While in Ireland

We spent our first night at Glendalough. At the bottom of this blog is a short film to introduce you to the area. After breakfast we went for a walk around the neighboring area. We saw these sheep in the graveyard.

Cracked me up, as if they were hiding and on a mission!
One strange sheering job!

When we returned to the inn one of the employees asked if we enjoyed our walk. I told her how amused I was by the sheep in the graveyard. She told the bartender, “Better call Mr. Mc Creary! His sheep got loose again!” Now where better to get a tasty treat than on the loose in early morning at the graveyard?

Cracked me up! Guess those sheep were sneaking around and on a mission – not to get caught! The Irish mark their sheep with paint, thus the pink and blue marks on the wool!

Our son and Chef Jean Robert de Cavel

Our son in 2008 Sous Chef for Jean Robert de Cavel at Jean-Ro’s restaurant

Our son had some training from Jean Robert as he was familiarly known in Cincinnati. We enjoyed more than several fine meals at his places of business. Once we had our friends Dan and Betty Cooksey with us and our son was allowed to create a dinner menu just for us. It was fantastic!

When Jean Robert de Cavel died recently his family invited the people he had trained to attend his memorial service at the Cincinnati cathedral, St. Peter in Chains, located downtown. The prior students were asked to wear their chef jackets and sit in a particular area. After the memorial they had a group photo on the cathedral stairs and they simultaneously said, “Oui, Chef,” as he required them to say in the kitchen.

Prior students in front right rows of cathedral and along side wall

Jeff said it was a bittersweet reunion. There were people he knew and had not been in touch with for some time. He told me it was hard for the students to say “Au revoir,” to their fine instructor. May he rest in peace.

Students on cathedral stairs, our son front row, strap over his chest

What a legacy to train all those folks! Cincinnati was blessed to have him here for so many years.

Columbus Museum Maurice Sendak

Recently Bob saw that the Columbus Museum of Art was having an exhibit of the works of Maurice Sendak. We decided to make a quick adventure to Columbus, Ohio and see the exhibit. I was delighted that it featured “Where the Wild Things Are.” This was a favorite of my son. I did not remember until we arrived that he also illustrated the “Little Bear” series which I used to help my children and grandchildren learn to read. His book “In the Night Kitchen” was a baby shower gift when our daughter was born.

I love that they used the artwork from the book cover as wallpaper for the display!

The trust and love between mother bear and little bear are obvious in the expressions he drew.

One reason I was fascinated with his art in these books, I was working on learning to draw better and his cross-hatching is elaborate. When I read the first part of the placard below it only confirmed my observation!

In 1959, (the museum placard read), Sendak created pictures for the book The Moon Jumpers, written by Janice May Udry, which tells the story of children playing before it is time to go to bed. In this early work, the richly colored full-page scenes of children playing by the moonlight, without words, can be compared to the double page rumpus scenes in Where the Wild Things Are, which he created five years later. This work also shows how Sendak changed the scale of his images to emphasize the narratives, pictures growing larger and larger as the drama of the story intensifies, a method that also appears in Where The Wild Things Are.

sorry for the museum reflections on the glass

In case you ever had a fantasy of being WITH the Wild Things (if not an actual Wild Thing) see this one!

Wonder if this costume for King of the Wild Things would fit my son at his current height! Not likely!

Where the Wild Things Are has been translated into at least 32 languages. Sendak never wanted to write a sequel to this one. He did not want it to be a series.

The exhibit is in Columbus until March 5. If you get a minute, go see it!

photo by r m dutina

Oh Weird

Every spring I look forward to hearing the Spring Peepers in the local wooded wetlands. Then I am certain that though it might feel cold, spring is certainly on the way! We have had tremendous rain here lately. Today, January 17th, I stepped outside to walk the dog to the mailbox. I almost could not believe my ears!

The Spring Peepers are singing. My favorite thumbnail sized amphibian! Climate change is messing up our ‘predictable’ weather things. The daffodils have sent up 3 inch tall leaves. The ones out back, just planted last autumn, already have 3 bulbs with 1 inch leaves. Forecast is 61 degrees today. My neighbor says, “Next week we will be freezing. The earth is just trying to fool us!”

I remember when I first moved to the San Francisco bay area I was so unhappy. They had poinsettias planted out of doors and climbing up walls. The daffodils bloomed in January and February. I remember thinking, “This is just WRONG!”

A W Tozer Quote

Years ago I studied A W Tozer. Recently I was shown his work again through the daily devotions sent out by The Navigators (https://give.navigators.org/email-devotions/) This so reminded me of the time I brought the Word to women at City Gospel Mission. It was about 1986?

If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.

The Pursuit of God, A W Tozer

While the church I attended discussed things like contemporary music for worship in contrast to an organ and a box of hymnals, I was downtown once a week teaching the women at the Mission. Tozer says simplify. I argued that Paul never had an organ, or a box of hymnals nor made any reference to music that I recalled. I wish I had kept better records of names and dates, but basically the lead pastor at teh Mission wanted someone to lead a weekday Bible Study for women. We met in the basement, near the kitchen of the Mission. There was an interesting fragrance down there. Likely from years of meals prepared since the 1920s!

The Mission was founded in 1924 by James N. Gamble of the company Proctor & Gamble, most likely founded in the same building I taught in. (They have a new facility now on Dalton Street.)

Teaching in this room with a concrete floor and block walls was before the jail ministry I participated in, but so similar. The difference here was the women who attended were all free citizens. Most attended to receive better access to food donations but some genuinely loved God and enjoyed the fellowship. Some of them would holler out, “Preach it!” or “Preach it sister!” On one occasion a woman who was drunk attended. She got up on a folding chair and tried to out speak me. I immediately began to pray in my spirit and ask the Lord to hush her. The other participants also told her to sit and hush. Eventually she did. An eye-opening experience indeed for this suburban white girl.

There were times when I needed to drop something off at my sister’s house on my way home from downtown. I told the Lord one week, “This is almost more than I can handle! Shifting my gears from City Gospel Mission to Indian Hill”, (neighborhood of high prosperity and generational wealth). He reminded me that all of us were just people no matter the outside garb or residence.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, 

Jeremiah 29:13-14a NIV

Tozer says if we are “to find God we must first DETERMINE to find Him and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” I found God in the midst of the City Gospel Bible study attendees. Those women who wholeheartedly pronounced, “Preach it, Sister!” were my cheerleaders and friends in the Spirit. I prayed the inebriated woman would also seek Him and find Him even if not through my lessons. God ‘discovers Himself to babes and hides Himself from the wise and prudent.” The Mission women knew more about God than most people I met in Indian Hill. Mind you, not all of the Indian Hill folks were ignorant of God and His ways; however, the women of the lower income downtown area seemed to me to walk with Him more closely than the rich. I do not claim to read hearts though.

Tozer says we must ‘simplify our approach to God, strip down to essentials, put away effort to impress’ and come with the candor of childhood. Tozer was a wise and an excellent teacher. I am still working on stripping down to the essentials with God, simplifying my approach.

Years later I worked at a branch of the Mission called “Having the Courage to Change” as secretarial assistant to the Director and coach in discipleship with a couple of the women. That is a story for another day.

I pray for you that the candor of childhood will enhance your search for the LORD God Almighty. He is waiting and watching for you!

Praying for Others

I told you about “Going to Jail,” and perhaps about some wounding I had by the public words of another? I had to repeatedly confess my ill feelings towards her. While recovering from the public wounding, I was reminded there is wisdom in praying blessings that you want for yourself over those who have harmed you.

After I confessed my sins in the situation, I prayed blessings over her as often as she came to mind. Eventually she came to mind less and less often.

I had withdrawn from the group this occurred in. I stated I would return when I was ready, though perhaps less often than in the past.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4

Years ago I first heard Kirk Franklin when he produced the song called “Stomp.” Recently someone sent me a link to this music. This song certainly ties both themes all together! Praying blessings upon others and jail ministry. Having just written about “Going to Jail” it touched my heart in a special place. I hope you will take the time to listen to it, even though it might not be your style. As you watch the video I think it will be difficult at times for you to tell the prisoners from the visitors. I even spotted a guard this time!

Will you take up the challenge to pray like this for others who have offended or tried to shame you? Can you imagine the faith these prisoners must have to make themselves this vulnerable in a place reputed for violence? They are singing and praying this for their guards, too! Do you have this sort of trust in God?

“Going to Jail”

Recently, I was telling a friend about my experience teaching at the Hamilton County Justice Center on the women’s wing, face to face with the prisoners. At the time I had been leading Bible studies with Women’s Aglow. On the local evening news I heard that they were giving a tour of the newly built Justice Center the next day. I was convinced I should go. While there I signed up for a pass to teach Bible study to the women in the jail.

Interior of Justice Center before it was populated

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

Psalm139:8 KJV

Teaching Scripture at the Justice Center was like ‘walking into hell on purpose’. Linda and I would meet that morning and take communion in her kitchen. We would pray and intercede all the way downtown. Park the car. Get her guitar and my teaching materials. Enter the Justice Center. Show our badges. Go to the Chaplain’s office and leave our purses and personal belongings.

If the guards were sensitive to our purpose they might turn the TV volume down. You have not taught the Word until you do it in a cinder block room with the $10,000.00 dollar Pyramid playing in the background. I quickly learned how to project my voice!

We’d have the ladies sign in with their name and prisoner number. With that information we could write them a note card. We never asked any of them what they did or were accused of that landed them in that place. We just ‘loved on them’ and brought them the New Testament teachings on how to live for Christ.

After the time at jail, usually in Linda’s driveway, we would split the name list. On our own time we would pray over each name and write a card using a Scripture for their encouragement as led by the Holy Spirit.

Next time we saw the women some would often say it was just the verse they needed, asking, “How did you know?” We would answer them that we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to give us the verse they needed. Sometimes the notes would move the women to share with their fellow prisoners and more women would attend on their say so.

photo on line

All of this was a tremendous time of spiritual warfare, faith building and learning for both myself and Linda. It was hard only if we tried to do it in our own strength. With God it was possible and rewarding to both of us.

When I sensed that it was my time to step down, Linda continued to serve in ministry there for 15 years. She recruited others to help her and the work carried on to thousands of women over the years.

God ordained, arranged and coordinated that ministry. We followed in obedience and did our best to listen to His voice each step of the way. To God be all the glory! I pray those women came to know Him and walk with Him even today.

The Chosen

The Logo from the series depicts the followers of Christ swimming against the stream of society.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 RSV

Have you watched any of The Chosen television series about the life of Jesus and His disciples? We have enjoyed it. We saw the first two episodes of Season 3 at the theater, but have not started Season 3 on the television yet. I purchased the first two seasons on DVD and we have been watching them again. We figured we missed so much that we should enjoy them again! Then we will catch up in Season 3.

One of the first things I noticed was the opening theme song. I had never caught the words and I love to know lyrics. Below is the YouTube link to hear the song if you want to follow along with the lyrics.

Walk on the Water Lyrics

[Intro]
Oh, oh oh oh
Oh, yeah

[Verse]
Oh, child, come on in
Jump in the water
Got no trouble with the mess you been
Walk on the water

[Chorus]
Oooh, oooh
Walk on the water
Aaah
Walk on the water
Oh, child
Walk on the water
Got no trouble
Walk on the water
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Walk on the water

Jesus ‘got no trouble with the mess you been.” If we are sincere in our repentance His grace and forgiveness are ours. We repent – turn and go the other way – and follow Him doing the Father’s will.

In the video Jesus told his cousin John the Baptist, “I am always ready to do my Father’s will, but it does not make it easy.” Such truth! Doing the Father’s will is usually not easy. Except the part where I am asked to love Jesus. That part is easy. When I resist what is asked of me, He disarms me with His love and I love Him all the more. Then my resistance tends to dissolve and I follow in obedience.

I am not to the part where my faith allows me to follow Him and walk on the water, but I am not keeping score as to who does what. I just want to be His living sacrifice, ‘holy and acceptable to God, which is (my) spiritual worship.’ Romans 12:1 RSV

The study notes in my Bible say “We must lay our bodies on the altar of sacrifice to God just as Abraham tied his son Isaac to the altar.”

If you are struggling with knowing God I pray you will find the encouragement you need to seek Him and find Him.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Some Photos From Final Days of 2022

This sheep insisted the best hay was in the bottom of the feeder. When she withdrew her head she looked like a lion with a mane of hay! Of course, I could not get a photo of that before she shook it off!
Took Myrtle to see the lights at Coney. At times she laughed out loud. She is famous for her crocheted angels. This was her favorite display.
Snapped this quickly. Finally finished last 3 Swedish embroidery towels. Not laid out very well.
New recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies with and without coconut
Last year Bob got me the large Grogu. Emily wanted me to keep the collection going! The center one is made from beeswax. The one with red ribbon is from when they went to Disney World. It has two voices. The one in the red box is from Hallmark.

Do you know Grogu likes to eat frogs? I think he is holding a frog Christmas cookie!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17 NIV

Songs I Need to Sing!

At times music just rolls through my spirit and I need to sing it out! Handel’s Messiah is often sung with the Cincinnati Symphony by our May Festival Chorus. I like when parts of it was also used by surprise choruses in the past at shopping malls.

It still gives me chills!!

Now I find myself needing to sing this EVERY Christmastide.

Is there something you must sing to God? Don’t hold back. If you are surrounded by people and do not want their opinion of your singing then go outside and sing. Or sing in the shower! Or sing in the car. The point is to sing to the LORD be it a new song or old. Sing out your love of His majesty. Your adoration of His glory. Your gratitude from His abundant mercies.

Years ago Bob bought me a copy of Streams in the Desert devotional that has blank lines for journaling. Recently I turned o the page for that day. I had written, “Joy to the World at church: “Lizzie cried, “the Lord is come!! That’s Grammy’s song. The Lord is come! They said it in church, Grammy!” My heart melted all over again. My Lizzie is now 21. I sent her the journal entry via texting. I hope she takes my song to heart and embraces Jesus as her Lord and savior. Then it will not just be my song, but hers too!

As a light snow falls here and the Carolina Wren works on the dried mealworm feeder, I pray you will sing out your joy and gratitude that the Lord has come, May earth receive her King, May every heart prepare Him room….”

O sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord; bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psalm 96:1-6 NRSV