Thursday, January 31, 2013

The More and Muchness


A couple weeks ago, I mentioned my quest to learn more about the Spiritual Exercises developed by St. Ignatius, so today I wanted to share a little more.
His mission statement for himself and the Jesuits was "Ad majorem Dei gloriam" (which translated means "To the greater glory of God.")
Another Latin word associated with his vision for followers of Christ was "magis," which means "the more."
St. Ignatius would ask himself, "What have I done for God? What am I doing for God? and What MORE can I do for Him?"
When I discovered the concept of "magis," my mind turned to words in English that might come from this root, like majesty, magnificent, and magnitude. Anything more that I could do for God, would have to be in response to His majesty, magnificence and magnanimous love.
This idea of giving more to God can seem daunting and may even feel like pressure, but I am not thinking of obligation, but rather adoration, like the woman who wept and washed Jesus feet with her tears.
The more I comprehend His great love and my great need, the greater my expression of love will be.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength"(Mark 12:30).
In a commentary that compares the various times this command is quoted in both the Old and New Testament, the author explains that the word for strength translates as "muchness," which made me smile.
What does loving God with all my muchness look like? It sounds a lot like what St. Igatius was aiming at with his "Ad majorem Dei gloriam!" Or as a famous hymn writer once wrote: "To God be the glory!" Loving God with all our being brings Him such joy.
And Jesus doesn't ask us to stop there. He asks for more. He wants us to love one another as He loves us. That's almost too much for me, I scarce can take it in. How about you?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Illuminate: Brightened With Light

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God
was hovering over the waters.
(Genesis 1:2 NIV)


And God said, “Let there be light,”
and there was light.

 God saw that the light was good,
and he separated the light from the darkness.
(Genesis 1:3-4 NIV)
As this month comes to an end, desire calls me closer to the flame of God's light. I want to explore and express His light in fresh ways. As I follow God into the unknown of the future, I see a blank canvas. God hovering over me.
The old landscapes and portraits of my life stacked in a dark corner will still speak of who I am, but I want more than the past to define me. A clean, fresh start draws me.
I realized recently that as I child, I did not trust my own expression. I let my art teachers "help" me. I may have started a painting, but when I was dissatisfied with my efforts, I would call the teacher over. Inviting him to paint in where I felt deficient to create an image as realistic as possible.
As I grown woman, I want to trust myself, as one created in the image of God, capable of expressing my own unique voice and style. I may have to copy others for awhile, and ask them to teach me. But in the end, I hope what others see on the canvas will be a purer expression of me.
I desire illumination. God decorating my life. Broad strokes of the Holy Spirit brightening my perspective. I want to engage my spirit and my intellect in God honoring ways. His light shining through all my being.
Linking up with:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



sun bursts through
the kaledioscope
fractured colors
broken images
colors blur
pattern gives way to
new image

Monday, January 28, 2013

Light: Something that Makes Vision Possible

Blessed are those who
have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light
of your presence, O Lord.
Psalm 89:15 NIV

I like Mondays. On Mondays, I observe a day of rest. I call it my extra Sabbath. On Sundays, my husband and I serve and worship at our church. And I often take a nap in the afternoon.

But resting on Mondays is different. I don't schedule any outside appointments. I don't have to rush anywhere. I can linger with my coffee. I let go of agendas and I do my best to listen. There is no hurry to leave the presence of God. I read, journal, listen and pray to my heart's content.
This particular Monday, I am enjoying time on our porch swing on a warm, balmy winter day. The sun is shining, the birds are calling each other with warbles and whistles and chirps and trills.
Sometimes, I go back and read over my journal to gain insight. To see what light has been poured out through my pen. I notice what God and I have been dialoguing over the past several weeks. Since I had the leisure to do so today, I thumbed through my journal, highlighting the glimpses of a theme or a direction. Path, desire and want were common words. Also hope, blessing and love. Here are some quotes and musings that resonated with me today. I hope they are a sweet balm of warmth on this wintry Monday.

"As wonderful as it is to have Jesus' blessings,
it is even more wonderful to have Jesus."
(Roy Lessin)
"O LORD, the house of my soul is narrow; enlarge it that Thou mayest enter in. It is ruinous, O repair it! It displeases Thy sight; I confess it, I know. But who shall  cleanse it, or to whom shall I cry but unto Thee? Cleanse me from my secret faults, O LORD,
spare Thy servant from strange sins."
(St. Augustine)
"To have someone to absorb us, who wants to understand the shape and structure of our lives, who will listen for more than our words,
is one of friendship's greatest gifts."
(Paul D. Robbins)
Below is a written prayer that I copied down today, and my response to that prayer:

"Almighty God, whose word is authority and power and whose way is love, grant us today clear minds, understanding hearts, and willing spirits so that we may wisely appropriate Your word of truth. Amen."
My response:
"Let us not try to change each other, but rather trust each other. Trust ourselves. Accept that each other's personalities, skills, gifts and life experiences inform the whole of who we are and how we interact with one another. Let us love one another."

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 
(1 John 5:21 NLT)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Again: Once More

All these whom we have mentioned maintained their faith but died without actually receiving God’s promises, though they had seen them in the distance, had hailed them as true and were quite convinced of their reality. They freely admitted that they lived on this earth as exiles and foreigners. Men who say that mean, of course, that their eyes are fixed upon their true home-land. If they had meant the particular country they had left behind, they had ample opportunity to return. No, the fact is that they longed for a better country altogether, nothing less than a heavenly one. And because of this faith of theirs, God is not ashamed to be called their God for in sober truth he has prepared for them a city in Heaven.
(Hebrews 11:13-16 J.B Phillips)
Linking up with Five Minute Fridays, a place where we are given a word and a challenge to write for five minutes.

Again. I hear a simple, direct voice, say: “I have a plan for your life. It’s meant for your good, not your harm. A future and a hope.”  I am relieved. I go to the book where the words were first written down by a weeping prophet. In this version it says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
My eye falls on the word welfare, which has a footnote. Welfare means peace. Peace, well-being, that’s what I want.

Then I wonder, what’s the context? I’ve rehearsed that single sentence to myself for comfort again and again, but I want to know why God said it in the first place. Go back to the beginning of the chapter. Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles in Babylon. There was some confusion. Was their exile temporary or was it for seventy years? Who should they listen to? Some were saying this won’t last; God won’t really make you stay there for seventy years. Jeremiah sends word to clarify.

Yes, God did say seventy years! And while you're there, multiply, don’t decrease. Don’t wither up in despair. Live! Get married! Make babies! You are coming back to Jerusalem and you will need people to repopulate the Promised Land. And while you’re in the city of your captivity, pray for the welfare of that city. Because if you do, guess what, it’s welfare directly benefits your welfare.

That’s a real life example of praying for peace for your enemies.

Again God turns everything upside down on its head. Don’t believe the liars or the scoffers. God will keep His promises. Jesus will return again. And in the meantime, pray for the welfare of your city, the place of your exile, while you wait. And live again!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thrilling Thursday: Books

Of making many books there is no end . . .
(Ecclesiastes 12:12 NKJV)

I often have a pile of books next to me on the arm of my thinking chair. I am a reader, but not often a book finisher. I find myself grazing introductions, thumbing through pages to look for visual inspiration or just reading the table of contents to see which chapter I might like to nibble on.


The pile of books, I picked for this month's link up at What's on Your Nightstand, inspire creativity.

Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones. A beautifully illustrated book on exploring creativity with watercolor and mixed-media. I love the colorful examples and how each chapter presents a project to experiment with a technique.

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. I don't have a young family at home anymore, but I love Amanda's desire to make homemade treasures with and for her young ones to explore life through nature, literature and creativity. I definitely want to sew the tote bag for pjs with a bedtime book pocket, for my nieces and nephews.

She has two other books that I recommend if you want to explore your own childlike creativity in a simple, seasonal way: The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons and Handmade Home. Amanda and her husband value family, nature and creativity. Their ideas honor our Creator. Some of their traditions appear more in line with venerating nature rather than God, yet I respect their values and recommend these books for anyone looking for high quality items to make with and for your family. I borrowed her books from our local library.

The Thinker's Thesaurus compiled by Peter E. Meltzer. When I recently browsed the reference shelf at a local bookstore, I immediately knew I was going to add this thesaurus to my own collection. A thesaurus, yet another  favorite companion of mine. I do love a synonym for enriching my vocabulary. This thesaurus is not your common garden variety, either. The subtitle sells it as offering the reader, "Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words." This one is definitely a vocabulary builder, rather than a pure word swap type thesaurus. Some of the synonyms offered are actually Latin or French phrases. A sample sentence with the new word in it, aids my understanding immensely. I have my red Webster's dictionary nearby, as many of these words are beyond my knowledge. Definitely a luxury, but I think it will be a nice addition to my circle of friends.

Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley. I love the selection of art technique books available at our library. This one is a visual feast, and if I weren't on a new kick to be frugal, I would buy this one. I think of these books as grown-up versions of picture books. I ingest the words, but the pictures feed my mind and creativity, as much as the instructions of the author. This particular book appealed to me as I explore the unknown territory of painting. I am not a trained painter, but I do believe I am an artist who expresses her self in various venues. This book has helped me to "Let go. Be Bold. Unfold," as the subtitle invites.

It gave me the courage to write this declaration on the first page of a new art journal/sketchbook:

I am an artist
I want to art
I want to be
I want to
explode like a
popcorn kernel!

Pretty bold, don't you think? But seriously, have you ever looked at the intricate, unique design of each popped kernel? A credit to our glorious Creator!

Last but not least, I bought this bargain book, The Art of Chinese Brush. Yes, another pictorial primer to add to my creative repertoire. Art journaling is enhanced by calligraphy, so I am on a quest to discover my style.

Update on my " I want to" list: (One book I did finish reading in January!)

I did join our local library's book club which motivated me to complete a book. We read The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. A novel about a young girl's coming of age in the midst of family diversity and tragedy, her mother is Danish and her father is African-American. This is a heart wrenching story that uses several narrators to highlight the complexity of the main character's identity crisis. I recommend this to a more mature audience. There are some disturbing violent episodes and sexual content. That said, as a first novel, Heidi W. Durrow, crafts a narrative that raises questions, as well as, keeps the action moving forward. The ending is a bit abrupt, but if you read the last few pages more than once, you will notice that the author attempts to give some poetic explanation for Rachel's tragic life, wishing for more. (By the way, I really enjoyed the discussion at book club; great group of fellow readers!)

I apologize for the lengthy post, but I hope you enjoyed these hearty appetizers this Thrilling Thursday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Definition: The Act of Describing, Explaining and Making Clear

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it . . .”
(Isaiah 30:21 KJV)

I’m pretty good at describing things. And I often find myself explaining things that I don’t know anything about. And it usually works.

But making things clear is more difficult. That’s why, I quote the dictionary all the time. I like to get to the deeper meaning. I want to make things clearer for myself and my audience. But my voice isn’t the one that always makes the most sense. And you may find that your voice misleads you sometimes. How are we supposed to know which way to go?

Isaiah offers some words from God. Basically God says, “I will be your teacher. I will be speaking to you at every turn.” This promise was not only made to Isaiah, but also to God’s wandering, rebellious people. God makes promises. He is very clear about how He will accomplish things for us, so why do I still get confused?

Here’s what I love about God’s word. I find a promise and I quote it to myself. And most times it’s real comforting, until I read further. Jeremiah offers a similar promise from God to Israel, regarding God’s direction. Here’s the part I like to quote:

This is what the LORD says:
Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
 (Jeremiah 6:16a NIV)

Ahhh . . . rest for my soul . . .

But wait . . . here comes the clarifying, defining moment:


But you reply, ‘No, that's not the road we want!’
or even stronger in the King James version,
‘We will not walk therein.’

(Jeremiah 6:16b NLT and KJV)


God gives me definition all day long, and I often respond with rebellion. Yikes!
While one of my desires for this year is greater definition of God’s specific path for my life, it looks like in general I have all the direction I need:

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mind: Intention and Desire


With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him.


 Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.


(Romans 12:1-2 Phillips)



I was fascinated by these sculptures. One of my nephews, walked right up to the open mind sculpture (middle photo) and proclaimed, "This is the Conscience." (He is seven years old.)

I was captured by the ingenuity and creative expressiveness the artist renders in these Lego creations. I surprised myself with the third photo. I am not certain, but most likely the curator placed these three sculptures in such a way that if you stood in the right spot, you'd be able get this perspective. A scribe overshadowing a brain with ideas generating an image on the back wall. To me it spoke to the process of transforming one's mind through the creative process.

What a joy to take my twin nephews to see this exhibit at the Magic House in St. Louis. (Photo credit: Kel Rohlf, 2013 Copyright. All Rights Reserved.)


Here's a description  of the exhibit from the Magic House website. If you live in the area, I recommend a day at this magical place, with or without out a child.

The Art of the Brick®

September 22, 2012 – January 27, 2013

The Magic House will play host to The Art of the Brick, a one-of-a-kind art exhibition featuring more than 30 large-scale sculptures created out of nearly one million iconic LEGO® bricks by New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya. The Art of the Brick is sure to stack up to the expectations of LEGO and art fans alike as it is one of the largest and most popular exhibits currently touring the globe. Sawaya has taken the small scale toy and transformed it into an art medium all its own, resulting in awe-inspiring and thought provoking sculptures.

Linking with:

A Holy Experience

Friday, January 18, 2013

Relax: To Deprive of Energy, Zeal or Strength of Purpose

Do not sorrow,
for the joy of the Lord
is your strength.
(Nehemiah 8:10b NKJV)

Relax, I tell myself. Again. I am not good at relaxing. I suppose I never learned how, or at least that's what I tell myself.

Then last night, at the dinner table with my mom and sister, the youngest niece bounces in, snuggles into her mom. She had been throwing up just hours ago. He brother sleeps sprawled on the couch. She snuggles and nuzzles deeper into her mother's side. She burbles with energy.

We all look at her astonished. We tease her, guess you're feeling better. She grins. She bobs her head up at her mother and asks if she can show Aunt Kel something. Of course. She runs to her room to get it. She gets absorbed actually showing the game to her mom, instead of me.

My sister pauses, looks at the little child chattering away, lightly bouncing on the bench next to her. She asks nonchalantly,
"Do you know how to relax?"

Still full of glee, enjoying her  video game, without looking up at us she answers succinctly, "Nope!"

I laugh. I see reflected in this young five year old girl, a zeal for living, energy propelling her past obstacles and a strength of purpose that will serve her well. Growing up so fast and then I wonder if that's why I never learned to relax.

She will have still moments, but they will be rare. I know. I can be still now, because I have trained myself, but really there's always a stream of life flowing beneath the surface urging me on.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrilling Thursday: Inspired

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on
His faithfulness.
(Psalm 37:3 NKJV)

Last fall, I hosted a Thrilling Guest  for Thursdays, and I hope to have some old friends and new friends again this year.

I didn't have time this week to invite anyone, so I thought I'd invite you to check out some inspiring blogs and an ezine that I've enjoyed recently.

1) I'd love you to come over to Three Way Light with Jody Collins on Wednesdays. She is hosting her first ever online Bible Study! Last year, she spent time dwelling in Psalm 37. And now she is sharing weekly insights on that Psalm, as well as challenging her readers to dig in the Word for themselves. She's calling the study: '2TW squared'--Through the Word, Through the Week! Come join in as we discuss this rich Psalm at Jody's blog.

Bible Study
2) Another writer/blogger, I'd like to introduce, is Kimberlee Conway Ireton. Her post today describes a glimpse into the process of writing as prayer. She also has a book that I recommend, which is titled, The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year.
It gives insight into the liturgy of the church year, as well as practical ways to participate in the various feasts and fasts of the year. I read her chapter on Epiphany about a week late, and I was pleasantly surprised with a new way (to me) of how to observe the feast. She shares a practice of blessing your home for the new year. (I will write more about that next week :)
3) I like to journal and I like to play around with art, so I often browse the art journaling and mixed media sites. I came across this monthly ezine edited and created by Amanda Fall at Persistent Green. The downloadable magazine is well worth the $6.00 cost. It is full of beautiful art, inspiring writing and prompts to jumpstart your own creativity. Check it out: Sprout! (Click on image to link over.)
4) Deep Calls Unto Deep is a journal prompt site created by Diane Ronzino from an encouraging word. She just recently started posting again. I was so excited when I saw a new post in my Google Reader Feed. She posts a Scripture and a thought to inspire your journal dialogue with God.
It's always a joy to share. I hope you are inspired and encouraged!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mission: The Act of Sending

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 NIV)
A mission can be as simple as an assigned task for the day. Or as complex as a mission to Mars. Or as dangerous as a military strike force attempting to subdue an enemy.
A more common association with the word “mission” is religious in nature. And the root word for mission comes from the Latin verb, mittere, which means to send. Lest you think I’m a genius, I just gleaned all this information from the handy dictionary on the Merriam-Webster website (
As a dictionary aficionado, I sheepishly admit that I am using the online versions more often than my compact dictionary or the faithful red Webster’s, I purchased years ago. I have dreamed of owning the complete Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which may be accessed as a hard copy at a local library. And our library has an online version, with free access for card holders.

Both refer to the etymology of a word, that is, its origin and usage. At  you find the word origin, the date of the first known use, the word used in a sentence , rhyming words and even synonyms and antonyms at the end of each entry.
Until recently, I never paid much attention to the first known use date. When I was compiling my seven desires list, I started noticing a similarity. All of the words were first known to be used between the 14th and 16th centuries, with “mission” being the youngest of my words, first used in 1530. I know some of you are saying: “So what?” But when I find a commonality, my mind wonders if there is a connection.
Once I saw this pattern, I wondered what historical context they might have in common. I started thinking about St. Ignatius, whom I discovered last summer. He lived from 1491-1556. His spiritual journey culminated in a profession of religious vows with six other men on August 15, 1534, thus forming the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, which literally means “Jesus followers.” His history coincides with the dates of some of my words.
I don’t think it is any coincidence that the word “mission” was just starting to be used around the same time that God called St. Ignatius to his vocation. And I am certain that day, when I was brainstorming about my desires for 2013 that God was smiling, knowing I would make the connection.
My mission is to write words in whatever context God gives me. This little adventure in the dictionary confirmed to me that I should study the Spiritual Exercises developed by St. Ignatius. It probably won’t surprise anyone that The Ignatian Adventure by Kevin O’Brien, SJ, caught my attention, when I was looking for additional texts to inform my study.
As the year unfolds, I will bring along my dictionary and these texts to see what develops. It’s so like God to keep me on the Advent{ures} of following Him through words.

Linking up with:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Like a Tree


Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted
along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
(Psalm 1:1-3 NLT)
The above picture was taken last week in Phoenix, AZ. It was a delight to see oranges growing in season along the streets. I wasn't expecting to see fruit in winter. Seeing the oranges made me think of how spiritual fruit might come to maturity, even in the winter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ordinary:The Regular Course of Things

We plan the way we want to live,
but only God makes us able to live it.
(Proverbs 16:9 The Message)

After the observance of Epiphany, the church calendar returns to Ordinary Time. Not plain time, but ordinal, as in numbering our days.

Last week, I was mulling over my word for the year:
As I considered desire, I recorded a list of seven desires for 2013 in my planner. Each word ended in the suffix of “–ation” or a form of it, which means the act of something. As I observed this commonality, my heart ignited with hope for intentional, creative action this year.

I often do not do what I want. My life has been formed more by oughts and shoulds, rather than wants. Caring for others drove my plans as a young mother. Today, with grown children, my planner is wide open for new adventures and uncharted territories.

So, the other day I courageously wrote in my journal, “I want to . .  .”
Saying, “I want to” out loud was quite liberating. (And saying "I don't want to" can be just as freeing. Try it sometime.)

So here's a glimpse into  some of my heart desires and creative pursuits for 2013:

I want to join a book club.

I want to participate in community theatre.

I want to take a yoga class.

I want to clean out the fridge.

I want to pray more for my friends.

I want to inspire creativity with others.

I want space to write.

I want to learn more.

I want to be an entrepreneur.

Some lofty aspirations, some recreational outlets and some ordinary tasks came to mind. But even the ordinary task of cleaning out the fridge felt more like joy than drudgery. I used to think saying “I want to” was selfish, but this little exercise showed me that wanting or desiring things can be very healthy and fulfilling. I feel like a tree flourishing in season, producing life for itself and others.

Linking up with:


Friday, January 11, 2013

Snapshot: A View of Something Brief

Five Minute Friday

A place where writers take five minutes to write about a word, and then link up over at Gypsy Mama to read and comment on each other's offerings. Today's Word is Dive.


I know this dive, where low light illuminates the green felt table. The next customer swings open the screen door, a bell rings announcing their entrance. The door slaps shut. A few heads swivel from the bar.

She walks over to the counter, surveys the line-up. Orders a drink and asks “Anyone up for a game?” The guy at the end of the bar nods. They each grab their drink, placing it on a nearby table. She digs for a quarter out of her faded jeans. Places it in the slot, pushes it in and kerplunk. Solids and stripes roll into place.

She pulls them out one by one and her opponent racks them up. He places the cue ball at the opposite end of the triangle made up of alternated stripes and solids. She smiles at him. He takes his cue and pulls back his elbow sliding the stick towards the white ball, which he expertly cracks into the triangle busting up their symmetry, and sighs when not one falls into a pocket.

She steps up and takes her turn. She leans over and eyes the orange solid in line with the cue ball, nods toward the side pocket and drops her first attempt to win this game. She positions herself and starts clearing the table of solids. Her opponent leans on his stick watching her prowess, waiting for his turn to show her a thing or two. She misses.

He drops a purple striped one into the far corner pocket. They take turns until it’s just the eight ball and the cue ball and two players wondering who’ll have the last say.
You may be thinking that this post is quite a bit different than my usual offerings. And it is. I decided to take this five minute write as challenge to capture a place with words. One of my desires this year is to hone my fiction skills, which means developing scenes, characters and plots. So today, I chose to use my five minutes to practice one of my skills. I would love feedback as to whether this snapshot put you in the place or not.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Epiphany: An Illuminating Discovery

On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me
an Epiphany!

 Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely,
just as God knows me now.
There are three things that will endure
 — faith, hope, and love —
and the greatest of these is love.
Let love be your highest goal,
but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives . . .
1 Corinthians 13:11-14:1 NLT

Linking up with:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Love is . . .

On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me,
more than eleven facets of love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

 Love never dies.
(1Corinthians 13:4-8a The Message)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tenets: Principles to Hold Us Together

On the tenth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me,
ten tenets for holy living.

1. You must not have any other god but Me.
2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

3. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

5. Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

6. You must not murder.

7. You must not commit adultery.

8. You must not steal.

9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

10. You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
(from Exodus 20:3-17 NLT,
renumbered for the purpose of this blog post)