Celebrating Easter – Today’s Reality

A couple days ago I blogged about the Easter Sunday services I remember so fondly from childhood – the exuberant celebrations I have not experienced for decades and yet earnestly long for.

Today’s Easter Reality, on this Sunday, April 1st, is a far cry from what I long for. Outside, sun glistens blindingly bright on the snow and the temperature is a mere 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty chilly for a day set apart for Easter Egg Hunts in the grass!

Indoors, I have chills too. And a cough. Sinus headache. Pain. Stiffness. And a fever – I’m on my third day of running a fever.


In spite of my symptoms, I actually feel better this afternoon than I did last night. But I’m sofa bound. I was so excited about feeling better this morning that I actually made my bed, throw pillows and all.  Now, rather than mess it up by taking a much needed nap, I’m stretched out on our living room sectional, bundled under a vintage camp blanket, trying to ward of the chills.

As you know, when you’re sick, you have a lot of time on your hands. And I lay here thinking about how (in my mind) Easter Sunday is supposed to be, compared to what is.

So I grabbed my iPad and a pair of ear buds and went on a YouTube search. Surely somewhere there must be a recording of “Christ The Lord is Risen Today,” with full-on organ and trumpets! Admittedly, it wouldn’t be the same as standing in church, looking up at my mother as she joyfully sang that glorious hymn.  But still, I did find a version that brought tears to my eyes!

I wish I could share it with you, but I’m not that tech savvy yet. You can hopefully find it by doing a search of the hymn title, plus Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

I pray your Easter Sunday is greatly blessed. For, regardless of our present circumstances, because of Jesus Christ, we have much to celebrate!

 

 

Celebrating Easter

I SO miss the celebration of Easter I knew growing up. Easter was a big deal! We talked about it, planned for it, weeks in advance, all while observing Wednesday Lenten services leading up to the Big Day.

Though we had little money to spare, Mom sewed new dresses for us girls. (Never paid attention to what my four brothers wore.) It was a “given,” everyone wore their best to church on Easter Sunday. I don’t ever recall it being a fashion show, but more a way of honoring God. It was HIS Day!

Easter Sunday started early with a Sunrise Service (followed by a Pancake Breakfast in the church basement). At the time, I had no idea what a feat it must have been for Mom to get all us kids up, dressed, and out the door at such an early hour!

The church was fragrant with lilies. Other colorful floral displays filled the altar. We had a good view from the balcony, where our family usually filled a whole row. Or two, depending on where we got seats.

My favorite part of the service was the special only-on-Easter-Sunday trumpets. I could hardly wait to hear them!

Finally…

The congregation stood up, the organ gave a powerful rumbling prelude, and then, with a mighty blast of triumph, those golden instruments led us in announcing His victory… “CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY…ALLELUIA…”

We sang our hearts out!

 

Put away the Cell

Deer Stand - June 2, 2013“Can’t you even put away your phone long enough to take a walk?”  Those weren’t the exact words but it was something to that effect.  Because of unusual circumstances at this stage of life, I am alone a lot. Much of my connection to the outside world is via internet, TV, and my cell phone – upon which, I admit, I’ve become far too dependent – to check email and Facebook connections.

This became far too apparent when I went out on the trail this afternoon.  I made my way through the trees skirting the canyon and came out on the paved walking trail. Immediately, my first instinct was to log on and check FB and email. That’s when the admonition sounded clearly in my thoughts.  Seriously?!  Can’t you put it away even for a walk?

I immediately shut off my cell and forced it into my too-small back jeans pocket.

I looked up.  And out.  And listened.

It is late afternoon. The marshland thrives with life.  A Mallard drake and his hen leave gentle ripples as they lazily glide along the pond. Frogs – by the hundreds, thousands? – signal their presence.  The familiar trill of Redwing Blackbirds remind me of a rusty well pump handle squawking in protest. I feel frustration because I can’t identify many of the multitude of other birds songs calling across the canyon.

To the right of my path, a cotton-tail freezes, hoping I won’t notice it, while on the other side and a little ahead another bunny high tails it into a thicket.

I walk on. Scurried motion in shrubbery on both sides of the path reveal the presence of other creatures rushing for their camouflaged cover. It works.  I know they’re there but I can’t see them.

In the distance at water’s edge, I see more movement and wish I’d brought binoculars to identify either the wild turkey or pheasant taking a drink.

I walk on. The path curves and I make a mental note to keep my mouth shut as I forge through the local swarm of gnats.

Ahead is one of my favorite landmarks – the gnarled tree with weathered strips of wood nailed to its trunk – once a ladder to the primitively constructed deer stand in its overhanging branches…

I reach in my back pocket and wrestle out my iPhone, no longer interested in logging onto anything.  I simply want to capture – document – savor – this walk.  This balm to my soul.

~~~

At Last!

 

He

 

Is

 

Back!

 

Thank You, Lord.

~~~~

Fresh Bread

 

That’s it!  I keep hearing so much lately about homemade bread…I’m breaking out my stainless steel bread bowl…the one that’s all pock marked with dents from marbles being whirled around in it back in the ’80s. 

 

Is there a better fragrance in a home in the fall? 

 

 

I love the feel of working with the dough…kneading by hand…

 

 

 …gently coaxing wonderful ingredients in, like honey, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ…

 

 

…and making a simple meal of it while it’s warm and fresh.  A  little butter…generous swirls of Apple Butter… 

 

  Thank You, Lord.

 

~~~~

CRITICAL NEED FOR PRAYER!

 

 

At this very moment, there is a critical need for prayer for the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.  Whether or not you feel we should be there is not the issue.  God is waiting for us to cry out to Him for HIS intervention.  He knows what needs to happen and it needs to happen now!   We must turn to Him.  Immediately!  Lives are literally depending on our response.

Introducing David Lunsford – Cheerleading Series

 

If you know me at all, you know that when it comes to things and people I’m excited about, I’m a cheerleader.  I just can’t keep good news to myself.  Why would I want to?  lol  

 

A week ago,  I was blessed to see and hear  musician, singer, songwriter, David Lunsford.  If you love Praise & Worship you will love this artist.   I’d describe him as a Music Shepherd; he takes us with him, leads us to The Father.   Check out the link and give a listen to the samples.  “Living Water” is one of my favorites and was a huge hit with the youth and young adults at the conference we attended last weekend. 

  

http://davidlunsfordmusic.com/

 

 

 

~~~~

Oxygen for Your Soul

 

 

I’m just curious.  Has anyone NOT heard of Susan Boyle yet?  I understand it’s had around 16 million hits already, and I wish I could include a YouTube video of her here, but apparently those videos have had the embed disabled.  Still…

 

 – If you want to smile…

 

 – If you love seeing the “underdog” triumph…

 

 – If you love witnessing the glory of God  through excellence…

 

 – If you love it when God lifts up the humble…

 

 – If you love watching dreams come true…

 

– If you need oxygen for your Soul…

 

 …Do yourself a gigantic favor and go to YouTube, and type in Susan Boyle.  Turn up the sound, settle back, watch and listen. 

 

Then, please, come back and tell me what you think.  This video, and her story, thrill me beyond words.

 

~~~~ 

Sitting, Prepping, and Savoring

 

Woke this morning with a song playing in my head – “We Have This Moment,” by Gloria Gaither.  The chorus:

 

                                     We have this moment to hold in our hands

                                     And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand

                                    Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come

                                    But we have this moment, today. 

 

It’s precious.  Take a look at all the lyrics:

 

http://www.bensonsound.com/lyrics/0640.htm

 

I’m certain Holy Spirit was singing this to me as a gentle reminder that, at any given time, I only have this moment to savor. 

 

I really did make the most of yesterday…made several of my son’s favorite foods: Tuna Salad for lunch, Venison Stew and homemade Apple Pie for supper… 

 

It was a fully-lived day.  I even, serendipitously, found a dress for the wedding we’re all attending tonight.  Yes!  A New Year’s Eve wedding!  Should be really special.  My Daughter-in-Awe is the photographer.  And because she’s already taking pictures today, and our son is working, I am sitting our “Grand Dog.”  Could anyone resist this face?

 

 

Now, I’m off – to get busy with all the wedding prep.  And to thoroughly live This Moment! 

Good Tidings of Great Joy!

 

 

 

 

“Composer George Frideric Handel was bankrupt when in 1741 a group of Dublin charities offered him a commission to write a musical work.  It was for a benefit performance to raise funds to free men from a debtors’ prison.  He accepted that commission and gave himself tirelessly to work on it. 

 

“In just 24 days, Handel composed the well-known masterpiece Messiah, which contains “The Hallelujah Chorus.”  During that time, he never left his home and often went without eating.  At one point, a servant found him weeping over his evolving score.  Recounting his experience, Handel wrote, “Whether I was in my body or out of my body as I wrote it I know not.  God knows.”  Afterward he also said, “I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God Himself.”

 

I was so blessed by this that I wanted to share it.  It’s an excerpt from the December 20th devotional in “Our Daily Bread,” a quarterly devotional published by rbc Ministries .  This particular entry was written by Vernon Grounds.  I hope it blesses you, too.

 

May you all be overwhelmed by the magnificence of God’s great Gift to us, His Son, Jesus Christ, Emanuel, God with us!  

Merry Christmas!