Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spread the Love!

This is a repost from February 21, 2012, really not that long ago.  However, this was a post I had such fun writing and when I re-read it today in anticipation of being away for a few days, there was a strong pull to share it with you again.  Enjoy!

* * * *

Spread love everywhere you go.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
~~ Mother Teresa

Starbucks isn't my usual coffee hangout.  The fact that my husband owns a commercial grade grinder and makes really good coffee keeps me happy and well served right at home.  BUT someone sent me a Starbucks card for my birthday, so the other day I was out and about and strolled into one of the multiple locations in my hometown and ordered my usual.

Once the barista had finished making my drink, she handed it to me in something other than the standard Starbucks cup . . . one might just say it was a "love" cup.  Printed on the cup was the image you see here.  The barista explained it was left over from Valentine's Day and they were to be used until gone.

Well, I must admit I left the coffee shop feeling a little lighter than when I'd come in.  As I read all the directions that love could take us on that coffee cup, my heart was lifted higher and higher.  How many facets there are to the action of love when it is sent in the direction of another!

How many times in one day do we send out the vibes needed to make another feel loved?  Likely not often enough to make a difference.  I've enlarged the image above so that you can read as much of the language from the cup as possible.  Most of these have a romantic hint, but if you take the time to focus on the word "love" and its many meanings, I'm sure you can list many more ways to reflect love in your daily life.

Q4U:  Do you have unique ideas about spreading love throughout your family, friends and community?  Won't you share them here?

Photo credits:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Fearless" Book Trailer by Eric Blehm // Story of SEAL Team SIX Operator...

Waterbrook Press has just published Fearless by Eric Blehm.  Fearless tells the story of Adam Cook, a Seal Team Six Operator in Afghanistan, and the sacrifices he made for our country.  I dare say you have a moment to watch the book trailer and learn a little more about Adam and his story as you might consider purchasing this book.

Our service men and women give up a lot day to day, as do their families.  It is our duty as responsible citizens to honor them in any way we can, but as Christians we can do that most easily by lifting them in prayer.  Won't you join me in doing that after you've watched the trailer?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Never Before Heard Real Sounds

This is a repost from October 27, 2011 but with our life riding the waves of a tumultuous sea lately, I felt I needed to read it again and thought perhaps I should share it here once more.

* * *
Years ago we purchased a piece of property in a little known town, Quilcene, WA.  Quilcene is about a 4-hour drive from our home in Portland, and our dream was to build a retirement home in Quilcene.  Time went by, and God's plans for our lives unfolded differently from our own and that didn't happen.  Yet, I still remember a day we were there clearing away brush and debris, making our plans and dreaming, and yes, gazing out over our view of the area, something like the view in the photo here.
The day was clear and the sun shone down on us as we worked.  A light breeze kept us comfortable as we worked.  My husband had wandered farther away from me where I couldn't hear or see him.  Suddenly, I heard what I thought was thunder, and then this little rustling sound that kept repeating over and over again.  Then the thunder would roll again.  And another rustle.  You can imagine this city girl became a little leery of the sounds she was hearing.

I went in search of him and when I explained my concerns, he laughed his heartiest laugh.  This made me furious that he should laugh at my fears.  His explanation calmed my fears and made me laugh at myself.  The thunder I heard was the hoof beats of the retired thoroughbreds galloping on the next property over, and the rustling was the gentle fall of dried leaves one or two or three at a time in succession.  How silly I felt!  Living in the city sounds are so cacophonous that we don't hear the gentle sounds of the quiet, far away from the city sounds noises.
I went in search of him and when I explained my concerns, he laughed his heartiest laugh.  This made me furious that he should laugh at my fears.  His explanation calmed my fears and made me laugh at myself.  The thunder I heard was the hoof beats of the retired thoroughbreds galloping on the next property over, and the rustling was the gentle fall of dried leaves one or two or three at a time in succession.  How silly I felt!  Living in the city sounds are so cacophonous that we don't hear the gentle sounds of the quiet, far away from the city sounds noises. 

Many days the sounds around me shut out God's desire to be closer to me, and I don't take the time to stop and listen fully.  Perhaps I hear a whisper or a nudge, but like the hoof beats and leaves falling I mistake them for something other than God attempting to enter my life.  Like a child at her father's knee, I want to be closer to him and listen fully to what he has to teach me.  That will only happen if I slow down and still myself to quietness. 

"Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me,
your High God, above politics, above everything." 
Psalm 46:10 (The Message)

Q4:  Have you stepped out of the traffic lately?  Have you stepped away from the noises of every day life?  Have you heard the quiet and listened for God?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Absent Awhile

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

Dear Blog Friends,

We find ourselves travelling once again to assist our family with caregiving needs.  This will be our longest trip yet, and I'll miss being here with you.  

I have written ahead for some days, and reposted pieces on others.  We're not really sure what day we travel home, but it will be after May 1st for sure.

We carry this verse from Ephesians with us so we can not forget that decisions in this situation are not ours.  Our role is merely one of providing respite for the caregiver, and care for my husband's brother.  Decisions about his care and their situation are solely his wife's.  It is hard not to interject your own thoughts, feelings and opinions.  And I would ask for your prayers for us in this area.  

Our desire is to be humble and gentle, patient, and loving while with them.  It is not an easy task, especially for my husband whose brother is slipping away mentally and physically.

Thanks for being such good friends -- see you soon!

Photo credit:  FBC Hanover Youth

 Sharing with Barbie at Freshly Brewed Sunday

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review -- You Don't Have to be Wrong for Me to be Righ: Finding Faith Without Fanatacism by Brad Hirschfield (Harmony Books, 2007)

On a recent visit to family out of state, my husband picked up a copy of Rabbi Brad Hirschfield's book, You Don't Have to be Wrong for Me to be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanatacism.

I thought it an unusual choice for Bob as he usually leans toward action, mystery, intrigue and science fiction in his reading.  Yet, within a couple of hours, he's telling me how much he likes what he's reading.  He's even sure I'm going to enjoy reading it.

When we returned home, I made a point to check the book out from our local library to see if Bob was in fact correct in his assumption.  And I'm here to report that he was.  I very much enjoyed Rabbi Hirschfield's perspective on religion in today's world and political climate.

Rabbi Hirschfield has tackled in 248 pages what has been sought after for centuries -- the ability to dialogue about our religious beliefs without debasing or demoralizing the other party for his or her differences.  He shows how we can actually begin to reach a level of understanding between ourselves when it comes to faith that no one has to be wrong . . . we each have the right to be right about our own personal story without the implication by another that we are wrong because of their individual beliefs.  It is a refreshing read and well written.

The following quote found at page 198 is a perfect summation of this work:

The absence of conflict is not the height of relationship.
When we feel deeply, conflict is part of the process of loving,
and so, too, is the willingness to be there for each 
other and nurture each other. 

Nearing the end, I must admit that the narrative became a little dry and it was a tough finish to get to the last page, but all in all, I think the eager individual looking for an understanding of how to present your faith to another without draining your spirit and that of another will find it in these pages.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Together -- Five-Minute Friday with Gypsy Mama

Today is 5-Minute Friday with Lysa-Jo over at The Gypsy MamaThis is when we write for 5 minutes solid on a word or phrase -- great practice for those who love to write.  Today's word is together.  So, here I 


They're out there.  In warm homes bustling around getting kiddos ready for school.  Or maybe the kiddos are too young yet for school.  Preschoolers who need dressing and help brushing hair and their teeth.

Busy mamas already, they rush through their days hoping for a moment's relaxation.  Some have multiples -- plus singles -- making for truly hectic days and nights.

Some of them are new mamas just learning the ropes of motherhood.  When you see them, they look a little bleary-eyed, circles under their beautiful eyes.  And maybe lately, not so polished in their appearance.  They'll learn balance as time goes by.
But today they're moving quickly because it's Friday.  And it's the third Friday in April.  And the mamas I'm thinking of belong to our local chapter of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS).  Some of them sit at the Patience Table, the table of eight moms I mentor.  They've been patiently waiting for this morning.

Table Group at one of our meetings

Connecting through group activities

It's where we come together to encourage and love each other in mothering.  Parenting isn't easy, but especially it's often lonesome and hard for mamas.  Some have chosen to be stay-at-home moms, a high calling in my opinion.  Staying at home can get lonely.  You can feel like an island in a land of little people.  Coming together is about building community and at MOPS we do that intentionally -- arranging moms' nights out, playdates on the weeks we don't meet, and gatherings of our table groups outside regularly scheduled meetings.

Still it is coming together -- just the way Jesus brought people together in a variety of ways as he taught them to love one another.  Togetherness is about loving one another.


Images added after 5 minutes. 

Photo credits:
Top -- Green And Clean Mom 
Bottom -- For Catholic Educators 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Sandwich Kid, Part IV

Procastination, reluctance, dread, guilt -- all of these have had a hand in my getting back to my installments on being a middle child.  You might remember reading Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Each of the reasons I've listed are due in part to the fact that as the middle child between two brothers, one 14 years older and the other eight years younger, sooner or later you must know that I had to find ways to get even with them.  You know you were expecting this, right?

My brother Eugene (Bubba) (R) and his
best friend, Clyde (Buzz)
I'll start with things occurring related to my older brother.  I must have been about four years old at the time.  I knew his room was off limits.  He was about 18 and graduating high school soon.  In this photo, he's the good looking one on the right.

One afternoon I became curious as to why I wasn't supposed to be in his room.

Mama was busy and I could hear her in the kitchen.  So I tiptoed in and began to look around.  Nothing was of great interest to a four year old.  Until I spied bright colors on the corner of what looked like a piece of paper peeking out from under his bed.

And there it was!  Shiny and glossy.  Beautiful pictures, beautiful ladies!  I had to share them with Mama.  I grabbed as many as my hands would hold and ran to the kitchen.

"Mama, mama!  Look what I found under Bubba's bed!  Magazines with pretty ladies all over the pages.  They're all so beautiful."

Photo credit
Mama wheeled around and took one look at what I was holding.  Imagine her horror when she saw the masthead on the stack of magazines I was sharing with her.

I use this simple image to the right to maintain at least a modicum of tastefulness here.  :)

Well, the worst wasn't over.  Of course, Mama just had to confront Gene when he came home from school that afternoon.

And the worst was when he stopped me in the hallway and to down close to my face.

"If you ever snoop around in my room again or show mama something you've found because you can't stop snooping, I'll kill you!"

Well, you could say he had my attention at this point.  I refused to let him see me cry so I backed across the hall and pushed my way into my room and quietly closed the door.

Already I believed firmly that God's words were to be honored:

And that's about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair.
Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that,
and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reluctant Like Maggie?

Meet Maggie.  Our little tuxedo girl.  Adopted a couple of years ago.  Our hearts won in an instant.

A few things to know about Maggie.  She loves heights (note we're on the refrigerator!).  She loves to sleep at the foot of our bed.  She waits patiently for a chair to be emptied for her.  And she's one heck of a lap kitty.

One thing she doesn't like -- being left at the kennel for any length of time. 

Last Friday as we prepared to be gone just overnight we decided Maggie could have the house to herself.  No kennel for our girl -- on her own.  We even told her she could party.

Just as we were ready to walk out the door, we couldn't find her.  My husband looked under her favorite hiding place when she has seen her carrier, and sure enough she was hiding there.  Evidently our bags had been hint enough.

We told her she didn't need to hide.  That all would be just fine and she was on her own.  But there she stayed as we locked up the house.

As we pulled from the driveway, I realized that too often I'm like Maggie -- reluctant to step out.  Especially when God has decided on something new for me to do in His Kingdom.  Are you ever like that?

He knows my life and abilities so much better than I do, and when He calls, I always duck my head and turn away for just awhile pondering the service He's calling me to do.  Why?

Most likely fear of not doing exactly what God needs me to do, fear of failure, fear of stumbling.  And yet there's no need for me to fear. 

I think the next time God calls I'll likely think of Maggie's hiding when it wasn't necessary, and perhaps that will push me forward a little bit more than usual.  What about you?  Can you be nudged a little stronger?

If you have a time when you've been reluctant, consider sharing in the comments section below.

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, "Do not fear; I will help you."

Photo Credit

Monday, April 16, 2012

Heart Full of Thanks -- Counting One Thousand Gifts (#429-442)

Simple Gifts is a favorite hymn of mine.  Written by Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr., a Shaker, the melody and words have endured since 1848.  For me, the words are full of freedom and love -- a reminder of where I ought to be and if there, I'll be in the "valley of love and delight."  How wonderful is this image!

Friday evening and all day yesterday my husband and I attended the Parkinson's Resources of Oregon Conference held in Eugene, OR.  Our attendance was an attempt to learn more about my brother-in-law's illness, which includes an insidious form of dementia which is still him from us.

Our joy and delight was found in the warmth and acceptance by Parkinson's patients and their families.  Despite their circumstances, each of this individuals and their family members had accepted their situations and found themselves in the place just right -- supporting and loving one another.

Shouldn't we all be so accepting of our circumstances and life situations?  

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
And walk in love, as Christ also loved us and given Himself for us,
an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

* * *

429.  Red tulips blooming in the yard
430.  First blossoms on the bleeding heart
431.  A camellia that hasn't bloomed for three years -- blooming!
432.  Circle of love in our family
433.  Bob's birthday this week
432.  Safe travel to and from Eugene
433.  New friends met and enjoyed
434.  Knowledge shared about illnesses common to many
435.  Gratitude for those who perform research in search of answers and treatments
436.  Professionals who took the time to share their expertise
437.  Gracious staff of Parkinson's Resources of Oregon 
438.  Quiet time at home today
439.  Birthday cards and calls for Bob from family
440.  Bob's impact on my life
441.  Wedding band on my finger that may be a bit more snug than the day it was slipped on 31 years ago, but no less shiny and sparkling because of the love it signifies
442.  Amazing Christian women who take time to blog and share their faith

Today I'm spending time with --

On In Around button

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Ultimate Blog Party

WELCOME -- COME ON IN!  I'm so glad you've come by.  I'm guessing you're visiting from UBF 2012 hosted by 5 Minutes for MomsThis is a great opportunity for some of us to visit and for others to meet new friends in the blogosphere.  Why don't you pull up a chair to my kitchen table and we'll chat over a cup of tea and something to nibble on.



My name is Sherrey and I'm chief blogger here at Not Just A Name.  I'm a Christian, wife, mom, grandma and great-grandma.  We have three children, four grandchildren and now two great-grandkids.  I usually refrain from writing too much about our children's families as I like to respect their privacy and lives as much as possible.  My husband and I are both retired, and we absolutely love being together 24/7.  Of course, there are a few exceptions -- his two musical groups and choir, and my passion for Mothers of Preschoolers.  We attend the Presbyterian church and enjoy reading, musical opportunities, gardening, and when I have time, I dabble in knitting, quilting and garment sewing.


I like to focus on faith-oriented pieces, often finding ways to include support there for moms and wives.  However, I'm also in the process of writing a memoir about my own mom and me, and frequently I will post something about my childhood or excerpts from my draft.  Unfortunately, you might be exposed to some old black-and-white photos there, but I kind of think they're fun.

The best part of blogging for me is that it keeps me writing, something I have to do at some point in every day.  It is my passion, and I am so blessed that God has called me to use this gift to reach out to others.  I hope you'll find the time to visit occasionally.

I firmly believe that Jesus calls each of us by the name we are given, and we are uniquely His own.  Yet we are so much more than just a name -- Johnny's mom, Bill's wife, Mary's grandma, Sally.  We have dreams, hopes, desires, creative ideas, families, children -- all of which go into making us more than the names we are called.  Yes, there's something more inside each of us, each of you.

Enjoy the party!  And after you've finished partying, come on over to see me again.  I'd love to chat with you some more.

Never, Ever Be Afraid?

Growing up, I was always afraid of lots of things . . . thanks mostly to a mom who was afraid of lots of things.

Dogs, water, strangers, non-Christians, dentists, doctors, the chain gang, and many more, too many to name.

At the top of the list, after she conveyed these fears to me, was a fear of failure and the future.

What if I didn't make the honor roll?

What if I didn't get A's on my report cards?

What if I didn't get into the right college or receive a scholarship?

"What if" caused the fears about my future.

If I failed at all the "what if's," what did I have to hope for.  Bottom line, it was fear of the unknown.  I couldn't control the future or the unknown.

But someone else did, and still does!  Imagine my relief when I first read these words in Jeremiah:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
 plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you hope and a future.

As the quote from Corrie ten Boom above so aptly states, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."  

His faithfulness to us has been declared in Jeremiah, and it has been confirmed through the ages. 

There is nothing we need fear with His sheltering arms about us. 
Photo credit

Shared with Joan at Reflections of His Grace:

and with Stacey at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's A Mother To Do?

Ever feel like your days go straight downhill?  Ever wonder what made you think you could handle parenting more than one or two children?  Ever think, "Why did I give up my career for this?"

I invite you to pull up a chair, right here at my kitchen table.  I'll pour you a cup of your choice -- coffee or tea -- and offer you a scone.  We're going to have a little chat about a young woman who spoke to our Mothers of Preschoolers group last Friday.

Ready?  Take a deep breath and let's enjoy our time together.  Whatever you've had to drop to sit awhile will still be there when we're finished.

Our guest speaker, Kim, was an amazing young woman -- wife, mother of three small children, and the children's pastor at her church.  And here she was on time and ready to speak to us on a Friday morning.  Well, she did admit her mother had driven her so she would be on time.  And thank goodness her mother had done that, or she said she likely wouldn't have finished her notes for her talk.

The quality I loved about this young woman was her courage in sharing honestly and with such authenticity the low points in her days.  Not every day was a high.  Some were very low.  Kim stressed that even the mom who looks as if she has it all together probably has some high stress days too.  Like the day a week or so before when Kim had suffered a serious meltdown in front of her children.  Kim even shared with us she had yelled at them.

Obviously she was at the end of her rope that day.  The children wouldn't listen, she couldn't get things done, nothing was working.  She ran crying into her bedroom, locked the door and called her best friend.  Thank goodness for best friends!  This friend allowed her to cry and tell her story.  This friend just listened.  She was able to unload all her frustrations and angst to this dear friend.

When Kim hung up from that call, she called her mother.  (This is something I doubt that I'd have ever been able to do because my mother wouldn't have listened -- she would have criticized.)  This young woman was far more blessed than me with a mother who did just listen.

All the while her two older children were crying and banging on the door wanting to know if mommy was all right.  The youngest of her three, only six months old, was in her crib and likely oblivious to mommy's meltdown.

Kim waited until the next day to talk with her two oldest children about her actions.  She asked how her yelling at them had made them feel.  The older of the two said, "Afraid."  "And sad."  "Oh, and angry."  The younger of the two just looked at her as she talked.  Can you imagine how these words tugged at her mama heart strings?

Bless her heart, Kim held them close and told them that sometimes we all lose our cool, but the one thing mommy had forgotten was that she could lean on Jesus when things got tough.  (And it's true we mommies do forget!)

She then went on to tell them how when they have difficult times they too can lean on Jesus, by just calling his name.  What a blessing to their young hearts!

With her honesty and authenticity came more examples of the difficult days in her life.  I could see in the faces of the moms at my table the relief at knowing that someone else had these same kinds of troublesome days.  There were even moments of comic relief in her talk that gave great release to all the women in the room.

So, when you're having a tough day, call a best friend or if your mom is a good listener, call her.  But if it gets so tough and you have no one to call at that moment, don't forget that you have Jesus to lean on.  In Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth, he speaks of Jesus' words to him when he begged to have his burden removed:

"My grace is enough; it's all you need. 
 My strength comes into its own in your weakness."
 2 Cor. 12:9 (MES)

I pray that you will accept that you are not alone as you travel this journey as a mom.  Perhaps you can find community among other moms who are also struggling.  Maybe family is the source of your support.  And try to take the verse above to heart and know that He is with  you every step of the way.  God bless you as you love your children and your home.

Sharing with Darlene and her readers at Time-Warp Wife

Also linking up with KM Logan at Lessons from Ivy

Photo credits:
Bottom --  Shutterstock

Monday, April 9, 2012

Heart Full of Thanks -- Counting One Thousand Gifts (414-428)

The risen living Christ
Calls me by my name;
Comes to the loneliness within me;
Heals that which is wounded within me;
Comforts that which grieves within me;
Releases me from that which has dominion over me;
Cleanses me of that which does not belong to me;
Renews that which feels drained within me;
Awakens that which is asleep within me;
Names that which is formless within me;
Empowers that which is newborn within me;
Consecrates and guides that which is strong within me;
Restores me to this world which needs me;
Reaches out, in endless love to others, through me.
~~ Flora Wuellner

(Scripture reference on image:  Matthew 28:1-10)

Photo credit:  St. Mary's Parish East Islip

* * *

Following Holy Week and after a glorious Resurrection Sunday, who can help but continue to count to One Thousand Gifts:

414.  Life itself.
415.  My husband's commitment to the busy choir activities of Holy Week, practices included!
416.  Privilege of praying for sick friends and their families.
417.  Life of a dear friend who has left us for a better place in Heaven.  Such a Christian example!
418.  Preparations for Easter weekend.
419.  Passover meal on Maundy Thursday prior to moving service of music and Scripture.
420.  Good Friday meditations and another moving service at church.
421.  Easter dinner and egg hunt with our son's family.
423.  Watching great-granddaughter (3 yrs.) hunt for eggs and her excitement at finding them.
424.  Cuddling and talking with great-grandson (4 months), soaking up his gorgeous blue eyes and smiles.
425.  Easter Sunday and celebrating our Risen Lord.
426.  Honor of serving communion at services on Easter.
427.  Quiet Easter afternoon spent at home reflecting on the price paid for my sins.
428.  Matthew 28:1-10.

Linking up with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience for Monday Musings.  Have you ever stopped by to see what it's all about?  Maybe today's the day to visit.


And also visiting with Laura Boggess at The Wellspring


Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen!

If Not For Easter
If not for Easter,
the chaos of this world
would be all there is
and all there ever would be.
If not for Easter,
the unfairness of life
would drive us to despair.
But God sent His Son
to give eternal life
filled with peace, happiness
and unimaginable blessings
to those who choose Him.
 All we have to do is choose Him.
Happy, Happy Easter!
By  Joanna Fuchs
(Poem Source)
* * *
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you,
while he was still with you in Galilee:
 "The Son of Man must be delivered over to the
hands of sinners, be crucified and
on the third day be raised again.
Luke 24:6-7 (NIV)

Happy Resurrection Day!
Photo credit:  Themes for Windows

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Legend of the Dogwood Tree

About this time of year, our dogwood trees begin to start their annual show.  Our trees are not hybridized trees, but naturalized as you would find them in the forest.  And that's partly because these trees were part of the original farm grounds where our home is built, at the edge of some woods. 

Ours trees look more like the ones to the right, than the full ones you might find growing free without other trees encroaching.  I don't prefer one over the other -- both are beautiful as part of God's creation.

Perhaps you have hard of the legend of the dogwood tree.  And if you have, I apologize for repeating it here.  If you haven't, I hope you'll enjoy it. 

Long before the Native Americans determined that the American dogwood was hard and therefore useful for making skewers or daggers, or smaller utilitarian tools, a culture already knew of the dogwood.  That culture looked upon creation as the natural wonders offered at the hands of the Creator.  Here began the legend of the dogwood tree identifying it with the Crucifixion.

What could be more natural as the delicately brilliant white blossoms dazzle man's vision in spring?  In medieval times, man's passion at this time of year was focused entirely on the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, His suffering and the redeeming act of His love.

The blossoms are four-petaled, forming a cross with two short petals and two long ones.  At the edge of each petal, you will find small holes, brown on one side and rusty on the other, reminiscent of the nails that pierced our Lord.  The center of the blossom reflects the cross He was forced to wear.

I could attempt to rewrite for you here the words of the Legend handed down through the years, but I will choose to copy it in from Tradition in Action:

"At the time of Our Lord’s Crucifixion, the dogwood used to have the size of the oak and other forest trees. Because the wood was so firm and strong and there were few trees in the Middle East that were very large, it was chosen to be the wood for the crosses used in crucifixions of criminals.

Thus, the wood of the cross that would bear Our Lord and Savior was made from the dogwood tree. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose, however, greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Christ said to it:

'Because of your compassion and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth, you shall be slender and bent and twisted and your blossoms shall be in the form of a cross.

'On the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, and the center of the flower will resemble the cruel crown of thorns placed on My head, with bright red clusters once again recalling the blood I shed. Thus, all who see this will remember Me.'"

No one seems to know when the legend first appeared.  What can be gathered from this beautiful story is a reaction from people who were familiar with the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and who were deeply moved by the imprints of His love around them.  Inspiration for this legend must be a true and profound love for Christ.

 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your
flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood
against us and condemned us; he has taken it away,
nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities,
he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Moving ahead to a glorious Resurrection Sunday! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Cradle and A Cross

A cradle and a cross

And between these -- a life

Bethlehem and Jerusalem

A birth and a death

One "of sorrows"

Who often wept

One of joy who also kept

Sensitivity and compassion

Alive and real

This evening let us feel

The surge of that life

The beauty of that love

The power of that cross.

~~ Anonymous

(From the Good Friday Liturgy, Moreland Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR)

Photo credits:
Top:  Nancy Raabe 


What A Gift!

For God so loved the world

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* * *
God loved the world, not just you and me, the whole world,
and He still does and always will, no matter what.

* * *

that he gave his one and only Son,

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* * *
He gave us a gift, not just any gift --
He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, to
bleed and die on a cross.

* * *
  that whoever believes in him

* * *
"Whoever" is anyone -- you, me, the boy who bags your
groceries, the woman who styles your hair,
the homeless, the jobless -- who believes His promises
through faith and willingly accepts God's love.

* * *

 shall not perish but have eternal life.

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 * * * 
 And through the added gift of eternal life,
salvation is ours -- His promise to us
through His Son.
John 3:16 (NIV)

Let us give thanks again and again for this extraordinary gift of sacrifice and love.
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