Posted in clean, daughter, dirt, feelings, flower, God, health, heart, Holy Spirit, Jesus, life, mother, quote, redeemer, renew, scripture, unworthiness, walk

The Dirt of Life

Life can be messy sometimes. For some folks, maybe more so or less than you. We all have it. No one is immune to it. Dirt, the stuff that causes disorder, turmoil, feelings of unworthiness, unclean inside and/or outside. My daughter gave me a framed picture for Mother’s Day that says these words, “Every flower must grow through dirt.” What a lovely reminder, that beauty can be found in the midst of a mess. And fun, too. Remember those mud pies you made as a child? Also, healthy foods come from the dirt.

You can find dirt in my life, and I know there is some in yours because we are human. But let’s focus on the beauty that is present day. First, because of the gift of Jesus and His life, death, and resurrection, I am redeemed. You are, too! Psalms 25:8 tells us “The Lord is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray.” I am asking God, what are You leading me to, and what do You have planned for me today? The speed I go is not important, it is that I take step by step with His guidance. I am moving forward, are you?

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalms 51:10
Posted in Christian, color, cross, crown, eyes, faith, God, heart, hurt, invitation, Jesus, king, lesson, listen, Lydia, pain, quote, scripture, sorrow, Spiritual, triumph, woman

Crown of Thorns and Purple Robe

“She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to listen to hear what Paul said.” ~ Acts 16:14

I reflect on our Lord’s final hours. Jesus wore a crown of thorns twisted together by the soldiers who arrested Him, as well as a purple robe.  “King of the Jews” Pilate labeled Him, though the Jews did not claim such. Is He my King of all of me? Is He your King? Why thorns for a crown?  Probably to mock Him and bring Him more physical pain. 

What kind of thorns brought such anguish to Him? Scholars say possibly those thorns were of Jujube, Sarcopoterium, Hawthorns, or Euphorbia milii? Jujube origins are of the Orient, with one legendary tree known as the “Tree of Knowledge”. Thorny, but most likely not crafted into a crown for our Jesus at Golgatha near Jerusalem. Sarcopoterium naturally grows in the Mediterranean, is in the rose family, and thorny. Hawthorns or “thornapple” another member of the rose family, used as a barrier for all animals but grows too far north to be of Jesus’ crown. Euphorbia milii is native to Madagascar; more of southern origins. A sturdy perennial with stout gray thorns and oval leaves. It sprawls with vinelike stems and can grow seven feet in length. Milky poison oozes from inside the vine irritating the skin and eyes. The thorns became another weapon used on our Jesus.

And why a purple robe?  Purple symbolizes wealth, prestige, royalty, and luxury. Again, Jesus became what others needed of Him. That day He became the “King of the Jews”. He was later stripped of that purple cloth. Lydia, a wealthy Gentile woman from Philippi made purple dyes and textiles.  She was the first European convert to Christianity. Like Jesus, Lydia became what others needed of her. She invited Paul and Jesus’ disciples to stay at her home while they ministered to the Philippians. “Lydia challenges us to reflect on our role of being prepared for the moment, seeking something bigger than ourselves, and being willing to invite others to experience what we have experienced,” writes Aimee Laramore. The life of Jesus continues in Lydia, you, and I.

“Generosity is not best experienced in one act or one exchange, but in life-long learning, leading, and loving one another.” ~ Aimee Laramore

Posted in color, die, flower, hope, husband, Jesus, Lazarus, Martha, Mary, Prayer, quiet, rain, refresh, renew, rest, restore, scripture, season, silence, sorrow, Spiritual, stillness, words

Spring Getaways

My front door now pops with Spring. I found a bargain moss basket as well as dainty greenery and flowers to put inside for the “Welcome” metal art piece. Even a little nest with the florals. The birds had pecked at the wreath I had placed on the door for the past three Springs, looking rather bald on one side. Time for replacing and refreshing with different textures and colors. Is not that what Spring is? Renewal.

“In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, when birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding; sweet lovers love the spring.”

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

It was time for our Spring fling. My husband and I love road trips, short ones and long. This time only 2 hours from home for a town and country weekend away. Spring rains follow us to a Swedish-style hideaway.  Hygge at its best, we find Spring with the frogs’ croaks, bird tweets, flowering plum trees, and tender green sprigs sprouting in the woods.  Using my hooded poncho and Dean the umbrella, we keep somewhat dry walking to the welcoming forsythia-wreathed door. We fiddle with the door code, breathing each other’s space, and finally figure out the magic touch.  Inside a string of lights on a tree and small table lamp greet us this rainy afternoon.  Dean fetches our remaining bags and hung clothes.  I remove my wet poncho and find a hook to hang it on to dry.  My packed throw in our luggage quickly becomes the desired item to snuggle up into after our short excursion in the Spring rain.  Dean joins me on the comfy couch for a short nap until our dinnertime plans.

That perfect weekend leads us to another work week. Taught a spring baking class one evening. I recently trained for a full-time human resources position and felt it not a good fit. The training was meager as well as too different from what my previous experience had been with employee benefits. I had a difficult time retaining the necessary details due to this stressful time, many sleepless nights. A week after I had started this position my daughter and family’s house burned down. And Dean’s mother suffered a stroke that just about killed her last month. More adequate housing arrangements have been made for them.

I spend time in the quiet. Being still. Each day listening to the songbirds outside our cottage home’s windows. Gleaning a word or two in the Holy Scriptures. Praying. This week I think about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Mary’s belief in Jesus. The miracle, He raised Lazarus, Mary’s and Martha’s brother from the dead. The stench of death did not permeate. Jesus made anew, fresh Life when it seemed hopeless. My Jesus, make fresh Life for my daughter and her family. Make fresh Life for my mother-in-law and father-in-law in their new home setting. Make fresh Life in me.

Posted in change, choice, diversity, farmer, follow, God, heart, Holy Spirit, Jesus, joy, life, love, Prayer, purpose, repent, understand, wisdom, words

The Biscuit Prayer and His Purposes

I have been complaining about the season I am in, and the cards I have been dealt. Negativism dominated my thoughts. I have prayed for a changed heart. A refocus on Jesus and His purposes not mine. I am making an effort to be more present moment and in prayer. Ash Wednesday begins the Lent season this week. Attending the evening bi-lingual Mass at our neighborhood church, I recognize the mediative beats of the rosary being said by our Hispanic brothers and sisters. There were plenty of noon time rosary reciting at a nearby church during the noon hour when I worked in Clayton. Cannot mistake that mediative beat. The priest says “repent and return to Christ” while marking a cross on my forehead with black ash. That is the Holy Spirit speaking through Father Godefroid.

I read this story I am calling “The Biscuit Prayer”

A pastor asked an older farmer, decked out in bib overalls, to say grace for the morning breakfast.  

“Lord, I hate buttermilk”, the farmer began. The visiting pastor opened one eye to glance at the farmer and wonder where this was going.  

The farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the pastor was growing concerned.  

Without missing a beat, the farmer continued, “And Lord, you know I don’t much care for raw white flour”. The pastor once again opened an eye to glance around the room and saw that he wasn’t the only one to feel uncomfortable.  

Then the farmer added, “But Lord, when you mix them all together and bake them, I do love warm fresh biscuits. So Lord, when things come up that we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we don’t understand what you’re saying to us, help us to just relax and wait until you are done mixing. It will probably be even better than biscuits. Amen.”  

Within that prayer there is great wisdom for all when it comes to complicated situations like we are experiencing in the world today.  

Stay strong, my friends, because our LORD is mixing several things that we don’t really care for, but something even better is going to come when HE is done with it. AMEN!

“Don’t try to boil the ocean,” I heard on a webinar this week. Change one thing at a time. What’s the one thing I can change? Myself. The me, myself, and I attitude, actions, and words. Unlike the trio: Me, Myself, and I Personal Pizzas made in the kids’ cooking class this week. More like this trio: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Thank You, Father for creating me. Thank You, Jesus for loving me. I love You because You loved me first. Thank You for Your guidance every day, Holy Spirit. Let me serve God’s purposes today. Let me be faithful today. Let me share Jesus’ love today.”

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 angels, Ann Voskamp, Christmas, holy, Jesus, joy, love, Mother Mary, night, peace, Rejoice, scripture, Spiritual, star

Holy Night

In all your preparations for this Holy Night, let Jesus be the reason! He loves you and wants to be with you! Pause, let your heart accept Him, and rejoice!

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Silent night, holy night!
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

~Josef Mohr

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 appreciate, cross, fight, forgiveness, hate, life, love, purpose, season, sick, sin

Love Without Ceasing Season

“Love without ceasing” the Holy Scriptures tell us. But what about all those sicknesses and evil people who bring us unceasing heartache? These chronic illnesses rob their victims of enjoyment in life and life itself, and some hateful people do, too. It’s okay to hate cancer, arachnoiditis, and evildoers. A matter of fact that hate can help us fight for a better life. The challenge is not to get caught up in that hate. “Love covers a multitude of sin” (1 Peter 4:8). Jesus’ perfect love demonstrated on the cross did that and still does that. “Forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This season in my life, your life is serving a purpose. Keep loving even if it is hard.

"Love without ceasing." 
~ 1 Corinthians 16:14~

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