Category Archives: Poetry, Original Writing, Devotional, Inspirational

Smell Your Arm

Focus on what you know you can do. Know what you’re capable of on any given day, and what you can count on. Do the simple things well, and then use the confidence to build up the rest of your game.” 
       ~ Mia Hamm
 
Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
     ~ John 14:6-7
 
     When I was little, I used to love to sit in my mother’s lap.  I would love to nuzzle up against her arm, and just smell her skin. One summer, years after she passed away, I remember touching my nose to my arm.  There she was!  I could smell her skin, feel the comfort of her lap, 
     She was there, in my DNA and inside of me.  I know her, I know myself and she is in me.  So it is with the Father.  No matter what earthly father you have known, this Father loved us so much, he gave us his only begotten son.  
     Think of your favorite relative, person, mentor, teacher.
Every time you touch on a teaching point that they imparted and that sank in, every time you quote them, employ their wisdom, they are right there. In my case there is a chorus of joyful mentors; some played notes just for me so that I would know what to listen for and find my way, some taught me how to breathe, pick out a consonant and let it be heard without beating someone with it, some taught me the art of constructive criticism, how to improve my poems, some taught me to love the sinner, not the sin, some just love my out loud.  They all represent all things bright and beautiful in my life, they represent Jesus, they represent the Father Almighty.
    Jesus must have been a choir director, because He was always hoping, directing faces out of the book and upwards.
    Today, smell your arm, or take a breath, or look in the mirror. See?  There is your chorus of mentors  lead by Jesus, right to the Father.  
 
All Things Bright and Beautiful – John Rutter conductor, arranger.
     Because of Him,
     Linda
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Scared Little Sheep

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”  
                                            ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton
 
 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
                                       ~ John 10:7. 9-10
 
     I like the other sheep.  I do.  I will pray with them, I will eat with them, I will tend their sick, I will bring them meals.  But I have fear that I don’t often talk about.  My church is not a “red” church or a “blue” church.  It is more of a purple church, where the aisle is multicolored and differently opinionated.  That is a good thing, it allows for dialogue on issues  that matter, and respects perspectives as it is the “Presbyterian process.”
     Yet, I have stopped attending the meetings of some of the organizations therein. All because one time, I spoke up for myself. Once.  In a car of four.  Over fifteen years ago. ONCE. 
     That day it got me heard, an apology for any offense, and a great day with wonderful women.  That changed a year ago.  I have been afraid ever since.  Afraid to voice my heart, to attend the meetings, because these very same folks have made their opinions known and it still varies in the extreme to my own.  I know that the wool of a black sheep is just as warm.  I know that what unites us is Jesus and the love of God.
     Still, I refrain from any talk other than God, family, health and even the weather.
     I ask for your prayers for a way where there does not seem to be a way, to re-enter, to let go of the fear. I want to let the flight flood my soul in this season, and yet, I stand with the shepherd’s, just outside the ring of light, one foot poisesd.
     Because of Him,
     Linda
 
Let Every Thing That Hath Breath

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Letting Our Eyes Adjust

Christmas happens everywhere every time someone reaches out to touch another life with love

     ~ Carol Duerksen

 
     The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one.
 
     ~John 1:1-2
 
     So many pictures of the manger scene show all gathered in, looking on as the wee babe lays, arms outstretched in the manger, surrounded by light.
     Inline image 1
 
    Our pastor’s  newsletter message this month talks about the darkness, and how me must adjust our vision when we step outside by waiting a little.  Soon shapes, familiar objects, the light of a star become more evident. 
     When I first got married and began sailing with my husband and his family, I noticed that when we sailed at night, there was very little in the way of light evident on board.  But as we sailed on, our eyes adjusted and we could see the compass and many other objects by just waiting till that happened.
     At choir rehearsal last night, the words that I noticed had to do with coming our of the darkness, being lost in the night a yearning for Emmanuel.
     So, we’re out there, adjusting to the night, gaining our vision in the darkness, and in the quiet of a stable, surrounded by all forms of life, the light of the world was born to us.  
     Each time you do a kindness, a mitzvah, you spread that light, and make it a better place.  Each time you keep a story to yourself instead of spreading it, you hold the darkness back and let the light shine.
     As you move through this beautiful, crazy season, the light is resting on you. Spread it as you wait in lines, as you drive (!), as you listen to that same person tell you a story…again and let that light which rests upon you, simply shine.
 
     Because of Him,
     Linda
 
The Yearning – Craig Courtney

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Celebrate the Lord’s Hand in Your Life!

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” ~ Henry Miller

 
1-3 Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
    His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
    His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
    His love never quits.
 
       ~Psalm 136:1-3
 
     I am so thankful for my publisher.  Recently, he told me he thought that people of faith need a voice, and a place to express that voice with as much as those with a political voice and other voices feel the freedom to express themselves.
     The poetry workshop I was hoping to start sometime and somewhere is coming to fruition along with a ministry that I have been a part of for over twenty years.  The pieces of my life are coming together in a way that only God could orchestrate.  
     My publisher believes in me, guides me, shares with me.  It is such a gift to see this relationship grow and the fruits that his faith in so many is producing.
     This Christmas season, take the time to say thank you, write a poem, send a card, make a call…thank you to those who have made a difference in your life.  It makes such a difference, and far more practical that so many gifts one might give.  Attach it to a gift certificate for their favorite coffee shop, or better still, a cup of something with you.
     So thankful for the beautiful Savior we serve, for the way He weaves things together for His glory as we acknowledge His hand in our lives.
 
 
    Because of Him,
    Linda

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Bad Time? Celebrate!

 

“When it’s a good time, I celebrate. When it’s a bad time, I also celebrate. Know what I mean?” ~ Goldie Hawn

 
  Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
     ~ 1 Cor 1:4-5
    She accused me of lying in front of the our  women’s organization, a little louder than one might hope for.  Just before the church fair was to begin.
     The answer to her accusation was met with shock, an answer that indicated perhaps my accuser had missed something, and a quick exit.  Walking downstairs, I found a friend and was able to explain before my body went into sobbing, further shock and despair.
     Though my accuser was mistaken, I was temporarily destroyed.  My dear friend Carol was there for me, and she absorbed my tears, soothed my soul, spoke peace to me. My husband took me home for a couple of hours and then we returned, smiling and ready to complete the day.
      Eventually, my accuser apologized after she actually took the time to read the publication in question, but the sting did not go away for a very long time.
     We had one of the most successful fairs ever.  I almost allowed my joy to be not only stolen but stomped on.  But for my friend, I don’t think I would have gotten through that experience.  It was the most striking example of why I must remember to celebrate when things “go bad.”
      God knew that our day would be successful. God knew and as patient as God is, He waited for me to “get there.” 
     Are you facing a tough-beyond-belief time?  Check your party supplies!  Victory is just around the corner.  Thank God for the friends you have that stick close to you, and that one who is closer than a brother: dear Jesus.
 
O Come to the Altar
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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A Prayer for the Journey

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

       ~ Albert Einstein

 
Even though troubles came down on me hard,
    your commands always gave me delight.
     ~ Psalm 119:143
 
“Gracious God, whose mercy is higher than the heavens, wider than our wanderings, and deeper than all our sin: Take back to yourself your bewildered and broken people. Forgive our folly and our excess, our coldness to human sorrow, our passion for things of the moment, and our indifference to the deeper treasures of the spirit. Change our hearts and turn all our desires to your way, that we may love what you love and do what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
 
     This prayer reminds me that we are all on a journey.  We are all moving toward the Lord, sometimes we get stuck along the way, but we all have a goal.  Sometimes, that argument, that one more thing we need to correct, fix, change in another – well, it gets in our way. We lose sight of our own goals and focus on how we can fix someone else.  I had a wise boss who constantly reminded me to “not engage.”  I have at least one relative who makes me think of that boss daily.  
     It is so hard. The webs drop like raindrops.  Today, as the “raindrops” fall, look at the prayer above, which has brought me back many a time, lift up the one who so vexes you and remember that they too, are on a journey.  Delight in the commands of the One who loves you so.
 
Because of Him,
Linda
Thou Gracious God – Mack Wilberg, arranger, director

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Breathe

“You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. With it, there is accomplishment.” 
                                                   ~ Henry Ford
 
Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.
                                                  ~ 1 Peter 2:15-17
 
     One of the most important things one can do while singing is to breathe properly.  I have loved the image of “tanking up” when  a long passage of music is coming where no breath is allowed.  I forget to breathe so often when singing.  It is a challenge to get the timing right for me.  Recently, I have learned a new technique, and it is still somewhat dependent on the example that has been set.  The director opens his mouth just before we come in and audibly takes a breath, with his mouth open.  He is breathing along with us, but it is the sound that keys me in to remember.  I have noticed that those around me seem to be breathing together as well.  This director is building on the excellent foundation that was laid before.
     Our guest minister yesterday took some time and asked us to breathe:
  • Before church in the pre-service prayer, he took the time to ask us to breathe and waited for us to do it.
  • In the service he provided an sheet that gave us an example of how and when to breathe.  
  • He modeled it with the children during the children’s moment.
  • He provided an  opportunity for all of us to join and practice breathing, asking us to hear God tell us that God loved us as we were breathing in, “I love you.”  And then as we were breathing out, we were to mouth or say “I love you.” back to God.
     There was not alot of audible breathing there. We tend to be a quiet congregation (not me, not me) but it was funny to hear just how quiet we could be.
       I have begun trying this practice, although it is brand new.  But already I can hear God’s voice as I breathe in.  “I love you.”  It is overwhelming and wonderful. We were invited to try this for 15 minutes a day.  I’ll let you know how it goes. But it starts with just one focused breath. Jesus could not have called out in a loud voice had he not taken a deep breath.
     Try it.
     Breathe in.  “I love you.” says God.
     Breathe out.  ” I love you,” say I, you.
Breathe.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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