No more dark night

Time to get this deeply moving poem here, written by a young missionary friend of mine (who I met through Perspectives). It gives you a glimpse of what she has suffered, through sharing Christ with those who so desperately need light in their dark world.

I have heard the gunshots at night

Exploding into the darkness 

Hidden in shame

No games 

Just cold killings

Cold cases left unsolved

I have seen the bodies at night

Faceless victims 

Facedown with yesterday's trash
Adam returning to ash

Blood stained star

Of a country left broken

I have screamed in the night

Into the void of powerlessness

Into hollow human rights 

Justice consumed by fright

Is waking up to indifference

Worse than the nightmare?

I have prayed in the night

Weeping with the widow

Compassion regains our humanity 

For dreams to come into reality

No more dark night

Rise with the sun

- Written by Innah G.

Shared by permission of the author. She wrote this and shared it (a little while ago) with a news article entitled: “Philippine Drug War Logs Deadliest Week Yet: 58 Killed in 3 Days”.

Oh my, how can I now switch to the other reason for posting today? Oh well… Note for Future Self, in case you care: you ran today (after not running at all this year, but doing walks and swimming with the guys) for two four-minute sprints, separated by only a minute! The walk back was the hardest. :D

 

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Finished, finally! Thank you for your patience!

(Title note is for those who are subscribed to receiving this blog by email.)

My, it feels good to make a post and not have to change the date to one in the past! Not that there were really that many posts to copy over from LJ, since we were only missing the ones since mid-April of 2015–and in the last couple of years I’ve gone from posting every day, to an average of twice a month… and recently there actually were NO posts for three whole months!

Every once in awhile there is something to go on about though, like making notes on things like sermons, or a long recapture of a special birthday party, or a longish memory that comes with a photo, etc. So I guess this blog will continue to live.

This exercise has served to make me think about making changes, with things like tags and categories, Pages, etc. A fun re-organizing job to look forward to. You know how I love to organize!

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technical difficulties

A quick note, since I just noticed that I actually have some followers! :)

We had a little “break” the other day, of a server where this website is, and hence discovered that the backups had stopped working a couple of years ago. Luckily, the cross-posting to LJ kept going, so I’m presently copying the missing posts back into WordPress from LJ.

The settings allow me to put the proper (old) date on them, and I have to be careful to remember to turn off all the other publishing things (like not going BACK to LJ again, and not posting to Facebook). However, it seems that I can’t turn off the email. Which means that my “faithful few” are getting/will be getting a bunch of old posts in their email!

Anyway, now you’ve been warned. Just delete, delete, delete! :)

 

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Mrs. Eberts

I’ve been going through some old photos…

One picture, a thousand lovely memories! She had such a wonderful Old Country Home, with the big front porch, and an enclosed one on the side, where we would have an evening snack and listen to the silver maples rustling in the breeze. She had a big ol’ piano that she’d let me bang on, though I don’t know how to play. A few of us used to sometimes go there after Sunday night service, and be served something delicious to go with the happy talk. Her husband (of just a few years) had a bad heart–he used to talk about going around “with his heart in his pocket”. We hadn’t known him very long when he passed away, but whenever I sat in his big chair in the kitchen, I felt like he was hugging me.

I remember the first time I stayed there for a week, to keep Mrs. Eberts company. It was in the winter time, and I was so, so worried… because I’d understood that she only wanted me for a week or two, and hadn’t gotten permission for more than that. Soon it became obvious that there was a misunderstanding–she was expecting me to stay the winter! It was hard to break the news, both to her, and to my mom (not knowing what to do), but we eventually worked out a compromise I believe, that I could spend time between home and Mrs. Eberts place (several miles away).

She believed that teenagers needed a huge breakfast, before catching the bus for school–like both oatmeal AND eggs, for example. They were always farm-fresh eggs of course; I remember picking some up for her by bicycle, from a nearby farm. She also got fresh chickens from the farms, to put in her freezer–and they sure tasted better than anything you could buy! Mealtimes were more than just eating. She would get talking about her past, telling some great stories about what had happened in that house, many years before.

My bedroom upstairs had dormer windows, and there was even a special “country smell” to her home. Maybe that had something to do with the grove of ancient lilacs in her side yard, visible from the kitchen “window over the sink”. There was some wilderness behind her home, which seemed like a wonderful place to go exploring… except that she didn’t like me to go too far, in case there were bears. (That was so hard to obey!)

I helped her in various ways, like with her plants in the spring. One time I did the dusting for her, before company arrived (probably missionaries). Unfortunately, I wasn’t used to using a polish-spray, and had put so much on the wooden chairs, that people found they had it on their clothes when they got up!

That dining room also reminds me how we used to spend some mornings watching 100 Huntley Street on TV.

A few times, she had to spend a weekend in the city, so she would get me to have a friend over for the weekend. Glenda stayed once or twice (and once with her sister Donna), Nancy Brady came at least once (I remember finding a wild kitten under the deck while she was there). When I was finished high school, I kept going back to spend a few days with her, or to babysit the house while she was away. One summer, I rode my bike all the way back home, just for a morning dip in the pool!

Lovely memories.

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praying for you

It’s been said that this Perspectives course “ruins you for the rest of your life” (or something like that)–in other words, you can never be the same again. You can never continue on as if you didn’t know…

As an alumni, I’m allowed to go to any of the classes for free, plus, it behooves me to go as a marker, at least sometimes. So even if I was tempted to “forget”, I’m reminded every time I go (and with every lesson I mark), and hear those missionaries share their experiences. Usually, it deepens my desire to do whatever I can. Often, it makes me wish I could do more. Sometimes, I wonder if missionaries might be the only ones who will get those mansions that Jesus promised. They sacrifice so much, are so “all in” with every part of their lives! When I compare that to the multitude of comforts that I enjoy…

It’s probably a good thing to look over my life periodically and ask myself if I couldn’t actually drop everything and begin to actively share Christ in a much more sacrificial way. Even if I can’t, it’s maybe good to think about it. What I’m able to do seems like so little!
Hopefully it’s not just a scheme to find excuses for myself, but I’m usually reminded that prayer (for example) can be hard work as well. For several months now, I’ve been getting into a more and more involved prayer life. (I’m becoming that “retired old grandma”, who prays & prays!) It used to be difficult to relate to people in distance lands, and what they were going through. Now I’m even finding myself emotionally involved… so maybe that’s part of the hard work. Another part, is to keep on praying for those situations/people that seem like they’ll never change, to never give up hoping and pleading for them. To know that God is working, and requires patience.

 

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Pay Attention

It’s only natural that as one gets older, one becomes more aware of the importance of some things. For example, young people don’t usually worry too much about their health. But the more we mature, the more we tend to pay attention to a healthy diet, do more exercise, etc.

Similarly, the older you get, the more you feel an urgency to pay attention to the health of your soul, and become concerned about the health of others’ souls. Especially if you believe that there is more to life than this life. And it’s more than just knowing that “crossing over Jordan” can come unexpectedly, any time; but looking back on your life, you realize how much more depth is possible–both enjoyment of the blessings and help in the trials–if you pay attention to the things of the soul.

I for one, sometimes wonder if I’m really doing all I can to convince others of these things. On the one hand, there is an urgent feeling of wanting to grab your loved ones and tell them bluntly, “God loves you so much he died for you,” etc.; and on the other hand, my feeling is that doing such a thing would create a huge uncomfortableness… but isn’t “uncomfortableness” really needed, before one can come to God? The “uncomfortableness” of realizing that you can’t do life without God? Pride can make that feel very humiliating, and who wants to humiliate others?

So I use that excuse, as well as the one that I’m not very good at “arguing” out the questions that people have. Even though I shouldn’t feel defensive, and be more trusting of God to work in spite of myself. I should just say that their questions are welcome, that they could go to Alpha to ask all those questions, that the important thing is that they just begin to ask… That they should at least investigate the evidence (for the resurrection, which is people’s main sticking point), etc. But I know I won’t.

I’ve often said that the most amazing miracles, are the ones that God does in people’s hearts. Perhaps one of those miracles needs to start in me. For Christians also, need to pay attention to the health of their souls.

 

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An Evening to Remember

Better write down these memories! A lot of it will be covered in the photos of course, which is something I still have to go through.

It all started with Rej saying we should have a party for me when I turn 60. Sam latched on to it, saying “Yeah, you never have a party for yourself, we should!” Then it was to decide how/what to do. While listening to some good old 60’s/70’s music, I was dancing as usual, and burst out with “I don’t want to be 60! I’d rather be a teenager!” So we decided to make the party on a Teenager theme, with dancing in the basement (like we used to do) to 70’s music (when I was a teenager), and late-night pizza. (There was  a question whether we’d be able to stay up that late, like we “used to do”, but it was no problem!) Sam saved up, and made a list of things to do, including urging me to make a slide show of photos–which were played on the tv screens both upstairs and down. (They included lots of other people who were in the photos as well.)

Two of my nieces were due to have babies right around the time of my birthday, so we chose the weekend before, to be sure that my sister and brother could make it. Then they BOTH ended up having their babies EARLY! :D

But my sister & husband did make it (my poor brother & wife came half-way, but he was on call, and got a call before he got here). Christine did an amazing job of decorating the place, while Sam & I were out picking up the cakes. Mom helped a lot (especially by things she had made before), and Dad blew up balloons. This part is covered pretty extensively in the photos: “roast”-type things (“nice” roasts) that were printed out, and scrap-book style memories that Mom had gathered with photos. I’m leaving those things for the LAST, to “clean up” after the party! In fact, this party is lasting awhile, when you think that Mom & Dad are coming over tomorrow to help us eat some of the leftover pizza, and the rest of the ice cream cake!

Thirty-odd people made it to the party, and it was quite wonderful seeing them all enjoy the 13-hour playlist of 60’s/70’s music that Sam had put together (remembering the songs, trying to guess the artists, etc.), enjoy each other, and a few of them even joined me to dance! Of course they enjoyed the pot luck supper as well, and the 70’s style root beer floats in mason jars, and the pretty penny-candy “store” that Christine had set up in the corner. (I remember how often we used to trek off to the corner store for such treats, and the special penny-candy sections that the small stores always had! No such things around these days!) Then there were TWO cakes, a Costco sheet cake (delicious filling!) and a scrumptious ice cream cake from Dairy Queen–both paid for by Sam. AND of course, the pizza arrived at 10:30, which he also paid for.

Each person who came was special. Dave was the first to arrive the week before, who had planned his yearly visit with Sam so that he could help out with the party. It ALWAYS feels like a holiday when he comes! Then came a couple from Toronto who we had met in our camping club years ago, who also bonded with us by going to the fitness club every morning (Rej & he), she also helped out at the kids’ club for awhile, and he was the one to call for a drive at 4 am, when Sam was on his way into this world!

The two other couples from Toronto: another camping club couple, who were younger like us, and who we used to spend a week’s holiday camping with sometimes; and Dave’s parents, who used to have us over fairly often for special meals (birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.). And several other friends in Toronto did send their regrets. When I included them in the invitations (Facebook Event), I didn’t really expect ANYONE to come all that way! But at least Penny got to visit her cousin while she was here. She also brought her two grandsons, who were amazingly well-behaved.

Of course I absolutely loved that my two BFF girlfriends from high school were able to make it. Glenda got up to dance quite a bit as well, and she looks soooo good! So these ladies pave the way for me not to be “afraid” of being 60, lol!

Crystal was there with her 6 kids (some the right age for Penny’s grandsons, yay), so I got to give a tour of my “new home” once again, and get all the “oohs” and “aaahs”. And I LOVE seeing the photos, and reminding myself that there were little girls in my house! They were playing upstairs for awhile before someone told them they shouldn’t, and when I went upstairs to bed, there was a huge pile of balloons in the corner beside my bed! I still have to go over the cards they made me.

Love that my cousin & family also made it, though it is a long drive from where they live in Quebec. She doesn’t believe in dancing, I think, but she kept smiling and giving me the “thumbs up” when I was up there twirling away–by myself at that point, I believe it was!

Of course, it was also gratifying to be able to show off my parents, and my HANDSOME brother! (I always talk about his looks, but he’s also very compassionate, smart, etc.!) There isn’t one of the guests, who if they hadn’t come, I would have been rather disappointed… Even though the disappointment of the few who couldn’t make it, did not really spoil anything. ;)

We were very glad that Rej’s niece and her boyfriend made it, and she even followed Christine’s suggestion of trying to dress to match the era–in her cute check-dress! I’d forgotten about that, but yes, I did wear several checkered clothes “back then”.

So the party was to start at 4 pm, with pot luck supper at 6, IF people wanted to come for that; then pizza at 10:30. Some left before the pizza, which was also expected.

When we chose the date, we didn’t even realize that it was a long weekend (Family Day), which turned out great for those coming with kids. It meant that we were able to eat up the leftovers (mostly), the next day with the two camping club couples, and have a great visit with them, playing Brain Strain afterwards (which is great for including the kids/Penny’s grandsons).

Some people brought gifts even though they weren’t supposed to. But you know, it’s really, really true: the BEST gift was the people being there!!

 

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…and you never knew it…

Someday, you’re going to look back and realize, when you think of the myriad special moments… someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, you’re going to think of all the wonders you’ve seen–intricate nature, fascinating science, amazing math-minds, beautiful music… fellowship of friends and family–

Someday, you’re going to realize, that God was there all along. That “the earth is FULL of the glory of the Lord!” (Isaiah 6:3)

Of course I knew this before, but a certain speaker I heard recently pointed it out to me afresh. Usually when I read that verse quoted above, I think of God’s creation in nature. But it’s also true about the one he created “in his own image”–the amazing qualities of man, and what man is able to do. And especially this: just because someone doesn’t realize it, doesn’t mean that God isn’t there working through them, resulting in all kinds of wonderful things that bring glory to God.

This is another way to think about what our pastor mentioned not too long ago, that just because something isn’t specifically “Christian” (talking about Christ or made by a Christian), doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy it as something from God. Which, as he said, is a temptation these days when Christians are creating a lot of quality art, etc.

So, when I’m working on fixing up my myriad of photos, it’s not a useless activity that has no purpose for God’s Kingdom. (Yes, I have wondered about it sometimes–it takes up so much time!) It’s something that can reflect God’s glory, and yes, even has the potential to point someone to God. The earth is full of the glory of the Lord! That verse has become my theme, these days… though it doesn’t have a lot to do with my One Word (love). :)

 

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Love is Everywhere

It would be impossible to make note of every time I come across the word “Love”, for my One Word for this year, so I’ve been trying to decide what to do with it. Even if I listed a Bible verse about love for every day of the year, they would never all be covered!

What I’ve decided, for now anyway, is to note the first reference I come to, each day; mostly coming back to edit this post. (Or at least, the first one when I remember to watch for it!) <EDIT: So now I’ve decided to change it up each season. The next season is LENT, but tomorrow (last day before Lent) I’ll decide what to do!>

Now, one final thing about love–about how it’s important to love yourself, in order to love others better. I’ve finally decided on my exercise goals for this season (and for my new fitbit): 6,000 steps to begin with, since I’ve been close to that a few times (the recommended 10,000 steps seems unattainable–though my Dad does it!) I’ll watch how that affects my “active minutes”, and adjust that goal accordingly. Right now it’s set at 15 minutes, which I don’t often reach, but when I do, it’s usually near 20 minutes. So we’ll see. My weight goal is just not to gain too much, and I’m NOT going to weigh myself very often! For example, I’m loathe to get on the scales so close to Christmas…

The trick is to care about these things without being obsessed about them.

EDITS for daily One Word (Love):

  • January 23 – in my prayer app under Interserve’s article about how God is using women in Iran: See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” (1 John 3:1) And I can’t help adding to that Compassion’s quote, “Christian love is more than a feeling. It includes a hatred for sin and a love for what is godly.”
  • January 24 – “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” (1 John 3:16-17, from Compassion devotional)
  • January 25 – “Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.” (Psalm 119:127, from my prayer app.)
  • January 26 – “Are these part of your prayer life? Worship, praise, gratitude, love, thankfulness, adoration.” (from Life of Christ gospel devotional, beginning study on The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father… hallowed be thy name...”)
  • January 27 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, from Compassion devotional).
  • January 29 – “…Their kings chained and hauled off to jail, their leaders behind bars for good, The judgment on them carried out to the letter–and all who love God in the seat of honor!” (from Psalm 149:8-9)
  • January 30 – LOVE OTTAWA: “the city-reaching effort in Canada’s capital that over the last 18 yrs has churches working and praying together to bless the city.” This organization is scheduled to come up regularly in my prayer app, as it did this morning.
  • January 31 – “I’m homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself! (from Psalm 119:174, prayer app)
  • February 2 – “What is desirable for a person is to show loyal love.” (Proverbs 19:22, prayer app “Get Wise”)
  • February 4 – “May we love others so much that we are delighted to share with others not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.” (from prayer app & 1 Thess. 2:8)
  • February 6 – (keep forgetting to think about this starting in the morning) “God’s Love for When You Feel Lonely, Try this tip the next time you need to feel God’s love.”  A Guideposts article that suggests when you’re lonely, writing notes to others who might feel lonely.
  • February 8 – On this day when Roseanne is to go in to have her baby, I’ve first found the word in Nancy Lahn’s post of her baby, sitting “naked as a jay bird” (as a baby), of Daniel, who turns 24 today! “Happy birthday to our super creative, hard-working, caring, wacky 24-year-old!!! Love you so much!”
  • February 9 – “May _____ love others more and more”, from prayer app, Biblical Prayers, 1 Thessalonians 4:10. Which goes right along with what I’ve just read in 1 John 4:20-21!
  • February 11 – (missed days means I forgot to think about it; today there may have been instances sooner, but I have to start looking when I remember…): Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3, from Compassion’s prayer-for-each-day for your compassion child.)
  • February 13 – “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.” (Proverbs 21:21, prayer app)
  • February 14th! “May he be overwhelmed with Your love,” – a good thing to pray for anyone!
  • February 25th – (Ach! So much love everywhere, all the time! How long can this continue? Bothering to make note of the first instance, I mean. Of course, I skipped a whole bunch… see the next posts!) – Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:2)
  • February 26 – “…even in the midst of deep sorrow, loss, or consequences from sin, God’s love for us is great…” (from prayer app Prayscripture.org), “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are  new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
  • February 27 – “Cause us to be united in and through the Trinity so that we might be united together, as a church, in love.” from prayer app
  • February 28 – “…Though you bring grief, You will show compassion, so great is Your unfailing love. (Lamentations 3:32, prayer app, prayscripture.org)

 

SUM for winter (Jan/Feb):

  • 12 out of 20 are from my prayer app;
  • 14 out of 20 are scripture;
  • 3 out of 20 are from Compassion;
  • 3 out of 20 are from devotionals;
  • a couple from articles, and one from Facebook!

 

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Compassion Requires Understanding

I’ve read over some really neat notes this morning, that I made from a Henri Nouwen article. It’s actually a blog post where I quote myself, talking about people having “sympathy” for us because of Rej and Sam.

And now I’ve written this post just to give you a link to something where I quote something else! Sorry about that, but you know what just hitting the “Share” button does… (causes people to flip by, assuming they’re like me…)

Another reason for doing this, is the subject matter, which has to do with my One Word for this year. Compassion, and getting to know people, wow, from 2007!

 

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