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Party Hostess

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Party Hostess

Thinking it through and making lists
to cover all the bases.
Imagining each this or that
and putting myself through the paces.
I know I shouldn’t be uptight
I tend to be a perfecter.
I’d have more fun if I cut loose
this fete to faith and prayer.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This Sunday my husband and I are hosting a big family party. I love being part of this kind of thing as a helper but being in charge is certainly getting me out of my comfort zone. That is our topic this month and a good one for me to muse on this week.

Even thinking about it for this blog post has been helpful. I’ve been intentional about countering every worrisome “what if?” thought with thoughts and prayers of gratitude that this is happening and joy and anticipation as I look forward to getting together with my large extended family. I am trying to follow my own advice…

sjt-2017-graphicVisit Pat at Writer on a Horse to read more “Getting out of your comfort zone” writings.

 

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Build Yourselves up (SJFT – REACH)

sjt-2017-graphicIt’s the day for my Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday post for May. Today we’re linking at Mainely Write where the topic is Donna’s one-little-word for 2017—REACH. Would you believe reach has 29 shades of meaning (by my dictionary.com app)? What a rich word!

When I hear the word “reach” I imagine a vigorous, energetic motion toward something not yet attained or possessed. We talk of reaching goals and dreams. That’s a side of reaching that, in the last few years, I find myself less enthusiastic about than when I was starting out in work and family life. Lately I’m more content to just be and enjoy the moment for what it is. Have I perhaps entered retirement mode?

And yet, the book I go to for spiritual direction and inspiration has few retirees. One of its heroes, Moses, begged God for a chance to continue leading the people into the Promised Land at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 3:25; 34:7). Another tireless character was the Apostle Paul who, despite resistance, setbacks, and imprisonment refused to quit. He wrote “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:14.

One of the things that affects my ability and desire to reach is my physical state. When I’m rested and fit, I’m far more likely to find myself reaching toward a new skill or goal in imagination and activity. I love Psalm 92:13,14 for its ageless outlook:

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.”

To make that possible, I believe people need spiritual fitness as well as physical. The little poem about spiritual fitness that I’ll leave you with is as true for me today as it was 10+ years ago when I wrote it. May we all keep reaching in body, soul, and spirit.

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Image: Pixabay

Build Yourselves Up

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith – Jude 20

Warm up with worship
hands raised, spirit stretching
to the Almighty.
Increase the rhythm of the heart
with the jumping-jacks of praise.
Hop onto the treadmill of the Word
read it, study it,
meditate on it, memorize it.
Then it’s down on the floor
for push-ups of confession
abdominal crunches of petition
and, firmly grasping others’ weighty burdens,
bench presses of intercession –  set after set.
Up on your feet again for step-ups of listening
then cool down walking in place, silent.
End with a song of thanksgiving
that pours from a well-toned heart.
Now go out to meet the day
your spirit radiating contentment and joy
flexible and strong from its workout
with faith, hope and love.

© 2004 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

 

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Rhoda’s story

peterrhodadoor

Peter’s at the door! (Artist: C.M.B.)

Rhoda’s Story

My fluster undeniable
they labelled me emotional
but it was unbelievable—
Simon was at the door!

With death sentence official
our prayers were sacrificial
could answer be incredible
he with us as before?

Your hope is artificial
makes hearing prejudicial
As joke it is despicable.
He knocked and called some more.

It’s him, identifiable
a wonder inexplicable.
It’s time to end this spectacle
and let the praises soar!

My bent my be impractical
your head-shakes justifiable
but still I’m beneficial
—I let him in the door.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration:
This poem (written in 2013) was inspired by the story of Peter’s miraculous release from prison and Rhoda’s reaction when he arrived at Mary’s house (Acts 12:5-16).

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in People, Religious

 

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Earth Day Prayer (NPM ’16-Day 23)

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“The generosity of green…” (Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly)

Earth Day Prayer

O Creator of the Earth
from its systems and creatures
may I learn and make my own

the faithfulness of the sun
the inevitability of day-night rhythms
the wisdom of cycles

the faith of a seed
the determination of a shoot
the generosity of green

the persistence of water
the kindness of down
the trust of a lily

the song of a sparrow
the joy of a dolphin
the grace of a fish

the patience of a snail
the cooperation of ants
the love of a dog

the simplicity of milk
the sweetness of honey
the versatility of grain

the mystery and fulfillment of Word
the adequacy of bread
the celebration of wine

Amen

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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n response to yesterday’s question at Wonderopolis: “How can you make Earth a better place?” I thought of all the things we can learn from created things. However, for me the purpose and destiny of Earth can’t be separated from its Creator, His incarnation, and the privilege we earthlings have to bear witness to His place in it all.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Nature, Religious

 

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Prayer Breakfast Reflections (NPM ’16-Day 6)

What I experienced on Monday and Tuesday of this week was the perfect preparation to write about Bobbie Ann Taylor‘s one-little-word MERCIFUL.

My husband and I were asked to be part of our church’s delegation to the annual MLA*’s prayer breakfast, hosted at a hotel just steps away from B.C.’s Legislature in Victoria on Tuesday morning.

After the beautiful ferry crossing Monday afternoon, we arrived in Victoria in time for dinner. An MLA friend who attends our church joined us at Milestones. That began a fascinating time of learning as we conversed and he answered questions about how he navigates the tricky water of provincial politics. No novice (he was formerly the mayor of the town in which I live), he explained how has trained himself to ask questions, listen, and then when the time is right, explain his position. He told of interfaith gatherings where he has joined with Muslims, Sikh’s and people of other faiths in initiatives which they all support.

The prayer breakfast saw around 150 people eating breakfast together (18 tables, with one or two MLAs— representatives of both political parties—at each table). It was an eye-opener for me as I glanced across the room and saw, for example, the former leader of the NDP** party in B.C. who raised his hand when the organizer asked who of them had attended the prayer breakfast for each of the ten years it had been happening. I had no idea and realized I have make judgments while I didn’t have a clue!

The man who, those ten years ago, had the brain child to start hanging out with our politicians for the purpose of lending them spiritual support obviously loves them and is loved back. In this time when politics can be a divider of people, this event was a real encouragement to me.

We stopped for lunch on our way home where each one us (five in all) shared the significance of the event personally. My friend Joyce said she had texted the words of the hymn “There’s a Wideness In God’s Mercy” to her husband as a sum-up of her response. I found those old lyrics were also the perfect expression of my feelings.

As my poem for today (Wednesday—poem-a-day for National Poetry Month and my post for Spiritual Journey Thursday), I’m taking the liberty of using some of the lines of that old hymn as I reflect on MERCIFUL.

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Here I am standing in front of the Legislative Assembly. After Tuesday’s breakfast we  observed Question Period from the gallery (Photo by Joyce J.)

Prayer Breakfast Reflections

“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea…”
We can live it out when peaceful
we agree to disagree,
when the members, left and right
share croissants, coffee, and tea.

“There’s a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.”
Listen to opponent’s viewpoint
strive to understand and see
common path we walk together
while we guard integrity.

“For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind…”
See the needs that make us human
not by party lines defined
while the prayers of fellow travelers
aid us in the daily grind.

“And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.”
On this servant-leader pathway
that by many is maligned
help us all to pull together
as we seek Your mastermind.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Spiritual Journey Thursday is hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

*MLA: Member of the Legislative Assembly

** NDP: National Democratic Party – the left-leaning party in Canadian national and provincial politics, roughly equivalent to the Democrats in the U.S.

*** “There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy” by Frederick Faber (1814-1863)

 

 

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Faith (Rough Ride)

Faith is hard to define and, I think, becomes evident not by what we say but how we live. Our life demonstrates what we really believe in.

I see that Justin (who has chosen FAITH as his one-little-word for 2016) has added the modifier “blind” to it. For me, faith is rarely completely “blind” in that buried somewhere in my history is an experience or conviction that what I put my trust in is trustworthy. And yet another way to look at it is that faith is always blind to a degree. That’s what makes it faith.

I have found that my spiritual faith in a God who is all good and all powerful is tested when bad things happen to me and those I love. A TV speaker I enjoy (Dr. Charles Price) talked about this very thing last Sunday. He pointed out that in  the story of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Jesus delayed coming to their home until Lazarus, his friend, had died. How uncaring—how bad—that looked. Yet this apparently callus response worked all kinds of good in the lives of Mary, Martha, and the onlookers. God was in the temporarily bad situation working something good.

As Dr. Price put it, “There are the physical visible events that we see, and there are the spiritual events that we do not see, that are running parallel. We live in the first of these two but need eyes for the second, the realities that we cannot see that God is working out. There was more going on in this story than the health and life of Lazarus.” (Read the story in John 11:1-44; listen to Dr. Price’s talk: “I Am the Resurrection of the Life”.)

And, I would submit, there is also more going on in our lives than just the physical realities we experience each day. I believe that God is in all of them and works out all of these things for our eventual good.

This is the bottom line of my faith, expressed in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

However, in my human state, and from my earthly vantage point, I still feel stretched when circumstances aren’t going well. My faith is challenged. At such times I often discover that what I say I trust in I don’t really, at least not to the extent that I thought I did. Otherwise, why would I be so anxious?

Image: Skeeze / pixabay.com

Image: Skeeze / pixabay.com

Rough Ride

“You have covered yourself with a cloud
That prayer should not pass through” – Lamentations 3:44.

My need is the rodeo’s
pitching bull.
With one hand I clutch
the saddle horn of Your word
while the other is raised
in pleading.

My faith is the 747
on automatic pilot
buffeted by circumstances
whiplashed and tossed
by the turbulence.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

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A Shalom Blessing

Today is the first day of the new school year in our part of the world. As the day after our last official summer holiday, Labour Day, it definitely feels like an end and a beginning—even for us who no longer go to school or have to brave the commute to work.

Today’s poem is a blessing on all who are climbing back into the saddle of school or work.

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“Shalom on… their playgrounds…”  Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly

 

A Shalom Blessing

(After Isaiah 26:3,4)
Shalom: A Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness and welfare: nothing broken, nothing missing.

Shalom on your going out
on your car, bicycle, bus
on the avenues, roads and highways
and other drivers.

Shalom on your workplace
your office, boardroom or barn
your partner, receptionist
your work truck, computer, iPhone
and all your machines and tools.

Shalom on your children
on their cribs and car seats
playpens and toys
their schools, desks, playgrounds
and all their pals.

Shalom on your coming in.
On your street and neighbors
your frying pan, kettle
pitcher, pot and plate
your fork and your food.

Shalom on your radio
television, phone and email
that deliver news from afar
(may it be good)
on your downloads and players
all the words, music and images
that fill your head and your home.

Shalom on your lists and plans
your goals and ambitions
on the wind that refreshes
the rain that nourishes,
the sun that lights your path
and the moon and stars
that illumine your dreams.
Because you trust in Me
Shalom, Shalom.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Religious

 

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