The word “Confidence” means many things to different people. Somehow in just saying the word, it seems STRONG and ASSURED. Even writing those words in all caps makes me feel energized.
There are few things in life for which we would put our full confidence. There may be a few people that we are close to or in some cases, we actually put our entire life in their hands. (The pilot who flies your plane for example.)
For some, confidence has never been part of their being. It is a word out there for the famous or the rich…not the ordinary person. YOU ARE WRONG…if this is your thought for we are promised a great deal of confidence through a faith in Jesus Christ. (from the New Testament…Philippians 4:13 shown below.)
There are other scriptures that are just as powerful. (from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 31:6) Now we don’t have to go so far as to tattoo it on our bodies as some may do…unless that is your thing….but we can keep these words in our hearts and minds daily. Remember that God knows what is in your heart and just thinking it becomes a prayer to Him.
The word confidence comes in every language in some form. Here are a few:
Hebrew: mibtach: confidence Original Word: מִבְטָח
Japanese: “Self-Confidence”.. use kanji word “自信(じしん-jishin)” Spanish: (trust) la confianza (f) I have every confidence in you Tengo entera confianza en ti.
Here are some of the words that are associated with confidence:
Looking those over, you may say, “Oh, that is all well and good…but I have very little motivation. I’m no genius. My courage level left a long time ago…and I certainly can’t say I am or have been a real success in all areas of my life. ”
All that you said there is human weakness. We all experience it one way or another. Young people may feel they haven’t had the opportunity for some of these things. Older people may look back and wish they had done things differently. Life definitely has its ups and downs. The past is finished and can’t be undone. The present is what we have and much of the future depends on what we do with the present.
Here again is where we depend on faith. The Apostle Paul wrote the following about himself and his belief in what God wanted of him.
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2nd Corinthians 2:9) The term “boast” here is not the meaning we think of today, but one of telling or acknowledging…not puffing out the chest in pride.
The Grace of God is His power to help when we have no power. We call this in English “to be gracious”…and God’s love is certainly gracious.
There are other things that are believed about confidence. It is often believed that someone who is outspoken, forthright and even belligerent at times has real confident. A person like this is often trying to cover up for the weaknesses that he/she actually have within. There is the fear of letting anyone know, so being loud and forceful is the cover-up. My friend, we have all known people like this. Do not give them the honor of believing they are truly confident. Inner-strength is not always seen from the outside.
“In quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15.
J.R.Miller wrote in The Strength of Quietness …” quietness never can come through the smoothing of circumstances, so that there shall be nothing to trouble or irritate the spirit. We cannot find or make a quiet place to live in—and thus get quiet in our own soul. We cannot make the people about us so loving and sweet—that we shall never have anything to irritate or annoy us. The quietness must be within us. Nothing but the peace of God in the heart—can give it. Yet we can have this peace—if we will simply and always do God’s will—and then trust Him. A quiet heart—will give a quiet life!”
Yes, CONFIDENCE is found deep in the heart. Sometimes unknown things around the corner may cause you concern. Even though you may not know where you are going or how you’ll get there, with Christ you will NEVER WALK THAT PATH ALONE. He will give you all the confidence you need and lead the way if you will pray and ask Him to do this for you.
Another way to find your own confidence is to do something for others to find theirs. Look at your abilities and use them for the purpose of good. It will definitely come back to you.
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
Family members are the ones who know us best. There are often things that break families apart…even if it is not understood why. There could have been arguments or no argument at all. A decision was made to walk away…to go a different direction. Sometimes it is through the influence of others…or a decision is made by the one member who decides to leave. Whatever the reason…coming home is a difficult thing to do. It means facing the people that we have loved the most in the past. It may even be hard for those who were left. To take the step to go home again may be like a bitter pill. Swallowing the pill of the unknown…the hope for acceptance…or the possibility of rejection is even harder. We are human and we don’t like to admit we made poor decisions. We are also told that “forgiveness is divine.”
Someone reading my blog today is saying to his/herself that this sounds like my situation. You either have a person who has left you…or you have left those who love and know you the best. Life will go on even if you decide to never face your family again, but is it really what you want? Will you never know the warm embrace that is there waiting for you? The longer time goes on and you walk away in your mind and heart, will you ever have another chance?
Is it worth it to pick up the phone, show up at the door, or write a letter to those you have left behind? You may not really know how much it would mean to even one person that was always a part of your life. You may have never left your family, but have someone that you have avoided or have not spoken to in years. Reconciliation is a word not often used, but a very important word. Only peace and happiness can come when there is reconciliation.
Only you can decide. God will give you the courage if it is a “Yes”…and He will weep tears along with yours on the lonely nights if your decision is “NO”…but weep you will. Eventually weeping is assured because no one will force you to do anything you do not want to do…not even God.
In the Holy Scriptures, the Prodigal Son’s father did not run after the child he loved, but allowed him to leave and waited patiently until he finally saw the familiar figure approaching him from afar. His joy could not be contained! Who is waiting for you?
The video below shares not only the beautiful music of the choir, but a message within its drama. No, it’s not Christmas as the video indicates, but your decision may be the best present ever.
VIDEO (turn up sound)
Recently a friend of mine lost her Mother and I remember when my own Mother died. There have been other parts of my life that have held pain…as with most people. All sadness in this life moves along with us, but I believe there are things that help us “live through” those times.
As an author, artist and photographer, I decided to set up my own art room where I could lose myself in a world of quiet and creativity. I also saw a person who visited Japan and experienced the Asian way of “Nature therapy”. The person was encouraged to actually reach down to a bed of moss…touch it and sniff the smell of it. They continued a walk through the woods, noticing all the different plants, leaves and trees. I live in Florida and we have amazing skies here. The sun rises over the lakes; clouds gather in the deep blue summer afternoon bringing the streaks of lightning and in the evening the setting sun streams through the hanging moss. Nature is truly beautiful here.
Wherever we live, we see life around us…but do we see it…really? I think our souls need that interaction with God’s world if we are truly to have peace and joy with what is around us. It takes only the time we are willing to give to it.
Below is a picture of my art and writing room. I’m fortunate to have a space dedicated to these activities.
My husband has turned the garage into his wood-working space. Often he will call me out there to see the beautiful grain on a piece of wood that he is making. Nature…even after the tree is long gone…lives on in his beautiful wooden trays.
My Uncle Archie loved nature and carved the beautiful bird that you see below. Our dear friend, Tom, passed away recently, but he was gifted beyond measure in the turning of bowls shown below on my husband’s tray. These are treasures to be kept always and reminders of those who have gone through hard times, but through their faith in Jesus Christ have “passed through” with great courage and honor.
The young woman featured below is Zaria Forman. She is a true artist and shares her feelings about nature and loss. It is worth listening to and a reminder that there is much beauty in the world. We must seize the day that has been given to us.
VIDEO Turn up sound and click link given (credit National Geographic)
Recently I read an article written by a man who calls for people to “Quit Church”. The title is stirring and probably got a number of people to read his book with that same title. His whole point was to either give it your all…or not at all! Leave and Get out…now!
I’m sure he believes that this will stir people to support fully all that Christ would have them be and the end results would be that they would be totally committed and there would be no deficit in the church budget and the air conditioning will keep running during the hot summer months and their neighbors will be won to Christ…but he may have convinced the marginal believers to do as he said…QUIT!
If his advice is taken by those with a weakness of faith, eventually churches may look like the one shown here.
We must not forget that only a few church members from all types of churches and denominations, grand or small country gatherings, are often the ones who reach out to the homeless, addicts, victims of disasters and many other needs around the world. When the government or Red Cross is slow at trying to handle the matter, they step in. A hand-full of Christians run many of our hospitals and great universities were started by a few Christians who wanted a better life for everyone. None of them quit even though at times they may have felt that their faith to accomplish was weak and wanted to give up.
There will always be those who warm the pews and others who get fully involved. These people will be at every meeting, on as many committees as possible and are always available. Others will run the other way from such activities for whatever reason. Do we want them to leave forever? How will they replace God in their lives? The emptiness deeply felt and the void will surely be replaced with something else.
God does His work in the heart and the church is sometimes the only safe place that a person may have during times of trial or personal torment. Sometimes it is the stranger who is not a church member that walks into a church and sits on the pew all alone…seeking something…anything to help him or her find a way. They often don’t know that Christ’s Holy Spirit is there waiting in the quiet.
A handful of Christians may have reached deep into their pockets to keep that door open…just for this person sitting alone. It is what they have done as unto the Lord. Not everyone will do this, however, and the church leaders expect this even if they wish that it were different.
When the Church was first founded by the Apostles they had to give it all that they had…and most died a martyr’s death because of it. There is not a pastor alive who would not like to see his church pews filled to overflowing and not have to worry about church politics or any other matter. If only preaching the gospel could bring all people to give their full efforts, it would be grand. Unfortunately, a pastor or priest does not often see the fruits of their labor. Years later, someone may have remembered what they heard or felt in the church service even though their life was less than totally committed at the time.
Sometimes people will say “I’m not getting involved because I have been there and done that in my younger years.” They may have not been told that being a prayer warrior is also being involved. Not everyone can manage to be out-front all the time.
Yet, the minister continues to work with what he or she has and with those who decide to crawl out of bed on Sunday morning and make their way to a pew and to the altar for Holy Communion. Maybe that person never heard a word he said in the sermon, but he finds solace in the grace of the wine and bread, God reaches out to the heart whether the church is full or not.
It is entirely possible that God doesn’t care about church membership or even the church buildings in which we worship. These have been handed down by people who built them to honor God and to not forsake the assembling together as Christians, which we are admonished to do in the Holy Scriptures.
As a church body, we have what we have…those human beings who may be strong or weak. If the church closes because of lack of involvement or funds to operate, then it will close. Others will open even if they are fellowships within homes where they were started by the first Christians. Quitting is still not an option.
Perhaps Chris Sonksen of California who advocates quitting if you can’t step up to the plate, can think about some of these points. He says his organization gives “personal coaching to more than 200 churches and impacts thousands of leaders” with his book Quit Church ( if you can’t give it all). Has he lost sight of the fact that God can reach down and touch a life that is less committed? We would emphasize again, that it may be the open church door that still stands open where one can sit quietly and find relief from a noisy, violent, and often unfriendly world. The Christian church founders, through their courage, brought Christian faith to the world. They never quit when their faith wavered, but encouraged the believers to be “strong in the faith” through every problem.
I remember hearing a minister years ago standing before his congregation and telling them, “I have nothing to say to you today because I am in a desert place.” He then served Holy Communion and I have never forgotten his honesty. Should he have resigned (or quit) his call to ministry at that point? Of course not. He needed the prayers of the people for the rough time he was going through. No, quitting is not an option. How many times must it be said? We pick ourselves up through God’s grace and continue on. He will show the way.
Let’s talk about children. Your child or grandchildren may be the next “apostle” to the world. Removing them from church worship is also not an option because you don’t think you can give your all. Are we going to teach them to QUIT in other areas of their life…if they are somewhat reluctant to give it their all? Are you going to show them by your example that religious faith is not important because your faith is weak? Should we instead teach them that not everyone has the same spiritual foundation or strengths and there is hope for everyone. The theory of “All in or All out” is actually not realistic. We hardly do anything to that extent in life. Nothing is all black or white.
For many people, they baptized their children when they were only an infant. Did that promise you made at that time to raise them in spiritual grace mean only if you yourself were in perfect harmony with God? I doubt it. You have an obligation and vow that was taken for that little one.
I share with you now some special young people who have a message. They are imagining what it will be like when they finally see God face to face. We all will, you know. They also have dreams of the future. Encourage them to love God…even more than you think you do. Help them to take up the banner of faith…even when we may be lacking. These children, like those in our churches, are the future. Don’t quit on them.
May you be blessed this week as you go about the things you are doing. Take a few minutes to play this in the background…for peace and comfort.
God is in the wind, the rain and the stars. He is beside you now…unseen, but present. Make time to feel His presence through music.
Video: St. Paul’s music for your relaxation
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to remember and proclaim “NEVER AGAIN.”
Having just posted about the horrors of Syria, which may be another Holocaust if a solution is not found to bring peace to the area, it is fitting to think about World War II and all those who perished under the Nazi dictator, Hitler. It is estimated that over six million men, women and children died in the death camps. Memorials can be found around the world. One special one is the children’s memorial, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. The day my husband and I visited this memorial, there were little lights on the ceiling and the name of each child was read aloud continuously.
It doesn’t seem like any time since I took Student Ambassadors to Poland and we visited Auschwitz, one of the death camps. None of us will ever be the same. I, as a Christian, walked beside a young Jewish student who laid flowers at the very wall where so many were executed. I noticed that he wore his shorts but respectfully put on a tie and sports jacket as he approached the wall.
As we traveled, this same young man also wanted to find the apartment building where the Israeli Olympic team had been murdered by terrorists. We looked and looked; finally finding a small plaque outside an apartment building to remember the event. Given the gravity of this terrible tragedy, it seemed far too small.
Our student group spent time looking at the ovens where the bodies were burned. One amazing fact was that the home of the military commander and his family was right next to the grounds of Auschwitz. We saw the place where he was executed after the war by hanging. Eye glasses, shoes and suitcases were piled high in glass cases. One could see the torture chambers where a cross was scratched into the wall…indicating that not only Jews were interned there, but political prisoners and Christians.
Steven Spielberg has made it his mission to record the lives of survivors so that future generations will understand what hatred, prejudice and war can do to people. Once the people who fought WWII and the Holocaust survivors have died, their voices will be silenced forever….except for these recordings. Just as our World War II veterans are passing away by the hundreds each day, so are the survivors of the Holocaust.
It was my privilege to have the veterans and survivors come to my classroom of 5th graders and talk to each one of the students about their experiences. Because each person’s story was different, the students took notes that they wrote us and presented orally to the class the following day. Those students are adults now. Many have finished college and have families of their own. I pray that they have not forgotten that experience and are passing along what the Holocaust was and why we can never let this happen again.
After returning from that trip, I felt that the students in our Florida county needed to know as much about the Holocaust as possible. With financial help from the community and parents of students, we raised enough funds to place in every school library tapes, books and age-appropriate material about the Holocaust.
I read about a grave-digger who was told to bury all the Jews in the woods. These were those shot on a death march. Instead, he buried them in St. Anna’s Roman Catholic Church in Swierklany, Poland. This is only after he had carefully copied all the numbers from each victim’s arm. Some seventy years later and with research from Yad Vashem in Israel, some relatives now know that Christians carefully buried the bodies of their loved ones. A new memorial has been erected with a cross. The new plaque at the previously unmarked grave in Swierlany, Poland now reads:
“In memory of the death march victims from Auschwitz-Birkenau”
and lists the victims’ concentration camp numbers or names. The caring of one grave digging man, who believed differently from those he buried, made all the difference over 70 years later to a family who simply wanted to know what had happened to their loved one.
Today on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as the sirens wail, in some places people will stop in the streets and cars will stop on the highways …wherever they are…to remember again. We too must never forget!
It is not our purpose here to try to re-create the horrors that went on here. Probably the closest to that would be to watch Schindler’s List, produced by Spielberg, about a Christian businessman, Oskar Schindler, who saved many Jews by taking them to work in his factory.
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. (Wikipedia)
VIDEO: This music is played in honor of John Williams and his contribution to the telling of this story of the Holocaust and the saving of many lives. (Turn up sound)
The Music from Schindler’s List, written by John Williams.
Crucifixion was one of the most gruesome deaths that a person could endure. Because of this, it is difficult to understand why the Christians remember that day as “GOOD Friday.” Let me explain. It is not the torture of the crucifixion that is considered good…but the message of what this death meant to the people of the world.
1Peter 2:24 tells us, “He Himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds, you have been healed.”
What exactly is crucifixion? Have we ever really given it sufficient thought? Perhaps this description taken from Wikipedia will help:
Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation… Crucifixion was most often performed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar (usually particularly heinous) crimes. Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals. Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful, gruesome, humiliating, and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period. The Greek and Latin words corresponding to “crucifixion” applied to many different forms of painful execution, from impaling on a stake to affixing to a tree… Seneca the Younger, a Roman philosopher, wrote: “I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some impale their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet”…In some cases, the condemned was forced to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A whole cross would weigh well over 300 lb…Upright posts would presumably be fixed permanently in that place, and the crossbeam, with the condemned person perhaps already nailed to it, would then be attached to the post. The person executed may have been attached to the cross by rope, though nails and other sharp materials are mentioned in a passage by the Judean historian, Josephus, where he states that at the Siege of Jerusalem, “the soldiers out of rage and hatred, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest”…While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have traditionally depicted the figure on a cross with a loin cloth or a covering of the genitals, the person being crucified was usually stripped naked. Writings by Seneca the Younger state some victims suffered a stick forced upwards through their groin. Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape criticism by some eminent Roman orators. Cicero, for example, described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment”, and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears”…Frequently, the legs of the person executed were broken or shattered with an iron club, an act called crurifragium, which was also frequently applied without crucifixion to slaves. This act hastened the death of the person.
From the writings of those who heard the last words of Jesus, He said these sentences as the hours past and He eventually died on the cross:
- “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
- “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 This was said to the thief dying on the cross next to Him.
- “Woman, this is your son.” (Said to his Mother, Mary, who had given Him birth)
- “This is your Mother.” (Said to His disciple John to take care of His mother Mary) John 19:26-27
- “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 (This was after 3 hours of darkness, which was only 3:00 o’clock Judea time in the day.)
- “I thirst.” (This was the expression of his human suffering. He had been scourged, crowned with thorns and was losing blood.)
- “It is finished.” John 19:30
- “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46
It was by His death that we are redeemed. “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave Himself as ransom for all.” 1Timothy 2:5-6
The Biblical Text of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ taken from Matthew 27:33-56 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull),
they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head, they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. Now from the sixth hour, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
(Turn up sound)
Jesus had just performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. People around this event had actually seen this miracle happen after Lazarus had been buried four days. There was no doubt about it. Throughout His ministry on earth there had been many miracles: water to wine, healing the leper, the blind and the sick.
The word of this particular miracle spread quickly and when Jesus found a donkey to ride through the streets, the crowds came out to meet him in a frenzy. Surely this man was going to save them from the Romans and become their King and Messiah.
They called out to him, giving him the name of not only “king”, but also “Prophet, Son of David, the Messiah, and the Hope of Israel.” There was great excitement and expectation that things would change for them through this man who did great and wondrous things. The crowd threw down palm branches before him as they would a great leader or someone they were ready to make their ruler. They shouted “Hosannah!” Many Christian churches reenact this event on Palm Sunday.
Since previous posts have been about LENT and MAUNDY THURSDAY, perhaps it would be good to put into sequence the main Christian days of the Easter Holy Week prior to Easter:
- Ash Wednesday (Ashes placed on the forehead for prayer, fasting and sorrow for sins in repentance) Job, Jerimiah, Daniel, Mathew and Luke are a few scriptures where this is described.
- Palm Sunday (Triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem)
- Maundy Thursday (The Last Supper, washing of disciple’s feet, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and the arrest by the Temple guards of the Sanhedrin )
- Good Friday (The Crucifixion)
- Easter Sunday (The Resurrection of Christ, the Messiah)
The Jews knew the Holy Scriptures. David had taken an oath to Saul that he would make certain that the descendants would not be destroyed. (1st Samuel 26) Jesus Christ, being from the line of David, could possibly in their minds be the Messiah or Mashiach which means the “anointed” one.
Original Hebrew Word: מָשִׁ֫יחַ
Phonetic Spelling: (maw-shee’-akh)
Jesus knew what was going to happen to him and that He had not come to be an earthly king, but to be a Savior and the Messiah for Whom the Jews had been waiting.
Many Jews, even today, have through the study of the Holy Scriptures, both old and new, have found Christ to be their Messiah. These are often referred to as Messianic Jews. (For personal stories of Messianic Jews, see the link after the video.)
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
My last post during this Easter season was about the temptation of Christ in the desert. Today we look at another special day in the week before the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
What exactly does Maundy Thursday mean? The word Maundy is a shortened form of mandatum, which is Latin. The word means “command”.
Jesus celebrated the final Passover meal with His disciples. It was during this time that He gave a command to them, as He washed their feet in a great gesture of compassion and humility. This was usually the job of a servant.
Christians today and in centuries past believe it was also a command to show love and humility to others. He said the following to them:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
Some Christian congregations today have the ceremony of foot washing, after the example of Christ. The Pope has gone to prisons and washed the feet of prisoners, usually kissing their feet after they were washed and dried. He too was obeying the command and example of Christ.
Do we all have to ask to wash people’s feet? The answer would be “no” in that there are many ways to show love and compassion as well as humility. Think of how you can show God’s love at this Easter season and throughout the year. God will show you how.
Humility and Love is the real lesson Jesus gave us as Christians. Christ said that in this way, people will know that you are His followers and disciples.
VIDEO: Turn up sound
Occasionally, I will be going toward the altar at church and will see an elderly person waiting quietly in the pew for the minister to bring to them the Holy Communion. They are usually frail and do not feel that they can walk on their own very well. I am reminded of what my husband, who is also a priest in the Episcopal Church, often says about the elderly…“If they have lost the love of their life or have no family close by, they rarely have the human touch…the hug…the warmth of another human.” Knowing this, I might reach down and pat her (or him) on the shoulder and take their hand, without saying a word just so they know there is a touch in their life.
On researching this need for human touch, I found out the following:
“Upon birth, some babies require a little more attention at hospitals before they can leave with their parents to begin their life. Babies who receive stimulation in the form of touch have shown to grow and gain weight at rates faster than those who lack touch. They also experience fewer health issues in their first year. The simple act of a touch can lower stress levels (specifically the stress hormone cortisol) and regulate a proper body temperature in a baby’s body through the release of hormones.
The connection was realized upon finding out that children who grew up in environments such as orphanages, with less contact and engagement, had higher hormone levels compared to children raised with parents. In turn, this difference in environment can lead to many issues later in life – from a struggle to bond and behavioral issues.
However, some of the damage caused by touch deprivation can be reversed due to a change in environment – a study done in Romania in the 1980’s supports this, showing that in children aged six to twelve, those who lived in an orphanage for eight months or more possessed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who lived in an orphanage for four months or less.” (taken from Youngzine..Renee)
When my youngest son was born, he had to stay in the hospital for several days because he was under-weight. As I went to visit him daily, I would often walk in and find him being rocked by a nurse or nurse’s helper. They called him their “Little Cowboy” because his hair had little sideburns. Seeing that he was being loved meant so much.
I also learned the truth about the need for touch and human development when I was teaching at a University in Ukraine. I visited two orphanages. One was State run and the other was a Christian run home for children. The children in the State-run orphanage did not smile. When we put them on our laps to try to talk with them and hug them, they did not seem to know how to respond. Nothing brought a smile to their faces. On arriving at the Christian orphanage, the atmosphere was completely different. The children were laughing, hanging onto their adult workers and seemed well adjusted in so many ways.
Recently my husband posted a video about a man who has made it his mission to give the tiny, often sick or premature babies the human touch they need. I’m going to share this video with my readers today because it is the life story of a senior person giving of himself to a new life on earth. He is making a difference.
Let this video touch your heart and think of reaching out yourself to someone who may need a “touch” of love.
Turn up sound
This year has been an exciting one for me. I have had the opportunity to interview many people for my books and actually seeing the books go to print. Today I would like to share with you my 2017 books that followed my books for children in previous years.
(The links are in blue.)
One of my most recent books, SPENCER’S MILL, is fiction set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It is a cast of characters with an exciting plot that incorporates the history of the decline and failure of mill industries in North Carolina and Virginia when those businesses went to other countries around the world, leaving people without jobs. It is the story of their strength to carry on and find enriched lives for themselves.
Old Timers of the Blue Ridge is a series of interviews with people who have relatives that go back to the Civil War. The stories they shared are interesting reading and gives insight into the cultures of the mountain people. They tell of what it was like to grow up in the Blue Ridge…their joys and sorrows.
CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTMENTS This book, North and South at the Blue Ridge Mountains, gives a short overview of the Civil War and the leaders from both sides. It explains the Reenactment that takes place yearly in October in the mountains of Virginia, near Ararat, VA. I included a large selection of photographs of the reenactment which gives a beautiful description of this event. Men and women dress the part of the period. The main goal of the Civil War Reenactors is to not forget the history of our country.
THE SEEDS This novel originated from a post on my blog that I wrote in 2010 on Boyer Writes. It was on SS General Hans Kammler and asked the question: “Whatever happened to Gen.Kammler?” After World War II, a number of high-ranking officers fled to places like Argentina. This question seemed to be of great interest to my readers. Some readers wrote emails that they knew where General Kammler had lived. One even said the General was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution. General Kammler, as portrayed in this book is entirely fiction. The accounts of him, however, are based on historical facts. General Kammler, was in fact from 1944, head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project. The enormous interest in General Kammler led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and thus, this novel evolved. All characters are fictional, but many of the places described in the novel, as the World Seed Vault in Norway, sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” are actual places.
I look forward to 2018 when I plan to complete a Memoirs Book called MY STORY. I will begin with as early as I can remember in my childhood.
My remembrances of my days in boarding school and the courage that I found in my faith in Christ during years of adult hardship will be an honest and open account. My family history and doors that opened for me to travel the world as a Christian teacher and missionary will also be part of the story. The joy that I found when God brought into my life the husband I have loved for over 35 years is a part of “waiting for God” to do wondrous things that we know not of. Looking back I know that the things that happened to me and around me were often most extraordinary.
It is obvious to me that everyone has a story to tell about their life. As I have had the opportunity in the books mentioned above to share many stories told to me by others, it is time to write about my own life.
Merry Christmas to all my readers and to all a wonderful NEW YEAR!
Boyer Writes wishes everyone a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving….whether it is in your culture to celebrate this day or not…we pass along love and thankful hearts to you our readers.
Music Video Turn up sound
It would be easy to listen and see the catastrophes in the world and become distressed…even asking “Where is God?”
Today we are going to focus on PEACE within our hearts. Take a few minutes to listen and reflect….and pray for those who have lost so much. The people of an American small-town, Sutherland Springs, Texas, are in our prayers.
GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU
In God’s Holy Word, a warning about harming a child:
Matthew 18:6 – But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea.
Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (International version)
Now rest your minds and soul: VIDEO Turn up sound
The couple you are going to meet has decided to meet life head-on. They have faith that could have been shattered, but they didn’t allow it to happen. Serving his country, the unthinkable happened. He would be blind for the rest of his life. Hear his story and the words of his beautiful wife. Be inspired and realize that at times the joy we receive in life has to be worked for. This is how they are finding their joy.
(Detroit Free Press)
There are times when one will want to just forget about the world around them. Things seem too hectic…too confused…too dangerous in our modern world that some would say has gone “MAD”. A few make the choice to leave it. They desire to find peace…to know God…and to rest from the frays of life. They choose another way.
Today I will share with you what some in a Russian monastery say is their reason for leaving the world, their families and all that the modern life holds. We try to understand why they have made this choice…as have many in other parts of the world.
When the ice on the lake melts, many pilgrims, men and women, come to the Monastery to seek out a spiritual life through a visit, worship, and prayers from the monks.
The following slide presentation of photographs are by Paul Miller, who was also invited to live at the Monastery for a period of time and photograph their lives.
Just down the Blue Ridge Parkway from where my husband and I live is a scene of rolling hills and a monastery set in the arms of our lovely mountains. Outsiders are not welcome to visit there. They have their purposes. The men there care for the grounds of this beautiful place and other chores they may be assigned. They have left the world that is just in sight out their windows… as tourists ride the Parkway.
One wonders about the Monasteries world-wide. Do they wish to have their normal life back after being there for a while? The men in this video try to explain their reasons, beliefs and their feelings about this question.
Boyer Writes shares with our readers the life of Russian Orthodox monks on the islands of Valaam. The Valaam Monastery is often referred to as the Athos of the North. It is located north of St. Petersburg, Russia on an island on Lake Ladoga.
The music is: “Liadov: 8 Russian Folk Songs – 6. Cradle Song” by Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, Enrique Bátiz
Update: Irma has passed and now for Florida and Texas, as well as some other states on the East of the U.S. In Florida, it is in the 95-degree range…very hot and humid with no way to cool off. It is a major clean up time. Many are still without power which means that everything is more difficult.
This music and words are dedicated to our friends and family in Florida.
Have courage. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you as you recover.
May you be blessed.
from Boyer Writes
- THE HISTORY OF THE GREGORIAN CHANT:
“Gregorian chant takes it name from Pope St. Gregory the Great. Although the tradition proclaims him as the composer of chant, historical scholarship shows rather that he served as the great link between the early Church and the Middle Ages. As such, he symbolizes the chant of the churches in Rome, which spread to England and to Gaul in the seventh and eighth centuries.
With the impetus of Charlemagne (768-814) and his Carolingian renaissance, musicians created new and more elaborate chants. The early development is difficult to trace because all the music was handed on as an oral tradition; nothing was written down even though the repertoire for the Mass and the Divine Office comprised well over 2,000 pieces”
- MODERN PERFORMANCES and revival of the chant:
(Wikipedia) “The monks of Santo Domingo de Silos have been singing Gregorian chant since the 11th century (before that, they used Mozarabic chant). There was a break in the tradition the nineteenth century when the abbey was closed by the government as part of the so-called Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. The abbey was re-established with the help of monks from Solesmes Abbey in France. Solesmes is known for its commitment to plainsong and the Solesmes style of singing has influenced the Spanish monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.
- WHY LISTEN TO GREGORIAN CHANT MUSIC?
Becky Fulton, a student, had this thought: “Since I study Classics and take Latin, I can recognize the prayers and how they roughly translate. However, since the vowels are elongated within the songs, I have to concentrate to be able to make out the words being sung so I can keep the songs in the background without them distracting me as I try to work. But most of the time I am able to easily translate the title of the song and get an idea of what it is about. I also find the songs to be calming not only when I’m trying to study or work on an essay, but also if I want to relax or sleep. The harmonies of the (most likely) monks singing the songs allow the listener to take in the many voices of the of the chorus and enjoy the music.”
I agree with Becky. Sometimes just having the chant in the background is very soothing. My suggestions would be to lean back, close your eyes and visualize something wonderful. Therefore, I share with you this recording FOR YOUR WEEKEND LISTENING PLEASURE: Gregorian Chants from Assisi-Medieval Lauds
They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.'” New Living Translation
Video by a very young Claire Ryann (about 3 years old) This child cannot read words on a script card. Her memory and clarity is more than amazing. Out of the mouth of babes not only comes the story of the Gospel of Christ, but shows the abilities God gives a little child. Perhaps this is why we are to become as “little children” if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Take this day and look for beauty wherever you can see it. Determine yourself that you will not be distracted by those things that would shadow your life. It is our choice to decide on the things that enter into our minds.
As you walk from here to there, take a moment to see the tiniest thing that God has made…the flower that has perfect symmetry…the bee that buzzes around it…or the butterfly that hovers around it. Each, in its own way, is a perfect example of the beauty of creation. Enjoy today…this minute...for it is yours.
VIDEO “For the Beauty of the Earth”
Little acts of kindness can go a long way, but how often will someone step out of their own comfort zone to do something that will mean a great deal to others? Reaching out does not seem to be a strong point for most people. It sometimes takes courage and certainly takes selflessness.
I read this article recently, written by Bruce Henderson of the Charlotte Observer, and felt it was worth including in my blog. Would you have done this? Rather, would you have just sat in your seat, gritting your teeth, and expecting someone else to take care of the situation? Be honest with yourself as you answer.
Rochel Groner made a decision that impacted the life of a little boy and many others. Race or religion did not matter or the fact that they were strangers. She decided to reach out.
“She’s a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He’s a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.Their July 14 encounter between Brussels and New York made the eight-hour flight go easier for their fellow passengers. The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – also offered a lesson in compassion that has circulated widely online.
By her account, Rochel Groner, 33, is among the least likely people to make a public display. “I’m the type of person who would let somebody step on my foot for like a half- hour before I would say something,” she says. But about an hour into the flight, a return home after Groner and her husband Bentzion chaperoned teens to Israel, Groner heard sounds of distress behind them. Not cries from a baby. Not a bored teen.
“It was just kind of a shrieking without any words,” Groner says. “I recognized it right away as a child with special needs.”
Groner knew this not through training, although she used to teach elementary school, but from experience. She and her husband run Friendship circle, which pairs teen volunteers with children with special needs such as autism. They also run ZABS Place, a Matthews thrift boutique that employs 28 young adults with “special talents.”
Social connections work a special magic, Bentzion Groner says. As a 16-year-old diagnosed with leukemia, he says, visits and gifts from friends “literally changed everything. I’m a big believer in that. It’s something that we as adults forget, that friendship could be a life changer.” And so it was over the Atlantic aboard Brussels Airlines Flight 501.
As the wailing continued, tension mounted. Sleeping passengers woke up, startled by the noise. Others stirred, restless and increasingly irritated. The phone between the attendants’ station and flight deck kept beeping. After 15 minutes, Rochel Groner could sit still no longer.
“I kind of felt this responsibility, like, I know what this is, but I’m not sure if anybody else knows what this is,” she says. “You cannot fly for eight hours with someone crying, you just can’t.”
Autistic people, in particular, dislike enclosed spaces, Bentzion Groner said. They need to be in control of what’s around them. The boy’s identity and condition are unknown. The airline didn’t respond to an Observer email.
Groner got out of her seat. She asked for a pen from a flight attendant, grabbed a nausea bag and threaded her way down the aisle. The boy looked to be about 8 and wore an African tunic and pants. He stood at his seat and sobbed, tears streaming down his face. His mother, who wore Muslim clothing, sat beside him. Groner put her hand out. The boy looked at her, stopped his wailing, and took it. They walked into the aisle and plopped down together on the floor near an emergency exit.
“I put him in my lap and gave him a firm hug and I just started to rock him,” she says. His body had been tensed. Soon, “you could feel his muscles start to relax.”
Groner doodled on the nausea bag, tracing the outline of her hand as the boy watched, absorbed. Groner talked and smiled at him, and grabbed more nausea bags. At one point, the boy traced his own hand. So it went for another hour or two. A travel pillow, some orange juice and cookies helped calm the child. The boy spun a fidget spinner and held it to his cheek, soothed by its rhythm. He even smiled and laughed.
The rest of the trip went smoothly, Groner said, although one crew member suggested to her husband that she didn’t need to intervene. Another attendant thanked her after the flight, and so did several passengers. The boy’s mother, in a few words of English, also thanked Groner. She did not get their names. Groner believes God put her on the flight.
“Everybody’s been on a flight with a screaming child, and this is another way to defuse the situation,” she says. “Just ask: is there something I can do? Smile, don’t scowl.”
by Bruce Henderson
Thank you, Rochel. You are a special person with a caring heart. There should be more people like you in the world.
All acts of kindness: “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 …and in doing so, we will feel and know our Savior’s love.
VIDEO: Voices of children “I feel my Savior’s Love”
We must pull back and rest our souls.
How is this done one may ask? Because no one can do it for us, we have to find a way to limit what we see and hear, especially through the internet, from those who would deliberately harm our peace of heart and spread their evil thoughts.
Example: The hateful messages sent over the internet concerning Senator John McCain’s diagnosed brain cancer…and those attributing it to God’s wrath for McCain’s political views. How insane!
God does not bring illness or evil to the people of the world that He sent His Only Son to die for. We have natural causes for illness…whether it is the environment, disease, genetics, or things about which we know nothing. We must put our entire lives in God’s hands and do our best to correct, through medicine and prayer, what we can of human sufferings.
Years ago so many died of the black plague and other diseases. Thankfully God has given us the intelligence to research for cures still unknown. We at Boyer Writes wish Senator McCain the blessings and peace of God.
( Shown above is McCain when he was released after 5 years as a prisoner of war and Senator McCain today. )
Those physical afflictions, not caused by natural causes, would be wars or individual decisions that bring pain, not only to the body, but to the spirit and soul. These are caused by human beings, which usually starts with the words that come from the mouth or hatred in the heart.
For all the good technology give us and the ability it gives every human being to spread quickly words of evil or encouragement, we may once again be reminded of what one of the greatest geniuses of our time had to say. Human kindness and interaction is one of our most important qualities.
The Holy Scriptures remind us of this in 1st Peter 3:9. “ Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”