have a little faith . . .

A life lived in fear is half lived.

   - Anonymous

Put off for one day and ten days will pass by.

    - Korean Proverb

You may be on the right track, but if you just sit there you'll get run over.

    - Paul H. Dunn

Accept challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

    -George S. Patton

for some time now i've "had a dream", and that is about all that it has been.  it sits on a shelf, i pick it up and dust it off and set it back down.  what holds me back?  fear.  plain and simple.  no other excuses.
i let "others" who i don't even know freak me out and scare me off of it.  the things i tell myself --wow, if you could be in my head.
the opposite of fear is faith.  it's time to put that into action, quit making excuses and just do it.  one of my favorite books of the Bible is james.  and i'm reminded of james 2:14-26 --
Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

so - there's my answer, there is my nudge.  time to take it off the shelf and pay attention to the road signs.
stay tuned . . .


in pieces. . .

i ran across this photo today when i was looking for something else.

i really like it.  it speaks to me in so many ways.  it symbolizes alot of how i've been feeling lately - like things are coming apart a little at a time.  that makes me sound so miserable, doesn't it?  i assure you it's not as bad as it seems.

i seem to be on a "yucky" kick lately.  those of you who know me know i tend run in fast lane.  always something to do, and doing 20 things at once.  well, life has a funny way of changing without much notice.

i've been feeling like the dandelion in the picture.  pieces floating away.  i had been very active in my church, and for reasons i won't get into - i'm not anymore.   i had found a place on the conference team (united methodist women), and for 6 years i worked with an amazing bunch of women and had many wonderful opportunities for mission and service.  the conference was dissolved and so was "my job" - but i now am part of a new team, a district team, starting all over with new people - a challenge.  i worked at a job for 15 years - loved it, and was told "how wonderful and great" things were, and then i got laid off.  i had been taking care of mom for 15 + years - driving her to doctors appointments, being part of her care team.  i talked with mom daily on the phone, sometimes 2 or 3 times.  we went shopping and we were each others sounding boards. 

when mom became very ill last spring, all of the things that had been slipping away from me didn't matter.  i wouldn't have had "time" for them.  i threw myself into caring for her - i spent all of my time at the hospital for 2 months (an hour drive one way), and then when we brought her home we rotated being there for her.  i wouldn't change any of it.  i hated to "leave" her and go out of town - for very good things.

and now that mom is gone, it's more pieces that slipped away.

what do i have left? 

mom died in october.  november and december were busy with holidays, but january has found me in a funk.   i'm used to running and taking care of everyone.  life has slowed down to a virtual stop.

i need to figure out a new purpose.  i've been looking into job ideas.  i'd also like to go back to school.  i'd like to open up an online shop.    it's time to pick myself up and get back on the fast track -- ok, maybe not as fast as i was, but back on track.

the part of the picture that i like the most, is the part that we don't see in the photo.  the "pieces" that fall off sprout a new flower.  so, all the pieces that i'm missing will help me to build something new -- new growth and new reasons.


who do you think you are?

about a month or so before mom became really sick last year, i was watching a show - i believe on NBC called "who do you think you are?".  the show traced the genealogy of stars - like julia roberts, etc.  it got me excited and got me thinking.

i started to do some research, and then things became tricky with mom's health, and it got pushed, not even to the back burner, but off the stove altogether.  i have no regrets, but if i had though more i should have written down the stories mom told me over the years about which set of grandparents came here - when and where.  i remember to the stories, i remember the names, where they all fall on the tree branches -- that's another story.

then at christmas time i got a christmas card form my dad's cousin.  her oldest son took a class on genealogy and started to do some digging.  dad had told her that i had started to do some work.  they had hit a wall, and wondered if i could help.  i hadn't gotten very far, and could not answer many questions for her, but as soon as i opened up that file again - i got bit.  and the digging and piecing together of my history has begun.

i've been playing for a couple of weeks --off and on.  i haven't found many skeletons, or rich uncles, but i have uncovered a few exciting things.

my dad's mom was a whiting.  his cousin's son had traced quite a bit, and i sort of picked up form there are started to dig some more.  henry s. whiting (my great-great-great grandfather) was a soldier in the civil war and he only served a few months.  we began to get excited, thinking "wow, a civil war hero".  not quite.  my sister is a history buff, and i passed the bug on to her.  she started to do some digging on him and she was able to find that  he came down with chronic dysentery, and passed away in philadelphia.  she found where he was buried, and i ran across his death certificate.  ok -- not quite the heroic death we had hoped for -- poor guy, but it makes for a good story, and it sure fits our family's luck.  hehe.  i've shared this info with my cousin and her son -- we've all gotten a good laugh.

what else have i uncovered?  well, my mom's family tree i found does not go very far back in this country.  i knew that, but didn't really realize it until i started to dig.  i remember her telling me about grandparents coming here from sweeden and germany.  but i couldn't remember if it was her grandparents or great-grandparents.  long story short -- my mom's grandparents (on her mom's side) came here from sweeden.  i was able to find my great-grandmother's - marie nelson johnson's records at ellis island.  how exciting!  she arrived in december of 1892.  my great-grandfather is going to be a little trickier.  the info i have uncovered states that he arrived in 1891 - also from sweeden.  the u.s. government didn't open the dates to immigrants until 1890.  ellis island began construction shortly after the announcement -- but they didn't turn the ships away.  they set up a temporary "barge office" adjacent to ellis island while it was under construction.  apparently 80% of the immigrants during the beginning of the period -- some 400,000 people came though the temporary gate.  he was one of them.  so -- there are records, but they are a little bit more complicated to find.  but -- i'm determined to find it.  

i'm still working on my mom's dad's side of the family.  i did uncover that i believe my great-grandfather, and his oldest son (18) were mine workers in scranton,and his next oldest son seems to have been a breaker boy at the age of 13.  i need to dig a little more here -- i think it was also my great-grandfather, or maybe my great- great grandfather who came here from germany.  but, i've heard stories that thier name was changed when they arerived, so we'll have to see what kind of bump in the road that causes.

i'm also excited to see just how we are related to ezra cornell -- the founder of cornell university.  for years we've heard the story that we were related -- now, i just have to figure out how.  ezra had 5 children.  so, this might be an interesting dig - although there are plenty of resources of people tracing his tree, so eventually my research might run into someone elses.

so, i'm off and running --

i'm excited to see where i came from -- to pick up stories here and there.  be sure to stop by from time to time.  i'll let you know if i find anything interesting.  if you have any tips on searching -- leave me a comment.

thanks for stopping by! :)


thank you . . .

yesterday, january 11th, was international thank you day.

i tried to do some research on the "holiday".  i didn't find much.  some people think it is a day created by greeting card companies.  others think it might have been created to remind people to thank people for chirstmas and holiday gifts or host for recent parties.

for whatever reason it was created, it falls on the 11th of january every year.  what a neat holiday.  why not set aside a day to say thank you to our friends, our family, our neighbors.  i also like that it is an "international" day.  not just a national holiday.

it makes me, us, stop and think - do we say thank you enough?  and who do we thank?

i stumbled upon this quote the other day, that i'd like to leave you with:  If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.  ~~Meister Eckhart

so -- even though it's a day late, thank you.  thank you for reading, thank you for stopping by!


love, mom and dad

my mom was a faithful reader of daily guideposts, and got me hooked on the daily devotions too.  i recently joined the facebook page of guideposts.  i've read stories and devotions from rick hamlin often - but this one "got me".  

i had a similar experience this year at christmas time.   dad has been doing really well.  he really let mom take care of everything, and now that she's gone i think there is part of him that is excited about doing things she did.  he sent out chirstmas cards, and when one came in the mail addressed in his un-mistakable hand writing, i paused before i opened it.  i half expected to see a blank card inside.  dad would buy cards for mom that said "wife" on them and just put them in the envelope.  he never signed them.  he said the card said it all, and she only has one husband, she knew who it was from.  so -- i thought maybe there would be a card to "daughter" and blank on the inside.  thinking back -- this christmas card might be the first card my dad has ever given me - remember, mom did everything.  i opened the card - and got a chuckle.  it was signed "me".   classic dad!

but, like rick talks about in his article - it was different for me this year.  it was not signed love, mom and dad.  but i know that it was implied!  mom had special touches she sprinkled on all of us that shined through this year. we did things the way mom "would have", and kept the traditions she instilled in us.


epiphany . . .

Matthew 2:1-12

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

today marks the 12th day (last night being the 12th night with the celebration including the drums).  today is also epiphany, or three kings day.

epiphany is the traditional end of the christmas season in the western world.  we then enter into the season of epiphany which leads to the lenten season.

epiphany marks the arrival of the wisemen to visit jesus.  throughout history picture show the wisemen arriving at the manger.  in fact, the wisemen come much later and see jesus in jerusalem.  they bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
there are many stories about the wisemen - legends.  in the above matthew passage, matthew does not give us a number - he speaks of the magi in plurals.  the number 3 probably came from the gifts they brought.  there have even been names assigned to them - caspar, melchior and balthasar.  the eastern (orthodox) church depicts them as 12 in number.

today also marks the day that people un-decorate for christmas.  and so we will at our home.  it has been hard not to take down the decorations - put away the christmas hand towels and place mats, and turn off the tree lights before this, but it's time to drag out the boxes and pack away the ornamentations of the season.  we continue to remember the "reason for the season", and hold the joy in our hearts that jesus was born for us.

i hope you have enjoyed our 12 day journey.  i thought i was going to do another article about the carol of the 12 days of christmas, but i've decided to pack it way with the ornaments for next year.

be sure to stop back from time to time to see what's going on.  i have alot of things in my back pocket for the year - come follow my journey to see how they play out.

until next time ---


and finally 12 drummers drumming. . .

it's 12-night!  which means tomorrow is epiphany! the last gift you'll receive from your true love is 12 drummers drumming.

along with yesterdays bagpipes, the drummers were also part of the festivities with a special function. the drum (along with a trumpet) has been used throughout history to get your attention.  and this is exactly why it is used here.  the drums were saved for the end of the 12-night party - to get the party-goers attention.  the 12th night party was held on the eve of epiphany.  epiphany is the celebration of the arrival of the three wisemen or magi to see the christ child bringing gifts with them.  the drums were used at the end of the party to signify the arrival of the kings.

the last christian symbol we get from the 12 days is the 12 points of doctrine from the apostles creed.  the apostle creed, with the points numbered, is as follows:

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
1l. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

hope you have a wonderful 12th night celebration! the 12-days are over.  but our learning isn't.  stop in tomorrow for a look at epiphany and later a final look at the popular carol, 12 days of chirstmas.


11 pipers piping . . .

the gift from your true love today is 11 pipers piping.  we are continuing the 12th-night party atmosphere.

the feasts during this time period were full of entertainment.  dancers, music, jugglers, etc.  the pipers here are believed to be bagpipers.  professional bagpipers were hired to preform during celebrations for music during dinner and for dancing later.

we associate the bagpipes with scottland, but they are also a common instrument in france too.  during this time bagpipe music was popular music for dancing.

the 11 pipers piping refer to the 11 apostles (not to be confused with the disciples) in the christian tradition.
  • andrew
  • james (son of zebedee)
  • john
  • philip
  • bartholomew
  • matthew
  • thomas
  • james (son of alphaeous)
  • thaddeus
  • simon
  • judas


10 lords a-leaping. . .

there seems to be a party going on!  today's gift of the 12 days of christmas is 10 lords a-leaping.

this seems to lend to the morris dancers (male leaping dancers of the time).  these men were part of the entertainment during dinner.  the morris dancers would preform between courses at feasts.

morris dancers were popular during this time.  this wild and strenuous dance probably came from ancient war and fertility dance.  it was a popular form of dance in the 15th and 16th centuries - maybe even before.

the ladies dancing from yesterday were ladies attending the feast, dancing socially.  these dancers refer to the hired entertainment.

the 10 lords a-leaping refer to the 10 commandments in the christian interpretation.


9 ladies dancing. . .

today's gift is 9 ladies dancing.

this goes hand in hand with yesterday's gift.  the ladies dancing reminds us of a party.  dancing and music were very large parts of parties and celebrations

in this case - ladies represents women of a higher social class.  and the dancing refers to them dancing socially, not as entertainment.  during this time women were not entertainers, so it is unlikely that they were a troupe brought in to entertain.

the emphasis is again on celebrating.  the 12 days were full of fun and festivities.  this highlights that.

in the christian light - the 9 ladies dancing symbolize the 9 fruits of the holy spirit; which are:
  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control


8 maids a milking . . . (what no birds?)

well, today we get a break from the 7 days of birds - today's gift is 8 maids a-milking.

there are 2 different themes that come from this gift.  the first is of food.  during the 15th and 16th centuries there was no refrigeration, so milk - and things made from it that would spoil without being kept cold and were saved for special occasions.  custard was one of these special treats.

the other theme we notice is the maids -- or maidens, milking the cows.  this gives us a bit of romance.  during the 12th night celebrations, some of the social rules for the unmarried ladies were a little lax, so there were opportunities for the men to sneak away with a young maiden into the dark corner of the rooms - the chaperons were busy eating and drinking, dancing and socializing to notice.  12th night parties were also sometime masked balls -- providing more mystery and opportunity.

the christian symbol for the 8th day is the 8 beatitudes, or 8 lessons taught by Jesus in his sermon on the mount.  the beatitudes are found at matthew 5: 3-12:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.