A Day in the Life

 Out and about early....
ready and waiting for my husband's cardioversion.
Competent and cheerful nurses and personnel make it easier.
The time comes.
I leave the room and scarcely have time to open the magazine
before I'm summoned back to bedside.
He is groggy, but his heart is back in rhythm.
So thankful for medical knowledge, equipment, facilities, and personnel.
Thankful for another day to live, love and share life with my beloved.
He holds the future in the palm of His hand,
And He has never failed me yet,
I know He's reigning and still has control,
So why should I worry or fret?
(words as I recall them from an "old" Gaither song)

Promises

My parents celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary yesterday.
To watch their faithfulness to one another and to the Lord 
over the years has been a sweet privilege.
Yesterday was not without its challenges, but the afternoon turned out to be a gentle, peaceful one.
This morning, reflecting on the experience,
this old song kept running through my mind.
It is my prayer.

O Jesus, I Have Promised
John  E. Bode
  1. O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
    Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
    I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
    Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.
  2. Oh, let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still,
    I dare not trust my judgment: Thy way shall be my will;
    Oh, speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
    Oh, speak, and help me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.
  3. O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee
    That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be;
    And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end—
    Oh, give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend.
  4. Oh, let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own;
    My hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone;
    Oh, guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end;
    And then in Heav’n receive me, my Savior and my Friend.

Anything is Possible

 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Mark 9:23, New Living Translation

It has been an interesting day, not spectacular, but interesting.
My mind sifts possibilities,
interweaving them with improbabilities
,
contrasting with certainties.
For life is not static
and tomorrow will have another song to sing,
interspersed with silence.
But I will only be able to appreciate the melody of the day,
if I take time to sit and listen.
(Rose Humphrey, from this post on her blog)

♪ I am a promise
I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital P
I am a great big bundle of potentiality ♪
(the Gaithers)

and THIS, from a children's musical I directed YEARS ago--
who knew these words would still be with me today?!?

 ♪ Only God can count the apples in a single seed
Only He knows just how many there will be
All my possibilities are the treasures that He sees
When He looks inside of me ♪
(I Am God's Project)

Possible is "my word" for 2015.  I want to/NEED TO revisit it frequently!




Bad Leg Down; Good Leg Up

  I stood at the top of these stairs this morning looking down.  
Since breaking my hip last March and the replacement of the knee on the opposite leg in September, 
I took a tumble a few weeks ago that makes climbing and descending stairs difficult.
"Bad leg DOWN; good leg UP," I mumble to myself as I tried to remember which leg to lead with.
(I remember my mother staying "Bad leg down to hell; good leg up to heaven"
following her own surgeries years ago....)
I find I have to talk myself into taking the first step up or down.  
Neither leg feels like the GOOD one, so I have to think which one was the most recently injured.
 THEN I take the appropriate first step
holding firmly to the railing.
Half-way down the stairs this morning, I saw a correlation between my current
physical challenge and the method of approaching many OTHER challenges!
The first step is often the most difficult.
Sometimes it takes a strong talking to oneself--a mental adjustment.  
A reassuring of self.
Finally, it boils down to ACTION--beginning with the first step
and holding firmly to the railing!  (That's IMPORTANT!)*
Besides increasing my speed and confidence in stair climbing and descending,
I have a few other goals.
As I identify the "steps" involved in meeting them,
I'll put the observations I made this morning into action.

 *Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, 
but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own,
 that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
Philippians 3:12

Goodbye, Mitford

 I definitely had mixed emotions as I finished the last of 500+ pages
and said a temporary goodbye to Mitford.
Temporary because there are far too many loose ends to tie up.
Surely the next volume cannot be far behind!
Mixed emotions because I'm SO excited to have finished a book - and a long one at that -
after a dry spell in the reading department while at the same time
being sad to have closed the book on such a delightful story
full of fascinating characters, inspiring quotes, and intriguing descriptions of life in a small town.
Until the next Mitford saga, thanks to fellow bloggers' suggestions,
I have these two books with which to occupy my time the next few days.
Unlike Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good,
these are old books and (if I understand correctly), non-fiction.
A Walk Through the Year, Edwin Way Teale/The Shape of a Year, Jean Hersey
What are YOU reading?
Where do you get your "leads" - how do you decide what to read next?
What's your favorite reading genre?

More than "Possible"

This is my Bible....C.C.'s photo had verse 5 highlighted.....
I have a Twitter account.  I use it primarily as a file of inspiring and challenging quotes.  This morning, Christine Caine's tweet sent me to her Instagram account--by the way, I don't have an Instagram account--there IS a limit:  This, along with a photo showing Joshua 3:5 highlighted in yellow, is what I found:

"I don't know about you, but I go to sleep believing this EVERY night.  I find that the more I BELIEVE the Lord will do amazing things among us, the more I see him do amazing things.  Life is too short to waste in unbelief, fear, doubt & negativity. As for me & my house, we are BELIEVING GOD!!!

"My word" for 2015 is possible. I wrote how that came to be here.  C.C.'s tweet and the accompanying Scripture impress me to expect so much MORE than possible.  God DID, CAN, and WILL DO AMAZING things!

It appears to me that Joshua called for at least two things here.  First, that the people "consecrate" (some versions say "purify") themselves in anticipation/expectation for God's amazing activity on their behalf.  Secondly, that preparation for the next day begin the night before!  Tomorrow begins today!

With God's help, I will incorporate both of these insights more intentionally into my daily - well, nightly - practice.


First Read of 2015

"Above all, he and Cynthia had been two of her biggest supporters when, scared out of her wits and not knowing how she could possibly make it, she bought the bookstore and moved upstairs and hung curtains at the windows and came to believe in God."

One paragraph containing only one sentence.  It takes a good writer to pack an entire story into that small a space, and Jan Karon does it.  Repeatedly!  It's been a few years since I read one of her books, and now I'm wondering if I've read them all and simply forgotten some details about some of the characters or missed a book or two altogether!

At any rate, I'm happy to have THIS one in hand--lent to me and delivered in person by a kindred spirit.  Her visit itself was delightful and left my heart in a peaceful state, as conversations with good friends are wont to do...

"I loved that book, Rebecca! I even bought it...and now have it sitting up on a cabinet near me, as I LOVE the title!!!"  So wrote a less-familiar friend who read my facebook post chronicling my happiness of having been lent the book since I was far down the list of others who had placed a hold on it at our library. Like Marilyn, my less-familiar friend, I love the title, too.



Oh, the pleasure of reading a simple and fine story 
in a comfortable chair in a warm room 
on a cold, wintry day!

...So that NOTHING is Wasted



"Gather what is left so that nothing is wasted."  I woke from sleep upon hearing these words.  Looking back on the experience, I am unclear whether they came from the words of a preacher on the Bott Radio Network that I have turned on softly all night or from Someone else, for my ears only. 

I didn't fall back to sleep immediately.  Instead my mind raced to my "storehouse" of Bible knowledge.  I KNEW these were Jesus' words to His disciples following the Feeding of the 5,000.

I searched them out specifically the next morning. (By the way, except for the resurrection of Christ, the Feeding of the 5,000 is the only other miracle recorded in all four Gospels.)  Matthew, Mark and Luke all say something like this:  "They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over."
However, John wrote (6:12-13)  "After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, 'Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.'  So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves."

The immediate message was clear to me.  My own body had been broken several times in 2014.  A recent fall has left me in a some pretty serious pain and semi-dependent on the assistance of my husband.  There are times when I wonder if pain and stilted movements will be part of the rest-of-my-life.  "Broken" well describes my spirit at times...

But the instruction was clear (then AND now):  "Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted."

Imagine my sense of amazement and awe the next morning when a friend responded with these words to my facebook message thanking her for visiting us the previous night and bringing along a book I've been wanting to read:   
We enjoyed it as well. 
Seems like something that could have happened in the book you're reading. 
May your recovery be speedy and unwasted.

Unwasted!   Let NOTHING be wasted, Lord!
Not the pain. Not the brokenness.  Not even the recovery!
  NOTHING.

Packaged

It occurred to me while creating a post for another blog of mine
that there was  a Life Lesson here!
I noticed the packaging a few of my Christmas gifts had come in, 
and commented about my pleasure in them
(not unlike small children who enjoy the box as much or more than the gift itself).
 I wrote, "Whether beautiful, unique, utilitarian or a combination of the three...
I really enjoyed the packaging of Christmas 2014."
 THEN I got to thinking how beautifully "packaged" I am in Christ Jesus!
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! 
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation 
and draped me - some versions say "wrapped me" - in a robe of righteousness. 
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.  (Isaiah 61:10)
I can't HELP pondering and wondering over how
 beautiful, unique, and utilitarian (OR actually a combination of the three)
is HIS "wrapping" of ME..
and like a child, I am even more enamored with the Wrapping than the gift of Me!

"Momenting" into 2015

"The Gate of the Year"
by Minnie L. Haskins 1908
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'
 ***
 Don't panic, if you haven't figured out 2015. 
Every moment is the beginning of the rest of your life. 
Begun is begun, no matter when.
(Dr. John Piper)
***
MOMENT by MOMENT
(Daniel W. Whittle)
1.  Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.
Refrain:
Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

2.  Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.
3.  Never a heartache, and never a groan,
Never a teardrop, and never a moan;
Never a danger but there on the throne,
Moment by moment He thinks of His own.
4.  Never a weakness that He doth not feel,
Never a sickness that He cannot heal;
Moment by moment, in woe or in weal,
Jesus my Savior abides with me still.
***
I'm "momenting" my way into 2015.   I'm NOT alone.
These are just a few of the thoughts that have crossed my path or entered my mind
over the past few days.
As I wrote to a friend on Facebook this morning:
...if there's one thing I'm learning through my "light and momentary afflictions", 
it is to live in the present moment w/o anxiety re. tomorrow.
(I'm well aware that I'll see if I've REALLY learned it when those 
light and momentary afflictions are lifted or replaced by others.) 

Be "Possible"!

Mother and me
 I really don't know how much longer she'll be with us.
Meanwhile, I'm very much aware of how many of my waking hours 
are spent thinking of, being with, and loving her.
Last week, I sat in the chair beside her recliner while she slept.
She opened her eyes briefly and said groggily,
"He said we should be always be possible."
Then her eyes closed and she was asleep again.
"He" was my 88 year old father.
He frequently encourages her (and himself) to stay positive.
I'm sure that's what she was trying to say.
***
I think POSSIBLE will be my word for 2015.
It will remind me that ALL things are possible with God.
At the same time it will prompt me to 
Be Positive--something that I really need to work on
AND something that is easier when I remember that nothing is impossible with GOD.


Prayer and Presence

 When he called a few days before to tell me he was thinking of bringing Mother
 to the large, extended family gathering, I confess I was dubious about his decision.
 I'm not sure she's been out of the facility containing the Special Care Unit
in which she is living for close to a year.
I'm QUITE certain she's not ridden in a car for that long.
Her words are usually nonsensical, her gait unsteady, and her mind confused.
He agonized over the decision.
I said, "Daddy, you don't have to make up your mind until the morning of."
Well, as you can see, he brought her.
I KNOW he prayed about the decision,
and I have no question that her presence with us that day
and her demeanor were a direct and clear answer to his prayer.
 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16
My personal prayer life was given a tremendous boost
as a result of my father's prayer and my mother's presence. 




My Birthday and Facebook

I'm still reeling from all the birthday wishes I received via Facebook yesterday - Christmas Day.
Yes, I have a Christmas birthday.  I've had 66 of them, actually.
How technology has impacted (and in some ways - invaded) our lives today! 
I guess I didn't realize how much.
I used to separate reality and virtual reality,
but after yesterday the line is not so clear to me anymore...
The fact that I and over 100 people in my small circle of friends
were on Facebook on Christmas Day has prompted me to evaluate
and very probably adjust my personal habits in 2015.

How about YOU?
Anyone else doing some serious thinking on this subject?

Gifts AND Presence

 She'd come earlier this month bringing with her my birthday gift--a set of beautiful coasters.
Thoughtful.  Knowing my birthday falls on Christmas Day, 
she wanted me to have separate gifts.
 Then back today with my "Christmas gifts"...
the ornament (above) and homemade goodies filling the box below.
Like a very young child, I am totally enchanted with its wrapping!
As yummy as the contents of the box are,
it was her PRESENCE that I needed most today.
And the time and labor of love that went into making the pickles, sweet breads and caramels
warmed my heart.
My gift-and-presence-friend and her kindness
made me think of a Vacation Bible School song from several years ago.
Have you ever heard it?

GIFTS AND PRESENCE
Our gifts seem small
But we place them all
We place them all at Your feet
They are simple things
But with all our hearts
With all our hearts we will sing
We will sing

CHORUS
We bring our gifts
You bring Your presence
Exchanging our little
For all that You are
We bring our gifts
You bring Your presence
And what is most precious
Jesus, You fill our hearts

To serve O King
Is the praise we bring
The praise we bring is to serve
Ever to obey
Is the way we say
The way we say we are Yours
We are Yours
 (Annette Oden | Dave Noel)

My Christmas Wish

Seen at Brookside last week...





A friend in Blogland (I declare!  Sometimes I simply marvel that these are folk I've never actually met in person!) posted this amazing tribute to a friend recently gone to her heavenly home:
 Today in my final goodbyes I grieved not for her, but for my loss of her: an earthly lamplight radiating with a steady luster of faithful kindness and availability. She lit my world with mercy that mirrored the Father's love, glowing from the depths of a spirited and compassionate heart.
I find myself rather melancholy and reflective in spirit these days while many around me are merry.  I know it will pass.  But these words of Beth in Blogland  struck such a chord within me!  How I long to be "an earthly lamplight".  Mirrowing the Father's love.  Glowing from the depths of a spirited and compassionate heart...

This is my Christmas wish.
What's yours???

$4 and an Afternoon

Come visit me over at my other blog to see how I spent
$4 and an afternoon this past week.
I shared the experience with a friend and have decided that spreading "Christmas" out
over a few weeks and sharing several experiences with friends and family
is preferable to extended decorating forays and shopping for and wrapping presents.
At least for THIS year...

Fire and Flood

 SO aware of what I was spared yesterday!
I really don't light candles very much, but yesterday morning I did.
We're early risers.  I estimate I lit this candle around 5:00 a.m.
 At 6:30 I was out the door and on my way to get to the nursing home
where my mother resides in time to be there when the doctor made his rounds.
(You probably can guess where this post is headed!)
I returned home around 12:45 p.m.
Sinking into my recliner AFTER wiping up the kitchen floor
because I hadn't checked the seal on the dishwasher that I turned on as I left the house,
I looked across the room and saw this candle--still burning.
I share the photos (dust and all) to first of all acknowledge the protection of my Heavenly Father,
and secondly to remind YOU to blow out those candles!
(Personally, I may not light another one for a long while.)

It Wasn't Too Cold

 It wasn't too cold (see prior post), and late in the afternoon we embarked
on theChristmas Walk in an old neighborhood.
This activity has become a Christmas tradition for us over the years.
 Inside and out, the "halls were decked" for the season.
 At some point, I wearied of taking my gloves off to photograph the beauty
and just settled back to enjoy it...



 Homes along the way (not on the official "walk) caught my eye--
sometimes for their simplicity; sometimes for their potential.
Luminaries lit the sidewalks of the featured homes.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...

All is Calm

 I've never thought of myself as a "conformist",
 but this year - possibly more than any other - I  am not conforming!  
As I commented on another person's post about keeping Christmas simple:  "Learning not to take my "Christmas cues" from blogland or what others are doing - not comparing/competing.....Refusing to try to do it all. Resting in the Lord; letting Him set the pace..."
Decorations in our home this year are minimal; activities basically confined to
"Christmas versions" of regular events such as our no-longer-Red-Hats monthly meeting,
a carry-in brunch at church during Sunday School hour,
decorating the church this morning with our Ladies' Bible Study group that always meets on Fridays,
a dinner last night at the facility where my mother is a resident,
a holiday housewalk tomorrow (if it's not too cold),
and lunches with friends in front of the fireplace at Cracker Barrel peppered throughout the month.
There are just TOO many ideas out there;
too many events; too much noise for THIS woman to handle 
in addition to what's already on my plate.
I will cherish quiet, candlelit evenings 
with Christmas music playing in the background, 
thank you!

Moments to Remember

 ♪ Though summer turns to winter
And the present disappears
The laughter we were glad to share
Will echo through the years
When other nights and other days
May find us gone our separate ways
We will have these moments to remember....♪










Thanksgiving found my husband and I going two different directions.
It was a most unusual holiday.  
The photos above come from two different locations,
but all reflect the reality that Thanksgiving is a state of the heart.
It doesn't depend on place, menu, or ANY circumstances, for that matter...
Seeing my husband walk in the door five hours earlier than I expected this morning
is my most recent reason to be thankful.
My heart is full.

Writing a Song a Week #3

Writing a Song a Week #3
♪ I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning ♪ (Psalm 130:5-6)