Hark

For my Dad, Ron Mayforth, the one who led me to the light.

Every year for the last four years, our church has had the opportunity to share a Live Nativity Production with the people of our city at a local Christmas Craft fair. Along with a couple of goats, volunteers are gathered from every age group. We usually have a real baby Jesus, a gaggle of kids playing either scruffy shepherds or cherubic angels, young adults to flesh out the roles of Joseph and Mary, and seniors of both sexes to play the Wise Men. This year, as I participated, I was struck once again by the story that marks the coming of God to us. So often, the lowliness of his birth is emphasized, the fact that he came as a helpless baby to an unknown, unwed teenager and her tradesman fiancée from a little town of little regard. There were no premium cotton sheets waiting, not even a proper crib or, for that matter, a sanitary, comfortable place for Mary to give birth. She hunkered down and grunted in the hay, not unlike the farm animals surrounding her. Hardly the dignified procession with the requisite pomp and splendor befitting the King of kings, but, if we look elsewhere, his arrival wasn’t completely without fanfare.

Let’s look at the story of God’s announcement of his coming to the shepherds. Luke 2:8-20 tells us that these were ordinary men working the night shift, tending their sheep in the open country, one of those thankless jobs with more stink involved than anything else. It would of been dark save the light of the moon and stars, something we who live in the cities of today are not accustomed to. They may have had a fire going for warmth and they may have been dozy or resting. According to this passage, an Angel of the Lord appeared suddenly and God’s glory was fearsome, startling, not a soft, gentle, gradual glow, but a light that, in an instant, split the night sky. These bleary eyed, unsuspecting men are described as terrified, an emotion I can hardly identify with. It seems a common occurrence for angels visiting human beings in the Bible to have to calm down and reassure those they’re sent to. The angel told them to relax, that he was the bearer of good news meant for everyone, that the Messiah, the one that would save his people from their sins, was born like any other baby and they could find him down yonder, wrapped up snugly and newly squawking, in a cattle stall. Doesn’t this sound insane? You’d think these simple folks would have been stunned and confused, incredulous or, at least, thinking there was something off about the stew they devoured before settling in for the night, except that they’d been hoping, praying, and waiting for this promised Messiah. That wasn’t the end of it. The angel brought friends and not just a quartet’s worth, but an army filling the sky, flooding the atmosphere and the wide-eyes of those shepherds with unremitting light. They, this army of blinged-out, celestial beings, proceeded to put up a wall of praise the likes of which, I’m sure, has not been heard on the earth since. It was an incredible spectacle, exactly what one may expect of the true light…coming into the world (John 1:9).

I think we’ve lost something in the frenzy of planning, shopping, decorating, cooking and baking, concerts and parties. We feed on mounds of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, our bellies swollen past uncomfortable and, yet, our souls our withering away with a lack of wonder. We ooh and ahh over cheap trinkets when we should be enraptured at the incarnation. We’ve become the dozy shepherds, going about our busyness, numb and empty and full of longing, groping about in the darkness. Wake us up with a start, Lord. Send your light to rip open our souls. May your message of love, joy, peace, and hope fill us to overflowing. May the angel’s song reverberate through every fiber of our beings until it comes out our mouths and we’re compelled to seek you where you may be found and share the wonder of your visitation with all who’ll listen. Amen and amen. Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

Feature photo: A mashup made by yours truly of an angel from Pixabay and my dumpster art.

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

Polly’s Picks for Pics

From Left to Right:

1)   Bring on the Bling

For many people, Christmas is represented strictly by red and green, but who can deny the power of bling to accent our holiday trimmings. This shot of shredded tape on a power pole, with a little help in processing, made me think of gold ribbon.

2)   Starry Night

There’s a hardware store down the street from where I live. It has a home décor section and, from time to time, I go in looking for photo opportunities. I’ve had this pic of this most unique light fixture for some time and never knew whether I would ever share it. It fits here as the star has always been a symbol of Christmas, playing a key role in the Christmas story and  adorning the tops of Christmas trees.

3)  Editorial Ice

Big icicles like this one are a treat to capture, but this looks nothing like the original shot. I like to play with my pictures.

4)  Blue Ribbon Special

A beauty of an old fence. Peeling paint and wood can be magical!

5)  The Heart of Christmas
This is glue, of all things. Some artistic soul swirled it on in a pattern on the loading dock at a grocery store and affixed something to it, never imagining that only the glue would remain and some weirdo would come along and take a picture of it. I can’t tell you why this reminds me of Christmas. It just does.

6)  Wood Angel

Being an alley girl, I’ve taken many pictures of old fences. I look at these knots and see the pastel wings of an angel. 

7)  Silver Bells

The silvery gleam and dainty blue berries ring true for the holidays.

8)  The Gift of Light

I took this picture after Christmas a couple of years ago. This gift bag was sitting on my daughter’s dresser and the way the light caught the ribbon was captivating. 

9)  Ornamental Fence

I love the iridescent glow of this fence and the jaunty stripes on this knot. This pic puts me in a festive mood!

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

Sayonara, Social Media

I’m giving up Social Media. After a good and maybe not so good 10 years or more of posting, scrolling, skimming, perusing, liking, and commenting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I’m done. I’ll leave my accounts up for the purpose of contacting people. Otherwise, I’m putting my phone down.img_9450

I’ve only had a cell phone for five years. I remember the days when I left the house and the now antiquated payphone was my only means of communication. I always liked being unreachable, which is why I resisted getting a cell phone. Every day, I free floated through a beautiful, bustling collage of sights, sounds, and smells with all my senses firing. It’s a rich world we live in. It’s too bad we’re so often tuned out.

I’m sad to say, I’ve lived much of my life in front of a screen of one size or another. I had a TV watching schedule as a kid and I was always the first one up for Saturday morning cartoons, so beguiling was that flickering box. Movies quickly captured my imagination with their grand scale and epic storytelling and I’m still entranced to this day. My eyes should be screens img_9451themselves–big, empty, glassy–for all the time I’ve spent gazing stupidly at screens. It’s a wonder my mouth isn’t stuck in a permanent “duh”. It’s a proven thing that watching passively doesn’t utilize a mind. When we talk about vegging out in front of the television, we’re correct. We’re effectively turning our brains into cauliflower. How much of my life have I spent looking at a screen, at moving pictures of people I don’t know, people having fun living their lives pretending to be someone else while I watch them? At least, social media tends to demand more engagement, but we’ve still shortened our attention spans, snacking on tantalizing bits and bites, skimming rather than studying. The internet, for all its goodness, has its shadow side.

Is social media all that bad? No. It’s a good way for families spread out geographically to keep in touch with each other. One can reconnect with old friends. Some people find love. Churches and clubs keep their members apprised of what’s happening. I met some friendly, interesting, creative, talented, funny and fun, wonderful people on these sites. It was a social thing for me, but, unfortunately, I had trouble limiting my usage. I went from being a consumer to being consumed. Will I miss out? I was missing out. On my life. The endless hours I dedicated to scrolling through and liking stranger’s images on Instagram in the last three years, which had little to do with being social, took me away from not only my loved ones and friends, but something I was passionate about, my writing. The cost was too high.

This move goes against the advice of blogging gurus. Create and religiously maintain an online presence, they say. Spread yourself over as many social media platforms as you can, they say. Get your name, your face, your brand out there, they say. Who has time to do all of this and still live in the real img_9470world?! I’m here to creatively share my story, not to amass followers or build a career. From a girl, I’ve been an avid reader of memoirs and autobiographies. I’m grateful to everyone of those authors for being brave enough to put their experience down on paper. I’ve gained so much insight, inspiration, encouragement, and hope and I’m not overstating things when I say that many of their stories changed my life for the good. Spurred on by their powerful example, I add my story to the colorful pile. I’m glad when one person stops by and humbled that anyone would join me on this journey. I welcome you to share your stories with me through the comments and contact page.

In reality, this decision is about time and my dwindling supply of it. When you’re a kid, you don’t give time much thought because your future seems so far away, like in another galaxy. I’m rapidly approaching 53 and my life seems to be speeding up as I’m slowing down. How fair is that? Christmases are coming faster, almost piling up on each other. Two of my children are adults! I have adult children, me, the “She Peter Pan” who never wanted to grow up! I wish I could push pause, but I can’t. What I can do is decide what to do with what time I have left, whether it be today or 20 or thirty years of todays.img_9469

Here’s what I’m doing with my new-found time:

I’m drawing near to God. I’m reading his word, talking to him, and listening to him and feeling more centered and grounded than ever before. My faithimg_9472 is growing and I’m experiencing victory in my life where there’ve long been strongholds I once thought were impenetrable. The scales are falling from my eyes and I’m reminded of what is truly important. I’m being imbued with fresh hope and a renewed sense of his divine purpose.

I’m reaching out to family and friends. Social media is isolating, if it keeps us from relating to those around us. I’ve been looking at screens instead of being with people! Messaging someone is such a small part of what it means to be social. I’m not saying that long distance relationships are impossible, but they do lack depth. Video chat is a helpful thing, but I don’t think it can make up for a person’s presence. A screen is a poor substitute for a flesh and blood human img_9471being. We’re meant to look people in the eye, to note their face, form, and body language, to hear the tone of their voice and enjoy the sound of their laughter, to touch and hug them, to share a meal, a drink, a walk, a secret. In the past, when there were no screens, people got together to visit, play games, make music, have parties, work on projects, and pray. I’m being convicted. I need way less screen time and way more warm hugs, hikes with friends, intimate convos, and lively parties.

I’m using my brain and my body. I’m being productive, getting things done that I’ve been putting off. I’m tackling bad habits and endeavoring to help more and complain less. I’m growing stronger and exploring new ways of moving. I’m being creative. I’m reading, writing, listening to music, and sorting, deleting, and processing the thousands of images I’ve taken over my time on Instagram. My aim is to become a vibrant, well-rounded, attentive individual, someone who is open to all that life has to offer and all the people God wants to

When you’re lying on your deathbed, who will be there and what will you look back on with fondness? Hopefully, if you’ve given yourself to those you love, your family and friends will be there. They’ll sit by your side and hold your hand and reminisce about all those likes and comments you used to get. Hahahahaha! No, they won’t. If you take control now and live your life by design with passion, they’ll talk about your admirable achievements, your crazy, amazing adventures, your zest and love, and how you made a difference in their lives and that, my friends, is far better than any number of likes.img_9457

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thanks for giving me some of your precious time. Be blessed!

Polly’s Picks for Pics

From Left to Right:
1) Brickety brick brick, brick brick brick
Unusual brick peaks my interest. Anything out of the ordinary does. I like unusual people, too.
2) The Meaning of the Word Awesome
It was obviously the intention of the architect here to have people enter, look up, and be awestruck, a fitting tribute to the God who designed this wonderful world. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa, Canada.
3) Polly Eloquent’s Dumpster Art
I started taking pictures three years ago in order to have something to post on Instagram. I was wandering through alleys, my eyes hungry for something, anything, to capture. A dumpster, a large metal waste receptacle found behind most businesses, seems an unlikely object to photograph, but because I don’t have the means to travel, I was forced to make do, to look closely at everyday objects. Now, whenever I’m at a store or business, I usually visit its garbage can, a practice that has gotten me more than my share of questions and weird looks, but that doesn’t take away from the pleasure I receive finding and revealing these unnoticed masterpieces.
4) I See You
I look for interesting ways to incorporate people into my photographs.
5) Softly Comes the Light
I crave light. I’m always opening the curtains. In the darkness, I feel tentative and sometimes afraid, like it might swallow me up. Light, especially the natural light of the sun, is warm and inviting, offering clarity. Still, photography has given me an appreciation of the fanciful play between light and shadow that I now see everywhere I go. I’m grateful for this revelation.
6) Perty Poser
My children laugh at how long it takes me to take a picture. I’m almost in slow mo when pressing the shutter release button. Maybe I’m trying to steady myself. Maybe it takes awhile for me to find the right composition. Maybe it’s because I’m never in very much of a hurry and don’t like to be rushed. Consequently, animals and insects are subjects I rarely capture. Yet, this beautiful creature sat resting, sunning itself with nary a flutter. Thank you, sweet thing.
7) Curl and Prickle
There’s a good and bad side to every quality. A pleasing curl and a biting prickle.
8) Wintery Wall
This image reminds me of blizzards I’ve driven through on my commute home from the small town where I work. The snow billows against the deep dark and I’m suddenly so small and untethered, a prisoner in a cosmic snow globe, hoping against hope that I won’t float up and away and be blurred out, erased in the whirling white.

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thanks for giving me some of your precious time. Be blessed!

Move it and Lose it: A Former Fatty on Going Lean

The word fat has been in my vocabulary since I was a child. I’m sure there was a time when I was small in size, but I don’t remember it. I was never a wisp of a girl, it’s not how I’m built. When I see pictures of myself in preadolescence, the first word that comes to mind is stocky. I’m reminded of an impish boy pointing at me on the playground, hismoveithotdog eyes flashing, as he sang, off key, the popular, Ball Park Frank’s jingle, “They plump when you cook ’em”. He wasn’t inaccurate. Plump. That’s me, for most of my life anyway. Continue reading “Move it and Lose it: A Former Fatty on Going Lean”

Lessons from the Valley and the Mountaintop

Take control of me, Jesus. The current management is woefully incompetent.

Almost 6 years ago, I went back to school to change my career. To say I went back to school is incorrect, because I’ve been in school now for 52 years. The school of life is always in session. Life lessons are a moment by moment occurrence. If we’re aware, we’ll acknowledge the lesson, learn from it, and be changed for the better. If we go through life on autopilot, never recognizing what life is trying to teach us, we may IMG_8308someday regret our inattentiveness. Just as in school, there are some lessons we want to learn. We lap them up, like a parched dog slurping noisily at a water dish. We apply ourselves with every ounce of our time, concentration, and giftedness. Other lessons, we must push ourselves to learn. I have a friend who received a grade of 62% in one of his high school courses. Worried that this low mark would affect his chances of getting into university, he went to the trouble of taking the course again only to end up with 63%. I do find this humorous, but also baffling, because I get it. It’s true, some things we can only learn the hard way. Continue reading “Lessons from the Valley and the Mountaintop”

The Mystery of the God Man

The only unborn 

The creator and sustainer

The three-in-one ensconced in sweet community

Thought up this grand experiment of love

Brainstormed this big idea

Split the darkness, broke the silence, spoke the cosmos and it’s creatures into being

We, the creatures, once deceived, threw off our Father’s rule to follow our own will

And all seemed lost

But, The Holy God, the Spirit, filled up flesh in all his glory

The clockmaker took on the tick of time

The Word graced the page by entering the human story

And the origin of light

Laid bare the truth and made the shadows flee away

The sculptor morphed into clay

The good news wrapped itself in swaddling clothes

The wounded healer took on all our sickly woes

The gentle sage told us, showed us how to live

And the world watched in wonder

As the God Man strode the land

For we did not recognize him

We did not know the scent of our own breath

We did not know from whence we came

He came in love

To walk the lonesome road and hang upon the crooked tree 

To wash, with his own blood, the stain of sin

To sacrifice himself that, in believing, we may live with him eternally 

To battle death and win

To claim us as his children once again

To reunite us and invite us in

To glorious communion with our maker

Our risen Saviour

Reigning now and forever more

Hallelujah to the King of kings

Jesus Christ is Lord

 

Happy Easter! 🙂

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Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: @pollyeloquent2 and don’t forget to mention that you’re a reader. Thanks for your time!

Your Hair is None of my Business

I was part of a conversation recently that disturbed me. Someone shared a story about a pastor friend. This pastor decided he’d like to try having long hair and began growing his hair out. When his hair reached a certain length, a deacon approached him, advising him IMG_5924to get a haircut. He kindly refused, saying he liked his hair the way it was. The deacon replied, “Well, do you like working here?” I couldn’t believe it. A church threatening termination of employment over a hairstyle. According to the person telling the story, the congregation had no other issues with the pastor, they were pleased with his ministry amongst them, they just didn’t fancy his long, gold-y locks. Continue reading “Your Hair is None of my Business”

It’s Winter Appreciation Day!

Delicate, crystal fluff falling slowly

Wandering down, one by one, to blanket the earth in bright, white softness

Glitz clinging precariously to my wispy lashes

Spattering my cheeks with cold kisses

Dusting my shoulders with sparkly, wet confetti

Clumping up on the bottom of my clunky, winter boots

Making me feel as quiet as it looks

Hush, it says

It’s time for rest and wonder

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Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: @pollyeloquent2 and don’t forget to mention that you’re a reader. Thanks for your time!

Say What you Need to Say

For St. Valentine, because he deserves better.

I love me some Facebook, but I’ve noticed an avalanche of other things where my friend’s status updates used to be. I find it humorous that people are upset when others scroll on by, when they’ve offered little incentive to stop and look. My main reason for going on Facebook is not to be inspired, enlightened, challenged, taught, or entertained, IMG_4788though all of these things take place. I go on Facebook to see what’s happening in the lives of my friends. I enjoy the family pictures, the declarations of love, the documenting of birthdays, weddings and holidays, the silly stories, and the “look what my kid did and I’m so proud” moments. I’ve always been shy and when I see people in social situations that I’m friends with on Facebook, I feel a barrier to approaching them has come down, because I have, at least, a vague idea of what their lives look like. This seems less likely to occur, as personal statuses are replaced with quotes, articles, and cat and dog videos. Continue reading “Say What you Need to Say”