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

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!

We and us

November, 2018

"But if Hugh dies first, would I ever be able to stop saying "we" and say "I"? I doubt it. I do not think that death can take away the fact the Hugh and I are "we" and "us", a new creature born at the time of our marriage vows, which has grown along with us as our marriage has grown." - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle 

I find myself struggling when I talk to people who don’t really know me yet. I think when I say “we” I confuse them. But, so many times it’s just not the right time to tell the whole story. And If I just say, “My husband passed away last year,” they are left in an uncomfortable position sometimes. They always say, “I’m so sorry,” but then there is this awkward silence.

And I really don’t like being introduced as the woman who just lost her husband. I’d rather tell people on my own terms, in my own time, in my own way.

So, yes, I’ll always be a part of “we” but I’m also “I”. Whoever that is.

Steinbeck

The camper truck “Rocinante”, which Steinbeck took on a cross-country trip described in Travels with Charley. Photo by LordHarris at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I am assailed with my own ignorance and inability…Sometimes, I seem to do a good little piece of work, but when it is done it slides into mediocrity… – John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born on this day in 1902. Though he died in 1968, his name and fame live on. I think he did a lot of good little pieces of work, my favorite being Travels With Charley.

In researching his background, I came upon this tidbit that I thought was interesting: “Steinbeck complained publicly about government harassment. Thomas Steinbeck, the author’s eldest son, said that J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI at the time, could find no basis for prosecuting Steinbeck and therefore used his power to encourage the IRS to audit Steinbeck’s taxes every single year of his life, just to annoy him. According to Thomas, a true artist is one who ‘without a thought for self, stands up against the stones of condemnation, and speaks for those who are given no real voice in the halls of justice, or the halls of government. By doing so, these people will naturally become the enemies of the political status quo.'” – Wikipedia

Writing is a dance

July 17, 2004

 “Writing is a dance with all those other books you’ve read and the ones you’re going to read. Writing is making a house within the house.” – Heather Sellers

I love the lyrical sound of the above quote. Writing, indeed, is a dance. Our words are the steps; the paper (or computer) our dance floor; our flowing thoughts the music. Some days we dance the slow pace of a personal essay waltz. Others days find us joyfully doing a boogie as we share exciting news. We might tap our way through a tutorial or gracefully perform a poetic ballet with our words. Our vocabulary might be a tango or a square dance; our delivery a salsa or a break dance.

The important thing is to write what’s on your heart. What you’ve read, your family, your friends, where you live – all these things will come into play when you sit down to write. Draw from your experiences and twist the night away!

I want to express sincere gratitude to all who read my feeble words. Writing is therapy for me. The majority of my writings the past seven months or so have been songs of lamentation. But, we find those songs in scripture, right next to songs of pure joy and songs of gratitude and worship. I embrace it all.



A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:4

Lovely Cards #1

Card from Jenny

I am so grateful to God for the ones He has put in my life who still pray for me. On those nights when it seems so dark, I know that I have been sustained by prayers. I know that God hears others when I can’t find words. Then, in the morning, I am able to go on. I am able to pray for guidance and pray for those I love, both family and friends.

The above card was from my high school friend, Jenny. She knows loss. She can empathize because she knows. And when she says she’s praying, I know it’s not just empty words. She wrote, “I pray that God will give you the fortitude to bear his loss.” God is answering her prayer every day.


“As God’s love is lavished on you, give this love away lavishly to others. Let the love of Christ that is in you be split over into the lives of the people around you.” – from The Undistracted Widow By Carol Cornish

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.

A poem for Chuck #1

Yes, I’ve written tons of poems about my love for Chuck, our relationship, and his love for me. But, this is a different one, not written by me. It was written by our friend, Dorothy Young, who wrote it when we left Jacksonville/Fruit Cove in 2014 for Birmingham. She gave him a framed copy when we moved. It hung in his home office in Bham and I’ll hang it again when I get to Tampa. Dorothy and Chuck had a special friendship, as evidenced in her words. She included it in her book, Loved from Eternity.

On a Friend Moving Away

Farewell, But not goodbye:

Be in God’s tender care.

Be found in Christ at last

Though here you be or there

Seek Him, the greatest good:

For Him all things forgo.

You must have him at last

If you would glory know.

Feast on His mighty love:

Rest in His mercy free

For then you shall be safe,

For all eternity.

There’s honey in the rock:

The sweetness is profound.

Trust Jesus Christ alone.

In Him is refuge found.

O Come O Come Emmanuel

i.pinimg.com/originals

“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.