Glory Tour (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Dec 31 Happy New Year

Last moon of 2017 (photo ©Dec. 31, 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Welcome to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, February edition. Today we’re moodling on the moon.

To tell you the truth, I don’t have much of a relationship with the moon. It’s beautiful, for sure. I do love to see it bulge orange and bountiful over the horizon on a clear evening. I associate moonrises with autumn on the prairie, the thrum of combines and trucks in the background, my dad and uncle taking advantage of every bit of light to gather in the harvest of wheat and oats. But most of the time I feel sorry for the moon staring distant, cold, and lone into the night.

Of course the moon’s prominence, cool beauty, and mystery are impossible to miss. One of my favourite childhood poems was about the moon. You probably know it:

“Slowly silently now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way and that she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;”

Read the rest of “Silver” by Walter de la Mare HERE.

It’s not surprising that the moon has been a worship object in many religions (and probably still is). Its waxing, waning, and connection to tides and seasons surely invest it with mysterious power that is only reinforced by the occasional eclipse. I love the poem “Lunar Eclipse (June 1928)” by D. S. Martin (a poem from his chapbook So the Moon Would Not Be Swallowed—a collection of poems inspired by correspondence from his grandparents who were missionaries in China). In it, he describes the reaction of the Chinese people to the lunar eclipse in June of 1928:

LUNAR ECLIPSE (JUNE 1928)
Yencheng, Honan, China

On Sunday
evening as darkness crept in
the people rushed out
with gongs
& pots
& anything to make noise
to scare
the heavenly dog
that slowly
very
slowly
ever so slowly
had
placed its jaws about the moon

Read the rest of D.S. Martin’s poem HERE…

My attitude toward the moon has been influenced by my Christian faith and the Bible, which depicts it as one of God’s creations. I love how Genesis describes its beginnings:

“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” – Genesis 1:16 (emphasis added).

My poem today was inspired by Psalm 19 (where the moon isn’t mentioned specifically, but we know it is a part of the created heavens).

“The heavens declare the glory of God
And the firmament shows His handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1

Glory Tour

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies …
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere” – Psalm 19:1,4 The Message

The stars are reciting
galaxies rhyming
the language of eons
in speed-of-light timing.

The Sun’s dialect
of dangerous rays
is inflected with angles
defining our days.

The Moon serenades
tide, lover and season
chanting its charms
with quarterly reason.

The Heavens are dancing
Truth, Beauty and Wisdom.
The tickets are free,
Earth attendees are welcome!

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

(Glory Tour was first published on Laurel Archer’s 2017 Advent blog.)

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyBe sure to visit our Spiritual Journey First Thursday hostess, Donna at Mainely Write for links to more moon meditations.

Stillness #BibleJournaling

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There is something about walking in moonlight that makes me feel reflective. Experiencing the mountains on a moonlit night is also a good place to feel the mystery of light and be awed by the beauty and bigness of creation.

Stillness, awe, and majesty were feelings I was trying to portray in this water color painting to go with Psalm 46:8 and 10: “Come, behold the works of the LORD, … Be still and know that I am God.”

IMG_0069

Bible Journal entry for Psalm 46:8,10 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

(I prepped this page with clear gesso before doing the water color painting and used a white GellyRoll pen to do the lettering and highlights.)

Creative God #BibleJournaling

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One of my favorite psalms is 104. It’s full of pictures—God laying the “beams of His upper chambers in the waters,” chariot clouds, angels that appear as “a flame of fire,” mountains, valleys, beasts, trees, birds… I wanted to do an art journal entry, but where to start?

I decided to focus on the latter half of the psalm which describes the creation and movement of the cosmos—earth, moon, stars, sun. The words that jumped out at me were sum-up ones:

“O Lord, how manifold are all Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all,
The earth is full of Your possessions” – Psalm 104:24.

I found a black-and-white globe online (with North America facing), printed and cut it out. Then I sketched with pencil and pen on the white “ocean” parts, with white gel pen on the black “land” parts. Pencil crayons and paints finished the graphic.

As I was working, a thought occurred: But God never made the boats, ships, planes, skyscrapers, and vehicles.

Ah, another answered, but it was He who planted within mankind the creative spirit to design, re-form and use elements He had created in their raw forms and states. He created us humans to remake, reuse, recycle.

Night and day, stars, moon, and sun entered the drawing above and below where I attached the globe.

Ps 104-24a

What to put on the underside?

The words just a bit further down in Psalm 104 remind me that God has never left creation but continues to sustain it: “These all wait for You.” Still further along we read the very real end of any creature that was but is no longer sustained: “You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust” – Psalm 104:29. Who of us hasn’t experienced that in the reality of physical death—of pets, of loved ones?

As I contemplated how I might finish the back of the globe, another reminder of God’s ownership came to me in the words of Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.”

Ps 104-back

Father God, I remind myself that the earth is Yours and all its fullness. In wisdom You have made them all. These all (I included) wait for you. Along with the psalmist I say: I will bless, praise, and sing to the Lord as long as I live – Psalm 104:35,33.

ADMIRE (Out of Sight)

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On March 2, 2014, two years ago yesterday, I broke my hip. I was away from home helping my daughter with her new baby at the time. I took a careless step on the stair, tripped, fell, and landed full force on the cement floor at just the right angle to do the damage. Two years ago today I had surgery to fix that hip.

Happily by now I’m well again and hardly feel any different than I did before the break. But on every anniversary since it’s happened I can’t help but remember that fateful day.

Recovery took so much longer than the accident! When we got home, two thirds through March, I walked with a walker, and then a cane. I used a device to help me put on my socks. For weeks I showered in my husband’s walk-in instead of my own tub shower because I couldn’t climb over the side.

For a long time walking was a limping business. I couldn’t think or will myself into a smooth gait, no matter how hard I tried. The simple walking action I had always done with no thought was revealed as complex. I began to ADMIRE the ability to walk smoothly and effortlessly, but even more admire the Creator of this ability.

ADMIRE, Julieanne Harmatz‘s one-little-word is the word we’re discussing today. It means to regard with wonder, pleasure, or approval. Some of its synonyms are wonder at, treasure, value, worship, think highly of, take pleasure in.

If you think of it, everything around us is fodder for admiration. The fact that I can think thoughts and coordinate brain and hand to make them visible; that I can eat yummy food and it gets changed into hair, skin, and blood; that we live on a planet that’s located in vast space at just the right distance from a star, our sun, with the exact conditions needed to sustain life… all these things and more are cause to wonder at, value, admire.

But my admiration doesn’t stand alone. It has an object—God, the Creator who designed, created and sustains these myriad of systems. Psalm 104 is an admirer’s poem, full of praise for the natural world. It might be called the admiration of worship. Here are its opening lines:

Psalm 104

Bless the Lord O my soul!
O Lord my God,
You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain… (read the rest…)

Back down to earth, during my convalescence I wrote some impressions of that time. Here I am, still limping along…

P1010399

My best friends during recovery – cane, picker, back-washer, shoe-horn, sock thingy, Kindle reader, and walker. (Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly)

Out of Sight

I never gave the walk-cycle a thought
considered all the moving parts
heel, foot, knee, hip
pretibial, calf, quadriceps, hamstring
bone, muscle, sinew
needed to move in sync like an orchestra
to form the ballet of a step
until I broke one part.

Now I’ve added another part—a cane
have begun doing scales, arpeggios, four-note chords
exercising thighs and knees
to help my body relearn
a smooth, unlimping gait.
The ability to walk
always before
out of sight
but now never
out of mind.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly

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This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

A Creation Tale

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At her blog Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle’s January guest was children’s poet Douglas Florian. He posted the January Ditty of the Month challenge to write a poem about NOTHING. (Read Mr. Florian’s interview and challenge HERE.)

I’ve enjoyed these poems a lot during January as they debuted on Michelle’s blog and others. I wrote one a couple of weeks ago and decided to get brave and post it today  which is the last day of the challenge. (Michelle I know I’m too late to make into the draw and appear on your site & that’s just fine.) It’s a children’s poem.

Image: Johnhain / Pixabay.com

Image: johnhain / Pixabay.com

A Creation Tale

Before there ever was anything
Creator had the thought
of replacing nothing with something
to make things where there now were not.

The home for his creation could be
land or sky, ice or sea.

He could fill it with creatures feathered or scaled
furry or smooth, hided or hard.

They could move on feet, hoofs or wings
hop on claws or swim with fins.

Call to each other with honk or bray
laugh, nicker, warble or say.

And there could be things that would only stand
spreading green across the land

with hats of red, yellow or blue
and luscious fruit of every hue…

His mind was so full of these wonderful thoughts
he was getting nothing done.
But how to choose among so many
nothing to something begun?

So he decided to make them all
use all these ideas and more.
And that was the end of nothing.
Now there’s something forevermore.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Catherine at Reading to the Core.

Trees of the Book by Kimberley Payne, Illustrated by Esther Haug (review)

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About the book

Trees of the bookTrees of the Book is a colorful storybook / workbook designed to introduce seven- to nine-year-olds to trees of the Bible and more. Folksy title and heading font, as well as Esther Haug’s pencil crayon, water color wash illustrations give the book a look that says, “Welcome kids, this is for you.”

Within the book author Kimberley Payne explores seven common Bible trees, devoting a two-page spread to each. Features include a Bible story retold in first person by the tree, questions about the story, facts about the tree, an activity (like word search, maze, crossword puzzle), and more places one can read about that tree in the Bible. The book ends with a glossary explaining  unusual words, a list of Bible people and who they are, eleven more project suggestions, and solutions to the activities.

Payne’s clear, simple writing style is perfect for early elementary students. The book is detailed and long enough to provide real value, yet not so long it would drag on as a unit. The additional project suggestions take the study past science into ecology,  art, language arts, and studies of Bible characters. I love how the conclusion to the book reminds readers of another very special tree:

“And how can we forget the tree that was used to make the cross that Jesus was  crucified on? “Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others —one on each side and Jesus in the middle” (John 19:17)”Trees of the Book p. 20.

Trees of the Book would be a great resource for parents home-schooling their kids, teachers in Christian schools wishing to inject Bible knowledge into their study of plants and trees, or leaders and counselors in club or camp settings. Children could also use it independently.

Payne is hoping to publish more books in the Science and Faith Matters series in the months ahead.

I received Trees of the Book as a gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

About the author:

Kimberley PayneKimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Kimberley has volunteered as a teacher in many children’s programs at her church, as a teacher’s aide for students’ reading in the classroom, and within the library at her children’s school. She works as an Elementary School Secretary for the Catholic School Board. She combines her teaching experience and her love of writing to create educational materials for children about family, fitness, science and faith.  www.kimberleypayne.com

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