Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January Farewell Lyric

 A few final, farewell January mementos before February takes center stage

We had 3 sunrises in January; on the 4th, 21st & 22nd...

Though you are infamous because of temps that chill us to the bone
And gales that wail and howl and make us humbly glad for home-sweet-home
And though the farmer does not miss your tricks of frozen pipes and taps
You still spill much to love; your bliss of Jack Frost art, your pristine wraps

Your cooler pace than when we chase spring-summer-autumn’s urgent task
Your gratis shadow-show poured flawlessly on snow, from yonder flask
Your still-life ebb and flow of tundra; white and blue capped sense of seas
Your subdued quietude of muffled, snow-truffled brook-song and trees

Your feathered patron-jam at feeders filled with ceaseless flickering
Your yellow flash as sparrow-hawk crashes carefree bird-bickering
Your pure delight as white-on-white leaves speechless troubadours agape
Your happiness, that we confess is as simple as tea and cake

Your first-month-of-a-new-year-status, soon stripped of its pedestal
By a momentous apparatus that drains every season-full
Drains the outdoor rinks of pink-cheeked youngsters with star-sparkly eyes
Drains the eaves of ‘cicle-brickle, drains the bite from squall-rent skies

Drains winter’s hour of its power to hold gold and green at bay
Drains the bud to leafless lintel, drains bluster’s lackluster gray
Dear January, if we could I doubt that we would hit ‘repeat’
Yet in your wake you leave an ache for lyrics lost beneath Time's feet 

© Janet Martin

Your still-life ebb and flow of tundra; white and blue capped sense of seas

Jack Frost garage floor art!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Of Payoffs In Waiting (or Something About a Gaping Grave)

Yesterday my dad's oldest brother (and Wayne's father) was laid to rest.
He is an uncle fondly remembered by his nieces and nephews
 for his good-natured, uncomplaining and optimistic outlook
 though his life had many hardships!
We cousins are in a stage where funerals have become our meeting place
and with these gatherings comes the solemn reminder
our childhood playmates are not children anymore,
all of us under the influence of Time's unflinching touch 
and we are reminded of this truth;
that death can come to the young
but it will come to the old
and the realization is dawning that our generation
 is on the heels of the one we are, 
one by one, laying to rest!
A ripe old age turns to mist
 in death's twinkling of an eye!
So then, as we turn again 
to shoulder our yokes of scarred delight
pray we do not lose sight 
of the only payoff that counts
when, for all 'momentary mountains/afflictions, 
the eternal payoff is unveiled!

Therefore we do not lose heart.
 Though our outer self is wasting away, 
yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.
 17For our light and momentary affliction is producing 
for us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond comparison.
 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. 
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Just beyond what we can see ...

(No matter how bitter/sweet)
lies Payoff's Eternity...

Below, a bit of 'sweet'.
This dog can be sassy and silly one minute
and sound asleep at my feet the next!!😂

Though the payoff of push and shove
Through ups and downs of life and love
May appear, to the sphere of sight
Like a showcase of scarred delight
While grappling with the yoke of truth
By fresh parades of fading youth

And though the payoff may seem small
For prayers that rise and tears that fall
Where today holds no guarantees
That Circumstance will aim to please
The Hierarchy of Hope and Dream
We nurture with fondest esteem

…and though the payoff drags its feet
Where hold and letting go compete
Something about a gaping grave
When mourners meet, its scene to brave
Reminds us with sobriety
Of a payoff we cannot see

The payoff for man’s hope and hurt
Is not a fresh-turned mound of dirt
Is not a final farewell tear
Is not the boon of now and here
Oh no! Death is the turn of key
Where push and shove/life and love’s payoff will be

So then, before it is too late
Pray we would reevaluate
The quests and payments we applaud
And rest our confidence in God
Who will, for all eternity
Unveil what the payoff will be

© Janet Martin

We sang two of my favourite hymns yesterday

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Guarding Against Ungratefulness

Hebrews 13:15 
 Therefore by Him let us continually 
offer the sacrifice of praise to God,
 that is, the fruit of our lips,
 [a]giving thanks to His name.

I am so thankful to a friend who called me yesterday
to make sure I didn't miss the stunning rainbow!
I would have too, because I was * busy making lunch for 
my daughter and grandchildren. (a no-school day celebration)
The children's exclamations of delight filled the air as we gazed.
The rainbow was followed by a few hours of brilliant sunshine
 to cheer our sun-starved spirits!
"it's easy to be grateful in moments like this" I contemplated.
"Why is it so easy to slip into ungratefulness when things aren't so much to our liking?!"

Ungratefulness is like a heavy foot upon the soul
It blinds us to a showcase where God’s works of wonder toll...


Ungratefulness can make us miss blessings that God designed
To keep us humbly glad when we were otherwise inclined
Ungratefulness is like a heavy foot upon the soul
It blinds us to a showcase where God’s works of wonder toll
And causes discontentment because we forget the One
Who ought to awe us constantly with all that He has done

Ungratefulness produces bitter fruit, its song and dance
A fickle happiness tickled by pleasing circumstance
Destined to shift and try delight with less appealing bent
Ungratefulness forgets the gift as soon as it is spent
And scowls and vents and kicks against the pricks of trying test
As if we were deserving of only The Very Best

Ungratefulness is often apt to fix on the façade
It tramples on a flower while shaking a fist at God
It cusses and complains, where hymns of thanksgiving should be
It robs us of the joy that God prepared for you and me
And warps, with wishful thinking, the wellspring that He designed
To keep us humbly glad when we were otherwise inclined

© Janet Martin

Another easy-gratefulness moment!

I missed taking a photo a few minutes earlier when Eager Helper tripped on the stairs
as he was bringing leftover Christmas cookies up from the downstairs freezer,
and the box dropped sending ziplocked bags of cookies for a tumble!
After being comforted, smiles returned!
Sometimes that's when gratefulness is even sweeter, right?!
After disappointment's tears are dried!
Because life is bound to bring devastating disappointment!

One pic of what turned into 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Perseverance Perspective...

First perseverance, 
then the prize!
Sometimes we forget 
and want the Prize now!

James 1:2-8
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a
whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature 
and complete, not lacking anything.
 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
 who gives generously to all without finding fault, 
and it will be given to you.
 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, 
because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
 blown and tossed by the wind.
 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

The testing of our faith produces perseverance!
I used to subconsciously equate the word 'testing' with physical trials
such as sickness, death, natural disasters etc.
but in the phrase 'trials of many kinds' one I had not considered
until perhaps the past few years,
and one that has many once confessed believers denying their faith,
is the fact that because our minds cannot explain or reconcile
God's thoughts and ways and commands
 (whether in the Old Testament or
 in this age of love and holiness misunderstood)
disillusionment/confusion/anger forsakes faith
rather than letting the test produce perseverance.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, 
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists
 and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

God doesn't meet us on our terms.
We meet Him on His, laid out ever-so-changelessly
and perfectly in His Word,
Let's pray for a more humble faith, 

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus 
and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, 
remembering you in my prayers.
 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation,
 so that you may know him better. 
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened 
in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, 
*the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. 
That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted
 when he raised Christ from the dead 
and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

That sin seems still to test the faith of many!
Lord, help us hate the sinfulness of sin (in so many subtle forms).
Lord, help us to look on You,  soberly and thankfully remembering
 what You suffered on our behalf to save us from sin's penalty!
Forgive us if we should forget!

Forgive us, Lord, when we forget
And wise in our own eyes debate
Thy love and righteousness and fret
At the prerequisites of faith;
'the substance of hope, unashamed
the evidence of Things Unseen'
Believing all You have proclaimed
And trusting You to intervene

Where often love misunderstood
Could kindle a fault-finding rue 
Remind us You work for the good
Of all who put their trust in You
The Promise, yet with humble hearts
Being assured, they still believed

Forgive us Lord, when we neglect
To see the sinfulness of sin
And thus, unconsciously reject
Thy loving, still, small Voice within
Forgive us when we minimize
The bloodstained cross of Calvary
And far to often fail to prize
The price You paid to set us free 

Forgive us when we, with proud thought
Contest Your higher thoughts and ways
And dare to grumble at our lot
Rather than lifting hymns of praise
And should faith tremble in the gale
Of tests and troubles that must be
Remind us, this is but the veil
Faith's Last Gasp rends, then we will see
(*the riches of the glorious inheritance)

© Janet Martin

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Candlelight Contemplation...


“You are the light of the world.
 A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, 
and it gives light to all who are in the house. 
 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works 
and glorify your Father in heaven.

Letting love's light shine is easier said than done, isn't it?!
For just perhaps, when we think we're not faring too badly
along comes a sudden human-nature storm/retaliation
to remind us how mean and feeble we can be without
The True Light to light our little 'candles'

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, 
the Word was God.
2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through Him all things were made, 
and without Him nothing was made that has been made.
4In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. 
5The Light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcomea it.

Candlelight is such a gentle picture of love;
the way its glow warms and cheers the dark!
To keep a candle burning properly proper care must be given,
(such as trimming wicks etc.)
An example for us to examine our candle 
before we carry into Today!

To keep alive the light of love it must be fueled by the Source
We, on our own are not enough to fit love for its tender task
So, when we sense love’s flicker dwindle in the face of mean discourse
God will be faithful to rekindle love’s kind candle if we ask

Because we are so prone to bicker when we do not quite agree
The ready tongue is sometimes quicker than love’s reigned-in bark or bite
So, when the rumpus of a ruckus tries love’s sweeter sympathy
If we but ask Him, God will help us to steady love’s candlelight

So then, to keep love’s candle burning and to be less self-inclined
Means a consistent, conscious turning to love’s Faithful Uttermost

© Janet Martin

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Sense of Sacredness aka Today!

If a family dinner get-together with my parents
and all ten of us kids and our spouses, all present,
and a slideshow of over 700 photos playing throughout the day
of us, our children and grandchildren, great-grandchildren
does not evoke a sense of sacredness to seemingly commonplace moments 
as they run through our fingers, I don't know what will!
That happened on Sunday.

This week, as ordinary as it appears, nothing is!
This morning as a new Today tumbled over earth's eastern edge,
not in any kind of colorful fanfare, but more like a wet, gray dog...
(or mourning doves)😂

I was again, struck by how this monotonous momentous collection of mornings
 eventually composes the song of Lifetime!

So I put a card in the mail for an old neighbor turning 90 this week,

I revived the fire, 

I continued working at organizing, cleaning and tidying the basement 

after stacking wood ..

...before two of my grandchildren came for a few hours...
(while big Brother gave the dentist a bit of a challenge. ahem😐.)

I washed the dishes after a lunch they half-ate

...all the while with a heaven-hinged sense of sacredness
in what at first glance definitely looks quite ordinary! 

It wafts from welkin wombs to where we live-laugh-love-weep-pray
To settle soft, where dusk entombs its season-sequenced play

It sparkles from a single source no needle can exact
An all-encompassing discourse that leaves no one intact

It tunes the timbre of a toll that rolls o’er land and sea
While drawing the cart of the soul back to eternity

Steeping the sacred commonplace with so much to hold dear
As paths no footsteps can retrace fall from the now and here

Like weightless notes from welkin wombs its moments waft and splay
To settle soft where dusk entombs the tempo of Today

Compelling us to take a closer look at what runs rife
Through fingers of composers of a song that we call Life

© Janet Martin

So teach us to number our days, 
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

My family likes to sing whenever we have a chance!
To close out the singing part of Sunday we,
( as best as our memories could serve us)
sang the song below together and THAT was the
sentimental icing on the cake😭

 Here are part of the lyrics  by Bill and Gloria Gaither
I can't find a link with all the stanzas 
so not sure if a few were added later??

We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come
But we have this moment, today.

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living
Happy sounds from the laughter of children at play
Hold my hand as we walk through the sweet fragrant meadows
Making memories of what was today.

Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling
For daddy to hear just what she has to say
My little boy running there by the hillside
May never be quite like today.

Tender words gentle touch and a good cup of coffee
And someone who loves me and wants me to stay
Hold them dear while they’re near don’t wait for tomorrow
To look back and wish for today.

Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come
but we have this moment, today.

Oh! You were trying to see the recipe in the one photo above?!
This, (making it for supper but using ground beef!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Mid-winter Memento

Inspired by today's true story...😊


planned to tend to Task-demand
But then a sea of snowflakes fell
It drew me to the hill and dell
To revel in its wonderland

…where nature’s winter-wand unfurled
Masterpiece over masterpiece
Teasels with toques of frosted fleece
And whipped cream snow drifts, swirled and twirled

Each tree, a pencil sketch, I think
Stenciled and traced with white finesse
White whispers of white happiness
Rouse a reverent rush of ink

…as brook-nooks that no chill can snare
Compose somber half-ballads, oh
Its tempo, curtailed by the snow
Evokes a eulogy-like air

Where in the wood I stood, full-awed
Unfazed by Tasks I should attend
To marvel, where earth's pages bend
Beneath the poetry of God  

© Janet Martin