Collected Quotes

I most often read at night in bed. When I find a quote that stops me, I copy, paste to my own email and continue. Often, I forget to add where I read the quote. Usually it is months later when I decide to copy and paste the quotes to a document. So many of the quotes I want to share will be without credit given to the author. I will try to search on line to find the appropriate source. If I can’t then please just take courage form the quote itself and forgive me if you happen to be the author. yikes.

Jan 2019 I read a quote from Rumi, “But listen to me: for one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. God.” I can get caught up in all the dire news of death counts doubling and tripling, ventilators not being available for those who need them, etc., or I can try Rumi’s message from God.

What if the splendor of spring was allowed to sweep me into it’s arms for half an hour? The daffodils on our hill are bursting. Alongside them there are trout lilies with larger blossoms than we have ever seen in our decade of living here. The hyacinths in my garden are bursting with color and fragrance. My bathroom is redolent with that sweet perfume as the two blossom stems bless me. Forsythia looks better this year than in last. Yesterday morning Bob spotted a PAIR of Rufous Sided Towhees in the grass below the feeder.

They only pass through our area. Harbingers of spring and fall we get excited to see them.

If I stay glued to the tv and radio news I will miss these. “Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.” What can you spot today?

Under or Atop?

One day when walking down the street,
On business bent, while thinking hard
About the “hundred cares” which seemed
Like thunder clouds about to break
In torrents, Self-pity said to me:
“You poor, poor thing, you have too much
To do. Your life is far too hard.
This heavy load will crush you soon.”
A swift response of sympathy
Welled up within. The burning sun
Seemed more intense. The dust and noise
Of puffing motors flying past
With rasping blast of blowing horn
Incensed still more the whining nerves,
The fabled last back-breaking straw
To weary, troubled, fretting mind.
“Ah, yes, ’twill break and crush my life;
I cannot bear this constant strain
Of endless, aggravating cares;
They are too great for such as I.”
So thus my heart condoled itself,
“Enjoying misery,” when lo!
A “still small voice” distinctly said,
“Twas sent to lift you—not to crush.”
I saw at once my great mistake.
My place was not beneath the load
But on the top! God meant it not
That I should carry it. He sent
It here to carry me. Full well
He knew my incapacity
Before the plan was made. He saw
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow;
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow—
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One’s load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;

Without them we must roam for aye
On planes of undeveloped faith,
For faith grows but by exercise in circumstance impossible.

Oh, paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! for naught can e’er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
How may we climb! By what ascent
Shall we surmount the carping cares
Of life! Within His word is found
The key which opes His secret stairs;
Alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him.

—Miss Mary Butterfield

Trying to figure out how to express the recent struggles within my brain and emotions I came across this poem in Streams in the Desert. Could not discover anything about the author, but I do like her ideas!

“Alone with Christ, secluded there, we mount our loads and rest in Him.” That is the answer repeatedly in my journey. Go to Him. Rest and regain perspective for the next phase of the journey. Recently I read a book by Charles Martin about football. His character was living near a junkyard. He made it is his practice to run to the top of a pile of tires and other automobile debris as part of his conditioning. Make this our journey. To run to the top of the debris in our life. Make it the conditioning track that we need for victory in our hearts, minds and souls. When I am reminded to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I often fail to realize that will take conditioning and practice. I must determine to do that – daily, hourly!

When Self-pity speaks to you I hope you will get up and get moving. Let those warped thoughts drop to the ground and travel on with His empowerment. You ARE able to do many things you never thought possible through Christ Who strengthens you.

Much of our suffering occurs between our ears. Was it Mark Twain who said “I’ve known many troubles in my life. And most of them never came to pass.” Stay on top!

Not Be Overwhelmed

I love the fact that someone finally wrote a song about one of my favorite Scripture verses! I needed to hear that recently when I reviewed my scatteredness and sought to recollect my various members around my roots in Christ.

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.

Romans 8:11 NIV

Reviewing my activities on a recent Saturday morning I realized again why I needed to draw from that “Same Power.” That week I had interaction with someone who had possibly had a TIA and was having brain scans, one who was failing in his job, one had stitches in her back after a freak accident, one suffering from Parkinson’s disease, one recovering from surgery, one serving with many hats in the community and feeling the weight, one who had a bladder scoped (ouch), one having staffing troubles, one broke his finger, one worried about aging and drug injection to build bone density, one getting a divorce, one recovering from knee surgery, one struggling with mental illness, one worried about another person, seemingly crowds of folks in my purview with troubles after troubles!

How to stay compassionate, not burn out, and keep caring for each of them? Left to myself, I do not have that sort of strength within me to sort out where to serve and where to just pray. The Word of God assures me in Romans 8:8-9 NIV  “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.”

In my flesh, I would tend to worry and fret and try to find ways in my own strength to comfort, heal, encourage and come alongside all those folks. I have burned myself out more than once in my life trying to do just that. I hopefully have learned better now. Now I release each one to God as soon as I possibly can, giving the Holy Spirit free access to use me if He wishes in their comfort. Otherwise, I leave those persons at the altar of God and return myself to a position of listening for His voice., walking in the Spirit.

Ann Voskamp wrote, “There’s a lot of happiness in this world that depends on being brave enough to keep working when it’d be easier to quit. Nothing good gets started without getting to work – and nothing great gets finished without staying at the work. It’s not about growing tough enough to take what life throws at you; it’s about staying open enough to all of life to simply receive it.”

Yield a compassionate ear to those around you. Know when to release them to the Spirit of God. Then keep serving as you are shown how and where to serve.

Some Methods To Find Those Treasures In Plain Sight

Discussing meditation and contemplative prayer and all these other terms can sometimes distract us from actually doing the practice. Mark Buchanan is a wonderful author who often expresses things in a way I had not previously thought about. His book The Holy Wild mentions this:

“Our creativity, at least in part, comes from resting in His creativity until it seeps in. It springs from prayer. Not the busy chatty prayer we often do, but the other kind: prayer as emptiness, prayer as silence, prayer as stillness. Prayer as the absence of wanting and asking. Not the clamoring man waking his neighbor, desperate for bread (LK 11:5), but the suckled child curled up, satisfied in the mother’s arms (PS 131:2).

“Sometimes I just sit there. I don’t speak or ask or think. I watch, devoid of analysis. I just sit and look.

“I let things be, and I simply dwell in their presence. Where there is music or poetry or artistry in these things, I receive it without comment or lament, without the impulse to possess it or explain it. There is nothing mystical about this. This is not a slipping toward pantheism, where every rock bluff or grass tuft brims with divinity. This is simply an act of reverence for the God who makes things, and respect for all that He makes.

 “God’s creativity is, in one sense, the most obvious thing about Him. He saves His most intricate work for the insides and undersides of things. (Molly’s favorite part of the ocean is the underside of waves!)

Richard Rohr has also at times taken as his guide in prayer a simple phrase: “Don’t think. Just look.” He wrote in Near Occasions of Grace “Father McNamara’s definition of contemplation became transformative: “A loving look at the real.” The world, my own issues and hurts, all goals and desires gradually dissolved into proper perspective. God became obvious and everywhere.”

He says “To Practice This Today: Take a loving look at the real. Use the phrase “Don’t think. Just look.” as a reminder throughout the day.”

Often I think of the view out the window nearest to my prayer chair as a cathedral. Not one built of stone and wood, but the most important place of worship. The biggest sanctuary in the area! I dare you to try these methods of prayer, if not for an entire day, then start with 15 minutes. “Don’t think. Just look.” Just sit and look, especially if you can be out of doors. “Rest in God’s creativity. Prayer as emptiness, silence, stillness.” You will never know the benefits until you try this repeatedly. Devote 15 minutes to this practice for one week. And be blessed by a renewed awareness of God’s Presence, within and without.

About jumped out of my skin just now.

While I am typing I have my phone timer set on the silly duck sound, Kay’s favorite on her phone. I keep setting the timer for changing the outdoor hose. My plants are suffering from our near drought conditions. Writing the blog I was deep into trying to explain the practice above and the benefits of meditation and contemplative prayer. I am home alone. That phone quacked and I nearly jumped out of my skin! My Prayer Core-Group friends are never far from my mind! TURN UP YOUR VOLUME TO EMULATE MY EXPERIENCE!

So, just a reminder, to try this practice but also stay aware of the things around you so you might not be as startled as I was just now!

Sometimes a Writer Must Work and Wait

I have been working to read and then copy out selections from Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” That book had a huge impact upon me years ago when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For those who have followed this and my other blog I mentioned the book a while ago. Since I continue to age (better than the alternative) and the future is uncertain regarding this shoulder, which means our summer, and then our trip to Cape Cod in the autumn, and on and on it goes in uncertainty – seemed like the right time to take up the project. I had ordered a used copy of the book but it was SO old that pages were crumbling as I read. So I got a newer copy and have completed the part entitled Experiences in a Concentration Camp. Now this might seem totally depressing to some, but Frankl is worth reading. He writes from the viewpoint of a psychiatrist and a prisoner about what happens to humans when choices are removed. This chapter is about 145 pages in a smaller paperback, so not too difficult to accomplish. He actually writes from experience. Bob’s Dad was part of the Liberation Army in WWII and set some of the camps free. I have wondered if he was one of the soldiers who freed Doctor Viktor Frankl?

Frankl focuses repeatedly on the fact that the last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstance. Hopefully, my synthesis of his insights will come forth in future blogging.

The attitude choice has come home to me again personally as I wait for diagnosis of the problem in my shoulder after the fall in the living room. I get to choose my attitude. I am NOT always sweet and kind and uncomplaining. When I get weary from pain and frustration I often want to just go crawl under a rock where I will not hurt anyone with my misunderstood tone of voice or sour attitude. Today I will focus on what Scripture says about waiting.

 Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!  I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.  It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the LORD.

Lamentations 3:22-26 (HCSB)

His mercies never end – even when we are irritable. His mercies are new every morning – He knows so well I will need a daily dose! His faithfulness far exceeds mine.

The Lord is my portion, therefore I put my hope in Him. Well, what else can I say? I trust the doctors and MRI, but He is my highest and best hope, my most thorough Physician. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. I wonder HOW many times we are admonished to wait for Him in Scripture? Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. In returning and rest I am saved; in quietness and trust will be my strength. Be still, and KNOW that He is God.

Jeremiah ends with “It is good to wait QUIETLY for deliverance from the Lord.” I know a woman who is waiting for healing from a second back-to-back Shingles infection. I know a man waiting to find out if the purchase of the home he wants will go through. I know others waiting to heal after surgery, waiting for back pain to let up and be healed, waiting for a church dedication and celebration after hours and hours of hard outdoor work, waiting to plant their crops after history-making flooding. Some are waiting for asylum in America fleeing violence in their homeland, another waiting to finalize a divorce after a miserable marriage.

As humans we do not generally wait well or quietly. Perhaps remembering His mercies are new daily and His steadfast love for us never changes can help carry us over the bumps and crashes of our dreams in life.

When your particular house of cards comes down, remember that no one EVER said “I want to be ill this summer”, or “I want to be waiting weeks on end for an answer .” Ever. So along with me, rest, wait, hope and watch for a manifestation of His love in our presence.

Holy Treasure Placed in My Ear

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work but rather, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY

Wikipedia says: Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. Bob’s favorite book of his is “The Little Prince.” My favorite quote of his is “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Our long marriage has proven this to be true!

This quote about building a ship made me think about drawing people to a relationship with God. How can I make them long for the endless immensity of His holy love, the tremendous power of His resurrection life for changing and transforming us? His endless promises for good and the joy of Spirit- filled living?

Bob told me a story about talking with men in his Silver Sneakers group. It seems one man knew rather a lot through a work relationship about a man whom Bob knew tangentially. And pondering that sent sparks of inspiration!

In Exodus 20:18 the people trembled with fear when they were at Mount Sinai. God wanted the people to come and meet there (EX 19:10-11). They were so afraid that they asked Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” This was a major twisting by the people of what the Lord had instructed. He wanted the people to experience Him. Here they are, holding the God of Glory at arm’s length. And it has been like that for ages. Congregations asking the Pastor to bring an inspired word, but please do not ask them to go to God for themselves!

My mother taught me to sing when I was just a small child. Her father had been a Methodist minister and she was made to sing for his services when she was growing up. She also taught me to sing the alto parts as she was soprano and wanted to harmonize. One of the first songs was “The Garden Song” with lyrics by C. Austin Miles. We sang in the car so obviously, we sang a cappella.

I sifted through You Tube versions to try to find one I liked best. I think I probably liked the singing in the car with Mom the best. Here are the lyrics

  • I come to the garden alone
  • While the dew is still on the roses
  • And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
  • The Son of God discloses
  • And He walks with me
  • And He talks with me
  • And He tells me I am His own
  • And the joy we share
  • as we tarry there
  • None other has ever known.
  • He speaks and the sound of His voice
  • Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
  • And the melody that He gave to me
  • Within my heart is ringing
  • And He walks with me
  • And He talks with me
  • And He tells me I am His own
  • And the joy we share
  • as we tarry there
  • None other has ever known.

So you see early, early on in my life I was taught, through this song to go and listen for the Lord. Choose to walk with Him and talk with Him. Listen for His voice.

I had a Lutheran priest ask me once in amazement if I really believed that. I replied, “Absolutely!” because you see, by the time I spoke with that priest, I had experiential knowledge of this Bible truth. I did not know Jesus tangentially through sermons, but with my own understanding and through my own Bible study, prayer and seeking Him.

Jesus said He came that we could have access to the Father, direct access. And through His death and resurrection He made certain that access is available for all who believe.

Do not satisfy yourself with the Pastor of your church going to God for you. Go seek Him and share with your pastor your experience. You will both be blessed!

For One Moment

Rumi wrote:

“But listen to me: for one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. God.”

In re-reading Radical Acceptance I have been reminded how very much I admire the poet Rumi. Found I could get a Kindle version on Amazon for $1.99. Yeah, baby! Same version that I have in paperback, too!

So for one moment, TODAY, can you challenge yourself to quit being sad? God is dropping blessing blossoms all around you. Now perhaps Ann Voskamp can step up the microphone at this point and remind you to find 3 of the 1,000 gifts that flood your life. Just 3.

Here is one I wrote recently. Perhaps I already posted it but the image remains with me though the moon is not full right now.

“Moon shadows out the bedroom window at 1:00 AM are as if an architect has been doodling straight black lines drawn with a ruler on hillside brown background.”

And #2 on the morning walk today, January 8, 2019 shows our back hill with husband and this item complete with flower bud!

This is just WRONG for Ohio!

#3 Wind is driving high cumulus clouds across a blue sky at many miles per hour! What a sight after days and days of GRAY.

What are your three?

Simple to Read, Harder to Do!

In her book 1,000 Gifts Ann Voskamp quotes Chesterton:

“Thanks are the highest form of thought  and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

When I read this I saw thOUGHT. This is how I OUGHT to think. This is what I OUGHT to do. The part of the earth where I live is gloomy today. No sunshine in sight. This is one reason our best friends moved to New Mexico! Much more sunshine there.

The gloom is accentuated by naked deciduous trees. Somehow they look even skinnier this morning. The ground is mostly brown and gray, too. The recent record breaking rain is slowly making the grassy areas “green up,” that is unless the ground has just turned to mud as in my friend’s driveway! Mushy brown muddy goo.

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Gray sky, brown and gray tree skeletons, but this also reminds me that with this New Year turning of the calendar, I am also supposed to be renewed and resting. One young friend told me she had prayed the Lord would give her a word for the year 2019. She suggested I ask Him also. It seems He already did in my recent journaling and seeking His face. “Be still.”

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Except for the recent wind storms here, the trees are still. No leaves fluttering, not much fluid moving up and down the trunk. No fragrance of newly mown grass outside. The rose bushes are dormant. Even the snap dragons that were holding out with leaves and a few flower buds in the garden are looking shabby and going dormant.

How can I be still and just rest in all of this? Bob’s procedure is coming up in a few hours. But fretting will not help that. Me being still would create a better atmosphere for all. I learned from a recent hospital test he endured that I can accomplish little while the doctors are working their magic upon his body. So perhaps I can take that opportunity to practice being still. Not running out into the future of “What ifs” or the past of “If onlys.” Still in the present moment.

Thanks and gratitude in the stillness. Making that list of 1,000 Gifts to be thankful for feels forced and corny in the beginning. Later it becomes a lifestyle that enriches awareness and has the potential to bloom into gratitude. Help me be still and open my eyes and ears to thanks and gratitude.

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Meanwhile, Back at the Soldier Crawl

ABIDE:  me with You, You in me , and flowing forth from me.

You are the vine, I am the branch. Our relationship, love, contacts create the tendrils that help me to cling, ABIDE.

Even at crochet group, I choose to abide. Even at the grocery I choose to abide. While listening to Bob and learning to hear, I choose to abide. 

While traveling a few years ago I found this wrought iron sculpture and remembered the book “Clinging” that I had been reading and ABIDE which I am still trying to learn. The tendril is clearly delineated. I want my tendrils tight and close with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Defined: “Tendrils are slender structures that coil around smaller objects to provide support for growing shoots.” So I went ahead and wrote the meditation/prayer outline for our weekly intercessors meeting.  The theme was abide, remain, stay, endure, dwell. I presented it the day before Bob and I went to the Convent for an Advent Quiet Day. Emilie Griffin wrote “Prayer is clinging, not only that we cling to God, but that He clings to us.” We prayed that the persons on our Topics List would cling to God for all of their needs.

At the Convent we were each assigned a room for our personal use during the day. The sign on my door had a quote from Jan L. Richardson: “The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before . . . .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you . .  So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. . . For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.”

I was gobsmacked!   Abide   Remain  Stay  Endure  Dwell  Stay  Sit  Linger  Tarry  Ponder  Wait  Behold  Wonder all within 24 hours!

How are you spending your Advent Season?

Hopefully you are able to shed cares and move towards the silence that re-creates.