Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Words on Words

More Words on Words

Words are powerful. The power of the tongue is extolled in literature and in many passages of the bible. We have grown up to the sounds of “sticks and stones may break my bones etc.” only to watch in horror the after math of cyber bullying. There are many that have  grown up where words of affection were withheld and phrases like you are “stupid”,” no good”,   “lazy’ etc., abounded and can attest to the power those words have had on their lives. Most of us have been hit with words at some point and have felt the sting if not worse.  My belief is that there is One who has soul lifting words and is The living Word for us. WE are to use our voices and our words to uplift and encourage one another. The older I get the less I want to get involved in debates over politics and religion as it is a waste of my words. We are all so different with varying and sometimes diametrically opposed views but it does not make a person less valuable to be different. If I have been put down by another’s words do I now have license to mock and cut down? If we do not agree am I justified to use my words to denigrate ones character? The question I think is not about political views but will we honor one another and respect each other using our words to affirm the value of a human being.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Friends forged in Prayer

Friends forged in Prayer

There is something about ties made while praying together. Friendships that may or may not have been developed or kept if it were not for the common bond of Jesus as our savior. We had the privilege of spending part of a weekend with a couple whose connection goes deep although our paths do not cross as often as they use to.  It is a relationship built through tears, laughter and mutual encouragement and support of one another. There is no judgment passed when communication is far and long between. There is an ease in picking up where we left off and an ability to go straight to the hard stuff, not having to wade through the trivial formalities. It is difficult when these relationships seem to slide into the background due to life changes yet I sense that it is very necessary that we continue to grow new bonds. It is like the Girl Scout song…
                                            Make new friends but keep the old
                                            One is silver and the other gold.
These older friendships forged in prayer are very much treasured but the need to continue to reach out beyond these “gold” ties is required in order for us to not become cliquish and stuck.  I feel like it is for our own benefit to be pushed out of these comfortable places so that new connections can be formed.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Postponing spring

Postponing spring

Running low on words this week, ironic after just writing how words are free. Spring so near yet the gloom of winter just now felt. I am not really ready to break forth in newness. Much to my dismay I am still wanting to be in hibernation mode. Warmer weather removes excuses to be  insular and means stepping out into the world. Quiet time 'round fireplace and snuggling to get warm exchanged for the  busyness of sports, yard work and visiting . These are all good but at the moment not as appealing as thoughts of pots of soup and books read under blankets. Very different than usual, this Melancholy with spring so near. Had the 12 disciples understood what was to come would they too not have wanted to hasten spring and that last  Seder meal with  their teacher?  It is good that, that Passover came and so did His sacrifice on the cross, despite man's plans .And so spring will come followed  by summer regardless of my mood or desires.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Word Gap

Word Gap

From "The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3" by University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. (2003).  from Rice University “Betty Hart and Todd Risley entered the homes of 42 families from various socio-economic backgrounds to assess the ways in which daily exchanges between a parent and child shape language and vocabulary development. Their findings were unprecedented, with extraordinary disparities between the sheer number of words spoken as well as the types of messages conveyed. After four years these differences in parent-child interactions produced significant discrepancies in not only children’s knowledge, but also their skills and experiences with children from high-income families being exposed to 30 million more words than children from families on welfare. Follow-up studies showed that these differences in language and interaction experiences have lasting effects on a child’s performance later in life.”

I read about this discrepancy in a magazine earlier in the week and could not let it go. 30 million word difference…It is easy to say that in America if one works hard enough one can break through all barriers including socioeconomic ones but how true or easy is that. I work in a head start building where children ages 3-5 come for ½ a day and receive 2 meals a day. It is in a preschool setting so books are read and teaching occurs but according to the study by 3 years old the difference is already in place. Poverty of cash and food and housing but also a poverty of words. I keep shaking my head in disbelief. This is not about limited resources, words are free, they can be given anywhere and any place yet in certain at risk populations they are limited. According to another study I read, “Low-income parents underestimate their power to influence their children’s cognitive development, sometimes by as much as 50 percent. Wealthy parents spend more time engaged in these activities because they have better access to information, and O’Leary argued that when parents understand the impact they have on their child’s cognitive development, they invest.  Parents are not aware of the importance of their words.”
 How do we make a difference if it is the parents influence? I can pray but action is also needed such as trying to come along side new moms and discuss the importance of talking to their babies, sharing books and participating in literacy programs for adults and little ones and  encouraging participation in story hours at local libraries.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Saturday Outings

Saturday Outings

I miss the Morgantown Farmers Market... That is where my Saturday outings began. Hubby would escort me there many Saturdays with my reusable "market bags" (an odd ball collection of misfit bags, some with broken straps or even left over glitter from work). He would faithfully follow me around collecting my purchases while sipping on Twin Valley Coffee. The Market is no longer but Saturday market days live on. Our outings are not as regularly marked out now nor are the locations. Hubby has accompanied me to a bent and dent store, the local Mennonite grocery store and this weekend endured a trip to Wegmans. He was a good sport pushing the cart around finding a waiting spot in the overly crowded produce aisle as I cruised around comparing prices. He waited patiently as I perused the Gluten Free section studying each new item. He dutifully weighed in  on choices about lunch meat and hung with me until the dairy aisle when he finally ducked out in the Magazine section to look at fishing and hunting. He rallied again as we headed to the check out counter only to leave again to head to his reward, a six pack of Crafted Beer. I would love for the Farmers Market to return but am glad for the tradition it has started.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Boys part 2

Boys to men

 Young boys grow into young men and the  adventures begin to change but it can be no less engaging to watch the process. Challenges become more about trying to master some new skill such as teaching oneself a musical instrument or learning how to brew beer and actually making some. Sports become more competitive, girls start to come into focus. Guys gather around  to discuss cars/motorcycles, college plans and God. Jobs and cash flow hold sway over their choices. Young men moving towards "real life" meet and hold each other accountable discussing harder questions. "Soon to be independent adults" study maps and plan their last big adventure before life takes them in separate directions. Boys becoming men way sooner than their mothers want.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

boys part 1

There is something engaging about watching a bunch of boys playing together. I have been honored to have many such occasions over the years. There is the initial warm up of what is to be done, slowly  the ideas get tossed around until a quasi agreement is made. The chosen activity is invariably something involving movement, building or deconstructing. Trampolines are taken out of storage and put back together so jumping can ensue. Over the years dirt and snow have been shoveled so ramps could be built for bike and skateboard tricks. Adventures on long boards taken in the name of getting a slushy at Sheetz. Bike rides with fishing poles laid across handle bars for fishin' in hopes of catching a big one and lengthy conversations surrounding "cool" cars and some "day plans". Sometimes there have  been 6 or more at a time yet they are hardly noticed until it is feeding time. Even now as the years have progressed, that is changing, their ability to be self sufficient and cook up some grub is pretty impressive. Boys sharpening, encouraging and sometimes ragging on one another is truly a gift and a wonder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Tonight I sat on  my bed just wanting to refuel. It was a busy day with no real quiet space. I had missed last week and had not gotten the new study guide so after dinner went off to my Tuesday night biblestudy. I came home socialized for a few quick minutes and wandered off to get into my comfy clothes and began to feel regret. Regret because I really did not want to go back downstairs and join the family. This had me momentarily perplexed you see as  I am still really discovering how much more on the introvert side of the  spectrum I am  on. I want to spend time with my family and enjoy them but this need to just be still pushed hard tonight. I understand  that we all need quiet time and that it is ok to take it but tonight it felt like an all out need to run for the hills and hide myself out. Even as I write this I am examining these thoughts. Are they selfish longings for "me time" or is it truly how I am wired. There is a need in all of us to refuel and as a Christian the "right answer" is that we fill up on Him. But what that might look like for each of us may differ. Is it singing songs of praise or going to a great bible study. Is it gathering with others praying, memorizing scriptures, serving others or just being still? I think today was about just being still.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


What if we all just uncovered our selves?
 In the beginning there was a man and a women naked  and unashamed with full access to it all. They had nothing and needed nothing. Yet somehow the lie penetrated and it felt like it was not enough. Eve took that awful 1st bite and then shame entered in, no longer did it feel safe to let God see them as they were so the pair hid from God. God slaughtered that first animal and provided cover...The story continued; The chosen people were required to make sacrifices as a means to cover for their sin. And then Jesus came and became the last and only sacrifice of blood needed to cover our sins. If this is our belief then we as believers are covered completely and should not fear to walk in full nakedness before our God. We do not need to cover ourselves with our "good" works nor any other false covering. We can offer ourselves just as we are, in humbleness and honesty, and in trust that He has us covered.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Another moment to treasure

Another moment to treasure

Tonight I enjoyed a lovely evening gathered with family. Dinner plans looked a bit shaky earlier in the day as the kids tried to coordinate with all parties  involved as to the where and when. THE Plan was to celebrate my 50th as I had been away for the actual day. Squabbles over who had the best idea almost got the best of the day especially when the chosen location ended up in an hour and a half wait to be seated. But oh the fun and joy to be with my husband, foster son and his family, my nephew and his girl and my children and my sons' girlfriend. Conversation flowing, funny stories told ( and yes a few awkward stories too), precious grand baby loved on by all, and lots of laughter. An evening to remember topped off by a trip down memory lane with a home made photo album. Times like these feel like when heaven and earth meet up and you get to taste a bit of what  the  fullness of love must be like in the presence of the Son and his Heavenly Father.

Friday, March 13, 2015

What I like about social media/technology.

What I like about social media/technology.

Image result for images of technology in everyday life

I enjoy the reminders for people's birthdays' because  before Facebook I never remembered.
I find pleasure in browsing on Pinterest for recipes and ideas for work.
I think communicating via email or texting is so much better than the phone when face to face is not possible.
MapQuest/Google maps have greatly reduced my pile of Atlas's.
It is amazing that we can post a prayer request and 1000's of people can be praying within minutes.
It brings me joy when others share whats going on in their lives including cute baby and pet pictures.
I love that there are apps to aid people with disabilities to have a literal voice.
I like that we can know what is going on  around the world and feel part of something bigger than ourselves.
I find it informative to hear about the many injustices such as a recent post pertaining to FGM, the systematic mutilation of women.
I love that we can see and choose to be a part of the solution by connecting to the many organizations that are out there.
I  love that women across the nation can be in community reading the same bible passages and sharing together, lifting one another up in prayer and hope, on a daily basis such as on IF Equip.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

1,2 skip a few...

1,2 skip a few...

Image result for skipping stone imagesWell I did it, I skipped a day in this 365 day writing and guess what? I survived. Not that I thought the earth would crumble but I have taken this "challenge " to heart and have always had the philosophy that  if you are going to commit to something  you should finish  it. (This might explain  my strong hesitation to committing). I had a total peace about not writing feeling that I can still be committed but not bound. There is always this place of balance. There are some absolutes and  rules that should not be broken  but there are also places where rules are self imposed and needlessly restrictive. Christ died so we can be free. "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."Gal.5:13.  The break in writing felt liberating and knowing that If I have nothing to say I can give my self permission to be quiet while at the same time pushing forward in this endeavor not retreating but in peace finishing what the spirit has started.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Daily Rhythms

 Thoughts on Daily Rhythms

Image result for images of  antique sand timer
It is comforting to have established daily routines yet it is so easy to  become discontent with them until they are not there. Having been away a whopping 5 days( a new record for me), I am on the  one hand glad to be home in my own bed with my husband and children around me, and on the other hand already feeling the grind of trying to get back into my routine. The tension in finding that balance of being fully present in the mundane and taking breaks from our rituals exists in so many areas of life. I think we are to appreciate and be thankful for these daily rhythms just as the sunrises and sets and day and night come in repeated cycles. But we are also to be aware and ready for when God shifts us off balance or slightly off schedule, ready for the unexpected. I do not always find balancing the scale easy as I can slide back into Eeyore bemoaning the ho-hum or fearing the unanticipated. This is why I  need daily reminders of why I am here, who I am created by, and that whatever is in my day it has already been  prepared for me.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Girls for Rent

Girls for rent...What a horrid phrase yet that is what is happening all around our country. I just finished a book called Renting Lacey by  Linda Smith. It tells the story of several girls who were lured away at ages 11 and 12 into a life of prostitution inter woven with facts and statistics about the sex trade industry. It is over whelming how many minors are  lost to this multi-billion dollar industry. Sadder still is the market driven by adults (statistically more men) seeking and buying. I also read a book called Girls like us by Rachel Lloyd. It tells about how difficult it is for these girls to acclimate to any semblance of a normal life even if they are rescued from it. These stories have been pressing on my heart and I feel called to pray and be open to helping but not sure what that will look like. It can seem like the problem is insurmountable, but was blessed to realize that I am help-mate to a man who is passionate about helping other guys walk with integrity and purity. Statistically arresting the girls or the pimps does not reduce the demand. But  if we can instill in our men and boys (even if it is one guy at a time) that it is not OK to buy girls or to treat them like objects  maybe one less girl will be used and abused.



http://www.a21.org/index.php?linkid=2319 (a world wide organization against trafficking)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

back home

I am back home in Pa. with my family. Loving the snuggles, glad to be in my own bed.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


52, a number more than 1/2 way to 100 and 2 less than my age as of tomorrow and the number of posts I have  managed to complete in this 365 days of writing challenge. It has been a truly enlightening process for me. As I look back over the posts, I see ramblings, openess, silliness and also a desire to share my voice. I would like to encourage any who happen to be reading this to explore new ways to put voice to their own thoughts and journey. Not for the purpose of notoriety or a following but for bringing words to your story to share and bless some one else. We just finished watching the movie The Book Thief and the main character Liesel learns to use her words to remember and give hope and life to those around her. Our words do count if we use them to encourage  and exhort one another and so I will continue to try to step out of my comfort zone and into this world of writing and sharing and reading other bloggers and invite all to do like wise.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Numerically 50 is not a bad number but this trip to sunny Fort Lauderdale has chased out vanity hiding in the shadows. Maybe its being forced to shed the winter apparel and sweatpants,  for clothing that reveals more, or rooming with my yoga fit older sister, but I am struggling with who is looking back at me in the mirror. Having consecutive bad hair days (humidity has a wonderful affect on my frizzy hair) has not helped the situation nor going shopping for shorts. I have not minded as this milestone birthday approaches until now, when I realized the betrayal of my body. When did I turn into a middle aged woman? These vain insecurities caught  me off guard. Having felt some peace in who I am  as a woman in Christ I thought I surely had conquered these demons yet here they are being unearthed looking me square in the face. Where does one go with this but to The One who is the creator of beauty and go back to the basics of understanding that I am created in His image and true beauty is reflecting His glory not the smoothness of my skin or the size of my waist.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Poppy

My Poppy

Today is my dad's 80th birthday. I have the privilege to celebrate this occasion in person, spending 5  peaceful days with him. I have not spent more than 8 hours in a row with him since I was in my teen years. It is wonderful to glimpse the daily rhythms. We have chatted, played Rummikub and watched the workers progress as they remodel the bathrooms. My favorite thing  is the morning ritual when my step mom braids my father's long pony tail in the back. No grand outings but the simple pleasure of "hanging out " in an unhurried pace, enjoying each others company.

picture to be posted later

Wednesday, March 4, 2015



We did it! My sister, step mom and I managed to surprise my dad for his 80th birthday. My sister and I flew out this morning , leaving the snow and ice behind. Momom and friends rounded us up from the Frt. Lauderdale airport and we walked in to a very surprised Popopp. Looking forward to spending time down here and thankful for being able to escape the snow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


diddly squat
niente (Italian)
nient (French)
nishto (Russian)
gornischt (Yiddish)
ingenting (Swedish)
nihilum (Latin)

Many ways to say I have nothing to write today.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reluctant Traveler

Reluctant traveler

Image result for image of suitcaseI have mixed feelings about an upcoming trip. I have not traveled much in  years. My longest get away post children has been about 2 nights without family so going for 5 nights sans spouse and kids is tugging at my comfort zone. No one is to blame for this discomfort it is simply a result of my homebody nature. I am one that even when we do travel has the urgent need to set up "base camp" wherever we are. I also feel the need to make sure all is fine at home when I am absent, making sure appointments will be gotten to, groceries and supplies for dinner outlined, children attended to. I sometimes would rather just stay home then contend with these things but this is a year where I am feeling the need to be stretched so  I said yes to traveling with my sister. Our destination is warm  and  I am truly happy to spend  this special time with my sister just slightly reluctant to leave all behind.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Uniquely crafted

I am a woman, a Christ follower, mom, wife, Occupational Therapist, friend, sister, child. None are roles that are exclusive to me. Yet I am not the same as any of those that share the same title. I believe we are  uniquely created to fill certain roles and functions in this life. I write this as a confirmation of my own pains in growing into this truth. Today the Pastor at church spoke about telling our stories and that each of us has a story to tell. That resonates so loudly with all that I have been gleaning post "IF Gathering". WE are of one body but many parts each having a special function. My heart is  for women to be free to share their stories and be confident in how they are wired. That we as Christian women would be "strong and courageous" and walk bravely in the roles we are given with out shame or apology.