Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Foreign Concept

Foreign languages
are fascinating to hear spoken.
The jumble of syllables
as they flow in confused order
from someone’s mouth
are intriguing.

Unusual guttural sounds,
musical inflections,
tonal expression,
unique tongue rolls or clicks,
even facial appearances;
each lend to various manners of articulation.

If I listen carefully,
I may distinguish a few words
that ring familiar,
bearing similarity to those in my own language.

Yet, even if I were to master a foreign language,
there would be so much more to learn
in order to gain a full understanding
of the culture in which that language
calls home.

In observing others who have lived
immersing themselves for many years
within a foreign land
and mastering the language and culture,
it can be difficult for them to re-enter
the land of their birth
except in the role of visitor.

To redefine home
means to cast their first home in a new light;
the birth home becoming the foreign land.

Refreshment, passion, outlook,
joy, rest, safety,
perspective, discernment,
even the language of dreams
are reestablished
and take root
in the chosen land.
“So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens,
but you are fellow citizens with the saints,
and are of God’s household,
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” 
~Ephesians 2:19,20

“You once were not a people,
but now you are the people of God;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.” 
~I Peter 2:10

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Great Physician

A soothing voice,
a gentle touch,
a steady hand,
Each fragile life
completely held
in His command.

And every new little one
ushered into this world
holds a heart to love Him,
feet to walk with Him,
hands to serve Him.

Chorus (1)…
For He is the Great Physician
and all of life is His;
every breath,
every beating heart
is His to give.

And when a heart draws near to Him
His giving heart overflows
with the promise of forever
in the caring Hands
of the Great Physician.

A soothing voice,
a gentle touch,
a steady hand,
He reaches out
to those without
the strength to stand.

And every Beloved one
filled with sorrow and pain
knows the promise of
His gift of love,

And in Jesus’ Name
we cry out,

Chorus (2)...
“Oh Great Physician,
all of life is Yours;
every breath,
every beating heart
is Yours to give.

Our broken hearts
cry out to You,
to Your Heart that overflows,
and to Your promise of forever
in Your caring Hands,
Oh Great Physician!”
… Great Physician......

Magic Beans

A boy was sent to town
to sell the family cow in order to buy
some desperately needed food and provisions.

Much to the disappointment of his mother,
he was tricked into giving up their precious cow
in exchange for a handful of Magic Beans.

As a result of his sincere belief,
the young man planted the beans
which grew far into the sky overnight.

The next morning, he ascended the beanstalk,
manipulatively acquired the goose
which produced a never-ending supply of golden eggs,
carried the goose down the beanstalk to his mother,
and they lived happily and wealthily ever after.

This is just a pretend story from a children’s picture book.
No grown up or mature person
would actually believe that
if they could be innovative enough,
and believe sincerely enough,
to reach high enough,
they would have access to everything they want… 

Could they?

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 
And as people migrated from the east,
they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 
And they said to one another,
“Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.”
And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 
Then they said,
“Come, let us build ourselves a city
and a tower with its top in the heavens,
and let us make a name for ourselves,
lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 
~Genesis 11:1-4

But there is no goose
that produces golden eggs…
Is there?

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower,
which the children of man had built. 
And the Lord said,
“Behold, they are one people,
and they have all one language,
and this is only the beginning of what they will do.
And nothing that they propose to do
will now be impossible for them.
~ Genesis 11:5-6

Acknowledging the Creator and Sustainer of life,
Trusting in God’s Omnipotence,
Taking Him at His Word,
Abiding in His Loving Presence,
Waiting courageously for His Voice…

Most often, these are readily verbalized
amid tragic circumstances,
near death experiences,
or bouts of dire neediness.

Yet, in the face of promising opportunities,
endless accessibility of information,
smoothly paved paths of success,
recognition of the need for dependency upon God
may be illusive.
So the Lord dispersed them
from there over the face of all the earth,
and they left off building the city. 
Therefore its name was called Babel,
because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth.
And from there
the Lord dispersed them
over the face of all the earth.
~Genesis 11:8,9

Magic beans,
tower to the heavens,
these temporary boosts are deceptive.

God’s loving discipline
is always administered for the purpose
of driving us back into His arms,
to come to the realization 
that only the truth stands firm.

Whether or not we understand it
or acknowledge it, the truth is this;
we are completely reliant 
upon God alone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vacant Stare

I’d like to think
that I do not depend upon the reactions of others
to know acceptance,
that I am not seeking approval to feel loved,
that I have an audience of One.

Still, it was difficult to say good-bye to my brother
and receive a vacant stare in return.

I know that his frontal lobe was injured
and that he is not yet capable of expressing emotion.
I know that what seems like a lifeless gaze
is simply brain synapse that has not yet been rerouted.
I know that he loves me because
he told me so when he called me last month.

Yet somehow, it felt like a knife wound to my heart
when his eyes met mine
and expressed nothing in return.

Jesus may have felt this way.
_____        _____
/           \     /            \
/“He came  \/  to His own,\ 
/and those who were His own\ 
 \  did not receive Him.”  /
\  ~John 1:11  /
\         /
\  /

Monday, March 21, 2011

Got Any Johnny Cash?

   A recovering patient is a wonderful thing.  But when the recovering patient is a brother and you are the sister, there is valid reason for rolling of eyes.
   Today, he decided that he wanted to listen to Johnny Cash.  So he asked me to put the music on.  I told him that I didn't have any Johnny Cash music... that it was on his son’s ipod, that his son wasn't here today, and that he would have to wait until his son came back.  
   He asked every warm body that came within hearing distance from his bed, his speech still slurring from his injury, "Hey!  You got Johnny Cash?"
   The CNA that was attending him at that time was a young man originally from Ghana, Africa.  He had only lived in America for a few years, and was unfamiliar with my brother’s request.  He asked me, "What is dees Johnny Cash he keep saying all de time?"
   “It’s music,” I replied.
   "Oh, museec!  I can play da museec for you, my friend!" he told him cheerfully.
   My brother’s shoulders relaxed as he rested contentedly on his pillow and sighed, "Ahh, Johnny Cash."
   The young man found the bed's TV controls and put on some easy listening music, the kind like you might hear in a department store.
   My brother started rolling his head back and forth and groaning.  The young man said, "What is da mattah, my friend?  Ah you alright?"
   More moaning, "Johnny Cash!  Johnny Cash!  Johnny Cash!", then he rolled over (you'd think Johnny Cash was a pacifier).
   The young man looked at me with a huge smile, "I mus look up dees Johnny Cash aftah I feenish my job heah tonight." 
   I grinned back at him and said, "You can look up Johnny Cash and listen to his music if you want to, but you don't have to like it."
   My brother groaned.  
   What a big baby!  
   Looks like he's going to be just fine!  

An Everlasting Sign

While driving toward the hospital again,
my windshield wipers tried to keep up with the music
blasting, “I love You more than the sun and the moon
and the stars that I taught how to shine; you are Mine… I love you more!”

I began noticing the evidence of Spring;
tree buds beginning to flower,
colorful splashes of California poppies in the fields,
vibrant green beginning to overwhelm the golden hillsides.

Suddenly, I was captivated
as I drove by several signs with the word,
written in bold handwritten letters.   
“How nice,” I thought. 
“What a creative way to shout His Name for all to see”…

Then I realized
that someone was simply posting directions
to a birthday party
for a little kid named Jesus (hey-soos’).

Well, that’s o.k. 
I’m good with that!
Now each time I drive this same route, 
I look forward to seeing these little signs
which have been a great encouragement for me.

No matter how they were originally intended,
to me these little signs proclaim Jesus, the Christ, my Savior.

As I see daily progress in my brother’s recovery,
as I drink in the joy of our family time,
as I look forward to going home to my mountains,
to my husband, my children, my church, my friends,
… I celebrate His Name!
“Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call upon him while He is near.

“...For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace;
the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

“…And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”
~Isaiah 55

Matters of the Mind

Dreams are like popcorn...
Bits of your life are put into a canister
and the heat of deep REM is applied
making them start to pop around
and get blown out of proportion.

Later, after it cools off a bit,
you take some in a bowl;
they might be good
but they're not the same.

Now and then
you nearly crack your tooth
on a few pieces
that are still much like the way they were
before they ever went into the popper.

are precious gifts.
The effects of dreaming
have been likened to

If a brain becomes altered
whether it be by substance, injury, or fear,
there is no knowing what outcome
its responses will generate.

From within the limitations of human perspective,
we tend to view these modifications
as irreversible,
even branding the individual
as incompetent or useless.

But who are we,
the created,
to determine what measure of hope has been made available?

The Creator
offers hope to all.
There is no requirement of ability to perform
which must be met
in order to be valuable beyond measure;
only to believe Him
to trust Him completely,
to rest in Who He Is.

Purpose in life
is established by the Creator of life.

Stewardship of abilities
is a heart response of thankfulness.

Responsibility is the ability to respond.
When we are no longer able to respond to previous abilities,
we are given a different set of abilities
to which we may respond.

But when all the fluff of life blows away,
when the only thing left to do
is to breathe each breath
one at a time,
the raw Truth stands firm.

…and with it, the ability
to believe Jesus,
to trust Him completely,
to rest in Who He Is.

The challenge is
to not let abilities
stand in the way
of believing,
of trusting,
of rest in Jesus.

“…so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men,
but on the power of God…

“A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God,
for they are foolishness to him,
and he cannot understand them…
He who is spiritual appraises all things,
yet he himself is appraised by no one. 

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
that he will instruct Him? 
But we have the mind of Christ.” 
~I Corinthians 2:5, 14-16

Saturday, March 19, 2011

True Rest

My brother opened his eyes this morning,
he searched for my eyes,
connected with me
and remained focused for a good portion of a minute.

I explained to him briefly
what happened,
why he was in the hospital,
that his condition was improving.

I asked him if his head hurt;
he slowly reached up with his hand
and held his forehead.

I told him that his son and daughter
were with him last night;
he inhaled deeply
then his shoulders and head relaxed
more comfortably than before.

Within minutes, his vital signs
all settled down to within normal range
For the first time in days,
he rested.

Prayerful that this quietness
which had offered his body a respite from pain and confusion
would be emulated in his soul,
I sat quietly
absorbed in the Psalms.

“You have the Word!”
The medical technician smiled.
Reveling in this common ground,
he began to speak
of his homeland, Sierra Leone,
of the suffering and oppression there,
of his opportunity in America,
of his joy in knowing Jesus.

As we shared our God-stories
and drew courage from each other
my brother rested,
yet he seemed aware.

Several hours passed.
My brother began trying to talk,
understanding and responding with purpose.
When I told him countless people
were praying for him,
he replied, “Yup… thankful…….. Jesus.”

“If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul…
The Lord has been my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.”
~Psalm 94:17-19,22

Friday, March 18, 2011


Busy people come and go,
not a single one I know,
keeping paces with the flow;
all except for Jenny.

Jenny throws a penny,
dashes among strangers’ legs,
“Come here, Jenny!”
“Go and catch her
quickly, son!”  the mother begs.

“Jenny!”  “Jenny!”
“Where is Jenny?”
“There she is!”
“What did she take?”
“No!  No!  Jenny!”
“Put that back
right now, Jenny, before you break…”

“I’m so sorry,
here’s some money…”
“Jenny!”  “Jenny!
that’s not funny!”
where are you, honey?”
*distant screech*
“Oh, there she is!”

Travelers queued
at Gate C-5
increasingly become alive
as mother’s shouts intensify,
“Jenny!”  “Jenny!”  “JENNY!”

This true experience I blog
and cannot help but chuckle
about Bill Cosby’s monolog
as I clip my seat buckle!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Sky

“What should I write about, Son?”
“You should write about the sky.”

Dis guy stopped by;
he was the UPS guy.
Dis guy
handed a package to my young son.
The package was very large and very heavy.
He watched, amazed, as my son
lifted the package and carried it into the house.
He said, “Would ya look at dis guy!”
The end.

I wrote about the sky.
Now what should I write about?”

"You should take a nap, Mom."

Monday, March 14, 2011


it’s like driving your truck down the road,
running smooth,
humming along,
no worries.

You stop at a rest stop
and shut off the engine,
but when you get back in your truck
and turn the key…


There’s nobody for miles around.

You get out,
lift the hood,
can’t see the problem,
feel really frustrated,
stomp around a bit,
kick the tire,
get back in your truck,
and turn the key again…


No matter how hard
you try to muster up any amount of courage
in your own strength,
it just isn’t happening.

You sit in your truck cab,
not going anywhere,
feeling useless,

So, what can you do?

Pull out your cel phone,
press “2”… “send”,
the speed dial for your best friend.

“Hey there… uh….. hey listen,
I could use a little encouragement over here.
Yah, o.k…  Hey, thanks.”

Sure enough,
along comes your best friend,
pulling up nose to nose with your truck.
You pop both hoods
and attach jumper cables.

As you turn your key,
you draw new courage
from this source of strength and hope.
You’re good to go.

And so it is with God
just as He promised…        

“Call to Me
and I will tell you
great and mighty things
which you do not know.”
~Jeremiah 33:3