Monday, June 13, 2022

Flag Day



Flag Day is celebrated annually on June 14th to commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. 
 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Bittersweet

 Mother's Day is bittersweet for me. How is it for you?

I'm missing my own precious mother, who departed this life eleven years ago. I'm missing my sweet mother-in-law, who was like a mother to me. She left us on Mother's Day weekend six years ago. I'm rejoicing in my two daughters and their families who bring me such joy (and call me "Nana"). I'm feeling thankful for all the good and godly women who have  "mothered" me in ways too numerous to mention. 

As I searched the Internet for a poem to share with you, I came across several that impacted me, including the two below. Then I remembered one I'd written about my mother in 2006 but hadn't shared with you. 

As you read the poems below, I encourage you to find a way to express the thoughts in YOUR heart. Write them out. And, if you feel comfortable, share them with someone else as a gift from your heart to theirs. But even if no one sees your words except you, expressing your feelings will be cathartic--better than a session with a therapist! Even better: always do as Psalm 62:8 says, "Pour out your heart before God." He loves you. He hears you. He will help you.





https://rachelwojo.com/a-prayer-to-empower-moms-3/




The following is an excerpt from a poem written by a mother's son as he imagined what she would say and feel as she coped with his death. The link below the excerpt contains the entire poem, a letter he wrote to his mother, etc. But even if you have time to read only this portion of the poem, I'm sure you can feel the bittersweet emotion it expresses.

But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord, thou art hard on mothers:
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho' I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow - And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.

https://www.irishamericanmom.com/the-mother-by-patrick-pearse/




Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Greatly Loved

Ever since I first heard Fernando Ortega sing How Deep the Father's Love, the words and the worshipful way he sings them have touched my heart. I listen to it often via YouTube. In fact, I recently learned how to set it on autoplay/loop so that I can hear it again and again as I go about my daily duties. 

As I listen, I sing along, for the words express more beautifully than I ever could the thoughts and feelings in my heart. For that reason, I have added that song to the list of the ones I want to be sung during my funeral service. The messages in all the songs I have chosen are, in effect, my "final words" to family and friends who attend. 

I hope the words in How Deep the Father's Love resonate with you, as well. I'm sharing the link to it now because I want you to be blessed by it and because I consider it especially timely as Christians around the world are reflecting on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We're remembering--and giving thanks for--the indescribable gift of salvation Jesus gave us. Because He shed His blood on Calvary's cross on our behalf, we are forgiven of all our sins. Because He lives, we who believe in Him will also live with Him eternally. Because He deeply loves us, we deeply love Him in return--and yearn all the more for our lives to be characterized by love, just as His was.



Click here to listen: https://youtu.be/jKdbN3GiL4E





Wednesday, March 16, 2022

An Invitation

Dear Reader,

Because I’m being so blessed by a series of messages I’m listening to, I want to share the source with you. I pray that you, too, will be enlightened and inspired by the truths Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shares about the names of Jesus, names we’ve heard so often but may have limited understanding of their meanings and their importance to us. 

Click here: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/

  • When the page opens, click on the three short, horizontal lines in the upper right area of your screen.
  • When a pop up menu appears, click Audio.
  • Click Revive our Hearts.
  • Scroll down.
  • Click the graphic that contains the title of the series, that looks like this: 

  • Click the individual message you’d like to listen to. They are listed in order, from first to last. 
Enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Opportunities to Love

For several years, my daughter Jena donated blood regularly. Then she started donating platelets instead. One day, someone from the donation center called to ask if she'd come in and donate platelets again since Jena's blood matched that of a patient who needed surgery but could not have it until there was an adequate supply of blood products on hand.

Jena gladly donated. Afterward, she posted these words on Facebook:

The last few times I have donated platelets it has been for a specific person in need. I am an HLA match for them. In short, that means there is something rare about their blood, and they can’t receive help from most donors; but I am a match for them. Whenever I donate, I always think about it helping someone and pray it will be a blessing, but this has been different. [I'm] more acutely aware there is another person on the other end. Someone counting on me. A connection. A person going through a major trial and having a need they are relying on a complete stranger to meet. A family desperately wanting their loved one to be ok.  

I am giving platelets every time I am eligible… but I can do more than that to help! I believe in the healing power of my God and in the power of prayer. I believe God hears his children and that we can take everything to the feet of Jesus. I do not know this person. I do not know the situation or all of their needs, but God does. GOD DOES! Please add this person and their family to your daily prayers. Pray for healing, comfort, peace, and that God would make HIS presence undeniable. Let’s lift them up! 

If you have questions about how to give blood products and eligibility of donors please visit: www.lifesouth.org

There is always a need, but the need is currently emergent.  

After I read her post, I gave thanks (yet again!) for having a daughter with a heart like hers! A heart that loves, not only in words but also in deeds [actions]. A heart that loves God and people. A heart that knows the power of prayer--and, thus, prays! 



May we, like Jena, welcome every opportunity to share God’s love with others. Even though we can't solve every problem for everybody, we can each do what we can to love and support one another. Even if we can’t donate blood or platelets, we can do something else. Even if we can’t do anything physical, we can pray for those who are struggling to make it through another day.













Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Lessons from the Flowers

One afternoon in late February, I lingered in the yard, enjoying the springlike weather and the sight and sound of many birds. When I saw the daffodils blooming profusely by the sidewalk, I decided to take a photo of them to text to my friend who loves flowers and grows pretty ones in her yard, as well as inside her house. But since it’s been snowing in recent days where she lives, and morning temperatures have been well below freezing, I knew it’d be a while before she’d have flowers in her yard.

After taking several photos, I sat down on a nearby bench to look at them. I chose my favorite one and considered cropping it in order to draw more attention to the blooms. But I hesitated, sensing there were lessons to be learned from the flowers.  


For example, one daffodil, once standing tall like the others, was now bent way over. By the wind? By an animal? Yet, it was still lovely, still very much a daffodil despite its droopy appearance. 


Close by the clump of yellow and white daffodils, a cluster of tender shoots stood about six inches above the pine straw. Soon they'd be in full bloom and adding bright splashes of color to the landscape.


Although some of the daffodils were more eye-catching than others, all were lovely in their various stages of growth. All were very much alive. All were a vital part of the environment.


Might that be true of people as well?


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Search My Heart

Does having to answer a probing question cause you to think more deeply? It does me. For example, while reading a book for writers, I came to the question: “Why do you write?” 

I jotted down quick, rather obvious answers in my journal.
  • To obey God’s call to be a writer.
  • To minister to others.

Those are the two main reasons I write, but as I pondered the “why?” question, I listed several other reasons, ones I hadn’t considered prior to having to articulate them. 

In the process, I realized anew the value of asking myself why I do many things I do, not just why I write. For instance:
  • Why do I feel so passionate about photography? 
  • Why do I choose to stay busy? 
  • Why do I procrastinate?
Since I’m perceiving the value of asking myself “why?” questions, I want to encourage you to do that too. As greater awareness comes, we may see the need to spend less time and energy on some of the things we habitually do. Perhaps we’ll even stop doing them in order to focus on those we sense are more important. Perhaps we'll consider doing them differently or at a more appropriate time.

Because "why?" questions are hard to answer, I realize, as did David (the writer of Psalm 139), that I need more understanding than I possess within myself. 

Like David, I often say, "Lord, You have looked deep into my heart. You know all about me. Nothing about me is hidden from You. Continue to search my heart." 

Many times, I add, "And, Lord, will You reveal to me what You find? Will You also forgive my sins and shortcomings? And, going forward, will You help me to change in order to be well-pleasing to You?"



Sunday, February 13, 2022