Colors of Love and Spring by Betty Mason Arthurs

 

What is the color of love? The color of spring? Blue? Yellow? Red? Green?

Is it the color of a radiant pink garden rose or the fuzzy yellow of a honey bee?

Perhaps love is a rainbow of colors captured when a couple in love say their wedding vows; the satin white of her wedding dress and the dancing hazel eyes of her groom; the sweet gauzy pink of the flower girl’s dress as she scatters rose petals down the aisle; the radiant pink of the garden roses in her bouquet; the silken gray of the joyous tears shed by a grandmother dressed in paisley dress and blue shawl; the groomsmen in black tuxes, short and tall.

A dairy farm shows off its kaleidoscopic colors of spring as a farmer tills his fields through the color of hayseed which is ready to plant and feed his livestock through a bitter winter. The herd of Guernsey cows frolic in a bronze-colored dance when released from their winter sojourn in the barn. Green is the color of spring for the farmer to sow his fields with yellow corn and maize to fill the huge white silos, sentries around the red barn. Yellow tractors roar throughout long, sunny days up and down black, rich soil in perfect rows. Speckled chickens lay brown and white eggs for a hungry breakfast crowd.  Yes, love is the color of a hard-working farmer in his fields and the red dairy barn. And spring planting time is the color green.

A mother snuggles her newborn babe, her heart bright with a light blue glow that only a new mom can know. His red, scrunched-up face and black wispy hair is to her eyes the beauty of new life she sheltered in her womb for nine months. Intimate love between the father and mother created this miracle of life.

Easter colors in spring are dyed robin-blue eggs in white baskets and brown chocolate bunnies ready to be devoured by girls dressed like Cinderella and boys in dark blue hero capes. Their joy permeates the air with splashes of gold and purple joy.

The first Easter of long ago started in an olive garden so dark and black, when Jesus wept in agony knowing what lay ahead. Soldiers in silver raiment with metal spears and swords beat Jesus until he bled. Red was the color of his blood and shredded skin from the whipping he endured until his visage was marred and unrecognizable. The Jesus, who created all the colors of the universe, crucified on a splintered, blood-caked cross. Jesus–who opened his black-and-blue arms in love for a world he formed–gave up his life with his final tortured cry, “It is finished.” 

Jesus’ resurrection that first Easter morning was a breathtaking flaming orange and purple sunrise which dawned in a blaze of colors and brought hope of eternal life to all mankind. Heavenly colors circled around the angels at the tomb of our risen Lord. Hearts blazed with eternal hope in a blinding bolt of lightning destroying the blackness of death and hell and brought radiant colors of love and spring.

Posted in Easter, Greatest love ever, Jesus, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Hundred Reasons to Cry or Smile by Betty Mason Arthurs

 

I love to stare at this photo of my grandson, Preston, and the family dog, Ella, who sleeps with him each night. Like most dogs, she’s a goofy friend whose energetic play brings smiles and laughter to all of us. Who can be sad around golden-doodle Ella?

However, there are times when life’s problems become overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but I often cry when someone loses a precious child. It brings back the grief of when my husband and I lost two of our baby sons. When I listen to the news where another disaster has claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people from an earth quake in a poverty stricken country; I feel so helpless but I can pray. There are a hundred reasons to cry.

Thanks to the scripture found in James 5:11, we know that God is full of compassion and mercy. I always  remember that tears are a language He understands. He also asks us to “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV). Facebook posts this week, from family members I haven’t seen in years, ask prayer for a cousin who almost died and needed heart bypasses. Thanks to the posting, it shares instant information so I can send a note of concern and tell them I will pray. That’s the beauty of  social media. In a few days my cousin was on the road to recovery.

Yes, there are a multitude of reasons for each of us to cry, but a bookmark from New Beginnings Greeting Card Collection put it this way:

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. (Author unknown)

And I would add, thousands of prayers to pray…and thousands of laughs with a dog like Ella.

Do you pray when you read of a need on social media? Have you felt comforted when Facebook friends tell you that they’re praying for you?

Do you have a pet? How do they add smiles to your life every day?

 

Posted in dogs, Doing Life Together, Faith, Hope, Pets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

When Your Life Looks Like a Disaster…by ARHuelsenbeck

Imagine arriving at church one Sunday morning and seeing this:

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It looks like a war zone, doesn’t it?

Shocked parishioners stood in the parking lot and stared at the rubble.

Actually, the congregation of Gethsemane Lutheran Church should have anticipated this sight. It’s good news. Feeling the strain of a sanctuary too small to hold all the attendees at worship services, the church had started many months ago pledging and raising money for the improvement initiative they named Forward in Mission. Demolition had to occur before new construction could begin.

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Yet, people felt devastated by the wreckage. People who contributed toward the erection of the original structure decades ago. People who recognized the old church as a neighborhood landmark. People who had attended the parish school, and had gone to chapel in the old building.

Often, the old has to be torn down before positive changes can be made.

Life is like that, isn’t it?

Sometimes I recognize that one corner of my life is encroaching on the others. I’m spending time in a way that causes conflict for me or for people I care about. Yet I tolerate the tension and the clashes and the ineffectiveness, because it’s the way I’ve always operated and I derive a sick satisfaction from the status quo. It takes total collapse before I surrender and admit that the only remedy is change. On my part.

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It’s hard. I mourn the loss of the old me, even though I know the new person I am becoming is one step closer to the vision of the God who created me.

He is a God of second chances. He is the Guide to salvation and sanctification. He’ll allow me to experience disaster, if that’s what it takes for me to notice He’s leading me in a different direction.

And He’ll make something beautiful out of the destruction.

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My New Tween Book Release

I squirm a little when it comes to self-promoting a new book. It feels so self-serving and that goes against my grain. But I’m super proud to announce the release of my new book, Meet Shelby Culpepper, which is book one of a three-book series for tweens.

I’ll tell you a little about the book, but then I want to share some background about why this book means so much to me. It’s available here on Amazon. You can read the back cover copy below:

A new school. A dying grandpa. A mysterious note. Even one of those things would be enough to keep Shelby awake at night. But all three at once provide the perfect ingredients for a really rotten seventh grade year. When Shane, the cutest boy in school, talks to her, Shelby is both thrilled and mortified. Thrilled because, wow. And mortified because his girlfriend is the most popular—and snobbiest—girl in school. With the help of her new friends—an overconfident geek and a boy-crazy romantic, as well as the wisdom of her bedridden grandfather, Shelby unravels the mysteries of the note, and explores the secrets of love, life, and death.

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Posted in Book reviews, Books, Doing Life Together, Family Stories, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Dog Keeps Me on My Knees

img_0207I have to admit, when I am on my knees praying I don’t stay very long as it hurts my knees. It’s down, a few words, and up as quickly as possible. While on my knees in this humbled position, it seems my prayers are more intense.

Recently, something has kept me down longer. My sweet cuddly little Jack, mixed-breed rescue, decided he wanted to join me while I was in that position. He stepped into the “v” my calves made as I knelt, laid his head right in the crook of my knee and curled up contentedly. As I peeped over my shoulder to look at his interesting repose, I didn’t want to disturb his sleep. So I stayed on my knees longer.

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Posted in Being still before God, Christian Living, dogs, Faith, Pets, Prayer | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Helping Children Learn to Write…by ARHuelsenbeck

 

girl-writing-2Reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic used to be called the 3 Rs—the three basic skills necessary for success in life. Your children’s teachers will thank you if you encourage your kids to write. Here are eleven ideas to help you:

  1. Child as young as two years old: Give her a pencil and paper and encourage her to “write”—even if it looks like scribbling. (Watch her to be sure she writes on the paper and doesn’t accidentally poke her eye.)
  2. Three years old: Go through a wordless picture book (preferably one you’ve “read” him before—a good one is Peter Spier’s Noah’s Ark) and ask him what’s happening in each picture.
  3. Four years old: Have her practice writing the alphabet and her name. (Call your local school and find out what handwriting model they use. I grew up with the Palmer method; my children were taught D’Nealian. You can find D’Nealian alphabets online. Make a sample for her to copy.)little-boy-writing
  4. Four or five years old: Ask him to tell you a story. Write it down as your child dictates it. Then fold some paper into a booklet and rewrite the story with just a sentence or two per page. Make a construction paper cover for it, and staple it all together. Read the story to your child. (He may want you to read it over and over again, and may learn to read it himself so he can read it to his friends.) When your child has an adventure, or when your family goes on vacation, ask her to tell you what she did, and follow the same steps to record it for her.
  5. Four or five years old: Show the child how to copy a favorite book into a Word document. (My youngest daughter did this on her own with lots of her books and was a super-fast typist by the time she was seven.)
  6. For six-year-olds: Write part of a sentence on a piece of paper, and ask the child to complete it. My favorite food is ­­_____. I saw a cloud that looked like a ­­­_____. When I grow up, I want to be _____. The thing I like most about Grandma is _____.
  7. Ask children to add items to the family grocery list.
  8. If your child likes a song, encourage him to write down the words.
  9. For young writers, content is what counts. Don’t bother correcting spelling before second grade, or grammar before fourth grade.boy-writing
  10. Share letters and emails from friends and relatives, and let your kids write replies. Have your children write thank-you notes for Christmas and birthday gifts.
  11. Give your child writing gifts: multi-point and mechanical pencils; pens and markers in different colors; lots and lots of paper in all shapes, sizes, and colors; a dictionary appropriate to the child’s age; a journal or diary.

Do you have some suggestions to add? Share in the comments below.

Posted in children, Parenting, Teaching, Thank you notes, Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Soul Beauty

beautiful-insideWhat could be more lovely than inner beauty of a life well lived, developed through years of experience? Think of all the funny stories, the heartaches, the worries, and the triumphs that reside in the hearts of older folks. I once had an older friend who used to say, “We’re all the same age on the inside.” It’s true. As I get older, I realize I still feel the same as when I was a teenager. Sure, I’m not physically able to do all the things I could then. But I can do some things now that I couldn’t as a younger person, like listen with more empathy because I’ve already walked in those shoes. I can hold things more loosely because I know there’s infinitely more value in things that can’t be held.

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Posted in Aging, Doing Life Together, Legacy, Life | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments