April 19, 2014

Dayenu {It Would Have Been Enough}

I went to my first Seder Dinner, the Passover feast, this past Monday. Such a blessed time of fellowship & worship as we reflected on Jesus' last supper--the Seder feast. First we ourselves feasted on a plethora of yummy foods--including but not limited to homemade Matzah candy. To die for. Once dinner was cleared, we prepared our Seder plates with parsley, horseradish, a hard boiled egg, salt water, grape juice/wine, & the name escapes me the apple, honey & nut schtuff.

We went through the traditional Passover readings & procedures in the same way Jesus would have done, with the host explaining everything with Scripture & grace for those like me who weren't as familiar with this Biblical holiday. Here's the easier to understand Wikipedia definition that is quite accurate: 
Dayenu (Hebrew:דַּיֵּנוּ) is a song that is part of the Jewish holiday of Passover.
The word "Dayenu" means approximately "it would have been enough for us", "it would have been sufficient", or "it would have sufficed" (day in Hebrew is "enough", and -enu the first person plural suffix, "to us"). This traditional up-beat Passover song is over one thousand years old. The earliest full text of the song occurs in the first medieval Haggadah, which is part of the ninth-century Seder Rav Amram.
The song is about being grateful to God for all of the gifts he gave the Jewish people, such as taking them out of slavery, giving them the Torah and Shabbat, and had God only given one of the gifts, it would have still been enough.
This is to show much greater appreciation for all of them as a whole. The song appears in the haggadah after the telling of the story of the exodus and just before the explanation of Passover, matzah and the maror.

In today's day & age, as Christians celebrating the Passover & this last supper of Jesus' before He died on Calvary, we can sing the song praising God for our own redemption & taking us out of our bondage of sin. Dayenu--it would have been enough. BUT God continued to prosper & bless us in so many ways that we often forget or take for granted.  What's interesting to note is, that while the Hebrews have been singing this song for centuries, the early Hebrews complained & complained & did not live in a perpetual state of recognizing God's provision & hand. They asked for food, God gave them manna. They complained. All the more reason for us to live in the knowledge & power of the Passover, & in Christ's Resurrection this day.
Posting today, the true day Jesus rose from the grave victorious over death. Hallelujah, what a Savior! The Jewish day begins at sundown--hence, Jesus would have been in the grave for three full nights & three days in order to rise again. This weekend of Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday only has Jesus in the tomb two days. 

April 17, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset

I have a notebook originally reserved for the recording of 1,000 Gifts. I look back through those pages & give thanks for the ten-thousand reasons my heart has to find to bless the Lord. Giving thanks is a powerful thing; remembrance is a humbling, beautiful act we must incorporate into our day to day. Not only in our devotions, or during this Holy Week. I had a day last week that was a gift from God; it was a day to pause, rest, catch up & breathe. Far too often I find myself compartmentalizing--aka shoving my heart & struggles to the back burner--my own writing & thoughts & even prayers in favor of throwing myself into work & focusing on others' excitement & goings-on. Just one reason I haven't been writing as consistently. That day last week though, I struggled.

In that same notebook where I record my 1,000 Gifts, I've been jotting down a prayer list. And whew, is it getting long. My heart does not wonder as to why things happen to such good people, or why people have to fight for their life or prepare to leave this earth. My heart aches, but I marvel at God's goodness & how He holds my heart, & those that are hurting, in the palm of His hand. 

My prayer list includes older people who are nearing the end of their lives. People who still have family here who love them & don't want them to leave. I have two friends in my list who are preparing to bring a brand new life into this world & become mothers. My siblings & parents & all the great, but sometimes nerve-wracking change taking place as my not-so-little siblings grow up. You may've heard about the high school stabbing a few weeks ago? It's so close to home; thankfully, my cousins who go there were not harmed. But those victims of the horrific stabbing are their friends & somebody's child. 

Life goes on at it's alarming pace; Easter is just about upon us. The glorious power of Christ's resurrection colors every day of our existence as Christians--giving us a hope & purpose, firm & secure, that we will spend Eternity in paradise. But this world we live in is fallen, broken. We are yet sinners but no longer a slave to the old man--we are new creations. That daily renewal, the conviction of the Holy Spirit coming through clearer with each passing day? It's humbling. The lifelong process of surrender is one of being broken. And being broken sometimes hurts--but that means we are alive! 

On some pages, I list gifts & thank Him for provision & joy. On the next page I list people--those hurting, struggling, fading away or bringing forth new life. With each sunrise & sunset, there isn't a moment when I don't feel something. Joy & bittersweet sorrow mingle these days, & I raise my hands to choose to believe again that God is good, all the time. Even when I don't have answers or even a fitting resolution to this post.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job 1:21

April 15, 2014

Laughter Trumps Tears

    My long day of work came & went with alacrity. I scooped Sara up from home afterwards & we went to Walmart for some girl schtuff. An hour & a half later & some new clothes & snacks, we got home. Don't judge. 
     I had been up since six, my hips & feet were practically crying for rest, & so I did. At work, a lot got accomplished, but at home there still was & are two baskets of laundry to put away. I was thoroughly exhausted & could barely keep my eyes open by 8pm. Still trying to give myself grace for days like this--when not only the work stress but my physical pain zaps my brain so I can't get much writing done.
    I was laying on my bed, chatting with Sara. My eyes were shut so I wouldn't see the laundry baskets sitting at the foot of my bed. Lest I fell asleep, I opened my eyes & they fell upon a single pink rose on my desk. No it's not from anyone special. I bought a half dozen roses for Mum & she gave me one. She's sweet like that, to share our love of roses.
      Keep in mind--I'm exhausted. Pain level's just ebbing at long last & I have a ton of things to do. Not exactly the best frame of mind for me to wonder if, one day, My Guy will bring me roses for no reason. Surely he'll know how much I love them. Or will it just be me buying myself flowers to brighten my desk every few weeks? Tears pricked behind my eyes & I shut them again as the wondering spiraled.
     My eyes flew open when Sara exclaimed. She had knelt on her bed to open her window, & she knelt on her curtains. The entire curtain rod fell on her--swathing her in white, filmy curtains.
     She looked so surprised & confused that I just lost it. We have the type of relationship, you understand, that when we're clumsy or get the least bit hurt, we laugh. If we bump our head in the attic or stub a toe? We laugh at each other. My stomach ached from laughing so hard at Sara's minor misfortune & once I caught my breath & recovered, the pain was still there, so was the exhaustion--but I felt lighter than ever.
      I had no revelation, no conviction coming through my thick skull--just a random moment of laughter. A gift from my Father Who knows what my needs & my heart better than I do.

April 11, 2014

Swedish Fish God-Appointments

I had more calls last Friday than my long day on the phones the day before. 3.5 hrs of the phones being on there were eight sick calls, countless appointments, faxing, writing up Rx's, etc. And did I mention almost over forty appointments to confirm? Just a typical Friday at work. 

There was an especially talkative, but very sweet lady who called. I could tell right off she needed to unload a little so I caught up on the faxes & listened ... & tried to pay attention as to why she was calling me. She needed our fax number. The poor thing had three children, worked three jobs & her husband's out of town a lot for work. And she has her own health to worry about. A simple, "I hope you don't mind me saying, but I'm praying for you" from me, & ten minutes of a God-ordained conversation later--yes this was a brief slow time Friday morning--we hung up. I learned she is a Christian, & how amazing it is how God sustains us thru even the most trying times through other people or random acts of kindness or a simple, I'm praying for you. 
Left work with my heart warmed & glowing.

Headed then next door to Walgreens for some movie snacks for me & Ronnie to see Capt. America 2 that night. Was in search of Swedish Fish jelly beans in particular. A patient brought them into work along with other goodies as a thank-you & I was hooked. Seriously, try them. I asked an employee there where they could be found & she geeked out about them with me & pointed me to an Easter-themed box of Swedish Fish. I think I may've said something along the lines of, "Thank you so much. Have a blessed day."
Well, this woman clasped her hands to her heart & proceeded to tell me how much she needed that, & that she would claim it in Jesus' name because He had just been so good to her through a lot of rough times she's had recently. I replied, "Amen to that" & her eyes filled with tears & she proceeded to share the work God has done & is doing in her heart. 

It's the little things like these God-appointments; the choices not to rush, be kind & really listen with the same grace gifted to each & every one of us from the Lord even in our not-so-pretty moments. Some times I have moments where I wonder, What would it be like if _______. If I could write full time & not have to work; if I had a Mr. Charming as my one friend calls that ever elusive Special Someone; then I remember God's will is for me to bloom where I'm planted & live now. 

April 8, 2014

'Twill Be My Joy ...

Working on some edits as rain falls soft outside. The sky's gray, but light, at seven o'clock. My sister's playing her guitar across the room, kids & Mum are downstairs ... I'm bushed after a too late night & a long day's work. Spring's just about here *touches wood* & at long last. It's almost seven thirty & the sky's colored dove gray--but still it is light out. 
God's promises are yes & amen. Spring always follows winter.
So much to do ... but so much to love. To read. To pray. 
And so much to listen for. 
Mary sat at Jesus' feet instead of helping her sister in the kitchen. Martha missed out by being preoccupied with so much work "to be done under the sun" as Solomon warned against in Ecclesiastes.
Easter draws near & far too many people are preoccupied. I'm not talking about those who "do" the Easter Bunny & chocolate & plan on making this holiday the first out of two times they go to church this year.
I'm talking about us, the redeemed of the Lord. God's children. Me--His daughter. Reluctant to slow down. The road to Calvary is one not to be recalled for a mere one or two weeks out of the year. It is to be recalled in every moment when we make the choice to give into the comments & complaints that too easily can jump from our mouths. The moments when our own physical steps are limping & painful but there's still an hour or two more to the work day. 
Jesus' walk to Calvary--widely recognized as Holy Week--was not one short week in length. It began on that night when He came to earth & the angels sang, Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace, goodwill towards men. 
His walk ended not when His steps faltered on the hill & His cross was borne by another the rest of the way. His walk to Calvary ended not even when His feet were nailed to the Cross. 
Jesus' walk ended at the precise moment foreknew since the beginning of time when His blood was spilt to atone for us all. No earlier would the Lord have uttered, It is finished.
He asked that the cup be taken from Him. But yet He uttered, Not my will but Your's be done, after crying to His father--our Father--in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I stand amazed in the presenceOf Jesus the NazareneAnd wonder how He could love meA sinner condemned uncleanFor me it was in the gardenHe prayed: "Not my will but Thine"He had no tears for His own griefsBut sweat-drops of blood for mineTwill be my joy through the agesTo sing of His love for me!

April 3, 2014

Wanted: Writers

Below are some fantastic places in need of submissions on a myriad of great subjects. I write/have written for almost all of these fantastic places & have been incredibly blessed.

Love books & film?
Write for Charity's bi-monthly webzine, Femnista. She has a wide range of upcoming topics so contact her today for some inspiration & a spot in the webzine!
We welcome any and all submissions. Because we are a little webzine, we do not offer payment, but you do get your name out there and a spot as a blogger here on our main website. Our writers range in age from their mid-teens to moms. Your age doesn't matter... what matters is the wisdom and passion you have to share. We are looking for writers who love their topic, who are inventive, creative, and willing to try. Our goal is to celebrate women of all ages, all interests, and all talents, through our publication and our bloggers. That is our mission: simply to encourage you to be you, and to be all you can be.

Meditations of His Love: a devotional blog for young ladies
If you have something on your beautiful soul to share how the Lord has worked, taught & is renewing you day by day--head over to Meditations of His Love & Kindred Grace {their details below}
We welcome your guest posts! If you have something on your heart that you’d love to share on Meditations of His Love blog, please send it our way.  Before you send us your article, please make sure it follows these requests.
1. Is your post glorifying to the Lord and Scriptural?
2. Is your post full of grace and an encouragement to other women?
3. Is the message of your post relevant to the theme at Meditations of His Love?
4. Is your post proofread and free from grammatical and spelling mistakes?
5. Is your post free from controversial doctrine and theology subjects?
6. Is your post free from political or government debate?
Your post must meet these requirements, & be 200-600 words long.

Since our desire at Kindred Grace is to provide a grace filled space for conversations between sisters in Christ, we always welcome submissions from our readers. Guest posts can be on any topic that will glorify God & encourage other Christian women. Browse our archives for for an idea of the variety in the pieces published here at Kindred Grace. Follow the links below for specific writing guidelines & details on the submission process.
Writing Guidelines
Submission Process
The Art & Craft of Writing
Do you like to write about, well, writing? How you spill your own words across pages or into cyberspace, your publishing journey thus far & what you're learning on the crazy journey of being a writer, check out Every Good Word.
Anything & everything having to do with writing. Your story of how you came to be a writer, lessons learned along the way, editing tips & tricks, research techniques, how you manage your time as a writer, why you write what you do, the genre you write in...do you have your own unique idea or angle of writing not mentioned here? Send it on over to me!
Adornabelle ~ beautiful within, adorned without
If you love fashion, beauty tips & tricks & have found your niche in your personal style--hop over to Adornabelle!
Adornabelle is a site focusing on modest, classic fashion, healthy fitness and natural beauty.  We welcome your guest post submissions. If you are interested in writing for Adornabelle, we encourage you browse our site for the kind of content and quality that we’re looking for. You can also read about some of the topics we hope to feature here.
If you're in need of writerly services like edits, covers, formatting, look no further than three of the greatest. 
Rossano Designs in a small, Christian company run by an independently published author to support other authors. Rachel Rossano enjoys designing & formatting. This company is her way of helping others give their stories professional covers & presentation at a reasonable price.

Do you love to splash words on the page? Me, too. I know what a feat it is to put pen to paper and be proud of what you've written. I can be your extra pair of eyes. I am passionate about helping you polish your work until it shines as it should. I am trained in rhetorical composition, love to perfect punctuation, and fondly refer to myself as one of those grammar aficionados. I have worked with writers seeking traditional publication and those on the self-publishing route. I also have experience with international writers and those whose native language is not English.

Interested? Let's talk! Contact me at rachelle (at) rachellerea (dot) com. Click here for more details!

Each story has a season. Maybe you're just starting out, wanting to know if anything bright and good can come from your novel beginnings. Maybe you're almost ready to watch your full-grown book blossom to life - you just need to prune it and trim it a little more before you can show it to the world. Or maybe you're looking for someone to help you showcase and share the work of your hands. 
Wherever you're at, I would love to help you! First, I invite you to take a look at the various pages on the site. If you think I can give you the encouragement and direction you need, then send me an e-mail, and we'll figure out the details. I'm excited to share the journey with you! Click here for all the details!