Write31Days

This will be a challenging October. This blog will hopefully come to life again! For 2017 i am joining the Write31Days power group for the third year. In October 2016 i was about to get married and the last six weeks of a wedding is insane enough on its own, so i skipped the October mayhem. If you are unfamiliar with Write 31 Days 2017 it is a LARGE group of bloggers who all commit to posting every day for the entire month of October. Who needs scary costumes or candy when you are trying to accomplish that?

Since i am restarting this blog i am keeping it simple for this year. After all, what is writing and posting each day for thirty-one days in a row, with the deadline of midnight ticking away to get the lead out of your fingers and get a writer going again? Are we not a group who are infamous for needing deadlines and imminent peril to force us out of our comfort-zones and requiring us to share our writing?

Grammarly and i are entirely aware of the peculiar capitalization rule that i have suddenly forgotten. As i mature in years, faith and marriage (almost 11 months) i have come to realize that i am not the only one who is always sure that they know best. Following the example of Mother Gavrilia, i have begun a practice of keeping my i humble and not capitalizing myself. If i say anything that is any value it will not be because of my brilliance anyway. The practice of making the self the center of one’s thought requires no assistance and the remedy necessitates of extraordinary effort.

i will be joining the FMF team also this year. Check them out here.Five Minute Friday

31 Days themes are thanks to Kate Motaung! For simplicity check them out right here…

  1. worship
  2. tell
  3. create
  4. hope
  5. trust
  6. story
  7. hold
  8. truth
  9. plan
  10. listen
  11. remember
  12. write
  13. invite
  14. try
  15. remain
  16. read
  17. grow
  18. share
  19. brave
  20. discover
  21. give
  22. light
  23. work
  24. revise
  25. because
  26. change
  27. ? (FMF prompt)
  28. connect
  29. follow
  30. refine
  31. rest

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Bacon?

Today I am linking up with the team for Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung’s site. I read the word they picked for the random five minute free-write. At first I thought I misread the word, but then I read Kate’s post explaining it and a smile spread all over my face. The word begin was misread by a kid for bacon. In the beginning there was some bacon? Well, no. Check this one out at Kate’s and then accept my humble offering.

Go:

Bacon is a delectable meat that my whole family enjoys. It adds a salty-heartiness to many meals. I just added some to a chicken campfire stew I served for supper.

But this time bacon has to do with beginning. It could remind us of breakfast at the beginning of the day. However, being inclined to the not so likely, it reminded me of my favorite recipe for bacon. This is not a food blog, but I must share this with you.

marthastewart.com

marthastewart.com

  • Line a sheet pan with foil.
  • Heat the broiler for 550 degrees and place the strips of bacon on the foil.
  • Lightly drizzle real maple syrup over the bacon and cook until crispy.

The sweetness of the maple syrup combined with the salty of the smoky bacon is incredible. The syrup caramelizes on the bacon adding to the complexity.

Here is the odd part. The sweet reminds me of Psalm 119:103 about the sweetness of the word of God and salty reminds me of the salt with which Jesus told us we needed to be preserved. The word and salty grace are the perfect combination for any day. Maple-Bacon is not on everyone’s approved diet, but the Word shared with grace is perfect for everyone.

Done:

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth.-Psalm 119:103

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.    -Matthew 5:13

I am going to make it a point to remind myself to pass out Spiritual-Maple-Bacon this week. Best of all it will make a perfect addition to any breakfast. It is the perfect way to begin the day.

P.S. The first thing I thought of was Francis Bacon, but I thought he would be more appropriate for next month when I will be sharing some favorite reads from my bookshelves. Besides, I didn’t want everyone to know I am that odd. Oops, I just told you.

Biography.com

Biography.com

The Lonely Rain

Today’s Poem

Tip, tap, increasing rap, someone’s tapping at my window.
Unlike a ring or tone that sings, no one’s looking for me.
My attention drawn, the torrent begins refrain long.
The sky looks sullen, grey, like a lonely specter wanting to come in.
Keep it out! Hide within! Cold blasts from the north whirl the soggy din.
I flip on lights looking for golden gleam, to keep out the lonely,
No one is looking for me.

The winds whirl, the boughs shake, the leaves are falling in the lake.
Washing down the golden treasure, fall’s brilliance is tricked by weather.
Never a fan of gore or fear, the holiday is not for me one of cheer.
I tuck myself in, with busy routine. I’m too busy to notice, they’re not for me.
The streets turn wet and quiet. All seek solace within, enough of the bustle.
Darkness falls early; the wind shakes the ivy, slaps the window, a sound that is churl-y.
No one is looking for me.

Tears from the sky, though none from my eye, force me to wonder. Why?
The path seems so long, courageous, forlorn, like a caricature drawn.
I wait in the wet, but dry indoors, sodden inside, I know the answer, “Not yet.”
Pitter, patter is a song of spring sweet, fall spits in my face, no one looking for me.
It shudders the windows, echo in chimney, I dine with the widows.
Wet-cold without, thawing in company, God lights a hope no one can see,
Surely, someday, someone, will be looking for me.

Jesus waits

Jesus waits

Green

Today I am joining Five Minute Friday’s and the topic is “green.”

IMG_2392

Such a green lawn. Second-flush hollyhocks noticed in mid-October.

Go:

The world is fading from green to gold. When I took that walk to the river yesterday I was disappointed that more of the trees had not taken on fall glory. Today I went grocery shopping and I noticed that the tress are more golden overnight.

Green is a color associated with growth. In the Church we are still in the season where the liturgical color is green. We still have green outdoors, but we know it will soon change. Today I am thinking that October green is a passing gift.

I need to be grateful for the still green grass. I want to thank God for all the shade the trees are providing. I am grateful for green hills. When the gold and crimson take over they will not last long. I must cherish the green because all too soon the Church will move on to Advent and I will need to dig out all that red and green for my house.

Stop:

I am grateful for the green that means not…quite… yet.

Simple Pleasure of Daily Tea

imageThis post is part of the 31 Days of a Fresh Look @ simple things. This simple beverage is as constant for me as water. It is truly “mother’s milk” as I was weaned on plain, black tea. As an infant I had serious digestive issues requiring periodically being removed from formula and given tea instead. I alway drank my tea un-doctored. I think this preference must come from my infant experiences. For me there is nothing more soothing than warm black tea.

Holding the cup and inhaling the aroma I begin to feel a warm balm flow over my spirits.

I drink my tea all the year through. I like iced tea but it is not a substitute for my daily desire for what I consider a simple pot of tea.

My last statement doesn’t contain a typographical error. I mean a pot of tea. image

I don’t remember when I outgrew a cup of tea, but somewhere in childhood as I grew so expanded my daily tea requirements.

The tea pot somewhat naturally led to multiple tea pots. Yes, I have a collection. I drink my ordinary daily tea from a variety of tea pots. They suit different quantities and different moods.

I chiefly drink black tea, although I occasionally drink green tea, and I have had white tea. White tea of good quality is very expensive. Tea can be quite expensive. It can also be very cheap. for me the critical factor is quality vs/ price. Purchased in quantity it also is easier to purchase a better quality. Since I do not use cream or sugar, lemon or honey I value taste and aroma most.

In my opinion even grey, soggy days deserve a quiet spot of tea. In fact, these are the days that most need one-half hour, a nice teapot, a purring cat and a good book. Naturally, more time is better, but even time for one Bible verse, devotion, or poem with your favorite variety of tea will alter the whole tenor of the day. imageAs C. S. Lewis famously said,  ” You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

Tea is graded by being sifted through increasingly finer screens. The cheapest tea, which you find in tea bags on supermarket shelves everywhere, is little more than dust. The finest teas are full leaves. The alteration in flavor is very surprising. Not all tea bags contain inferior tea, but many do. Tear open one of your tea bags on a kitchen towel and see what is inside.

Because the flavor is released while the dried leaves “steep” or soak in the hot water, they need to expand during this process. Never use a tiny tea ball to steep your tea. I love loose-leaf tea, but I have a large mesh cup-shaped strainer made to steep a pot of tea (several teaspoons full) of tea. The tea leaves then have ample room to expand and the flavor and aroma are greatly enhanced.

The many books which have been published on tea result from the astounding variety one plant can create. All tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis. Herbal teas, also called tisanes are another matter. The history of tea is full of intrigue, espionage, wars, drugs, smuggling, greed and ingenuity. Tea can be complex and ceremonial, but for many of us, simple can be beautiful. The simple act of preparing and drinking your favorite tea can be a restorative part of everyday. It is part of the wonder of the world. God made a tree and people began to brew the dried leaves in water…

My favorite teas are Chinese black teas that are flavored. My current favorite (and I have no connection to the company and cannot always afford to keep it on hand) is a blended black loose-leaf tea from Harney & Sons called “Tower of London.” The aroma is incredible and the flavor delightful. It is rich without being harsh. The brew is dark amber an the taste is unexpectedly delicate. Do you drink tea? What is your favorite variety? Do you drink large quantities or only one small cup?
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As I hold the teacup I pause, inhale the aroma, and say a simple prayer thanking God for making simple joys for me to enjoy. As I slowly sip I let my daily Bible verse soak into my mind. Most of my tea I drink while eating or working, but one cup is for peace.

#write31days

 

Engaging Discussions

This post is number nine in a series On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig, hosted by Kate Motaung.

In contemplating engaging with other writers and creative people I find myself very grateful for the internet. The ability to gather with like-minded people and grow as part of a group despite the span of miles is an enormous blessing. I considered the call to write long ago. I always wrote, but I should specify that I considered a career just out of college. I did not stumble upon a group of Christian writers at that time. In the secular sphere I felt like I did not belong. In truth, I felt as though I was too anachronistic to ever belong. I went to work in the church. I believed that it was the only place where my contribution would be welcome.

After more than a decade I did stumble upon a Christian writer’s community online. In many and various ways I found parts of myself. I had suffered under the illusion that I was an anomaly. I learned that there are many other people who view the world in many of the ways that I do. I am learning that one of the enemy ‘s chief tools is to isolate us and suffer us to keep quiet about our faith out of fear that very few people share our faith today. The Internet has torn down walls that kept us quiet. We are a community of believers. We are strong enough to build each other up. The internet is famous for those who tear other people down. Social media has a bad reputation. In my view it is undeserved.

Since the early church believers have encouraged one another. We have always been a community that resembles a family. There are always relatives who behave selfishly, however, Christians are not as a rule dysfunctional. The most positive and caring group you can affiliate with are Christians with mature faith. If you have been hurt by believers keep looking, for there are many good groups. Do not become discouraged. I wish that I had known about groups like (in)Courage and Five Minute Friday’s sooner.

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I have enjoyed being a part of this writing group! I will be linking up with 31 Days in October as well. If all goes as planned I will be checking out a local real-life writer’s group tomorrow. They are not a Christian group per se, but hopefully I will find some encouragement there as well. I have the courage to try because of the online communities that I have been able to become a part of. It is possible that someone may want to read my thoughts. Thanks to the online Christians I am certain that God did not give me a love of words to frustrate me. There is a purpose to my penchant for obtuse words and if one person is uplifted by my verbosity then it is all for the glory of Jesus Christ. I think that this is the key difference in between Christian writers and the secular writers. We are not looking for our own glory. My image is irrelevant. I write to build up the reputation of Christ. If I look a bit foolish, or even very silly it is for a greater purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 4:10

We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

Putting to Death What Really Hinders Us

Since the beginning satan has been telling us lies about our not being or having enough. He told Eve that she needed to know what the forbidden tree would give her. She was not enough. Humanity was thrown out of the garden and we’ve all borne the pain ever since. In John 11:45-57 we read about what happened right after Jesus restored Lazarus to life. If you didn’t know better you might expect a party. No, it is a plan for an execution.image

The worldly leaders, in this case they were the Pharisees, were afraid of the Roman authorities. They were an occupied nation. The chief priest and leaders feared that the Romans would take away the source of their power, the Temple. The Pharisees had local authority as long as they kept the peace and made sure the Romans received their tax reverence on time. Their concern was that if Jesus continued to do astounding things like raise the dead, they people would think He was the Messiah and rise up against the Roman over-lords.

Fear is at the heart of it all. The Pharisees feared loosing control of the people. Keeping the peace sounded like a worthy cause. The end result was crucifying the Savior of the World.

We like to think we are different. If we had lived when Jesus walked the earth we would have followed Him faithfully. The reality is that in Gethsemane His closest friends ran off and Peter followed, but denied knowing Him, three times. People haven’t really changed. I have been sick all week. I had a busy work load. These posts are not going up on time. I decided to quit. I thought I’d buy my worried mind some peace by quitting. Quitting a series in no way compares with murder, but I was read to kill a series because I was not enough.

I had all the arguments worked out. My logic was faultless. I stated on a whim, finding out only two days before the series was scheduled to start. I wanted peace, but peace at what cost? Quitting would only reaffirm my insufficiency. I figured I would delete the whole 31 days original post and links and forget I ever started this series.

I pulled out the Lectionary reading to see what I had missed and as I read them I felt like a Pharisee. I was doing away with a series because I didn’t have time this week. The series is titled 31 Days. I did not give it 31 days and then declare myself a failure. So here I am. I don’t know how many posts will go up. But I am going to do my humble best to share reflections on the Word of God.

Dear Jesus, when I listen to the lies about my own unworthiness help me remember that You willingly went to the cross to pay the price for my failures. You did sacrifice Yourself for the world, including me. I thank You and fall in worship before You. All You ask is that I keep trying to serve You. Help me to follow-You-through. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.

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