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Cup of Communion

Posted by on June 15, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

Marriage is like two streams coming together.

 

 

 

I share stories….

I’m working on a new book, tentatively called, Remarriage…Joys and Challenges…Lessons Learned. I just finished the first draft. If any of you are writers, you know I’ve just begun! But I’m excited I’ve done the first round. There will be many more rounds of writing in the next few months. In the book, I share our stories–before and after we marry and then share what life is like the second—or third time around.

We’ve had fun traveling together.

 

 

In that togetherness, there’s a pulling away.

 

Our experience together has been wonderful. Not perfect, but close to it. Unlike both of our firsts, we are more mature and we like to think we’ve learned from our past marriages. Yet, even in that togetherness,  there’s a bit of pulling away. A desire for separateness. I know I don’t want the aloneness or separateness for long. I learned that when I became a widow.

 

Shocking reality.

 

It was a shocking reality when after everyone who’d been staying with me after each of my husband’s deaths, left to return to their own lives. I experienced the reality of truly being alone. I regretted not doing enough for my late spouse. Not loving enough. Not encouraging with my words enough. Yet, even now I sometimes pull away from Jim and I don’t know why.

 

I like the quietness of the early morning by myself.

 

Most Friday mornings, Jim sets the alarm for 5:00 am. Yes, that early. He gets up and dresses and goes off to his men’s group at church. I stay home and write my weekly blog. I like the quietness of the early morning by myself. Even in the summer, the pearly gray dawn of the day quiets my soul.  I enjoy communion with God, reading in the quietness, different Bible passages and a devotional. I don’t understand the pulling away and the desire for aloneness sometimes, but I do know I don’t want it for long and I crave for our drawing together again and reconnecting.

 

This morning I read about communion. How communion is a gift from creation. What is communion?

 

When spirits are shared and cups are filled with mutual participation…where humans draw near to each other and to God–emerging from their separateness and partake of the shared life God intended. 

Fill My Cup, Lord…with the Peace of Your Presence

Emilie Barnes, c. 1996.

 

In the morning…..

 

 

A cup of communion.

 

I love sharing my life with Jim, but  I also enjoy the quietness of being alone–sometimes–though only briefly. I don’t understand the pulling away and the desire for aloneness, but I do know I don’t want it for long. Even now, as I write, I can’t wait to share what I learned this morning in the quiet dawn. Emilie Barnes calls that coming together a cup of communion. 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the Birds

Posted by on June 8, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

Steigerwald Lake

 

Sometimes I don’t see what’s around me.

 

I’m a hiker and have forged a lot of trails in my lifetime. I enjoy pushing myself up and up the winding paths to the top of some hike. It’s a challenge to me as my chest wants more air. I’m focusing so hard on my breath and the hike ahead, I sometimes don’t see what’s around me. This day it was different.

 

We decided to take our walk along the river.

 

This week, Jim suggested we take a hike. Not a steep clamor up a trail, but a relaxing one along the river. I agreed that warm, blue skied morning. Our usual walk along the river this time was among the wild flowers instead of the domesticated floral wonder we’ve been watching near our home. So up the road about seven miles we drove, to Steigerwald Lake Preserve. Come join us!

At the beginning….

 

It’s a trail most anyone could take to enjoy the birdsong. The trail is flat and someone in a wheelchair could enjoy the sights.

They wanted us to stay on the trail.

There were bird identifications. Wish I’d brought my bird book.

How many creatures are in those grasses?

Foxglove.

Wild daisies

Hideaway for some creature.

Beside quiet waters…..

Resting place in the sun.

Along the Columbia River, not far from home.

 

Sunshine and shadow.

 

It was a good walk. About three miles of sunshine and shadow. Of birdsong everywhere. Of grasses and blue sky. Flat paths meandering among the grass and woods.

 

 

Take time to listen……you’ll be glad you did!

 

I’ll leave you with a treat. You must click play to hear the birds. Perhaps you don’t have time today to take a walk along the river. Take a listen. See that large bird (I think an Osprey, but not sure) in the middle of the brown and green marshes? He’s catching tadpoles.

Going Back in Time

Posted by on June 2, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 0 comments

 

 

I went back in time….

I had an interesting day this week. I went back in time–about twelve years.

 

Their face morphed into view.

 

I attended a retirement party for a former colleague at the school where we both taught. There were former students wishing Bob–the soon-to-be-retired–well. They were also my students. At that time, they were elementary age. Now they are adults–some I’d not seen for more than twenty-five years! Some introduced themselves to me–which really helped. Others just said “hi” and I politely responded without knowing who they were. Once I realized who they were, their faces morphed into view I recognized them!

 

 

I thought a lot that night about those students. What they were like in the former years, and what they’re doing now.Those handsome all grown up men and women are capable members of society. Some parents. Some not. Most of them married.

 

Life moves on. The school is filled with new students, newer teachers, new goals. My life is different, yet I’m the same person. There are plans for the upcoming year. There will be some new adventures and trips we’ll take. There may even be some detours along the way. Nothing stays the same. Mine doesn’t. Nor my former students. Bob’s life will be different, too. Life is always changing.

 

Is your life the same?

 

How about you? Is your life the same as it was twenty years ago? I doubt it very much. Mine is world’s away from then. I loved that life, but I love my life now, too and I look forward to the future. I hope you do, too.

 

 

Take Time To Remember

Posted by on May 25, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 0 comments

Gravesite: Bill and Carrie Rudberg

Blair Graybill

 

It’s Memorial Day weekend. Many people are making plans to go camping, travel to a special event, shop the Memorial Day sales, or even host their first barbecue for the season.

 

I‘m going to take the time to remember.

 

 

 

 

It’s to remind me of where I was….

I’m not one of those who regularly visits their loved one’s graves, though I know for some, doing so brings great comfort. For me, though, it’s to remind me of where I was at one time. Broken. Sad beyond belief. But also comforted like never before.

 

Matthew 5:4. Photo taken in Israel.

 

 

We want to remember

 

Take the time to reflect and remember that person who was in your life. We don’t want to forget. The worst of times–but also the best of times.

Tick Tock

Posted by on May 18, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

Tick Tock

 

There’s a new app on my phone that tells me when something newsworthy is happening. It’s a swooshing sound and I imagine I’m not the only one who’s tempted to check what the latest is happening. Tick tock.

 

What’s the latest happening with you? I’m looking forward to a weekend with my side of the family. We’re going to watch one of the boys participate in a regional track meet. We’ll also celebrate two birthdays: mine and my grandgirlie’s. Both of our birthdays fall in May so we celebrate them together. I know we’ll have a good time. Eating together. Laughing together. Catching up on life itself. Tick tock.

 

I celebrated a birthday this month. Received well wishes from lots of people–Facebook provides that. Got texts from others and some even mailed a card. I’m reminded of how time is swiftly moving so very quickly. When I was a child, time seemed to  d-r-a-g. When I think about doing something now, it is different. No longer do I ponder, next year I can…..You see,  some things will never be accomplished any more in my lifetime. Tick tock.

Birthday celebration one year ago.

 

That could be depressing–and sometimes it is. Yet, I’m looking forward sometime in the future–now closer than ever–to my eternal home, heaven. As far as I know, I’m fine and healthy. But I live in a body that is facing an end–sooner now than ever before. As time goes by, more people I know enter eternity. Tick tock.

 

I read this morning about the disciples’ last glimpse of Jesus on earth as he ascended into heaven. Their lives were changed because of him. Before they realized he rose from the dead, they were fearful and in hiding. After spending forty days with Jesus after his resurrection, they were confident his words were true–he was the son of God. No longer were they fearful–even when facing death or prison. Their lives were changed. Here’s Luke’s description:

 

Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany. He lifted his hands over them and blessed them in his love.  While he was still speaking out words of love and blessing, he floated off the ground into the sky, ascending into heaven before their very eyes!  And all they could do was worship him. Overwhelmed and ecstatic with joy, they made their way back to Jerusalem.  Every day they went to the temple, praising and worshiping God. Luke 24: 50-53

 

 

They don’t sound fearful anymore, do they? Or even like they missed Jesus. When their lives ended on earth, they were reunited with their Savior. And one day, so will I. Will you? Tick tock.

 

A Mama’s Prayer For Mother’s Day

Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

 

From the past. My children were once babies–who wore this gown.

It’s a simple gown.  The flannel has fuzzy little balls on the fabric, indicating its been washed and dried many times. It belonged to my babies. I was once a young mommy, too.

 

I’ll never forget the day I was released from the hospital after having my first born, Todd. They brought him into my room, laid him on the bed and said, “You may dress your baby now.”

 

“Now?” I asked. My hands shook as I took the creamy white-trimmed-with-aqua-one-piece-pajama and tried to pull it over his head. He was tiny and  squirming. I was nervous! I’d always wanted to be a mama and here I was, scared to hurt my baby–and really didn’t know how to handle dressing him!

 

“Go on,” the nurse instructed. “He won’t break, I promise you!” And she bustled out of the room.

 

Somehow, I got him dressed and we were ready to go home. Now of course, he’s fully grown. Is a daddy. But I remember when he was a helpless babe. I keep a photo of him on my dresser and it keeps things in perspective for me. When I pray for him, I remember once upon a time, he needed me. Now, he’s very capable and doesn’t need my ministrations, but I’ll always remember him as a baby and know that little person inside is still there somewhere. The tiny baby in the photo reminds me he still needs my prayers.

Just a little guy here.

 

 

 

And there’s my second-born, a daughter, Erika. I was much more confident the second time dressing my baby to go home from the hospital. I keep a photo that I can see every day of her as a seven-year old. Each time I see it, I smile. She is all grown up and a mommy of a nearly nineteen year old now. But that photo reminds me she needs my prayers, too.

 

I smile every time I glance at this photo!

 

I remember the past–and enjoy the now!

 

Erika’s wearing that white with aqua trim pajamas that her brother wore home from the hospital.

 

I’ll always have my memory of their small, needy bodies. That’s the gift of motherhood for me.

Their children will be a blessing.

Psalm 37:26-b

Todd and Erika as adults, October, 2017.

 

Indeed they are!

A Trustworthy Anchor

Posted by on May 4, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 0 comments

The sign of hope

 

Our hearts felt strangely warm….

 

I read today the story–that’s true–about a couple of disciples walking the road to the village Emmaus. Jesus was walking with them and they didn’t recognize him because they knew he’d been crucified and they thought he was still dead in the tomb. As they walked and talked, Jesus reminded them of what Moses and the prophets said about him. After they arrived home, they invited Jesus to eat with them. When Jesus blessed the food, they recognized him. Then he disappeared. They talked among themselves and reviewed their conversation they’d had on the road and said, “Didn’t our hearts feel strangely warm as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

 

 

Their attitude totally changed.

 

After his appearance,  their attitude totally changed. Their hope was renewed. They understood. I love reading that passage where they talk together after Jesus left their presence and they said “Didn’t our hearts feel strangely warm as he talked with us?”

 

Sometimes I didn’t think I could go on.

 

There have been times when I didn’t know if I could go on. I was sad and missed the loved one who died. I wanted them back!  Or I was in a situation where I didn’t think I could go on–it was just too hard.

Yes it is!

Keep your hope in God.

You might feel like I’ve felt sometimes. Ready to give up. Not wanting to go on. So sad and the day seems like it will never end. What is your hope for today? Keep your hope in God.

The sign of hope

 

 

Let’s Take A Walk….And Enjoy Spring!

Posted by on April 27, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 3 comments

 

Spring

 

There was honey in the air.

 

Don’t you love Spring? I do! Spring is absolutely the best time to enjoy flowers in the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday morning, with the sun warming our backs, we took our morning walk. It was a glorious one. The birds sang and made me want to sing. There were blossoming trees everywhere, with the scent of honey in the air.

 

 

The King Alfred trumpet their beauty…

 

In my imagination I pretend flowers have personalities. The tall and seemingly arrogant King Alfred daffodils seem to trumpet their beauty with their noses. I think they look down at the pretty jonquils. The snub-nosed jonquils look up to their cousins the daffodils, and say, “We’re important, too.”

Arrogant Daffodils

These Daffodils have peach colored noses. Somehow, they don’t seem so arrogant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s purple….

 

There’s the lavender wisteria bursting with blooms that flow like a purple stream. They smell delicious!

 

There’s pink….

 

Let’s go to the pink flowers. I’m amazed at the variety of colors. From the palest of pinks, to the deepest pink of the Camellia and Bleeding Hearts.

 

Pale pink Rhodie

Delicate Dogwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bleeding Hearts

Pink Tulips

Camellia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s red….

 

I’m not done! There are the red flowers too.

Red Rhododendron

Red and Yellow Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you agree with me Spring is the most inviting of seasons? Here’s one last splash of flowers.

 

The forecast is for rain today, but I’ll bet you have time to take a walk between showers. Enjoy the flowers! I am!

Until You Feel Alive

Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 6 comments

He is our hope.

 

You go on and live until you feel alive again.

 

 

Call the MidWife, a television series about midwives helping women in east London, an area of poverty near the Thames River. We’ve been watching the series for several years.  Nonnatis House is where several Church of England nuns and other midwives live together and assist the women in the district when they give birth and advise in care for their little ones. There is life and death on these streets and humble flats, near the docks where ships converge.  All episodes have at least one birth and often there is death. Kind of like our lives, isn’t it? Life and death every day.

 

Our souls are settled.

 

This past week, someone of renown died, Barbara Bush, at age 92. I’d never met Mrs. Bush, but I admired her spunk. I always enjoyed seeing she and her husband together. They seemed to share love and affection for each other. I like what her oldest son, President George W Bush, said: “our souls are settled because we know hers was.”

 

He is walking streets of gold.

 

There’s another death in my area of acquaintances. A young man of only twenty-two years. He died of leukemia. His mother wrote this about him: His body is buried in the Garden of Faith next to Gordon (his father), but he is walking streets of gold in heaven with his dad. 

 

 

There can be hope.

 

Both families express faith and hope in seeing their loved one again. That’s not to say they aren’t grieving, yet they have hope. I heard a phrase on an episode of the midwife series that resonated with me. Perhaps it will with you, too.

 

You go on and live until you feel alive again.

That’s really how grieving is. Your life goes on–even though you’d like it to stop. You make the necessary arrangements. You plan the service. You find something to wear appropriate for the service. You do the numerous tasks that must be done. You keep on living. Then the funeral is over and life goes on for everyone else. Yours too, though so vastly different than it was before your loved one died. You go on and live…..until you feel alive again.

 

It will get better.

 

I’ve been through the painful loss of a close loved one several times. I can tell you–especially those of you who are experiencing loss now. It will get better. You won’t hurt so badly as you do now. I promise. Lean onto the hope that our Lord and Savior gives us. I like what I read this morning, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. That really is our only hope.

 

One of my favorite verses.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Weeks Later

Posted by on April 13, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

 

 

Are you ever wordless?

 

Have you ever been so excited, you couldn’t say a word? I have. What about the women–who were the  first to go to the tomb of Jesus–and discovered the stone was rolled away and the tomb empty?

 

 

Sometimes we forget what we’re celebrating.

 

Don’t we often take Easter for granted? We get so caught up in the now of  Easter Sunday, we forget what it is we’re celebrating. I admit I do. Should we have ham or leg of lamb?  We must dye eggs. Make sure we have my favorite Cadbury eggs at each place.  I set the table in anticipation of the meal after the Easter morning service.

 

We wordlessly got ready for bed, knowing the end of the story wasn’t complete.

 

We watched The Passion of the Christ two weeks ago on Easter Eve. It wasn’t easy, watching the travesty of Jesus’ trial, the beatings He endured. I confess, I hid my face while the soldiers laughed and beat and beat him. I couldn’t watch when they pounded the nails in his feet and hands. We wordlessly got ready for bed, knowing the end of the story wasn’t complete. That would take place the next morning.

 

It’s appropriate at Easter, too.

 

This Easter morning, we were treated to a choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus which is more often sung at Christmas, but totally appropriate at Easter too. The primary word in the chorus is Hallelujah, which means, “God be praised”.

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah!
Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah!
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!
Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah!
The kingdom of this world is become
The kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ!
And he shall reign for ever and ever!
King of kings and Lord of lords!
King of kings and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever!
Forever and ever!
George Frederick Handel
Two men in dazzling robes…
When the women–one was Jesus’ mother–came to anoint their master’s body with spices, they were greeted by two men in dazzling robes. They told the women he was alive. Risen from the dead. I’ll bet those women were saying hallelujah over and over again as they rushed to tell the disciples the good news.
He is risen!
Just as King George II stood when he heard the chorus, so do I!  He is risen!
Hallelujah!  Praise be to God!

Hallelujah. He is risen!

 

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