We Can Bloom, Even Between a Rock and a Hard Place

 

Bloom through the Driveway

Many people have witnessed a plant growing in the middle of a cement sidewalk or noted a flower springing forth from the middle of a concrete wall.  At the side of my driveway and up against the cement wall of my neighbor’s foundation, a small purple little flower demonstrates the possibility of growth under the most difficult of circumstances.  The picture above is of that pretty flower that blooms.

God expects his people to bloom wherever they are planted.  

In Philippians 1:12-14, the Bible tells the story of how Paul bloomed while he was in prison.  He realized that his current situation was not as important as what he did with the time he had.  Paul was facing release or execution.  He befriended the Roman soldiers and wrote letters encouraging Christians who were afraid.  Like Paul, we all must look for ways to bloom even when our movement is limited by law and could be dangerous to ourselves and others.

Here is the scripture:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

The Bible is filled with stories of hope.  Hannah. Mary. Ruth. Esther. Elizabeth. Rachel. Hagar. Martha. Rebekah. And many other stories of hope…

These women bloomed.

Once a plant blooms, it is thriving and flourishing and produces fruit; and once the fruit is produced, a seed develops, which ultimately produces a harvest.  We are witness to the countless people producing, like those who are sewing masks.  And everyday people who serve as essential workers in healthcare, grocery stores, delivery, truckers, public transportation, assisted living and nursing homes, EMTs, our National Guard and law enforcement, and all of the people cleaning in stores and healthcare facilities.  And parents.  And teachers.

A person can bloom wherever they have been planted just by helping others, which shows the love of God, and also when using one’s gifts and talents that God has given them.  People of faith must bloom wherever they are planted.  

Thank you for joining us for the Marble Women’s Ministry Lenten Blog this year.  We hope the blog inspired you and gave you some hope in this truly difficult season.  Please let us know what you thought of our blog.  And we hope you continue to pray for all who need our prayers right now.

Marcie Doll

Ode to Joy this Easter…

Sunrise

It was into a world like ours that Jesus was born.”  Sarah Christmeyer

And today we celebrate his resurrection!

Happy Easter!

“Christ the Lord is risen today, sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; sing, ye heavens and Earth reply.” Charles Wesley

“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this.”  Queen Elizabeth II

“May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.” Pope Francis

“Easter was about a tragedy that was turned into a triumph; about God working behind the scenes, invisibly, in ways that people didn’t know.  And if we work together with our God and together with each other we will find our way forward.”  Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry

“The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise.”  Carl Knudson

“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.” Janine di Giovanni

“I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and true love. Don’t even try to tell me different.” Dolly Parton

While not a traditional Easter Hymn, I find great solace in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ode to Joy!  Here are two versions and another song you might find helpful this Easter.

A street orchestra Flash Mob of Ode to Joy in Sabadell

A Socially Distant Ode to Joy

What the World Needs Now…

Happy Easter my friends,

Marcie Doll

The picture above was taken at dawn from close to the most eastern point in the United States, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine in 2017.

 

Just for Today

Just for today, I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do –just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.

Just for today, I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

There is a great deal of question around who wrote this and it seems the earliest attribution is to Frank Crane in 1921, although Dale Carnegie and Kenneth Holmes show up as the authors on occasion.  George Harrison wrote a song based on this text called “Just for Today.”  

Make a Space for Prayer

Today is the Monday of Holy Week, the week where we journey with Jesus to the cross. It is time to pray without ceasing for this world.   But where do you pray in your home?

Designate a special place to pray in your home, apartment or wherever you may live.  And what should you pray at this difficult time?

Here are some ideas…

  1. A candle or lamp to light your space.
  2. Your Bible.
  3. Family Pictures.
  4. A Cross.
  5. Angels.
  6. Piece of Cloth.
  7. Natural elements like leaves or flowers.
  8. Seasonal Elements.  (see my pictures below).
  9. Anything from your collection that is special to you.
  10. Click here for some healing prayers from Women’s Day…

 

 

Shared by Marcie Doll

 

 

We’re All in this Together with Virtual Choirs

One of the discoveries I have made whilst in isolation is the virtual choir phenomenon.  The first one that came out during this homebound time was the Chino Valley High School Choir’s “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.”  And then Berklee College shared one and then…

Here are a few to enjoy this Saturday…

Chino Valley HS’s Virtual Choir

Camden Voice’s True Colors

Boston Children’s Chorus, in collaboration with Denver Children’s Choir, Children’s Chorus of Washington DC, Gondwana Choirs, Sydney, and Cincinnati Boychoir sing        Rise Up

The Pittsburgh Youth Choir’s Homeward Bound

A 31-Country Virtual Choir singing You Will be Found from “Dear Evan Hansen”

And one last song, while not a virtual choir like the others is a rendition of the Ben Lee song from different pubs in Australia….

The Pub Choir from all over Australia, “We’re All in this Together”

A Garden Tour or a few…

As many of our favorite gardens are closed to visitors this year, I thought it would be nice on this day of Spring to visit some of the world’s best gardens.  I guess these gardens are our secret…

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”  Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 

A tour of Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France

A tour of the Tulips in Keukenhof Gardens

A visit to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

A tour of the gardens at the Biltmore Estate

A tour of Kew Gardens in London

A walk to see the Magnolia Trees in the New York Botanical Gardens

A Summer tour of The Botanical Gardens of Chicago

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”  Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Shared by Marcie Doll

 

 

Lord, Make us Instruments of Your Peace

For our Sunday musical reflection this week, I am sharing “Lord, Make us Instruments of Your Peace.”  This is based on the Prayer of Saint Francis (1181-1226).  As many of us in the world today are sheltering in place, our staying home is an Act of Peace.  We are saving lives by staying home.   You may not know this hymn by heart, but it is a song that can bring hope to all this Sunday.

Drakensberg Boys Choir singing Lord, Make us Instruments of Peace

Instruments of Peace by A capella Choir

The Sarah McLachlan School of Music singing the Prayer of St. Francis

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

Under God’s Umbrella

Years ago, my Mom gave me a copy of Holly Gerth’s book, Under God’s Umbrella:  Gifts of Hope & Encouragement to Shelter Your Heart in Life’s Storms.  The book is available from Dayspring and other religious book stores.

Holly shared this prayer:

“Lord, my heart is in the midst of a storm right now.  Please help me to be honest with myself and with You about all that I am feeling.  Amen.”

I have a great number of feelings right now from fear to anger, despair, hope, uncertainty, overwhelming sorrow, alone, resilient, mad and even strangely connected through technology.

This quote from Annie Johnson Flint was found on the opposite page of the prayer:

“God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.  But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.

All of this was found in the chapter, “It’s OK Not to be OK.”  Recognize and call out the emotions that you are feeling and remember that we are all Under God’s Umbrella.

Shared by Marcie Doll

Umbrellas

 

 

 

 

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

–Naomi Shihab Nye, from The Words Under the Words

And you may want to listen to the author read her own poem and you can click below.

Naomi Shihab Nye reading her poem “Kindness”

Heal the World

At times when the world is dark, I just need to hear this song.

Heal the World by a German School

Heal the World by Kids Artists

Heal the World by Connie Talbot

There's a place in your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place could be much
Brighter than tomorrow
And if you really try
You'll find there's no need to cry
In this place you'll feel
There's no hurt or sorrow

There are ways to get there
If you care enough for the living
Make a little space
Make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make it a better place
For you and for me

If you want to know why
There's love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares of joyful giving
If we try we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel
Fear of dread
We stop existing and start living

The it feels that always
Love's enough for us growing
So make a better world
Make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

And the dream we were conceived in
Will reveal a joyful face
And the world we once believed in
Will shine again in grace
Then why do we keep strangling life
Wound this earth, crucify its soul
Though it's plain to see
This world is heavenly
Be god's glow

We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we cry happy tears
See the nations turn their swords into plowshares

We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space
To make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

You and for me


Words and Music by M. Jackson