JOURNEY OF THE FAITHFUL

June 24, 2016

path

The time has come

To travel a new road.

A trip?

Oh, stumbling feet,

You do not go the way

Alone.

With one tiny step,

And His hand in mine,

The voyage begins!

By Martha L Shaw – © 2016

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Daily Prompt: Stranded

March 23, 2013

The Challenge: You’re stranded in a foreign city for a day with no money and no friends. Where do you go; what do you do?

Wow.  Here I am . . . the girl who craves intimacy of those she loves . . . here in a fabulous foreign city . . . but broke and with no friends.  Sure, we have all been broke from time to time, or thought we were.  Who among us has not, at some point, felt abandoned . . . but this time it’s the real thing, for a day anyway.  What to do?

  1. Run to the library?  Can’t read the language.
  2. Hang out at the mall?  Alone in a crowd and no money – worse.
  3. Walk around and admire the city?  The loneliness is like a chill in the air.

What to do?  Where to go?  

Hmmmm . . . the churches, cathedrals, shrines . . . amazing sacred spaces representing the presence of the divine to so many faithful over so many hundreds of years . . . I could never be alone there.  Oh, the buildings might be empty to the eyes, those orbs of the body, but not to the soul . . . not this soul anyway.  Armed with my backpack, plenty of pens and a fresh notebook, and the remains of peanuts from the plane trip here and my last bottle of water, I set off.  How can I describe my day?  The day I dreaded wasn’t long enough for all the blessings before me . . . and I can’t wait to go back again!

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Are We There Yet?

July 7, 2012

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.

– Pema Chodron –

The above quote caught my eye not because of its wisdom but because of its hopeful optimism and its utterly unrealistic claim.  I wonder, as you read my words just now, how you initially responded?  Have you clicked “escape” and gone onto another blog?  Do you think, though, that maybe I am onto something? 

You see, I agree with Pema that we do spend much time and energy focusing on what other people are doing, but honestly, whether it can be admitted or not, perhaps in our secret hearts we know that it is not always our intent to ponder how our actions can affect their hearts.  In our own secret hearts, we all too often are comparing ourselves, our circumstances, our achievements, our gifts, our possessions, and more to theirs and perhaps some of you might secretly agree that to many of us this becomes not inspiration to be a positive influence but in actuality causes us to feel we don’t measure up.  We want the shiny car, we think we deserve that undefinable something more, and we often spend far too many hours, days, or years seeking a prize that we do not ever find.  Oh, we can get the shiny car if we save enough money, and if we study hard, we can get a fancy ribbon  . . .  if we practice long and hard, we can get the award for our shelf.  “Now they’ll see!”  The problem is, as long as our motivation is to get these things to satisfy what we lack, we will never be satisfied.  These are not what’s missing . . .

Where are we going? Are we almost there?  Do we have the right map to get there? 

Those questions need to be answered before we can have a chance of “getting there” at all.  They cannot be answered by looking out the window.  They can only be answered by looking deep within.  What we find there is what truly has the power to make a difference in others, in ourselves, in the world. 

The greyhound chasing the rabbit . . . does he ever really catch what he chases?  If he catches the rabbit, what then?  Was it worth the effort?  Yet, he keeps chasing . . . and so do we.  I checked the map I carried.  It wasn’t the one I needed.  So, my life is on a new path from the original one.  I have been on it a while and I”m not there yet, but oh the journey is like nothing else has ever been! 

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”

 


No Blushing . . .

May 16, 2012

Okay, so when someone gushes about you do you blush and think the words are just fluff and insincere?  I am about to gush and I mean every word.  You see I am blessed to have had a lovely visit this past week.  One of my favorite people, a friend I dearly love, and a retired (well, sort of) priest.  Not totally buying into the retired thing as my eternally young friend Alan is full of life, full of love of and for the Lord, and serves Him every waking (and probably sleeping) moment and his heart for the Lord, his heart for the children of the King of Kings, and his desire to serve is  very present and continues to grow and inspire all whom he meets.    So anyway, this man graced my home with his presence this past week and to say that I feel blessed and anointed by his visit is an understatement.  To be able to call him my friend?  There are no words to describe how much I treasure this. 

This past week has been amazing in so many ways . . .  there will be more written on specifics, but you know what?  We visited lots of pretty historical places, plantations, gardens, churches, and more but none of that was my “favorite” thing, even though my next post is going to tell you of something that rocked my world.  What blessed me most?

First of all, no matter what life handed my friend, he didn’t whine or complain.  Many who have less to deal with than he are constantly whining.  Makes you nuts, doesn’t it?  Not him.  He inspires me.  Know what really made this week special?  Our time together.  Not going or doing but being.  Our shared love of the Lord, our late night talks, our praying together, our sharing of our spiritual life, our hunger, our times of sitting in my livingroom with the lights dim and just sharing Jesus together.  His years of wisdom, his faced challenges, his experiences which I learned from . . . but mostly just that time of sitting across from one another in my living room until way past bedtime just loving Jesus together.  It doesn’t get any better.  We got up at 5am this morning to take Alan to the airport and he’s now 1000 miles away and home on his own sofa.  I miss him, but my night and his tonight will likely be similar to last night.  It’ll be spent loving Jesus. 

TRY IT!


Sonshine . . . Dear Friends . . . Pot Roast Cooking!

May 8, 2012

Today is a totally delightful day.  Not saying everything is life is perfect for we know that this side of heaven can’t be exactly that, but my smile is as bright as the sunshine would be if I weren’t wearing dark glasses! 

A very dear friend who I have not seen in 7 years has flown in to visit me and be my houseguest for a week!  He is a wonderful man who is full of life, full of the love of Christ, is eternally young, and is a retired Episcopal priest.  I am smiling as I say retired priest because I don’t know any priests who’ve pulled off retirement . . . I think they just live on and one day they say “go in peace to love and serve the Lord” and find themselves face to face with Him.  Vocation . . . . it’s so much more than work.

Many of you are aware that I’ve been seeking a “job” or more correctly financial provision since relocating to SC 4 plus years ago and a permanent answer hasn’t yet come, but spiritually life is AMAZING so no complaints.  That being said the Lord has planted a seed in me which can only be described as a passion for a vocation and not just a job.  I am beginning to know what that is, only just beginning. 

I ask you to pray with me that I will continue to hear His voice and follow Him faithfully in the path and plan He has for me and kn0w that though He asks me to do things that make me gasp sometimes, I have never known more joy in my life than when I follow Him NO MATTER WHAT HE ASKS OF ME.  He is always there with me.

This will be a delightful week for me and I am sorry if I am a bit off schedule on sharing with all of you but fear not, I will have lots to share when time permits.  Meanwhile, having an extra person in the house and it being a man with a healthy appetite literally, spiritually and otherwise, I’ve got an excuse to do a lot more fussy things in the kitchen than what I usually do as this house usually is home to just my elderly Mom who is on a restricted diet, and me.  I   enjoying having someone to spoil lavishly.  Just now I have a pot roast with all the expected accompaniments cooking and can I tell you my house smells great?  There will be home-made bread in the house, home-made corn chowder, and all sorts of scones, muffins, other elaborate things to feed the body with as we share at table and feed our hearts and souls. 

Time to check my roast!  Can you smell it?


The Holy Land – A Video

May 1, 2012

Click on the link below to view an amazing narrated video of the Holy Land.  Whether you have been there on a personal pilgrimage or not, this short video will touch your heart and soul.  It sure touched mine.  Thanks go to Alan who shared this link with me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=iPQI6Yupt48


Recipe For Peace and Biscuits

March 18, 2012

So, I was reading a book on this rainy Sunday.  It’s called “Why” by Anne Graham Lotz and it got me thinking . . .  so I didn’t finish reading it as my mind drifted.  I was thinking about Mary and Martha of Bethany.  The book references them quite often.  They were Jesus’ friends. 

I bet on days like this, and after a lot of traveling on dusty roads doing His ministry, Jesus stopped by His friends’ home and rested.  He was human and surely earned His rest breaks, don’t you think?   Maybe the thought never popped into your mind.  I don’t often think of His needing a sit down, perhaps giggling with His friends, for sure wanting to take off those shoes and cool off His hot, sandy, tired feet. 

I wonder what Mary and Martha did when there was a knock at the door and the Lord was standing there?  They were His friends, but do you ever completely get used to your Lord coming to call?  Think about it.  I mean, I adore my rector at church Fr Rick.  He is wonderful.  Ask anyone.  If they’ve got sense, they’ll agree. because I’m right, you know.  Know what though?  For as much as I love the man, call him friend, call him brother . . . there is that part of me that still says “wow, he’s my priest!”  That being said, what was running through the minds of Mary and Martha when a sudden storm drew Jesus to their door, to their sofa, to the guestroom? 

I imagine one of the ladies, probably Martha, ran to the kitchen to bake a batch of biscuits.  There is something about freshly baked bread, in whatever form you choose.  Breaking bread together spiritually or otherwise is such a blessing.  The whole house smells wonderful, you know someone is going to snag a piece when the loaf or biscuits are warm and fresh out of the oven and not ready to be cut yet. 

I know, I just spent a few minutes on this stormy rainy afternoon making cheesy cheddar biscuits.  As soon as they were off the baking sheet, I ate one all hot and gooey.  Burnt my fingers on the baking sheet, but that is okay.  Yum.  It was worth it.  So, the rest are cooling slightly as I type this and soon I’ll  be sitting with a cup of tea and a freshly baked biscuit.  If you were here, so would you be.  I have some fruit and you know fruit and cheese go nicely together, so I’d probably put a plate of fruit on the table too. 

There is just something that warms the soul in a special way – and its present form here at my house is biscuits.  It took about 10 minutes to get the “stuff” out and mixed and another 10 to bake and for my “trouble” I have a warm cozy house, a warm cozy heart and soul, and a simple treat that feeds the body too.   I bet, if Jesus came to the door, He’d have had one too.  Comforting, comfortable . . . that’s what our personal relationship with Him is about.  We can go to Him anytime with anything . . . and if He still walked in human form, I bet it might be over a cup of tea and a biscuit.  Want to make some? 

Easy Cheddar Biscuits:

Mix 2/3 cup of milk, 2 cups of Bisquick Original mix, and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese together to form a somewhat sticky dough.  Preheat your oven to 450 and melt 2 tablespoons of butter to use to brush on top of them. 

Drop them onto your ungreased baking sheet – about 10 depending on how big.  Don’t over handle the dough – you want them light.  Before putting them into the oven, brush them with melted butter.  Remove them in 8 or 10 minutes, when they’re golden/lightly browned.  Yum.  Don’t expect leftovers.


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