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Blessings, Boyer Writes
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
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Years ago I found a little book with words and pictures drawn by Trina Paulus. She published it in 1972. Why I have hung onto this book for so long is anyone’s guess.
However, in this day of cut throat elections of 2020 and the depressive feelings of being closed in…I think I know why this book has a message.
There are climbers for “being on top” in our world today. We often teach our children that they must push for success rather than finding their true purpose. People follow this philosophy, believing that they will find happiness and contentment in life…even if it is, at times, at the expense of others.
Grab a rope and hang on…for we are going to make a very high climb as I share some portions of this enchanting book with you. Perhaps we, together, can find a lesson for our own lives.
As we pray for and look for hope for the world, the title of this book is HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS. The Author begins this way:
“Once upon a time a tiny striped caterpillar burst from the egg which had been home for so long. “Hello world,” he said. “It sure is bright out here in the sun.”
So the caterpillar begins to eat the leaves in which he was born. After much eating, he stopped and wondered if there was more to life than just eating. Climbing down the tree, he decided to look around and see more of the world. He found grass, dirt and bugs that he had never known about. Eventually, he saw a long line of other crawling caterpillars, all heading in the same direction. They were all heading to a large pile of more caterpillars pushing and shoving.
The caterpillar in this story is named Stripe. Stripe was”pushed, kicked and stepped on from every direction. It was climb or be climbed upon. No more “fellow caterpillars” on Stripe’s pile…they became only threats and obstacles which he turned into steps and opportunities.”
As they tried to climb to the top, Stripe finally asked a fellow-climber, “What’s at the top?”
Nobody seemed to know, but Stripe had a conscience because he said, “How can I step on someone I’ve just talked to?”
He also found, along the way, a beautiful caterpillar named Yellow. She talked with Stripe, but he lost track of her until one day when he stepped directly on her head. It was then that Stripe began to believe that climbing on top of other caterpillars hour after hour was an unhappy experience. To try to reach some mysterious place made him say, “…no matter what is up there, it isn’t worth it!” After telling Yellow he was sorry, he saw Yellow begin to cry.
She said, “I didn’t know how badly I felt about this life until then. Now when you look at me so kindly, I know for sure I don’t like this life. I just want to do something like crawl with you and nibble grass.” This was how much she liked Stripe.
Stripe said, “I would like that too.” They had found not only another way to live, but to love and made a decision to give up this monumental climb to the top.
As with many decisions, doubts set in and Stripe decided to leave Yellow and try the climb once more. During the pushing and shoving, he saw a climber falling back down from the top. He barely made out the words being said, “…butterflies alone!” He didn’t know what this meant. Meanwhile, Yellow came each day to the high pile of climbers and watched to see if she would see Stripe…to no avail.
One day, Yellow saw a grey-haired caterpillar hanging on a branch upside down. Asking if she could help, the caterpillar replied, “Oh no, my dear, I have to do this to become a butterfly.”
Doing a little research, Yellow found out that a butterfly drinks the nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of LOVE from one flower to another. She learned that “without butterflies, the world would soon have few flowers.”
To think that inside herself, as a fuzzy caterpillar, there was a change going to happen. She could be eventually a flying, beautiful butterfly! This was hard to understand.
She longed to tell Stripe that she had found that she could have a completely new life. However, she didn’t know where he might be on the pile of caterpillars. She was told that once she had her new life, she could fly and find him…giving him the good news. It would take time.
Finding new patience and purpose, she continued to give attention to all that she had to do in order to make this wonderful new life a reality.
Stripe, in the mean time, has become ruthless in his climb. He stepped on those around him and said, “Don’t blame me if you don’t succeed! It’s a tough life….”
Then one day as he neared the top of the pile, Stripe heard something more than ruthless from one of his climbing-mates,
“None of us can get any higher without getting rid of them.”
The bodies of caterpillars that were in the way began to fall as others pushed them off the pile.
One caterpillar yelled, “THERE IS NOTHING HERE AT ALL!”
Another yelled, “QUIET, FOOL! THEY’LL HEAR YOU DOWN THE PILE. WE’RE WHERE THEY WANT TO GET. THAT’S WHAT’S HERE!“
Stripe could see that those who knew the truth wanted to keep others from knowing that all their climbing would led them to nothing.
Just at that moment, a beautiful yellow butterfly was circling the pile of caterpillars. There was something about her that look familiar. Stripe knew immediately what he had to do…as he began his long climb DOWN, looking into the eyes of each climbing caterpillar.
“There’s nothing there.” he warned them.
He had never noticed before that each one had something beautiful and different in their eyes. He let them know that to get to the top, one had to fly, which they could each one do if they only knew and waited for their potential. There was something inside that could give them freedom and peace. THEY COULD BE THE HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS.
When we find our purposes as individuals…and as a country….we might also bring hope to the world.
(With respect for the Author, Trina Paulus, and her words/drawings, I will share the Amazon website below, in case you want to read the entire book.
On 9-11, 2011, I wrote this blog. I felt that today, I would like to revisit what was written this many years ago and view a video of the ordinary people of New York who reached out to save thousands from the disaster of an attack by terrorists.
While watching on C-Span, the honors given to those who were passengers on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, I was impressed that there is a church just down the road from the site where the plane went down. The members of this church go there on a daily basis to stand and pray for those buried where their bodies are now entombed where the plane crashed. They have promised that this tribute will continue.
There were brave men and women on this flight over Pennsylvania. . Considering where the other planes crashed and the knowledge that they had from phone calls about the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, they believed that Flight 93 was headed to crash into the nation’s Capitol building to destroy a symbol of a free America and everyone in it. They voted to fight back and not let the terrorist take the plane. It has been said many times about the fact that they took a VOTE was “the American thing to do.”
At the Pentagon and the Twin Towers, other planes had already done their evil deeds. Ordinary citizens dropped everything they were doing to rescue those trying to flee this terrible disaster. Here is the story of two BOAT LIFTS…9-11 and Dunkirk during WW II.
“Few people know that the all-volunteer boat lifts, that happened on 9-11 in Manhattan, NY, were greater lifts than the boats of Dunkirk during World War II. 339,000 soldiers were rescued over 9 days at Dunkirk. An amazing operation. The boat lifts of civilians on 9-11 in the NY harbor were over 500,000 in just 9 hours. It is a reminder of another boat lift in history:
“May 1940, during the battle of France, the British Expeditionary Force in France aiding the French, were cut off from the rest of the French Army by the German advance. Encircled by the Germans they retreated to the area around the port of Dunkirk. The German land forces could have easily destroyed the British expeditionary force, especially when many of the British troops, in their haste to withdraw, had left their heavy equipment. For some unexplained and still unknown reason, Adolf Hitler ordered the German army to stop the attack, favoring bombardment by the Luftwaffe…This lull in the action gave the British a few days to evacuate by sea. Winston Churchill ordered any ship or boat available, large or small, to pick up the stranded soldiers, and 338,226 men (including 120,000 French soldiers) were evacuated – the miracle of Dunkirk, as Churchill called it. It took over 900 vessels to evacuate the Allied forces…The British evacuation of Dunkirk through the English Channel was code-named Operation Dynamo. Churchill’s skill in turning a defeat into a political victory is now remembered in the phrase ‘Dunkirk’ spirit, to describe making the best of a bad situation.
The US Coast Guard, The U.S. Merchant Marine and the private boats available on 9-11 were definitely “Making the best of a bad situation”! They were resolute and fast. In fact, one boat was even named “Resolute”
As did Winston Churchill at Dunkirk, the US Coast Guard made the call for all boats to Manhattan Island. Hundreds of boats answered that call. They did not know if their boat would be blown out of the water with more attacks to come. They just went. They answered with bravery and action.
This is what Americans are made of. It is deep at the core of who we are. One boatman said, ” They looked like zombies“, pouring out of the buildings covered in ash. There were children; people in wheelchairs, executives and more. “Just help me” was all they wanted. “Take me anywhere off this island.”
We have just remembered the 19th anniversary of 9-11. To those who ran to the docks, it will be forever etched in their memories. For the boat captain, who dropped everything and came, a simple “Thank You” moved him to tears. The history and determination of the great boat rescues of Dunkirk and Manhattan Island are forever linked.“
This was a day of great American unity. People helping people. One blind man was trying to find his way down the stairs of the Twin Towers. He was disoriented. A fireman yelled to businessmen, “Take care of that guy!” They did. They never let go of him, or panicked for their own sake, until they got him to the street below.
This is what Americans can be in all circumstances, whether it is a Pandemic, Fires out of control or some other disaster. DIVISION, whether political or personal, will never accomplish what people did TOGETHER on 9-11. This is what the enemies of freedom would like for Americans to do…go against each other! They would also like to see a divided world for their own sick purposes. Let the courage of 9-11 be a lesson to us all.
Hopefully, you will always remember to fly your flag every 9-11 in honor of all those who died and the first responders who gave so much…even their lives in sickness from what they worked around in the towers. The flag is also a reminder that America will not tolerate terrorists? As the years roll by, it is a date we WILL NOT forget.
Blessings, from Boyer Writes.
SPECIAL VIDEO Turn on your sound (shared with me by Gayle Olson in 2011)
August 27th is my birthday. I began to think of the Mother who gave me birth. If she were alive today, she would be over 100 years old. That gives you an idea of my age, but why people are hesitant, especially women, of sharing their age is a mystery to me. Every day we live is a gift from God and we should be rejoicing in it.
Nevertheless, I thought about my Mother, Alta, who was 21 years old when she became a mother. How difficult it must have been in an age of fewer pain relievers, saddle blocks (spinal blocks) or epidurals. Many babies were born in the home also rather than in a hospital. Should there be an emergency, the baby or the mother could die.
This led me to question WHY we say “Happy Birthday” to the person celebrating another year older when it might be even more correct that we celebrate the Mother who brought us into the world.
Here she is….my beautiful Mother and me as her baby. The Holy Scriptures tell us to “HONOR” our Mothers. Jesus honored his mother and even while he was dying on the cross, He thought to tell his disciple to take care of His Mother, Mary. How many people think of this today as they may be dying before their own mother.
That is why I want to once again give the proper HONOR to my mother. It is truly HER DAY as much as my own.
My Mother loved to cook, garden and was a business woman. She made other women beautiful as a hair designer, but in my eyes…not as beautiful as she was. She modeled sometimes for a local N.C. photographer and even into her 90’s I watched her apply her lip stick before going to dinner in her assisted living. She cared about being her best and doing her best. I hope that her genes are also strongly implanted as a part of my genes. She went through some difficult times as a single mother, but was strong in her beliefs and caring for her family. This included her concerns and generous spirit toward all her Grandchildren. She loved her son-in-law, Bill Boyer, as well.
The slide show below shows some of the characteristics that she had, but I never understood the hat and heels in the garden. Maybe she just wanted to show off both her happily growing plants that she had worked hard to produce, as well as her style.
She rarely let me in the kitchen to cook with her because she was so good at it, but the whole family enjoyed her creativity from casseroles to her coconut cake that took five days in the refrigerator. We always laughed at the fact that she sent her Grandson, Steve, to the liquor store to buy rum for her famous rum cake because she might be seen by some of her Christian friends who were Baptist teetotalers. She would soak her rum cake for days in that good stuff and never take a sip…at least that I knew of. Mom was a devout Christian and lived a life that everyone admired.
She also loved the Blue Ridge Mountains where she grew up in North Carolina and visited there when she could. I have also written my own memoirs about our years in Carolina that I titled MY STORY. It is a private book for my family, but I would encourage everyone to take the time to write about their lives. After life is over, there will be those who love you and want to remember the things that made life special for you.
“Thank you, Mother, for bringing me into the world. However in this year, 2020, when the World-Wide Coronavirus hit, I was glad that your last days were not spent in the Assisted Living that you were in for only a few months. You would have been more than sad at not being able to have your family visit…like we were able to do. You let your Grandson, Steve, climb up on your bed to play games and talk. Sadly, that is not possible now. We were able to bring our Golden Retriever, Gracie, to see you. Thank God that you were spared this isolation that so many are feeling today. You are with God and that is the most wonderful place that anyone could be. So…I say to you….Happy Birthday! I wish you were here to enjoy my birthday.
Bill, Steve and I will be down to put a flower on your grave at Christmas…as we always do. We miss you. Your loving daughter, Nancy
Slide presentation of MY MOTHER, ALTA.
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE. BLESSINGS FROM BOYER WRITES
If you are asking the question WHY would anyone feel that they can destroy property, attack innocent citizens or make the United States of America into a country of rioting and vandalism? You are not alone. Probably many Americans and people around the world are scratching their heads and asking….WHY?…WHY?…WHY?
This blog does not intend to answer that question, but there is a THEORY to why people of all colors and backgrounds…young and older…are acting the way they are.
One young woman cried out to the rioting people to” break glass…take all you want…for it is REPARATIONS for the past!” Is there any truth in what she said? NO, of course not! There are other ways to solve problems… of the past, present and future than to destroy the hard-earned businesses of people of all colors. Blaming a generation for the sins of past generations solves nothing. She is falling into the hands of the anarchists who would destroy our country.
Does she really understand how far the search for fairness to all people living today has come? Does she know that through people like Martin Luther King, Jr. that people began to see the wrongs and our government passed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights for all people? This behavior is only an excuse to do the wrong thing, which results in hurting all people.
You ask, “What theory are you speaking of in all this madness?”
It might be summed up in one Scripture Verse from the Holy Bible:
The Holy Scripture talks about the “sins of the fathers” to the third and fourth generations and even Shakespeare uses this quote in his writing of The Merchant of Venice: “The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”
In the small towns of America, there are people, whose early families were immigrants…not slaves, who believe that the “sins of the fathers” should be remembered and MADE RIGHT, as much as possible. I’m going to share with you a true story of a place in the mountains of which I am quite familiar.
Our former VA home was close to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway of the Appalachian Mountains. While living there, I read an article about a man who knew about the slaves that worked the area on the Langhorne farm in Virginia. This was before the Civil War and there was an unmarked burial place near the lovely little village of Meadows of Dan. When the article was written, there was only a small wooden split rail fence where the bodies of the slaves had been buried This also included some small children of the slaves. When the Park Service was building the Blue Ridge Parkway, the land became part of their domain. The headstones had been torn out and thrown in the woods. Nothing remained to show who was buried in this specific spot, but some of the old timers of the area knew.
One afternoon, I went looking for the rail fence, which turned out to be at the entrance to the Parkway at Meadows of Dan. Parking at the local church, I walked over to the area. Nothing was there to identify the graves of the slaves who had lived, worked, and died here. Only a small, rail fence circled the area.
“What a shame that there is nothing to identify it,” I thought to myself. The millions of people yearly, who ride the Parkway, will zoom right by this historical, sacred spot. Most people will travel on to visit places where the old timers settled, like the old Mabry Mill right down the road, but they will never know the history of this place where a plantation owner buried those who labored for him.
In this age of monuments being torn down of the famous men of the Civil War era and the present day stressful problems of racial disharmony, it was heartening to know that there were white people who had been trying to convince the Park Service to do the right thing for many years. Unfortunately, as is the history of all bureaucratic, government agencies, slow or forever slow is the story. It definitely was in the case of these slaves having a proper monument.
After six months away from the Blue Ridge, I rounded the curving entrance to Meadows of Dan and there it was…..the old slave cemetery that I had written about in my book, Old Timers of the Blue Ridge. Now, it actually had a marker! A large, beautiful granite headstone stood inside the split rail fence. 18
My husband and I stopped, walked up to the monument and the last words stood out to me…FOREVER FREE! Yes, they have gone on to be with God, Who made all people…black, white, and every shade of color. They are free at last, but are we living free from the past? Is it possible, no matter how hard people try… to be removed, in this modern world where hate runs deep, from the “sins of the fathers?” This is a question of gigantic proportions!
Hurrying home to check the internet, I had to know the story of how this monument was placed here in the year that I was away from Virginia. This is what I found out: Matt Burnett, an old time resident of the area, had been one of the workers who tore out the headstones for the Park Service and he asked Bob Heafner to make him a special promise. That was thirty-three years ago.
“Burnett asked Heafner if he would make sure that people would someday KNOW ABOUT THE FORGOTTEN SLAVES hidden in plain sight next to a road traveled by millions.
Heafner was young then, a businessman and a publisher who knew people in Meadows of Dan and up and down the parkway. Surely, Burnett thought, Heafner could find a way to place a monument or memorial to those people, so that their lives wouldn’t remain buried in the past….Heafner discovered a will that stated James Steptoe Langhorne had at least five slaves and perhaps owned more than 10 at one time. He also found the names of five other African-Americans who were probably buried in the cemetery. Three of them died enslaved, with history having no record of their last names:
Charles (a child who died in 1858),
John (who was 19 when he died in 1858)
and Ellen (a 1-year-old who died in 1862).
The two other people Heafner documented died after the Civil War:
Guss Langhorne (another 1-year-old who died in 1871)
and Susan Langhorne (born a slave, died free in 1871 at age 28). It is unclear why the latter two had the Langhorne name. 19
It took a number of people to finally get results of placing the granite stone where it should have been long ago, including finding the granite company owner who was willing to make the stone.
This grave site was part of a history of the South. The mountain people strongly defend their history. People come far and wide to see the reenactments of the Civil War between the North and the South near Ararat, VA. The important points of this story are that the Blue Ridge people also believe in keeping their promises and doing right by the slaves that are buried in this cemetery regardless of the actions of the people of the past. Throughout our country, especially in the South, there are many people who feel the same way. They definitely should not be condemned for the “sins of the fathers” when they were not born during this terrible time of history.
Who exactly was James Steptoe Langhorne of Meadows of Dan, the land owner where the slave cemetery is located?
“According to family history, Henry let his son James Steptoe Langhorne choose one of the plantations, and after touring them all, James Steptoe, age about 22, looked out over the 13, 000 acre “Langdale” plantation in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen! In fact, he is credited with giving that area its name, Meadows of Dan—located in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Dan River. He chose to settle there, but was blinded by retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited family disease– within just a couple of years—and never actually saw his beloved land again! James Steptoe Langhorne, called “Grandpa Steptoe” by his grandchildren, married Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro and together they had eight children, and adopted at least two more. Of course, on a 13,000-acre plantation in 1822 Virginia, Grandpa Steptoe owned slaves. It doesn’t matter how abhorrent and embarrassing this practice might be to me today, it is a part of our history. ” It was from Patrick County, VA that he built his massive plantation along with the slaves who worked it. He also gave land and built at least two churches. The Meadows of Dan Baptist church is where he and his wife are buried. His father and original family were emigrants from Wales, arriving in 1666. (credit Helen Houlshouser…relative to James Steptoe Langhorne)
If you are traveling the beautiful Blue Ridge, stop in at the little slave cemetery at the corner of the Meadows of Dan exit. Spend a few minutes considering the long-reaching meaning of who is buried there and give a “thank you” to one of the many merchants down the road in Meadows of Dan that helped promote the erection of the slave memorial stone. We especially thank the man who kept his promise, Bob Heafner.
“Slavery was common in Patrick County. According to county historian Tom Perry, as many as 2,000 slaves were part of Patrick County’s 9,000 residents in 1850. The majority of those enslaved people were owned by the prominent Reynolds and Hairston families. The Reynolds were the founders of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s father owned 28 slaves, according to Perry. Slavery was less prevalent up on the mountain in Meadows of Dan, where five families owned slaves, according to an Appalachian State University research project commissioned by the park service.” 20
Even though time has passed and we live in a new era, those who came out to see the placing of the new marker at the Meadows of Dan, know that it is important to the families of those who may have buried relatives in this grave site. There is a new Database of identities of 3,200 slaves through the historical society of VA that can help people find their descendants. Information can be found beginning with the American colonies in 1619 through unpublished private documents.
The most important thing is to remember the men, women and children who worked the land by force. We must also not forget that African Americans and slaves from other areas were not only those who suffered great injustices. Native Americans endured the Trail of Tears and other horrors. The white settlers who had emigrated from Europe suffered at the hands of the Native Americans and the lawlessness of other Americans. Present day merchants, white and black, suffer when a life-time of work and businesses are destroyed by rioting. We could go on and on.
One may ask, “So where do we go from here? Will people never get over this tragic piece of history?” Because slavery in America may have caused many problems of today, this is a good question. How many generations will be affected by those who did terrible deeds of bringing slaves to America, as well as the off-spring of those who bought and sold them? How many generations will have to find new and better ways to compensate for the sins of the past or is that possible?
The great repentance of a rude, profane Slave Trader, John Newton gave us the beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” In 1748 he wrote “On that day, the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” Only God’s amazing grace could “Save a Wretch like Me, ” he wrote. 21
The Fathers of our nation and the rich owners of slaves often had children with those they owned. Some of those children have embraced their lineage…become educated, successful and brought honor to generations after their enslaved fore-fathers. Reunions are held by those who can trace their legacy from a white slave owner to their slave mother. Healing is needed in our nation. Maybe owning the past is the answer as the Germans have had to own the Holocaust.
The Sins of the Fathers will only be healed when we find a way to remember that all people are sinners and need the grace of God to combat the past and bring forgiveness to the present. Listen to this promise God has given to all of us.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and WILL HEAL THEIR LAND. 2nd Chronicles 7:14
Back in February I posted this blog. This would be before the virus hit and we all wondered if we would indeed get any older. Now, I have come to believe that there is sunshine at the end of the storm. Hospitals are announcing fewer cases and except for the political agendas, people seem to be on the move. An agent whom we know said that they just can’t keep up with the number of houses being bought…so someone is expecting to live in them or sell them again in some future time. ALL THIS LOOKS LIKE A GOOD “GROWING OLDER” possibility.
So let’s talk about this new optimistic view by looking back at what I wrote in February. The only real difference that I can see is the really close contact and the tragedy of the elderly dying alone in a nursing facility. That breaks my heart!
“Everything in advertisement these days is how to stay young and beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to do that?! Well, not so fast, perhaps those that have lived a good, long life have a few things to say about aging. We will explore the subject that no one wants to write about, talk about, or experience…aging. We all grow a little older each day…each hour…each minute. Some tell it better with the graying of the hair, a larger mid-waist, or a few wrinkles…or alot as the case may be.
I live in Florida and all the billboards for senior living look like this:
Yet, many older people are finding a life filled with wonderful memories and FEW, if any regrets about their lives.
It is not all downhill as some would like to think.
The funny thing, however, is that we rarely think of ourselves as getting older.
You notice that I never say OLD, but OLDER because it is the natural part of life for everyone…from crib to the knee replacement!
I’d like to share a portion of one chapter which relates to this topic of growing older:
“What exactly is the meaning of “grace” or doing something with “grace”?” We would all like to think that we can be that kind of person when it comes to seeing our lives slide away and we can begin a possible countdown on two hands. There are those who might make it to the 100 mark, but the quality of life in these people is usually limited. There are exceptions, however. Some Centenarians have some real words of wisdom for all of us.
One man said, “I enjoy robbing the government by continuing to get my pension!” Another Centenarian said about getting older and reaching 100, “It is only a number. You live for the day and a little shot of whiskey occasionally helps,” he said with a smile.
Fond memories seem to play a great part of enjoying the end of life. We all have the heartaches, but it is the happy times that we can and should reflect upon. Building another good memory at any age is the key. It is a great thing to be able to say, “I really did so many things, knew so many people and I believe I mostly did everything that I wanted to do.”
If you are growing older, it is not only the physical body that begins to become more frail, but the mind and emotions can also take a toll. Some of this is genetic or poor health or a disease that is not avoidable. Nevertheless, for those of us who are fortunate enough not to have some of these disabilities, it is up to us to feed the brain with optimism and good thoughts. It is too easy to complain or become “an old fogy” that no one wants to be around or that is old-fashioned or intellectually dull.
Doing the things that make us happy is most important as we age…whether that is writing, as I do, or watering a beautiful flower that has been grown and nurtured by your own hands.
An English lady maintains her wonderful memories of her family as if they are all still around her. With a laugh, she says that sometimes people will hear her talking to herself…but it isn’t really to herself…but to the children that she remembers and cared for through their lives. “They think I am crackers when I talk to myself, but I’m not…just remember the ones I love.”
If you have been in a nursing home for the aged, it is quite depressing, at times, to see so many elderly sitting and doing nothing. Often they are sleeping from medication given to them that can take away quality of life. This is when an advocate is so important to keep watch over a parent or grandparent who may not be able to fend for themselves when it comes to care. Years ago, the elderly stayed in the home of the children until their death. Because of this, they had someone with them who truly cared about them and their welfare. How important it is to speak to those sitting in the Assisted Living facilities and let them know that they are recognized as a special person who has lived a very long life. Each of them have stories to tell if we will take time to listen.
Taking time to listen is exactly why my husband and I interviewed veterans of past wars to write their stories in the book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge. Most had never had an interview and were most appreciative to know that the service they gave to their country would live on in a book. This was especially true of an elderly man who fought in Korea with frozen feet. His miracle was that just before surgery to remove his legs, the blood flow came back. Our veterans are quickly passing away, as are the Holocaust survivors of World War II. With grace, many have shared their lives and stories of courage with us. In our present day, those who now sit in wheelchairs, will soon be gone from us. Some have made the trip back to the places where so much happened in their lives to preserve freedom for future generations. Never forget to thank them “for their service.”
Asked if the Centenarians “have any regrets,” most had only a few. Some wished that they had told someone they loved them more or worked harder at a vocation. Time moves swiftly as we grow older. We look back at a full-time career, a number of children in the home, pets to care for and after retirement it is hard to imagine how we fit all that into one 24 hour day! We should want to live those hours as gracefully as possible at any age.
The word ‘grace’ literally means ‘favour.’ In Hebrew, it is CHEN from a root word CHANAN – to bend or stoop in kindness to another.
In Greek it is CHARIS and has the idea of graciousness in manner or action. It comes from a root word CHAIRO to be cheerful, happy. 31
Perhaps this is the key to those who have lived life longer than most…to accept each day with gratefulness and cheerfulness. It is a lesson for all of us to learn to live in GRACE.
On a spiritual level, it is to LIVE and MOVE and have our being (or EXISTENCE). Acts 17:28 It is the GRACE of God that saves us.” N.W. BOYER
It spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow,one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change,insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in a small way. Quote by Edith Wharton (An American novelist and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921.)
Recently I received an email from a reader of this particular blog on Growing Older. What she wrote to me was so impressive that I asked permission to reprint it here for my readers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
“Hi, Nancy! This was great. It reminded me of my job in Portland, Oregon where I was an Activities Director for an assisted living facility. I had to get my certification from Portland State and I learned a lot about geriatrics! The state required that I provide activities for spiritual needs, physical, creative, educational, and social activities. It was quite a challenge I had 97 residents and I was the only activities person. The nurses were nice enough to help those who were not ambulatory to take them to the activity. I had a “Fit & Fun” class where we exercised to the 1940’s music (they especially liked the Andrews Sisters); I had a Chorus, and a band, we gave concerts to the families. I did educational things like picking a country and showing a 30 minute video about it and before that, I would make some food for them from that country and talk about it for a while—plus I had “happy hour” and music playing on Fridays, and I had a tea party for the ladies (Steve came and played the recorder for them) with lace tablecloths and china tea cups—I had slide shows…and ministers/priests/ and Jewish people come in and offer services. I loved that job so much! It was great fun. Steve called me a “paid party-girl”. 😊
Working with elders was wonderful. Funny…too. “Good morning, Claire, how are you this morning?” Claire replied, “Well, let’s see…I woke up…I was able to eat breakfast…and I could go to the bathroom…It’s goin’ to be a great day!” You never know… I have so many stories.
My favorite was Vera. She had Alzheimer’s, couldn’t walk on her own, and had trouble communicating. I found out that she used to play the piano. So one day, I wheeled Vera in front of this grand piano and then I sat down at a nearby table. She looked at me…and looked around…and looked at me again…and looked at the piano…then played a beautiful rendition of “Moonlight Sonata”. I nearly fell over. I ran to get the nurse to show her! Wow. After she finished—I took her back to her room and she fell asleep. She didn’t say a word.
Another favorite was Violet. Again Alzheimer’s –about 3rd stage. She was walking on her own. Wore everything in her closet (we were careful not to have much in there)…needed assistance to be seated because she didn’t know where to sit. She had trouble talking but she babbled anyway. I heard that she used to be a secretary for 45 years. One evening, while she was eating dinner in the dining room, I took a chance and wrote on a piece of paper in Gregg shorthand “How are you today, Violet? ”. Then I left the paper there with the pencil and watched her from the other part of the room. It took a while…she looked at it, then ate some more and looked at it again, picked up the pencil and scratched something. After she left, I went and got the paper… it said, in Gregg shorthand… “I am fine today, thank you.”
When I think of being older…I think of miracles. Those that have happened, and those that have not happened just yet. I’m training my mind to be positive, and grateful. It’s working. 😊 Your wonderful story just added to that!”
ENJOY YOUR LIFE…IT IS THE ONLY ONE YOU HAVE…and the sun is still shining!
VIDEO Turn up sound Interesting thoughts from some who made it to 100 years old…and still enjoying life.
SUN.…Have you walked outside the air-conditioning and just felt the warmth of the summer sun on your face? There is something relaxing about drinking in the gift of God…bright, calming sun.
FLOWERS…Today we are going to think about all the beauty that summer brings…FLOWERS. My rose garden is a delight. When I reach for a new, glorious bud or an open bright, red bloom, I can truly say that all other thoughts leave my mind. They are perfection as they raise their long stems toward the heavens.
Oaks….The trees that shade us from the hot, summer sun and give the birds their perch…we honor you for you will probably still stand long after we are gone to God above.
BIRDS…The song of BIRDS are clearly heard each morning. Occasionally, I am at the right place and time to photograph a bird…not just any little bird…but the unusual, big birds.
BUTTERFLIES... Plant some seeds in your garden. You will be amazed at how fast they will grow into colorful blooms that the butterflies love. After they bloom, collect the old blossoms for the seeds. Shovel some dirt over the old flowers and watch them come up again. Giant sunflowers will do the same.
Rain that showers down the blessings of a fresh day. Filling our lakes and rivers that run into the oceans blue.
WAVES…If you love the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the stretch of Beaches and the soft, smooth sand, you have found the perfect summer. Here, in Florida, we also have sand dunes. Once I encountered a 6 ft. alligator coming up the beach and slowly making his way into one of the sand dunes. He seemed to pay no attention that humans were sharing this lovely spot with him. THE JOY of SUMMER CAN BE ALL YOURS!
LOOK AROUND YOU AT GOD’S CREATION.
Enjoy the summer video below.
VIDEO FOR YOUR PLEASURE Turn up your sound
There are many examples, leading up to and during World War II, of resistance movements. Usually it was a group outside Germany within countries that had been taken over by Hitler’s armies. The French are well known, as well as others, who risk everything for FREEDOM and eventual peace.
It may not be as familiar with some of my readers that there were Germans who also resisted. In fact, there were several movement who paid a great price for their heroic deeds. One was known as the White Rose. Perhaps three of the most famous were a brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were students in the University of Munich. Christoph Probst, a married father of three, was also part of the White Rose movement. They believed that the German people had suffered greatly under Adolph Hitler and the crimes he was committing against humanity was totally against their conscience and Christian beliefs.
Exactly what was the White Rose?
The White Rose ( Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual, resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi regime. Their activities started on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. The Scholls, as well as others, carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials by the Nazi People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.
Hans, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine four days after their arrest, on February 22nd, 1943. During the trial, Sophie interrupted the judge multiple times. No defendants were given any opportunity to speak.
The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They denounced the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance.
In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well known both within Germany and worldwide. (Wikipedia)
A surviving member of the White Rose gave this description of life in Germany at that time:
“The government—or rather, the party—controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”— George J. Wittenstein, M.D., “Memories of the White Rose” (Wikipedia)
Should this not be a history lesson for all of us today, who have the democratic privilege to vote for our officials…or see that our own society’s voice may be slipping away with more and more government control?
What motivated Hans and Sophie Scholl to stand strong under such oppression?
Sophie’s own words tell of her CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE. This was the great motivator to do something important in the midst of evil. Here are some of her quotes:
“Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.”
“An end in terror is preferable to terror without end.”
“How can we expect fate to let a righteous cause prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause?”
“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. “
“I will cling to the rope God has thrown me in Jesus Christ, even when my numb hands can no longer feel it.”
(quotes from article by Bill Muehlenberg)
HONORS in recent history for Sophie and Hans Scholl by the German people
The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut (“Scholl Siblings Institute”) for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. The institute is home to the university’s political science and communication departments, and is housed in the former Radio Free Europe building close to the city’s Englischer Garten. (Wikipedia)
OPPRESSION CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE
Will you or I be willing to speak up against it?
VIDEO Turn up your sound. Scenes from the movie The Final Days based on the true story of the White Rose Resistance. (The full movie is on You Tube)
In previous posts, I have shared with you the music of John Rutter. He had a special commission to write a song for an occasion in which the world would be looking for every moment to be perfect. What a responsibility!
I can only imagine the nights that he must have struggled over the exact song…a perfect song for this ceremony. The Queen would be there and everyone who could have managed to receive an invitation. This was the day! As with all his other music, he puts God’s words and love as the main focus of his composing. In this special event, he wanted God to be honored and for the world to receive a message of God’s tender care. Using Psalm 118, he expanded on a familiar gospel chorus…adding special words.
Finally, he finished his composition for the organ and voices of the choir boys and older singers. This special day would be at Westminster Abby, one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in the world.
I’m certain that at some point before the ceremony, Rutter had to present this song to His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton for approval. What if they decided it was NOT what they desired for their big day.., after all his work and prayers? Thankfully, this beautiful song was right on target and with a thumbs up…the rehearsals began!
You will notice that this song is not one of flowery love between a couple. It is about God’s love and the responsibility of the couple before God. The words are words of encouragement that God will be with them. He will be their defender and protector. Yet, they must also “praise Him.” They must be strong and put their trust in Him. We pray that this is what they are doing in life, for it was a ceremony before God… not to be taken lightly amidst the grandeur.
Here are the words, in part, to this special song, This is the Day by John Rutter. He used the Holy Scripture in many parts. (source: Musixmatch)
This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day.
O praise the Lord of heav’n: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels of His: praise Him, all His host.
Praise Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord.
For he shall give his angels charge
Over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
To keep thee in all thy ways…
The Lord himself is thy keeper
The Lord is thy defense upon thy right hand;
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day
Neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
Yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in:
From this time forth
From this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee
He shall defend thee under his wings...
Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart,
Shall comfort thine heart…
Put thou thy trust in the Lord
Thy trust in the Lord.
What about your day? Each day God gives you is a special day and you too should rejoice and be glad in it. Thank Him today for your special day. It may be simple and plain…nothing royal…but it is YOUR DAY!
This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today. Psalm 118:24
For your enjoyment, here is the beautiful music by John Rutter, THIS IS THE DAY. Turn on your sound.
If you are staying at home on Sunday morning because your church is temporarily closed down or you don’t attend a church at all, here is a great sermon for your listening pleasure. I say, “listening” because it is not a visual video, as many that I put on my blogs, but simply a recording.
This message is given by Thomas Whartenby, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic… has been the minister of Galax Presbyterian Church for forty plus years and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, is the church organist and choir director. Their ministry is in a small community situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA.
I was privileged to include him in my book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Why is it important to hear Dr. Whartenby’s message?
As a people and a nation, we are extremely self-centered. Yes, there are many caring people among us, but as a culture there is much to be improved. I can only speak for our country, but I would guess that it might be the “new normal” for most of the world. Of course, included in this, is the added pressure of isolating and how to take care of OURSELVES when there is such a need to reach out to others. We are warned nationally and locally about “distancing,” which only makes self-centeredness more prevalent. It is hard to know when to think of SELF as far as health is concerned and believe that we are doing it for others. The problem is that the “others” don’t know that our standoffish actions are for them.
As we look at history, much of “what’s in it for me” has come about with the industrial revolution, increase in technology, ability to hear and see through the media an emphasis on having more and more. Life has become a rush to acquire, get ahead, and forget about what is really important. Patience is a long-lost virtue.
We want things and service NOW...no waiting! Almost everything we do is “How does it effect ME?” In some cases, it is how can I get something for nothing? Our young people and children, unfortunately, are modeling these behaviors and attitudes.
The Holy Scripture has something to say about this problem. Dr. Whartenby, “Tom”, gives a fresh understanding of why we want self-gratification. He puts in modern terms thoughts that make sense to all of us.
It will be worth your time of 30 minutes to listen. I am including this link for those who believe that we all need a new look at what this title means….IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT US.
What does music do to our souls? John Rutter, the composer whose music I shared in my previous blog, has a theory about music and especially the music sung by small or great choirs. Because we enjoy music that has beautiful harmony, Mr. Rutter thinks it is a lesson for all mankind…to be in harmony with one another.
What a desperate prayer this is for the world as we know it today. To even consider harmonious living in a time of destruction and cruelty is almost “asking for the moon.” Yet, this is what God wants from us and only through Him and the love He demonstrated for us through His Son will we have this glorious blessing of peace and harmony. We look for the day that our churches and community choirs will once again gather in fullness to sing His wonderful praises.
BRIEF HISTORY OF JOHN RUTTER: Born on 24 September 1945 in London, John Rutter is the son of an industrial chemist and his wife. He grew up living over the Globe pub on London’s Marylebone Road… As a chorister there, he took part in the first recording of Britten’s War Requiem… He then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the choir. While still an undergraduate he had his first compositions published, including the “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol” which he had written aged 18.
In 1981, Rutter founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts, and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works)… He frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.
In 1980, he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
Rutter’s compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat. In 2002, his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Similarly, he was commissioned to write a new anthem, This is the day, for the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, performed at Westminster Abbey during the service. (Taken, in part, from a conversation with Bruce Duffie)
At the end of this blog, you will see the words, OLDER POSTS. In case you missed it, click on this to hear another of his beautiful musical pieces with words. It will be worth you while.
Listen to what he has to say about choral music and then below his message is one of his most excellent works of art. Tune your heart to be blessed.
Turn up your sound.
Turn up sound. THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU
Conducted by John Rutter Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, The Mark Thallander Foundation Choir Festival
This is a short blog to give you a rest from all the difficulties of life. Listening to and thinking about too much in the news with total negativity can make your mind, not only depressed, but filled with dread and doubt about our lives on planet earth. God has something better for you to think about…HIS LOVE ND HIS CREATION! The music is LOOK AT THE WORLD by the great Christian composer, John Rutter.
FOR YOUR TOTAL ENJOYMENT AND REASSURANCE FROM BOYER WRITES
GOD BLESS YOU!
You were brought into the world and given life. Whether you are now old or young, you are still you. Have you ever asked yourself, “Exactly WHO AM I?”
What special gifts do I have? How am I different from my closest relative? Knowing WHO I am is a most important question. People often spend their entire lives searching for the answer to that question. Some feel bewildered… while others feel confident in their own skin.
I found the answer to “Who Are You?” as I searched the Holy Scripture and saw that this question was also asked of the Apostle John. He must have been extremely confident to announce who he was, because in some cases, he went against the religious hierarchy of the day. It is evident that his confidence only came from God, who had given him a job to do. He simply knew that he knew.
How about us? His purpose for each of us will only be revealed when our hearts are ready to listen to the small still voice that we can’t seem to make go away. It is His Holy Spirit drawing us into His love. The answer then to the question, “Who are you?” is this:
WE ARE TO BE WHAT GOD HAS SENT US TO BE...A CHILD OF HIS. WE ARE TO BE A LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD.
“What if I have missed it?” you may say. He wants you to know that you have not missed it.
We measure everything in our time frame. Time is irrelevant to God. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2nd Peter 3:8
He sees your heart as it is today. If you ask forgiveness for any past things that do not measure up to God’s purpose for you, He will forgive and remember them no more. The Holy Scriptures promises us that. We have to trust that fact.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 (Old Testament)
Then He adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Hebrews 10:15 (New Testament)
In the Gospel of John, the Apostle John, as mentioned above, was “sent by God” to let the people know that the Messiah had come. His reputation had gone before him…so much so, that the priests and Levites, who were descendants of the Tribe of Levi, were sent from Jerusalem to ask him “WHO ARE YOU?”
St. John knew exactly who he was…a MESSENGER from God that the Jews should know the truth…that their MESSIAH, of Whom they had been waiting and looking for since the days of the prophets, was living and walking among them. He said that he, John, was only a “VOICE”….”crying in the wilderness.” His message was simple. “Make straight the way of the Lord.”
St. John was born in the late 1st century (circa 5 B.C.), Saint John the Baptist was a Jewish prophet who preached the imminence of God’s final judgment. It is believed that he was born somewhere in Judea, located near Jerusalem, Israel, according to the New Testament. A priest of the order of Abijah, John the Baptist gained recognition as a prophet, had several disciples and baptized a number of people, including Jesus Christ, according to scripture. Christians believe that John the Baptist was the last great prophet before Jesus Christ came to earth. He was reportedly beheaded circa 30 A.D. (Biography)
We are living in a wilderness today. One of the meanings for “wilderness” is an inhospitable region. Inhospitable means harsh, difficult, unfriendly or unwelcoming. Doesn’t that describe much of our world today as one faction raves against another.
This is why we have had wars throughout history. People, in kingdoms and governments, were, and are, filled with greed, ambition, power…and it overcame them to the point that they never found the true person that God wanted them to be.
Many led others to think that they should follow their ideologies rather than God. A few examples come to mind: Napoleon Bonaparte, having made himself an emperor of France, died in exile on the remote, British-held island of Saint Helena at age 51. Adolph Hitler, after losing WWII, committed suicide at age 69 and Saddam Hussein was captured, tried and hanged for his crimes…age 51. They did not have very long lives by today’s longevity. (history)
Each of these men were once the little boy that God wanted to have a good life, but they chose to neither listen to nor accept the Holy Words of God. They thought they knew better about who they were, but they didn’t. Their eyes became blinded to God’s truth through their own choices.
Back to our original question…Who are you? You are to so live your life that you will be a voice to the harshness of this world…for good, not for evil.
Being the messenger of God’s love and hope does not mean that one has to be a minister, who preaches in a church, on a mission field or some other Christian group. St. John was not seeking a prominent position or popularity, but to be faithful to the message he was given by God to share with the world.
We may only be the voice of hope to someone who shares with us their difficulties in life. Just be ready for that encounter! Remember, God’s timing may take you by surprise. It may be at the grocery parking lot; when walking in your neighborhood and meet someone you haven’t seen in a while or a fellow worker.
You may say, “I’m too shy to open up to someone about faith” or “I think religion is their business” or “That seems a little bold to me.” Yes, you are right. Some of us are by nature on the shy side, but God has promised to supply the boldness needed.
Even if we believe that everyone’s business is their own…especially about “religion,” we must remember that sharing God’s love is not talking about a particular “religion,” but about your own personal walk with Christ. As a Christian, you are called to be ready to give the hope that is within you. Peter 3:15 also talks about your shyness and that you may be afraid.
John was known as the “beloved disciple.” We all want to be loved. How wonderful to be the loved of Christ, who speaks of you to His Father in heaven. We must all ask ourselves as Christians, “Are we faithful to being what God wants us to be?” It is never too late to surrender ourselves to His perfect love.
Dedicate this day, this hour, your next breath to being His in all walks of your life…and you will find that you are what He wants you to be. He will lift you up and give you the voice, heart and soul that He wants of you.
You will truly know exactly who you are…a child of God.
The following is a trailer of the life story of a young boy, from Argentina, who was also called of God to be His voice. His name is Luis Palau. He made his voice the voice of hope to the Spanish speaking people around the world, especially in Columbia. The full length is extremely moving and is available on Amazon Prime.
Turn on your sound.
Who was Isaac Watts? An English writer and theologian, beloved for his talent for writing poetry and songs, he became famous during the early 19th century. Even at an early age, he was know to use his ability to rhyme quite readily:
Watts was once asked why he had his eyes open during prayers, to which he responded:
A little mouse for want of stairs
ran up a rope to say its prayers.
He received punishment for this, to which he cried:
O father, father, pity take
And I will no more verses make
In later years, Watts wrote some of our most loved hymns:
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
Joy to the World
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
He also wrote a book on logic. At his death, Isaac Watts’ papers were given to Yale University in the Colony of Connecticut, which nonconformists (Puritans/Congregationalists) had established. (Wikipedia)
Mixed with Holy Scripture, these are the words that Isaac Watts wrote in one of the most loved Christian hymn.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
by Isaac Watts
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.”
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
Luke 21:3-4 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Matthew 27:29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
About Jesus in Psalm 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
About Jesus in Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
John 19:2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Revelation 5:12-13 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Love so amazing, so divine,
Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Taken from “Scripture and…” blog)
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Beautiful music for your pleasure…with the first hymn by Isaac Watts.
Turn up sound and move the red line completely back to the beginning.
A close friend of mine sent me the writing below and ask that I pass it on. Just before we celebrate the 4th of July, our great Independence Day, I am happy to do so. They are definitely “tough words.”
As we look back at what it cost to free ourselves, as a nation, from England, in order to gain independence….our American flag stands for all the freedoms we enjoy and all that it has cost since then. This includes the freedom of speech…for those who speak out for or against a certain action.
The following are not my words, but I believe they speak the feelings of many Americans who love their sports and the players, but not some of their actions or attitudes. You be the judge.
“TO THE NFL (NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE) and ITS PLAYERS:
If I have brain cancer, I don’t ask my dentist what I should do. If my car has a problem, I don’t seek help from a plumber! Why do you think the public cares what a football player thinks about politics? If we want to know about football, then depending on the information we seek, we might consult with you, but even a quarterback doesn’t seek advice on playing his position from a defensive tackle!
You seem to have this over inflated view of yourselves, thinking because you enjoy working on such a large scale stage, that somehow your opinion about everything matters. The NFL realizes the importance of its “image” so it has rules that specify the clothes and insignia you can wear, the language you use, and your “antics” after a touchdown or other “great” play. But somehow you and your employer don’t seem to care that you disgrace the entire nation and its 320 million people in the eyes of the world by publicly disrespecting this country, its flag, and its anthem! The taxpaying citizens of this country subsidize your plush work environments, yet you choose to use those venues to openly offend those very citizens.
Do you even understand what the flag of this country means to so many of its citizens before you choose to “take a knee” in protest of this “country” during our national anthem?
You may think because you are paid so much that your job is tough, but you are clueless when it comes to tough. Let me show you those whose job is really tough.
You are spoiled babies who stand around and have staff squirt GatorAid in your mouths, sit in front of misting cooling fans when it’s warm, and sit on heated benches when it’s cold. That’s not “tough” that’s pampered.
You think that you deserve to be paid excessively high salaries, because you play a “dangerous” game where you can incur career ending injuries. Let me show you career ending injuries!
You think you that you deserve immediate medical attention and the best medical facilities and doctors when injured. Let me show you what it’s like for those who really need and deserve medical attention.
You think you have the right to disrespect the flag of the United States, the one our veterans fought for, risked limbs and mental stability to defend, in many cases died for. Let me show you what our flag means to them, their families, and their friends.
You believe you are our heroes, when in reality you are nothing but overpaid entertainers, who exist solely for our enjoyment! Well, your current antics are neither entertaining nor enjoyable, but rather a disgrace to this country, its citizens, all our veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they have made to ensure this country remains free. You choose to openly disgrace this country in the eyes of the rest of the world, yet with all your money, still choose to live here rather than in any other country. People with even the slightest amount of “Class” will stand and respect our flag. Where does that put you? You want to see heroes… here are this countries heroes!
You can protest policies, the current government, or anything else you choose, that is your right. But when you “protest” our flag and anthem, you are insulting the nation we all live in and love, and all those who have served, been injured, or died to keep it free. There is nothing you can do or say that can make your actions anything more than the arrogance of classless people, who care about themselves more than our country or the freedoms for which our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much, to ensure you have the “right” to speak freely. Our country is far from perfect, but if you can point to any other country where your freedom and opportunities are better than they are here, then you just might want to go there and show respect for their flag!”
VIDEO “GOD BLESS AMERICA” Turn up sound
Our minds are a controlling factor to our emotions, critical thinking and ultimately…our actions. It has come to my attention recently that we are rarely in control of our minds…even if there are millions of cells making up our every thought. By the very nature of our modern society, we are allowing this. Why is it that we should give over to others to program into us what our minds will retain? Am I saying that we should “stick our heads in the sand?” Not at all. We do, however, have choices.
We are influenced by what we hear and see. Most every household has a TV that is turned on hours upon hours of the day. People who are alone, especially the elderly, use the TV to give them company. Depression can set in rapidly in these cases.
The people who spend much of their time watching and listening much of what is programmed today are allowing themselves to be conditioned into a type of mind control. A steady dose of truths…or lies are being filtered into our brains that are becoming part of our very being.
What was it like before TV?
A city life in past history would be filled with noises, the smell of the deli down the street, a woman hanging out her clothes from a window, as she calls to a neighbor on the street. The loading and unloading of produce or goods for the stores would fill the air with noise. A person would move around these things, filtering out what they wanted to be around or what they wanted to hear. Life could get tough in a crowd, but this would be the learning of “street smarts.”
In the country, a person may get up early to milk the cow. A mother starts making her bread and encouraging a young one to do their chores. Life would surround a person with the clinging of the cow bells, the birds in the trees and the cat or dog that moved around the barn. Life was simple and calm.
When the industrial revolution hit our world, many things changed. People moved out of the country to find good jobs. Life became more complicated and people were on the move. Almost everything became a faster pace. The automobile was invented…and the wife/mother moved from baking bread to the TV dinner. Basically, life would never be the same.
Ships and airplanes moved us around the world. Our sense of security was shattered as enemies became not only domestic, but foreign. Our minds and hearts were broken with two world wars and continued fighting around the globe throughout the decades. Fear had become a mind set…as it continues today.
The mind has a hard time catching up when it is inundated with other people’s beliefs to what we should be and do. The real term is propaganda and we fall for it. We are made to feel less of a person if we disagree with the norm. Our young people “can’t live” without the best kind of shoes or cell phone. God never intended for us to store all these thoughts of inadequacy in this great gift He has given mankind. The mind is an incredible thing. We may feel like we have no control over everyday life that enters its billion cells, but we do have to a great extent.
This may be the primary reason that we will have to make decisions for ourselves. We can CHOOSE to turn off the TV more hours of the day. It may also be a time where we deliberately look for uplifting stories or documentaries that give us encouragement rather than despair. It is really our choice, but we are addicted. Why do I say “addicted?”
Just try to change the routine that you have become accustomed to for year after year. It is hard to make a change, but your mind and emotions may be saved grief, depression and more if you decide to make some changes. I speak from experience.
It is only natural to want to tune in to who has committed the most damage in one of our big cities…how many more cases of virus are killing our people…or what is happening in politics? It all is becoming TOO MUCH! Our minds are tired.
It is only natural also for families to use TV…with all its junk as a babysitter. Just think what those little minds and hearts are absorbing!
A doctor friend told me recently that he tuned in with his toddler to one of the kid’s programs on TV and saw that even tiny children are being indoctrinated about sexual life styles as being just fine. Isn’t a parent suppose to decide what is good for their child? He was shocked…as should be all parents who take the time to pay attention. The young mind is eager to absorb.
So what do we do? We first of all must be deliberate in our decision making for ourselves and our families.
I remember something I noticed while visiting a family one time years ago. There was a teenage son…or perhaps early teens…who was sitting and reading. I asked his mother what he was doing and she said that he was suppose to read a chapter in Holy Scripture each day before doing anything else. At the time, I thought that was a strict requirement. Yet, that parent was giving a young mind a discipline that perhaps he would follow the rest of his life. Whether he understood its importance at the time, may be questionable…but he was exposed to the commands of God for a good and happy life.
God has told us to raise up a child in the way that he/she will go and when they are old, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) For those who have tried to do this, we are praying and believing His promise. It may be that we will not know or even see the fulfillment in our lifetime. Yet, we can trust.
What actually does the Holy Scripture tells us about things that we find ourselves thinking about…perhaps over and over? We need comfort today and for the future…and here are a few words from God to give our minds just that:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
ABOUT GOD’S SPIRIT
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day … Psalm 91:1-16
Today….look at nature in God’s beautiful world. See Him in the smile of a friend. Do something you love to do. Give your heart a fresh start in a new day that is only yours moment by moment. Your MIND is your gift from God…PROTECT IT.
Video: Turn up sound. Push red line back to start from beginning.
The truth of the butterfly is much like the truth of the Christian new birth. There was a time in my life when my senses about God and His Son were as dormant as it is in a caterpillar that doesn’t know it is to become something designed by God. Many Christians have this feeling.
The fact is that very caterpillar has to die before it can become a butterfly. The same is true with our old life.
Science tells us: “In order to be able to become a butterfly, the caterpillar has to fall apart completely, decompose down to its very essence, devoid of any shape or consciousness. It literally dies. There is nothing left of it. And from this liquid essence, the butterfly starts to put itself together, from scratch.”
There are many different caterpillars that make a unique type of butterfly in color and design.
People are also different. God will take our special personalities and use us how He chooses. His plan is to take your life and mine and make us in his honor. Just as the butterfly, He unfolds a new life in us. The old life will pass away, like that of the caterpillar. God’s goal is to make every Christian’s life more beautiful than could ever be imagined. The butterfly is our example.
Will the butterflies of various colors be with us forever?
A German study gives some difficult news of fewer butterflies than ever before…down by two thirds:
“Our study emphasizes the negative impact of the conventional, industrialized agriculture on the butterfly diversity and shows the urgent need for ecologically sustainable cultivation methods. Additional field studies may aid in identifying individual factors responsible for the insect die-back and in implementing appropriate countermeasures,” (Science Daily).
It is difficult to think that such beauty could someday be extinct from the earth, as have many of God’s other creatures.
Will the Christian be always on the earth to see it through rough times?
Apparently not, for God has promised the most beautiful place that He is preparing for us. When this will happen, we do not know. We are only told to watch and be ready. We are not promised, however, that we will not go through horrific times on earth before Christ’s coming. We are only promised that He will be with us and courage will be ours.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36
Can we imagine that all the perfect parts of nature will be in this new, heavenly place that God is preparing? We will also be joined by those we have loved on earth…including our beloved pets. We are told also the lion will lay down with the lamb in perfect harmony.
I can only imagine the heavenly gardens with all the colorful butterflies that only heaven can produce! A new heaven…and this new earth made perfect by God with no more sin, fighting, or tears.
As scientists warn about global changes, the Holy Scriptures also gives fore-warnings about the ways of the world. We are not to be caught unaware… as we watch our earth decline…scientifically and within the lives and actions of people and nations world-wide.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17; NIV).
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:22; ESV).
God’s promise about heaven and earth to John in a vision on the Greek Island of Patmos, is recorded in Revelation 21:1-6
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
To the Butterflies…Thank you for your lesson of life to us.
Video: Background music for your special pleasure. Turn up sound.
Most clergy are hesitant to take on those who are in a higher position than themselves. This was not the case with the Great Reformers of the Protestant Reformation. Many of them were burned at the stake for opposing the hierarchy of the church. One of these reformers was Martin Luther.
Recently, a Catholic friend of mine sent to me an amazing video of the sermon given by Fr. James Altman of LaCrosse, WI
It is rare to have a Roman Catholic speak out against the words of an Archbishop.
Yet, this young man may be the one to lead the way among Christian groups, whether Catholic or not, to speak up for right and wrong according to the Holy Scriptures. He uses what we know best…the Ten Commandments to address to his congregation (and now the world) God’s message to this age in which we live.
Whether you are a Catholic, Episcopalian, as I am, a Baptist, Pentecostal or any other denomination of the Christian faith, hear this message from a courageous priest. Perhaps there will be other Christian leaders who will lend their voices to his. As people of this nation and the world, we could use another Great Reforming.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Turn up your sound and enlarge the screen. (Be certain to push the red line back to the beginning if it is already moved forward.)
Do you ever wonder if God would talk with you in an audible way, how the conversation would go? Some people have had the rare experience. I never have, but just the same I do talk with Him. It is usually in the shower or in bed at night. We are told, however, to always be in a prayerful state.
Since He knows all languages and the odd expressions that most cultures have when carrying on a conversation, I’m certain that it would be the same with us in this generation. No Thee or Thou, as in the Bible…for King James didn’t realize that in our times we would be far beyond these expressions. He probably would be mortified to think that a conversation with God could be on such a “common” level. He would probably think our conversations were disrespectful!
Recently a friend sent me this video. He called it “moving.” I call it “Relevant,” for God will definitely meet us where we are…regardless of who we are. The next time you pray, think about this particular conversation.
Enjoy it now…and be moved!
Turn on your sound…Click below… Wait for the download to show up below your screen and then click on the your download to watch.
May you be blessed this day with some beautiful music as you listen for the quietness of God’s presence in your heart.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Video of beautiful, relaxing background music with nature photography:
Turn on your sound.
It is amazing that people who have been greatly blessed with a special gift can continue to use that gift even after they physically find it almost impossible. The determination, courage, and faith that it takes to continue…to press on regardless of the circumstances is inspiring indeed.
One of my favorite pieces of music by Beethoven is the part of the The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantas,” which we know as the Moonlight Sonata.
It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi The piece is one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions for the piano, and it was a popular favorite even in his own day. Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata in his early thirties, after he had finished with some commissioned work; there is no evidence that he was commissioned to write this sonata…The name “Moonlight Sonata” comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name “Moonlight Sonata” (“Mondscheinsonate” in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name. (Wikipedia)
By the love letter Beethoven wrote to Giulietta, it was obvious that he was in love with her. However, it appears that her father objected to a marriage for the two. Beethoven was not rich enough nor had a position he considered suitable for his daughter. This great piano virtuoso would not have his love, for she eventually married another man.
Beethoven’s love letter to the Countess:
My Angel, My All, My Very Self,
Just a few words to-day, and only in pencil . . . Can our love endure otherwise than through sacrifices, through restraint in longing. Canst thou help not being wholly mine, can I, not being wholly thine. Oh! gaze at nature in all its beauty, and calmly accept the inevitable – love demands everything, and rightly so. Thus is it for me with thee, for thee with me, only thou so easily forgettest, that I must live for myself and for thee – were we wholly united thou wouldst feel this painful fact as little as I should . . .
Now for a quick change from without to within: we shall probably soon see each other, besides, to-day I cannot tell thee what has been passing through my mind during the past few days concerning my life – were our hearts closely united, I should not do things of this kind. My heart is full of the many things I have to say to thee – ah! – there are moments in which I feel that speech is powerless – cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all !!! as I to thee. The gods must send the rest, what for us must be and ought to be.
The young Beethoven and a painting of Beethoven after his illnesses and the loss of his hearing. What could be more devastating than for a composer to not hear what he was playing…Yet, he continued to use the gift God gave him.
“Beethoven died in his apartment in Vienna, on 26 March 1827 at the age of 56, following a prolonged illness. Beethoven’s funeral was held three days later, and the procession was witnessed by a large crowd. He was originally buried in the cemetery at Wahring, although his remains were moved in 1888 to the Vienna Central Cemetery.”
In this short, dramatic movie clip, given in part here, Beethoven could hear nothing of what his genius and gift from God had allowed him to compose. The strings of the orchestra moved, but for Beethoven, where was no sound. The audience heard it, however…and finally, he was given the applause that he could at least see. He finally saw with his eyes their appreciation for his beautiful music.
Turn up sound and click link and then click the back arrow to return for a piano performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
PIANO PERFORMANCE OF THE MOONLIGHT SONATA: Arranged by Georgii Cherkin Classic FM Orchestra Conductor: Grigor Palikarov Soloist: Georgii Cherkin – piano
Children the world over are God’s beautiful creation. They are meant to be loved, encouraged, taught and become the wonderful adults we hope them to be. They will be our next teachers, ministers and priests, doctors and nurses, leaders, mechanics, scientists, great artists and inventors. They will be what their God-given talents can make them…..IF….they are taught, loved and shown the way by the examples of adults. What we instill in them will bring us joy, laughter and peace… or the very opposite.
WHAT A CHALLENGE FOR US! We are the adults. They are the followers. I remember a young man in a 5th grade class I was teaching, who mostly wanted to draw. He had a talent that I pray he is using today. At least that was what I encouraged his mother to do for him…“Find him the best art teachers you can find. Let him do what he loves most and bring him along a path of art adventure in his life. What other children will do, he may have no interest in doing. Let him be who he is. Let him use the talent God has given him.”
For your pleasure, I want to introduce to you a young child, approximately 9 years old, from Russia. His name is Elisey Mysin. In 2019, he mesmerized the audience in the city of Naberezhyny Chelny when he performed Mozart’s Concerto No 3 in D. Major.
Thank God for children…the talented and the less talented…they are all His gift to us!
Turn up your sound.