Updates

Hey, friends. A quick update. Our little community has finally felt the effects of this virus and we are back in remote land at least through the beginning of next year-all except our IEPers, including my sweet daughter. She will be able to continue on site with her para so she can get that personal attention that helps her succeed. Very grateful-as is she!

My college boy for his part has continued to do so well, constantly defying the stereotypes around his autism. He also has been able to continue in person, a rather important consequence of the hands-on learning in his engineering studies (can’t transfer use of 3-D printers to online schooling, for example.😏).

This leaves two at-home kiddos for me. One 16-going-on-42-year old boy who will likely regale me on his breaks with the latest oldie he’s learned on the bass guitar and one infinitely creative 8-year-old boy who could spend all day building and drawing me cool stuff, but will likely need a lot of mama coaxing on the paperwork side of things. So…there’s that. Again. Sigh.

In addition to that, we have been consumed with a lot of tough family business.

This prevailing illness finally hit not just our community but also brought my husband’s grandmother’s time on earth to a close.

She was 93, with a scrappy reputation for so long, but, in the last year or so, had been descending into a dementia we’d anticipated would take her soon as it was.

Where I would never dream to call such a thing as dementia a positive, it amazingly proved the way God could reach her heart.

How, if her mind was going? some might rightfully ask.

Well, you see, she spent most of her life not merely scrappy, but also bitterly anti-faith. A church had burned her once long ago and that had effectively shut down any thoughts of God.

Yet, as her mind had begun to slip, something in her countenance changed.

She became receptive to the family’s “Jesus Talk” as she once disdainfully called it.

She talked of the joys of being a child and remembered better Sunday School days learning of scriptures and salvation.

She became that child again in lots of ways and, in so doing, the door opened so she could receive Jesus as such, the resistance she harbored all those years melting away in recognition of His infinite goodness to her. I truly believe she was resting in that truth as she went.

We are no less sad to have lost her to this world, yet…

Now, we know we have not lost her for good. We will see her on the other side. The comfort of this lifts the sorrow and reminds us of the joy to come.

And that we should never stop praying for our loved ones to come to salvation!

His ways are so far above ours it defies description!

I guess that about sums it up at this point as far updates go.

I tend to come and go as able these days, anyway, but fair warning-I will be fairly silent on here for an extended time as I place my energies into guiding my youngest.

As well as helping my husband with the business, which has hit some huge time crunches in the last few weeks. That could certainly use some prayer…not only that we can see the work to completion, but also that a) my body stays cooperative to the task and b) I can be of some level of use to him.

It is safe to say being married to a handyman has expanded my vocabulary enough that I know what a flange and flashing are, but it really hasn’t changed my aptitude. 😏

Still…I can always hand tools as long as I know which doohickey he is after. 😁

Well…hope this finds you all well in your respective worlds, my friends. Keep the faith! Much love and many prayers! ❀

A Better Gratitude

Hey, there, friends! Gratitude on the brain for obvious reasons, but also in how it relates to how we spend our precious time-on what and, especially, on Who. Too much is wasted on futile pursuits and disputes, not near enough on sharing the good news of His love. Or, on the sometimes very necessary silence we ought to have before Him.

Time.

It ticks on, draws taut,

Gratitude all but forgot

As we all scramble to do what we think we ought.

Yet, minutes, precious and few,

Are too often frittered away

As comes forth from us the

Sad and endless spew.

Maybe if we all just for a while STOP THE TALKING,

The incessant talking,

The insistent, the maddening, elbow-jabbing bicker

And show even just the tiniest flicker

Of a Christ-like recognition for others,

Let His love truly be our ignition in

How we relate to one another,

Perhaps there could be less seconds

Shed like water down the proverbial drain

And instead the mindless jabber could

Bend

To become a much sweeter, more

Purposeful refrain…

Or maybe even, dare I say a blessed

Silence

When with Him we are at last in twain?😏

Ah, but is this hope of mine

None but a wistful dream?

Looking around at ever errant

Humanity’s darkening signs,

So it would seem…

Yet, I know a God who is greater than

We deserve

Who amazingly is yet extending to us

A grace we could never earn!

And patiently He seeks to guide us in

A better gratitude,

To infuse our attitude with the

Promise of life eternal,

To grow in us a beautiful garden from

A single willing kernel.

Would that we would pay heed to His

Instruction

Before we reach that final junction!

For time spins ever forward,

Well-spent or no.

May we still our wandering

Voices,

To Him look toward…

Tune our thoughts to become

Mindful of our forevers

And our choices,

And let the cross alone point which way to go…

Blessings and prayers on your Thanksgiving, friends! This year proves to be different but all the more reason to be mindful! ❀

“Blessed Be Your Name (worship video w/ lyrics)” on YouTube

And he said, β€œNaked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”-Job 1:21

Hello, friends! Another day, another song. πŸ™‚

This is one that has always spoken to me.

The thoughts contained within it, inspired by the verse above, have long resonated deep in my heart.

I can recall singing it in both times of greatest joy and heaviest sorrow. And He has always met me in the midst and provided His incomparable comfort.

I don’t know why it took me so long, but it occurred to me yesterday as the youth group unexpectedly chose to sing this steady go-to of mine that it speaks incredibly well to this time of significant unrest in our nation.

For, whatever questions may rise, whatever uncertainty we are facing, whatever we see come and go, He always, always knows best.

And His name-that precious name of the Lord-always remains blessed, come what may.

Resting our trust in this fact can be a challenge as we look at the strife in our world-believe me, how my anxious heart struggles!

Yet, I know this ability to trust is a very necessary component to holding on to our peace and joy. So, daily I am praying He would increase my trust in Him and His sovereignity.

So…may we listen to the following, choose to add our voices to the chorus of praise, and be reminded of this powerful truth.

Truth

Frankly, finding myself terribly weary of sussing out truth in this inherently deceitful world. Just some thoughts scribbled down on the matter, plus a much-needed cry to our God to remind us that only in reliance on Him can any actual truth ever be known…

Truth is such a slippery thing these

Days;

So much foolish frippery being added

To the words we say.πŸ™„

Wills mangled by the rancorous and

The tight-fisted;

Society’s ills strangle the night as

Peace gets twisted.

Honesty a virtue to which so many

May lay claim.

Yet so few pay the dues, pitching aside

Any real blame.

We defy integrity with the lie of its

“Relativity”

And hide under the guise of harmless

“Unconventionality”.

A pleasing narrative becomes the

Treasured thing

And it tragically matters not whether

It possesses a trustworthy ring.

Tampering becomes but a noble

Pursuit.

Facts? A pesky fly to crush beneath

Your boot.

Newspeak puddles upon newspeak,

Serves its purpose in muddling the

Ability to think.

And, pretty soon, the good news of

Our Lord for us

Slides from our fingers, forgotten

As we neglect to examine the

Lingering spoon before us

To check whether what we’re being

Fed is rotten.

Oh, Father, we are much more frail

And feeble-minded

Than any of us will venture to admit

To!

Oh, how we need to be reminded

Of the sincerity found only in You!

Above a world so unwieldy and so

Bleak,

Help us seek Your words and

Yours alone!

Unfurl once again bright hopes to

The searching, the meek

And let Your truths once more

Provide the light to atone!

Friends, in this increasingly dismaying and dishonest world may we indeed seek the truths found in Him and Him alone! Blessings and prayers! Thanks for reading my scribbles! 😊❀

Jesus Is Not Your Political Patron

All day I have thought I ought to have something to say. It’s an important day in our nation, after all.

Now, it’s late evening in Kansas and I finally realized I really have nothing new to say.

And where I could feel bad about that, I can hear God saying it’s ok.

And to instead reshare these truths I feel He gave me to encourage us all to keep our hearts centered on what is right.

For, come what may, He is yet on His throne, our Savior-our one and only Savior-sitting at His right hand.

And the Holy Spirit remains our comfort, peace, and ready guide-whatever our future looks like.

These things are where our focus ought to lie, my friends.

So… ok, yes, I had a little smidge to say, apparently… 😏

But, enough now. Follow the link for a (re)read of my thoughts on the whole political matter at hand…

Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Remember He is in control! ❀

https://alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/jesus-is-not-your-political-patron/

Watch “Harvest – “Because I Am”” on YouTube

Hey, friends. It’s been a bit again since I shared a song. This one is pulled from early childhood memories. My dad, the quiet, unassuming metalhead, had discovered Christian music shortly after I was born. This song was a distinct departure from his usual, but one he fell in love with and therefore couldn’t stop playing.

Its tune captured my young self over time and then, life happened and memory of it shifted to the background until a couple of years ago.

We had had an awesome day of Goodwill finds, including a fairly nice turntable. I was excited to begin recollecting vinyl and chatted with my folks about it. Next thing I knew, my mom and dad were combing through their collection to pass some on to me.

Harvest was among the ones Dad shared, which I politely took without quite remembering it yet. I took it home and, honestly, put it away for a time, more entranced by the classic rock mom had chosen to give me 😏 ( Hey, CCR is another huge part of my childhood soundtrack. It was hard to resist the unique sound of their “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” on that turntable.).

And that was that for a time.

But, something in me one morning was drawn to straightening my collection…maybe because they were overflowing my makeshift shelves. 😁And, I picked up the Harvest album among the others and perused the titles, trying again to recall much about them.

And, then, all at once, the melody came back to me. I simply had to put it on then and there. And I was instantly drawn in again, reminded of the sheer beauty and truth in the story woven, sung and played in such a gloriously heartfelt manner.

For He is the resurrection and the life indeed! The joy and the hope of knowing that is beyond measure! It buoys the spirit on the bleakest of days!

Something sorely needed in this dark and troubled world.

And, so, I pray you enjoy, my friends.

That your hope of everlasting life through Jesus is lifted and your faith is affirmed by this incredible truth.

Blessings and prayers to you! ❀

Good Grief, Charlie Brown or The Red Baron Strikes Again

Fair warning: I feel a bit like a cranky old lady tonight. It isn’t that this is not true to form, but it may sound a tad more sarcastic than my more poetical side. But, when He lays it on my heart, what can I do but speak it? Besides, I always remember Apostle Paul had a fair amount of sarcastic wit when he had a piece to speak. So, if the author of a good portion of our New Testament could do it, I figure God can utilize it in me, too. πŸ™‚

So…that title might stir some supposing on subject matter….

But, no...this isn’t truly about Apple’s decision to snatch away childhood memories, though the greed that appears to be behind the decision to hold the Peanuts specials more or less captive and the price-gouging of DVDs by some that has followed does play into the broader picture I wish to speak of:

Rampant self-centeredness.

In a world consumed by pandemic, it is the real plague, or to pull out the Charlie Brown analogy a bit, the Red Baron of our existence.

Always has been, honestly, though this easy access age seems to put it endlessly in our faces.

It’s what causes the all-too-abundant parade of posturing that comes out of so many walks of life:

Be it Hollywood, Washington, or-dare I say- our own neighborhood.

Far too often, in countless ways, everything boils down to “looking out for number one”.

If I get my piece of the pie or heck, the whole pie, I’m good. πŸ™„

Forget the other guy because the other guy ought to be looking out for himself.

Because, really, isn’t life about saving our own hides?

Covering our own respective hind ends?

Getting our faces in whatever limelight is afforded us?

Staking our claims.

Pressing for what we want and when we want it.

Stacking our wallets!

Getting the job, the car, the suit, the house.

The Life!

Oh, and the rep. Mustn’t ever forget the proper, politically astute, carefully couched, self-righteous posing that allows for your rep.

Most important accessory of all!

So, when you have all that together, who gives a flying fig for the other guy?

Unless, of course, the other guy can provide a photo op for your “charitable cause” or especially, as more often the case in our virtue signaling culture, if he dares to cramp your style.

Then, you care about him.

Or at least, in case of the latter, about what he’s doing wrong.

Then, he must hear about it and hear about it from you. For only you can say it right.

Not to mention all the likes you’ll accumulate from your followers or how much more you can amass for your brand when you verbally or textually take him down.

That much more power to wield from atop the tower you rest yourself upon!

Hurrah!

After all, it’s your life, right?

It’s all about yourself, is it not? πŸ™„

Ummm….no.

Ok. Not loud enough.

Ahem. Again:

Noooooo!

None of this life-I repeat-none of it is meant to be about ourselves.

No…despite so much pumped into us from birth on to the contrary, it’s really about one thing and one thing only:

Christ and Him crucified.

Rejoicing in the amazing fact He did it for us self-serving folks and seeking to instead serve Him.

And what does that often look like here on this earth?

Well… looking out for the other guy.

After all, there’s this from the Savior himself:

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matt. 25:40.

Now, this is emphatically NOT so you can look good on social media.

Nor so you can put the other guy “in his place”.

*Cough.* Plank in the eye. πŸ˜‰ *Cough*.

Rather, it is so you can have the joy of sharing the love of Jesus with another human life without regard to what you can get out of it and, prayerfully, point the way to salvation through Him.

That’s it. Really.

God’s generosity to us lending itself to what should be ours to others.

Funny how that nasty Red Baron of self-centeredness has a way of complicating a truly simple matter, isn’t it?😏

Oh, may we defeat this tendency for self-centeredness! May the Lord press on our hearts love and concern for the other guy!

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Much love, many blessings and prayers to you! ❀

Looking for the Lighter Ray

Hello, friends. A bit of honesty here. Today is just…gray. And I admit I just feel it. I figure if there were times King David had to do this, I have to allow myself to have these times, too…

Midafternoon…

Where did the sun go?

Wonders the mind sliding down slow

Into the deepness of the gathering gloom.

Clouds draw overhead tight

Yet spread out fat,

Making day seem the gray nearest night

And the patch of earth I’m on dull and flat.

And here we are again it seems…

Fall crawls again

And the chill sets in.

I should be admiring the skinned knee trees,

Or, at least, the changing hues of the maple leaves.

But, today, Lord help me, I’m tired.

Almost wholly uninspired.

Want to tell everyone about the joy that yet resides

Further on to the core inside.

Yet the chore of living today

Has got my doldrums most on display,

My joints aching and all reason for laughter going astray…

Welcome to the nagging scratch

Of a depressive sort of day,

Oppressive in its tap-you-on-the-back-of-the-noggin way.

Ick. Yet, somehow, I know I will yet catch

Some bit of a lighter sunset ray

When I sit down and recall

The strength that summons itself

When I take it all

To my Father’s throne

And remind myself

No, Marisa, really and truly-you are not alone…

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Hugs and prayers! ❀

What a Friend

Hey, friends. Lots of thoughts rolling.

Some on the cusp of creation; some more fully formed but not just there yet.

Some honestly rather heavy.

Heavy but, admittedly, necessary.

Example: the news daily brings us countless reminders of the temporary nature of fame, fortune, and the like.

Worldly accomplishments beckon us here on earth yet they still shift and blow away sooner or later, much like the foolish man’s house on the sand…

For nothing comes with us-not a guitar prowess or a cool rep or or a knowlegable facade.

Not even our own “niceness”.

No…nothing but our faith we carried in life.

Now, it might be faith in a thing.

A person.

Our own abilities.

Our bank account.

Or-prayerfully-it will be in Jesus Christ alone.

For those whose faith proved futile, unfortunately, all that awaits is a darkness beyond darkness-an eternal separation from God.

A hard truth indeed!

But, for those who have trusted Christ alone for salvation, there is an eternity of joy and peace in His presence!

So…mixed into those tough thoughts of grief for others who likely may’ve passed without placing their faith on Him alone, is the gratitude for that sure salvation and the rest in that steady companionship-both here and now and in the life to come. πŸ™‚

And all that, be it deemed random or no in the midst of the heavyish and less heavish thought train here today, reminds me of a song.

I checked and, yep, it’s been a bit since my last song share. So…yes. It’s time.

Yay! πŸ™‚

Today, after some (pretty major) deliberation, I decided I should share our community youth group “theme song”- “What a Friend” by Matt Maher.

Or one of the theme songs, at least. 😏 We are a seriously musical lot.

Anyway…it’s such a comforting word in the midst of troubling times!

Now, this version is likely a lot more professional sounding than what our little group pulls off with our rudimentary acoustics.

But, at any rate, may we sing along with what is the most important key- sincere hearts, rejoicing at the truth of lives redeemed and an eternal home to look forward to.

Blessings and Prayers, dear friends! Keep your eyes on Him! ❀

https://g.co/kgs/tJtP7t

The Monsters Are Still Due on Maple Street

Ok. So… in writing the following poem, my fondness for black and white TV will make itself known. In particular today, my love for The Twilight Zone (The original, that is. Accept no substitutes! πŸ˜‰).

I wasn’t sure about sharing this, not knowing if any would get it, but I feel God giving me the old nudge. 😏

First, though, to give you the (somewhat) shortened idea for my inspiration here:

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” is an episode of the show that came at a time when the space race was king, the concept of alien invasions was a major part of comics and films, and the Cold War and its uncertainties loomed. No doubt Rod Serling utilized all these things to tell his tale of an average American street descending into chaos and turning on each other after some strange phenomena befalls their peaceful existence, manipulated by an unknown hand.

Now, Serling used science fiction, but, from that, he made the much more universal point of how easily we as humans fall into the blame game and destroy each other-and, thereby, ourselves, rarely recognizing the manipulation of satan we are allowing in.

Oh, friends, that episode is around sixty years old!😳

But there is still so much of the evil it presents I can see today in the state of our nation, our world, and, especially, our hearts!

In fact, if anything, it looks that much worse!

Yet, unlike the more cryptic ending so often found on my beloved show, including this episode, I find I must ever make the plea to reach for Christ and the hope He holds out to make beauty out of this present ugliness.

And, I am also hopeful that whether or not you have any knowledge of The Twilight Zone and its often chilling wisdom that you will understand and get something out of this ramble of mine. And, so, on with it…πŸ™‚

The Monsters Are Still Due On Maple Street

Courtesy IMDB.

The scene first unfolds unremarkably.

Just a simple burg in simple times.

People about their business quietly,

Even pleasantly…

And then, comes the foreboding flash.

Uncertainty gives rise,

Through the peace cutting a

Considerable gash.

Questions beget questions,

Suspicions their suspicions.

Before the dust can settle down low,

Mistrust festers and grows,

Flows a curdling cry

To split the tranquil lie

With heightened panic,

And drive for answers edges into

A state of the manic.

Is friend really friend?

Or do they only pretend?

How to know what is truth really?

Is there any,

Or has all dissolved to mere

Conspiracy?

In gathering dark,

Frightened feet begin to race,

Seemingly without aim,

Yet tightened grips on stones

Speak more purposeful tones

As with angered heft they’re hurled,

Caring not anymore on who they heap

Blame,

As long as it isn’t they

That bear any accountability for this

Sin-soaked world…

Instead, looking wildly here and there

For the Monsters due on Maple Street,

Caught in the chaos

Of a fear-mongering heartbeat,

Never recognizing what has silently

Crept in

Is the hideous reflection of our own

Sin.

For we are the real monsters of Maple Street,

Destroying each other and all we

Could be…

No one else bears that responsibility

But we,

Though we cannot seem to see…

As the man in the book of James,

We’ve glanced in the glass

And remembrance of our desperate

Need

Has faded all too fast!

Oh, Lord, I look at our current

Landscape,

And pray from us this unsightly

Ugliness You will scrape.

Painful though the process is sure to

Be,

Train our eyes to recognize

Only You can take the monstrous

And make something of beauty…

Oh, may we leave behind the fear mongering! May we ever recognize the truth of our own corruption and our desperate need for Him! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❀

If you find yourself interested, here is the full episode: