Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Power of Music and Finding your own Beat!

As I approached my heart quickened with the sound of drums, all sorts of drums keeping a steady 4 – 4 pattern. Not all the patterns were the same, some of them fast, others slow, the timbre was varied but the rhythm was sustained. I turned the corner to find children dancing with anticipation over the possibility of getting to hold stick in hand. The growing fervor of drum and beat was moving them beyond containment. Weaving my way through little ones, no taller than my thigh, I looked past the man at the door, ahead to see a circle, and an inner-circle where adults all focused on their task, the task to blend their independent pattern to greater meaning. Amidst the growing turbulence was a peace. Those sharing their beat were calm, peace shown on their faces. They were one with a greater power. "If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. " H.D. Thoreau There was no fear of losing pace with companions. It was a safe zone, a place where individuality was brought together in a circle, a continuum, and so the music played on. I was asked at one point (we all were) did I experience any enlightenment? Yes, I did, for one brief moment my dream of being a drummer was fulfilled. For that one moment in my own continuum I was free, free to pound out “my” rhythm, my existence was real. I was free to be me and part of the band. My commitment to change the world one song at a time has allowed me to see first hand the power of music as a transformer. Music is universal and music heals. The undeniable power of music to bring people together, to transcend hatred, pain, cruelty, brokenness and to bring about unbridled joy is evident. Yesterday I was supposed to be an observer. I was just someone bringing back information and hopefully a degree of clarity to a man who seeks to promote wellness. I came away with far more. I was inspired again. Music is a common language. Music is a language that holds unifying power. The organization that sponsored the drum circle and day of music melding towards greater understanding is Music Crossroads through a Recreational Music Making Partnership, located in Indianapolis Indiana, the crossroads of the United States. It was pointed out to me that music recreation is that of being “re-created” through music. No matter whether a child hearing a familiar song, or a performer learning a new musical phrase, a guitarist focusing on attaining that difficult chord, a drummer with a new progression, you enter into the movement one way and exit re-created. My kudos go out to Matt Carter of Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, John Fitzgerald of Remo, Inc for leading the “marchers” and providing the percussion instruments, The Shepherd Community Center for sharing their space and the thigh high percussionist, The Indianapolis Foundation, inspiring philanthropy and Albert Schnazi of Integrated Solutions for facilitating an afternoon of enlightened dialogue. It is no mistake that yesterday morning as I was reading scripture and asking the Lord what He wanted me to know that day that he brought me to 2Chronicles 34:12 “All those (Levites) who were skillful with musical instruments were in charge of those who carried burdens, and they directed all the workers in every kind of labor…” yes, we are called. If the Lord calls musicians to lighten the load, make the burden less, then I guess that is the who in the vast puzzle of life, and I indeed was enlightened! Blessings! (this is a reprint from a post written in 2008. It was true then, and it is true today.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

American Exceptionalism? Well MLB Still Hold to the "World Series" Notion Too!

Why can we no longer boldly hold on to "American Exceptionalism" and why is that a phrase that we longer have the right to claim?

Well, I took the lyrics to the Irving Berlin song "Give Me Your Tired" and I will broke it down, line by line for you.


  • Give me your tired, your poor, "we will overwork them, put them into one room flats, force them to pay a deposit in order to turn the lights on, refuse them to drink if they cannot afford the water service, or if they cannot afford $2 a bottle for drinking water" oh and then make them feel less than because we labeled them "poor" 
  • Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; "we will put them into housing projects where they are unable to breathe freely due to the quality of air in our cities"
  • The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, "we will now only accept people who are engineers, people who can make more money for the big 10 who do not pay taxes."
  • Send these, the homeless, "only send us those capable of making 6 or more figures in their first year, oh hell, Big Blue says forget American ingenuity and smart people, it is cheaper and smarter "over there, over there!"
  • Tempest-tossed to me "enthusiastically they come, and those already here, are ignored"
  • I lift my lamp beside the golden door! "Sorry Charlie, the cost of oil is too high, but, I will give you a free phone, that will light your way!"
  • Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, "we drove him to his knees, he now bows before gods of another type."
  • With conquering limbs astride from land to land;" our days of conquering have left us broke"
  • Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand "shining strong through the smog"
  • A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning,
  • And her name, Mother of Exiles. "yes, she creates exiles wherever she goes."
  • From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome;" come on in, we have property for sale that our people here cannot afford."
  • Her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor That twin cities frame. " we allowed for the twin towers to topple and with it our understanding of the middle class."
  • "Keep, Ancient Lands, your storied pomp!" "we did our history, but, we ignored the fall of man before."
  • Cries she with silent lips. "what have I done, what have I done!"
  • Give me your tired, your poor, "please do not give me more! here I deplore, hate and abort. Poor is not a name we like too much, unless it helps to stuff the box!"
  • Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; "wanna a fresh air hit, stop in at the O2 bar on central Ave. Oh, sorry, I forgot, breathing free is for the one percent!"
  • The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, "homelessness is alive and well, we welcome women by the scores!"
  • Send these, the homeless, "they are stupid and lazy that's what we think, shut them up quickly give em' a drink!"
  • Tempest-tossed to me "A land of the free and home of the brave, is now a lost ship filled with depraved."
  • I lift my lamp beside the golden door! "the last one to leave turn the light out, refuse to let Wall Street have one more of our cents." 


American Exceptionalism? Cub's fans still believe they can win the pennant, MLB still claims themselves to be the center of the world, by calling their advertising coup the "World" series, when in fact it doesn't even have a team in every one of the 50 states, thereby not even representing the United States, let alone the World, and we still put high school sports way before we put materials into the hands of our children who lag behind many parts of the world academically. We still proclaim that our music, culture, sports, government, is the superior way. Wake up America, we are only a small part of the 7+ billion on this planet. But, we are the nation that believes that the 1% gets to lay claims against the rest of the 99. Is that what makes us exceptional? Maybe American justice when claimed to be blind actually was referring to blind ignorance.
           

Friday, September 13, 2013

She'll Dance Again...

She is there hidden among the taller trees, can you see her?
 Significant to many and shrouded among the evergreens
 Rounder than most and maybe not as tall
 Her straight back is bending by the weight of so many years
 Still strong, and holding on
 If you watch and wait, you will see it happen the gentle,
swaying, reaching, caressing of her finger like leaves,
 Weeping now and then, then raising up to laugh singing as the wind tickles and reminds her
she is still alive remarkable to be here at this time and moment each new rain fall brings change, rebirth,
 She longs to dance, to be scene, to be adored, her messy long hair changing color with the breeze she is lost among the trees,
 Let her cry for she's a lady,
 Let her dream for she's a child
 Let her scream out in hope for she is wild
 Weeping willow,
you're daddy's favorite
 weeping willow I take refuge in your shade
 while you wait to dance again.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Garden Party!

Lord we come to you to night in celebration. Not because we are forced to, or out of obligation, but because we want to, we really want to be joined together in your presence. We thank you our Friend, Guide, Host for inviting us to your table. I imagine walking up to a beautiful gate, all around are bright flowers, and tall grasses gently bowing down before you as you stir up the wind. I see butterflies of all colors, shapes, species dipping in and out of the flowers that lace the walkway to your entrance. I hear the birds sing and the small animals stir as we approach. All are rejoicing as they are in your presence. They are as you designed them. I imagine you glorious, standing proud, a huge smile on your face, your hands outstretched as we approach. All of us. We come from different earthly place, locations, cultures, all of us, from the 4 cardinal directions, and corners of the world to sit at table with you and hear your ancestral tales that are our current truths. As we enter into the gate we see before us a great harvest. You have set the table before us. You made everything to your liking, and we are your guest. WE in turn accept your bounty, harvest and gifts that you prepared special for each of us. Lord we come to you in this moment with great joy and anticipation. Roaring wind, heavenly light, powerful king, royalty bright. We pray for our brothers and sisters in the middle east who are unable to see you, those around the world who are not able to experience this freedom, the freedom to share and declare you as their Lord and Savior. We pray for the many who have sought to oppress others in the name of money and power. Lord we pray for all those who are punished for not, those who are persecuted in their own homes, who long for a loving embrace. Protect our children and our unborn. Our spirit cries out in morning over all those who are denied the right to know you and to share their testimony of faith. Thank you friend and blessed host. We call upon your name and thank you for this glorious celebration! Let us all join together in this glorious celebration!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Right Before Our Eyes

What the eye sees is better than what the desires wander after. This is also vanity and a chase after wind. Ecclesiastes 

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard,” that is one of the most remembered and quoted verses from scripture. Ecclesiastes writers go on to share that “what the eye sees is better than what the desires wander after.”
In other words, it is better to be in the moment, accept what is right in front of your eyes, as we are incapable of knowing the mind of God, or the plans that God has put in place for our lives. One must wonder then, why do we pray for direction, insight, healing, protection if it is all laid out, planned, developed before we were even born?
God goes on to share through Ecclesiastes that this applies to those who follow His path, His plan, His direction for their lives. While He endowed us with the right to choose, our free will is in tact, He warns us and gives a map for our lives. Follow these ten commandments and you will be in accordance with our Father in heaven. The God of wisdom, power and the all knowing God. We are incapable as we are warned to know what He knows. To follow a path of our own knowing and belief that we can see beyond what is in front of our eyes, we are reminded by the wise ones that that is like chasing after the winds. It is much more fitting that we stand still and feel the wind swirl around us, dance with our hair, caress our being, and feel its power and grace. Chasing after it we will never real feel it, only live in a time and place that is not befitting of true Thanksgiving. That is the here and now.
Standing in the middle of the wind and knowing is Faith. Faith as we are reminded is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Faith is believing with an unwavering conviction of the spirit, mind and body. We are assured that we should “not be afraid any longer, little flock for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” Like a loving father, a good and generous father, he wants to share it with us. Can we accept it? Can we believe that he is ready to hand us His love and grace? He knows the human heart, he made it! He knows our tendencies as human beings. He made us! He also knows what is best for us, yet, we fight against Him. Why? Because we have also come to know human weakness, reality, sinfulness, hate, and yes, we do not trust. But, he tells us in Ecclesiastes that He made the good day, and the evil. He made the sunshine and he made the shadows. He assures us that He can restore what the locusts have stolen away. That He and only He can set things right.
We are called to not lean on our own understanding, but trust in all things, at all times, in all ways. Worrying will not add one second to our lives. I know this all in my head as I am writing this freely, yet, I fight daily to believe it in my heart of hearts. While I cannot understand why I cannot completely let go and Let God...I am trying. So, with all the angels and saints and the beautiful believers who come into our paths, His face and grace is before my eyes and that is better than that which I desire and seek. He shows us who are those who reflect His face. It is right before our eyes.
For now is the moment, and now is the day. Let His Love Shine forth, Be encouraged.





Sunday, August 4, 2013

BE


“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

You cannot be greedy if you are hungry, that is what I once heard, you cannot be greedy if you are hungry. You cannot take it with you. You cannot buy your way into heaven. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to make it into heaven without first accepting the Lord our God as the Lord and Savior. How quickly we become caught up in counting our portion and our lot. How quickly we lose sight of the reality that we do not know the day, the hour, the moment. Yet, we cling on to false gods, and we worship the idols that we believe we create at our own hands. Many watch their savings accounts build up, and grow and grow, yet they ignore those starving and struggling in their own families. We see it all the time. The Lord reminds us that at any moment He may call upon us to give it up, to admit that it is not ours, but, a gift generously given to one. Just like one maybe is the maker of music, but, without someone to share that music, it is useless, like sounding brass, it has no purpose. You see music requires more than one. Prayer requires more than one. Some maybe are gifted with the ability to transfer information and are rich with an understanding of wordsmithing, yet, if there is no one capable of reading what is being communicated, it is yet another sound unheard. The one who can read the word and understand is the one who gives the greatest value to the writer. 
Be Encouraged, share that which you have and you will receive in return the greatest harvest ever known to you. 
Be Awakened, feel the presence that is found in sharing that which you have, for your heart will come alive.
Be Focused, notice God moving in your live, for then you will dance a freedom dance 
Be Restored, he will take upon His shoulders your burden and you will feel the beauty of the world become illuminated in your soul. He will mend all of your brokenness. Mending all the cracks as he is the potter. 
Be Inspired, allow the music to fill you to the brim and you will experience an outpouring that will flood and wash away, cleansing you and renewing you
Be Transformed, allow for the beauty of all that is good, and rich, and true to flood you and reveal to you and all around you that you are born again in Christ. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Fall Away!

"For the Just one falls seven times, and rises again" Proverbs 24:16
While I am not suggesting that I am a "just one" I do believe in the Lord and I try. You see, we are all just one fall away from being aware of the reality of the physical and the spiritual. I am all too aware of the physical. I try to be totally focused on the spiritual, for in the spiritual I find rest, sanctuary, hope and release from the earthly cruelties at times.

I have discovered that if I am not 100% perfect and able bodied, then I am tossed out like a broken dish. I am not usable. I am actually quite surprised by the lack of contact, regard, inquiry, concern over my present condition. I forgive, as I understand the truth in all of this. It was once told to me that all a person really needs is a handful of people who care, in order to keep going. Fortunately, I have not reached the point in my injury that I have to pay for people to care for me, on a personal level.

But, my life is changing, and changing rapidly. I am grateful for my partner Steve as he is here, and he is securing my existence at present. I am grateful for my children as they are there in the wings, cheering me on as best they can. It is hard for them, as I have been a place to rest in a storm, and capable of picking up the slack in the lines that keep their sails aloft.

What do I fear? The lack of direction in my life. I am not capable of seeing that the Lord has the tethers firm in His grip, or that He can direct the winds according to His plan. I fear the failings of human beings. I have witnessed it over and over again. The failure to do what is right, therefore leaving people in a disabled state. My injury did not have to be a permanent one. I could have and should have returned to work within 2 months of the injury. I am now going on 9 months, and I no longer really have a career. While I am hopeful that someone will see the value in my work, abilities and contributory excellence, it is doubtful, as they will first see my physical limitations, just as the many who have abandoned me have. How do I financially support myself?

This is how; "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

I am holding firm to the belief that the plan has already been put into place. I will rise again on the wings of eagles and I will spread the good news, declaring His power over my life. No evil shall befall you, no pain come near, for the angels are close by your side, guarding you always and bearing you gently, watching over your life!












Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow? With Forgiveness so the Story Goes!

Recently I was drawn to a documentary titled, "Forgiveness." For me, the concept has always been a very beautiful one. One which I was taught over and over again as a child, "say your sorry," "hug your brother," and on and on. But, the truth is, the pain of the insult waged upon me as a child was not easily forgotten. You see, I often found myself saying sorry, but, not really believing that the other person meant it, because, well, my heart didn't hear it. As I grew older and, ahem, wiser, I began to question this concept; "How can I forgive if the other person never really said they were sorry, or, maybe, they are incapable for whatever reason, knowing that they hurt me, or even caring?" It hangs with me. But, what I have come to understand is this, it doesn't matter what they other person really thinks, knows, or feels. What matters is, am I capable of not caring what their intentions were? Can I forgive first their inability or maybe, their disregard of me? The answer is yes, yes, yes, I can forgive regardless of all of the aforementioned. For an entire year I committed myself to studying at the Holocaust Museum in Skokie Illinois. I spent every Thursday night surrounded by survivors, children of survivors, Priests, Rabbis and historians. What I discovered in that time, was their need to forgive, to move on in spite of the trauma inflicted upon them. To love through the Holocaust. To remember that there are those who hate, but, not to hate in return. There is a reason that the butterfly flies free. It is because it frees itself from its chrysalis and emerges a beautiful and new creation. The shell that it wraps itself in is necessary however in order to allow the metamorphosis to begin. Please join me in welcoming Rafal Zielinski and his team to bring to the world his documentary "Forgiveness." Together we can walk in the garden as one. Visit the blog post by the Forgiveness Team.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mary Has Chosen the Better Part

It must have been. It had to have been. A little girl sitting in the pew hearing my name mentioned with His. That is what it was. The feeling that I was chosen, that I was okay, not invisible. No longer insignificant as He called me by name and put the other in her place. Imagine that He loved when I sat and just listened and gloried in the stories, the tales of His childhood His love of His father. I see myself standing in the kitchen in long conversations over the politics of the day, of morality, of right and wrong.Moving into the living room as He continued on, sharing the way it is, was, and what it is to become. Wisdom of ages being woven into the future. Learning that there was a right and wrong, but variances in between. Hearing that each of us were chosen, special, we were gifts. Yes, that is when it happened. To walk with him amongst the trees and glory in the sounds of nature. To feel the breeze upon my face. To feel my little hand wrapped up in His. To dance freely, unbridled, free. To be free in those moments when we shared the stories of the old. To ask questions and to be filled with wonder as He talked about His people. So often the others would ask and ask, over and over again for answers, for favors, for guidance, protection. But, she did the one thing that the others couldn't do. She sat at his feet and listened. She was a sponge. She was His princess, the hem of her garment was tattered, torn, and soiled. He didn't care, she was His, she belonged right where she was and He cared. Today He calls us by name and only wants one thing from us. That one thing is to just stop, listen, learn, and love Him in return. We are exactly where we are suppose to be in this moment and at this time. Shhhh, He wants to tell you something so very, very special. Choose the better part and it will not be taken from you. God Bless. Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Gospel LK 10:38-42

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

PaPa, What Can I Do For You?

“You may never know what results come from our action. But doing nothing,there will be no results” M. Gandhi Often times I pray to my Father that He show me the paths to take, to show me the deepest parts of myself, “who am I, I plead!” I realized today that I cannot fully, completely understand me, until I understand Him who made me, who knew me before I was conceived and grew in my mother’s womb. As I was in my morning reflections today I was brought to the idea of reaching up to the Lord with outstretched hands, reaching up to the heavens and asking Him to show me who He is. Let me know you more. As that thought came to my heart, not just my mind, but my heart as I was reminded of something that the Holy Spirit spoke to me the other night, just before I went to sleep. I was reclining in bed asking for guidance. My life situation was not going well, (still is not) and I said, “I do not even know what to pray for, what favor or blessing to ask for, you know me, you know my needs, show me in which direction I should go.” I felt the Spirit respond that I should pray for Him! I thought, wait one minute, me, lowly, insignificant me, pray for the Lord our God? Then like a wash of warmth, a fire, that lasted for about 10 seconds came over me, and I realized then, that all I can do is simply, ask “what can I do for You?” That is it, what can I do to bring Glory to the one who knows me best? To ask the Lord to show me the path that I should take, I first need to ask Him to show me His path, once I see that,then I can see the path that He desires for me. I read today in one of my reflections that no one seeks God naturally,our sinful inclinations prohibit that, that it is our natural tendency to hide when we are in a place that is not worthy of our understanding of what God is. The disciples of Jesus did not immediately understand, they had to go through a few years of basic training before they even got to the point, and even then on His last night, they had a hard to staying awake! They were human and so am I. The good news is that God will honor my response, your response to His leading by teaching me/you more about Himself. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God, are children of God…”Romans 8:14

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Clear and Present Danger!

The statistics are alarming, truly they are. Trayvon Martin was one of those statistics. Whether we accept the decision of the jury, or not. Whether we believe that he was an aggressor, or profiled and shot for that reason only, he is a statistic. The statistic is not that of "gun violence," no it is bigger than that. It is the statistic that we refuse to acknowledge. While we are out fighting for civil rights, for this group and that group, no one is fighting for the CIVIL RIGHTS of our children. That is right, children. Trayvon Martin by definition is a child. I do not care if he was over 6 feet tall and was in High School. He was a child!

My nephew was over 6 feet tall in the 8th grade, was he a man as deemed by height? No, he was a child in the grade.

We are not protecting the civil rights of the unborn, the civil rights of the thousands of 12-17 year old boys and girls that go missing EVERY DAY! We are not standing up for the civil rights of the millions of children that go without food, shelter, quality lives in the home. The million upon million children who are being raised by overworked, stressed out single moms. No one is protecting our world's children from atrocities of war.

Who is really doing anything about the parental neglect found in the number of children who will join a gang and enter into a life of crime, decadence, destruction today? Who is doing anything to hold the adults accountable in the mass murders that will occur this weekend in Chicago, Gary, throughout the United States, all in the name of "Gang Violence?"

We can learn from this horrific tale of injustice with Trayvon Martin. While he is in and of himself not a hero, we can step out from behind a veil of secrecy, refusal to talk open on honestly, and make substantial changes that are necessary to overcome the oppression, disregard, and injustices waged against the least of us. Our children, our unborn! It is a sad day when we see more discussion of animal rights than we do, the rights of our children.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Marriage Equality and Pro-Life; A Tale

From The Desk of Mary E. a Few Thoughts on Marriage Equality and Pro-Life
 
At first I was somewhat guarded in posting this little essay as it has the potential of taking the Lord's name in vain when posting it. Please forgive me Lord if that is what you believe of my posting this. Should it be divinely inspired, then it will touch the hearts of the reader and there will be no ill will upon my thoughts or my heart. I am pro-life, I am pro-love and I am a Christian, or shall I say, a student of Christ. So, I bring you, reflections on Matthew 23:31 ~ 

I was drawn to this today, Matthew 23:31. A story came to mind from that; "the Lord God was ready to send a savior to the earth. The second coming was long past due. He looked and looked for a "Mary" figure of old. He chose a woman, a professional, a professor of ethics and morality. Surely, she would be a perfect choice. He placed the fertile egg in her womb, and joined her together with a Doctor of physics. The next savior would bring together science and spirituality. Three months into the pregnancy she was offered a position that would not accept her if they knew an unmarried woman was with child. How hypocritical for the Catholic church to accept a teacher of morality that was an unwed mother. So, she chose to go to Planned Parenthood and seek and end to that which would prevent her from reaching even more women with her leadership abilities. 

Distressed that He thought He raised her to be a woman of profound insight and vision, he sought another. This time he chose the least likely of women. A Congresswoman, who she herself was born to a teenage mom. A graduate of Harvard, she would surely understand that there was great potential in all human life. At five months into the pregnancy she began to doubt her ability to raise a child in this world, a world gone so evil, corrupt, disengaged, and uncaring. A world where marriage equality was about to pass. So, she fought like gang busters to bring about a law allowing her to end late term pregnancies. So, again, He was confused. 

He saw the hypocrites waggle their fingers at the unwed mothers. He saw the "moral" majority shout hate at those who wanted to live in love. He saw the left hands of His Kingdom proclaim a woman's right, while forgetting the rights of others without a voice, or choice. He shook his head and as the evil angel of death began singing out loud in a mocking tone, "This land ain't your land, this land is mine,!" The Lord recoiled and stomped his foot. Without a moments hesitation HE looked down and said, Ahhhh, I know who will not end this and I will once again proclaim, "there is no servant or free, gentile or jew, no man or woman, only love!" He saw them standing there proclaiming love of one another. Praying together before the altar, seeking, wishing, praying for a son, a child they would raise without shame." He looked down upon them and said, YES! I will make you proud fathers! He saw a woman in her 8th month of pregnancy, she believed, she saw and felt life within her. She also said YES! Against the scorn and ridicule of her family, friends, church and community, she looked to the fathers standing before her. One the doctor that treated her with kindness during her 8 months of turmoil and the other a school teacher who was committed to becoming a stay at home dad, and she said, My child will be your child, and your people will be my people! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Randomness...

“All of my pain is His pain, He desires me to be closer to Him, and so He continues to put me through trials and Joy in order for me to understand that I am chosen, I am the chosen one and I am His who made me. Through all trials it is when I feel His greatest Love and through all Joy and ecstasy I am most deeply enraptured in his Grace.” m.laluna  

PaPa, Please, Make Me Usable

“You may never know what results come from our action. But doing nothing,there will be no results” M. Gandhi

Often times I pray to my Father that He show me the paths to take, to show me the deepest parts of myself, “who am I,  I plead!” I realized today that I cannot fully, completely understand me, until I understand Him who made me, who knew me before I was conceived and grew in my mother’s womb.

As I was in my morning reflections today I was brought to the idea of reaching up to the Lord with outstretched hands, reaching up to the heavens and asking Him to show me who He is. Let me know you more. As that thought came to my heart, not just my mind, but my heart as I was reminded of something that the Holy Spirit spoke to me the other night, just before I went to sleep.

I was reclining in bed asking for guidance. My life situation was not going well, (still is not) and I said, “I do not even know what to pray for, what favor or blessing to ask for, you know me, you know my needs, show me in which direction I should go.” I felt the Spirit respond that I should pray for Him! I thought, wait one minute, me, lowly, insignificant me, pray for the Lord our God? Then like a wash of warmth, a fire, that lasted for about 10 seconds came over me, and I realized then, that all I can do is simply, ask “what can I do for You?” That is it, what can I do to bring Glory to the one who knows me best? To ask the Lord to show me the path that I should take, I first need to ask Him to show me His path, once I see that,then I can see the path that He desires for me.

I read today in one of my reflections that no one seeks God naturally,our sinful inclinations prohibit that, that it is our natural tendency to hide when we are in a place that is not worthy of our understanding of what God is. The disciples of Jesus did not immediately understand, they had to go through a few years of basic training before they even got to the point, and even then on His last night, they had a hard to staying awake! They were human and so am I. The good news is that God will honor my response, your response to His leading by teaching me/you more about Himself. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God, are children of God…”Romans 8:14 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Telling Your Story Without Using "I"

Today as I was in a :"No Where" zone, I started remembering a conversation I had with someone a few months back. I was sharing with him my struggle with my injury. I was not getting better, and well, I was beyond frustration at the time over the lack of concern, regard, and mostly my inability to do my job. After all we are measured by our ability to work for other people and bring home a paycheck. Without that, who are we?

As I shared my story, my frustrations, he began by suggesting that maybe I do not believe enough. Believe as in believe in Christ. Well, my first thought was, "how do you know?" I then slipped into defense mode. It obviously fell on deaf ears, as the only thing he could say was, "Mary, do you know how many times you said, "I" in your description of your pain, and situation?

I said, "No, not really, but, I was talking about my situation, what is your point?" He went on to share that as long as I rely on me, and not the Lord then I will falter. Okay, so, maybe he was right, but, it got me thinking.

Imagine if we only referred to ourselves by our given names when talking to people about ourselves. Such as; Mary went to the market today and Mary got a wonderful new sweater. Mary is going to wear it to the dance Friday night. Mary will feel so wonderful. Weird right?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

PaPa's Prayer as Understood by ME

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Heaven is where the heart is, and the heart is where Jesus is, according to the child in all of us
Hallowed be thy name;
There is nothing more important than our names. Our names can soothe us when we hear it spoken in love, and it can break our hearts when we hear it spoken in anger. The Lord calls upon us to call upon him in with love. 
Thy kingdom come;
He longs for the day when all will call His name in love and will only use His name in love. 
Thy will be done
He knew you before you were born. He molded you in your mother's womb. He wrote your life on the palm of His hand. Lean on Him in all things and not upon your own understanding
On earth as it is in heaven.
Do not wait until you have breathed your last breath to desire to know His will, but seek it now. 
Give us this day our daily bread;
It is by His grace that we are fed, and nourished, we give thanks and praise for the gifts of the spirit. 
And forgive us our trespasses
our Father has given His blessed assurance that He does forgive us our sinful nature
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
We shall forgive our enemies, those who hurt us, those who speak ill of us, because, we desire that from our Father
And lead us not into temptation,
Protect our thoughts and keep us from our tendencies to focus on our physical awareness and not on our spiritual reality. Help us to die to our sinfulness and rise to a better understanding of ourselves in your eyes. 
But deliver us from evil.
Protect us, and shield us from the harm that we do to ourselves, and the harm that other's may impose upon us.


And forgive us our debts
Do not hold our sinfulness against us, but, help us rise above our lacking as human beings, Love us unconditionally
As we have forgiven our debtors
Do onto others as you would have us do on to them. Show us how to love unconditionally. 

For thine is the kingdom
We give you today, as all things that we behold are your's help us to bring your kingdom to others 
And the power
All things great and mighty are your's Lord
And the glory,
All praise, and credit for that which is good and beautiful are your's Lord and should be rightly identified as such
Forever.
Eternal, never ending, never beginning, 
Amen
This has been sealed with the blood of the lamb, a binding contract. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

PaPa's Chair, PaPa's Prayer

often times I lay and wonder
in that misty twilight sleep 
I pray 
my soul to keep...
but the sun in two shall rise 
and I wipe sleep from my eyes 
to hear another song of morning 
sing from nature manifest in wing. 
the mountains purple majesty 
and amber hue stained clouds of pink 
the sweetness that a morning brings 
a nature celebration symphony 
a gracious thank you and 
I breathe...
This is real and wonderful 
beyond my explanation 
Nestled up against the Smoky Mountains
embraced by earthen greens 
the spirit of my father's people 
join in song with every living thing. 
I am here today because they survived 
the holocaust, 
they were denied but would not give up, 
would not give in, 
So as I gently, gracefully rock 
I breathe...



I wrote this poem while rocking on a rocking chair overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains last July. It was a glorious time. A special vacation I planned and took my daughter's, son-in-law, grand-babies and Steve. It truly was a dream come true. Not only were we surrounded by trees, mountains, sometimes bears, and most heavenly of all was we were in the clouds. Yes, we were high enough that the clouds at time circled us and enfolded us in a heavenly embrace. 

This particular morning, I was the only one awake. Safe, silent, solitude. All I could hear was an occasional bird calling out across the ravine. It was a sanctuary. I was at peace with the spirit of my father's people. My people. 

Tonight during our segment of "Be Inspired, Be Transformed" I was called upon to read Matthew 6. What was so important about Matthew 6? Needless to say, I failed the calling. I didn't read it. I will read it during our "Mission Trip In Your Own Backyard." I realized as the final seconds of the show counted down why I was suppose to read it. You see, I have been leaving out the most important thing during our delivery of His word. His prayer. 

Week after week, we proclaim His word, we sing praises to the King. We tell people how they can become closer, but, we forget one special thing. We fail to sit at His feet, before him like a child asking PaPa to tell the story again. Tell us again, what are we suppose to do? Matthew 6 leads us to the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's prayer...we have been praying our prayer, our interpretations, our understanding. Have I forgotten to share His prayer? This prayer was also delivered by our PaPa while reclining in His chair as He anticipated taking His rightful seat next to His Father. 
 PaPa's Prayer 
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
Amen.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Like and Love when interconnected becomes LIVE!

How do you love when you cannot like, or like when you cannot love?
This question came to mind the other day when I was talking with a friend. My friend has difficulty with all the “family” nonsense of the holidays. The fuss and phoniness of the shopping and hoopla that goes with the holidays, to name a few things, so I wanted Very much to help my friend understand my perspective on the subject of the “holidays” and relationships.

Mother Theresa got it! She saw clearly that there is a way to move through the world in peace if you can tap into the idea of loving that which is not likable, and like that which one feels is not worthy of love. You know, finding that special something about someone in the moment, even if it is as simple as focusing on the persons bauble, or shoes, or hair, or something. Loving in a deeper way when you really just want to scream, “go away!”

Now, please do not believe that I am a master at any of this. I am just a mere observer. My job in this moment and at this time is to just point out that which I understanding. It is a time when understanding does not necessarily mean doing.


Take a moment out of your busy day. Look around you. Allow yourself to see with your heart that which the eye cannot see. Hear with your heart that which your ear cannot hear. Touch with your heart, that which your hands loathe to touch. Speak with your heart those words that you find close to impossible to utter. Then sit back and watch the wonder unfold as you become a master of loving when you cannot like, and liking when you cannot love.  

As it is stated in Matthew 6, do not love and like only to be seen as one who is in accordance with the word of God, but, do it because it is what you truly believe, live feel and own. Like and Love when interconnected becomes LIVE!


Friday, July 5, 2013

On Being ME,

For those of you first tuning in to Flower and Stone, you are probably unaware that when I reference ME, I am not necessarily focused on a "narcissistic reference, but, merely shortening my name. Mary E.

Flower and Stone is the title of my first published work and reflects a poetic look at my life over a span of about 7 years. There is additional poetry, blog posts, essays, that never made it into the collection from that time, but, the pieces that I chose best represent the ME that existed during that time.

I am now turning yet another corner and I am going through another period of spiritual awakening. I am more assured of my place in the world and am freer than I have ever been. The past 8 months of my life have been hard as I have been reduced physically by a disability. The ME that I was moments before the fall were free wheeling, running, spinning, rarely stopping in the physical sense. Now, do not get me wrong, I was also mentally, emotionally and spiritually much the same way. But, what being limited physically has done for me is that I have been forced to rely upon others in a way that I have never allowed myself to do before. My self-reliance that I have worn as a sense of pride, has been diminished and my reliance upon God has once again been the force that I cling to. For the first time I can with 100% certainty see the hand print of God all over this period in my life.

Now, do not get me wrong, my stoic proclamation of this moment is exactly that. In the moment. There have been moments when I have collapsed on my bed in absolute tears, fear, sadness, pity, anger, and loss. But, in those moments, I feel a profound sense of, "go ahead and cry Mary, you have every right to, but, trust me,  I have your back!" Yes, He does. He continues to whisper in my ear and when I stop listening to ME and listen to HIM, I am comforted by his hand and restored with His sweet refreshment.

Be encouraged, that is what I need to say, to feel, to share. Be encouraged.

This journey, with ME will be the randomness with which I live my daily life. My goals, focus, routine, they are all set. But, like a butterfly who has a set flight pattern and approach to the natural process, you will find that it flits and flutters randomly, being swept away by the wind now and then and landing, then setting off again. Without fail, it will do all that it needs to do in its day and all will be fine.

Unlike many who study the Lord's teachings like a child who must read a text book sequentially and only be the guidance of someone with a title, I read it like I read the world, moment by moment and with a random dance. So it will be in this blog.

More tomorrow,


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flower and Stone, An Essay On Life

This will be my attempt to connect in a more personal, intimate way with the reader through a spiritual dialogue with you and through Him who made me.