Immerse Yourself

via Daily Prompt: Immerse

Immersion has more than one definition. One definition is to involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest.  Another is to dip or submerge in a liquid. Odd how in faith we may have done both.

Baptism is an example of immersion in some faiths.  I have been lucky enough to have been submerged by a man of God at the River Jordan as others witnessed my cleansing. That was something that took but a few minutes yet meant so much to my walk of faith. But, I dare say, that was the easy part of immersion in my walk with faith. The other definition, the one that involves going deeply into an interest is much harder.

Immersion, that daily walk with my faith is something I do okay at some days and not so well on other days. The ability to walk with Christ daily seems to be a challenge as there are other things that seem to get in the way. Our modern world offers up so many things that entertain us and keep us busy. Television and radio are two of them. Having heard sermon after sermon on how we spend more time with both of these things than with God I began to realize that I had what some may call false Gods in my life. So, I began to change how I viewed media. I began to seek ways to shift from the cultural influences on both to the spiritual ones. I now watch and listen to Christian channels more than I ever had. I have even discovered a Jewish channel and have found programs out of Israel that show places I had visited while there as well as new locations. I am now able to immerse myself in things of faith daily. It is not a perfect answer but it is a start.

Immersing myself into a prayerful life is another area wherein I have found small ways to make a difference in my daily walk. I now pray while in the car, while I sew, or when I walk out to get the mail. I have found that my mind is becoming better at flipping into prayer in my mind than it had before. Immersing myself in prayer helps me to obtain the goal of praying unceasingly. I may never master this, but I am making an effort and am seeing progress. I know God sees it as well.

Immersion has more than one definition and if you attempt to follow it faithfully it has more than one challenge in your life. Look for the little things that you can change in order to walk with him more closely. Immerse yourself in his word and listen when he speaks to you. He will help you. HUGZ. God bless.

immerse

Hidden in the Pattern

via Daily Prompt: Pattern

Years ago pictures like the one above were quite popular. Most folks could look at the image, the pattern, and a new picture would emerge from amongst the lines. At that moment you would hear the viewer announce to the world what they saw. But, I never could figure those things out. I would stare, follow tips of those who could master the task, and do all I could think of but I could never see anything more than the pattern in front of my face. I never could see the essence of the picture, its soul.  But for all who could see the essence of the picture they always announced the same found item. It was never argued, never debated, there was one answer. Each pattern held one hidden image. Some could see it. Some could not.

There are other things like those patterns on our world. We look at them and one can see the soul of the meaning hidden in the image or the words but others cannot. But the difference is that with most other things we do not ever agree on what is hidden in the pattern if we can see it. Take for instance, this BLOG. Not one person will totally agree with another person who reads this why I wrote it or what the essence of the article is. This is because we have varied backgrounds that help us filter things we find in our lives. It is not as simple as those magic pictures.

Take a look at this image. What do you see? Is there anything hidden that pops out at you? Are there things that remind you of patterns in the world or in your life?

 

hobo

Looking at people can be dissected in the same way as looking at those magic images. When we look at a person some people see the brilliance in them pop out like it is magic before their eyes. Others see the good, or the bad, or judge them by how they look or dress. What did you surmise about this young person from the times of the depression? How would you react to them if you saw someone like them on the streets of today? Would you see the same as everyone else who saw the same image?

My challenge to you today is to see in all you experience the magic. Look for the good in all that God has created. Find the good in people you meet. It is there. I pray that the good in all may pop out at you and may you see all through the eyes of God. Patterns in our world and in our lives can shift. Shift your daily patterns toward seeing magic in all.

God bless. HUGZ

 

 

Observations of Nuances of Faith

via Daily Prompt: Nuance

 

Have you ever watched those of faith as they go about their day to day living? How do they act in relation to others? How do they act at church?  Or maybe when in the church working or volunteering, how do they act then? In our minds we may think that they all act the same. But, do they?

I am a people watcher. I learn a lot about people in that way. I love to watch how they react to certain circumstances and to certain people. Take for example a Christian meeting someone who uses the Lords name in vain. Some of them simply go on and attempt to ignore what just occurred. Others join in with the same type of talk and do not seem to be aware. Then there are those who bless the person privately and ask God to be with them and to guide them to not do so.  Each one goes to church on Sunday. Each one professes faith to their God, but their reactions differ.

Judgement of others is another big area. I love to watch people as they serve those in need.  Most are caring and loving. They are tender to those in need and lift them up and use words that edify. Yet, I have also met those who scorn them behind their backs and accuse them of things that are not always true. They judge them.  All people need our love and our understanding. All are created in the image of God just as we are.

I am not writing this as to condemn people of faith. I am writing this as a tool for you to think about your actions. How do you act when out and about the world? How do you act while at work? How do you react to someone who is different than you are?  How about how you treat those in need? We are all human. We are all sinners. Yet, we can look at our actions and how they must seem to those about us.

Subtle nuances of our actions, our words, our ways are seen by all. Are you a dollar a week, an hour a week Christian or do you act like what you believe in at all times? During this season of Lent ask God to reveal to you the areas of need in your life. I know he has revealed many to me. May God be with you on this journey we call life. I wish you many good things. HUGZ  God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

So Nervous about Dying

via Daily Prompt: Nervous

Nervous, so nervous. I had just overheard the doctor telling my family that I should be getting better by now. I had been on an IV diet for a week with no food or water and yet the pain remained. I began to think about so many things and my nerves were about shot. I could not get out of bed to take care of things that I felt I needed to do. I did not even have a cell phone to call those I loved to talk to them. All I could think of was how I wanted to be there to one day meet my sons’ loved ones and my possible grandchildren.  I wanted to live!

Then an odd thing happened. I was asleep and soon realized that I was floating above my body. I could actually see my form laying on the bed below me. Next,  I realized that I had no pain! There was no pain at all!   I began trying different things. I thought maybe I could fly  out of the room and down the hall to see other things.  I had been in that room for a long time. I tried but in that moment I went elsewhere.  I was back in the house I lived in as a small child. I could smell what was cooking in the kitchen, I could hear my mother’s voice and see my brother next to me watching the television. It was as if I had time traveled back in time to that location and then was whisked to another place and time with my brother. Each new place was experienced by all of my senses. Yet, I had no pain and I did not feel ill at all.  Those episodes lasted for a while until I was taken to a place where there was a valley with a lake. There were large hills behind it. Here I was met by something like a receiving line of people who had passed away. They were mostly people from my husband’s side of the family. One had on overalls and had a tool in his hand. He had loved to work on cars in his lifetime. Another one had a cow near him. He had been a farmer and had one cow he kept as a pet until it died of old age. I looked at them and they seemed to see me but we never approached one another.

It was then that I moved into the next part of the experience. I felt a love so pure that I cannot even tell you how it felt. The only thing ever close to it in this life was when I held my newborn sons and looked into their eyes for the first time ever. That pure love is one I will never forget. This was followed by a brief conversation about if I wanted to stay. I relayed to the one I was speaking with that I wanted to stay with my family. I didn’t feel it was my time yet. My husband had just lost his father and now I was so ill and possibly dying myself. How would he deal with all of that?  Finally, I felt as I was going back.

In a flash I was back in my room hovering over my body. Then, I fell back into the form on my bed and the pain, the anguish of my illness returned. I lay there trying to figure out what had just transpired as a nurse walked into the room.

Here I am now years later and I look back on that time in my life from time to time. I want you to know that I have seen that valley since then. I was at the funeral of my husband’s uncle in Southern Ohio and when we pulled into the cemetery I looked to the right and saw the hills and the valley. I about leaped out of the car right then and there. I listened to the prayers but all the while I was reading the names on the tombstones in the area. After the ceremony I talked to my spouse and he took me around the cemetery and walked with me to view the valley. This cemetery had so many from his heritage buried there. I had never seen that valley before that day, but it is forever engraved in my mind’s eye.

I am no longer nervous about dying. I know now that I will be in a place filled with a love so pure that I look forward to it. I want to be there one day with my family and loved ones. I want to see that valley and run into the arms of the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and best friends and most of all our children lost in this life. Back then, I was so nervous about dying. But now I am so blessed as those nerves have been washed away and I am calm. Calm and blessed, what more could I ask for?

 

HUGZ2all  God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road Taken

Photo prompt: The Road Taken

Prior to the days of the technological tools that we now depend upon, cell phones and GPS systems,  I had decided to sing at a Christian event far from home.  I went even though it was in the middle of farm country away from the main roads and highways. Finding my way there in the daylight was even more challenging than I thought it might be as there were closed roads along the way that I had to reroute for. Even then I wondered how I would get out of there that night in the dark. Upon arriving at the venue I checked in and gave them my cassettes to back me up when I praised the Lord with my voice. I had gotten there late and thus was placed in the lineup toward the end of the evening. I admit that I was quite nervous about getting back home at  a decent hour. I wanted to be there when the kids got up in the morning and not upset my spouse by his not knowing where I was.  Praising God from the crowd I lost myself in the glory of his presence and soon got up to sing on the stage. It felt good to lead the gathered in song. For a time my concern of driving home and to not worry my family was lost in the moment. Praising God with song among those with same intent was inspiring. But, as in all times of worship the sermons ended and the songs drew to a close. It was time to go home. As I walked to the car I noticed the stillness of the night. There was not much moonlight to light my way and the lack of street lights did not help. I had my Google map information with me but it seemed to be of not much help as seeing the road signs was nearly impossible and the reroutes had been plentiful.  I began wondering why I had not just gone home in the light of day and not even gone to perform. But, I knew why. I wanted to praise with God’s people. Driving on into the night I became disoriented and the roads were confusing. I grew tired and had no place to stop for directions. I pulled over to the side of the road and took out my paper map of the state. I had no idea where to look on it. I began to cry as it grew late and by now I was tired and needed sleep. With no other recourse I bowed my head and began to pray. I asked God to help me get home safely. Just then a dark colored car pulled by me. It was the first car I had seen in a while so I pulled out and began to follow it. I couldn’t see anything but the fact that there were two people in that car. I watched as we approached the next intersection. It appeared that the one in the passenger seat seemed to be motioning for me to turn to the right. I blinked and looked again. Again I saw the arm motions to go right. I questioned what I was seeing but trusted that this was the answer to my prayer. I turned right and drove on for quite some time before coming to a main road leading to a highway. It was here that I knew what to do with the aid of my Ohio map. I turned onto the highway and began to weep. In that moment of being lost God had reached out to ME. He had seen that I was one of his lost sheep and he found me and helped me to get back home. I will never forget that night. Not because I got to sing so much but more so for the lesson that I learned. Faith is so much more than prayer and praising. It is knowing that God is always with us. He knows our every move, our every thought. I look back on that day and know that God is always with me. I just need to have that faith, the size of a mustard seed. to realize it. Trust that he is with you. Choose the path toward him. He is there waiting for you with open arms. You are loved. HUGZ

 

 

 

Doubt : A Cultural Mindset

via Daily Prompt: Doubt

This short story is based on a real occurrence while I was in Haiti post earthquake.

Seeing the young boy walking alongside his mother on the way down the broken down road I glanced at him as she approached me. The brown of the iris surrounded by the clean white of the sclera made his eyes seem to light up as he came closer.  He smiled and my heartstrings yearned to talk to him. He was so young yet had already gone through so much in his short life.

“Miss, you are from America?” Her English was to the point.

“Yes, I am from America. Your boy has beautiful eyes.”  I retorted.

“He is good boy. His father die in earthquake.” Her sad eyes looked into mine and I realized that I had just met yet another person who had lost a loved one, her soul mate, the provider for she and her son.

” I am so sorry.”

At that moment the boy began to make a gesture with his hands. He held them to form a circular shape and then looked up at me. I did not understand what it was that he wanted. I reached down to touch his hands as he withdrew a bit. His mother came to his aid.

“He want  ball.”

“I’m so sorry, I’m here to help prepare a college and only brought things for that age group. I wish I had one to give you.”

As I spoke I shook my head no and watched his face sadden. He seemed to understand that. I thought of how I had seen no toys since having come to Haiti and only one ball that lay at the bottom of the hill near the contorted basketball hoop. The communal ball seemed to be the only one for the neighborhood. It was always near the dilapidated building on the corner of the road.  The one that used to be the local hangout.

“I understand. You here for long time?” The mother looked into my eyes now as tears began to well up in hers.

“Only a short time this time. I hope to come back again and stay longer. Do you live in this area?”

“We do, but not much more time.” Her voice was sad as she glanced at the changes from the earthquake all around us. The small block houses had never had electricity nor running water but at least they had provided shelter from the elements.

“I will pray for you. God bless you all.” I had nothing else I could say. Here in this country so filled with need. I had only such much time and money to help. I turned to go on to the site where we would have lunch. I needed to cook for the rest of the missions team. They would be coming to eat soon.

“Miss, miss! I need ask you something. Do you like my son?” Her voice was desperate now. I stopped walking and looked at her again. She continued, “You like him, he is good boy. He has pretty eyes. Yes?”

“He is a beautiful child. I do love him.” I hoped my answer was what she needed to bring some joy into her life. What came next I had not expected.

“You love him like son, you take him to America.” Her voice had shifted to one of a concerned mother. I listened and knew that such a thing was not possible even if I wanted to. I could not take the child with me without the proper paperwork.

“I cannot take him. He is your son.” I voiced the truth watching as her face fell. Here in Haiti where human waste ran down the roads and clean water was hard to find she was trying to save her son from a possible death. If not death then a life filled with hardships as not many have known.

“You take him. You feed him. Take him America.” Her eyes were pools of tears now. She was willing to give up her son to save him. Their future was not promising in that moment.

“I am sorry. I cannot.” I turned again and began to climb the hill watching each footstep as not to twist my ankle on the debris and loose rocks worn over time. I turned to see the pair  as they began to descend the road.  Then, in that moment she too turned to look at me. The woman who she had just offered her child to. She turned and smiled in my direction as once again my heartstrings began to be yanked to and fro. Looking into her face I saw a mother with such love for her son.  She was willing to give him up to give him a better life. I turned and ran up the hill into the house and wept from my very soul. Lunch today would be late.

 

Here in the US as in many places that are blessed to have food on the table each day we doubt that we can help others in need. That lady, that day, taught me that we have so many things that we do not need and yet do not offer them up to those who are starving. Since then I have begun to realize that many things we think we need to have are in fact things we want. She will never have that liberty. Doubting that you can help is a cultural thing. Just food for thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby – My Green Cheek Conure

via Daily Prompt: Baby

Baby is a green cheek conure that I have had now for about six months. As one with a TBI it is difficult for me to bend over and stand up much (dizziness)so the decision to get a bird for a companion rather than a dog was one of health issues. I could not care for the dog to lift it and hook it onto the lead to go outside, thus I got a bird.
Getting a bird that I could hold and teach to talk was a decision based upon the fact that I missed having a student in the classroom and the fact that I could hold her when lonely at home. A green cheek seemed to be the best fit because of the size of the bird and the noise level. Loud noises from a larger bird would be too much for me. My little baby was only a few months old when I got her. It took her a few days to acclimatize to her new home but in a matter of no time she could say her name and play peek-a-boo. Now that she is nearly a year old she has bonded with my family and travels with me when I go out. Yesterday, for the first time in a long time she got to go for a ride in the car and was singing all of the way to the Olivesburg General Store about five miles from our home. People are amazed how she rides around on my shoulder and how she will set on their finger. She is an amazing little bird. I am so glad she is a part of my life. Perhaps one day you will meet her if you come to the Farmer’s Markets near Mansfield, Ohio. She would love to say Hello.