Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2021

As I sit at my desk I can hear him … off in the distance, somewhere to the east of us, a rooster crows with wild abandon.

When I hear him, my mind ofter recites this, with each call :

before the rooster crows …

My rooster neighbor crows just before 6am, so if Peter were to have denied Jesus three times that day, before the rooster crows … well, it must have been really easy for him to have denied his Lord, three times, before dawn.

What was Peter thinking?

Jesus had pre-warned him of his impending denials, so he knew they might/would occur. One would think that he would be prepared and wouldn’t fall into a trap of saying what he did not want to say! It is like his tongue deceived him.

Have you ever done that … say what isn’t true, what you didn’t want to say?

Once I had an experience where my brain and tongue were not working in co-operation. I had a medical appointment, via phone. I am not a phone person … never have been. Even as a teenager, I dislike phone communication. So, knowing this about myself, I made notes for the appointment.

When it was time for the appointment, with my list at my hand, I was asked questions … questions that I had written answers to on my paper … right beside me. One of the questions (probably the most important) was, “how has this issue been?” And I answered “a firm okay” … but on my paper I’d written, “rotten”. Right there, I denied my own reality, with not so much as a glance to that paper beside me.

When telling a friend about this she said, maybe, as a people pleaser, I instinctively responded with what I thought my doctor wanted to hear. Maybe I was so eager to have progress to share that I instinctively fabricated it.

If it was that easy for me to deny my own health situation, I think I can understand Peter’s denials before dawn. For, in his case, his denials came out of fear for himself. They were most primitive, for his denials originated in a fear for his life.

The thing is the rooster crows every morning … we have this daily reminder of Peter’s denial of his association with Jesus. We may not be asked directly, or daily about our relationship with Christ, but we still have opportunity to live it. We live our relationship with him in how we love (or do not), in how we use our resources (time, money), in how we behave towards others (in our neighborhoods, in businesses, workplaces, families), in how we think verses what we say (“as one thinks, so is he” Proverbs 23:7).

We all have daily opportunities to live out our association with Jesus … or deny it.

I love how the Contemporary English Version writes this verse (Matthew 26:34):

Jesus replied, “I promise you before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don’t know me.”

Read Full Post »

It’s a vapor, a mist.

We work, and strive, and plan, and acquire, and do.

Yet, it will end … in a breath.

Life is brief, valuable, unexpected and its conclusion is unforeseen.

Do we awaken in our mornings with thanks, joy, with the appreciation that we have another day?

Do we greet the rising (or risen) sun with awareness that this day, this very moment is a gift and opportunity?

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

– Psalm 118:24

Maybe today is one that we know will be filled with tough stuff … pain, sadness, tough decisions and actions … and we are still to rejoice?

Yes …

The Matthew Henry commentary for this verse tells us,

The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth; the sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar; spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged.

This rejoicing is our sacrifice … and sacrifice it might very well be for some of us today. Somehow if today’s sun rises on a day are not looking forward to, then we understand even better the sacrifice it is to pray and praise … when our hearts are heavy, when our souls ache.

The thing is … we only know that we have this very day, this moment.

You do not even know what will happen tomorrow!
What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while
and then vanishes.

-John 4:14

Let us rejoice today.

Read Full Post »

Ordinary … synonymous for same old, uneventful, boring.

We humans love our adrenaline-filled, exciting, exceptional special events and days. We plan for them, count down for them, save money for them, fill our social media of images of them. They are the events of life!

Something that being 50 something does is that the event of life fade a bit more, as a longing begins to settle into our souls for memories of

just ordinary days.

As a mom, of course my mind goes to memories of breakfasts giggling over the snap, crackle, pop of cereal, or times snuggled in bed reading “Old Hat New Hat” for the bazillionth time, or driving in the van singing “This is the Song that Never Ends” as loud as we could with littles.

but …

there are just so many ordinary days … and I just cherish them all!

I recently was introduced to a song I was unfamiliar with and it seeped into my mind and had me playing it in my thoughts for hours til I just simply had to sit down and think some thoughts, to sit and remember …

ordinary day.

Memories of walking with my parents, swinging on their hands on an old dirt road.

Of sitting with my legs crossed, watching TV, under the quilt my grandmother was ‘kilting’ in her livingroom.

Of sitting in a classroom, in high school, watching notes being past across the aisles.

Of walking in a field, on a summer day, the smell of freshly cut hay filling my lungs.

Of driving in a little car with my husband, holding hands.

Of making a meal, and the taste of the savory flavors.

Of music playing down the hallway, and sneaking a peak at littles dancing in their bedroom.

Of a quiet room, filled with our three, noses firmly in their books.

Of laughter on a lunch break at work.

Of bowing my head in church, along with others, as we go to our life source together.

Of chatting with a stranger in the produce section of the grocery store.

Of lacing my runners to go for a walk.

So, so many

ordinary days.

These ordinary days … they are the ones that make up the majority of our days. They are the ones that rise in our memories when loved ones pass into the foreverland of eternity. They are the ones that make life worth living.

Maybe, these ordinary days are the ones we should look to value most.

Read Full Post »

One of the best things in my life have been those people who are a step ahead of me.

Talking to those married a few years, when we were newlyweds. Chatting with dog owners, when we were considering adding a dog to our household (who am I kidding … when I was considering adding a dog to our household). Getting parenting advice at various stages prior to our kids entering those stages.

To glean, not just from books, but from real life people, who have been deep in the trenches of life is to have found gold.

Recently, as I sat with a gem of a woman, who is a wife, a mom, grandmother and fellow follower of Christ, I asked her what she sees her role to be, as a mom to her adult kids.

She barely paused,

“encourager”

So, I came home and looked at the Bible to find uses of the word encourage in its pages.

If I were to say who I think is the best example of an encourager in the Word of God, I would have to say it is Paul. As he spoke and wrote to the various churches, encouragement is frequently on his lips.

His example of encourager is not one of Pollyanna, sugar-coated, I have plans that won’t harm you sort of encourager. His example is that of cheering others on, even though he is in prison. Caring for and sustaining the churches with his words.

He encouraged whether they were on track or they forgot to board the train.

There is no way to explain how significantly he was motivated to encourage these churches, except to say that he loved …

he loved God and he loved those who God had given him to lead in how to follow the example of Jesus.

It is no different for us, who have children … adult or littles.

But for those of us with adult children, our role is different. With young children (still under our roof) we are teaching, correcting, nurturing, looking after basic needs, etc. But, when they move out to form lives independent of ours, we no longer direct them, for that is what independence is about (though, we do cherish their returns and sharing of their lives adventures with us).

We are to be encouragers … as I write those words, I flashback to when I was their ages. Those twenty-something years are exciting ones, years of trying new things, establishing who you want to be, the direction you want to go. They are years of confusion and self doubt too.

Lets face it, at any age of adulthood (or any age of life) we need cheerleaders, encouragers, someone in our courts who we know will be there … whether we are winning … or losing.

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, says :

“Therefore encourage one another 
and build each other up …”

Thanks friend, for encouraging me to be an encourager to my adult kids.

Read Full Post »

When they Look at Me

It’s being a mom that dreams are made of … my dreams.

I am blessed to have that title, that name, identity.

I am so very aware that not all have been gifted in this way …

for a time I thought I would miss out on this privilege,

that I would need to accept life with this dream only in my … dreams.

Being mom is not always easy, heart-warming or appreciated.

Yet, women usually jump in with both feet … more than once.

I am thankful for, and do not take for granted that my three

still call, text and message me,

that they tell me their joys and sorrows,

that they still even periodically ask me how I am doing.

I know

that they know

that I love them.

but …

though this feels so good,

though it is an area where I can say,

I did what I set out to do

I pray that when they look at me …

they don’t see me.

I pray that when they feel loved by me,

when they need to touch base with me,

when they have a favor to ask,

when they are received into my house,

my arms …

When they look at me,

looking back at them …

I pray they see Him.

“I want to leave a legacy,
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough?
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.”

Legacy – Nicole Nordeman

Read Full Post »

This is the time in the year, in this annual season,

when you are tired, my child.

I see it on your face, hear it in your voice …

you carry it on your shoulders.

Your shoulders …

they were what I noticed first when you were born.

They were unlike those of your sisters.

I remember marvelling at how straight and strong they appeared.

You were a long anticipated gift from God.

Each day of your pre-birth life prayed over … for the next day was not guaranteed.

Each movement was cherished.

Your birth, peaceful and unhurried.

unhurried … you have, from your beginnings, had your own timeline.

Then you burst into this life with robust cries, fists clenched and man shoulders to boot.

You were embraced, kissed, held (and had your eyes poked by your adoring sisters).

A boy born to three motherers and a father … who were so thankful to have you with us.

Your heart is soft. Your shoulders are strong.

As a child you played with little figures of super heros, watched their movies and shows, dressed as them at Halloween. You have grown into one who is bothered, grieved by injustice.

You want to make right the wrongs. You desire to fix broken pieces. You yearn to be personally involved in seeking justice. Your eye is ever on the ideal, what is best.

This is who you are, in the most natural way.

May you use these gifts of strength and gentleness in your whole life. May you seek to find where God can best use this combination of strengths in our world.

Know that you have been loved since your very beginnings.

Don’t ever forget the gift that you already are to so many.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

Read Full Post »

Once upon a time …

that is how fairy tales begin …

and they end with a perfectly tied up bow, with the assurance that they all lived happily ever after.

Leaving the reader with a contented sigh.

My dear, your story very much started with a once upon a time beginning … kind of.

As our second, first pregnancy, your beginnings were shrouded in fear … but they were also blanketed in anticipation, hope and desire for your life to be part of ours.

From the first moment we were aware of your presence, we prayed for you (realistically, that began well before any knitting needles were picked up (Psalm 139:13)).

Though there were warning signs that elevated our fears and brought us to our knees, as I look back now, I see you were quite comfortable in your own little womb. Perhaps it was the aquatic environment, the warmth, the ability to set your own schedule.

When you emerged you did so with a loud battle cry, alerting us to your presence, which filled us with such relief and thankfulness that overflowed from our hearts down our cheeks.

You are a life striver, a life saver … I think this is why your life has been one of helping others.

From teaching swimming to littles who were fearful of getting their toes wet, to helping those whose life is in danger because of substance addictions, you have spurred others to strive.

You have literally helped the same ones who have spat in your face, called you horrible names and threatened your life.

Life saving has become part of you, whether in the swimming pool, having to call social services when parent’s drug abuses are endangering their children, or while administering Narcan in the McDonald’s drive thru.

The thing is … the life saver often gives their all to helping others … leaving little resources for themselves.

And … maybe it is time to direct your life saving skills and strengths back toward yourself.

After years of health struggles, that continue still today, you are rather beat up and bruised. Rather worn and wounded.

You’ve heard that often used metaphor “put on your own mask first before assisting others.”

Girl, it is the time to catch your breath, to inhale the life-preserving oxygen that is central to our human creation.

Breathe deeply.

For you have been so loved, so wanted … you were our own once upon a time,

since before your first breath.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

Read Full Post »

Hey you, who I love, let me tell you a story …

a love story,

your story.

The thing is, I have held on to it, as though it is my story, and mine alone.

Then, in the middle of the night, like a whisper that screams loudly into one’s heart,

I knew that I had to give it back to you.

That you needed to hear it, with your heart.

That you needed to own it, possess it,

as your own.

It is the story of you.

The dream you were, the battles fought for your presence in our life, this life, your life.

The sadness, the sorrow, the struggles that came before you …

those heartaches that led us to you.

I recalled our first awareness of your presence, our excitement, hope and fears.

I shared that almost right after that, shadows fell,

the fight was on!

We fought, I fought,

YOU fought.

From the moment you had a physical presence your determination and perseverance were already obvious.

Then, on your very first birthday, you were born, silent and still. No rosy cheeks, no loud warrior cries.

We thought this was the end of your beginning.

But, you are a fierce force and your cries rose to fill the room, our hearts.

Your pre-birth struggle to live, your first year of adjusting to life on the outside …

those were the building blocks of your greatest strengths.

You have, from a young age, had an uncanny ability to feel the sadness in others, to see people only through the lens of human, to comfort and fight for those who cannot do so themselves.

You offer gentleness to others.

Now I ask you to apply that gentleness to yourself. That you fight for you. That you see yourself only through the lens of being human.

Remember that you were and are, a highly anticipated gift, that you have so much to offer this world, that today is just one day, but “tomorrow is always fresh” (LMM).

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

Read Full Post »

In June I noticed it.

A plant was growing, just outside our garden gate. As my eyes noticed it, I could not remember seeing it the day before, yet it must have been four inches tall. Days and weeks passed, each day the plant’s growth noted. Now, it stands feet above my head.

A neighbor in our complex had taken sunflower seeds out, when they went for a walk. The popped a few outside the gates of everyone in our complex, anticipating a colorful late August floral display.

Of the four planted outside our gate, we have only two (the grounds keepers were rather thorough in their ‘weeding’). The one is a bit of a slow developer … perhaps it’s growth was stunted in our earlier heat dome. But the one still present, that first one I saw.

It has been growing in the shade of a tree, only getting direct sun late into the afternoon and evening.

Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone ever sees it’s bright yellow flower, for it has grown straight up into the branches of the tree.

For the person walking on the sidewalk, all they see is a big stalk, growing up and into the branches of the tree.

But …

I know it is there

So,

every time I walk out my gate,

I lift my eyes,

to see it’s beauty.

Proverbs 8:17 came to mind the other day as I was peering through leaves to see the flower.

those who diligently seek me will find me

What a reminder this hidden flower, this bit of yellow beauty, this gift from a neighbor …

that there is an if/then reality within.

If we look for God,
then we will find Him.

period.

That’s a guarantee we can take to the bank …

and He never leaves us.

Amen

Read Full Post »

Everything is meaningless … so says the writer of Ecclesiastes.

I think that writer was in the winter of their life! Maybe a bit bitter, full of regrets, disappointments.

I think too, that all of us have had such a thought. Perhaps even at much younger, earlier seasons in our lives.

We live and learn and work and play and some days we just shake our heads and wonder the meaning in it all.

We watch others struggle (or struggle ourselves), we see and hear of unfair, unjust and immoral acts and we just can’t see the rainbow in the clouds. Can’t see the forest for the trees. Can’t feel the cool air after the heavens thunder, shaking us to our core.

Why?

What is the point?

What is the purpose in all these days?

You know … I am not sure that there are (always) answers. I am not sure that God looks down on our melancholy view of the world and life and provides answers. For, I think, sometimes He is very aware that the most true answers might be heard as pithy statements that our ears receive like salt on our wounded hearts.

I think, that sometimes, he simply hears our agonizing questions and lets them echo back to us in silence.

I think, that sometimes, he wants us to feel the feels of struggle, to ask our questions and shake our fists, so that we remember that he is there … there to hear, not just our words, but our hearts … that he stays with us, as our offering is sincere anger or disappointment in our perception of His failure to act, to save.

I think, sometimes, he wants us to remember that his shoulders are wide enough, that he is not going anywhere.

I think, sometimes, he wants us to feel His feels. To be reminded that he too aches, mourns the meaningless of this sin-filled world.

because we cannot truly see eternity through rose-colored glasses.

Eternity, our eternity, is paved with the blood of his Son. It is the least meaningless act that ever was, or will be. It is sacrifice personified. It is meaning made flesh.

There is purpose in what seems meaningless.

Maybe the purpose is simply to tell God that is what we think …

then to listen to the silence,

to be reminded of his presence,

and the meaning of gift to us.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Roadtirement

"Traveling and Retired"

Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

Becoming the Oil and the Wine

Becoming the oil and wine in today's society

I love the Psalms

Connecting daily with God through the Psalms

Memoir of Me

Out of the abundance of my heart ,I write❤️

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world

itsawonderfilledlife

looking for wonder in everyday life

What Are You Thinking?

Theology is a conversation, and you're invited.

Sealed in Christ

Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

FisherofMen

Giving a unique view and input on information to help individuals establish a concrete perspective on terms, words, topics and the world around them.

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Raise Them Up

Parenting with Purpose