The Women Taught Me

When I worked as a secretary and encourager at Having the Courage To Change with women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction as well as many released from prison, one of their sayings was about not quitting too soon. “Sunday is coming.”

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15:58)

“If you stop one hour before God is done, you will miss the blessing!”

I love Danny Gokey’s line that “God had the answer before you had the problem.” Reminds me of Isaiah 61:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Yes, He is more powerful than we are. He is NOT surprised by what occurs in our lives.

Have you been praying and you still have no answers?
Have you been pouring out your heart for so many years?
Have you been hoping that things would have changed by now?
Have you cried all the faith you have through so many tears?

Don’t forget the things that He has done before
And remember He can do it all once more

It’s like the brightest sunrise
Waiting on the other side of the darkest night
Don’t ever lose hope, hold on and believe
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
You’re closer than you think you are
Only moments from the break of dawn
All His promises are just up ahead
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it

He had the solution before you had the problem
He sees the best in you when you feel at your worst
So in the questioning don’t ever doubt His love for you
‘Cause it’s only in His love that you’ll find a breakthrough, oh

It’s like the brightest sunrise
Waiting on the other side of the darkest night
Don’t ever lose hope, hold on and believe
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
You’re closer than you think you are
Only moments from the break of dawn
All His promises are just up ahead
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it

He is moving with a love so deep
Hallelujah for the victory
Good things are coming even when we can’t see
We can’t see it yet, but we believe that
He is moving with a love so deep
Hallelujah for the victory
Good things are coming even when we can’t see
We can’t see it yet, but we believe that

It’s like the brightest sunrise
Waiting on the other side of the darkest night
Don’t ever lose hope, hold on and believe (Don’t ever lose hope)
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet (Just haven’t seen it yet)
You’re closer than you think you are (Think you are)
Only moments from the break of dawn
All His promises are just up ahead
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
(You gotta hold on, hold on)
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet (Hold on)
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet (Just haven’t seen it yet)

Swinburne Who?

According to https://www.best-poems.net/algernon_charles_swinburne/index.html he was a popular English poet and writer. His life was 5 April 1837 – 10 April 1909 and evidently he wrote about many off color topics, but I like his phrase about spring. Wikipedia says: “Swinburne was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1903 to 1907 and again in 1909.”

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Chorus
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Here are some of the images of ‘blossom by blossom’ from our neighborhood!

Certainly a favorite of early pollinators!
I thought it was barberry, but it is not. Neighbor’s shrub. He is Nepal, so I do not know identification.

Old, untended crab apple.
Oh, so fragrant in the evening especially!

Thanks, Lucky, for continuing to get me outside and looking for those treasures in plain sight!

Easter Excitement

I am not talking about peanut butter eggs or jelly beans. I am talking about the Christian Easter morning excitement. Some church folk declare to one another, “He is risen!” Others recite, “The Lord is risen.” “The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!”

I have one friend who before Covid could barely attend Easter services because the tremendous number of flowers set off his allergies so bad he practically cried through the service.

I am not talking about the flowers, the greetings, or the candy.

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,  and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

Ephesians 1: 18-20

“THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! ” Are we excited about the power God has placed in us because of the resurrection? Do you participate in that power under the Father’s direction? Are you yielded to His inspiration and leading? Are you willing to let Him use you in any way He sees fit to further His kingdom? Are you excited that this power is available to you 24/7-365? Have you asked for the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Would you trade your chocolate rabbit for it?

Celebrate the real reason for our joy as Christians. Jeremy Camp says it SO well!

Holy Saturday

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col 2:13-15 NIV

Jesus did some nailing to the cross of His own! He took the list of everything we owe God, everything that stands against us and condemns us, He took it all and NAILED it to the Cross. He made a public spectacle, a laughing stock of the powers and authorities of darkness by His triumph over them on His cross.

Do you know this old song by Carmen? You might have to turn up the volume at first. Lyrics are below.

Here are the lyrics to The Champion:

In the vast expanse of a timeless place
Where silence ruled the outer space
Ominously, towering it stood
The symbol of a spirit war
Between the one name Lucifer
And the Morning Star, The ultimate of good

Enveloped by a trillion planets
Clean as lightning and hard as granite
A cosmic coliseum would host the end
Of the war between the lord of sin and death
And the Omnipotent Creator of man’s first breath
Who will decide who forever will be the Champion

The audience for the ‘Fight of the Ages’ was assembled and in place
The angels came in splendor from a star
The saints that had gone before were there: Jeremiah, Enoch, Job
They were singing the “Song of Zion” on David’s harp

The demons arrived, offensive and vile, cursing and blaspheming God
Followed by their ‘trophies’ dead and gone
Hitler, Napoleon, Pharaoh, Capone
Tormented and vexed and grieved
Waiting for their judgment From the Throne

Then a chill swept through the mammoth crowd and the demons squealed with glee
As a sordid, vulgar, repulsive essence was felt
Arrogantly prancing, hands held high, draped in a sparkling shroud
Trolled by demons, Satan ascended from Hell

Then Satan cringed, the sinners groaned!
The demons reeled in pain as a swell of power like silent thunder rolled
With a surge of light beyond intense, illuminating the universe
In resplendent glory appeared the Son of God

Then a Persona, yes, Extraordinaire appeared in center ring
God the Father will oversee the duel
Opening the Book of Life, each grandstand hushed in awe as
Majestically He said
“Now here’s the rules. He’ll be wounded for their transgressions
Bruised for iniquities”
When He said, “By His stripes they’re healed,” the devil shook!
He screamed, “Sickness is my specialty. I hate that healing junk!”
God said, “You shut your face, I wrote the book!”
Then the Father looked at His only Son and said
“You know the rules
Your blood will cleanse their sins and calm their fears.”
Then He pointed His finger at Satan and said
“And I know you know the rules
You’ve been twisting them to deceive My people for years.”
Satan screamed, “I’ll kill you Christ! You’ll never win this fight!”
The demons wheezed, “That’s right, there ain’t no way.”
Satan jeered, “You’re dead meat, Jesus, I’m gonna bust you UP tonight!”
Jesus said, “Go ahead, make my day!”
The bell rang, the crowd cheered, the fight was on
And the devil leaped in fury
With all his evil tricks he came undone
He threw his jabs of hate and lust
A stab of pride and envy but the hand that knew no sin blocked every one

Forty days and nights they fought, and Satan couldn’t touch Him
Now the final blow saved for the final round
Prophetically Christ’s hands came down
And Satan struck in vengeance!
The blow of death felled Jesus to the ground

The devils roared in victory!
The saints shocked and perplexed as wounds appeared upon His hands and feet
Then Satan kicked Him in His side, and blood and water flowed
And they waited for the 10 count of defeat

God the Father turned His head
His tears announcing Christ was dead!
The 10 count would proclaim the battle’s end
Then Satan trembled through his sweat in unexpected horror, yet…
As God started to count by saying
“…10…”
“Hey wait a minute, God…” “…9…” “Stop! You’re counting wrong…”
“…8…”
His eyes are moving…
“…7…”
His fingers are twitching…
“…6…”
“Where’s all this Light coming from?”
“…5…”
“He’s alive!”
“…4…”
“Oh – nooooo!”
“…3…”
“And yet,”
“…2…”
“Oh…Yessssss!
“…1…”
He has won!
He has won!
He’s alive forevermore!
He is risen, He is Lord
He has won!
He has won!
He’s alive forevermore
He is risen!
He is Lord!

Proclaim the news in every tongue
Through endless ages and beyond
Let it be voiced from mountains loud and strong
Captivity has been set free, salvation bought for you and me
‘Cause Satan is defeated
And Jesus is The Champion

Hey, Mom?

The kids were sitting at the dining room table doing their homework. I was standing at the kitchen sink, doing dishes and singing aloud in my prayer language.

Suddenly Jeff asks, “Hey, Mom? Is that how you sing in cursive?” I answered, “Yes, I guess so!”

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” 1 Corinthians 14:15 NIV

In some respects I did okay raising our children. In many respects, I failed raising our children for Paul goes on to write in 1 Corinthians 14:16-17

Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17 NIV

I did not realize at the time that I should have prayed for and then sang out the interpretation. I was simply at the sink worshiping.

May the Lord lead and guide our now adult children to a deep fulfilling walk with Him. Perhaps by my examples I did expose them to helpful cues for their journey.

Covid-19 Vaccine TOGETHER

I am so thankful for each of the scientists who worked on producing the vaccines. Bob and I have both had 2 doses of the Pfizer brand. After the second dose we both had a couple days of feeling just crummy. Had already planned to lay low and let our bodies adjust. We are much better now.

I must admit, I have been cringing the past few months with all the ads on TV about the vaccine and showing those needles filled and up close, in arms, too.

When I was three or four I played jump rope with my sister and her friends. They were trying to get me to do double dutch.

I fell. I broke my leg. I rode in the backseat of the car many miles to the hospital. I was put in traction for 6 weeks. (Think 1954.) My father was in the same hospital with one of his many heart attacks. In 1954 there was not much they could do about heart disease. At one point they rolled our beds into the same room so I could see him. When I came home from Good Samaritan Hospital I was in love with the Sisters of Charity who took such good care of me. I am certain I learned the Presence of Jesus while there. I remember them holding my hand when the doctor was ready to cast my leg. The wraps were hot and I was so afraid.

Once home I was also terrified of white coats and needles. I was so fearful my parents could not tell me about any doctor appointment the night before because I would get very worked up. I worked for years to overcome all of that trauma. And I succeeded.

As to those ads showing the injection and those needles. I was more than unsettled knowing I would get that twice. I did okay. The first nurse to administer it did not do well. The second nurse was great.

We are still washing our hands. Avoiding crowds. Wearing our masks. Keeping our distance. But there is a sense of coming freedom!

We still need to keep well so we can get moved and unpacked! Bob says this virus will likely become like the flu. We will eventually get annual injections. We are both in high risk categories, but so grateful for the vaccine developers, nurses who administer the injection and the other people who actually get the injection to help keep it from spreading and killing people.

TOGETHER, yes, we are in this together and we can get through this TOGETHER. I praise God giving the scientific community the wisdom and methodology to develop these vaccines. I rejoice that He is able to keep us. I cannot answer the questions about those who died, and those who grieve their passing. I have been holding my breath afraid that Bob or I might die before we get this house built. So far, it looks as if we are moving there together.

Regardless, I will continue to praise my Lord and my God. He is “worthy to receive glory and honor and power for You created all things and by Your will they were created.” Revelation 4:11 NIV

This song keeps following me and I decided it fits right here. All along there was another in the fire. And He remains with us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

–Daniel 3:16-18, 25

“Holy” Cards

Death came early in my life as so many relatives were much older than me. My mother gave birth to my sister and I late her life. In childhood the “holy cards” from funerals became some of my cherished possessions. I remember as a teenager pinning them to the wall near my bed. Even today, I have a few to help me center during my prayer time.

We are not only packing, but as we were readying to show the house we stripped away all sorts of things from our lives. Molly, do you really need all of this stuff? Is this part of that 2021 ‘Transform’ word now being experienced? Less and less of me and more of You Lord! Had to put away those cards.

Now I need to hold fast to my Lord without those images to center me. He is love and grace and mercy. There is no image that can comprise all of His attributes. I must simply let Him guide me and keep hold of my hand.

Lead on, O King Eternal.

Likely ten weeks until we are moved, unpacked and beginning to settle again. Lord, continue to keep us well, I pray. Over 500,000 deaths in the USA due to Covid-19 and still counting with new variants looming.

Talking with Tony about packing made me realize anew how many open containers of cleaning agents I have and I need to pack. Will we really leave things for him to do or go into a frenzy doing packing ourselves? And then our energy runs out. Help us pace ourselves for Your work and kindness towards each other.

Sold!

This housing market is nuts. An impossible prayer request, I prayed we would know who should live here next. 17 showings on Saturday. 4 on Sunday. 8 offers. Yes, I was wiping down door knobs and other likely touched surfaces. At our realtor’s suggestion we even printed a sign that read “Please leave all the lights on for the next showing.”

Since I had NO clear direction as to which buyer, we sat with our realtor Sunday late afternoon reviewing all the offers and decided what offer would be best for us. Ended with cash offer, no inspections and no appraisal. No more people traipsing through our house!! No waiting. Done deal.

Monday morning we were both absolutely exhausted from the stress and excitement. (Also, 2 old people without their naps for 2 days. Ugly.) Kidding, but we are still tired on this Tuesday.

We have the signed contract. A relief that this part is finished. The idea of making our home look like a sterile Air B & B for weeks was daunting!

Photo by r m Dutina

Yes, we had absolute faith that this house would sell. No, we had no inkling for how much! The neighbors are delighted! Their property values just went up. We are moving in about 8 weeks. Today is writing, mundane errands and more rest from the real estate market. Then back to packing and planning.

Thanks for your prayers! As the crocuses begin blooming and the first daffodil opened this morning we are continuing the process of saying good bye to Siesta Drive! Letting go of these flower beds and lovely shrubs is difficult, sigh.

Gratefulness

Every January I try to make English Muffin Bread. It makes terrific toast, and who doesn’t like warm toast in January? With all the purging and packing going on in this house as we prepare to move it has been a challenge to get the bread made!

Thursday we worked on house things. I was getting tired in the late morning, but was determined to mix that bread! I had looked for a CD to inspire us while we were cleaning the pantry and could not find it. As my energy flagged I needed music to spur me on! Finally found the recording I wanted on You Tube music. If you every need a musical motivator try “Hooked on Classics.”

Muffin Bread is one of our son’s favorite foods. Measuring the flour with Mom’s flour scoop, I remembered how much she liked that bright yellow scoop. I think perhaps she got it through Gold Medal Flour? In the 1950s plastic kitchen items were uncommon. I am so grateful to have her flour scoop. It makes me smile.

Meanwhile, Hooked on Classics moved to Liebestraume by Liszt, the only piece of classical music that I remember my Dad liking. I was using a Kitchen Aid mixer. I only bought one a few years ago. (Wish I had owned it when the kids were growing up and I was baking all the time!) I remembered my daughter asking for one on her wedding registry.

Next thing I knew Hooked on Classics was playing the Wagner wedding march! All of these within a few minutes! You see, Hooked on Classics arranges the most memorable portions of classical music and puts those portions to an up tempo beat.

So much gratitude! Fatigue from cleaning the kitchen pantry, because we are going to move to a new house. Our son on an even keel and knowing he would enjoy his muffin bread. Our daughter, Emily’s wedding and stable marriage. My mom’s flour scoop all these years later. My dad’s favorite love song, because that is what Liebestraume means. My wonderful husband who has been working EVERY SINGLE DAY towards packing and cleaning up the holes in the walls and preparing for our move. Occasionally I can talk him into a day off, but not every week.

Before I knew it the bread dough was rising and I was out walking the dog! When was the last time you had an avalanche of gratitude in a short, intense burst? Did you give thanks?

Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV2011)  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,  for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9 NIV