Archives 2020

Choices, Chances, and Change

backlit cemetery christianity clouds

Here we stand at the end, almost, of a year that most people will gladly say goodbye to.

Several months ago I came across a fellow guest writer’s pledge on a daily post blog ‘Write Conversation’ by Edie Melson. I don’t know why I didn’t copy the ‘who’ to attribute it to. Maybe because I just copied it thinking it was for my own inspiration. There are four points here and they are written for the writer, but can be whittled down for all of us.

I pledge that I will use my power to make today a fantastic day. When I write I want to be an encouragement to those who choose to read my writing. There are many things we can say but to express those things in a positive way is more helpful than trying to beat someone with an idea.

I pledge that I will not allow my negative voice to guide my thinking or stop my creative process. I will surround myself with people who love me and support my writing.

During our lives we have choices. Being honest with ourselves is our make or break choice. We live in a victim society. Almost everywhere you go you will hear someone say, ‘I am the way I am, because bad things happened to me’. That’s a passive victim mentality. Good grief, almost everyone I know has had something bad happen to them.

Maybe what we need is someone who loves us enough to stand up and say, “Well, hooty tooty, aren’t you special? Now that you’ve confessed something, let’s see how we can crawl out of that bin and choose something better for our future.”

Because that’s the real test. Ask yourself, is what I’m doing making things better or worse? If not why not, if yes, in what way?

As in the case of my mother, marriage and divorce made her life worse. Living the life of a gypsy made her life worse. Her bitter, sarcastic tongue made life worse. Two things that didn’t fall in her favor that could have and maybe should have made her life better were she was beautiful to look at, and she was very smart.

That meant in the first years of her life she could find men who would be attracted to her (hence the three/four marriages) but no one could stay with her (due to her bitter, sarcastic tongue) and as a wise woman once told a class of wives, ‘keeping your husband in hot water will not make him tender.’

And being smart? I’ve known animals like this. They absolutely know what their ‘human’ wants them to do—because they are smart. However, they have a better idea and they will pursue that idea at all cost. They are too clever. And people like this are too clever and they are their own worst enemy. It is doubtful they will ever be profitable for/to anyone including themselves.

I pledge to tell my story—to share my experiences—with authenticity and without apology. Perhaps in telling my story I can provide others with the gifts of hope, wisdom, and joy. 

That along with the fourth pledge is why I write with the idea of telling the world about the love of God and salvation through Jesus.

I pledge that I will continue to work so that I gain clarity and focus for my readers attempting to make the world a better place, one word at a time.

Now, that’s where we’re at. Telling another story here. I’ve listened to a well-known preacher telling his story just a bit ago. He had a fine lesson until he got to the end of his message and then it fell apart.

How did it fall apart? Well, as some may know some people call those who follow the same teachings that I do, “People of the Book”. And that sums it up quite succinctly. Our ‘Book’ of course is the Bible. If it isn’t in the scriptures it isn’t part of our belief.

As our famous preacher was closing out his message he said, “I want you to pray this prayer word for word after me…” You can look throughout the Word of God and that prayer is not in the scriptures. Nowhere is anyone told to pray that prayer and be saved. Yes, we must come to God in repentance, but a model of conversion was there in Acts the second chapter:

Act 2:

36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Luke 2:1-21

church cathedral catholic christianity

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.


2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Moving Forward

couple chilling under blooming sakura trees near river channel

Maybe I should title this Coming Out On the Other Side since I’m writing this on the other side of Christmas.

We did survive. I didn’t get everything done for THE Day, and I think I know why someone wrote the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”. I know what they say was the real motive and meaning behind the song and words, but I just don’t know. It will probably take me twelve more days…

I never get everything done and this year I believe if I keep working I can give the things I didn’t get finished for Christmas for somewhere like New Year’s eve—eight days after Christmas.

As is normal, today being the day after the big event I feel a bit blah. It’s blah with a touch of relief and happiness. We had a nice meal, our family made it over. Nothing really fancy just a few presents and an enjoyable time together.

We didn’t do anything special for New Year last year especially since I was still very sick. This year we are talking of having games and finger food and singing Auld Lang Syn. Composed of the same suspects.

Holidays always throw me off balance. Here it is Saturday night and tomorrow will be Sunday, yet it seems like yesterday was Sunday.

I’m making up a list for things I would like to see for next year. On the top of the list would be no more COVID. Second would be for our president to be confirmed for four more years. The violence that has been occurring throughout our nation to cease.

I would like to see people stepping back and learning lessons from what they have experienced this year. Things like, families are important, children aren’t a burden they are a most important part of our life. I of course write that with a caveat. God is the most important element in life, in marriage, our spouse is next to God, but God gives us children to love and raise, to guide and protect.

As we come to the end of this year, no matter what our struggles have been we need to slow down and look carefully where life is leading.

Luke 1:

37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

39  And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

40  And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

41  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

42  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Rerun?

unrecognizable man enjoying sunset on beach

It may not be the goal you set out for that you attain.

My desk is a mess. I’d like to be well-organized however—I’m not. The truth is I am not organized, but it isn’t for lack of trying. I’ve shared with my readers on occasion how I had my life all planned out.

After marriage I was going to continue to work for two years, then have two children, one boy, and one girl, in that order, and then…

A few weeks after marriage, six to be exact, I realized we were already expecting our first child. My well-planned life went the way of most of my plans in life. I believe God was probably attempting to let me know in no uncertain terms who was really in control.

I haven’t quite given in to that realization, but it is the truth. God is in control and it is unto Him we raise our petitions in prayer.

On Monday the 21rst I did a guest post on Catherine Castle’s blog and for some reason, I just now received a link to that post. If you would like to check it out here is the link to that guest post:

James 4:

13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

15  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

16  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

What’s Wrong with Me?

people riding on there perspective horse in farm

Grandfather paid his bills and didn’t have to bow to anyone.

Here it is the last few days before Christmas. I’m so slow at doing anything I must absolutely begin January first preparing for this date or I won’t be ready. And I’m still late.

This probably sounds horrible, but it is a family trait. My Grandfather was known for being late. At one time we children whispered amongst ourselves it was such a habit, bless his heart “he’ll be late for his own funeral.”

And this sounds even more horrible, but bless his heart, he was late. He had been in a nursing home for a few months two hundred plus miles from where he had lived for the last forty years of his life. He was to be brought home for burial. We had all assembled at the cemetery gravesite waiting, and his hearse finally came winding its way across the countryside.

I don’t believe that part is on our family crest, but perhaps it is and I can’t read it. My daughter has a habit of being fashionably late, but for most of us her fashionably late is just annoying…she’s usually later than the rest of us. Which may be why it’s annoying (laughing here).

On my Adorable cousin’s side of the family, they have an “Effie and Frank” award. I did not know about Effie and Frank always being late, but that side of my family has older cousins in it and therefore they are more knowledgeable about this feature.

Their award is a picture of (of all people) Effie and Frank, who were my Grandmother’s sister (Aunt Effie) and Effie’s husband Uncle Frank. When my cousins have a family get together if you’re the last one up the drive, you get ‘the award’.

My Grandmother came from a large rather well off family—at least until her mother died. But that’s another story…

My remembrance of the infamous Effie and Frank pair was when they came out on a Sunday to lord it over the poor sister and her farmer husband. Of course, Grandmother probably did feel a bit of the rub, but I doubt my Grandfather ever did. Grandfather paid his bills and didn’t have to bow to anyone.

I somewhat understand both sides of that. When my sister asked me why I’d like to have my ‘six million dollars’, part of it is the (hopeful) security of never ‘running out’ that a person could have but—

As I told a daughter-in-law once eons ago, I wouldn’t mind being able to rub snobbery people’s nose in a ‘look what I have’ time. That’s for all the times they’ve been snobs.

No, it doesn’t matter. I know who my God is and from where my blessings, all of my blessings flow. And yes, my Grandfather was right, I pay my bills and am thankful to have that and to be able to help others as well.

And in reality snobs depend on people who they feel are lower on the social scale than they are for their feelings of well-being. When they lose that status their self-worth is lost.

Philippians 4:

11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14  Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Luke 2:1-14

maria mery sant

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree

from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

What’s Next?

red apples

What goes up must come around…

What’s good for the squirrel is good for the gander. Of course, that’s not the way it goes, but for some of us not only is it easy to mix up sayings it’s almost expected. As we grow older it’s easier to be mixed up and on occasion no one notices.

Our neighbor was out on a Saturday squirrel hunting several months ago. At Church the next day he was informing us he had noticed there weren’t any walnuts in the forest he’d been in and was wondering what that meant.

As strange as that was when we got home from Church I checked and sure enough, as I thought, there weren’t any walnuts on our trees either.

Apple trees usually bear heavily every other year but I have not noticed the same thing with walnuts. So it is my guess there is another peculiar reason for this lack of walnuts this year. Last year we had thousands of walnuts so hopefully, there were still a few the squirrels had buried and could dig up this year.

We’ve filled the bird feeder and as I was looking out the window I also noticed the squirrel persevering through the snow to the crab apple tree by the kitchen window. Our once small crab apple tree has grown and become a beloved tree. It generally always has a decent crop of smallish-sized apples every year. Unlike our regular-sized apple trees, this tree doesn’t lose its apples all over the ground.

Of course, some of them do fall, but mostly they stay on the trees and freeze then feed the birds…and the squirrels. I have at times thought of harvesting the small apples for apple jelly. Crab apples are what they use for pectin to make jellies, but I somewhat figure the squirrels and birds need the apples more than I need jelly.

Job 37:

6  For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

7  He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.

8  Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.

9  Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.

10  By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.

11  Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:

12  And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

13  He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

14  Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

15  Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

16  Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

17  How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?

18  Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

19  Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.

What Do You Say?

forest during day

As they say, Hope springs eternal, therefore we do not give up.

For all that my mother loved the holidays when I was younger as we all grew older her love somehow got lost.

I don’t know how things get lost but they do. But what makes the holidays special? Why is it that when we have something bad happen at the holiday time of year it feels much worse?

Partly we want laughter, merriment, and maybe something else—warmth? Safety? Love? And when we have a bad experience we feel robbed or violated in some way.

As a single mother, it became a struggle for my mother to provide for herself and her family. There were no safety nets no ‘government daddy’ back in her day. And my sister and I ended up at my Grandparents’ farm.

What happened to mom? I don’t understand exactly, because all of our lives are made of choices, why didn’t she choose differently?

Relationships take work. How easy it is to let people slip away. From my observation for any relationship to work at least two people must work at it.

I don’t have an answer for a good takeaway. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. I’ve been on the side that knows ‘all of the right answers’.

But having all of the right answers sometimes leaves the person with the questions wondering why those answers aren’t enough.

If you’re missing someone this holiday season, don’t blame the holidays. Bad things happen all year round. Traditional times do have a sense of magnifying the feelings of aloneness. That is the way it works.

But it can also be a time of healing as we recognize the blessing of what we’ve had we can grieve that loss, and tuck the memories of those blessings into our hearts. As they say, be thankful that we’ve had them.

In a society that in some ways has become more isolated, it may be difficult to turn back our clocks.

Back in the day when people were busier with their own private lives, it was easier to lose track of other things that were just as important but not as urgent.

Now we may not be as busy in the same ways as in the past, but other spectors have taken their place.

People are more fearful and more quarantined than before. What we do need to admit is our lives are in the hand of God.

Although no illness should be taken lightly we aren’t dealing here with the plague. Covid may or may not be dangerous depending on who you are, but life itself is filled with uncertainty.

We can’t isolate ourselves and be safe. Life doesn’t work that way. Many people have felt safe behind the screen that ‘health care, doctors, and medicine’ would take care of them.

They believed they would live forever, but that was a false narrative. No one will live forever. Even in uncertain times, humans have the stupidity to put off their need to be right with God.

There is a book that will help those who are seeking to do the will of God. It’s called the Bible, and the New Testament is where we need to be to learn of His will for believers today. Begin today by learning and doing God’s will. Then do what we can to be safe and go ahead and live life.

Leave it in God’s hand, knowing it was always there in the first place.

2 Timothy 1:

7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

8  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Disappointment with the Rest

woman in brown wedding gown and winter landscape background

Modesty

I only want payment for doing my task—

And wealth, fame, and beauty

Are all that I ask. Rebecca McCann ~Cheerful Cherub 1930

There you go. Rebecca McCann has clever answers for many of life’s problems. I agree with this one in Modesty.

In my senior year of High School, my mother and I worked at an Italian restaurant. She was a full-time waitress and I worked weekends as a water filler.

I don’t remember the official name of the restaurant but it was always busy and the food was always excellent. Italian food is known for its spice especially garlic and garlic makes people thirsty. Hence I needed to keep the water glasses full.

I tell this story because even after all these years that restaurant stands out in my memory as having the best deep dish lasagna ever. I like lasagna even if it isn’t the best deep dish lasagna in the world but I can wish.

My mother used to say ‘buy the best you can afford’. Going through life I’ve often bought generic most everything. I told my children ‘if it has anyone’s name on it except yours you can’t afford it’. Except of course our son ‘Levi’, he couldn’t afford Levis.

Buy the best you can afford is good advice. Not a brand name necessarily, but a quality brand name makes a difference. After buying generic I’ve found that the ‘good stuff’ is often the good stuff for a reason.

I don’t know what the difference always is, but in a seconds/discount store they are selling items that may have come off the assembly with a flaw. Not all of the items have the flaw, but enough do have flaws so they are sold at a discount for a reason.

An acquaintance of mine discovered a tear in the pocket of her expensive coat. She took the coat back to the store she had bought her coat from and complained. They took the coat, gave her a brand new coat, and shipped the one with a tear back to the main office.

There were no questions asked, no hassle on her part. Most stores are no longer that accommodating.

She paid for a quality product and also quality service and that is something that doesn’t usually come with second rate.

Luke 1:

36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

39  And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

40  And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

41  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

42  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

46  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

51  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

53  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

55  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

56  And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Luke 1:26-48

blue red and yellow stained glass

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,


27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.