Lincoln Said It Right!

At the end of the devastating Civil War, Lincoln called for a spirit of reconciliation and an end to animosity.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”                                   Second Inaugural Address (delivered March 4, 1865).

Hopefully, we as Americans can listen to his wise counsel and find ways to stop the violence.   Listening, learning and loving . . .may be good for starters.

 

Advertisements

Living the Wet Life

One of my favorite pastimes is swimming laps at our nearby community pool.  Early morning is my favorite and when possible bringing an inspirational book and a cup of coffee or water.

woman swimming

After swimming a few laps and treading water, as well as greeting other swimmers, relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair and reading is delightful.  Usually it is easy for me to shut out the activities and conversations of those around me. But not always.

Kids playing “Marco Polo” and other water games often get a bit rowdy until told by parents to “calm down”.  Conversations between youngsters and their siblings can be interesting, as are interactions between children and parents.  Most children especially enjoy playing in the water with their mom and dad.  Some children wistfully watch as parents of other kids join in the fun, while theirs do not.

After finding a set of 5 squirt guns on sale, I offered them to my granddaughters.  Three brothers arrived at the pool and noticed the squirt guns.  “Wow, first time I ever saw girls with so many squirt guns,” the oldest loudly said.  Soon all had one to use and they played well for a long time at the end of the pool.

kids at pool

One warm evening last summer, a large family including a mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins played energetic games of volleyball.  All the other swimmers at the pool were invited to join in. It was very inter-generational, as well as inclusive. Surprisingly, not even the oldest people at the pool complained.  It was refreshing to see such fun among several ages. It doesn’t happen often enough.

pool volleyball
I live two blocks from the beach and one block from our pool, and have found being near the water soothes my soul.  It is a good place to pray and think.

Jesus often walked along the Sea of Galilee as he taught his disciples. He even prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them.

Once when His disciples thought they were lost in a sudden, strong storm, Jesus walked across the sea to help them.

Jesus taught us how to live ‘the wet life.

woman by ocean

Whats Your Bottom Line?

One thing leads to another.  After I posted about hearing Maria Von Trapp speak, then I remembered hearing Corrie ten Boom speak.  Finally, I remembered briefly meeting Joni Eareckson Tada, so I decided to write about her on the 50th anniversary of her diving accident.

What came to my mind is how distinctly each of these wise women communicated a strong Biblical principle they chose as their personal bottom line.

Also amazing is how clearly I remember their bottom lines,  a lesson to me in my own communicating.  But, what is my bottom line, my take home message?  Several Biblical principles quickly come to mind, yet if I had to choose the most important, what would it be?

Then I remembered a poignant book I read as a young girl.  It was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  In fact, I read it several times.  Anne’s short but intense life was memorable because she wrote down her feelings as she described her difficult situation.   She had been given an autograph book with a small lock on her 15th birthday, shortly before her family went into hiding.  She used it as a diary which was discovered in the attic of the home where they had been hiding.  It was given to her father, Otto Frank.  His wife and two daughters died in Aushwitz concentration camp.

When Otto Frank read the diary his younger daughter kept and realized she wanted to be a journalist, he decided to get it published. Her writings have educated and inspired countless readers.  From Anne we learn it is good to put our thoughts and ideas in writing.  Anne kept her faith in God and believed most people were “good at heart.”

As I put in writing my strongest beliefs, I am centering on the love of God and the inner peace of trusting in His Son, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior.  To clearly define my own bottom line, since the name of my blog is “Heresyourhope,” it is essential to begin with “hope.”

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.  My hope comes from Him.”  Psalm 62:5

 

 

An Amazing Woman of Faith

My young sons and I stepped into an elevator and realized we were sharing space with Joni Eareckson, whom we had just heard speak.  Although I only had a minute, it was long enough to tell her what an inspiration she was to our family.  She smiled and said she was happy to hear that.  Then the door opened and away she rolled.

It was July 1976, and we were at a Successful Living convention in Snow Bird, Utah. Joni was a featured speaker.  Her biography, Joni, had just been published.  In July of 1967, at the age of 17,  Joni dove into a shallow spot in Chesapeake Bay, and broke her neck. When we met her, she had been in a wheelchair for nine years.  Her beautiful smile and attitude were delightful.  Her smile and attitude are still delightful today.

Joni has a daily 5 minute radio program which airs early each morning,  Her messages are so inspiring as she delivers them in an upbeat tone.  Sometimes she sings a few lines of a sweet song with her lovely voice. Listening to her always brightens my day.

joni quote

Whenever my life faces difficult challenges, thinking of the countless obstacles Joni bravely faces helps me get a better perspective.  She and her very dedicated husband, Ken, were married in 1982, so recently celebrated 35 years together.                                             joni and ken

If being a quadriplegic isn’t difficult enough, Joni was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2010.  It was a very difficult time, and her body limitations complicated her treatment.  But she was very determined to eat right and pray even more fervently.    Joni is an avid Bible scholar and has written many book discussing suffering and even Heaven.

We live in a time when we have access to many inspiring speakers and preachers.  As grateful as I am for their ministries, no person on earth has inspired me more.

At the end of her first book, written only eight years after her diving accident, Joni wrote, “I will be pleased if only one person is drawn to Christ. . .”  (as a result of hearing her testimony).  She said it would make being in a wheelchair worth it.

July 30. 2017 marks 50 years since her life changed when she dove into Chesapeake Bay.  During fifty years in a wheelchair, Joni has shared her inspiring story with people of all ages, all over the world.  She directs ministries to disabled children and their families.   And she is still going strong.

d.m.

When Things are Black and White.

It was a sunny Sunday in June, 1960, when 2 other youth workers and I left the Chicago area to spend a week at a Youth Leadership Training School at Wartburg Lutheran Seminary in Dubuque. Iowa.  Being the youngest and least experienced in youth work, I was eager to learn as much as possible to improve my skills so had a healthy sense of anticipation.   Never did I imagine the education that awaited me!

As we were getting close to the seminary, the thought of going somewhere enjoyable for lunch was uppermost in our minds. On a small hill, overlooking the road, an affordable but home-style oking restaurant caught our eye.  In fact, it had been recommended by others who had previously attended this Leadership Training School.  As we entered, we were greeted warmly by two tables of pastors and youth leaders who had arrived just minutes ahead of us.   The home cooking signs and delicious smelling aromas convinced us we were at the right place to satisfy our hunger pangs.

We seated ourselves near the others we knew and glanced at the menus in the napkin holders.  But the waitress curtly informed us we could not be served as “we do not serve people of color,” so one of us would have to leave. Shocked, we tried to convince the waitress we were all just fine but the manager then ushered us out.  The other two tables of friends immediately got up and also tried to convince the manager to let us stay.  He threatened to call the police so everyone left, at least a dozen hungry customers.  This was a dreadful situation and we all decided to eat at the seminary cafeteria. Neither Ruth or I knew what to say to Fannie.  We suspected this was not the first time she had been treated so unfairly and rudely.  But for me, it was my first experience with outright racial prejudice.  It affected me deeply.

When finally we found the seminary and the cafeteria, it was Fannie who helped get us back to our mood of anticipation.  Her delightful sense of humor had us laughing and we actually enjoyed the cafeteria food and our friends who also congregated there.  She did not want us to be so disturbed that a damper was put on the upcoming week.

During the week, Fannie had a significant role in the training.  For several years she had been serving as parish worker in a poor inner city church and was able to give her perspective on many aspects of reaching young people with the love of God.   Prior to attending this leadership school, I had driven carloads of youth from my church to activities at her church. We had brought food and pizza and helped paint and decorate their youth meeting room.  I knew it was a rough neighborhood and on one trip, my tire was slashed. Fannie had to be very careful never to walk home alone. Fannie’s youth group had previously come to meetings at our church as well. But obviously we had not walked in her footsteps.

Since this time, over 65 years ago, it has been my sincere desire to be aware and actively involved in interracial causes and activities.  I enjoyed teaching youth and serving on the church board of a church in Tampa that is predominantly black. Now, living back on Florida’s East Coast, I love attending a church that is an amazing mix of African American, Hispanic, Asian, and White.  Thank God, some things have improved but there is still much to do.

dm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art from the Heart

When my two sons were young, often while I was working on a writing assignment at home, I sat them down to do their own writing assignment.  (After they wrote their story, they could then creatively illustrate it.)  Thankfully, it kept them busy for quite some time.  Then we all had fun hearing them read their “masterpieces”.  I still chuckle, remembering how surprised my oldest son was when he realized that all moms are not writers.  Now days, of course, many more moms are writers on blogs.

Those years sped by too quickly, but did seem to have an impact on all of us. It helped them do well in reading and writing in school, though none of us excelled in  arithmetic.

After our television was struck by lightning, we survived over a year without a new one.  One project I will always remember was their drawing and secretly delivering valentine hearts to elderly neighbors.  Years later, I was at our corner drug store when a really old neighbor lady struck up a conversation with me.

“I still have that sweet Valentine heart your boys made for me,” she smiled as my mind was recapturing the incident.  I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to share her words with my now teenage sons.  They did remember that secret kind act.

animated13

 

dm

 

 

When the Fireworks Are Out of Sight

It was evening on July 4th several years ago.  My delightful 90 year old friend, Dorothy, had invited me to come watch fireworks from her balcony overlooking the Halifax River.  I knew she wanted company but I was taking care of my young granddaughter and had promised to take her to watch our community fireworks display.

So I asked Emily, who was five years old, if she cared if we went to be with Miss Dorothy instead of going to the big park to watch the display.  Emily liked Miss Dorothy, so agreed to go to be with her.  We all enjoyed a strawberry ice cream bar, then went out to the 5th floor deck to get ready and comfortable to watch the fireworks.

Soon we heard the sounds of fireworks, and exclamations of delight from the crowd.  But we were unable to see a thing.  We were confused because Miss Dorothy kept saying,  “I don’t understand.  We used to see them perfectly.”

It turned out that she had not watched them for several years, since her husband died.  A new building had been put up since then, that robbed the people living in the center building of their once perfect view.

As I tried to decide if there was enough time to go downstairs and walk around the south building,  Miss Dorothy told us to go ahead but she wasn’t up to going.  Then sweet Emily said, “Oh, no!  We are not going without you.”  She ran over and hugged our elderly hostess.  I was so relieved and proud of young Emily.

So we went indoors and watched Macy’s fireworks on television.  And we enjoyed a second strawberry ice cream bar with a glass of apple juice.

The next year, Emily and her baby sister went with their mom and dad to the community display.  They arrived early to get a great view.  I went to spend the evening with Miss Dorothy.  We again watched the Macy’s fireworks display.  But that year we had vanilla ice cream bars (instead of strawberry) with our apple juice.

I was reminded how we all have times when things do not go as we planned.  But time often gives us a second chance.  As has been said in Israel, “Maybe next year.”

dm