Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2022

There is a line which speaks such truth, in the movie, Shadowlands (the story of the relationship between CS Lewis and his wife Joy Davidman … that is all I will say as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who doesn’t know … but, the two are played by Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger … SEE THIS MOVIE):

“we read to know we are not alone”

To read something that makes you feel, that reminds you that your thoughts and emotions are experienced by another is enlivening. Sometimes it is in reading a good book that we find connectedness, but sometimes connectedness comes from other, unexpected places.

Having a coffee with a friend who is safe to share your heart with can bring connectedness and relief from the wear and tear of life like nothing else. Laughter with loved ones, praying for others, a shared look across a crowded room with your love … they all remind us we are not alone in this life.

But people are not the only pathway to experiencing this human need. Have you ever taken a walk in nature only to feel overwhelmed by the beauty around you? Or, tasted a meal that brings joy to your palate? Or inhaled the scent of lilacs (or roses, or whatever flower provides olfactory delight)? Or glanced at a painting that moved something within you? Or … heard a piece of music …

Have you seen the video (below) of the toddler hearing someone play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata? It is a very moving, moody, melancholy piece of music. This little guy has an emotional response to the sound of this music. A response so visceral it is as though he understands, from experience, great sorrow.

But, what if he is simply having a human experience of connectedness. Connectedness to other humans, to nature, to God? For does not God exist in all beautiful things? Is not our human experience one of the combination of great joy and sorrow at the same time?

Yes, God is in the beautiful, the arousing, the joyful … but he also knows sorrow, loss and brutality.

As we move beyond the Easter season …

the season of our greatest gain,
his greatest loss

Easter is not left behind, for it’s joys and sorrows they go with us, in us.

Easter is the great reminder that we are loved, we are never alone, we are connected … and there are reminders of this everywhere.

Read Full Post »

“I have dealt with it” (whatever it is), we say.

Then we hear, we feel the creaking

of the door

to the past

and we are right back there again,

staring into the blackness

of that night, that day, that season.

That time we thought we had left behind a locked door,

never to see the light of day,

never again to pinch and pierce our hearts.

Through the opening flood memories.

There are good memories,

but they are shadowed by the bad, the ending,

singed by the fires that ravaged those joys with sorrow.

As if the light of those joys is forever dimmed

by the inferno that brought it all

to ashes.

How is it that though it is done, has been done and dusted now for years, the door still creaks open, letting the darkness of that time flood back, stealing today’s joys? And, let’s face it, we cannot but say,

why God? Why do you let my today be darkened by yesterday?

Then, I hear it …

every.

single.

time.

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

And I hear it.

I hear it with my ears, but I also feel it in my deepest parts,

the click of the door,

the slide of lock.

I feel the warmth of the light with me,

inside of me.

I am not alone,

for my Creator, my Redeemer is with me.

I can face, not just tomorrow, but yesterday too.

He will make all things new.

Read Full Post »

This weekend and last are such a contrast.

Last weekend (the Easter weekend) held for us two church services, a birthday party, a family dinner and not much else. Our down time was spent watching BCDs (British Crime Dramas), playing with our puppy and few household chores.

This weekend we have spent all of Saturday doing chores around the house to knock a few things off the legendary to do list. The power washer was in full force, paint was utilized, the garage and storage area of our basement organized, deck furniture cleaned and put into summer position. And that is only one day!

As we were outside we got to meet a neighbor. She is in her seventies, a widower who is involved in local theatre, loves gardening and is a sun-seeker (I think we might be kindred sprits). Her smile is warm and welcoming and her eyes sparkle.

“When you do what you love,” she said of her late in life discovery of joy in acting, “life is just better.”

I continued considering her words the rest of the day and into this new morning. But, I also considered them in relation to something my hubby said of those who are aging,

“There are those who are living to die,
while others are dying to live.”

Last weekend was a good one, a mix of peopling and rest, but … maybe too much rest. I remember waking last Tuesday and my body ached … from doing nothing. This weekend I have kibitzed and laughed with my neighbors, moved heavy things, painted a table, swept and cleaned. I love doing these things, I am confident in doing them. My body is a bit achy this morning, but … I feel good! Progress was made, things got done.

I realized this morning that movement is key to keep this body feeling better … sitting still, though good for a bit, will not prevent the aches and stiffness associated with a moving-beyond-midlife body.

The same is for our minds. It is not healthy to sit still with thoughts for too long. Pain from mulling over our worries and sorrows can steal life from our souls. We cannot benefit from sitting still with our pain and struggles. We need to face problems that we can solve, to stretch our minds from problem to solution (whether it is arranging furniture, deciding on a paint color for a table or doing a crossword or jigsaw puzzle). Our minds need variety, engagement, the ability to do things that feed our souls, that we are confident in doing.

I want to be dying to live … all the days, every breath of my life, because life is just better that way.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Read Full Post »

Being a pregnant or mom hoping to adopt is hard.

Being a mom of a newborn is hard.

Being a mom of a toddle or preschooler is hard.

So is being a mum of a child in elementary school, an adolescent, a teen …

Hey, being a mum is hard.

My three are all now wandering through their twenties. Post secondary schooling, careers, new relationships, travel, pets, moving out from under the family home … they are flying solo, mostly out of our nest, more often soaring on winds from other places … from other people.

I have to admit, this has been the hardest mom-stage for me. To go from the equivalent of a cruise ship director to a sideline spectator is a big role adjustment.

The other day I read a post called, 15 Things I want my Teenagers to Know, by Jess at Wonderoak. Though my kids are no longer teens there is much similarity in her list and what mine would be at this, next, stage.

It got me to thinking … what would my list be?

So, here is my list of 10 things I want my 20-something ‘kids’ to know :

  1. Even though I sometimes struggle with your independence, I also admire and am thankful that you are living life with little need of your dad and I.
  2. Though your need of us is significantly less, I still yearn to brought into your life … to hear your tales of life and living, to share the joys, laughter and sorrows of life.
  3. You are not how you feel. Your emotions are real and valid, but they do not define you, nor are they your identity.
  4. In the words of another mother, I know things. Oh, how we parents of adults love to impart our knowledge (insert rolling eyes … yours and mine). Feel free to ask … how to clean that spot on your favorite shirt, how to keep plants flowering, the meaning of life …
  5. Ask me about your childhood. You are in the stage of life that is sifting through your life so far. Let me share my experience of the events of your early years. Let me express the big picture, imperfect, first years of your life … maybe even surrounded by photos.
  6. I love when you send that picture of the yellow tree (Forsythia), that clip from a movie we loved, that meme of a joke we shared, the lyrics of a song we sang driving to school, to swim meets, to play practises.
  7. I still want to know about your friends. I want to know who you love and who loves you … it reminds me that you are okay, that you will be loved beyond me.
  8. There are three of you who shared similar (but not exactly the same) histories … I hope you hold those relationships in high regard, with mutual love and respect. They may, or may not, be relationships that are easy, but you each share with the others what you will not share with any others in this life.
  9. I love you, I love you, I love you. I am hearing Sharon, Lois and Bram singing, I love you in the morning, in the afternoon. I love you in the evening, underneath the moon … my hope is that you will feel it, that you will know it.
  10. I don’t love you most … I never will, nor will another other mere human. Your very breath was given to you by the Creator of the world, you were bought with a price … because you were, you are worth the cost.

Read Full Post »

I read something (multiple times) over the Easter weekend that has been ruminating in my mind, tossing and turning.

I do not know the originator of these words, I do know their theology, the church they attend, the denomination to which they belong … or if they do. All I know is …

the simplicity and truth of this conversion is undeniable.

It comes from Luke 23:39-43:

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

We see in this passage the telling of Jesus and two criminals hanging on their crosses. The first declares, in clearly mocking, disbelieving tones, who Jesus is and what he could do for them … based on what others say, not what he believes.

Then, the second speaks and you can hear his sincerity, his humility as he states the truth of his situation, his deserving of this punishment for his crime. And then he simply asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. He knows who this Jesus is and knows that only he can save this man’s soul, his eternity.

Then Jesus asks him to pray a prayer …

Nope

Jesus assures him that he will be with him in paradise, in heaven. That is it.

It is SO, SO simple and clear.

Believe and be saved!

Here (below) is what has been percolating in my mind these days … not sure the original source, but I am thankful for the reminder to me to keep thinks simple, believe and be saved (Acts 16:31) :

“How does the thief on the cross fit into your theology? No baptism, no communion, no confirmation, no speaking in tongues, no mission trip, no volunteerism, and no church clothes. He couldn’t even bend his knees to pray. He didn’t say the sinner’s prayer and among other things, he was a thief. Jesus didn’t take away his pain, heal his body, or smite the scoffers. Yet it was a thief who walked into heaven the same hour as Jesus simply by believing. He had nothing more to offer other than his belief that Jesus was who he said he was. No spin from brilliant theologians. No ego or arrogance. No Shiny lights, skinny jeans, or crafty words. No haze machine, donuts, or coffee in the entrance. Just a naked dying man on a cross unable to even fold his hands to pray.”

Read Full Post »

He is risen
(do I hear, he is risen indeed?).

This is the day we sing with joy “he is alive” in various worship songs and hymns.

We have been immersed in the days leading up to this one.

We may have given up things and practises in our lives in the weeks approaching Easter Sunday.

We followed Jesus life from his baptism, to temptations, to miracles and teachings.

We have envisioned him, sitting on a donkey, riding through the excited crowds triumphantly.

We have been reminded of his love for his disciples and how, in the last moments with them, he taught them how to love one another and others in picking up his baton.

We felt the knot in our throats as he dipped his bread into the same bowl as Judas, who would betray Jesus … and his own soul.

We would remember him in the garden, tortured by thoughts of what was to come for us all … even those who could not stay awake with him.

We would know the filth of our own hands as Pilate washed his … a dirt that no amount of water could cleanse.

We would wince at the thoughts of his torture, humiliation and the agony of the cross … the cross that he had to carry (though it was never his cross … he carried our cross … mine and yours). The cross carried through the streets of that same triumphal city, same crowds … from cheers to jeers in less than a week.

We would be silenced at the thought of the earth’s quake, the curtain torn … finished.

silence

silence

silence

Then, the sun began to rise this morning. Our eyes opened to a new day, a reminder that all things have been made new.

The rock was moved, the tomb empty.

Jesus is alive!

The suffering and death have accomplished something miraculous … not just his rising, but his rising for us.

Oh happy day,
happy day
I’ll never be the same
forever I am changed

There are the good things of this world, the hard things of this world, and the best things of this world—God’s love, glory, holiness, beauty. The Bible’s teaching is that the road to the best things is not through the good things but usually through the hard things, as Jesus himself shows us in Philippians 2:5–11. There is no message more contrary to the way the world understands life or more subversive to its values. ” Tim Keller

Read Full Post »

Unka Glen

The sky slowly grows lighter, brighter on this Friday morning and I wonder,

was it bright that day, that Good Friday morning?

When he awoke (had he even slept?) to that day that would not be good for him.

My mind cannot help but think of what this day held for him …

the stomach turns,

the chest tightens,

the weight of his act falls on shoulders.

It was a gruesome day for him.

a lonely day.

a day apart.

Today cannot be fully appreciated without acknowledging the horrors, the bloodshed of this day. For that is part of the sacrifice made for humanity.

Yet, it was not war, which demands sacrifice with mutual killing, but sacrifice through substitution.

Jesus did not just die for our eternity, but he stepped into our place, accepting the cost of our sin, becoming our vicarious atonement.

He did this for no reason other than his love for us.

I love the contemporary poem by Unka Glen (above). I love how each line is so fitting to today, for, when he awoke on this Friday morning, he did so with love for us in his heart. He loved with patience for us, with no anger or memory of our mistakes … he walked the road of this day to protect us, to overcome death for us, to show that his loves never fails us … ever.

His grace has planned it all
‘Tis mine but to believe
And recognize His work of love
And Christ receive

For me He died;
For me He lives,
And everlasting life
And light He free-ly gives.

My Hope is in the Lord – Norman John Clayton

Read Full Post »

I heard someone share on the radio favorite Easter memories and found myself driving and thinking about my own. When we think of favorites, immediately my mind goes to my childhood and the childhoods of our kids. The egg hunts, the new outfits, singing joyfully, in a celebratory way in church, the sun pouring in on Easter Sunday (shouldn’t it always be dark and ominous on Good Friday, while bright and sunny on Easter Sunday?).

A friend at work mentioned how she loves when, on Easter Sunday, people greet each other with “He is risen” to which we respond, “He is risen indeed.” It is such a joyful, bonding communication between believers.

Then I found my thoughts drift to the events of Easter. Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper of Jesus and his disciples, the betrayal of Judas, Jesus in Gethsemane, his arrest, crucifixion, the earthquake, his rising.

I thought about each piece of the drama that enfolded from Jerusalem to the tomb and this took my mind to one part of the story.

It is found in Matthew 27:11-26. It is the telling of Jesus before Pilate and the crowd.

The entire drama that enfolded with Pilate comes down to his one act, followed by explanation (v. 24):

He took water and washed his hands in front of the many people. He said, “I am not guilty of the blood of this good Man. This is your own doing.” 

I did a bit of searching for songs that depict or refer to this act. There are quite a few, but they are not ones by artists I would have expected … Rolling Stones, Megadeath, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam.

My own memory could only grasp the lyrics from the Rich Mullins song, Creed (suffered under Pontius Pilate).

Yet, these words and this action of Pilate … the leader who was not a Jew, who had no relationship with this donkey-riding man, but whose wife warned him to have nothing to do with Jesus, for she had suffered such a dreadful, sleepless night …

they could have been spoken by any of us.

For, when things get tough, when other believers do despicable acts, say despicable things, we too wash our hands of this man, his church, his word, his way.

I think Pilate’s words remind me, every Easter, of how they could be my words, my attempt to wash away my participation in his death.

But, I can’t.

For his death … it was for me, for my hand washing … for we cannot wash away sin with water.

Read Full Post »

Brian Jekel

“When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.”

Four lines, simply describing the ungilded, unremarkable, dastardly start of life. Though the first line speaks to the growing and beauty of the scene, there is nothing pretty or memorable about this birth, this first breath. We might make assumptions … poverty, physical disfigurement, flaws, a lacking of gifts.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The negative descriptives of the narrator’s self-debasement continue … what an image is drawn for the reader! He/she is ugly, unappealing and something to stay away from, like the devil himself … but unable even to cast a spell. Oh, how we have all had such thoughts of our self. Self-deprecating thoughts as we stare into a mirror, as we speak and our words seem to echo in our heads, while those around were immune to their sounds.

Wait! A hint is given … this is not human, this is a creature on four feet.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me:
I am dumb, I keep my secret still.

An outlaw! This four-legged creature is despised by society, since the beginning of time. Not the first to be fed (perhaps speaking of more than just nutrition), whipped, ridiculed. This being has been told, been shown how lowly it is … since it’s very beginning. It knows that it. is. nothing … nothing of value. to anyone.

BUT … though it knows it is senseless, unintelligent, even speechless

it has a secret!

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

An hour. One hour changed this creature forever. It recalls the noise about him, the soft feel of the fresh palms under his hooves.

The secret is revealed! The scales that had blinded this creature to the reality of it’s strength, it’s grand purpose … have fallen away. As Newton learned, also through ugly reality, this creature learned too that though it was once blind, it now can see.

A one hour ride through the city, redeemed this creature, this jackass.

*Though G. K. Chesterton never mentions the one who rode upon the back of this donkey, though Jerusalem is never whispered, both are shouted in the inner transformation of the narrative voice of the donkey. Perhaps, Chesterton knew, as we all do … deep down in our tattered outlaw hearts, that we all begin as a lowly, despised donkeys in need of one hour with our Savior.

Read Full Post »

Writing, at least for me, is a cathartic, comforting experience, usually one which has far less to do with those who read it and far more to do processing of life and making sense of God in my vertical communion with him.

In the beginning, I was seeking a place to have my own voice … I place to be heard.

Now, just over eleven years later, writing is a place to be quiet, a place to listen and learn, not about me … my thoughts, my feelings, but about the God I choose to serve, the God who chose me.

These daily moments of praying through my fingertips on a keyboard are the best moments of my day. They are active moments, ones where I speak whatever comes to my mind and listen. and listen. and listen. and learn. God has opened my mind to his word, making it exciting, a mystery to understand, stories to peel back to their plot line, seeing the grand story within.

Though I have worked in an educational environment for almost twenty years, applying teaching principles one-on-one and in small groups, it is through this daily practice of fingertips to keys, a multitude of tabs opened at once, where I have learned to love to study the life of Jesus and others gone before, where I have learned to love to study the blueprint for my own life. For I read, I listen, I write … a multiplicity of learning methods, encapsulated in the writing of a blog post.

What you might read is actually a vertical conversation, or a vertical confession, or a vertical prayer that takes place on the pages/screens of this site.

What I want you to know is that, maybe you, too could benefit from such a vertical conversation. It doesn’t have to be on a screen. You could write it on paper, in a journal. It doesn’t have to be public. You could write in a document. But, I have to say that, for me, there has been a most magical experience in this sacred practise each day, for it has drawn me into the word of God in a profound and meaningful way.

I write to know my heavenly Father, and to know that He is here with me.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Kickin' It In Granny Gear

Life, blessings, opinions, thoughts, photos, wildlife, nature, retirement, pets

Lessons from a Lab

From My Daily Walk with the Lord and My Labrador

From The Darkness Into The Light

love, christ, God, devotionals ,bible studies ,blog, blogging, salvation family,vacations places pictures marriage, , daily devotional, christian fellowship Holy Spirit Evangelists

Pearl St. Gallery

Capturing Images Of Nature

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?

I won't promise that they are deep thoughts, but they are mine. And they tend to be about theology.

Sealed in Christ

Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

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

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

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