Saturday, August 19, 2017

Project Something Beautiful: HOPE

I think there are great similarities between Hope and Prayer. I cannot see either one; I cannot hold either one; I cannot control either one. Hope and Prayer are brother and sister, cousins, lovers, you & I. Hope looks forward, to the future.

Hope is ethereral. Hope is eternal.
Hope is like a mist moving softly through you.
Hope is growing, reaching, blooming.
Hope is living, for I cannot live without Hope.

My husband and I recently overheard a man near us at dinner saying that he knows statistically what will happen in life, so basically that's it. What a sad statement. He is living a hopeless life, full of darkness, pain, and status quo. I want to live a life full of Hope. If I didn't have hope I don't know how I would have made it through the end of 2002-2003. My husband almost died from Multiple Myeloma (just writing that still shakes me to my core). He was a week in ICU, then treatment, surgeries, & therapy; finally, underwent a stem cell transplant the end of 2003. Statistically he should have died. Without Hope and Prayer I would have been lost. We would have been lost.

I see Hope in every day dawning.
I hear Hope in a child's laughter.
I lived Hope through my husband's illness.

In the end, I trust in Hope and Prayer. On a breath releasing both to God, and they float away.

This post is part of a series and a blog circle titled "Project Something Beautiful," exploring our lives and emotions. I'm so excited to collaborate with this wonderful group of talented women. For more on HOPE, check out Britney's blog here:  Britney Wharton Photographer

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Unusual Miracles?

God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.
    -Acts 19:11  (NLT)

This passage struck me today because, really, what are UNUSUAL miracles? By the very definition, aren't all miracles UNUSUAL? If something becomes "usual" is it still miraculous?

When Jesus or Paul heals or casts out demons - can that ever be called usual? Usual is mundane, everyday; miracles are not. Perhaps the writer meant usual miracles for Jesus & Paul, as they did them frequently. But still, they are anything but usual for the individual healed. The person who can now walk or see or is freed from leprosy or who is now in their right mind after years of of insanity - would they consider this a usual miracle? And I don't think Jesus and Paul and the other disciples lost sight of the glory of their connection to God.

The ability of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit to heal us and transform our lives is truly miraculous. It is the unusual and the sacred that touches our lives. It is Grace.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Messages from my phone

The other day I was looking at my Instagram feed, listening to my Christian playlist shuffling on my iPod, and saw this beautiful image by missymoore. The saying spoke to me and her image is just beautiful. (shared with permission)

" 'Press on, stay, strong, & keep believing' I'm sure someone else needs to hear this. Someone like me, who is praying for specific things and trusting God with His answers. This is all apart of walking out our faith and trusting our Heavenly Father with His perfect plans. I have this sitting on my kitchen counter as a reminder to not waiver when I worry and to believe that the best is yet to come."
Our conversation went like this:

Me: "I just copied that to put into my planner so I can see it! And, Jason Gray's 'Sparrows' song just started playing on my iPod. "

Missy: "wow! Crazy! I just looked at the song lyrics...sounds like God is trying to say something! 😊"

Me: "O yes, he was speaking to me for sure!"

The link to the Jason Gray "Sparrows" is here: Jason Gray Sparrows

Sometimes God speaks to us through others we have never met in person, using technology that sometimes can cause more distance between people. Today I'm grateful for those I've never met in person, who share their faith, through photography, using social media for the greater good! Blessings to you missymoore!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Meditation on Psalm 46:10

I was introduced to this meditation by the Rev. Dr. Judy Siker at a day-long retreat titled "Cultivate Contentment" October 15, 2016 at St. Peter's By The Sea Presbyterian church near where I live. 

This had a profound impact on me. I was amazed that it seemed so simple but was so powerful. I have shared it with a few others. Someone recently mentioned that they needed a reminder, so I thought posting it would be helpful to (hopefully) more people.

Repeat each phrase slowly & quietly, breathing between each phrase, slowing down to listen to the words & for God's voice.

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know

Be still


Thank you Rev. Siker for this lovely meditation, and to my friend VR, who invited me for the day!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Be Ready for the Unexpected

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with a friend at a local restaurant. It was early, so there weren't many other diners there yet. We were having a good time, although I don't remember what we were talking about other than my grandson and her great-niece & nephew! (It's all about the babies!)

A woman had come in the front door, also with a friend; they were behind me so I didn't see them at first. This woman walked past us to go to the restroom and my friend commented to me on her perfume - it was a very nice light, fresh scent. This woman was probably a little younger than us, tall, very well put together, dressed in the African style (I don't know the name for what she was wearing); she walked a little slowly to the back of the restaurant.

As she walked by to return to her table, my friend stopped her to compliment her perfume. That started our conversation. "That's a lovely scent - it was like a breath of fresh air when you walked by." An opening, an invitation to share a little, an unexpected interaction. My friend, who is very perceptive, sensed that there was some pain, some unhappiness, something not light & fresh in this woman's life and took the risk to ask. We learned that she needed a knee replacement and had just gotten approval for the surgery. She was in pain, and was also very concerned about her recovery. Her home has stairs, so she wouldn't be able to go home right away; she would need some help when she returned home; and so very important to her, she didn't know what she would do with her little dogs while she was in the hospital.

My friend reached out her hand to this woman, asked her name, and asked if we could pray for her, "We're big pray-ers," my friend said. Sherll said, yes and my friend offered a prayer for her pain, her healing, her peace. I offered a solution for her "babies" while she recuperated, a place to turn.

God spoke in that restaurant... spoke to all three of us and joined us in that moment. Perception to see the need, confidence to reach out in Gods' name,  and God worked in that moment. I will likely never see Sherll again, I won't know the outcome of her surgery. But I continue to pray for her. I know that she was brought before God that evening, as were we, and that all three of us walk closer with God because of that moment. Because we listened...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Give, give, give

Recently I noticed that the lemon tree in my yard had an abundance of lemons that had fallen to the ground and even more still on the tree. This in itself is unexpected because we do nothing to help this tree along. The sprinklers don’t reach it, we don’t water, no fertilizer, nothing. Yet, here were all the lemons. So I collected the ones from the ground; most of them were too far gone to be useful. Then I took a basket and picked the ripe ones (that I could reach) from the tree. And, just in time because my bottle of non-concentrated lemon juice was almost empty. The lemons look so pretty in my blue bowl. And I was thankful for the bounty.

I started thinking about a lemon. If you bite into it like an orange, whoa doggie!! That is sure sour! Oh my gosh… can you say pucker up and spit it out? And you might be tempted to ask, “What were you thinking God?” Yet, when we squeeze a bit of lemon on a salad or in a glass of water; use it to cook some seafood or chicken, the beauty of a lemon shines through. It adds some freshness to the food and some brightness. There is a sweet side to the lemons after all.

Then I read Monday’s Gospel reading, Matthew 19:21
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.”

Whoa doggie!! This is a lemon of a Gospel – it left a bit of a sour taste with me and certainly made me pucker up & want to spit it out (reject it). And say, “What were you thinking, Jesus? Sell all my possessions, give the money to the poor! I’m not sure I want to do that; I’m not ready to do that. But I want to come with you.”

Jonathan Erdman, who is writing the meditations for Forward Day by Day this month, made sense of this for me. “It was not too late for the young man, and it is never too late for you or me-new choices will come along for all of us. Fail and try again. Seize each opportunity. Learn, grow and keep moving. We must be patient with ourselves, for we are not on our own; we are following Jesus.”  This might not be an all or nothing choice. 

Like squeezing the lemon, maybe I can add some brightness and freshness to my life story. I can give freely of what I have – my time, my talents, my money, my possessions, my love. When I give of myself I temper the sourness of the lemon and brighten someone else’s day. Whether I’m serving at church, offering a shoulder to a friend, donating to the battered woman’s shelter, taking photos, writing this blog… I’m giving of my possessions & myself to others. I’m walking with Jesus, seizing any opportunity to learn & grow & give. So, if life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade… give, give, give and you will find the flavor and brightness Jesus has to offer. 

Visit Forward Day By Day for meditations on the scriptures here: Forward Day by Day.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Informal?? God still shows up

This afternoon I had the great pleasure of attending an informal organ program put on by the American Guild of Organists, Toledo Chapter; but it wasn't really informal at all. The organists were performing on the Toledo Museum of Art’s Historic Skinner Organ, in the fabulous Peristyle. My Aunt Margaret (who, by the way is 99 years old!) is a member of the Guild, and has performed on the Skinner Organ many times through the years. I’m visiting her for a few days and this concert was just one of the items on the “Things To Do” lists she had ready. Of course I jumped at the chance to attend a concert in the Peristyle to hear this organ.

My Aunt said that there may only be one or two organists, or more, she just didn’t know. The organists from the Guild could sign up to participate and play an instrument that is normally unavailable to them. We were please to find there were six organists on the program! And it was a varied program, from Gershwin to Bach to Sousa to Grieg, and other composers I wasn’t familiar with.

It was a wonderful concert!! All the organists played beautifully and the sound was sooo lovely. And then, partway through the performance I felt the warmth that I’ve come to know means that the Holy Spirit is moving around (all those flames, you know!) and yet again I knew that we were all in the presence of God. I don’t know if anyone else felt it, but I did. The entire program was but one moment in time, shared by the organists who offered their gifts and the 80 or so of us in the audience offering our ears and our hearts. Presented in the universal language of music we all heard & understood. We were together in those moments, and they will never be again. It was a special time, shared by strangers. But that is what God does… we are brought together, share an experience, and go our different ways; yet we are all touched by those moments and are not the same as when we walked in the door. What a wonderful outcome on a Saturday afternoon.