Monthly Archives: February 2012

Raised from the Grave of Exile

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During Lent I am reading/writing my way through writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg. Sometimes I will post my prayers.

This is my response to Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (Day 1)

Raised from the Grave of Exile

Our lives laid waste

  •      scattered bones in a valley
  •      disobedience defiled our birthright, Your plan

Disconnected from life, function, ourselves

Then . . .

Your Messenger Lived Scripture

  •      encased in the skin of love

Your truth powerfully erupts in our stony hearts

Raising us from the grave of exile

Spirit-power saturating the assembling frameworks of who we are to become

Baby-fresh skin erecting a boundary between what is inner and outer

Your Breath of Life connecting us to You

  • the source of All
  • the source of nourishment, unity, rest

Our lives becoming who You planned

  • functioning body of Christ

Holy now because of the Cross

Connected, eternally alive, knowing You are the sovereign God of All

Amen . . . so be it . . . gratitude dripping from my dry bones turning into purpose-filled flesh

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Regret at Grave Over the Undone

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“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Looking down into the graveyard in Jerusalem. I believe this is the Mount of Olives Cemetery. There are about 150,000 graves here.

Rocks were on top of many of the tombs.

My dog of 20 years passed away January 29, 2012. So I have been thinking about how fragile and fleeting life and relationships are.

I will never again have an opportunity to show my appreciation and love to my fine dog, Chip. I have some regrets. I wish I could do some things differently and do more of other things.

But I have been taking special care to let people know what they mean to me these last few weeks. When they pass away I don’t want to be plagued by “I wish I would have said this or done that.” What do you do to show people that you appreciate them?

Burial plots waiting for the sarcophagus

Photos from 2009 Trip

“Many Jews have wanted to be buried on the Mount of Olives “since antiquity,” based on the Jewish tradition (from the Biblical verse Zechariah 14:4) that when the Messiah comes, the resurrection of the dead will begin there.”.[19]

Flat Bryce and Flat Theresa Show Their Respect by Leaving a Stone

Rocks on Tombs

Pastor Mike told us it is like placing flowers at a grave (as is common in many religions). You place a rock there to show that the deceased is still remembered. This person had a lot of visitors.

Related Posts . . .

I am linking this to the WordPress photo challenge regret.

NOTE: I have the good fortune to partner with Fawnda from Fireflies and Jellybeans for a giveaway of her tote pattern to a Fruitfulwords reader. (I was one of her pattern testers.)  Go to this link for the details. The deadline to enter is February 26, 2012.

Regret Over the Closed Door

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These closed doors are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. There are no stairs going to the doors. What a mystery. There was no-one around who spoke English that I could ask to explain.

This week’s Wordpress photo challenge is about regret. Below are three quotes about regret that can help us move along in our life’s journey.

This closed door has burn marks. Another mystery at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.

“When someone you love says goodbye you can stare long and hard at the door they closed and forget to see all the doors God has open in front of you.” Shannon L. Alder

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” Alexander Graham Bell 

People have to face regrets.

“Becoming mature means . . .

  • learning to accept what you cannot change,
  • facing unresolved sorrows and
  •  learning to love life as it really happens, not as you would have it happen.

This was the coolest closed door at the Church of the Sepulchre, Jerusalem. I have this photo, blown up, hanging in my office.

“When someone attaches unkindness to criticism, she’s angry. Angry people need to criticize as an outlet for their anger.

  • That’s why you must reject unkind criticism.
  • Unkind criticism is never part of a meaningful critique of you.
  • Its purpose is not to teach or to help, its purpose is to punish.

“Life isn’t supposed to be an all or nothing battle between misery and bliss.

“Life isn’t supposed to be a battle at all.

“And when it comes to happiness, well,  . . .

  • Sometimes life is just okay
  • Sometimes it’s comfortable
  • Sometimes wonderful
  • Sometimes boring
  • Sometimes unpleasant

When your day’s not perfect, it’s not a failure or a terrible loss. It’s just another day.”Barbara Sher

I am linking this post to whimsical windows and delirious doors. I am also linking it to the WordPress weekly photo challenge. This week it is “regret.”

Related post . . . 40 ways to live life without regrets

NOTE: I have the good fortune to partner with Fawnda from Fireflies and Jellybeans for a giveaway of her tote pattern to a Fruitfulwords reader. (I was one of her pattern testers.)  Go to this link for the details. The deadline to enter is February 26, 2012.

Grateful for 5 Things That Put Life into Perspective

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It’s time to share my post about last week’s blessings. If you’d like to share yours or read other’s posts, go to Living to Tell the Story.

The following are five things (plus 1 bonus answer) for which I am grateful. 

1. I am grateful for movies that help put life into perspective (like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).

2. I am grateful for gardening. “Playing” in the soil helps me put life into perspective.

3. I am grateful for friends who listen and then give advice. These twin actions help me put life into perspective.

4. I am grateful for God’s Word. When I take the words in and think on them, I am able to put life into perspective.

5. I am grateful for a good night’s rest. I have rested well these past 3 nights (in large part to Nyquill knocking out my cold symptoms for the night). Getting consistent rest helps me put life in perseverance.

6. I am grateful for prayer from friends. This definitely helps me see perspective.

These past 5 weeks have been hard with Chip’s rapid health decline and then death. I am surprised at how hard I am taking this. So I am very appreciative of things that help me put life into perspective.

Your Turn . . . What do you do to put life into perspective?

Related Posts From Other Bloggers That Give Me Perspective. . . 


Ready or Not, Here Life Comes

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This camel is waiting alongside other camels. S/He and the others are ready to obey their master’s bidding. They are ready to pick up their burdens (people) and saunter along the path that leads out of the canyon of Petra.

In July of 2009, I almost didn’t ride my first camel.

Before going to Jordan to teach English with 3 other people from my church (Michelle, Mike, and Sydney), Michelle and I had planned on riding a camel. But when it came down to making the transaction, I almost said “No.” The ride cost more than I thought it would and I was afraid. They are very BIG animals.

I am glad I listened to Michelle and said “Yes.”

Michelle’s camel was enamoured with mine. S/He kept bumping into and nuzzling my camel. I was afraid s/he would bite me.

At one point our camels started running. I held on for dear life. It probably wasn’t that fast, but I am no rider, and unlike my camel, I was not ready was for this.

Sometimes advance planning does not help us (me) do what we (I) had planned.

It does not make us (me) ready.

What helped in this case was a friend’s intervention. First, she listened to my objections. She let me speak my fears. Then she helped me to follow our plan.

I am grateful for those types of people in my life. People who listen without an agenda. People who let me speak what’s on my mind and heart. And then after I’ve been heard, they speak truth into the situation. They help me be READY for the events in my life.

I am grateful for Michelle. Do you have a “Michelle” in your life?

I am linking this to the WordPress weekly photo challenge. This week’s word is Ready.

Grief Table of Contents

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Actions to Take

Literature
Understanding Grief

blessings amist grief

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Last Sunday (1.29.12) was the last day that Chip, my nearly 20 year-old-dog, breathed. I have been with my little buddy for 14 years. He was with my mom for 4 years. His spot in my heart and place in my life will not be easily filled. But in looking back at last week, there have been some blessings.
1. I am grateful for friends who’ve listened to me talk about my guilt regarding Chip.They didn’t try to talk me out of my feelings. But after I spoke the words, they helped me to see what was true in this situation. Their prayers and empathy (they’ve been in a similar situation) helped ease my shattered heart.

2. I’m grateful for the pictures from a photo shoot my sister did a couple of years ago with Chip, Elizabeth, and I. They show a strong, happy, engaging dog. There were even some good photos of me. (I am not the most of photogenic people, but my sister has a knack for getting a good one or two of me.)

Doesn’t Chip look happy, alert, and healthy? I am grateful for photos that remind me of this.

3. I received sympathy socks! I am always in need of socks and so this was an awesome and practical grief gift! Would you think it weird to get such a sympathy “card”?

4. My kiddos came to be with Chip and I for his last day. The decision to euthanize him was truly a family decision. Chip always loved it when his “pack” was all there. So even though he was dazed because of being on a narcotic, I think he realized we were all there for him up to the end. Afterwards we bought and planted daffodils and shared a meal together.

My son, Tim, ate a burger in Chip’s honour. I did too. Then my kids and I had a McDonald’s ice cream cone in Chip’s honour.  Both foods were some of Chip’s favourite foods. See #4.

5. I have received lots of support via email, Facebook, phone calls, cards, and in person. And many of these folks are praying! I know that along with their affection, the prayer is making a huge difference in this situation.

Your Turn . . . Share some of your blessings in the comments or link up your post to Susanne’s Friday’s Fave Five.

Related Posts . . . Grief Table of Contents