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.