…The tapestries had a historic state visit to London in September 2010. They were sent by the present Pope to be exhibited at the V & A Museum.
Since so many were unable to get to worship services today, I am pleased to put on a wonderful sermon of hope in this time when many could use some hope for the future.
The sermon is brought to us from the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. by Bishop Marianne Budde.
Mariann Edgar Budde serves as spiritual leader for 88 Episcopal congregations and ten Episcopal schools in the District of Columbia and four Maryland counties.
Turn up your sound, click picture below and do not move the red line. This will start at the sermon.
As we continue to do our best to live under the guidelines of “staying well” and other good sense matters, we are also inundated with the concerns about hoarding, the Stock Market and possible government bailouts. This is a world-wide problem and no one has the perfect answer for any of it. Yet, some make their voices known, either to agree or disagree with certain positions being taken.
Nikki Haley, the former United Nations Ambassador has just resigned from the Board of Boeing because of the discussion of bailing out the planemaker. See her letter and reasoning here:
Everyone would like a stimulus check, but only a certain number will get government help. Even if it is for a good cause in the economy, a bailout to anyone, big business or private individuals, comes from somewhere…those who have worked hard and paid their taxes.
The thing to remember is that there is NO FREE LUNCH. It wasn’t in the past and it won’t be in the future. Nothing is ever free. Even the politicians who promise free education, free health care, free anything…there is nothing free. This does not take a genius to understand this truth…yet, many hope on…passed reality.
Does the Holy Scripture say anything to us about finances…need or faith in the midst of crisis? Let’s look at a few verses that can help us weather the storms as we look for peace. In doing so, we must not forget to pray for those making decisions that effect our lives.
To be content:
- Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phillippians 4:11-13 (Words to the Phillippians by the Apostle Paul)
Help those who need help through generosity:
- As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Anxiety only raises blood pressure
- “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these… Matthew 6:25-32
God’s blessings to all our readers!
Background music for your day:
We are happy to announce the publication of a fourth in a series of Christian devotional books.
RAIN ON THE ROOF is a perfect devotional for anyone who would like to increase in their faith or looking to find faith.
The thirty one days of readings include historical and real life stories, original photographs by N. Boyer, Holy Scriptures and selections from The Book of Common Prayer.
You may find this book available at the following locations: (CLICK to view)
You will have to hurry if you want to see the magnificent tapestries designed by Raphael. In honor of his birthday, they will only be on display at the Sistine Chapel in Rome until February 23, 2020. It was my privilege to visit Rome and see the Sistine Chapel, which is a once in a life time experience. As a student of history, I marvel that during WWII the great works of art were not completely destroyed or confiscated by the enemy invaders. Thanks to the bravery of the men of the Church and regular citizens, of whom lost their lives, we have these beauties to enjoy today. The Monuments Men movie gives a great understanding to the importance of protecting our history and the works to whom great men dedicated their lives. It is my hope that you will enjoy this writing and those who are shown as contributors. NWB
A dozen tapestries designed by Renaissance artist Raphael are currently on view in their original home—the Sistine Chapel—for the first time in more than 400 years. But there’s a catch: The fragile works, commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515 to complement Michelangelo’s famed frescoes, will adorn the chapel’s walls for just one week. The exhibition offers a rare chance to see the tapestries, which depict scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, in their intended space rather than behind conservation glass. The last time the Vatican held a similar exhibit was in 1983, the fifth centennial of Raphael’s birth. According to Henry Kamm of the New York Times, only eight of the ten main tapestries made it into this display. At the time, one of the remaining works was on loan to a museum in New York; the other was undergoing restoration.
Now, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, the full set of ten masterworks and two border tapestries has returned to the Sistine Chapel for a limited engagement. As exhibition curator Alessandra Rodolfo tells Reuters’ Philip Pullella, the last recorded instance of all 12 tapestries being hung in the chapel together dates to the late 1500s. (Smithsonian Magazine)
ABOUT THE TAPESTRIES:
(CNN and Staff Writers)
The four were commissioned in 1515 from the artist Raphael (Fafaello Sanzio da Urbino 1483-1520) especially for the Sistine Chapel. This was the first time in 500 years that the tapestries had hung alongside the original cartoons that Raphael had painted for the weavers so they could complete this fabulous series of sensational textiles. There are ten in existence, but some scholars speculate that originally sixteen may have been planned.From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in Europe most rulers or heads of important families were continually on the move. Tapestries were a way of having instant decor. They added prestige to any setting and practically helped with droughts in stone castles or chateaux, which were evolving with extended periods of peace from places of refuge into being country houses. Their narrative subjects were very attractive and they usually featured scenes from mythology, from the Bible, or of hunting and court life.At the time these were manufactured, weaving was considered the most important art form and expression of cultural development. They demonstrated the wealth and status of the ruling families of Italy, Europe and England and, had the advantage of being easily transportable.
The tapestries made for the Sistine Chapel to Raphael’s designs were woven between 1516 and 1521, They are of wool, which has been intertwined with silk and gilt metal wrapped thread. They were made in the workshop of Pieter van Aelst at Brussels the main centre for tapestry production in Europe at that time.
It would have been no mean feat. The weavers would have been constantly challenged working to Raphael’s painted cartoons, without the benefit of being able to enter into any sort of dialogue with the artist himself who had no part in their production. The technical difficulties were mind boggling and the finished tapestries are a tribute to the level of expertise, experience and considerable skill the weavers had attained. One of the reasons Raphael gained the commission is that he had successfully designed the grotesque style painted decoration for architect Donato Bramante’s Gallery in the Vatican Palace .The painting of the walls and vaults of the loggia were completed by pupils under his supervision and are a high point of Renaissance art.He proved, through his attention to detail an ability to produce a design that could be transmitted to another medium. The tapestries exist because of one man, Pope Leo X (1475 – 1521) who commissioned them. He knew the richness of these amazing textiles would compliment, and not be overwhelmed by the painted glory perfected by Michelangelo when completing his ‘art above.’
POPE LEO X: Born into the famous Medici family at Florence, whose patronage of the arts at Florence the cradle of the Renaissance world, Leo X was already celebrated as a prince of peace and acknowledged as connoisseur of music when he ascended the papal throne. His classical education had been thorough and included poetry, literature and music alongside theology, philosophy and the ancients.His love of culture and the arts did not conflict with his worship. And, his interest in the humanities meant that he sought to actively combine, in religious harmony, the past and present while helping to plan the future of the church at Rome.Part of his role as Pope and leader of the Christian church, as the sun rose on the fifteenth century, was to encourage his countries cultural development. As tapestry was considered societies most prestigious art form it is no surprise he chose to hang them in the Sistine chapel.The tapestries illustrate scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul long regarded as the founders of the Christian Church. They were at the source of the Pope’s authority and power.
HOW THE TAPESTRIES WERE MADE AND PRESERVED:
The Raphael Cartoons were design drawings made up of a mosaic of hundreds of sheets of paper glued together which was then fixed to the wall. Raphael and his assistants would have painted them in situ. Then they would then have been rolled for transport to Brussels to Pietr Van Aelst’s studio where they would have been cut up into strips for use by the tapestry weavers. The tapestries have had a turbulent history. They were pawned to pay for Pope Leo X’s funeral and recovered for the coronation of Hadrian VI (1522-3). They were stolen during the Sack of Rome in 1527, and after many adventures returned to the papal collection between 1544 and 1554. They were looted again during a French occupation of Rome in 1798 and purchased by a second hand dealer very cheaply. They were bought back again in 1808 and restored to the Vatican collection.
As part of the journey associated with every aspect of the design commission, the cartoons arrived in England after King Charles I paid £300 in 1623 to obtain them.He bought them as designs for tapestries and as painters by his time were being recognized for their individual talents, they would have proved a good investment for the crown. It was at the end of the seventeenth century when they were framed as paintings in their own right. It was Queen Victoria who sent them along to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1865 and they have been in the public domain ever since. Originally they had woven borders showing scenes from Leo’s life, also believed to have been designed by Raphael. However the cartoons for these did not survive.
As Mark Evans who produced the splendidly detailed and scholarly catalog for the exhibition held at London in 2010 said ‘despite the toll of time those who have the good fortune to admire these beautiful tapestries five centuries after their creation can confirm the challenge to make them was triumphantly met”.
SHORT VIDEO: Turn on sound. After watching, be certain to scroll down to the 360 tour video of the Sistine Chapel.
360 VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL (The tapestries are not shown here…only the great art. It will move slowly around the room for a closer view of Michelangelo’s amazing works. View at your leisure. )
Today in the U.S. we are celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is a day to give our special someone a note of love, flowers, or a delicious box of candy. It may be overrated, but it helps the bottom line at the stores and it is always appreciated by the recipient of such thoughtfulness.
Today, I want to write about the greatest of all loves.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
When Christ laid down His life in payment for all sins, He paid the greatest price possible. It is in His sacrifice that we know the GREATEST OF ALL LOVES.
There are those who decide to give their lives to sharing this love with others. In some cases, it costs them their own lives. We have all heard of martyrs that lived long ago and are often described as saints today. Did you know that there are modern-day martyrs who have risked everything to bring God’s love and compassion to people around the world?
The man I will write about is an American, whose story is found below:
LIFE OF BROTHER JAMES:
Brother James was born into a family of farmers near Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA, on September 21, 1944. He attended grammar school and then went to Pacelli High School in the city of Stevens Point, where he met the Brothers for the first time. In September 1959 he entered the Juniorate in the state of Missouri. After three years there, he was admitted into the Postulancy program and then entered the Novitiate in August 1962, when he took the habit of the Brothers and the religious name Brother Leo William. Later, like so many other Brothers, he went back to using his baptismal name.
He was assigned to Cretin High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota for three years. There, besides teaching classes in Spanish, English, and Religion, he supervised school maintenance and he coached American-style football.
In August 1960 after making perpetual vows, he was sent to Bluefields, Nicaragua. He taught there until he was assigned to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua in 1974, where he was the Director. Under his leadership, the school population grew from 300 to 800 students. Brother Santiago also accepted the task of supervising the construction of ten new rural schools. His religious superiors ordered him to leave Nicaragua in July 1979 during the time of the Sandinista revolution. It was feared that since he worked for the Somoza government he might be at risk. For that reason, he returned to the United States and again taught at Cretin High School in the fall of 1979 and he participated in the Sangre de Cristo renewal program in the state of New Mexico in 1980.
He was sent again to mission territory, this time to Guatemala, in January 1981. He taught at the secondary school in Huehuetenango and he also worked at the Indian Center, where young indigenous Mayans from rural areas studied and trained in agriculture.
In the afternoon of February 13, 1982, he was shot several times by three hooded men and he died instantly. Attempts to identify the assassins were unsuccessful. After funeral rites in Guatemala and in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he was buried in the parish cemetery in Polonia, Wisconsin.
His character and personality:
His own writings and other declarations pertaining to him, before and after his death, show us his character and personality. Before leaving Pacelli High School to go to the Juniorate, the Brothers that knew him wrote that “he was very generous, pious, honest, docile and that he was very well-ordered and tidy; he did not smoke, he received the sacraments weekly, he got along well with his classmates; he devoted two and one-half hours per week to house chores.”
A Brother who was his Director in the Scholasticate and at Cretin High School, his first community, recalled him as “an intelligent person, although not an intellectual, jovial, easy to relate with, preferring physical work to sports, with a deep faith and love for his religious vocation, but with a certain tendency to come late to class and community prayers.”
His Call to Missions:
While he was still in Nicaragua, his old desire to work on the missions was obvious. From Nicaragua, he wrote about the satisfaction he felt while working for the very poor. Responding to the question if he felt afraid about the shootings that were taking place around him, he wrote: “Are you kidding? I never thought I could pray with such fervor when I go to bed.” In one of his last letters, before he died, he showed that he was aware of the situation in Guatemala and the possible personal consequences for him. He wrote in January 1982: “I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America. … the Church is being persecuted because of its option for the poor. Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties, we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s Providence.” He went on to write: “I have been a Brother of the Christian Schools for nearly 20 years now, and commitment to my vocation grows steadily stronger in my work in Central America. I pray to God for the grace and strength to serve Him faithfully among the poor and oppressed in Guatemala. I place my life in His Providence. I place my trust in Him.” This Brother of the Christian Schools was martyred on February 13, 1982, at the age of 37, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This was the day before Valentine’s Day.
Video: Turn up sound (unmute if needed)
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Boyer Writes presents:
Christmas is often called the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” This may be because when the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Savior, the world looked for many things to be made right through a strong leader. Most believed that the Messiah would bring peace and a new world order. He would come in glory to accomplish this task.
How disappointing for those who refused the humble birth. How could it possibly be? Yet, God’s ways are mostly not our ways. He chooses to accomplish His purposes even if they do not fit what we expect.
We often hear the question, “What would Jesus do?” As we look to Him for our daily answers to human problems, we are looking for a man’s point of view…even a Holy, Incarnate Man as He was. My question in this blog post is different. What would the Mother of the Son of God do?
This woman, who was young, was told by an angel a shocking message for her and her fiance, Joseph.
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored!”
The Gospel of Luke says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to a son. The angel told Mary that she should call her son Jesus. The angel also said that Jesus would save people from their sins. Mary asked the angel how she could be pregnant since she was a virgin.
After the birth, the angel appeared again:
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Mary, like any Mother, watched her Son, Jesus grow and learn. She was there when he performed miracles and saw him be betrayed and given into the hands of those who would crucify him. Her sorrows were practically more than she could endure.
The Ressurection and the Ascending into heaven by her Son followed as part of her life. Throughout it all, this woman knew that God was in control.
So…back to the question...If Mary had to face some of the family sorrows that we face today, what would she do? We think of this perfect Mother, highly venerated, who would do no wrong. Yet, she was as human as any of us. Would she advise us to look at the Holy Scriptures when the father waited and waited for his son who had left home? Would she say to never give up hope? Would she point to this father (and perhaps a waiting mother) who finally saw his prodigal son coming from afar who had seen the error of his ways?
Would she have forgiven when children neglected their older parents and simply be grateful for those who are loving and caring, like her Son who asked a disciple to care for her as he died on the cross? Does this mean that a person not a member of the immediate family might be more caring and loving than the blood relation?
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)
All these are hard questions, but as a Mother, she would understand things from a woman’s (and Mother’s) point of view.
Even the first miracle that Christ performed had to do with a problem of a social nature. At the wedding in Cana, Mary was concerned about the fact that the hosts had run out of wine. Jesus felt that His time to reveal His power or that He was the Messiah had not come, but He listened to His Mother’s request for help. He turned the water into wine, which the guests realized to be the best wine. Mary knew Jesus’ power to step into the lives of others in small or great issues. He also wants the best for us regardless of the circumstances.
You may also have some questions for Mary if you could speak to the Mother of the Savior and if she could hear you from heaven. I certainly do. Here is what Mary would do and say… “Take it to Jesus for it is in Him that God with the Holy Spirit answers prayers. He is the beloved Son of God.”
Life is complicated for so many of us. We pray that at this time when we see the beautiful pictures or works of art representing the Mother and Child that we will remember that her faith was strong and unwavering. Her pain was real and so was her joy as she trusted in God to work through the events that seemed beyond help.
Happy New Year from Boyer Writes.
VIDEO: Turn up sound
“All that glitters is not gold.”
Do you know where this term originated? For our Thanksgiving post, I’d like to share with you a bit of history…and say that this is a most true statement. We think of solid gold that has great value, as in jewelry or other ornaments. Sometimes we even speak of people as being “worth their weight in gold.” Gold is a precious commodity. Nations have fought over it. Great gold pieces have been stolen from one land to another. Gold miners hoped to strike it rich and bet everything in their lives to seek its source. Yet, there are some things that are even more wonderful than gold.
“The original form of this phrase was ‘all that glisters is not gold’. The ‘glitters’ version long ago superseded the original and is now almost universally used.
“Shakespeare is the best-known writer to have expressed the idea that shiny things aren’t necessarily precious things. The original editions of The Merchant of Venice, 1596, have the line as ‘all that glisters is not gold’. ‘Glister’ is usually replaced by ‘glitter’ in modern renditions of the play…
Various different ways of expressing the idea that ‘all that glitters/glisters is not gold’ were in general circulation well before Shakespeare’s day and it was a common enough notion to have been called proverbial by the 16th century. The 12th-century French theologian Alain de Lille wrote:
“Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold”.
Geoffrey Chaucer also expressed the same idea in Middle English in the poem The House of Fame, 1380 –
“Hit is not al gold, that glareth”.
Nevertheless, it is Shakespeare who gave us the version we now use.” (The Phrase Finder)
So often the color, yellow, is associated with gold. The sun shines a ray of golden light onto the earth to bring us the things that do not sparkle, as may real gold, but can be enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is God’s gift to share with us the beautiful golden colors of Fall and throughout the universe with the golden twinkle of a star. A stripe of gold may adorn a small bird, a little flower, a sunset and many other things on earth. Even the color on my “golden” retriever, Gracie, is a special beauty…and she did not glitter…but oh, was so precious. We have “golden” anniversaries and friendship that we would not trade for even a tiny speck of gold. We are blessed beyond the price of gold with God’s love to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, not all gold glitters..or in Shakespearean days, “glisters.”
Boyer Writes brings you one of the most beautiful works of photography in this video entitled: “Sun Paints us Gold” by Tim Janis
Being a country girl from North Carolina, I sometimes go back to my roots…shed the classical music that I love…and listen to the songs or Southern words of a “Good Old Boy…or Man.”
Here is one for you with the salute to the many States of the United States and the freedom that we enjoy. It is no wonder that so many from so far want to be a part of the “Land of the Free.”
Are we perfect?…by no means, but what we don’t like we can say so without the threat of being locked up to suffer alone with no way out.
Are we always “united” in all ways?…no, but we still are the United States of America…with all the diversity that can be in one land.
Our thanks to our forefathers who came from countries around the world to search for a new way of life…away from dictators to their lives and from persecution for their faith. Our thanks to our brave men and women who stand ready to defend this country against all foes. For those Americans who have given everything in foreign lands to maintain freedom for all, we give them our heart’s gratitude and our prayers.
Today I give you, the reader, a tribute and a pledge to MY BEAUTIFUL AMERICA by Charlie Daniels.
To any of our readers who may be struggling with a situation or some troubling difficulty, I share with you this song. It was written by a young man struggling with God’s call to him to go into Christian ministry as a priest. We all have our moments in life when we need God’s guidance. Look to Him for the perfect way for you.
Be Not Afraid by Bob Dufford
Throughout the world, no song is more inspiring than the beautiful Amazing Grace. In Christ, our Savior, His grace and forgiveness is a perfect gift to all mankind.
For your ever enjoyment and inspiration from Boyer Writes:
She is a redhead, filled with enthusiasm and a love of life. She was my neighbor in Virginia. Little did she ever dream that she would have that lovely red hair pulled back 5 inches from her forehead to her ears, to allow doctors to make an incision and remove a large brain tumor. This is her true story, written in her own words, to give encouragement to anyone facing a similar situation. It is not an easy story to tell, but one that should be passed on to those who may lack courage or have difficult decisions to make in this regard.
Looks Can Be Deceiving by Patricia Paige
“When we meet someone for the first time, we immediately become aware of their appearance. We notice their height, their hair or their eyes. One such example is found in First Samuel Chapter 16. When Saul had lost God’s favor to rule over Israel, He sent Samuel on a specific mission. He traveled to the home of Jesse, and from his sons, God told him he would find “the chosen one.”
As Samuel looked at Jesse’s older sons, he considered their height and strong features, but God rejected all of them. He told Samuel that God does not judge someone by their outward appearance. He looks upon the heart. Samuel sent for Jesse’s youngest son, David: “And, the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”
When you look at me, you might notice my red hair, my blue eyes or my smile. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. What God knows, but you cannot see, is that in August 2014, I had surgery to remove a brain tumor.
I’ve had headaches most of my adult life, including migraines. I didn’t believe the headaches I’d been having for the past several months were any different. These headaches would always completely disappear. My journey began quite uneventfully on a beautiful day in June. When I’d awakened that morning, I’d felt really energetic. Except for this morning, my hearing was muffled. Have you ever been swimming underwater in a pool? You hear the voices and laughter, but the sounds seem diminished. I continued my busy day. After accomplishing a few errands, I’d purchased groceries, and prepared an early supper. However, throughout the entire day, my hearing remained muted.
After my husband and I had eaten, I’d filled a plate and popped on the travel lid. My purse and keys were on the counter. Suddenly, I felt nauseated and started having stomach cramps. Later, I would look back on this event and realize this was God’s divine intervention in my life. If these symptoms had not occurred exactly when they did, I’d have been driving down a four-lane highway.
Thankfully, I’d gone into the small half-bath near the kitchen. Nausea only worsened as did the stomach cramps. When my massive seizure began, I was close enough to the wall to lean my head against it. Honestly, I don’t believe I could have remained upright at this point. My next symptom was extremely bright, revolving lights. Have you ever been to a carnival where colored lights are pulsating and blinking in a circle?
I never lost consciousness, but believed my head was literally going to explode. Searing pain raged throughout my entire skill. On and on the cycle continued with nausea, severe cramping, blinking lights, and headache. Several times I thought I was going to die. It would have been a release from the excruciating pain. I am so thankful to my husband for placing cold, wet washcloths on my forehead and back of my neck.
Why, you ask, didn’t my husband call for an ambulance? My symptoms were waxing and waning, so we both assumed it would be over any minute. Besides, some of our friends had recently suffered a nasty stomach bug, which had included a severe headache. A similar illness perhaps? As suddenly as the symptoms had appeared, they disappeared. I felt completely normal again. I could walk and talk without any problems. My speech and balance were fine.
However, this experience troubled me. Were these symptoms of something more serious? I phoned the office of a neurologist I trusted and had known for several years. In the meantime, I went to my family physician. My vital signs were within the normal range. When I described this frightening incident, he expressed concern. I told him of my upcoming appointment with neurology. He was relieved I would be seeking additional medical treatment.
My headaches were becoming worse; occurring more frequently. The neurologist thought I was having “cluster headaches.” She also ordered an MRI (brain scan) to rule out anything else.
Returning home few days later, I had a phone message from the neurologist. She asked that I return to her office early Monday morning. This was Friday afternoon so I knew it wouldn’t be good news.
“You have a brain tumor” are words you never want to hear from your doctor. My suspicion had become all too real. I just sat there and didn’t respond. I was in shock. She asked if I’d heard what had been said. She asked again. I shook my head signifying I understood. I sat motionless; silent.
She showed us an x-ray of the tumor. It was a moderately large Meningioma. This type of tumor grows within the first three layers (the meninges) that are located between the skull and the brain. Although they are usually benign, I would require surgery to remove it. When she asked where I wanted to go to, I asked, “Where would you send someone in your own family?” That’s how I was referred to the Chief of Neurology at a hospital accredited as a Level I Trauma Center.
The next few days were a blur. My headaches were more intense, and I was increasingly sensitive to bright lights. I’d wear my sunglasses even indoors. My family continued to be supportive, encouraging and funny. Hey, look, our daughter would say, “Mom’s wearing sunglasses in the house. She must think she’s a Movie Star!”
The following information is taken from a Facebook post: “Last night, I read the pathology report on Mom’s tumor. It gave the exact measurements. I used a ruler, pen and paper and made a sketch. Then, using the materials at hand, I fashioned a replica of it using many, many rubber bands. If you’ve met my Mom, then you know that she’s a short, small-boned, cute, redheaded woman. What I’m trying to explain is that this tumor is HUGE! No wonder Mom is keeping a bad headache.”
Two MRI’s and two neurologists have now confirmed that this tumor is indeed a benign meningioma . Next week, I have an appointment with the doctor who will perform the surgery. With his guidance, we’ll formulate a plan.
The surgeon was very professional, yet more than willing to take the time to answer all our questions. In my prayer time, I’d made a request of God. I’d asked Him to put me in the hands of Christians during my surgery. No one, not even my family, knew about my request. On our way out of the office, one of the associates touched my shoulder. She said, “You’re going to be fine. I’ll be in the room during your surgery, and I’ll be praying for you.”
Relief! Precious, wonderful relief. We were in the hallway before I broke into tears. My husband hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” I explained the petition I’d made earlier. This is God’s way of showing me, “He’s got this!”
We were told to check the surgery schedule as we exited the hospital. The doctor who’d be performing my procedure did not have an opening until the middle or latter part of September. This was the first week in August. Waiting several weeks seemed like a very long time. I remembered that Almighty God held me in the palm of His Hand, and I was at peace.
I was on a “prayer chain” at my home church as well as several others throughout our community. These Christians were asking for my healing, and for the grace to see my family through this journey.
My health continued to deteriorate. My painful headaches were even stronger, and my energy level was beginning to drain. By now, I was unable to accomplish even the simplest of household chores. I began noticing that my balance was affected. Most days, I walked like I’d been drinking. I’d hold on to walls and furniture to prevent myself from falling.
One day I received a phone call from the hospital. It had only been two weeks since my appointment. The woman on the phone worked with the neurosurgery scheduling department. She asked if I wanted to have my procedure performed on August 22. Talk about a no brain-er (excuse the pun!) Absolutely!
As my husband and I sat in the surgical waiting room, we were joined by our daughter, granddaughter and grandson. This was the quietest my family has ever been. Usually we’re talking, teasing and laughing.
A nurse came to take me back, and told my husband and daughter they could join me after I was prepped. The hugs with my grandchildren were bitter-sweet because of the seriousness and uncertainty of brain surgery. Of course, I didn’t want to leave my family, but I knew where I’d be spending eternity. And, this was incredibility comforting. My family sat beside my bed. None of us knew what to expect. We were in a holding pattern similar to an airplane waiting for take-off.
My surgeon joined us and inquired if we had questions. The anesthesiologist arrived and introduced himself. Did we have questions? He then asked if they could pray for us. I don’t remember the words he said, but I knew they were heartfelt. It was surreal. Never before have I been so grateful to be a Christian surrounded by other believers.
According to my daughter, my surgery went well. Because I’d bled more than expected, I’d received two units of whole blood. I’d be in recovery, then ICU for several hours, transfer to a room, and finally discharge. That was the plan. In life, things do not always go as we’d anticipated.
When I first became aware of my surroundings in ICU, I was unable to speak. For a woman who has been extremely verbal all of her life, this proved to be difficult. As the hours passed. I became increasingly angry. My anger was not directed at God. My distress was due to my circumstances. I remember clenching my fist into a ball and pounding it on the bed. This could not have been beneficial especially since this was the arm where the IV was attached. I began shaking inside and sobbing. Tears were running uncontrollably down my cheeks. None of the nurses could tell us why this was happening.
Later that night, our daughter phoned a friend who teaches speech therapy at the college level. She explained that my condition was called expressive aphasia. This occurs when there is a disconnect between the brain and the mouth. The words I was trying to express were simply stuck in my brain. Apparently, when the brain is touched, interesting things happen.This would improve with time.
My tumor had grown from the left side of my skull toward the right. In fact, it had wrapped around the large cranial nerve in the middle of my skull. Think of it like an octopus whose tentacle is holding on tight. While my surgeon was unable to completely remove this part of the tumor, he’d gotten into close proximity. My brain needed to rest and reboot.
Because I couldn’t speak, the nurses brought pad and pen and asked that I write down what I wanted to say. I held these items in my hands, but I couldn’t write words. All I could do was to make attached ovals in a solid row. Row after row after row. Finally, I stopped trying.
I spent two days in ICU before transferring to what they referred to as a “step down” room. I’d stay there for the remainder of the week. At this point, I’d transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation center near the hospital. This was an intensive 7 day a week program focused on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In the beginning, each of these were challenging. I had deficits in all three areas.
Occupational therapy proved to be extremely difficult. When offered a child’s large-piece puzzle with wooden handles to grasp, I managed to put together only three pieces. Twice daily the therapist would encourage me to work with my hands to improve eye/hand coordination. Problem-solving skills slowly started to improve and were more consistent.
Physical therapy concentrated on regaining my equilibrium, muscle strength and stamina. At this point, I was using a walker with attached wheels. Therapy incorporated the use of large balance balls, safe places to walk for short distances, exercises and stairs with railings to prevent falls. We had all learned and mastered these skills in early childhood.
Obviously, speech would be problematic. It would take time not only to learn how to communicate, but how to lessen the disconnect in my brain. Because I’d always gestured with my hands when I talked, occupational therapy was the missing link in regaining my speech. These therapies would continue when I returned home.
During this entire time, my vision had been extremely blurred. It was like trying to visualize objects or people through a thick fog. I was also experiencing drowsiness and fatigue. I’d accepted these as side-effects of my surgery. Thankfully, they were not!
The high dosage of seizure medicine they were giving me to keep my brain calm was reacting negatively with a muscle relaxer. I’d used it to relieve muscle spasms due to Fibromyalgia. I had not taken this particular medication in over a year, and then only once or twice daily. However, my medical chart showed I was taking it three times daily. I explain this in detail as a precautionary tale for others. Review your medical records carefully with your primary care physician to correct any discrepancies before you are hospitalized. In any case, it is of utmost importance that your medical records are correct.
Arriving home, there were other obstacles. Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues especially when I’m in a hurry or stressed. It was difficult to remain calm, breathe slowly and deeply, then retrieve the actual word I wanted to express. Sometimes, I’d become angry and raise my voice. My poor husband was the target of all my see/saw emotions. Thankfully, he is a Godly man who really loves me. I’d say an entirely different word than the one I’d intended. Sometimes I’d just point to an object and call it a thing-e. Occasionally, this still happens.
When I first began my journey back to health, I did not realize it would take this long to recover or be so life-changing. These were the times that I found solace in the writings of Corrie Ten Boone: “When the train goes through a tunnel, and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
I’ve always had empathy for people with cerebral palsy or those who have had traumatic brain injuries or strokes. Until my experience with expressive aphasia, I did not fully understand how challenging it is for them to try to speak. Now I do. Those words and thoughts remain locked deep inside their brains. Every day, they ride on a roller coaster of emotions. These brave people endure disappointment, frustration, anxiety and depression.
As a believer, I did not expect my life to be any easier because of my profession of faith. I did trust in God’s promise to never leave me. He is faithful as we continue to walk together down this crooked path called life.
I accept that everything that comes into my life is allowed by a good God. Why does He choose to heal some people and not others? I can’t answer that question. He alone can see into the future. God already knew I’d have a brain tumor, surgery and difficult recovery. I believe He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. I’m using the miracle God granted me as a testimony. It is my desire to provide inspiration and encouragement for those facing a similar or other serious surgery.”
Note from Boyer Writes in 2017: God made a way for Patricia Paige to survive her brain surgery through prayer, family support and the medical team that skillfully brought her through to live a productive life. She is most grateful that the doctors understood her feminine concerns and left her red bangs to be brought forward so that people would not even notice that she had gone through such major surgery.
Whatever your challenges may be, give yourself to our Lord and ask Him to make a way for you to come through your difficult circumstances.
Boyer Writes footnote in 2019: Patricia Paige was a pen name for a lovely person whose real name is Wanda Robinson. She wrote about this part of her life a number of years ago. God made a way, through doctors and support of family and friends, for Wanda to have five more years of life. In 2019, she went to be with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and her wonderfully supportive husband, Wade. It is in her honor that I re-post her writing.
God’s Holy Word tells us many things about the Beauty of the Earth and God’s creation:
For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations so that it should never be moved. … Psalm 104:1-35
And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis1:31
God’s love for us through His Son should make in us a freedom that is not known through anything else.
This music is for your week’s pleasure.
Video: Peaceful music from Born Free by John Barry and the earth’s beautiful creatures. Turn up sound.
To God be the Glory and we thank Him for His Amazing Grace.
For my readers’ listening pleasure! Boyer Writes
Video: Andre Rieu and Bagpipers
In Christian services around the world, people sing the great hymn, “It is Well with my Soul.” Most have no idea who the writer of the words was or what was his background.
His name is Horatio Spafford with music composed by Philip Bliss in 1873.
The question you may ask, after hearing about his life’s story in the video below, is how could he have ever penned those words?
Anyone who has gone through times of trial or the most disastrous events in their lives know that they have to find something or Someone greater to cling to in order not to lose sanity or their faith in God.
Some people may never quite get to a point in faith to say “It is well.” The author of this hymn also went out on a limb in his personal beliefs. Nevertheless, in the end, his great song has been a lifeline to many as they find out that Christ is the only answer to our sufferings because He knew suffering well.
Here are the words to It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Refrain)
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain)
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Refrain)
But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul. (Refrain)
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! (Refrain) ( from Wikipedia)
Here is Horatio Spafford’s story and the tune to his song. (turn up sound)
May you be blessed in your soul.
As a Christian author, it is my joy to share a book that I have recently written. My latest devotional book is called Around the Corner.
The reason for that title is because throughout my life there have been surprises “around the corner” that have given me inspiration and understanding of people throughout the world. These stories, events and thoughts are what I want to share with my readers.
Divided into 31 days, the daily reading has not only stories of adventures, joys and “Things that I have learned”, but also Scripture readings and prayers. It also includes some of my original art and photography, which also are my creative thoughts.
It is my hope that you will enjoy Around the Corner, in book form or on Kindle, for your inspirational reading. If you like either, please pass this blog post onto your friends and family.
Click here: Around the Corner…paperback edition
It has been some time ago that the world, through their TV channels, watched the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris fall into the blazing fire and smoke below. Yet, a cross that hung in the cathedral survived.
It may be time now to think about the power of the cross as a symbol of hope. The cross is not a symbol of hope fo everyone. Yet it is powerful, whether they think so or not. There may have been some who rejoiced as the cathedral burned because they wished any symbol of Christianity to be destroyed. Just as terrorists wanted the World Trade Towers to no longer be the symbol of economic power, their evil minds set out to destroy them. Symbols, in themselves, do have power to renew our minds and thoughts to something that can become even greater. That is true of the two symbols that are written about in this blog post. The cross being our greatest hope…not wealth, but faith.
In place of those fallen towers, where thousands died…Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and many others with faiths… as well as atheists and agnostics, a great new tower was built. A grand memorial to all who died and suffered that terrible day now stands deep in the belly of the new, grand building.
We remember also over 2,000 First Responders who have died or sick years afterward from illnesses that came upon them trying to reach the victims. This has led President Trump to sign the 9-11 Victims’ Fund to those still suffering.
Tragedies often bring about in the human spirit a desire to rebuild, to remember and to fight against such atrocities and those who propose them.
Instead of shocking, deliberate attacks, such as those on the World Trade Center, Pentagon or the intended attack on the White House, a few are accidental as the burning of the great Cathedral of Notre Dame. The world was dismayed for another reason as we recognized the value of a great work of architecture that had stood for over 850 years, having taken 200 years to build. It was a prize of history, being one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. This church was not only a symbol of Christianity but of the culture and the magnificent antiquities of France.
In the Cathedral of Notre Dame hung a cross, which was only exposed after the fires were put out. Miraculously, it still hung as did some of the magnificent stained glass windows. The French are determined to rebuild this great church and in doing so, we also can believe that it will be a revival of a great symbol of renewal, endurance, and hope. The world needs symbols of hope and none is more powerful than the cross and the great buildings in which a cross is lovingly placed.
Recently, I saw a video of a church standing on an island in Japan. Inside was a great cross, stained glass and though the island is now almost deserted, the church still survives in an unlikely place. Someone build it years ago and it is a symbol of their faith.
For all Christians, the real symbol of hope was never burned in that terrible fire in Paris…the great cross of Christ. That cross, shining bright, amid the ruins of the cathedral, sent the message around the world that the cross of Christ is the true symbol of hope for the world.
Yes, the cathedral will be rebuilt eventually, but the message of Christ in the cross will still shine after the burned rubble is cleared away. The message it brings is forgiveness, a renewed life, and the promise of life eternal through Christ, the Son of God.
The message in the clearing away of the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City is that out of the ashes rises the great Phoenix of hope, freedom, democracy and renewal. Even in that terrible attack, St. Paul’s Chapel next door to the towers was not destroyed even though the debris fell all around it. The 1st President of the United States, George Washington, worshiped in this church.
It was not the first time, however, that this Christian church had escaped being destroyed. In the first days of the American Revolution, the invasion of British troops sparked the Great Fire of 1776, which destroyed 432 structures in New York. The fire spread to St. Paul’s Chapel and very nearly overwhelmed it, but a bucket brigade managed to squelch the fire. It is now named as the oldest surviving church in Manhattan.
Symbols are important in our lives. Some are international, national, or even personal, but they are often a message of joy, inspiration or hope.
(ABC News tour video) Important: In order to hear sound on the video, you will have to unclick sound symbol.
The troubles we encounter sometimes bring us to wonder if there is any way out. Life, in many cases, is not fair. Standing our ground; never giving up hope, and sometimes just plain fighting back is the only way.
I recently saw the video below and it reminded me of this fact. In this case, a baby elephant had been separated from its mother and was attacked by a large number of lions. It is breath-taking to watch. He is a tough little guy and the odds certainly are against him. Nature is harsh and relentless. Survival is not always possible in nature, but within the animal and in man there is the God-given spirit to fight off the offender and not only survive, but to live…truly live another day.
Isn’t that the case with difficult situations? We just have to “tough” them out. Solutions are not always easy. To find a solution may be through our own searching or through the help of others…but there usually is an answer to the heart-ache or trial that besets us. Whatever yours may be, don’t give up. Remember, there is usually someone wanting to help you by lending a hand.
In our video, the 14 lions attack an elephant from behind…climbing on the elephants back…trying to bring him down. You may notice that the elephant had a strategy. He led the lions into the water…chasing them back…dropping back into a safer area…and continuing this fight time and time again. Toward the end of the film, the elephant’s strategy has worked, but he returns to the same place of danger. We are left fearful that he will be attacked again. Perhaps one thing we know is that if we are moving away from the dangerous things in our lives and then return again to the same place, it may not be the smartest move. I’ll have to tell you that it was reported that in the end he was reunited with his elephant family.
The lions attack from behind and hang on, hoping to wear the elephant down. Isn’t it the case when life’s troubles attack? They often come from behind when we are not expecting them. As they hang on, we are made weary or even in some cases become sick from the anxiety. Troubles may be something of our own makings, such as a wrong decision or even drug or alcohol abuse. Then again, it may be family or work difficulties.
The “fight back” is not revenge or plans to get even, but one that will get the “monkey off the back”…(or the lion in the elephant’s case) and to find peace and rest. Some things you can’t change for they are out of your hands. If this is your situation, stop beating yourself up about the matter. God knows far better than you how to change something that you can’t. Therefore, seek Him out in your thoughts and prayers. Put your life in His hands.
“The Gregorian chant is the oldest musical manifestation of the Occident (countries of Europe and Americas) and it has its roots in the songs of the old synagogues, since Jesus Christ`s times.
The first Christians and disciples of Christ, were converted Jews who, persevering in prayer, continued to sing the psalms and songs of the Old Testament. As the Greeks, not Jews or Romans, were also becoming Christian, elements of the music and the Greek-French-Roman culture were being included to the Jewish songs. “
As the birds have been singing outside my window this Spring, I enjoyed hearing God’s little creatures sing along with this peaceful Gregorian Chant. For your listening pleasure …for peace and joy!
Illumination-Peaceful Gregorian Chants– Dan Gibson’s Solitude
VIDEO (Turn up the sound. There is a slight delay in the opening…so give it a moment. )
After a trip to Greece this year to follow the “Footsteps of St. Paul”, the inspiration came to share my photography and words of Holy Scripture that St. Paul spoke to the early churches. He and the men and women during the years of spreading the Gospel through missionary journeys suffered greatly the persecution that eventually led to his beheading in Rome. Because of them, we have the writings of the Holy Scriptures today of the good news of the Christian faith.
Follow with me now some of his words to the Jews in the Synagogues, the faithful in the churches and to us, the modern day church. I have included archeological finds and ruins as well as the amazing monasteries of Meteora.
This devotional is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-Book form.
All books written by N.W.Boyer for adults and children (click on each book for more info)
HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED.
2019 has been a year of great sadness around the world with disasters, wars, people fleeing oppression and other events: the burning of one of the world’s great Christian cathedrals and the deliberate burning of black churches in the U.S. Our soldiers still serve and die on foreign fields. There are a great many things to be concerned about in our world.
Nevertheless, we turn our hearts this Easter Sunday to the Great Hope for the world in the resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. On this Easter, we rejoice in the glorious hope for through His giving of Himself that we may be saved and the looking for His return to the world.
The grave could not hold Him. Hallelujah!
Blessing to all Boyer Writes readers! N.W.Boyer
(VIDEO: Turn up the sound) Hallelujah Chorus