… clinging…

A sweet friend blogger (I mean she is faithful to this… often 3 times a week, and then, alas, there is me!) began her post Monday of this past week, “Life has been crazy… I haven’t written in a couple of weeks.  I hope you enjoy this one…”

I voice the same sentiments…  life is in a tailspin. Tornadoes and hurricanes spin a tsunami of events, causing multiple waves of distractions.  I’m finding it difficult to swim against the current.

“How did you get up here?” I heard Tom ask, as I came around the garage.  I didn’t see anyone near, so I went to see who had gotten up where.

At first I thought someone had put a rock on the door knob, but knew there were no children nearby.  “Why would you put a rock there?” I asked.  Tom laughed and told me to look closer.

Google enlightened me as to how this frog climbed the slick surface of the garage door.  This species are masters at climbing and clinging. I learned they not only have the ability to climb and stick to smooth surfaces, they can do so at very steep angles. The degree of steepness or difficulty does not affect the ascent.

Researchers in several countries (can you imagine?) have discovered a thin layer of mucous is secreted and coats their soft toe pads, enabling the tree frogs to adjust their posture so they will not fall.  No matter how steep the angle.  In fact, the steeper they are, the frogs respond by almost flattening themselves to their physical limits.

Oh to be like a tree frog these days… climbing higher and higher, clinging like glue to the Father’s heart… never falling off.

What would happen if these frogs, made for scaling challenging heights, simply waited at the bottom to be lifted by another. Or coiled in a dark corner limiting them from succeeding… safe in the dark?

“The sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer (in this case, as a small tree frog, italics mine), able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 NLT

But there is a prerequisite, a most important one, in this ability to tread the heights.

“I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation…” Habakkuk 3:18

I will trust… This is no easy commitment these days: “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren, even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty… “

YET, I will cling…

I so often fail these days, succumbing to despair and fear…

As I studied the small tree frog’s determination, his resoluteness to keep going, despite the seemingly impossible steepness, the Lord whispered Habakkuk 3: 19.You can do this. I made you to soar…

“I wait quietly before God… for my victory comes from Him.  Psalm 62:1

… clinging…

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… on guard…

“Do you see those yellow weeds in that field?” Tom moaned one morning as we looked out the kitchen window. “Every single one contains millions of seeds, all headed in our direction. It is impossible to keep them from our yard.”

“Can’t we put up a fence or a net of some kind… a guard to protect the yard from all ugly weeds?” I jokingly asked.

Of course, there is no possible way to keep seeds from blowing into gardens. Just as there is no way of preventing unwanted, unhealthy ‘seeds’ finding a place in an unprotected heart.

“Guard your heart, Barb.” The whisper was so timely, so necessary… encouraging.

I have opened my heart lately to let bad seeds in. Seeds of fear, doubt and worry are flourishing in my former trusting heart.  So I didn’t need to ask why I was receiving such a reminder. I recognize my heart is in trouble; I clearly understood this gentle command. Tears sprang immediately as I looked at the weeds, listening to the quiet nudge to guard my heart. Why is it easier to focus on the obnoxious weeds in the fields beyond us rather than on the lovely spring flowers blooming near the window?

You see, I am much saddened and distracted by the pain portrayed on the media screen, by the anguished tears of an adult child, and my own health(heart)  issues*** (see personal note at end.) I have simply become hard of hearing God’s whispers. Negative seeds are springing up around me, squeezing all signs of peace and hope. I had forgotten how to protect my heart. Easter seems so far away… in heart and home.

“Above all else, guard your heart… for it determines the course of your life… everything you do flows from your heart.” Proverbs 4:23. Guard is used over 800 times in the Old Testament… 200 of those relate to our emotions, our thought life. It literally means to take care of, to treasure this (mind) that defines who we are.

I have lost my way these dark days. My heart­­­ — i.e., my life, suffers from worry and fear. So many intrusive seeds preventing me from tending carefully to my heart.

The heart is who we truly are. It is in the inner code. It can be wounded. It can also be healed. It can be strengthened, renewed, and even changed. J.B. Shreve

If we allow toxic seeds to find a home in the heart, the course of life changes. Suddenly fear, worry, anger  capture all of life.  One must be diligent to protect it from any danger that would keep us from listening to the very whispers from God’s heart.

How am I to take care of my heart? How do you care for yours? A difficult question in these days of massive pain plastered on the screens. How does one lovingly care for the intimate place from where all feelings, thoughts and actions flow? How do I treasure this most important gift?  Quiet praise music, truth of Scripture, slow walks, a spouse’s hug, a friend’s call… all can help in the vicious assault of ruthless seeds blowing near and taking root.  But I have the major responsibility…

These seeds have found a spot in our gardens and produced ugly weeds. Tom and I have literally pulled and dug hundreds to make way for the perennial flowers.  I mean, they will grow anywhere… even at the front door of our lives.

Years ago, I had these words posted near my desk… I must do what I can, and let God do what I can’t. I can pull the weeds…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will GUARD your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7.

This Maundy Thursday of Easter week, may we all be on guard, protecting our hearts from fear.  Let not your heart be troubled… trust.  John 14:1

*** I am in process of knowing what is causing some medical heart issues.  Physical symptoms of shortness of breath, unusual fatigue affect my mental acuity, as well.  If this blog is a bit disjointed… and late… you will know why. 🙂 

 

 

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… loving me, loving you…

“I hope you get IT and die.” I crumble in disbelief any human, a woman… could hiss these words through her mask to a complete stranger in a nearby grocery store. Why? Because the recipient of the hateful remark was maskless.

Are we really this ugly? Are we this unkind, this opinionated, this judgmental… spiteful… because we don’t love others? Or is it that we don’t love ourselves? I wonder…

Hearing whispers from the Creator Father allows me to remain focused and secure. Words of love, affirmation and encouragement settle around me, and I am able to joy in the NOW, even in the turmoil. But lately, I have heard the ugly more often.  Ugly words, shouted around me; I struggle to hear positive echos stirring my thoughts; I fret in the silence.  This  venom filled  comment  definitely  disturbed my spirit.

How can I love my neighbor as myself if I don’t love me? A friend shared her struggles of insecurity when she was a young wife and mother.  “I put myself and others down in order to show I was an okay person.  But I wasn’t.  I did not know how to love me”.  Jesus gave this answer as the second most important command. First, love the Lord with all your heart and then love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:29-30

How can I love you if I don’t love me? And is it even possible to love me?

I repost the following here from Cecil Murphrey’s February 2022 newsletter, author of multiple books (90 Minutes in Heaven is one) and leader of writers’ conferences.  (You will be privileged to good writing in his post.) This expresses so clearly the answer of accepting and loving oneself.

Last month I turned 89, and I’m still learning. For example, I’ve been reading about the Desert Fathers—monks and hermits who fled into the deserts of Egypt beginning in the third century. Feeling contaminated by their culture and seeking a purer relationship with God, those men (and later women as well) wrote of their insights.

One concept from my reading has stayed with me: passing judgment on others is a sign that we haven’t fully encountered ourselves. They point out that if we’re upset by the words or actions of others, we’re damning ourselves. Conversely, if we truly accept who we are, we don’t criticize anyone. “If anyone is bearing his [own] sins, he does not look on those of his neighbors.” Heaven Begins Within You by Anselm Gruen p.53

That has stayed with me because my judgmentalism reflects my own self-condemnation. One writer pointed out that while we’re disparaging another, we unconsciously sense that we too aren’t perfect. The Desert Fathers believed that renouncing judgment and condemnation was the direct path to inner peace.  

Or to state it differently, a wise teacher said, “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? . . . First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:3,5 NLT).

I wonder how many times I’ve read Jesus’ words and moved on; however, reading the same idea from a nonbiblical source challenged me. Each morning, I now pray, “God, help me fully accept myself as I am, so I can fully accept others as they are.”  

If you know me personally, you know I haven’t reached my goal. Instead of being downhearted, I remind myself that I’m still learning and growing. That adds excitement to my life. 

The more fully I love the person I am, the more able I am to love others. (Cecil Murphrey)

I need to read one sentence again: if we truly accept who we are, we don’t criticize anyone. Paul writes in Romans 15:7, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

I learned to love me by listening to the One who loved me best; Scriptures reinforced His whispers. How beautiful to understand  I was loved. (Whispers on the Journey, available on Amazon, shares the path of this journey.)  I am still learning to listen and  to accept God’s words as personal.

And I am learning to fully LOVE… me and you!

 

 

 

 

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… can we dance?…

A heaviness of heart prevents my fingers from dancing over this keyboard in celebration for this day. For days I have pieced thoughts and memories to share in the hope you would celebrate with us. Fifty eight… 58 years, the beginning of a journey, March 14, 1964.

But I cannot… I cannot finish the initial post with true, but fun, frivolous thoughts.  In an insecure world, full of war and madness, today I am grateful for the security of ‘us’. Through tears, I bow in gratitude that the Lord, does indeed, honor obedience when two people commit ‘to love, honor and cherish each other from this day forward’.

“There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… Ecclesiastes 3:4

These current days are so BIG with sorrow. How can I dance? We received a message from a pastor friend in Vienna yesterday telling of Jura, a Ukrainian driver who transported goods the church had collected to an orphanage in the war zone. “On the way back, he was detained and then brutally beaten by Russian soldiers. He is now missing.”

It was then I knew I could not finish my blog. For hours I prayed for this man’s safety and his heart. Vienna is 824 miles from Kiev— not so very far… and my heart is not so very far from Vienna. Imagine my joy this morning when we received this text, “Jura  just called! ‘I am thankful to be alive.’ He is driving back, bringing refugees with him. Thank you for praying.”

I can dance for this news.

This morning Tom gifted me with three pages of ‘reasons, ways and whys’ he loves me.  Perhaps my best gift ever!  As I hugged him, I whispered, “I could write a book…for you.” If I can say one thing about Tom Suiter, for these times— I am overflowing with massive gratitude and appreciation for this man, this incredibly strong man, who keeps me balanced. And who loves me perfectly when I can’t dance.

The verse below shouts the wonderful ways in which we are to love in a marriage relationship. Even though I have not elaborated the topic, I want to use it here.  Ephesians 5: 33 in the Amplified Bible defines clearly how a wife is to love her husband. Husbands seem to have only one way… the more difficult one!

“Let each man of you without exception, love his wife as being in a sense his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband—that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him, and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.”

Learning to love Tom Suiter as this verse instructs has kept me dancing these 58 years—

just not today.

 

 

 

 

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… safe?…

(This is not a normal word… how can I respond in any other way. This theme is consistent with the blog  … holding on…Current life happenings propel us to find our only safe place.)

“We are not safe anywhere,” the hopelessness in her eyes penetrated the screen.  I wanted to grab her and run.  A young father watching his four-year old son tumble on a mattress sheltered in the basement of a local church reveals the same fear, “I feel like there is no safe place. It’s like heading into the unknown.”

Ukrainians are afraid.

Maybe… we’re all afraid.

When there is no safe place… no physical place to find shelter… from disease, from accidents, from catastrophic weather events?

A Christian leader in a former quiet suburb of eastern Ukraine is encouraging the believers to “have faith that God is with them even when the ground is shaking.”

“This (kind of fighting, missiles exploding) doesn’t happen in reality,” the President of a Christian civil movement in Ukraine expressed. “It only happens in plots of movies and in history books.”

But it is happening… today… everywhere.

Evangelical Christians make up about 2% of the population of Ukraine, but that number may be growing during these days of darkness. One woman proclaimed, “I’m not an atheist anymore!” As the fearful find shelter in church basements, some are finding faith as they hear the message of salvation.  The predominant religion in this state is Eastern Orthodoxy, and followers adhere to similar beliefs of Christianity.  We can trust many of them are running to their Safe Place.

Remember the hit song in 1988… don’t worry… be happy, by Bobby McFerrin?  Do you think for a single minute the Christians in the midst of this battle can sing these words these days?  Even if we dubbed in Paul’s words from Philippians… rejoice, don’t be afraid. Sounds more spiritual, perhaps, but is it remotely possible?  I think not. Sometimes, there’s no place to go.

“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

Where do I hide?

When the world explodes around me, when the ground is shaking, and I am afraid. When there are only dead ends ahead, physically, I run as fast as I can straight into Tom’s arms. And I’ve been running into those arms a lot lately. He holds me. Strong.  He wouldn’t let me go if a Mack truck were barreling towards us. I know that.

But there is Another holding both of us. I know that.

As I was reading in Psalm 147 this morning, burdened for the hearts of these unable to find safe places, verse four breathed hope to my fearful heart: “He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name.” Suddenly I heard this God of the universe whispering the names of every single person… it was as if I understood how very much He cares for and loves each of us.

And there’s only One Place to go… when there is no place to go. We go to the One who loves us.

“I will take shelter, refuge… safety in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:2

The president of one the Christian schools in the Ukraine encouraged believers to ponder and trust the words of Psalm 33, a portion stated below.

“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” v16-22.

If you are secure in your Hiding Place, wrapped with hope and peace, then join me in praying that the peoples of the world find this same Safe Place. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

… safe…!

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… knowing…

“What just happened?  We were all together… right here… having a feast of family and fun only three days ago, making big plans for spring. Now this. What will we do.”

I am sure this is what the male cardinal lamented about noon yesterday as he sat alone,  surveying the damage. He jerked his red head in all directions, clearly agitated at the change.

“How can our cardinal community survive these cold temperatures without the little bit of  covering we had. And so near our major food source.” I listened as he sung his woes, sounding much like my own of late.  He seemed quite forlorn, almost despairing.

I am as upset as the birds with this week’s pruning of the Chaste tree out my kitchen window, but I know the ending.  They have no idea the timing of the trim will unlock new growth this spring and branches will be fuller, and later, lavender scented blooms will delight hundreds of bumblebees. But, for now, I do miss the constant tweeting of my winged family.

But you know, I relate to this red bird confused and questioning the happenings in life. Change comes to all of us…

What do we do when change comes? When tomorrows erase the joys of yesterday. Most of us must admit… we often  worry, question, fret and cry at the changes… in the happenings of our families, our health, our world.

“We don’t laugh like we used to,” Tom was solemn, as he looked up from his book.  He is right. Laughter experts… you know those… inform us that children laugh about 300 times a day. We as adults… 15 times.

When did we stop laughing?

“Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit, and though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, YET I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17,18.

Imagine the barrenness, the failures, the emptiness … the hopeless expressed in this verse from Habakkuk. Then there is that  little word, YET. Am I really to dance and be happy? Can I possibly rejoice?  Is there hope after all branches are loped off?

YET however, nevertheless, still, in spite of, but…. However we dissect this word, it means no matter what happens. Such a little word for a life commitment … I know God is…

Tears splattered the soap bubbles in the sink as I began singing, “I know who holds tomorrow…” by Ira F. Stanphill. I sang it over and over… determined to believe the words…

I don’t worry o’er the future, For I know what Jesus said                                                        And today I’ll walk beside Him For He knows what lies ahead

                  Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand                                      But I know who holds tomorrow  And I know who holds my hand

Change will forever be a part of life… that will never change. I can prepare myself for tomorrow’s change by knowing the promise for today. The author of Habakkuk affirms he is trusting in the Word of  the Lord; he is confident the Lord is Who He is, has been, and will be… in the future.

God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake you, nor let you down.. assuredly not.” Hebrews 13:5 Amplified.

I just feel God listens with special joy as we sing praises through our tears… oh, he loves  our hearts, even as we struggle to trust Him with the changes in life: “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord.”Psalm 104:33,34

Some birds are adjusting… just a few… have returned to rest on the short stumps this morning and they are singing.

 

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… at home…

“Oh, Tom, we have a summer place, don’t we?” I squealed over the loud music. He grinned, and nodded.

We were cruising about 70 miles an hour this past Sunday on a country road, well, maybe  50 around the curves. Music just sounds better in the Corvette, and I was tiptoeing in a  world of younger memories.  Andy Williams began crooning as only Andy Williams can, A Summer Place; suddenly the realization struck me that Tom and I, indeed, live in a summer place. So interesting, perhaps for the first time… I heard every word and knew the truth of the song. (Please click past the skip ads and listen to this again…)

https://youtu.be/9SeDGvfR0HU

Curving around piles of snow, I imagined our summer place, and giggled.

Because our ‘summer place’, your ‘summer place’ is anywhere.  It is where we live, where we give and receive love:

There’s a summer place Where it may rain or storm , Yet I’m safe and warm For within that summer place Your arms reach out to me And my heart is free from all care. For it knows There are no gloomy skies When seen through the eyes Of those who are blessed with love And the sweet secret of A summer place Is that it’s anywhere When two people share All their hopes All their dreams All their love And the sweet secret of a summer place Is that it’s anywhere When two people share All their hopes All their dreams, all their love. (words by Mack Discant)

There are only six million summer beach homes and mountain cabin retreats in the United States these days, leaving millions of us without a perpetual place of peace and security… IF we only find it in a ‘summer place’.

Immediately my thoughts escaped to another place, my ‘anywhere’ refuge, my secret place. Each and every believer has found this place, the place we are always… at home.  We, who make a home with the Lord, live in the shelter of mercy and grace, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Psalm 91:1Not only do I dwell in a physical summer place, my anywhere place, as Tom and I share “all our hopes, all our dreams, all our love”, I live in constant awareness of my  other secure refuge. True, this song is for lovers, but on another level, the truth shouts of our only Shelter. There is a place where we share our hopes and dreams with Him who loves us perfectly. Anyone can enjoy this anywhere place… at home alone, with a spouse or with  family.

For an instant, the dirty snow piles bundled closely together blackened the brightness and reminded me of sadness and heartaches… but the lyrics ring out “in rain or storms, I am safe and warm,’ so I am comforted to know … Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations, Psalm 90:l

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you, so quotes Jesus in John 15:4.

This idea of remaining intrigues me— I am to stay, dwell, abide… to make my home with the One who loves me most. The one who gave His life for me.  How much safer can I be?

… at home… ANYWHERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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… discovering…

Did you hear of the woman in London who found a dazzling ring at a flea market for $13? She enjoyed it immensely, wearing it almost every day for 30 years thinking it was a fun piece of costume jewelry… a cubic  zirconia. Imagine her surprise and joy when she discovered it is a 26 carat antique white diamond!

Wouldn’t you love to make a discovery like this from a flea market or attic find? Oh, I wish!!

Perhaps there are more important discoveries to be made.

“There are no endings… only discoveries.”

Sam Peek (Hugh Cronyn) spoke these words to his teenage grandson after the death of his beloved wife, Cora (Jessica Tandy) in the film To Dance with the White Dog. Tom and I watched this last week, and I cried buckets.

I have to think about this… Sam had lost his beloved wife of 50 years, and he could say these words. Really?  Of course, this is a movie… or is there a truth to learn?

Surely there are endings… to summer, to winter, a school year. You receive a termination slip at work.  You read the last chapter in your book. You play a game, and win or lose… it’s over.  A marriage crumbles.  A life breathes its last.

Endings? … or a path to a discovery…

When I learn something for the first time, or ‘see’ a truth not known before, then I have made a discovery.  How deeply important this can be at an ‘ending’. Does each day have an ending or is it a chance for discovery?

“The Lord’s compassions, indeed, never fail; they are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 22,23

What calendar event, what physical or emotional heartbreak, what circumstance in life deemed as an ending is an opportunity for discovery. I would suggest all of them are. This phrase, “there are no endings, only discoveries”, has filtered through the channels of my thoughts for days.

Finally, I understand… because if there is no discovery, then there truly is an ending.

It is my responsibility to discover something I have never known or seen before. What discoveries are there to be found in the ‘ending’ of my expectations, my wishes; my hopes?   What do I learn about me, about life, about God? What is my purpose because of this happening?

Oh… I want to discover a diamond… I’m not sure I know how to succeed at mining for these jewels, but I so want to try, to discover what I’ve never known before.

“You will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me as a vital necessity… in this experience (italics my words) and find (discover) Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 Amplified Bible

The calendar year 2021, has been replaced by a new opportunity, 2022. Will you join me in seeking something new, in learning new words, ways and wisdom… discovering the diamonds in the Now.

“If you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to skillful and godly wisdom and directing your heart and mind to understanding, applying all your powers to the quest for it. Yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding. If you seek wisdom as for silver and search for skillful and godly wisdom as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of our God. Proverbs 2:1-5 Amplified

… living in discovery…

 

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… holding on…

“Go to your safe place and stay”… warns the TV or cell phone.  “Stay until the disaster is passed.”

Is there a safe place when more than 30 devastating winter tornadoes make a very long journey through six states, destroying whole blocks of family homes… wrecking entire towns filled with happy holiday shoppers… only minutes earlier? Where was a safe place for workers in a candle factory working overtime to make sure there is candlelight at Christmas?

Scenes of devastation shock us into a reality we want to avoid. The loss of life… the loss of communities, and I crumble.

Where was their safe place? Was there even time to find one?

Statistics report there are 40,000 normal thunderstorms every day… somewhere in the world. You experience those… with winds and rains. But it is the tornado that can cause major destruction. The U.S… has more tornadoes than the rest of the world… 1,200 occurring every year, resulting in multiple deaths. Compare that to New Zealand’s 20. Europe’s weather promotes lighter tornadoes, but they strike. We happen to live in Tennessee, one of three states where the most deadly tornadoes occur at night. Kentucky and Arkansas are the others— exactly where these recent night killers dropped down… in full force.

There is really no safe place… none… for most of us in our physical world. I guess some could find shelter in an underground bunker— but for most of us, we find the safest place in our home.

Perhaps you have cried with the family of the three little girls laughing in the bathtub… their safe place. Just minutes before the storm destroyed their home, the picture was taken and sent to their aunt. One of the little girls is now gone…

Tom and I discuss ‘our safe place’ should we hear the warning—but would it be enough? Would we have time to find an underground bunker? What does one do when there is no safe place? No place to go and nothing to hold to?

I wrote the following on December 5… five days before the tornadoes struck as I had been contemplating this blog on … holding on… since my blog of … letting go…  after the visit to the emergency room. There are things we must let go… always… but I want to hold on to Tom:

When I awoke this morning early with thoughts of holding on, such a heavy curtain of fog prevented any sign of life seen out the window. There was nothing tangible to hold to. I confess I fear what I cannot see.

As I sit here, observing the gray blanket in front of me… I realize there is so little to hold to—  I cannot hold money… much or little. I cannot hold possessions… all can vanish in a moment. Health is not assured. Youth slips as quickly as snowflakes dissolve. Relationships break down. Is there anything to hold to?  Changes erupt around every bush, causing one to wonder just what is real, what is worthy.

The same verse I used in … letting go… came immediately to mind.  “What is true, what is noble, what is pure, what is lovely, what is excellent or praise worthy… hold on to such things.” Philippians 4:8

My wise man said this week over breakfast as too many questions wrestled with my faith… There are no safe places in this physical world. Since there are none here, we are forced to determine if there is one anywhere. As believers, there is a reality for us—yes, there is a safe place. That safe place is one of hope—in the One who created us, an expression of faith, not one based on reason and logic.

Especially for seniors… as Tom and I are. We will experience the unsafe places, the parts of life that happen with aging, with life.  The storms will come; we cannot outrun them. We can only run to our safe place:… My soul finds rest, safety… in God alone. Psalm 62:1

Christmas shouts softly in this chaotic world…

Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you.  Luke 2:10-12. I encourage you to read this verse again and again, making it personal … to you. This safe place is for you… I love that my translation says A great joy!-

our physical safest place…

“I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” Psalm 61:4.

A friend from Vienna sent note after last blog: I sure hope you have not let Tom go… not yet.  These days he is taking life a bit easier. I think?  Cutting down a tree this morning, raked leaves yesterday. As he was diagnosed with Afib with a flutter (I don’t know what that means), He is to have an ablation on January 13, 2022.

… go to your safe place… and hold on… celebrating the Gift of safety each day of this season and yes… all year.

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… letting go…

There was not a single negative memory swirling through my anxious head. Only sweet ones as I was aware of the monitor tracking Tom’s heartbeat.  An early morning house call of paramedics, extended hours in the ER and admittance to the cardiac floor, caused quiet reflection on the whole of life.

The day before on Wednesday, November 17, Tom and I had laughed and remembered  the events on that same day fifty nine years earlier… our first date. A life time ago. I had planned to post a blog that day celebrating memories, but our server was down. The next day, November 18, Tom’s heart flipped, and this time, it wasn’t for me.

Here I am four days later…

As I sat those hours, remembering… the good, I didn’t give a single minute to negative thoughts. It wasn’t that I could not think of anything bad—every marriage, every relationship must work through those as they come, but in a time of reflection, I remembered the good, the best of life.

Thanksgiving week is for remembering… remembering the beautiful stuff of life and forgetting most, if not, all our hurts. It is a time of ‘letting go’ and being thankful for the journey.

So what do we remember and what should we forget?

To remember, the brain must actively forget, so suggests a July 2018 article in Quanta Magazine:

“Without forgetting, we would have no memory at all,” said Oliver Hardt, who studies memory and forgetting at McGill University in Montreal. If we remembered everything, he said, we would be completely inefficient because our brains would always be swamped with superfluous memories. “I believe that the brain acts as a promiscuous encoding device,” he said, noting that at night many people can recall even the most mundane events of their day in detail, but then they forget them in the following days or weeks.

“Maybe the brain is designed to forget information,” Davis said. Somewhere in the brain, he noted, there may be some sort of judge that tells it to override the forgetting process when it comes across something worth remembering in the long run.

This article informs us that forgetting serves as some type of filter, dismissing what is not important and remembering the necessary. Scientists continue to discover how this filter works.

What an amazing confirmation of God’s creation. This truth is stated over 250 times in Scripture, admonishing us to remember our promises, to remember God’s ways and directions for life, to remember our commitments. To remember the good things.

And forgetting…

this must activity in our lives is expressed  in Isaiah 43: 18,19. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Paul penned this same idea in Philippians 3: 13,14. “But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to win the prize…

Both of these references shout the truth of forgetting what hurts, what shames, what angers. And while true, there are tragic incidents in life requiring therapy and time; I understand completely as I walked the path of forgiving my father.  Granted, bad things happen and beg us to remember, to hold on to every detail.  The opposite is a ‘letting go’… a beautiful process.  Life is a journey of ‘letting go’ … simply releasing, surrendering, giving away the hurt.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” my friend responded immediately. I had called to ask forgiveness for my lack of checking some research I had promised to do. I smiled and thought, how wonderful to have friends who ‘don’t remember’.

Tom and I are blessed with the gift of forgetfulness. We choose to remember the good, the beautiful, the lovely moments and intentionally to ‘let go’ of those words and actions capable of damage. (Though sometimes it does take me a day or two!)This Thanksgiving is a time of immense gratitude, for you, my readers… I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy… Philippians 1:3,4

And thankfulness for every moment shared … Tom and I  tread softly into each day, never taking the moments for granted, loving each other well, thankful for learning how to ‘let go’ these many years…

A verse that encourages us in remembering: Finally, dear friends, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on (and remember… my added words)  such things. Philippians 4:8

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… letting go…

Do you need a gift idea this Christmas?  How about… Whispers on the Journey, available on Amazon …  many of these pages reflect lessons of remembering and forgetting.  If you would like a signed copy (US only), email me…  barb.suiter@gmail.com

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