... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

The World Through My Window ~ Part 1


 Being homebound, my living room window is my portal to what’s going on around me.  I can see a section of 27th street, the senior retirement center next door, sections of two parking lots, a fire hydrant, lots of trees, people coming and going, even deer on occasion.

With the hospital only a mile away, ambulances and fire trucks cruise by often and the sound of a Medi-Flite helicopter is common.

Then spring arrived…

For weeks I’ve watched tall diggers with huge buckets, big dump trucks, excavators, extractors, backhoes and lots of workmen in fluorescent safety vests. Add detour signs, orange cones, arrows indicating which lane to use, plus lots of noise and dust and you have sewer replacement in process.



The big equipment has moved down the street and the cement was poured for the median. Landscaping will begin this week. There used to be huge lavender plants. I wonder what they’ll be planting.

Meanwhile, although I don’t understand how, the water and waste from my sinks, bathtub, and toilet are still going somewhere.

What I do realize, as I watch, is that it requires extensive planning and coordination, but they know what they’re doing. The work individually, but as a team. Also, safety is a high priority for both the workers and the community.

Soon, the dust and noise will be gone. In a few months, the pavement and median won’t look new anymore.

Then will we remember what’s buried underneath? Will we remember it functions to keep us healthy? Because what is hidden deep, down inside is what really counts.

Selah ~


Connie

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Feelin' Blue



Oh Eeyore, I sure know about those days!
Having one right now, in fact.


 Wonder if we’ll get a hug at the end of the day?

But then again, sometimes those ripples take awhile to arrive... 


Selah

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hushed, Silent Saturday



"Holy Week waits in relative silence on Saturday. The tomb has been sealed, the guards stand watch, the disciples likely hide in confusion, fear, and devastation. And the Savior lies lifeless, having surrendered all to save his people from their sins."


~ Marshall Segal
Sorrow to Joy Lent Readings
John Piper

Thursday, April 13, 2017

All At Once...





White covers the earth in my little corner of the world. In the space of 10 minutes or so, it just rained with the distant sound of thunder. Then it quickly changed into hail bouncing on the grass and pavement. As a blanket of white was laid down, it turned to snow. Now the sun is shining while the rain mixed with snow continues. In the time it took me to type this only the sun and the white covering of about an inch remains.   

Spring in the Northwest! The trees are budding, a few daffodils have bloomed and the temperatures vary dramatically from day to day.

The driveway now looks slushy as it melts. Feels like it should April’s Fool’s Day.

Actually, it is Maundy Thursday. (Also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries among other names.) 

It is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It recognizes the last supper Jesus had with His disciples and traditional includes the washing of feet.





“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them…. ‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet’” (John 13:12, 14).

“In the days of dusty roads and open-toed sandals, feet often became dirty, and it was the job of the lowest servants to wash the guests’ feet. But Jesus set an example of service by doing this job himself, despite the protests from Peter.
“Today when we serve one another throughout the year, helping one another with real needs, we are obeying the spirit of the law of Christ. We are “washing feet” when we give people rides to church, when we help them move furniture, when we bring a meal for the sick, when we clean house for the bereaved. We wash feet when we encourage the depressed, are patient with the angry, spend time with the lonely.*”
As I consider on the meaning of this Holy Thursday, may it serve as a moment of reflection for you, also.
Selah ~
Connie

*See htts://www.gci.org/church/lordssup/footwash


Monday, April 03, 2017

ESTHER, Part 2


The Esther study is in its final week, but will continue to be available. I'm enjoying it and it has inspired me to read some other resources.

Here are some highlights from What Esther Knew by Connie Glaser and Barbara Smalley:
  • Within 4 minutes a first impression is made; within the first 10 seconds, judgments are formed regarding social class, morals & intelligence. Often first impressions are lasting ones and are difficult to change. Yet Esther found favor in the eyes of Hegai and the king.

  • The "Esther Effect:" things happen for a reason. Therefore, no looking back or why me? Instead look forward with courage and faith.

  • As women, we have been taught not to brag or boast, but to be modest and deflect praise. Esther lived within a culture where women were passive and submissive. Esther and women of today learn to be bold for the Lord.

  • We're also taught not to talk to strangers, which causes many women to lack the initiative to network and interact with people we don't know. These inhibitions can make it difficult for us to be used by God. Esther didn't know anyone when taken to the palace, but she had to learn much to be an effective queen. For example, she wore her royal robes and stood (didn't kneel) when approaching the king to emphasize her royal status. And when confronting Haman she knew the exact words of Haman's edict and used them in her appeal. Obviously, she had developed a network for information. At the same time, I believe, she found favor with many palace workers.

  • Between chapters 4 & 5 Esther transforms from a powerless queen to a brave and courageous leader. She gained skills of communication, analysis, strategy, timing, and how to use them. When she presented her appeal to the king, it was on her turf and she was in charge. 

  • Although her beauty attracted many eyes, it was her choice to follow her conscience, to do the right thing that makes her our role model. She took a leap of faith which lead to increased strength of character and allowed her to rise above adversity.

  • And I loved this. Esther had chutzpah. Meaning she could be the drama queen when necessary, with the ability to make gutsy and clever moves.

  • "Esther's story isn't about ancient Persia. It's about us! It is filled with inspiration and lessons that are timeless and universal."

That's a peek at a few good, thought-provoking ideas I've been reading.







Selah ~ think on this   

Connie


Monday, March 20, 2017

Sharing Other's Gifts With You: Esther, part 1


Today I am starting Darlene Schacht's online 3 week study* of the Book of Esther, the only book in the Bible that does not mention God.
And yet... there is no doubt of who's invisible hand is at work. 


God had a plan to save the Jews
From Haman’s wicked scheme: to use
Not Shimei, nor Abihail,
Nor mighty armies to assail
The Persian palace walls, but me,
A Jewish orphan girl, to free
The sons of Israel from death.
And even now it takes my breath
Away to think about the ways
Of God, and how from ancient days
He planned it all, and ruled the world,
Right down to how my hair was curled...

From John Piper's Esther Poem



  You can download the PDF of this book including the beautiful illustrations at:       
       http://document.desiringgod.org/esther-en.pdf?1439242123


*You'll find her study at:
http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=1e993b474a8ddef76a86c0b33&id=5306eac6a9&e=ef1b5ea102


Selah ~ consider joining me. It's starts today and is FREE.

Connie


Saturday, March 11, 2017




Precious Masterpiece
I saw a lovely teacup
in a little shop one day,
It was so magnificent,
it took my breath away.
And as I held it in my hands,
I thought I heard it speak...
"You know I started out as clay
unshaped, quite plain and weak.
"But the Master molded me,
and by supreme design,
The agonizing process
made each detail divine.
"Then quite unexpectedly,
He put me through the fire,
And when I thought I'd bear no more,
He let the flames go higher.
"But each and every moment
brought me closer still
To my place of purpose
within His perfect will.
"I grew stronger through the pain
while on the molding stand,
And even through the furnace,
I could feel His loving hand.
"Now I'm strong and beautiful -
just what He had in mind,
And I'm His precious masterpiece...
a special one-of-a-kind."


 ~ Rita S. Beer



Sunday, March 05, 2017

Shattered


Last week I dropped a brand new bowl while unpacking it. Before looking, I heard it shatter into many pieces. I felt sad for a moment, but four others remained intact.

More important is the possibility that I have shattered two friendships- one fairly new, the other nearly ten years in the making.

I know what I did... what I said. Would it have been preferable to be dishonest? 

Someone said:

The question for me is what to do now. Do I try to put those pieces back together again? 

Or maybe our season is over.

I am blessed with two-lifetime friends. One for 50 years and the other over 60 years. Both of them have been there for me through the bad times as well as the good. We always are able to pick up where we left off. Miles never separate us. I appreciate both of you!

As I think it over, I may need to consider that my life is coming to a close. It could be best to focus on those who encourage and support me rather than drain my limited energy. But it is hard to be self-focused, as I have been a "fixer" and an encourager most of my life.  

However, like Fagin sang, ♪ I'm Reviewing the Situation.♪



Fagin in the musical "Oliver"

Selah - thinking on this
Connie



“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it...” 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Do You Write? Are You a Writer?




When Can You Call Yourself a Writer? 

Guest Post by Jerry Jenkins


Do you ever wonder whether you’re really worthy to call yourself a writer?
You have a deep desire to impact people with your words.
But doubt creeps in and you ask yourself:
  • “What makes me a writer? I’ve never published anything, let alone a book.”
  • “What I have written is no good. I’m not even sure I should be doing this.”
  • “I can’t honestly call myself a writer. I’m nowhere near good enough!”
Sound familiar?
If you let it, that voice will keep you from ever sharing your message with the world. So let’s fight the voice of doubt with a dose of truth.

How Does a Person Actually Become a Writer?

Every once in a great while you’ll hear of someone who decided to write something, or was badgered into it, and surprised everyone by becoming known as a writer.
But, usually, becoming a writer takes a normal course. You become a writer the way you become a bicyclist or a gymnast or a dancer, singer, cook, or plumber.
See where I’m headed with this?
You walk—and trip and tumble and plop—before you run.
Your bike tips over and you skin your knee, perhaps a dozen times, before you catch on to riding a bike.
You ruin a lot of recipes, burn cakes and pies and assorted fowl and bovine, before you become a cook.
You soak your clothes and floors and everything else in sight before you learn the ins and outs of plumbing.
Being bad at something we want to succeed at is part of the process. It’s how we pay our dues.
If you’re not willing to fail, to stink, to be lousy, to make mistakes, to accept correction and criticism and counsel from experts, you’re not likely to progress.

So When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

As soon as you’re willing to dive in—regardless how good or bad you are.
Just do me one favor:
Don’t decide you’re not a writer before you’ve mustered the courage to try.
Accept that you will be bad at first, just like we all are at everything we try for the first time. Humility is not only a good starting point, it’s the posture to adopt for your writing career.

Wannabe Vs. Writer

But if you’re only talking about being a writer, only reading blogs about it, only going to writers conferences, hobnobbing with writers, dressing like a writer (whatever you think that means), you’re not a writer. You’re a wannabe.
Wannabes talk about writing. Writers write. They may not write well yet, but they write.
When your seat is in the chair and your fingers are on the keyboard and the words are appearing on the screen, you’re in the game.
Otherwise, you’re talking, but no one is listening.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a writer.
But if you want to call yourself a writer, you have to write.

Do You Have the Right Stuff?

I can tell within the first minute of critiquing a writing student’s work whether they have what it takes to succeed.
How?
I’m not mean, but I’m straightforward. I assume they want honest input on how to improve, and so I tell them. It can be hard to hear.
Their expression and body language tell me immediately whether they are eager to learn and grow or if they were merely hoping to be discovered.
I know it’s hard.
It can be scary to show your work to a professional, even more so to an editor or publisher who will decide whether to buy it or reject it.
But real writers want the feedback. They want to get better, to learn, to grow, to succeed.

Are You a Writer?

If you’ve failed and are still writing, if you’re scared and are still writing, if you’ve stood up to a stinging critique and made your piece better by applying what you learned, if you’ve stayed at it despite that pervasive fear of failure, you are!
How do you know when you’re really a writer?
When you’re writing. Good, bad, fearfully, courageously—regardless.
If you’re in the game and plying your trade, say it loud and say it proud:
I am a writer.

My response: 
YES! I am a writer. I love sharing life lessons. I love learning how to do it better. I am an encourager through spoken and written words.
I am still the seven-year-old who wrote stories in her head every night before falling asleep. Only now I write them down. And I am a forever student. Improving my skills includes sitting in silence while listening and watching what's happening around me. 
My last published story was written after sitting in my recliner with no sounds to distract me. I watched the robins in the tree outside my window. After a while, I looked deeper and was entranced by the dance of the trees. I moved to the computer and wrote "A Touch of Red." 
My writing was by choice when I was young. At age 60, it became a calling/a ministry.
YES, I Am a writer!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Book # 10: The Pilgrim's Progress




I came across Steven James' book Quest for Celestia: A Reimagining of The Pilgrim Progress (2006). Before reading it I wanted to reread The Pilgrim's Progress.Then do a comparison.

Ichthus Publications graciously provided this book at my request and I agreed to write a review. This edition was revised in 1834 for "Sabbath schools" and pictures of 28 engravings on wood were added. It is intended for older children and teenagers, but at only 125 pages it is a quick read for adults as well. 

John Bunyon, an English preacher in his 30s, was arrested in 1660 for unauthorized preaching, It was in prison where he wrote this allegory, now considered a Christian classic, a "must read" book. And I agree.

An allegory is a "story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one." Bunyon's is a spiritual journey. Jesus taught in parables also called allegories.Usually, when you read an allegory you have two choices. You can read it as just a story or you can go deeper and try to understand the hidden meanings.

However, in The Pilgrim's Progress not much is hidden. The character's names: Mr. Honesty, Mr. Fearing, Mr. Self-Will, and Mr. Great-Heart define them and what is of concern.

Just as listening to someone with a heavy accent is difficult. At first, you can't understand them but if you continue to listening you will. So it is when reading Old British English. The sentence structure seems wrong, backward, inside out.But after a few pages, it becomes clearer. Don't stop. Don't miss journey!

Selah ~

Connie



Books # 9: Zebo




How does one review the first novel of her forever friend? I was tempted to read it quickly and write a 5 star recommendation. But for those of you who are reading this to decide whether to purchase it or not, I have to be fair and honest.

Therefore, I took my time to read it and mull it over. As a writer, I challenge myself to “Write from the heart. Write from the soul. Make the best of your talent. And don’t ever let it go. Not for anything…” (author unknown)

I can tell you that’s what the author has done. This story reflects her passions. It’s what makes this story one you’ll connect with, and you will be glad you read.

Zebo inspires, encourages, makes you laugh, seeks understanding, touches your heart, and draws you into the midst of the lives of those who have tea parties, birthday celebrations, late night talks, good moments and tough times within the gazebo.


Like a Friendship Quilt, each chapter has meaning with a mixture of knots and tangles woven in among the perfect stitches. 



Whether curled up with a cup of tea in front of the fireplace or under a sun umbrella on the beach, you’ll enjoy Christy’s life journey and the value of enduring friendships.

~ ~ ~

Barb and I know! We've been friends for over 50 years.




Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book #8

The Pilgrim’s Progress

Paul Bunyon was arrested for preaching the gospel without permission and spent 12 ½ years in prison. During those years (beginning in 1660), he wrote a number of works, the best of which was the allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, which became a classic and touched the lives of billions of people.

An allegory is a story, poem or pictures that can be interpreted to reveal hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of a spiritual journey. [Synonyms include parable, analogy, metaphor, and symbol.]

I am reading the 1834 abridged edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress along with Steven James’ Quest for Celestia: A Reimaging of The Pilgrim’s Progress (2006).
Both are intended to reach a new generation.

I will be writing the book reviews later, but first I want to share a story of an unusual consequence related to reading the unabridged book.

Remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bed Day? Well, I think I’ll call my story…

Alex, the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Boy

Everyone that knew Alex would agree whose qualities and dreaded it when he showed up.

Unlike the Herdmans*, the worst kids in the history of the world who lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids; Alex caused havoc by being uncooperative, loud and rude. He had no respect for grown-ups, no friends and didn’t care. At least that’s what he said.


Selah ~

Connie


* Character's from the book The Very Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.


Monday, January 09, 2017

2017 in Central Oregon

 Dec. 2016

Jan. 7th, 2017


In the 12 years I've lived here in Central Oregon, we haven't had this much snow. Others tell me it's been longer than that. As I write this, the plow is clearing the parking area. It's sunny, but snowing off and on. More is expected tomorrow... possibly another 12". 

From inside my warm apartment, it's beautiful- especially at night when it sparkles like millions of diamonds.

If you look closely at yesterday's photo, you see the silhouettes of birds in the tree.

 (online photo)

More than 60 robins sat in the tree while the rest of the flock-200 or more- entertained me as they flew from tree to tree. A few hours later they were gone. 

3 pm Jan 9th from my window:





Like everyone else, I haven't been able to get out. I've missed doctor and haircut appointments and haven't been able to get groceries. Yet I'm warm and safe. Just wishing I could go out to build a snowman.

 (online photo)

A single snowflake lasts but seconds and melts away. Many snowflakes together can create fun: a variety of snowpeople, a fort for a snowball battle, good conditions for skiing, sledding or snowshoe hikes, and a place to create snow angels. A mass of snow can lead to a powerful, terrifying avalanche.

Our current snowstorm has caused hardships, injuries and fatalities. It also brings memories to mind. In my next post, I'll why I started a snowpeople collection.

Selah ~

Connie