27 December 2008

The Loss of an Old Friend

With great sadness I must announce my camera has finally died. While I am disappointed to lose my most often used tool of creativity, I am grateful for all of the good times we have had together.

In ten years I have taken over 500,000 photos with it. I used it to express my creativity and to record priceless moments in the lives of those I love. I will miss being able to do so now.

I have had ample opportunity in the past to do without things I enjoy. I find it helpful to remember that they are only things, and things can eventually be replaced. I currently live without a couch or comfy chair. This had not stopped me from living a good life. I even have friends over often for fun and fellowship. Good friends never mind the lack of furniture!

As many of you can remember from this blog in years past, I have spent long periods of time with no computer as well. Made posting more difficult but not impossible for the determined.

I have spent much time here in Houston with no car. The two longest periods combine to over a year and a half dedicated to waiting for a bus or walking where I needed to be. Outside of getting wet and needing to allow more time to get places, life did not change much.

I see this latest loss as just another reminder that is important to remember where you find your joy. Is it in the things you own, or is it in the intangibles of life? I have good friends who love and encourage me. I have family who love and support me. I have a God who dares me to claim Him as my best friend. All in all, I am one of the most blessed people in the world.

Saddened by not disheartened,

jené

25 December 2008

Christmas message

Today is not really Jesus' birthday, it's just the day we set aside to celebrate it. Over 2000 years after He came to earth there are still millions who use His life as an example in how to live. As someone who is thankful to have the gift of His love in my life, I of course find great comfort and joy in the sacrifice He made all those years ago. It always touches me to realize He left heaven for me.

As part of a honoring my family's heritage I always take time to check out the Queen's Holiday Message to her people. It is usually well written and often cheering. This year for the first time I found myself so overwhelmed by the message I was crying for joy. She reminded us all of the life Our Lord lived and how we can find meaning in living as He lived. I had not intended to post any additional videos today after leaving you three to watch last night. Her message so touched me I want to share it with you.





Happy Christmas to all,

jené

24 December 2008

22 December 2008

Getting out of bed

This morning when I woke up I was so toasty and warm all tucked up in my blankets. I could feel how cold it was outside of that cocoon by the chill on the end of my nose. As I lay there working up the desire and energy to get out of bed and face the cold I knew awaited me; I hesitated. Why would I want to leave a snugly warm environment, for the cold harsh world which would exacerbate the pain in my joints?

As I wrestled with the whole "putting my toes out of bed" I kept thinking of how Christ left heaven for me. He left a place where He was one with the Father, a place where He had been forever to come to a cold and bitter life. And He did it simply because He loves me.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


John 1: 1,2,14 New International Version

Try as I might, I cannot really understand the depth of a love that would cause even Christ to leave the perfection that is heaven to come to earth. A place that would bring Him pain, humility, the agony of His own not recognizing Him, and the final degradation of submitting Himself to die for sin someone else committed. Knowing that He loves me beyond what I can understand is what gives me a reason to get out of bed. It is what makes me want to show His love to others. It is what keeps me longing for the day when I will join Him in heaven.

Not understanding the gift, but grateful all the same,

jené

21 December 2008

A Favorite

A Christmas Carol

The Shepherds had an Angel,
The Wise Men had a star,
But what have I, a little child,
To guide me home from far,
Where glad stars sing together
And singing angels are? –

Lord Jesus is my Guardian,
So I can nothing lack:
The lambs lie in His bosom
Along life's dangerous track:
The wilful lambs that go astray
He bleeding fetches back.

Lord Jesus is my guiding star,
My beacon-light in heaven:
He leads me step by step along
The path of life uneven:
He, true light, leads me to that land
Whose day shall be as seven.

Those Shepherds through the lonely night
Sat watching by their sheep,
Until they saw the heavenly host
Who neither tire nor sleep,
All singing 'Glory glory'
In festival they keep.

Christ watches me, His little lamb,
Cares for me day and night,
That I may be His own in heaven:
So angels clad in white
Shall sing their 'Glory glory'
For my sake in the height.

The Wise Men left their country
To journey morn by morn,
With gold and frankincense and myrrh,
Because the Lord was born:
God sent a star to guide them
And sent a dream to warn.

My life is like their journey,
Their star is like God's book;
I must be like those good Wise Men
With heavenward heart and look:
But shall I give no gifts to God? –
What precious gifts they took!

Lord, I will give my love to Thee,
Than gold much costlier,
Sweeter to Thee than frankincense,
More prized than choicest myrrh:
Lord, make me dearer day by day,
Day by day holier;

Nearer and dearer day by day:
Till I my voice unite

And I sing my 'Glory glory'

With angels clad in white;

All 'Glory glory' given to Thee

Through all the heavenly height


Christina Rosetti 1856



I have long loved this poem and find myself returning to it many times throughout the year.

Hope you enjoy it too,

jené

18 December 2008

18 December 1865

We are now just 32 days away from the inauguration of the first black man for President of the United States. I was thinking of that this morning when I checked my calender and realized today was the anniversary of the day slavery was officially abolished in this country. After Georgia became the 27th of the 36 states to ratify it on December 6, 1865; Secretary of State William Seward declared it in Proclamation on this day. Georgia gave those supporting the amendment the three-fourths they needed to secure the change. Not too surprising the longest hold out for ratifying the 13th amendment was Mississippi, after rejecting it on December 5, 1865. it was finally ratified on March 16, 1995.

In case you are wondering why I included Mississippi's reluctance to formally abolish slavery it is because of one simple fact. While not legal in the US, slavery still exists in many parts of the world. For many a life of indentured service and the stealing of children for the same still goes on. Large numbers of people still have not the freedom you and I enjoy today. Many of them find themselves in their situation because of the way we live. As the largest nation of conspicuous consumers we purchase goods often which owe their creation at least in part to slavery somewhere in the world. While we no longer own slaves, our lifestyle promotes those who do. Now it is the time to ask yourself some hard questions. Do you abhor slavery enough to research the things you buy to make sure you are not supporting slavery? Will you be willing to pay a little more for goods and crops which are regulated through fair trade to make sure you are not part of the slavery equation? Or are you going to just complain about slave trade elsewhere as long as you do not have to make any effort yourself to abolish it?

Long ago one Englishman worked in slave trade for many years and eventually left it behind to live a life for God. So convinced was he of the depravity of slavery he campaigned for it's abolition and worked tirelessly with like minded members of parliament for many long years until it's end.

Completely aware that it was only God's grace that led him from his horrible life to life in the church, he preached of it often. He is perhaps best known for the hymn which follows. Not many are aware of how his song was changed in the early 1900's so I have printed it here just as he wrote it, and frankly it's my favorite version.


"Amazing Grace"

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779)


Can you wake up tomorrow and still see the world the way you do right now? Or is it finally time to be part of the answer to ending slavery everywhere for good?

Staying on my soapbox until there are slaves no more,

jené

16 December 2008

Your Name in Music

Being stuck in bed the last few days I spent a good deal of the time when coherent coming up with things I could do to make it seem time was passing quicker than I was observing it pass. At one point I decided to make a playlist for my Zune which would lift my spirits and soothe my soul. After several failed attempts I decided I needed some sort of guidelines to keep me focused. As I was taking both Valium and Darvocet, focus was key. I decided to make a playlist based on my name. Even heavily sedated I can usually remember my name. I will confess I did write it down so I got the letters in the right order. Being dyslexic I am uncertain how much of that was my natural ability to scramble letters and how much was drug induced.

Grab your MP3 player, using songs you have loaded make a play list where the first letter of each song spells your name, for me it goes as follows:

J "Jesus Loves Me" sung by my favorite little Burpeau girls
E "Every Time" sung by Cece Winans
N "Nocturne No. 1" by Chopin, played by Maria João
E "Everything Happens To Me" sung by Nat King Cole

M "MLK" sung by U2
C "Crying For The World" sung by Eden's Bridge
C "Count Your Blessings" sung by Rosemary Clooney
L "Living Inside Your Love" played by Earl Klugh
E "Everything" sung by Michael Bublé
L "Love Divine" sung by Phil Keaggy
L "The Light Inside of You" sung by Ronan Tynan
A "As I Lay Me Down To Sleep" sung by Sophie B. Hawkins
N "Not Too Far From Here" sung by Michael Crawford

Now make time for yourself to sit and listen to the entire playlist. You might be amazed at how it makes you feel. At the very least you have taken some time in the "busyness" of the season for a calm moment for yourself.

Musically yours,

jené

14 December 2008

07 December 2008

Time for something silly

Found this quiz when I was checking out a blog I love to read The Rebellious Pastor's Wife and it looked like it would be a nice right giggle.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Doris!

mm.doris_.jpg


You are a Doris -- "I must help others."


Dorises are warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people's needs.



How to Get Along with Me

  • * Tell me that you appreciate me. Be specific.

  • * Share fun times with me.

  • * Take an interest in my problems, though I will probably try to focus on yours.

  • * Let me know that I am important and special to you.

  • * Be gentle if you decide to criticize me.



In Intimate Relationships

  • * Reassure me that I am interesting to you.

  • * Reassure me often that you love me.

  • * Tell me I'm attractive and that you're glad to be seen with me.



What I Like About Being a Doris

  • * being able to relate easily to people and to make friends

  • * knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better

  • * being generous, caring, and warm

  • * being sensitive to and perceptive about others' feelings

  • * being enthusiastic and fun-loving, and having a good sense of humor



What's Hard About Being a Doris

  • * not being able to say no (Getting better at doing so)

  • * having low self-esteem ( Not a problem)

  • * feeling drained from overdoing for others (Life itself is draining these days, choosing to take better care of me and where I invest myself)

  • * not doing things I really like to do for myself for fear of being selfish (Selfish can be good!)

  • * criticizing myself for not feeling as loving as I think I should (Not a problem)

  • * being upset that others don't tune in to me as much as I tune in to them ( Long term experience with someone who is this way has pretty much alleviated that problem)

  • * working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings (Tact should always be kind, but never to the point of dishonesty with you soul)



Dorises as Children Often

  • * are very sensitive to disapproval and criticism

  • * try hard to please their parents by being helpful and understanding (To this day I have the feeling my mom always knows if I am in trouble. It's a good thing though!)

  • * are outwardly compliant

  • * are popular or try to be popular with other children

  • * act coy, precocious, or dramatic in order to get attention

  • * are clowns and jokers (the more extroverted Dorises), or quiet and shy (the more introverted Dorises)



Dorises as Parents

  • * are good listeners, love their children unconditionally, and are warm and encouraging (or suffer guilt if they aren't)

  • * are often playful with their children

  • * wonder: "Am I doing it right?" "Am I giving enough?" "Have I caused irreparable damage?"

  • * can become fiercely protective



Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

04 December 2008

A Candle in the Window

I still haven't worked out the logistics but I have been trying to get lights strung over the door and around a front window. There are all sorts of legends about lights and celebrating Christmas. The lights represent the Star of Bethlehem guiding the wise men to Jesus. Lights in the window welcome the Holy Family who found no welcome that night. The light reminds us that Christmas is all about the Light of God coming to us in His Son. My favorite story of lights in the window comes from Ireland.

During the Penal Times you were harshly treated if you did not belong to the Church of Ireland which was part of the Anglican Community. Those who were Roman Catholic or one of the Protestant dissenters like the Presbyterians suffered greatly. They could not inherit land, take custody of an orphan, hold public office or firearms, or intermarry. Marriages for Presbyterians were not even acknowledge by the government.

Everyday life for a Roman Catholic meant he could not celebrate mass or practice his faith in the open. It is told that in order for a priest to find a home where he would be welcome, there would be a candle placed in the window. This meant he could seek shelter and the family there would want to celebrate mass with him.

I was thinking of this last night when I found myself awake for a good deal of the time. Do I live my life in such a way that people see a light of welcome in me? I talked it over with the Lord and asked Him to keep me ever mindful of being a reflection of His light.

This morning several friends asked me to pray for and with them. Here it was less than 12 hours since I asked the question that the answer was given. That's not usually the way it works. I chuckled after the last phone call and assured God I got the message. I am a candle in the window for Him.

Glad to spread the Light,

jené