Friday, September 1, 2017

A VOW OF SILENCE....finding stillness


And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them…”  (D&C 45:26-27)
In your prayers, you might ask the Father; “Lord what is the process?”What shall we be doing? Shall we run to and fro or should we be still?

Silence is an endangered species, says Gordon Hempton. He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a "solar-powered jukebox." Quiet is a "think tank of the soul."
  Psalm 62:5-8
 5For God alone, O my soul, waits in silence,    for my hope is from him.He only is my rock and my salvation,    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.On God rests my salvation and my glory;    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.Trust in him at all times, O people;    pour out your heart before him;    God is a refuge for us. 


What does it mean to be "quiet"? Is the state of being "quiet", the same as being "at peace". Is peace and quiet synonymous? What makes "quiet" quiet?

It has been a very "noisy" week, even a month of days. What's going on, violence, rioting, brother against brother, rhetoric, words, guns, rains, floods, accusations, all of that. I think that the collective we, need a moment. Some quiet, some stillness to just get our heads together. 

This is what the Lord said to his disciples, at that Passover meal, he said " Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." 

These are courageous words coming from a man who was about to die at the hands of his enemies, Right? 


Bethel "It Is Well" LIVE at Air1


Monday, August 28, 2017

"Monday Moment



So a few weeks ago, there was violence literally in my backyard, of Maryland, in Charlottesville,Va. which translates into about a 2-3 hour drive depending on traffic. It was a Sat, and busy for me, but I remember turning on my computer and the first thing I saw was crowds of people with what looked like flags, or sheets. A car had just drove into a crowd, and later we all found out that a woman had been killed. I thought , wow this is just too close to home.. But I remembered a larger riot that happened in Baltimore in 2015. Now that was close, and the distance from there to where I lived amounted to another 1-2 hr drive depending on the traffic. These were just two "events" as the media likes to call them, that happened in "my backyard". What to do , what to do?
Both of these were motivated by hate, fear and frustration and literally helplessness. One of my greatest concern is that someone would attack in my workspace, in my church, in my very own neighborhood. A lot of people were shocked and horrified by this and there was buzz for about a week and then the next week was the Eclipse and the totality thingy and it was pushed to page 2. I heard someone ask to no one in particular,"Where are the peacemakers", where is a "Martian Luther King" when you need Him. Remember, they killed all of the prophets. Some jokingly said, "Where is Underdog when you need him?" Gallows humor. A Mormon prophet said these words:
"Our message is so imperative, when you stop to think that the salvation, the eternal salvation of the world, rests upon the shoulders of this Church.(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) When all is said and done, if the world is going to be saved, we have to do it. There is no escaping from that. No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received. We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth. That involves our family history and temple work. We are responsible for all who now live upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work. And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth” (Church News, 3 July 1999, 3)". President Gordon Hinckley
Can a church save the world? How does that work? The Bible says that if we "stand against or resist our Adversary, he will flee". A friend and I were talking about the state of things and she said this verse: "Your adversary, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour". We don't want to be food for evil do we? Contrary to what most people think, Satan is not the boogey man, we have met the enemy and he is us. There was a war in heaven and Satan managed to convince a third of the heavenly host to defect. Now the scriptures will sometimes describe the host of Heaven as "numberless concourses of beings", what is one third of a numberless entity? I feel that this representation is God's way of bringing our attention to the fact that evil is incarnate, and no one is immune in certain circumstances.
So my Monday moment is this, don't stand by when you see a wrong. Say something, call 911 because it could be you. Find a way to fight against evil by doing all the good you can, in whatever manner that you can. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone, say hello, even smile. Start a conversation and don't be upset if maybe they don't want to talk, its okay, Someone else wants to talk. It is about all of us.
Doctrine & Covenants 38:30: I tell you these things because of your prayers: wherefore treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear......




You should not stand by”: Holocaust survivors speak out against hate

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday: you say you want a revolution

A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
Charlottesville, Va. right at my backdoor




Doctrine & Covenants 38:27-31

27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.
28 And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
29 Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
30 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
31 And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless—



Alicia Keys - Holy War (Lyric)


The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will not be no rerun brothers
The revolution will be live



Friday, August 4, 2017

FRIDAY: WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR LOVE?



Oh my Gosh, it is Friday, again. So today I am presenting yet another throwback blog post. I am trying to find a better word than "throw back" because it seems to imply that these posts were not worth reading. But they were, and if you are just reading them, or missed them the first time around, then they are new to you. So today I asked the question: What would you do for Love?    
We are all looking for love, and even if we are in relationships, or marriage, or even looking. The world makes it so hard to love doesn't it? The most benign but no less powerful love is that of a seemingly simple friendship. Remember when we were kids, and it was so easy to make friends, right.? 
Oops I feel a story coming. When I was a kid, I tended to attract other (interesting) kids to me, particularly one kid named Gregory. He was such a poindexter, he had a habit of "biting". I dunno why, maybe he was teething, even at the age of five. He was psychotic when it came to biting. All of us kids would be having fun at the park, swings, slide, teeter totters. We would play "car". You know, with a big box and a homemade steering wheel, and we would be just "play" driving along and he would haul off and bite your neck, This was not just a nibble, it was a full on bite, that would draw blood. After that every body out of the car, we all ran home crying to tell our moms. I was done with that, and I felt I had to put a stop to it. My mom advised me to "bite him back", but my Dad, well he was the diplomat. He had been teaching me how to box, and particularly how to land a punch right where you wanted. He suggested that I "land a punch". So the next time we were all playing "car", and Gregory started in with his "fangs" . I took up my best Muhammad Ali stance and landed a punch right in the "kisser". Of course I was the bad guy, but that is another story. 
My post today is from the book of Genesis, concerning the family of  Issac and Rebekah, and even the in-laws Sarah and Abraham. Infertility in a covenant marriage. Sometimes infertility is not the absence of babies, but the absence of faith. After all , faith in one another builds trust, and trust builds love.

ISAAC AND REBEKAH...infertility in a covenant marriage
Brian Kershisnek
Fertility in a covenant marriage; you could say that the obvious evidence of fertility in any marriage is children. But I would raise that bar and say that the evidence of fertility is also spiritual “off spring”.
In Genesis 25:21 {And} Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived
(What does it mean to be entreated? It means to be kind and just and reasonable and self-sacrificing in one's attitude toward others.)

Isaac married Rebekah when he was 40 years old, there was no age given of Rebekah, so it is always assumed that she was at least 20 years younger. For the first 20 years of their marriage, Rebekah was unable to conceive. The scriptures seem to designate this condition as “barren”. It is such a harsh word, and the connotations imply an unfillable emptiness or a void-like a black hole, something that can’t be filled up without divine intervention.  

I don’t think that Rebekah was initially infertile, this was her blessing as she left her home to marry Isaac: Genesis 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Sarah and Abraham also struggled with “temporal” infertility in their marriage, in the context of their respective biology. There is an emphasis on how old they were, and specifically in a post menopausal Sarah.  And in light of Abraham and Sarah’s promises of “posterity” that would equal the stars in the sky, and the grains of sand. Their faith was stretched to the breaking point. Abraham complained to God that “he wasn’t getting any younger, and if he had to wait any longer, he would have to legally adopt his most senior servant “Eliezer of Damascus”. Sarah had to take matters into her own hand, and had enacted or acted on a Hammurabi law:  “Throughout the Ancient World childlessness was considered to be a serious problem.  If a wife failed to bear children she might give her maidservant to her husband.  If the maidservant produced a baby it counted as the wife’s child.  If such a maidservant started to take on airs and act the equal of the wife she could not be sold but she would be kept strictly as a slave.  If neither wife nor maidservant produced a child a man was permitted a second wife but again she was not allowed to be equal in status to the first wife.  If his wife acquired a long-term illness he could take a second wife but he must continue to look after his first wife for as long as she lives.  She could take her dowry and return to her father’s house if she wanted to do so: the choice was hers.(144-149). 

Sarah gave her slave Hagar to her husband Abraham, to act as surrogate for her. And the plan was to raise the child as her own; sounds like a soap opera. Abraham’s response was conspicuously ambiguous. When he was confronted by a desperate Sarah concerning the behavior of Hagar; (it seem s that Hagar was aware of her rights in the law also), his response at first seem’s flip, but in accordance with the “temporal” law of procreation they had invoked, his reaction was according to that law: He said, “She is your hand maid, do with her what you will.” 
This caused a delay of about 25 more years before Sarah would become pregnant. ( Yes 25 years, meaning that Hagar's son was at least an older teen, around 19 to 20 years old when they were cast out into the desert. There is  pattern here, Issac was also a young man between 25-30 when he was almost "sacrificed. There is a pattern here) 

Where is the infertility? It is not so much in her body or in Abraham’s body; because the Lord promised that “nothing is impossible for Him”. But the infertility represented here is that barren seed of faith, and the “stony unfertilized” ground of the heart, where the sower can’t sow the seed of faith.   

In this infertile moment; Abraham and Sarah decided to “fall back” to a different time and place and in their life, and utilize it to bring about a wished for event.  Many years before, Abraham and Sarah made a brave decision to serve the Lord at all cost. They were told to “leave their fathers house because he was an idolater”, and they were told to leave their “kinfolk” because they too were idolaters and would only hinder their goals. And last, the Lord “entreated” them to come to an unknown land, and live there, and start a family, and become a people; and they were entreated. They were to leave the prescribed laws of the land, and follow the law of God, no shadow of turning.

So, back to Isaac and Rebekah, who seemed to be going down that same road of barrenness. But their approach was one of faith. The Bible does not mention any sister wives, or concubines. Genesis 25:21 {And} Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  I think that Isaac’s prayer, a husband’s blessing; where they both knelt together; gave Rebekah a spiritual boost to her faith. More than babies were conceived, the faith that with God all things are possible, was born also.
 Psalms 113:9 Amplified version: mentions this concerning the “barren” woman:  He makes the barren woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of [spiritual] children. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
I really love this record, because lately I am those women. I am Sarah, even Hagar. Hagar I a sure willing agreed with Sarah, they were friends after all. Maybe she wanted a husband of her own, and not to have to share with Sarah. Rebekah, her husbands first love, loved her  so much that he entreated the Lord so that she could conceive. That implies a sweet and tender love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son...
This is an example of a divine entreatment.
    
NEEDTOBREATHE - Hard Love - 7/21/2016 - Paste Studios, New York, NY

Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday:


The universe is conspiring in every moment to bring me happiness and peace

I am growing and Hey my growth spurt maybe different from yours
How I choose to express this encompasses my whole being
My core beliefs
My thoughts on God, my thoughts on Jesus
(Jesus is a friend of mine)
My whole self, that as I start to dig deep, the layers are in order.

Phenomenal things are happening to me
On the surface they may present crazy, they may sound negative, they may even  look nebulous
But really, it is all solid, and fluid and flowing
A thought whispered to me: it said Ramona you are loved and you are adored, beautiful and worthy of belonging.

My blog is so small and inconsequential. I don't know who reads it, or not. I don't care. 
This is me
And I feel like this sometimes
I am only human after all

I used to apologize for being myself. Not obnoxious, not overbearing. But me, confident, wise and full of wisdom. Humble, meek, truth seeker, truth talker.
Believer, follower of the Holy one, light bearer. Vulnerable, inquisitive, honest, lovely, beautiful... strong
I will not apologize anymore, I won't play small because you can't meet me where I am.
Take me or leave me
It's cool   

Ilusion Of Bliss - Alicia Keys (Live)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

throw back Friday....grandma's hands

So its Friday, again. What a difference a week makes. Right now I feel like Jill and Jack only no Jack. Fell down some stairs, reminded me of Alice in Wonderland when she fell down that rabbit hole. Her life changed drastically after that. I have a lot of thoughts and things I want to share, but my “trigger finger”, my right hand is sore, not wanting to cooperate. So I’m calling this a throwback Friday. Lately I have been literally “ghost writing” the story of my life”. A wise man blessed me to “get in touch with my family”. I thought about that, easier said than done buddy. I have a blooming family tree started on Ancestry.com and I have had a D.N.A. kit, with my name on it for the last year, waiting for me to spit in it and send it out. I am a chicken heart.  
Last year I was obsessed with the Broadway show “Hamilton”; a musical about the life of a founding father, Alexander Hamilton. My favorite opening lines was this:
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished, in squalor grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
 In those words, you know just about all you need about a guy named Alexander Hamilton. And truth be told, it took me a few minutes to figure out just who Alexander Hamilton was; “The 10 dollar founding father”.  At the time I was really motivated to work on my family tree, try to answer the question: Who am I, why am I here? Who do I look like, where did my people come from. So lately I find myself in similar situations like Hamilton, an orphan, a widow, no family close by, stuck in a place that I honestly would not have chosen to live, for any reason I could think of. Hope is the thing with wings. A friend said to me that maybe the stuckness is because I haven’t made an big enough effort to live in my family history. Maybe looking at an ancestor or even a grandmother can help me to progress. So today’s throwback post comes from my sister blog the”72 hour rule”. It is a post about my paternal grandmother, who I was almost named after; Elizabeth. But my mom found a better name for her “baby girl”’. It’s called “The Most Influential” Sept 26 2014


THE MOST INFLUENTIAL

Sept 26 2014

Earlier this year Time magazine published it's "100 Most Influential People “issue. Beyonce' Knowles-Carter is on the cover. I don't know if she is number 1 or 100, I was curious as to what her sphere of influence was; but then Oprah wasn't on that list.
I wanted to list a group of influential people in my life, but I tend to over analyze and I can't think of 100 people I have known. But I thought about my paternal grandmother Elizabeth.  She was very strict (to me) and she always had a "switch" in her purse which was often used judiciously (on me). Now those of you who don't know what a "switch" is, I suggest you look it up in the dictionary of Southern Idioms. Let's just say she was a strict disciplinarian.
She was also a serial church-goer and attended at least 3 on any given Sunday. And more often than not, I was her companion. A typical Sunday would start very early; we would all attend the early morning services at the local Church my mom and dad attended. Afterwards we would have lunch and then start out for the "country" church she loved. Getting there would require two cabs and a long walk down a country road. During all of this, I would ask her, "Are we there yet"? The country church was in a "shotgun" type of building that Louisiana is famous for, and with no air conditioning. On the hottest days of summer all of the kids would sit in the opened windows at the back of the church


     My grandma was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Board, so on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, she wore either a white dress with white gloves and shoes, or she wore a navy blue dress with black shoes. Her role was to help people find their seats, or help moms with crying babies, or discretely remove small children who were in the throes of an uncontrollable tantrum. As for me, I had the honor of sitting with her in the back, and of course the switch was there with us too.     

When I was in high school my grandmother had a stroke, she recovered but had to live in a nursing home. My dad would visit her at least 3-4 times a week and my brother and I would come too. I don't remember having a lot of meaningful conversations with her. But I remember on one occasion I came to visit her, I was suffering from a broken heart. I wasn't talking to her because her speech and cognitive skills had deteriorated, so we just looked at each other. Then something happened, she spoke to me in a clear strong voice. She asked me why I was so sad and I told her. She gave me the best advice that only a loving grandma could give. She said “Baby don’t worry about that boy, he doesn’t deserve your love anyway.” Then we hugged and she told me that she loved me, she had never told me that before. Then she lapsed back into her incoherent babbling. Wow, what a gift, and I am thankful that I was able to appreciate it then and even more now. I have often wondered what was the legacy she left . What was her sphere of influence on me? Over the past few years I have been working on her Family History. The little bits and pieces of info I have found are hard won. I discovered that she was married to only one man, my Grandpa Will, but it seems they did not have a happy marriage. It was so unhappy that two of her sons changed their last name in protest. She lived with her mother for a time; she was a share cropper, a domestic and other odd jobs. She raised 5 boys alone and they were fiercely loyal to her. Sort of like the "Sons of Katie Elder". I realize now that it was her strong testimony of faith in God that helped her to survive and live as long as she did. She never ceased to praise God, or testify of his good works in her life. She did her very best to instill this in me. The best thing she did for me was to teach me to read the Bible and then enjoy it. I feel like she is my guardian angel and I am forever grateful for her.   



AUGUSTUS - Grandma's Hands (Bill Withers cover) | TEAfilms Live Sessions...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

He is able


So yesterday, I fell down the stairs, specifically my basement stairs. I am still trying to figure out how it happened, but most of all why.  But this is how it occurred, I was late for work, as I am wont to be, I ignored the alarm, both on my phone and my clock. So I was sleepy and cranky. Had to get the recycling and trash together. Still had to shower, but had to make a trip  downstairs to the laundry room  for clothing reinforcements. So I must've been sleep walking, cause I missed a step and fell head first. I think my head stopped my fall, but I didn't black out. My thought was that " Dang I can't get a signal on my phone in this basement", if I called 9-11 surely the firefighters would have to use a battering ram to get in my house. So I found myself twisted up like a pretzel. My EMT training kicked in, and I checked myself out, no broken bones, so I stood up and got to the laundry.  But I was in some pain, my entire right side was screaming at me, and I had a "goose egg" swelling on my ankle, and a big knot on my elbow, my knee was threatening not to support my weight. So I took 2 Advil's and a warm shower . After much discussion within myself, and among my friends (who love me), I reluctantly decided to go to the Urgent care center. So 150.00 dollars later, some uncomfortable x-rays, and an ace bandage I was released in the same amount of pain I came with, to go home. No Wonder drugs were given, just an ace wrap. I had to wonder that if I had not gone, would the results have been the same. 
So a couple of years ago I wrote a post in my sister blog {"the72hourrule") about the pattern of healing utilized by Jesus. You know Jesus was really good at demystifying the process of healing. He made sure that everyone knew the difference between say a  demon possession and a sickness or injury that was treatable. Even though, we attach the word "miraculous" at times to certain healing, or disease clearing up. I believe that there is a specific pattern of how the body heals, regardless of how bad it looks. Now the miracle comes when we believe unto faith that a healing is taking place in our lives.


HERE'S MUD IN YOUR EYE

So, have you ever had this happen? I woke up this morning refreshed, from a really good sleep, so good that I almost missed the alarm, well I did miss it by 30 minutes. I love it when I am able to fall asleep and then wake up uninterrupted, it is a rare thing. So I woke up, and I noticed that there was something in my left eye. I couldn't see too clearly, so of course I rubbed it. I checked it out in the bathroom mirror and  saw that the eye is naturally red and upset from me rubbing it. But there seems to be something “floating” over the surface of my eyeball that I “see” from the inside out. (I know this sounds like an episode from Alice in Wonderland). Why, it’s a “Floater”!! And my brothers and sisters, this is a real medical term; floater. I checked out Wikipedia to find out what a “floater” is and what is really going on. I don’t know about you, but this is not my first experience with a floater. It does eventually disappear, and not for the reason you think. This is what causes the “float”: Age.

Floaters are deposits of various size, shape, consistency, refractive index, and motility within the eye's vitreous humor, which is normally transparent. At a young age, the vitreous is transparent, but as one ages, imperfections gradually develop. The common type of floater, which is present in most people’s eyes, is due to degenerative changes of the vitreous humor
It can be caused by damage, maybe too vigorous “eye rubbing”, I have allergies and the pollen is super thick this year….. I digress. It is caused by age.
Causes: There are various causes for the appearance of floaters, of which the most common are described here. Simply stated, any damage to the eye that causes material to enter the vitreous humor can result in floaters.Floaters can be a sign of retinal detachment or a retinal tear but in most cases (98% according to the National Health Service it is simply age related or due to natural change in the vitreous humor.
So, sometimes I might accidentally “punch myself in the eye” when I sleep; It could happen. Did I mention that I have allergies?  
Treatment: While surgeries do exist to correct for severe cases of floaters, there are no medications (including eye drops) that can correct for this vitreous deterioration. Floaters are often caused by the normal aging process and will usually disappear as the brain learns to ignore them.
So, after I determined that it was a true “float thingy”, I put some “allergy” drops in my eyes, and I took an allergy pill and put a warm compress in my eyes. The float thingy is still there but my brain is “learning” to ignore it and that takes anywhere from 24 hours to a couple of days. (I think the pill and the drops worked too.)
Of course, this reminded me of my Sunday school lesson this past Sunday. In John chapter 9 Jesus heals a blind man by using “spit” as an active agent. On this occasion, he spits into some clay on the ground, makes some “mud cakes” and puts them on the eyes of this blind man, and directs him to wash three times in a pool. Now this was sort of what I did, only with drops and a hot compress.
I love this lesson because Jesus seems to be portrayed as a country doctor, using various folk cures to heal people. But with one exception, he actually cures the illness and affects a whole person healing.
John 9 Living Bible (TLB)1 As he was walking along, he saw a man blind from birth.“Master,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?”“Neither,” Jesus answered “But to demonstrate the power of God. All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. But while I am still here in the world, I give it my light.”Then he spat on the ground and made mud from the spittle and smoothed the mud over the blind man’s eyes, and told him, “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam” (the word Siloam means “Sent”). So the man went where he was sent and washed and came back seeing!
So why did Jesus use spit and mud? I found some info from an ancient medical book (online) that describe several techniques used during Jesus time to “cure blindness”. One remedy was that if you happened to “awake” into blindness, you were to immediately “spit” into your hands and rub it into your eyes vigorously. As the first morning spit after the fast had some powers. 
The next remedy was that a person experiencing blindness, after they had washed their feet in the evening, dip their finger in the dust infused wash water and place it on their eyes three times.

Wow!! So Jesus has a tendency to “come” to a person where they are in their faith. What type of faith did this Blind Man have? In his day, there were no rights for disabled persons. He was a beggar, maybe kicked out of his home, living on the streets. He seemed to have found a place to beg in front of the Temple and maybe during his days, he may have heard talk of Jesus. But Jesus came to him. According to the scriptures, he simply “came” to him, and having compassion on him, offered his assistance. He seemed to use the prevailing practice of the day because I am sure this Blind Man was acquainted with the treatment. Jesus did not take him out of his comfort zone to minister to him. Jesus is cool like that!!






MercyMe - Even If (Official Lyric Video)
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