Time Out

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“Christianity is more than a moral code, more than a philosophy, more than a system of rites… It is more than a belief; it is a life.” – Thomas Merton

The prompt for PAD on April fourteenth was “Time out”. This is what came to mind…

Time Out
If I am being told to
Take time out to
smell the roses
Then more than likely
I need to take more time
And take more than a whiff
Perhaps I need to remember Who
Put the roses there
And not just who planted them
But Who created roses
And tulips and clouds
And me
Maybe I need to
Take time out
To say a prayer of thanksgiving
And to give someone a rose
Or a hug or a meal
Maybe I need to
Take a time out
From myself

Oh To Remember No More

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photo by Frameangel

…God speaks through His Word and says, ‘I will remember your sins no more.’ He does not say, ‘You will remember your sins no more.’ Only God can forgive and forget. Some things we’ve done will be in our memories as long as we live. The message of the gospel is not the erasure of memory, but rather the healing of our memories. – Steve Harper

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could forget? I would love to forget some of the memories that swim around in my mind and pop to the surface again when I think I’ve drowned them out.

Healing isn’t easy. There is no pill or supplement that erases memories. Only in science fiction, or in cases of amnesia, Alzheimer’s or dementia can a memory be truly lost. Since none of those choices are appealing to me, I need to figure out just how memories are healed but not eliminated. I need to be like the Bereans.

“…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11

Pinterest Worthy? Huh?

This post is for me, but maybe it’s for you, too. In reading a recent blog, I came across some interesting statements.

“Make your home Pinterest worthy”

Is that a thing? Are we now striving to make our homes worthy of Pinterest? I mean, I really enjoy Pinterest. I’ve found lots of cool stuff there, and I use it to keep things organized, like books I want to read and recipes I want to try. But, the ideas I find and/or use from Pinterest are to help me, not so that I can feel like I’m worthy if I use them.

“Who doesn’t want their life to look like a Pinterest board?”

Me. Sure, I’m excited that the kitchen cabinets I painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint turned out well. So did the Superhero Tootsie Pops for my grandson’s birthday. But, it’s not my goal to spend all my time trying to have a perfect house. Even so, I HAVE succumbed to the lure of the before-and-after pictures and the DIY projects. I have gone to Pinterest to just browse for five minutes and found myself surfacing an hour later, with new pins and a house full of dusty furniture.

“Curate your coffee table”

This one was actually funny. I dream of flowers and artfully placed books, but I end up with neatly stacked magazines on a good day.

A few days after I read the above quotes, my daughter-in-law posted something on facebook that I think ties in well here. She quoted the following from an article on HuffPost.

“despite the parenting books, the blogs, the Facebook groups, the Twitter hashtags, the Pinterest boards pumping us full of so much rhetoric and infinite guilt our instincts and sensibilities have vanished into thin air — the singular act of raising a child hasn’t changed all that much over the years. It’s still so damn hard. And like the generations of parents that came before us, we’re all making it up as we go along.”

When I was a young mother, I didn’t have the pressure of social media. There was no facebook for me to live up to by posting numerous pictures of my happy little family. There was no twitter to tell everyone how cool I was. There was no Pinterest to make me feel as I should be working on home projects and throwing elaborate birthday parties.

I’m grateful to see that some of this is dawning on my sweet daughter-in-law. Now it’s time for me to face the music. As an empty nester, I find myself unwisely wasting time on the internet, and comparing my home, my family, even my book reading, to people I hardly even know, or don’t know at all. It’s time to harness it all in; to use the good parts as a tool for good and to be wiser in the use of all the time wasters I’ve fallen prey to.

If this helps or causes anyone to stop and think, I’ll be pleased and grateful.

Young Girls Reading

The prompt for Day 6 of PAD 2016 was to write an  ekphrastic poem. An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by art. My poem was inspired by A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honore Fragonard. When we saw the original painting, my daughters were 19 and almost 12.

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Young Girls Reading

When you girls were young
an eight-by-ten of
A Young Girl Reading
hung on the bedroom wall
I would look at her
and see you both
curled up somewhere
book in hand
then one day
in the National Gallery of Art
there it was
and we marveled
at the kinship we felt
with that girl in the yellow dress

You can read more ekphrastic poems at Writer’s Digest  2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 6

When They Don’t Have the Words

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As a grandparent, I’m learning to be more aware of the feelings of young children who can’t express what it is they are feeling. Sometimes these little ones just don’t have the words to tell us that they are tired or frustrated. Being aware and patient could actually help us deal with people of all ages.

This awareness really hit me one evening when my grandson asked me to read a book for the third night in a row. It is called “Animal Daddies and My Daddy”. I was taking care of him and his sister while their parents were out of town and I think he chose that book because he was really missing his daddy. The other book he chose for me to read was Eric Carle’s “Animals Animals” because he said it was his mom’s favorite book. This was his way of being close to them while they were away and he was missing them so.

Kids go through so many stages as they grow up.  Around 5 or 6, as they become more aware of the world around them and understand things better, they may develop new fears. One common occurrence is fear of the dark. My grandson is going through this right now. As I was reading to him and his little sister  from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, I found a wonderful version of Psalm 23. I shared it with my daughter-in-law, thinking this could help calm the fears of the little guy who is a superhero by day, but not so much by night.

Psalm 23 From the Jesus Storybook Bible.

God is my Shepherd

And I am his little lamb.

He feeds me.

He guides me.

He looks after me.

I have everything I need.

Inside my heart is very quiet.

As quiet as lying still in soft green grass.

In a meadow.

By a little stream.

Even when I walk through

the dark, scary, lonely places

I won’t be afraid.

Because my Shepherd knows where I am.

He is here with me.

He keeps me safe.

He rescues me.

He makes me strong

and brave.

He is getting wonderful things ready for me

Especially for me

Everything I ever dreamed of.

He fills my heart so full of happiness.

I can’t hold it all inside.

Wherever I go I know

God’s Never Stopping

Never Giving Up

Unbreaking

Always and Forever Love 

Will go, too!  

 

You can read more about The Jesus Storybook Bible or order one at http://www.jesusstorybookbible.com/index.php

We Are Not Clever

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But Charley doesn’t have our problems. He doesn’t belong to a species clever enough to split the atom but not clever enough to live in peace with itself. He doesn’t even know about race…”

“…I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”

From Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

On the surface this is humorous but within it is full of truth. We are surely not clever enough to live in peace with ourselves.

We forget  Psalm 34:14: Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Quiet and Still

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Andrew Murray wrote a book titled Abiding in Christ, originally published in 1895 but still relevant today. The posts in this series are a combination of his thoughts and mine.

Among the lessons to be learned…there is none more needful and more profitable than cultivating a stillness of soul.

I still have to learn this lesson. I allow myself to be so easily distracted by the world, so easily sidetracked into wasting time. Murray talks about looking out for needless entertainment. And this was WAY before the advent of the internet!

We must watch even in lawful and necessary things against the wondrous power these have to keep the soul so occupied that there remains little power or zest for fellowship with God.

Just because something is lawful does not mean it is helpful or that is will edify us.

Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife. – Proverbs 17:1

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” –Zephaniah 3:17