am to publish. I will write the Light.
The letters of John have been the main focus of my time in the Bible in December. I think we all need to visit these epistles more than we do. The writing shouts what our lives as Christians should be. We should have no fear. Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world. Perfect love casts out all fear. The words renew my calling as a writer and as a person of the Cross. Emboldened, I will not write in shadows, cowering that I may offend someone. I am who I am, a child of the Light. I will write the Light.
2020 has been touted as a year of vision. I pray the Light I write will strengthen the vision. The times are bleak, but they have often been. Believers need to rise up and love. As the old song, Love is the Answer by Todd Rundgren, pleads, "Light of the world shine on me."
I feel I have been preparing for this word/picture for a long time.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Gray Memories



A foggy Christmas Eve to a pitch Christmas morning lead to no bright dawn today. I remember, when I was six or seven, in first grade, I woke and took a peek downstairs. A toy land of a ranch for Jane West sprung up on one side of the tall Christmas tree, built I heard in my adult years, by my big brother and his friend. I got a watch that Christmas, too, and even though I couldn't tell time, I remember a hand being on the seven. Don't ask me why. The living room spilled over with gifts, wrapped and unwrapped.
No one else aroused, as my siblings were teenagers. My parents, I learned later had just tucked the turkey in the oven at six thirty for our noon meal. They collapsed in bed. After my peek, I couldn't contain myself and ran to their room, oh, so dark on an early winter day. My words tumbled out of my mouth as I told them all Santa had left for me, even down to the watch that I couldn't tell time.
They listened without complaint or grumble. They bolstered my belief. That helped later when my faith grew. I believed in the lavishness of God. They help me work for what I wanted to achieve. I never doubted myself as a child, teen or young adult.
Today, I worked a Christmas morning. The fog thick as my bah humbug covered the earth. I could see the sun outlined behind the laden air. I knew this feeling would go like that sun would break up the water molecules graying the earth. Yet, I slumped in my soul and fought the blues as I drove in the car.
I pushed the address in the GPS. I thought I was heading farther south until I saw where I was to turn. Oh, that Mitchell Road, not the one in New Castle, I glimpsed. I drove through my home town, where no relative lives any more. I have friends here still and the morning brightened.
After my admission, where I was most welcomed because she could be home, I stood for a minute on the porch in the country. Water glistened on the bare branches in the brightening sun, still valiantly burning through the fog, the light in a thousand sparkles instead of one strong force.
I didn't go  the way the GPS would have me go. I turned it off and drove down Mitchell Road past where the trailer park where I baby sat as a teenager, a house I would have loved to buy as a young adult, friends' houses and roads off this one. I love our hills, being on top of them, gazing at the Shenango Valley. I love driving down the hill into my home town.
More friends' homes, decorated Christmas famously in the lightening sun lined Main Street. My old home with windows dark and siding gray, waits for the love it once had. No one is there. My old home is empty and I want to love it once more. I heard the promise and I know these things take time. I can't live there. But if I lean close, I can hear the voices of Christmas morning and smell the turkey roasting, maybe a fragrant candle mingling with all those great aromas of pies, bean green casserole and baked corn. I hear the voices of delight from the kids and parents, as we all open gifts. A Christmas parade or football on the only TV, in competition with the radio in the kitchen playing Christmas specials completes the morning sounds.
My road out of town to the next patient was one way to my grandmother's. She didn't drive and more often than not, my dad had the task of getting her for the holidays. I often rode along, happy to see her and Bitsy with a red bow. The terrier, the same age as I, I sometimes walked when we had a green Christmas.
Today, I see one child on a side walk of the neighboring town. I glance up the street and a brother is on a skate board. I think how when the weather was warm like today, I rode a new bike to my best friend's in the afternoon. I had never visited a friend on Christmas Day before. Christmas Day was always a day for family.
I come home early afternoon, today, in the full sunshine. My admission visits done, but paperwork awaits. As I'm eating leftovers for lunch, my daughter from Texas calls. We had a family group text of good wishes and “Happy New Year...in jail.” from the Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life. I'm glad to talk to her. I hear her husband in the background, chatting with his family. They had brunch on the picnic tables pulled together with coworkers at the RV resort. It is sunny, but not as warm as predicted there. I enjoy our sun and bright blue skies out my window, as I listen to my baby's voice.
I take a nap after, smelling ham today and baked beans. I fell into a deep sleep and surprised it was only a few minutes. Naps can be like that. I'm awake long enough to relish the sun shine.
We've eaten an early dinner and I am writing. I know this is what I am to do. The sun sets a few minutes later than a few days ago. The days lengthen. At five, I hear the local church bells. I didn't have that growing up. No hymns, just the ringing in of eight am, noon and six at the Good Shepherd.
My memories don't feel so gray, now. I miss my family, but I'm grateful for my childhood. Sure, there were moments, but none too bad. Expectations not met at times caused some blues. As my husband says,”It never was what we remember.” But the memories comfort as we make new ones.Image may contain: 1 person
A few years before the Christmas I recalled today. I was in preschool- 1965.