Today is my mom’s birthday. She’d be 104 today. I woke early and was greeted by this gorgeous sunrise peeking over the beautiful Madison Range.
As I zoomed in on it, it became more vibrant.
Orange was my mom’s favorite color. Good morning, Mom! I see you smiling down from heaven. I remember your best days, and set aside the years when Alzheimer’s robbed you of the sparkle, the tenacity, and the wisdom that marked your best days.
Always involved in activities, Mom loved the Rebekahs (female branch of the Odd Fellows), and her bridge club, which weekly met in our living room. Even into her 80’s she loved her 20-Ands Club. She represented a lot of “Ands.” She was an impeccable dresser, beautifully groomed. Managed always to stay fit. She was probably the person who invented the “Selfie”!!
I wrote this poem on December 18, 2004 with Mom in mind. I used phrases she spoke in her last weeks on earth. She was big on giving orders – right up to her last days – even telling God when to take her “home.” She died the day after I composed this, on December 19th.
Before I Die
Before I leave this earth I have a few requests Listen up, my dears, Tomorrow there’ll be tests.
Take my diamond necklace And convert it into cash. Use it for my funeral, Then live life within the dash.
It’s too late for me, friends, To change the things I’ve done; But you have time to listen And teach others of God’s Son.
“The Dash” is all the years Between birth and when you die. Those in-between years Are where your stories lie.
Take my gold and silver, Go out and help the poor. Make amends for all the years I lived from store to store.
Take my many angels, Give them to folks who are Ill, hurting, or lonely. Tell them about the star:
The star of Bethlehem that Was where the angels went To see the newborn baby – Our Lord from Heaven sent.
Take my many clothes and find Folks who are in need. Take the food that I have stashed. Go to the hungry. Feed!
Take my shoes and slippers. Take them all and give Them to the cold and homeless. Help them to warmer live.
Take my chairs and tables, The lamps and bedding, too. Give them to a Home or Mission. They’ll help out quite a few.
Then look around your house, friends. And see the excess treasure. Take it to the needy. You’ll be blessed beyond all measure.
Live your life within the dash In loving generosity. Before you leave this earth, Reach out in pure humility.
Take your gold and silver. Go out and help the poor. God will bless you richly, and You will never want for more.
And we did give most of her angels away – my friend/former student, Lorei, hung them with a note on the doorknobs of the other residents at her care facility where mom lived. Mom had dozens of angels in her collection! And, we gave her clothes and other “stuff” to the people and places that could use them.
However, I have a few of her angels in my “Sanctuary” upstairs. My maiden name is “DeAngeles” (translates to “of angels” – in Italian). Mom lives in me… and today I celebrate her sunrise, her best qualities, and the gifts she instilled in me: self-confidence, unconditional love, tenacity, and a love of poetry.
Happy Birthday, Mom! I am “Living in the Dash” just as you taught me.
A Natural WHAT? You want to be NATURAL… But, NATURAL WHAT?
In today’s sermon, Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church used this as his sermon topic: “The Natural.”
If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know I have a habit of taking notes in poetry while listening to the sermon. It helps me listen better, and recall the message later on. I like to share my notes with you. Here are today’s:
The advertisement asked for A new pastor for a tired church, Worn down and worn out. They were left in the lurch.
The Hebrew Church felt
The way this ad describes.
Weak knees and weak hands was
How they were depicted by scribes.
Jesus, the High Priest, is superior, The scribes reminded them. Pay attention to what He said and did. They were given a long list from Him.
Be kind to strangers, remembering You may be entertaining angels. Be kind to one another, because You, too, will someday be strangers.
Be kind and compassionate Until that behavior is natural. When people call you Christ-like, Be sure that remark is factual.
Remember those who are suffering As if you’re suffering, too. Pay attention to those around – They surely need love from you,
Behavior becomes a habit If you practice it enough. So, practice loving behavior Until sharing it ain’t so tough!
Become a NATURAL Christian, One who loves without a second thought. Help us, Lord, to use our lessons daily – Being as Christ-like as we’ve been taught.
If I have the courage to “be myself” while realizing “I am a wonderful person,” then I need to be analytical. WHAT is it that I have been TAUGHT? And are all those lessons the ones I need in order to be a “Natural” at being a “Christian”? What does being a “Natural Christian” mean?
I need to ask myself, “Have you practiced loving behavior enough to be a natural at it? What’s your first response in the face of strangers?”
What do you think, friends, what are you a Natural at?