Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday!

The Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Oh the triumphal cry that rings through my soul!

Here are some favorite Resurrection verses. Notice how they apply to us mere mortals who believe!

2 Corinthians 4:13-14 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to Himself. 

Ephesians 1:19-20 ... 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

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. 

Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

If only I was a

MASOCHIST! (i. e., someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment) Then ripping off bandages in tender biopsy areas would be something I could look forward to. In contrast, my bathroom has become a place of dread and loathing. "Skreap: Etymology: A mixture of 'scream' and 'rip' with a portion of 'scrape', which to me, is a pretty painful sounding word."
The biopsys are healing, but the progress is slow. The drug tamps down the itching, but also smothers my brain. I am beginning to have more empathy with those who suffer from mental illness but do not WANT to take their meds! I get it! But the itching begins to drive me mad and I take the pill and apply the ointment and try NOT to complain.
This is my brain on mud:
Perhaps even more painful is the sense that my purposes and activities have pretty much come to a halt while I wade through the itching
(Hebrews 12:1b let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,)
and try to find Christ in my midst
(Hebrews 12:2-3 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.)
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep her in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because she trusteth in thee.
John G. Whittier wrote:
Love which outlives
All sin and wrong, Compassion which forgives
To the uttermost, and Justice whose clear eyes
Through lapse and failure look to the intent,
And judge our frailty by the life we meant.
Oh, Lord, how I pray his poem is correct! There are times my intention is vasty different than my actual performance.

Prayer 3.27.13

It is well, not in a sense of 'lull us to sleep', but
It is well as a battle declaration, a shout of trust.
It is well for we trust the Creator to keep us.
It is well because He not only leads us,
But tunes our ears to hear His instruction,
Moves our hearts to obey,
Holds us as His clay,
Shapes us according to His plan.
It is well - the battle shout against fear
Against doubt and disbelief.
Yes, it is well
as the ancient Saint said
"All manner of things shall be well."
Not because we do things right
For we are not wise in our own eyes.
It is well owing to His sovereignty
The power of His might assures all manner of things shall be well.
We have only to quiet ourselves.
Yes, we do His bidding and
Due to His omnipotence we can rest.
Rest in His will and His ways,
Higher than ours, but not beyond comprehension.
As we listen, He will speak.
As recorded in Jeremiah 33:3
We call to You, Lord, knowing You will answer.
You tell us great and unsearchable things,
Things we do not know in our own strength.
He has promised that in the last days He will shake all things.
When our hearts are fixed upon Him
He renders them unshakeable.
Though we hear a fearsome noise far off,
Even if it seems to move with warp speed towards us,
We are not moved for we have His assurance
That all manner of things shall be well.
The crucifixion and death of Jesus seemed the worst thing.
Those who loved Him were bewildered and mourning.
And He arose.
Blessed were those He walked with
for "He explained to them what was said
in all the Scriptures concerning Himself."
Come, our Risen Lord,
Quiet our hearts we pray.
As a person of great influence can quiet a crowd,
Quiet us.
Teach us how to trust You more.
Waiting and watching in silence
Our hearts are stilled before You.
And You return to us, again saying,
"Peace be with you."
Lord, forgive us for fretting.
We choose to trust Your peace.
Macrina Wiederkehr wrote "Sacred Song."
"In this sacred darkness I sit in silence.
Open in this moment, I trust in the darkness
Waiting in trust, growing in trust.
Waiting and trusting the sacred darkness.
I surrender.
I surrender.
I surrender."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book We Bought our Children

In 1981 I saw this book on Captain Kangaroo and immediately bought it for our daughter, Emily. A Special Trade is about a neighbor "Old Bartholomew" who takes Nelly for a walk in her stroller.
"When Nelly was very small, he would take her every day for a walk down the block to Mrs. Pringle's vegetable garden. Bartholomew never pushed too fast. He always warned Nelly about Mr. Oliver's bumpy driveway: "Hang on, Nell! Here's a bump!" And she'd shout "BUMP!" as she rode over it.
If they met a nice dog along the way, they'd stop and pet it. But if it was nasty, Bartholomew would shoo it away. When Mrs. Pringle's sprinkler was on, he would say, "Get ready, get set, CHAAARRRRRRRRGE!" Nelly would squeal "Wheeee!" as he pushed her through it."
So the book follows their relationship through the seasons and through Nelly growing up and Bartholomew growing older. One day Bartholomew went out alone and fell down the stairs. He was hospitalized 'for a long time.'
"When Bartholomew came home, he was in a wheelchair. The smile was gone from his eyes. When he declared their walks were over, Nelly said, "No they aren't! I can take you for walks now." She knew just how to do it, too. Nice and easy, not too fast. Just before Mr. Oliver's driveway, she would call, "Get ready for the bump!" And Batholomew would wave his hat like a cowboy as he rode over it."
She knew how to handle dogs they met, and how to run his wheelchair through the overspray of the sprinkler. Mrs. Prinkle leaned over the fence. "Seems just like yesterday Bartholomew was pushing you in the stroller."
"That was when I was little," said Nelly. "Now it's my turn to push and Batholomew's turn to sit ... kind of like a trade."
I could not find this in print now. Amazon only had a very expensive copy of it. Ours is in tattered, well used, and I still like it!
Hopefully the investment we make in our grandchildren will become a Special Trade one day, as they grow up and we grow older.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Soft Nurseries?

Why do we think once we become Christians our life will be easy and idyllic? We are deluded even about our faith.
We are not "born again" into soft nurseries, but in the open country where we suck strength from the very terror of the tempest." Dr. J. H. Jowett
Dr. Jowett did not mince words! " Suck strength from the very terror the tempest!"
Lord, can I learn to suck strength from this itching? Hard to imagine!

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Begin the Day with God"

I was taught this while in confirmation class at 15 and also while being discipled as an adult. In 1979 I told the Lord I would gladly give Him the first hour of the day if He would just help me to know when my day ended and when it began. I had a newborn who wanted to nurse every 3 hours around the clock and I was getting weary.
March 2 Streams in The Desert reads
Exodus 34:2-3
'Be ready in the morning, and come up ...
present yourself there to Me in the top of the mount.
And no man shall come up with you.'
"The morning watch is essential. You must not face the day until you have faced God, not look into the face of others until you have looked into His.
"You cannot expect to be victorious, if the day begins only in your own strength. Face the work of every day with the influence of a few thoughtful, quiet moments with your heart and God. Do not meet other people, even those of your own home, until you have first met the great Guest and honored Companion of your life - Jesus Christ.
"Meet Him, alone. Meet Him regularly. Meet Him with His open Book of counsel before you; and face the regular and the irregular duties of each day with the influence of His personality definitely controlling your every act."
So I do try to make this my practice, though some mornings it just doesn't happen.
March 2 Joy & Strength has a selection by Thomas Erskine. (I have updated the language only.)
"I believe that love reigns, and that love will prevail. I believe that He says to me every morning,
"Begin again your journey and your life; your sins, which are many, are not only forgiven,
but they shall be made, by the wisdom of God, the basis on which He will build blessings."
What? He will use even our sins as the basis on which He will build blessings?
How will He do this? Often, I only understand things about God in hind sight. But it truly an amazing concept to ponder. Think about your own past and the sins you committed. Are there ways that the rubble from the event has been used as a basis on which He builds blessings? I know that my gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf and forgiveness that comes from Him have build solid foundations for my faith and my future. Think that might be what the quotation means?
You might be wondering what response I heard from The Lord in 1979 about when my day began and ended? His response was very clear.
"I do not want the first hour of everyday. I want every hour of every day with you."
My life has been changing in the direction ever since.
And that time spent is mysteriously used, I might even say miraculously. Somehow when I spend more time with God alone, particularly in the morning, I have more time throughout the day. I am better organized and have more purpose and focus. Try this experiment for yourself. I think you will find I am no one special, just found one of those Kingdom keys that works!
Now if I could just get rid of the focus on skin and itching, etc. I might be able to get ON with my life!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Skin Thing

Well I saw a dermatologist and she did biopsy three places. I keep going back to the injection. "Prescribing Literature" inserted in the box reads:

"In a large clinical trial of over 7800 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, epidermal and dermal adverse events such as dermatitis, eczema, and rashes occurred at a significantly higher rate in the Prolia group compared to the placebo group, Most these events were not specific to the injection site. Consider discontinuing Prolia if severe symptoms develop."

She has the right idea!

I knew I was trouble when every time I was in the kitchen and picked up a sharp instrument to cook with I wondered how far down my back or leg that would reach!

 Might have to get one of these, too!

 Leave it to the Native Americans to get it done right!

My most frequent conversations with Bob lately ...

Ya think??! Yes, I have considered discontinuing Prolia, and reconsidered ad nauseum. If I knew some way to get it out of my system, I might pursue that, too.

Meanwhile, I await biopsy results, swallow anti-itch drug that makes me dizzy, stay off the roads while drugged and try not to scratch. My cousin mentioned once that she would like a bamboo back scratcher with the "finger nail area" sharpened into points. Maybe I will pursue that project!

Or just cut off all my fingernails and try to rub on occasion. Nah, the metal one looks like a better idea.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Geese in Flight

Came across some of my notes about Self-Care.
"Third flock of geese in earshot, and their raucous joyful voices join my spirit in hollering,
"PRAISE THE LORD!! Believe! Rejoice! I'm His. He's mine!"
Also the geese call AS they fly. Crossing the sky in noisy abandon. I know there are reasons they give voice as they fly, things like encouraging one another. Still, that fact makes me laugh out loud!
Deep within
Great mercy flows
Wellspring of life!

Max Lucado From a Friend

A friend recently gave me a Max Lucado book and showed me how to get his daily e-mail. The one below struck me as most worthy to share!

Can you remember that first encounter with Christ? I can. It was 1965. A red-headed ten-year-old with a tornado of freckles sits in a Bible class on a Wednesday night. His teacher wearing a suit coat too tight to button is talking about Jesus and explaining the cross. I’d heard it before, but that night I heard it for sure.

No one had to tell me to be happy. No one had to tell me to tell others. I told all my friends at school. And even though I’d never read 2nd Corinthians 4:13, I knew what it meant. “I believed therefore I have spoken.”

Can you still remember? Can you remember the day you fell in love with him? Remember Jesus. Before you remember anything, remember Him. Don’t forget Him. Place your hand in Jesus’ pierced side. Look into those eyes. Look at them as they look at you. You’ll never be the same!

I cannot remember NOT knowing Christ. I do remember skipping Sunday School and going to the park to worship God. I would walk the paths among the White Paper Birch trees and sing to Him. I would swing and recite "Poems are written by fools like me, but only GOD can make a tree!" as I tried to swing high enough to reach the walnut tree tops.
It was years later before I learned that the funny language I used to sing just to God was actually a prayer language! You see, the Presbyterians, where I was dropped off for church, never talked about such things as spiritual gifts. So next time you get a moment, reflect and ponder, as Max said, the first encounter you had with Jesus.
Cherish that memory! Rehearse it. Worship Him.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Relaxation at the Convent

Here are a few reasons I love to visit Convent of the Transfiguration!
Lenten Roses
Lenten Roses in the snow.
The wonder of the One Who died for us.
Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given
Behind and through the crown is the cross. So too for us.
He is able to hold us and heal us in His nail scarred hands.
I am reminded that the light of resurrection life glows through us, too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's a Jungle Out There

We watched so many episodes of "Monk" that I about knew the words to the theme song "It's a Jungle Out There!"
Recently a friend gave me the Max Lucado devotional Safe in The Shepherd's Arms. It is selections from his writings that specifically focus on our Lord as Shepherd and Psalm 23. In one section I had to wonder if he too watched Monk when he wrote:
For many people, life is - well, life is a jungle. Not a jungle of trees and beasts. Would that it were so simple Would that our jungles could be cut with a machete or our adversaries trapped in a cage. But our jungles are comprised of the thicker thickets of failing health, broken hearts, and empty wallets Our forests are framed with hospital walls and divorce courts. We don't hear the screeching of birds or the roaring of lions, but we do hear the complaints of neighbors and the demands of bosses. Our predators are our creditors, and the brush that surrounds us is the rush that exhausts us.
It's a jungle out there.
And for some, even for many, hope is in short supply ....
What would it take to restore your hope? ...
Our Shepherd majors in restoring hope to the soul, Whether you are a lamb lost on a craggy ledge or a city slicker alone in a deep jungle, everything changes when your rescuer appears.
So when my jungle recently turned white with heavy wet snow and my body erupted once again in some sort of systemic reaction of rash and itching, I was relieved that our Shepherd sent wonderful natural distractions to ease my mind. When ths snows melt, there will be spring flowers erupting! The Flicker, who used to frequent our yard at a different address, has been coming around for the suet we offer. This too shall pass and Jehovah Rophe, The Lord Who heals, sees even me.
Perhaps one of the only good uses for honeysuckle?
The lavender drenched in winter.
Bashful Flicker

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Silhouette or Substance?

I came up behind a van in traffic. The first thing I noticed was the name, "Silhouette." The second thing I noticed was the bumper decal of a fish with a cross in the area of the eye, representing Christian faith. I immediately wondered if we have the outline of faith or substance to our faith?

The fish above is obviously wood, but the one on the van was hollow except for the eye/cross.

A silhouette is a drawing showing just the outline of something. Do we have more than an outline in the area of faith? Is there substance to it?

A substance has mass and occupies space. It has an essence, gist or heart. Form is an outline; substance is what fills it. We fill in the outline of ourselves by being authentic; we fill in the outline of our life by showing up for life and participating to the best of our ability.

So are you merely the outline of a Christian or is there more to your faith than that?

What is the substance of your faith? Can you describe it, hold it, share it with others?

No telling when I am liable to get object lessons!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

During Intercession This is What I Heard

The snows cover the earth
you know not how.
The life quickens in the bulb
you know not how.
The trees sprout and bring forth foliage
you know not how.
Light fills the dark recesses of your soul
you know not how.
The Kingdom of God grows
you know not how.
Not by numbers
Not by programs
Just by My Spirit
By your love
Love that comes from Me.
That You know
the only How.
I AM the ways and means.
I AM Life and that more abundantly.
I AM the source of your longing.
I AM the answer to your longing.
Rest in Me.
Let Me use you.
Do not step out in your feeble 'strength.'
As My Spirit moves you
move forward.
I will give you light for the next step.
You will know how.
My Kingdom cannot always be seen,
felt, touched or perceived by you.
Yet it exists and grows and expands
uou know not how.
Trust that My Word is true.
I will perform it
though you know not how.
The wind blows where it will
you know not how.
My Presence is often seen in retrospect.
Yet I AM present with you, even now
Though you cannot say 'He is here'
Or 'look there.'
I AM working in, through, among you.
Bring forth My will individually
Then you will see a portion of How.
Serve Me first and foremost.
I will show you how.
Seek My face and My Kingdom.
Lay aside the other things,
pursuits of vain glory.
Press into Me,
make Me the Center of your life.
The Holy Spirit will bring forth life
you know not how
except yield to Me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Skin I am In

I began to have a little itching in January. I wondered if it was cosmetics I got for Christmas. Stopped using them. Wondered if it was laundry soap. Went back to old brand. Tried lotions, creams over the counter and prescription, oils. Nothing made it cease. By mid-February I was driven to ask the doctor about this itching. I was squirming and scratching and could no longer ignore it. She put me on a course of steriods. You probably know the drill, day 1 = 6 tablets, day 2 = 5, etc. until you are down to one. Remember that your skin is your largest bodily organ. The drug helped with the worst itching, but never took it entirely away.
By the second week of March I was frantic again. She said I could try another course of steroids. I finished those and changed a blood pressure medication per her suggestion. Cut down on Prilosec dose, stopped Zrytec and went to Benadryl every 4-6 hours. I am still itching today, 3-14-13. Rash was nasty last night.
National Geographic reported on skin: "If you took off your skin and laid it flat, it would cover an area of about 21 square feet (2 square meters), making it by far the body's largest organ. Draped in place over our bodies, skin forms the barrier between what's inside us and what's outside. It protects us from a multitude of external forces. It serves as an avenue to our most intimate physical and psychological selves.
This impervious yet permeable barrier, less than a millimeter thick in places, is composed of three layers. The outermost layer is the bloodless epidermis. The dermis includes collagen, elastin, and nerve endings. The innermost layer, subcutaneous fat, contains tissue that acts as an energy source, cushion, and insulator for the body. From these familiar characteristics of skin emerge the profound mysteries of touch, arguably our most essential source of sensory stimulation.

Perceptions of pressure, temperature, and pain manifest themselves in many different ways. Gentle stimulation of pressure receptors can result in ticklishness, gentle stimulation of pain receptors in itching. Both sensations arise from a neurological transmission, not from something that physically exists.

Scratching puts a quick end to a variety of itches by creating a counter-irritation on the skin that diverts the brain's perception of the itch. Although no one has identified exactly what part of the brain receives itch signals, itches trigger activity in areas of the brain that prompt arm movement, presumably initiating a scratch response.

But there is more to relieving some itches than a simple scratch. "Few medical researchers pay serious attention to itches even though everyone experiences them," says Goh Chee Leok, clinical professor of dermatology at the National Skin Centre in Singapore. "There are pain clinics but no itch clinics."

Burn patients, psoriasis patients, many people have it worse than me. Yet, I itch and the cortisone drugs to help relieve the itch make me dangerously dark and cast a brooding futility over everything I think about. Except iPad games... they have been a terrific distraction. Have you ever scratched so much that your skin hurts when the idea of scratching some more arises? Is this some bad karma because I am not prone to poison ivy?
I have seen two doctors and am scheduled with a dermatologist this week. No one seems to know what is causing this and they tell me we might never know. I think it is from a long-acting injection I had at the end of November to treat osteoporosis.
Now I am in retreat and thinking about how I can get through this without more cortisone?
Might I yield to the Holy Spirit enough that heavenly indwelling power can help me rise above the physical sensation and rest in the power of holy love? To me, that is a tall challenge.
Hold me, Lord, as I walk this difficult path.
Sincerely yours, 'Scratch'

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Potty Mouth or Environment of Upbringing?

Sometimes my husband gets aggravated at my coloful language. He did not grow up with colorful language. Now that my chidlren are grown and gone I find myself often reverting to phrases my parents used. Even though, or perhaps because, my mother was a preacher's kid she had a vast array of phrases and idioms such as "She doesn't know shit from Shinola!" I know that Shinola was shoe polish, did you?
I might blog some about these phrases that sprinkled my childhood with strange pictures and weird rabbit trial thoughts.
Wouldn't you know you can Google the phrase and get this:


Possessing poor judgment or knowledge.


doesn't know shit from Sinola

Shinola was a brand of shoe polish previously manufactured in the USA. The alliteration and the fact that the two commodities in the phrase could possibly be confused is the derivation. The distinction is well made; only one of them would be good to apply to your shoes and only particularly dim people could be expected to muddle them up. Of course, outside America, most people don't know Shinola from anything at all, as they've never heard of it. Even in America it would probably not be widely remembered but for this phrase.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

As Pope Francis the First is Announced

I have been contemplating the devotional Jesus Calling designated for March 12. Sarah Young wrote:
"Waiting, trusting, and hoping are intricately connected, like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain. Trusting is the central strand, because it is the response from My children that I desire the most. Waiting and hoping embellish the central strand and strengthen the chain that connects you to Me. Waiting for Me to work, with your eyes on Me, is evidence that you really do trust Me. If you mouth the words 'I trust you' while anxiously trying to make things go your way, your words ring hollow. Hoping is future-directed, connecting you to your inheritance in heaven. However, the benefits of hope fall fully on you in the present.

"Because you are Mine, you don't just pass time in your waiting. You can wait expectantly, in hopeful trust. Keep your "antennae" out to pick up even the faintest glimmer of My Presence."
JN 14:1, PS 27:14, HEB 6:18-20
While I was reading that the first time, I immediately saw three strands of yarn with metallic thread in them. For me, trust is the white strand with silver wrapped through it; hope is the gold strand with gold wrapped through it; waiting is the silver strand with silver wrapped through it. I took the three strands and crocheted a chain to remind myself that I need all three: trust, hope and waiting.
Today my Catholic brothers and sisters were waiting for the election of a new Pope. They faced that with trust and hope that their Cardinals would hear the voice of Christ in the election process and final decision. And so, Pope Francis the First was named. I would love to know what was happening in his heart as the ballots were cast and his election came forth! Perhaps knowing that could inform my faith!
My Lord expects me to trust His will and purpose for my life individually. I must wait on Him to show me the next step in my journey. I am hoping I will honor Him by living my life for Him in a faithful and holy way.
How is your three-fold strand woven? How is it holding up in the midst of your journey? Maybe it would be good to give some of your time to weaving that cord anew?