Seasonal

Joseph

 

For many of us, this time of year our thoughts are drawn toward the most special event that has ever occurred in the history of our world. 

  • The scene…Bethlehem, the event…the birth of our Savior.
  • The One who was born in a humble stable and was the long anticipated Emmanuel.
  • What a name for those back then, and for each one of us today “GOD WITH US”

Songs, programs, plays, family celebrations have long focused on the familiar participants who appeared on the scene of this beloved, much repeated story.

  • We hear so frequently about His mother Mary.
  • The angles who announced the Baby’s birth.
  • The shepherds who hurriedly went to see the newborn Child.
  • And, later the Wise Men who came to honor this God/Man with precious gifts.

History and people honor the Mother of this Christ Child.

  • They speak of her youth, her purity, her dedication to God.
  • But, what of Joseph of Nazareth?
  • We must remember, he was chosen also for God’s purpose.
  • What kind of man was he?
  • What did he think?
  • More importantly: what did he feel, how strong was his faith, his trust?

I’ve often wonder about him as he watched these momentous events take place in and around his life.

  • I believe he would be a man of great faith with a kind heart.
  • A man full of love and tenderness.
  • He would be courageous, dedicated and protective of those he loved.
  • He wasn’t self absorbed or full of pride.
  • He would be a man of principle, but also a man of strength and action.
  • He would be a man who accepted things he didn’t understand.
  • He was a man of integrity.
  • All of these things and many others describe Joseph.

Jesus came into this world pure and sinless.

  • He lived a sinless life and went to the cross for you and me.
  • According to Scripture Joseph was never mentioned after Jesus reached the age of twelve.
  • It is thought that Joseph died long before Christ began His earthly ministry.

Our Savior was pure in every way.

  • I believe His adopted father Joseph lived a life before Him that was full of character.
  • He demonstrated the best of humanity.
  • Joseph taught Him the value of hard work with the scared hands of a carpenter.
  • But, also showed Him by example the value of a tender heart.
  • Joseph was both a teacher for, and a student of this baby, child, young man; that through a miracle of God entered his life.

Many times on this road of life as Joseph was; we are called upon through faith to accept situations we do not understand.

  • To go forward and be the best we can be.
  • Sometimes in the face of mockery and the rejection of others.
  • You and I have a responsibility to listen, accept, to focus ahead and teach others as Joseph did.
  • An angel from heaven does not come to comfort or lead us.
  • Today, we have the Word of God in our hands to accompany us through whatever path we are destined to follow.

From the beginning of time, God had a perfect plan which was fulfilled in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. 

  • The Babe in the manager that we and others celebrate this season; was brought into this world in a cattle barn by the worn, rough hands of Joseph.
  • Thirty-three years later this baby who grew to be a man, who fulfilled all Scripture; was taken off the cross after His death by the hands of another Joseph.

 

“I believe the Glory of Heaven is lying in my hands tonight” **

**  Joseph’s Lullaby from the Album The Christmas Sessions

      recorded by Mercy Me

 

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Poems/Songs

Columbus Day

COLUMBUS

Behind him lay the gray Azores,

Behind the gates of Hercules;

Before him not the ghost of shores,

The good Mate said: “Now we must pray,

For lo! the very stars are gone.

Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”

“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!'”

“My men grow mutinous day by day;

My men grow ghastly wan and weak!”

The stout Mate thought of home; a spray

Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.

“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,

If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”

“Why, you shall say at break of day,

‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:

“This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.

He curls his lip, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite!

Brave Admiral, say but one good word;

What shall we do when hope is gone?”

The words leapt like a leaping sword:

“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck

And peered through darkness. Ah! that night

Of all dark nights! And then a speck–

A light! A light! A light! A light!

It, grew, a starlit flag unfurled!

It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.

He gained a world; he gave that world

It’s grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

–Joaquin Miller

NOTE:   History, Scripture, Literature gives us testimonies of giants of heroism who walked this earth. Today we still have those who are shinning examples of endurance and great character. Some may be in the public eye, but many live a quiet and courageous life. I have had the personal privilege of knowing some of these individuals. They, as this poem does, inspire and challenge me in my own personal walk. REMEMBER….darkness is always followed by the dawn, rain ends with a rainbow, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

               “Sail on!, Sail on!, Sail on! and on!”

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Encouragement

A Blue Moon

 

 

We hear the old saying that somethings happens only “ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.”

  • There was A BLUE MOON last night.
  • I decided to get up before day break to see it.
  • When we truly examine ourselves, it seems like more often than not we tend to sleep through unusual events that occur in our lives.
  • We may miss entirely the lesson that is being taught.

If we are alert to her message, nature all around us speaks about life.

  • She has words that apply to both your life, and mine.
  • There are lessons to be learned, if we are observant enough to see them and listen to what is being spoken to each one of us.

The definition of A BLUE MOON means an extra full moon.

  • Whether one month has two full moons or one quarter of a year, or a season has four instead of three.
  • This month just passed, July 2015, there was a full moon on both July 2nd and 31st.
  • A BLUE MOON comes along about once every two and one half years.
  • The last one was in 2012 and the next one early 2018.
  • They are not extremely rare, but happen infrequently.

What was the lesson of July’s BLUE MOON?

  • To me, it was to be alert and watchful.
  • Don’t just cruise through the events of your life.
  • Pay attention to the occasional happenings you experience.
  • Whether the times are difficult or joyful: observe, make good decisions, and put to practice in a positive manner any new lessons learned.

Sometimes we are so asleep with what preoccupies our time that we miss the small things of life that are before us.

  • The companionship of a family member or friend.
  • A phone call to someone that is important to our lives.
  • The pleasure of playing with a young child or spending time with a teenager.
  • Sitting with a loved pet and stroking them.
  • Listening and enjoying the words of a beautiful song.
  • Turning the television your tablet or phone off, and giving your full attention to someone who may need it.

In short: giving our time to someone else.

  • Don’t let this be a rare or infrequent event in your life.
  • Some opportunities only come along “ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.”

 

“What am I to do?

I expect to pass through this world but once.

Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can render to 

Any soul of man or animal, let me do it now.

Let me not neglect or defer it,

For I shall not pass this way again.”

–An Old Quaker Saying

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Encouragement, Poems/Songs

A Strong Tree

 

THE STRONGEST TREE is not found in the shelter of the forest, but out in the open where the winds of every direction beat upon it.

  • It is bent and twisted until it until it becomes a giant in stature.
  • This is the TREE which the carpenter wants his projects made of, and the furniture maker seeks.

THE OAK TREE* 

A mighty wind blew night and day.

It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,

Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark

Until the oak was tired and stark.

But still the oak tree held its ground

While other trees fell all around.

The weary wind gave up and spoke,

“How can you still be standing, Oak?”

The oak tree said, “I know that you

Can break each brand of mine in two,

Carry every leaf away,

Shake my limbs, and make me sway.

But I have roots stretched in the earth,

Growing stronger since my birth.

You’ll never touch them, for you see,

They are the deepest part of me.

Until today, I wasn’t sure

Of just how much I could endure.

But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,

I’m stronger than I every knew.”

 

Always, always, always believe that no matter what crosses your path of life….

  • If you have  deeply planted roots…you will make it through.
  • I believe in the deepest part of my being that time heals a broken heart.
  • But, the truth of this fact depends upon what YOU CHOOSE to do with your time.
  • Determine to plant your roots deep.
  • Then you will be able to bend when the strong winds blow….and not break.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

*Poem, Author Unknows

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Encouragement, Poems/Songs

Life Happens

 

It is the middle of the night and here I am writing to whomever may read this.

  • Many loved ones (friends and family) are on my mind right now.
  • Life has happened to me and to them.
  • Life has effected even you.
  • We all are on this road that has twists and turns, beautiful scenery but also stormy, difficult and sometimes devastating roads that must be crossed on this journey called Life.

We make a plan, start our journey, see our goals being met and are peacefully enjoying the trip.

  • Suddenly out of nowhere we stumble across obstacles on our pathway.
  • So much of the time, this is the way Life goes.
  • There’s a line from a song that comes to mind...”I didn’t promise you a rose garden.”
  • With roses there always come thorns.

When this happens, what do we do?

  • Some of us too many times make poor choices.
  • I feel safe in saying that all of us at one time or another have wanted to choose what really is a selfish way out.
  • We take the easy road and quit.
  • We give up or make a wrong turn.
  • We live in denial.
  • We grieve and have a life long pity party.
  • We seek escape by working too much or indulging in too many pleasures.
  • We may hide ourselves in front of our electronic devices.
  • We blame ourselves and withdraw from life.

When this happens, what SHOULD we do?

  • The poet Robert Frost put it this way: “The best way out is always through.”
  • We pick ourselves up and STAY ON THE ROAD.
  • Choose a good support system: faith, prayer, family, friends.
  • Talk to yourself in a positive manner.
  • Fill your mind with the things that encourage you.
  • See the beauties of nature and listen to the message she teaches us all.
  • Put the words angry and bitter out of your life.
  • Leave dreary, negative entertainment alone.
  • Always believe in yourself and others.
  • Be of help to someone else.
  • Let your life and love shine.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Keep on, keeping on.

The good news is: no matter how disturbing and restless the night…

  • The morning always breaks through to dispel the darkness.
  • This truth was brought home to me in a very significant and powerful manner.
  • It was a long, painful and tortuous night.
  • At times I felt my heart would burst and I would not survive the approach of a new day. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 kjv).
  • You will make it through.

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark.

At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky

And the sweet, silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind.

Walk on through the rain.

Though your dreams be tossed and blown.

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart.

And you’ll never walk alone.

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart.

And you’ll never walk alone.

You’ll never walk alone.

(You’ll Never Walk Alone: Rodgers and Hammerstein 1945 from the musical Carousel)

This Song has been an important part of my thought life for many, many years.

  • I heard it for the first time when I became a member of the seventh grade choir in Junior High School.
  • The music and lyrics have stayed with me since that time.
  • The words are beautiful, true and challenging.
  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has in many ways been my “go to” song when Life Happens.
  • I know I don’t walk alone.
  • That thought has been my constant companion through the rough times; the darkest of nights.
  • It can be yours. 

“The strongest people are not 

those who show strength

in front of us, but those 

who win battles we know nothing about.”

–Anonymous

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Life's Journey

Headlights

 

Have you ever thought about the Headlights of your car and how they relate to your life?

  • I enjoy driving; especially on long distance trips.
  • I know very little about cars and how they operate, but I’m thankful for the convenience and pleasure mine brings to my life.
  • If we are observant, we will see the lessons taught in our simple daily experiences.

Headlights are a vital part of our driving experience.

  • We CANNOT drive through the dark without them.
  • They keep our lives safe when otherwise we cannot see.
  • We may be on a dark, winding road, going through the woods; possibly even a tremendous storm.
  • In our specific experience: we have to be alert to deer jumping out of the woods (which has happened to us many times).

Each of us trusts in the Headlights of our cars.

  • We really can only see as far as the beam lights the way for us.
  • As we arrive at the end of the lit area, the light shines a little further down the road.
  • But, we fly down the road expecting to arrive at our destination safely.
  • We don’t think about the short distance the light casts in front of us or that we won’t arrive at our expected end.

This is the way we need to live our lives.

  • Not worrying about what might or might not happen.
  • Go through each day, week, month, year, the whole of your life a step at a time.
  • You might not see the vast expanse of your whole trip, or what is around the bend.

The unexpected does happen to all of us.

  • Some fear what tomorrow might bring and fail to engage life fully.
  • Too many times we say: “What if, what if, what if.”
  • The way we talk to ourselves does nothing except cripple our hopes, dreams and goals.
  • Believe in tomorrow.
  • Just, as when you jump into your car on a dark night and turn the Headlights on.

Driving a car is faith. Living life is faith. Eternity is faith.

  • We cannot see all the way to the end of our trip.
  • But, we have a trustworthy vehicle, a roadmap and those who will help and guide us.
  • Examine your life.
  • Consider the destination that is ahead of you.
  • Turn your Headlights on and you will be able to see the path ahead of you……..as far as the beams light the way.
  • If you don’t turn the Headlights on, you will always be in the dark.

“If you are the kind of person who is waiting 

for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait a long time.

It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green

for five miles before starting the trip.”

–Robert Kiyosaki

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Poems/Songs, Seasonal

Fathers’ Day

“My Father didn’t tell me how to live;

He lived and let me watch him do it.”

–Clarence B. Kelland

Today we celebrate all of our Fathers.

  • They have many names: Dad, Daddy, Papa, Poppy, Grandad…..our own children called my Dad: Dado.
  • They are a most important and necessary person in our lives.
  • They were designed to be roll models, leaders, protectors, providers, the strength of our homes.
  • I learned many things from my own Father who I called Daddy until the end of his days.
  • I married into a family and gained one of the greatest men I have ever known as a “Father.”
  • My own husband has filled that vital role for our children.
  • As adults, they still express their love and appreciation to him.

As we pause today to remember the Fathers in our lives, keep in mind that many of them have given their all for country and family.

  • Remember the children they left behind; the void in their lives.
  • Many men have stepped up to shoulder responsibility for these children.
  • They are men of a special make-up and are true Fathers in every sense.

Years ago there lived an unusual Father and poet, Edgar A. Guest.

  • Personally, I have enjoyed many of his verses.
  • He looked at the common experience of life with humor and great insight.
  • The poem following these words is by no means disparaging to Father’s.
  • It is the words of a man who in addition to being a writer was a Father himself.

To Fathers everywhere: enjoy your day, relax, smile and laugh a lot. You deserve it.

FATHER TO SON

The times have proved my judgement bad.

I’ve followed foolish hope in vain,

And as you look upon your dad

You see him commonplace and plain.

No brilliant wisdom I enjoy;

The jests I tell have grown to bore you,

But just remember this, my boy:

‘Twas I who chose your mother for you!

Against the blunders I have made

And all the things I’ve failed to do,

The weaknesses which I’ve displayed,

This fact remains forever true;

This to my credit still must stay

And don’t forget it, I implore you;

Whatever else you think or say:

‘Twas I who chose your mother for you!

Chuckle at times behind my back

About the ties and hats I wear.

Sound judgment I am known to lack.

Smile at the ancient views I air.

Say if you will I’m often wrong,

But with my faults strewn out before you,

Remember this your whole life long:

‘Twas I who chose your mother for you!

Your life from babyhood to now

Has known the sweetness of her care;

Her tender hand has soothed your brow;

Her love gone with you everywhere.

Through every day and every night

You’ve had an angel to adore you,

So bear in mind I once was right:

‘Twas I who chose your mother for you!

(From Collected Verse of:  Edgar A. Guest)

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