Sunday, December 28, 2008
...and another year comes to a close. Most of my life I have enjoyed living one day at a time and in many respects it is the best and the only way to live. However, I am wanting to look at the long term calendar in terms of 2009 and the next 2 to 4 years.
In one particular area, I am having a hard time because I am ready to settle down somewhere and it seems that all of 2008 has been a transition time and we still have not transition to anything with the exception of Dan leaving traveling and taking a more permanent position at UMass Hospital. (some may be saying, well doesn't that settle it?) Not really, we are still in the decision making process.
Early this morning I put Grace on a plane and she will be gone for most of January. We will miss her.
Friday, December 26, 2008
1982 - The Man of the Year in "TIME" magazine was a computer. It was the first time a non-human received the honors.
(above was from On this day)
Hurting and healing
pain and joy
death and life
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Now onto exploring and discovering new things about the Christ Child who was born to die. Let us not forget His purpose.
Monday, December 08, 2008
(any typos, in correct grammar and the like, I ask you my kind readers to overlook ;-)
It has been sometime since I posted a newzie type update on our family. Where to begin? As I have posted here on my blog, we are now in our third MA residence and it is quite possible that we may look for a more permanent residence here.
Dan and the Red Sox had an end of the season loss, the Red Sox a game and Dan breaking his foot. He has been out of work since that time. Thankfully, the Lord has provided generously through dear ones including Dan's brother Billy who has had Dan and Michael working at his store. Dan is being hired as an RN at UMass Worcester as a hospital employee and I suppose that means that we have officially stopped traveling for now. He is also sporting a new look.
[So if we were in a holding pattern before now we are on the ground in the plane and we are not allowed to disembark.]
For me: It has been a year of a lot of travel with Katie and Michael and aside from hitting two deer at once with my new vehicle, our adventures were quite enjoyable and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity. To have the respect and admiration of my children who are young adults is something I treasure. It is also the year of dreaming of flying lessons and looking for a nest to land in. If you read through this blog you will find some more of my musings. I also wrote my way to a NanoWrimo win, that is I wrote a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.
"Love is the great apologetic." I have heard Grace quote and agree with this statement from Francis Schaeffer. Grace is a lover of life and learning and most of all a lover of people. It has been my great pleasure to continue to be taught the things of God through my children. I told her the other day that it is my delight to watch her bloom in the beautiful young woman that she is becoming. Grace's continued involvement with speaking and teaching bring her and her audiences and students delight. In 2008 Grace spent a total of five months in the Netherlands at Dutch L'abri as a student and a helper. (I could write at least a couple of blog posts just about that) All of her college apps are in and she has been accepted to one and waiting on the rest. Here is a thought on faith from something Grace wrote:
Faith is an honest recognition of the fact that we are limited human beings who must rely on our perception, imagination, and reason to understand reality. We call our understanding 'having faith' in x, y, z...because we recognize our epistemological incapacity to know the answers to the great questions of the universe beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Katie dear is constantly shooting people with her camera of course.
She rarely goes anywhere without it and she doesn't just shoot people.
Katie enjoys friendships around the world. In fact today she is visiting one today in Boston who is here via Hong Kong.
The biggest plus of qualifying for Nationals (Championship for speech and debate) was getting to see her friends from Sea to Shining Sea in the fine city of Birmingham.
Then there is our patriot and defender of Liberty, Michael who has taken greater interest in government and politics. This is Michael's third year debating and someone even called us a debating family (that's debatable). He is a young man who wants to get to the bottom of things and wants justice. Just this past weekend he was in a position where he needed to think through some arguments, it was a great time of being stretched.
This past summer Michael took the month of August to write a 50,000 word novel and then wrote another again in November. This is the boy who use to be allergic to pencil but was always enraptured by a good story. Michael is pretty passionate about music, listening to it every chance he can get and also looking forward to some music lessons soon. He too enjoys friends from all over.
Our year of transition which will continue into the new year has been a part of our refining process. May each of you look to the new year with hope.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
"Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
pictured: Demon Hunter
12"(L)From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
13"For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
I have been pondering this phrase and I am still not sure what to make of it.
Here is the cross reference from Luke 16;16The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
I just read over in Luke chapter 3 because the verse above says that the Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. So what was John preaching: I believe the gospel of the kingdom of God. [ And for the very first time, since I picked up the Bible as a believer, I can see where the Fire and Brimstone preachers get there heat. Again I digress] In this account in the gospel of Luke, John is telling the people to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, but for those who are portrayed as truly repentant that is not enough for them. Luke just gives a small sampling of people saying what should I do and in conjunction with who is doing the asking John get specific but each answer can be summed up in "Love your neighbor."
The other thing that is evident laid right along side with repentance and love is justice. In the kingdom realm, there will be absolute love and absolute justice and that conversation is for another time. Although, I am sure that you can find blogs and websites out there that deal solely with those 2 issues. (for example: Fire and Ice)
"Violent men take it by force" and "everyone is forcing his way into it," the visual that I get on this is a FBI SWAT team or an army coming in on the ground fully armed and taking a village by storm. I don't think that is what we have here. It may be a safety in numbers kind of thing, going outside of the Jewish religious norm to hear this wild guy in the wilderness preach as opposed to the synagogue or temple to hear those dressed in fine clothes and are properly educated. Or perhaps it is more like, no one can stop me, there is something this guy John has to offer and nothing and no one will get in my way.
Did you ever think on these couple of verses?
Has the Word of God hit you between the eyes looking for your attention?
Do you know that this book is not just words on pages but living and active?
Today, in a sea of American Churches people are looking for the real thing, the kingdom of God, not rules, not programs, not an outstanding leadership staff. I believe in seekers, those who have already made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, they are the seekers, looking for Jesus in the presence of those who call themselves His People. We know that the kingdom of God is here, it is not some far off distant place where we go when we die. It is here.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Lots of people consider today Black Friday and Thanksgiving can be somewhat overshadowed by the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. I don't want to do that and yesterday, my family and I did what some would call, "count their blessings" and we simply call it a gratitude list, which each of us write and then share with one another.
This time some one said let's do it like boggle and see who has matches, instead of crossing the item off we simply checked them off. It added some fun and flare to something I hope will never grow old. Each of us are grateful for one another and God who provides for all of our needs along with a wide variety of things. Our identities and life experiences were found in each of the lists.
Reflecting on the concept of being grateful, I have discovered that grateful people and those who practice gratitude are rarely found complaining. I must admit when I don't remember to be grateful, my tendency is to fall into "fault finding" in things, people and circumstances. Being grateful breeds contentment, acceptance and optimism.
Instead of stealing from yesterday's list, I will come up with something on the spot. Today I am grateful to be writing this blog, I am glad to be Dan's wife and the mother of Grace, Katie and Michael, I thank God for heat in New England and air conditioning in Florida, I will not take the reading of God's Word for granted, the rising and setting of the sun, clean drinking water and fresh fruit and vegetables, the many opportunities to love other people.
I would also like to recall the first time my friend, Kathleen asked me to list 5 things to be grateful for: my knee jerk reaction was FIVE things!!! Are you kidding? I asked her. She was dead serious. So while on the phone I did my best to list 5 things, I imagine that my Newport Light cigarettes were on the list and perhaps that I was sober, but whatever else I came up with, I couldn't tell you. However, it was the beginning of developing a habit of writing a gratitude list every morning. (one that would not be a bad one to get back into)
Here is to hoping that every person who stumbles upon this blog will take time to express gratitude for blessings receive and strength given for trials faced.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This past Saturday was National Suicide Survivor's Day and I was made aware of it by a younger friend on Facebook. I just want to be another voice added to those who are crying out, "Life is worth living. There is an Author of life, He writes the book and you play your part. The role He has for you only you can play. Life is not easy but we tend to forget that Death comes to all and that it will be soon enough."
In an article in the Dallas News a young man committed suicide with a live streaming on the internet:
Montana Miller, an assistant professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said Biggs' very public suicide was not shocking, given the way teenagers chronicle every facet of their lives on sites like Facebook and MySpace.
"If it's not recorded or documented then it doesn't even seem worthwhile," she said. "For today's generation it might seem, 'What's the point of doing it if everyone isn't going to see it?"'
This quote from the article got me to thinking about living life to an audience of One. The question posed "What is the point of doing it [whatever 'it' may be] if everyone isn't going to see it?" So often the riches things in life are the hidden treasures. Right now our family is finding some in the midst of a small trial, it is those things that the Father sees done in secret that reap rewards. Those who are web camming or are fully documenting the deeds on a social network, you have your reward in full. I am not saying there is something wrong with documentation, we need to have documentation for many things, what I am saying is that some things are intimate and ought to be private. There are times when we need to be extremely courageous or humble depending on what our circumstances present us and to know that the Father has his eye on us is enough. (see Matthew 6;3-6)
To achieve balance between knowing when to keep your own life private and when to live your life as an open book takes discernment. We so need to continue to keep a check on ourselves as well as guide our children. I continue to make mistakes. If there is one lesson that I would like to have solidly down it is "to pause and to think before I speak or act." Failing to do this gets me in more trouble then anything else. There are many things that we could list definitely on each side of the ledger.
One thing that I would like to be more invested in is the sharing of ideas on the open book side. I think this is one of the hardest to discern. Some ideas come from left field and don't belong on either side, other ideas are excellent that we may share with a close friend and that friend may encourage us or help us to know whether or not to share it with others. The young man who committed suicide with an Internet audience, talked about it. Generally, those who really don't want to go through with it will start talking about it because they want help and perhaps they don't know how to ask. If you go and read the article it says that this guy was talking about it. It is not a joke. The pain of living does appear to be greater sometimes to some people but if someone you know starts talking about suicide, I implore you to help them to get help.
The hope that I have as a believer in the Giver and Sustainer of Life is the first thing I want to share with the hurting. God created each and every human being in His likeness, in His image. Let that be the first word, "You were made on purpose." There is a lot of help out there, counseling, medication and meditation. Most people need the right combination but all people need to know the truth, that their life matters.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is the concluding thought in the letter from Paul to the Philippians.
I have been thinking about departing words perhaps because in the last week I have been to a memorial mass and a funeral mass. It is not just our good-byes at death but the end of the day with our kids and when we are leaving someone after a visit.
Over the last 5 & 1/2 years we have had almost nothing but blessings spoken over us. We have pulled out from Marlborough, MA (twice now), Virginia Beach (03 & 04), Ft. Myers, FL (04 & 05), Tilman, MD (04), Knoxville, TN (05), Quichee, VT (05), Naples, FL (06), Gainesville, FL (07), Charlottesville, VA (07), Hull, MA (08). Each place has its dear people that hold special places in our hearts and those that we have gotten to know and love that have blessed by their words as much as their actions.
I would agree with James one of the writer in the New Testament that the tongue is the hardest thing for us to tame and that both blessings and curses come from the same place. For the last 20 plus years, the Lord has been at work in me, disciplining and training me and I still find myself with my foot in my mouth and lately, I have been choking on a calf muscles and knees (at least it wasn't the whole leg). I want to get back to just nippling on my toes once in a while.
This requires a very simple principle: THINK before you SPEAK. After pondering this for some time, in between my large blunders, what do I want the last word to be? Seems like a no brainer, blessing of course! If life were so clean! If sinners never sinned! Most of us, have to work at it. There are people out there that seem to just have "it." I just don't happen to be one of them.
Some of our favorites are: "I love you" "Thanks..." "See you soon" "Have a good day (unless you have other plans)" "Take care" "Safe home"
There are 4 that I want to say more often to four very special people in my life:
"May the God of Hope fill you, Michael with all joy and peace as you trust in Him. So that you may over flow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
"And God is able, Katie, to make all of his grace abound to you, so that at all times having all that you need you may abound in every good work."
"May our Lord Jesus Christ, himself and God our Father, who loves you, Grace and by his grace has given you eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your heart and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
"So then Daniel, just as you receive Christ Jesus as Lord continue to live in Him, be rooted and built up in Him and strengthened in the faith just as you were taught and be overflowing with thankfulness."
I would love to hear some of your favorite parting words!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My family consist of 5 very different people who all happen to love reading and collecting books. It is rare that each of us do not have a book going. At least a third of what we pack each time we moved have been books. Try as we may we just seem to keep collecting. We send some to my dear friend, Elizabeth to store and enjoy and then we find ourselves buying more books.
Recently, I found myself willing to put some of our books on sale at Amazon. Some of these books have never been cracked and as much as I may have wanted to read them at the time of purchase, they just never grabbed my attention. Sitting in a box or on a shelf, never having been open, the books are but blocks of paper. That is not to say that the author did not pour his or her heart and soul into the book. I am sure he or she did. However, if it is not being read or referred to by me or my family, it is just taking up space longing to be read by someone.
Other volumes hold such a place in my heart. My eyes simply landing upon the binder of a title that I have either read to myself or possibly read to my children brings back a flood of memories. The authors are my friends because they have spoken from their heart to mine.
Books communicate life affirming truths and deadly lies. We must be discerning in what we read. This does not mean that we should avoid reading those writers who we may disagree with or spew lies. Some people may choose to avoid all that contains "sin" and find themselves in a cloister. Thinking that they are keeping themselves from sin, but have they? The books that delight, encourage and challenge us do in fact promote life, growth and stimulate both the heart and mind.
There is more writing to do. I am in the back of the pack in the November marathon known as NanoWrimo.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The Modern Day Storytellers
There are a group of people who are our modern day story tellers. Some tell story that only last for a season or two and others seem to be able to write a series of stories that take quite a long time to tell. Then there are those stories that we want to see again and again. Yes we want to see a sit-com, dramatic series, mystery or crime solvers. Some call it the idiot box, however like a book, it is just the means which is used to deliver the story. Television can be destructive and a life sucker, but writers do use it to tell stories.
The first season of Joan of Arcadia was well done. This show was created and written by Barbara Hall and seven other writers. For those of you not familiar with this particular story. It is about a girl named Joan who is in high school, lives at home with her mother, father and 2 brothers. God appears to Joan in the form of every day people. God in whatever form challenges, encourages, and comes along side Joan in everyday circumstances. Sometimes it looks like God sets Joan up and then walks away, leaving Joan to make decisions and take action. Joan wants to do the right thing, quite often does and sometimes doesn't, and we get to witness the outcome. All characters are engaging and you can't help but love Joan and her whole family.
I know this is not a very current series but this is the 21st century, you can rent the DVDs or perhaps find them in your public library.
So, what is your favorite TV show that tells a story?
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
In my house November has become the month that each of us face the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel inside of one month. There is a global community of people from around the world who take on the challenge and encourage one another to get the task done. I have added the website to my links on the side bar.
Our return to New England in 2005 was the first year that we participated. I came up short by 3,000 words. It is by far still my favorite story and I still haven't finished it. In 2006 each of us were winners (reaching a minimum of 50,000 words). Katie wrote 2 novels that month! In 2007, I just did not commit to the task and the site has so much traffic right now, that it is taking a little bit of time to load.
So here I am at my blog letting my reader know what I will be up to this month. Along with caring for Dan who broke his foot the same night the Red Sox lost in the 7th game to the Rays. So, I am off to my other blog and then I will start my 50,000 word novel. Yes, I will write even though I am a good 30 hours behind Katie and Michael.
KEEP WRITING! (now where have I heard that before ;-)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
My new blog for my fiction writing is up, bare bones and I will add meat and muscles as I go along. One of my faithful readers said to me, I am still waiting. So here it is in it nakedness.
By any other name
Thanks for reading.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Maintaining the Identity of Caitriona
Upon further thought, I will create a new blog to accommodate my fictional musings and maintain the pilgrim journey here at Caitriona. I realize that I didn't really give any warning to my readers. We have moved into the house pictured here in Sutton, MA, a little town just outside of Worcester. Acquiring a third Massachusetts address may seem like we are circling the wagon and that is exactly what it feels like. At this point we are looking to resettle here in the Commonwealth, the home of our fathers.
Look for a link in the future for my fictional writing.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Not to be taken for Granted
Brilliant, breath-taking, crisp, is one way to start describing an autumn day in New England. The colors are alive here in Sutton and my personal favorite is the mix of orange and red, a very different type of eye candy. Some times this mix of the two colors looks very much like the color of my daughter Katie's copper red hair.
Today as I was driving home with my kids in a sea of color, I noted that there were some years when I took it all for granted. Honestly, I didn't bother to take note of the Father's captivating handiwork. The trees were made this way on purpose. Soon they will be bare. What a way to die! Full of lively color! It's that the way we ought to live.
May the Lord grant me the willingness to continue to live life for all it is worth until my last breath. As long as my spirit is renewed day by day, I will gladly continue to walk the path laid before me, though the body may grow old, I will purpose to be a child of the King, dancing in His garden, enjoying crunching leaves (one of the best noises in New England) and resisting the urge to give up when I face the hills of difficulty.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
We are making our home again in MA for the 3rd time this year. Not sure if I have talked about it on my blog here, but the Mullaney Pilgrims are looking to settle down. At this point it looks like it will be the greater Worcester area but we will see how things play out over the next few weeks.
And those that we know and love from long ago are saying welcome home. Truth be told, I would like to make my home here again. From a political and cost of living stand point it is probably not one of the best places to live. However, from a personal level it is one of the best places to live on this side of the Atlantic. The five of us were all born here so in a human from the dust of the ground sense this is our mother land.
This has been our 16th move in 5 and 1/2 years. People say, "How do you do it?" Pack up, clean up and go.....by faith. The last 2 moves although fairly close together have been really different. It is as if we are in a holding pattern waiting on the tower to let us know it is OK to land. So for now we are circling and looking forward to settling down somewhere in the future.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
During my senior year of high school (yes, I can remember that far back), Pat Stewart was my English teacher. In all my years of public education I can probably count on one hand the teachers that inspired me, Pat was one of them. The only reason that I got to have Miss Stewart for English was because I almost flunked out of the honors English program my junior year and so I was not allowed to advanced in the honors program in English. I am so grateful for it.
A large part of our grade in Miss Stewart's class was our personal journal that we were required to write during every class. The content was of our own choosing: fact or fiction the point was to write daily while in her classroom. My journal may still be in my mother's possession, now that is a frightening thought, because I am pretty sure that you might describe the contents as "bleeding all over the page" or "verbal diarrhea." However, the point is it was raw, unedited attempt to communicate in writing, a dangerous activity, which is essential to personal and business relationships throughout our lives.
Recently, I have quoted from The Christian Imagination and it was while reading it this morning that I thought of Miss Stewart. Writing is a craft worth cultivating just like acting, sculpting, playing a musical instrument, architecture, and the list goes on. "Beautifully written" "Well said" "a storyteller in the making" "this should be made into a movie" or as Luci Shaw said in her article from The Christian Imagination, "my soul crying out to your soul," all comments on writing. Miss Stewart believed that every student in her senior class had the ability to write. Learning to express ourselves through the written word is essential to a well educated individual.
God created us in His Image and He is the great Creator! We were made for creating, that includes writing. He is, after all, the Author of Life. In fact, one of the names of God is "The Word." It is natural for us to be creative in some way. There is no such thing as a non-creative person.
If you subscribe to this blog then you know that I missed writing yesterday and I missed it. Friday's post was to explain that I am writing fiction, since my blog is written in the first person, one of my readers expressed concern that someone may think I have picked up smoking again or that you just might be scratching your head trying to figure out where I am going with this blog. Well, I will be writing the way I always have coupled with the raw piece of fiction which is a work in progress, a creative outlet.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
(I'll get there)
By Harry Connick Jr./McLean
I've travelled many a mile
And I haven't found a home
I've travelled many a mile
And one seed's unsown
I'll travel another mile
"Til I finally find my own
I'll get there
I started with a dream
But came to a decision
I started with a dream
But now I have a mission
I have a goal
To see beyond my vision
I'll get there
I've got to be strong
TO CLIMB THE NEXT HILL
I've got to be strong
MY FATE TO FULFILL
And from a strength
STRONGER THAN MY WILL
I'LL GET THERE
In my father's house
No harsh words are spoken
In my father's house
No vows are broken
In a holy place
My soul like beams oaken
I'll get there
When weary is your world
Go and spin another
When weary is your world
There's heaven to discover
Here on earth
We're sister and brother
We'll get there
And if I stand alone
To my cause I'm loyal
If I stand alone
Either common or royal
I'm not afraid
To cross their see of toil
I'll get there
I'll get there
Friday, September 26, 2008
As a result, the Christian imagination has manifested itself from the very first as typological. It sees every moment in this kingdom-saga as linked mysteriously to every other, and it envisions itself as actor in this drama. It reads life as a meaningful history, the structure of which (that "plan hidden since the beginning of the world") was revealed in Christ. Counter to the Sesame Street culture of three minute bites, the Christian imagination is a storytelling imagination. In every era, in every life, it recognizes the creation-death-resurrection pattern epitomized in Christ's life. And it interprets every event as an essential moment in the movement of time toward eternity."
from The Christian Imagination edited by Leland Ryken
I dare say that this is one of the most important books that I have read in many years. Since, I probably read between 10 and 20 books in a given year, that is significant. The most shocking line in these two paragraphs is "This world makes sense." How often have I heard many a Christian say the complete opposite. My thought is if God is a loving all powerful and all knowing Creator then it has been crafted by Him. Although I do not understand everything, if I believe then I will trust that indeed He is the Creator, this is His world and He is the one True God, loving, just and beautiful. It is for me to trust Him and live within the Mystery called Life.
"It[Christian Imagination] gratefully anchors itself in the gift of reality, seeking to decipher its message, not to get drunk on it. "
WOW! No wonder all those brilliant artists of the past were indeed themselves Anchored in Christ. They understood the connection between reality and imagination. We are the image bearers and we are fashioned to be creators and revealers of Truth.
As I pack up the books that I can not seem to help myself from lugging around, I confess that I am a lover of stories, story telling and living out my life story. We have all kinds of books, the majority being literature, biographies and non-fiction.
There is so much more that these two paragraphs stirred up in my heart and mind but I will have to leave it at that. If anyone reading has already read, The Christian Imagination, I would love to discuss it with you.
To quote Grace, "Your life is a story. It is worth telling."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Tell me the Story
is a book by Max Lucado
We owned it at one time and in story form it tells us about creation, forgiveness, redemption and other matters of faith. I sure hope it is in storage somewhere. It was delightfully written and the paintings by Ron Decianni are captivating.
Sometimes, when we loose touch with someone, or you don't show up for a very important engagement he/she might ask, "So, what's your story?"
Then there are the times, at a wedding, a funeral or some other gathering, where you may have the opportunity to share a story about how someone else life intertwines with yours.
Lately, Grace has been talking with us about the importance and power of stories and I recently started reading a book entitled The Christian Imagination edited by Leland Ryken that shares the same message. Both have also touched upon an essential understanding about man being created in God's image and how every single human being matters.
For I don't know how many weeks I have been walking in the morning with my dear friend Elizabeth, we share stories and ideas and prayers as we walk through downtown Marlborough and French Hill (which is now mostly populated with Brazilians). There are two homeless men that we usually pass at different points in the walk. The one up on French Hill I affectionately call Sunshine. One morning as we were passing by he said, "Good Morning Sunshine!" I thought he was saying it to us so I responded, "Good morning to you too!" He said, "I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to the Sun." Since then whenever he is there I say, "Good Morning Sunshine." Usually, he is having a discussion with one of his imaginary friends or he pretends to ignore me. One day last week he was walking slowing up the street ahead of us, well he slowed down, turned around, saw us coming, so he stepped aside, as we approached him, he was poised, I said, "Good Morning, Sun...." he said "Good Morning, Sunshine!" for all of the Hill to hear taking the words right out of my mouth. It was precious and we were both amazed and delighted.
Monday, September 15, 2008
When I was young I did have some dreams that were drowned in drunkenness and depression. Newness of life came as I entered my 20's and life quickly became something entirely different. Not even in my wildest dreams did I think I would marry or have children. God had other plans for my life. As the teen years seem to be racing by, I find myself thinking about the not too distant future. And these two questions seem to be popping up here and there, so I find myself pondering.
Never stop growing and allow life to unfold, there is always another adventure somewhere down the road.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
from Twenty-Four Hour a Day devotional
"The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms." Sheltering arms express the loving protection of God's spirit. Human beings, in their troubles and difficulties need nothing so much as a refuge, a place to relax where they can lay down their burdens and get relief from cares. Say to yourself: "God is my refuge." Say it until its truth sinks into your very soul. Say it until you know it and are sure of it. Nothing can seriously upset you or make you afraid, if God is truly your refuge.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
gets me out of bed in the morning. For a good part of the summer, I have been walking with a friend but that is really not why I get out of bed that is more of what gets me out the door. The question "Why do you get out of bed in the morning?" I have a family to take care of, I am a wife and mother, the maker of our home and it is the job that is in a constant state of changing. I have gone from infants, to toddlers, to preschool, school age and now in the home stretch of high school with all three. At this point in time, I am looking down the road a little bit and asking myself a lot of questions that I am not even ready to talk about but this question covers them all.
There are so many opportunities. Dreams, thoughts, as well as questions are stirring inside of me. It is important to just be still right now, do the next right thing and know that God is God.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
"Why do you get out of bed in the morning?"
"What are you doing that I can support?"
"Do you love her?"
"Why can't I be freed from who I've been?"
"Why didn't you ever buy a house?"
"Where do I belong?"
"How do you make that decision?"
Then there are the questions that people ask when they meet you for the first time: "What do you do?" "Where are you from?" "How many children do you have?"
To say that I really enjoyed answering those last three questions for the majority of the last 5 years, may be an understatement. Now, in the midst of transitioning from moving regularly to being on the hunt for a house. The questions make me revert to the "smart" answers or I simply say we are in transition without getting into a discussion or turn the conversation to them and get to know them a bit. It is a very small handful of people that I want to speak with about my current status.
Back to the questions I listed. These are questions that have either been asked of me or that I have asked. Continuing on in this life, I have more questions than answers and I am finding that it is a very teachable place to be. The difficulty lies when I am unwilling to find answers or at least allow myself to meditate upon what is being asked.
There is a lot to explore, discover and learn about myself, others and the world we live in and only so many hours in the day. This is just a start but I will be back soon to continue these thoughts.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
The seasons of parenting
It occurred to me the other day that I have not blogged about any changes we have been going through lately. These are numerous but I just want to focus on one: Children growing up. In February of this year our oldest daughter Grace traveled to the Netherlands to go to L'abri as a student. It was a delightful experience for her going over there with two of her very good friends. The director asked Grace if she would return for the summer session as a helper and she absolutely loved it.
This daughter of ours is vibrant, strong, thoughtful (and full of deep thoughts) and a delight to her parents. She is also no longer a child. Grace will always be my daughter but she is now a woman. In all honesty, re-entry has been a challenge for me. This is the transitional time of parenting that is crucial to maintaining a relationship and allowing it to develop in a way I am not really sure about. Even though she is not totally out on her own, she has been expanding her horizons.
It seems like labor has made its appearance again and this time I don't have to take it laying down but can walk, breath, laugh, cry and rejoice in my child who has become a woman.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Lookin' for a HOME
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14;1-3
In the last 5 years plus we have moved 15 times, some people live in the same house their whole lives, others grew up in one house, marry and raise there family in another and there are those who have moved more or somewhere in between. Our life upon the earth is a journey no matter where it is that we lay our heads to rest at the end of the day.
Shortly after our most recent move to Marlborough, MA (the place where we had called home for 9 years before traveling), Dan and I sat down to discuss our current crossroads, both of us had been considering whether or not it was time to stop traveling and thinking about finding some place to hang out for more than a year or so. The two of us had come to the same conclusion. We have loved living in different places and investing in our relationships with our kids and the people who have been put in our path. Since that conversation nearly two months ago, we have been back and forth, rent or buy, relocate to a brand new area of the country, find some place close by, go back to one of our favorite communities that we have had the privilege of being a part of for short periods of time, should we stay or should we go?
Although the economy is not in the best shape, the housing market still in the sink hole and the looming presidential election is upon us, there is always hope for those who are Sons and Daughters of a King, His economy is much different from ours. It also doesn't hurt to be in a profession that is always looking for experienced, well liked and hardworking compassionate people. The opportunities are great for us. Sober judgment is essential. Plenty of good reasons to buy or rent, stay or go.
If you have had a conversation with me of any length about traveling, not having a home or moving, it is more than likely that you have heard me say, "Its ALL temporary housing." This world although we live in it is not our home. There is a place often called Home by the children of God. Some say it is Heaven and it very well may be, Jesus called it Paradise and there we will live forever with our Father. This life is but a vapor!
Deciding to stop traveling is like having learned to live hanging upside down and being taken down out of the rafters and relearning to live right side up again. The pilgrims are now looking for shelter and desiring to hang a sign out "Welcome to The Mullaneys" and written on our hearts, weary ones can find rest and refreshment here.
*Please note there are so many people along the way who have provided a place to sleep, a hot meal(s) and wonderful fellowship from mid-New Hampshire to Naples FL and lots of places in between. We are so grateful to each and every one of you and each one is worthy of a blog post, hopefully I can get that done soon.
Monday, July 21, 2008
What Christians need to learn from Red Sox fans
Commitment, loyalty, unashamed, worship, headoverheels, belonging: these are the words that come to mind when I think of those fans who love the Red Sox with all their hearts, souls, minds, strength and even their pocketbooks.
Perhaps you are one of those people who have visited the Boston area, gone into a local supermarket and noticed that 4 out of 10 shoppers are outfitted with their Red Sox attire.
I have been a fan all my life (those who hopped on board in the 2004 season, do not realize the sweetness of that World Series since they did not go through the heartbreaking seasons leading up to that time.) When I was growing up, I was one of those crazy fans. Today, I am still a fan but I no longer worship the BoSox.
However, I got to thinking: have you ever been to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park or any other ball park in this country where the Socks are playing? One of the sounds you will hear,
"Let's go Red Sox, Let's go Red Sox" in a collective chant. And the whole feel of the place is electric.(even at away games) Isn't that how it should be with the Church and the Holy Spirit? If a bunch of folks can get pumped up for a baseball team, then we as the children of the Living God ought to be able to get juiced for Jesus.
Just a thought as we head into the second half of the season.
Go Red Sox!
Glory be to the Son! Whose Age is yet to come.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
"Who are you?"
What person with faculties intact has not asked this question? or these questions? "Why am I here? What is my purpose? There are many people who wrestle with the deeper questions in life silently or disregard them, leading a life of quiet desperation.
The past few days I have discussed, contemplated and listened to others bring "the meaning of life" questions out into the light. It is a painful. It is exciting. It is like a living organism. There are two words that have come up: identity and wholeness.
A good friend and I were discussing our identity. How do we find our identity in Christ? There is not a simple answer. We talked about the deadly game of comparing ourselves to others and coming up short and how perfectionism plaques us. Our worth is to come from being in Christ.
Then I heard a lecture titled, "What are people for?" The simple answer, this young man came up with comes from the Westminster Catechism question #1, What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy him forever. He said, "this is beautifully put but hard to understand."
My initial thought comes from the Scripture that says, "now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."
In all of life, no matter how mature we are, knowledgeable we have become, the best we will get in this life is seeing in a mirror dimly, yet there is hope! We have hope because we have been redeemed! Everyone is broken and in need.
Please take note: A young friend of mine says, we must preached to ourselves.
There are so many ways to answer the question, "Who am I?" So many directions that we could go in. I would like to begin by rephrasing the question: What was I created for? Danny, the guy who did the lecture at L'Abri gave these three things: creativity, relationship and redemption, as his answer. This is what he found in the Good Book. Those are definitely things I have been tossing around in my mind.
God is our Creator and we were created in His image, so we too are all creative, no exceptions. It comes out in different ways. I just so an older woman walk by the house and I thought and wondered if she crochets or perhaps she is a retired architect, how does her creativity manifest itself? The man who weaves a story or the girl who dances for joy. The woman who does agility trials with her pure bred pup or the little boy who builds a ramp for his match box cars. Any of us could add to the list ad infinitum.
In questionaires about ourselves we are often asked to list our hobbies or interests, does this not make the point that we were made for creativity?
Birth. Death. Marriage. Divorce. Cohabitate. Love. Hate. Communicate. Live. Home. When we hear that a woman has had to deliver her child by herself. We think: aw, it is sad that she was alone to have her baby. The event of a child being born usually includes others. Our desire is for our loved ones not have to face death alone. In some cases, we want to be that some one or we want the one closes to them to be there as they pass from this life and into the next. It takes two baby! Or if you are a Christian, a marriage takes three: my God, my man and me. Although a house may become a home, it is the relationships between people that make it home.
I have a little framed saying that reads: Mother is the heart of the home. Those 7 words are both challenging and encouraging. It reminds me that I am not walking through this life alone, that I was indeed created for relationship.
Referring back to my list. I believe that God is the giver and taker of life, the One who created woman for man in marriage. The Word of God says, "God hates divorce." I think the only thing that God wants us to hate is sin. He has called us to Love people. Ours is to communicate effectively with one another and I believe it is one of the biggest challenges we face. Together we are to live among people. In all of these relationships God wants to have an influence in our lives and I believe the best way (and probably the only way) is for us to be in relationship with Him.
A mere human to be in relationship with the Creator of the Universe. On the screen, that looks almost ludicrous. When we try to look at ourselves among ALL that God has created, we are speck on the face of the globe. I don't think we can ever have even a partial understanding of who God is and the fact that indeed He is able to have a relationship with all of His creation, that He cares so deeply for each of us and is carrying on personal relationships with individual people.
Sinful, broken, imperfect, left for dead, this was the state I was in when my Redeemer invaded my heart and turned my life upside down. One of my favorite songs by Caedmon's Call is Thankful. My favorite part says:
We're shackled up to the sin we hold so dear
So what part can I play in the work of redemption
I can't refuse, I cannot add a thing
I do believe that I am here on purpose and created for His good works. I don't have it all figured out. My lifework at the moment is to finish raising three young people with my husband for God's glory. It is for us to lead them in paths of righteousness. Making hard choices, doing the right thing, making mistakes and making amends, living and loving life together. Creatively speaking, we have chosen to live in lots of different places. It means adjust to lots of changes on a regular basis but having one another and the Lord as our only constant.
I believe a large part of my redemption was to provide my children with a counter-cultural lifestyle and I never would have dreamed of raising and educating children at home. My husband and I did not have a 5, 10 or 15 year plan. Let me emphasize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that type of living, we are just not those type of people. We are living on borrowed time and doing our best to live it to the fullest.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
"Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
For quite some time I have been thinking about blogging on the second most important part of the paper, the obituaries. I really like what I found on the online Etymology dictionary: from L.[Latin] obitus "departure, a going to meet, encounter."
In the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 7 it says that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth. In some respects I agree. It is hopefully, a life well lived. Some obituaries are extremely sad not because of the amount of people left behind or the young age that some die but because there are very few words written and no survived by list. Those are the ones I find extremely sad. I take those to heart knowing that some day my obituary will be written and I will be going to my eternal home.
However, no man is an island. Each life does effect another and I believe that this the way God intended it to be. We have no idea how we do indeed influence one another but the fact remains that no matter how you live your life, it will effect the life of another. For some reason I keep thinking of the homeless, that man, woman or teen that you might see on the street or in the park they are some one's son or daughter. If the parents are still alive the absence of that person in their life carries a certain heartache.
So, I guess this leads us back to life. How am I living life? What kind of impact am I having on the people around me? When its time for me to move on, will there be something worth writing in my obit? Where will I get my perspective on this living and dying business? Who will lead me through this life and certain death? (none of us makes it out of this world alive) Why should I even bother giving the death notices the time of day?
I would like to answer that last question. The short answer is: Every life matters. Just reading about people I never met is a way to honor their memory. Then there are loved ones of those that I love who pass on and I want to be able to acknowledge their loss, come along side them in their pain and help them continue to walk on in this life. In today's Sunday Herald, Margery Eagan wrote about a soldier who was killed in combat and given the full honors of a military funeral. We need to remember those who are willing to fight and die for us even if we disagree with the war. Mourn with those who mourn.
Life has been the biggest adventure. Sure there have been seasons that I've drudged through and I am grateful for the simpler days that I have known. In some ways I romanticize them, but it is important to remember that every day is a gift. It is after all the only day that we are guaranteed. And yes: Live like today is your last because if very well may be.
Some links to get you interested in the final curtain call:
This blog dedicated to my Auntie, Mary Fitzgerald who is still alive and kickin' and use to say,
"I read the obits first and if my name isn't there, then I can read the rest of the paper."
Friday, June 20, 2008
Miles like Years
by Catherine Mullaney
Another blue sign for GAS and FOOD yet we are not hungry
and I've got a full tank
Another little boy in the ladies room with his mommy
begging to be in the men's room
Looking for traveling mercies
again I get behind the wheel
Looking for peace in the journey
the miles speed by like the years
Wild flowers grow on the median
A country church sits on one side of the highway
Golf course cut out on the other
Motor homes and semis race down the road
Signs for history museum remind us of the stories
from the past
tired from another long expedition
Looking for traveling mercies
again I get behind the wheel
Looking for peace in the journey
the miles speed by like the years
Trip meter says I only have 100 miles behind me
and so many more to go
I note "Lodging this exit" but its not time to rest
So I am looking for traveling mercies
again I get behind the wheel
Looking for peace in the journey
the miles speed by like the years
yes, the miles speed by like the years
Basically I wrote the core of these lyrics while driving home from AL/Ga. It most likely was written quite a bit in Tennessee where one genre rules. So, the words may come across like a song out of Nashville. There is nothing wrong with that. I have put close to 18,000 miles on my vehicle this calendar year, traveling with Katie and Michael, with only an occasional extra passenger or two. I know the truckers, pilgrims and other crazy mums like myself will have probably identified with my thoughts and feelings.
Monday, June 16, 2008
As much as Emily and Patrick's wedding was a celebration, it also had it's serious side of this is a covenant that neither one of them is taking lightly. There was talk of marriage not being easy, there were prayers and words of laying down one's life in order to live for the other. Thoughts of my own children (Katie and Michael sitting beside me) coming of age and wondering about the things they still need to learn and know before making such a commitment ran through my head. Thoughts of Dan and Grace were not far from me as I felt there absence.
Overall it was a joyous occasion and the Lord was a focal point. It was great to worship with Emily and Patrick as this is the first thing they wanted to do as husband and wife. We were led by Emily's sisters Erin and Lauren. Overall, a great shout of joy rang out as we praised the name of our God and lifted up grateful hearts.
What amazes me most is Emily's patience. Ever since I have known her, she has wanted the title of Mrs. It is a dream come true and her longing has been fulfilled, yet this is only the beginning. There will be pain as well as joy, laughter and tears, good times and trying times and above all the Love of Christ which is the glue that holds any Christian marriage together.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Have you ever seen the Father of the Bride practically leap out of his shoes with so much joy? Yesterday, I did. Katie, Michael and I attended the wedding of a dear friend and we are friends of the Bride. Instead of ushering his daughter in with the traditional wedding march, Randy Smith sang acapella, "is this the little girl I carried..." the WHOLE song. I was so taken aback and wouldn't you know, I forgot the most important part of my wedding apparel - tissues ;-)
The wedding was one of great celebration of what God has designed for marriage! And hopefully most of it will remain in my heart to finish this blog.
In the mean time: Happy Honeymooning Emily and Patrick!!! More importantly welcome to the adventure of marriage.
Monday, May 26, 2008
It is right here on the south shore of Massachusetts which is not the Cape. Although, I didn't see Reepicheep's ghost. As we near the end of our time here in Hull, I have made it a point to make time to go to the beach even if it is only for 20 minutes. It is here that I feel the nearness of the Lord. Today was quite different. I was on the water for the majority of 2 hours. Michael and I went out in the kayaks in Nantasket Harbor.
The sun was shining, the winds gusting up to 30 miles an hour and neither one of us went into the drink. We conquered the wind and the water and we didn't hit any of the larger crafts that were on the water. It was great to be out there together and come home victorious. Both Michael and I enjoy solitude at the ocean but with the weather being absolutely beautiful this weekend, there really was no solitude to be found. Both of us did venture out alone yesterday but among those celebrating the unofficial start of the New England summer at the beach. Today, we went out together and I am so grateful that we did.
I will miss living so close to the ocean, it is by far one of my favorite places to be when it comes to the outdoors.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
If someone was to go through stuff in your desk or somewhere else in your house, would you find things dated as far back as December 27th, 2005? This is the oldest thing that I have come across while packing up. That is pretty old for me. It is a newspaper clipping and since it is from when we lived in Naples, FL, I am going to say it is from The Naples Daily News since it simply reads "Daily News" on the top of page 6D.
As you can tell, I am still on the learning curve when it comes to traveling light. I travel lighter than most Americans but I am still not where I would like to be. My willingness to let go of things has certainly increased but staying put for so long (it will be 8 months by the time we leave here) makes the moving on more difficult. This isn't the first time we have moved and not left a state however this time it is much closer, in a much smaller state. Not only are we staying in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but we will return to the point of departure from 5 years ago - Marlborough. We are looking with anticipation what this summer will bring. A few more family gatherings I suppose since both the Mullaney and MacDonald clans mostly reside in the greater Boston area.
There is still the dream of living somewhere out west (of the Mississippi River that is) and we will see if that will come to pass, in the mean time, there is a box or two looking to be filled. Please do keep in touch.
Monday, May 19, 2008
One comes across some interesting things when you go through storage (for those of us who have things in storage).
There was some yellowed index cards with Quotes from my high school days which were also my bc days (before Christ). Here are a couple:
"People will remember you better if you always wear the same outfit."
David Byrne of The Talking Heads
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."
Rudyard Kipling CATE 1984 edition
It is also moving time for the Mullaney Pilgrims. So....that being said I will be off.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I am a blessed mother.....
Now writing that from New England can be risky business. "Isn't there only one Blessed Mother?" my Roman Catholic relatives might ask. Not according to the Bible where it says, "Her children arise and call her blessed;" from Proverbs 31 verse 28 That is what my children did yesterday morning. My three young adults thinking ahead with both Dan and Grace leaving early this morning getting on two different flights out of Logan.
I woke up to a lovely breakfast in bed, balloons, streamers and 3 very precious gifts. After we started traveling Grace thought that we ought to scrapbook our adventures. I agreed but I have been terrible about creating pages. Anyway, each of the kids did a scrap book page of themselves and wrote some honoring thoughts acknowledging this Mother's Day. It brought tears to my eyes. What more could I ask for?
Grace is 18 and seems to be just back for visits these days. Katie is 16 and living life to the fullest and Michael is 15 deep voiced, growing and showing greater care and protection of his mother and 2 sisters.
If someone could have showed me even a glimpse of my life today back when I was 18 I would have laughed and said, ridiculous. Oh the blessings I had no idea that were in store for me. To say that I am truly grateful for my husband and kids is a tremendous gift from the Giver of Life.
Wishing all the mothers out there including my own a wonderful mother's day! I hope that your children arise and call you blessed.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
"Christian shrewdness must always be governed by dove-like innocence."
Dr. Tom Ascol
When I read this quote on this Sunday morning, my first thought was, "this is how we ought to go about resolving conflict especially amongst the family of God." We are indeed called to be wise and gentle. The Lord has given me wisdom in some very crucial times, but I still struggle with being gentle. I am blessed to be married to someone who has been fashioned with a very merciful spirit and he has definitely helped me in dealing with my very passionate bent toward justice.
If love is to cover a multitude of sins, then we must deal openly with the effects of those sins in order to strengthen and sure up relationships. I am coming to believe that relationships are above all the hardest things to maintain and keep in good repair and that the people involved in those relationships, especially among the family of God, are most dear to the Father in all that He has created. In the gospel of John, Jesus says, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." In Paul's letter to the Corinthians he states, "I show you a still more excellent way," which leads into the chapter on love. Finally, we are called to live at peace with one another.
What does "loving one another look like?" Some might say, "it is when we are being kind to each other," but I believe that there can be an appearance of kindness without any love. In First Corinthians, it says (and I paraphrase) I can have the tongue of an angel and offer my body to be burned, but if either of these things occur without love, it says "I am as good as a noise gong and it profits me nothing." These two actions, speaking well and laying down my life, amount to nil if they are not motivated by love. My conclusion on the matter is the way we treat one another needs to be motivated with a heart filled with the love of Christ.
Paul tells us that this love has several characteristics, but the one I am particularly thinking of when it comes to peacemaking is: "[love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth." For Christians I think one of the hardest things for us to do is to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation. We need to say things like "this is my wrong doing" or "this is where you wrong me" or "there is something between us and I want to work it out in order to restore our relationship." There are too many Christians who don't want to work it out. It ends up coming out in ways that are far more hurtful then the pain experienced in facing the truth. In the end I have found the people who are willing to go through it become some really close friends or at the very least know that the air is clear. This enables us to live at peace.
My concept of "living at peace with all men" was passed on to me as a child as "peace at any cost." This was defined as 'whatever you do don't talk about it' (at least not with the person involved), leaving no restoration of relationships, having those relationships in disrepair and acting as if everything was fine which created a false sense of peace. Meanwhile inside myself was an uneasiness, unrest and anything but peace. The result being that every interaction after that is not only stained with the unresolved issue(s) from before, but also continues to damage the relationship and all the other relationships that overlap that one. It also is very costly because more people get hurt as a result.
So with an aching heart I pray for wisdom, gentleness and a willingness to do my part in being a minister of reconciliation, not wanting to put a band-aid where the Physician’s hand is needed.
Pax Vobiscum, CM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
A ray of sunshine shoots through my window,
as I look to see it break through the willow,
the beauty of this soft light,
only shows the power of his might!
Clouds begin to form,
and strike a bitter storm,
hiding his great glow,
oh how the clouds billow!
The clouds linger as I stand and look on,
Oh how I wish that they would be gone!
Then comes the rain, and thunder,
the darkness comes to plunder.
The hail strikes me with great bite,
sometimes it becomes so hard to fight,
and just when I think of falling,
his light returns with lovely calling.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Write an email or write a blog? This is the question that I am asking myself after a phone call with my friend Becky in Georgia, who said keep us updated with what is going on. Some of you may or may not know that our daughter, Grace is in Holland right now and will be back in the States next month, Katie has become a great speech writer and Michael's comedic timing is near perfect (I don't want to say perfect because then there would be no room for improvement, there is always room for improvement).
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Non-Readers read no further
Has your Christianity included a steady diet of Max Lucado, John Elledge & Gene Edwards, perhaps Ed Young & Joel Osteen, or G.K. Chesterton & C.S. Lewis maybe John Calvin, Martin Luther & Wycliffe? Now that I have probably offended everyone, please hear me out at least continue to read.
As a family we have been reading Table Talk for the last year and 1/2 or so. It is a monthly publication put out by Ligonier Ministries. The April 2008 issue's theme is the 3 forms of Unity. One of the articles is about the Heidelberg Catechism which I have never heard of before picking up this magazine, as I finished reading the article, it dawned on me - the Lord has given me a rich diet from a variety of saints who have gone on before me. This is why I posed the opening question. If we stay in one spot and let's say it is marked "Baptist & its' sympathizers" (my apologies to all my baptist friends) and only drink and eat the literature approved by them then we reject a whole bunch of wisdom that comes from other brothers & sisters in the faith.
Ecumenicalism is not what I am advocating but what I am saying is let us continue to be seekers of the truth. When the Bible says "seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open' it is not addressing the unbelievers - Jesus was speaking to His followers - when the Word says "seek, find & know" it is not for the unbeliever. Some may disagree but let's look at just three of those passages in context.
Matthew 5 verses 1 & 2
"1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying: "
The Lord began to teach these followers for the next 3 chapters including
Matthew 7; 7-12
"7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
John 8; 31 & 32
31"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
If you continue searching the Scripture for these 3 verbs, look at them in context and ask the question, "who is being addressed in this passage?" You may be surprised.
It was one of those shining bright moments of gratitude that I have not been limited to just a certain flavor of Christianity. Please know that I realize that we are called to be discerning (and some who I have listed you or I may have an issue with) and to not just accept every book, author or preacher who holds up the bible and says, I am in the way of Christ. The scripture is my measuring stick and if you are a believer then I hope it is yours too.
Grateful for a God bigger than all my aha moments! CM
Sunday, March 02, 2008
A week ago today we attended church with dear friends of our in central MA. There were two families who dedicated children to the Lord. One man who dedicated his second child to the Lord used the following scripture as a prayer request to the seated congregation. From Deuteronomy 6 verses 4 through 9.
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
"You shall love the LORD your God with
all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
"You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
"You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I couldn't help but think to myself, is he listening to the words he is saying? does he mean it? Is he willing to do what it takes to "teach" his children "diligently"? If I hadn't been so tired, I would have like to have gone right up to him and his wife after the service and ask him if he meant it. So many things get in the way of us accomplishing this goal.
As I have referred to in previous posts, we are in the home stretch, the heart break hill of parenting. We know that our time with our children now 15,16 & 18 is quickly nearing the finish line. Not that we will no longer be their parents but our role as their parents is changing drastically at this time. Every day I am more convinced that the shortest season of life is childhood. Some say that educating children at home is a calling and this passage above may indicate that it is a little more like a command. If you give away the most precious hours of the day to another whether they be private or public educators, I have a hard time seeing how you can execute Deuteronomy 6. Perhaps the messages of the modern day American church coupled with the messages of the culture seem to be right since that is what most Americans Christians are doing. The Lord however has given us minds, to think, to reason and to question the church and the culture. To see if what these two influences have to say match up with what the Lord has to say. It is difficult to stop and to seek the LORD, search the Word and have HIM search our hearts.
As a Christian, the first authority in my life is Jesus Christ and His Word and believe me I fall, I fail and I cry out for mercy because I can't live up to HIS standards, but GOD is bigger than my faltering ways and HIS GRACE is sufficient to meet all our needs. I have seen the LORD work in my children and I know that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God's purpose. The reason we continue to educate our children at home is primarily out of obedience to God and I can say without regret that this small act of obedience has produce the greatest joy in parenting. This time with our children has allowed us to cultivate relationships with our children that we could have never imagined. Hopefully, we have helped prepared them for life to be affective agents for God's Kingdom.
So my prayer for this couple who are longtime married and very new parents to two little ones is that they would take this scripture to heart, that they would be a living sacrifice in their parenting, indeed that they would walk and talk and impart the ways of the Lord to their children. I sit here convicted by my own words. With the little time left, I pray that my husband and I would take the time to give of ourselves to our children while they still live with us.