Quiet, on the Midwestern Front

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” That’s awesome, Paul

Philippians 4:11

I didn’t fall off the edge of the earth. Although, that little wren has disappeared. The one that cheers me awake in the morning. The house is unusual quiet as I’ve spent July battling sickness.

Covid came first. Frankly, it wasn’t as bad as my first round a year and a half ago. I had a five day reprieve and was able to enjoy grandkids at the park. Then over the weekend I encounter a case of shingles. Yuck! This is worse than covid! I’m sleeping 18 hours a day.

Yesterday I was reminded of Paul’s attitude of contentment whether in prosperous times or times of suffering. 

Whatever you may be facing today, you don’t need to do it alone. Live a life for Christ and reach out for His help.

Hidden

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.

Psalm 42:1

Hidden deep, drenched in marsh grass,
under a dense tower of prickly pine;
against a summer sun-shade sky,
stuck in a sticky mallow of muck
saunters twin fawns out for a munch.

Hidden deep, enclosed by covered deck,
under waiting wonder of curiosity;
against a child’s inquisitive imagination,
stunned at the scene still unfolding 
stares four curious children of nature.

Monday: Celebration

Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.

Acts 8:56

I believe this will be the first 4th of July I will spend tucked away from any gathering, though the wren still chatters out my window and the slick-back cricket serenades somewhere near. My isolation is a cautious act, after six days of a virus. My first thought is not to pass anything along. Yet, the next thought is how I will miss the family celebration.

The 4th is a day of family picnics and children giggling. It a time to reflect on God’s graciousnesses on this country. And of, the once great history of freedom sought after by godly men facing their own untimely fate.

Stephen was a man of great freedom. His freedom was in Christ. He stood in his faith at the fringe of his death. In the midst of an angry mob, he found solitude in the history of his faith. He brought forward a boldness in truth that Jesus was the long awaited Savior and that many would reject Him.

The book of Acts tell the story well. Stephen seemed to face his painful demise as a feather in a forceful storm. He let the strength of his faith carry him through the timely trial. He looked to the real goal. I may be spending a traditional American holiday alone, but those who walk with Jesus are never really alone.

Blessed Independence Day to all and enjoy your family time!

The Flag

I’ve seen it tattered in the rain,
tossed aside in burning bin,
planted atop a battered battle hill;
laid deep within the frigid moon
where man cannot miss-handle.

It’s changed in stripes and stars,
as long decades come and go.
Recently, it has emerged to honor
men and women: police, firefighters 
and the hearts of brave soldiers.

I’ve seen it bellow in the breeze
across a cerulean blue sky, flapping
with the strength of eagle’s wings.
But the most intimate place I’ve seen
it, was laid atop my father’s casket.

Thanks,
Dad

Monday: Life

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

Life doesn’t just happen. 

When an artist plans a project much thought and action goes into the process. Inspiration is needed and tools are gathered. Finally, a masterpiece is birthed.

The artist is complete in sharing their expression. 

Decades have slowly faded by, as the tools of prayer have been exercised on an issue to save precious life. Planning and prayer have fallen from the lips of the saints. Tears have welled up in the eyes of those who long for justice for the innocents. Though often times this sensitive issue has seemed to come to a stand-still. It is now, that God has exercised His power over the value of life.

What joy has filled the hearts of those whose prayers have been answered to protect life itself. May all learn to treasure this gift God has given.

Rain

He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107:29-30

Tiny streams trickle down the driveway.
Flash…lightening strikes summer sky.
Trees wave in strong building breeze;
as critters dash and shimmy for shelter.
Tender shoots bend at the splash of rain;
stooping, squatting, sagging in the wind.
Terror smashes at trembling earth while
forceful, fierce rain falls from the sky.
Rivers freely flow down rise and ridge
marking summer’s signature with rain.

Monday: Summer

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Revelations 3:20

An early summer sky stretching at sunset. The lengthiness of daylight has reached its full capacity. Spring peepers make-way for throaty bullfrogs as they serenade in baritone voices. Slick-back crickets, in their ebony tuxedos, fiddle away along grassy tuffs. Even the summer moon seems more robust as it hangs in sweltering sky. 

It’s summer.

Children drip from pool water and popsicle juice; smiling for there are no studies today. Just sun and fun drinking in memories which will linger a lifetime. Barefoot toes wiggle in the grass as giggles pour into the summer air. The easy-going summer days are well suited to a child.

Though summer vacations are fun, there’s something simple and impressive about empty days at home. A book and blanket in the backyard, building stick forts in walkways or chalking the driveway with a latest creations are all simple things to fill a summer day. Time to loaf and let the imagination stretch, like the summer sunsets, is so important. Everyone needs to learn how to occupy down time or to be comfortable in one’s aloneness.

I still remember sitting in a field, as a city girl of eight, studying the prairie flowers before me. Butterflies fluttered about sipping nectar. Ants marched by tiny pebbles with their new found treasure. Motor noises and people’s voices had vanished, though they were near, for I had entered a world of imagination where only the busy prairie was before me. Solitude can be embraced in our non-stop world.

God gives us all times to reflect. Often those times are misused with clutter of the world. To enter a time of solitude in order to let the mind rest from daily duties is a choice. 

I’ve spend less time in open prairie fields as an adult now. One of my favorite places to find solitude is in the endless adventures the Bible reveals. It’s alright to sit in the garden while busy hummingbirds fly by, holding a popsicle on a sweltering summer afternoon, paging through the Word of God. One only needs to make the time.

Wings

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 94:1

Beneath the rumble of the train,
an early morn and early rain,
little old me can hear their song
drift in my window low and long.

While toes wiggle in comfy bed;
I shake my sleepy, groggy head
an oriole calls a pretty feet…
jeet-jeet, jeet-jeet, jeet-jeet.

As sleep saddles my childish eyes,
flocking birds launch their cries…
purple martins sing so sweet
hee-hee and zwrack-zweet.

When tasty bacon sizzles in a pan,
I can fly higher than any man
with sunny warblers, as they flit,
psit-psit, chek-chek, psit-psit.

Beneath the folds of endless time;
the eternal child in me does climb
on the shadow of wings so high…
forever I take pleasure in there cry!

Monday: Keeping Busy

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I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:18

In spring the birds flutter about in a frenzy building nests, incubating eggs and serving food to their little ones. When they are able to fledge, Mom and Dad are nearby watching every failure or success.

Long summer days sometimes bring a second set of family members. During the hot weeks the nesting continues. Day-by-day the parents are caring for the little ones in some fashion. That’s the life of a bird.

Then autumn veils the hatching season. Early flight training is long gone. Now’s the time to put everything into the effort of a long migration south for the winter months. The training wheels are off. No more beak-to-beak feeding. It’s lift and go south, or be left behind.

Each of us have similar moments in our lives. Those uncertain times of not know where the next path may lead. It can be a time to have a crash course in who our real provider is, God. How much better to have known Him, for the length of days, prior to the trials we will one day face.