Law and Decisions

“It is easy to make a law; it is more difficult to make wise decisions.” – from Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton

The song above, “A New Law” by Derek Webb really packs a punch if you listen carefully. Derek seems to have gone off the track in recent years, but he may be finding his way back. Either way, this is a good song.

...I don't wanna know if the answers aren't easy
So just bring it down from the mountain to me...

...Don't teach me about moderation and liberty
I prefer a shot of grape juice...

Don't teach me about loving my enemies...

Sometimes it’s just easier to give up asking questions. Sometimes we have to because there are things we aren’t intended to know yet. But, asking the questions is okay, even when it’s hard.

I don’t have to avoid the wine as I was taught as a youth; i just need to use moderation. And loving my enemies? I’m ever learning better ways to do that.

A

The Six Degrees of Matt Redmond

This is about Matt Redmond, author of The God of the Mundane , not the well-known (to some, not me) worship leader Matt Redman.

I had to do some digging around back in time for this post, so bear with me. On August 22, 2013, I wrote a post titled Daily Praises – you can read it HERE. I first heard of Matt and his book via my husband who heard of him via Rev. Shane Lems.

Fast forward nine months and we are living in Birmingham, Alabama, where Matt lives. Somehow I found him, read his book, and interviewed him for a small local newspaper. We met at the library and I got to know him a little bit. I have searched high and low for that interview/article to no avail. But, an offshoot of that meeting was that in addition to our faith, we also have a love for music in common, his much deeper than mine. But he was the one that connected me to a guy who sold me tickets for the first Avett Brothers’ concert that Chuck and I went to. At the concert we saw Matt and were able to meet his wife Bethany. This was now November of 2017.

Jump ahead again to 2021. I’m attending Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church where I now live in Tampa and I meet a sweet woman named Suanne. She tells me about Tim Challies and I sign up for his emails. So, today’s email has a list of book recommendations and guess what shows up? Yep. the new edition of Matt’s book!

Side note: I just finished reading Ordinary by Michael Horton, which is similar in many ways to Matt’s book. Of the two, I’d probably recommend Matt’s only because it seems more focused on the topic, whereas Horton’s rambles around a little more. And, FYI, Matt’s was published first.

Tears are healing


"Music, too, tends to pluck at the chords of emotion. Tears are healing. I do not want to cry when I am not alone, but by myself I don't try to hold the tears back. In a sense this solitary weeping is a form of prayer."  -  Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle


November, 2018

I understand exactly what she means. I try not to cry in public, but it’s difficult at church sometimes. Oh, that music. The hymns he loved get me every time; at home it might be other music. Especially, but not limited to, The Avett Brothers. Occasionally it’s a scene in a movie. Or a beautiful evening sky. Or dates on the calendar.

Sometimes I’ll come across something that probably only I would understand. Like a book he read where some of the sentences were underlined. He would use an index card and make the lines perfectly straight. I’ve even found a card a time or two, with the edge faintly marked with ink where he had used it.

He was by no means OCD, but he did have these little endearing habits. Like buying the same socks and underwear at JC Penney. Or washing his work shirts every Tuesday. As often as my schedule allowed I’d do it for him. And he always thanked me. Now, this was YEARS into our marriage, not when I had four kids running underfoot and would have loved him to wash some shirts for ME. But, we all tend to mellow and learn so much as we age. As we should. And he thanked me!

Hymns of Grace #4: It Is Well With My Soul

“…any God worth believing in is the God not only of the immensities of the galaxies I rejoice in at night when I walk the dogs, but also the God who cares about the sufferings of us human beings and is here, with us, for us, in our pain and in our joy… I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights.” -Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle

This song has taken on new meaning for me this year. In peace and in sorrow, He is there. He is here.

It is providential that it was the hymn I read this past Sunday afternoon, still going through Aunt Marie’s hymnal. The story of this hymn was briefly mentioned that morning at church. You can read about it HERE.

Last year, my dear friend, Jeannie, gave me a necklace inscribed with this song title. It has become precious to me. I thank God for people like Horatio Spafford and Jeannie.

Moving Forward

I’m not one for looking for signs and wonders, but sometimes it’s just interesting how God can use seemingly insignificant things to direct our thoughts. I follow a blog called DC Widow that has been very helpful to me. Her post from March 11 was good, but it was a comment from a reader that got me started on the idea of moving forward. The reader, Steph, said, “Nora McInerny’s TED talk about not moving on but moving forward is spot on…” so, I looked it up and she was right.

At breakfast I picked up the AARP bulletin to scan it while I ate and the cover jumped out at me: “The Path Forward”.

AARP Bulletin

Then, at lunch I did the same with the latest copy of Southern News, from Florida Southern College. Inside was was an article heading “…move forward without forgetting the past.” Wow. It all goes together.

Southern News, Winter, 2021

I am moving forward, well, literally I’m moving south. In two weeks. I closed on my home in Tampa on March 5, then stayed there a week on an air mattress, painting walls and planning. At the end of each day I just drove 1.6 miles to my son’s house where I was fed and loved on. Now I’m finishing up packing and preparing for my third move since last May. It’s been exhausting, not just physically but emotionally. I have to keep stopping myself from the thoughts of “this isn’t how it was supposed to be”. I remind myself, rather, “this isn’t how we planned it.”

Carole King’s song, Anyone At All, comes to mind. I have loved that song ever since I saw “You’ve Got Mail” years ago. It felt like Our Song. It feels like it even more now.

“You’ve become a memory I can’t erase…” “It wasn’t in the plan, not that I could see…” “…that’s what catches me when I fall
I’m so glad it was you”

hymns of grace #3: in the cross of christ I glory

When the woes of life o’er take me, hopes deceive and fears annoy, Never shall the cross forsake me: Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

This song is unfamiliar to me, so when I thought about how to sing it a song popped into my mind from recesses of my musical memories. It can be sung very well to the tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”.

I like the last verse, “Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified…” It serves to remind us that all the pleasant and all the dreadful that we encounter are all ordained by God for our good.

Hymns of Grace #1: All Creatures of our god and king

words by St. Francis of Assisi – “Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam”

I had a very special aunt – Great Aunt Marie, and I am named after her. She lived in the Baptist Village in Waycross, GA, in her later years. I have several hymn books in the house, and one used to belong to her. The front page is stamped Waycross Primitive Baptist Church. I’ve decided to start going through them, singing the ones I know, reading the ones I don’t. Today it was All Creatures of Our God and King.

There are numerous versions of this song out there, but this one is my current favorite.

my heart

I often take song lyrics to suit my circumstances. And I think that’s okay. Music and song soothe my soul, make me think, make me cry, ease my pain and bring me joy.

I’ve taken these lyrics as my own:

What do I get when I find out I am nothing?
Who am I without my name?
How do I stop this emptiness from growing?
The dumb instructions coming from my brain

I go to my heart on my knees

I know I am not nothing, but I feel like a half these days. I still have my name, but it’s no longer wife. And yes, there are a lot of dumb instructions coming from my brain.

I go to my heart, frail as it is. On my knees in prayer.



My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

O Come O Come Emmanuel

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“When Christ was born as a human baby, he ensured that He would die, because death is something that comes to every human being. But because Jesus Christ was wholly God as well as wholly human, He rose from the grave, to the astonishment not only of the Roman overlords and the powerful Jews in the Sanhedrin, but to the astonishment of all those who had been with Him during His earthly life. The Resurrection, too, is beyond the realm of fact and bursts into the realm of love, of truth, for in Jesus, truth and love are one and the same.” – from The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L’Engle.

I enjoy the lights and presents and coziness of family as much as the next person. But, I also have a sadness in my heart when I see so many who don’t know this Christ that Christmas is supposed to be about. “Away in a Manger” for most is a cute song kids sing in little choirs, along with “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.

Listen to a song that tells more of the story of Christmas

O Come O Come Emmanuel

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

A not so small year

There is a song that’s been on my playlist for quite a few years: One Small Year by Shawn Colvin. As often happens, I now hear it much differently when I listen to it.

One small year
It's been an eternity
It's taken all of me to get here
In this one small year

The hands of time
They pushed me down the street
They swept me off my feet to this place
And I don't know my fate

Now through the night
I can pretend
The morning will make me whole again
And everyday
I can begin
To wait for the night again


I know this has been but one small year in view of all history and in God’s eyes. But, for me, for so many, it seems in copious ways to have been “an eternity”. It truly has taken all of me to get here. But I could not have done it alone. Yes, humanly speaking, I was alone for so much of it, but I have not truly been alone. God has lifted me up when I could not see through the tears. Friends have checked on me. Family have loved on me. The printed word has renewed me, God’s Word has comforted me.

I don’t know my fate in the sense of what the next year will hold. I know my final fate, my end, in Christ. I have to take that knowledge, that hope, and keep going.