Thursday, March 29, 2007
What's In A Book.
While reading "Call Me Grandma Dawn's" post tonight, a thought began to swirl in my book loving head. She mentioned reading lots of them, some even twice, and I so understand. As I'm putting these words together, close beside me, lined up in a little stack are ones I brought home tonight.

In the past, but not lately, if I got more than one new book at a time, I'd think I should be at least a little contrite. But no more. In life, affairs can cause a lot of trouble, but the one I'm in, God Himself would approve of. It began long ago, when someone put a book in my hands.

For a long time I thought my love of them was only about reading, but it's more. Not much cheers me the way I feel in a bookstore, or the library. Surrounded by all those stories of the world, I am more rich than anyone. I need, no, I must hold one of them in my hands.

Some time ago the face of books began to change. Like the first color seen in The Wizard Of Oz, they are all dressed up now, and getting prettier. A whole new concept is coloring the world. I hope our electronic age doesn't blindside it. Talking books, and television, even the computer, can teach the children much, but it can't create imagination like holding a book can, and forming the stories in their heads. The wildest infatuation couldn't conjure up more.

These are the books I found today. Like a new dress they should fit who it's for. A close friend in the Lord, will enjoy "Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul." She won't even care it's copyrighted ten years ago.

I think I'll give this one at Easter, but it could be for other times as well. In our church is a mother with three little boys. How she gets them there, and keeps them toned down , I'm not sure. How she will make time to read, I wonder even more, but this book has encapsulated parts, so maybe she'll read some. It's the NIV Mom's Devotional Bible.

Whoever titled this one knew how to get readers' attention. It is "Wild Things Happen When I Pray." It's especially recommended for evangelists. There's a new couple in our church. The husband's already helping with teaching. One or both of them might enjoy it.

I am not totally unselfish. "Living in the Comfort Zone", only 194 pages exactly fits me. It's offered for psychology/relationships/self-help. As I said, it fits me perfectly.

Our church's women's ministry pairs us together so we can know each other better, and we give each other thoughtful little presents, depending on what each of us wrote about ourselves. The lady whose name I got said she needs to read more, soooooo, one I got for her is "More Stories for the Heart." Wise and talented people, like Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll, and Max Lucado contributed to it. Alice Gray did this book, a sequel to her first, "Stories for the Heart". Its short segments should encourage reading.

This last of the books I found today, I planned to give to someone. But I'm not sure I can.... in fact I know I can't. It's the oldest of the six I brought home, "On The Anvil", by Max Lucado. ed Its pages seem darkened, and on the very first one is written "Find a cozy spot. Sip a favorite coffee....." "In this quick to read little volume are treasures for a life time" and it's signed "Be blessed and know how much you are loved! Mom".

Usually I'm not a precise and detailed person. More often I'm busy even when I'm not, thinking how to turn words into something. but I happened to read who this book was dedicated to; Lucado's parents, and that got me to thinking. Don't parents generally get the dedication honor for first editions?

I was curious to know, and saw in the book's Foreword that his writing began with local church bulletin articles, and spread to farther areas. A friend encoraged Lucado to try publication, but he thought himself too busy, so didn't, until he lived in Brazil. Finally, he rewrote earlier articles.

Not knowing lists of publishers, he found addresses in his library and mailed them copies. He sent out fifteen. Six were returned unopened, Six at least opened, but not accepted. Only three showed interest One of them, Tyndale House sent Lucado a contract for "On The Anvil."

There are many more books at the exclusive place I shop, a thrift store called Savers. Hardbacks go for about three dollars. The non hardbacks only two bucks. On Wednesdays seniors get twenty percent off, so the half dozen cost less than twelve dollars. I can shop for hours, and still make it to Bible Study next Wednesday. But some time this week I must read Lucado's first.

  posted at 12:39 AM  

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Treasure Hunting
One after another the evening hours slowed, and left a heavy quiet I didn't know what to do with. Usually I'm eager for the peacefulness of night, but the start of this one felt odd, like being out of step.

This family is busy, and it is scattered. Soon a grandson will go to Japan. With all the flights we make, we should get family discounts. Bev, at Blessed Without Measure will return from her anniversary cruise, and Barb, at A Chelsea Morning will somehow survive her daughter's wedding. Still, it feels strange, not being in touch, and the morning news didn't help.

I had poured more coffee, and turned the news on to a caption that read, "Couple swept off side of cruise ship", and the headline after that said there was an earthquake in Japan, along with a Tsunami. As I compared notes Bev had wisely sent, I took a long breath, and told our Saviour thanks. The cruise accident took place out from New Orleans, and the couple was rescued. I wanted to call family in Texas about the grandson's trip, but saw that his sisters had just done posts. If there'd been quakes where he is, someone would let us know. So far there's been no call, but I'll still feel better when Bev gets home.

Through all that my coffee was getting cold, and as I was reheating it, the telephone rang. It wasn't from the Bahamas or the far East. A church friend wanted to know if I'd go to the women's monthly meeting, and a combined surprise baby shower. I'm not a big party person, so ordinarily I'd have declined. But most anything sounded better than worrying about disasters, so I went. At showers now I guess they don't do marathon diaper changing games, but I would have gone if they had.

On Saturday I went to my son's, the one whose son is in corrections. He earned another pass, so we got to visit some hours. His Dad treated him to a restaurant dinner, the first he's had in about a year. I noticed he ate slowly, to enjoy it more. I took him a book about personal growth, situated in a basketball setting. something he likes. We talked about other books Bev sent to him. The conversation showed he's read them, and is learning from what's inside. Her taking time to send them meant a lot. I think I see good changes in this boy soon to be a man. After our eating out I stayed a while, then left, so Dad and son could have some time alone.

At home I enjoyed hours at my computer. Sunday morning I hurried to get to church. Much to thank Him, much to ask Him. I had a very long list. Our church gets quite lively with the music and song. If you want to know how I feel about it, read the name of my blog again.

The service included a presentation by the pastor who founded and pastored our church many years. He trys to retire, but keeps getting called for more, and this call seems to have come straight from God.

On the pastor's own mountain property he is building the Elijah Ministires. It will be a place where pastors and their wives can steal away awhile to rest, and be refilled for their work that demands so much. Where it's at is so remote cars can't get there. Snowmobiles will take people in. There's no televisions. Distractions like that are left at home. The setting itself invites
one to rest. Jesus gave the example for this when He'd go to quiet places.

Even with the Elijah Ministries presentation, church still let out about the usual time, and I went right home to another social engagement, a picnic in a nearby park with a special little girl. We spread a red checked tablecloth out, and dined on finger foods, pitiful homemade hotdogs, but we didn't care, and cut up veggies and dip, and crackers and cheese, with strawberries for dessert.

The little girl climbed, and ran with other kids, and swung at a ball with her oversized golfing club. It's hard to get serious about such a serious game when your club is bright purple. On the way home we searched for special rocks.

Sometimes I feel like my calendar blocks kind of shift and merge. Sunday night I turned in early. Monday my grandson had group therapy again. It lasts two hours, and family members come there straight from work, so snacks are allowed. But tonight someone changed the rule, so we couldn't take anything in. I realize corrections isn't suppose to be plush, but something that isn't harmful that encourages family support can't be that bad. A counselor told us as soon as she can talk with someone about it, she's getting it straightened out. I cannot say anything other than that about the session, but if you could be there, you'd understand why it's so needed.

Because my grandson's going home soon, many details about it are being pursued. I was glad to learn that some kind of therapy will continue after he gets out. He can never return to being a little boy, but he can start from where he is, and claim his life again.

Barb's still making pretty things for the wedding, besides running a house, and after some days my computer will announce that Bev's home again.

Hopeful things may be pointing to my going back to work. So I'm cramming all the living into these days I can. My son's a rock hound, and we still haven't made time to dig for them. My little friend calls them "sparkles". I love seeing the world through her innocent eyes, where everything's so possible it shines.

  posted at 2:28 AM  

Monday, March 19, 2007
Love Is.......
Years ago I thought I knew what love is, but I was wrong, very wrong. Once while in a long dry time alone, I found some words, and taped them to my fridge. Then every time I reached for coffee cream I'd see them, "He who loves shows love".

My children were marrying and moving away, or joining the Navy and moving farther, and I missed them, but couldn't see that lonely times were the best of those days, because nobody called or wrote with bad news. One son got into some trouble, but not enough to be charged with anything. Still, with the policeman's help I arranged him an overnight stay in jail, which seemed to fix the problem, and time went on.

My pesonal mantra began to grow from the "He who loves....." to one that just about covered the front of the fridge. Words like "Go placidly amid the noise and haste.....Neither be cynical about love.....You are a child of the universe....It is still a beautiful world", from Desiderata, they soothed this mother's heart.

The next generation was graduating and heading for higher learning. Things grandmas are so proud to be proud of. But some didn't bring accolades. One grandchild dropped out of school, and another one did too. A granddaughter we think was into drugs died a questionable death, and it looks like another may be heading for similar problems.

But the one who saddened me most about his growing up years, is the grandson I watched Land Before Time With, over and over, and made living room forts we crawled around in. I drilled him like a mathematical sergeant, teaching him his numbers.

A few years passed, and I began hearing of skirmishes he'd get in, and they kept getting worse and eventually brought him here. My wise old sayings on the fridge didn't know what to do with it, so I reverted to crisis mode and ran from it all. I moved away.

A son, the boy's father, every visiting day gets in his rusty old van, and now that I'm back home I go with him. Last evening I got to be at his group therapy. Would love telling you about it, but privacy is needed. I do think it is alright to say that when we got there, and the young men filtered in, when he saw I was there, he headed straight my way. I am understanding how much he needs me there.

When we visit my son always asks what he needs. Everything, anything must be approved. Nothing can simply be placed in his hands. I understand. I know there are rules.

He likes art, drawing. They supply paper, but the pencils are short. Long ones aren't allowed. He drew a long stem rose for me. It has no thorns. I think I'm understanding why. Sometimes we have to get all bare again, before we can grow. The next thing he's drawing are some seagulls flying. I thought he would like making something that's free.

For months I've trudged through snow that's sometimes deep, on the long trail we take to where he's kept. I'm learning many rules, what's alright to bring, or not, and which doors we can go through. Each time I'm there a metal detector tells everyone about my knee replacement. But when I see the smile my grandson has for me, any indignity leaves.

Before he went there he was a smoker, so I asked him if he'll start up again, and he said "No, I'm done with that." like he meant it, and I'm thinking "This is good". He's making wise decisions.

We talked about his future once he's out, and like a silly grandma I asked: "So when you grow up, what do you plan to be?" He wants to be a counselor, for kids like him. I think now I can take those papers off my fridge.

  posted at 10:52 PM  

Monday, March 12, 2007
This Marriage Business Needs A Silent Partner.......
In Liz Curtis Higgs' devotional: "Rise And Shine" she maintains:

"One of the secrets to a happy marriage is remembering the source of our joy, which is not one another. The source of our joy is the Lord. Yes, we share tons of joyous moments, but we don't expect, let alone demand, endless joy-filled moments from each other."

When I read this week's CWO quote, I did not want to address it. How could I, who wouldn't qualify as poster girl of successful marriages, tell you how to build one. But then I thought, I've learned more from my mistakes, than when things went well. If you'd like to know what NOT to do to build a marriage that will last, I can tell you about that.

When brides and grooms promise to love, and to grow old together, I believe they mean it with all their heart. I know we did. Building a marriage requires more than a softly murmured candle lit promise.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Phill, points out that couples spend more time going over intricate details about their wedding, than they do planning how they'll live together, and then wonder why it isn't working. We get married, and maybe go on a trip, then come back to our jobs and new inlaws, and expect things to be wonderful. But something already is in motion that can do more harm than those new relatives.

When you consider that choosing room mates is usually iffy, (Ask your college kids) why would you be surprised that some details, some meeting of the minds about living together might be needed. In the honeymoon stage, we aren't very concerned with things like core values, but even then, we are using them. Like toothbrushes and family pictures, anywhere we go, we take them with us.

I couldn't understand why he spent money we couldn't afford on big game hunting trips, about the same time of year we needed to outfit six children for school. He couldn't understand why that was a problem. His family's priorities had taught him who makes decisions about those things. There were marriage problems more sensitive and serious than arguing about hunting trips, or school clothes. Inlaws visiting unexpectedly and staying for weeks, that was a big one. When trying to talk about it didn't help, I didn't argue and fuss or yell, but internally I seethed! If that didn't work, I tried manipulation. Neither got me very far, and our problems didn't get solved. They just kept stacking up. Can you imagine what that does to a foundation where the concrete's not good set. When more serious problems came, the battle to save the marriage was already more than half lost.

Some couples, where one is a Christian and the other isn't, may hold a marriage together, but with the important difference about Faith, unless that changes, it can take years to reach a working together, and many give up trying long before, or may even give up their faith, for nothing is nourishing it.

Parents may not value family precepts the same, and this causes children to form double standards. This confuses them. If they are taught that taking motel towels is wrong and are punished for it, but adultery is condoned, they may never take another towel, but they aren't learning how to be good marriage material, and the problem is passed on.

Someone said love is not a noun, it's a verb, which means there's action. A marriage either gets better or worse. It does not stand still.

I call love "life", which means it should be nourished. We do what we can, but something else is needed. Just as we can't give each other Heavenly joy, we need to ask His Strength from our wedding day on. Jesus cares about everything in our lives, and that includes our marriage. Let Him be the Silent Partner in yours.

  posted at 2:20 AM  

Friday, March 09, 2007
The Legacy
Scarcely distinguishing places from time, decoupage cut outs parade my life. To distance me from relatives mired in troubles, I moved away some miles. As if the space between us lessened my concern. I tried not to think of it much, and thought I was doing alright, until I turned the computer on last night.

A picture of my mother who's been dead a long time covered the screen. A relative had found and forwarded it. Growing up in my uncertain world, home was different places, with few keepsakes, so I had only a small picture of her.

High cheekbones, and classic nose and chin waited as silently as her thoughts, safe behind a face that neither smiled nor frowned. Quietly her elegance ruled. Gracious arms followed the slender hands she folded at her lap. She wore a simple ring.

I couldn't tell if she'd had babies yet, and wondered at a midriff that admitted no signs. I printed a copy of her picture, and searched the details again and again, then traced her fingers once more. They still looked young, and Her nails were filed, before life etched itself into her palms.

Her being gone so long felt strange, but stranger was the dress she wore. It was beige. A black bow decorated the front of it. Never had I seen her look so fine.

I put the picture where it wouldn't get crinkled or torn, but kept going back to it, her face, her expression, her eyes. I couldn't remember what color they were.

Family legends don't tell much. Did she like her mother? Did she like going to school? She had brothers and a sister, but their house was small. How she must have hated not having her own room. What was it like growing up without her father in a falling down house surrounded by clayey red dirt, deep in the woods.

Someone told me she and my father met where she worked. They borrowed money for a license, and eloped. Did she fall in love with his Irish blue eyes, or was it his teasing smile?

I never saw her at his people's house. Cold silence spoke of her there. How did she feel when pregnant? Her sister, and a doctor who came to the house, that's all she had. Her first baby was stillborn. How do you bear that.

I was born in the middle of summer in a hot Texas storm. I wish I could have put clean sheets on her bed, or washed her face. Nights like that she never flinched, and she had many of them.

What the depression didn't do, World War II set at her door. The disenchantment of them assaulted her soul, and broke her heart. Three of her children were put in orphanages, and adopted out. For years I see sawed up, then down, blaming my father, then her.

Reliving, remembering her history. a marker with name erased. There may not have been any way to know her then. Things I would have asked, perhaps she couldn't tell. I cannot judge her. But dreams go on. To hear the music she did not get to sing, I look into my mirror for the song.

  posted at 2:42 AM  

Monday, March 05, 2007
Drawing Well Water
"To be a Christian
without prayer
is no more possible
than to be alive
without breathing".

This CWO quote is by Martin Luther. While reading it I thought of a hymn that so fits what it's about. Christy Nockels sings it on a Worship Together CD. The title is "Breathe". I'll paraphrase some here:

This is the air I breathe, The air I breathe,
Your holy Presence, Living in me.
And I'm desperate for You, I'm lost without You.
This is the air I breathe, The air I breathe,
Your Very Word Spoken to me, My Daily Bread.

When I don't know exactly what to say, or ask of God, I depend upon Psalms for words, so I turned to those powerful hymns and praises.

My Bible introduces them with: "Man needs to communicate with God in prayer and in song. He nees to come before Him and honestly present what is on his heart, whether it's distress or joy, confusion or confidence. Man needs to lift up his voice in worship, making melody with his heart to the Lord". One hundred and fifty Psalms. Enough for a lifetime of acknowledging God.

While the Old Testament prophesied about Jesus, the New Testament echoed His carrying out our salvation. The purpose of the book of Matthew is to show that He's the Son Of God.

In Luke He stands in a synagogue and reads old prophesy from Isaiah, that He would be the world's own Saviour. While the locals in His little home town weren't respectful, or hardly polite, Jesus declared "Today this Scripture is fulfilled." Throughout time since He calls again and again, welcoming whoever will hear it.

I doubt any of us forgot the first time we talked with Him. Church and prayer, and Bible reading came easy, until we let everyday living get in the way. I don't think we mean to, but good intentions by themselves don't count. The road to hell is paved with them.

I do remember how full my days became, especially when a new child arrived. Over time I spent less time staying in touch with Him. Sometimes we can make things too complicated. In younger days I approached prayer as if it were hardly connected to daily living. But aging sometimes brings more understanding. What relief He's interested in my ordinary times.

Talking with Him should be as natural as sweeping floors or brushing teeth.
Most of us brush our Ivories twice a day, or at least once. If you're having trouble making time for God, try this. Put your toothbrush on the opposite side of where you keep it, as a reminder to stop and tell Him "Hello". For a while you'll still reach for where it was, but in the process reach for Him.

He really understands Moms are rushed. The quality of your prayer is not measured by how long you talk. Chances are it's more important how we listen. The whole point is to form the habit of even little prayers.

I've been places and suddenly got important news, and as automatic as a knee jerk reaction exclaimed "Thank You Lord!" Only a few times did this seem to bother anybody. Others curse and talk less appropriately in public. I won't deliberately annoy anyone, but a grateful "thank you" to our Savior, how bad is that!

I've broken free of religious legalism. Am not concerned with proper praying attire. In my red plaid pajamas with Nebraska Huskers logo on them, I don't feel irreverent to my Lord. If anything should be examined it's my attitude, not clothes.

I used to think it was sacreligious to ask "little" things of God. But now whatever's going on, I tell Him. Psalms says to take the good things to Him too. I'm not real big on multi-tasking. But I've found a way that gets a day's good start. As I look out my window every morning. I Thank Him for the sun or for the rain. Saying That reminds me I am nearing His wellspring.

To point out other ideas about this week's quote, I must include a personal favorite, Paul's book to the Phillippians. From the Bible called THE MESSAGE, by Eugene H. Peterson, this writer says it's Paul's happiest letter, and goes on: "But happiness is not a word we understand by finding it in a dictionary". He continues, "Something more like apprenticeship is required. An apprentice learns by daily and intimate association with a "master"...... Paul doesn't tell us we can be, or how to be happy, He simply and unmistakably is!

"None of his circumstances contribute to his joy. He was writing from a jail cell. His work was under attack by competitors, and after twenty years of hard traveling in the service of Jesus, he was tired and would have welcomed relief. But circumstances are incidental compared to the life of the Messiah, that Paul experiences from the inside."

"For it is a life that not only happened at a certain point in time, but continues spilling out.

In this same THE MESSAGE Bible is: "Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! ......Don't fret or worry. instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your concerns into prayers.... You can be sure God will take care of them. His generosity exceeds yours in the glory that pours from Him. Bring your bucket back to the well.

  posted at 12:47 AM  

About Me
Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

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