Archive | hope

Eat your oatmeal

Birdie and I have a sort of issue at times accepting that we weren’t born into a rebel family of Boston during the Revolutionary War or next door to Louisa May Alcott or into the high society of the Victorian era. Call us weird but we actually LIKE to read and therefore we have found much appealing about times before our own. But, I am more content than I used to be, doing what I can to make my own life simple and enjoyable (though kids will never again be able to walk the streets safely as they did not long ago.) And when Birdie echoes my past words and says things about “the olden days,” I tell her this:

“We like the olden days because they had to do things with very little recourses like cook over fires and wash clothes by hand and we think that everything they did was imaginative and romantic, but they had everything going for them in that way. We have to keep healthy imaginations despite video games and computers and movies and distraction and so in a way, we have to do this with very little recourses making us the ultimate “olden day” people.”

It is the art of filling the place of “without” with something wonderful.

“Well, without electricity we can’t cook dinner or watch a movie or do computer work so let’s just make sandwiches and talk by the fire.”
Without class today, we can all sit down and eat dinner as a family.”

Without any money for the show, we can all take a walk together.”

Without X we get a lovely Y.

~*~

Today I got up early in hopes of using my time wisely, making oatmeal for the munchkins and spending time with them and then with God. I think about my life like a bowl, only without the oatmeal but with time. Time like my oatmeal which is sweet in some spoonfulls and bland in others and it seems to never run out. And I serve it up with plans to finish it, but in the end, several spoonfulls go into the trashcan. This is my time. Plans for eating it all, but I waste.

Time on earth, this rotating rock is like one oat. A particle of my breakfast. I ate up countless oats. I didn’t count them or notice when another was missing. So will my life be. The oat of earth is being quickly digested but I still have a whole bowl left.

Suddenly my heart picks up pace as if to be an example for the rest of me. Hurry!

What is there to do before the bowl is empty? It could dump at any given moment.

Go to paris? Tokyo? New York again?

And suddenly, I have another without equation.

Do we need to visit every corner of this planet before we are ready to take our last bite?

Do we need to see every beautiful scene before we believe in a creator waiting for us?

No. We don’t need a microwave to cook, we don’t need a HDTV to hear a story, we don’t need to travel back in time to be happy, we don’t need an event to spend time together and we don’t need to leave home to find God in our life. We can live in in Cite Soleil, Haiti in the dirt for five minutes before we die as a weak, crying baby and know there is a god. And that baby and the woman who is a missionary for 102 years go to the same place to the same god. We can have faith and we can believe without seeing the beauty of this planet. The blind can see that.

So then, shall we climb to the tip of a hill in Ireland and wait for a romantic death? If we don’t need to see the world, what else is there to do? Break some sort of record? Become famous? Get out of debt?

Yes. Get out of debt.

Romans 13:8 kjv

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Before you die: Love everyone.

And you can do that now. If you only have five minutes, five seconds, you can acomplish this.

If you get to see the world-congratulations. Some of us find more joy on this little oat than others, but the bowl is still full for us all even after we die. If you are a Christian, it will be sweet and syrupy, if you are not it will be more than bland.

“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”-

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, (I am without it) I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Act on love with kindness, look at the world if you can, but above all else LOVE.

In Mathew 25:35 Jesus says: “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

For when we help another person we are helping God and those who do not do this will not be blessed.

You don’t have hungry, sick, naked prisoners coming to your door? Perhaps you should go and find them or use the following:

I was crying and you comforted me, I was irritable and you were patient with me, I was lazy and you worked harder, I was lonely and you were a friend to me.

This Winter morning, all of the birds are out singing praise. Do they perhaps know that hunting season is coming?
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Hope

I celebrate for today is a holiday.
Everyday is a holiday that never grows old. Every day is another day to celebrate the moment that the Lord, my Lord, Yaweh, saved my soul, once and for all. And though this salvation which will last for ever and ever and ever is the greatest gift, God gives more and more gifts every day. For He is the gift-giver and he is never changing…his gifts will continue to fall from heaven every moment (even this moment as you sit and at your computer) for eternity. For I will live forever and you will live forever and no man or woman will ever lose their existance. Some will die to the Lord and they will be separated for all time-the ultimate tragedy. But I know in the depths of my heart and from the pages of His Word that I will not. I will exist and I will dwell with my savior. Tell me-what is more worthy of celebration?

So I spend everyday with hope. I see more of the light than the darkness…only brief shadows which fall on my life and then fade. I see the pasture as my haven. My place to worship. I see my family as my dearest friends and know that this is a good thing. I see my writing as my calling and my passion and my joy. Our Christmas tree, a new song learned, a letter from a friend, a cup of hot Earl Grey, a sun set which paint will try to mimick until the last painter dies-all as beatiful little golden blessings like the ring of a tiny chime in my heart. And I thank God.

But some linger in the shadows-hope is a stranger to them. They rely on themselves and therefore fail, for we are only human and humans are not capable of success without God. So they try and they fail and they try and they fail and finally they cease to try any longer. Watching t.v. doesn’t save their soul, drinking doesn’t save their soul, having lots of friends or money or fame doesn’t save their soul. They give up, and I don’t blame them. Trying needs hope as fuel. Nobody chooses a dull knife to cut an apple knowing that it won’t slice. Nobody hikes up a mountain with only a bottle of water knowing that there is no hope of making it to the top. You simply don’t try to do things without the hope that you’ll succeed. And so they have no hope and so they fail. What a tragic story this is for millions of people. But Christ is the only lasting hope and those who find Him and accept Him and have a heart that is a temple for Him to stay in, have hope. We have the light in the dark world. We know that the shadows, even the longest black-outs always come to an end for us. But Everly Pleasant is Frequently Dismal. I sometimes forget that the darkness in my life is only a shadow passing through a lit room and I give into Lucifer’s whispers that I too should give up and rebel.

But the good news is, I can give up. I can give up every single little worry, every pain and every fear and every problem to God who will handle it as I walk with him through this life…this life lit with His Hope.
The picture above is The Oak Tree by Ansel Adams
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The Unfaithful

John 8
3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11″No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

We read this passage and are happy that we are not sinful like this woman or caught in the act of some crime. We are glad that Jesus did not welcome the idea of stoning her. But aren’t we all unfaithful? Haven’t we all something that we forsake our first love for? If ever our hearts stray from God we are committing adultery and death is just wat we deserve, but God’s law is the same as it was when he walked on earth and just the same, he catches us in every sinful act and forgives us….never condemning us.

That is something to be grateful for!
Everly
(photo found online)
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The Storm (and mostly after it)

It is a difficult thing for me to blog about this, but I have decided to do it anyway.

Yesterday, as I told you, was Monday…Cleaning Day.

My father and eldest brother were sleeping (they had both been at work all night) and my mother and Sabrina went to the grocery store. While I was in charge, things went badly.

It was an argument with deep roots which looked like a tiny sprout from the surface. It looked like a tiff over house work when really it was a painful battle between two different souls-of two different countries. Two different people and the very blood which runs through their veins. Two people whose hearts sometimes forget that they are kindred.

She didn’t want to vacuum and she didn’t want to dust…I confronted her. She had to work. She had to help…Mommy had said so. Then I just burst. I’ll admit that I screamed.
The two of us stood in the laundry room screaming. I asked her why I tried to make her happy when I was never successful. Why? Why? Why?

She said that she tried. How?

She tried not to be angry when I was never happy with her work.

You don’t try to do well I replied.

And, as many arguments do, it boiled down to something. We dug up the roots and the tiny sprout was revealed to be something much older.

She hid her face in a rag a sobbed. I caught my breath.

The little kids, who had been cleaning up outside came in the den door. I had my back to the den. I didn’t want to turn around and offer a tear stained face.

“It’s raining.” They said. Of course it is. I thought. I began this storm.

The weather was perfectly appropriate. The dark clouds blocked out the sun just as our dark words were blocking out anything good. “Stay on the deck a while…it’ll pass.” I say. I know that it is calming…coming to an end. They obey, never seeing my face or the huddled figure sliding down on the laundry room floor with her back against the dryer.

Broken and beaten with the sharpest tool-words. She weeps and I weep but not yet together.

Her face is still hidden in that white rag. Her weeping sounds like a combination of a cranky baby, a hurt puppy but somehow like a widow. It was mourning. It was mourning.

For her country? Her language so long ago forgotten? Her mother? Her childhood?

That is an eternal mystery for me, but my little sister was sitting on the laundry room floor mourning.

We are like two pieces of metal…shaped differently that do not fit together.

When put together our jagged edges tear away at one another until finally, someday we’ll fit together. God will shave away at us, painfully, slowly, until we are smooth.

Our other sister, only twelve, walked in to witness the happenings. Standing there watching as if she had seen this many times before. Sadly, this wasn’t the first argument betwixt us.

But this part, what happened next is what I hope she’ll always remember.

Forgiveness.

I forgave her. Would she forgive me? How do I ask? In many ways, we still do not speak the same language. I had to show her…act it out.

I too slid down against the dryer. Her breaths were caught…snagging on overwhelmed emotion.

I put my arm around her and begged her to breath. Her face was still in her rag against her knees.

So much like a baby. And how do you comfort a baby? I knew the answer.

I decided to sing to her. What song is most comforting to a mourning child?

A song about Christ’s love. Jesus loves the little children.

And what else? What could make her feel at home? Jezi renmen tout ti moun yo-to sing it in her own language even if she did forget most of it long ago.

So I sang it, quietly. My voice cracking and flickering through my pain and sorrow.

I stumbled over a few of the words but I knew that they were there in her mind.

We rocked side to side, gently. Her sobs would die down and then, like wind, pick up again. Finally, aware that much time had passed and our littler sister had vanished (the hum of the vacuum could be heard from the living room) I got up to finish my work. I suggested she went outside for a while so that the little kids who were getting drinks in the kitchen wouldn’t hear her cry but she muttered something about not wanting to. So I left her.

I went into the bathroom and washed my hands. I washed my hands of it all.

I washed my face…a baptism…a re-dedication to what I was trying to live by.

Then I went and found a dusting rag and began to dust. The children were scurrying about the deck. The sun. It had come back. The son had not forsaken us. The clouds had cleared.
Fickle weather.

As I dusted I thought. This is The Life (The Roast Beef Life.) Truth and reality. Pure grief to wash away the deceitful intentions. Honest arguing. It was painful but it broke us down to size and made us fit a little better…side by side. We finished it together in the end. Nothing hidden…no drama. I knew that living “real” included true pain when I chose this life.

She reappears and asks if she can call Mommy. Respect for my authority…asking first.

I too respect my authority saying yes and then again by giving her a job I know she can accomplish-dishes. The kitchen sparkles and we both clean silently for the rest of the day.

Speaking few words but exchanging much communication.

We will heal and it’ll get better by and by.

Everly Pleasant

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Heroes

You know,
I am sure a lot of kids, when asked who their hero was would say “My dad.” But I am proud to say that many other people would say that my dad is their hero too. He is an E.R. doctor. People sometimes ask me what my dad “actually does.” They assume I am going to say computer work or business for the company but no, he does the real deal. Emergency Room…you know, like the show E.R. except less drama and more trauma. He sews people up, restarts hearts, sets joints, prescribes medications and basically puts guts back in and puts peopele back together. As you can imagine, our dinner table talk can sometimes cause a loss of appetite.
Yesterday, on our way home from my cousin’s bridal shower, we stopped at the hospital to say hello to my dad. He ran out through the wind of a helicopter that we just had the pleasure of watching land. He was in his scrubs, leaves blowing all around him just like the opening scene from M*A*S*H. He then gave us a very brief review of his day:
He had just set this guy’s (something-I don’t remember what body part) and taken care of a wreck and now they had two helicopters coming with patients from a roll-over in Houston.
He kissed my mom and ran to the helicopter. A small woman with a helmet and goggles and a full navy blue suit hopped out. She was then accompanied by another umpa lumpa but the pilot remained in his seat. They opened up this hatch and pulled a stretcher out of the seemingly small space. My dad helped them roll the person into the ambulance entrance, a straight body on the thin bed, covered in a papery sheet with blood splattered on the chest. With no way of telling if the person who was a few yards away from our vehicle was dead or alive, we watched and silently prayed for her. Then, the next helicopter came. My dad didn’t come out this time, he was already caring for the first patient. The two people in navy popped out and rolled the second patient up through the automatic doors. This one had less blood but more tubes. Bunny (13) said her hands smelled like a hospital. Jubilee (4) said that she didn’t know people got hurt. Mommy said that some people do and we have to remember to pray for those people. We drove home discussing how cool helicopters are and what insects they reminded us of but all thinking of those people…and my dad; the hero.
:) E. P.

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