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!

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!

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”

See if I Care

I lost something recently that I cherished. No, there’s been no death in my family. I like to use big words and have a tendency to exaggerate. I lost pictures I’d taken on my holidays, pictures I’d admired and played with and hoped to share on Instagram, probably 500 of them. I went on a hike to a lake this summer and impulsively took my phone, the keeper of my precious pictures, on a swim and, nope, I didn’t have them backed up. My phone is dead, blank, unyielding, even though I smothered it in quinoa, rice, and silica crystals, took it in to have it checked out by people who know more about phones than I, stroked it and prayed over it. I’m still praying, but to date, sadly, there’s been no resurrection.
Continue reading “See if I Care”

Out of the Blind Side

Those of you who’ve been following my blog know that I’ve been running to improve my fitness level. The city I live in has two sides divided by a river and coulees or, if you’re not familiar with that term, ravines. I live a few blocks from the trails on top of the lightroad-815297_12802coulees, a pleasant place to exercise with a beautiful view of the river valley. Yesterday, I awoke at 5 am to get my run in, because I had to be somewhere to volunteer at 6:45. I know, an ungodly hour, but I work in healthcare. A 5 am start to the day isn’t unusual for me. What was unusual about this particular run is it was in the dark. I still opted to go out on top of the coulees, because running on trails is gentler on the body than smacking the pavement, but I didn’t consider how challenging it would be to run without being able to see. Continue reading “Out of the Blind Side”

There’s a World out There

There’s a kid picking through a garbage can

While I sit down to breakfastworldpoor-2382641__4802

There’s tired man in an unemployment line

While I head off to work

There’s an invalid struggling to use his limbs

While I climb on my bicycle

And there’s a world out there trying

While I’m watching my TV

 

There’s a girl, she’s been living in a cardboard box

worldchildren-of-war-1172016_12802While I’m warm and sheltered

There’s a child lying broken on a kitchen floor

While I have been embraced

There’s a boy dodging bullets in a civil war

While I take peace for granted

There’s a world out there crying

While I’m watching my TV

 

I live in a world where I can choose to stay

Will I venture out, will I look and really seeworldboy-529067_12802

That life is happening all around me?

I’ve been living in a fairytale

Some are living in a tragedy

What can I do?

Will I do anything?

 

There’s a lonely one pining in an empty room

worldalone-2666433_1280While I’m loved and wanted

There’s sickly soul looking for a lasting cure

While I’m whole and strong

There’s a muddled mind searching for the simple truth

While I’m clear and rested

There’s a world out there dying

While I’m watching my TV

 

I live in a world that I must choose to leave

I must venture out, I must look and really see

That life is happening all around meworlddrink-3021521_12802

Lord, I wanna be a living spring

Welling up to eternity

Where everyone can come and drink

There’s a world out there

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

 

What are we Waiting For?

I have a confession to make. I was a Ferberizer. If you aren’t familiar with this term, a Ferberizer is a person who prescribes to Dr. Ferber’s approach for training an infant to sleep. When I think back on those early years with my children, the newborn stage was, by far, the most difficult for me. You see, I adore sleep and have generally been very good at it, sleeping on average seven to nine hours a night. Going from a healthy, luxurious eight hours of sleep, to sleeping three hours before being awoken by a cute, tight-fisted, red-faced, screaming narcissist was a nightmare. Within a month’s time, I was transformed from a relatively fashionable, semi-capable human being, to an unkempt, waitingbaby-2387661__4802smelly, baggy-eyed, babbling zombie, which is why I was a Ferberizer. It was imperative that I find the quickest way back to my cozy bed and the sweetest of dreams. You can read all about Ferber and his methods here, but essentially, when it was time for your babe’s beddy-bye, you placed your little one in the crib awake. The premise was that the child needed to learn to fall asleep on his own and self soothe, if need be, without any cuddling, rocking, or excessive bum patting on the part of the parent. Inevitably, the crying would begin. The parent was to wait an increment of time and then go in and give their offspring a few gentle pats of reassurance and exit the room once more and continue doing this until the child went to sleep. Eventually, the kid, squawking, waiting for his mother’s return would think, “Aw, nuts, she’s not coming back and this is exhausting” and he’d peter out into a restful slumber. Sometimes, this worked perfectly and sometimes it was an agonizing waiting game, but whatever you think of this method, I believe it taught my children a valuable lesson: sometimes, in life, one has to wait.
Continue reading “What are we Waiting For?”