We ask for God’s Grace but He Asks for Our Space

Did you ever get sick because you stuffed the turkey? I knew someone who claimed he got sick at a friend’s house because they stuffed the turkey. He never ate stuffing again unless it was cooked separately. No one else at the table got sick.

I grew up with stuffed turkey twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t remember anyone getting sick. My parents knew how to roast a turkey. For a while, they raised and stuffed chickens too.. I don’t recall anyone becoming sick, full, yes, sick, no.

Three years ago I decided to stop stuffing my turkeys with anything except oranges, onions and apples that got thrown away. My reasons had nothing to do with health or bacteria. The stuffing was still delicious, the turkey was delicious. This year I decided to stuff my turkey. No one got sick and we are still eating leftovers.

This morning I realized something that I never thought of before. You don’t stuff a live bird. If you do, it will die and be no good to anyone or anything. If it is dead, what harm can you do?

Of course, I thought of a scripture (LOL)

“For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Rom 6:10-12

“Likewise”, I like that word.

If I don’t spill out everything that is in me to God, how can He fill me with everything He is? I’d rather be dead and stuffed with Him than alive and full of myself.

Today I was blessed all day long with unexpected blessings.

I know how to stuff a bird and keep everyone safe. Make sure it’s dead!

Be blessed!

PS

Years ago I ate kielbasa and threw it all up immediately after, not on purpose. I’ve been eating it ever since.

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Evader or Procrastinator/is There a Difference?


I can’t or I won’t is the question I asked about 1,000 times this year. I didn’t ask out loud and yes, I often questioned the motives of others but most times I directed it to myself. Am I evading an issue or am I hesitant to move for some other hidden reason?

It takes so much longer to prepare a meal than it takes to eat it. I removed the pie from the oven a few minutes too early because I didn’t want the edges to burn. The filling is sweet and the texture is perfect but the crust is a little soft. Throw some whipped cream on it and no one will mind unless you are looking for a reason to criticize, in which case I will ignore you or tell you a joke to distract you. Dessert usually is eaten after a meal so it is not like you are starving and can’t handle a little soggy crust.

Often environments are pictures of neglect and evasion and unattended can turn to erosion. Your mind sinks with the mudslide and before you know it, you are buried and can’t see beyond the ruins.

Thank God for light, even one tiny beam that shines a glimpse of the outside. Why didn’t you ever see it before? Was it procrastination or evasion? Reasons and explanations don’t matter. Walking in the light does.

The second pie I baked is done and I am not the only one bringing dessert.

Thought processing again with words.

Be blessed.

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Walk With a Purpose

I sighed relief to see the first snow, a light sheet, not a heavy blanket in the morning. The forecast read three, maybe four inches by morning. I heard that day my plow guy did not plan to plow this year and now I am faced with a dilemma. The thought of snowdrift and shovel put me in a state of despair for a few minutes. I immediately sent out a few feelers and prayer requests but couldn’t stop my anxiety from rising.

I closed my eyes and inhaled the silence. The words I read earlier that morning came to mind.

“We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

“I am not an atheist”, I said out loud.

Someone messaged the photo below. The first thing I thought of was determination. Ducks lift their feet when they walk and leave perfectly formed footprints. They don’t smear the ground. They walk intentionally toward their destination.

So far I have no solid solution for the inevitable snowstorm ahead but I am not an atheist and my footprints will be embedded in the snow, even if my emotions and moods are in a battle.

I may look ill-prepared but be assured, I am not ill-equipped!

Be blessed!

I thought it’d would be a poem but nope, its a story.

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Did Someone Say “Free”?

Waiting in line at our local food pantry, I look ahead and notice two crosses, two churches, two Denominations, adjacent each other, one cross higher than the other. When I get to the beginning of the line, I will be handed two, maybe three bags of food, and I will thank them and proceed to take out what I do not need or cannot use and place them on the table for others who can.

I think about the cross of Christ which, to me, means more than any cross atop a church, hung on a wall or around someone’s neck.

It is not denomination but Jesus Christ who died in our place and rose from the grave so all could freely enter into His presence and receive forgiveness.

As I near, a man I recognize, munching on a bagel, begs maybe I could persuade a free morsel from my daughter who cooks at a nearby restaurant. “I have no pull, don’t make the rules and don’t own the restaurant”, I say with a smile, knowing he isn’t starving.

Earlier this morning I learned of a neighbor who needs dialysis and his father who is scheduled to have his gallbladder removed. I immediately offered my kidney and my gallbladder because mine are healthy as far as I know but walked away knowing the distant odds of one and the impossibility of the other.

Later, same morning I receive a text about a woman who is now homeless because her house burned to the ground and I can offer no help but prayer, which seems at the moment, so pitifully small but really, I know better.

Someone just gave me a free toaster because mine is a fire hazard and I thought today was going to be unneventful.

The cross of Christ was a tree located at the base of Golgotha’s hill. A lowly crucifixion deserves my highest exaltation.

Luke 16:19-31

I listen to people say I’m a writer. Silly me! God is the writer. I just process on paper and screen what I see and hear. I started writing in present tense when it was taking place and then wrote in past tense. Oh well.

Be blessed!

perrsonal photo of two crosses in the distance.

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One Day in Forever

She rose before the sun with both responsibility and desire that formed a triangular shape. As moments before her passed, everything fell into place. By half past twelve she realized decision and action merged seamless like a river flows into the ocean and is lost in its current.

A smooth, peaceful presence filled her inside even though she knew so much of what lay before her was unfinished and unresolved. Silent, unrestrained tears fell and she thanked God she was alone as her only words were, “How beautiful is the view from the back seat”.

No one would understand.

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The All Things of Romans 8:28


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, nasb)

The whites of her eyes were blue. Her name was Nancy. Memories flood my mind with her, John, and me. We were a trinity of sorts.

Nancy was my first real friend when I came from the Eastern part of the state to the far Western border to attend a Bible institute. She stood about 5’1, and housed a boxy posture, with sapphire blue eyes set against baby blue whites. Her short blonde curls bounced, framing her round, chunky face and a big smile spread to everyone she met. She loved Jesus, she loved people. She loved me. Quiet, resolute and intentional with her words, she listened as I processed scripture and painted my portrait with awkward, splintered vocabulary, and allowed me plenty of time and space in my new surroundings.

Nancy, John and I spent many an evening after classes, church services and events at Friendly’s, feasting on bagels, salads, ice cream, and rich coffee, endless cups of coffee. We were glued together the first two years of Bible school, and in the third year, God separated us. I went to Brookline. She went to Amherst. John married. Each of us remained or traveled within the walls of our ministry but we three were scattered like seed into the wind.

Some years passed and John divorced, and after all these years, as far as I know, continues to follow after Christ. Nancy was tossed and split by doctrinal dispute, married, and years later I heard she died. I know no details.

Me, what happened to me? I fell, in and out of love, with family, friends, animals, things, food, ideas, and words many times over, and I lost many times over. Now, 48 years later, I’m more in love with Jesus than ever before, the One who always loved me first and found me.

As all these memories surface, I practice painting eyes to match a picture, not Nancy. How does one replicate what God has formed?

I sit back and let the picture rest. There is much more to be done before I am satisfied. No one can judge a painting before or after it is finished except the artist.

They say east and west never meet. They are right. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

The whites of her eyes were blue.

Goodbyes No One Hears

I said goodbye
Not knowing why
Agony and ecstasy
Neither one
In full display

I said goodbye
Till another day
When I cannot say
Agony and ecstasy
Perhaps I’ll never return
Ecstasy a hope ahead
Meanwhile agony I dread
Waiting for lessons not yet learned

I said goodbye
To yesterday
While tomorrow not yet bred
Ecstasy and agony
I’m on my way to full-grown

I said goodbye
Lord help me
Smile through this frown
When I’m face to face with You
In ecstasy I’ll be home

Just checking in, can’t stay long.

I win because He won.

Be blessed.

Mary

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Pause to Reflect and Refuel

A man I used to know said the words, “in closing” in many of his sermons, only to continue another ten or fifteen minutes. Thus, the title of my previous post is not original.

I close September’s Gathering with a poem.

A Heavy Load Will Hold You Captive

September slowly draws a curtain.
Soon it will be past
What to do with all I gathered
What is rubble, what will last?
Each fragment traced in shadow
Every soft-to-brazen light
Like morning turns to dusk
…then night…
Arms me should a sudden blight
Call me to joy in tomorrow’s fight
I gathered much from Holy writ
And Holy Spirit’s generous gift
These feeble hands
This fragile heart
Tiny handfuls here
I did impart
Yet overflowing I thrive
All I gave in me survives
Whether truth or fallacy
To some, apparent mystery
All one day I’ll know will be
Revealed in His space and time
Not mine

As October draws near, I may draw back for a season
Until I return, there is plenty to read on this blog.

Seek truth, seek hope (One is the other)
Be blessed
Mary

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In Closing….

Here is something I gathered this morning,

Sometimes I treat the Holy Spirit like He is just this ball of positive energy and that everything I say and do must be encouraging, kind and non-offensive.

Have you ever touched a ball of energy? I know of people who died from touching live wires. I also know people who survived. I know a man who was electrocuted twice and struck by lightning, also twice. He lives still but not one person I know would trade their life for his. He suffers greatly yet He shares the love of Christ every chance he gets.

I made a mistake and touched an electric appliance with wet hands. It shocked and weakened my whole body for about a half hour. I learned my lesson. Oh, did I? Up to now, yes. Will I ever make that mistake again? All I can say is, I hope not.

I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated. That is a biblical command, and written in the Old and New Testaments.

The kindest words the Holy Spirit will ever say are words of truth. If truth offends me, I’m the one with the problem, not Him.

God will never apologize to me for the hard things He says to me and many times He uses people to communicate His words.

What will I do with that?

I guess we all have to learn how to communicate well.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Be Blessed

Mary

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I Don’t Dance, I Sway

Septembers lived and lost now gather together in repertoire, a concert without music, a melody only heard by me. September always carries for me a particular sadness. I pack up my produce while i preserve the bounty. I pickle, can, and jar summer and hope to taste the sun when deep-freeze buries us deep in darkness, usually to discover later much goes unopened or unwanted.

Time never says goodbye

This September was a bit different. No bounty from my hand, except mint from my garden, and crushed between my fingers, will rise and waft, dance through the oncoming seasons to the lyrics I alone may hear. Such as it is, with no applause, I am content.

What I call denial, or betrayal, I am learning to call my survival.

God strums in perfect rhythm

Dversepoets.com Monday Haibun. Our host, Xenia Tran writes,

“you are invited to create a haibun about September and a special moment you experienced during this month or are looking forward to.

The prose can be narrative, lyrical or terse and the ku can be either a three-line haiku or a monoku (haiku in a single line).

You can have alternating blocks of prose and verse, as long as the total word count does not exceed 250 words.”

So, I’m not sure about the monokus.

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An Ethereal Membrane

As I watch clouds gather to water the ground, I gather a few thoughts to share.

For many years after I received Christ I refused to walk into a liquor store. I have personal history surrounding the spiritual and physical onslaughts of liquid spirits. I thought someone might see or judge me. I thought I was sinning.

Once someone bought me a can of beer to help me get rid of slugs in my garden because I would not buy one. Another time I took care of a client and had to go buy him beer. I fought but it was part of my job so I did, but I felt horrible about it. One other time I picked up some vinegar for my sister-in-law which was shipped to a liquor store in my area and delivered it to save her shipping charges. I didn’t feel comfortable about that either.

A few years ago my daughter got a cooking job at a local tavern. I was appalled! My son began helping out with washing dishes. I was appalled! I said, with less-than-holy ardor, “Thanks so much God, for answering the desires of my heart.”

COVID came. The tavern closed. Slowly, after many changes, it opened again and my daughter returned. My son did not.

Today, I am unemployed and I help out at the tavern and wash dishes when needed. They have great food! My daughter is the cook. Everyone is friendly.

A professional kitchen is not your mother’s kitchen. There are so many rules you HAVE to follow. I do what I am told.

Yes, I have history but I also have His story! Instead of harboring a sense of horror, I recognize an area of my life I needed humility.

Jesus wasn’t ashamed to sit with publicans and sinners and tell His story. Why should I? He didn’t drink and carouse with them. Neither do I.

I don’t talk about Jesus at my job. I show them Jesus. I wash dishes and talk about the food. My daughter is the cook.

Sometimes I say God has a sense of humor. Why do I always feel like I am the punchline?

Deflated to be filled again with His Holy Spirit.

I still wait for rain.

Be blessed
Mary

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