Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 60: February 29, 2016 Orlanda and Josie

February 29, 2016
Day 60  Orlando and Josie

For Orlando, it is not coming easy - this living. A number of months ago this physical trainer by trade, a tall, beautiful black man, was the epitome of health. So fit, so strong, so tall. But now he looks so small lying on a hospital bed working hard at every breath.

I met Orlando and his partner Josie at church with their daughter Leah. He was not finished, with church that is. For him it ended too early, there were more testimonies to be had (there had been none), and he definitely wanted more singing. I am sure he is use to a vibrant black church where moaning, in agreement, does not cause one to whip their head around in curiosity. He probably loves rousing worship times where swaying is replaced by moving around, maybe even jumping up and down. Our church definitely loves Jesus, we, however, are NOT the audience a famous rock band would desire at their concert. So I invited Josie and Orlando, along with their little Leah, to fellowship over lunch.

We sat around the table and heard their "in progress" story. God works from the inside out and God is doing just that in their lives. Orlando has had the hand of God on him since seventeen when he knew, and everyone else around him knew, he was CALLED. But he paid no attention to that call in a reverent sort of way. Instead, he ran full speed ahead issuing amazing, anointed sermons, puffed up on encouragement, and forgetting to give someone else the glory. There are more things other than pot that can make one high.

Josie, yesterday, upon seeing me walk into the hospital room, smiled from ear to ear. "Lynne" she spoke softly with such welcome. "Lynne, God is all over this man." She walked over to his side, held his hand and spoke with such confidence. "Lynne, God is going to heal him."

Orlando's emphasis years ago was on Orlando and it was lethal. He started living for drugs. The story gets a little foggy for me. However, all I know is that he ended up selling drugs - smart guy with a wrong focus. Long story abbreviated, blamed on memory loss, Orlando's feet are now postured toward God especially in the hospital bed. That Sunday, a while ago over lunch, he spoke of the work on the cross that has been done for him. He clearly spoke of Rest. He said that he is in a waiting period. Yesterday, Josie relayed to me that in one of Orlando's coherent moments she asked if God is speaking to him. He nodded and told her that God is saying to him, "Rest and be patient." He added, "And you, Josie, need to calm down."

Isn't that the truth. "And you need to calm down." Wow! This is stellar, most excellent advice. "And you need to calm down." Yesterday, Josie oozed calmness, as did Orlando's three sisters in the room. The storm is raging but in this boat, while Orlando sleeps, it is still! "And you need to calm down!" Man, do I love that. Orlando preaches from a comatose state. Out of his weakness, God is glorified and shown to be the strong tower!

Orlando never woke up to say hello, he is declining fast. Though I have known him briefly, I missed his smile. It is infectious and memorable. But God is affirming his need for rest. It looks kinda like a forced rest to me, but God will have His way.

All I could think when Josie said he is going to be healed is, whoa God, you've got some work with this one! You better get at it. He's at death's door. But, Josie, I'm all in! I believe in the God who tells a fig tree to wither. I believe in the God who gives fertility to the geriatric community. I believe in the God who brings water to the desert, who makes a roadway in the wilderness. I believe.

I also believe God has the ultimate say. There is another dear friend who believed.  There is now a Run 2 Remember 5K/1 Mile Walk for her husband.  My friend would prefer her husband over this run any day. God's purpose prevailed.

I asked Josie if we could pray. Yes, but she wanted to get some of his sisters. He comes from a family of nine who reside in Queens. God is working mightily in this family, this is the first any have been sick. The sisters and myself, we had church, bustling, thriving soul sister church. Oh, the moaning. My God you are too good to me! We spoke of not wasting time in mindless banter but giving God the glory. His one sister spoke of how God is directing them to have faith in the Almighty and not in the circumstances of Orlando's health status. Wow! They are not wasting time. In a nondescript room in St. Joseph's hospital, we prayed and were teleported to God's throne room.

In this post I was going to ask you to pray for Orlando's healing and that his momma would come in the room. But he died. After hearing the news I had to delete some of what I was originally writing in this post.  So, now I would ask that you pray for Orlando's mom who is not doing so well. She simply could not bring herself to go in the room to see him, she simply prayed. As a mom I can completely understand. Would you please pray that God will flood her with peace!  Pray also that Josie and Orlando's family will continue in the faith!

Josie's text this morning:
"Yes my baby is RESTORED!!!! His sisters got to see the glory of God descend upon him, because he glowed, not anything like what he was looking like yesterday, it was amazing, God had breathed life into him for us."

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day 59: February 28, 2016 Suzanne- I Love You!

February 28, 2016
Day 59  Suzanne - I Love You!

Suzanne Harrington Treichler is a strong woman. Today is the day God graced planet earth with her presence.

She has utilized this life well despite some of the ups and downs along the way that would have taken another individual out of the game. Not Suzanne! She knows how to help you up and out of depression for she walked that lonely road and did it with finesse. She shares deeply and with authenticity. She is a woman of exceptional qualities. She has never had a need to "fit in" and therein lies her strength.

As a little girl I remember so many things she shared with me. Things she wished someone would have shared with her. But instead I was the beneficiary and so much of her insights flow over to my husband, my children, my church and my community. More than once I have shared, "Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are." What freedom has been given to so many with this phrase.

She is the one who encouraged me to pay attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit. She is the one who has encouraged me to live high on faith. "When in doubt, don't." This apt phrase has kept me out of many trying situations. I am also the one in the group who shares honestly and only to understand that many times I am sharing the group's sentiments which they were to afraid to share. This is a direct result of Suzanne's wealth of life insights.

She always hopped in bed with me when I was afraid - this was not just when I was little.... She took such good care of me when I was sick. She would heed my call from school and bring me new clothes, yes! She would do this for me. There were no cell phones. She knew if I called I was really struggling. She loved well and some would have called this enabling. She knew it was healing. It was mom - I can never thank you enough for that.

Her meals were balanced and regular and this was when she struggled with depression - who knew this could be done? She enjoyed simple things and passed this on to me. She has always been herself and has given me the freedom to just be me. Why try to fool anyone? Just be you.

There was a time when she tried wood working and created amazing christmas ornaments. She owned a metal detector, much to Doug's and my embarrassment - she cared less about what we thought. She loved trying new things, who cares what others think! I love that about Suzanne. She collected baseball cards. Maybe someday she will cash in on that collection? She did what she wanted. She refinished furniture as a young bride, many of which I find in my home. She took really good care of her material possessions but not with a sense of stupid pride, just honoring what she had been given.

She talked all the time of God's goodness and this in the face of some very personally hard times. She walked alone in the midst of many people on many occasions but never without her God. For her relationship to Him has been such an abiding one. She cares not for theological discussions that are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. She is real and she applies everything to daily life.

There are hundreds who have benefitted from her care and her desire to help. Years ago she was making a decision to go big with her home day care - should it be a ministry in a church or privately owned. Thirty years later it is still a thriving ministry in a church. Her daycare was known throughout the state of Rhode Island. The daycare she had in her home would make a woman bent on staying home with her children - CHANGE HER MIND!

Suzanne's daycare was filled with wonder, adventure, regularity, and gobs of love. Your child might come home with a hair cut. You were not considered. Suzanne just cut and you appreciated, for you had no other option. Your child also had videos, which you probably still have to this day. Videos with a sound track of Suzanne's comments - her commentating was priceless. She had a lovely cart that fit eight children. She would place them in this cart and take them on an adventure filled stroll that always ended in someone's back yard to feed their pet bunny. Suzanne is good at simple adventures filled with wonder.

Suzanne is a nurse, though not trained - that would have been too confining. She is a caretaker and the stories are the best. One day she called Bob to help her lift a woman who had fallen. This woman had fallen more than once. She had already lifted her out of depression, this time it was simply that she had fallen. Bob came, they helped her up. One family member started to inquire why had they not called 911? I could have answered that. Professionalism - protocol- and Suzanne- YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING. Suzanne's motto - just get er done! As a result, Suzanne was banned from this woman for a year, she was fired from the job as well. Her heart was broken. You want to know why? Her main question was, what is this woman going to do? She gets depressed so easily. And sure enough the woman did.

Guess what? Yes, they called her back on the job but this time it was a private arrangement made by the family. Life and its twists. Suzanne would be your get away car especially if the need was great. She has been. I know the man who is forever grateful. I'm still not sure how I feel about that story but guess what - Suzanne could care less. She will do what she feels she needs to do. I love that about my mom.

Her fruit is evident! The amount of women who have profoundly been affected and helped by her and the books she has shared with them are many. I never saw her wondering what she should do! Boredom is not her word. She was never focusing on redecorating, buying clothes, buying furniture, her main focus was people. Thank you mom for this!

She has also been one of the most attentive wives I have ever known. Her and her husband have had so many guests in their home. Doug and I benefitted from this and to this day Doug and I, in our respective homes, have revolving doors as well. Mom fed so many folks and because of that we heard many enriching conversations around the table! Mom, thank you for passing on the gift of hospitality. But I will never come close to your gifting in this area.

You have blessed me above and beyond. I am so thankful that you are my mother! Thank you for helping me to understand the word no. Thank you for helping me love my children in a Suzanne sort of way. Thank you for helping me see my God as the personal Father He desires to be. Thank you for you honesty that has helped me to be just as honest. Thank you for your vulnerability as I have watched it give freedom to others. Thank you for your love of plants. Thank you for loving me, I am a better person because Suzanne Harrington Treichler is my mom!

You know players from the New England Patriots, from the Boston Red Socks,  you have served them. But you never feel the need to talk about it. They are just people and you passed on that gift to me. We are all people who need each other.
I will NEVER win awards at giving physical gifts. But I do love to write and this is my gift to you Suzanne! Mom, we are so different and yet so much alike!

Happy Birthday and may you have at least thirty years more!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day 58: February 27, 2016 Love to Clean

February 27, 2016
Day 58 Love to Clean

I love to clean. There is so much to clean. But so little time. But there is more to this story. I'm too spontaneous for regular cleaning.

If you want to spend time, I want to spend time with you too. I have been told, by many, that for as busy as I am, I always seem to have time to spend visiting. Of course I do. For you are worth it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 57: February 26, 2016 Life This Side of Heaven is Awesome

Three Amigos- Sarah, Tiffany, Nebin
February 26, 2016
Day 57 Life This Side of Heaven is Awesome

Life is full. Relationships are key. Loving, learning, growing, praying, laughing, and seeking is a true privilege. I know that heaven will be filled with rich laughter, deep connections, and moments of wonderness as we talk of God's goodness while reclining against Him.  And in the meantime - life this side of the pearly gates is pretty dog gone wonderful!

Oh, and by the way, John Faus, you are a wonderful man. You are full of wisdom, kindness, and mercy! Glad to see you there tonight with your wonderful wife and dear daughter.

You have led many people with your kindness. Blessings
on your family. May your descendants prosper and flourish
in the land and may they be known by the One true God!

Duas Amigas - Lynne and Dale

They're not right....

The hostess with the mostest, Pamela
 and the wonderful prayer woman, Mary!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Day 56: February 25, 2016 ZooAtlanta

Jodi Carrigan, Primate Caretaker at ZooAtlanta
February 25, 2016
Day 56  ZooAtlanta

Learning invigorates me. I can not get enough and as soon as I begin to learn about a new subject I then want to work in that subject. Over the years I have recognized this urge and channeled it to learn as much as I can without making major life changes. But all I want to do right now is move to Rwanda and count gorillas.

We just spoke with Jodi Carrigan today. She is the primate caretaker for the largest population of western lowland gorillas in captivity. She is laid back, friendly, knowledgeable and available to talk with ten students from Elverson, PA. That's some kind of woman.

Her claim to fame, in our school, is that she rehabilitated Ivan, the western lowland gorilla, featured in the heartwarming children's book, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Ivan had been in a mall in Tacoma Washington for 27 years of his life before he arrived at ZooAtlanta. If you are unfamiliar with this story it is worth your time.

Today we learned that western lowland gorillas sport a population that is not near extinction. But just to be safe, the genetic pool at ZooAtlanta is maintained and controlled by a group Jodi is part of. She is also part of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund doing her part to make sure the gorilla population is protected. It is simply fascinating to learn not only about the gorillas but Jodi's involvement.

This woman, Jodi, grew up somewhere in Reading with no local zoo anywhere. Her interest, she says, is probably from some article or television show she watched. It only takes a spark....

Thank you Jodi for being available! May you flourish, along with the gorillas, in your line of work.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 55: February 24, 2016 Water is Magic

February 24, 2016
Day 55 Water is Magic

The privilege is felt, understood and completely appreciated that my grandboy and grandgirl are only a hop, skip and jump down the narrow road right out my front door. This road is familiar, straight, and full of memories. One time, many moons ago, was the first time I traveled to see their Grampy on this well worn trail. I appreciated it then as I do now. Little did I know that one day my descendants would be snuggly off the road. It is simply wonderful.

Today, I determined it was bathday. My daughter concurred. I knew it, felt it and smelt it. In the soapy, warm, lovely and clean water went a sweet little girl with black hair and a charming little toddler with whispy tufts of curls. He was a sleepy one, unaware that his momma would bring him from his dreamy bed into a tub of warm sudsy water after he awoke. Oh, but he loved it, because water is magic.

Sweet Sadie smiled and little Theo jabbered. He has so much to say. Today it was all about fwogs and more fwogs. They plopped, they hid, they slid as water sloshed and tossed and cleaned. Sadie depended on our adjustments while Theo maneuvered with toddler agility. The bathtime was a success. Warm, clean and comforted. Water is magic on a cold, dreary, rainy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 54: February 23, 2016 Good Days

February 23, 2016
Day 54 Good Days

Found a baby elephant at Longwood Gardens
What a lovely day. It overflowed with wonderful connections and life giving happenings; a conversation with a dear brother in Jesus, reading books on kingdom living, receiving a great book on creativity from an inspiring woman, working with our coffee business, snuggling with our darling dogs, planning for Wider endeavors, rearranging plans and making new ones, fixing problems I cause at Wider - I'm not the best with details, reading emails brimming with hope, looking at John more in depth, pondering my significant and rich time with a dear friend yesterday having reconnected after years of little to no fellowship, thinking of our time last night in our dining/living room with much laughter, remembering my refreshing time at Longwood with a kindred soul, reflecting on my Sunday morning breakfasts with a wonderful lady, watching "Gorillas in the Mist" with my little snuggler Jesse, loving that my two older boys are out watching a movie together, looking forward to Thursday at Wider School when we are Skyping (Google Hangout) with Jodi Carrigan - the woman from ZooAtlanta in charge of the largest population of gorillas in captivity.

God is indeed Good.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Day 53: February 23, 2016 Forest Moon Calls

February 23, 2016
Day 53 Forest Moon Calls

The moon is bright, the stars sharp, the air crisp. The winter wind whistles, sounds echo. The valley fills with light, our footsteps break the silence. The forest calls. We go.

The trees' break the light on the needled floor. We twirl careful of roots. We smile, free and alive.  No one sees, no one hears, except he and I. Alone in the yearlong forest of green and white.

Washed in moonlight, we hide and seek and find. The forest keeps time suspended.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Day 52: February 21, 2016 Flowers Yes, Humans No

February 21, 2016
Day 52   Flowers Yes, Humans No

Flowers overflow in different colors and shapes.

Flowers overflow with variations.

Flowers overflow in options.

Flowers overflow with differences.

We love these qualities in flowers.

Why do we not appreciate these in humans?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 51: February 20, 2016 God is So Good

February 20, 2016
Day 51 God is So Good

God is beyond wonderful.

 His goodness is marvelous.

His joy is evident.

He loves colors.

He loves me.

He loves you.

He loves us.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Day 49: February 18, 2016 He Knew

February 28, 2016
Day 49 He Knew

Did Jesus know where the Spirit was leading? Why would He not have known? How could He not have known? Did He put up a fuss to the wilderness? No. He knew where He was going. Did He know He was going to be tempted? Why would He not have known? How could He not have known? Did He complain? No, He fasted.

I wonder why He fasted? Especially, why would He fast in the wilderness before His temptation? This confirms my growing understanding of His temptation. I believe He was the worse tempted, ever.  He was being offered exactly what He already possessed. This is where you and I seek to understand how could Jesus be tempted? I am not even close to an answer, I am still in seeker mode.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 48: February 17, 2016 A Lament Lent - A Call toTrue Religion

February 17, 2016
Day 48 A Lament for Lent -A Call to True Religion

I have been wrestling with questions regarding the season of Lent; who started it, why, how should it be lived out, does it need to be lived out, etc. etc. And then, I received this support letter. I wish you could see the writer. She is lovely, beautiful, understands suffering, she's particular, tidy, full of grace, hospitable, not someone you would see living in the section of Philly called Kensington under the "L". She lives in a "gated community", you call ahead for them to unlock the chain link fence.

In her support leader you'll read of Leon, he would find it lovely, maybe even wealthy to have something to give up during Lent.  The letter speaks of true religion which is worlds apart from being religious.

I asked her about Leon today. She has not seen him in the past couple of days.

Read on.....

From Jenifer Snider:
Pray for us, please....
While we love living here and doing what we do for our neighbors there is a never ending longing to do more. It can be overwhelming at times to see the scriptures lived out daily before our eyes and not do more! We tell ourselves we are only a small ministry...but then I read the story of the rich man and Lazarus and I am quickened to find a way to do more, say more, beseech the Body of Christ to help us more!

At my literal gate there lives a man named, Leon. In the freezing cold, or scorching heat he lives on the street from time to time outside of our gate. On one particular freezing February morning I was leaving after just having read the passage about how the rich man dressed in fine linen and lived in luxury everyday found this beggar living at his gate day after day. He longed for the rich man to feed him scraps off his table that fell to the floor. He never did. When Lazarus died he went to live in paradise, while the rich man went to Hades, where he was in agony.

Try going about your day returning home to a warm house, full of food, and getting into a soft bed with Leon freezing outside! While we've giving him warm blankets, food and whatever he asks us for there is an urgency to do more, be more, care more. Pray for us to know what and how to do what the Lord calls us to do. Part of that calling is to be the voice of warning to the indifferent church. The Body of Christ must not be the "Indifferent Church" and determine to be more "Real Religion Church".

Indiffernt church is neither hot nor cold. Complacent we have heard the words of Jesus but go about living in luxury blind to Lazarus who is truly there to give warning of how eternity may be lived. Abraham called the rich man "son" and told him, "Lazarus recieved bad things, but now is comforted here and you are in agony." The rich man begged to have Lazarus sent to his family to warn them so they would not end up in the place of torment. Abraham told him they have had many people warn them, just as we have by having had read these scriptures and seen Kensington. 

Pray for us to impart and believe this message with fervency. If this life and all the "bad things" our neighbors endure end, but the rich and religious of the indifferent church spend eternity in Hades separated by a great chasm, they must be urged to do more now! In "Real Religion Church" we should heed the lesson Jesus taught the listeners gathered in the book of Luke 16:19-31. In James 1:27 he explains, "Real religion, the king that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world." (The Message). We need your prayers to have wisdom and discernment of how to do what we are instructed to do. 

While we wrestle with the desire to do more we are also aware of the pressing needs we face to keep doing what we have felt led to do so far. Please pray we can keep all 180 families fed, and for the Saturday outreach meal. Please pray for our leaders covering their meal and volunteers. Thank you for partnering with us and your prayers!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 47: February 16, 2016 Stumbling Block

February 16, 2016
Day 47 Stumbling Block

I am standing beside Jesus. I am being accused of something awful. I did do it. Jesus looks the accuser straight in the face. Before I can get a word out He says, "I did it." I am mortified, He did not. I am embarrassed, "No, you didn't. I did." He continues to look the accuser straight in the face. "She did not."

The accuser, with an intense judgmental and sneering tone, looks past Jesus, straight at me, "How are you going to take care of this?!" I open my mouth, Jesus interrupts. "I already took care of it!" "But, Jesus, you didn't do it. I did it. I can..."

"No, you can't, you don't know how. I have it covered, washed away. Done!"

I am speechless, humbled, embarrassed, and uncomfortable.

This is the gospel. It makes me feel lame and it makes me feel like a jerk. We stumble over this for Jesus is the stumbling block. We want to own it and we want to make up for it.

Jesus says I'm owning it (there is way too much of your junk to own) and I am taking care of it (to gain an audience with the Father? C'mon, you will never know how to take care of your sin for that!).

My pride is pricked! Am I going to respond with more pride? Or am I going to respond with gratitude? Am I missing something? Because when I think about the price He paid for our salvation, penance seems pathetically puny and preposterously puerile. (look it up!)

I am enjoying this Lenten season for sure. Lift Jesus higher! Turn your eyes upon Jesus! My heart is full of thank yous to the One and Only One who could do what needed to be DONE!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Day 46: February 15, 2016 Penance? NOPE!

February 15, 2016
Day 46 Penance? NOPE!

Simple living and drawing closer to God, this seems to be the focus of Lent. Forgive me for sounding so simple. I should know this, right? As I look around the internet for an in-depth understanding of Lent I discover words such as: penance, prayer, repentance, almsgiving, self-denial, and atonement. My eyes stop on the word penance. I ponder and shake my head. The gospel removes the need for penance - completely. My relationship with Jesus is one of grace and mercy. Complete grace and complete mercy. And therein lies the rub with this aspect of Lent.

"A voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong." Oh, were it that simple. Oh, were it that tangible. Oh, were it in our power. But this is what Jesus did for me. He took the punishment. My focus for the next forty needs to be on what HE DID not on what I can do. My job is to believe that who He says He is, is true. This is my work. (John 6:29)

The world says and so do I, if I do something wrong, I must pay for my wrong action. Right now I must take care of making it right. But, Jesus says, you can't. Excuse me, Jesus, what did you just say? Did you say I can't?!! This pricks my pride. What do you mean I can't?

The pride in me wants to take care of my junk. Because, no one else should, right? To have the Holy One take on my junk is just plain wrong. He would never do anything like this, never. But this is the Gospel. He was judged on my behalf, he took my junk so He could save me.

It's embarrassing, it's mortifying, it's admission that I am wrong, and it's humiliating to watch someone else accept responsibility for something that I clearly did. But Jesus knows I would never be able to fully clear my name in order to stand completely clean and free in front of God, our Father. It would be the whack a mole game if it was my job.

Lent has me thinking. Some things I like and some things fall into a "religiosity" I will have nothing to do with. Penance is one of them. Getting closer to Jesus is affirming what He did for me, praising Him, and thanking Him. It is not what I can do for him. It's all about Him! It's all about Him! It's all about Him! We must be careful about our practices even if they seem good. This part of Lent is not part of my friendship with Jesus.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Day 45: February 14, 2016 Jesus Ministers Despite

February 14, 2015
Day 45   Jesus Ministers Despite

Jesus the Lamb of God who walked among us seeing and hearing our thoughts, our ugliness. "I'm opting out, this is bad, God. These folks are not appreciating me. Where in the world did they ever get the thought that I am a devil?!!!! They go too far, too far." Never were these His words. Our response, good or bad, was not a factor for what He would or would not accomplish. He motored on in love, despite us. He knew who He had come to save - uh, sinners!

Jesus' ministry was not deterred by you, me or the others. He did not reconsider or ease off because of poor reactions. He did not allow what He saw or felt to put Him off course. Instead, He kept His eyes solely on His Father and what He was doing. He kinda had to, for He only did what He saw His Father doing. His ministry was propelled by pleasing His Father and this allowed Him to endure all for obedience to His Dad. 

Jesus's death allows you and I to do likewise. We have the privilege of continuing in ministry without validation from others. We have the privilege of rejoicing despite the pathetic circumstances surrounding our lives. We do not have to be liked by people to continue to serve. We are free from other's views. For we are now fully accepted into the Throne Room of all Throne Rooms! We have an audience with our Maker. Life is good. The Holy Spirit in the 21st century is able to live in our hearts and streamlive God's thoughts and ways.  It is about Him not us. Good thing.

Lent is freeing me from dust like attitudes and helping me see the beauty in Jesus, His power, and His might. He has placed me to live in a Kingdom more concerned about following the King than following my needs or pleasing others.  This is freedom.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day 44: February 13, 2016 Lent Content

February 13, 2016
Day 44  Lent Content

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me is a verse we often use to pump us up. We throw a thanks to Christ over our shoulder telling Him how much we appreciate the work He did for us so that we can do, all, things. Really, thanks for the strength. Now, let me look at my shopping/prayer list.

1. Thank you that I can look really good for this meeting. I just love when you lead me to the right rack at the right time. I saw that Lady looking at the outfit. But you parted the way just like you did for those precious Israelites. You are so good.
2. Thank you for the endurance you give me to shop. Thank you. I was so tired after such a busy week but you knew I needed to accessorize my outfit.
3. Thank you for the energy you gave me to stay up. I'm really on a time crunch, dear Lord, and we really need some place to stay for our Spring Break.
4. Thank you for allowing me the courage to invite my neighbor to that social. I really hope the favors we made make an impact on my neighbor's life and her family. You are such a good God.
5.Thank you that I can buy that car with so little money. Thanks so much.
6.Oh, just thank you that I can do all things through you.

And now for the context of the verse found in Philippians 4:10-13-

Paul knows what it is to be in need. He knows what it is to have plenty. He has learned the secret to be content in every and any circumstance, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. And this is where Paul states, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

There is something in this verse I had not noticed before - the word content. This strengthening has more to do with character development than achievement of personal lists or energy needed to accomplish a given task.  The definition of "doing" is all about believing and it looks like believing leads to contentment.  I can be content in all things through Christ who strengthens me, even if it looks different than what my wishes has listed. I can be content through Christ who strengthens me in all things. Yes, we do need strength to be content!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Day 43: February 12, 2016 Lent Impressions

February 12, 2016
Day 43 Lent Impressions

Honestly, the way Jesus handles himself is really uncomfortable. And I know I am not the only who thinks so. His disciples were weirded out many times too. And I have always felt bad for John the Baptist. Jesus' baptism had a definite plot twist and it caught John off guard.

John had just finished a major discourse relaying how there is no way he could ever baptize the lamb of God, no way. He goes on and on about why he is so unworthy. This Jesus is something else, no one is even worthy to untie his sandals. I can hear John's self-congratulating thoughts, "well that sums it up, I think the crowd understands now how awesome this Jesus is!"

Then who shows up? Jesus, the very lamb of God. Why? Well, He was looking for some baptism and He wanted John to do it. Awkward.

I have always thought the crowd wondered, "John! You show off! You liar! Way to set yourself up buddy! Unworthy, aye?" You better believe there were cynics in the crowd. "Oh yeah! Not worthy to untie his sandals but able to dunk Him down?" This John, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth, I'm sure they thought.

Here is where I wonder - Jesus, what are you doing? Don't you want people to respect you? Honestly, you are the taker away of the sins. Can you not at least try to demand respect? You are kinda a big deal. All you seem to be concerned about is fulfilling this and fulfilling that and totally unconcerned about the wrong impressions you are giving. John just set you up as the ONE, the ONE in charge! Why would you have him baptize you?  This doesn't look good.

However, the gist of the gospel is- it's not about how impressed we are with Jesus, but what He's done for us. He simply does not work with impressions but rather truth.  And the truth is this, you and I are sinners and He is the savior. He came to free us from our sins, period. And He only did what He saw the Father do, even if it looked funky. He was all about obedience and cared more for us than for impressions. And likewise He freed us from the need to impress.

When it all comes down to the bitter end, we only stand before one. All else fades and the zoom lens focuses clearly on me and Him. The only thing I am going to want to hear from Jesus is, Lynne, I know you! At this point I will not care
how impressed you are with me. And that's the truth!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Day 42: February 11, 2016 Led to Loneliness

February 11, 2016
Day 42 Led to Loneliness

The temptation in the wilderness* intrigues me on so many levels. First, He was led. Not by the enemy but by His Spirit. (note to self - careful about placing blame on the enemy when all along it's the friend of my soul) He was intentionally led to lonlieness, to hunger and finally to intense temptation. The enemy offers Him what the world esteems; provision, prominence in a high position and power. Funny thing, Jesus already has this. But He gives it up for His rescue mission. It's important to note, we are always tempted with what we already have. We are tempted because we want it to look different.

Secondly, His temptation comes after His affirmation! The heavens open. He sees the Spirit descend like a dove and the dove rests on him. A voice from heaven says, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased." This is the pinnacle; affirmation by the One and Only. So where is the pomp and circumstance, where is the party?

Not for this lonely dude. He wins a trip to the wilderness! He is the first one on the narrow path. But He will be the only one onto crucifixion for this rescue mission. Let me rephrase this - He chose a narrow path, to crucifixion. He chose it.

Affirmation is definitely what you need when you are about to face the X Games of temptation. And this kind of temptation - we will never face. He was faced with aborting His plan to judge and save. But it's not gonna happen by the Son with whom God is well pleased. Isn't it funny how disappointed we are when things do not go our way?

There is no rest for eternity!

*Matthew 4

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Day 41: February 10, 2016 Lent On!

February 10, 2016
Day 41  Lent On!

My first day of observing Lent and it is taking an odd twist. This should not surprise me. There is a pulling away, a breaking out of religion in my life and it keeps happening on many unique and different levels. Watching my friends over the years follow this Christian observance has always left me with more questions than answers. I figured it was because I am dull witted. I am, but I am realizing why the slow head shake.

"Remember you are dust and to dust you return." At first glance, this Ash Wednesday phrase pulls me into the Sistine chapel with iconic beauty, my heart's eyes are upward facing, but they quickly return to a dust like focus-on me. And there is a hush, in my heart. And it feels good. But it's edging close to a God like sense as I sail past godliness pushing past the headwinds.  For I'm inching my way over the pew to a place of honor. Watch me do Lent. Watch me be dust. Watch me contemplate. Of course, in a most humble way.

God always reveals this tendency in me. He whispers loudly, "Hey, Lynne, where's this reflection on your dustyness going to lead? Uh, huh! Exactly, young lady. Why don't you do some reflecting on My imminence, My son's rise above dust, His power, His might." Oh, ok. And another one bites the dust. *

This phrase, "remember you are dust and to dust you return" really lacks encouragement. It kinda misses the all eyes on Jesus thrust. To dust I return? Really thought there was more to life than that. I have been told that this relationship with Jesus pulls me and you into a spiritual realm that soars beyond and above our physical bodies. And post death, c'mon, it is more than dust. It really is.

There is more than dust coming our way, and you want to know why I know? Jesus! His body did not see decay. He died, but no dust was found in the empty tomb. Nada! In fact years before this man was born it was written - "But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay!" Acts 13:37 PHEW! And then in Romans 8:21, I am included as well as creation, surviving past climate change; "that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God!" BAM! This is some kind of hope.

I do not have to wear sackcloth nor ashes today. But I do need to wear Jesus. This should be seen and felt like you would my clothing; joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When you wear these virtues you live victory over decay, victory over flagellation, victory over the urge to be God -like, victory over self-help ways, victory over selfishness, and most importantly, victory over ME. This soars beyond a symbol, you need to spend time with me to witness my relationship with Jesus - and it is exactly to relationships we are called.

These Lent reflections are headed in an entirely different direction than anticipated. Once again. Jesus loves turning me around. It is what He does best. Eyes off dust, eyes on Him, the Creator of all things!  Oh, how I love Jesus!

"Then the maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

Lent On! Brothers and Sisters! Lent On!

* "Another One Bites the Dust" was used in a study to train medical professionals to provide the correct number of chest compressions per minute while performing CPR. The bass line has close to 110 beats per minute, and 100–120 chest compressions per minute are recommended by the British Heart Foundation,[21] and endorsed by the Resuscitation Council (UK).[22]

Addendum -
these are my personal reflections. this is how God is leading me. i love that the way He leads us differently. it keeps us ballet-like. our focus is not on our ways. our focus is Him. my reflections are for me. God is dealing with me on many levels. i am not making wide sweeping statements in regards to the universal way lent is practiced. this is how God is speaking to me, today. i honor the way he leads you. i really do. He encourages me to honor you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Day 40: February 9, 2016 Lent

February 9, 2016
Day 40   Lent

Lent, forty days before Jesus died, is a time I have never observed with any sort of intentionality. I did not know it commemorated the beginning of Jesus's fasting in the wilderness. You wonder, how could I not know that? Sandi Tronoski I can actually hear you grown. 

I intend to observe Lent this year. Erin Bale sent this to many of us women: Lent. Tomorrow with women from IF:Gathering I will also fast. 

God so loved the world that He sent His only son to die. He does not need me to observe Lent. Everything that He needed me to do was done. His son did it. My call to observe Lent has everything to do with my need and my desire to focus on the essentials! Not His.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Day 39: February 8, 2016 Smile for the Camera

Day 8, 2016 Smile for the Camera
February 8, 2016 

I loved our field trip to Berks Nature. I learned and listened to Dr. Nature and Tami Shimp sum up in simple terms complicated issues such as Riparian Zones. Not only did Tami have a wide knowledge base, she was also accommodating and flexible. The students enjoyed it as well.

A number of months after our adventure she contacted me and asked if I would do an interview for a feature on their website - The People Chronicle. I love this kind of stuff - so I said yes. She thought it would benefit Wider School as well. 

I went on a rainy thursday afternoon to a building on Penn Street. I took a scary elevator to the fourth floor (I should know these kinds of things before I say yes - I hate elevators) Slouched in the chair I spoke so causally, too casually, that someone should have taken my pulse. Where were the mirrors to encourage some posture, where??!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it while I was there but on the way home.........

I was a mess. I called Lynn and said, "My interview on NPR is definitely not going to happen now." Man, there was my moment and there it went! All in one interview....

The entire drive home my head was repeating things like: "Tami, I am so sorry. You don't have to use it." No, I couldn't call and tell her that, she would feel obliged to lie. "Tami, if you don't use it, no problem, I won't be offended." No, that's a big fat lie. I would definitely be offended. "Tami, I wish we could have warmed up a little. I wish someone would have pushed me up in my chair." Oh, I so wanted to call her and beg her to lie and tell me I did fine. That would be too much - Tami would avoid me forever if I did this. So I aborted my plans. We never exchanged numbers anyway.

Yesterday, I received an email. "Oh, by the way, we wanted you to know the video is done." I read and reread the email and did not see the words "you trashed our project." Phew. When I watched it I simply breathed deeply as if I just let out air on the other side of a PA tunnel. The stupid smile on my face was not to be contained - it was fine. The video was fine. I didn't say anything earth shattering but most importantly I did not say anything stupid! What a big fat relief.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Day 38: February 7, 2016 Nicky Sueshter

Day 38
February 7, 2016  Nicky Sueshter

Robyn (age 12): Mom! When are you going to have Nicky Sue?
Me: I'm not. Nicky Sue will be your daughter.
Robyn: I'm not talking about my daughter. I'm talking about my sister.
Robyn: What is it? The pain?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Robyn: C'mon, what is it?
Me: Robyn, your father and I would love to travel more with you kids.
Robyn: Mom! C'mon, be real.
Me: I am Robyn.
Me: If you really want me to have Nicky Sue then you are going to have to pray. Real. Hard!

And - Robyn did.

Today as we prayed around our traditional Birthday Breakfast we thanked God for Nicole. I shudder to think of her not being with me or our family. She is a breath of fresh air, a seeker of Jesus, committed to her friends' well being, and such an intelligent young woman!

Nicky Sue, may you continue to live free! Continue to pursue Jesus!  I am thrilled your sister is a prayer warrior! You are an awesome addition to this family. I love you. Happy Fifteenth Birthday. Oh, I know where the time went......

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day 37: February 6, 2016

February 6, 2016
Day 37

Tonight there is so much I want to write, so much. I was with so many wonderful women this past weekend at the simulcast. Yet, the page blurs and fades. Tomorrow, I will try.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Day 36: February 5, 2016 Grab Some Glory

February 5, 206
Day 36 Grab Some Glory

I can not believe they do not understand me. I can not believe I have to do this. I can not believe this is happening to me.  I can not believe I am going through this. I can not believe they responded that way. I can not believe they are calling me that. I can not believe they didn't tell me. I can not believe they lied. I can not believe it.

C'mon, lady! Why can I not believe this? Who said it was going to be any different? To be misunderstood, misrepresented, misheard is the way of the cross. Jesus told us to count the cost. Did I? Did Jesus experience it differently? Not really sherlock...(I say to myself).

What an honor to be misrepresented. What an honor to be misunderstood. What an honor to go through this ordeal especially for the sake of Jesus Christ.  There is coming a day when all we are going to want is to push a rewind button. It will be when every knee is bowed and every tongue is confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. And on that day we will desperately want to relive moments just to give glory where glory is due!

I still got some breath in me. How about you? Want to grab some glory to offer Him and go for more? The more I do not live for myself, but for Him, the more misunderstood I will be. So, why not live it up! This man is so worth it!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Day 35: February 4, 2016 Sweet Spot

February 4, 2016
Day 35  Sweet Spot

Yes, I absolutely love my son's music. What a blast to watch him, on stage, from his teenage years to his adulthood, swaying and swooning a crowd.  But this particular cover screams to me over the rest. It has me on the dance floor with my hands held high! Now, we're talking son. Now, we're talking. I'm buckling in and ready for the thrill ride.

From little on I spoke with him of the ill effects and sad state of affairs of fame. Never did I speak of this with any of the other children, just Christopher. Uttering how fame spits you out bare boned and empty after promising offers it could never deliver is often what the boy would hear, often!

"Nobody knows the Trouble I've have Seen" is an old gospel song. And now, Chris has rocked this tune into a new arena! I love this. The energy I feel is intense. Keep it up, Son!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Day 34: February 3, 2016

February 3, 2016
Day 34

She is a sleepy girl and she must go to bed. When she wakes she will have to make some sense of some things. This she will do, she must and she has to. But she is so sleepy. She must trail off.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Day 33: February 2, 2016 Beyond to Comprehend

February 2, 2016
Day 33

He knows, I don't. He listens, I keep one ear to the wind. He loves, I love poorly. He is consistent, I am not. He is faithful, I am hit or miss. He sees all, I see in part. He creates and it is good, I create and it's ok. He is patient, I am not. He is compassionate, I try. He is long-suffering, I hate suffering.

He loves me beyond and in spite of my insecurity. He loves me beyond and in spite of my inconsistency. He loves me beyond and in spite of my faithlessness. He loves me beyond and in spite of my disobedience.

His love for me is not fostered or factored by my capabilities. His eternal and infinite might fuels His affection.

Do you see why it is a sin for me to fret? Worry is not part of the spiritual lexicon. My time is better spent comprehending His love. For this will take a lifetime and beyond to comprehend this kind of penetrating, all encompassing love.