Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When I was Fifteen

When I Was Fifteen

      Today as I brushed the pony we got our grandchildren for Christmas, my mind drifted back to another time, a time when I was young and my hand stroked the mane of a much bigger horse. For a moment I forgot I wasn't fifteen. Wasn't I, just yesterday? I am still filled with hopes and dreams like I was then...they have changed a little. I still love horses. I still see out of the same eyes, one blue and one brown. But everything looks different in light of the experiences I've had through the years. Why does the sky look bluer than it did before, and why do I notice how beautiful the hills look as they kiss the sunset goodnight? I don't remember noticing them so much...when I was fifteen.

      I walk on the same feet I did back then but now they don't run as fast, and they are more careful about where they go. They like to wear shoes now instead of being bare; they have become more tender over the years. I still wear blue jeans, but the ones I have on now reside at my waist and not my hips, for reasons I do not have to explain to other women over fifty. A smile bubbled up from somewhere deep within the day bell-bottoms returned to the stores, and they reminded me of the days when my figure came in size 3...when I was fifteen.

      Oh, how much that girl has changed, and how much she is still the same. Still active inside, she is the part of me that remains young; dreaming, dancing and singing. It is hard to remember what she looks like as I search for her in the mirror, but the twinkle in my brown eye convinces me that she is still there.

      At times I need her advice. I need her to remind me now-and-again to take chances, to be daring. It is because of her that I am a poet. It was in her that God began a rhyme and made my life into a poem for Him. She did not know at the time that He had a plan for her life, and through the years His plan would mold her into me.

      She was rebellious - and I? Not so much now. Yet even then her heart ached for a closer walk with Him, to know Him more; to believe that He was real. It is the same seeking heart that beats these many years later. It was her who received His promises and me who saw them fulfilled. The questions she asked Him were answered in the valleys and on the hilltops of a lifetime stretched out from her to me. The answers were loud and clear - He loved her, He was faithful, and He was real.

Oh, if I had only known it then...when I was fifteen!

A touch of yesterday,
Brushed against my hand.

Not knowing what to say,
I tried to understand.

It did not come in sadness,
But sweetly to remind.

That everywhere I looked,
God's presence there I'd find.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Light of Life

Jesus ~ Light of Life

      There is an opening in the dark clouds just big enough for the sun to pour through my living room window. Knowing it won’t last long, I am trying to soak it up and pour out its warmth into the writing of this letter. We are expecting storms for the next few days and I am hoping they will limit themselves to the weather outside.

      Sometimes Christmas itself can bring a storm of rushing, unrealistic expectations, or disappointment; qualities that were never intended to be a part of its character. They are a sad attempt to counterfeit the true character of Christmas which is love, joy, and peace.

      It is the simplicity of a baby, birthed by a promise; God’s answer to the world’s crying question - “Where is God?” His answer came in Jesus. The Christmas baby born in a manger now lives in our hearts. His character is still love, joy, and peace; it does not change in changing circumstances. It is not affected by the storms of life. As I lose the sunshine behind the dark clouds, I will cling to this truth from His word, “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

To those who are thirsty, He is the Living Water.

To those who are hungry, He is the Bread of Life.

To those who are lost, He is the Way, Truth, and Life.

To those who are in turmoil, He is the Prince of Peace.

To those who are sick, He is the Great Physician.

To those walking in darkness, He is the Light of Life.

He is everything we need!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Snowstorm!

      We weren't expecting any snow until Monday evening, so when we woke up Monday morning to find a winter wonderland outside we were pleasantly surprised. We don't often get snow at our elevation. We are teased with the forecast of it now and again, but seldom does it materialize. So we don't really take the weatherman seriously until we actually see it with our own eyes. Well, this time we saw it.

Day 1 - The snow came and it was beautiful!

"Make a snowman, quick before the snow melts!"


Mr. Snowman

I rolled him in a big round ball,
Then added snow to make him tall.
I gave him button eyes to see,
So he could look right back at me.
"Something was missing," I did suppose,
And thought to add a carrot nose.
Stickly arms of walnut wood,
Seemed to do the job they should.
A scarf and hat, now I'm done,
Making a snowman - oh what fun!

Day 2 - "It is going to melt, isn't it?"

Making a sled-run on the hill

A Snow Ride

Snowy flakes dance in the air,
Calling children everywhere.

"Put on your boots, hat, and coat,
Run outside with sled in tote.

Right out back to find a hill,
One awaiting, white and still.

Steep enough to bare the task,
Perfect ride, not slow, not fast.

Nipping wind against your face,
Swiftly by the trees you race.

To the bottom first - you win!
Climb the hill and start again.

Day 3 - "Burr...I'm ready for the power to go back on - really, I'm ready...please!"

      We were without power for three days and couldn't drive out our steep road because of ice. Around day three, the - I've had enough camping - feeling began to creep in and take over me with something I refer to as "The Mood." God must have noticed I was having a melt-down faster than the snowman outside and He had mercy on me. At 9:30 PM, just as I was about to head for the freezing bedroom and call it a day, I heard the refrigerator motor turn on...power! I blew out the candles and started flipping on switches, just because I could. It felt good! Like being back in civilization.

      I have a new appreciation for all those things I have taken for granted, like electricity and heat. Just the conveniences of flipping on a switch to light a room and reaching into a refrigerator to get something cold are blessings I enjoy every day and yet I seldom stop to thank God for them. I also seldom stop to think of those who do not have those luxuries, and how hard life must be for them.

      The day before it snowed, I remember seeing a man at the gas station wrapped in blankets. It was apparent that he was homeless. I remembered that I had two pairs of gloves in the car so I started rummaging around looking for them. When I finally found them, he was gone. The thought of him or anyone being out in that cold weather haunted me, but I'm afraid it did not bother me enough. Not enough to leave my warm safe car and go look for him. Not enough to see beyond the unpleasantness of a man in filthy clothes or smelling like alcohol - to the man inside who was cold. Or enough to see beyond how he got to that place in life and pray against the strongholds that held him prisoner there.

      I want to care enough about my fellow man to ask God what I can do to help, and not act like I didn't hear Him when He answers me with something I find hard to do. And to remember daily that everything I have and anything I have to offer others, all come to me first from the hand of a generous and loving God.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christ is Christmas

His Name is Jesus

By Charlotte Foster

May Christmas time be filled with Him,
The one who came to heal our sin.

The child laid within the manger,
One whom angels hid from danger.

Though in a wooden stable bed,
He wore God’s crown upon His head.

The babe who came to be our king,
To Him heavenly anthems ring.

Prince of Peace quietly laying,
People all around were praying-

To send His Light, and God had heard,
In manger laid the Living Word.

 The Father's Son, the Lord of Hosts,
The very one He loved the most.

He came a ransom for our sin,
To heal the broken hearts of men.

This Holy One, the Great I Am,
To be the sacrificial Lamb.

And as He slept that Christmas day,
In shadow of the cross He lay.

So as we give our gifts of love,
Remember the child from above.

And give Him praise for all He’s done,
The King of Kings, God’s only son.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reading the Signs


      The Monday before Thanksgiving my husband and I decided to go to Livermore and look at a pony. We had been searching the Internet for a few weeks hoping to find a pony suitable for a beginner rider (in this case four beginner riders)…our grandchildren.

      Since we moved out of the city into the country seven years ago, it has always been a thought in the back of my mind to eventually get a horse. It is one of the fondest memories I cherish of my childhood. I still remember when I was four years old visiting my uncle in Arkansas and being sat on top of a pony, handed the reins and told to say, “Getty up.” Word to the wise – before you tell someone how to start a pony, make sure they know how to stop it. In any case, I loved it! A part of my heart has been a cowgirl ever since.

      As a teen I hung around the stables at the fairgrounds as often as I could, taking care of friend’s horses when they went on vacation, for the privilege of riding them. We sold our home in town around the time I turned fifteen and moved to the country. Our one acre parcel was soon filled with chickens, ducks, and to my delight – horses!

      That seems like such a long time ago. I have raised a whole slew of boys since then and now I am watching my grandchildren grow up before my very eyes. Every time I see them, they are inches taller. Children grow up too fast! Sometimes things you put off never happen at all (like getting a horse). That saying, “Time stands still for no man,” is true, it doesn’t. It has finally come down to getting a horse, or stop dreaming about doing it.

      I prayed that God would show me His will and help my husband and I be discerning. I have ran ahead of God’s will before and it has gotten me in places I didn’t want to be. That was the last thing I wanted to do again. This time I consulted with Him first. Just the fact that my husband was looking on the Internet with me at horses and discussing the possibility of getting one, was a miracle in itself. He is not a cowboy, and the only things he will ride are things with engines, like tractors and motorcycles.

      Now, I’ll get back to the Monday before Thanksgiving. There we were in the car headed for Livermore. I was very nervous. It had been so long since I had a horse, so much was going through my mind. Would I remember how to care for it? How to put the saddle and bridle on? What if it got sick or died because I didn’t know what to do? I prayed again and asked the Lord to help us know if this was right or not; to give us signs or a bad feeling about the horse if it wasn’t right.

      We pulled off the freeway into the town of Livermore and followed the directions leading to the home with the horse. Right before we turned onto the last street, we stopped at a red light with a big sign that read, “Charlotte Way.” I grabbed my camera and took a picture since I had never seen a street sign with my name on it before. I thought it was kind of funny and I said to my husband, “Maybe that is God’s way of letting us know we are on the right path.” He made some remark about how the sign was there long before we decided to go looking at horses, (but I knew God’s plans reach farther back than that).

      To make this already long story a little shorter, I’ll just tell you…we bought the horse. In retrospect I see now that it is just like going to “look” at a puppy. Once you feel its breath on your cheek and touch its soft fur, it is almost impossible to resist. Now we will be going back before Christmas to pick up our pony and bring her home.

      That night I laid in bed thinking about how little I remembered about horses as I dosed off to sleep. In the morning I woke up with this troubling thought, what if that sign we passed – Charlotte Way - really meant Charlotte is going her own way? What if I am doing my own thing, my own way (again)? I mentioned this possibility to my husband and he just gave me that look, you know, the one that says, “I can’t believe you’re still thinking about that pony stuff.” In his mind it was all over, the decision had been made, and he had already moved on to other things. He reminded me that we asked God for wisdom and to give us a bad feeling if it wasn’t right. Neither of us had a bad feeling about the horse, so we shouldn’t misread a street sign with my name on it.

      I am not a superstitious person by any means, and I don’t usually look at street signs in any other way but to name a street. It’s just that I have learned over the years that I do not know what is best for myself and I have occasionally misread obvious signs, and for that reason, I want to be careful to bring God in on all the decisions made in my life. He knows everything and sees the things that I can’t see. Nothing is hidden from Him. When I call on Him to direct me, He brings all of who He is into the situation, and I have great confidence in that. He doesn’t always say yes to what I think I want, but He always says yes to what is best for me.

      I’m not sure how a pony fits into the big picture He sees of my life, but He knows. I’m hoping that it will be a part of many happy hours spent with my grandchildren, as I pass the reigns to them and hear them say, “Getty up!”