Tuesday, February 26, 2019

It Is, It Was


My husband, Danny, has never proclaimed himself a writer.  Mr. Engineer is his title.  Yet, in the wake of the passing of his mother, Mimi, he has penned words I cannot match.  I've found at times that when we experience moments of overwhelming grief, God grants us extraordinary gifts.  This is Danny's God-inspired offering.  He is my most welcomed guest blogger today.  I hope you will leave him some love and affirmation in the comment section.  Love and blessings, my friends!

Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land
the Lord your God is giving you.
~Exodus 20:12


So . . .
It is
I was saved
From death
For an unknown reason
Till
My mother became ill from life
And now . . .
I am alive
To tend to her final days
I live to be here to take care of her
In her final days on this Earth
She has always been my watcher
And now I am hers
The circle of life
It is
What it is
My father asked that I watch over her
And I have
His Bessie Bones, don't know what that means
But it is private no doubt
I have nearly completed the task
My watch is not yet over
But it is near
Tonight we hear a ghostly bell
Both of us at the same time
Not a sound of this abode
For whom the bell tolls
Frightening
Unknown
Expected, yet not
God messaged us
Is it time
Don't know
Morning tells
And then
It was.

~Danny Orlando

Amen!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Home

Danny's beloved mother, and my dearest mother-in-love, passes away in her sleep in the wee hours of February 20th.  She's endured an immensely difficult week, her health seeming to hang, moment by moment, by a tenuous thread.  God, in His great mercy, prepares our hearts for her immanent departure.  It is in the aftermath of one of those "on the brink of death"moments that He gives me the words of the poem which follows.  I share it with you, my friends, as a tribute to this headstrong, God-following, fiercely loving woman, who was never afraid to grab life by the horns and ride it for all it was worth.

We love you, Mimi, we miss you, and we always will until we join you one day.  Rejoice in the amazing mansion your Lord and Savior, Jesus, has prepared for you out of His endless and eternal love and grace.


John 14:2
My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

When she grips my hand
In desperation, warm
The touch, skin to skin
Hers, paper thin
Mine supple.  Reminder
Of the present moment
When life, in balance, hangs
We cling, cannot let go
Choose to fight, surrender
Not an option.  Never!
I urge her to hold on
Return to living lands
When perhaps, I should
Instead, help her embrace
The place she can call home.

Amen

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Bleak Midwinter

Psalm 74:17
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth';
you made both summer and winter.

When I gaze upon bleak midwinter
It's easy to assume the negative
To dismiss the call to forgive
And forget salvation's healing way
Under winter's grip, we slog and toil
Mired in bricks and straw, whips to back
Yet back to back, we stand, yearn and lean
Into the One; the everlasting promise
Declares that summer, stalwart, comes again

Amen!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Build the Wall



Nehemiah 2:17
Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in:  Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.  Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace."

Recently, my husband, Danny, decides that the rotting logs supporting our retaining wall below our front deck are simply not dependable.  He's determined to take action before more heavy rains, by which we've been plagued this winter, elect to make another inconvenient appearance.  We can't afford to have an invasion of top soil pouring onto our driveway, and into the woods and creek beyond.  And if you look closely at the photo above, you can see those defective and decaying logs, which once valiantly tried to create a border, piled above the wall's prep site.

Danny "hires" his youngest son, Nicco, to execute the task.  Together, they take measurements, head to Home Depot, and return with the materials necessary to complete the project.  It requires planning, dedication and sweat, but the result?  Take a look and be amazed!





Yes, our wall is firm, set in concrete, and will work to keep the valuable top soil above it to remain contained and preserved on our property.  As Christians, Danny and I feel strongly about being good stewards of God's creation.  This wall, in its own humble way, serves to protect our local environs.  And that's a good thing!

~

When Nehemiah beholds the disgraceful state of his beloved Jerusalem, besieged and beleaguered, he is heartbroken.  His longing and determination to rebuild the walls is to safeguard God's holy city.  In my reading of this book in the Old Testament, it wasn't that outsiders would never be welcomed, but its goal centered on protection for those who worshiped the one true God.  That needed to be Israel's first and foremost priority.

Because, you see, Nehemiah understood that walls, erected with the right intentions, were necessary to defend the integrity and well-being of a people.  God's people.

And I think, in this day and time, most Americans understand this concept, too.

Amen!




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On the Right Track


2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Unexpected, but so welcomed, I receive a handwritten thank you note from a dear friend who takes me up on my recent offer to provide church libraries with copies of my novels.  The words she pens confirm the prodding I felt from God to do so.

Dear Martha,
Thank you so much for your books!  I appreciate your kindness so very much!
May God keep using you to His glory and to bless others as you often bless me.

My breath is taken away . . .

That I bless others?  Oh, yes, Lord, that's what I long to do, and that someone, this delightful and selfless friend in Christ, takes the time to acknowledge my purpose?  There are no words to express my thanks for that!

As Christian bloggers and readers, we truly do strive to make a difference in this world for the sake of Christ Jesus.  It is my motivation, my calling, my drive.  I'm sure it's yours, too, whether you blog or not, never allowing a day to go by without thanking God for all His blessings too infinite to number.

But grateful and humble, we must be, every time God graces what we say and do with the light of His glory.

And amazingly, within a week of receiving the first handwritten thank you, another arrives from a devoted blogger, Pastor Bill (You can connect with him here and here), thanking me for my contribution to his upcoming cycling marathon to benefit MS research.

Martha,
Words fail me (Surprise, surprise!).  Thanks again for supporting my MS ride with your donation.  I hope it, and all the others, will go toward finding a cure.
I appreciate your heart.

My heart is appreciated?  Again, I am blown away, and so very grateful for these words of affirmation.

And when heartfelt thanks and encouragement come from treasured friends, it assures me that I'm on the right track.

God's track.

Amen!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

God is Speaking


Job 16:18-21 (MSG)
"O Earth, don't cover up the wrong done to me!
Don't muffle my cry!
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name - 
My Champion, my Friend,
while I'm weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor."

My daily Bible reading on Thursday of last week is from the Book of Job.  As I read, the verses above jump out to me as never before.  How could I have not seen them for what they are in all the previous years I've read the Bible all the way through?

How could I have missed out on this most powerful prophecy?  This most convicting and enlightening promise of the Lord's entering into the world by way of Christ Jesus, the only One who represents mortals before God?

I've heard it said that we can encounter the same scripture, time after time, and yet, depending on where we are on our spiritual journey, those words will speak to our hearts with a fresh, new meaning.  Presenting us with revelations and realizations we neither anticipate nor imagine.

I think, in this incident, God is sending me a wake-up call.

His Word is perpetually alive, vibrant and life-changing.  But how am I paying attention to the message?  Am I fully engaged in the daily readings, or haphazardly going through the motions of checking Bible study off my to-do list?  The former is, hands down, preferable to the latter!

And this time, as I'm perusing the Book of Job, I am aware that I am fully present.  Taking my time as I read and reread, savoring the words and their meanings for my life.  I'm in no hurry.  There is no agenda outside of what God wills.

I want to hear God speaking.

And He does, loud and clear!

How can I be anything but thankful for that?

I can't.

So my prayer today, for all of us, is to never read the Bible casually, but with intensity, open to any revelation God might share through His Word.  It is our expectancy, our longing, our hope, and our faith that, when combined with humility, allows God's truth to speak to our hearts and our souls.

I know I want to hear from Him.

Again and again.

How about you?

Amen!

Dear Friends,
Once again, I'm taking a short break from blogging, i.e., there won't be a post this coming Friday, but I will be back here on the following Tuesday.  I will be paying my mother a long overdue visit, and as most of you know, she lives in the land of No Computers.  So have a wonderful week, and I'll see y'all soon!
And always, love and blessings!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Conception


My husband, Danny, and I have traveled the same route multiple times, for 14 years, to spend vacation time at different mountain cabins in North Carolina.  And for all those years, the sign featured here has caught our attention.  I've often wanted to pull over and snap a photo, but sadly, there is no convenient way to do so as it is on private property.  So to the person who posted this on Google Images, I am indebted, and I hope you don't mind my borrowing it.

For you created my innermost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
~Psalm 139:13

Conception
Sacred moment
Not a mass
Of tissue
Unfeeling
Dull, void
Of being
But real
And vibrant
Living
Feeding
Wanting
Birth, love
Unending
Will you
Acknowledge?
Give life
To me?

Amen

God's Best Comes First

John 2:8-10 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, and the master of t...