The Way It Is

The World

“The world is wet,” said the little frog;

“What isn’t water is mostly bog.”

“Oh, not at all! said the little fly;

“It’s full of spiders, and very dry!”

“The world is dark,” said the moth polite.”

“With ruddy windows and bows of light.”

“My poor young friends, you have much to learn.

“The world is green.” said the swaying fern.

“O listen to me,” sang the little lark:

“It’s wet and dry, and it’s green and dark.

To think that’s all would be very wrong;

It’s arched with blue, and it’s filled with song.”

Author Unknown

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We look at our world and see many faces

We live in a whirl of various places

No matter how different our worlds may appear

God made us all and holds us all dear

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The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness, You have founded them. Psalm 89:11

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

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Their stories. Every one of those little characters up there in that poem sees their world in a different way, believing “this is the way the whole world is.”

What perspective do you hold for “the world” you live in?

Me? I like the idea of hearing the world sing!

And speaking of singing, I’m very happy about the way sales of my new Young Adult novel, The Stonekeepers are going!

Happy and Blessed New Year 2016 to all!

Love,

Sally

 

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Sun-Browned Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Browned bare toes are buried
Deep in damp warm sand

This is where I’m so unhurried
Dearly love this sweet beach-landStooping down to dig right here
Creating castles on my knees

Castles that melt and disappear
And blend with vast blue seas

God is in the sea and sand
He’s in the salty air
With me He dances on the dune
And nothing can compare

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand
Psalm 139:17-18a

Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation. Psalm 149: 3-4

Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
We build our sand castles; they rise and fall and vanish.
But God’s
love
forgiveness
 eternal life
Stand
Tuck yourself into that little poem
Find thankfulness
Dance through this week-to-come with Him
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
He is our God. He is Lord . . .
Lord of the dance, the sands, the seas, and the songs

Lord of all

  Rejoice 
Love,
Sally
The Stonekeepers
Amazon Author Page
Novel - The Stonekeepers

Novel – The Stonekeepers

Listen!

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:32

Years ago I used to  love the times of solitude while riding my chestnut mare, Cindy, through the nearby desert. They were wonderful times to enjoy silence and sunshine, to relax and think.

Most times, the rides were uneventful. But there was one day as I slowed Cindy’s spirited gallop to descend the sandy slope of a dune, that she suddenly stopped.

She stood perfectly still, her ears poised to catch every sound. No amount of coaxing encouraged her to move.

I was impatient with Cindy’s apparent stubbornness.

I didn’t hear the sound she was hearing.

I didn’t sense the rock-hardness of her tensed muscles beneath me.

Leaning forward, I was ready to scold her. But the sight before me took my breath instead. I finally understood.

There before us, coiled and ready to strike, was the reason Cindy was not moving. I finally heard the distinctive, dry warning sounds of a desert rattlesnake.

My ears were opened and my senses set on fire with understanding. Prayers of thankfulness flooded my heart.

I felt God’s protective presence that day as we remained quiet and the danger left its undulating pattern across the sandy dune and out of sight.

I was reminded then as I am today of how vitally important it is to be aware of how God chooses to speak to us.

He speaks to us in countless ways, but sometimes to hear His warnings or guidance we must be still and listen, and we’re wise to listen with patience.

The choices we make, our well-being, and occasionally our safety can depend upon how well we listen.

“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’” Luke 9:35 NIV

I am a whisper in time. Down through the corridor of the ages my whisper echoes with feathery sweeps into the age to come.  An excerpt from my journal.

Has there been a time when you’ve listened and avoided danger?

Love,

Sally

Remembering Ridge

Mid-October is spectacular in Western North Carolina this year. The hardwoods are coloring up, especially the maples, vivid and bright with their fluttery robes of red and gold leaves. Jerry and I love the cooler temperatures, but we have to return to Florida next week.

We’re on the way home from one of our meandering scenic drives when I decide to buy another Loafers Glory T-shirt at the General Store in Loafers Glory.

According to my Loafers Glory friend and native resident, this store’s been here since 1955. It was built on the same spot as the original General Store that was washed away in 1905 or ’06 by a flood that she said her daddy called a May fresh.

It’s like going back in time—a charmer of a place that you could spend hours in. The rusted springs on the screen door screech as I step over the worn wood threshold and into the store. Late afternoon sunshine floods through the big plate glass windows. The scents, a mix of candy, tobacco, and new fabric, waft around me. I gaze at small tubs full of buttons, displays of thread, and an endless array of sewing needs. I see racks of tourist temptations—including T-shirts—and smile. I was once one of those tempted travelers. Now I spend a lot of time here in NC, no longer a tourist, but neither am I a full-time resident.

Fred and Iris Garland are. This was once their store, and Iris has told me some of her stories. Love those stories and these two wonderful Loafers Glory residents.

A little boy peeks at me from around a bin of cloth remnants. Seconds later he saunters out from behind the bin.

“Hi!” says he, then announces in the most wonderful North Carolina drawl ever “I’m gonna be five next April!”

He punches the air, wiggling five fingers.

Let’s see now . . . that’s six months away.

He’s cute, a little cocky, and has my total attention as I study him.

He reels me in . . . with his head full of curly, carrot-red hair and a batch of brown freckles across his nose.

“What’s yore name?”

“I’m Sally.”

He’s not shy, guileless maybe. And suddenly, I just love this little guy.

He looks a lot like this but without the straw hat–which I’m sure he has stowed behind the counter.

“Ah’m Ridge.” He draws his name out, nearly makes it into two syllables.

Really? A little boy named Ridge? Unusual. But maybe not up here where mountain ridges are everywhere. And I figure he has to be saying Reg, short for Reginald.

“Ridge?” I repeat it carefully, frame it as a question.

And he grins up at me and nods, like, ‘good for you, you got it!’ his curls bobbing like twisty little springs . . . and  changes the subject.

I get goose bumps, totally enthralled and stuck on his name.

But I listen as he tells me he fell on the sidewalk a few minutes ago and scraped up the heel of his left hand. He holds it up.

“It’s bleedin’ a little and stings like a road burn, but it ain’t nuthin’.”

He shrugs. He’s brave, and I pray that his hand stops stinging soon. He barely takes a breath before he needs to tell me more. You know, ‘portant stuff.’

“We got chewin’ gum in this store.” He looks up at me like I should be very surprised.

I bite the inside of my cheek to keep the smile from reaching my ears!

“Okay, where is this chewing gum?”

Ridge proceeds to show me. He grabs my hand, and instead of the aisle where candy and chewing gum might be, he leads me around to where they sell material from large bolts. Reaching in deep behind two of the heavy, colorful bolts, he pulls out a package of bubble gum that’s in the shape of paper money.

He hauls a “bill” out of the package, bites off a big hunk and hands the rest to me so I can take a bite too. I take the offered piece and break a chunk off. I’m positive he has a good-sized private stash buried behind those bolts of cloth.

It’s good, pretty tasty gum as gum goes!

But also good is that the hero of my novel has just been given the awesome name, Ridge, in honor of my new friend, who waves and blows me kisses as I leave his grandparents’ store.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1
I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. Psalm 22:22

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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Remembering to pray before, during, and after writing sessions, to pray over everything including character names, isn’t always easy. And I’m in awe and thankful when I see the amazing ways God answers my sometimes fleeting, needy prayers.

Do you take the admonition to pray about everything to heart too? What’s been your experience?

 He’s closer to you than breath, loves you, and cares for you.

Love,

Sally

Amazon’s Author Page for The Stonekeepers

Our Creator Sets Limits

It’s an honor to have Pat Luffman Rowland guest-posting this week. I’ve long been a fan of Pat’s writing, and you may have seen the link to her blog, Prayerful Pondering, in the sidebar. Many of her posts have caught my attention and imagination, but this is one post that I asked if she would share with us. It’s brief, but powerful, and it sets in place a parallel to our lives.

Pat writes:

Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt”? Job 38:8-11 (NIV)

The ocean is my favorite part of nature. I love to watch the rhythmic movement of the waves, hear the sound of them rolling into shore or crashing on rocks.

The waters have a vastness that seems wild and free, yet it is restrained by God’s command, the boundaries He set.

How can I trust that God’s boundaries for the ocean will hold?

How can I walk by the edge of the water, and not be afraid that a boundary will give way and I will be swallowed up?

It is by faith in the One who created the seas and determined how deep and wide they would be, by faith in the One who spoke that they might come so far and no farther.

Such is how we must trust God with the problems and perils of our lives. Sometimes it seems trials go on forever, pile one upon another. We begin to ask if God has forgotten us when relief is slow to come.

It helps to think of the ocean and how God has it in control. Just as He limits the oceans’ reach, He limits how much His children go through. We don’t always understand our tribulations, but God has said He uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

We must place our trust in that word from God. We must trust that the same One who created the boundaries for the seas, created limits for how much happens to us. We must trust that all will have its place in forming us for eternal life.

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The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:27 (NIV)

A little about Pat.

Pat Luffman Rowland1Pat Luffman Rowland doesn’t recall a time she didn’t believe in God or know that Jesus was His Son and our Savior, but she made her profession of faith and was baptized at age twelve. She will never forget the experience of understanding she belonged to the Lord! The sun became ten times brighter and it was as if she could hear angels sing—a supremely joyful moment.

Pat has an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Consumer Relations, a master’s in Religious Studies, and worked for twenty-seven years in healthcare. She’s retired and lives in a suburb of Memphis with her two cats. Her daughter, Kristi, and son-in-law, Mark, reside in Georgia and are the delights of her heart.

Pat is active in her church, First Assembly of Memphis, and the church school, First Assembly Christian School. A writer, in addition to her blog, Prayerful Pondering, her work has appeared in devotional publications including The Upper Room, United Methodist Reporter, and Presbyterian Daily.

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Sally’s note~  Thank you, Pat, for sharing your blog post with us. I’m thrilled to have you as a guest and hope you will bless us with your wisdom again soon.

Have you sometimes felt slammed by wave after wave of things happening that just don’t seem to quit? You felt your prayers weren’t heard, that you wouldn’t survive? And just as you were about to “go under,” by faith, you prayed once more and dug in your heels.

And now, in retrospect, something changed, things eased and were somehow resolved.

Did the Lord perhaps impose limits, boundaries for you?

We are beloved. The Lord walks with us through it all.

Are you a survivor, thankful for His gracious limitations?

Pat and I would love for you to leave a comment on how God has set limits in your life.

Blessings!

Sally

Walk in Beauty

Oh Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world, and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze; we need your strength and wisdom.

Cause us to walk in beauty.

Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset.Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us.

Help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes,

so when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame.

Amen

A traditional Native American prayer, and my heart so easily turns to God as I repeat it. I found it in the back of an old hymnal a long time ago, and the words never fail to impart a sense of peace, serenity, and oneness with our Heavenly Father.

“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure” (Isaiah 33:6 NKJV).

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17 NKJV)

Do you have any unusual prayers or blessings you enjoy? I’d love it if you’d share one in the comments.

With clean hands and steady eyes, may the Lord cause you to walk in beauty, strength, wisdom, and understanding with Him, every day.

Wait!

We sit on weathered gray benches of rough-hewn pine worn smooth with use and age. Tiers of them are positioned to view a burbling, boiling cauldron of vaporizing turquoise liquid.

There must be close to a hundred souls here, seated or standing, wrapped in cold, late spring air.

Youth aren’t usually known for the fruit of patience, and the two groups of youth filling most of the benches are no exception. They’re waiting, antsy, talking, laughing, and bantering with each other and their counselors.

Some are from homes far away. We hear many different languages spoken, and faces from cultures different from our own, smile back at us.

A common reason brings us to this place. We want to watch this geyser reach for the sky.

“Does anyone know how long is it supposed to be before it erupts the next time?” I ask those who sit next to me.

There are some shrugs and head-shakes. But an attractive dark-eyed teen rubs her cold hands together, and replies with a grin “I don’t know for sure, but I just heard it should be in about fifteen minutes or so,”

Above us one of the groups blend their voices to sing “Happy Birthday” to an older counselor. We all applaud and wish him well. Next to us another group floods the chilly air with the same song for their friend, Rachel. Rachel covers her face with gloved hands in embarrassment. There’s more well-wishing and applause.

Time drags it’s feet, and another song begins. But this one’s different. “Jesus Loves Me.”

Hmmm, they’re more than just summer campers. And we learn that there are youth groups from churches in many other states around the country.

The songs become a gentle rivalry as one group attempts to outdo the other. They do “the Wave” then sing some more. And most songs bring back memories from my own church camp days. The songs lift up the Lord.

It becomes quiet for a moment. Then the crystal clear music from a single young voice graces the atmosphere with “How Great Thou Art.” Her group immediately joins in.

I can’t stop myself from singing along. Neither can most everyone else, and it becomes a time of worship and awe of God’s handiwork. I sense His arms around us. Jesus is here. This piece of time becomes a witness to those who don’t know Him.

The song ends, and immediately the music of the turquoise pool begins. Amazed at the timing, all of us draw in deep breaths of the icy air, watching as the heated bubbling waters roar upward in a crescendo of silver-white foam soaring skyward in leaping waves, one after another.

The heat permeates the cold air and creates a steamy cloud of vapor. Miniature tidal waves send liquid flooding over the multicolored edges of the crater. Our awe continues as the pool settles into another cycle of quiet.

Are you waiting for something right now?

Waiting for a geyser is one thing, but what about when you’re waiting for test results or for a change in your life or a baby, a new job, or simply peace of heart?

 Sometimes it isn’t easy.

“I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God” (Psalm 69:3).
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7).

Here’s how God wants us to wait:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

And check out James 1:6, too.

I’d love for you to leave a comment.

The photo above is of Old Faithful. To see photo of Echinus Geyser erupting click here http://marlimillerphoto.com/Ig-65.html

 All scripture is from the New King James Version of the Bible.