9.27.2014

Weekend Worship: The Place The Streams Come From



The sun rises and the sun sets,
 and hurries back to where it rises. 
 The wind blows to the south   
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
  yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.

                                              ~ Ecclesiastes 1 vs 5-7

9.25.2014

Five Minute Friday: Because

 
'Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives.'

- 'Because He Lives'
Classic Christian Hymn 


I love the classic hymns of the church. As far as I'm concerned we don't sing them as much as we should in the modern church. This hymn is one of my favorites since I was a little Baptist girl trying to out-sing the adult choir on Sunday mornings. Brought back to memory today by this prompt, it more than resonates with my soul . It reminds me and affirms for me the foundation of my life, the foundation of my faith:  
Because He lives. 
Just because... 

It's as simple as that. I can face tomorrow and whatever it brings with it. I have the peace and comfort that passes all understanding...Because.



Today's prompt: Because.

9.20.2014

Weekend Worship: Rejoice Greatly



The desert and the parched land will be glad;
    the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus,  it will burst into bloom;
    it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
    the splendor of our God.

-Isaiah 35 vs 1-2 

9.09.2014

Best. Mornings. Ever.

Early morning run with Dad to the Horrocks Farmers Market to pick up fresh fruits and veggies. Since I've been back home it's become routine for the two of us to head out every other week to do the grocery shopping. We're both early risers and morning people but he always wins at mornings because he's up at 5:30 am every morning. Every. Morning. I used to do that up-with-the-chickens thing but I grew out of it.

We never go in with a list, just picking up whatever looks good while we enjoy complimentary cups of coffee (or tea for me) as we shop. We take our time, chatting as we go and conversing with other early shoppers. One of them saw me taking a picture of Dad and offered to take one of us together.Yep, that's me, no make-up, no jewelry, hair half combed and eyes still puffy before the allergy meds kick in. I love mornings but nowadays it takes a bit of work before I look like I love mornings.

 In the basket this week we have peaches, pears, nectarines, bananas, sweet purple plums, fresh baked sourdough bread, yams and fingerling potatoes. We also have a box of giant gumdrops which I will do my best to hide from my baby brother before he comes home from work, and a Michigan State Spartan sweatshirt as a special treat. If I haven't mentioned it before, I love Michigan State University like I love no other place on earth. I grew up 'down the road' from that beautiful campus. Cherished memories of MSU are woven through my life like nothing else although I never attended there as a student. I had planned to, but instead I fell in love with and married a tall good-looking MSU medical student, had bunches of babies and...well, that's for another post but it's still at the top of my bucket list to take a degree from State.

Now that everything has been put away and I've taken this short break I'll be heading into the kitchen to begin rattling those pots and pans. Fresh fruits and veggies always put me in the mood to cook so I'm going to use it to my advantage and start preparing dinner early. It's still before noon so I  might even do a bit of cookie baking this afternoon as well. 

Happy Tuesday.

9.08.2014

My Front Door

'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.'
~ Revelation 3:20 

I love this front door. 

Every morning when I come down the stairs I am greeted with this peaceful view and no matter how I feel I experience a moment of pure peace and quiet joy.  I really do love this front  door. Rain or shine (except in winter) it's always opened by the first person up. Growing up, it was almost always Mom. No matter what I had on the agenda for the day, I would head straight for it and step through for a moment to gauge the weather and to say hello to the morning. It's always been a pilgrimage of sorts, a morning devotion. It's a moment where I meet God and say simply, 'Yes Lord' and 'Thank You.'

This is the front door of the home where I grew up, my parents' home, the family house. Whenever any of my sibs or I talk about 'going home' this is where we mean. I live here again,  to stay now with my Dad after my Mother's passing at the end of this last April.  As hard as I thought it would be to move back, I have found it comforting to be back in the house where I was raised, where the foundation of the person I am today first took form.  It has helped me to deal with my grief, to know that I have not 'lost' my Mother because she is in the very fabric of this home she lovingly prepared for us. 

I'll be posting more about this front door, about this home, about my Mother, about  me.  It has taken me a while to come back to the blog  during these last few months. I would sit down to post and my heart was full but the words didn't seem to be enough. I decided not to push it and to wait until the words flowed naturally. When I saw this open door this morning, I knew I was ready to say, 'Thank You' for the place writing has always had in my life. I chose to open my heart's front door, to let the world in again and say 'Yes Lord'.


Joining with Inspire Me Monday, Dwellings, The Weekend Brew,  
Lisha Epperson at Give Me Grace   and Janis Cox at Sunday Stillness 
Come join us.

8.08.2014

Five Minute Friday: Fill




Three months now since she’s been gone. I have more than enough to fill my days with the sorting and the clearing out. It’s over whelming at times, stressful, emotionally draining sorting through a beloved mother’s life that had been well lived for so long. There are drawers and boxes and cabinets filled with memories, Momma’s  memories of our family, of my siblings. There have been times I’ve had to stop because it was too much for my grieving heart to handled. I would reach the end of my emotional strength and walk away. But there have also been times when I have been pleasantly surprised at what pieces of childhood art she thought worthy of preserving. All of our birthday and Mother's Day cards to her our letters written over the years in our childish scribbled handwriting.  Sorting through them filled my heart at how much she loved us and cherished our love for her.


A few days ago I found a bag tucked in the corner of her closet. It contained an unmarked  gift box that when I opened it made me laugh out loud with delight.  In it was a set of Christmas angel ornaments, Black angels, the kind I collect. Momma had remember and bought them for me.  In that moment, it felt as if she had handed me a gift, a personal gift from herself just for me. My eyes filled with the tears I had not been able to release since she had passed but my heart was filled with love for my mother whose love reached out past that inevitable human separation that is death  to fill me with a  strength that only being loved so completely can give. The strength to take her place, to carry on her legacy and to care for the family she loved more than life. Her love filled me with the strength to go on without her.



Today's word was Fill.

6.02.2014

A Child is Born, A Grandson is Given



Declan James Stewart
Born May 30, 2014
8 lbs 5 oz - 20 inches


My sixth grandchild, my 3rd grandson.
God knows what you need...

5.31.2014

Weekend Worship: Trust in the Lord


Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, 
and he will make your paths straight. 

5.17.2014

Weekend Worship: The Brokenhearted


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
 - Psalm 34 vs 18


For those of us who are in mourning, 
for those of us who are crushed in spirit,
 stay close to us please, O Lord, we pray 
and comfort us with your presence.

4.28.2014

I Love You, Mom

 
Crystal Inez Maxie

March 22, 1935 - April 28, 2014

'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the passing of his faithful servant.'
-Psalm 116 vs 15

As the sun rose early this morning  
my beloved Mother 
slipped quietly and peacefully into the presence of God.
We were greatly blessed to have had her.

4.26.2014

Five Minute Friday: Friend



Joining with the  Five Minute Friday community sponsored by Lisa-Jo Baker. Each Friday, Lisa-Jo posts a one word prompt and for five minutes we join together in an international community to write what the prompt brings to mind. No rewrite, no editing just letting the words flow from our hearts.

  Today's Prompt: Friend

Out in the back yard, a new young neighbor of my parents has brought his father to help saw up the tree which fell during the brutal Michigan ice storm a few months ago. He had introduced himself as I was walking in my parents’ backyard after coming from the hospital a few days ago from visiting my mom. He said he had seen my dad at times during the winter and knew he was older so he wanted to help him out by clearing away the ice storm debris. I told him about how things had been with my mom and how it would be welcomed and thanked him. When he went to borrow his dad’s power saw and told him why, his dad came with him.


One of the definitions of a friend is ‘person who gives assistance, aid and support’. Today, these two wonderful men who a week ago didn’t know me from Adam fit the definition of being friends to our family. God bless them.

Lisa-Jo Baker
Five Minute Friday

Weekend Worship: As My Mother Did



Truly I am your servant, Lord; 
I serve you just as my mother did...
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                             - Psalm 116 vs 15 

~ ~ ~
Since I last posted I've been tending to my Mom who as you know has been suffering from dementia. This last Thursday evening we moved Mom from the hospital where she has been for the last three weeks to the nearby hospice facility where she is in the process of passing. She is sleeping, mostly and is at peace. Although it is a hard thing to know she'll be gone soon, I am at peace as well.  I know I'll be putting it all down on paper in the future but for now, I am holding these precious moments in my heart as Mary did. I wanted you all to know so you wouldn't worry about my absence.  The Lord is good and He is close.
My family and I appreciate all of your love and prayers.

3.08.2014

3.07.2014

Five Minute Friday: Willing

Joining with the  Five Minute Friday community sponsored by Lisa-Jo Baker. Each Friday, Lisa-Jo posts a one word prompt and for five minutes we join together in an international community to write what the prompt brings to mind. No rewrite, no editing just letting the words flow from our hearts.


Lisa-Jo Baker
Five Minute Friday

Today's prompt is willing
 

The meaning of willing is basically positive:

  • ready, eager, or prepared to do something
  • cheerfully consenting 
  • eagerly compliant

so it was interesting that my first thought from the prompt was in the negative, about what I was not willing to do. I am not willing to settle. To settle for me means to fall short of the desire or goal willingly. It’s one thing to fall short after the good old college try, but to fall short on purpose and be ok with it? Nope. I am not ready, eager or cheerfully consenting to do that at all.

From the moment I realized I was able to make my own choices and chart my own life’s direction, I knew I wanted to live life to the fullest. My one overriding fear
is I would stand at the end of my life, look back and say, “I will I had…”  - fill in the blank. That would break my heart completely. I never want to have backed off of something I really wanted to do because of fear or peer pressure. I am absolutely not willing to do that.

So I am willing to travel the road not taken, I am willing to stand on the crumbling edge of the cliff and look over and I am willing to go where no man has gone before. I am willing to face the fact that if I turn over a rock in the garden, underneath there may be squiggly, squeamy (yes,it’s a word), squishy things I might not want to touch because at least, then I’ll know. I am willing to take the chance that beyond here, there may be dragons* because sometimes, the dragons are golden and that would be a glorious thing to see. 

But being willing to settle for just anything in my life...absolutely not.

I am definitely not willing to do that.

*Beyond here there be dragons is the warning the ancient mapmakers would put on their maps to warn ships that they were about to enter into uncharted waters and unknown and dangerous territory.