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This is the dawning of a new day…where you will find God.

This is the post excerpt.

Reflections Blog

Here you will find messages inspired by God to you.  This is very different than the Book Series.

Book Series Information

Title…

I and Thou: Reflections on God, Scripture and Human Relationships by Ruth Walton

Here is where you can track the progress of the book series.  The writing is complete.

In a nutshell, it is a cross between a self-help and a daily devotional.   The launch of the first book will be forthcoming!  In the meantime, you can read excerpts on:

https://www.facebook.com/IandThouReflections/

IandThou_FBTake4

First blog post

I and Thou: Summertime

It’s Summertime!

Artwork: Tropical Holiday Hawaii Beach by Robin Wethe Altman

Time to refresh
Time to renew
Time to reflect
Time to repent

Refresh.

What better place to refresh than a beach? 

Oak Island, NC, is a lovely, quiet, sleepy beach town. 

Growing up in NJ, where the shore was an hour away, it could take up to three hours to get there because of traffic.  And, of course, once you arrived, you needed to pay for parking and pay to go on the beach.  No free beach in NJ.  That is if you can find a public beach.  Many beaches are private and require a “badge.” In NC, it is entirely different.  Free public beach access that is clearly visible.  Plenty of free parking nearby.  What a joy to be able to enjoy an hour or so at the beach without the hassle! 

Refreshing is gaining a new perspective on the present.

Renew. 

Renewing our minds every once in a while, is good medicine for our souls.  How do you renew?  I renew by stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. 

Renewing is being grateful for what you have and looking forward to what will be.

Reflect.

Growing up in a non-denominational evangelical home environment, the Church was the center point. All seemed to revolve around Church. Church was on Sunday.  That is what we did—Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and Church service at 10:45 a.m. Then, sometimes, fellowship hour after Church.  Then home for Sunday dinner.  Maybe a ride in the car. Then, rest time.  Then a lite supper and then back to Church for evening service. 

Wednesday evening was Prayer Meeting, and I remember my dad faithfully going.  Then Thursday evening was choir rehearsal which my father participated in as well.  Thursday was also Pioneer Girls, similar to Girl Scouts, which I participated in for many years.  Youth group at Church plus a regional youth group, Youth for Christ, were activities held at various times throughout the years that I regularly attended.  I do remember one summer attending a bible study that was at 7:00 a.m.  I woke up, grabbed some juice, and rode my bike up to Church.  It really wasn’t that far – about 1 mile.  

When I was a bit older, the regional group expanded my horizons to meet other kids in nearby towns.  I appreciated learning more about different churches; yet, I felt a tug to be more involved in my neighborhood.  My parents discouraged me from community activities.  And strongly encouraged Church-sponsored events and outgoings with “church kids.”  I also vaguely remember one summer going away to camp at a Christian Camp named Camp Cherith. That is where I learned to do archery, shoot a rifle (BB’s), and horseback ride.  Reflecting on my childhood, I felt that I was in a bubble; I could only do activities that were Church related.  I thought that I missed out on friendships with those who were unlike me.

My first experience with discrimination was when my parents did not support my friendship with a little girl up the block named Charlotte.  She was Jewish.  I don’t know why my parents were afraid of people who were unlike them.  I was five.  It had a lasting impact on me and my life.  It was then when my first questions started about religion, faith, and Christian love.  I still wonder if Charlotte knew why I couldn’t be her friend.

There were lots of rules growing up. No playing on Sunday.  No bike riding on Sunday.  No going to school dances. No going to movies. No playing cards.  I felt deprived.  I felt like a freak. I’m sure being bullied by a girl named Debby in junior high school didn’t help either.  I was so scared, and I don’t really know why.  Perhaps, I’ll never know.

Reflecting is learning from the past.

Repent.      

What exactly is repenting? And what do we need to repent from?  First, repenting requires acknowledging a wrongdoing or a regret.  Who in this world has not done something they have regretted?  Not me – for sure!  Then, repenting requires coming to peace with the regret.  For me, repenting is freeing.  Once you have come to terms with a situation, and only then, can you then move forward.  At the University of Ozarks, their mission is “to live life fully,” and you can only do that after you have reflected, repented, refreshed and renewed.  Not necessarily in that order.

Repenting is coming to terms and making peace.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!  Life is a life-long learning experience.

I and Thou: Divine Valentine

Is Valentine’s Day your favorite holiday?

It is mine!

Much of it has to do with the gratitude I have in my heart for life itself and where I am today. It is the realization that this love comes from God. Agape love is divine love – a pure love between humans and their Creator. A Christ-like love can only exist within the context of faith. An illustration of agape love is in John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16
It is this agape love that lives within each of us. And, it is up to us to know what to do with it. We show others this love through simple actions. A warm smile. A hug. A thank you. Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to think of how you can offer your love to others each and every day.

Valentine’s Day is often thought of as a holiday for lovers. It is so much more than that. In my mid-twenties, I was not in a romantic relationship on Valentine’s Day; so, my friend Wendy and I decided to go to Atlantic City for the weekend. Wendy had a friend who had a condo in Brigantine, actually an island, the city right over Atlantic City’s breezeway. The closest casino at the time was Trump’s Castle. So, off we went. I remember the inside of the casino looking majestic and castle-like. It was quite stunning. The point in this story is that Wendy and I had a great time. It was a time and place where I realized that I didn’t have to be in a romantic relationship to enjoy the love in the air on Valentine’s Day. So, for this Valentine’s Day in 2021, I wish all of you agape love. The love that will never fail. The love of our divine Creator.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I and Thou – An Alien in a Foreign Land

An Alien in a Foreign Land

An alien in a foreign land…
Where all that is around feels unfamiliar.
New.

Yet, in some ways, strangely old.
Seeking to find the comfort of an old shoe or bathrobe.  
Lying in bed as the world goes by. 

Feeling frozen in time.  Short of breath.  
Not knowing where your children are or if they are safe.

An alien in a foreign land…
Writing, speaking to unknown faces. New.

Yet, in some ways, strangely old.
Meeting strangers, small talk, and dining in restaurants.
Wondering if this person will call you again. 

Feeling anxious.  Short of breath.
Not knowing what tomorrow will hold.

An alien in a foreign land…
Opening the door to online yesterday in person today. New.

Yet, in some ways, strangely old.
Conversing deeply about life and sharing freshly brewed coffee.
Embarking on a new relationship, perhaps. 

Feeling excited. Short of breath.
Not knowing where it will go.

An alien in a foreign land…
Letting go and letting God direct your life.  New.

Yet, in some ways, strangely old.
Following God’s call to a new foreign land.
Stumbling and falling along the way. 

Feeling hesitant.  Short of breath.
Not knowing where it will lead.

An alien in a foreign land…
Friendly faces are fresh and welcoming.  New.

Yet, in some ways, strangely old.
Sharing time and talents and learning in a new workplace.
Making a difference in people’s lives. 

Feeling humbled.  Short of breath.
Not knowing the impact for years to come.

An alien in a foreign land…
Casting out pebbles to see where they land.  New.

Yet, in some ways, strangely old.
Exploring new places and seeking adventures along the way.
Filling with anticipation.
Feeling thrilled.  Short of breath
Not knowing where the landing will be.

Artwork by: Ernest Mancoba

I and Thou – Global Pandemic Part 3

Christmas Season 2020

Online services
Music streaming
Celebrations by zoom
Dinners at home
Small gatherings, if any

Here are updates from the post on 4/13/20.

In Arkansas…

April 13, 2020

  • 1,280 confirmed Covid19 cases | 27 deaths

December 24, 2020

  • 176,744 confirmed Covid19 cases | 2,959 deaths

In Massachusetts…

April 13, 2020

  • 25,475 confirmed Covid 19 cases | 756 deaths

December 24, 2020

  • 335,731 confirmed Covid19 cases | 11,752 deaths

In New Jersey…

April 13, 2020

  • 61,000+ confirmed Covid19 cases | 2,350 deaths

December 25, 2020

  • 458,900 confirmed Covid19 cases | 16,650 deaths

In New York…

April 13, 2020

  • 188,00+ confirmed Covid19 cases | 9,000+ deaths

December 27, 2020 9:45 a.m.

  • 920,171 confirmed Covid19 case | 36,870 deaths

In the United States…

April 13, 2020

  • 558,000 confirmed Covid19 cases  | 22,000 deaths

December 27, 2020

  • 19,103,992 confirmed Covid19 cases | 335,265 deaths
Artwork: Tree Tapestry by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

Revive Us


May God mourn with us the lives that have been taken,
Provide us with comfort and care,
Instill community in all of us of near and far.
Revive us, O Lord
Mark us by your Holy Spirit,
Speak to us and make it clear,
So we can fulfill the mission you have set.

I and Thou – Better to Receive

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12 & 13

Artwork Credit: Faith Evans-Sells http://www.faithevansells.com

You enjoy holiday shopping. Don’t you? You aim to select the perfect gift for a loved one. Best of all, you love giving the gift and watching it be unwrapped.  All you want is to see the joy and excitement. Lately, I’ve been thinking about gift-giving. I used to think that it more suitable to give than to receive. Yet, in John 1:12 & 13, we see that it is much better to receive than to give. God has a way of turning our thinking upside down. In this passage, we see that our faith isn’t enough. We need to also receive. Receive God. Receive salvation. It is free for you and me. So, you may ask, how do I know if I am a child of God? Your logical mind may agree that there is a God. What does your heart say? It is the heart that causes your behavior to gradually change over time. When you strive to be Christ-like in your daily life, you become a child a God through your acceptance of God’s love.

I and Thou – Pandemic Potential

The world is changing moment by moment at warp speed. Yet, in this chaos, you can experience a quieter, gentler YOU. It is within you. You can call it the Holy Spirit, or you can call it inner wisdom. You can call it what you want to call it. It is the peace of floating in a tube on a lake. It is the movement of ants in a garden. It is the swaying of a pecan tree. It is listening. It is THE moment. Rob Bell would call this “presence.” What do you call it?

The pandemic may cause you to pause.

Reset.

Rethink.

Renew.

Reimagine.

What would it look like if? Are these thoughts gifts – gifts of potential?

The potential to connect with people differently.

      • To care for the sick.
      • To feed the hungry
      • To give to the poor.
      • To lend a helping hand.
      • To have a listening ear.
      • A shoulder to cry on.
      • To love more deeply and profoundly.
      • To give more grace.
      • To forgive more easily.

The possibility of exploring the unknown – the depths of your own soul.

The question is not are you IN or are you OUT. The question is, are you YOU?

I and Thou – Zero Contact

Blog_Pic56Relationships are not simple, far from it. Many parents have experienced children who pull away – sometimes for reasons parents can’t figure out others for apparent reasons. Children who distance themselves from parents believe the parents failed in some significant way – typically unbeknownst to them. The parent is left befuddled and profoundly heartbroken. Like a limb that has been severed; yet still feel is there. Human relationships are fragile. A relationship with the Divine is 100% contact. Faith in God is your rock. For those of you who have zero contact with your children – don’t lose hope. As long as there is breath in life – so is there a chance of reconciliation. Today, tomorrow or the day after. May you find restoration.

 

I and Thou – Global Pandemic Part 2

Family Roots.

These unprecedented times in which we now live may cause you to reflect upon the Pandemic of 1918.   Did the 1918 global event impact your family?

It has certainly inspired me to do a bit of family research. I am grateful that my Mom wrote down some of our family history in 1993, of which, I paid little attention to until now.

Since my dad was bBlog_Pic55orn in 1918, I thought maybe somewhere in my family history I could find out whether or not the pandemic affected my family tree. And, yes, sadly, I did discover a death in my family due to the Pandemic of 1918.

According to History.com (https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic)…

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.

My maternal grandparents were married in 1910. My maternal grandmother who died way before I was born (at the age of 48), had 5 pregnancies. Her eldest son, died at age 3 from whooping cough. In 1912 she gave birth to  a girl and in 1919 she gave birth to twins, a vibrant girl and a stillborn. 5 years later, in 1924, my mother was born. It turns out she had scarlet fever at age 9. Quarantine signs appeared on the doors of her home indicating no one could enter for 30 days. She writes that she felt like a leper because everything she had touch had to be burned including her toys and books. Hmmm. That explains a lot.

My maternal grandmother was born in 1890, making her 28-29 years old during the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919. She was one of 7 children. It was my grandmother’s sister who died during the Pandemic of 1918. My great Aunt Bess, (not to be confused with my not “great” Aunt Bess) was born in 1893 and died at age 26 in 1919 leaving two small children behind. I never knew them. (as far as I know).

My father, the youngest of seven children, was born in 1918.

From theconversation.com/past-pandemics, “Those conceived or in gestation during the 1918-19 flu crisis in the US had reduced educational attainment, lower lifetime incomes, and disability rates that were 20% higher compared to those in other birth cohorts.”

I regret not asking him if he felt any impact of the pandemic on his childhood. What I remember most about my own childhood was the reference to “the Great Depression” of 1929. We (me and my siblings) never knew how good we had it – my parents would remind us quite often, especially if we were complaining. My father left school in the 8th grade to care and support his family. Later on, as an adult, my father earned his GED. My father was a sheet metal worker and died from pulmonary fibrosis in 1992.

As of today, June 28, 2020 there have been 10 Million people who have tested positive for Covid19 with 500,000 deaths so far. In the US, there are 2.5 Million cases with over 127,000 deaths. If this Covid19 virus is anything like the 1918 flu, we will be experiencing infections for the foreseeable near future.

To end on a more positive note, live each day as if there were no tomorrow.  Be kind.  Be gentle and please think before you speak. (that goes especially for me!)  God has a purpose for your life.  Go live it!!

As an update to my April 13th post –

My long time friend from high school lost her dad to Covid 19.  Both of her parents had the virus and her father passed away while her mother was recovering from the virus in a rehabilitation center.  So sad, to hear that a couple married for so many years that one spouse could not attend the funeral of the other.  On the other hand, maybe that was a good thing? May God rest his soul.

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211528513717826885/