L is for Light. #AtoZChallenge

Photo taken with my Smartphone.wp-1480187397080.jpg

John 1:5:  I think this Scripture is quite appropriate for Good Friday.  L is not only for light, it is for Lent.  In my faith tradition, Lent is a dark, somber corridor which leads us to the light.  The story of Good Friday is one of the hardest for me to relive in my mind, and the hardest to share.  It tells of mankind hitting rock bottom.  It is an ugly story of an innocent, loving man being betrayed, whipped, beaten, and crucified.  Such is the darkness.  Yet, the light will come, because this loving man (also part of God, the tricky part to explain) forgives us.  What an ultimate example of unconditional love!

Scripture:  John 1:5  New International Version

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Whatever faith you practice, may you feel the presence of the light today.

 

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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G is for Gethsemane. #AtoZChallenge

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*Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

From Matthew 26:36-37, ESV:  “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘“Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

In the Christian faith, we are nearing the end of Lent, which means the story of Gethsemane is near, a telling of the hours leading up to Jesus death as he prayed and prepared himself.  It is a dark, somber story, which tells of: the evil that men do, the weakness of someone who is supposed to be a friend, violence, betrayal, suffering, death, all of which happened to Jesus.  Sadly, all of these stem from the human condition.

Yet, something else is at the heart of the human condition and this story of Jesus and Gethsemane:  the desire of mankind to strive towards spiritual nurturing and enlightenment, to find our way to the light.  To believe, when times are darkest, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a benevolent power that will calm us and give us what we need to sustain such dark and painful times.

Jesus’ disciples were hitting rock bottom.  Betraying their Lord and leader is certainly at rock bottom, and I just imagine how that felt when he actually died.  But the whole Easter story does carry a light of hope, a promise of spiritual gifts, forgiveness, and resurrection.  I used to want to avoid the story of Lent.  I studied it in depth throughout my whole childhood in Sunday school and parochial school.  But the truth is, you have to go through Lent before you get to the joy of Easter.  Otherwise, you really don’t know just what it’s all about.  It’s sort of like childbirth.  The pain is 100% worth it.

We are bottom feeder humans.  Many of us would deny our Lord or our faith when it is more convenient.  But even we can ask and hope for forgiveness.  This is the story of the contrast of dark and light and of rebirth.  Many might say it simply represents Spring.  But it is the epitome of faith, belief in things not seen, and things that we once believed impossible.

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

A Prayer for Lent. #poetry

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by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

(c) 2017

Lord,

I have been broken.

My thoughts are, at times, dark.

Although I bear a fracture line,

you’ve pieced me together, whole.

I can be petty, petulant, self-centered, and obsessed,

but you tell me I’m still good enough.

A selfless, loving being as you,

tells me I am good enough.

You reach out for me to follow,

and you tell me I belong.

You say “Stand up, and shine your light,”

and I can no longer hide.

So I ask of you, “Please lead the way,”

as I stumble along your path,

feeling awkward, yet warmed by your light.

Please guide me, as I know I’m sure to fall.

 

Source: A Prayer for Lent 

(At my Niume site)

#weekendcoffeeshare Ushering in Lent

 

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Welcome to the #weekendcoffeeshare, created by parttimemonsterblog.com.  If we were having coffee this morning of February 25, I’d tell you:

It’s past noon and I’m still in my pajamas (t-shirt and sweatpant shorts).  If you do come over for coffee, don’t worry, I’ll quickly put on a robe before answering the door.   I’ve lately been obsessing over my writing in a new blogging community and sharing my posts everywhere!  Maybe, instead, I should have been obsessing over the state test and my teacher observation occurring in this next week.  Nah. I surpassed the 500 view mark on Niume today! Yay!    Since I am learning how to promote, promote, promote, I may as well do something with it that can help others.  In a conversation on a friend’s Facebook wall, I volunteered to set up a GoFundMe account for a friend, and it is a worthy cause.

You see, my high school friend, Wendy, has Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Osteoporosis.  She also has a 1-year-old grandbaby whom she loves spending time with, but she is frequently in pain and undergoing a lot of treatments. There is more detail in this link, and you may feel moved to donate or share it on your social media.  https://www.gofundme.com/sxfp7s-wendys-medical-fund   She skipped a needed treatment last month because of the cost.  😦

Yes, it was someone else who suggested I do this, as I was encouraging her to do so, but inside me, I do feel that I should use my talents not only to please myself or earn some money but to help others.  Wendy just had treatments a day ago and has been quite out of it, so I, in my good health, am able to do this for her.  Why wouldn’t I then?  What will I give up for Lent?  Lent officially starts March 1st.  It is such an important time of year.  I hate dietary restrictions, as I go without beef or sweets many times just to aid my digestion.  Now is a good time to choose a selfless act, and this one just appeared before me.  I hope it isn’t uncool to post about it here.  I have spent much of my morning wording the campaign description and getting details from Wendy about her illnesses.

As far as my writing, I am all over the place.  The Niume blog is my latest writing obsession and I suppose it is getting my name out there even more.  Feel free to visit any of my posts at https://niume.com/profile/111217#!/posts and read my WordPress post about it at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/use-niume-to-promote-your-writing/ (if you’re interested).  It includes a referral link if you want to sign up and start your own.  I also have a novel being edited by someone.  I am not writing with true regularity, just in spurts of creativity.  That’s okay, at least it is happening.  This is what I needed to write about today.

The Weekend Coffee Share was created by Part Time Monster .   The coffee share is now hosted by Nerd in the Brain).  Thank you Emily!  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the “Linkup Linky“.  In fact, I encourage you to click on the “linky” to see what’s been going on in the lives of other bloggers and even join us if you haven’t before. 

 

 

In Pursuit of the Sun

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I’ve decided to add a new item to my bucket list.  Since I’m close to my late forties, now is the time.  I can think about retirement, I can dream.  And I’m certainly too young to think about being done with my bucket list!  Maybe this is an impossible dream, but I feel that is at the root of optimism, always dreaming one more dream.  There is always room for one more dream!  We are in an infinite universe; why not dream infinitely (by which, I mean, without bounds)?

A dream is one thing I can hold close to my heart.  But I am so excited, I want to share it!  I want to one day retire and be a sun chaser!  Evidently, since I did look up the term, sun chaser already signifies many things, such as a yacht, an awning, a movie about an escaped fugitive, etc.  So I seem to be giving new meaning to the word.  I literally want to CHASE the sun.  Yet, I’m not a runner.  Okay, CHASE may be an exaggeration.  And I’m honestly not running away from anything.  We also shouldn’t confuse this with being a sun worshiper.  I am not so much about the tan anymore; I love witnessing the sunrise and all that it represents.  It’s almost second nature to whisper a “Thank you,” when I do.

Let’s put this in more specific terms for my bucket list:  I want to witness the sun rise in at least fifty different cities.  I think it’s plausible!   I could even start on it now!

All of this came about because I am on Spring Break.  I’ve been dropping my sun off at work, and finding myself with time in which I could go home and sleep again, or do something different, like stop and witness the sun rise, walk the dog as the sun is rising, or simply gaze at the sky.  It is a beauty, and sometimes there is no time to realize it until you can get off the merry-go-round for a while.  I took a long walk with the dog the other day, documenting with my camera just which house the sun peeps up behind, and today, I stopped on the side of the road on the way back from dropping off my son at work.  The sky was full of jet contrails.  I documented with my camera just how different the sky looked.  I was not happy about it, but the sun rise was still beautiful.  Guess what?  I feel  like I did an important thing, just noticing how the sky looked.

This got me to thinking, on a positive note, how different the sun would look in different cities, and what  a pleasure it is to view it from different perspectives (i.e., different cities).  There are many other things on my bucket list, such as, going to Rome and seeing the Vatican along with much of the art of the Renaissance.  But this bucket list goal really has me inspired and motivated.  A miracle is happening every 24 hours and I want to see more of it!  My  goal will include getting to another city (how doesn’t matter; it could be an old camper for all I care), being awake to witness the sunrise from that viewpoint, maybe documenting by camera, resting, eating, living, traveling to the next city of choice and being ready for the next sun rise.  I could even just do this once a week for a year if I start now!  There are many possibilities for carrying this out!  How many people travel to a city and never see its sunrise?  I’ll tell you, sunrise in Las Vegas is quite a sight in that flashy city amidst the hills and desert.  Breath-taking.   What an honor it is to be awake at that hour with nothing better to do than to take in this beauty.  Lent is almost over.  Easter will soon be here.  What a perfect time of year to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.  The sun rises again every morning.  And there is certainly at least one Bible verse that verbalizes the beauty of nature.  This one touched my heart:

Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

From  http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-nature/

Indeed, they do!

 

A New Morning

As I sit here sipping coffee, to go along with my Advil-to-chase-away-my-wrist-pain, I am grateful.  Here is a new morning, and my little dog Bixby is as spunky as ever, chewing on his miniature toy by my side.  A part of me wants to feel old, but a much needed good night’s sleep has renewed me.  I have come to a good place in my life, started saying yes to things I formerly wouldn’t, the dog being one of them.  These things have brought such rewards and my life is full, not empty, and not lacking,  but full of goodness.  So I’ll take a moment and be grateful.  I realize there must be a Bible verse that communicates all of the hope and gratitude I am feeling.  Thanks to the internet, (which makes so many dubious things available, so why not just the right Bible verse), here it is:

Lamentations, 3:22-23, KJV:  22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed , because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 
     It being Lent, I wanted to do something selfless.  The fact that I have not given up much because I am so sporadic in my asceticism, (meaning I have practiced it as a response to anxiety or extreme emotion, never on purpose, so choosing to do so is hard for me lately), leads me to try other ways of being selfless.  I just in the last six months have started feeling healthy again after an extremely emotional year in my family.  As a result, I’ve decided to give things away for Lent, donate things more,  and to actually study the Bible more.  So, I looked in my long untouched Bible to verify the verse the internet brought me at my request before I shared it.  It’s officially verified.
     Now, don’t get me wrong.  The Bible has been unused for a while, yet I am a woman of faith who attends church and likes to stay involved in many of the good things happening there. I have read probably 80-85% of the whole Bible in my lifetime, due to a religious upbringing that included four years in a religious private school.  Having said that, what people use the Bible for at times frightens me.  The many possible interpretations unnerve me.  People who interpret the Bible and have no give or compromise on what they think it means are scary.   The fact that the Bible contradicts itself in many places is quite confusing.  How many different men were involved in its production?  What can a person in search of spirituality do with all this?  I don’t know,but I do think attending church and listening to the sermons of a person well-educated in the Bible is helpful.  Bible discussion is helpful, though I would probably run the other way when someone takes the Bible literally and argues until they’re red in the face because, for example, I don’t think women have to be subservient to men.    What my love for the Bible comes down to is the story of the New Testament.  The story of Jesus is touching, redeeming.  Someone once said to me, but it’s only a story.  “Is it, really?”  I asked.
     “Well, no one can prove it,”  he replied.
     “That’s a definition of faith, isn’t it?”    Even something unproven is still possible.  Believing in the possible makes my world grow.  That makes sense in this expanding universe.  Studies show that faith, which is akin to positive thinking, is healthy for the soul and the psyche.  I may slip at times, but I am finding my way to appreciate each morning of a new day, and the possibilities it brings.
     His mercies are “new every morning.”  When I believe that, I can feel the sun’s rays on my face at daybreak; it is a glorious feeling, of a power far beyond mine.  I am glad there is a power beyond mine, because sometimes I am week, and I like knowing there’s someone  I can rely on and ask for help. This gives me comfort, just like the sunrise that comes and gives us the promise of a new day.

 

Sunrise, my son, and the birds he loved to chase.  Circa 2008.Sunrise524403_3714407267762_133138129_n

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