Monday, December 23, 2013

So Great a Love....

As we settle down and take a deep breath from all the activity involved in the celebration of Christmas - the shopping, gift decisions, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, sending greeting cards, anticipation of family gatherings, school, church and community events to attend; just to name a few.  It's time to say STOP and look beyond the seemingly endless list of doing, become quiet and tap into that spiritual silence where you find His Presence.  Allow His Peace to wash away the deadline of the "have to do list" by absorbing Him in reminder of so great a love, that He gave His only begotten Son. 

Jesus, the Christ!
... He came as the ultimate gift
... to give the ultimate sacrifice
... to become the ultimate Savior

I'd like to share a profound quote by St. Augustine which is worth reflecting on:
"He was created of a mother whom He created.  He was carried by hands that He formed.  He cried in the manger in wordless infancy.  He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute."

I hope you will take time out to watch the following music clip.  May you experience peace as you breathe in the words of the following song by Selah, "The Rose of Bethlehem".  Lowell Alexander wrote the lyrics with video clip by emmysue20You can also view at:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmjIcpIzHxo


 I invite you to check on my post entitled "The Infinite Holding Infinity" that was written on December 24, 2012, which includes "The Star" Christmas presentation.  You can locate it in the archives in the right column of this format or click on the below link:http://www.turn-uppatch.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-infinite-holding-infinity.html 

From The Turn-Up Patch, MERRY CHRISTMAS  to all my faithful readers.  May you catch the Light of Christmas this season and experience God's brilliance in the warmth of His Love throughout all the seasons of your life.  See you in the new year of 2014 on January 6.



















Monday, December 9, 2013

Life Lessons from Geese

I have taken many photographs of geese that fly into our area in the spring and predictably leave in the fall.  Grabbing my camera at the first sound of geese, I run to visible points to take pictures of these marvelous birds which make their descent onto the fields in our back pasture.  I look forward to the noisy honking of these migrating geese as they make their announcement that Spring has arrived in Grant County.  With the passing of the fall season, fields have become vacant of geese; another realization that winter is upon us.  We do have a few that stay and brave the winter season.   The photo below is one that I took several years ago.  These two geese are together throughout all the seasons on the ranch.  How do I know that they are the same two??  An educated guess, since they appear to be the only apparent pair who are in constant companionship throughout the year.

In my research on geese, I discovered that they mate for life and stay together throughout the year.  A goose can go into mourning at a loss of a mate and will often stay by himself for a while.  Eventually, they will find a new mate and begin anew. 
  
It is interesting to watch them fly in their characteristic V-formation, usually accompanied by their honking....
          Why fly in a V form?   Their wings create an uplift current for the bird immediately following.  It is an instinctive systematic design to increase strength and stability.  By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if a bird flew alone.  If one flies out of formation, it struggles with strength and speed and becomes weak in stamina.  It doesn't take long for the goose to find it's way back and integrate itself into formation for an easier flight.


          Why do they make a honking noise while in flight?  It was most interesting to find out that geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.  Also, when a lead goose gets tired, the bird has no problem in rotating to the back of the flock to let another goose take the lead point.
          What happens to the wounded or sick?   When wounded or sick, a goose flies out of formation and is accompanied by two other geese that stay with the bird until that goose is able to fly again or until he dies.  In either case, upon recovery or death, they launch out on their own or join another formation to catch up with their own group.
          What is migrant and what is resident?   Migration is moving from one region to another and geese are on the move from October through March and are known as migrating geese.  The flight range can be 2,000 - 3,000 miles.  Then there is the resident goose, which stays in the same region.  Their flight range is 100 - 200 miles but typically stay within a smaller radius.  I love this fact about the resident goose:  Resident geese can fly long distances such as their migratory cousins but they generally learn that it is not necessary.   Hmmmmm!  Maybe we could learn something about that.


People can learn a lot about improving their own human behavior in studying the attributes of geese.  Not only can we learn about depth of commitment but also the depths of encouragement, support, alliance and cohesion.  As humans, we are part of a greater whole, forming our circles of families and friends in expansion of community; regional and global.  We are also spiritual beings formed with the intent of our heavenly Father......          
                      ... to rise above our circumstance
                      ... to follow in the current of His leading "up-lift" for an easier flight
                      ... to have commitment in relationship towards our Lord and significant others
                      ... to have time proven friends who stay by your side, adding a deep richness
                          in the physical and spiritual experience of life                                          
I'm sure you could think of many more ways to use in analogy that we have with this winged creation of God. The above are just a few in reflection.

I put together the following PhotoShow entitled "Wings of Freedom",  with various photographs taken of geese throughout the past few years. They co-habit the pasture with horses, an occasional dog (who pays no attention to the geese) and other forms of birds.  However, they did take objection to a two-legged critter (meaning me) if I tried to approach them in their territory.  So I stayed my distance and thanks to the invention of "zoom", was able to get a few close up shots.  Some pictures show a little hillside scenery in this beautiful valley where the geese return every year.  The photos of a species of geese, called "snow geese" were taken in Burns, Oregon.  They are all white with black tipped wings.....



I came across this saying...  "The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white.  Neither need you do anything but be yourself." - Lao Tzu    Now there's a statement that gives some food for thought!

See you at the Turn-Up Patch for my next post on December 23Since we are in the advent of Christmas, let it be less about shopping and more about a defining moment when God entered our realm to take on human form, which forever changes the dynamics of destiny.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Leaves & Laughter


As predicted, Autumn arrived and visited our area in the glorious array of color that only the season of Fall can bring.   God's handiwork in creation is to be admired, as we are treated to golden leaves with touches of orange and red among forest trees and countryside shrubs.  Since we are nearing the end of fall, declared by trees naked of leaves, the landscape now resembles twigs and branches devoid of color and form.  Spring and summer have had their way giving blossoms of color and richness of green to delight our human world in the vision of nature in beauty and smell.


The above photo was taken several years ago at a friend's house while raking an abundance of fall leaves.  Work turned into play, resulting in a fun shot of being engulfed by such a pile!  It's also great to take a walk through such leaves and listen to the crunching sounds beneath your feet.  Aahh!  We all need to take time out to be kids at heart in a much too often serious world.

Laughter is good for the soul.  Scripture says in Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones."   Have you ever sat and listened to the laughter of a child or children??  It is so contagious, you find yourself laughing along with them.  It is a melody of gladness which makes one want to join in the experience of lighthearted moments in the world of a child.  I posted this 20 second sound clip of a baby's laughter just in case you haven't heard an innocent's laughter in a while; I hope it brings you a smile.  You can also hear it at:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5KBCu3Wre4

 

If the season of Autumn had sound, I'm sure we'd hear a crescendo in the rise of colors from muted green to sun tipped yellows, blazing orange and heated reds.  If we listened close enough, perhaps we could hear the laughter of leaves playing in the wind or riding the breeze as they float or soar through currents of air in a final act of cycle.  The tree, barren as it looks, continues on with life flowing inwardly, invisible to the human eye, yet ready to produce its wonder of foliage upon the advent of Spring. 

We are treated to the changing season of Fall and only need to drive a short distance before we are in the forested hills surrounding the John Day Valley.  The Tamarack tree is prevalent among the evergreens as they burst forth in their lacy beauty of yellow, which distinguishes them from the ordinary.  You can make a scenic drive from John Day to Baker City, about 80 miles in distance, to enjoy the brilliant autumn splash of the tamarack dotting the forest countryside.
Since I have compiled a number of Autumn photos that I took during the past few years, I chose some to put in a PhotoShow entitled "Autumn Glory" for viewing.  Most were taken in Grant County and around the "neighborhood" in the John Day Valley.  The neighborhood consists of Dayville, Mt. Vernon, John Day and Prairie City, all situated on Highway 26, which continues into the woodland towards Baker City.  This country is also known as "High Desert".... which I've never understood since desert means to me, sand dunes and the odd sagebrush.  It is beautiful country here, often referred to as God's Country.  For those of you who have not traveled to Eastern Oregon, you can catch a glimpse of this part of the country and get an idea of the scenery here.  Since the population count is low, there are definitely more trees than people!
You can also view at this link:   http://www.photoshow.com/watch/nN6NT9Yb


 In closing, I wish you all a BLESSED & HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  Remember to discover humor and along with it, do smile often, laugh hard and delight yourself in the little things in life, such as autumn leaves.

Tune in for my next post on December 9 at The Turn-Up Patch.  Until then, here is a quote from Paulo Coelho:  "When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.  When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."



Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day Honor

November 11 of each year is a day set aside to honor all American veterans to ensure that they know the deep appreciation of sacrifices made in the noble protection of freedom.  As I began to write this post in salute to our veterans, I realize within myself that I have no idea of the personal experience belonging solely to the veteran.  They are a unique class of men and women who bear the identity of "veteran", which bonds them for life.  Strangers shake hands on the street, in the community, in the market place, greeting each other with respect in the discovery of mutual military service.   Our lives intermingle with these ones who know a sacrifice and a passion for their country that so many of us take for granted.  In my personal life, my husband served as a US Marine; my brother-in-law, a Navy Seal; and my uncle, in the Air Force.

Photo credit to Raymond Malkiewicz


The photo above says so much in respect.  Perhaps he knew the depth of cost and paid the price in the journey of his life in military service, as so many others have.   Perhaps by struggling to stand up from his wheelchair and brace himself for strength, could he acknowledge with his body, a standing salute.  Perhaps a sense of pride for the American flag,  and to the Republic for which it stands, and all the military flags, symbolizing patriotic duty.  Perhaps a remembrance of lost family member in the casualty of war.  As these ones pass before him in military formation, perhaps he speaks a whisper in his heart that says "God be with them".

I am adding a few more photos to this post that I took this morning at the Memorial service in our valley town of John Day, held in honor of those men and women who have served in our country's military.  The first photo is of Robert Riddell, who served in World War II as a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps, as it was known in that day.  He is now 93 years of age and came to acknowledge and show respect for the veteran.


I came across this article written by Father Denis Edward O'Brien, M.M. (Maryknoll Missionaries) USMC, born 1923 - died 2002.   His words say it all......

WHAT IS A VET?
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking.
 

What is a vet?
He is  the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is  the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She (or he)  is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is  the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.
He is  the drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is  the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is  the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is  the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is  the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is  an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is  a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".   


It's the soldier, not the reporter,
Who gave us our freedom of the press.
It's the soldier, not the poet,
Who gave us our freedom of speech.
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who gave us our freedom to demonstrate.
It's the soldier, Who salutes the flag,
....  Who serves others with respect for the flag,
....  And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
....  Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.


Father Denis Edward O'Brien M.M./USMC 
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

In closing, the following clip is a fitting tribute to our veterans across the land who have tasted a slice of life which only they can understand in bitter/sweet experience.  They are Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard and includes the National Guard, as well.  They have been both warrior and peace keeper in investing of themselves to guard and to insure the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this land of liberty, called America.
 Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) - US Marines;  
Aim High... Fly-Fight-Win - US Air Force
Semper Paratus (Always Ready) - US Coast Guard
Non sibi sed patraiae (Not for Self but Country) - US Navy
This We'll Defend - US Army 
Always Ready, Always There - US National Guard

T H A N K   Y O U !

The video is presented by msouders37 on YouTube and is entitled "This is Still the Land of the Free" and  performed by Tussing Elementary 3rd Grade - 2011 Michael Souders (BMI/CCLI)

You can also view this video athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcTj7uM-dJA


Join me on November 25, for our next meeting at The Turn-Up Patch.





Monday, October 28, 2013

Centennial, Scarecrows & Dayville, Oregon

I'd like to introduce you to a fun little town in the midst of our beautiful John Day Valley in Eastern Oregon, called Dayville.   It is one of four cities or towns which lies along US Route 26 in Grant County and is distinct in its western history and style. It is a town with a lot of heart and colorful locals where humor can abound.  One such display of humor is this sign, which welcomes you to Dayville as you approach from the west or the east side of Highway 26......

A few facts about Dayville:
-  It is the 17,583rd largest city in the United States as of 2012, according to the "Biggest US Cities" website. The locals will find humor in that since it has a population of 147 in the latest consensus statistics.
-  It lies 125 miles east of Bend and 233 miles from Portland, Oregon.  It also is located about 17 miles east of the Shoe Tree  that I wrote about in my post, "Highway 26, a Shoe Tree & Voyage".
-  Located 9 miles from the John Day Fossil Beds, it is the Eastern gate to this area and the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, which is full of ancient dinosaur history.
-  It was first a stage stop on a military road in the late 1800's and many old buildings remain today.

Dayville is currently hosting a Centennial, since the town was incorporated as a city in 1913.  As unique as the town is, they celebrate in exclusive style; one such being "The Scarecrow Contest" that is currently happening and a Kickoff for their Fall Festival.   Throughout the town, you are greeted with an unusual sight of a lineup of individual creations of scarecrows on poles or fences for this Harvest season.  Since the weather was beautiful and while all the scarecrows were still in tact, I grabbed my camera for a photo shoot and headed for Dayville. I was not disappointed at the array of scarecrow personalities stationed on both sides of the street in a whimsical fashion display.
"I'm just as cute"... signed, the cat!
In traditional country style, the Centennial Fall Kickoff also included a contest for homemade baked goods and a decorated pumpkin contest.  Along with a silent auction, potluck dinner and hayrides, they held a dance in their community hall.  These folks know how to do good ol' country fun.   

Another word for scarecrow is strawman.  There were plenty of strawmen (and even a few straw-women) on the street for all to admire. Children, teens, adults and community merchants enthusiastically created these "works of art" for all to enjoy - even to a headless horseman.  Since there was such a variety,  I complied them into a PhotoShow along with some Dayville scenery and buildings.  So, my dear readers, sit back and relax while you watch this fun video along with toe-tapping music by Janelle Donovan, called "Apple Tree". You can click on the icon for large located on the bottom photoshow bar for full screen of the video.  More detail in the photographs show up in the full screen view. 
You can also watch it at this link:  http://www.photoshow.com/watch/EE9dI9zJ


I found out that Dayville is also doing a '100 ACTS OF KINDNESS' in honor of their Centennial as a community effort.  Now what a great idea is that!  This noble endeavor, launched with their Fall Festival Kickoff, will be ongoing throughout July 4th, 2014.  There are many adjectives describing the word kind, but basically an act of kindness means to do good towards others.  This should be an action that we all demonstrate in our daily lives but for a town to celebrate kindness as a centennial banner is exceptional.  

A big  SALUTE  to Dayville!


Come, visit me again two weeks from now at the Turn-Up Patch on November 11...  see you then!




Monday, October 14, 2013

Blessings and St. Francis of Assisi

Who was Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (nickname, "Francesco")?  Who was St. Francis of Assisi?  They are one and the same person who impacted Christianity in many ways.  A few facts out of many:
-  A mystic, Saint Francis had one basic rule:  "To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in His footsteps". 
-  He believed that actions were the best example in telling his followers to "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words".
-  Born in Assisi, Italy in 1182 and died in 1226 at 44 years of age
-  A Catholic friar who founded the Franciscan Order characterized by a life of simplicity, poverty and love for the poor.
-  He set up the first known Nativity scene to celebrate Christmas in 1220
-  Stories abound of how St. Francis could communicate with animals and felt at one with all creation.  One such story bears repeating in this blog: 

St. Francis Preaches to the Birds:
Father Francis and his companions were making a trip through the Spoleto Valley near the town of Bevagna. Suddenly, Francis spotted a great number of birds of all varieties. There were doves, crows and all sorts of birds. Swept up in the moment, Francis left his friends in the road and ran after the birds, who patiently waited for him. He greeted them in his usual way, expecting them to scurry off into the air as he spoke. But they moved not. Filled with awe, he asked them if they would stay awhile and listen to the Word of God. He said to them: “My brother and sister birds, you should praise your Creator and always love him: He gave you feathers for clothes, wings to fly and all other things that you need. It is God who made you noble among all creatures, making your home in thin, pure air. Without sowing or reaping, you receive God’s guidance and protection.”
At this the birds began to spread their wings, stretch their necks and gaze at Francis, rejoicing and praising God in a wonderful way according to their nature. Francis then walked right through the middle of them, turned around and came back, touching their heads and bodies with his tunic.
Then he gave them his blessing, making the sign of the cross over them. At that they flew off and Francis, rejoicing and giving thanks to God, went on his way.
Later, Francis wondered aloud to his companions why he had never preached to birds before. And from that day on, Francis made it his habit to solicitously invoke all birds, all animals and reptiles to praise and love their Creator. And many times during Francis’ life there were remarkable events of Francis speaking to the animals. 

People of all faiths can appreciate St. Francis in his love of nature and of all the creatures that live on this planet with us.  Animal lovers can easily identify with his philosophy, as he expressed in these words:  "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."    In honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, it is customary for some churches to hold ceremonies that include a blessing for animals on or near his feast day, which is October 4th.  Both young and old participate in this tradition that is over 200 years old.
"...to know me is to love me"
I have had the privilege of taking photos on several occasions of parishioners and guests who bring their beloved pets in thankfulness to God in celebration of love. I enjoy the moments of expressed sweet innocence and trust through the eyes of children and how their favorite pets respond in unconditional love.  Extension of family is evident from the two-legged to the four-legged critters as they wait their turn for a splash of holy water in blessing.  One little person even brought her pet crab for a blessing, which was tucked away in a special box she was holding.  You can imagine the surprise when she lifted the lid!  Yes, God's creatures come in all shapes and sizes!  

I put together the following PhotoShow for your enjoyment.  It begins with a bit of humor - some of you may have seen this message already regarding the billboard dispute about "all dogs go to heaven".  After this unique prelude, is my story through photographs aptly describing the title, 'Blessing of the Animals or Animals are a Blessing'My thanks to Father Julian Cassar,  for giving me the opportunity to capture such blessings in the visual medium of photography, where words cannot do justice.

 

You can also view at this link: http://www.photoshow.com/watch/rV3FS2iS

A few words about Fr. Julian.... he began his journey as a priest in Malta, which led to America to minister in churches in New York and on to Eastern Oregon in John Day and Baker City.   May God bless him abundantly as he moves on to his new assignment at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Bend, Oregon.  Also a gifted photographer, you can view some of his work on a July 15, 2013 post entitled "...and So God Made a Photographer (Part 1)".  With camera in tow, I'm sure he'll discover much beauty in the Central Oregon area to share.  I can think of no better way to send him off than in the peace prayer of St. Francis, so popular with people of all faiths and in which he personifies.  
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy. 
O Divine Master, 
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Join me in two weeks, October 28th, at The Turn-Up Patch.  See you then!
 

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Cross in Amazing Grace

I was asked to take photographs of a recent celebration of the 75th Jubilee Anniversary of a little parish nestled in our valley.      St. Elizabeth of Hungary in John Day began its journey in 1938 and has persevered in faith these past 75 years.  I did a little study on St.Elizabeth, namesake of the church, who was born in 1207 and died at the young age of 24.  The condensed version is that she was an exceptional woman of God, who gave up luxury to tend to the poor and sick.  She is generally represented as a princess graciously giving alms to the wretched poor or as holding roses in her lap.  In the latter case, she is portrayed either alone or as surprised by her husband, who, according to a legend, met her unexpectedly as she went secretly on an errand of mercy and the bread she was trying to conceal suddenly turned into roses.  She is a symbol of Christian charity.

We often read about saints of old who experienced extraordinary happenings and the Bible is full of related miracles by the hand of God and dramatically so in both Old and New Testaments.  Miracles occur in our present time; most are silent unlike dramatic and we can almost miss the whisper of God in our daily lives.  I would like to share with you a phenomenon that I can't explain, which appeared in one particular photo taken at the Jubilee Mass.  I refer to the photo to the bottom left, where you see the appearance of  light coming diagonally from the top side of the cross, underneath the hand of Jesus.  I remember that shot distinctly since my camera was having difficulty focusing, which never happens.  I immediately reviewed it on my digital camera and saw the light, which had not been visible to my naked eye.  Of all the altar photos that were taken such as the one on the right, there is no stream of light - only this particular one.  I was not using a camera flash since it is too intrusive in such settings.

Since it is so unusual, there will be mixed perspectives in viewpoint.  Someone claimed it was a reflection, but there was no reflective agent to cast the markings of such a light.  Another felt that it was a Godly inspiration and can only be explained in the light of faith.  And another told me that miracles exist in the eye of the beholder so I leave this up to you, my dear readers, to ponder.

There are various denominations under the umbrella of Christianity and the unifying factor is the Christ, the Cross and Resurrection Life. His Divine Light meets in the altar of our hearts in sweet communion.  I view the Cross as the Throne of Jesus, the Messiah, where the forces of light and dark met and from where Light prevailed and tore the temple veil.  The following is a beautiful expression of thought written by St. Andrew of Crete regarding his message on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ...."Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honourable.  It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation - very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory."   His victory became our salvation through His amazing grace in forgiveness and acceptance as we are or 'just as I am'.

The word Eucharist  is a beautiful Greek word with rich meanings of thanksgiving and communion.  I enjoy the shape of the communion host, which is perfectly round.  It reminds me not only of the holiness but also the wholeness of God available to me and to you every moment of our lives.  His wholeness fills all my holes of imperfection in the marbling of human nature in light and dark.

In my own belief, communion is an outward expression of an inward experience of love with the Divine.   
It was articulated  when the Word or expression of God was made flesh and dwelt among us...
It was finished  when the Word or expression of God, in beaten flesh, dwelt upon a tree to die in order to save....  
It was transforming  when the Word or expression of God, in resurrected flesh, made available His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of mankind.   
It is consummated  within our vessel of flesh as the dwelling place for intimacy in becoming one with the Father of Lights - the Son, who is the Light of the world - the Spirit, who is our guiding Light.


I share a little with you about my personal journey through varied Protestant denominations and Catholicism. I have sat in ministry through priest and pastor, including a woman minister.  I have been in services where worship music brought you to your knees in adoration.  Scripture opened up to me as living Rhema through those who taught and preached the Word of God.  There is another place where I journeyed, one in which I call, "the sheep of My pasture". In this place, there are many who are deep believers in Jesus, their Shepherd.  For varied personal reasons, these are ones who prefer not to attach themselves to church structure but rather attach themselves in living relationship with the Christ.   Since we all bear the name Christian, it is time to look at our Common Denominator who is Lord of all.  It is time to lay aside differences and join in a community of heart for the sake of the Cross.  There is strength in being united to cast a great Light across the land to combat ensuing darkness.  

This past week, we have witnessed such darkness in the slaughter of innocents in Kenya and in Pakistan by an extremist belief gone amuck in distortion, resulting in the frenzy to kill.  There is a quote I recently discovered by Pablo Neruda:  "You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming".  Many flowers have been cut down needlessly in these attacks against God's precious creation, but spring will prevail as it has in the past, in the present and in the future determination of time.

The following link is given if you would like to read in full St. Andrew's discourse on the cross:
http://www.christophersmith-op.com/2011/09/14/the-feast-of-the-exaltation-of-the-holy-cros


As we enter the season of Fall, please meet me again at The Turn-Up Patch in two weeks.... October 14th.  'See'  you then!











Monday, September 16, 2013

Peace, Gratitude, Friendship & Guinness

Several important events this month are processing on planet earth as a united voice on a global scale.  One took place on Saturday, September 7th.  Pope Francis called for this day to become a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world.  He extended this invitation as a grassroots cry for peace that was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in vigils around the world.  Pope Francis stated this:  "This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully:  Violence and war are never the way of peace!  May the noise of weapons cease!"  In the Vatican alone, there were 100,000 who took part in the Rome event.   

The other will take place on September 21, which is World Gratitude Day.  This began in 1965 at the International East-West Center in Hawaii during a Thanksgiving Dinner.  At the dinner, attendees pledged to hold a Gratitude Gathering the following September 21st in their home countries.  This grew to be an annual event on a global level.  World Gratitude Day is described as "a holiday for all peoples, a day of meditation for all religions, a day of celebration for all humanity, united by knowledge of simultaneously shared emotion, a day when triumph of the spirit can make a world community."

While World Gratitude Day is celebrated once a year, this annual occasion reminds us we should all be grateful for each and every day we have. As the summer days have rolled into September and the advent of fall, I am thankful for the occurrences of beauty in every day surprises.  The photo below is one I took several weeks ago captured in the early morning hour.  A welcome rain had fallen the night before resulting in a low-lying fog that drifted over pastures and hills as daylight broke.  I felt grateful to be a witness to God's indescribable beauty, which He displays in nature in a landscape that speaks of peace.


I had another September surprise with an early morning ultra-light "fly-by" with the American flag.  Our local patriot will do this on occasion as a reminder of our country's history in sacrifice and the mark of God, which the flag represents.  (See post on "Identity of the American flag", Monday July 1, 2013 - archives located in the right column of this page written in red text.)   I view the flag as a symbolic sentry over this nation in the safeguard for freedom and peace.


























I am also grateful for family and friends who enrich my life.  My Father of Lights has blessed me many times through the love, support and encouragement that I have received from these special ones throughout the years.  Where would we be if there were not people in our lives who truly cared.  They are treasured gifts in my life who walk beside me in this journey of life and reaches into the eternal, our true home.

I recently viewed this commercial, which is rich in character and substance in its message.  Some commercials that we view have more of these two attributes than some of the shallow sit-coms and reality shows they sponsor.  Basketball is a rigorous sport, even more so when played within the confines of a wheelchair.  The attitude is determination, showing skills learned without the use of legs. The surprise ending leaves one feeling humbled and in awe of the camaraderie and friendship which has been built between these men to make another man's life a happier place in their commitment to such a friendship.   Such wonderful things can happen when people pull together for the good of others; be it peace we all yearn for in the world, gratitude for what we have and for selfless actions in the intention of God to love one another.  Watch this and be inspired!  I do have to say that if Guinness would make the nations behave this way in good will... let's all have a round throughout the world.....


You can also view this video by clicking on the below link, presented by Edward Heising.  He published the clip on YouTube on September 3rd.  As of this date, there have been over 5,000,000 views.  The commercial itself was created by BBDO New York with music "To Build a Home" by Cinematic Orchestra.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwndLOKQTDs 


Until we meet again at the Turn-Up Patch on Monday, September 30th;  here's a quote for you by William A. Ward.... God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say 'thank you?'



Monday, September 2, 2013

Rosie the Riveter and Doris

On the first Monday in September, the United States observes Labor Day, which pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It also recognizes the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and betterment of our country.  It was created in the late 19th century by the labor movement and became a federal holiday in 1894.  Labor Day is symbolic of summer's end and is celebrated with events from parades to sports.

I'd like to honor women (and a special woman) in this post in recognition of a defining moment in history, in which women made an impacting contribution during World War II.  Thousands of women took up traditionally masculine and dirty jobs in factories, assembly plants and shipyards.  By working in previously male-dominated manufacturing jobs, women helped the United States fight the war while the men fought over seas. Norman Rockwell's painting of "Rosie the Riveter" says it well in his illustration for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943, which was the Memorial Day issue.  Note the price on the cover of 10 cents!

There was a popular song at the time "Rosie the Riveter", the lyrics of which celebrate the female factory workers of the war effort.  It is presumed that Norman Rockwell created his iconic painting in reference to this song.  Rosie shows attitude in confidence and strength in bringing her ability to carry out a job, which was considered a man's occupation.  It was representative of the times, showing American spirit and patriotic symbolism.  With the American flag in the background, Rosie wears buttons and pins on her clothes, including a "V" for victory.  It is interesting to note that Rockwell posed his model to match the Sistine Chapel ceiling image of the prophet Isaiah, painted by Michelangelo in 1509.  The resemblance to Isaiah, even with a halo above her head, implies that she is fighting for the cause of God and to preserve the American Way.
An excellent website for more information on Rosie the Riveter, can be found at:
http://www.pophistorydig.com/?p=877

The special woman I referred to is not in regard to Rosie but rather to Doris, my mother-in-law, who is now 91 years of age.  She was an original Rosie the Riveter in the shipyards of California for a short time during the war effort.  An able-bodied woman, fierce in dignity and independence, she did what she could to survive during hard times.  With her gumption to stand up for herself, combined with a keen wit and pointed words, she was a force to be reckoned with.   Doris is now in a care facility, her able body now withered and confined to a wheel chair and her mind confused with bouts of dementia.  In her more lucid moments, and to her credit, she still has her keen wit and pointed words - a reminder of a woman who had to make her own way in a world that was not as gender friendly as we know today.  If you take a close look at the first photo below of Doris and then closely look at the painting of Rosie the Riveter, you can catch the similarity in attitude of the two women; one created in an artist's mind and the other created by the experience of life.

Yesterday's challenges with attitude
Today's challenges with resilience
We must always be mindful of the contributions that the majority of the elderly have made in our society, both men and women.  They may not have always done it right, but they did the best they could with the knowledge and emotional makeup that they had throughout their years.  From generation to generation, their hands were "put to the plow" to eke out a living and were a driving force in changing the face of America in the progress of industry and technology.  They are to be admired and respected for their enduring length of years in contribution to the workforce, the backbone of America.

Salute to Doris!... a survivor who was a woman determined to get through tough times, proving herself in a man's world.  She was a crack shot, teaching her sons how to hunt, shoot, kill and skin a deer for meat on the table.  For a time, as a single Mom, she rolled up her sleeves and joined the workforce in diversified occupations from beautician to store clerk.  She was an expert rider and could match a man in rounding up sheep and cattle as a hired ranch hand.  To this day, she still retains a love for horses and enjoys looking at photos in horse magazines and watching western movies.  And yes, she also was a "Rosie, the Riveter".


See you again at the Turn-Up Patch, two weeks from now on Monday, September 16th.   

Monday, August 19, 2013

Can a Flower Speak?

Spring gives birth to a beautiful season called summer in which the expression of nature takes on a life of its own.  Colors, fragrance, design and distinctive sound can tantalize our senses from sight, to smell, to shape, to vibration.  I'd like to emphasize one such creation as flowers, which come in so many varieties enticing a human's imagination to produce works of art.  This comes in the form of flower gardens, florist arrangements and an array of creativity in jewelry, perfume, paintings and photography in the expression of the essence of a flower.  Nature has it's own display in a diversity of wildflowers scattered in fields and mountains to be enjoyed.  

Colors are exquisite and cover the spectrum in series of light, each commanding attention to its characteristic hue.  
The fragrance of flowers is uniquely different according to the specific flower.  The aroma is not only attractive to a human, but the scent of a flower attracts insects and birds in pollination.
The shape of a flower comes in all forms and sizes, having a basic structure common to the flower plant, but differ in distinctive features in appearance.
The sounds of a flower.... does a flower speak?  Not audibly, but if you truly notice a flower, their blooms can speak volumes in their own language.  Have you ever heard of "floriography"?  Since botany began, flowers give meaning and symbolism through their hundreds of years in existence.  Take for example, the Bleeding Heart.....

I have always admired the beauty of the bleeding heart blossom. It is a favorite of mine along with the magnificent rose.  Both are indicative of love but I'd like to reflect on the bleeding heart in today's post.  Its delicate beauty speaks loudly through its simplicity.  No other plant has a perfect heart-shaped flower and the blossoms are considered a symbol of undying love and stand for elegance and fidelity.  

Spiritually speaking, the bleeding heart brings to mind the compassion of heart expressed in 1 Peter 3:8..."All of you should be of one mind.  Sympathize with one another.  Love each other as brothers and sisters.  Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude."  
The medieval name and/or religious meaning is "Mary's Heart", suggesting the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life and the beauties of the soul of the Virgin Mary.

If you turn a bleeding heart blossom upside down and pull the two halves apart, use your imagination and you will see a lady in a pink bathtub, or perhaps a white lyre with strings of silk.  You can also press the flowers between the pages of a heavy book and use these tiny hearts in decorating letters, cards, a valentine message or create a bookmark.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There is a beautiful quote built on three key words, blossom, fragrance and influence.  I leave you with this thought...."The blossom cannot tell what becomes of its fragrance as it drifts away, just as no person can tell what becomes of their influence as they continue through life". ~ Unknown
This is a suitable message for me regarding flowers.  I have decided to take more time to "stop and smell the roses", which is necessary for freshness in perspective and inspiration.  I will be posting every two weeks instead of on a weekly basis on my blog.  With that being said, here's an old Irish blessing for you, my readers, "Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand."
See you on Monday, September 2...    I hope you will continue to meet me at The Turn-Up Patch.

 
 

 
 
 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Glass

Many of you are familiar with the scenario of the glass and about attitude as to how we view our experiences in life. Several philosophical theories have been developed about the glass, which can contain liquid, being full or half-filled, or remaining empty.    The following illustrations give the varied narratives about the glass....

Regarding the theme of the glass, it promotes the idea of a school of thought, whether it is towards pessimism, optimism, opportunity, a realist or an enlightened moment.  Here are some of the underlining forces that can determine how one lives their life either for growth and increase or loss and stagnation:
1.  Choice
2.  Perspective
3.  Personal Filter
4.  Life Experience
5.  Influence
6.  Gratitude or lack of
7.  Belief System
8.  Counting Blessings

  
There is a scripture in Philippines 4: 12, 13, which states:  
"I know what it is like to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty.  In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me".   
                                                         
The secret that Paul is referring to is the secret of contentment, whether his glass in life was half full or half empty or completely full or completely empty.  His station in life did not account for his happiness or contentment.  This secret was His reliance on One who was beyond himself.  He discovered an 'alive' God who became his sustaining strength throughout the good times and the bad, and yes, the empty times as well.  One of the meanings of contentment is to have a peace to dwell in.  It would be wonderful to reach a maturity level to walk through the sunshine and storms of life where inner peace is not disturbed.  As Philippines 4:7 says, "and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."

In looking through images of the glass, I discovered this one that really has something to say.  The glass is shown half filled but it is full of the winged presence of butterflies and doves, both representative of renewing life through God's Holy Spirit.  You can look at the photo below and see out of your own personal perspective.  To me, it becomes my life (the glass), which is full of possibilities and purpose.  His Divine Life flowing within me should not be obstructed by whatever circumstance I find myself in.  God's Presence breaks the barriers of circumstance, and becomes an outward expression of an internal state of being.  I discover peace in the progression of Life within 'the glass'.


Until next Monday, see you again at the Turn-Up Patch.  In the meantime, have a great week and  may you be blessed with contentment and peace as only God can bring.......