Featured

“Blessed Jesus, Hold My Hand”

author- Albert Edward Brumley

Jesus, hold my hand
‘Cause I need Thee every hour
Through this pilgrim land
Protect me by Thy power

Hear my feeble plea
And O Lord look down on me
When I kneel in prayer
I hope to meet You there
Blessed Jesus, hold my hand

When I kneel in prayer
I hope to meet You there
Blessed Jesus, hold my hand

Yesterday, Joe and I were sitting on the front porch with our grandbabies. Joe and grand-son were sitting on the porch swing while grand-girl and I were in the rocking chair. We watched the birds flitter among the tree limbs and feeder- in a circular motion comparable to the children’s animated movies- tweeting as they went about their business. Squirrels skirting up, down, and across the limbs and ground gathering nuts for winter preparation.

Besides the beautiful sounds of nature, the creaking of the swing and rocker were in simultaneous motion. The leaves were turning their vibrant yellows, oranges and reds.

—-a small piece of heaven on earth—-

While I was observing my gentlemen peacefully swinging, I surveyed little grand-son take Papa’s middle finger and wrap his long arm around him in a secure grasp. Grand-son enveloped with Papa’s loving hold nestled for a short period with a smile stretched across his innocent face.

Picturesque moment- My heart filled with peace and calmness from the scene of the unspoken words of love and trust being exchanged between the two.

“Blessed Jesus, hold my hand” came to mind as I beheld this cherished sight.

This is the same with our Heavenly father- protected by His loving arms…

May your day be filled with the little things that remind you of our Father and Son as I have with the fall scenery- Jan

Featured

Remembering THOSE WHO GAVE ALL

Hope everyone had a safe and industrious or restful Memorial Day.

How was the day spent: cookout at home? going to the lake? gathering with family and friends? fireworks?

Were patriotic decorations scattered about the setting(s)? Was the serving ware displaying the American flag?

At any time, was a moment of silence given to those who gave all?

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Memorial Day 2021: Facts, Meaning & Traditions – HISTORY

No pictures or words can describe this holiday as best as observed in the following images. My simple words of “THANK YOU!” to the fallen heroes and their families will never be able to fully express my deep gratitude for the sacrifice given for my freedom. I have never faced first hand what this day stands for even though I had several generations of uncles and cousins who served in wars. Remember my son and his family as he is serving our country.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7c/f2/05/7cf2055742b705117890f1b681a10702.jpg
https://captainjamesdavis.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/freedom_isnt_free.jpg
Marines pray for fallen brother
http://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/4790536772/

I cannot listen or read the lyrics without shedding a tear for this holy ground. We will forever be grateful for your service.

https://youtu.be/TGzuvmut3Hs

The lyrics are eloquently written from a fallen soldier’s perspective.

I never thought that this is where I’d settle down,
I thought I’d die an old man back in my hometown,
They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men, for a job well done,
There’s a big white house sits on a hill just up the road,
The man inside he cried the day they brought me home,
They folded up a flag and told my mom and dad, “We’re proud of your son.”

And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property,
I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company,
I’m thankful for those thankful for the things I’ve done,
I can rest in peace, I’m one of the chosen ones, I made it to Arlington

I remember daddy brought me here when I was eight,
We searched all day to find out where my granddad lay,
And when we finally found that cross,
He said, “Son, this is what it cost to keep us free.” Now here I am,
A thousand stones away from him,
He recognized me on the first day I came in,
And it gave me a chill when he clicked his heels, and saluted me.

And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property,
I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company,
I’m thankful for those thankful for the things I’ve done,
I can rest in peace, I’m one of the chosen ones, I made it to Arlington

And every time I hear twenty-one guns,
I know they brought another hero home to us

We’re thankful for those thankful for the things we’ve done,
We can rest in peace, ’cause we are the chosen ones,
We made it to Arlington, yeah dust to dust,
Don’t cry for us, we made it to Arlington

Trace Adkins – Arlington Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Featured

Loving My Outdated Kitchen

I love my kitchen!

Have you ever heard of the saying, “The kitchen is the heart of the home.”? I believe this statement is true. No matter the size- the kitchen is always filled with bustling bodies or food to feed the weary. The kitchen is a gathering area. It hears stories of the day, worries about tomorrows, and whispering prayers.

Our table has served us well over the years. There is nothing like having a meal or conversations with family and friends.

January is the beginning of a new year. My goal for this winter season is to declutter any unused items. With this decluttering goal, I am reminded of how much we have accumulated over the years and being fortunate in receiving an overabundance of household items when we married.

This house was built in 1985, and we purchased it in 1994. We remodeled the kitchen 18 years ago. Light oak cabinets were the style in the early 2000’s. Not much has changed since the remodeling except a new refrigerator and removing the dish washer.

The counter tops have faded to a lighter shade of the original darker burgundy. The color’s purpose was to mask future stains and shield against the hard well water. Surprisingly, the counter tops have held up quite well and continue to look in good condition for their age. I know they are not in style, but who can complain when they are doing a great job. My goal or wish is to replace the counter tops with butcher block, but this will be a project for another day.

The Keurig sat here previously before moving to the coffee bar in the sunroom.

I know, I know. The appliances are different colors. We started with the white theme but had a change of heart when the refrigerator had to be replaced. I love the black stainless look; it matches the microwave. We will go with the newer scheme as the appliances are needing replacing.

I cannot live without the magnet monthly calendar. It keeps me sane as well as the school calendar, cleaning schedule, and Bible verses.

Our stove top is unique. The top is divided with a grill on the left and two heating elements on the right. We keep a removable Lodge gridle on the grill. If needed, the grill can be used as two more elements allowing four pots to cook simultaneously. I love my stove top and the interchangeable grill element even though we never took advantage of purchasing additional parts.

The lighting for the stove top is hidden under the upper cabinet as well as the electrical strips concealed under the other cabinets. The light switch is for the newly converted sunroom.

This corner can feel overwhelming when I have to cook several dishes or have a multitude to wash.

Lastly, a trash can and other items are stashed in the dishwasher’s space. I never felt the need to replace it. What was the point in having a dishwasher if I was going to rinse beforehand? This way the overflowing trash can is not visible to the visiting eyes.

A door way between the stove top and microwave cabinets open into the sunroom. This was originally the side porch, which was utilized more often than the main porch off the living room. The sunroom is a dream come true; however, it is still under construction with only the small details left to be finished. I am eager to share the new room once I get the “go ahead” from my husband.

I would be telling a false statement if I said this is the kitchen’s normal state. Most days the counter tops are filled with items needing to return to their home. I have to give myself “grace” when it comes to cooking and cleaning in a timely manner.

As I was writing earlier, I love my outdated kitchen. It has been good to us. The kitchen brings me joy and happiness even if it is a little cluttered.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Featured

Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmon Tree! Oh How I Love Thee!

Our Christmon tree will remain up till the end of January. We waited with decorating until the arrival of our son’s family, which was the week of Christmas.

The tree is adorned with crocheted pieces from our wedding 27 years ago. My aunt created patterns to crochet specific Christmon symbols. Every year, my husband reads the meaning of each symbol while a child (young adults now) places the symbol on the tree. It has been a tradition since the children were younger to read aloud the true reason for the Christmas season.

A Christmon tree holds symbols that represent Jesus, our Savior.
Five symbols are mixed among the angels, candy canes, and snowflakes.

The yearly tradition is completed when one child places the angel on top. This year we were graced with our 11th month old grandson-with the help of his dad and uncle- adding the final touch.

There is something special about a tree and its belongings. An ornament or other significant item representing memorable events, whether good or bad: birth, marriage, or a year’s highlights such as toilet paper and facial masks, but our tree gained an ornament announcing our grandson’s “first Christmas.”

I have not transitioned my tree with Valentine’s decorations, nor do I intend to do so at this time. I prefer to leave it as is in order to focus on the peace and calmness the tree brings with reflection and the Christmas story.

One side note- I took a picture of the tree and the outdoor waving flag and posted the scene on Instagram. At the time of the post, I was not aware of what was taking place outside of my home environment. Later, I learned of the events and thought of the irony of the perfect timing of my thoughts and feelings, “One Nation Under God.”

I hope this past Christmas tree brought you much joy and happiness as it did our family even with the multitude of 2020 hardships.

May you be filled with the jovial anticipation of decorating any tree for any occasion.

Father Figures….

Father, I…

Father, I see everything that you do.

Father, I hear everything that you say.

Father, I smell everything that you smell.

Father, I taste everything that you taste.

Father, I sense everything that you feel.

Father, be careful for I follow in your footsteps.

Janet N Stover, June 11, 2022

A child imitates what is observed. This observation carries into the teen years and adulthood.

I will guide you in the way of wisdom and I will lead you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble.

Proverbs 4: 11-12 KJV

It is the duty and responsibility of the earthly father to guide in the way of wisdom and lead in upright paths. Metaphorically speaking, one will have the understanding when steps are hampered and stumbles when running. The earthly father will be waiting with open arms and a forgiving heart as the Heavenly Father.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son demonstrates this love a father has for his son [child]. According to Luke 15:20 KJV, “But when was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And the posts of they house, and on thy gates.

Deuteronomy 6:9 KJV

A small list of Biblical KJV father figures:

  1. God the Father (Genesis-Revelation)
  2. Adam the First Man (first of every biological experience, from conception to death including the emotional aspects; Genesis 1:26-5:5)
  3. Noah A Righteous Man (wickedness filled the earth, instructed to build an ark and remained faithful during the great flood; Genesis 5:29-9:29)
  4. Abraham Father of the Jewish Nation (Genesis 11:31-25-11, well known children’s song “Father Abraham had many sons…”)
  5. Jacob Father of the 12 Tribes of Israel(Genesis 25:21-49:33 birthright was taken by trickery and youngest son, Joseph, was sold- Joseph’s story is told as the “Coat of Many Colors”)
  6. Moses Giver of the Law (Exodus 2:1-Deuteronnomy 33:12 lead a multitude to the promise land while giving God’s laws to the people)
  7. Joseph Earthly Father of Jesus ( Matthew, Luke raised Jesus as his own even though Jesus was not his biological child)

May you be filled with contentment on this Father’s Day.

“A Rule for Birds’ Nesters”

A beautiful nest hidden in our old mailbox. The birds are not gone but we enjoyed the scene.

The robin and the redbreast,

The robin and the wren;

If ye take out o’ their nest,

Ye’ll never thrive agen!

The robin and the redbreast,

The martin and the swallow;

If ye touch one o’ their eggs,

Back luck will surely follow!

Anonymous

We are all aware that touching birds’ eggs will bring harm to the unborn hatchlings. In addition, it is unwise to remove the nest from its resting place for the eggs will not thrive to their created purposes.

But let’s think a minute of how this child’s poem is applicable to our adult lives. How often do we forego refrainment and interfere with nature or circumstances? I often think what harm will come if I get a closer look at the eggs or touch the meticulous crafted nest-

From experience this delicate serene nest quickly turns into a hornet’s nest. Parents do not leave the nest due to human’s smell but from disturbances caused by outside sources. When we allow ourselves to intervene, the opportunity leads to controversy, bitterness and rotten eggs. People leave our nest due to outer disturbances.

Sometimes it is better to observe the nest from a distance and allow God to work His plans.

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Proverbs 19:11 KJV

A person with good sense is patient, and it is to his credit that he overlooks an offense.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

May your nest be unharmed from outer disturbances. ‘Bad luck’ always follows when we permit disturbances to enter.

“Mother”

Hundreds of stars in the deep blue sky,

Hundreds of shells on the shore together,

Hundreds of birds that go singing by,

Hundreds of birds in the sunny weather,

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,

Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,

Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,

But only one mother the wide world over.

George Cooper

I inserted the link from last year’s post defining Mother. https://thepileofstickshome.com/2021/05/09/mother/

The following is the beginning of the 2021 post of Mother.

I received a text from my mother stating, “I bought a Mother’s Day gift for my children’s mother.” For all you mothers, buy yourself something special. You deserve it!

May you honor the “Mother” figure in your life or be honored for being that blessed calling. I will be surrounded by my children’s text and voices.

Blessings- Jan

Are Your Dishes Washed?

Am I the only person who goes to bed with dishes in the sink? How often do you wash your dishes: after every meal, at the end of the day, in the morning, whenever? Do you hand wash or use the dishwasher or both?

There are many reasons as to why people leave dishes in their sinks- a water bill controls the daily water amount, not enough dishes in the dishwasher to make a full load, growing up being conservative with water usage, saving the dishes to wash after supper, etc. I can think of many reasons as to why dishes remain in the sink throughout the day.

Researching the history of washing dishes, I came across several books written over the years to help the new bride, bachelor, or give the homemaker insight of being efficient in keeping a home. I became enlightened as to how one should wash dishes. I understand that this type of research may not be of interest to most people, but I am intrigued with the evolving domesticated housewife.

Modern conveniences have made the impossible mundane chore easier and expeditious. Yet, I do not have a dish washer, so we wash by hand using the traditional method of hot soapy water, rinsing, and drying on a mat or towel. Consequently, do you rinse or wash your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher? Why? Does this give the dishes an extra boost of cleanliness?

Let’s go beyond the washing of everyday dishes and focus on the cleaning of the decor dishes. How often do you wash/dust the dishes being utilized as decorations? Spring teapots are displayed on my China cabinet and butler’s buffet. I have a presentation of blue and white plate collection on the dining room wall. Seasonal bowls and figurines are perched on top of the refrigerator and small stands and tables in the living room.

These decor items are cleaned/dusted once or twice a week to keep the friendly dust particles down. Sometimes, I wash them in the sink. No matter when or how often these show pieces are being “washed.”

But I want to go further with this thinking and ask the question, “Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?” Um, where am I going with this? I went from washing dishes to washing sins. I am making a metaphorical comparison here.

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?

Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?

Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood?

In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?

Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow?

Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Hoffman, 1878

I wanted to take a moment and question how often do we go to God and clean ourselves. Do we talk to God once a day, once a week, only in time of need, or given praise when things go our way?

There are many book compilations about seeking and finding strength in God. I have a plethora of books from devotionals to commentaries referencing Bible verses. I do not disagree with reading these genres but I rely heavily on the primary source, the Bible.

We have easier access to reading and researching the Bible with modern conveniences. We can read any time and anywhere. How great is this!

Easter is April 17th. Jesus bled for our sins. His sacrifice was to wash and clean us.

Are you washed in the blood?

May you find comfort in knowing that His blood washes away our sins as I have.

Blessings, Jan

Adjusting to the Pandemic…

a treasured gift from my daughter
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20220327_130442-1.jpg
a treasured gift from my daughter

Before I begin telling my story, my family lost loved ones and dear friends. We witnessed hardships and tragedies, but these observations are not my stories to write. We, too, made the required and needed adjustments during this time. My reasoning behind this post is to learn how you and your family and friends adjusted. This post will not express political opinions nor justify whether one received or not received the shots. I want to connect with you-the reader- and how you are fairing now at this present moment of reading my post.

This post is a shorten version of the main points during the pandemic.

My husband, Joe, is an adequate follower of the news. Beginning in the FALL of 2019, Joe stated the virus will reach the United States soon and we needed to prepare. With his biology and chemistry background, he explained how the virus would spread in time. Joe ordered me several N95 masks and wore these inside and outside the home. As he listened to the news, he gradually stocked up on items: toiletry items, toilet paper, powered milk, can goods, meats, frozen vegetables and fruits, etc. The family began taking precautionary actions in the Winter of 2020 before the lockdown occurred on Friday, March 13th. Prior to the pandemic, the family would come in through the basement and take showers and/or change clothes before greeting me after arriving home. Mail and some nonperishable items would be left in the basement for several days before I was allowed to touch anything. I was not permitted to go down to the basement unless severe weather was in the area. The family washed their clothes so I would not be exposed to the “outside” germs. They did all of this to protect me while I was at my lowest point with my health. Many work peers said I went on extended leave at the right time avoiding all the cleaning agents and sickly bodies. [Read my post to gain a better “Understanding MCAS.]

During the pandemic, my family spent many hours together. Joe continued to teach with virtual learning while our children learned from their schools’ instructional methods. We live in the country so going outside was not a problem. It was their outing for the needed fresh air. Many hours were spent talking and laughing around the table and/or living room. We came to understand each other’s spaces and knew when enough was enough; otherwise known as “getting on each other’s nerves.” WE came to respect the other person and how the pandemic was effecting the other family member. More meals were cooked. New recipes were tested. I ordered many books referencing the “Great Depression.” The family read more for pleasure instead of academics. The family would converse with our oldest son and his family through the WhatsApp. The app allowed us to see the family first hand and experiencing our grandson’s many firsts. This is the time where I learned about family vloggers on YouTube and found many great creators that have the same beliefs as me. I picked up crocheting and sewing again. Doctors’ appointments were completed by tele-visits. Oh, I prefer this method instead of going to the doctor’s office.

Everyday was not glorious. Joe continued to update us with the local and world news. Many times my heart broke hearing and reading about the countless numbers of the sick and those that passed away. Families not being able to gather at the homes, hospitals or attend the funerals. Families suffering from lack of needed items and/or long-term effects of the pandemic.

Did my family have Covid-19? Yes, we did. It took months to heal from the illness.

May you find comfort during these times of turmoil as I have. May you grow closer to family and friends and gain knowledge in what really matters in this life.

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 KJV

Blessings, Jan

The Season of Being Alone

Social Media, at times, is considered my “bane of existence.” I view pictures of people’s travels, families, achievements/successes, friends gatherings, home and yard improvements, etc. and an overwhelming feeling of jealousy floods my inner emotions. I wish I could be sitting on a pew surrounded by family and friends. I wish I could be outside creating beautiful flower beds and vegetable gardens. I wish I could be present at my husband and children’s award ceremonies. I wish I could paint my bathroom and clean my carpets. I wish I could be more involved with my friends. I wish I could go on a family adventure and see all the things that bring the family joy. But in this season of life, I am alone.

I watch from the window while my family is outside cutting the grass, cleaning the yard, playing with the dogs, looking at the new growth of flowers and bushes. I get second hand accounts of church and its special occasions. I initiate the contact with friends and learn of their life through social media. But in this season of life, I am alone.

No one has forgotten me. Everyone is engaged with their jobs and families. The church continues to ask for updates from my mother. Joe is always willing to give information to anyone he sees. I understand. But I am no longer physically visible in the church, school system, family gatherings, normal shopping trips. But in this season of life, I am alone.

In truth, I am speaking of being alone (removed) from my once overly active lifestyle. I-now- have all the time to focus on God, family, and home. I let the pressures of work overflow into my home life. I was more committed to work and overly consumed with the pressures of being a better teacher than I was being a wife and mother. The home became less thought of- per say….

But in this season of life, I am alone. Alone to focus on being a homemaker: a child of God, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, and a friend who is willing to be an ear when needed.

God has blessed me with this season of life of being “alone” to focus on my priorities and what truly matters.

Yes, I will one day meet up with friends and have humbling fellowship catching up first hand with them. I will travel with my family when the opportunity arises. I will walk into the church with a smile and greet everyone with a handshake and hug. I will stand in my flower bed and garden and smell the freshness and goodness that is yet to come. I will attend my family’s ceremonies, funerals, weddings, gatherings and showers. I will be visible to all.

But for now in this season of life, I am alone.

May you find comfort in those seasons of being alone as I have. But know that you are not alone, your Heavenly Father is with you wherever you are on this temporary place called earth.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

Matthew 28:20 KJV

Blessings, Jan

a glimpse of the author

Season of Turning 50

I celebrated my 50th birthday at the beginning of 2022. Ecclesiastes 3 is a metaphorical chapter of my life:

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV)

We all have endured the seasons of mountains and valleys. But it is how we engaged in these seasons that matters.

I have memories of the low and high times in my 50 years of living on this earth; but I also can recall the news that seemed unreachable in the early years- the world. Now that I am older and have understanding of the abstract world news, I can emotionally grieve for the losses and celebrate the victories for those that are only miles away. At this very moment, I encourage that we earnestly pray to our Heavenly father. We need to put our humble faith and trust in His word to allow His guidance reign over us.

No words can express today’s turmoil.

I watched one of my favorite YouTube channels this morning, “Simply R Home.” Amy praises God continuously on her channel no matter what season she is facing. I am going to quote her two verses that she read from her Bible during today’s post.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 KJV

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;….

Romans 12:12 KJV

These verses left a calmness that there is hope in today’s tribulation. Seek God in all seasons. No one is too young or old to ask God for His love and forgiveness. God will act in His timing. We have to “Trust and Obey” God.

May you find comfort in the New Testament verses as I have. May God touch and heal you and your family in the mountain and valley seasons.

Blessings- Jan

“Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…”

The well-known poem learned as a little child. It was frequently quoted by my mother.

I have fond memories of Valentine’s Day. My father would give each of the four children a heart shaped box filled with little candies. I have cherished Valentine’s cards signed by my late father and mother in a keepsake container. One year, my father gave me a beautiful necklace purchased from our local pharmacy. The necklace was made of different pastel textures. This precious gift from my junior high school days is kept in the safety deposit box. I do not think it would fit me on this very day, but the necklace was often worn.

Now as a mother my husband and I would give our children candy of their choice. When our oldest son was in primary school, the class was required to bring a box from home to collect the cards exchange. My husband and son created a wooden box with heart carvings. A wide slit was cut into the lid to allow placement of miniature boxed Valentine’s cards. The box was utilized by the other three children. Stickers, drawings and painting were added since its first use. The whereabouts of this Valentine’s box is unknown. But- this wooden box served many purposes with each child.

My family does not celebrate this identified holiday in a lavish manner. We may exchange cards and candies with an added special treat to a meal. My children think of this day as a reminder of being single, which I think it is okay to be single on this particular day.

Ending this post with Bible verses that reflect God’s love for us.

John 15:12: My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Corinthians 16:14: Do everything in love.

1 Peter 4:8: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Ephesians 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…

https://www.southernliving.com/culture/bible-verses-about-love-marriage

May you find comfort in these verses as I have. Love comes in many forms not just materialism on Valentine’s Day. “Love” is an emotion that should be felt and humbly displayed daily.

Blessings, Jan

Learning Discernment…

I created this wreath for the winter season.

In 2020, I had to adjust and accept my status as being medically retired as a SPED and ELL teacher. Accepting not going into a classroom after 19 years was not a smooth transition. Yes, some days were challenging but the rewards were even greater. The last four months proved to be arduous in meeting the expectations that I had committed to my students, peers and employers. When I experienced an episode in October 2019, I realized my health was affecting everyone around me. I spent 2020 learning the word “acceptance” of my condition and either move forward or wail in self-pity.

After a year of learning acceptance, I needed to make the best of my circumstances. 2021 opened many avenues as being a maker or a doer. I began enjoying the little things in life such as baking, sewing, reading, crocheting, and all things of a homemaker. I thanked my husband many times for encouraging me to seek retirement and taking my time in completing simple tasks. We babysat our grandchildren for a short period of time while their parents worked. It was a joy seeing them more since they moved closer to home.

Now that we are in 2022 I did not know where I needed to put my focus- what I needed to learn under God’s guidance. Many prayers were sent up and conversing outright with God seeking His direction. One day the word “discernment” flooded my mind, heart and soul. The word kept resurfacing on a daily basis. I researched the meaning and how it played into God’s word and plan.

http://www.merriam-webster.com: the quality of being to grasp and comprehend what is obscure; an act of perceiving or discerning something

http://www.dictionary.com: (n) acuteness of judgment and understanding; (adj) showing good or outstanding judgment and understanding

http://www.thesaurus.com: synonyms- discrimination, insightful, astute, knowledgeable, perceptive, knowing; antonyms- ignorant, disregardful, negligent, unaware, unintelligent, neglectful

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

Philippians 1:9-10 KJV

My Bible’s commentary expounds upon the above verses as to “focus on what really matters- distinguish the vital and worthwhile things in life from those that are not”.

How is the research applicable in my daily walk? The familiar adages are appropriate, “Walk the walk, talk the talk.” “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “You eat what you speak.” “Be careful with what you say. It might come back and bite you.” “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” “Actions speak louder than words.”

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 18:21 KJV

I am guilty in participating in gossip, not acting upon my words, and pointing out the negative in situations.

Instead my focus should be

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.

Romans 12:12 KJV

My words and actions should be pleasing to God yet not allowing negativity or current events destroy my thoughts and happiness. My words and actions should reflect my beliefs as a Christian showing discernment in all walks of my life. My words and actions should demonstrate judgment of when to act upon.

The filtering of discernment into my words and actions comes from my faith, study, prayer and learnings.

May you find comfort in God’s word and allow His guidance fulfill your daily path.

Learning from the Three Wise Men

Each of my displayed nativities include the Three Wise Men. However, according to the Bible (King James Version) the Kings did not visit the Holy Babe until months later. My curiosity led me to researching and studying Matthew and Luke in the Bible in addition to internet searches.

Why am I so intrigued with the wise men? The wise men were fulfilled with sincere faith in a star that led them a great distance to the newborn King. These men displayed true wisdom in their travels.

I’ve often wondered how the wise men recognized THE star as being a sign that directed them to the King of the Jews. How was their faith never lost over the many months of searching for this Babe?

To understand the significance of the Wise Men, I had to understand their character.

Disclaimer: The following is what I learned from research and studying my Bible. Please correct or add any information to what I have written. I am a Christian and believe in the Word, but an anniversary gift sparked this interest and I cannot stop thinking about their devotion and faith upon one star. My focus is on the wise men and therefore omitting several verses from this post that are unrelated to the topic.

“…there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1) and were of the higher caste system [knowledge gained from previous social science classes]. Several searches indicated they studied the stars and noted this unique star. By following their calculations, the star led them to Jerusalem, the royal capital of Israel.

Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 2:2

I am skipping verses 3-8. These verses depict Herod the king counseling with the “chief priests and scribes” (v, 4) questioning the birth of a new king. Verses 5 and 6 foretells that Bethlehem of Judea being the birthplace as referenced in The Old Testament (Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 9:6). After learning these things, Herod spoke with the wise men to encourage them to return giving news of this newborn.

The wise men continued with their quest.

…the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was (v, 9).

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him… (v, 11).

Matthew 2

The setting has moved from a manger (Luke 2:7) to a house (Matthew 2:11). This indicates that Joseph and Mary left the stable and are now residing in a home.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Matthew 2: 12

The Bible gives little information, yet the wise men contributed to the birth story. I am astounded by their perseverance in seeking the King of the Jews. The wise men traveled over a vast span of land guided only by a star. They were not discouraged by the distance or having to travel even further to meet the Babe. They did not question their purpose. The only noted question I could find was “… where is he…” (Matthew 2:20) from the wise men.

These men were WISE in their commitment: guided by faith in the unknown, exhibiting patience and tolerance with the long distance, articulating appropriately with encounters, and having wisdom in returning home in a different direction.

The acknowledgment of the wise men’s specific attributes was attained from my study. Even though I am one person in this BIG world, I want to carry the same qualities as the wise men: faith, patience, tolerance, positive dialogue, and wisdom.

Little is known about the wise men except they made a significant contribution in one of the most beloved and highly worshiped events of the Christian faith. Chapters 2 of Matthew and Luke provide specific yet small details of their role in greeting the newborn/child. Even though the backgrounds are not written in the Bible, I inferred about the wise men’s character. Character that I strive for in my daily walk with God. How did I come to these conclusions of the wise men? I sought God’s word for answers.

May you be filled with faith, patience, tolerance, articulation, and wisdom for your travels in 2022. These traits are not always easily expressed in daily circumstances, but we have a loving and forgiving God who directs our paths.

Happy New Year and may you find joy in the life that you have been blessed- Jan

%d bloggers like this: