Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Pilgrim Way

For a number of years, I have been getting Alistair Begg's daily devotional through Truth for Life. I am sharing today's below. (tried to post this yesterday for some reason it would not so here it is today.)

Wear the Badge of Perseverance

Continue in the faith.

Acts 14:22

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not only a beginning in the ways of God, but also means continuing in those ways as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: He said, "Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me." So under God, dear believer in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, "Aim higher." The only true conqueror who shall be crowned in the end is he who continues until war's trumpet is blown no more.

Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.

· The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can tempt you to quit your pilgrimage and settle down to trade with her in Vanity Fair.

· The flesh will seek to ensnare you and to prevent your pressing on to glory. "Being a pilgrim is weary work and makes me wonder: Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Can I not have at least a holiday from this constant warfare?"

· Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the target for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: He will insinuate that you are doing no good and that you need to rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering; he will whisper, "Curse God, and die." Or he will attack your steadfastness: "What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as others do, and let your lamp go out like the foolish virgins." Or he will assail yourdoctrinal sentiments: "Why do you hold to these doctrinal creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: Fall in with the times."

So, Christian, wear your shield close to your armor and cry earnestly to God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Page 27 of yesterday's Boston Herald

I found myself again reading the obits. It is the second most important part of the paper and to some the most important. Sometimes I read everyone but the following one caught my eye, so I thought that I would share it here.

John Shepherd-Barron, 84; Scot invented cash machine

A customer put a computer punch card in an ATM in London in 1968. The first automatic teller machine was installed in 1967.A customer put a computer punch card in an ATM in London in 1968. The first automatic teller machine was installed in 1967. (Associated Press)
Associated Press / May 21, 2010

LONDON — John Shepherd-Barron, the Scotsman credited with inventing the automatic cash machine, died peacefully in northern Scotland’s Raigmore Hospital on Saturday, funeral director Alasdair Rhind said Wednesday.

to read the obit. in its entirety please go to the following link. John Shepherd-Barron, 84; Scot invented cash machine - The Boston Globe

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This week one of my dearest friends lost her brother, Jon who was the same age as I am. It was sudden. He leaves behind 6 children, 3 grown and 3 young ones, a wife, grandchildren, both his parents, his two sisters and one brother and many other relations. I didn't know him personally but his sister Elizabeth loved him dearly and I have prayed for Jon throughout the years that I have been friends with his dear sister. And as I said in my last post about life and death, "Every life matters." Jon's life mattered. So as the Bodholdt family say their good-byes to their dear son. We say our prayers for those who are left to carry on in life. Jon will be carried on in the hearts of those who loved him.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Path of Celtic Prayer
by Calvin Miller
Given to me by my daughter Grace

"Human beings are innate believers. While agnostics are sometimes celebrated for their unsure notions about God, atheism isn't likely to take hold in any permanent way. Why? Because we are so needy, helpless and insecure that we remain obsessed with something or Someone greater than ourselves. Not only are we needy, we hurry our lives deathward in a dead heat with that great universal clock that is destined to outrun us. We live face to face with our temporariness. And while we are trapped in the busy, empty now, we are convinced there must be - or must have been- a day when God seemed nearer and more accessible.
Our discontentment with our present affairs keeps us looking backward, hungering for times in our lives when we experienced God as clearly present. Even our casual reading tastes have found us out. The recent rash of novels about Christ's second coming may be popular because they hold forth a kind of promise that when Jesus comes again, all the pain of our empty age will be swallowed up in the warm presence of God. But at the foundation of such hope lies a reality much greater than current popular fiction. We-at least in our searching moments-want Jesus to come again. Why? We are eager for union with Christ. The second coming promises an end to our roller-coast relationship with God."
It is opening thoughts like these that make me read the introduction from books. The two paragraphs are the beginning of the introduction to Miller's book.

Miller goes on to talk about our longing for God and how we are like junkies looking for a God fix. So, this "living face to face with our temporariness" makes me think that yes, I want something more. I believe in eternity and in eternal things. It rings true for me that life is short, so it is best to work things out with those we love. We long for God to do what can't be worked out to intervene for us and sometimes we cry out like David and ask that He would just obliterate our enemies.


One of the elements of this book is a reminder that we (Christians) serve a triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit: One God in Three persons. It is not something to easily get our heads around. There are many things about God that I don't think I will ever understand. God is of the main goals in my walk through this life is to gain knowledge of the Holy One and it is a good chance that I am half way through my life, my knowledge is minimal.
In the virtual world I list my religious views as "seeing through a mirror dimly." It is all vague while dealing with the flesh. So much gets in the way including my own bent in addressing God in one way instead of another.
One of the things instilled in me growing up in the Catholic Church was that I serve the God three in one (and I am not talking about Jesus, Mary and Joseph) but most things are done in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The author suggested that we don't forget any of the persons that make up Our God. One way to remember is to address all three in prayer. I tend to address God as "Heavenly Father" most often. Other times, I call Him Lord or Lord Jesus. I can't say that I address God as the Holy Spirit too often.
There are a number of prayers woven throughout the book. One I have committed to memory and have started using it to begin my day.
"I awake in the name of the Father who made me,
I arise in the name of the Son who died to save me,
I rise up to greet the dawn in the name of the Spirit who gives me abundant life."


The book is organized around 6 different types of prayer. The other five are Scripture Prayer, Long, Wandering prayer, Nature Prayer, Lorica Prayer and Confessional Prayer. Miller is inspiring, deep, informative and helps me to pause. He has introduced me to new thoughts about prayer. For those who want to strengthen their prayer life, I would high recommend, The Path of Celtic Prayer An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy by Calvin Miller.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The following post was written over a month ago. It is a case of me speaking the truth to myself and I hope it is helpful to someone out there who is reading.

Who are you?
Who am I?
To whom do you belong?

Light has broken through the darkness. The darkness of sin and death has been conquered by first One born from the dead, The Risen One! The One who gave me life and then renewed it by the power of the Holy Spirit is what brings me to the above questions which were raised by two younger bloggers that I follow. My initial thought is we are all becoming, constantly changing and growing.

To know and be known. This is what we are attempting to look at through our questions and observations. One of the things that shapes and molds us is how we relate to others and how others relate to others. First we relate to people and then we relate to God.
Some people worship their parents and never transfer that worship to God. As a parent, my shortcoming have kept me humble and my willingness to relate to my kids as a fellow human beings have hopefully made such a transfer easy and early enough. These dear ones who are now all young adults have felt the sting of my wrongful acts and I have been showered with grace, mercy and forgiveness from each of them. I am often stubborn, prideful and arrogant when I am wrong, looking to be justified and it isolates me from those that I love. So, if I want to be relatable, it is going to require humility and a willingness to admit that I am wrong and ask for forgiveness. You would think after so many years of practice that it would come easily, not always. Forgiveness is what restores a relationship and there is nothing quite like a clean slate in order to continue to build a good relationship.
When you forgive me and I forgive you, we bid one another to come up higher because we will fall again, we will need to be restored again. I am doing my best to learn from my mistakes. Some sins are however harder to overcome than others. Without the Love of Christ and His grace, I am a reckless troublemaker.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

All mothers are working mothers

I had fully intended to write this on Sunday, which was mother’s day, but I worked all day, then went to dinner and to my brother’s and finally to bed. Now, I must say that I was raised in a family where the special days were to be marked, remembered and to be made special. My husband and his family worked regardless of what day it was and he always has since we were married. So, we have done our best to make sure that each other and our children know that they are special every day. This creates some inner turmoil for me but without any guilt. So, you could say that I am very inconsistent about the special days, it is hit or miss with me. However, I do my best to be consistent with the special people and even there I falter at times.

So because mothers at home are often considered as ones who don’t “work” I thought it would be good to start off with a definition.

Merriam-Webster’s first definition of work:

1 : activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something

I would add that your heart and spirit is engaged in the work one does. Building people requires one’s whole being. Parenting, not just mothering, is the work of building people. The ones born or adopted by us are not a blank slate. The young are not just DNA to be rearranged and manipulated by adults. Everyone comes with personalities, gifts, weaknesses and strengths. As parents we are the ones who have an opportunity to love, influence, train, equip, contribute to the growth and maturing of children until they are ready to be launched.

By God’s grace, I have had the privilege of not only being a mother but being home with my children to raise them. For the past month and a half I have been working full-time with a round trip commuting time of approximately 2 hours. That is a lot of time away from home. Granted my children are now 20, 18, and 17, my best hours have been dedicated to my work.

I believe that women and men are wired differently. The way mothers and fathers relate to their children is different. I can imagine that there is a great tension internally for a mother of young children who works full time outside of the home. I wonder, do these women have to, in some way, distance themselves emotionally from their children? If you are going to give your all on the job, wouldn't you have to? I don’t think it is humanly possible to be fiercely dedicated in the practical to both the job and the family. How does one do both well? In your mind, one can convince oneself just about anything. The way one lives out the best hours of the day determines where the heart lies unless of course, your heart is in one place and the living out is being done somewhere else. Can such work be successful to the one doing it? [If there are mothers who are in this category reading this blog, I hope that they will leave a comment and answer some of these questions honestly.]

The reason I am speculating is because the job I have been doing is running my brother-in-law’s business with my husband and it is all consuming. It is not something you can just go and put your hours in and then go home to your family and leave work at work. It is on my mind constantly. I really care about the business because I love and care about my brother-in-law, Billy. Billy has entrusted his livelihood to us.

Switching gears to home has been difficult for me. I just know that I would not have wanted to do this even 3 years ago with 3 teenagers. Perhaps that is because I solely invested in my children since they were born. It is not just a case of me being at home, these dear ones have been at home with me being educated there. One of the greatest joys of my life as a mother at home has been equipping them with the tools for learning. Of course, if I had to work outside the home, I believe that I would have been given the grace to do it, however, the internal tension would still be there for me. The heart connection that developed between my children and me by being at home is a surprising gift.

The women who have divided their loyalties between the job and the home. My hat is off to you. You love your husbands and your children. It is certain that most of you give your best to your family and at your place of employment. To give your all to both however is just mathematically impossible. There is no such thing as superwoman or super mom. Super tired and worn out is probably more like it. To do it and keep your sanity, that is a miracle. Yes, I believe in the supernatural but not superheroes.

Single moms who solely carry the burden of home and the job, my heart goes out to you. Whether it is by choice or circumstance, that has got to be a tough road.

It is my hope that children continue to have mothers and fathers who are attentive to their upbringing, to be the primary influences in the formative years and to limit the delegation of their care while their offspring are very young.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's one hour before bedtime (nearly 7 PM). My night owl friends groan and hope to be eating dinner by 8. Most people consider early about 5 AM. Let's just say that I am getting up a few hours before most people in my life. My life is interesting, bored is not really how I would describe living. I saw the first 7 hours of 2009, because I pulled an all nighter. So there is really no place to categorize me, except for maybe, flexible. When opportunities present themselves sometimes one needs to make radical adjustments to one's regular routine (that is if you have a regular routine). You could say that I have become routinely more flexible in the last 7 years.

To be of service to others calls for us, as Christians, to be flexible and to remain pliable in the hands of the Master. This is not easy. Being stretched, smashed, turned round and round on the Potter's wheel sounds like torture (pronounced torcha). When one is stiff necked with heels dug in, you can bet your money on it, the fighting and squirming just makes everything more painful. Surrender is the key.....give up the reins and say have your way with me LORD. Pain may still be required but whining about it is unnecessary.

Not sure where this post is going and right before I sat down, I thought, "do I go back and read the old stuff not posted and just post one of those or do I stay in the moment and write?" I chose the latter.

Lately, I have been meditating on this small part of Psalm 119

57 The LORD is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
58I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
61Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
62At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!

When I think on these words, my mind envisions one word: trust. If the LORD is my portion, then I need to believe that He is enough and that all of my needs will be met.
Then there is the matter of promises. Promises that God has made to His people, not just to me as one person but to all who fear Him as it says toward the end, "I am a companion of all who fear you" My life is not to be led as a solo one woman show. I am a part of a family, a part of the communities, I live and work in, a part of God's family.
[right now I am thinking save it in the drafts. Get ready for bed. And who knows how long the post will sit before it sees the light of day? It's just a blog.]
For what it is worth, let's attempt to conclude: two of the actions that the author of the Psalm is doing, 1. entreating the LORD for His favor and 2. he opens himself up to the Lord to teach him His statutes. Each of these things require an individual to have some degree of flexibility and put their faith and trust in the LORD.

It is both hard and good to change things up. I think it keeps life interesting and my spirit young.

Since I am actually looking forward to going to bed.

Good night and God bless each reader. Thanks for enduring this post.

Monday, May 03, 2010

This one is from January 1, 2007. It was written after all 5 of us participated in Nanowrimo, November 2006.

I like 'Rithmatic but I love . . .
Reading and Writing and Reading and Writing

As some of you know we (the Mullaney Pilgrims) wrote novels during the month of November. I have not touched mine since then and it is time to read through my manuscript. It is unedited but I am taking the advice to read it through once without editing and then decide whether it is worth my time.
Upfront I just want to say, I really like my story and particularly, the characters. In fact, as much as I have been hesitating about reading through it, I actually miss writing and the story. So, I think today would be a good day to read through it and I will have to report back to you.
Sitting here at the computer with my reading glasses on seems strange to me, but I am so grateful to have the eyes to see, the ability to not only read but to also understand the written word. There are many people today who are not readers, even though "going to school" is compulsory in the US our society is less literate today than when "school" was a choice.

One of the greatest joys in raising our children has been teaching them to read. Each one has a different learning style and personality. And all three of them love to read and it is not just the love of reading that brings me joy, it is the love of learning that each one possesses.
Rithmatic is essential, reading vital but writing is an avenue to express ourselves.

Post Script
I never did read through that whole novel. I did love the story. The working title was Identity Theft. It was a world where children were raised in Centers, not allowed to know their parents and not even called by a name. Everyone was just a number. Of course, there were some rebels fighting the system, rescuing them, caring for them and giving them names with a formal ceremony and making them a part of the family. This is a story about the destruction of the family and how important it is to save it from a society gone mad.
It was one of my favorites. With hopes again of noveling in November, maybe even before then.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


This evening I decided I would read through my drafts of blog posts never posted. The one posted earlier tonight was written in June of 2009. There are 40 more sitting in draft form and I am reading through them now. The next older draft will indicate when it was written.

Thanks for reading.

There are families who come together
and those that don't
There are families who laugh out loud
and those who cry
There are families who sing four part harmony
and those who can't find the note
There are those who enjoy communion
and those who are lonely
No family is perfect and some experience more brokenness than others.....when you see a family who is united in spirit something inside says I want that. Some of us will have that with parts of our family, perhaps with our spouse and children and some of our extended family. Some family relations are perhaps broken beyond repair.