Here I am – comfortably settled in this beautiful condo in Rancho Mirage, California. Southern CA is so beautiful! The temperature outside is a wonderful, windless 73 degrees and warming. Join me!
Share some poetry with me. I love poetry. Lately I have been engaging in a series of Haiku using the three lines of 5-7-5 syllables to pour my heart out. But, is that the intent of Haiku? Does each form of poetry have a built-in intent?
Free form seems to be in vogue these days. I have enjoyed exploring it.
“The most important thing I have learned about being a poet is that writing poetry is more about attending than intending, more about silence than sound.”
But is listening something we do with headsets when we are out in nature? What about the rustle of the leaves and the sound of the birds? What about listening to the silence?
Welcome to My World
As I sit in the quiet of my patio In the sunshine of southern California, A golf cart buzzes by, A club whacks a ball, A ball flows silently toward its target, A hummingbird hovers near the feeder, Unsure of my presence, it lands And sucks silently from the red nectar.
As I sit in the comfort of our living room, In the ambience of southern California living, A symphony plays Boyce Concerto Grosso in B Minor, The dishwasher runs quietly behind me, My fingernails tap those damn keys, And Cristian is proud of my persistence – It’s the key to successful blogging, he says. I am attending – and so are you.
Happy Sunday to you, my friends. What are your plans for today? Whatever you do, wherever you go (even if you stay home), you will have an opportunity to be kind (even if only to yourself).
Choose kindness. Be right!
If you have followed my blog for a week or more, you know I attend church on Sundays and as I hear the message, I take notes – usually in poetry.
Today we attended the First Presbyterian Church in Redlands, CA. It is a beautiful church in the heart of the city with a mission statement: “Living in the Heart and Mind of Christ at the Heart of the City.” The service was conducted with five languages spoken alternately while the English translations were printed in the bulletin.
It was WONDERFUL to hear the melodic and unusual tongues of Urdu, Indonesian, Banyan, and Chichewa spoken – as well as the familiarity of English.
The pastor, Cheryl Raine, spoke on the topic, “The Mind of Christ.” The scripture on which the sermon was based, Philippians 2:5-8 was read orally in a language I had never heard of before. English-only folks like me read it in English in the bulletin while we listened with fascination to Wilson Kayange whose native language is Chichewa.
Morning has broken… like the first day – Blackbird has spoken … here’s what he’ll say: Look for the sunrise… it’s the new year – Praise for the morning… filled with good cheer.
We are God’s people … we live in His love. We are Christ’s people… we need a good shove! We try not to stagnate … living in our own will. We empty ourselves … and try to let Jesus refill.
Leaning on our own mindfulness… we stumble and fall. We’re two days out from Epiphany … listen for His call. He asks for patience and grace … decisions slow made. He tells us to avoid selfishness… my renewal was paid.
Paid by our Lord … with His blood on the cross. We’re asked to set aside self-interest … at Jesus’ cost. Self-empty to love and serve others … As an offering, place our lives before God… Pray daily for His extravagant grace.
Transform my mind … make it more like Christ’s mind. Give me obedience … and cause me to be kind. Give me extraordinary focus … on the way I can link my mind to others’ needs … Let Your love escape with every blink!
The essence of His love… is lodged in me and grows with each day I live and breathe … and God knows I am choosing self-emptying … instead of selfishness. God help me to live in Your will each day … in selflessness.
Following the sermon, there were more prayers and affirmations in the various languages before we sang one of the closing hymns… a favorite of mine: “Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord.”
Our unison prayer, following the offering of our gifts, affirmed the sermon message and the inspiration of the hymn’s words:
“Holy God, thank you for reminding us that we are to have the same mind as Christ Jesus, for Christ willingly emptied himself for the sake of others. In humility, we gathered these first gifts of the new year for your ministries through this beloved faith community. Help us to be ever faithful to your word and your ways as we seek to glorify you with our very lives. Amen.”
As I left the service and digested the messages of kindness, self-emptying, love, and selflessness … the importance of adopting “The Mind of Christ,” I found this meme. The “listening and loving” and the “be at peace with herself” resonated with me. The “healthy boundaries” are important as we seek to live with “the mind of Christ” in a spirit of joy – the spirit Christ personified.
Happiness in Kindness
As I sang, “Teach us to know the Truth that sets us free” and “Use us to make the earth like Heaven above,” and “… yield ourselves to Thee, time, talents, all,” I realized that when I yield to God’s will, spread love and peace using my time and talents, and wear laughter and curiosity, spreading kindness, I am not only making myself happier, but I am spreading happiness to those around me.
Choose kindness. Be right!
What will you do today to spread happiness to those around you?
I have a dear friend in California who is sending inspirational scripture with music and devotionals each day during this season of Advent. Today she sent a link to a song that started my day with a smile.
The song, composed in the minor key, is perfect for this season. Do you know it? The choir and soloists are superb:
“Come to set us free, come to make us your own. Come to show the way to your people, your chosen. Open our lives to the light of your promise. Come to our hearts with healing, come to our minds with power, come to us and bring us your life.”
For me, Advent is the season of Adventure – a season of reaching out to others in love while we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child each Christmas.
I know many of my readers are people of other faiths, and I respect your right to worship the One God in your chosen way. But, I hope you feel a sense of greater love, more generous giving, and the promised peace during this holiday time of the year. I hope the drama, the stress, and the conflict are minimized in your life… and you can find JOY in the hustle and bustle of the season.
Gracious God, Be with my Word Press friends this season. Bring them JOY and PEACE. Help them live with compassion and reach out in love. In His name I pray, Amen.
Yesterday I promised I would send you a video of Liam and me playing at my sister’s Masonic Home. My niece, Jodie, recorded videos and took these pictures. Thanks, Jodie!
Now, as Thanksgiving approaches, we plan to celebrate with dinner out – and then our first opportunity to see a performance of Les Miserables! Thanks to Jodie & Bill… what a wonderful gift!
Have YOU had a chance to see that production?
This afternoon I am sitting and watching the birds find food here in Pennsylvania. I pray with God’s grace, tomorrow we will be looking for birds in our Montana snow. They won’t be these colorful ones… but we’ll be happy with whatever feathered friends we find.
What kinds of birds do you have in your area this time of year?