My Temporary Home

  • One Quick Step to Happy Relationship

    “‘Most Men when seeking wives,’ says Paul Popenoe, Director of the Institute of Family Relations in Los Angeles, ‘are not looking for executives but for someone with allure and willingness to flatter their vanity and make them feel superior. Hence the woman office manager may be invited to luncheon, once. But she quite possibly dishes out warmed-over remnants of her college courses on ‘main currents in contemporary philosophy,’ and may even insist on paying her own bill. Result: she thereafter lunches alone.

    ‘In contrast, the noncollegiate typist, when invited to luncheon, fixes an incandescent gaze on her escort and says yearningly, ‘Now tell me some more about yourself.’ Result: he tells the other fellows that ‘she’s no raving beauty, but I have never met a better talker.’

    Men should express their appreciation of a woman’s effort to look well and dress becomingly. All men forget, if they have ever realized it, how profoundly women are interested in clothes. For example, if a man and woman meet another man and woman on the street, the woman seldom looks at the other man; she usually looks to see how well the other woman is dressed.

    My grandmother died a few years ago at the age of ninety-eight.

    Shortly before her death, we showed her a photograph of herself that had been taken a third of a century earlier. Her failing eyes couldn’t see the picture very well, and the only question she asked was: ‘What dress did I have on?’ Think of it! An old woman in her last December, bedridden, weary with age as she lay within the shadow of the century mark, her memory fading so fast that she was no longer able to recognize even her own daughters, still interested in knowing what dress she had worn a third of a century before! I was at her bedside when she asked that question. It left an impression on me that will never fade.

    The men who are reading these lines can’t remember what suits or shirts they wore five years ago, and they haven’t the remotest desire to remember them. But women-they are different, and we American men ought to recognize it. French boys of the upper class are trained to express their admiration of a woman’s frock and chapeau, not only once but many times during an evening. And fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong!

    I have among my clippings a story that I know never happened, but it illustrates a truth, so I’ll repeat it:

    According to this silly story, a farm woman, at the end of a heavy day’s work, set before her men folks a heaping pile of hay. And when they indignantly demanded whether she’d gone crazy, she replied:

    Why, how did I know you’d notice? I’ve been cooking for you men for the last twenty years, and in all that time I ain’t heard no word to let me know you wasn’t just eating hay!’

    The pampered aristocrats of Moscow and St Petersburg used to have better manners; in the Russia of the Czars, it was the custom of the upper classes, when they had enjoyed a fine dinner, to insist on having the cook brought into the dining room to receive their congratulations.

    Why not have as much consideration for your wife? The next time the fried chicken is done to a tender turn, tell her so. Let her know that you appreciate the fact that you’re not just eating hay. Or, as Texas Guinan used to say, ‘Give the little girl a great big hand.’

    And while you’re about it, don’t be afraid to let her know how important she is to your happiness. Disraeli was as great a statesman as England ever produced; yet, as we’ve seen, he wasn’t ashamed to let the world know how much he ‘owed to the little woman.’

    Just the other day, while perusing a magazine, I came across this.

    It’s from an interview with Eddie Cantor.

    ‘I owe more to my wife,’ says Eddie Cantor, ‘than to anyone else in the world. She was my best pal as a boy; she helped me to go straight. And after we married she saved every dollar, and invested it, and reinvested it. She built up a fortune for me. We have five lovely children. And she’s made a wonderful home for me always. If I’ve gotten anywhere, give her the credit.’

    Out in Hollywood, where marriage is a risk that even Lloyd’s of London wouldn’t take a gamble on, one of the few outstandingly happy marriages is that of the Warner Baxters. Mrs Baxter, the former Winifred Bryson, gave up a brilliant stage career when she married. Yet her sacrifice has never been permitted to mar their happiness. ‘She missed the applause of stage success,’ Warner Baxter says, ‘but I have tried to see that she is entirely aware of my applause. If a woman is to find happiness at all in her husband, she is to find it in his appreciation, and devotion. If that appreciation and devotion is actual, there is the answer to his happiness also.’

    There you are. So, if you want to keep your home life happy, one of the most important rules is: Give honest appreciation.”

     

    (c) Dale Carnegie quoted material.  Balance of material (c) Brandon L. Blankenship Alabama Birmingham Hoover Pelham

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  • Discomfort – Finding Abundance in The Abundant Life

    Wanta car? Sure. But which one? Isn’t finding abudance in the abudnant life really just about lifestyle?

    Got a car but you got a new raise? Well, you need a better car. Got a better car? Then you need a better place to live. At a certain level of earning, you need a second car, a second house (beach, mountain or lake). No matter how much your check is, you always seem to end up with the same amount at the end of each year – little to nothing. No matter how much you make, you end up living a lifestyle of scarcity.

    Yet you believe that there is such a thing as an abundant life. But no matter how hard you work, abundance evades you. It plays an unfair game of hide-and-seek, unfair because it cannot be found no matter how hard you seek. It seems like a better car would be an abundant life. It seems like more clothes would be an abudnant life. It seems like a better house would be an abudnant life. Finding abundance, however, is not about more.

    The opposite of scarcity, however, is not abundance – it is enough.

    If you can find a away to shift your lifestyle so that rather than sliding up the scale to the next better thing, you slide down the scale until you have just enough (until perhaps you are just a little uncomfortable).

    Then you will be left with an abundance.

    And when you have the opportunity to help others with your abudance – then you find the abundant life.

    ### Brandon Blankenship

     

     

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  • Around the West in 30 Days – Days 17-18

    IDAHO, MONTANA, WYOMING

    elk

    HUGE elk just hanging out by the road

    Yellowstone Park: hot springs, sulfur springs, geysers, bison, bears, deer, elk, wolves, lakes, streams, fly fishing, boating, cycling, biking, hiking, camping. There is something for everyone here. This National Park is the oldest in the country and very popular. There is a North, South, East and West entrance and about 150+ miles to navigate. Of course, Old Faithful is there, but the camping and hiking are wonderful and the views are hard to beat. The most exciting thing about Yellowstone is the wildlife is bound to just walk across the road in front of you. You will suddenly turn a curve and there will be cars lined up and cameras clicking to see giant elk or bison right by the road. You are warned to leave them alone and stay your distance, so you see lots of super cameras with crazy big lenses. If you are a nature photographer, this is a definite place for you to visit. Wildflowers in the foreground looking across a meadow that meets up with a lake at the base of a snow covered mountain top…and if you are lucky, a few bison or elk crossing the scenery. I need to wordsmith “amazing” and “breathtaking”. Getting from one location to another in Yellowstone takes a while. I’d love to come back for a week and hike the trails. We didn’t see any bears, but then, that may be a good thing.

    big agnes - CopyWe got out the tent and shook off the Grand Canyon dust and set it up and started a small fire. The temps were in the low 60s, but by morning had dropped to 41. That is c-c-c-cold in a tent! Once again, I find myself layering all the t-shirts and using the beach towels for extra blankets. I did break down and buy a jacket. It saved my life. Seriously. Anna voted to sleep in the car, but she was still a little cold, too. I told her to just cover up with that giant panda. Might as well put it to good use.

    Day 18

    annas package - CopyThis morning was a big deal for Anna. She had left her iPhone in the depths of the Grand Canyon, and after hiking a bit, went back to get it. Someone had taken it. She searched for it and asked around to no avail. She locked it down and put it in lost mode with a message to call us if found. While we were in Las Vegas, someone did call us and they sent it to Lost and Found at the Park. Lost and Found sent it to us general delivery from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone park. Today, Anna picked up her phone right outside the Old Faithful geyser at the post office. She was all grins! All her hiking pics were on her phone.

    teton pano

    The Grand Tetons

    Today we left out of the South entrance and went through the Grand Tetons National Park. No time to stay, but that didn’t stop me from taking a jillion photos. Brandon gets an award for stopping every 5 miles so I can jump out grinning ear to ear, ooooh-ing and aahhhh-ing, snapping away. After the Tetons, we went past the Painted Mountains, drove past Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College, and the burial place of Sacajawea. Other than that, there was NOTHING. No exits, no towns, no signal, no service, no gas or restrooms. This was a l-o-n-g day driving. We tried to make it to Colorado, but we just couldn’t. We are getting travel weary and wearing down, punching each other to stay awake. We almost made it to Cheyenne, but had to stop in Laramie, WY. A good swim and shower in the middle of a crazy Wyoming lighting storm, will not be forgotten.

    No thoughts for today. Well…I need to take a photography class. But other than that, I’m out. Zzzzzzzz……

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  • Sticks and Stones: Tell a Girl She’s Beautiful

    Tell a girl she is beautiful, she will believe it for a moment. Tell a girl she is ugly, she will believe it for a lifetime.  –Anonymous

    Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

    Something mysterious happens in those pre-teen years.  Somewhere between 10 and 14 the whole world turns upside down.  I remember thinking that no one understood me, everyone else was cool, and I was all alone.  Not true, but that’s how I felt.  Don’t most kids go through that?  Everything was so  d e e p  and depressing.  My journals from those days are doom and gloom all the way.  What made it that way?  Why are the middle school years often so dark for so many?

    I remember in 7th grade, I had achieved safety patrol status and was stationed on bus patrol with a boy that I thought was quirky and cute.  He was the class clown and well loved by most.  I thought this might be a great opportunity to move up in status and MAYBE I would be someone that he would discover that he liked.  He clowned around as usual and we seemed to get along ok, although nothing earth shattering and romantic ever developed.  But one day I overheard his friends teasing him about spending all that time with me and that he must “love” me and we should be “going together” (the term for becoming boyfriend/girlfriend back in the day).  As he bowed up to defend himself from the teasing, and not knowing (I hope) that I was anywhere nearby, he let out a litany of insults and derogatory comments about me and how he could never–would never ever like someone like me.  This doesn’t even begin to cover all he said, but to give you an idea:

    THAT girl?  She has anti-boobs!  Why is she even wearing a bra?  She’s a “crater-chest” (a very sensitive subject to a flat chested, buxom hopeful).  She’s a total dork and will NEVER have a boyfriend.  If she does, she’ll have to wear a bag over her head, ‘cause she us u-g-l-y.  She’ll probably die a spinster, unloved and alone.

    ….and on and on.

    I was broken hearted.  Not because he would never be my boyfriend, but because he crushed my spirit.  He and his friends were the people that I desperately wanted to like me.  He spoke to all the fears that I already had–hating my gangly flat chested body, thinking I was ugly, feeling alone and unloved, wanting a boyfriend like my other friends but not having one.  He and his friends laughed at my expense.  I was the joke.  Do you ever recover from that?  Shortly thereafter, he began talking to me using those phrases.  Putting me down whether his friends were around or not.

    Looking back, I see that he was trying to build himself up from an attack by his friends.  After all, aren’t class clowns usually the kids that are hiding a deep hurt or loneliness themselves?   I don’t think I ever completely recovered.  When I have doubts about the way I look, even now his words come back to confirm that I’m not good enough.  When I’m feeling a little lonely, his friends laughing at me echos in my mind..

    I’ve moved on.  I know I am loved and I finally grew into a real bra size.  (God does answer prayer.)  My self worth is not set by others.  I am a precious child of God and he gave his one and only son for me.  I am a child of the King and I am loved. Life did not turn out as they predicted. I have an amazing husband who thinks I’m pretty hot and a beautiful daughter with whom I have a great relationship.  I feel blessed, and know that I am.

    So I’m looking at my 13 year old daughter and wondering where she is on that topsy turvy scale?  How alone and uncool does she really feel?  Who is the thorn in her side at school?  What words have they said that will remain with her forever?  What is she experiencing now that will impact how she faces life?  And what in the world can I do to help?

    We talk often and deliberately work to keep the communication lines open.  She’s in a great school and has great friends.  I already see that her 13 year old life is not like mine was, but she is still a middle schooler.  She still has strong emotions and deep, deep feelings.  I pray that I will not hurt her with my words and that whatever she is going through, she seeks the grace of God to overcome.

    I’ll take sticks and stones any day over words.  And I will tell her that she is beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

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  • Around the West in 30 Days – Day 3

    NEW MEXICO

    la posada hotelYay! Santa Fe! Today is so much better than yesterday. It started with Super Brandon using his super powers to get an incredible hotel to make up for what we now call the “Louisiana incident”. If you do not know about the super bidding deals on priceline.com, CLICK HERE and I’ll tell you all about it. For the same price we paid for “sketchy hotel”, we are staying in a 4 diamond hotel with the stars!

    indian market santa feSo, after waking up refreshed from our plush and comfy beds in hotel amazing, we grabbed breakfast from our food bag and ice chest (fruit, granola bars, yogurt, etc.), and headed to the Santa Fe plaza to check it out. Could not have had more fun! Silver and turquoise as far as the eye can see and pottery, paintings, textiles, sculpture…I’m already looking for a house to buy! We took our time and browsed around just taking it all in.

    coil with paddle potteryAlthough I’m not a big fan of traditional Indian pottery and artwork, I can appreciate the skill and talent it takes to make such great works of art. Stone polishing and firing pots in manure to bring out the rich black glossy pottery is pretty fascinating. Some of the etching techniques and pottery painting get me excited. My favorite pottery pieces were both over $1500. Not gonna happen. On a more modern note, the Santa Fe Clay Co. had two gentlemen from Taiwan demonstrating their coiling technique with paddles for an art class. I watched from the outside window, wishing I had a couple of hours to sit in.

    sculpture girl on worldsculpture mom and girlThe Canyon Road art galleries are fabulous. Take a stroll down that street for a week or more and drink it all in. We met artists from all over the world and saw some truly spectacular pieces. I’m posting a pic of two of my favorite bronze sculptures. When looking at both of these pieces I could see so much emotion and movement. So many pieces of art are just flat to me. Pretty, but dull. These made me feel happy.  Isn’t that what counts? The exuberance on the little girl’s face as she stands on top of the world, and the motion of the mother swinging her daughter in circles brought fond memories of doing the same for Anna.

    pascuals santa feWe had an interesting lunch at Pasqual’s farm-to-table café’. Brandon had the cubano supreme and Anna and I dared to share the cactus salad. Um….I’m not refined enough for something so exotic! It was tasty but slimy and although I tried not to think about it, I did gag once and stayed with the plantain chips the rest of the meal! We sat at the community table with other patrons and that was interesting. Not a talkative group. Oh well. Maybe next time.  They just couldn’t handle us, I’m sure. 🙂

    Supper was at the Rooftop Pizzeria. Beautiful evening for an outdoor meal on the roof. Interesting people watching. A country band was playing in the plaza as we left and a couple of people were line dancing and fancy dancin’. A great evening!

    TOP RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

    1.  I’ll take Heat Without Humidity, Alex, for $500.  What is…Ways not to sweat outside?  Ding! Ding!

    2. Anna and I ditched Brandon to buy him a Christmas present.  I think he tried to come in the same store to get us something and circled right back out after seeing us.  Not sure, but Christmas should be fun this year!

    3. The word on the street is that controversy is brewing with the Arabs buying all the local stores and the Indians are being pushed out of making a living selling their own artwork. You did not hear this from me.

    adobe santa fe4. Why DO we have the desire to buy something from everywhere we visit to remind us that we were there?  How many key chains, t-shirts, coffee mugs,  and ornaments do you have?

    5.  If you say “adobe” 25 times, it begins to sound ridiculous.  Try it.  Uh dough bee, heh heh.

    6. There is such a wonderful variety of people in this world.  God delights in His children.  I will strive to be more purposeful enjoying Him and them.

    Do check out the priceline.com deal if you are traveling. You won’t regret it. Tomorrow we move closer to the Grand Canyon. It’s probably going to be a camping night. Not sure yet. Stay tuned!

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  • Our Bees are Busy Carrying Pollen Baskets!

    Pollen Baskets?

    We caught this photo of one of our honeybees resting on a tree close to the hive as she was headed back loaded down with pollen. You can see that pollen in her pollen baskets. The pollen basket (technically called the corbicula) is part of the tibia on the hind legs of the honeybee. They use the structure in harvesting pollen and returning it to the hive.

    Season for Pollen?

    This was right after the January “snowpocalypse” during the thaw, and we were so surprised to see that there was any pollen to gather. One thing the honeybees have taught us is that in Central Alabama, where we are located, there are very few weeks that don’t have some kind of pollen production.

    Camera

    Remember when the camera for this shot of this pollen basket would have cost big money and weight almost five pounds? This photo was taken just with an iPhone 5C.  Not bad.  Right place, right time.  Hoping the honeybees continue to stay busy and we have a great honey harvest this Spring.  Stay tuned!

    ### Donnalee Blankenship

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  • Discovering Humanity – A Christian Practice

    … then I will look at you with your eyes and you will look at me with mine.
    – Dr. J.L. Moreno

    There is a woman who sits in a park in Birmingham, Alabama. For as long as I can remember, she has sat in that park. She is older now. She doesn’t smell too good. She usually sits at the intersection of two walking paths hoping for someone to give her money for food. She is passive for a beggar but she is always present. I walked past her many times. Sometimes I shared pocket change. Most times I just walked by.[1. ©2017 Brandon Blankenship, Image Credit: Donnalee Blankenship]

    One day, while waiting in line to enter an event at the park, we started talking. She slowly shared the story of the husband that beat her into the hospital. No longer able to think clearly she eventually lost her job. Her husband left. Unable to care for her children, they were taken by the state. Thirty something years have passed and she grieves the loss of her children. She wonders where they are and what kind of lives they might have had.

    If her children had become pro athletes or millionaires or professors, I might have been quick to acknowledge that I knew their mother. I am quick to share her honor. St. Paul’s encourages that when one person is honored, we are all honored. And challenges that when one person suffers, we all suffer.[2. 1 Corinthians 12:26.] Since her children became wards of the state, I am tempted to reject her instead. I am slow to share her suffering. The real work of discovering humanity is leaning into, sharing the suffering with her. The real work is in not pulling away.

    I don’t know what it is like to be beaten to the point of irreparable brain injury. I do know what it is like to suffer an injustice and not have the power to change it.

    I don’t know what it is like for a court to determine that I am inadequate to be a parent. I do know what it is like to want or need to do something and question if I am adequate to do it.

    I do not know what it is like to spend entire days ignored in a public park. I do know what it is like to feel alone.

    By discovering her humanity, I discover that – whatever our differences may be – we have these things in common. We have a shared humanity. She agrees that she is still a mother even though her children were taken from her. I asked if I could call her mother, and she said I could.

    Now, when I walk through the park, I look for her. When I see her, I call out “Hello mother!” and she smiles.

    I am America, carefully picking the route I walk and drive so as not to interrupt my happy day. And when I stumble upon an interruption by accident, I have carefully honed my peripheral vision to ignore it. Visions of people who are beaten, alone, or hungry would interrupt my happy day. So, I avoid them where I can and ignore them where I must.

    It is a Christian Practice to discover humanity as we walk, drive, work, and play. This requires stopping the practice of looking past people who are different from us to find people like us. It requires engaging humans as we encounter them.

    People are sometimes gross, offensive, or painful – it is a Christian Practice to acknowledge them anyway, to engage them anyway, to love them anyway.

    ### Brandon Blankenship

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  • Around the West in 30 Days – Day 15

    CALIFORNIA

    Sacramento

    state fair2REST finally! We arrived in Sacramento close to midnight and checked in. We slept late, ate brunch, and then took a nap. We, meaning Anna and me. Brandon was busy working while he has wifi and isn’t driving. Anna and I took a swim in the hotel pool and then they got ready to go to the California State Fair. I chose to stay and take another nap. We’ve been going, going, going, and we’ve been cramped in a packed car for 2 weeks. One day to stretch and rest feels so good. I’m a little sad to miss out on the fun for tonight, but glad to stretch my legs and snuggle under the covers.  Anna is excited to be here. Why? Because it’s the capitol and she did well on her state capitols test. Goofball.state fair1

    Things I have learned about my daughter:

    1. She wins. She wins the Las Vegas claw machine. She wins the California state fair impossible ring toss. She wins competitions. She wins board games and card games. She wins whatever she puts her mind to. She is competitive, that I knew. She must be her father’s daughter, because I just don’t have that kind of life. I’ve never seen anything like it.state fair bear

    2. She is happy. She gets moody and aggravating and frustrated and angry, but she always circles back to happy. She whistles, and sings to herself. She giggles and laughs out loud easily. She is goofy and funny and wants everyone else to be happy, too. She reminds me to smile. I get bogged down a lot, but she does not.

    3.She is kind. She always saves the last bite for someone else. She offers the first sip or first whatever to someone else. She offers the extra whatever it is to strangers. She loves playing with kids and making them smile. She doctors us when we don’t feel well. She wants the world to be a better place one person at a time. Love this girl. LOVE. HER.

    God smiled on us with this child. Maybe He rolled all 12 of the kids I wanted into this one. Blessed.

    ———————————–

    Want to catch up on the trip?

    Day Before

    Day 1 Mississippi, Louisiana

    Day 2 Texas

    Day 3 New Mexico, Santa Fe

    Day 4-5 New Mexico, Arizona

    Day 6-7 Arizona, Grand Canyon

    Day 8 Arizona

    Day 9 Arizona

    Day 10-11 Nevada, Las Vegas

    Day 12-13 California, Los Angeles, Paso Robles, Asilomar

    Day 14 California, Monterey, San Francisco

     

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  • Why have you forsaken me?

    We recently heard a wonderful Messianic Jew deliver a message of hope and enlightenment on the Passover Lamb. As a Christian, to miss the Jewishness of Christ, is to miss a great deal of who He was and what He came to do. Whenever I have the opportunity, I want to hear more.

    There were a few ‘aha’ moments for me while he spoke. The one I really want to share is the cry of Christ, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34). I have always heard it preached that God could not look at Christ and turned his back on him, because Christ had taken on the sin of the whole world and God could not look upon that sin. After hearing this message however, I believe something completely different.  This is what I got from a Jewish-Christian message.

    Christ is the Word, Christ authored the Word, Christ knew the Word, and he knew his audience knew the Word and had certain parts of the Word memorized. It was Jewish tradition to recite memorized texts. One had to only call out a portion of it and everyone knew the whole text. Just as we might say, “don’t drink the kool-aid” and everyone knows the story of Jim Jones and his cult who blindly followed him and drank the poisoned kool-aid and died. Or if you say the first line of most any nursery rhyme, like, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…” or well known scripture like, “For God so loved the world…” and almost everyone could mentally finish out the rest in their heads.

    Christ had been beaten and tortured and nailed to the cross. He was in excruciating pain and his life was ebbing away. He was barely able to breathe or talk. His last words were short and truncated sentences. Gasping for the air and the strength to speak he said what he needed to say as briefly as possible.

    When Christ uttered the phrase, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he was quoting Psalm 22 authored by the Old Testament Christ figure, David. David is on the run from Saul and utterly alone and abandoned. We know that David voiced his feelings and thoughts throughout the Psalms. We also know that this is a passage of scripture that Jews memorize and recite. When Christ calls this out, those of his followers around the cross could finish this scripture in their heads.

    1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
     Why are you so far from saving me,  so far from my cries of anguish?
     2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
     by night, but I find no rest.
    3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
     you are the one Israel praises.
    4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
     they trusted and you delivered them.
     5 To you they cried out and were saved;
     in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
    [God has saved them before. His people trusted Him and God took care of them.]
    6 But I am a worm and not a man,
     scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
     7 All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
     8 "He trusts in the Lord," they say,
     "let the Lord rescue him.
     Let him deliver him,  since he delights in him."
    [David describes the very things that are happening to Christ.]
    9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
     you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
     10 From birth I was cast on you;
     from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
    [Born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit.]
    11 Do not be far from me,
     for trouble is near  and there is no one to help.
    12 Many bulls surround me;
     strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
     13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
     open their mouths wide against me.
     14 I am poured out like water,
     and all my bones are out of joint.
     My heart has turned to wax;  it has melted within me.
     15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
     and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
     you lay me in the dust of death.
    [Water poured from His side when He was pierced with the spear. His bones were out of joint from the crucifixion but not broken to fulfill prophesy. His tongue was swollen and stuck to the roof of his mouth because of the physical brutality of what crucifixion does to the body.]
    16 Dogs surround me,  a pack of villains encircles me;
     they pierce my hands and my feet.
     17 All my bones are on display;
     people stare and gloat over me.
     18 They divide my clothes among them
     and cast lots for my garment.
    [Dogs was a common phrase for Gentiles (the Romans).  The soldiers cast lots for his clothes.]
    19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
     You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
     20 Deliver me from the sword,
     my precious life from the power of the dogs.
     21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
     save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
    22 I will declare your name to my people;
     in the assembly I will praise you.
     23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
     All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
     Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
     24 For he has not despised or scorned
     the suffering of the afflicted one;
     he has not hidden his face from him
     but has listened to his cry for help.
    [Here is the reminder to His followers. I will praise God. Everyone honor God. God has NOT despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one. God has heard His cry.]
    25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
     before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
     26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
     those who seek the Lord will praise him—
     may your hearts live forever!
    27 All the ends of the earth
     will remember and turn to the Lord,
     and all the families of the nations  will bow down before him,
     28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
     and he rules over the nations.
    [Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess...]
    29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
     all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
     those who cannot keep themselves alive.
     30 Posterity will serve him;
     future generations will be told about the Lord.
     31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
     declaring to a people yet unborn:
     He has done it!
    [Future generations will be told. He has done it. It is finished. The price has been paid.]

    He is not calling out to His Father who abandoned him, he is preaching his last sermon from the cross. He is saying, ‘I am the Christ foretold. This is what must happen to save you. God loves you and always has. Generation after generation will know what God has done here this day.’  God does not abandon us because we sin. He is with us, calling us to Him.

    Turn from what you know is wrong, ask forgiveness, and walk toward the One who has loved you since the beginning of time.  Read Psalm 22.  Read it again.  I am.

     

    – Donnalee Blankenship

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  • At least infinity stands off

    At least infinity stands off,

    makes room in the back of

    the closet for another

    pair of shoes, an old

    umbrella, our clutch of

    tight memories.  Years to

    list become, like a baked

    cake, no longer separate,

    but melt, mesh, cohere

    into the sweet taste of

    shared lips.  -Jon Ciliberto

    Thanks to Georgia poet Jon Ciliberto for this poem celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.  During the AJC Decatur Book Festival, several poets set up a booth and demonstrate their talent.  Since it was the weekend of our anniversary, we shared a little bit about our 25 years and this was the result.

    Image credit: Infinity Andrew Smithson CC flickr 5NOV2010

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