Bogged

Hey there, dear friends. I have had a lot going lately from VBS skits to welcoming a new pastor, facing renewed and new frustrations…

And I find myself…weary. Whereas there should be joy in some of those things, I find it there, but only for the moment it takes for raindrops to fleck and fade on glass.

And the frustrations are just…a lot of unwanted visitors who return again and again. I could voice my thoughts on such, and yet…

It begins to feel without any real use. I hate to term it “jaded”, but, it’s certainly edging into that territory.

And so…I go quiet.

Tight-lipped over how I really feel.

Stop all the confiding, any attempts at exhorting others, since it feels disingenuous, or seeking encouragement, since I can’t seem to allow it in the way I should.

Until…

It all bursts forth in poem eventually.😏

Now, I don’t think of this as my best attempt, and, please don’t take offense, but I am beginning to feel even this place, my beloved WordPress, is not necessarily the help it once was.

Not due to any of you, of course. This is all me.

My quiet spells and lack of concentration to keep up with everyone here are increasing, which does give me a pang of regret, as I care sincerely for each of you.

Not to mention fatigue. Realllly tired of arriving at this mindset again and again.πŸ™„

The determination not to wipe out my work here remains strong.

But the desire to write and participate is…waning.

And I don’t really want it to.

Yet…I feel it slipping out of my hands this time.

Anyway…enough spiel. Here is my latest thoughts in poem. Thanks for reading. Blessings and prayers as ever.❀

So many things to write in my brain…

Big beginnings without an end….

They rise up only to be sent

Down the proverbial drain…

Had some triumphs in these weeks,

Some lovely things of which I feel I ought rightly to speak.

Had a few mighty blows, too,

Disappointment and unsettling discoveries anew,

But sadness from such has only burrowed on through,

Tunneling in deep.

Smiles I cannot seem to keep,

But nor can I summon up theΒ  strength to weep…

No…instead, my eyes only dim with need of sleep.

I guess you could safely say

That I am trapped in once again by

This indescribable malaise,

This tiring, bogged-in-the-reeds sensation,

Like the African Queen, only without yet a summation.

It isn’t as if love is not there,

Nor joy-

In fact, I have lately had a good share.

And, of course, I know that God is always, always there.

Yet, I face some unhappy truths

Of pain, loss of energy, loss of youth.

I find despite all efforts to push on

I just don’t feel like much from dawn to dawn.

I still pick up my Bible and read with a prayerful heart,

Of more things I have pressed myself to take part,

Yet all I gain seems to fade before I can even start.

Hurt aplenty piles in,

Poor feelings I fear I nurse.

I have to ask-is this mire just my own sin,

And lack of ability to bravely take on the worse?

I don’t know.

I don’t know, and I tire of asking myself…

Perhaps it’s time all these ponderings

Be laid upon the shelf…

Please take them, Lord

And draw us into better accord…

The Chase

Hey, there, friends! I thought it was time I chimed in for a moment to reassure you I am in the land of the living.

Doing the wife and mom thing 24/7, doing the cooking for an amazing passel of youth on Wednesdays, and doing an awful lot of introspection in- between.

On things like purpose, God’s plans, and the circuitous way life can often go when desperately chasing those things.

Or, when you just think you are. 😏

It gives me a laugh, albeit a slightly rueful one, to realize how often He has to show me He is not done with breathing the breathe of life on me, nor equipping and encouraging me.

And, yet, I often seem to take a little breath of my own, ruminate on the vision He is placing in front of me, and shake my foolish head. And then, I dare to petulantly remind Him of my tattered rags, my awkward ways, and do what I do best….

Run! (Figuratively speaking, of courseπŸ˜‰)

How easily I forget what He has done before and what He can do again!

The lists of “look what He’s done for me’s” stretch behind me like parchments curling for miles!

Redemption of family.

Healing of hearts.

Breakthroughs and bounties beyond imagination.

Sure, there were looming anxieties pursuing me then and new ones cropping up now…

BUT-there is STILL Jesus.

He never abdicates the throne nor neglects His precious own!

He is the joy-giver whatever the world comes at you with!

And I know this. As in, have ample experience with this!

Yet, how quickly do I dismiss leaning on this joy that abides despite circumstance!

How often do I find myself bogged in a fretful state instead of seeking solace in His arms!

Far too often, friends!

That said, I do find myself in recent days swapping thoughts with the Lord.

Feeling His delight and finding dappled moments of my own.

And, perhaps, finally beginning to reawaken to my sense of purpose in Him.

Now, I’d still characterize myself a “functioning” depressive. It’s hard to face many days, yet facing them I am.

But not alone, mind you! The sweet Lord is there, handing me the key.

For, in Him, I am realizing that, yes, there is a somber shadow cast on my soul that is just there. And just going to be.

But, that is not necessarily bad.

For, strangely, it is one that is not without a purpose of its own.

For, in many ways, the shadow is really just a piece of how it feels to rest in His wings.

In them, He reminds me we need the deep thinkers in this world, the grievers of our times, the ones that recognize where we’re at and why.

And He counts me among them.

Not to be superior nor to scold without tempering in love.

Rather, to alert us these are grave days we are in. We are nearer and nearer to His return by the day.

Salvation is at hand. And it is imperative we both take it to heart and share the truth with others while we yet may.

Now, risk of walking in this shadow comes in allowing satan to twist the reasons for the weeping, to become distracted from the cause God has in mind, and to be lured away from the protective cover of His wings to the true darkness beyond.

For, then, we are prone to surrender to the assaults the world flings at our souls.

Not to mention there is the temptation to chase our own tail in the process!

But-the rewards in the shadow? Ah, the rewards!

Life and life eternal in the presence of our most Holy Lord!

For He alone is infinitely worth every moment of the chase; all the rest the heart clamors for is merely temporal!

And…

Speaking of chasing…

The following song has been known to me a long while, but only recently popped back on my radar.

I first heard it at a concert Andrew Peterson was opening for. The simple honesty of it resonated in my aching heart then and it still does now. Perhaps, even more so.

Have a listen and be blessed, dear friends! Thank you for the prayers! I can definitely feel them! Know that you always have mine, too. ❀

Christmas My Favorite Things Tag

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a tag. What a great idea this one is! Such a joy to concentrate on a few of the things that mean so much to me this time of year!

Many thanks to dear Bethany at Flowers on the Dashboard!

The rules are as follows:

Share the original post, which I see comes from another dear blogging friend, Matt at Jesus Luvs All:

Christmas My Favorite Things Tag

Then:

Use any Christmas theme picture:

Perhaps one of the best moments of any Christmas moment. The reminder from the wise little Linus of what Christmas is all about.

Share your favorite things for each category.

Tag whoever you wish.

So…ok. First up:

Food:Ah, food, glorious food! I have so many loves in this area! Being a baker, cookies, brownies, and breads of all sorts are high on my list. Fudge is also a major love of mine. Add cashews and I am even happier! 😊

Decorations:

Ours are not elaborate, by any means. But, there is great sentimental value. I’d call them a happy mishmash of things collected and made from childhood on.

This is one of my favorite areas. Our beloved Nutcracker collection.:

My oldest boy fell in love with the Nutcracker ballet when he went to a production for a Kindergarten field trip and we started collecting.

It has long been his job to arrange them, but, being in college this year, he passed the mantle to my youngest. This is what he came up with. He added several friends, as you can see. 😊

Song:

Ah, another beloved area! So many…”O, Holy Night” comes to mind, as well as “O, Come, O Come Emmanuel”. And when they start up “Hark, the Herald, Angels Sing” at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I never fail to shed happy tears. πŸ™‚

When to open presents:

Oof. Believe it or not, a mildly sore point. Let me explain.

When I was growing up, I seem to recall the whole idea of surprises faded away rather quickly in favor of taking my brother and me to the store to pick out our own things early on in the season. My mom maintained she never knew what to get us and saw no sense in us waiting.

I guess it had its merits-very few icky sweaters to unwrap and try to give a convincing smile for. Lots of things I knew I’d use and got to enjoy right away.

Yet, there was also that deflating feeling on Christmas day of waking up to nothing to open and no thrill of someone else knowing just what I wanted, or at least making the attempt to know. A killjoy in many ways indeed.

So…ahem.Enough of that. This is supposed to be a lighthearted post.

Suffice to say, surprises for my kids are really important to me. And I admit, I still look forward to one or two myself. πŸ™‚We stick to traditional buying for one another in secret, wrapping them up, and opening one on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas Day. Such a joyous thing!

People to visit:

Well, of course, this year, much has changed. But, then, I have weathered a few changes in my day. There was my single mother days of playing Santa to my little sprouts on my own. We usually hung out quietly with my mom and dad. They were still in Kansas then, in an apartment about 40 steps from ours, in fact. Beautiful, peaceful years of forging new joys beyond the times of hurt.

Then, there was the year of inviting a new member to our little group when I remarried and discovering he came from a family of cousins upon cousins, aunts and uncles galore. Over eight years later, I still don’t know the half of them. Now, we typically do Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas with (at least a chunk of) my husband’s large family. It was quite a jolt those first few years and still a somewhat daunting task for a very shy, retiring sort like me.

But, this year, it’s back to a more intimate gathering of just our little family. A bit of a melancholy due to the reasons this day and age presents us and a pang at missing members. And, yet, there is that joy of sharing together as a family that remains and the loveliness of peace in the quieter atmosphere. It reminds me of the stillness I imagine there must have been that night the world awaited the birth of a Savior. πŸ™‚ Which leads me perfectly into…

Celebrating Jesus:

Ah,the pinnacle of this whole season! This whole life! Without His momentous arrival, there would be no joy, no light, no peace.

We have a Christmas Eve service every year with the younger Sunday School groups presenting a play to share the great joy of His birth and the miracle of salvation through His death and resurrection. I rejoice that through a lot of innovation mixed with the necessary caution, the way has been paved for a version of this tradition to go on. It is one of my supreme joys in this season to watch our young share the Good News.

We also sit down and read the Christmas story from Luke as a family before tucking in for the night. I love the reminder of what all this celebrating is about. May we ever remember. 😊

And to all this, I can think of one category I simply must add, as this is an area I look forward to each year:

Movies:

Well, obviously, I have a fondness for Charlie Brown Christmas, but the movie that ties is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

No movie so captures the struggle we can have in this life with feeling a failure or the shock and the joy of knowing the unexpected impact we can have. It reminds me yearly of the intense value He sees in us, in spite of us. 😊

Ok…so…nominations:

Linda Lee at A Blog About Healing From PTSD

Alan at Fuel for the Race

Mandy at Blue Collar Theologian

And, really, anyone that reads and feels so inspired!

Thanks for reading my sizable spiel here and Merry, Blessed Christmas, my friends!

There is Always Jesus

Hey, there, dear friends! School is complete for the semester and working on getting my brain in gear for exploring beloved words again.

This is just a little snippet that popped in my head. The phrase “There is always Jesus.” came to soothe my anxious heart in a downtrodden moment and it grew from that to a few simple lines I wanted to encourage you with as this uncertain path we’re on continues to unfold...

December.

As I survey the sustained chaos this month brings,

A few thoughts skitter and timelessness rings:

December.

A season of deepening chill,

A season of sweetest joy.

Flip on the screen these days

And ugly rancor rolls unabated;

Christmas or no,

It’ll still swiftly give you its fill….πŸ™„

Ah, but turn to the truth of His Word

And find unblemished peace and love

To miraculously pour into the aching void…

For, there is always Jesus, friends,

Whatever scrolls across our lives and our feeds.

Blessed babe come to earth, ready to receive us without end,

If only we can shed the tugs of this manic world

And to His tender, urgent call give heed…

May we indeed learn when to shut off the screens, open our Bibles, and give heed to His call! Where this world will soon pass away, seeking Him while we may is our life and breath! Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends! May you each know the incomparable joy of this season! 😊❀

“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.

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! ❀

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

Newsboys – Joy

Hi, friends! I have been sitting here waiting on deeper inspiration again.

So…in the meantime, an update, a song, and perhaps a bit of a ramble. πŸ™‚

Things are progressing pretty nicely on most all fronts in our world.

School has thus far remained a safe and happy go-to for my younger ones as the pursuit of music, performance, and friends tops their list. And for one, a big shocker is added-cross country! (Seriously, folks…athleticism is not in the genes. At all. So, the fact my 16 year old boy has determination to push through majorly sore ankles to try this is awesome.😊 )

And my college boy? Well, he is stepping forward in self-management and relationships, each step precious proof autism has become his fuel (As well as increasing evidence I’m getting older! Acck! πŸ˜³πŸ™‚).

Let’s see…what else?

Business is busy. Right now, my husband is on the remodel that never ends, but hey, that is job security right there! 😏

Oh, and Community Youth Group has begun again as of last Wednesday! I was thrilled to make cookies and spend some time in worship and study with our dear kiddos! ❀😊

And, beyond the usual allergy invasion and the nose-blowing fest that naturally follows, I am actually finding some fairly decent days physically speaking- between the creaky joints, of course. πŸ™‚

Life is still with its various shades of differences and challenges, no doubt, but there is a joy that rises…and not just because things are well at present.

Don’t get me wrong-it’s great things are well at present!

I’m so grateful.

But, joy is not found in whether all’s well or not-so-well.

No…rather, it is found in waking up and abiding with Jesus.

Every day I get to roll out of bed and know my sweet Lord is right beside me, ready to help me face whatever comes.

And that bubbles up in me a song that has been one of my go-to’s-from another band that has long been a go-to in of themselves…

Newsboys-in particular, their earlier years.

Hmmm…maybe it’s the 90’s-early 2000’s kid in me. πŸ˜‰

Don’t get me wrong. I still love what the newer incarnation of the group does now, but, oh, my…the exultant bounce to this one!

The effervescent, intricate lyrics!

It really takes me back.

I can’t help but rejoice with this one….

Have a listen and see if you don’t rejoice with me. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❀

Watch “Calling Out Your Name – Rich Mullins” on YouTube

Ok. I decided. These are fun. I love music. Can’t play a lick and only sing a little, but, oh, I know what I like. πŸ™‚

And, in addition, I discover that I really like to share.

So…I will try to do these maybe weekly…ish. I have no schedule on here and do better without one, frankly, despite my need for an ordered world elsewhere, but we shall see. 😁

I have a lot of songs I am eager to share!

And this particular one begs a few paragraphs to introduce…

I first discovered Rich Mullins in high school.

Immediately, I was captivated. His honest, heartfelt voice, combined with his incredible gift for painting word imagery and ability to play a variety of instruments as effortlessly as many of us breathe had me in awe.

And oh, the songs! Each one cutting me to the quick, challenging my faith, causing me to pause in my day to soak in the truth of God.

Then, of course, as I always do with those I am drawn to, I had to know more of the man.

In reading his philosophy for life, how I longed to be able to similarly shed the trappings and give my all to others as he did throughout his career.

His mission through The Kids of St. Frank, his willingness to kick off his shoes and humble himself, his determination to live the antithesis of a successful musician…just…wow.

My grief in his passing from this earth was profound, needless to say.

Yet, his demeanor showed readiness at any time. He knew where he was going. He wasn’t worried. So, I owed it to him to rejoice in my sorrow.

For what a legacy!

I wanted that. Want it still.

Life may’ve given me a different mission and different things to care for, but I pray the essence of selflessness and assurance in my Savior can be the same.

In sitting down to determine which of his plethora of amazing works to share, I was honestly very, very torn.

I love them all. How do I ever choose?

Ah, me!

But, I knew it should be one to feature his beautiful hammer dulcimer that so captured my attention early on and one whose poetry was most inspiring.

So, I came to this one, Calling Out Your Name, which may be a bit prejudiced by the fact he mentions my home state of Kansas, where I am proud to say he spent some time studying and I once helped babysit his dog a little while through quite a chain of events. πŸ™‚

Not to mention it just seems to suit the current weather patterns around here. 😏

At any rate, may it encourage you that God is still God. The creator of all the universe and everything in it is yet on His throne, yet speaking, yet reaching out to us in everything around us. Give it a listen and be blessed, friends. Much love and many prayers. ❀