Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Solitary Figure


With nightfall swiftly approaching,
The air felt crisp and cold.
A solitary figure was wandering,
So frail, so tired, so old.

Fluttering in the blowing wind
her threadbare cloak of blue
was threatening now to come unpinned
Oh what was she to do?

This poor dear homeless vagabond
without a friend in sight,
wondered if someone would respond
if she called out tonight.

How did she end up in this place
of sorrow and of pain?
Did God somehow run out of grace?
Was her hope all in vain?

Surely some soul would come along
to see her dire need,
and take her where she could belong,
a loving home indeed.

Suddenly she stumbled, so faint
having gone without food,
when gentle arms without complaint
her fall he did preclude.

Dear mother, why are you alone
on this cold winter night?
My loving family back at home
will aid you in your plight.

Gratefully giving her assent,
she leaned into his chest
He lifted her with the intent
to take her home to rest.

How that woman did rejoice
to feel this family's love!
They cared for her, she found a voice
to thank the Lord above.

Living out her final days
in comfort and in peace,
with these dear loving folks she stays,
and now has found release.

Oh God, please open up our eyes
to those who are in need.
Give grace that we may now arise,
and share with those who plead.



This poem was inspired by a prompt from 40 Days of Poetry and Story Sessions.  The prompt was to use the words blue, vagabond and wandering in a poem.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Friend Poetry

I have just joined the 40 Days of Poetry group that Jamie has been participating in since the beginning of December. Today's prompt was: "write a poem about your love affair with poetry. When did you two meet? What was it like? "    So this is my attempt to respond to the prompt.

Oh Poetry, oh Poetry,
When did we first meet?
Was it on my mother’s knee
As she taught me how to read?


Was it in my first grade class
Or second, third, or fourth
That we became the best of friends
And stayed together more and more?


Remember when I worked so hard
To memorize and recite
That poem of many stanzas
That brought us such delight?


Oh, Poetry, dear Poetry,
We had good times together
Over Tennyson and the Brownings
And so very many more,


Reading poems to my children,
To the girls and then the boys,
From funny, silly limericks
To longer epic poems.


Remember how I thought and thought
Of just the right words to say
When I wrote the special poetry
On Mother’s and Father’s Days?


Oh Poetry, sweet Poetry,
Even when I forgot you
You were there behind the scenes
Waiting patiently for my return.


It seems I have discovered anew
My love for the poetic word.
You have welcomed me back
With open arms to the place where I belong.


Now we can make more memories
As we read and write together.
And our lives will be made better,
In bringing joy to many others.




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Heart Full of Praise

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103: 1-5

I love this psalm! It brings me joy to read and remember all that God does and has done for me.  He forgives ALL my sin, everything I have done that I shouldn't have and everything I haven't done that I should have done, EVERY SINGLE SIN is forgiven.  It is so freeing to know that when I sin, and I do as we all do, He grants forgiveness.

He crowns me with steadfast love and mercy.  According to The New Oxford American Dictionary mercy is:  compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. God could have wiped me out, but instead He chose to love and forgive me.  His love is always with me, and I am secure in that.

The whole psalm is very encouraging to me, but as I was reading it recently verse five which reads, "who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's," really stood out to me in a way I had not thought of before, and I realized that God had done just that for me.  Let me explain.

This past year has been one of many changes for me, some I never would have dreamed would come about.  Just a little over a year ago we received a dozen chickens from our daughter. These were the beginning of our homesteading venture.  In March of this year we brought home our two Nubian dairy goats, who have provided us with delicious milk.   At the same time we acquired a livestock guardian dog as their companion and protector. Later we bought more chickens.  With each addition we have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do and believe me we are still learning.  God has used them all to stretch me and pull me somewhat out of my comfort zone.

As if all that wasn't enough God pushed me further out of my comfort zone by giving me the urge to start writing more. I have been keeping journals ever since we began homeschooling over twenty years ago but had not really shared much if any of it.  This past October I felt like I just had to start a blog that would, I hope, encourage others, especially my daughters.  So one Friday with a daughter's help I began the blog, wrote an introductory post and also a post for Five Minute Friday.  I still wonder sometimes if I'll have enough to write about to keep it up. I try to be open to whatever God might put on my heart and write when the inspirations come.  To help in my writing endeavors I have joined a local Christian writer's group, and in January will begin Story 101, a ten week online writing class that is also a growing community of women writers.

Recently I left my position as church pianist so that our family could go to All Saint's Anglican Church, where my sons would find some friends and fellowship with others closer to their ages.  Little did I know what a wonderful thing this change was going to be not just for our sons but for my husband and myself as well.  I did not realize how much we really missed the Anglican liturgy which includes communion every Sunday.  We all look forward to going every Sunday that we can.

The church is small and only has a choir certain times of the year of which the Christmas season is one.  My husband, sons and I are all participating in the choir.  To understand how really big this is for us you have to realize that up until recently my sons didn't sing much.  For them to be so eager and practice so faithfully at home and at church is really like a miracle to me.  They will also be playing their instruments in the Christmas Eve service.   It is such a blessing to see how we all can be a part of this wonderful church fellowship.

So to get back to Psalm 103:5......  Because of all these things I can see that God has done so much good for me, and I am satisfied.  That doesn't mean I don't have struggles or am never disappointed or never lose my temper, but I am learning to trust God more and more and to be thankful.    My heart is full of praise for Him and I do feel that my "youth is renewed".  There is a renewed energy and desire to dive into all that He has given me to do and to really enjoy life!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It Should Not Have Been.....

It should not have been….
This losing of our youth…
This vast exiting from church….

Church should not be a place of perfection, of hiding behind smiles, greeting one another superficially, pretending all is okay when we might be harboring fears, doubts, pain, griefs ……

It should be a safe place where questions can be asked, even if answers are unknown.  Instead we sometimes say not to ask questions, but to just believe.  Maybe we are afraid to be honest, to admit we also struggle and have doubts or maybe think it would make us look weak….

We should not just tell them to be good or else they will make Jesus sad, because no matter how hard they try they can’t be good all the time. We do tell them that Jesus loves them, but do our actions really show them that truth?  Do we tell them that only God can enable them to do the right thing and encourage them to go to Him, or do we just give rules and come down hard when they mess up?  Do we share our struggles and show where we mess up? Do we show them what a merciful God we have, full of love and compassion, Who always forgives? I hope we do, at least most of the time.

It should be a place to be loved no matter what, a place for confession and healing, a place for uniting and building up! It should not be a place where fear reigns but a place where we can find rest knowing that we have a common bond, a place to pray and love and cry and hug, to be a family with God as our Father.  It’s not too late!  Our young people are crying out.  They want to be heard and accepted for who they are, not what we want them to be.  And yes, sometimes they will shock us, sometimes they will thrill us, sometimes they just want to know that we understand.  They will also make mistakes just like we all do. If we will just listen to each other we just might be able to humble ourselves together before God and His Word and really learn the TRUTH…...because in the Bible is where we all find forgiveness, instruction, and the knowledge and wisdom we need to live as children of God.  And when we all bond together in Christ, the world can’t help but sit up and take notice.

Thinking of all this reminded me of this beautiful song by Ken Medema that I found on you tube HERE
Please take time to listen to it. I guarantee you'll be moved. I've included the words: 

If This Is Not A Place..... 

If this is not a place where tears are understood.
Then where shall I go to cry?

And if this is not a place where my spirit can take wings,
Then where shall I go to fly?


I don't need another place for trying to impress you
With just how good and virtuous I am.

I don't need another place for always being on top of things;
Everybody knows that it's a sham.

I don't need another place for always wearing smiles,
Even when it's not the way I feel.

I don't need another place to mouth the same old platitudes;
Everybody knows that it's not real.


So if this is not a place where my questions can be asked,
Then where shall I go to seek?

And if this is not a place where my heart cry can be heard,
Where, tell me where, shall I go to speak?

So if this is not a place where tears are understood,
Where shall I go, where shall I go to fly? 

My prayer is that we Christians will return to the Word of God, immerse ourselves in it along with prayer and thanksgiving, and make our churches places where we are not afraid to face our differences but lovingly and prayerfully find peace by being obedient to God, even if some things seem very hard and go contrary to what we desire.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, November 15, 2013

TREE

It's time for  Five Minute Friday again and the word prompt for today is TREE. If you'd like to join in you can find out all about it HERE.     Every week many people join us to write for five minutes without worrying about editing or getting it perfect.  We just write what comes to mind and stop when the five minutes are up.

GO:

When I think of a tree many words come to mind like strong, stately, reaching to the sky, digging deep and wide with roots.  It seems like trees have always been a part of my life. In most of the places I have lived I have been surrounded by trees.  

 I remember a very large pine tree in our backyard in Florida, where I grew up.  It was at the very back of the yard and we had a swing set under it.  I loved to go out and swing and sometimes would just cover my bare feet with the dirt and I came down each time to slow a little.  One time I think we tried to see how dirty we could get our feet.  I'm sure my mom wasn't too pleased.   

When I married and we moved to NH a year later we had a very small 3/4 acre yard.  Well, it was small compared to all those around us, but I remember counting over 70 white birch trees on our property. I thought they were so cool, because we didn't have them where I grew up.   And in the fall our front yard was covered with the most vivid colors of  red and yellow that I had ever seen.  It was truly beautiful.

STOP

Time is up, but I must make a correction.  When we moved to NH we first rented a duplex for a few months before we moved into the house where I counted the birch trees.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Truth

It's time for Five Minute Friday again!  If you would like to join you can find all the details HERE.
We don't worry about punctuation or grammar, etc., just write whatever comes to mind for five minutes on the topic given.  This week's topic is: Truth.

GO:

Why are we sometimes afraid to tell the truth?  Do we think it might cause controversy?  Will it alienate us from someone we love?  Sometimes it is very hard to tell the truth when we think about what might happen if we admit something we know would hurt someone.    These are hard questions to consider.

Many times we are afraid to disagree with someone because we don't like conflict.  But what if by bringing things to light we are actually able to be drawn closer to those we love even if we disagree as to what truth is.  Maybe by sharing and praying for each other God will lead us to the TRUTH.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me." This is found in the Bible in John 14:6.   Jesus is the TRUTH.   When we read His Word, we will find His truth.

STOP

Friday, November 1, 2013

GRACE

I'm linking up with Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday again today!  It's when we take five minutes to write about the topic she picks without worrying about getting it just right, a time to simply write whatever comes to mind about the subject.  Feel free to join us!


GO

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of grace is a feeling of thankfulness because of the grace that God extended me when He called me to be His child!   And it doesn't stop there!  The grace just keeps on coming day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute.

Grace is always there, but we don't always see it.  In the middle of whatever we are struggling with or going through whether it's dealing with tiredness, sickness, a needy child, you name it, it's so very hard to stop and realize that there is grace enough to carry us through.  We just need to humble ourselves and stop trying to do it all and just ask God to give us the grace we need.

And another Grace in my life is my youngest daughter! She and all her siblings are blessings to me!

STOP
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
- See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/#sthash.8UhcKnxJ.dpuf

Friday, October 25, 2013

TOGETHER

Linking up with Five Minute Friday again!  It's a great way to practice writing. You can find out how to join right HERE .  "Ordinary" is this week's topic so here goes:

GO:
Together is a word that for me conjures up lots of good family times.   When we all get together there are 26 of us!  You can imagine the noise that 13 grandchildren ranging in age from 2 - 10!  But it's a good noise most of the time.  Of course they have their little disagreements and a parent has to intervene sometimes.   And then with 13 adults there is not always agreement, but there is always LOVE.  We always look forward to our times together which is usually around a holiday time.  One year we had many of us at our house for Christmas with people sleeping all over the house.  But what a joy!

And then I think of one of my daughters who lives far away from all of us and it's hard for her to find togetherness where she is.  It seems that people are so busy and don't always find time to really have community.  It's hard for her to be so far away from her sisters.

I know there are many who don't know what it is like to be part of a family at all, much less a big family like ours.  That's where we need to reach out and pull in the lonely to share our lives with them.  

God has blessed me so much with my famliy and friends.  He has given us His love and has enabled us to love each other.

STOP

Friday, October 18, 2013

LAUNDRY

Today I am linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY again where we write for five minutes unedited,not worrying about whether it is perfect, just writing whatever comes to mind about a topic chosen by Lisa.  Today's topic: laundry

GO

When I saw today's topic I wondered what I could write about laundry. So I thought I'd think back to when I first starting doing laundry in my first apartment with my new husband 39 years ago.  We had no laundry facilities so we would take our clothes to my parents' house every week.    The next year found us living in New Hampshire in a duplex where we shared a washer and dryer in the basement.

 The next year we moved to our very first tiny house in beautiful Amherst, NH. and were expecting our first child.  So we managed to fit a washer into our budget and had it ready when she was born.  I remember my mom being there and since the house was so hot that summer, she would take the diapers outside and scrub the messiest by hand and then bring them in to the washer and hang them on the line.  That was before disposables came out!   And when they did I didn't like them.

Fast forward a few years, add several more children and tons of laundry which could have been just a drudgery, but my daughters, who were helping with the laundry by that time made up a game to help make it fun.     The idea was to be on either side of the bed and take turns tossing a unmatched sock to see if the other could match it.  It was sort of a Go Fish using socks.   My youngest daughter reminded me that they would yell out, "Match Match"  as they tossed the socks.  I remember hearing them from another room and wondering what could be so much fun!

STOP

If you'd like to join in and write your own thoughts you can find all the details HERE

                                          Try it! You never know what you can do till you try!
Five Minute Friday

Friday, October 11, 2013

ORDINARY

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's 5 MINUTE FRIDAY


GO:

What exactly is "ordinary"?  Is it the everyday things we take for granted?  Is it how we view ourselves and our world?  I suppose everyone has a different idea of what it means.   I live on a hill and have a beautiful view from my front porch, but most days I don't even notice it.  Does that mean it is ordinary? I go through my tasks every day. Is that ordinary?

You know what I think?  The ordinary can become extraordinary if we just take time to stop and really look at what we see around us, to really notice things and realize the beauty in it all.  God has given us so much - air to breathe, beauty in nature, friends, family and yet we so often take it all for granted.

Let's take time today to just enjoy being alive!  Let's take time to smile at someone!  Let's take time to get down on our knees and thank God that we are not ordinary and we don't live in an ordinary world.

God created us in His image.  That is not ordinary.  God created the whole world.  That is not ordinary.

And now my time is up.

STOP

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A New Experience


Earlier this year during Holy Week,one of my daughters  had what she called an Empathy series on her blog . She had been reading the book of Luke and wanted to try to imagine what things would have been like for someone to have been living during the time of Jesus, to try to place herself in their shoes, so to speak.  It was a good exercise to really stop and think about what it might have been like. You can find the beginning of that series and links to the rest of the posts  HERE

She is now doing another Empathy series and wanted to have others try their hand at it and guest post on her blog.  When she asked me to write a post for it my first thought was, "I can't do that!. How would I think of what to say?"   She wanted me to pick a Bible character or event and retell it as if I were that person or write a poem describing what I would imagine it to be.  I was a little nervous about it because I didn't want to add or take away anything from Scripture and wasn't sure I could do justice to it.

 Because we cannot really know what went on in the minds of these people she calls it "fiction exercise even though the truth elements are evident. The stories ring true because they are based on the narratives we are familiar with. Our imaginative perspectives inserted help bring the story alive, true and real in our own hearts as we explore the depth of thought and feeling, capturing the humanity of God’s people in that age and binding it to ours in this one."

Well, I didn't commit to it right away but promised think about it. So I began thinking and praying about  who or what  I would even be able to do. For awhile I came up with nothing.  Then I thought about maybe from the perspective of the boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fish that Jesus multiplied to feed over 5,000 and had 12 full baskets leftover, or one of the mother's of the children that were brought to Jesus to be blessed when the disciples tried to send them away. Being a mother and grandmother children are very dear to my heart, so that is what I chose to use.


                                                             A Mother’s Remembrance
 I will never forget that day for as long as I live!  We were very tired from walking, my friends and I and our children.   We had been following Jesus listening to His every word.   He was like no one else we had ever seen or heard! ........

You can find the rest of the story at Ava Anomaly 


 Please take a moment to go there and read the other posts in the series, too.  This exercise really helped to open my eyes to reading Scripture more thoughtfully rather than just skimming over familiar passages. I hope you will enjoy these "exercises in empathy."









Friday, October 4, 2013

My First Time Joining Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's   FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY

Five Minute Friday: Write

START:

I guess I really have been a writer for most of my life although I never thought of myself as such.  I do remember not having much trouble writing essay answers to tests.  Those were my favorite type of questions because I could think of plenty to say.   Maybe it's because I enjoy talking.  When I was a child most of the adults in my life told me I talked too much and asked too many questions, but my parents were always ready to listen and answer.

When I was 10 years old I even wrote a little song about loving Jesus. I even put the notes on some music paper so I could play it on the piano.    Here is how it went if I can remember correctly  : 

            " Oh, we should love Jesus, We should love Jesus!  Why? Because He first loved us."

Then at age 11 my friend and I started writing a story together about some kid going into space or something like that.  We had a spiral bound notebook and would take turns taking it home and adding more to the story. It was great fun!  I don't even remember my friend's name or whatever happened to the story.

And ever since we started homeschooling over 20 years ago I have kept journals, not always faithfully every day, sometimes months would go by but I still keep at it and much as I can.   Now, because of my daughter encouraging me I have actually written a guest post for her blog which will be published next week, started a blog of my own JUST TODAY!  And now I'm participating in Five Minute Friday for the first time!  It's great!

STOP