Posted in anger, daughter, disabled, earth, empty, faith, Family, fear, feelings, gift, God, grandchild, grief, heart, home, house, insecurity, Jesus, life, love, pain, poverty, Prayer, quote, resilience, season, seed, son, sorrow, time, truth, worry

Prayer Like A Lace Shawl

Snow has covered the roof tops, grass, leaves, and trees like a lace shawl early this morning. Soft, no harshness with this snowfall. But life has been harsh this past month, like a blizzard. Details to provide for my daughter’s family after their house burned down Christmas night are harsh realities. Life has not been a bed of roses for my daughter most of her life. Disabled with a nerve disorder caused by an error during a disc surgery went undetected for months. Consequently, she has and still suffers with pain most every minute of her day. Every day. Most days she is on top of it, smiles at the days to come. At this bleak season of her life, she lives one day at a time, one hour at a time, and one minute at a time while those details are being covered in prayer. Prayer like a lace shawl does not completely cover the substance underneath. You still see glimpses of rawness; although the bare reality by a teaspoon instead of gallons at any given moment. Loss, grief, disbelief, emptiness, doing without, fear, doubt, anger, just surviving, insecurity, faith at times smaller than a mustard seed, coping, resilience rising, moving a finger at a time and then a hand to say “I am alive” are some of the heart’s feelings they share. God completely envelope my daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren with Your love this very moment.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty —
Jesus Christ.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, —
Give my heart.

“In this bleak mid-winter” as the Christina Rossetti poem and lyrics go, “yet what I can give Him, give my heart.” As we conclude the Advent season, I resound “I can and will give my heart”. We all must in order to survive this harsh world.

Posted in Blog, brother, color, cousin, day, death, Family, feelings, flower, gift, give, God, grace, health, hope, Jesus, mother, Mother Mary, people, quote, renew, sad, scripture, season, sinful woman, Spiritual, woman, Women in My Life, words, write, writer

More Pink Days

What color is your day today? I perused my photos on my cell phone to recall my year. Pink was the pronounced color for this year, with blue a close second. I lost five family members in 2022; two uncles, an aunt, a cousin, and my younger brother. Those were blue days and weeks. The feeling of sadness overwhelmed me at times. But pink, a color synonymous to healthiness, optimism, innocence, and hope overshadowed those days. My hopes are that pink reigns mightily in 2023.

Pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude!

Miley Cyrus

I found myself surrounded with clothing in pinks: dusty rose, cerise, salmon, blush champagne, pink lemonade, bubble gum, magenta … scarves, gloves, hats, dresses, blouses, fancy britches, bunny costumes, accessories …

I am lured to chaise lounges, couches, and chairs dressed in pink.

Nature shows off her pink hues … the winter skyline, spring trees, summer blooms, and autumn grasses.

Date nights, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, and entertainment venues staged in magenta and bubblegum pinks with warm sunshine and waterfront breezes bring a renewed glow …

Strawberry lemonade and tea party pink cookies make any day a special occasion …

The grandeur ladies and Mother Nature placed in my life feed my inner child and I gather myself by writing words in poetry, blogs, and short stories…

This last month of the year I decorate our tabletop Christmas tree with vintage Shiny Brite ornaments from my parents’ collection and love the nostalgic greeting cards sparkled with white and pink splendor, those precious childhood memories flood my senses…

Remember the reason for this holiday season … every season … and use that gift God gave you to share with others in 2023.

Posted in book, faith, Family, God, Holy Spirit, Prayer, quiet, quote, scripture, silence, stillness, words

Be Quiet, Be Still

Get out of your own way. Just sit down a bit. No radio or TV or computer or phone. Pick up that devotional book and read what words are found for today. “Noise is the mouthpiece of the world. Silence is the mouthpiece of God,” author Matthew Kelly shares in his book Amazing Possibilities. The Holy Spirit prompts me to turn off the morning news, put down my i-phone, and to sit in silence. What do I hear while waiting in silence? The songbirds at the feeders, a firetruck zooming down the street, and then the church bells. I sit awhile longer; I can hear and feel my own heart. I start to unload the needs of my family, and miracles requested as I pray to our God. These are big orders, but with God all things are possible. And then those precious thoughts and intimate words only the Divine can share. With faith I embrace His words.

"Be still and know that I am God." 
Psalm 46:10
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 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 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 cross, death, Family, forgiveness, God, holy, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Lent, Prayer, quote, Spiritual, works

Deny Self

Ash Wednesday begins the Lent season. This season is to examine where our present life is at, confess wrongdoing, deny self, and look to God our Father, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit for guidance and follow the calling. What does it mean to deny self? One way is to deny my own needs so another’s needs are met. A healthy marriage requires this regularly. Or deny my urge to lash out on someone who has wronged me or someone I love, but instead pray for them. Another way to deny self is to make a dinner for someone in need rather than spend the afternoon leisure shopping. The Holy Scripture in Matthew 16:24 tells us “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.”

Hand in hand to denying self is the admittance where we have done wrong. We can do this daily, not just on Sundays or holy days, but rather during our regular quiet times, or throughout the day as the Holy Spirit leads. In many Christian faiths there is a prayer called the Confiteor, which we confess during our regular services. This is a good place to start if one needs guidance on how to pray for forgiveness.

“I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault …”

Following Jesus is not an easy task. Sometimes it is multiple uneasy tasks. “How many times do I forgive my brother?” you may ask. “Seventy times seven” Jesus tells us. “Pray for your enemies.” Jesus also says. “The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His,” Christian author and minister George Macdonald is quoted. Have you suffered unto death like Jesus Christ? I am preaching to me as well as to whoever needs to be reminded like myself.

Let this Lent season be a time of reflection, forgiveness, denial of self, prayer, true worship, and good works unto our Lord.

Posted in care, change, choice, compassion, faith, gift, give, God, grace, heart, hope, Jesus, love, people, quote, redeemer, scripture, season, sinful woman

Love Will Turn You Around

Love, what a powerful emotion and force. A gift. The Holy Scriptures mention “love” 541 times. The Bible tells us there are 4 loves. These are storge (empathy bond), philia (friend bond), eros (romantic love), and agape (unconditional God love). The season for love is now more than ever. This world needs love. Not any love, but a perfect love. God’s love. It is unwavering. His love does not fail us. People may fail us, but He does not. God’s love mends our hearts.

“Love will turn you around, turn you around.” Kenny Rogers’ song keeps playing in my head. I think the lyrics have a different meaning than what I am thinking. The words bring me to thoughts on what changed my direction years ago, what redirects my course, day after day after day. It is what kept me from a reckless lifestyle. It is the love and grace of our God and His Son, Jesus that saved me. His love is full of grace especially when you and I waver or fall short.

In the first letter to the Corinthians this is what Holy Scriptures tell us about love. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8) That is Who and What my Saviour has been for me, and what He asks of me. He loves you in the same manner. Romans 2:11 tells us “For God treats everyone the same.”

“There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

I Corinthians 13:13

Posted in book, creative, explore, friend, God, grace, health, house, husband, job, life, love, mind, quote, rest, season, sick, words, write, writer

One Word for 2022

The first full week in the New Year had me at my primary care and eye doctors for annual check-up appointments, after-the-holidays bargain shopping, two meals out to catch up with friends and family after the holidays and finishing the manuscript of my first poetry chapbook. The second full week, well, did I tell you that COVID continues to be rampant? Apparently so much so that my husband and I finally acquired the virus after it has been around the world a few times the past 2 years. We are thankful that our symptoms thus far have been very minor, like a bad head cold. Naps, more naps, and plenty of hot herbal teas have been our regiments. And of course, quarantining.

Staying home in isolation is not too difficult for me. I am retired from full-time work and have no cooking classes to teach until February. My husband works remotely most days of the week and has been strictly home this past week working quietly between his naps. Our first snow of the year fell this weekend, definitely another excuse to stay indoors. Enjoy watching the birds feed from the window. Reading, writing, and homemade soup making have been my occupations this past 2 weeks. As I go in and out of sleepiness, words ebb and flow like a river stream. Perfect timing to finish my second poetry manuscript, the newest edition of the first but photos are included. Both manuscripts are now submitted to two different publishers.

While words flit in and out of my mind, one word “explore” has stuck with me, and I adopted for my 2022. My New Year’s goal is to explore. So instead of singling on one action in one aspect of life such as losing 20 pounds or exercising 5x times a week, I have an action word to cover the many dimensions of my life. I will explore God’s grace in my life, I will explore new authors and books to read, explore new writing and teaching opportunities, explore healthier recipes, explore antique bargains, explore new plants to grow for garden art projects, and explore new ways to show God’s love to my family and friends. Filmmaker Joss Whedon has said “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it. Sauté it, whatever. Make.” Create. Make. “Just do it” as Nike coins their brand. So, what is your word for this new year? This 2022 is your year, and mine!

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it. Sauté it, whatever. Make.”
~ Joss Whedon