Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Compassion at the Gate

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“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “mean(s).” Use it with or without the “s,” any way you’d like. Have fun!”

I like to have that up there as a reference, even if it is stream of consciousness writing that I’m doing. I want to remember that “have fun,” part because this prompt has got me thinking all serious. Maybe I’ll work the fun part in. I don’t know because we’re not supposed to plan. That’s like telling me I’m not supposed to check the stove 3 times, lock the door, and jiggle the door knob before I leave the house.

Anyway, I was thinking about the saying that the end doesn’t always justify the means. That is especially true when the means means being mean. I don’t usually get political here on this blog. In fact, I try real hard not to. But some people are just plain mean.

Moving back to my own little world, I have felt mean when setting healthy boundaries, but that comes from years of being too nice and a people pleaser. I don’t like conflict. I’ve been saying “no” more as I get older to things that feel toxic. If someone wanted to live in my house because they had no where else to go, I’d say no – unless it was a family member who I got along well with. But it’s hard when you don’t know someone how far to let them into your space.

I’m thinking of the caravan of people who are not coming to my house. They might be coming to my country. It’s a big country full of abundance. We have to have some boundaries of course. But I keep thinking, what would Jesus want us to do? What did Jesus try to teach us about feeding the poor and helping the homeless? He and his family were refugees soon after his birth.

I know we can’t accept EVERYBODY into the country. I know we have to have rules. But I don’t want us to be mean. I mean, let’s have some compassion for people who are in trouble and not assume they are all dangerous. Let’s find out.

It’s hard. Okay. I know this is weird for an introvert to say let’s be accepting of people coming in if we can do it through the channels – let’s not close the gates, when sometimes I want to close my own gate. Let’s try to figure out how to not do it mean. Let’s not lock the gate and lose the key.

I’m sending love to all the lost souls and meanie heads out there.

It’s complicated, I know.

Speaking of gates, here are some pictures I took, looking from the outside in, at the Land of Oz which opens twice a year on Beech Mountain, NC. It wasn’t open the day we went exploring.

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There’s a surveillance camera on top. We waved.

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A horse of a different color on the other side of the fence.

It occurs to me now that I would not relish going to Oz on one of the weekends when they open because they have LINES and CROWDS which I don’t like much. But if I was in trouble and had to get out of the country (or my granddaughter really wanted to go) I’d probably go stand in line. It would be nice to go to Oz. Is the US like Oz? I know the movie was symbolic. I think I’m getting in over my head. Gonna close that gate for today.

The Stream of Consciousness Saturday Post is brought to you by Linda G. Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-10-18/

Go check it out!

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


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Song Lyric Sunday: Alive!

Song Lyric Sunday

Today’s theme for Song Lyric Sunday is, “days.”

Three days after Jesus died on the cross, Mary Magdalene saw him alive.

….Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

                                                                                                                          John 20: 10-18

 

You can see Mary’s joy in this video perfectly aligned with Natalie Grant’s song, “Alive.” It gives me chills, or “Godbumps,” every time.

“Alive”

By Natalie Grant

Who but You, could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies and dream of me?
What kind of Love is writing my story till the end with Mercy’s pen? Only You.
What kind of king would choose to wear a crown that bleeds and scars to win my heart?
What kind of Love tells me I’m the reason He can’t stay inside the grave?
You. Is it You? Standing here before my eyes, every part of my heart cries

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is alive.

Who could speak, and send the demons back from where they came with just one Name?
What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?
You. Only You could turn my darkness into dawn; running right into Your arms

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is

Emmanuel, the promised King the baby who made angels sing Son of Man who walked with us, healing, breathing in our dust
The author of all history, the answer to all mysteries The Lamb of God who rolled away, the stone in front of every grave

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome;
Death has lost and Love has won.

(Hallelujah)

Alive! I am His because He is alive. Alive!

Lyrics from: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nataliegrant/alive.html

 

For more information on Song Lyric Sunday, visit Helen’s blog at:

https://helenswordsoflife.com/2018/03/31/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-4-1-18/

May your Easter be full of joy and blessings!


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Jesus Christ Superstar, Revisited

As Easter approaches I have extra choir duty, I’m getting rid of a nasty  cold, and preparing to drive to the mountains on Monday.  So, to make things a little easier on myself,  I’m doing a bit of re-cycling here on WordPress.

In 2015, I did a series of posts about Jesus Christ Superstar and how the movie and music impacted my life.

In this song, Jesus, played by Ted Neeley, faces his fear in the garden of Gethsemane. Sure puts my little challenges in a different perspective.


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A Pet Peeve and Other Admissions

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I admit that I get annoyed with people who can’t admit they are wrong. Especially when they are wrong. It just makes me want to stay away from them. Being open-minded (when it comes to beliefs, and theories, and possibilities, but not as much about my own behavior anymore) tends to make me say things like, “I think…..” or “I believe….” instead of “This is the way it is.”

I’ve known a couple of people in my life who stated their opinions as indisputable fact. They were so sure sounding, that I almost started to doubt myself. Almost. I think (there, see) it was about the location of a certain agency that had moved. I knew they’d moved, but the other person said they were located at the old place. There was a policy change, too, that the other sure of herself individual didn’t know about. She stated the old policy as fact with great confidence. Of course, I just dropped that one. Except that in both cases I looked it up to make sure. Even though I knew I was right.

I admitted that I was powerless over other people and trying to have power over others has made my life unmanageable at times.  I know I need to focus on me.

I admit that I forget things sometimes, like where I put my checkbook, where I put my phone, that I’m not thirty something anymore, or 40 something, or even 50 something. But I remember the important things, like feeding the dogs, making sure the door is locked at night, checking the stove before I leave the house, and then checking it again, because maybe I was thinking about something when I checked it the first time and didn’t really LOOK at the knobs, and checking it one more time, just to be sure.

I admit that I’m a tree-hugger, and proud of it, and that I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe that stuff about women submitting to their husbands. That’s why I go to an Episcopal church.

Sometimes I think about calling myself a follower of Jesus, instead of a Christian, because “Christian” has such a negative connotation (in some circles) because of  people who can not admit they might be wrong and believe their truth is the only way. It’s so hard to love some people.

I admit that I don’t love everybody. But Jesus does. 😉 Even when we are too sure of ourselves, or forget to pray, or get irritated at arrogant people who think they know everything, like what Jesus looks like.

buddah and jesus

Well, I’ve been saying I want to be more authentic, so there you have it.

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was, “admit.” For more info, visit our host, Linda G. Hill:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/06/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-1017/

Here are the SOCS rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

 


7 Comments

Bad News or Good News.What Will We Focus On? How will we live?

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The following is a slightly condensed sermon with two stories from my favorite pastor, Dan Macgill. Our gospel reading was about the ascension of Jesus.

Jesus is at the end of his earthly work; his victory is at hand. That is the good news, but he is leaving his disciples in a world that will not be easy for them They will suffer and be persecuted and put to death in his name. That is the bad news. So, what will we, in our lives, choose to focus on – the bad news or the good news?

There are two stories that took place not too long ago in the same town. It was Erie, Pennsylvania. In the first story, a local man of limited mental capacity robbed a bank. The incredible thing was that he had a live bomb attached to his body by a metal collar that someone had locked around his neck. He was carrying a note written by his assailants ordering him to go to four different places after the robbery to get instructions about what to do next to have the bomb defused. He never made it to stop number one. The police intercepted this simple man in a parking lot immediately after he left the bank. He did not try to run from them, but begged them to help him. He told the police he had been forced to rob the bank because the bomb on his neck was on a timer. The bomb squad did not reach the sight quickly enough, and there on main street, the bomb went off and the man blew up. The man had lived in a tiny house alone with his cats. He earned very little money and spent little. He did not have the mental ability to plan a robbery. This bizarre story made headlines all over the country.

But there is another story that also took place in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a story about a nun, a block full of children, a small corner store, and an old, drug infested neighborhood. The nun lives there in the center of town with her 90-year-old father who refuses to move. It is his home and it is where he raised his children. When the nun returned to this neighborhood, she immediately went to meet the neighbors. She organized a set of after-school games. She gave reading classes on the front steps of her house. Before long, they all took on community projects such as picking up cans, filling garbage bags with trash, and planting flowers along the curbs. They swept the streets and planted grass. And for this work, they got coupons that the local grocery store accepted for food. They even painted houses. Soon, the neighborhood, and it’s very nature, changed.

The nun wanted to go block by block and continue this project, but that required a lot of money. The local paper gave the story good coverage, but the national press ignored it. (I wonder why.) The bank story is about the evil, violent murder of a simple man. More than that, it is about the deterioration of the US as a human community. The other story is about the rejuvenation of an old neighborhood by young children living in the evil of its neglect. But it is also about the possibility of rebirth in American life.

So, what is the gospel telling us about ourselves, today? Is it telling us more than we really want to know? Are we any closer to carrying out Jesus’ mission that he left us in charge of? Has it become too easy simply to allow ourselves to be squeezed into the world’s mold?

Angelique Arnold wrote once that perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Amen.


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Serving at Cursillo: a Spiritual Weekend

 

Trinity Center pond

My weekend was intense, busy, and very social. I knew it would be outside my comfort zone, but I was asked to be on the music team, and I wanted to give back for all the blessings I’ve received. Leaning heavily toward introversion, I’m more comfortable finding my spiritual moments alone in quiet places, but thankfully, I found God in many varied moments during my four days serving at “EC 95” (The 95th Cursillo weekend of the East Carolina Episcopal Diocese.)

Cursill is a three day adventure for 20 pilgrims who are there to learn about Christian leadership and to be loved and served by the team. One of the common experiences shared by pilgrims was a deeper relationship with Jesus and one another. As a team member serving the pilgrims, I felt this deepening, too. Even with the lack of sleep from late nights and early mornings, even with my occasional discomfort from being around  many people who I didn’t know well, I felt the deepening. I felt the love for people who became family.

It helped that our Cursillo weekend was held at Trinity Center, a place close to nature and close to my heart, where they build around the trees.

Tree in deck

Trinity is an Episcopal retreat center nestled on the North Carolina coast between Bogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunset at Sander's Point (2)

ocean from the pavilion

One of my favorite places at Trinity Center, besides the beach….  and the sound….. and the pond….

pond throug trees (3)

Trinity Center pond

…is the tunnel that runs under the main road and leads to the beach.

tunnel sign

tunnel entrance

tunnel with turtle

The tunnel is a great place to sing. Imagine the echo. Or is it called reverb?

On Friday afternoon, as I walked the wooded road to my room during a short break, I stopped to admire the light shining through the leaves ahead.

path of connection with Mom and Dad (2)

It was here that I felt the powerful and undeniable presence of my parents. They “told” me (in feelings more than words) of their joy that I was there serving with my husband, and that they are proud of us both. My parents had a long history of ministry in soup kitchens and working with veterans. This is the first time I’ve felt them both together since my father died in January. The confirmation that they are together still makes my heart sing.

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I finally got me a Djembe!

And I did a lot of singing at Cursillo. As part of the music team, I sang, played my guitar, and got to experiment with the new drum I bought for this occasion.

Cursillo music is mostly folksy with some contemporary praise songs. When somebody requested “Wade In the Water,” we had to hunt for the music because it wasn’t on our song list. But it turned out to be such a big hit, we sang this powerful spiritual three times during the weekend. This article explains that “Harriet Tubman used the song “Wade in the Water” to tell escaping slaves to get off the trail and into the water to make sure the dogs slavecatchers used couldn’t sniff out their trail.” 

The following arrangement, while different than the simple version we sang, gives a feeling close to what I felt during our closing service singing with about 50 people and three guitars as I kept a strong, steady beat on my drum.

In spite of the intensity, I’m thankful to have served at EC 95. But some day,  I want to go to Trinity Center just to relax. I bet I’ll do some singing and wading, too.

Silver beach (2)


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Alive!

“Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.”

Matthew 28:5-6

Song Lyric Sunday

In today’s Song Lyric Sunday post, I’m taking Helen up on her offer to post a song that has nothing to do with her lovely theme, “rain.” But I wouldn’t be surprised it it had rained the night before. Apparently there were a lot of earthquakes between the original Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  I love to imagine Mary Magdalene seeing Jesus again and seeing her excitement portrayed in the video below.

Here are the lyrics for “Alive,” written by Barry and Maurice Gibb

Who but You, could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies and dream of me?
What kind of Love is writing my story till the end with Mercy’s pen? Only You.
What kind of king would choose to wear a crown that bleeds and scars to win my heart?
What kind of Love tells me I’m the reason He can’t stay inside the grave?
You. Is it You? Standing here before my eyes, every part of my heart cries

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is alive.

Who could speak, and send the demons back from where they came with just one Name?
What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?
You. Only You could turn my darkness into dawn; running right into Your arms

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is

Emmanuel, the promised King the baby who made angels sing Son of Man who walked with us, healing, breathing in our dust
The author of all history, the answer to all mysteries The Lamb of God who rolled away, the stone in front of every grave

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome;
Death has lost and Love has won Alive! I am His because He is alive. Alive!

(Lyrics from AZLyrics.com)

I hope your Easter is filled with love and blessings!