Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘change’

Shedding Our Bark — Roth Poetry – Reblog


Shedding Our Bark

57m ago

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The Willow trees in our back yard were only saplings when we moved here nine years ago. They are extremely fast-growing trees which are now at least thirty feet tall. As I sat in their shade, I observed the wide splits in the bark. The old years growth sheds away as the tree expands. Eventually it falls away back into the soil. We are like trees. Those who grow the most continue to shed things they no longer need; negative attitudes, hurts, ideas, stereotypes, resentment, and bitterness, etc. Some are trapped in their own bark unwilling to let go and change for the better. How are you at shedding your bark?

Growth brings expansion
Stretching us //sometimes to our limit
Breaking us out of our comfort zone.
Growth causes cracks in our perception
Finding, perhaps there are other ways
Of thinking or feeling that may be different.
Growth brings change
Change is often painful
Forcing us to cast off old ways of thinking;
To have growth, we will have to change.
With change comes new strength;
New strength moves us beyond the present;
Fulfills our dreams for today…
Knowing tomorrow, we will again
Expand, stretch, and shed our bark.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Project Peace


Project Peace

World Peace is illusive.
Can it ever be attained?
What role do I play in it?
Is my attitude engrained?

Do I project Attitude Peace?
Am I carrying my load?
Today’s sermon told me
It’s a very illusive road.

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Rev. Jean Johnson’s sermon topic:
“God Bless This House with Peace”
based on Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20

Violence against older adults
Is on the rise; peace gunned
Down in constant upheavels –
Headlines leave us stunned.

God entrusts us with
The lives others. Take part
In providing care for
The deeper issue: the human heart.

We need a change of heart.
We need a heart of peace.
God asks us to spread
His peace to all – – – Release!

We need to reorient
Our idea of how peace acts.
We need to be willing
To understand the facts.

Peace is not an ideal
To be attained from others.
It is not something given
By our sisters and our brothers.

We do not have the power
To change the hearts of others.
We each must choose our peace,
Not the hate that smothers.

The struggle for peace
Is not between me and thee.
It is a face in the mirror;
The face of peace I see.

Do I regard the needs
Of others as great as my own?
Do I forgive 70 x 7?
And love those with hearts of stone?

Do I acknowledge the value
Of each human being?
Do I give unconditionally?
Do I love those who’re disagreeing?

Do I set aside old baggage
And see others free and clear?
Or do I carry resentment,
And prejudge those ever near?

God asks us to bring peace
With us wherever we go.
Work to create a change of heart.
Offer peace to all you know.

Peace to you, my friends.
I hope you’re having a peaceful Sunday.

Way to go, FIFA, USA Soccer Gals!!
You’re awesome!!

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See you tomorrow.

 

Where Are You Headed?


Headed Toward Jerusalem

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Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

 

Today’s sermon topic was “Headed Toward Jerusalem.” It was based on the story in Luke 9:51-62 in which Jesus, headed toward Jerusalem, sent His disciples ahead to Samaria to prepare a place for Him to stay the night. Knowing Jesus’ destination was Jerusalem, the Samaritans refused to welcome Him into their city.

Offended by the rejection, the disciples, James and John, asked Jesus if He would like to send fire down on the Samaritans and destroy their city. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their hard-heartedness and attitude of retribution. He and His disciples simply moved on to Jerusalem.

Here are my sermon notes
that I took as I listened carefully
to what Rev. Jean Johnson
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana

had to say about this scripture.

 

Where Are You Headed?

We’re all headed somewhere.
Where is your face headed?
What values guide and direct you
– and what destination is dreaded?

What life is truly worth living?
How do you live with purpose in love?
“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for
The place that fits you like a glove.

It’s a metaphor for traveling
To where you’re meant to be.
It’s being who you were meant to be
And facing the direction of Eternity.

We are pulled in different directions.
Our tendency is much like James and John
Who wanted to call fire on those
Who rejected Jesus: We want enemies gone!

But Jesus rebuked the disciples.
He rejected their hardness of heart.
Keep your eyes on your destination.
Don’t let detractors pull us apart.

“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for peace.
What do we do about violent actions?
“Jerusalem” is about the Truth of God.
What do we do about divided factions?

We need to wrestle with these questions
And struggle for clarification.
There are no easy answers.
Today’s world creates chaos and confusion.

What does it mean to head
Toward “Jerusalem” and let go
Of security and face change?
Transformation is a place we must know.

“Jerusalem” is about the love of Christ.
It’s letting go of the things that bind us
To this world of hate and divisions.
It’s turning our faces toward Christian kindness.

Join me, OKAY?
Let’s head toward or own “Jerusalem.”

What are the things that bind you
to the place you are,
and keep you from heading
toward YOUR “Jerusalem”??

heart of love
Have a beautiful Sunday.
See ya tomorrow!

Times of Transition


Times of Transition

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Times of transition
Can be disconcerting
Facing the unknown
Running, dodging, skirting

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Life is full of changes
Nothing stays the same
Rolling with the punches
Listening for our name

.
In the “role call” of life
Showing up to be
Ready for transitions
Sometimes is difficult for me

.
But I know the leader
Is my Maker who decides
What my next assignment is
In Him my life abides

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So, embrace the coming changes
Set aside all fear and sorrow
Joyfully put your hand in His
He’s gotcha covered for tomorrow.

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

God Be With You!

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See ya tomorrow

Be Led, Not Driven


The Purpose Driven Life

I have an affection for Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. It has so many words of wisdom – and it helped me as I was trying to define my purpose for living. I had recently suffered a burst appendix and had almost died. Prayer, God’s grace, a skillful ambulance driver, and a careful surgeon gave me back my life. I looked earnestly for clues about how I might live purposely for God to thank Him for my survival.

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This book of Daily Inspirations is a complement to The Purpose Driven Life. I used it as a devotional and as a journal, writing in the margins and at the top and bottom of the pages each day.


Soul Feast

But recently I read a quote by Marjorie J. Thompson in her book, Soul Feast.

Thompson wrote, “I admit I do not care for the language of ‘driven-ness’ in recently popular books and seminars…” She went on to explain “… it is significant that the Bible likens us to sheep, not cattle.”


My Haiku

Giving overtime thought to Marjorie J. Thompson’s  quote I wrote the following Haiku:

Live from a posture
Of profound trust and deep love
Be sheep, not cattle

 

Deep Conversation

My husband and I had a deep conversation about life and death, purpose and the difference between being led and being driven. When I am weary, Jesus leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul.

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Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Cowboys here in Montana drive their cattle to the next pasture and farmers in Switzerland drive their cows in the springtime up to fresh grass from the lower meadows where the beautiful animals have spent the winters.

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Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

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But Bob’s point as my hubby discussed the difference between being driven and led, was that cattlemen drive their cattle for the same reason shepherds lead their sheep. They have their best interests at heart. (Well, they may be driving them to market!)

There is a connotation to the word “driven” in our American culture. It seems to imply push-push-push, a relentless effort toward getting to the top.

 

Hope for the Flowers

I was reminded of a book for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read)  titled, Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus. It was copyrighted in 1973, but it is as pertinent today as it was then (and it still is available on Amazon.com).

As I recall the story, the caterpillars in this clever little tale are climbing over the top of each other, creating a  “caterpillar pillar.” One little creeper is on the outside edge, getting tired of the climb, wondering if it’s worth it. She asks a fellow climber as she looks at the daunting distance to the top, “What’s up there, anyway?”

“Just other caterpillars pushing each other off so they can be on top,” her climbing companion explained as one of the fuzzy creatures came tumbling down and crashed to the ground.

(How sad, huh? I am fascinated by these wonderful creations and their metamorphosis.)

caterpillar close up hairy insect

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Right about then the disillusioned climber caught the eye of a beautiful butterfly cruising by. “Climb on down,” he encouraged. “Spin yourself a chrysalis, rest inside, and eventually you will emerge a butterfly like I did. Then you can join me.”

(Of course those quotes are from my memory, not the actual book. I loaned it out to someone…. don’t remember who… but I have ordered a new one. Hope for the Flowers is a terrific book to have on hand as a reminder of my journey!)

Moving Down the Administrative Ladder

I discovered this beautiful, child-like, but profound, paperback when I was working as a curriculum coordinator in the district office at a school district in central California. My office was waaay too far from the children. I had been an elementary teacher for over 20 years and the principal of a K-6 school with over a thousand students for nearly a decade. The “caterpillar pillar” (that ambitious climb to greater “success”) led me to the district office. I knew after only about three weeks that it was not where I belonged.

I stuck it out for two years. Did the best job I knew how. Wore at least a half a dozen hats (Federal Programs director, language arts and music coordinator, in-service leader for new teachers, mentor for new principals, etc.) I learned a lot, and am glad I did it,but generally, I was not happy. My love & my gift was teaching children and helping “my staff” grow to be their best selves. I loved the interaction with the students, the teachers, and the parents.

As I climbed back down the “pillar” and announced that I was going back UP to the classroom (as soon as I rested a year and earned my butterfly wings), I was told, “What are you doing? That’s the wrong direction!”

Some warned, “You can’t go back down! People will think you’ve been demoted!”

“Yes, I can,” I insisted. I slid into my chrysalis, listened to The Voice of Reason and Transformation, rested, and devoted more time to my family, myself and my God.

I emerged a happy butterfly and was led back UP to a group of first graders. At the end of that year I led them on to second grade. What joy! I still hear from some of those children twenty years later. Several of them are my Facebook friends!

Best move I ever made!!

antenna beautiful bloom blossom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


The Voice

Contemplative time
Creates vessels of vision
Hear the “still small voice”

.
Let God fill you up
with new creativity
Receive fresh insight

.
I encourage you
To let contemplative time
Be a microphone

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Let unstructured time
Be a transformative time
Listen to The Voice!


Take time to rest.
Build your chrysalis.
Listen to your heart.

Find your True Purpose!

You may want to consider getting Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life,
and the accompanying inspirational/journal:

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and look for Hope for the Flowers. It’s out there…

Be Led, Not Driven

Trapped?


Are you feeling trapped?

Know someone else who is?

Rescuing people isn’t like

The funny saying on my apron.

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I can’t pick you up,

Tip you sideways,

And pour you out

Of your trap.

.

But in all seriousness,

We help rescue one another.

We can help others

Escape their traps.

.

Now don’t look at me

And call me Pollyanna.

I’m not a do-gooder,

But I have a secret.

.

It’s the path to love.

It’s the joy and peace

That are absolutely mine.

The path is Jesus!

.

Yes, the right answer

Was learned on Sunday

Way back when you

Were just a little kid.

.

Your Sunday School teacher

Asked you a question,

And you had the key to answer:

“Jesus!” He is the Way!

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Don’t believe me?

Give Him a try.

If you’re feeling trapped,

Give your struggles to Jesus.

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My Lord saved the groom

At the wedding feast.

He turned water into wine

And the guests celebrated.

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If He can do that,

He can turn your challenges

Into learning opportunities.

He can unlock your traps!

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I hope you really know

That guy named Jesus

Who came to unlock

The traps that bind us.

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If He isn’t your friend,

I invite you to get acquainted.

Let Him rescue you.

He stands at your heart door.

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Open it! Don’t remain

Trapped in a bottle, or

In sorrow, or in pain.

Whatever your question…

.

The answer is simply, “Jesus!”

He came to save us

From our entrapments.

Learn from Him – and be free!

.

Change is Challenging


Change is inevitable
Change is challenging
Resist or embrace?

May as well embrace
To resist change is futile
Change is inevitable

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This is my grandson, Chris. I told you I would write more about him. He has been the center of life for Bob and our family since he arrived in the USA from Switzerland last Thanksgiving. When you first met him (if you have been following my blog), this is what he looked like:

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See the change?

And when you first met that pup he has under the blanket in his lap up there, this is what TazE looked like:

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Well, he is so covered up in that first picture up there, you can’t really see the gray in his face and the change in his body, can you? But, trust me… now at age 8 1/2, he has changed from that frisky guy you see there. Here’s a current one that shows you what I’m talking about:

TazE in bed

Yes, change is inevitable! And it can be scary. And it can be very exciting. But it does not do any good to resist it. Much of change is healthy and invigorating. It’ll happen whether you bid it or not. May as well plan for it!

When our grandson came last year, he knew he was in for a year of changes. He had the courage to fly into a new life here – with new opportunities – different in countless ways from his life in Sierre, Switzerland.

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Today we are driving in Montana snow (really came down yesterday… and more is expected today) from Ennis to Anaconda. It’s about a two hour drive. We will stay overnight there, hoping to find a place that will allow pets. TazE will go with us.

We are taking Chris to the Job Corps in Anaconda. He will check in at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. He has qualified (US citizen between the age of 16-24 with a clean record who is interested in training in one of 7 manual labor areas that are deemed understaffed by the Federal Government) and has been accepted into the program.

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We took a tour there in December and we were wonderfully impressed with the site, the program, the facilities, the instructors, the equipment, the ambience, and the students. About 200 young people are there. More than 75% of them are from out-of-state. Chris will be the first who was born and raised in another country. (Our daughter is his mom… and as such, Chris has dual USA-Swiss citizenship).

There are 4 dorms, 3 for men and 1 for women (that’s the ratio of the students). Not surprising since the trades they are learning include:

  • Heavy equipment Operating
  • Heavy equipment Mechanics
  • Welding
  • Painting (buildings inside and out – not oils, acrylics, watercolor, etc.)
  • Carpentry
  • Culinary Arts
  • Brick-laying

Chris will have a month to explore the various options and then he will select the one he wishes to concentrate on. Each student is self-paced. The training could take as little as three months and as much as a year, depending on prior experience, work ethic, skill, etc.

Stay tuned. I am sure our grandson is in for changes he cannot even imagine at this time.

We are excited for him.

Aren’t you glad to know our Federal Government is supporting this kind of internship/apprenticeship program for young people?

 

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