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.

Simple Self Care


For the past year, self care for me has consisted primarily of recovery.  
Rest, ice, medication, therapy.  
I did it all out of necessity, with little pleasure.  Robotically,  
Somewhere in the past week or two, I turned a corner.  
My thoughts have expanded to include haircuts, nutrition, exercise, and a good closet cleaning-out.  
I know. Many--if not most--people would consider these basic and normal.  
Which makes me realize that high on my Thanksgiving list of blessings 
is my slow but significant return to "basic" and "normal".  
Simple self care. 
 It's never felt so good!

Someday

Jesus replied, "You don't understand now what I am doing, 
but someday you will."  (John 13:7)
So much of what is happening TO me and AROUND me
is covered by this verse.  
(I'm certain that I'm not alone.)
Can I be honest and say that sometimes it's no easier for me to be reassured by this now
than when I was told it by a well-meaning and wise parent as a child?
Even as I type these words into my post,
I'm aware how selfish and immature they sound.
I'm embarrassed by my confession, until I remember how gently Jesus spoke
 to Simon Peter that day--
quietly addressing his anxieties;
taking into account his personality;
entering into dialogue with him--
all the while accomplishing HIS purpose.
Somedays, someday can't come soon enough for me!

Gratitude

"...all is an opportunity to give thanks to God"
BEING GRATEFUL
Giving thanks for everything

Every day we are given opportunities for acquiring a grateful heart. Whatever comes our way, whether it be good or bad, are occasions for being grateful. When we realize that even difficulties and hardships are allowed by God for our salvation, we are more likely to received whatever comes, with a grateful heart. Whatever life places before us, all is an opportunity to give thanks to God.

The difficulties we face are opportunities to embrace with a trusting heart, that which God has allowed. Our willingness to please God governs our response, and in turn nurtures a humble heart, and a humble heart opens the doors to a peace that passes all understanding, and the Gates of Paradise are opened wide to us.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


I receive Abbot Tryphon's "letters" on facebook.  
He writes from  All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Christian Monastery.
Always thought-provoking and wise.   
Gratitude is a popular subject on blogs and in books...  
plenty written about it.  
Hints about how to practice it abound.
Folks post their "daily five" for the world to see.
Ann Voskamp is light years ahead of me.
...
The timing of this particular reminder 
couldn't have been better for me personally.
I have "miles to go before I sleep"
when it comes to this - and so many other - subjects.

Mother

 
 Among the sweet thing I'll remember of the past year
my mother has spent in the Special Care Unit
is how she notices when I arrive wearing lipstick...
Her eyes fasten on my lips and she points to her own.
She struggles to put words to her request,
but it is clear that she wants to wear some herself.
After I apply it, I hand her a Kleenex to blot.
Then I get out my phone and show her how good she looks
via my phone's camera.
She poses -- seeing herself as in a mirror.
She is pleased.
I touch the screen and capture the picture,
and I couldn't be happier....

Anne Lamott

My Ikea-less reality


Though I'm quite certain we're poles apart when it comes to life experiences, talent, theology, and appearance, I have a strong sense  that our hearts share space! These recent tweets of hers (Anne Lamott)  are examples of why I read her books and admire her from a distance:
  •  I think God loves what is real, esp in us. Not the stuff we've tricked out w/ cute rugs from Ikea. What's really in our hearts & minds. Wow\
  • We have a short, silent time of confession Sunday. I always say something like, “Look-I think we both know what we have on our hands here.”
I'm counting on the first - though I find it frightening and reassuring at the same time - and find her Sunday confession spot on.

Prayer

lately,
my prayers (what prayers?)
seem useless,
impossible to verbalize
and passionless.
it seems pointless
to expect answers from One
who seems so distant;
occupied with matters far larger than me...
yet in desperation,
alone and frightened 
by unfamiliar circumstances and intense pain,
i begged others, "pray for me."
and many did.
one day i will pray again, too.
i know i will.
10/28/2014

Simple Pleasures are the Best

On the way to my car after my physical therapy session,
I noticed the hospital's groundskeeper cutting back the hydrangeas.
The back of his pickup truck was loaded with them,
and he was still cutting.
 I asked if someone had already asked for them.
He seemed a little stunned by my question and told me to take all I wanted.
I wish I'd taken more than an armful.
Simple pleasures really ARE the best.

A Beautiful Mind

I don't know why, but this photo of a project my husband has been working on makes me think of the movie, ,"A Beautiful Mind".  It's been a long time since I saw it, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.

Some research has concluded that “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insight".  And Albert Einstein once said, "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” 

I am always amazed and thankful for what emerges from this particular disorderly environment.  Somehow, it makes my own clutter seem less formidable. 
In all fairness, I should add that it doesn't always look this way.
At least once a month (or maybe at the end of a project) it returns to its more organized state. 
***
Returning to this post the next morning, I see something else altogether!
I see how God's people stand out against the chaotic background of a world gone wild!


Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights
 in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  (Philippians 2:15)

Now THIS is the reminder I'll carry with me today.

our Ladies' Bible Study

 A few weeks ago, I was searching for Bible study material for a group of ladies from our church.
Since we would be meeting in a local coffee shop, it would not be convenient to use a 
video-based study.  That fact and the determination I had that the study be Bible-centered
limited my options.  I'm SO happy to have found this particular Precept Bible study material.
(All photos from The Agora on Waldo's Hill, Antwerp, OH - site of our Bible study)
At the first meeting, I asked how many women had been to an ocean shore.
I told them that their experience with this study would correspond to that experience.
Some put their toes in the ocean, others wade out waist-deep, some brave the waves.
Others snorkel and see details that many who only put their toes in miss.
Little did I know how accurate this analogy is!  
Though I don't follow ALL the suggestions for Bible marking (a very complex system),
I was amazed by the treasures contained in the first chapter of I Peter
as I studied per the instructions this second week of the study.
What a treasure is my salvation!
How brief and temporary any sufferings I experience while in my "exile" here on earth!
What a hope I have of one day seeing Jesus face-to-face!
How enduring and powerful the Word of God!
How encouraging the bond of love we share as we gather!

 “People are like grass;
    their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.   
But the word of the Lord remains forever."
(I Peter 1)

the Wonder of Autumn

 Though the sky was grey and rain fell intermittently,
 nothing could interfere with my awe of and appreciation for
the beauty of nature....the enjoyment of God's creation!
I wish for a larger heart in which to store the memory of this day.
I am thankful my husband was with me.
Somehow, being able to share the wonder WITH someone increases the pleasure....

An Exquisite Fragrance

Personally, I'm not a shopper.
I probably would never have purchased this for myself
or even KNOWN such a thing existed!
However, I'm thankful that SOMEbody did.
It now sits beside my recliner where I currently spend a lot of hours 
icing my new knee in between exercises and physical therapy.
From time to time, I twist off the lid and enjoy the amazing scent.
It doesn't take long for it to permeate the entire room's atmosphere.
I highly recommend it (and wonder what other scents wickless soy candles come in).

2 Corinthians 2:14-15, The Message
“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. 
Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, 
which is recognized by those on the way of salvation — an aroma redolent with life.”

Isn't this an amazing truth?!?

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)