Isaiah’s Words – Relative for Today

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

—Isaiah 1:16-17—

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

Dear friends near and far—

When will we ever learn the lessons from history?

My devotional verse(s) for today comes from the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. Isaiah, was a prophet and his prophecies were recorded between the 8th century and the 6th century BCE, (from c. 740 to 700 BCE). *Additional information can be found below under references.

Isaiah was a contemporary of the prophets of social justice: Amos, Hosea, and Micah. Influenced by their prophetic outcries against social injustice, Isaiah added themes peculiar to his prophetic mission. To kings, political and economic leaders, and to the people of the land, he issued a message that harked back nearly five centuries to the period of the judges: the holiness of Yahweh, the coming Messiah of Yahweh, the judgment of Yahweh, and the necessity of placing one’s own and the nation’s trust in Yahweh rather than in the might of ephemeral movements and nations. From about 742 BCE, when he first experienced his call to become a prophet, to about 687, Isaiah influenced the course of Judah’s history by his oracles of destruction, judgment, and hope as well as his messages containing both threats and promises.

I believe the words from Isaiah could have been written for today’s climate culture for the injustices and atrocities occurring around the globe. I believe there’s enough blame for everyone. After all, we are all sinners, no one can escape that fact. When is enough going to be just that…ENOUGH! When will the violence, corruption and all things evil and greedy going to lessen, let alone stop. I don’t have the answers but I know the One who does, God the Father; He know us and knows what’s best for us. He created us. He loves us, every single one of us.

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

References:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/biblical-literature/Isaiah

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Dreaming of Stones: Poems by Christine Valters Paintner, PhD

Monday, January 4th, 2021

Hello friends—

Dreaming of Stones: Poems

I wanted to share with you something I read today that caused me to pause and give thought. “Abbey of the Arts” is an email subscription I signed up for at the recommendation from a dear friend. It has brought much joy to me as well as opening up topics for theological discussions. In keeping with my theme of being a “Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience and having tried my hand at writing some poetry myself, I was quite taken by this particular entry and poem. May it bless you as it has me.

The author posed two questions and after I mulled over my day, I have shared my answers below.

• What have you “endured, treasured and sparked”?

— I am not sure I would categorize anything I did today as “endured” other than my usual routine. *See “Sparked” below for more.

— I indeed “treasured” something today. No matter how routine I treasure the individuals I have the pleasure of working with day after day. The exception being my favorite co-worker who just happens to be on vacation. I miss him but we all need rest and relaxation from time to time. If fact, I just took a vacation a few weeks ago!

“Sparked.” Well to be honest, I did endure some sparks today, some positive and some negative. I had a few moments of negative energy that sparked in my day, multiple phone lines ringing with only me to answer. I also had moments of positive sparks, finding items that had been reporting missing, completing tasks on my “To Do” list. Sweet sensation of accomplishments. All in all, it was a well balanced day and I am thankful for each precious minute I was blessed to be a part of.

• What does your life hide and make visible?

— As hard as I think I try at hiding, I’m really quite bad at it. I like to think I hide my temper but at times it is not very well hid. Emotions whether verbal or nonverbal, have a way of expressing themselves. I try to make visible the things I do well, but not in a overly prideful manner. Again, balance. I believe in transparency but even it needs healthy boundaries. I think it’s always good to ask yourself questions… “why should I hide this?” or “why should I make this visible?” Another good questions is, “what is motivating me to do something or not?”

—Proverbs 27:5—

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”

—Luke 8:17—

“For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.”

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

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

https://abbeyofthearts.com/


—Proverbs 27—

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth— a stranger, and not your own lips. A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who is able to stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy. The sated appetite spurns honey, but to a ravenous appetite even the bitter is sweet. Like a bird that strays from its nest is one who strays from home. Perfume and incense make the heart glad, but the soul is torn by trouble. Do not forsake your friend or the friend of your parent; do not go to the house of your kindred in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is nearby than kindred who are far away. Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad, so that I may answer whoever reproaches me. The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it. Take the garment of one who has given surety for a stranger; seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners. Whoever blesses a neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing. A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in the right hand. Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another. Anyone who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and anyone who takes care of a master will be honored. Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another. Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and human eyes are never satisfied. The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, so a person is tested by being praised. Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, but the folly will not be driven out. Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds; for riches do not last forever, nor a crown for all generations. When the grass is gone, and new growth appears, and the herbage of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; there will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and nourishment for your servant-girls.”

Mistakes: Lessons Learned

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

Photo: Gatlinburg, TN at Anakeesta.

So, here it is only 3 days into the new year and I only made it to January 2nd, before making not one but two mistakes at work. And in keeping with my 2021 One Word: Exasperation, I have decided to take a different approach in addressing this issue. Yep, I exasperated myself!! I am very passionate about my job and try very hard at being thorough and correct. In the midst of doing these things, I prepared an email and sent it to several individuals needing to know it’s contents. It was probably less than 10 minutes after sending said email, I spoke with someone who had vital information that I was completely unaware of and would have been extremely beneficial prior to sending my email. In what I thought made me sound knowledgeable in the email, now made me seem foolish. I knew in my heart the only thing I could do in good conscience was to try and recall the email and send a follow up email if necessary apologizing, which I did. I am mentally prepared to deal with any consequences, deep down I know I’ve made this out to be much bigger than it really is. I know this because I’ve started to really listen to myself and reflect on my actions as they affect me and those around me. I was proud of myself for not getting overly upset and verbally angry.

Lesson Learned:

— Continue to be thorough and passionate

— Review work and collect as much data as possible before a formal response.

— Slow and methodical work is superior to fast and rushed work.

— Ask for help, ask for assistance, ask for input and proofing of data.

— Keep the lines of communication open with God and others, ask for patience, take comfort in doing my best, feel joy in doing the job I love to do, and in all things find happiness.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and continuing this journey with me.

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

My Christmas Gift 2020

Dear friends—

Entrance to Gatlinburg, TN

I’m writing this on a warm evening in Gatlinburg, TN in December 15th, 2020. A gift I gave to myself after many weeks of contemplation. I am very generous with my time and talents when it comes to others; however, I am much more frugal with myself. I have many reasons why I picked Gatlinburg, TN. As a kid, my parents always planned a summer trip for our family and we would without fail stay at the Howard Johnson Inn right in the middle of the city; the Howard Johnson is gone and now the Greystone at the Aquarium.

HoJo: Howard Johnson in 1960-1970 Gatlinburg, TN

The Greystone at the Aquarium: Gatlinburg, TN 2020

I fondly remember the Smoky Mountains and how picturesque it was and remains today, in-spite of the horrible fire of 2016. Even, today four years later you can still see charred remains on the trees. As a kid, I remember visiting Cherokee Village and getting my picture taken with a real Indian. One of last times I visited the Great Smoky mountains as in the early 2000’s, it was a fun and eventful trip. A friend and I drove there on a spur-of-the-moment trip, I used to like adventures like that, we had a tent and found a place to stay in the middle of the night, have you ever pitched a tent in total darkness (?). It was interesting for sure! I loved driving through the mountains, there was just one small detail I was in total denial of, the car we drove had really bad brakes…we can laugh now but I can tell you I prayed a lot on our drive home with little to no brakes. I was young and foolish, thank God for protecting us. Another trip, me and a friend again made no plans and we ended up in a hotel that had seen brighter days, I was so scared at the first room they gave us, I begged for a different room. Again, young and foolish, having a palette that did not measure up to my wallet. That was a lesson I had to learn over and over again. God is patient and kind, can I get an AMEN! So, my parents were going to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 2013, I wanted to do something extra special for them because, they too were extremely frugal with themselves. So, in 2012, I planned and paid for a getaway in Gatlinburg, TN to celebrate a year early. I was so excited I could hardly wait to give them the gift.

Mr. & Mrs. Robinson

My parents were married July 25th, 1963, the trip would actually be their 49th anniversary; unfortunately would not be, my mom died unexpectedly in June 22, 2012. A day I will never forget as long as I live. I had just spent the day with her and my dad, two days earlier. I recall getting the call at 3:22am, to this day I cannot recall the drive to my parents home that was over an hour away. I do remember arriving to find many family members assembled at the house but she was gone already, the funeral home or ambulance I’m not sure which one, had already taken her. It was a Friday morning and it would be 3 days before I would be able to see her. I remember touching her face, kissing her cheek…they were cold and stiff, not like my mom at all. I picked out her clothing and a family friend gave the eulogy, it was beautiful and hundreds of people came to express their love for her and the life she had lived. I stepped into moms shoes, I became the rock that my dad and brother needed during this time. My friends and family supported me to the extent that I allowed. Grief is a strange and wonderful thing all mixed up together.

I wanted to share my vacation experience with you but I guess I accomplished much more, my love of family and friends. I hope that 2021 has more opportunities for travel and sharing love.

Video of pictures from my trip

Thanks for stopping by my site and sharing my journey. Wishing you the best in 2021.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

An old blurry mirror…

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

My One Word 2012: Exasperation

Friday, January 1st, 2021

Welcome to 2021!

Friends— After much thought and prayerful consideration my One Word for 2021 is Exasperation. I could have used words like [Comfort, Happiness, Joy or Patience]; these are the “antonyms” for exasperation and the benefits of little or no exasperations. I chose exasperation because it is debilitating to me and my health. I could blame 2020 for my feelings that is not my truth, although 2020 is fully deserving of many faults. I want to be cautious and not cause alarms for my family and friends regarding my feelings of exasperation. I try not to exhibit my displeasure of people and things except for those I trust and unfortunately that is so unfair to them. Sure, we all are accepting of those close to us and we all need to vent from time to time but if my behavior is effecting me, I can only imagine how awful it is to be among my most trusted. So, I am sorry.

It is all the little things that pile up day after day with no true resolve.

Things that irritate me:

— People parking in spots that are illegal

— People throwing trash out wherever they are

— Reporting wrong doings with no resolve

— Don’t get me started on local or national government

— Lazy people

— Failing to take responsibility

Exasperation captures the sense of feeling frustrated at the unexpected ineptness of others, especially when one fails repeatedly to get a purportedly obvious or simple point across.

I have also chosen an anchor verse to help me navigate 2021 as I know there is no cure for the exasperation I feel based upon how others act. I can only change how I react to those actions. My happiness is just as important as everyone else, not more and not less. I wish to pursue things that bring me Comfort, Happiness, Joy or Patience in 2021. I hope you will continue to travel along side me and my prayer is that you will be blessed along the way.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Wishing you all the very best in 2021!

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

References:

https://www.google.com/search?q=a+word+that+describes+frustration+for+others+actions&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

Advent in Narnia: The Winter Is Past

Friday, December 25th, 2020

— Song of Solomon 2:1-12

Father Christmas has come, Aslan is coming near and winter is thawing. The long terrible winter in Narnia is over and the White Witch is on the run. Her dwarf declared, “This is no thaw. This is spring!”The White Witch’s winter has been destroyed and spring has sprung for all of Narnia. Everything is coming to life, the birds are singing, the trees and flowers are budding.

Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus! We welcome the baby Jesus, born long ago in Bethlehem to Mary, a virgin. Joseph, an obedient servant of God, accepted Mary as his wife and father to the new born King.

With Aslan’s coming, winter’s grip has been destroyed.

With Jesus’ birth, sin’s power is on the run.

~Isaiah 9:6~

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

This is no thaw. This is spring!

Merry Christmas! ✝️🤍🌟🎄🎁❄️🎅🏻🙏🏻

Friends—

Thank you for joining me on this journey of Advent in Narnia, it has been an adventure for me and provided new memories and perspectives. ~Peace~

Questions for Reflection:

• Are there other ways that Christmas could be like the coming of spring?

— Starting something new: new traditions, renewing a friendship, reconciling a relationship with Jesus, love more, being Jesus to anyone who needs to know him.

• What new things, in particular, may Christmas be bringing into your life this year?

— New self-realization; recognizing my worthiness because I am a child of God. Trusting myself. Step forward in faith.

~Merry Christmas~Jesus is the Reason for the Season~

Charlotte 🎄🎁❄️🎅🏻🌟✝️

https://www.biblegateway.com/

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent in Narnia: Aslan is Near

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Follow along in chapter 11 of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Advent is a season of watching, waiting, and finding ways to enter into God’s plan. The Pevensie children; Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy having entered into Narnia filled the Narnian’s with hope and expectation. They heard the prophecy of four humans, two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve would bring about the return of Aslan! The children were not sure of all they heard but they chose to be part of the community they found. Christmas came to Narnia because of the faith and willingness to see change, repentance, love for one another and to care for one another by the creatures in Narnia and the four children.

Likewise, the first Christmas came because of the power of God and the willingness of ordinary people preparing the way for Jesus’ birth. Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, some shepherds, wise men, and an inn keeper were watching, waiting and willing to be part of God’s plan.

Jesus is coming! Are you ready? Jesus will melt the power of sin, evil and death. Aslan’s return will melt away all the ice and winter is disappointments. The stronghold of the White Witch is slowly coming undone; Narnia is returning to the land that Aslan had created.

On this Christmas Eve, let us be mindful of the power of God’s love and of it being vulnerable; this love is also in our hands now and until the day that Jesus will return. Jesus is Coming! Hallelujah ~Amen!

Questions for Reflection:

• In what ways might your congregation be similar to a small band of forest animals and children? How could this be a strength? How could this be a weakness?

— I feel extremely blessed to be part of a small congregation that loves deeply, loudly and aggressively! Our small church helps the homeless, promotes community involvement and feeds the hungry, physically and spiritually.

• What small role might you be playing to help Christ come into the world?

— I try to be available to people, a shoulder to lean on or a sounding board. I believe in being the literal hands and feet of Jesus, I fail a lot but it doesn’t discourage me from trying.

• In scripture, God often chooses the small, the under-dog, or the younger brother as a leader or change agent. Why do you think that could be?

— God uses the ordinary people for extraordinary things.

~Hope~Love~Joy~Peace~Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%201:5-56&version=NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%202:1-20&version=NRSV

Priceless Christmas Gift 2020

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

This was a favorite shirt of my moms: “Of course I don’t look busy I did it right the first time!”
Thank you Aunt Helen and Cousin Teresa💞

Proverbs 31:25-31

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her:

Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

Who…

  gives me blue skies,

  and tells me no lies.

  gives me strength when I am weak,

  and wisdom to be meek.

  fills my darkness with light,

  on a cold winters’ night.

  makes me laugh,

  and leads me on my path.

Who…

  is this so true,

  it is you, Mother, YOU!

~Charlotte A. Robinson

Christmas 1985©️

In This Very Place

Your spirit is woven into the fabric of this very place

Every corner, every shelf reveals remnants of your special touch

Christmas gifts of long ago still adorn the walls of this sacred place

Family photos of yesteryears all with a story to tell

If only this were but a childish game running and laughing, all covered with love

I hear you in the chimes letting me know you’re near

Hummingbirds with their ease of flight…shows me the beauty and complexity of this life

As I hear the tick tock of the clocks, I can hear your laughter in the distance

Remembering the comfort and strength in your warm embrace,

Remembering your sacrifices in all you did, making life sweeter

Everything has changed, nothing feels the same, hard as I try reality continues knocking at my door

Go away, go away…Can’t you see you’re not welcome in this place.

This was hers, this was ours…wishes and dreams unfulfilled, it’s all left undone

Questions linger, the obvious one of why…it’s beyond our understanding.

Has she traveled to all the places she once dreamed of, was there a welcoming of those who had gone before?

No pain…walking and running freely, perhaps even flying or floating about.

Today as I looked in the sky, filled with billowing white clouds I paused to wonder…

Thinking to my self, and saying…can she see me, is she proud of me,

Am I doing and being the best person I can be? When will I see her again?

Mom, I miss you so very much and I love you more than I was ever able to show.

Until we meet again, you will always be in my heart, my soul…the very existence of who I am, always and forever…your daughter.

~C.A.Robinson

September 19, 2012 at 1:23am ©️

Shirley Lee Robinson

September 23, 1946 — June 22, 2012

Thank you mom for all the LOVE💕

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent in Narnia: God Will Prepare A Feast

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

Welcome friends and family—

Isaiah 25:6,9

“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

All are welcomed at the Feast of God! Isaiah writes of a great feast for His people who have suffered terrible violence and deprivation. God will have the finest table ever imagined, God can indeed spread a table in the wilderness.

Psalm 78:19

“They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness.”

Father Christmas provided a feast in Narnia, it too had the finest of things. Father Christmas wanted the Narnian’s to remember life before the White Witch and to celebrate the new things that were coming. The White Witch was so cold and cruel, nothing to her deemed a celebration. In fact, celebrating to her was a “WASTE!” The White Witch, though she did not want to admit it, knew that Aslan was on the move and her power was lessening, day by day in Narnia, as it was thawing.

Holidays and Feasting! Family Gatherings and Reunions, and Feasting! Advent and Christmas, they typically include special meals and gatherings with friends and family. Many are choosing to not have gatherings this season due to COVID-19, while others choose to gather but only with immediate family. My experience has been that no matter what kind of relationships people have when gathering, they tend to push them aside for the sake of being with those they care about. Of course, these events do not cancel or erase quarrels, mistakes or betrayals but they do help to remind us that people matter, even if they have hurt us in the past. There’s also no guarantee that a gathering will go smoothly but often the risk is worth the healing that can take place. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with most of my relatives on my mom’s side of the family. My mom had 8 siblings and that meant I had lots of cousins. It was always a pitch-in and to call it a feast was an understatement. Beautiful memories! We celebrate with family and loved ones now, knowing they are a foretaste of God’s redemption still to come.

As believers, we look forward to a heavenly feast hosted by God! And, in Narnia, all creatures look forward to a feast hosted by Aslan!

Questions for Reflection:

• What would be set on the table if God were to “spread a table in the wilderness” for you? Make a list of foods, beverages, and decorations.

— Steak; prime rib, sweet red wine; sweet flaky crescent rolls, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, cheesecake; german-chocolate cake…fine white china, fine silverware, crystal goblets, fine linens. Of course, none of this will matter compared to being with God!

• What are holiday family meals like for you? Do tension, celebration, creation and grace play equal roles? Are there ways you could bring more grace to meals in your family?

— In the past, filled with family. Balance is good for the soul. Don’t wait for special occasions to share a meal with friends and family; make time for friends and family, make them feel special by sharing a meal or conversation with them, now that’s something special.

~Hope~Love~Joy~Peace~Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Just for Fun: Christmas Adam

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

The day before Christmas Eve (since Adam came before Eve)

Christmas Adam is a colloquialism for the day before Christmas Eve or December 23rd. It is a rather new term. An online slang dictionary created a listing for it only nine years ago. Christmas Adam is not listed in any formal dictionaries and we had a hard time finding formal writing examples of its use.

The general consensus of the origin of the name is that in anticipation for Christmas to come, people were looking for a name for the day before Christmas Eve. Some were calling the 23rd Christmas Eve Eve. Then someone (or more likely several someones) realized that in Christian mythology God created Adam before he created Eve, so the day before Christmas Eve would be Christmas Adam.

~Merry Christmas~Charlotte 🎄🎁

References:

https://www.urbandictionary.com/

Christmas Adam

https://grammarist.com/words/christmas-adam/