Hope follows despair

But all these things must happen before He returns. Puzzling words and understood by those who see the invisible and the heart speak.

So many of us felt the drive to run to the hurting at Sandy Hook. We are either paralyzed with fear or set in motion by hope. My hope comes in the form of faith that God is in our midst during such despair.

Inspiration to take scrap cloth, signifying the broken human condition, seeking to mend hearts, quickly came together as puzzle pieces studied and understood.

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It is finished! The quilt was donated to Wheeler Mission Women and Children’s Center in memory of Sandy Hook victims.

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Living in the shadowlands

When one door closes, we hope another door opens. Is it faith? Is it faith in action? Who is actually behind the scenes directing the patterns of our life?  How do I account for those who wish me harm for their benefit? Certainly I have some control over my destination, do I not? Perhaps, but how do I justify miracles and coincidences and other unexplainable phenomena?

If I reside in the shadow of God’s wings, there I am protected from all possible harm. Yet I suffer. Life is full of paradoxes.

So when I hear the Lord instructing me to guard my heart, what is He basically telling me? How do I guard my heart? Do I withhold love from those who want to harm me? Jesus tells us to love our enemy, unconditionally. Perhaps we learn to love, give grace and embrace those who are hurting, while never following in their footsteps, lest we fall over the cliff alongside their treachery. In that way, I have guarded my life, my heart, while still obeying the commands of a Savior, who took the wrath of carnal man for the price of my soul.

I Corinthians 3:18 Stop deceiving yourselves.
If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. NLT2007

 

 

Remember this and forget that

Carousing through memories, I happened upon a dream of mine.  I recall chasing rabbits down holes and found myself on the other side of reality. Life is mysterious.

Adventuring through my mind, trying to piece together a coherent picture of what I want to be when I finally emerge from this caterpillar stage, I found unpleasant recollections. I thought I had become a butterfly many times before, only to find myself tied to my past. Since 1967, 1985, 1990, and then 2008, my world has been turned upside down and inside out. Those years are significant to me and like a mad rollercoaster ride, I hold on tightly, while I page through the files locked away deep in the corridors of my soul. I have been ravenously journeying into philosophers like Kirkegaard, psychotherapists like Jung, theologians like Francis Schaeffer and heroes like Corrie ten Boom, looking for answers. As I explore, I find myself questioning over and over again, tenants that I held onto as being the end game, to find the ante has been upped. My life is alot like a poker game. I have alot to lose but I also have alot to gain.

The Bible has alot of dreams to explore. I am looking to see how my dreams fit in with how Bible characters dealt with their dreams. Have you struggled with dreams and reality? How do you merge the two so life can move on?

Once you become a butterfly, do not look back ever again.
Do not allow ghosts of the past to come back to haunt.

Forgivneness is the ultimate ointment to a bleeding heart.

A Modern Day Petition to God

In distress, you may find yourself confused, uncertain, questioning and feeling lost. When your world is turned upside down, how do you begin to pick up the pieces, move forward and learn to focus on the positive?

In a rapid world, living simply is not simple. It takes great effort to do what our ancestors did out of habit. The burdens of everyday living can take a toll on our physical, mental and spirital health. Washing clothes and dishes has become simpler but it demands time most do not have so cleaning house is hired out. Cooking dinner is convenient but sheer exhaustion has us rushing to eat out. Exercising is a necessity when we are trapped at our desks all day and staying active puts a burden on our time.

How do you know when He has heard the prayer of our anguished souls and why might He not answer*?

Everyday we hear of viruses circulating that threatens our access to the internet. The virus that threatens even more lives is called Modern Living. We have become disconnected to the land, to each other and most of all to God. Perhaps just reaching out is the solution. Get off the computer, get outside, and reach out. It may just save your life!

(*Hint, in our rush we may not be able to hear God. Perhaps, by stopping long enough, the rushing wind and water will bring relief.)

Gone

If you were gone today, how many people would miss you? Truly miss you?

If you were gone today, what would be said about you? Would it matter to you what others say?

If you were gone today, would you regret anything?

We do not know how many days we have to love, forgive, wonder and dream. Do not waste one more second hestitating to hug, smile and befriend a stranger. Be an angel to the lost and lonely, not seeking anything in return, but simply encouraging them to be.

If you were gone today, would your loved ones be able to manage? Do they know when to pay the bills, feed the dog and clean the toilets?

If you were gone today, how would your family remember you? Honor you?

If you were gone today, would they regret anything?

We can only live one day at a time. Worry brings nothing but takes everything. Live!

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to number my days. Give me wisdom where I fail to understand. Give me courage to break free of this world and not worry what others think. Let me be a loving person, willing to forgive, able to heal wounds of my own and others and truly be an instrument of your will. Let peace reign in my heart, let me be covered in your presence and awaken the hardened hearts and souls.

On being a mom

At some point I bought two books to help me with my doubts and fears about motherhood. Well more than that, but “Mitten Strings for God” by Katrina Kenison and “Meditations for Mothers” by Elisa Morgan are two of my favorites. I find solace in both.

God, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to give me three children. Three children I did not feel capable of tending to, in these unknown times of upheaval, betrayal, and otherwise very treacherous times. As parents, we are ever the watchful eagle to our surroundings, and with good reason. Yet, at times, this feels so superficial and harmful to my children’s psyches. As a parent, I am guarded, forever perched on a watch tower, looking for evil in everyone’s eyes.

I believe in giving children wings. Seeing what has happened to the innocence of childhood, I grieve. Those wings I so longingly desire to gift, are retracted, when I become witness to the darkness of bullying, adults acting out, and silence from trusted authority figures. I have my own wounds to heal, so when I am reliving past hurts, while tending to fresh injuries, I am living doubly the war. I could run and hide, but war takes courage and brave hearts.

This is a silent war. We minimize the effects, but they are long lasting. It is the soul that survives. It is my family that needs to be protected. Selfishly, I seek refuge from the outside. In our home, I have learned to care for the wounds, nurture the dreams and desires, help the needs, heal myself and form a bond with my children and husband that cannot be broken. I am learning how to be a mom and wife and loving it.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

 

These are the days.

This is the time. Make the best of what is
and do not think about tomorrow, it is only a possibility.

I am here. Now.

Those were the days to remember. They will never come again.  You were my best friend. You were the light of my mind. You shone in the crevices of my dark alleys and hidden thoughts. You breathed life into my cold heart. You were the spark that revived the lost child, lurking in the shadows of broken promises. Someday soon, I will walk this way again, and cherish the moments together.

Since you have been gone, the color has left my world.
I see shades of gray, black and white.

I long for the hues of oranges, greens and blues.

These are the days and this is the time, I will remember forever.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

Jeannelizabeth©

G is for Garden Party

“You should have been born a different century.” Her mother exclaimed. Quizzically, the little girl wondered what that meant. Was there something wrong with her?

The weather had steadily warmed and now the lilacs flourished, the rose leaves were greener and the bees hummed to bring sound back to the silent air. The excitement of life was contained in the spring days and Lily wanted to have a garden party. She began to form a mental list of all her favorite school friends in hopes that mother would allow her to set up a table in the backyard.

“No” a long silence sat between mother and daughter.  “Absolutely not!”  she emphasized, just in case Lily kept badgering her long after bed. Twirling the curtain tassels, Lily sat puzzled, as long as mother allowed, which wasn’t long. Soon, she was trudging upstairs to brush her hair and teeth, put on her pajamas and would shortly be sound asleep.

Under her mattress, Lily kept a diary, and tonight she would have much to write. As soon as she heard mother’s bedroom door shut, she realized it was safe to retrieve her secret thoughts, jotting them down in solid form, inside her treasured book. The diary allowed Lily to keep track of her days, which were so long, and trudging through them lately made Lily wish to be older. She was not enjoying her childhood and mother was absolutely too strict. She began writing her list of all the friends she would invite.

May 21, 1997

Raina.
Emily
Kayla

Oh, how dreadful. Tears fell from her eyes. “What is the use,” she thought aloud to herself. “Mother won’t allow the party. I am just making myself miserable.”

She had heard of a story by K. Mansfield, “The Garden Party”, requested the book from the library, and decided imaging a garden party was just as well.  With a flashlight in hand, the blanket pulled up over her head, Lily began to read the short piece.

Oh, how delightful! Imagining the setting up, the cooking, the flowers, the music, the guests, Lily agreed that like Laura, It all sounded so inviting. How can mother be set against such an endeavor? Yearning to smell the fragrance of the lilacs, Lily jumped out of bed and lifted her bedroom window. The night breeze drifted in, rattled the curtains, and left such a sweet smell upon the pillow.

Returning to bed, she continued reading where she had left off. A sudden twist in the story set her stomach on edge. She dropped the book with a thud, not thinking mother would awake. Mother’s footsteps drew closer and Lily panicked, burying herself deep out of sight. Mother looked about the room and wondered where Lily had taken to. Peering out the window, mother saw a shadow under the moonlight wave goodbye and disappear into the shrubs. “Was that Lily?” she wondered.

“Lily?” mother’s hushed whisper was barely audible, but in earnest she kept repeating her daughter’s name out of the window. “Lily?” Morning was soon upon Mrs. Sheridan, having slept a few minutes here and there throughout the night. Lily still was missing and mother became frantic. Dialing the police, her voice quivered as she recounted the loud thud, the open bedroom window, the lovely smell, the shadows dancing across the lawn and her vigil until morning. The police reassured mother that they would be right over and until then, to take a cup of tea.

The doorbell caught Mrs. Sheridan off guard. She quickly turned to answer the door to find the policeman, dressed in casual clothes. Sorry for the uniform, but I was sent over to investigate a missing child.

“Yes. My daughter Lily…” Mrs. Sheridan’s voice trailed off into the distance. Detective Wilson followed her eyes out towards the backyard.

“Is that where you believe she vanished?” he waited for an answer. Her face was stark white. She could no longer speak.

Years later, Detective Wilson, while riding along the back roads, noticed two figures in the corn fields, dancing and singing.

Lily and Laura
laughing out loud
La, la, la

Like lilacs languish
Lily and Laura
lie low

La, la, la
la, la
la!

©Jeannelizabeth

2 Samuel 12:23 “But now he is dead. Why should I fast?
Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
King David regarding his infant son’s death.

“They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.
Death cannot kill what never dies.” ~ Williams Penn

Wayward Travelers and a Path to Life

Mother’s Day has come and gone. I wonder about the childless woman, either by choice or by fate. I wonder about the woman who struggles daily with the children she is raising. I wonder about the children who will be mothers someday.

I have seen woman, who come for counseling regarding a pregnancy. Some of them are vulnerable to the daily experience. No father’s presence or support from family. No money. No home. No hope.

Life is hard. The problems loom over us like dark rain clouds and we wait for the final downpour that will drown. The stories I hear are broken records of dysfunction. Our society is sick and individuals are the victims of a collaborative effort to exterminate God. Confusion is rampant and labeling the life-cycle as sperm, egg, embryo, and fetus, organizes our thought, but it does nothing for the emotion that coincides with the fact that sperm move and are alive and fight to the bitter end to make an egg theirs! Which sperm wins, claims the prize of being the next child that will develop inside the womb of a woman. The DNA of both people will merge into one individual, unique in the world, with one set of fingerprints. This should be a time to celebrate!

The cold, hard truth is by offering choice, life loses. The sperm that fought so valiantly will be squashed as an ant on the sidewalk. The egg that once housed all the information that would determine the color of the eyes, hair and skin, will diminish as the setting sun. The sidewalk and playgrounds will be void of one smiling child.

Life is hard. Choices are made every day. What toothpaste to buy, what clothes to wear, what friends we hang with and what job we perform. Some choices are easier than others. Choice seems good until we are faced with making a decision that reaches higher than a mountain peak. Once made, the decision cannot be taken back. It takes days to make such a choice and with limited time to choose, the stress level rises exponentially.

The first right choice would be to decide if having sex, with the possibility of becoming pregnant, is right. What is wrong with waiting until a secure, stable relationship is formed and consecrated by a vow until the bitter or joyous end? What is wrong with making a commitment to you? Why give away your soul like free candy at a parade?

Sex is a gift. Children are a gift. Make the first right choice. Celebrate life and the gifts.

JOSHUA 24:15

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Over the coming days I will be praying for those facing the mountain that looms ahead. I pray for the peace that passes all understanding, to guard your heart, soul and mind, in that perfect way that only Jesus can touch our humanity. He said He came to bring life, and to bring it more abundantly. Do you believe? Is Jesus who He said He was…the Son of the Living G-d? Test the waters. Find a church home that embraces you and shows you the path to walk that brings hope, healing and redemption. And if not now, when? Most will wait until they have hit rock bottom. Is that what you want to experience? The Gospel does not promise a trouble free existence. We certainly will face obstacles and trials. The Gospel does promise a better way, full of truth, hope and joy that sustains, despite the pitfalls and stumbling blocks encountered daily. I will be praying.  Jeannelizabeth©

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

A gardener is always elated to find a toad in the garden.

What fun it would be to have a toad cam. Sitting around the dining room table, the family discussed the possibilities of doing such a thing. We probably will not be able to, since I wanted to put the camera on the toad, and not just set up a camera to watch the toad. Googling such an adventure, there were a few sites that had recorded toads, but found nothing like what I had proposed. It sure would be fun and interesting.

I have witnessed a toad eat a worm. The worm was fairly large and the toad sucked it in like spaghetti. Swwwwwipppppp! and the worm was no more! I am not too happy about toads eating the worms in my yard, although I have plenty of them. I just would rather I saw Mr. Toad eating the mosquitos, ants or japanese beetles.

Which brings me to the horror of watching a spider eat a butterfly. This happened just yesterday, shortly after taking this fellow’s picture. I saw the dangling Painted Lady, caught in a Wolf Spider’s web, and tried to rescue it before the spider found dinner. Wh@t!  I was too late. Dinner was served!

“Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.”
Marianne Moore  (American Poet, 1887-1972)