Advent: Hope #EvergreenAdvent

Jeremiah 29:11-13

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on 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.”

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Photos of the beautiful flowers of summer and fall give hope of the coming days during this time of cold in the waning light.

Provide

As you may remember, my one word for the year is “Provide”.

It’s the Oregon Civil War this afternoon. The Ducks are #2 in the national poles and have already clinched the PAC-12 North Championship. If they can get past the Beavers today and Arizona in the PAC-12 Championship Game next week, they will be in the first College Football National Championship Playoff. I just hope they don’t look past Oregon State today. #GoDucks

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My first-cousin-once-removed, Anna Carr, was in Seattle/Tacoma early in the month. Her visit PROVIDED us with a nice opportunity to visit Harbor Lights for lunch.

At Harbor Lights

I’m still PROVIDING leadership at church on the Session and on the Committee on Ministry for the Presbytery.

One of the new projects for Bethany I’m trying to get started is a closer relationship with the college students at the University of Puget Sound. I was able to connect with their director, and we will be PROVIDING dinner for their gathering in March. I led a Centering Prayer session with them at a retreat one Saturday evening, and they were really great kids.

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As I reported last month, Big Al and I have begun a new creative writing class (he has taken it for the past couple of years, but there hadn’t been space in the class for me, until now.) I wrote a couple of stories and this little poem that I posted here last week.

The rains have started, so I’ve moved my exercise into the Wellness Center. I’ll admit the scenery isn’t nearly as good inside as outside, but I press on. The diet is going well. I’m losing about half-a-pound a week (and for almost one year in, that’s pretty good.) I’m taking the month of December (actually from Thanksgiving through New Years Day) off from the strict diet. I am still working out and counting my steps with my FitBit, but I’ve reduced my target steps from 10,000 a day to 8,000 a day – and I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t “get my buzz.”

I’m going to be posting from prompts from this list during Advent. Join me for a Bible verse, picture, and short reflection every day until Christmas.

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I hope you enjoyed my “Gratitude” series during November, and that this will PROVIDE you with a short moment of respite during the hectic days leading up to Christmas.

 

 

Flora and Fauna Friday

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With the cold, rainy, gray days of November surrounding me, I thought you’d like to see one of the peonies from earlier in the fall. The memory of the glorious blossoms during our blooming season gives me hope for the return of the sun. We had a little of everything, weather-wise, yesterday. I woke up to fog, then the sun came out, then it rained, then the sun came out again, then the wind blew, then it rained, and I went to bed with the drip of rain, and fog over the Sound. We are promised the potential of snow on Saturday, maybe not here right by the Sound, but for sure on the foothills 10-15 miles inland. So I really appreciate the photos of the glories of summer while I snuggle in front of the fire.

 

 

In a Green and Leafy Wood

I went to the wood to ask for peace

And the wood replied

“No justice, no peace.”

And I said “What can I do?”

 

 

I went to the mountain to ask for vision

And the mountain replied

“Look back, look around.”

And I said “I’m afraid. There’s too much to do.”

 

 

I went to the hills to ask for courage

And the hills replied

“Make a start, start now”

And I said “Can I make a difference?”

 

 

I went to the river to ask for faith

And the river replied

“Trust yourself, trust others.”

And I bowed my head and agreed.

 

 

With vision, courage, and faith

I crossed the deserts and swamps

Of man’s inhumanity to man.

 

 

I spoke truth to power,

I fed and I clothed

I struggled to right all the wrongs.

 

 

And I failed.

 

Battered and bowed

I returned to the wood again seeking peace,

And the wood welcomed me in.

 

 

“Peace is the reward for your trying

The goal is not success but effort.

You’ve fought the good fight,

You’ve held fast to quest.”

 

 

And there in the green, leafy world of the wood

I found peace in the home of a friend.

 

(I wrote this little poem over a week ago for a writing class at FTJ. It seems strangely prophetic in the light of the troubles in Ferguson. I don’t know what to say or to suggest. I just know we have to try our damnedest to love and accept one another.)