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Linda Roorda

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Linda Roorda last won the day on January 29 2023

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  1. Little lambs are so soft, cuddly and cute! In my mid-teens, my siblings and I were given a lamb which I promptly named “Lambie.” Very original, huh?! It was only intended until something better came to mind, but nothing ever did. She was a twin, abandoned by her mother and given to us by our cousin, Robert, from his flock. I don’t know the breed, but she had light gray wool with a black face and black legs. As Lambie’s main caretaker, I took responsibility to make sure she was fed. Following my Dad’s directions, I made a gruel with oatmeal, water and evaporated milk, feeding it to her in a glass bottle which had one of my brother’s bottle nipples attached – we were good at making do. And I loved to watch her little tail go “ninety miles an hour” while she drank! Lambie was small, not very old, so we kept her in a box near the old-fashioned wood-burning kitchen stove to keep her warm. It was too cold to put her out in the barn all by herself without her mama. Even our mutt, Pepsi, of terrier and other unknown parentage, liked nothing better than to jump into Lambie’s box to check out this new arrival to our menagerie. And I’m sure Pepsi wondered why this little one said “baaaa” and didn’t whimper like a puppy, but she contentedly mothered her adopted baby anyway! Eventually, Lambie went to her pen in the barn, and followed me wherever I went. It was fun to watch her spring up and down as she played and ran about the yard and nibbled on the grass. Occasionally, she tried to wander beyond her guardian’s protection until called back to my side. Though I never considered myself her “shepherd,” in reality I was. I provided food and water for her, protected her, and kept her from harm… until the vet diagnosed her with Listeriosis, or circling disease. Nothing could be done for her and we had to put her down. Crying so hard I could barely see, I insisted to my Dad that I would dig the grave at the edge of the raspberry patch and bury little Lambie all by myself. Such were the thoughts that came to mind after writing the poem below which is based on Jesus’ parable found in John 10:1-21. Here, we read that the Good Shepherd knows each one of his sheep, and He calls them by name. But the sheep also know their shepherd, recognize his voice, and follow wherever he leads them. Should a stranger enter the fold, the sheep will not follow him… instead, they will run around wildly or just run away en masse, simply because they aren’t familiar with the stranger’s voice. Perhaps, under cover, a thief may come near the flock, pretending to be their shepherd. He may disguise himself and draw a few young, inexperienced sheep away who think they’re following their shepherd. Or perhaps a predator might sneak up on an unsuspecting lamb and lead it astray. Disoriented and lost, the lamb follows the predator to supposed safety. Soon it becomes obvious that the predator is not its shepherd… but by then it’s too late. Except, the true shepherd with his trained eye realizes what’s happened. Like another of Jesus’ parables in Luke 15:3-6, He seeks out His precious lamb and brings it back, or willingly fights off the predator to rescue his little lost lamb. Listening to its Master’s voice, the lamb turns around and joyfully runs back to the safety of the flock… and there it stays, feeling content and peaceful under the watchful eye of its protective shepherd. And I thought, how like those sheep we are… As Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” We have a tendency at times to follow what sounds and looks so good, what seems so right… only to realize later that we’ve been duped… we were on the wrong track… and we need someone to save us. That special someone, the Master, the Good Shepherd, would do anything for us, His sheep… especially those who have wandered off or been drawn away by a predator. Not so the hireling who doesn’t care much about someone else’s sheep. With only a little provocation, he’d as soon run away than fight for the lives of the sheep under his watch. Just as my heart ached and cried for the loss of my little precious lamb, so the Good Shepherd of our story aches for the lost, and would lay down His own life to protect and save His precious sheep from harm. And isn’t that what our Lord, our Good Shepherd, our Master, has done for us? May we always hear the love in our Master’s voice within our heart and follow His leading… The Master’s Voice Linda A. Roorda Like gentle sheep we’re prone to wander Easily enticed by things of this world But at the sound of our Master’s voice Will we then heed or continue headstrong? ~ The Master’s words will not lead astray Seeking the ones who meander off Softly calling each one by name With tender words of comfort and peace. ~ When storms arrive and release their fury The shepherd guides his flock to safety. How like our Master who longs to embrace And bring us home to rest in His arms. ~ When wolves appear like gentle sheep clothed With flattery smooth they strike unannounced Their intention dark, the naïve to deceive Serving their needs, the meek to destroy. ~ Then words of wisdom are soon directed At wandering lambs who have left the fold Calling them back to a sheltered life Protected under the Master’s great love. ~ Unlike the hireling, He lays down His life Whatever it takes to gather His own Take heed to His call and flee from the foe Lean into His arms of mercy and grace. ~ Like a good Shepherd is our Savior Lord With care He protects each sheep in His fold It matters to Him whose words we follow The call of folly or the Master’s voice. ~~
  2. Linda Roorda

    G.R.A.C.E.

    G.R.A.C.E. - This acrostic idea did not originate with me; unfortunately, I don’t even remember who I heard preaching about it… nor do I remember all of his words intended for the title of G.R.A.C.E. In any event, this is my original poem and thoughts, having heard only the tail end of that sermon. Grace can be defined as an elegance, a refined charm. Speaking of a practiced ballerina, or champion ice skater, brings to mind a picture of elegance and graceful beauty in motion. But grace can also be defined as unmerited favor, like the rescue or redemption from evil. And thus, the word grace brings into focus the unmerited gift of salvation. As another acrostic online puts it - “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” How fitting. Grace is a gift… something we don’t deserve and we can’t do for ourselves. It’s a reaching out by God toward us, especially as He displays His love for us through His Son. Who would ever think that God would send His beloved Son to earth from His heavenly home of glory? Who would think that He would allow His Son to be born into this world of woe, a world of evil? Who would think that this man, who claimed to be the Son of God, would grow up to live among us… that He would not live an easy life of posh luxury because of who He was… that in living with us He would be tempted as we are, face ridicule and mocking for His love of sinners, the downtrodden, the untouchables – and that He would heal them, and tell them their sins were forgiven? And who would have expected that our great God would allow His Son, His one and only beloved Son, to die a horrendous and painful death on a Roman cross for sins that he didn’t even commit? Just for us? For the sins of each one of us? Why? Because of His great love for us! And we don’t even have to satisfy a list of requirements to please our God for Him to love us! So, how do we fathom such a priceless gift… if not for eyes of grace. In Romans 3:23 we are told that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Yet, “…it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) And out of a thankful heart for such grace and mercy comes our grateful attitude. For in our day-to-day relationship with our Lord, we long to please Him, grow closer to Him, and honor Him in all that we do. And therein lies our grateful relationship with an attitude of confession and endurance... G.R.A.C.E. A Grateful Relationship with an Attitude of Confession and Endurance Linda A. Roorda With grateful praise I sing of Your grace For who am I that You would claim me. Yet love me You do, knowing my frailties And stubborn penchant to go my own way. My relationship grows by walking with You Though there are times I take You for granted. I hear Your voice, but don’t always heed Draw me still closer as love grows stronger. My attitude then will change over time As wisdom grows to honor Your word, That like a mirror Your Grace I’ll reflect For all to see Your love shining through Me. May I confess the wrongs I have done Let me not keep secrets hid away. Though You know all, You ask that I come Seeking Your face and forgiving grace. Grant me endurance and strength for the trials Knowing You light the path that I walk, And should I stumble draw me near to You As You wait with grace and mercy’s sweet peace. Linda Roorda writes from her home in Spencer.
  3. Analogies give us a glimpse of similarities and truths of a story tucked within a story. Thinking about this concept after my poem below was written brought to mind Mark Twain’s book, “The Prince and The Pauper,” published 1881 initially in Canada, and subsequently in 1882 in the U.S. In Twain’s beloved story, a young prince and a pauper (who happen to look a lot alike and were born on the same day) trade places in life. The prince experiences the roughness of a lowly life just as his counterpart once did, while the pauper tries to bravely find his way at the top of an unfamiliar kingdom of elites. Common sense, so crucial to his survival in the real world, comes in quite handy as he makes his way through the upper echelon. Ultimately, the real prince returns to claim his rightful place as heir and is crowned king. Ever grateful for his real-life experiences as a pauper, the prince now understands life for the poor and hard-working folks beneath him, and is better able to comprehend their needs. And makes his friend, the pauper, his aide. Not having read Twain’s book, my poem was written without knowledge of the story line, though I had heard of the title. After research, it’s clear my poem takes a similar, albeit slightly different tack to Twain in relating a king who was used to observing the realm from his castle high above the fray of every-day life. Wanting to experience firsthand what life for his subjects was like, he walks among them dressed as a beggar. In this guise, he observes that most people continue on their way with their heads held high, seldom stooping to assist someone poorer and perhaps scruffier than they. Sadly, there are still those who live and breathe a self-serving arrogance. A few years ago, I encountered two gentlemen one day – one, a young man looking a bit shabby, crouching against the building to finish a cigarette before entering our local grocery. Unsure of whether to smile at this lone man for fear my friendliness would be misinterpreted, I nervously glanced his way as he quickly got up and stepped ahead of me to hold the door open. Giving a smile and thanking him very much, he, ever the gentleman, waited off to the side for me to get settled with a shopping cart as I told him to go ahead of me. Later that same day, I met an elderly casually-dressed gentleman walking into the pharmacy at the same time. As I hung back to allow him entrance first, he instead slowed down and motioned for me to go ahead. Noticing his cap signifying he was a Navy Vietnam Veteran, I thanked him for his service, mentioning one of my brothers was a 20-year Navy man who’d served in the Gulf War. At that point, the gentleman quietly told me he’d served in Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, and many places in between, a 40-year vet, and we had a nice chat as he thanked me. And I realized, first impressions do tend to make a difference, don’t they? On the other hand, a young woman notices our poor man in his tattered clothing. Kindly offering to feed him, not only did she provide nourishing meals, but she repairs his coat to provide warmth against the cold. He returns often to talk with her, to learn the depths of her heart, and to simply show appreciation and gratefulness for what she has done for him, a beggar. He was afraid to share that he had fallen in love with her and was now in a dilemma for he needs to return from whence he came. Indeed, he knows that truth must always be told in any situation… and so he set out one day to let her know how much he loved her. He was willing to give up all he owned just to serve her for the rest of his life. And it was then that he could see his love was returned in her eyes as he knelt down to propose. With her “yes,” his heart leapt for joy knowing their hearts would soon be united forever, sharing with her who he really was. Tucked within the depth of my poem’s reflection is the analogy of our Lord’s love for us. Leaving His throne in His beautiful and perfect heavenly home, He came down to dwell among us… in our world of sin and pain. Once here, Jesus experienced life just as we do with all of its temptations and sadness, but also the joys. He wants to have a relationship with each of us. He wants to share conversations in prayer as we listen for his nudging and messages in our heart from His Words of Life in Holy Scripture. And in this way, He is able to be our advocate and comforter, knowing from personal experience what our life on earth is all about. For as Jesus once said, “’Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40 NIV) During this season of Lent, as we think more closely about Jesus, our Savior, we remember what our Lord accomplished as a servant while He lived among us, even to washing His disciples’ dirty feet: “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) In His sacrifice, He gave His all for us through His death on the cross… that we might accept His priceless gift of mercy and forgiveness of our sins, becoming our Lord and Savior. What joy there will be when we are united with Him and remain in the presence of His love forever! What a King! Ode to a King Linda A. Roorda I gazed from afar while observing my realm And found with interest motives in action, But often their lives showed merest concern Though I could see depths of their anguished souls. ~ Oh how I loved these people of mine! And longed to walk the path to their soul A chance to converse, a sharing of hearts, To bring them peace with comforting words. ~ So stepping down, I entered their world Yearning to serve the rich and the poor But they did not know this beggar in rags Most never saw needs, just held their head high. ~ And then I noticed a young woman fair Who spoke gentle words to a stranger coarse. She offered food and to mend my coat While love in my heart had only begun. ~ A love which grew on the winds of time A chance to bond and learn of her heart To know the depths of comfort and peace Humility’s grace wrapped up in mercy. ~ Now deeply in love I’d sacrifice all Yet she did not know the truth of my garb How would I explain that she’d found favor That her heart was true, like gold refined. ~ So I intended my dilemma to share To let her know from afar I’d come, That all I’d longed for I treasured in her, Companionship sweet, a melding of souls. ~ Expressing my love for her tender heart Overwhelmed was she as on knees I bent Asking for her hand, with tears she said yes, My heart leapt for joy that we’ll become one. ~ And then I shared my journey in rags From a kingdom rich in glory and fame To this lowly world of sorrow and pain To which I had come, others to serve. ~ For it was then my eyes did behold Analogy of One with far greater love Who left His throne to walk on this earth To share our burdens and speak to our hearts. ~ His love ran red as He gave His all To purchase with blood and redeem our souls That He might draw near, from sin set us free And offer His gift of life eternal. ~~
  4. “Young love, first love, filled with true devotion…”* Glimpses of memories linger from sixth grade at Passaic Christian School of a former farm girl whose family had moved back to city life in Clifton, NJ. It was where life began for her, and where her father’s Dutch immigrant family had lived since the Great Depression era of the 1930s. She was tall at 5’7” in sixth grade, tallest student in the school actually. With a natural springing high jump, long arms and legs, she had the strength to punch the ball hard to beat everyone at tetherball – including one classmate in particular. Poor guy! He simply gave up and walked away the last time they played. But she must have made an impression. After making their silhouettes in art class, he brushed the nose of his next to hers saying, “Eskimo kiss!”, and I was smitten. Getting out of his seat for an inquisitive peek out the window one day, our teacher said, “Curiosity killed the cat!” to which he immediately replied, “But satisfaction brought it back!” I loved his quick wit. Once a week that spring until school was out for the summer, he walked me home after classes. One time, he stopped, moved a cinderblock away from a garage door, and positioned me next to it as he stepped up. Looking down, he exclaimed, “There! Now I’m taller than you!” We carry many special memories in our hearts as we travel through life. And, as we glimpse back through the window of time and recall days of long ago, fragments return of treasured days. We’ve held onto dreams and hopes, we’ve made mistakes that we regret, apologized, moved on and matured. Yet, first love remains with its sweet simplicity and priceless memories… a tender young love. In 2018, my mother’s first beau sought her out. After visiting her nephews on their farm, he was able to contact me and arrange a visit to see my Mom at the nursing home. Telling me she had left an impact on his life, he made amends. They had a wonderful visit, a special time of reminiscing. All those years ago, they’d met at the county fair in Cobleskill, NY. As farmers, they had a similar background, living not too many miles apart. They kept steady company through the end of high school and a bit beyond for about 3-4 years. He loved racing on the local track, known for a fast reputation which broke their relationship. Another young man, Ralph, pursued a beautiful girl with a penchant for fast driving... and he asked a friend who that young woman was as she sped by, actually late for work! Soon she knew this farmer was “the right one” for her as they spent many a Saturday night square dancing, getting to know each other better. The following spring, they married. And 11 months later, I arrived as the oldest of six. In seasons of time, young love made itself known once again. When a tall, dark and handsome young man saw her for the first time, it was love at first sight for him. Still, it took over a year for Ed to gather the courage to ask that pretty girl out on a date. And I fell in love with this gentle, caring, humorous, tall farmer with a strong faith in God who was determined to do as much as possible despite his vision limitations. He told me that if I ever felt sorry for him, then I didn’t belong at his side. And we shared our hearts and filled our life with young love and true devotion… meant to last a lifetime, shortened by the limitations of life that no one can predict. Yet, there is a love far deeper than any of our tender loves… a love that lasts far longer than our earthly loves… because our “God loves us deeply [and] is full of mercy” (Ephesians 2:4) Our God has tenderly loved us from before we even were born…words which Israel’s King David penned that our heartfelt praise can echo: “You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 13-16) No matter our past, no matter the cost, our “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Happy Valentine’s Day!! A Tender Young Love… Linda A. Roorda A tender young love from days long ago Held in the heart as memories smile From the depth of care to the pain of loss Felt in the hands together held tight. ~ A tender young love never forgotten Still tucked away in pages of yore, Reflecting upon the days of old That gently carry the heart’s awaking. ~ A tender young love of silent reverie The sheltered moments in passage of time That pause to reflect on life together Sharing sweet dreams and heart-felt caring. ~ A tender young love that sparkled within And lit the world with eyes shining bright A focused adoration so well understood But lost too soon to the whims of life. ~ A tender young love to always treasure As I hold your heart in memories dear Your wit and wisdom with hearty laughter A voice from the past where our dreams come true. ~~ “Young Love” sung by Sonny James, written by Ric Cartey, Carole Joyner.
  5. No seed catalogs at this house!! I've always looked forward to their arrival to peruse again and again, dreaming of bright and beautiful flowers to come... and now, even tho I made some purchases last year, but no catalogs have arrived to date and likely will not be coming... Otherwise, will just work with what I've got or look at those companies online of last year's catalogs and see if there's anything I can add to the gardens. A far cry from years ago when I grew a very large garden to can and freeze the produce. Cannot do that anymore, sadly.
  6. What’s my purpose in life? Who am I meant to be? And what am I meant to do? If you’re like me, you’ve pondered those thoughts every now ‘n then over the years, especially in our younger days. With life ahead of us, we often wonder what part we’ll play in society. What career should we go into? Who will we love and marry? These thoughts carry evidence of the weighty questions from our heart regarding our basic needs, and for who we will become… as we seek to find our place in the world at large. Celebrating my childhood friend’s birthday and 50th wedding anniversary with her husband yesterday, and meeting other childhood friends I haven’t seen since my family moved away, brought to mind all the different paths we have each taken in life. Yet, the foundation set by the Christian school and church have been part of the solid foundation in God that was established for our lives. I once read of a little child’s misunderstanding of the Lord’s Prayer – “Our Father who art in heaven. I know you know my name…” Besides being cute and precious, there’s a lot of truth in those words! I find peace and reassurance knowing that our heavenly Father knows my name… knows who I am, who He’s created me to be, and what my purpose is on this journey of life. As the Lord said to an Old Testament prophets, “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) God knows what my needs are even before I ask. But He likes to hear me give voice to those needs… to express a trust in His caring hand, and in His loving wisdom. Yet, how often doesn’t it seem that, when faced with the brevity and fragility of life, in the pain and turmoil that besets our path, it’s then we’re more apt to pray from the depth of our heart and remember the greater purpose of our life – to praise, thank and glorify our Creator God and bring Jesus’ love to the world around us. As we thank and praise our God in the busyness of every-day life, we feel the blessing of a relationship with Him, and feel His presence in even the simplest things that we do. We feel a joy and peace as we follow His footsteps… His words… and as we adopt them for our path in life. There’s a comfort and a peace we find in knowing we’re listening to His voice in our heart for which direction to take… and how we can use our purpose to help others on this journey of life. Because there are as many ways to define our purpose as there are people… for we are each created unique with our own set of gifts or talents, desires or yearnings, and special ways to show love to each other. We actively seek to encourage and support others, show how much you care in words, actions, or simply with smiles and hugs. Share your humorous wit, and a hard-earned wisdom gained through experience. Value family relationships, and give back to your community from your wealth… whether financially or by simply lending a helping hand in a myriad of ways. It may not come instantly to us when we have a concern; but, given time and prayerful reflection as we delve into His Holy Word, He’ll lead us forward on the right path. He’ll show us His will, His purpose for our life and in the lives of others… though sometimes we may not see how He’s working all things together for our good until we look back and see how He’s led us every step of the way. Because, as we read in Romans 8:28, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” What’s my purpose? To bring glory and honor to our great God in all that I do! What’s My Purpose? Linda A. Roorda ~ What’s my purpose if not to bring praise… To honor a love that knows no bounds A grace and mercy I do not deserve From One who has blessed with joy out of woe. ~ What have I done that You would seek me For I’m not worthy of Your gracious gifts But with open arms You draw me near To offer me hope with shelter and rest. ~ The blessing of friends reflects Your heart’s depth Holding out hands as others we touch For there’s a bond that silently speaks In drawing near to humbly share love. ~ May I forgive as You forgave me All those I meet on this path of life As peace You share envelopes my soul From striving turmoil to soothing solace. ~ What’s my purpose if not to share love… A semblance of Yours bought with a price May we be blest from Your gracious hand And may our lives bring glory to You. ~~
  7. It’s hard to realize a full year has gone by since my husband passed away January 25th. It’s been a year of learning to live more independently while seeking God’s guidance, relying on wise counsel from others, a year of missing Ed’s wit and wisdom and his big hugs which left me feeling so loved and protected… yet times of missing him so much, shedding a few tears, while savoring precious memories of our 49 years together, thankful for the many blessings through the years and now… and it’s also been a year of knowing contentment and peace realizing Ed is fully restored, able to see, to walk and run without pain or dizziness, absolutely enjoying his heavenly home with our Lord. Yet, in the past, there were many times when my peace was shattered... difficult storms, painful wounds, major losses... and I was in turmoil. Like December 2019 when Ed was found to be in severe life-threatening diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, a rare complication of diabetes type II. We were both overwhelmed with the new diagnosis of type II diabetes, and a new treatment regimen on top of his multiple other health issues. We fully realize countless others have successfully dealt with this diagnosis, but the initial shock left us overwhelmed. In 2022, Ed was hospitalized twice in July, again at the end of September, in the ER several times in early December for difficulty breathing with severe congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema. Arriving home that night after spending 8-1/2 hours in the ER, I found two “thinking of you” cards in the mailbox from dear friends. What perfect timing! God knew we needed a special reminder of how he uses each of us to bring His love and care to those who need a cheerful lift. Then just two days after Christmas 2022, Ed was hospitalized for 8 days with fluid overload on chronic congestive heart failure. At cardiac catheterization, three stents were placed to open a fully blocked artery, with more near total blockages and damage throughout his heart with 9 days’ worth of atrial fibrillation. In January 2023, he was readmitted with Covid, multiple pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in his lungs), more difficulty breathing, and major weakness. But the cards mentioned above, the visit of dear friends leading to a special inspiring visit by their friend, pastor and chaplain at Robert Packer Hospital, and the many kind comments of loving care and prayers to my Facebook updates at that time, remind me of the following blog I’d penned based on words written so many centuries ago. Reading our devotions one evening several years ago, Ed quietly asked me to read Psalm 91. He wasn’t sure what it said, but he had a strong sense God was urging him to have me read this Psalm for a particular difficulty I was facing. In reading Psalm 91 aloud, I found these words by King David spoke to my heart: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’… He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart… If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent… ‘Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him…’ He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (vs.1-2, 4, 9-10, 14-15. NIV) Despite tears rolling down while reading the entire Psalm that night, I felt a great sense of comfort and peace… that peace which passes all understanding despite the trial. (Philippians 4:7) None of us is immune to the trials and storms of life, or the feelings of sadness that overtake us at times. Sometimes God graciously allows a storm to pass us by without disturbing our equilibrium, other times He fully heals us in our difficult storm, while other times we have no choice but to wend our way through the storm to understand why we had to walk a difficult path… for neither are we promised a life of ease. As Jesus reminded His followers in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The one who is ill may not even look ill. They remember their busy fulfilling life of the past, replaced by a limited worth or useless feeling that permeates their days. We’ve learned it is normal to grieve life changes with sadness and frustration, even as Ed’s great sense of humor would pop through despite a difficult day to envelope us in therapeutic hearty laughter. But I will also admit to a touch of envy knowing most friends can do anything or go wherever they want, not an option for us to enjoy. It can be hard to identify with those who deal with chronic illness… facing health issues and concerns other folks don’t ever seem to encounter. And the grieving process can initially leave you devoid of the joy which James 1:2-3 speaks about as we learn to accept chronic illness. Guilt may even be felt by the chronically ill person and family when prayers for healing seem to go unanswered. To hear a casual or flippant response, to be told we’re not praying right, or to sense a lack of genuine care can be crushing. As we pray for healing, we especially ask for strength to handle each day… because healing as we want may not be God’s plan. The Apostle Paul was not healed as he desired, but learned that God’s grace was sufficient with Christ’s power and strength evident through his (Paul’s) weaknesses. (II Corinthians 12:7-10) Relying on God for wisdom and strength each day, God’s power shines through us. I will never forget another hospital chaplain who sat with me when Ed was in the ICU in 2010 for severe life-threatening grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizures. Gradually pulling out our life story, he listened and cared deeply, saying that in 30 years as a chaplain, he’d never met a family who’d dealt with so many difficult issues as we had, and I hadn’t even told him all, as he prayed with me in facing a new major stressor. Six months later, Ed was back in the ER, hearing his favorite ER physician say, “I’m so glad to see you! Not that you’re ill again, but that you survived those seizures and have no damage!” Wow! She truly cared! We appreciated the support and prayers of family and friends as we faced each new trial. Take time to hear concerns as a new norm is accepted, leaning on God as He walks beside you in the storm. Share your heartfelt hugs. Convey a depth of feeling and understanding in asking “how are you doing.” Friends and family who ask and truly listen to understand what anyone with chronic illness faces bring much comfort. Offers of help are gratefully appreciated, even if they cannot be readily accepted. While we're inside the storm, though the wind and waves batter our world, we do remember God is still there, still in control. We know we can trust Him to hold us tightly, to shelter and protect… even though we may lose everything, including life itself, as when we lost our daughter, Jennifer, and last year my husband. Yet, through the difficulty, He will make a way, perhaps close one door to open a better one, and shine His light to guide us as we move forward… one step at a time. It’s where we place our trust that peace will be revealed. And when it’s placed in our Lord’s perfect will, trusting that He has our best interests at heart even in the most difficult times, we see Him help us handle what comes our way as we grow in faith to become more like Christ, our life’s purpose. With such trust, our faith remains unshakeable, and we find a renewed peace… with a joy that passes understanding. There’s a painting I love entitled “Peace in the Midst of the Storm” by Jack E. Dawson. One story is told that a wealthy benefactor searched for the perfect painting depicting peace. The first two beautiful tranquil scenes were rejected. When the artist returned to his easel, frustrated at his work being rejected, his prayer prompted the design of a riveting scene. On a dark and stormy night, water gushes in torrents over rocky ledges…as a mother bird calmly sits upon her nest tucked under a ledge, protecting her young while the elements rage. Now that’s peace! https://jackdawsontour.com/peace-in-the-midst-of-the-storm/ Studying that painting, I also notice a profile of Christ in the rock formations and a cross created by rocky fissures. Considering how our heavenly Father gently guides and protects us during the storms of life, however fierce they may be, it’s His canopy of love and peace that shelters and comforts us. And I can be at peace when life is in turmoil knowing that “[He] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in [Him]. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord…is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV) Peace Linda A. Roorda ~ There is a peace in the depth of my soul A joy that comes from Your love alone, For in the midst of storms and trials My heart is steady when focused on You. ~ But peace is fleeting when I fail to heed When I take charge and grasp hold the wheel. I need to trust that Your ways are best When through the darkness I walk gripped by fear. ~ For as the waves relentlessly toss Your face I’ll seek for comforting solace. I know You’ll guide me safely to shore As Your light shines down to brighten my way. ~ For what is peace without Your mercy The hand held out to offer refuge, An ear to hear burdens of the heart Arms to envelope the soul in turmoil? ~ Grace beyond measure You pour over me Yet I don’t deserve riches of mercy. Prone to wander, to follow my will Still You pursue to seek and to save. ~ There is contentment just in the knowing Whenever I feel the world crashing down, You call my name and draw me with joy Out of the chaos and into Your arms. ~ And like a fresh rain washing over me now Peace like the sun envelopes my soul, It covers my life with joy unreserved Tranquility found as I rest in You. ~~
  8. Yeah, I'm with you there! Still have my 20-gal, and 10-gal (which was a birthday gift as a youngster). Used to have tropical fish in the 20-gal tank when my kids were young; love watching the fish swim around and have seriously considered setting it up again... but the I, too, remember all the work involved, and not sure I want to start up this venture again!
  9. Linda Roorda

    What If...

    This story is very close to my heart for someone I dearly loved would not have lived among us if the recommended abortion had taken place. January is Sanctity of Human Life month, and today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. First designated as such in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, I think it extends to far more than the banner of the anti-abortion movement. It’s not a political issue, but one that affects our moral fiber. Sanctity of life issues reflect on each one of us because all life is sacred. With the 51st anniversary of January 1973’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision, I again share the story of a mother-to-be who already had two healthy children, a girl and a boy. This time, she was very ill with her pregnancy. Vomiting frequently, she steadily grew worse. Struggling to carry this new little life, and against her wishes, her physician sought to obtain a “medically necessary” abortion. At that time, three doctors needed to sign documentation indicating the mother’s life was in jeopardy if the pregnancy continued. However, no third physician would put his name on the line to allow such an abortion. A Cesarean section was performed at 7 months’ gestation or risk losing both mother and baby. To the surprise of all, twin boys were born! After surgery, the mom nearly died from the effects of toxemia (i.e. now called pre-eclampsia), the result of high blood pressure and the demands on her body by not one but two precious little ones. With prayer and great medical care, she pulled through; but her little boys struggled. The largest twin at 5 lbs succumbed to an enlarged heart and died at two days of life, while the smallest little boy at 3-1/2 lbs was placed in an incubator for a month. This tiny preemie survived, albeit with health problems and very limited vision in only one viable eye. How do I know? The littlest twin was my husband, Edward. His blindness was caused by the incubator's high oxygen content. But we all praise God that no third physician was willing to sign papers to permit an abortion which would have taken the lives of these precious boys. Prior to1952, major medical centers knew that high levels of oxygen in incubators led to infant retinal damage and blindness. But physicians at the tiny hospital in Goshen, NY, a small farming community, were not aware of these findings. As a toddler, Ed was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. There, his parents were told he was among about 2000 children seen in their clinic, one of seven children who had some remnants of remaining vision! The optic nerve to his right eye was damaged, causing total blindness, while his left eye had limited vision, 20/200 with correction. Ed got his first pair of glasses at age 2. Three years later, with a new pair of stronger lenses, he stared out the car watching the world go by. Suddenly, he shouted, “I see them!” Kids were sledding down a nearby hill; though blurry, it was something he’d never seen before. Whenever his mom told this story, it always brought tears to her eyes. That one sentence was worth every cent of his care, she’d say. As Ed grew up, he was determined to do nearly everything everyone else could do. It drove him forward. Totally blind since 1998, we considered it a blessing he had limited vision for as long as he did. The renowned musician, Stevie Wonder, has the same condition. Then called retrolental fibroplasia (RLF), it is caused by high levels of oxygen in the incubator which contributes to abnormal blood vessel growth, damaging the retina. Now termed retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), it still affects a small percentage of premature infants. Did you know that at about 22 days, the pre-born infant’s heart begins beating. By 12 weeks, she is about 2 inches long, fully formed and recognizably human, able to feel pain. By 14-16 weeks, fully formed, fingers and toes have fingerprints and nail; he sees and blinks, inhales and exhales amniotic fluid, kicks, sucks a thumb, and sleeps regularly. At full-term, 39 weeks, your baby is ready for life outside the nurturing womb. Even Ed's retired dermatologist, a devout Catholic, always wore the tiny "Precious Feet" pin on her lapel as a testament to her beliefs, pleased we knew what it meant. Look up the pin name online for a physician's story behind this pin. Since Roe v. Wade was passed January 22, 1973 allowing for legal abortions in America, the numbers have been staggering with more than 63 million abortions. It must also be taken into account that some data is voluntarily reported while other American states have not provided details in a number of years, and I read there are many uncounted abortions. Yet with legal abortions available, the number of deaths from illegal abortions has declined. For anyone who has aborted their baby for whatever reason, I pray she finds peace in the loving arms of God’s forgiveness. But my prayer also is that each precious little life be allowed to reach his or her full potential and life purpose, regardless of disabilities. The current discussions of “quality of life” and euthanasia go beyond a personal decision, with government or insurance companies’ input supposedly for the “good of society.” There are many difficult questions on both sides of the aisle. But I’ve long pondered, if we care so much for those in the animal world, and carefully protect and preserve many other species from decimation, how much more precious is each and every human life – especially since we are made in the image of God? How can we destroy human life through abortion, i.e. murder in utero, simply because the pregnancy doesn’t fit our plans or the pre-born baby is “defective”? Do we expect abortion because some pre-born infants are imperfect, and will become a supposed burden to society? Do we justify abortion because some parents are unprepared to care for their children, abuse them, or kill them? Even in our imperfect society, there is a viable alternative – adoption. However, with more stringent laws passed to prevent human trafficking, adoption has become an increasingly difficult option. Anyone who has miscarried an unborn child understands the pain of loss. I miscarried our first little girl, Heather, at six months, with autopsy showing twins who did not separate properly, followed by a second miscarriage a year later. My cousin, Randy, intellectually challenged, grew up a kind and loving young man thanks to the love of his widowed mother. Despite his disabilities, he knew everything there was to know about his baseball team and the players! My step-sister’s son, Cory, was born with DeGeorge syndrome due to a missing part of chromosome 22. Also having apraxia (an inability to perform certain purposeful actions due to brain damage) and diabetes, he developed cirrhosis a year before passing away Easter Sunday 2015. Like many with disabilities, Cory had an infectious joy for life and an unconditional love for everyone he came in contact with, thanks to his mother, Janet. Life is sacred, and each pre-born child is a unique gift from God just waiting for us to open our arms and heart to this new little life. As David wrote in Psalm 139:13-16: “…you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” What If… by Linda A. Roorda What if… There was no God? Would we know how to love Or, would hate rule our lives? Would we each decide What rules to live by Changing like the wind As our wants wrest control? ~ Would we violate The sanctity of life Simply because Life would not matter Except for the worth We each determine How best we can serve Our selfish ambition? ~ And yet, what if… Each life among us Was somehow meant To open the eyes Of our heart and soul To a higher purpose To show the value Inherent within No matter the wrapping? ~ And what if… We move toward each other And then extend Our outstretched hands? Would that not show Great caring and love From within the depths Of a heart overflowing? ~ For is that not like The hands of One Extended outward Nailed upon a beam To show us how We too should love And sacrifice self Our gift to each other? ~ Because… what if… There is a God Who really cares And Who truly loves Each for who we are For His life was a gift That we would know Just how we should love? ~~ Linda writes from her home in Spencer.
  10. I saw the sun shining bright for a while yesterday as it peeked from behind those clouds! That prompted me to take a brisk walk with the wind at my back helping my pace… the same wind and sun in my face on the way home, making me lean into the wind to keep my balance a few times. How well I remember taking walks with Ed on days like that where he’d hold tightly onto my arm to keep me from blowing away, as he put it! He kept me from getting blown to and fro by those changing brisk winds… something our Lord does for us when we hold onto His hand, allowing Him to lead and guide us thru stormy days. Which prompted this previously unpublished blog for today. May you know the Lord’s guiding hand every day on your journey thru life. Sometimes we feel like we have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, and we fret and worry about everything! I know… because that description fits me at times. It’s one of my struggles – learning to release my cares to the One who knows and allows what it is I face each and every day. He can handle all that comes my way… if I would just let Him… and He can lift me up from all the mistakes I manage to make. But I’m going to admit it’s not easy to “let go and let God” as the popular saying goes. Sometimes it seems that if I do the worrying, then somehow that will help make the situation better. Nah! Don’t count on it! Actually, it seems like it often tends to make the situation worse as I become confused and lost in the tangled web of thoughts. So, you’d think I’d have learned to always release my burdened heart and let God take over while I move forward in peace. After all, God is right there, ready to listen, ready to carry me, and ready to deal with whatever is stressing me out. He can fix it all… without my help! And He has done just that… blessing me richly in so many ways, so many times… drawing me closer to His side, filling me with a calm and quiet peace. Yet, somehow it seems to be a lesson that I must learn and relearn. All of which reminds me of Matthew 6:25-33 (NIV), part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. These verses have often come to mind over the years. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? …But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” And as I heed these precious words from our Lord himself, reaching out to Him in prayer, He’ll guide me each step of the way… just as He’ll guide you through whatever you might face on this journey of life! His Guiding Hand Linda A. Roorda Lord, I give You my all As I relinquish That which my heart Has always held tight. You know that I struggle Thinking I can control All of life’s burdens Which tumble my way. You hear desperate pleas As I try to wait, While Your very best answers Conform my will to Yours. At times I struggle Alone with my thoughts In a mind doing battle Within my seeking soul. Where is my God, my protective Shield? How can life be so raw? Why does pain and confusion Keep knocking upon the door? And yet… He is always here! In a whisper soft … or a vision serene Enveloping my heart With His perfect love and grace. For He directs me on the stony path And plants my feet securely Upon a foundation solid and firm Guiding each step along the way. As rough this road at times can be, He gently carries me safely home, When oft in prayer I turn to seek His loving, guiding, and merciful hand. ~~ Linda Roorda writes from her home in Spencer.
  11. Saturday morning while doing some garden cleanup, admiring the beauty of the autumn leaf carpet, I listened to the quiet… broken only by low-lying geese honking their conversation, and several birds trilling their beautiful summer songs. It was so calm and peaceful, without busy road commotion… the call of nature, God’s creation. “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10a) Quiet your heart… slow down your pace… put aside your frets and worries… and listen as God speaks to your heart… thoughts to remind myself… as I listen to hear His voice. Perhaps you’ve heard about comparisons regarding which voice we pay closer attention to… that which we feed… that which brings comfort or worry, encouragement or discouragement, a calming stillness or urgent rushing, the voice of reassurance or fright. You get the idea. With maturity, we know the value of discerning which voice we should listen to in any given difficult situation. While the stronger voice often brings turmoil within our heart, there is another voice which calms and quiets our soul with peace. One of my favorite life verses has been, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Yet, admittedly, I fall short and tend to fret. For isn’t it so like us to be drawn away into a false sense of security by thinking something isn’t as bad as it really is? And I can be so easily overwhelmed by fretting on the day’s trials, or projecting trouble into something that hasn’t even happened yet! Sometimes it takes moving away from the hustle and bustle of the world to hear God’s wisdom quietly speak to our heart. Once warm weather arrives, I enjoy the peace and tranquility of my two sitting gardens. I love to listen to the gentle sounds of nature all around. And though what surrounds me was once my husband’s family farm but is now a golf course, the tranquility is refreshing to the soul, especially on those days when I can hear the gentle gurgling of the creek. In the relative quiet and solitude, I sit and pray… remembering those in need, or rejoicing with those who’ve been blessed in some special way. I thank the Lord for my own many blessings, too often taken for granted, especially my late husband and family. And express to Him my needs and concerns. I thank Him as I listen to the birds sing and chatter, as I watch them building nests and later feeding their young. I observe and appreciate new blooms as the gardens change day by day. I watch the creek as it serenely flows west and south. And my stress is put into perspective. For God is a God of peace, not of contradiction and worry. In John 16:33, Jesus told His disciples the night before He was arrested that “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Our Lord brings comfort and contentment to our soul amidst the din and confusion of the world. And when we come to Him in confession, He washes us clean by His loving mercy and grace. As our advocate then, our Lord gently reminds us how much He loves and cares for us... as He covers us with “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, [which] will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:7-9) May I be still and know that You are God... as You quiet my soul… You Quiet My Soul Linda A. Roorda You quiet my soul while the world rushes on I lean on Your word when all around fails A strength You give in response to my pleas To calm and still my heart in chaos. When voices condemn in the silence of night My heart shrinks down in bitter defeat Though awash in fear Your solace I seek For comfort You bring when worries stir fears. Peace within turmoil You alone bestow With blessings poured out from Your generous heart For Your word directs when I seek Your throne As mercy and grace with love set me free. Your arms wrap tightly to embrace my life Encouragement’s light on a pathway dim To lead me on and gently reassure You’ll never leave... You’ll never forsake. So quiet my soul while the world rushes on Bless me with joy when Your face I seek That love may gently contentment’s praise sing As you calm and still my heart with Your peace. ~~
  12. Are we contented yet? It’s just an accumulation of trinkets and stuff, an assemblage that needs to be fed every so often. I should know, because I have my own collections from the past. But, in the long run, none of it will go with us when life’s earthly journey comes to an end. We should be content with what we have and who we are… not seeking to satisfy our appetite with more of everything life has to offer. Be at peace, rest in who we are meant to be… don’t compare or judge ourselves to others. In contemplating that accumulation, I’m reminded of a song by the rock group U2 from their Joshua Tree album – “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…” A fitting comment to an endless search for just the right thing. Theodore Roosevelt was even noted to say, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” How truthful and fitting both sentiments are for all of us at times! So, what is contentment? How do we find it? And when is enough… enough? The dictionary on my desk tells me contentment is where the heart is at… perhaps rested and satisfied, at peace, with a quiet and calm joy. Contentment is an attitude of the heart… being thankful and grateful for what we do have, serving others out of a joyful appreciation. Because, believe me, contentment is not found in eyeing what someone else has… of being jealous or envious of what’s on their plate… as if we didn’t have enough to take care of on our own. In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul wrote “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Hmm… so how could he say that with all the many difficulties, beatings, persecutions, opposition to his preaching, false accusations, weariness, hunger, imprisonments and more that he faced? There’s an old hymn I’ve loved since childhood, coming to treasure the words even more after our daughter, Jennifer, died. Horatio G. Spafford wrote a poem put to music after he and his wife lost their 2-year-old son, their property in the 1871 Great Chicago fire, suffered further economic losses in 1873, and then lost their remaining four daughters at sea - “When peace like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul…” …well-known words of comfort. Having three more children, losing a second son at age 4 in 1880, he resettled in Jerusalem with his wife and two daughters. There, he founded the American Colony, a Christian group providing humanitarian relief to the disadvantaged of any faith. He’d learned the secret to contentment. The Apostle Paul, writing to a dear young friend, stated in I Timothy 6:6-7: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Don’t get me wrong… it’s not about denying ourselves the ability to succeed in our careers or home life and to have nice things. Instead, it’s all about the depth of our heart, our faith, our attitude… the intangibles… the spiritual treasures. Life really isn’t about gathering as much stuff as we can hoard for ourselves. Life was never meant to be like that old saying attributed to Malcolm Forbes, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” It’s not about God ensuring that we have a wealthy and happy life. It’s not His plan to make us “rich and famous” in a life of ease without pain. Instead, contentment is a learning process… learning to be who God intends us to be… learning to be gracious and loving when our life is full of pain, disappointments, illness and setbacks. And, in learning to give thanks and appreciate what we do have, we find ourselves gladly serving others around us with a heart of joy and peace… as contentment flows from our soul. Contentment Flows Linda A. Roorda Contentment flows from the soul at peace Not easily grasped though deeply pondered How quick am I to follow my will While yielding to trust finds Your truth with grace… ~ Grace to understand blessings of mercy In wending my way through waves of turmoil Seeking shelter from storms that threaten As Your calming spirit brings showers of peace… ~ Peace that envelopes my very being From the depth of stress that oft overwhelms Which tugs and strains the restful repose To humility meek with a heart of joy… ~ Joy that shines bright in the face of woe Amidst the sadness of sorrow’s dark tears As rays of hope through shutters burst forth To flood my soul with serenity’s rest… ~ Serenity’s rest within the world’s din Marks peace of mind when focused on You Grant me, I pray, a heart full of love One filled with thanks as contentment flows… ~~
  13. With school either having started for some, or about to start for others, I pondered the realization that there’s so much I thought I knew when younger, but really didn’t… for education isn’t only that which is gained in a classroom. Over the years, I’ve learned I can’t turn the clock back to undo or redo what’s been done. Life doesn’t have a rewind button for our editing... so we inevitably move forward in a relentless flow of time. And in that flow, learning becomes an emotional and spiritual educational process as disappointments and suffering soften our hearts amidst the joys. This is how we mature and become wiser. In the process, we learn that we may not get that second chance. Make amends now… apologize, forgive and move forward. Love one another… and let the other know it. I have searched for and regained friends from years ago… friends I’d lost when moving away, friends lost when my childish words took their toll, and to whom I’ve given heart-felt apologies. I cannot undo, but I can atone for and correct my wrongs. Walk away from sin… don’t let it overtake you with its tempting appeal. The great Ten Commandments really do have something to say to us today. Stop blaming someone else. Don’t condone or excuse the habit of lying, concealing your wrongs to protect yourself. Even if no one else is the wiser, God knows. Own it, confess it, and make amends. Others do take notice of what we do… do it well, for a good name is much to be treasured. Love, listen, take advice gladly, and learn… you won’t go wrong. “Be very careful, then, how you live… making the most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 4:15-16) As we look back, we often wish we knew then what we know now. Wouldn’t such knowledge have saved us a whole basket of trouble?! But, did we hear, did we listen, did we truly heed the advice given as we grew up? I’m afraid I didn’t always do so. I thought I “knew it all” in my teens. It took time as life traversed a variety of circumstances unique to my needs to gain understanding and knowledge with wisdom from God. And from the realization of my own errant ways and words, I apologized and made amends… because the Lord has done so much more for me. For the loving Father that He is, God took the time to teach me all through the years. Because I was often not listening to wiser words in my youth, I now treasure the wisdom of others as I sit at their feet to learn, and recall fragmented words of wisdom expressed years ago. Blessed with Godly wisdom, Solomon wrote in Proverbs 2:1-6: “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” And vs. 9 adds, “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.” Oh, how true! If only… that age-old phrase we all quote... if only I knew then what I know now. So, let me take what the Lord has taught me through the difficult struggles to reach a satisfied contentment… through tears of deep sorrow to tears of great joy with laughter’s healing touch. And may we use the blessings He’s bestowed upon our hearts to reach out in love with something we’ve learned… Something I’ve Learned Linda A. Roorda ~ Something I’ve learned since I was young… If I knew then what I do know now I’d have been spared life’s toughest lessons. But, then again, how else would I learn? ~ Something I’ve learned came slowly with time… For I wanted life to move fast forward And in wanting more, I just needed less As contentment dwells in life’s simplest gifts. ~ Something I’ve learned by looking backward… That in facing life I thought I knew all, But looking forward from slow motion days Impatience revealed an unsettled heart. ~ Something I’ve learned wishing I’d discerned… By heeding then the sage’s wisdom Who’d lived and seen what I could not fathom For experience marks the role of teacher. ~ Something I’ve learned is not easy to say… That which I rue when youth went its way As lessons learned brought maturity’s wealth With understanding through wisdom’s trained eye. ~ Something I’ve learned by climbing the hill… Conquering hurdles that hindered my path, For stones that seemed like unmoving boulders, Were mere stumbling blocks to peace found in You. ~ Something I’ve learned I treasure now more… My faith in You, Lord, once taken for granted Its value gained from bumps in the road Which led me to where I stand on Your Word. ~ Something I’ve learned we all have to face… Sorrow and loss have taught to accept That which was healed as my heart grew wise For only from pain can compassion speak. ~ Something I’ve learned about all my stuff… I can’t take it there on the day that I leave Much better by far to share with you now Showing my love in tangible ways. ~ Something I’ve learned that when the door shuts… Reasons there are for not looking back. Express regret for what’s done is done Then welcome the door He flings open wide. ~ Something I’ve learned with You at my side… To share the bounty of blessings divine To gently speak with a tender voice And to hear with love from a generous heart.
  14. My sugar maple has a small section near the top that I just noticed today has begun to turn ever so slightly... summer went by all too fast!
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