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Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Christmas Story from the Heart, last blog of 2018

I don't often write fiction, but this story came to me after an experience I had recently.  There is some truth, but it is mostly fiction.  I hope you will enjoy it, as we enjoy these days of Christmas, and think of the beautiful miracle of Christmas - love came down to dwell among us.

A Christmas Story - a story of the Heart 
(fiction)


This is a story of the heart.

A heart that feels deeply, loves deeply.  And on this day it ached deeply.

We were approaching Christmas, the busy season of lists and shopping, and baking and decorating.  I struggled to find the quiet times to soothe my heart, to listen to the longings.

I missed my children, far away, and longed for relationship with them.  I packed bright cheery parcels and spent a fortune at the post office. 

I missed my husband, now in heaven just two years, and the heart ache was real, the loneliness physical and heavy at times.

Oh, I could cover up well.  I attended the office parties, attended the church choir concerts and pasted a smile that didn’t always go deep.  People thought I was doing pretty well.

But one day the ache wouldn’t leave, causing pain to stretch down into my arms and around my back.  It was hard to breathe.

Another panic attack, I thought.  This was annoying, I should handle this better! 

But the ache persisted, and finally I called a friend.  Something is wrong, I admitted.

And so here I found myself, in the hospital, just before Christmas.  Trees decorated in the hallways, Christmas music drifting out of speakers, but very much a hospital.  IV poles and IV lines were part of my landscape, along with monitoring equipment, blinking like tired Christmas lights.

I was absorbing the news that my heart was in trouble.  I’d need surgery.  And I was afraid.

Where was my husband when I needed him?  Would I be seeing him soon?  What about my children, and the grandchildren I hoped to hold one day?  The thoughts swirled unceasingly in my tired brain.

Christmas came, and the ward was quiet.  I was alone, in my room.

And then the visitor came.  She was a chaplain, she said. 

She introduced herself and asked if she could give me an ornament, and held it out, shiny and red.  I couldn’t believe it…It was in the shape of a heart.



I held the heart, its soft fabric in my hands.  “It is a heart”, I said.  And then I told her… “I’m waiting for heart surgery… and you brought a heart.”  Tears came to my eyes.

The chaplain was amazed, for it was the only heart shaped ornament she had.  And somehow, it was the one she had chosen to give.

She asked, could she pray for me?  And in that moment, I knew that I was not forgotten.  I knew my broken heart was noticed by God, who cared about my pain.  “Yes”, I said, and I listened as we prayed for God to be with me as I waited for surgery, to be with the surgeons, to bring peace to my tired heart.

Christmas was different that year.

I received the gift of surgery with a heart beginning to heal. 

But even more important, I received the gift of love and knowing that God was watching over me – as he guided someone to bring me a heart shaped ornament and pray – on a day when I needed it the most.



Saturday, December 22, 2018

Celebrating Joy, Renewed by Love

Last week I jotted in my journal "Where will I find Joy this week?"

And it was found in unexpected and precious moments.  Our little grandson leaping from rock to rock in a nearby playground, saying, "Yes, Grandma, I know this is dangerous!" hit our funny bone.  Dangerous or not, he did it anyway, joyously living life.

There was joy in places of sadness, bringing in a Christmas tree to a young friend of mine, in last stages of cancer, and celebrating the light and joy that brought.

There was joy in the gift of a meal from our Korean friends and sharing life with them.

There was joy in the skies, as the light filtered through the winter days, making the clouds dance, against the winter blue.

This weekend we turn our focus on Love, the fourth word in our Advent Journey.

I loved this verse from Zephaniah, which I have been reading all week.  It says:  "Do not fear, O Zion!.  (I slipped in my name instead of Zion, and it became very personal). 
"Do not let your hands grow weak!  The LORD your GOD is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory;  He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in His Love!".  

Our Creator God rejoices over us... what a wonderful thought, and we can be renewed in love. 

In the craziness of this week it was good to keep coming back to these words, which were food for my soul. 

So as we light the fourth candle, the candle of love, I thought of these words, the final acrostic for Advent:

LOVE, is GOD, in our midst
  Light for our way, giving Life
Oh to rest in this love
  washing over me, from the One who gives
Victory, manifest in weakness,
  yet triumphant
Eternal and Everlasting. 



Monday, December 17, 2018

Reflecting on Joy

Joy is the next step on this advent journey, the weeks slipping by in this season of parties, concerts, gatherings and preparation.

We sang about joy yesterday and it was very clear to me that JOY is not the outward emotion of happiness, but something much deeper, that comes out of gratitude for all we are given.

If you've been following along in this little series, I've been working on an acrostic for each week.  JOY is very short! 

The old acrostic I grew up with a child was this:
Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last.

I've had to rethink that... in the "helping" world that I and many of my friends are, putting others first can have some drawbacks.  Indeed, we need to look at taking care of ourselves to fully serve others.

Joy has everything to do with gratitude.  When we live thankful lives, Joy just bubbles out of gratefulness.

And there is much to be grateful for.  Faith and hope.  Love.  Shelter and food in abundance.  Beauty all around.  The laughter of children.  The list is endless. 

But I'm limited to three letters so here goes!  :-)

Joy is Jubilant, and yes, it is about my friend Jesus, the reason for Christmas. 
Omnipotent describes this gift of Christmas, God with unlimited power, able to do anything!
Yielding to the God of hope and peace, with trust.  Mary choose to do that, yielding to the miracle of Life within her, trusting in God's plan for her.

How would you describe Joy? 

It is a beautiful gift, in the season of Advent.  It is promised to us... Joy will come, as sure as the day follows the night.  Joy to the World, the Lord has come... Joy is Emmanuel, God present with us.


Monday, December 10, 2018

an Acrostic Poem of Peace for Advent

The second in words of Advent, this is an acrostic poem about peace.

PEACE

Peace, 
  a Promise
by the ONE
   Who Is PEACE.
"My Peace I leave with you,
   do not be afraid!"

Even in the midst of
   chaos
      suffering
Emmanuel - God with us
   entering our world

Always,
  "I am with you, always", 
     Jesus said.
Able, Ageless, Abundant

as Close as our breath
Creating Calm
our Creator cares and provides for us

Everything we need,
   in the light of
eternity.

-grace wulff 2018 advent thoughts


Monday, December 3, 2018

An Acrostic Advent

In my ponderings of Advent this year, I thought I'd attempt to write an acrostic poem each week to enter into this season of waiting.  

Here are my thoughts on this beautiful word "HOPE".

Hope involves the Heart
   a response
   of Yes
   in the midst of unknowing
   Yet, believing
   that all will be well.

Overcoming
   choosing light
      however faint
   over darkness.

Persevering
   with trust and faith
      and courage to take
          the next step.

Ever present
   Encouraging, a knowing
   that we are held, loved
   by the One who is
   Eternal.

-grace wulff 2018 advent thoughts