Posted in come, earth, eyes, faith, God, grace, heaven, help, hope, Jesus, love, mercy, mountains, sacred, scripture, seed

Rough Crags and Towering Mountains

The words were plenty to describe how I felt as a passenger in our sedan driving in the canyons with the rough crags and towering mountains surrounding. I felt swallowed up, minuet, minuscule, insignificant, a speck, as dust in the wind and then vaporized. It was a perspective I had not thought about in years as it had been at least 3 years since I was in the Rocky Mountains. I was overwhelmingly humbled by the sacred terrain at various times while vacationing in Colorado, brought to tears.

Such a vast and broad point of view if I were one of those mountains. It must be a fraction of how God views each of us. Yet He has personalized His love for each of us with His Son, Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Oh, the love, grace, and mercy of our God! And how He views my faith the size of a mustard seed, and still helps!

I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalms 121: 1- 2
Posted in book, children, editor, Emotional, faith, fight, heart, life, mother, Prayer, quote, silence, soul, vulnerable, warm, Warrior, woman, words, write, writer

Wordsmithery

It all started with words scribbled in a journal 40 years ago as a young mother, excited and overwhelmed at the same time with my new role as a parent of a little one. I have kept a journal since. It is not a locked diary like as a pre-teen, as my words are an open book. I keep no secrets. I write my heart and eventually some words come out in blog form, poetry, and short stories. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Flapper Press to request an interview for an article in their newsletter. Included in the interview were three poems I wrote about various topics that have stirred my emotions regarding the basic human need for warmth in the winter, a woman’s vulnerability, and Ukraine’s fight for democracy. I submitted these to the Flapper Press editor, Annie prior to the interview request. Read Annie’s write-up for more details.

Flapper Press

I return to pen and paper or the other form of word processing, a laptop computer as the need arises. Which is just about daily. Wordsmithery has become a way of being for me. Playing “Word With Friends” or Scrabble, daily use of the online dictionary, and reading are all a part of my obsession with words. As a child my mother would tell me to pick up a book and read. No one has to encourage me with that anymore. Now I am a wordsmith by necessity. “I am a poet and didn’t even know it”. I believe that is an old saying that has rung true to me as an adult. This quiet soul has words welling up to share. Many words. With prayer and faith let them be His words.

“So give me Words to speak, don’t let my Spirit sleep.”

Aaron Shust
Posted in age, anxious, art, body, change, community, connection, crazy, creative, Family, garden, God, health, heart, Holy Spirit, home, hospitality, house, Jesus, job, life, listen, live, Martha, Mary, nourish, people, quote, renew, resources, rest, scripture, season, sin, soul, stillness, time, walk, words, works, worry, write, writer

A Day In A Life Of This Retired Martha

People ask, “What do you do with your day now that you are retired?” I have always said I will never completely retire. I may not get paid for my labor but will always find a project or two worth working at. I am semi-retired at this time of my life. In June 2021 what I retired from was multi-tasking 5 or 6 days a week. My body and mind had enough, literally my heart and my doctors were telling me to slow down. My employee wellness job with the local government kept me overly busy with 4 or 5 projects at a time, an income not reflecting what I did for over 4,000 employees and 2,500 retirees. Since retirement from full-time work, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill my days with what God deems worth my time, resources, and energy. A person’s value or worth to this world is not based on how much income they bring in. Value is placed on what God says is worthy. I know worth is found through Jesus, who died on the cross for my sins and yours, because of His love for me and you. I believe most people have a “Mary” and a “Martha” side to them. I have been a “Martha” by necessity since 8 years of age and have to allow the “Mary” side to come out more. That is the side where my soul gets refreshed and my writing plays in the script. When I allow myself plenty of time to reflect, the words flow. For me at least one day out of the week, it is a steady stream.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things, when only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41 & 42

My hobbies of gardening, cooking, crafting, reading and writing provide several projects, but not all at the same time. Each day is different than yesterday. Those daily routines of making the bed, laundry, meals, bills, and quiet time, are consistent. I am attempting to make brisk walks or lap-swims a regular part my life again without making it such a regiment, just a natural flow in my day. I started working a wellness-related job, but just 1 or 2 days a week. That’s enough multi-tasking for me. Developing and teaching culinary classes at the local community college is limited to just 2 or 3 classes a month. This summer I took on work with senior citizens in our community through an organization called Papa. Using an app, I sign up as needs arise, assisting with household chores for 1 or 2 local women in my community during the month. Recently I signed up to bring meals to our pastors twice a month. Then one weekend a month Dean and I rent our vintage home through Airbnb, a good reason for a thorough cleaning before and after the rental weekend. This allows tourists a quaint home to stay in for the weekend while visiting our historic town. I know what I like when Dean & I travel and try to make our home just that for others. We recently have made “super host” status. My newest art craze are button journals. I design those and attempt to sell them through a local hand-craft boutique. And there is our big family with all those social events such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries in the mix. So that is the day in the life of this retired Martha, never the same each day. I am not retired from life and enjoy living a Mary life more and more each day.

Posted in anxious, blessings, care, community, cousin, depression, die, Emotional, empty, failure, faith, Family, feelings, God, house, hurt, job, joy, love, Mental, mercy, neighbor, pain, people, Physical, Prayer, water, weep

Lavish Love

Some days I feel people just don’t even give a damn. Other days it hurts to see those you love in pain, physical or emotional anguish. I holler out, “God, where is Your mercy, Your justice.” Then other days when the flood waters rise, it is hard to see God in it. We prayed for rain after 100+ degree temps and no rain for days this scorching summer. We got it alright in one stormy night of 8 -12 inches of rain. Destruction surrounds us and the local news captures the next devastating story of the flash floods. One person dead. 10 puppies from a stray rescue facility drown. Basements and houses fill with water. Businesses close. No flood insurance for most. Is this the Noah’s ark story being told again, I wonder? I attended the funeral service for my uncle this week. A man wrongly accused the latter days of his life. My cousin cried. Many of us shed our own tears, crying for mercy.

The pastor who shared at my uncle’s eulogy reminded us of the beautiful Japanese art form that is made from broken fragments. Nothing is wasted, everything made beautiful it its time. Ravishing lavish love, this is what I want. Flooding in. It’s what we all want. People will fail, just living this life will disappoint, but God does not. His love is perfect. Let Him fill that emptiness you feel with His perfect love. The anxiety about your present-day situation will subside. Feeling overwhelmed is real . . . Stop now. Pray. Count your blessings. Your cup will overflow with His love. Families, neighbors, and the community have come and will come together to help those in need. People and pets are rescued. Officials and first responders care and continue to share the burden. Jesus is carrying you. He cares.

“May mercy, peace, and love be lavished on you!” ~ Jude 1:2

Posted in change, connection, courage, daughter, friend, gift, God, job, lesson, life, love, quote, season, time

DeJa’Vu

Life changes so quickly sometimes. Change can be good. Events like moving to another house, accepting a new job, retiring, a death of a loved one or friend, marital status, and welcoming a new baby into the family can dictate who with and how much time and effort is needed to keep up on a relationship. The key is you still need relationships with people who help make you a better person. Some friendships stick through your lifetime, and others are for a season or two. Sometimes life circles around, back to old friends and lifestyles.

Time is a figure eight, at its center the city of Deja Vu.”

~ Robert Breault ~

Last week I had dinner with a couple who I went to church with many years ago and worked with the man at the church daycare center when my daughters were in preschool and kindergarten. That was over 30 years ago! We had kept tabs from time to time while still attending sister churches, and then through Facebook. For me FB has been a great avenue to reconnect to old acquaintances and friends. I wanted to see this lovely couple face-to-face and share some time and encouragement. I have always been blessed when I speak to these folks just like our time together 30+ years later.

This week I met up with another friend from my tearoom days. Over 30 years ago I worked with this woman in her tearoom for a season. We always connect well when we speak on the phone or message each other through FB. She and her son have painstakingly renovated a portion of an old building into an event venue. They exposed the beautifully tiled ceiling and wood floors. Elsberry, the small town that the venue is in is just 30 minutes north of metro St. Louis, and the venue priced so reasonable. HeritageOnBroadway has openings for your wedding, shower, reunion, and fundraiser event. Look them up via this link.

This month I gathered courage to take on a very part-time administrative assistant position at a small counseling practice. As all my jobs, this job has purpose, helping people get the talk therapy they need as well as provides for my daughter’s medical needs. Before my careers in employee benefits and culinary instruction, and after my tearoom adventures, I worked as an administrative assistant at various places. Well over thirty years ago at the church and medical/dental offices. DeJa’Vu. I am here again. God, what lessons do I still need to learn here?

“Usually we find later that we did good. Its all about how things will happen if we allow our own inner to steer just like a wrapping for a gift when we realize it’s all been Déjà vu.”

~ Levi Paul Taylor~

Posted in choice, community, daughter, earth, Family, farmer, friends, gossip, heart, holy, hurt, insecurity, job, karma, kind, life, purpose, rain, refresh, scripture, water, words

Ebb and Flow

Just one word. The right word. The ebb and flow of one right word with its syllables, pronunciation, and perfect timing. It drops into a pool of water, and ripples through wave after wave until it returns to you, refreshing and uplifting. Like that of karma, the spiritual principle of cause and effect.  Holy scriptures tell us, “Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”

I had an interview today for a half-time position desired with the local library.  I am semi-retired.  The income from this job I seek will assist with my daughter’s medical needs, treatments not covered by insurance. So, plenty of pressure.  After answering their questions, the best I could, the managers asked if I had any questions for them.  I hope my three questions were appropriate.  An old proverb says, “Whoever speaks a word at an opportune time is like apples of gold on beds of silver.”  I am feeling insecure about one question I asked the managers of the local library, whether it was appropriate during this interview.  I asked about security at the library.  Maybe the timing was not appropriate?  I suppose because of my past experiences, this is a concern of mine.  A person never quite gets over assault, extra vigilant anywhere she goes, even at the local library. Apparently, somebody else has been concerned about security at the library because I learned they have a security officer stationed there in the afternoons and evenings to deter possible crime.

The ebb and flow of one wrong word is like a boomerang cutting everything it touches.  It abruptly comes back to you, can cut you like a knife.  Hopefully this is not the case for my question asked at the interview, maybe not the best time and it may have costed my job offer.  But wrong words spoken in gossip are a boomerang, cuts the heart and life of the people who hear the gossip, shredding the relationships of the victim as well as the gossipers.  It destroys families, friends, and communities.  Do not let your words haunt you, hang you, behead you.  Choose words wisely.  If an apology is necessary, make it right while you have today as there are no guarantees for tomorrow.  Let the droplet of a kind word permeate into the souls of those hear it, and the refreshment of that word will return to you wave after wave after wave.  The ebb and flow of one right word.

Posted in brother, choice, church, community, creative, day, differences, diversity, faith, Family, feelings, God, hate, Holy Spirit, Jesus, love, neighbor, partial, quote, respect, scripture, sister, spirit, works

This Bird, This Feather, This Love

Have you heard the saying “birds of a feather flock together“? It is the idea that families or people of kindred spirit stay together in one way or another. Other explanations are “People having similar tastes often get together and feel comfortable in each other’s company. It also means that similar people enjoy life together and often gather to exchange ideas” found on https://literarydevices.net/birds-of-a-feather-flock-together/. Here is a poem by Harley White that defines the phrase more …

Birds Of A Feather

Opposites may hold attraction
But lack lasting satisfaction.
Frequently push comes to shove.
In comes hate and out goes love.

Animals in fights and fleeings
Still are mostly social beings.
In a pinch, at end of tether,
Birds of a feather flock together.

Multitudes of furry creatures
Seem alike in lots of features.
Yet that’s not their point of view,
And they vie to prove this true.

Mockingbirds may sing like parrots.
Horses, rabbits crunch on carrots.
Many species act as one
To lark and run in the sun.
But in times of stormy weather,
Birds of a feather flock together.

A family does not necessarily display the birds of a feather concept. Some rarely interact with each other, and when they do it is a competing race, insults slapping the face of a brother or sister, backstabbing, or continuing dysfunctional roles from childhood. This can be blood relatives or in the church family. This attitude filters into work groups, community organizations, and neighborhoods displaying indifference and hatred. Whatever happen to plain respect for another human being who is made in the likeness of God just like you or me? So don’t give me “my family is better than theirs” or “if only they’d be more like me, I’d accept them then.” God made each of us unique and with diversity. Look at our fingerprints. Not one exactly the same. We each are our own person. How creative is our God! God is not partial to one person over another, He loves us with a divine equality. Romans 2:11 says “For there is no partiality with God.” At the end of the day, God still calls each of us to love one another despite our differences and ill feelings. Jesus tells us “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. In the 1960’s Fr. Peter Scholtes wrote the lyrics to this song based on John 13:35…

They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Love one another is a real challenge some days, but remember we love because He loved us first. “Flock together” today.

Posted in come, comfort, earth, Emotional, faith, forgiveness, grace, heart, heaven, home, invitation, sorrow, Spiritual

An Invitation

Come As You Are is a beautiful invitational hymn by David Crowder…

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let the rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh, sinner, come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh, wanderer come home
You’re not too far

So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh, wanderer come home
You’re not too far

Lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
And fall in His arms
Come as you are

There’s joy for the morning
Oh, sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh, wanderer come home
You’re not too far

So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

Posted in body, brother, church, death, father, grace, grandfather, grief, heaven, Jesus, life, love, mother, peace, Physical, Prayer, season, soul, Spiritual

I Still Love You

In darkness, in grief, in despair, or even just in the midst of seasons that never seem to end, we need to make space for pause.

~ Ann Voskamp

I still love you even though you left so abruptly. I had even wished it was one of your April’s fool’s jokes. I wondered that whole day on your favorite holiday if you would send a message or telephone to say, “April’s fools! It’s all a joke, I am not really dead.” But not so. You are dead, or least to this world. You have passed onto a much happier, freer life now. How is Heaven, my brother?

I still love you even though we lived so different lives. You a bachelor, no family to attend to and I with 6 adult children and 8 grandchildren. We still shared a love for our beloved mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and our northern friends. We lived in the same childhood home & family tree farm, made childhood vacation memories. We shared a love of the great outdoors, you especially with your hunting and fishing; I with my gardening. It meant the world to me when you came to Dean and I’s greenhouse and brought Grandpa to see our new adventure.

I still love you even though you left without saying those words to me. You left angry at me and our other siblings. You wanted no accountability, live life mortgage-free and a life full of cigarettes, alcohol, women, and gambling. You were writing checks your body could not cash in on anymore. We all can be a prodigal son at times, get off-course to what really matters. I know I have in my life. I had just hoped you would have come around while living on this earth. But I think you are now with those you loved the most, Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Paula, your soulmate Eileen, and the Lord. The heavenly reunion was a joyful one, I am sure.

I still love you as you have taught me how to laugh and be unconventional. I think you will continue to teach me lessons. I know you were not a churchgoer, but a believer in Jesus Christ. Despite how many knelt knees and fervent prayers are said, it is by His grace that we are saved and set free. I have my quiet time almost every morning, but this week I am attending Mass every morning, too. Not sure how long God has called me to this, but I feel a peace each morning while praying with others and for others. I did this for various seasons while working in human resources, attended noon Mass at the church a block from my office during some troublesome times and for troubled employees.

“We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” ~Norman Maclean

The movie A River Runs Through It reminds me of you. You are the Brad Pitt character, Paul. I saw this movie a couple of days before I learned of the news of your passing, and I told Dean “Paul reminds me of Steve.” The closing words of Norman Maclean’s story, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and ran over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops.” To me that river is the blood of Jesus, running through us, the rocks are us, and some of those rocks just have a little bit more sprinkling of raindrops, the blood of Jesus. God rest your soul. I love you, brother Steve.

Posted in addiction, care, change, choice, depression, doom, follow, forgiveness, God, grace, hurt, insecurity, Jesus, life, man, pain, repent, sin, sinful woman, strength, truth, woman

A Fleeting Moment

Many of us live for a fleeting moment and pleasure. I know I have been guilty of such. We get so wrapped up into this earthly life, some days it is just surviving and other days on top of the world. Distractions like the idle chasing of butterflies, that bowl of ice cream x 3, another sugary coffee drink, the I-phone or computer screen. Momentary pleasures of a smoke or two, alcoholic drink of choice, the betting game until you win, another frivolous purchase, or floating high on a mind-altering drug without a care in the world, all these possible addictions mask the cold hard truths of life, pain, and depression. Like the painting Ship of Fools by Carl Dobsky, our doom may be just a few feet away.

Yesterday’s Gospel reading was about the woman caught in adultery and how Jesus extended grace to her but warned her “sin no more”. The priest opened the homily with “we all have been caught with the hand in the cookie jar.” Either by stealing, gossiping, gazing at internet porn, cheating on your taxes, telling untruths, slacking on the job, etc. The priest brought up an interesting question, what about the man, why was not he brought before judgement like the woman? The priest suggested that the adulterous man ran faster than the accusers. Any case he will still stand before God’s judgement. God looks for a repented heart, that is where you make a round-about change in direction from the wrongdoing.

The grace of God covers our sins when we confess them to Him. Addictions make it difficult to truly repent, but it is possible by calling on Him for strength. It is a day-by-day battle, for some minute-by-minute journey. Insecurities and unmet needs can lead us the wrong direction. Justifications can set in. I remember the day many years ago I had to choose what direction I was to take, to continue hanging around bad company, or take a different path with the mocking and ridicule to follow. I am so happy Jesus led me His Way. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life …” (John 14:6) Jesus tells each of us.