I and Thou: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

So, what would you do if you found out you were Irish one day?

I grew up being told I was 1/2 Dutch and 1/2 English. Black and white – clear as glass. I also remember growing up sensing that our family didn’t have anything in common with Irish people (or other people who were not like my parents.)

I also think my parents placed people and groups into stereotypical buckets. And, sadly, I probably did it to in my growing up and young adult years. But that was eons ago, and that is just how some people felt in the early to mid- 1900’s. I don’t fault them at all – they were kind, loving people for the most part!

Recently, one of my brothers did a DNA test and found out we had some Irish – which is probably making my dad roll over in his grave.

So, what did I do when I found out I had a bit of Irish in me? My first instinct was to think, “Hmm, I wonder what else my parent’s didn’t tell me…How did they not know this?” After the initial shock, I thanked God for creating the universe with diversity, making people in all colors, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes. And I thanked God for good old Irish Whiskey!

Enjoy your bangers with mash and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I and Thou: Random Words for March

March

Awesome Aquamarine
Delicate Daffodil
Healthy Habits
March Madness
Mardi Gras
Perfect Pi
Require Reading
Sassy Saint Patrick’s
Snowy Spring
Wise Women

Art Credit: Irish Saint Patrick’s Day Shamrock and Beer Mandala Abstract 1 by
Rose Santuci-Sofranko http://www.fineartamerica.com

I and Thou: Be My Valentine

Valentine’s Day – Share the love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 
– 1 Thessalonians 4:9

Does this scripture remind you of Valentine’s Day?

What exactly are its origins?

Have you heard about the god of Lupercus?

Well, apparently, that is how it all started. According to americancatholic.org,

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, celebrated on Feb. 15.  For 800 years, the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus.  On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.1

The Catholic Roots of Valentine’s Day

Sexual companionship for an entire year may sound appealing, especially during a pandemic; yet, what happens after the year is up?

Long-lasting relationships are built on love. Love is sharing simple things in life, such as walking in the park, cooking a meal, giggling while watching a comedy, or discussing life’s spiritual mysteriousness. And, when you find love, it is like winning a lottery – every day.

During the 18th Century in England, Valentine’s Day evolved into a card and flower-giving holiday celebrating love and romance.  Maybe this holiday is an opportunity to proclaim God’s love for humankind? 

Let’s think about spreading God’s love, not by participating in the billion-dollar holiday it has become but by simply loving others. Welcome God’s love and share it with others.  This special once-a-year day reminds us to show our appreciation for one another. For partners.  For family members. For church members. For Friends.  So, embrace love. Let Valentine’s Day become an opportunity to express your love, respect, and friendship to someone in your life.

  • Human connection – speaking your love language to your Valentine helps keep the spark alive.

Action:  Send Valentine Day wishes of love and laughter to all the special people in your life.

1Guest Author, The Catholic Roots of St. Valentine’s Day.  Retrieved on November 2, 2016. .https://www.franciscan media.org/ the-catholic-roots-of-st-valentines-day/

I and Thou: Random Words for February

What words come to your mind when you think about February?

February


Dazzling Diamond
Deep Desire
Fabulously Faithful

Forgive Freely
Healing Heart
Huggable Human

Lasting Love
Lingering Laughter
Loyal listener
Sensual Soul
Silent Security
Soothing Snuggle
Sweet Smile
Tantalizing Thrills
Tasteful Treats
Therapeutic Tranquility
Timely Tenderness
Thriving Teamwork

I and Thou: Random Words for January

January

Artist Credit: January Zion by Erin Hanson

Daily Diary
Delightful Discovery
Fast Focus
Fresh Faith
Fierce Flurries
Healthy Hobby
Hopeful Heart
Icy Icicles
Identify Improvement
Intense Intention
Immediate Impact
Radical Renewal
Religious Reflection
Sparkling Star
Ski Slope
Serious Spirituality
Sincere Start
Winter Wonderland
Wisdom Within

I and Thou: Out with the Old!

Here is my last blog post for 2021…

Goodbye 2021

Can’t wait til Next Year!

Image credit: 321horoscope.com

Global pandemic
Underestimated variants
Lost souls

Vaccinations
Unlimited supply
Saved souls

Political climate
Unrest
Misguided souls

Shopping malls
Haunted spaces
Vaccination places

Housing market
Lowered inventory
High Appreciation

Child still missing
Estranged too long
Hopeful for new beginnings

I and Thou: Belonging

Merry Christmas!

Reflection on Luke 2:22-35

Artist Credit: Jan van ‘t Hoff

Mary and Joseph head north to Bethlehem, the town of David, for a census ordered by Caesar Augustus.  Upon arrival to Joseph’s hometown, Mary gives birth to Jesus.  The familiar Christmas cast expands to include Simeon and Anna in this chapter.  Both of these older adults proclaim Jesus as Messiah.  In this passage,

28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:  29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31   which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:  32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Luke 2:28-32

Simeon’s proclamation is his “ah-ha” moment, and it speaks to us about salvation, in other words, belonging. 

Where do you belong?

Joseph belongs to the house of David, similar to us belonging to the home of our parents.  And our children belong to us.  So, where does all of this “belonging” fit in?

Luke does not tell us the lineage of Simeon. And maybe that is for a good reason. I’d like to think that Simeone is you and me!

A recent study found when social relationships provide a sense of belonging; people feel life has more meaning.* We know some of us are more social than others due to different personalities, levels of mood, amount of energy, and time.    Whether we feel social or not, we can know with certainty that we do belong to the family of God. Why? Because God loves us. Nothing can separate that love from us. God’s love is eternal; it can bring us a sense of belonging and contentment. 

As parents, we hope our children have a sense of belonging – to their heavenly Father and us. Earthly relationships can be full of disappointment and sadness when loved ones choose to be “un” belong themselves – stagnant, separated, divorced, or estranged.   God never does this; like a parent, God accepts us and loves us unconditionally.  This unconditional love makes us feel loved and provides us with a broad sense of belonging in life.

To those of you out in this world who have turned your back on unconditional love – maybe it’s time to turn back toward it again? Thoughts?

  • Human families – bringing us a sense of belonging is crucial in all aspects of life.

Action:  Discuss belonging and separation with a loved one.

*Sense of Belonging Increases Meaningfulness of life. (n.d.).  PSYBLOG. (Lambert et al., 2013).

I and Thou: Traditions

Photo Credit: Sarah Loft fineartamerica.com

Zechariah 8:18-23

18 The word of the Lord Almighty came to me. 19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.” 20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.” 23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

Thought: Zechariah, one of the Old Testament prophets, writes about sad and challenging fasts and how joyful and pleasant feasts replace the sad fasts. He tells people a message of God’s love for His people, reminiscent of holidays when families gather around a table to share a meal.

What holidays do you and your family celebrate?

Families make plans and celebrate all types of holidays such as New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Passover, Labor Day, Holi, or Christmas. Some families come together each year for a family reunion while others celebrate a holiday unique to them. Some host Hawaiian Luaus, Memorial Day picnics, and others watch fireworks and picnic on the 4th of July.

Tradition, according to Wikipedia is, “a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.” * Traditions are true because they are believed to be true. In the case of Passover, angels of death passed over the Israelites, who had brushed the lamb’s blood, over their doorframes. (Exodus 12:7). God saved the Israelites, and the tradition of celebrating Passover acknowledges the event and commemorates it.

Traditions can last thousands of years or last only a few. However long a tradition continues, it creates memories. Holiday gatherings take place year after year and our children expect a house full of relatives. Right? Yet, we often forget how separation and divorce changes tradition. In some cases, it ends. Families no longer gather as years pass.

Maybe this post will change the minds of couples who are no longer couples – to forget about themselves for a day and to think about tradition, not for their sakes, but for the sake of their children. Go ahead and invite your former spouse to your holiday meal – I dare you!

Thankfully, the truth of God’s love is eternal and not measured by years of tradition or mistakes. It is simply the truth. The truth, as the prophet Zechariah wrote, in the last days, people from all nations will want to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. Let’s keep traditions alive so we all can have the opportunity to touch Jesus’ hem. Shall we?

Divine gifts – sharing religious traditions with family opens us up to experience grace and truth.

Action: What makes your family tradition special?

* Tradition. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from the Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradition

I and Thou: A Simple Gesture

Fall into The Bible – Part 4

Art Credit: Tara Patterson- Beauty4AshesArt

In Part 4, the last of the “Fall into the Bible” series, we will see how two Old Testament and one New Testament stories helps us understand how faith can thwart a military attack, surrendering power affirms God’s sovereignty and worship requires surrendering of self.

Read the three phrases below.

Fall on him – 2 Sam. 17:12

Fall from his hand – Ez. 30:22

Fall down before him – Rev. 4:10

Sudden Attack

The characters in the 2 Samuel story for this blog post are King David, his son, Soloman, and an army of men who want to kill David. To better understand this 2 Samuel 17:12 verse, let’s read the entire sentence.

12 Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive.

Here, we see an army of men that will fall on David as dew settles on the ground. So, how does dew relate to this? Interesting minds want to know!

Going back to general science 101, we learn that temperature and air play critical roles in the dew process. The higher the temperature, the more water vapor the air holds. In the evening, depending on the atmospheric pressure and humidity, the air can no longer retain the water vapor, and hence water forms. It forms on the ground from the ground up, so it blankets the earth.

Saved by Faith

In Fall on him, it is an attack. Sudden. From all points. Like dew. Quite ominous when you think about it. In this scripture, it is not Spirit, like we saw in the previous blog post, Fall into the Bible – Part 1. It is an army of men planning to attack King David. At the end of this story, King David and his army are safe. Why are they safe? God keeps David safe because of the faith he has. King David lives till the age of seventy, passing the throne on to his son, Solomon.

Surrender of Power

In the second phrase, from the book of Ezekiel, the Lord is speaking through his Hebrew prophet, Ezekiel. There,  

The sword will fall from his hand” refers to Pharoah’s imminent loss of power. It is clearly God exerting influence and control over Egypt. It is a surrender. Let’s read the entire verse, 

22 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt. I will break both his arms, the good arm as well as the broken one, and make the sword fall from his hand

Hmmm. God will break Pharaoh’s arms? Metaphorically, of course! The visions of Ezekiel were prophetic and centered around judgment on Israel, Judgment of nations (Egypt as one of them), and future blessings for Israel. Then, Ezekiel warns of destruction. And in this scripture, we see the warning of the destruction of Egypt. Ezekiel taught the importance of people needing to affirm God’s sovereignty.

Surrender of Self

In our third phrase in the tenth verse of Chapter 4 in Revelation, there is a surrender.

Fall down before him

Surrender of self. It is also respect. Respect for God. Respect for themselves and others. Respect for the earth and the totality of creation leads to worship!

10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

A Simple Gesture

What actually creates a stir in one’s soul? Is it Spirit? Is it logic? Is it faith? All good questions. For me, it is angels! The Godcidents, like the woman at the Rest Area the other day, overheard we didn’t have utensils for our lunch. She handed me four individually wrapped plastic utensils. Brilliant! Personal! It was a God Thing to me! All in the simple gesture of a kind person.

Over these past four blogs, we have broadened our perception of the word “fall.” Whether it be the Bright Light Path, the Deep Dark Path, or the Path Filled with Grace, we have seen it used for spiritual and physical purposes. If we choose to allow the Spirit of God to enter our life, we gain spirit wisdom at the global, personal, and relationship levels. We have freedom of choice. Thanks be to God!