Fourth Tuesday • Advent 2022

December 20th, 2022

THE STORY BLANKET

When I look at my life I can see God’s hand throughout it. I see life as a tapestry, the weaving of lives, experiences, hopes and dreams. When we live by faith, often we can’t see where our paths will take us in life. If we allow ourselves the opportunities to sit with our thoughts and memories, to gaze at the roads we have traveled, patterns can emerge. I see a vast array of colors, patterns and textures of my life so far. I see the sprouting of friendships as they grow and blossom, even through the changes of seasons. I have had times of drought, fatigue and restlessness. I have experienced joy beyond measure, the kind that cannot be contained only felt.

I recently read a story called, “the story blanket,” after I read it, embers within me began to spark and this post was created.

I thought of the Bible story of Joseph and the robe his father had made specifically for him. This was an ornate robe made of many colors. I just guessing here, but I believe that robe was made of cloth that had been part of the family, it had traveled with them and was part of the family. A tapestry of the family’s life and experiences. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.” —Genesis 37:3 (NKJV)

Click this link to view different bible translation of Genesis 37:3 https://biblehub.com/genesis/37-3.htm

Then, my thoughts took me to story of the birth of Jesus, in Luke 2:12 “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (NKJV)

Depending upon which translation you read, the word “swaddling” is also referred to as strips of cloth or bands of cloth. One thing I am certain of, the cloths were a tapestry all it’s own. And, now these simple strips of cloth…are the clothes of a King! Click this link to view different bible translation of Luke 2:12, https://biblehub.com/luke/2-12.htm

Lastly, I wanted to share my “blanket story” it is a blanket my aunt and cousin had made for me. It contains clothing my mom had worn to work and around the house. When I look at it I see more than a blanket, it’s a story of my mom. A tapestry of woven common cloths that I had previously seen my mom wearing. What a priceless gift given out of love. My mom passed away over ten years ago but she lives on in my memories and in every beat of my heart. She carried me, taught me, supported me, worried over me, and congratulated me on every success. She was my cheerleader in life and these memories as well as my blanket keep me warm and protected. My mom was a gift, God knew I needed her wisdom to prepare me for life.

Photo Credit: Me
Indianapolis International Airport
February 13, 2018
When I scan other skies 

for signs of hope,

and when I walk other paths

with a longing for home,

God of the exile,

lead me back

through my own door.


Tell me

my forgotten stories,

feed me

the words I have given away,

and draw my gaze

from the far horizon

that I may see the lights

in my own sky.

- Jan Richardson

Friends, thank you for visiting my blog today. Thank you for you patience as my posts are bit behind. I love sharing stories with you and I am so very thankful for you support and encouragement. May the PEACE of God surround you always~

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

Fourth Monday • Advent 2022

December 19, 2022

KNEADING HOPE • NEEDING HOPE

Have ever just needed a good massage? This past week I’ve suffered from headaches and a neck massage would have been so welcomed. My energy level has also been low so I didn’t even feel like treating myself to a relaxing bath of eucalyptus and lavender. I believe good self-care is very important, we should listen to our bodies because they do speak to us. The older I get, my body at times will even “yell” at me so I should pay more attention to what it is telling me. I guess in a way, I was needing hope for rest and recovery from my body aches. I indeed received hope, I had a friend praying for me and I made rest a priority for myself. No matter the calamities life throws at us, when we need hope, we find our HOPE is always in God!

“Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob,whose hope is in the Lord his God.”

—Psalm 146:5

Our bodies carry scars

not visible to the naked eye.

but they are there,

telling the stories

our lips hesitate to utter

of how we settled for less

than you longed for us

to know.


We hunger for the touch

that reminds us

we are in your image,

and we ache

for the tender knowing

that hallows flesh

and soul,

that honors the sacredness

of skin

and reminds us

we are whole.

- Jan Richardson

Romans 12:1-21

A Living Sacrifice

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 

so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 

if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 

if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. 

Love in Action

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 

20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

KNEADING HOPE

You contemplate the depths of your soul being kneaded by grace, like dough being kneaded into bread. Your soul is now a malleable lump kneaded by the hands of God. You see our soul being worked on, passing through His fingers…. All you see is His hand, as we see it in certain icons, emerging from a cloud in order to bless the saint standing below it. And now you are standing next to God, watching His hand as it kneads your soul.

— Archimandrite Aimilianos

To learn more about Archimandrite Aimilianos, click this link: https://orthodoxwiki.orgAimilianos_(Vafeidis)#:~:text=The%20Elder%20Archimandrite%20Aimilianos%20(Vafeidis,career%20as%20a%20foreign%20missionary.

Click here to read a blog I discovered called, “Needing God’s Kneading” https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/prayingintherain/2015/05/on-needing-gods-kneading/

Thanks for visiting, my heart is full 💟!

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ps.146.5&version=RSV

Ps.146 Verses 5 to 5

Fourth Sunday • Advent 2022

December 18th, 2022

Hello friends—

I am so sorry for the late posting. I was not feeling well last night and nearly overslept for work today. I hope you have had a beautiful Sunday, the fourth of Advent. Can you feel the excitement and anticipation of the coming week(?). As we progress through the week let us all be mindful of the precious gift God gave the world. I have provided some quotes about HOPE, LOVE, JOY and PEACE. May the peace of God fill you.

“Hope is like the sun.If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night.”

— Leia Organa, The Last Jedi
Heb.11 Verses 1 to 3
Photo Credit: Me—June 9th, 2022

“To love is to be vulnerable.”

— C. S. Lewis—
2Cor.12 Verses 9 to 10

Images of me and my mom

“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin—
Ps.16 Verses 11 to 11
This photo brings me JOY, it is in the chapel of my church.

“Peace begins with a smile…”

—Mother Teresa—
Prov.15 Verses 13 to 15
Me attending Christmas event with women from my church

Bible Passages

John.1 Verses 1 to 18

John.3 Verses 16 to 21

1John.4 Verses 7 to 21

Thank you for visiting my blog today. Blessing to you 💟

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Romans 15:13

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Lewis

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/r/rsv/citation.html

Third Saturday • Advent 2022

December 17th, 2022

Offerings — Ordinary Time

During the season of advent you are likely to hear words like “offerings” and/or “ordinary time” within the church and its services.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:7

Offerings are much more than money we place into envelopes and place into an offering plate at church services. In the season of anticipation; we look and experience hope, joy, peace and love. We can choose personal offerings such as giving, (de)cluttering, shedding unnecessary things, all to make room for the birth of Jesus in our lives. It can be so easy to become distracted by the commercialization of Christmas and the true meaning and reason for the season. As we celebrate this season remember JOY, the joy from hearing the Christmas story from the Bible in Luke.2 (1-20). I love reading and listening to this story, it evokes old memories of places and people I have shared this story with.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Hebrews 13:16

• What does Ordinary Time mean?

• Why is Ordinary time called “ordinary”?

•When is Ordinary Time in the liturgical year?

This might come as a surprise, Ordinary Time is not called “ordinary” based on its level of importance. The origin of the name Ordinary Time comes from the Latin word ordinalis, which means “numbered.” Ordinary Time, which occurs between Christmas and Lent then again between Easter and Advent, signifies a numbered (or ordered) list of Sundays that anchor our daily lives in the Church.

Liturgical Seasons and Colors

The colors of the lectionary are representative of the Liturgical seasons of western Christianity. These seasons are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (Time After Epiphany), Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time (Time After Pentecost). The liturgical year begins with Advent.

https://disciples.org/
  • Advent – Violet (purple) or Blue
  • Christmas – White (through Epiphany, Jan.6)
  • Ordinary Time – Green (until Lent)
  • Lent – Violet (purple) or Blue (six weeks prior to Easter)
  • Easter – White (Easter through six weeks to Pentecost)
  • Pentecost – Red (one Sunday only)
  • Ordinary Time – Green (after Pentecost until Advent)

“There is ordinary time in this season too. There is waking, working, talking, eating. There is sweeping, shopping, washing dishes, laundry. There is checking doors and windows before bed. There is turning down the covers. There is sleeping. There is rest.”

– Jan Richardson
These days bathe us in images

of abundance and happiness,

but we pray for those

who do not find in this time

a season of goodness

and light.


Give us eyes to see

into the shadows

cast by the millions of

blinking lights;

ears to listen

beyond the carols

to hear

the anguished weeping;

and hearts that long

for the liberation

your advent truly brings.

- Jan Richardson

May you be filled with JOY today in all that you do. It is my joy to share this advent season with you. I am truly blessed for your support and encouragement. ~

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.usccb.org/

https://www.thereligionteacher.com/videos/liturgicalyear/ordinary-time/

https://www.thirdrva.org/blog/telling-time-differently-as-christ-followers

Third Friday • Advent 2022

December 16th, 2022

Many of us can probably relate to answering questions with the response, “I’m working on it!” People from all ages have most likely used the phrase; parents asking if homework is finished; teachers/professors asking if papers are finished; supervisors asking if projects are finished…the list could go on and on. Try to remember the last time you were ask a question and responded with “I’m working on it,” how did it make you feel? Did you feel pressure to complete the “work” quicker? Did it just seem like a polite question or an accusing question? Something questions are just that, an inquiry; no drama involved. My personal experiences have given insights to my own self-consciousness, I feel guilty at the question if I haven’t been working as diligently as I could. For the longest time, and sometimes still my thoughts deceive me and fill me with negativity, I am learning that this is a learned behavior. I am slowly recognizing that learned behaviors can be unlearned and replaced with more realistic thought patterns.

How might “I’m working on it” be answered in our spiritual life? Has the Holy Spirit caused you to pause or questions things in your life that you are working on? Life is being alive! I believe that we all have things in our lives that we should or could be “working on,” and I want to share one of mine with you. I share because I want to be honest and authentic.

My “I’m working on it,” is attending Sunday morning worship services at the church at which I am a member of. I have very dear friends who pray for me and an Elder who checks in on me as well. My main reason for not attending has to do with my work schedule and sleep schedule. I work 2nd shift and often do not get home from work until 11 pm and I generally try to get 9 hours of sleep at night. I can certainly get by on less at times. This is a reasonable explanation for missing services. But, I do often feel guilty about not attending, I think figuring out where the guilt comes from is an important piece to figure out. Truly, there’s more reasons and they are difficult to articulate and I haven’t sorted it all out, yep, “I’m working on it.” I try to stay connected through two separate women’s groups that meet once a month. One group is called the JULIETS (Jolly Unique Ladies Informally Eating Together Somewhere) and a Bible study group called “Esther’s Circle.” I love all the women in these groups and they love with their whole hearts. I am thankful to them for their love and support.

The Joy of Forgiveness – Psalm 32

A Psalm of David
A Maskil (a person versed in Hebrew or Yiddish literature)


1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against
them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Below are some Bible verses that have been helpful to me and I hope they are to you as well.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

~Psalm 9:9-10~

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

~Philippians 4:19~

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

~Psalm 32:7-8~

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

~1 Peter 5:7~

And so let me 

let you hold me

when I have come

to the place beyond

the willingness to labor

beyond anything but

the longing for rest.


Let my emptiness

be emptiness

till it reveals to me

your face,

and let my weariness

be weariness

till it prompts me to your rest.


Then may I know

the healing of slumber,

and the possibility of dreams;

then, may I greet the dawn

and take up my work again.

— Jan Richardson

To read more about JULIETS click this link. JULIETS (Jolly Unique Ladies Informally Eating Together Somewhere)

Friends— Remember the JOY of this season of Advent as we wait in anticipation for the birth of Jesus. Jesus brings JOY to a hurting world, He care for you and me, the whole wide world! Choose JOY today. I am so grateful for your visit today, thank you💟

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/