Webster's dictionary defines a token as an outward sign or expression; something given as a guarantee.
Psalm 86:17 reads:"Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me". (KJV)
This is the last post of 2017 for Five Minute Friday! Hard to believe. I'm wondering if anyone has had any favorites from this year. The prompt is always a surprise to me, but this one even more so for the season we are in. It brought me to reflecting on different choices I made this year. Hope you enjoy the read.
Virginia Beach sunrise
Remember the Life cereal commercials with Mikey? Mikey tried it and Mikey liked it. Every year I try something new and different. This year I skipped the Jersey Shore and headed for Virginia Beach and later Wells Beach, ME instead. Two very new and different places for me, but just enough to wet my appetite for more new places. I even bought new luggage which was marked down seventy percent off.
Portland Headlight, ME
I haven't picked a new place for the summer yet, but it will be a great adventure I'm sure to explore even more.
If you haven't tried a new place in awhile, go for it. Even if it's a nearby place to hike.
"Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert." (NASB)
Agh!! If only I had more than five minutes for this one. My fingers do not write or type fast enough. I am going to add on though at the end because otherwise you will be left wondering.
Nearing the end
Yearning for it
My senior year of college I decided to become an orientation leader for incoming freshmen. I wanted to give back by befriending the newbies and helping them transition to college life. As part of a unity building activity amongst us, our leader asked us to write one thing down that we would ask God for. It was the only thing I could think of that meant the most, seeing my brother, George again.
Due to our parents divorcing and other extenuating circumstances, George and I were separated at a young age.
STOP-timer went off
So, I wrote it out, folded up the piece of paper and tossed it into the bowl. Each of us then took turns picking out a different piece of paper. We were to pray for that person's request.
Later that year, my birth mother and I started communicating again. George had been living with her, while I was with a new family. She sent me a picture of the two of them for Christmas. By the end of my senior year they were both there at my college graduation.
George and I still have a lot of catching up to do for the years lost, but I was thrilled to be there for his wedding and look forward to more celebrating with him!
Matthew 7:11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him." (NASB)
A busy weekend, but relaxing also. As I post this we are nearing the end of another calendar year. Everyday we are one step closer to death. I haven't thought much of it in the past, but I do think more of it now. Yet it is not what is foremost in my thoughts. Here is what came to mind for this week's prompt.
Not far off
Excited one should be
Approaching is our
My sister is near reaching her goal of losing almost one hundred pounds.
My mom's home will be insulated in the near future.
I will get to experience another vacation in the near future.
We all long and look forward to projects being finished, goals being met, and a time to kick back and relax.
I still long for the warmth of just having someone special or even a furry friend near me.
Not far off. How comforting that familiar presence can be.
I also thought of the verse in Luke 21:28 "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
The end of thanksgiving weekend is here and I am finally settling down to post. I hope everyone had a blessed time. I wasn't sure what to post tonight as I had not given much thought to our prompt, "familiar", but came up with something. I hope you are encouraged and blessed.
defined as "well known from long or close association"
I have not seen or heard him in weeks, possibly more than a month now
But I know him when I hear him
His boisterous high pitched tweet resonates
I look for even a splash of his bright red, plumage
He amazes me
He reminds me of how we can and should hear our King
Spending enough time, quieting ourselves, looking and listening
His voice can carry above all others, but only if time has been spent
A wife who hears her husband chuckle, knows what's behind his laugh
A mother knows her baby
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (NASB)
I could go a couple of different ways with this week's prompt, but after catching up on some long overdo items, I realized what it meant for me.
/ik skyoos/- noun
a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense
What's my excuse? I threw the mail in a pile and let it set there for weeks, perhaps even a month. I finally got to it tonight.
The deadline for sending a Christmas gift to the children I sponsor through Compassion International was October 31st. It will be in the mail tomorrow.
I opened letters from my sponsored children and conviction fell as I read not once, but twice, how one of them always prays for me and that my job will go well.
Work has been tough. I can use all the prayer I can get. I was humbled because I'm not good at praying for others on a regular basis. I know I have no excuse. Here was someone on the other side of the world doing so for me and I really needed it. God bless, Rini!
Philippians 1:3 "I thank my God every time I remember you." (NIV)
This week's prompt surprised me. It is gift we rarely find in our culture of constant noise. I hope all are encouraged to work harder to find the time to cherish this gift. We all need it.
the absence of sound
hard to find
perhaps in the wee hours of the night
or before dawn
something somewhere is always buzzing,
humming, zooming, ticking
my thoughts can be so loud sometimes
they'll swirl inside my head like glitter in a jar
I can't always get them to settle, but when I do
ah! the energy settles, the silence seeps in
peace can come
if only I could silence more in my head
deadlines, schedules, hurts, and ho hums
dump, settle in silence
sift through the nuggets worth keeping
away with the nonsense
gift of silence, secure, surround
1 Kings 19:12-13 "And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (NIV)
I wrote this one out in my journal last night, but am just getting to posting it now. This week was easy! No mulling over needed. A few of my needs were met in community last night.
I needed that! It hit the spot.
Seeing most of my students' families come together,
sharing food from their countries was AWESOME!
No feuds. No terrorism.
Just coming together to break bread.
Sharing a space and moment in time.
Children laughing and playing.
Learning the beauty of community.
Seeing a slice of heaven.
Five or six countries were represented.
Different ages, different tongues, different faces.
One mind. Share. Eat. Relax. Enjoy.
Children lead us.
Leave our struggles and differences on the side.
Don't give up coming together.
We need it.
Psalm 133:1 "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity." (NIV)
Revelation 7:9 "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." (NIV)
Ah, yes, here I am again on Sunday. Too tired to post on Friday and needing more time to think. This week's prompt is........
Google defines it as: succeed in dealing with a problem or difficulty; defeat of an opponent or prevail
John 16:33 "But take heart, I have overcome the world." (NIV)
I can't take the credit. When I think of the BIG problems in my life, I didn't succeed in dealing with them. I couldn't. The only way I made it through was because of the opportunities made available to me by God.
When my parents divorced and I needed a new place to go, Christian neighbors stepped in and said, "You can stay here as long as you need to."
When I needed money to go to college, I did some work study, but again, others provided through scholarships, grants, loans, and a sizable donation from my church.
When I needed to get a Masters within five years to keep my certification, a friend came by and told me about a special grant program. I got my Masters in one year for free.
James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (NIV)
Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus."
After writing this I later recalled an interview with Fred Rogers about looking for the helpers. I know God has been faithful to send them to me through the years and with that gracious provision, we are all helped! Hope you enjoy the video.
I began thinking of this late last night and what I have discovered in over four decades on the planet. There have been so many tokens and lessons through the years, but this morning I felt more inclined to write about my singleness.
Discover is defined as finding something or someone unexpectedly in the course of a search.
In my search of "Mr. Right" through the years I have found myself single for a really long time.
I discovered that I have developed deeper friendships with some for over twenty years that some marrieds don't even enjoy with their spouses or others.
I discovered some I know would become widows in their thirties or forties and I would be reminded of my relationship with God to be the only one without a good-bye forever.
I discovered in my late twenties I couldn't make a guy like or fall in love with me. When someone doesn't it really is OK! There are other people who do like me and love to have me around.
I discovered years after the ones I hoped would work out and didn't, that it was really God's protection. I would've been miserable as we were so not a good match. Being single is far better than being in a miserable marriage.
Ran out of time, but wanted to add............
I've discovered from watching and listening to others that both marriage and singleness are hard, just in different ways. God told us we would have trouble in this world. Sometimes when you're married there is even more drama to deal with. I am reminded to ask myself, "What and how much do I want to deal with?".
I also discovered that in not having children of my own to read stories to at night and tuck into bed or bake cookies with and build snowmen on cold, winter days, that I am so thankful for the children in my class every year. We have baked banana bread and pizza. We always read lots of stories together. When snow arrives, we go out to the playground to develop our vocabulary and sequencing skills used in building snowmen.
A few have remarked to me over the years, "You're so lucky you don't have kids." or "You smart lady, you!", but I do not see myself as either of those. I have carried a hole in my heart for decades now which causes me to be more appreciative of the students I so enjoy. Hopefully, they know how much they are valued and loved.
Finally, I've discovered that the moments of loneliness have been tolerable. It's not the end of the world, but I know what it's like to eat alone day after day after day. I reach out more now to people who have experienced the same. I always look forward to sharing meals with some very dear and lovely ladies I know whenever I can.
Perhaps a "Mr. Right" will still come along. Perhaps not. All I know is I get to choose how I will live today. God is the one I come back to day after day.
Matthew 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Oh how I needed more time for this one! I was up half the night Saturday wrestling with what I could write and how I could communicate what this word means to me. I was brought back to life defining invites I have received through the years. We never know what someone or something can lead to unless we take a few steps down the path to explore. I remembered how each decade there have been some pretty significant invitations I've received and taken people up on over the course of my life. I ran out of time to share all of them. Again, I am thankful and I see each one as a token, wonderful blessings that I cannot deny or forget.
The First Decade-
She was warm and loved to have me stay over. My Aunt Onie let me sleep in a cushy twin bed with a pink, satin pillowcase. I'd awake to the best scrambled eggs with toast and coffee in the morning. Her home was a place of comfort and safety. I always wanted to escape there.
The Second Decade-
A new family welcomed me to stay with them as long as I needed to when my birth parents were not able to take care of me any longer. They invited me to church and my journey of faith in coming to know the great One began.
The Third Decade-
A friend stopped by my home to tell me about a special grant program at a nearby university. I checked it out and discovered ESL was my niche! I got my Masters for free in one year and have been teaching ESL ever since.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come, buy winning milk without money and without cost." (Isaiah 55:1 NIV)
I didn't have time to add the other decades, but wanted to include them here and so this is after the timer rang.
The Fourth Decade-
I developed uterine fibroids that grew to be the size of a six month pregnancy. I was just a little bit uncomfortable to say the least. A friend recommended a wonderful doctor and I was given the option of an abdominal myomectomy. Never having surgery before, I felt challenged in my faith walk to go ahead with the surgery and leave the results to God. I almost backed out, but was encouraged by Hebrews 11:1 as a promise. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I went through the surgery and my doctor came out of the OR to tell my mom, "It went so well, it makes me nervous." God did not miraculously take away my fibroids. He walked through the fire with me and I came out feeling stronger and better than ever.
During this time I also had orthodontia performed which was very painful as well. For over three years I went through several types of wires, tightening, rubber bands, teeth removed and finally retainers. I got through and was left with a nice smile that I am happy to share and bless others with.
I am so glad I looked to God and invited Him to walk with me through those hard times.
In this Fifth Decade-
I was invited to take part in the Edible School Yard Academy at Berkeley in California. After five days there, I did not want to come home. I had tasted of farm fresh organic produce, spent time in a children's garden, and fell in love with every part of it. I was invited to not only taste and see how good real food is, but to embrace principles of sustainable agriculture and invite others to do the same.
I began to shop at a farmer's market before finally joining a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) and composting at home. I am healthier and so is my community for the waste I now reduce.
I am so thankful for the comfort, the food and the healing that have come to me through other's love and God's grace in my own life.
We love to hear them! Sometimes they captivate us and we are taken away to a whole other world. C.S. Lewis' books did that for me this summer, along with another one called "Hold the Rein Free" by Judy Van Der Veer. All children's lit, but so very enjoyable.
How's my own story? Well, that's another story. It's been anything but predictable as I look back over the past few decades. Parts of it I love, some parts are neither here nor there, and then there are other parts down right depressing and overwhelming. Some very good lessons have been learned, but I can't see past the blasted chapter I'm in now and therefore am struggling.
Here are a few of my favorite children's stories, if you are ever so inclined:
It's FRIDAY!!!! I wasn't sure where to go with this week's prompt, so I am asking for some feedback this time. For all of you who stop by regularly, i'm hoping you will take time to answer the questions I pose.
To be controlled or determined by or to rely upon
So I'm wondering for those who read my blog on a regular basis, who or what do you feel encouraged to depend upon?
My hope has been that this place would be a collection of moments and tokens determined and given by the Great One as a sign that He is reliable.
What stands out to you? What do you see Him faithfully doing in my life?
Are you encouraged to depend on Him or are you left wondering or feeling like "whatever" ?
Lamentations 3:22-23" The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness." (NASB)
Oh, how I wrestled with this one and how I wish I had more than just five minutes. The word was like a mirror reflection, exposing what's truly been in my heart at times.
Consent to receive
Come to recognize an explanation as valid or correct
Do I? Do I really believe God has my best interest at heart? Do I see it as the very best? Honestly, no because I don't like His ways all the time. His ways don't always make sense.
His ways seem harsh or careless. And yet the song, "My God knows the way through the wilderness. All I need to do is follow." comes to mind.
Betty Mitchell (January 12, 1921-June 28,2017) sang this song with her children when her husband was abducted. Betty Mitchell lost a brother and sister prior to that. Later, she found herself captured.
Reading Betty's tribute and obituary in Alliance Life magazine this month inspired me to think, when she finally met her God and Savior earlier this year what that meeting must have been like. I can't picture her giving Him any lip about the trials she had to face. I can't hear her saying, "You know, God this really sucked! What were you thinking? You could've at least let me enjoy a little more time with my husband. Why didn't You do a better job of protecting us after all we had done for You!" Somehow, I gather it just wasn't in her nature. And so I am left to choose who I will accept to be God and where He says I should follow.
I love this word and the reminder that sometimes we all need it. We "get by with a little help, from our friends", don't we? Ive had many support me through the years. I could probably fill the page just naming and explaining how so many have done just that in my many years; while at the same time I hope that I am doing the same. My response this week is a variety of images. I hope you are challenged to think of ways you have been supported or give support to others. It is a beautiful thing.
A picture, a thousand words.
Moses' arms supported, Israel won.
Prayers of the saints rise like incense.
People strengthened and hearts changed.
Help, aid, assistance.
Playing field leveled and growth for all.
My students need those pictures!
A second language learner makes sense out of the world.
Seeing, saying and doing.
They can get it! They are lifted up.
Give all a boost and they can act.
1 Corinthians 12: 21, 26 "And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you; or again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'....And if one member suffers, all members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." (NASB)
It was my first week back to work as a teacher, so I am slowly getting into the routine again. I have been teaching almost twenty years now of which I feel so blessed to have enjoyed that much time in such a great career. Kids keep us young! It is with this mindset that the word's flowed today.
If it's fun, it doesn't feel like work
Focused, busy, creating and developing
Sharing skills with others while gaining new ones
It keeps us out of trouble
Let's us know we are needed and have a place
Yet we are humbled by how hard it is sometimes
Long hours and long faces when it's not a piece of cake
A gift we need
Otherwise, what's the alternative?
So thankful I have always had some kind of work
So thankful for the world of it-diverse as it is
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 "I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is the gift of God." (NASB)
What a word for this week in light of the recent devastation with Hurricane Harvey and the new season we find ourselves entering. How I long for days when Mr. Rogers was a friendly face who greeted us regularly. Nobody left out Each Individual counts Greet all with Heart and Build Ongoing Rapport I wish I had done that before Hurricane Irene flooded my apartment complex's parking lot. I was safe on the second floor, but the basement apartments and my SUV were not. Had I taken the time to get to know my neighbors before Irene, perhaps we could've helped each other and not suffered such losses. Perhaps, but I certainly made the effort to reach out afterwards to help in whatever way I could. Today, I couldn't help but think of Mr. Rogers' neighborhood song,"Won't you be mine?" STOP Luke 10:36-37 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same." (NASB) Check out some of my other neighbors at www.fiveminutefriday.com
I just returned from vacation late Saturday and am still trying to get caught up on life, so here I am posting for last Friday's prompt. So many people came to mind for this prompt. People I am so thankful I've had in my life through the years to point me in the right direction. Even more so is having the ultimate guide book which I can go back to time and time again for timeless truths. It's the oldest one in print.
Here are the thoughts that flowed for............
They know the way They've traveled the trail before They'll go in front leading They'll let you lead and watch as you go I'm so glad for those who serve as signs Taught well by experience They can save one a lot of wasted time In the woods they are aware They don't need to tread lightly In wide open spaces they maintain direction Internal compass developed strongly How I wish I knew more My grandparents are gone I'm getting older now Hopefully I can serve as a guide as well STOP 1 Corinthians 11:1 "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (NIV) To see what others have been guided by or use to help them, check out www.fiveminutefriday.com
There were so many directions I could go with this week's prompt, but when I thought of Psalm 86:17 and "a token for good", I thought of all the things which God spoke into existence and how he continues to speak. In some countries people are not allowed to worship and practice a personal faith walk without persecution. In spite of the silence that some try to enforce, governments will never be able to silence the One who is always speaking.
There is a voice speaking.
It whispers in our sleep.
It asks us lots of questions.
It asks us what we see.
Do we dismiss the rising of the sun
and early morning dew?
As just the way things are?
Without another thought or two?
Are we enchanted?
Or have our ears grown dull of hearing?
He is speaking lessons and showing miracles,
all throughout the world.
Some try and drown Him out.
Others scoff and mock.
They speak words of foolishness.
Their hearts quite hard.
Matthew 16:15 "He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
For those who don't know, Five Minute Friday is an online community where many of us gather together to read and respond to the one word prompt Kate Montaug gives us weekly. We write as much as we can, unedited for five minutes flat, post it and then respond to other's writing as well. I continue to look forward and enjoy this time each week. It has kept me writing and encouraged me in so many other ways. This week our prompt is........
I've traveled to new places this year.
I've taken new hikes.
I've seen I need new places to visit.
It keeps me enjoying life.
This morning though I thought of an action instead of a place.
I thought of how gently we can place things instead of tossing any old way.
I helped clean garlic. A first time activity for me.
We were all instructed to not dump or toss them into the big bins we could see.
It made me think of how we take great care and should.
I clipped their tops, brushed off the dirt, and placed them carefully.
Philosophy of Alica Waters-Edible Schoolyard Academy
Well, I figured I would give Virginia Beach, an eight hour drive on my own, a go. Originally, my mom, Linda was supposed to travel with me to see our old time friends, Vic and Glo. Life happened and my mom found her PTO time being eaten up with trips to OT (occupational therapy), for an injury she suffered weeks ago.
So, I decided I would still go. I had never been there or driven that far on my own, but gave it a try.
God's grace went with me as I had very little sleep that week, but still did it, stopping every two hours for a short break.
Selfie before going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge! (17.5 miles long)
As I am approaching another birthday and a new year, I can see I need to try more new things. Who knows where it will lead me.
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (NASB)
Thank you to family and friends for their prayers for safe travels and also to my good friends, Vic and Glo for a fun and relaxing vacation while showing me around their new town!
Today my mom and dad would've celebrated fifty years of marriage. I woke up this morning dreading the day ahead for my mom, Linda, thinking how difficult this must be for her with her soulmate gone. They looked forward to growing old together and all of us looked forward to celebrating that with them.
I had no idea what to say to her or how to comfort her. She misses my dad terribly. We all do. Yet my mom has a faith and a strength that can only come from God. She walked into church this morning rejoicing. During the worship service, she shared how today would've been their 50th, but with confidence she declared, "God is still good!" None understand or like how my Dad was taken at such a young age. All would love for him to still be here with us. Yet my mom chooses to rejoice in God, making known to all that He is faithful and has been in the past. She is moving forward in the grace He provides.
After the service, she intermingled with different people, smiled, hugged others and even shared how she so appreciated our pastor and his wife for their love and support through the years.
My mom, Linda is amazing and she is an inspiration!