a dance to dance

in honor of the rain to come tonight and follow tomorrow. 🙂

Oh the rain

to fall so steadily

upon my window still.

Space

And as the

lighting strikes against each thunder clap

There is yet a dance to be danced!

A little putter to start the beat and vigorous wind

to bring up the pace. The lightning always leads.

1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4.

And as any good dance partner the thunder follows in the next

heal toe, heal toe. Sharp powerful moves, quick like the

fox-trot but intensity like the tango. 1,2,3. 1,2,3.

Yet through all the dramatics the rain intervenes like a calming

dance parter.

The dance is momentary arranged to a soft waltz.

Light and airy as it glides down from the window.

The dance shall continue into the night.

And when I do fall asleep I shall remember the song,

“I could have dance all night.”

Space

oh the dreams I shall dream.

Blessed on this Rock

There was this big rock that just sat there when I was young.
From a distance, it seemed like a hug boulder, you couldn’t move it, it just sat there.
This rock was on the property of my grandparents, on a lake in South Dakota.
Things in life were finer there. I don’t mean we were rich in money, but rich in life and laughter. There were wood pillars that faced many thunderstorms and ropes that were ripped and fallen. The grass was brittle but it grew like corn. And there was this big rock.

It served its purpose well, as the mountain climbing experience for our barbies and GI Joe’s. The stove in which we cooked our soup.

A mixture of lake water, a few leaves, weeds…for flavor
Some good size pebbles so we could actually stir something

! and of course a sprinkle of gravel.

To the left of the rock, depending where you sat, stood this yellow lanterned man. His lantern shined dimly from dusk till we noticed it off.

And though the cowbells and leaves continue to cling to him, he was still ours.

I pause, remembering the past, realizing it’s easier to talk about and it makes me smile. I could continue with stories such as: hearing the fish splash, unexpectedly. Or watching our attempts to haul as many little rocks from the road to the dock, and eventually to the water with a plunk. I could talk for hours of the many blissful 4th of Julys. The time I lit the shell, and it almost fired in my ear, or the memorable later laughable time my cousin fell into the lake. I could sing you a few songs from the campfires we had. The time we used cumin instead of cinnamon for the biscuits. My list will go on, and on and continue down the well walked gravel road.

Because being here with all the memories, good and bad allows me to pounder and thank the Lord for how blessed I am . And as long as this big rock sits and even years later, when the memories get foggy, my God, he won’t. So thank you Jesus, I am grateful and I am blessed.

The Gift

I did this paper for a class. I was surprised that the professor said it was excellent. So I decide to post this, because maybe it will mean something to someone else. 🙂

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch; like me!” We sang this song in chapel a few days ago. I will always remember the stillness that hovered over the chapel area. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, I like to think that it was. Inasmuch the moment will stay with me forever.  The song is such beautiful poetry. The melody is soft in our ears and quick on our lips. I even  think that when we sing this song God is smiling from above. It is a sweet moment, I like to think of sharing moment with  God like that. You might not think of it like that, but if got me thinking about how we share these moment with God. How is it that sinful human beings are precious sights to God. Bottom line, I guess I am asking, how did we come across such  wonderful gift? This gift called grace.

In Called to Believe, Teach and Confess, Muller said, “Grace is delivered to and received  by individuals in certain way which are known as ‘the means of grace’, (p.312). Later it says that the means of grace are simply the Gospel. That is what is so wonderfully special about God. He never complicates anything. In past sections we talked about the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is “God, the agent who presents these facts to both my mind and my spiritual understanding so that they become both real and relative to me as an individual,” according to W. Philip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. So it only makes sense that “the Spirit conveys the grace of God to people,” (Muller. p. 312). Through the Holy Spirit we receive grace, even though we have done nothing to deserve it. Yet, how do we know we have such grace? It isn’t like the Holy Spirit knocks on our door and gives us a letter from God. The simplest way to explain  how we receive this grace is in Matthew chapter three. John the Baptist says, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. We receive the grace at our baptism. When God claims us as his own, we are his. Through the water and his Word we are saved from all the sins we are going to do and have already done. “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

We are baptized because Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 23, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Go! That is what God tells us to do. My religion teacher in high school was once baby-sitting for this couple. As he and his wife were there, he turned to his her and said, this baby hasn’t  been baptized, do you think we should baptize him? At the time I honestly had no idea if they could actually do that. Because I have always seen a pastor baptize someone and so I just assumed it had to be a pastor. How I was so wrong. Jesus commands us to go out and baptize. We all have a right and duty to be like God to everyone. The promises that are fulfilled though baptism shouldn’t be limited if someone is not a pastor.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear.  The hour I first believed!” What a burden lifted, to know that no matter how many times we sin, and do wrongly by our neighbor or ourselves God forgives us all sins at baptism Not that this gives us a free ticket to sin boldly, but instead the reassurance that we can always come to him and ask for forgiveness. I remember in confirmation class one of the leaders spoke about baptism, and I loved his analogy. He said that baptism is like this beautiful gift given to us. He said that when you get a gift it means someone loves you and wants you to have it. No one normally rejects a gift, so why would you reject a gift from God.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Not only are we given the gift of baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit, and after reading that chapter in Muller about the Holy Spirit I know I would want him on my side. “The Lord hath promised good to me. His word my hope secures.” God always takes care of his children, because we are cherished object to the Lord.

He will my shield and portion be.  As long as life endures.” Grace is given to us, and just like any gift no one takes it away from you. God’s claim on you is forever.  John 10:10 reassures us of this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God doesn’t back off on his promises. We can expect that from others and ourselves because we are not perfect. However, we never need to question how far and deep God’s love goes for us. There are prime examples in the bible of this, John 3:16, Zephaniah 3:17, Ephesians 2:4-5 and Romans 8:37-39 which says  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.”  When I was little I was always afraid of death. It seemed like such a risk to just know you were going to go to Heaven. However, it is the faith that keeps us from worrying. I mean we are all going to die at some point. It is far better to live freely from fear and know that God has everything under control. Though my human body will die at some point in my life I will be with God in Heaven, not because I choose it but God did. Psalm 139 tells us that God, he knew us before we were born, so he totally knows what will happen to us when we die. God saved us through his blood, he called us his own at baptism, and we will be with him forever.

Amazing Grace is a beloved song, sung in church numerous times. John Newton wrote the beautiful piece. So I did a little digging to find out little bit more on the person who wrote it. He was a sailor and spent a lot of time at sea. He didn’t have much of a faith, and most of that had to do with the fact that his mother died when he was a child. He was in  a storm and he cried out to God to deliver him. He later became a minister and later in life he wrote, Amazing Grace. Though it wasn’t intended to be sung at the time, it is today in many churches and gives others a way to worship and thank God for all he has done.  I wanted to submerse the lyrics into the paper in various ways for two reason. One, it is just too beautiful of a song to be forgotten and only sung in church. The second reason, is because it truly reflects on how a Christian’s struggle is, and how the Lord intercedes and gives us such a wonderful gift. So to end I leave you with the last stanza. To hold these words close. Knowing that God loves you and that no matter what happens He will be by your side. Thank you Lord.  “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”

Amen.

Social Society Built Upon Stress.

Today  was such horrible day. First I overslept, so I was rushed getting out the door. On the way to work the traffic was a zoo, this idiot pulled out in front of me and my coffee spilled on the passengers seat.  What a mess. That stain isn’t going to come out. I went to turn right, when I looked up to see a sign saying, No Right on Red.  They must have just put that up, because  I have been turning right on red for years. Finally the light turns green and I have to wait because a person is taking their sweet time walking across. Oblivious to the world around them as he continues to listen to his music through his iPhone. I turn and make a bee line to work.When I get there my boss asked to see me in his office. I sigh frustrated, and walk into the room. He has a stack of folders that I have personally overseen. He slams them down, in which I ask, “Is there a problem?” He just shakes his head and says “I hope I see better next time.”  Defeated and hungry because I skipped breakfast I leave his office only to find a stack of fresh manuscripts ready to be read. Since when did my hobby become my job? How did I let this happen I ask myself.

The day continues just how it started, rushed with too many mistakes. Co- workers are looking to me for answers and my boss keeps looking over, as if saying, “you haven’t even started have you?”  I decided to skip lunch because I didn’t bring any food and what is the point, when I have all this stuff to do. I leave the work day at 5:30, only to see that I have a flat tire. Of course.  I call my friend to pick me up, she does and all the way home she tells me how stressed she is, with work, and her kids, and her husband. By the time she drops me off I couldn’t listen to another word. I thank her, and she drives away. I find a note from my neighbor asking me to watch her fish and I look down to see a bowl filled with water and fish looking up at me.  I grab the bowl, in which the water splashes on me. I am wound so tight, and then I remember that stack of files I forgot at the office.  My feet are killing me. I kick off my heels, knowing I couldn’t walk another hour in them. I don’t know what to do. I am just about ready to eat, because I am starving. I grab a box of Nilla Wafers, I think I am suppose to make something with them for my niece birthday but that is just going to have to wait. Later I get ready for bed, I turn my lights off but then I hear a distant sound. The college students who moved in last month two houses down are rehearsing some sort of skit for the upcoming play.  They are loud and obnoxious, and I realize it is going to be just as long of a night as it way day.

That is a pretty horrible day right? This person could relate to you. This person could be  you? I am sure at some point I am a version of this person.  I get stressed with school work, projects papers, people, friends, sometimes family. Do you ever find yourself asking this qustion, “What am I suppose to do?”  If you ask anyone in my family, I don’t handle stress well. I am cranky and anxious, and until the stressful period ends I am not someone you want to talk to. But that is just it, it doesn’t end. Something else come up and the cycle starts all over again. If you have NEVER been stressed in your life, congratulations.  But if you are like me, stressful situations just happen…or do they?

Originally stress happens because of an instinct. Ever heard of  FIGHT or FLIGHT? Kind of like that. We use to stress over things that mattered. Now we stress over the fact if we can get our coffee drink before class starts. Or like I said before, se get stressed and upset while driving and the “stupid, annoying drivers” around us. Sometimes it is also how much we stress over something. Instead of stressing over something and then once the problem was resolved we don’t let it go… Let is GO! Let it GO…. like Frozen?  HA HA okay maybe that was only funny for me.  ANY who..… Instead we drive through to the next situation. Is that healthy probably not. But why is it that we admire the people who are juggling a job, and kids, and family and friends. People who have a million things going at once, and on the inside they are stressed to the max. Why don’t we admire the people that take life at a slower pace. Like the person walking, oblivious to the world, listen to their music? Or maybe we do, but we tell ourselves that can’t and won’t be us.

I admire my mom. But I don’t admire her because she is doing everything at once. I admire her beaches she is a strong and independent person, and yet she has a wonderful husband who let her know she doesn’t have to do everything at once. I am very blessed to have the parents I do. My mom does a lot in a day, but she knows that she has to take breaks, and she doesn’t have to get everything done at once. Because I think a lot of Moms think that, because they want to take care of us, but what happen to taking care of ourselves?

When did our social society put so much effort into showing everyone else how stressed they were? Probably because we didn’t know we were actually doing it. One thing that helps me, it just happen today actually. I was just stressed about silly things that aren’t going to happen for awhile, but they were consuming me. I went to chapel, and the professor giving the message asked us what we needed to hear today. He said phrases such as, “I forgive you. You are not a failure.” And then he said do you need to hear, “I’ve got this, so don’t worry.” It stopped me where I was at. I am not saying that because God has everything under control you will never be stressful, because I know I will. But in those moments when I stress over little things, I will remember that God has a plan for everything, and maybe there was a reason I overslept one day. Or my car wouldn’t start, and I had to walk. Hopefully this puts it in perceptive. I actually learned about components of stress in a class, and then I heard this phrase in chapel, and so I felt inclined to share.  Another things, something that was taught in  class. about stress..real quick.  You should work somewhere you feel valued and important. My Grandpa always told me, that you should love where you are working. If you don’t love it,  you won’t have the motivation to get past those little patches of stressful time.

I posted the link below to the video we watched in class about stress. I don’t agree with all of it, but there are some very valid points. It is pretty long, like I said we listen to it for class, but I would recommend giving it a try.  I also leave you  with some bible verse, that I agree with, 100%.

Matthew 6:25- 27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Philippians 4:6,7.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Stress:  Portait for a Killer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs

Retro

9 Handwriting Styles and What They Say About You. Are you Olaf?  What Coffee Drink Fits Your Personality?  What Color are you?   What is Your Dream House? 

     What do these all have in common? Well for starters they are a number of sites on my newsfeed on Facebook. Are they a bad thing? No, not really. I am guilty of clicking them, taking the survey and finding the results.  I didn’t get through the handwriting one, it was too long.  No I am not Olaf, but a previous quiz in which comparing Anna or Elsa told me I was Anna. My coffee drink personality is a mocha, because I like to try new things, but I also like to stay with the simplicities. Don’t know what color I am but I am Romans 8:38-39. Look it up, in your bible. It is a nice reassurance. My dream home, according to BuzzFeed, I can live in a Victoria Era house. Does this mean anything? Only that you know weird facts about me.  🙂

     What I am saying? Good question. This is not, lets rip on society and the changing youth and how technology will be the end of civilization. Because I love my life! 🙂 I love Pintrest and Facebook. I love that technology is changing and that I can hardly keep up with all of Apple’s upgrades. I am so intrigued by how the world continues to operate with all the changes. So if you were reading to read about how the world is a horrible place, adjust your view point because you won’t find it here. Confused? No? Good, let’s continue on. 🙂

* Side bar I use a lot of smiley faces. So if they annoy you, get use to them 🙂 See I just can’t help it 🙂 Ok, just so you know 🙂 I just did that to be funny….. 🙂

     A few days ago, my sister, mom and I went up to my grandparents house. It is about a hour and half to get there, so not a long ride at all. While we were there we shared lots of laughs. My family loves to laugh. We have all been brought up with stories, so when we get together there will be stories told and laughter heard. Any who… back to my story..see another story 🙂 But seriously, we were going through my grandma’s clothes and she picked up this really cute retro sweatshirt.

     My mom said that if she tired to wear it now, she would look out of style. But if I wore it I would look in style, because it would be retro. I thought awhile about that and I had to laugh. How can something my grandma’s had for quite awhile, be out of style for her but not for me? I didn’t really think about that much, but I had happened to call my other grandma that same day.  She was talking about how she had seen these pants that had this colorful design and they were long and look more like PJs.  I told her that they were really in. She started to laugh and I asked why? She replied that she had a pair like that from the 70’s. I think that it is really funny that so much say can mean different things. How labels and quizzes are valued so much and the result they give us, we hold true to them. Am I saying that the internet knows us better then we know ourselves? No, I have taking other quizzes and the results I get are not true.  And even if crop tops and short shorts are in, you won’t see me in them.

     I think there is this invisible sense of confidence we all hold in ourselves, that lets us make those decisions.  Only do we ourselves, know our own selves personally. Sorry did that sound too Shakespearean?  🙂 What I mean is that, you are the only person that knows yourself the best. I think that sometimes we are so intrigued to wonder if society can figured us out.

     Are we out hoping we will be accepted in the world? I think that is part of the reason we take quizzes and try to find the right clothes and discover what is in style. But I think part of it, hopefully the majority of is we just want to be happy. I know that sounds cliche, but at the end of the day, you are the only one that can decided what you will do tomorrow. No matter how much society tells you to be something or let you be something else, you have to make the decision. Would you want to be happy? If you can make the decision right now to do right, be kind, and be happy… would you take it?

     I can only speak of what I think a happy life entails, and it would ALWAYS start with God at the center. 🙂  I wouldn’t want to live my life without him in it. I know I have times when I honestly question his ways, but I know he isn’t going to leave me. I know that I am always going to have a place in his heart.  For me it is God or nothing. So where is God in your heart in your life? You can’t really go on, if you haven’t even started.  You have to know your mistakes. Surrender yourself to him, and trust that he will be there every step of the way.  You have to know that you will always live in sin, but that that doesn’t mean you have to give up, because God isn’t going to give up on you.  Let him clean EVERYTHING out.

     Being happy doesn’t mean that life wouldn’t get messy. It means that at the end of the day, you can smile because you remembered to be you! 🙂  Happy doesn’t mean that you won’t ever cry again, trust me everyone cries. It helps let others know we are just as human as anyone else. But I will promise you that at some point those tears will be happy. Happy doesn’t mean you won’t get in arguments and fights. I do, plenty of times with my younger brothers, but I know I wouldn’t be me without them. 🙂 People are impacted by people. We attract and react to people.

     So take those funny quizzes on Buzzfeed. Wear something from your grandparents closet. Just remember three things. 1) Start the day and end the night, right…with God. Take some time to read my Homily and Psalm 23.  Find out if you have a relationship with God. 2) A quote, because everyone needs those once and a while. “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like & celebrating it for everything that is is.” Mandy Hale. And 3) some wise words for someone some can’t understand and others who can’t get enough,

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.” ~ William Shakespeare.

SPACE

Thank you.  ~ V.K. 🙂

Psalm 23

~A Homily~

This world seems built upon relationships.  Knowing people, interacting with them. I would even go so far to say that some of us have had a deeper relationship with someone. I had a serious boyfriend in high school. At first it was all new to me. But then I got to know him and for a while it was nice.  If you have  had that person in your life, or you do now, I want  you to think about them and the relationship you had.

Did you meet God, before you started a relationship with him. Did he call you up and say,  “hey I love you and no matter what, I will die for you!”  Wow that is a lot to put on a person right away. Most times someone would say, lets get coffee right?  But that isn’t what God did. Before you were born He  was going to have a relationship with you. So I ask myself why? I mean if you think about God, he is God. “God the Father is God the author-the originator of all that exists. God the Son, is our savior is the God the artist, the Creator of all the exits. God the Holy Spirit is God the agent who presents these facts to both my mind and my spiritual understanding so that they become both real and relative to me as an individual,” From W. Keller, A Shepherd looks at Ps. 23.

How can someone have a relationship with God? W. Phillip Keller says, “A mere mortal becomes a cherished object of divine diligence.” A cherished object. Not a friend, or someone new to meet, but someone cherished. Does God really do that?  Does he hold us in such high value? 

Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

I feel in love with those words when I was younger. I mean it could have been because I felt so fancy saying thou, and leadeth and preparest,,  I mean no one talks like that, specially at a young age. But I would read this book over and over again. I proudly stood in church as the pastor spoke it over me at my confirmation. True it is one of the longer confirmation verses, but I love it.  🙂 I hadn’t really thought about my confirmation verse for quite some time. However, as I have been taking theology classes, I continue to see one theme. God’s relationship, which is so thoughtfully written in Psalm 23.  So I asked myself what is my relationship with God?

Mine is probably different than yours. Mine is like I am running this really long race. I can pace myself for a while. But then I start running faster and faster, and as I run I realize I am lost. I took a wrong turn. So I stop and I break down. I ask God for help. He being the loving father he is;  brushes me off, points me in the right direction and I am running again. I feel pretty good. I know where I am going and I start to run fast and faster. But then I forget to breathe I freak out and take  a wrong turn. What I do do, I break down I ask God for help and he helps me.  This process continues. This is a unstable relationship. I am not Trusting God, I ask and wait for him to answer me. Instead I need to change.

Sometime my computer won’t work,  so I turn it off. Normally once turned back on it works. Sometimes it is just a little problem like refreshing the page. I am sure you have all done this once. If I restore  my computer it deletes everything. It is like I am starting over. That is what I need to ask God to do. Not a refresh, but a restore. I don’t want to continue to be asking him for help, and just retiring my relationship.  I want him, but more importantly I need him to restore my soul.

In John Eldrege’s book Walking with God it says, “God has something in mind for yo. He is deeply and personally committed to restoring humanity. Restoring you. He had a specific man or woman in mind when he made you. By bringing you back to himself through he work of Jesus Christ he has established relationship with you. An now, he is up to his restoring you.”  Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray,  each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

So what do you do know? What do I do?  For me, it was time to talk to God. It is time to Trust God. To see him as the shepherd, and know that his ways are true. Psalm 53:13 says “For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God  in the light of life.” Trusting God is no better than the example in verse 4, “Yea thou I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I will free no evil.” Why? Because through God it isn’t fear it is experiences. I can live knowing, God will always be by my side.   You have the decisions today to decide if you are going to refresh or restore your relationship with God.

I am going to read Psalm 23 again. As you have made your discussions, I know want you to clear your mind of previous relationships. Only think about the God of the universe and how he much he cares for you and  loves you!

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23.

Amen.