Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Selah: Reigning in the Busyness

Saturday SelahIt has been 18 days since my last blog post. I am absolutely amazed at how fast the month of May sped by. We have been on activity overload all month long.

Our oldest daughter, Pastry Princess, graduated from culinary school on May 8.

May 12 we gathered at my mil's house for a Mother's Day lunch with my parents, mil, sister-in-law and her daughter (with her son and daughter), other sister-in-law, Pastry Princess and Dynamo, and Orchid. Then Mr. Amazing and I went for a 150 mile (round-trip) motorcycle ride in the beautiful countryside.

Mr. Amazing, snuck me away for camping weekend May 15-17 in Levi Jackson State Park in Kentucky (read about it in my Thyme for the Garden column here - Mr. Amazing contributed.).

Our grandson finished his first year of preschool on May 22 (he attended 3 hours, 1 day a week). That same afternoon Mr. Amazing made me a Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Buttercream Frosting that we took Ritter Park to share with our kids.

On May 23, I woke up and remembered I had my first monthly meeting of the Romance Writers of America's KYOWA chapter. It lasted about 3 1/2 hours--a 40 minute drive from home. I got back just in time to eat some yummy homemade lasagna before Mr. Amazing whisked me away to a concert called The Saturday Jamboree Legends of Country Music. One of his co-workers was featured as Hank Williams, Sr. He nailed his performance. Good job Jay!!! See a video of the original show which broadcast from 1953-1965 on WSAZ TV here. (The video is 29 minutes long.) After the concert we walked over to Starbucks and their XM radio broadcast was playing the original recording of Long Gone Lonesome Blues and we couldn't tell that it wasn't Jay singing and yodeling--he's just that good.

On May 24, headed to Independence, Kentucky to the reunion of Mr. Amazing's family on his dad's side. Mr. Amazing's Uncle Jerry, Aunt Patti (with husband Glenn), sister Sharon (with husband Darrell), sister Julie (with husband and daughter Allie), Mr. Amazing (with me, our daughter Pastry Princess and grandson Dynamo) represented our branch-all but 1 of the 8 children of the original family had descendants in attendance.

May 28, our son Spiderman graduated from high school. My last one...the next time I am at a secondary school graduation it will be for a grandchild. *nostalgic tear* Kids grow up soooo fast!

Spiderman and I spent most of yesterday getting a windshield, inspection sticker, etc. for Orchid's car while she attended the last of a two-week training by Verizon as Alltel shifts to new management.

Throughout May I have written 5 Thyme for the Garden columns, 1 Choosing Life Every Day devotional column (publishing in June), edited and published 5 Take Root and Write Digital Magazine issues, scratched around in the gardens (whenever it hasn't been raining), plus all the day-to-day events that happen in every family.

And now the month is almost gone...

How do I make the days slow down so I can enjoy each one and not remember them in a blur at the end of the month? This is not a new phenomenon of the 21st century.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.' Therefore you will flee!

You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.' Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill."

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! ~Isaiah 30:15-18
Our busy lives have us rushing to and fro, forgetting to appreciate the gift of the moments we have. In our insistence on filling each and every minute with activity, we neglect to see God in the ordinary. It does not have to be this way!

Eugenia Price says this about the importance of slowing down:
The voice of God is always speaking to us, always trying to get our attention. But His voice is a "still, small voice," and we must at least slow down in order to listen.
Our Lord Jesus knows we must slow down:
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." ~Matthew 6:30-31

I sat on my porch this morning as is my joy daily, just as the sun comes over the hill across the road, coffee in one hand, Bible in the other. As I finished my devotions, I looked up to see a beautiful bluebird flitting from tree branch to the ground for a bite of food. He then flew back up to the branch and sang his joy at the blessing he found.

If I had jumped headlong into my very busy day, what a wonderful gift from the Lord I would have missed--listening to God's beautiful creation singing it's joy of life to the Creator!
Rest is not some holy feeling that comes upon us in church. It is a state of calm rising from a heart deeply and firmly established in God. ~Henry Drummond (1851-1897), author, evangelist, scientist
Take time this week to enjoy the quiet moments in the presence of the Lord!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

IOW: Fog on Mt. Moriah

Loni is hosting In Other Words today. Please visit her at Writing Canvas to share your thoughts and to read what others have posted.

“I learned that faith isn't tested by how often God answers prayers with a yes, but by my willingness to continue serving Him and thanking Him even when I don't have a clue as to what He is doing.”

~Gary House, Seeking the Face of God:
The Path to a More Intimate Relationship with Him
Driving down Interstate 77 from Virginia into North Carolina can be a spectacular drive, particularly when the sun is shining from the west and you arrive at the point where you can see the valley into North Carolina all the way to Mt. Airy. This drive can also be treacherous even on the best of days. The grade is at 4-1/2 percent and there is an elevation change of 1500 feet. All along the route there are escape ramps for tractor trailers that loose their brakes.

As long as the driver of the car or truck has kept up maintenance on his or her vehicle and obeys the traffic rules, including suggested speeds--not just speed limits, the trip can be accomplished in safety and enjoyment. Until something out of the driver's control fog.

Driving in fog changes the environment from friendly to dangerous instantly. On that particular stretch of I-77 the fog settles all around your car and it is impossible to see anything ahead or behind you. Turning on your headlights is a necessity, but increasing their brightness by using your high beams is a mistake as the fog seems brighter and closer to your car. You have to be satisfied with driving slowly and cautiously seeing just a few feet in front of your car, always being on the lookout for other vehicles suddenly appearing right in front of you.

No matter how many times you have made that trip, the danger of the fog never becomes safer. Being familiar with the route helps only in that you can anticipate where the road will curve next. You have no control over what is around that curve and little time to prepare for obstacles.

I wonder if Abraham felt like he was in a blinding fog as he obeyed God and headed to Mt. Moriah with his son Isaac. He knew the route, he packed enough provisions for the trip. He also packed the supplies for a sacrifice. These things were easily identified, so the entire community probably knew Abraham and Isaac were going to the mountains to worship the Lord with a sacrifice. The three day trip must have seemed so short to Abraham as he thought over the Lord's directive:
"Abraham! Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you." Genesis 22:1-2 MSG
This boy Abraham loved was the child of promise given to him in his old age. He had waited 25 years for Isaac to be born. Just the wait for the child was a test of faith in itself. Abraham passed that test with only a few bumps along the way. But now Abraham had to be questioning God...since He had been clear that His promise to make Abraham a great nation would be accomplished though Isaac.

At the point Abraham and Isaac took the supplies for the sacrifice and turned up the mountain to hike to the top of Mt. Moriah, Isaac noticed a vital part of the sacrificial ritual was missing. Isaac was probably not the small child that popular picture Bibles depict. Likely he was a teenager and in their culture, already considered an adult. I suspect Isaac was aware of the possibilities when he questioned his father.
"My father! We have flint and wood, but where's the sheep for the burnt offering?" Genesis 22:7 MSG
The fog must have seemed really thick at this point. Abraham didn't know what God was going to do. He just knew that the God he had acknowledged at Beersheba (Genesis 21:33-34) as El Olam, the Eternal God, would keep His promise to use Isaac as the seed for a great nation. But Abraham understood the ritual of sacrifice. It involved binding the sacrifice, cutting it's throat, letting the blood coat the altar, then burning it. He intended to follow through with what he knew to do even though you know he was in agony at the thought of doing those things to his son.

Yet Abraham answered Isaac's question with quiet faith.
"God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." Genesis 22:8 NASB
Without understanding why God was requiring this sacrifice, Abraham did as he was told.
They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son. Genesis 22:9-10 MSG
I love how Mrs. L.B. Cowman includes the conclusion of this story in Streams in the Desert: May 9 devotion.
Once Abraham's faith had victoriously endured its greatest test, the Angel of the Lord--the Lord Jesus, Jehovah, and He in whom the "many promises God has made..."--spoke to him and said, "Now I know that you fear God" (Genesis 22:12). The Lord said to him, in effect, "Because you have trusted me through this great trial, I will trust you, and you will forever be 'my friend' (Isaiah 41:8)." The Lord promised Abraham, "I will surely bless you...and through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me" (Genesis 22:17-18).
Do you think that fog Abraham had been walking in just melted away, burned off by the radiance of God's mercy and blessing?

God is faithful to His own, even when we are clueless as to His purpose. Not being able to see the end of the road (or more than a few feet in front of us) should cause us to move closer to God, holding on to Him tightly as we wait for Him to show us the way.
"Faith, when walking through the dark with God, only asks Him to hold his hand more tightly." ~ Phillips Brooks, Episcopal minister and author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Mother's Day Gift for You to Share

An Allegory by Patricia Marie Warren

“Loved, never cherished,” Sara thought as she reflected back over her long life. Shuffling slowly to the stove to refill her tea cup, she fondly remembered that excited kiss at the altar nearly 70 years ago. The romantic early days of marriage quickly turned to days of busy homemaking as she learned skills to turn their house into a haven. Her life was then engulfed by the most breath-taking love she’d ever experienced when she looked into the eyes of her first child. She recalled how her heart would ache with a fierce love for this needy little one. That one was soon followed by more needy little ones to love.

“Needed, not cherished,” Sara sighed softly. The years passed too quickly in noisy, busy living. Little needy loved ones grew into big loved ones, throwing kisses as they rushed out the door, smiling condescendingly at her concerned words to “Be careful and call me when you get there.” Weddings and births and holiday gatherings filled the middle years. The house was quiet in-between events except for the droning of the TV or radio. Sara and her husband had long settled into comfortable companionship, eventually conversation lagging to small discussions of meal or program choices.

“Sometimes being ignored is lonelier than being alone,” she mused, all the while longing to feel just one more time, that little pat on her hand as they sat together watching TV. She wearily rinsed her cup and headed to bed, wishing she’d be snuggling up to his warm frame again and falling asleep to the sound of his snoring. As she drifted off, she thought she heard far away voices singing her favorite hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy….”

Sara opened her eyes to incredible brightness. Although she was standing by herself the whole place was filled with a familiar Presence. She started walking, amazingly now without aches or pains or shuffling. Brilliant colors, soft melodies, and refreshing scents permeated this beautiful place that felt like home, but was not her little house in its little hollow. It was filled with people having picnics all around her.

Sara paused by a beautiful fruit tree to watch a woman seated on the verdant grass with two children pressed against her and one in her lap. Other children and adults were approaching to give her hugs. Aware of Someone standing next to her, Sara turned to look into the eyes of the One whose voice she knew intimately in her heart and now heard with her ears as He explained, “The little child to the left of her and the one in her lap are the children Emily carried but never got to hold. The boy on her right is the one she nurtured for eleven years before having to tell him goodbye. The others are the children she raised and faithfully taught My ways.”

Reaching to take the hand He extended to her, Sara’s heart leapt as she felt the scar in His palm pressing against her own palm. She considered the magnitude of this miraculous moment: strolling through the park hand-in-hand with the One who’s Love made it possible for her to be here.

They came upon a clearing filled with groups of people clustered around one tiny woman, laughing and chatting with her and introducing their companions to her. Again, Jesus explained, “Although she birthed none, Maria’s love for children and her desire for them to know Me was so great that she has many children of her heart. They are introducing those lives she touched by loving them…her love that reached out like ripples in a pond bringing many into My family.”

As they walked on Sara saw a woman and a child sitting side-by-side next to a glittering pond smiling shyly at each other. “Anna didn’t come to know Me until she was in her middle-aged years. The child has been with Me since Anna was twenty. Anna let friends and family convince her that her own future was more valuable than that of her child. This is the first time they have met face-to-face…and the first moment when Anna’s choice hasn’t caused her dark, crushing grief.”

Frozen in awe at the evidence of Mercy in front of her, Sara felt a gentle tug on her hand as Jesus began guiding her toward a particular destination. It seemed they had been walking only a moment, or perhaps a month…it was so hard to gauge time in this place of eternal Beauty. She glanced around wondering about her own family and noticed murmuring sounds from inside an enclosed garden. Those sounds hushed as Jesus led her through the entrance.

Sara heard familiar voices all around her shouting “Happy Mother’s Day!” Some were adding Mom, some Nana, others Miss Sara, and one long-missed voice adding Sweetheart. In the crush of bodies rushing to give her hugs, Sara’s hand slipped from Jesus’ hand. Turning joyful eyes to His as she realized He had led her to her own special picnic, she heard Him whisper to her grateful heart, “Dear Mother, you have always been cherished.”

This allegory, more story than words, is dedicated to my mother, Peggy Joan Shelden;
my mother-in-love, Minnie Charlene Estep;
and my grandmother-in-love, Erie Justice Russell.

Happy Mother’s Day!
You are loved, needed, and cherished, Dear Mothers.

© May 2009 | Patricia Marie Warren & Typing One-Handed Publishing


Your portable document copy is available here: Celebrating Mother's Day,
or by clicking on the picture at the top.You will need Adobe Reader to view it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm Hosting In Other Words: Serving No Matter What

Welcome to In Other Words. I am your hostess for today. Please share your take on today's quote by commenting below. Please also click on the words "link to this post" and add the URL to your post. For some reason Mr. Linky is not working.

“Mordecai understood that it is not failure that brings despair,
but unfaithfulness and idleness.”

~Dorothy Patterson, editor of Women’s Devotional Bible
Devotion: Service Through Providence, Esther 3:13-4:17
The book of Esther reads like a fast-paced romantic suspense story. There are all the elements to make it an exciting read, including the fact that it is a true story. It is the truths in this story that make it timeless and applicable to our lives today. Let me summarize:

A young orphan girl is adopted by her older, devoted cousin and raised as his own daughter. He teaches her the ways and faith of her people. Even though they are living as exiles in a foreign country, this man keeps true to his faith. The young girl is snatched from her home and taken into the king's harem, where she has a very slim chance of becoming a favorite of the king--maybe even queen, or becoming just another captive with no hope of the life most girls dream about--a home and family of her own.

Let's pick up the story where the king notices the girl, falls in love with her, and makes her his queen. Suddenly she has everything, right? Well....not exactly. It is at this point the villain steps into the story. A mortal enemy of the girl's people, he is angered by her adopted father's unwillingness to compromise his faith and bow to the villain's will. Instead of just getting rid of the main object of his hatred, Mordecai, the villain connives to eliminate an entire race of people. A direct quote is appropriate here:
Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with the order to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews - young and old, women and little children - on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. ~ Esther 3:13
The villain plays on the jealousies and prejudices of his fellow countrymen to get his goals accomplished. It seems all is dismal for Queen Esther and Mordecai and their fellow Jews. What hope is there against such insurmountable odds?

Here is where our girl really becomes the heroine. Mordecai explains to her the situation and asks her to intervene with the king. Esther is afraid, because she hasn't been summoned to the king in a month. It is suicide to appear before the king without a summons. What can she do?

No one in the palace other than Mordecai knows that Esther is a Jew. What if she just remains quiet? Perhaps she will stay safe...maybe the king will call for her before the day of destruction arrives. She sends a message explaining her fears to Mordecai. Mordecai, as usual honoring his faith, understands that Esther being chosen queen is not random. Again a direct quote, from Mordecai to Esther:
"Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to this royal position for such a time as this?" ~Esther 4:14
Mordecai's faith is great and his knowledge of God's promises are shown--he knows that even if he and Esther fail to act, God long ago promised to preserve his chosen people (Genesis 12:3; 17:1-8). Esther remembers her own faith and agrees to speak to the king, at the risk of losing her own life.

As with any great romantic suspense, in the end the hero and heroine triumph, the villain is destroyed and the ending is happily ever after...

Now how do we take this story and apply it today. After all, the Bible is not just exciting fiction. It is the inspired word of God and meant to teach us His will for our lives.
  1. God gives us opportunities to perform divinely assigned duties. No matter how great or small the task, we are allowed to participate in God's plan to share salvation with the world.
  2. God chooses where we are called to serve, whether it be in a palace or a soup kitchen or in our own homes.
  3. We choose whether we respond in obedience to God's call.
Are there consequences to being unfaithful to God's will or living in idleness? Definitely! If we don't obey, destruction will come to us and our the forms of rebellious children, ruined marriages, friends and family members who never hear the Gospel...

What call are you hearing from God? Are you ready to risk everything to be obedient to Him? Is your faith valuable enough to serve with your time, your money, your life? While God will accomplish His purpose regardless of your decision to join Him or not, you have been placed exactly where you are for such a time as this.


***Please come back and visit tomorrow. I have a special Mother's Day post. I am putting it out early because I have designed a downloadable format for use as a bulletin insert or for adding to a Mother's Day card. It is free for you to use.***


Remember to comment and add your post URL.
I will try to get Mr. Linky up and working as soon as I can.

May 5 IOW participants:

Miriam Pauline @ Mipa's Monologue: Idling to Despair

Laurie Ann @ A Magnolia's Heart Beat

Carolyn @ Life According to the Fifties: I Have No Where Else to Go

Esthermay @ The Heart of a Pastor's Wife: Find Me Faithful

Denise @ Shortybear's Place

Loni @ Writing Canvas: Mother's Day Despair?

Karen @ In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus: Idle Hands