I’ve Moved

Hello,  I only post here during the Holidays, so If you’d like see what else I blog about besides my faith, you’ll find my latest posts on This Beautiful Path.  If you followed me in December or if you just landed here by accident, I hope you’ll check it out.

Hope you’re have a great New Year!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Until We Meet Again

Thank you to everyone who read, commented or decided to follow Help for the Holidays.  I kept all your web addresses and will soon pay you a return visit.  I wish there’d been time to read more of the Holidailies’ blogs but writing every day took longer than I expected. Maybe after  blogging daily for a month, it will be easy to do one or two posts a week for Connecting My Dots, or This Beautiful Path in 2014.  If so, perhaps you’ll join me there.

One thing more before we part, a prayer of St. Augustine:

Watch, Dear Lord with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.  Tend your sick ones, O Lord, Jesus Christ, rest your weary ones, soothe your suffering ones, shield your joyous ones and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Have a peaceful and joyous 2014!

Prayers and blessings,


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Faith Story

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m finally getting around to telling my own faith story.  Mom’s story of her brother Tim in 1918 is here and Dad’s WWII story is here.  I hadn’t meant to wait until the almost final post but in a way it’s appropriate.  My personal miracle on November 22, 1959 was something I didn’t share with anyone until long after it happened.  I still recall my feelings on Thanksgiving that first year, knowing that I had already celebrated a deeper and more meaningful time in secret only a few days earlier.

Adolescence is a difficult age to navigate for everyone but with a disability it’s even harder.  I’d gotten polio when I was six and, at sixteen, being different and using crutches that ruined my dresses and made blouses pull out of skirts and slacks was a big thing.  The terrible limp I had when I took a few steps without them was no better.  The worst part when I was six was listening to my friends on skates each September.  Why children only skated in September in my area was always a mystery to me as well as a heartache.

By the time I’d reached sixteen, the worst part was seeing girlfriends walk past holding a boy’s hand or with arms linked.  I knew that never, like skating, would I ever be able to enjoy that simple pleasure.  It seemed particularly unfair to me and for two nights I cried myself to sleep asking God why this had happened to me.

On the third night I was still crying and asking the same question, but also asking for proof of God’s existence so that I could get past my doubt and sorrow. I had grown up believing in Christ but for that brief time I had some very large doubts.

I was praying and crying into a pillow to muffle my sobs so that my parents in the next bedroom wouldn’t hear me, when I heard a voice ask, “Why are you crying?”  I immediately stopped—and listened.  The house was quiet. I looked to see if anyone was in the doorway but no one was there.  I knew the voice hadn’t sounded like either of my parents and it certainly didn’t sound like my grandfather who also lived with us.

The voice spoke again and this time I knew it was inside my own head.  It was clear and strong–not loud, not rude or commanding, but kind and almost curious.  “Why are you crying?” I heard again.  “You know God loves you.” And then, “You’ll be all right.”

That was it and I never again asked, “Why me?”.  I have asked, “Why them?” about others, but never again for myself.  The question the voice asked always seemed strange to me and the final statement rather cryptic.  I never walked any better, there was no miracle cure.  I never expected one.  Despite good and bad things happening in my life, as in the lives of others, I have been all right.

People always ask me whether the voice was male or female and I tell them quite honestly, I don’t know but, it was the kindest voice I’ve ever heard.  I knew right then beyond any shadow of a doubt that God did love me.


It’s the greatest blessing anyone can have in this life.  I have been given that gift and I will continue to pursue it with love, gratitude and humility until the day I die.

Happy New Year, and if you are an unbeliever, may 2014 be the year you find Christ.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Nature Psalms

God can be prayed to and worshiped in so many ways.  When I am in nature or watching nature it is God the Father and Creator of the world I see, speak to, and worship.  I am totally in awe of everything from brilliant blue skies that turn stormy or dazzle into sunsets, to a lightning bug landing on my finger.

The Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth–and yes, that is how I see Him, created the intricacy of even the most minute creature (a seahorse no bigger than my pinkie nail!) the workings of a volcano, the immensity of the ocean, the ebb and flow of its tides and every feature of the earth, each creature that inhabits it, the sky, the atmosphere, the solar system and universe and every unseen thread that binds and connects them.

Perhaps it’s my sense of gratitude to this profusion of life that is constantly leading me to God.  Perhaps it is God who opens my eyes to the beauty in order to bring me to Him.  However this endless circle begins He uses it to draw me always closer and closer.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1

Do you find peace in nature?  Do its creatures bring you joy?  Pursue your faith by reading psalms 96, 97, 98, 100 and be awed at God’s creativity and glory.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easing into the Bible

I know people who truly study the Bible and it embarrasses me to admit, I’m not one of them.  I do read the New Testament frequently–certain bits of the Old Testament also frequently–the rest, not so much.

My love of Jesus grows with each reading of the Gospels, most especially because he didn’t choose to mingle with the rich and powerful. His birth, that we celebrate at Christmas, is well-known to everyone and the pattern is set from the start. What could be more humble than being born in a cave like structure and laid in a feeding trough?  When he began his ministry it was in this same way.  He didn’t pick his disciples from the wise and elite, he chose fishermen and tax collectors. He didn’t ask for money, didn’t hire a hall to speak in, he taught by the side of the river and lake and on the mountainside.

Jesus talked to people he met on the street and forgave them their wrongdoings. He healed them.  He touched people who were unclean, unloved and unwanted.  If you are curious about Jesus, read the Gospels and see how He lived his life.

It isn’t necessary to understand everything you read about Jesus, or to “get” everything he says.  It isn’t necessary to immediately believe anything or everything.  When you first meet someone it takes time to get to know them.  Same thing with Jesus.  To fall in love also takes time.  Same with Jesus. If you’d like to begin the new year of 2014 by exploring  the life of Jesus, you might want to sign up for a devotional at Bible Gateway.  There are so many available to choose from but this page narrows it down to the ones they recommend.  On the right hand side of the page you’ll also find a list of Bible reading plans.  Unless you’re already involved in Bible reading, I’d pass on this.  Like me and many others, a New Year’s resolution that requires this much work and perseverance might fade quickly.

All their newsletters are here and they really have something for everyone.  You have nothing to lose, so satisfy your curiosity and check out the links.  You just might fall in love.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Measuring Faith

Faith, I believe, is the most individual and private quality of a human being.  So much of it resides in our thoughts and even more in our hearts and only a fraction of it can be known to those around us, even our closest loved ones.  The prayer you murmur just as you’re falling  asleep, the plea to pass an important test or job interview is not out there for your friends to see.  The confession that stays in your heart and never passes your lips remains unknown to your spouse.

There’s no way to measure faith.  Christian denominations all have their theological similarities and differences.  Each person within a particular church believes to a different degree the doctrine of their denomination. Members of a family who “share” the same faith and go to the same church may still disagree publicly or privately on many church issues.

In some countries reading the Bible is a criminal offense and people can be put in jail for sharing their faith.  When people continue to blame the atheist, who took her non-belief all the way to the Supreme Court, for the lessening of faith in America I think of those who are willing to give up their lives and freedom to share the words of the Bible.  No one can take your faith from you–you can only give it away.

Faith belongs to a person as nothing else can.  A strong belief in the Trinity tells you to accept that The Holy Spirit resides in you.  No husband or wife,  mother or father can ever claim to be that close.  Jesus says abide in me as I abide in the Father and I will abide in you.  It’s a staggering statement, an extraordinary thought!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pursuing the Arts through Faith

When I chose “Mercy” as my word for 2014 I looked it up in a concordance to see how many times it appears in the Bible. Strong’s Concordance is a huge book used for extensive Bible study, for comparing English words with their original Hebrew and Greek and for locating verses when you only recall certain words. I don’t have the best memory and for some reason, even if I have memorized a verse I can’t always remember its exact location  in the Bible.

I could easily find a reference verse for each day of the year, because mercy and its companion words merciful and mercies, take up several columns. Whether I’ll do that or not remains to be seen. I enjoy variety and may wander off on tangents with my word and forget about the concordance altogether. I’m in constant pursuit of faith, but my methods and practices change any time I feel like it.

I’ll begin reading and working with The Artists Rule, by Christine Valters Paintner, the Abbess of Abbey of the Arts in January. It can be completed in 12 weeks but I prefer the alternate schedule of spreading it out over 12 months. I love the idea of combining my love for the arts with my love of faith. I’ve also just ordered a book called Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth. They should work well together even if they overlap a bit.

I will no doubt be using the word “Mercy” or some verses featuring it as I work my way through the two books. Pursuing faith means looking for God in all aspects of my life, especially in the things I love. Every time I’m able to incorporate Father, Son, or Holy Spirit into my daily life my faith grows and I grow closer to Him.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introvert or Extrovert?

There are as many ways to pursue faith as there are people.  As an introvert,  I’m basically a contemplative who loves quiet, solitary times with God.  I also like to include faith with other things I enjoy so I pour my love of God into writing and art work.  My prayer journal has collage, borders, different styles of print, embellishments, stamps, whatever takes my fancy. I sometimes make bookmarks or ATC’s to share with church friends.

Extroverts are welcome too, (think Billy Graham, football players, mega churches!) but crowd lovers also need time alone to ponder and ferret out how, what, and why they believe.

The only thing that keeps a person from a life of faith is an unwillingness to take the time.  An active life with family and friends is a wonderful blessing, so is a good job and whatever hobbies you enjoy.  Where the problem comes in, though, is over booking–stuffing every available minute of time so there’s no room left for God.  Parents overbook their kids, as well.  They schedule so many activities, sports, and classes the child is busy every moment.

Both adults and children need quiet time, alone time, time where they can unplug from electronic devices and choose to think, create, make-believe, dream, and yes, pray or pursue God in any way they wish. Our thoughts are the seeds of who we’ll become and they are precious, unique, and extraordinary.  We all are capable of exploring our minds and hearts and that is where we will find Him.

To make a friend or have a relationship, we need to have a little one on one.

Anyone can fall in love with God, all it takes is a little time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Peace

I am remembering last year’s holidailies when my theme was to provide help for those who fight depression around the holiday season for whatever reason, loneliness, lack of self worth, too many memories of times past and loved ones lost, etc.

I want to wish everyone a season of hope and peace.   For me, this comes through pursuing faith in Christ.  There is no hurt He cannot heal, no mistake He will not forgive, and no one who turns to Him, that He will not love.

Please know that if you are seeing this blog, you are being prayed for and that if you wish to respond, you will be welcome.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Eve

May all of you have a beautiful and blessed Christmas Eve.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Faithful, Not Successful

After writing yesterday’s post I pursued faith to The Reformed Church in America’s website and found a letter from Bob Schut, a missionary my church has sponsored for years. Rev. Schut and his wife Linda are looking back on many years of ministering to the Mescalero Apache tribe in New Mexico.  “Too often people have a desire to enter Indian ministry not realizing that the results of their ministry may not be seen for years. That is why we are called to be “faithful” to God’s call, and not look at being “successful” in that call.”

It was just the quote I needed to help calm yesterday’s negative thoughts.  If I were talking to Rev. Schut he’d undoubtedly tell me that helping people, no matter whether you are in the mission field or an ordinary person trying to be there for family or friends doesn’t mean you will necessarily be successful and “fix” them or the situations life hands them–it means you do the best you can to be faithful to God’s call.

Was it a coincidence that I found something that spoke to me last night?  Perhaps, but it’s interesting how many times I find exactly what I need when I’m pursuing faith–even if it’s checking a website I haven’t looked at in over a year.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and it feels right to link to this video.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questioning God’s Mercy

People think what we’ve learned from science about the planet and its origins is the major stumbling block to faith.  The age of the earth doesn’t gibe with the Bible.  Carbon dating proves stone age people lived much earlier.  Where do the dinosaurs fit in and why doesn’t the Bible mention them?  Valid questions.

I’m a believer and I can’t answer those questions.  Foolish or stubborn, I accept the discrepancies and continue to believe.

My own theory is different.  I think there’s another even more common stumbling block to accepting Christianity and that’s a deep sense of compassion.  I say this for the reason that I struggle with the pain and misery in this world nearly every day, because I’ve heard good Christians going through bad times question the mercy of God, and because I know many who claim no faith at all who tell me, if they were God, they would alleviate the hurting and eliminate the misery.

It’s Sunday and today’s church service was a blessing to me as it always is but . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .  it was a hard day as well.  I have a relative whose wife is suffering from Alzheimers and getting worse by the day.  My friend may be facing eviction and homelessness soon and I can no longer help her.  A neighbor’s brother died last week–alone in an unheated building.  Our minister spoke about a murder suicide four blocks from church.  The man killed his estranged wife and then himself. They left three children.  In a nearby town, a man was shot and killed in front of his wife at a holiday mall two weeks ago.  Most of my friends are disabled and tell me how they are struggling with both physical and emotional problems on a daily basis.

It’s a tough world and it always has been.  That last paragraph could have been written by countless people from any country over different centuries.  Some of the details might differ, Alzheimers is a new word for older terms like dementia and senility but people have died tragically and violently since the beginning of time. We’re no longer in danger of being scalped, there’s no more Bubonic Plague, but crossing the street can be hazardous and we have plenty of other diseases to threaten our lives.  Orphans, widows, disabled people have always existed.

Compassion isn’t new either.  Good people have tried to help, been devastated when there was nothing they could do, have cried and mourned the dead since the beginning of time.  Some people have curse God, while others facing the same situation have blessed Him.

So I live another day of pursuing faith, no matter how foolish it may seem, no matter how elusive it feels.  The Lord is gracious and kind.  Jesus wept. The Holy Spirit hears our groans and prays when we have no words.  For He shall dry all their tears.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son so that those who believe in him might not perish but would have everlasting life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pursuing Faith Slowly

Looking back on my childhood and young adult years, I remember waiting for Christmas.  Sometimes it was hard and I thought I’d bust if it didn’t come soon, but sometimes the expectation of it was sheer bliss.  My grandmother used to say, “Please don’t surprise me, tell me what you’re going to get me or do for me so I can look forward to it and enjoy it that much longer.”

Churches usually call Advent the Season of Waiting.  It’s considered a good time of year, but people don’t like to wait.  They rush to get things done way ahead, everything must be perfect and if one bit of decoration hasn’t been used, it’s time for a breakdown.  If mothers are busy and can’t make their special pie everyone will be upset and disappointed. Please folks, get real.  Imperfection and disappointment are part of life.  Practice them now and then so you don’t take them so seriously. Learn to deal with life and teach your kids that no one and nothing has to be perfect in order to be wonderful.  Relax.  Where’s the thrill of entering a beautifully decorated room with a lighted Christmas tree on Christmas Eve or Day when everyone’s already been looking at it for weeks?

Putting up outside lights around Thanksgiving is a practical idea, especially here in the Northeast because it’s finger numbing to string them up late in the season, but leaving the lights off until a week or two before Christmas adds momentum to the countdown.  It’s breathtaking and fun to see beautiful lights, but they’re Christmas lights not Halloween or Thanksgiving lights.

Learning to wait is good training for being a grown up.  At least it used to be.  People used to wait longer to buy a house, used to have bigger down payments before they did.  Who knows, if people had waited to buy luxury cars or big, expensive houses, maybe the crash a few years ago wouldn’t have been quite so severe.  Maybe some would have been spared foreclosure.

We know that merchants will start early and push hard to get us to buy, that’s their livelihood, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t choose to slow things down and savor the waiting season in other ways. Christmas doesn’t have to be only Las Vegas glitz, fantasy, and presents.  It’s really not all about the presents.

There’s still the birth of the Son of God to celebrate.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so those who believed in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment