Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Saw An Eagle Today

I Saw An Eagle Today


The sun is shining; the sky is blue,
Everyone's busy, free moments are few.
Economy's rising, the dollar holds true.

I Saw An Eagle Today

Church pews half empty, more folks at the store.
Few cars on the highway,
I’ve been here before.

I Saw An Eagle Today

Some feel lonely this time of the year.
Laughter and family, for them, disappear.
Just isn't right without happiness here.

I Saw An Eagle Today

Why does it seem like the world passed me by?
Yesterday’s memories cannot tell me why.

Tomorrow will bring me another blue sky.


I Saw An Eagle Today!

Today, as I left the church, my eyes were drawn to the sky. 
Just at that moment an American Bald Eagle flew over me.
Those who know me have often heard me say, 
"Any day I see an Eagle is a perfect day for me."

As the day wore on, blue moments overtook me.
Over and over the picture in my mind's eye
was that of the soaring Eagle.

As early evening approached
I realized I'd had the perfect day
thanks to the beautiful moment this morning.

"I saw an Eagle today."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Where There Is Sadness, Joy





Where There Is Sadness, Joy




I asked her, only hours after Grandma died; “How does it make you feel?” “Like an orphan”, was her answer.  “But Mother”, I responded, “You have us.”
“I know honey”, she said. “But this is different.”

Carrying our second child, I was filled with life and annoyed at having to deal with death.  I wanted her to tell me it wasn’t so bad. Grandma was old. Eighty years was a long full life. In a coma, Grandma hadn’t suffered.  I wanted Mother to move on to lighter talk and future plans.  I wanted her to ask how I was feeling today, resuming our daily ritual.
She was always the giver. I was always the taker.

Years passed and now Mother was in her eighties.  She shared with me the ominous news that she had found a lump in her breast.  “Mother” I said, “I am absolutely sure that it will not be malignant.”

When the report came back Mother said, “Well, you were wrong. It is malignant and the involvement is extensive”.

Now, I who never wanted to deal with anything uncomfortable was required to face the unimaginable.   Mother was soon going to die.  Try as I would, I couldn’t get my mind around that fact.

A friend said to me, “It’s part of life, although it’s not the best part.”
I was angry with my friend for her crude and thoughtless remark.  How could she be so matter of fact in the face of my devastation?
She offered.  I refused.



In the days and months to come, Mother calmly accepted the diagnosis.  She was always generous, always caring, always gracious and giving.
She was ever accepting. I was ever refusing.

The following January, a friend and I vacationed for two weeks in Florida. Upon our return I learned that Mother had suffered a heart attack a few days earlier. She didn’t want me to be told because she wanted me to enjoy my vacation. I could learn of it when I returned home.
She was protecting. I was accepting.

I visited Mother in the hospital the day after returning home from vacation. As she lay in her bed she was cheerful and interested in me.   “Maybe it wasn’t so serious after all”, I said.  She answered “No, something very serious is going on.”  She began to talk to me of happy things and times and places.  Upon leaving, I said,”See you when you come home”. “Ok honey”, she said for she was due to come home after one more day in the hospital. The next day, she died.
She always gave me her love. I always accepted it.




Mother was gone. I felt smothered by a blanket of grief. She was as much a part of my life as my heart and soul. Now she was gone.
Her belongings were still here; her clothes hung in the closet and pictures she had painted hung on the wall. They were only “things”.

Weeks passed and my seemingly endless river of tears began to subside.

On a stark February night, I visited my friend who is a shepherd. It was lambing time and that required her to make frequent visits to the barn to check on the well being of the ewes.
I found her in the barn and we began to talk. Surrounded by the rumblings of her flock and the sweet smell of freshly scattered straw, the rawness of my grief began to pour out.


With gentle encouragement my friend shared her own journey through the painful loss of both parents during the preceding years.  With deep compassion she shared her healed grief and I knew that with her consoling love, I too would be healed through this journey of grieving.
My friend offered. I accepted.



Next morning as I prepared our morning coffee, my glance fell upon a plaque hanging on my kitchen wall. Reading it as if for the first time, I understood the message of St.Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in the giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Dear Lord
Thank you for the loving, giving people you have placed in my life. Help me to be the consoling, the understanding, and the loving and giving instrument of your peace that you have so graciously given to me.

Amen

copyright@2017

Printed May 2017 at Sunlight Press

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thank You For Reading My Articles!

I am overjoyed at the response you have given to my articles. Each day I check to see who is stopping by to look at my blog.

December 11, 2017
As of today 5,341 people have read my posts.

I am even more surprised and pleased at the many different countries represented.
To date...

United States of America
    
Plus
   +
1.Brazil
2.Canada
3.Switzerland
4.Spain
5.Netherlands
6.France
7.Germany
8.Turkmenistan
9.Bulgaria
10.Czechia
11.Ukraine
12.United Kingdom
13.Russia
14.India
15.Philippines
16.China
17.Israel
18.United Arab Emirates
19.Romania
20.Ireland
21.Pakistan
22.Greece
23.Turkey
24.Italy
25.Peru
26.Belgium
27.Hong Kong
28.Austria
29.Poland
30.Mexico
31.Hungary
32.Indonesia
33.Algeria
34.Malaysia
35.Paraguay
36.Brenui
37.Lithuania
38.Latvia
39.South Africa
40.Bahamas
41.Sri Lanka
42.Serbia
43. Columbia
44. Thailand
45. Norway
46.Bangladesh
47. Chile
48. Taiwan
49. Mozambique
50. Cambodia
51. Macau
52. Finland
53. Vietnam
54. Algeria
55. Macedonia
56. Oman
57. Malaysia
58. Mongolia
59. Nicaragua
60. Trinidad & Tobago
61. Argentina
62. Croatia

I'll keep posting articles and you continue to stop in and say hello!
marianne55bd@gmail.com







Saturday, November 4, 2017

There Will Your Heart Be Also








Where Is Your Heart?



Did you offer to release something for the Lenten season this year?  Do you remember what it was?  Was it a cherished possession you have always dreamed of owning and handing down to your children? Perhaps it was a particular item you needed in order to complete a collection.
Was it an object you’ve desired for years?
Could it have been an item
in which you’d lost interest?

In the Gospel of Mark, a man comes running to Jesus and kneels down before Him and asks, “What must I do to get to heaven?” Jesus answers, “You know the commandments, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, always respect your Father and your Mother.”
The man replies, “Teacher, I’ve never broken a single one of those laws.”


Scripture tells us that Jesus felt genuine love for this man and said to him, “You only lack one thing, go and sell all that you have and give the money to the poor,
 and you shall have treasure in heaven.”


 A difficult thing was required of the man.
A difficult thing is required of you and me also.


So then what is required of us?
Would we give away our home so that a poor family might have a place to live?
Would we give up our annual vacation in order to give our employer the opportunity to give our vacation pay to a person who has no employment?
Would we give our civil rights to someone who has none,
 such as an illegal immigrant?

Jesus told his disciples, “It is easier, easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? The disciple, in turn, exclaimed, “Then who can enter and be saved if a rich man cannot?”
Who is a rich man? What makes him rich?



Jesus suggests that the things we treasure most are the things that make us rich. Those things are our homes, our parents, our brothers and sisters,
 our children and our property.

Are we willing to give up those things for the privilege of entering heaven?


Jesus tells us we will be rewarded one hundred times over with the same things we willingly gave away. We do this for the love of God
 and for the privilege of being able to share with others
 the Good News of the Gospel.

In addition to receiving such abundant rewards,
 we will also receive persecutions.
In spite of them, in the world to come we will have eternal life.

The Christian walk has many twists and turns.
What things then, are to be desired?

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering.
 Abraham was willing to obey.
 In Genesis 22 the angel of the Lord told Abraham
 to stop and not hurt the boy.
 “For I know that God is first in your life.
 You have not even withheld your beloved son …..”

Is God first in my life? Is He first in yours?
Will God wait for us while we take these faltering steps to become closer to Him?
How many times will God forgive us when we don’t quite measure up?


I should have made that phone call.
You should have stopped to visit that person.
Why didn’t I send that card?
Why did you refuse when you were asked to serve on a committee at church?
You said, “Ask someone else”. Someone else was asked
 and someone served God in the place that had been offered to you.
Do you sometimes wonder if that person will take your place at the gates of heaven?

Years ago I had a small hobby business, photographing objects of nature and creating note cards and greeting cards and pictures for framing.

I love to take pictures.


 Willing subjects are everywhere.
…. sunsets, rivers, trees and birds.


 Old barns tell a story of their own.
These wonderful treasures are all around us
everywhere we look
every day of our lives.

In searching for a name for my business, the name  “Treasures” came to mind. 
From Scripture, a line in the Gospel of Matthew seemed appropriate.
 “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21


Where is your treasure?
 Did you know that your heart is there also?
 Your heart is the very thing that gives you life.
Is your heart and treasure with Jesus?



copyright@2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

THANKSGIVING...THEN AND NOW


THANKSGIVING

“1964”
THE SEASON FOR LIVING AND LOVING

“Get that thing out of here and don’t you ever bring a snake into the house again!”

  I turned from in front of the kitchen sink just as my young son proudly showed me the snake he had captured in a jar.

It’s now the fall of ’64, and we have three young boys under the age of seven, dirty laundry in the wash room, and I am now being confronted with a snake in a jar.
Reality is here to stay.



Yes, the countryside is beautiful today.
The joy of living in this wonderful place is ever present.
Snow covered fields have not yet arrived.
Even so, the pleasant anticipation of their coming is a given
during this season of the year.


There will be no time for me to fix turkey and pumpkin pie this year.
I have boys to keep an eye on, laundry to do, and dishes always in the sink.
Where would I possibly find the time?

As is often the case, Mother and Dad will rescue us.
They will calm our appetites with a bountiful table at their peaceful home.
The joy of the annual family gathering
fills us with good food and a pleasant time of being together once again.



Our greeting card list has not gotten to the length it will in the future.
I’m trusting that some of our friends who’s cards fill our mailbox,
will understand when they don’t find one from us in theirs.
Each year it warms our hearts to reach out to friends and family.
With little boys in need of attention at unexpected times,
the notes are short and the printed verse on the card must say it all.


Mother always has greeting cards prepared to send
the day after Thanksgiving.
I’m sure she remembers when pressing family matters took up her time too.
I can assure you,
 there were no snakes in jars at our house during our growing up years.
The girls in our family did not consider such things pleasurable.

 Mother is ever faithful with her early holiday greeting.

She enjoys the notoriety of being the first card to be received by family and friends.
A portion of Thanksgiving day is spent composing her handwritten notes
expressing love and best wishes for the coming year.

Time will tell if Mother’s traditions fall to me as the years go by.

* * *

THANKSGIVING
“2017”

 

This may become one of the most interesting holiday seasons to date.

Married sixty-two years this year, my husband, at the age of eighty-seven,
 passed on to his next life in the month of February.

Two of our little boys are now grown men. Our middle child, died four years ago and the experiences of all our lives have taken a very different turn.

The joy of grandchildren and the arrival of two great-granddaughters
 has filled my heart to overflowing.

At the age of eighty-two it may be a bit too much for me to entertain the entire extended family here at the farm during the holidays.

Looking at it in a different way, it will become an honor to some of the younger folks to host those pleasant family occasions.

There is a large electric cooker in the cupboard.
 Recipes for pumpkin pie, handed down from generations past,
 lie inside the recipe box that once belonged to Grandma.
Four packages of pumpkin pie filling wait patiently in the freezer,
  prepared last year from real pumpkins.
 Canning and freezing foods for the winter from the garden
has always been part of preparation for winter.


I’ve been thinking about putting up the Christmas tree. How could I not do that? This precious season is all about memories and families and
the welcoming of the Christ Child,
no matter the changes the years will bring to us.

It really is the season for living and loving.
Some things will never change.


copyright@2017

Friday, October 20, 2017


All Things Really Are Possible



A love of writing and my search for the meaning in my life led me to take part in speaking at churches on occasion.
This is one of my writings that I have shared.


ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE


(Ephesians 4:25 The Message))

What this adds up to, then, is this.
No more lies, no more pretense.
Tell your neighbor the truth.
In Christ’s body
We are all connected to each other, after all.
When you lie to others,
You end up lying to yourself.

(Ephesians 5:2 The Message)
Watch what God does, and then you do it,
like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.

The question is, are you a part of the body of Christ?
Do you attend church somewhat regularly?
Do you pray sometimes?
(But maybe not as often as you could or should.)

Have you joined the church?
Do you sing songs in church?
Do you give some of your money to the church?
Have you been baptized?
Do these things that you have done make you a part of the body of Christ?
Are your sins forgiven?
How can one know if they have received the Holy Spirit?

These were the questions that the gathered brothers asked Peter in the book of
Acts.


So now what should we do?

(Acts.2:37)
Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized.
Do this each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven.
Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The promise is targeted to you and your children.


You must admit there are times when you may be tired of being you. There may be times when you become tired of experiencing defeat. Are you tired of feeling guilty and alone?  Do you wonder if you’ll ever reach the point of trusting Jesus Christ so much that you want Him to take control of your life?

Are you ready to live that kind of life?

If you believe that you are ready, what happens then?

Oswald Chambers in his devotional book “My Utmost For His Highest” says this:
I must know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me.
Other than that (it’s just) a lofty ideal which only leads to despair. But when I am born again by the Holy Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach. He came to make me what He teaches me to be.
“Then you’re in a wonderful place, let me show you how it’s done”.

Among the characteristics of the Christian are good motives. They have been made good by the supernatural grace of God through the Holy Spirit, which is within.

Is a motive good even if the resulting act fails?
Christians believe that the cross was not a failure, 
even though only some will be saved.
The Christian ethic insists it is good to work against racism
 even if one should fail.
It is good to work against poverty even though the poor
 will always be with us.
These things are so because a moral choice and moral actions that reflect God’s nature are good in themselves, whether or not they are successful.

No one can make himself pure by obeying laws.
 Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations.
He gives us His teachings, which are truths that can only be interpreted by His nature, which He places within us.
This comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.(My Utmost For His Highest)

His teachings offer you standards, but how must you interpret His standards?  You can only understand
 when the gift of His nature resides in you.



The great wonder of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that He changes our heredity. He does not change our human nature. He changes its source.
He doesn’t change our natural instincts. He replaces them.
Our new instincts come from Him. (My Utmost For His Highest.)
And with these new instincts He changes our motives as well. Beware of thinking of our Lord as only a teacher.  If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, then all He can do is frustrate you by setting a standard before you
 that cannot be attained.
What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possibly come close to reaching it?(My Utmost For His Highest)

You must commit your life to Him and receive His Spirit

When you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the source of your new instincts becomes the Holy Spirit within you.

“There is only one master of the human heart.
God.
Not religion.
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Have you ever considered that the business of being religious might get in your way of having a relationship with God?
In a way, religion can become your God.
Who or perhaps what, is the master of your heart?”

Jesus reminds us of this.

(Matthew 6:24 The Message)
“You cannot serve two gods at once.
 Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other.”

This isn’t the end of your quest.
It doesn’t end with asking Jesus Christ 
to become your own personal Lord and Savior.
It doesn’t end with the repenting of sins 
and the committing of your life to Christ.
It doesn’t end at all.
It begins.
Who, or perhaps what, is the master of your heart?

So what’s the point?

You have not arrived at this place solely to develop a spiritual life of your own. You are here to take part and become part
 in the building of Christ’s body, the church.

We are joined to one another in Him.
As the scripture reminds us,
We are all connected to each other.
One step at a time and one day at a time,
 God reveals to us His purpose for each of us in His body.

Absolute obedience to His spirit is required.
You are to be used to complete His plan, His purpose, and not your own.
  In the process, the fruits of your obedience
 will be revealed within His perfect plan.

God has given you free will. You can choose to be obedient or you can choose to follow your own inclinations and desires.
In effect
You can choose to become your own god.

( Mark 8 The Message))
Jesus says;
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. 
You’re not in the driver’s seat. I am.
What good would it do to get everything you want 
and lose (yourself), the real you?
What could you ever trade your soul for?

You are quite familiar with the concept of obedience.  You’ve known since childhood the results of both obedience and disobedience.

You are familiar with the rules and regulations 
of the highway, the state, and the country.
You know the price to be paid 
for disobedience to those rules and regulations.

In America, you are free to challenge your government’s laws. 
You can appeal the decisions of the courts 
when you disagree with their judgments.  
Sometimes, you can get a law changed.

You can question the meaning of our laws 
and hire an attorney to argue your position, if necessary. 
It is the duty of the Court to interpret the meaning of the laws, 
which the founders had in mind 
when they penned the Constitution of the United States.

Currently there are many questions 
revolving around our government’s constitution 
and its original intent. 
Was the United States of America founded on Christian principles?  
Were the writers of the constitution Christians?
Was the United States of America founded as a Christian state? 
If it was, does that mean that all other religions were to be excluded?

When the Holy Spirit abides in you,
 it will lead you through the discourses of today 
as well as the discourses of the scriptures.
 The bible is a living book with revelations of life on every page
 waiting for you to discover its meanings to you and to our world. 
The Spirit has become your guide.

The Sermon on the Mount dealt with all aspects of living the Christian life.

Being and Doing, were among them.


Matthew 7 ( The Message)

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God.  The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.  Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.”

The way of life to God is vigorous and requires total attention

Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity.  Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other.  Don’t be impressed with charisma, look for character.  Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Knowing the correct password and saying Master, for instance, isn’t going to get you anywhere with Me…
I can see it now at the final judgment. Thousands will be strutting up to me and saying, Master we preached the message, we bashed the demons, our God sponsored projects had everyone talking.
 And do you know what I am going to say?
You missed the boat.
All you did was use me to make yourselves important. 
You don’t impress me one bit. 
These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life.
 They are not homeowner improvements to your standard of living.
You’re out of here….
And don’t say anything you don’t mean.
 This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. 
You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying “I’ll pray for you,” and never doing it. 
Or saying,” God be with you” and not meaning it. 
You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. 
In making your speech sound more religious it becomes less true.
When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong….

Let me tell you why you are here.
You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? 
You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it.
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God colors in the world.
God is not a secret to be kept.

You and I are here to BE the body of Christ.
John Wesley put it quite simply.
Do all the good you can
By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can

In all the places you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.

Watching what God does and trying to do the same
Is a full time endeavor.

Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit
Through the church, the body of Christ….

All things really are possible.

Copyright@2017


Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE.
Eugene H. Peterson
The Bible in contemporary language
Copyright 1993,1994,1995,1996,2000,2001,2002
“Used by permission of NavPress Publishing group.”

Eugene Peterson is a longtime pastor and teacher, and the guy who paraphrased this Bible from Greek and Hebrew (The languages in which the Bible was originally written.)into contemporary language that sounds a lot like the language that we use on a daily basis.




My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
First published 1935
Copyright renewed 1963



Tuesday, October 10, 2017



My Tribute To Mary

She was unlovely
Uneducated
          Uninformed.

Not practiced at correctness
  She lived her life     
One
Simple
Uncomplicated day
At a time.

Not caught up in self-satisfaction
Nor pursued by dreams of personal success
Mary's life was unadorned with expectations.

Knowing no pretense
She cast her lot
With God.

God first
Love
Worship
Prayer
Service

Family second
Love 
Prayer
Care 
Service

Country third
Love
Service
Prayer
Respect

No unexpected event
No shortfall
No misfortune
Could cause her simple faith
To waver.

"God knows all about it," Mary would say,
With a countenance that displayed
Unflappable peace.

Her life was uneventful
Her faith was unshakable.
Her example was unforgettable.

Never doubting the unquenchable supply
Of God's love and care
Mary lived to the fullest
The abundant life
Of a saint.

Her legacy to those who knew her
Was a trail of unerring discipleship
On her way to eternal life with God.

March 31, 1996
copyright@2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

The End Of The Day




At The End of the Day
Looking Back
1995-2016




We were enjoying a late August evening on the porch swing when the readily identifiable sounds of approaching geese could be heard.

The Maple trees in our front yard formed a thick canopy over the place where we sat. We could hear them, yet couldn’t see them clearly. One glimpse through the thick canopy of leaves, told us there were five.

Our farm has twenty acres, eight of which are hayfields. The geese often head toward them at dusk during late summer, to feed and to rest before they begin their journey south.

As they flew over our yard, a fluffy white feather floated quietly to the ground.  What were the chances that a tiny feather would find its way through those thick leafy trees to rest on the grass before us?

I began to think about the way we are linked together through His creation. The markings of the geese are specific and always the same for a particular breed.

Our family has lived on this old farm for 58 years. This was an August night when my husband and I decided to rest on the porch swing and enjoy the quiet of the evening.

Just then, our Maker placed us together with another of His creation. He is the One who all the oceans placed, set the world in space and created us. On this late summer evening, He chose to join His creations together for a moment in time.

A coincidence? Perhaps…



copyright@2017


 The End Of The Day



Winging low across the evening sky

Necks outstretched

The five in line
Responded to imprinted flight
Formed countless centuries ago.


A canopy of leaves formed overhead.
Blocking the five from view.
Gliding lower, wings now set,
They moved toward feeding fields at dusk.
How quickly they had come into our solitude
Then disappeared into the evening shadows.

The five now out of sight.
Ghostly silhouettes,
Markings meticulously ordained
When time began.

A snow white feather

Drifted slowly to the ground.

Now cradled in the grass,
The evening dew its bed

A life forever bound to ours
Lives now ever changed.

The great creative plan of One
Who set the world in space
The oceans placed
Species defined
Paused with us
At a moment in time.

Now we were one with Him
It was the end of the day.



copyright@2017