In Honor and Respect

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“How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!”  II Samuel 1:25a

A day for remembering … so many fallen soldiers.  Wars fought for freedom, wars fought for other reasons. Some reasons are not understandable in my mind, some are. But, no matter the reason, my heart is heavy for the many who have died in battle, and the many who have died months and years later from battle wounds.  I think of the many who have died from battle scars, physical, emotional, psychological, who suffer with them year after year.  They are remembered today.


The history of Memorial Day may reach back to 1868, when General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic declared May 30 of that year to be “Decoration Day,” for, in his words, “the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”

On that first Decoration Day the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers were covered with flowers at Arlington National Cemetery.   Congressman (soon to be President) James A. Garfield attended along with many others from the Washington, D.C. political arena.  They decorated the graves with flowers… a sign of remembrance and honor, I believe.  In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended it to honor all those who died in American wars.  Today, we decorate with a flag at Arlington and other cemeteries, calling it Memorial Day.

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Look at the vast number of graves just in this one scene at Arlington.   On Arlington National Cemetery’s website, words cause me to reflect: “Laying our Nation’s veterans and their eligible family members to rest with honor and respect, while treating their loved ones with dignity and compassion, is the cornerstone of Arlington National Cemetery’s mission.”
My father is buried there.  He died in 1960 after serving in the South Pacific in WWII as a medical doctor, followed by being a Radiological Safety Officer with the Manhattan Project, a doctor, Chief of Medicine at Naval Hospital/Corona, CA, plus many other areas of service with the U.S. Navy.  He was proud to serve.  My Daddy was only 46 years of age when he died…I was only 12.  He was stationed In Washington, DC, at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery when he became ill with pancreatic cancer.  I have always been proud of my father and so very in love with him.  I miss him even after all of these years.  (My Daddy’s grave is down this hill to the left, if my memory serves me correctly.  We will be returning here soon as my mother passed away January 30, 2013 and will be buried with her husband of twenty years, my father.  She never remarried and wanted to be buried with her Ralph.  We will honor her wishes and await a call from Arlington to schedule that date.)
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So many have fallen to the angers of war.  May we remember them for their bravery, their love of country, even for the fears that encircled them as they fought and dealt with the ravages of  war.  May we remember the ones who returned from Vietnam, are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who need our prayers to recover from the sights and fears, the physical and emotional wounds that they have experienced while serving the USA.
My dear husband, Kenneth, served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.  He made it home.  I have been blessed to have been given him for my husband and am thankful that he made it home…

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for many did not…
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“The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace for our guests. The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.”
LORD, protect each soldier who is on foreign soil this very day.  Hold him or her close to Your heart, that they would know Your love and protection.  I pray for Your legions of angels around each one to protect and encourage them.  I ask You to bring them home safely.  I also pray, LORD, for those who serve right here in the USA who protect our country in ways we don’t even know or realize.  They are in harms way too.  Guard the families of our military as they support and love their soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, as they pray for them, as they miss their loved ones.  Guide our Commander-in-Chief, the officers, and all of those who assist President Obama in military decision making.  Give them wisdom and assurance that You are the One, the Only One, Who is truly in control.  You are the Strong Tower.  LORD, I ask for peace in this world, for the children and the generations to come, for us here today, if that be Your will.  I ask all in the Strong Name of Jesus.  Amen

 

Are You a Solitary Player or a Group Player?

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This is a painting, “Children’s Games”, done in 1560 by a Flemish painter, Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  The painting is filled with about 200 children playing nearly 80 games or various play activities, all of which are played in the out-of-doors.  If I look closely enough, I can recognize many of these games for I played them or a variation of them well into the twentieth century.

From Ms. Miriam Forman-Brunell’s annotation: “Physically energetic and imaginatively engaged girls and boys are everywhere in Bruegel’s busy painting. Some are using their bodies, others are playing with children and/or with toys (e.g., windmill; hoops). Here are some examples. Three boys mounted on a red fence are pretending to race horses. A few are playing leapfrog and others playing “horsey” and “tug of war.” Another is straddling a hobbyhorse. Two girls are playing a medieval form of jacks (knucklebones) but with a bone instead of a ball. A group of children playing dress-up are staging a wedding. A small group of boys are spinning tops (a popular toy). A girl is playing musical instruments, another with a doll. A few boys are balancing on barrels. Some children are engaged in solitary play (e.g., blowing bubbles; dollmaking). While some are playing gently, there are rough bullies here as well.” *

I was a solitary player.  I liked to read both indoors and out (on the roof when I got old enough and Mom would let me …see my post – https://beingwoven.org/2012/08/22/up-on-the-rooftop/).  I liked to play dolls in the corner of the school playground.  I liked to build a waterfall on the gentle slope besides my Daddy’s garden as he tilled and weeded after work.  I liked to play secretary in the large tree where no one could get to me for the other kids were younger than I.  Two large branches ran somewhat parallel but offset from one another to make a bench and a desk for me.  There I would sit, up in that big ol’ tree, and pretend to peck away on an invisible typewriter.  Maybe this little dream-up game of mine comes from when we went to get Daddy after work when he was Chief of Medicine at a Naval hospital.  We would go into his secretary’s office to wait and Mrs. Pavey maybe was still typing.  Yes, I imagine that was probably it! I walked to the library when I reached the junior high age and sat on Mr. S’s stone fence and read my book before getting home where I had two younger sisters.

I played with others too.  I jumped rope and played dolls with at least a few girls.  I spent the night with some of them too.  I drew wallpaper with another for a Girl Scout badge.  I played in the high school band and went on parade or competition bus trips.

My most memorable play-moments of days gone by were just by myself.  And I still like to read alone at Barnes and Noble or Starbucks.

BUT…I love to sit by a river while camping with Kenneth.  I enjoy a walk in God’s beautiful world, sharing the natural world with this man.  He is my best friend and I love being with him.

So, which am I?  a solitary player or a small group (like 2) player?  It doesn’t matter as I enjoy both.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.   Matthew 14:23

Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and [the] Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and [from] beyond the Jordan.  Matthew 4:25

Jesus needed to be alone.  He also was amongst many.

God made me as I am.  He melded my heart into His shape for me, for my life.  I want to sit at His feet no matter whether I am alone or with others.  I want to play His way, whatever that may be.  I am learning and willing to be shaped so that I am in His will.

And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.  Luke 10:39

“…but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”   Luke 10:42

I want to choose that “good portion” and I have.

Jesus called me to be alone with Him in the garden.  I come to Him in that garden…alone.

In The Garden Hymn

C. Austin Miles (1868 – 1946) written in 1912

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.


I fall at His feet, asking forgiveness.  I know that He is the Son of God.  I know that I am with Him to do and be as He wills for my very life for I have given it to Him, my very life.

…and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—  Colossians 3:10

I am His and His new creation.  I play alone but am never alone.  I play with others and always know that I have One more playmate for He walks with me wherever I go.

Praising You, my LORD.  Thank You for creating me to be able to be alone and to be okay with that.  Or to be amongst others, with others and to be okay with that.  You made me:

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.  Psalm 139:16-18

We are always together, You and me.

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.   John 8:29-30

May this be so.  Amen. 


Source of Painting:  Full image of Kinderspiele, “Children’s Games”, date 1560, Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569).  Source Snow, Edward A. (1997). Inside Bruegel. New York: North Point Press. Picture from front cover plate.  From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository   http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children.jpg;  “Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Children’s Games” [Painting],” in Children and Youth in History, Item #332, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/332

* Annotation:  Annotated by Miriam Forman-Brunell.  “File:Children.jpg”, Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children.jpg (accessed October 23, 2009).

Hopscotching … Scotch-Hoppers

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One of my favorite games as a girl in the nineteen-fifties was hopscotch.  A fun, usually all-girl game with lots of exercise and balance.  In the United Kingdom, the game was called Scotch-Hoppers as ‘scotches’ are the scratches or lines etched into the dirt of fields, roads, walkways.  So one hopped over the scotches.  I like that because I love words and like to learn new words, use new words.

If hopscotch is not a familiar game to you, the first thing we need is a set of lines usually drawn with chalk on the sidewalk or by a stick in the dirt, even paint nowadays!  Here are a few different ways to draw the court:

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Next, let’s learn to play:

Supplies needed: chalk or sidewalk paint, stones/bottlecaps or bean bags. Flat stones are best. They don’t roll!

If you’re the first player you throw your marker on the number one (the closest square), hop over it, moving up to ten, hopping on each square. All hops are done on one foot for each “single” square, unless there are two squares are side by side, in which case you hop down on both feet. Once you get to ten you must turn around and hop back again, carefully bending down to pick up the marker on the way back. You can’t lose your balance and you must always remain on that one foot.

“For your next turn you need to throw your marker so it hits the #2 and so on.

“You lose your turn if your marker doesn’t hit your intended square, if you lose your balance on the hopscotch grid, or if you forget to hop over your square.”
Hop across the scotches without touching them with your feet or hands, pick up your marker and make it through the court over and over again until you have done it ALL!

So what does this have to do with my spiritual journey, you might be asking?

Hopscotch has rules, lines to stay within, lines not to touch, marker to pick up while standing on only one foot, etc., etc.  Life has rules that keep the chaos from overtaking me.  Life has steps to take.  They can be my steps or God’s steps.  ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

God took chaos, made order and His beautiful world before Adam and Eve chose to use their God-given will to step on those lines, changing life as God had planned for man and woman from that moment to this.

I am created in His Image with creativity for He is The Creator.  I am able to draw inside or outside the lines with that creativity, to make beautiful and ugly life-art.

He gave me free will.  I am able to choose which way to go, what to do, who to be, how to be.

He also calls me to obedience.   Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.  Psalm 25:4-5

I am to stay constant and balanced on His path.  I am to walk within the framework He designed for my life, yet not be afraid if I step on a line.  He wants obedience but He also forgives.  I am His child and am always learning.  Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!  Psalm 119:5

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1-4

The “requirement of the Law” … my standard for behavior is reflected in the character of God.  By walking in the Spirit, the law of Christ, the New Covenant, is written on my heart.  I am an epistle, a letter, a reflection of God to those I come in contact with.  You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  2 Corinthians 3:2-3  

The Law was set in place for me to live by until Christ came to die for me, for my sins, setting in place that New Covenant.  (I can play hopscotch and step outside the lines, but I lose a turn, waiting for the other players to step on the lines or lose their balance before I can try again.)  In this life, I mess up, but must seek forgiveness to move forward in this walk with Christ.  I want to stay balanced and in those scotches to the best of my ability.  I can walk the life planned for me in obedience and gladness because I walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  He set me free when I walk His Way.  I have both freedom and order through obedience.   

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, [there] is liberty.  2 Corinthians 3:17
LORD, may I walk in Your Way always.  Hold me near to You, please my Abba Father.  Amen.

Photo: Brynne Shaw, The Plain Dealer @ http://www.cleveland.com/remembers/index.ssf/2011/11/playing_movie_stars_on_the_fro.html

Diagram of Hopscotch courts:  from http://leesvoice.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-do-you-hop.html

Hopscotch Rules:  Andrea Tompkins @ http://www.quietfish.com/notebook/?p=1147

I Miss You, Mama

Mother’s Day has always been hard for me because I am NOT one.  I have taught and worked with children much of my career life as well as during many pieces of my personal life.  I like children…the way they love and learn and just are!  But I am not a mother… for many reasons.  That is just the way it is.  I am 65 and there is no reversing this now.

This year is particularly difficult because I just (in January) lost my own Mama.  I miss her terribly so, but am grateful that the LORD’s numbered days reached that final point and she is with Him now.  But I still miss her and surely will for the rest of my life, I imagine… just because…

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This orchid was the last orchid plant I gave her.  And I have managed (through no fault of my own) to keep it alive.  It is actually blooming right now as I type.

I send you my love, Mama.  You and your red hat!!  You were a special lady.

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Dearest Heavenly Father, my Abba Father,  I thank You so much for giving me to this precious Mama 65 years ago.  She was the best one for me and I am ever grateful to You for Your gift of her.  Hold me near as I mourn this HUGE loss.  I know You are comforting me and loving me as I learn to live in this world without her.  Thank You, Gracious LORD.   I love You, Abba.  Amen.

His Voice

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by,

and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, 

but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, 

but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, 

but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

 I Kings 19:11-12

I am in a contemplative mood this day.

I listen.

I wait.

I want to hear but do not try too hard.

The desire of my heart is just to hear Him.

STILL …

… quiet

… motionless

… calm

… placid

… tranquil

SMALL …

… tiny

… little

… minuscule

… unpretentious

VOICE …

… God’s

… powerful

… strong

… full

… flows

I am in a quiet place, a still place, both in my heart and in my soul, even in my mind for now.

His Voice soothes me.  Tender whisperings, gentle stillness, calm breezes touch me.  He calls me to be still so that I may know Him, to know that He is God.  Is it possible to know Him with just this still, this small voice?

He is God and I am His sheep.  He says His sheep will know His voice no matter what the voice sounds like.

“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”  John 10:3-4

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Yes, I can hear Him no matter what His voice is when I am still and obedient.

Then I can be woven.

 

photo: Advent Christian Book Store – The Shop on Tywyn High Street, Wales – http://adventwales.co.uk/

Be On the Alert!

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“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near;

so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.

“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

“Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.

“Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

Matthew 24:32-42

Father, may I be alert and wise in these days of my life.  As I am assured that only You know the hour when the Son of Man will return, I, too, know that I am Yours and need to be watching and praying and in Your Word.  I want to be of service to You in this world until You call me home.  I read these verses knowing You say them to me.  You are my faithful God Who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;…. (Deuteronomy 7:9b).  I pray in the Name of Jesus,  Amen. 

“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is….”  Mark 13:33

“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”  Mark 13:37

graphic: http:/www.heartlight.org

Under the Fig Tree

 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  John 1:48

Pondering …

sitting under a fig tree that was not bearing fruit … for it was only the season of new leaves.  The fruit would come in due season.  This picture makes me wonder about myself though.  Do I have the buds of new leaves ripe for growth in my Christian walk?  Do I bear these leaves yet have only the appearance of growth yet no fruit of service?  Am I this tree with branches spread in the quiet of a prayer garden looking peaceful and graceful offering the shade to those who come, yet never bearing the fruit which would satisfy hunger?

Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.

He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.  Mark 11:13-14

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I ponder …

a sense of fruitlessness, weariness, burdened, faint in the waiting for fruit.  Is this me?

 

Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  John 1:48

Jesus answered Philip, “…I saw you.”   Does He just see me from a distance, with a quick glance?  Or does He SEE me, through and through?  Does He understand?  Perceive the most innermost needs?  Is Jesus touched by the state of the one who is under the fig tree?  Does He have compassion?  Sympathy?  Empathy?  Will He give me strength and direction for fruit bearing?

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  John 15:1-5

I am grafted into the Vine.  He will.  I have born fruit before.  I don’t want this branch that is me to be taken away.  He is pruning me so that I may bear more fruit.

Jesus is love.  He turns to me, loving me unconditionally, sympathetically, and He serves me.  I am not alone for He sits with me under the fig tree.

Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  John 1:49-51

He opens heaven to Nathaniel that he may see…to have clarity of sight, his confidence built upon the sovereignty of Christ.

No matter what the state of my heart and mind are, He knows.  He cares.  He sees me.  He knows when I will bear fruit for His Kingdom.  He waters and feeds me as I stand with Him.  I will bear fruit in the season of fruit.  The budding leaves are only the beginning and Jesus knows the timing.  He waits with me as I grow closer to Him and in Him.  He tends this tree.  And I do believe.  I rejoice with Nathaniel and say, “You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”

He sees me!

graphic: fig tree @ http://pics7.this-pic.com/image/fig%20tree%20graphic%20design