Thursday, November 30, 2023

Only The Best Will Do or Perfect Best

This is the time of year
we start wracking our brains for perfect gifts
because only the best will do when it comes to saying
'I love you'

When considering our efforts of finding 'the best'
doesn't it evoke a picture of God, 
before that first Christmas morn,
looking down on the world, 
His heart shattered with love as He wept,
for He knew 'only the Best will do!'
when it came to proving His love
 for me and for you!

And she will bring forth a Son,
 and you shall call His name JESUS,
 for He will save His people from their sins.”

I LOVE the lyrics to the song below

This is the time of year
Unlike the whole year through
When we choose gifts for loved ones dear
Only the best will do

In this season of love
Boxes and bags become
Vaults filled with motley treasures of
Socks, books, toys, candy, gum

Presents are squirreled away
In unsuspecting nooks
A kind of game that parents play
Lest Curious Youngster looks

Reason softens its stance
As love and prudence wrest
As budgets and hearts spar and dance
To find The Perfect Best

The Perfect Best is love
Therefore, love longs to show
The best it can, reflections of
First Christmas, long ago

When Heaven’s Perfect Best
God’s equal, put on man
Knowing the cost, did not contest
Salvation’s perfect plan

Because God loved us so
On that first Christmas morn
Into this sin-cursed world of woe
A Redeemer was born

For God looked from above
And He saw me and You
And said, as His heart broke with love
Only the Best will do

So, God gave us a King
A gift beyond all ken
His only Son, Jesus, to bring
Peace and goodwill to men

A gift that saves the soul
And flings ajar a Gate
That leads to faith’s ultimate goal
Where God and heaven wait

Then pray, this time of year
We rev’rently recall
The Reason for the season, dear
The gift that says it all

For things are only things
Love is the Perfect Best
The gift that only Jesus brings
Makes perfect, all the rest

© Janet Martin

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that
He gave us His only begotten son,
that whosoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:
6Who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,a
7but emptied Himself,
taking the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

For We, Four-Season Lovers


As 'winter' descended with a vengeance this week
conversations turned season-ward...ready or not, winter always comes!

I hope/try to be a four-season lover both literally and metaphorically!
For everything we love in seasons that never stay,
each season holds so many unexpected and lovely surprises
if we keep our hearts, arms, ears and eyes open!

Yesterday I lingered over this tray of autumn-gourds,
aka, the Creator's creations
I was reluctant to trade them for more Christmas-flavored dรฉcor...

...but then, Christmas joy cheers autumn sorrow!
though, subconsciously I am already preparing for the pangs, when the time comes 
of tucking away dried orange slices and cookie-cutter stars,
(however, it feels like I just did that and here we are, hanging them once more!!!)

For we, four-season lovers
Of green, gold, red and white
Of constantly bowled over
By waves of sheer delight
Of shamelessly confounded
By annual buffets
Of creation unbounded
To enchant and amaze
Of thought, agog with wonder
Of hearts taken by storm
As God turns mortal thunder
To worship’s purest form
Of love’s aleatory
Hymn, from we, humbly awed
At fringes of the glory
And majesty of God

For we, four-season lovers
That grapple with heart-ties
Tangled in fields of clover
And colors of sunrise
And friendships, forged with flits of
Petalled and feathered things
And all the lovely bits of
Beauty each season brings
From spring’s green-misted bowers
To summer’s butterflies
To autumn’s tattered flowers
To winter’s wooly skies
We find fresh exclamations
Of gladness to console
Farewells. Joy heals abrasions
Where love had left a hole

For we, four-season lovers
Imbibed with glints of time
As thankfulness discovers
Life’s commonplace sublime
To startle us with laughter
Rather than vain laments
As God regales both rafter
And deep, with excellence
His goodness fills each season
With His marvelous ways
To kindle perfect reason
To praise Him all our days
To give Him more than merely
Religion’s austere nod
But rather worship dearly
Our four-season God

© Janet Martin

To give Him more than merely
Religion’s austere nod
But rather worship dearly
Our four-season God...

Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; 
for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Who covereth the heaven with clouds, 
who prepareth rain for the earth, 
who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them.
 Praise ye the Lord.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Ears to Hear...Today's Song (and a funny video of my grandson's reaction to the snow!)

Where muffled footsteps fall
En route to find a perch
To revel in the madrigal
In nature’s perfect church...

…to listen as we should
(for time’s timing is keen)
To sermons from the winnowed wood...

That once stood, lush and green

Snow-lovers are singing winter's praises this morning!๐ŸŽœ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ❄❄❄

(the video doesn't pick up the excited and what I am interpreting as happy tweet-tweets๐Ÿ˜Š)

other's not so much๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Lord, grant us ears to hear
The melodies of life
Help us find today’s song, so dear
From orchestras run rife
In hush of morn beguiled
By rush of notes dusk quells
In darling laughter of a child (or other sounds of a child๐Ÿ˜‚)
In chimes of Christmas bells

Lord, give us ears to hear
Sacred commonplace lays
That kindle in the eye a tear
And set heart-hearths ablaze
The tea, as it is poured
The click of spoons in cups
Symphonies all ears can afford
To cheer life’s downs with ups

The heave of billows borne
On time’s four-season tide
The brittle leaves in sheaves of corn
Snow-truffled countryside
Where muffled footsteps fall
En route to find a perch
To revel in the madrigal
In nature’s perfect church

…to listen as we should
(for time’s timing is keen)
To sermons from the winnowed wood
That once stood, lush and green
To treasure tenderly
The timbre of ‘hello’
Before the solemn harmony
Of final farewells flow

Lord, give us ears to hear
The cries of those in need
Your still, small Voice to counter fear
And condemn lust and greed
Lord, grant us ears to hear
Beyond the noise of strife
The tempo of love’s songs so dear
Tuning the joys of life

© Janet Martin

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Through The Ups and Downs of 'Becoming'

Nothing in life stays the same for long, does it?!
Seasons change. People change.
Change is constant but something I read this morning reminded readers
that rather than just seeing ourselves, or situations as changing, 
to view it as 'becoming'.
This attitude helps us be more merciful and prudent 
with both ourselves and others!

So off we go to meet the ups and downs of
a new day and a new week, of Becoming
all by the changeless grace of our changeless, loving God.
p.s. it's worth every precious while we take
to think about how much God loves us!

Doesn't the canvas of a new day sometimes almost take your breath away,
considering humankind's track-record?!!

Oh, the ups and downs of living
Oh, the cups that fill and drain
As torrents of take-and-giving
Rush hearts with pleasure and pain

Oh, the highs and lows of loving
Oh, the ties that strain and bend
In the thick and quick of proving
Love’s faithfulness to the end

Oh, the Yet of have-and-holding
Oh, the letting go it bears
Teaching us the art of folding
Life-long learning into prayers

Oh, the tug of wars we weather
Oh, the hug that bids release
Oh, the testing of love’s tether
As God works its masterpiece

Oh, the rise and fall of laughter
Oh, the prize and gall of tears
Caught between before and after 
While a lifetime disappears 

Oh, love's fumbles, oh, life's stumbles
Oh, the bumbles we repeat (or, oh, the humble pies we eat)
While God's grace and goodness tumbles
New 'becoming' 'neath our feet 

Oh, the beauty of His favor
Oh, the duty of reply
Oh, the love of Christ, our Saviour's
'Upsy-daisy, here am I 

Through the ups and downs of living
In the cups that fill and drain
With torrents of take-and-giving
Here am I to help again'

© Janet Martin

May we take heart through
Solomon's Benediction, as relevant now as then!

1 Kings 8:54-61
Solomon’s Benediction

54Now when Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and petition to the LORD,
he got up before the altar of the LORD,
where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.
55And he stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
56“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel
according to all that He promised.
Not one word has failed of all the good promises
He made through His servant Moses.
57May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers.
May He never leave us nor forsake us.
58May He incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways
and to keep the commandments and statutes
and ordinances He commanded our fathers.
59And may these words with which I have made my petition before the LORD
be near to the LORD our God day and night,
that He may uphold the cause of His servant
 and of His people Israel as each day requires, 
60so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God.
There is no other!
61So let your heart be fully devoted to the LORD our God,
as it is this day, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments.”

Friday, November 24, 2023

Love and Learning's Celebration

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Today is like an invitation to 
so much joy still left to taste
because joy is unlike most delights we seize 
and devour and then,
 they disappear!

One of my most dearly loved chapters was part of today's bible-in-a-year reading!

Though you have not seen him, you love him; 
and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him 
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,...

1 Pet. 1:21
Through him you believe in God, 
who raised him from the dead and glorified him,
 and so your faith and hope are in God.

In this life of love and learning
Rife with delight and dismay
May the Maker of each morning
Kindle gladness for today

May the Harbinger of Heaven
Fill our days with holy worth
For to know we are forgiven
Is the greatest joy on earth

Today unfolds like a flower
Hour-petals fade and fall
Unlike delights we devour
Joy transcends the tangible

Unlike moments softly drifting
Like snowflakes that melt away
God instills dawn’s daily gifting
With joy hinged to Endless Day

We know there is no returning
To estrangement’s yester-place
Today is for love, and learning
Fresh arrangements of God’s grace

Dawn is like an invitation
To what we ought never waste
Love and learning’s celebration
Of so much joy still to taste

© Janet Martin

1 Pet. 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope
 through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded
 by God’s power until the coming of the salvation 
that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, 
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 
7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—
may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

I love old books by or about pastors that share wisdom and humor
forged from fellowship and challenges of family and flock!
such as the book I am reading right now...

saying no to a 'money-career' offer, after devastating loss of a hurricane

to a disillusioned doctor who was trying to wash/swim
 his troubles away in the ocean every morning...

to a young girl going down a bad way...

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Everlasting Thanksgiving Feast

Happy Thanksgiving to  my American Friends ๐Ÿฆƒ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ™
and to everyone because with so much to be thankful for,
every day is a good day for giving thanks

Your word, O LORD, is everlasting;
it is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
You established the earth, and it endures.
Your ordinances stand to this day,
for all things are servants to You.

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: 
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; 
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

Before the mountains were brought forth, 
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, 
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

Today is like a table lowered, lavished with a feast...
(Some feast-fragments' that helped inspire today's poem/hymn)

For laughter, glorious laughter to counter life’s lack with cheer
For friends, for cups of tea while mirth and miseries are shared...
(the tea was what I have dubbed Garden Tea, Dried mint, lavender, fennel and marigold)

For hues that tell the season without calendars and such...

Like a place to call home-sweet-home, love of families

Today is like a table lowered, lavished with a feast
Into the fray of circumstance mercy’s buffet is borne/born
Once more God bares His loving heart, for greatest to the least
Faithful and true, His grace imparts the majesty of morn
For love’s un-stoppered boundlessness, thankfulness overflows
For promises unaltered by the course of centuries
For smorgasbords of blessing to brighten world-full-of- woes
Like a place to call home-sweet-home, like love of families

For seasons not yet cast in Past’s Big Book of Moments Spent
For hope and joy and peace, by God’s eternal Word, secured
For joy still set before us until time’s frail veil is rent
And we behold the everlasting glory of the Lord
For laughter, glorious laughter to counter life’s lack with cheer
For friends, for cups of tea while mirth and miseries are shared
For wonder’s sheer delight that only God can commandeer
For elixir of poetry as ink-inklings are snared

For flowerpots, for curious tots with lots of questions why
For Duty’s common ground crowned by heaven-wide masterpiece
For the rare afternoon that hangs a hammock from the sky
And bids us climb aboard before dusk snuffs its glorious lease
For nature’s tapestries that awe the soul and stun our gaze
For tranquil woodland wander-lands free from wordy demands
For tea kettles that sing as if this is the-good-ole-days
For humble testimonies uttered my work-calloused hands

For kitchens heady with aromas, we will soon destroy
As we smack lips and scrape and lick dinner platters and trays
For Christmas-time-a-coming and glad tidings of great joy
For heads that bow and hearts that still and spill in thankful praise
For hues that tell the season without calendars and such
For dues that mortal reason will never quite apprehend/comprehend
For more than we can name or tame with thought’s deficient touch
We gather into worship hymns we pray will never end

Where today, like a table is lowered from He who fed
Lord, remind us that it is You who grants our daily bread
Lest we forget, and live as if the feast was self-attained
Behold, today is like a table, love and kindness-graced 
Behold, goodness and mercy flows, for greatest to the least
A smorgasbord of favors and flavors for us to taste  
Like honored guests at an Everlasting, Thanksgiving Feast 

© Janet Martin

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Moment-sum Momentum or Pleasure of Enough

I linger intentionally these days;
days that time flies through!

'oops! Sorry gramma!'

He kissed Baby Jesus and said 'nap' and put Him back to His mommy๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜

...suddenly the momentum of moment-sums soft-rouse
A kinship with November’s sparser sweeps...

 and barren boughs...

I linger more; I cannot bear to hurry you because
You slip through hearts and fingers like autumn’s dying applause
Of wind-strummed leaf and harvest’s remnant sheaf, frost-brittle where
Not long ago you frolicked on spring meadows, green and fair

…and trembled in bud-bowers full of flowers to unfold
You tickled us with hours while turning the new year old
You leaped from fallow furrows, clothed earth in a gleaming gown
Before we sheared each field like sheep, and begged of you, ‘slow down

Sometimes we mourn the way you steal the seasons you beget
Yet in your age-old ways you heal the very wounds you let
With rise and fall and ebb and flow of morn to eventide
You tame once hurried footsteps; bid us to regard each stride

and so I linger more, while you run fearless fingers through
The tatters of a sigh, an autumn sky deep, denim-blue
Where suddenly the momentum of moment-sums soft-rouse
A kinship with November’s sparser sweeps and barren boughs

Dear Father Time, each season awes us with so much to love
And so I slow my pace to taste The Pleasure of Enough
And linger more to look and feel and learn what you would teach 
Before moment-momentum melds to reels beyond my reach

© Janet Martin

You leaped from fallow furrows, clothed earth in a gleaming gown
Before we sheared each field like sheep, and begged of you, ‘slow down’...

Our neighbor's dog is our dog too esp. when it comes to treats!
 He knows if he waits long enough
Mrs. Janet will, without fail, find a treat for him๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’“
and he is always eager to give me a big, wet, smelly farm-dog kiss of appreciation
(if I let him๐Ÿ˜)

Monday, November 20, 2023

Rejoice and Be Glad Kick-off to a New Week

The passage below can't help but kindle holy hope and joy in our hearts!

Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD!
2O Lord, hear my voice;
let Your ears be attentive to my plea for mercy.
3If You, O LORD, kept track of iniquities,
then who, O Lord, could stand?
4But with You there is forgiveness,
so that You may be feared.
5I wait for the LORD; my soul does wait,
and in His word I put my hope.

This month's Sunday School Verse
for grades 1-6 is pretty awesome too!
(Picturing this scene is rather beyond thought's comprehension, isn't it?!!)
Every living thing shouting God's praise!

Then I heard every creature in heaven 
and on earth
 and under the earth 
and on the sea, 
and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne 
and to the Lamb
be praise and honor 
and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

The above verse, and
 Saturday night's sunset...

...and a lot of unexpected beauty and joy
 in the middle of love's/duty's muddle...

helped to inspire this poem๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ™

This is the day the Lord has made
Let joy and gladness brim
As we pick up our tools of trade
To humbly honor Him
Because no matter what we do
However great or small
It is enough when offered to
Our gracious Lord of all

Today unfurls love’s living rooms
Let’s make them fit for kings
Where each season profusely blooms
With joy in simple things
And life’s secret to happiness
Is not for favored few
But for each heart when thankfulness
Runs every corner through

Behold, goodness and mercy’s fount
Its measure, who can trace?
Where none could stand if God would count
Our sins without His grace
But He forgives all who repent
His pardon never fails
Thus, joy and gladness cease lament
As thankfulness prevails

This is the day the Lord has made
By His sovereign command
Majesty's grandeur is displayed
On sky and sea and land
And only a fool dares to boast
In what God grants to we
Who are at best, need’s uttermost
Subjects of love’s decree

Then, in light of God’s faithful love
That, through good times and bad
Replenishes Reason Enough
To rejoice and be glad
Surely hope’s undeterred reply
Is to fill all our days
Not with the bitterness of ‘why’
But with joy’s thankful praise

© Janet Martin

today's tools of trade at my house include
empty jars and apples,
paring knife, peeler, bowls and pots etc.!

The goal?!
Canned apple pie-filling๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜Š
Our apple tree receives no extra TLC besides
what the Good Lord grants in sun and rain.
 So whatever I preserve with apples are usually apples I have purchased.
This year (due to lots of rain?)
 our tree has a bumper crop of mostly un-wormy,
what I have dubbed 'play-apples'.
Last week I dried some ...(google how to oven-dry apples)

...and also did my first ever batch of pie-filling!
It is delicious! 
I hope to share the recipe on a future post!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Gifted Gravity...


2 Cor.6:1-2
As God’s fellow workers,a then, we urge you
not to receive God’s grace in vain.
  2For He says:
“In the time of favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”b
Behold, now is the time of favor;
 now is the day of salvation!

Sometimes, sorrow for lost souls
is almost more than hearts can bear,
But love clings to love's sacred sorrow
and turns its tears to prayer on prayer


Night’s dark wave on dawn’s shoreline breaks
Shadows are drawn away
A tide of humanity wakes
To face another day
To tread the Sands of Time that brace
A very sacred Verge
Where morning thunders with God’s grace
Where slumbering masses surge

The Preacher cries in Jesus’ Name
Awake!’ where footsteps roll
Past gaping graves that soon will tame
The dust, but not the Soul
Alas, the House of Prayer, has turned
Into a den of thieves
The faith that saves obtusely spurned
For a handful of leaves/sheaves

The Son is trodden underfoot
Understanding defiled
Where wrong is right and evil good
Opprobrium runs wild
‘Repent, repent!’ The preacher pleads
While the proud crowds rebel
And poison Innocence with creeds
That lead to death and hell

The ears that hear are far and few
So too, the eyes that see
Yet, morning breaks, and stirs anew
Time’s gifted gravity
Light shines into the dark once more
Hope takes a holy breath
Where Sands of Time compose a shore
That cannot withstand death

Behold, Salvation’s Day unfurled
From greatest to the least
Life cries into a dying world
Dawn spills a mercy-feast
Again, the Patient Preacher takes
Love's post most tenderly
For lost souls, on the verge that breaks
Into eternity

© Janet Martin

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,
 as some understand slowness. 
Instead he is patient with you,
 not wanting anyone to perish, 
but everyone to come to repentance.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Like Nature's Rendition of The Last Post


Something about the early dark of November kindles nostalgia...

Sometimes, like an old song a bygone era reappears
To replay on a phantom stage fond scenes of yesteryears
To coax back into being what will never be again
Save in a book of memories we open now and then

If only to remind ourselves not to get lost too long
In the bittersweet ballad of an intangible song
Wafting upon the starkness of an Autumn eventide
After leaf-notes have fluttered from the treetops where they sighed

...all summer long, like a love song we took for granted till
Whispers were winnowed one by one and everything was still
Save a gripping rendition of the Last Post being played
For fallen leaves; and moments and the melodies they made

© Janet Martin