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Where we Begin

img_0274“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1

 

Last week, we explored building a house and then designing a landscaping plan for your yard.

Landscaping can be more or less a challenge depending on the ground, the soil, what was left after construction and what you do with it. What can be left? What needs to be removed? What can be incorporated into the design itself?

 

Where do we begin?

 

Tatters of our life can often resemble a gravel pit. How do we get from there to a beautiful garden? Where do you begin such a daunting project?

The same place Mrs. Butchart did.

She didn’t just cover up the hole; she used it as her spring board.

If she had just filled the large expansive gravel pit that remained after quarrying ended, it would not be the beautiful gardens it is today.

 

img_0322In examining the steps involved in landscaping, we find some commonalities we need to design a landscaping plan for our lives.

First, what do you have to work with. This requires an honest appraisal of where you are at this moment in time. That means acceptance of the good, bad and ugly without denial, cover ups or excuses. If you do not take this first step, hidden obstacles will slow down you progress or alter your plans.

Second, a desire to make some changes. What aren’t you satisfied with right now and why? What would be different if you made some changes?

Third, with that desire a vision can be created of what you want to do and would you want to have happen.

Fourth, what things are needed to make your plan work.  This includes among other things a cost analysis of time, finances, and support. We may do most of the work, but we need others to assist and support our efforts if only to encourage.

And fifth, become the architect that will lay out the plan that is needed; recognize obstacles and ways to overcome or bypass them.  And then seal it with a signed commitment by you as to why this is important to you. This will stay help keep you motivated.

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In my program, I designed seven steps to complete this project.  Each gives you a brief inventory of what is needed and things for you to consider as you develop your own personal landscape design.

Your Special Journal

Get a beautiful journal and entitle it “My Beautiful Garden”.  As you work through the steps I outline in the upcoming blogs, capture your thoughts on paper.  This is your architectural workbook.  It is an evolving project.

I have been involved in the construction of several homes.  Each design and lot created its own challenges. At first it could be intimidating when looking at a pile of rubble and trying to figure out how you can turn it into something satisfying and inviting.  But it got more and more exciting as you began to see possibilities that your vision grew.  You knew that your landscaping design would not only enhance your newly built home,but serve as an ongoing sense of pleasure and contentment.

The same is true when we stop and look at the rubble in our lives.  But as you step out in creating a life that is both exciting and deeply satisfying, the work ahead of you becomes more and more exciting.

Next week, we will start the 7 step process.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

 

Landscaping Design for Your Life

DSC00360I have a Golden chain tree in my yard that has beautiful hanging yellow flowers every spring. A neighbor told me how much they enjoyed the tree and hoped I would never get rid of it. I assured them I wouldn’t. It was one of my first choices for trees in my landscaping design after building my home.

 

To build a home we need a set of plans. After the house is finished, the next step is taking the pile of rubble and dirt remaining and create a landscaping plan for trees, shrubs, flower beds and pathways.

 

Years ago I put together a program entitled, “Turn your gravel Pit into a Beautiful Garden”, the inspiration coming from Butchart Gardens, in British Columbia, Canada, an internationally renowned garden.

 

Just as you and I can design and build our homes, we can do the same with our lives.  I was inspired by this concept when I researched the beginning of this beautiful place.

 

It began as a quarry owned by Mr. Butchart to extract limestone. When all the elements had been removed, what remained was a huge, expansive hole in the ground – a huge gravel pit. Since the quarry had been on the outskirts of the owner’s property, it was an eyesore to the owner’s wife. Surveying this ugly extensive hole in her back yard, she decided to do something about it.

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With the help of architects and landscapers, she brought in top soil, designed and created what is known today as Butchart Gardens where people from around the world come to see its breathtaking display.

DSC00753What was once a repulsive and desolate pit in the ground had now been turned into a beautiful sunken garden whose paths wind around beautiful ponds of water with ducks and swans floating between lily pads.

Tree branches gently caress the water’s edge and flowers, shrubs and trees artfully placed throughout the gardens draw you into a world of beauty.

When viewed at night the gardens become a fairyland with the trees, paths and flowers lit by thousands of strategically placed lights.

 

Mrs. Butchart took an uninviting and inhospitable place and turned it into a showcase, a place of beauty that fed her soul and continues to touch the lives of everyone who comes to see this marvelous place of spellbinding serenity and beauty.

 

We all have gravel pits in our lives

img_3391– huge, ugly holes created by death or divorce, acts of violence, tragic and lonely childhoods, or simply careless living; and we are left with scared landscapes of indifference, bad choices, losses, isolation, and rejection leaving us feeling desolate, forlorn, abandoned, lost and lonely.

And in our attempts to reconstruct the pieces of our lives, we often get overwhelmed, give up or accept that life will forever be an ugly gravel pit.

 

DSC00758But just as Mrs. Butchart created a world-renown garden from a gravel pit, we can take our lives full of pain and broken dreams and turn them into places of beauty where we are comfortable residing and others want to visit.

We can turn un-attractive and hopeless situations into satisfying, productive and pleasing futures. We don’t scrap it – we use it.

It becomes the backbone for our beautiful garden – positive gardens of hope, light, joy, energy and strength.

 

Next week I will give you some steps to take in creating your personal landscaping plan for your life.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

A New Dialogue

portrait of a young woman standing with arms akimbo in a parkWhat you say to yourself and others has long term consequences.  Words said in anger cut deep.  Words that devalue who you are, your worth and esteem put you in a self-imposed prison.

Communication begins with you to you.  When we esteem ourselves we can esteem others.

As you learn to appreciate who you are, you can assist your next steps forward with positive statements made in the first person “I” that affirm your significance and usefulness.  These confirm your positive intentions for life.

 

I affirm that I have choices and abilities

I  affirm I have worth and value

I affirm that I can accomplish any goals I choose when

I put my heart, mind and hard work to the task

Creating positive affirmations

Discouraging, hopeless and dispiriting messages tear us down. Affirmations reflect our values and principles.  They motivate and encourage us to be the best we can be.

Repeated daily they draw us towards the goals we have established.  They become a new self-fulfilling prophecy.

They also become a new automatic response to adversity and life in general.  They re-train our brain and our thought processes from a negative point of view to one that is positive and affirming.

Here are some possibilities for your consideration:

  • I am intelligent, capable and responsible for all my actions
  • I choose to expand my point of view and focus on what is positive in my life
  • I can become more than any hurtful events in my past
  • I forgive because hanging onto grievances will hurt me
  • I work for excellence instead of perfection
  • I am methodical and careful in everything I do
  • I focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t do
  • I let go of the hurts of the past so I can work on my future
  • I can say “no” and respect my decisions

Take some time and create your own affirmations.  Or use the ones above and modify them to address your special concerns, needs and wants.

Then act them and live them.  Let them guide you to positive new goals.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Wounded People

j0433113I lost a brother last week – sudden – unexpected.

In honor of his death and life, and for anyone who has lost a loved one, I post a poem I wrote in 2008 when I was working with people going through grief – wounded people.

You may have struggled going through a major loss in your life. Or you may be helping a friend who is grieving.  This is for anyone who has been in that position.

Wounded People

 

Need a hand for support as they learn to walk again

Need friends who will be there

Need to know they can honor their journey

Need to have their feelings and experience validated

Need assistance – not fixing

Need someone who is willing to listen

Need acceptance, grace, understanding, compassion

Do not need pity, trite words, or lectures about the future

Need to know they are okay – when someone who has leg surgery they want to know,

“Will I be able to walk again?”

Wounded people need to know “Will I be able to live again?”

Need encouragement

Need to know they are still needed

Need time to recover, sort things through and restructure their life

Need to know they will enjoy life again

Need to know that life is worth living – there is a purpose and meaning

Healing occurs when we allow ourselves to go through the pain,

Are willing to reach out for support when we need it,

To gain the strength and courage to create a new beginning

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Why, What and How

regensberg-10-16We can usually identify what it is we don’t want, but often struggle to put into words exactly what we do want. Until we do, we will be unable to design a plan and stay focused to accomplish it.

Why, What, and How

What have you wanted to do but for whatever reason never got around to doing it.  Maybe you thought about getting more education, or starting your own business or putting time and energy into creating crafts that others would want to buy.

Perhaps you wished you could work for a worthwhile cause that pulls your heart. But life seems so hectic.

These three little words, why, what and how, along with the questions they pose may help you rethink those wishes and wants.  Use them to re-examine them and their importance to you.

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Why:

 

  • Why do I want to do this or make this a goal?
  • Why have I hesitated in the past?
  • Why is it important now?
  • Why do I procrastinate if I say I want it?
  • Why do other things take precedence and seem more important than reaching this goal? (Example: would have to give up free time, become more disciplined and self regulated, continue working towards even when I don’t feel like it in the moment, etc.)

 

Woman filling in a form

What:

 

  • What specifically do I want to do, to have, to attain?
  • What keeps me from doing it? (past attempts, past failures, lack of commitment, etc.)
  • What obstacles, restrictions, setbacks do I face (financial, age, lack of support, determination, fear, unsure, insecurity, etc.)
  • What interferences are there? (Demanding job, family concerns, over committed in other areas, home to maintain, etc.)
  • What would happen if I didn’t make a decision and get started?
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How:

 

  • How will I maintain my other important and necessary commitments (job, family, church, rest, important relationships, etc.)
  • How will I get past those discouraging moments?
  • How will I keep myself motivated when I am tired and alternative diversions become more compelling?
  • How will I define my goal specifically enough so I know exactly how to structure my plan of action?
  • How will I know when I have reached my goal and am ready for the next one?

 

As you think through some of the reasons why you haven’t started on some of those meaningful goals, consider the following.

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Reasons we fail

  • We lack long term commitment
  • We give up
  • We have an initial spurt of energy but not a plan to take us all the way
  • We haven’t taken an honest look at our strengths and weaknesses, accepting all of ourselves as being okay, looking at the past with only the intention to identify repeated errors without analyzing and constructing a way to counter them, etc
  • We haven’t addressed diversions that occur every day
  • We haven’t identified why we haven’t succeeded in the past and put in place ways to counter that
  • We allow old messages to keep surfacing and we begin to pay more attention to them than our new goal: Ex: Do I really want to put this much effort into this program? What if it doesn’t go anywhere and I get nothing from my efforts?
  • We haven’t established our values and have written a mission statement for ourselves.

portrait of a young woman standing with arms akimbo in a parkTrying and failing is never a reason not to try.  If it is important to you, it is worth the effort to try.  You can succeed.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Adjust Your Focus

thumbnailCAOVZJY2Those of you who love to take pictures do more than point and shoot. You are constantly adjusting the lens to take in more of the landscape or to narrow the scope to pinpoint a particular point of interest.

You continue to adjust your focus until you can capture exactly what you want.

You care about the lighting, the angle, the depth perception, and the nuances that give some pictures a timeless quality.

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We adjust the lens of our cameras –

but do we adjust the lens of our camera of life?

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Sometimes our focus needs to be needle sharp, pinpointing a particular problem that requires immediate attention.

At such times we narrow our scope to attend to it, completely obliterating anything else that is happening; such times as when our child is sick, someone is having a heart attack or we find ourselves in a dangerous situation.

At such moments we don’t care if the sun is shining, the birds are singing or the daffodils are blooming. What we care about is the emergency in front of us that takes center stage and requires our full attention.

 

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Other times our focus is broadened and we stop to smell the roses, see the beauty of nature around us and relax in the comfort of knowing God loves us and so do others.

 

Every day when we get up we can adjust our focus.

When we have problems we can adjust our lens to look for those things that will give us the necessary information to work with,pinpointing the cause of the problem and then look for solutions.

Or we can allow our lens to get stuck on what isn’t working and

remain fixed on the problem instead of a solution.

 

DSC00764When our lens is stuck in only one position, we miss the beauty of life that surrounds us, the things that can make our heart sing, the people who enrich our lives, the work of nature that continues to keep things growing and moving from season to season.

We miss the opportunities to try new things, to experiment, to find new experiences and ways to build a positive life. We get stuck on hate instead of love, anger instead of compassion.

You are the camera of your life. You adjust the focus every day.

 

Each moment in time offers us something new to experience – a depth of understanding, a new perspective, a desire to accomplish, a passion to help and share. Within each moment in time we have opportunities that are gone in a second if we don’t focus on them. What amazing things we could accomplish if we allowed ourselves to think of the possibilities and act on them.

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When I get up in the morning I have a choice as to what I will focus on.

I can focus on my vulnerabilities or I can focus on my strengths.

I can feel depressed about what I don’t have or I can rejoice with God about all the possibilities that lay before me.

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I determine what pictures of life I will take. I determine the focus of my life camera.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Free to be Me

Young Woman Standing with Arms Stretched OutWhen we feel there are no solutions to our problems, we strike out, hang on to resentment and blame others for our difficulties or distress.  Or we condemn ourselves.

Remaining in that mindset, however, takes away our personal power and keeps us locked in a never ending cycle of bitterness and anger.

Our focus remains on what we can’t do and not on what we can do.

We are a combination of many things: DNA, personality, childhood experiences and the fundamental beliefs we put in place while growing up. We form perceptions of who we think we are based on how we interpret our experiences.

Everyone will be affected differently by life events. While one thing may be an irritant to one person, it can be a positive experience to another.

Completing the stories from our past give us the opportunity to take a more measured look at what happened in our growing up years and how that continues to influence our present day life. Some things made us feel little and insignificant while others motivated us to become the best we can.

As we challenge and speak to those things that made us feel inferior and worthless, we have the opportunity to heal old wounds and put to rest the intense emotions associated with them. Our view of ourselves, the world and who we can become is expanded. We can remember the good times as well as the bad and those that helped and encouraged us. Choosing to let go of our pain and grievances allows us to create a new and positive chapter for our life story.

We are not our past. Our past does not define who we are unless we allow it to. Completing our stories help build a more positive bridge from the past to the present.   It enables us to take charge.

Young Woman Standing Over a Car Engine Bay Checking An Oil DipstickLife can be hard. It is easy to fall into the trap that we are entitled to a happy life and that somehow others are responsible for that. But when we buy into that belief system, we relinquish our personal power and freedom. We are no longer in charge of our lives – someone or something else is.

We are free to choose how we respond to whatever is happening. During the tough times, we can learn how to be resilient, flexible and compassionate. We have the opportunity to think in more positive and productive ways. It is where we accept our vulnerabilities and work with them instead of hiding or denying them. In those moments we recognize our need for God and reach out to Him for strength, hope and courage.

It is during the tough times, when everything is going wrong, that we have the opportunity to become more of who we are than we could at any other time. It is where we stretch and reach higher and grow.

A Letter of Affirmation

Take a piece of paper and write a letter to yourself. Write about all the things you have accomplished and all the people who have helped you. Include the talents and abilities you have. Write about the ways you want to improve and grow. Complete your letter with a faith statement of how you want to live your life and use the wonderful gifts you have been given. Read this letter every day as an affirmation of all the things you can achieve and become.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

A Tribute for a Friend

j0433113I remember those early days and months after the death of my husband. One winter morning, I saw a white rose blooming on one of my rose bushes.  The leaves were gone and it was January and very cold.

It precipitated the writing of the following poem.  I share it today for my friend.

Loss is part of life; but those who remain struggle with their loss. Lois,  God be with you and comfort you.

 

I Cried – He Came

 

God came one morning when I was down and low

He showed me a patch of blue between the clouds,

A bird scrounging in the dried bushes

Looking for food

Singing a song

 

And He said, “I’m here – I’m here

I’m right here beside you!”

 

I’m with that bird – He’s singing in the cold

I’m in that sky – there’s a promise of spring

I’m in the earth around you – Close your eyes and feel my strength

Feel me giving you breath to continue on

 

“Bloom wherever you are,” He said. “Just bloom.”

 

I looked and saw my rose bush blooming

There were no leaves

It was still the middle of winter

But there were roses blooming.

 

Bloom wherever you are

Bloom in the winter – the summer – the fall

Bloom wherever I place you

I will feed you

I will water you

I will be by your side

There are many things I do not understand

– why I must be alone when it is people I need

–  why I must struggle when others are at play.

We all have our prisons:  they come in separation and isolation – in loss and discouragement. They come in the midst of poverty and in the midst of wealth. They sneak up behind us and catch us when we are not looking,

and in desperation we cry out to our God

I do not understand. I do not understand.

But I do know this. My God came and stood beside me today

He came and I felt His presence

in the sky – the bird – the roses

I closed my eyes and felt his presence by my side.

And I was no longer alone.

 

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

The Shack

The Shack“The Shack“, by Wm. Paul Young.

Several years ago, I led a six week book review at my church on “The Shack.” Last week I was asked to speak at a book club on the same book which has come into focus again with the recent release of the movie made from the book.

Preparing for my talk and discussion, I asked myself, how can I reduce such a rich book to an hour speech? I saw the movie, reviewed the book again, and reached deep into the text to pull out some of its jewels of thought provoking questions. Although it is a fiction story, it invokes questions such as who is God? Does He really care for us? How am I to respond to Him? If I have suffered a great loss, an unspeakable tragedy, does God care?  And what do I do with my anger, hate and resentment?

Here are snippets of that book feature I did on my blog site, in May of 2015.

 

“The Shack

The ShackHow do you see God?

Would you see Him as stern – unforgiving – waiting for you to screw up? How does your perception of God influence your relationship with Him? Does it bring you closer or keep you at a distance?

In “The Shack,” by Wm. Paul Young, the main character, Mack, receives a simple typewritten letter in the mail telling “Mackenzie” that he had been missed and if he wanted to get together, he “would be at the shack next weekend”. It was signed “Papa”.

On his quest to overcome the sadness Mack continued to experience after the death of his daughter, he decides to take a trip back to the scene of the crime where his daughter had been snatched by a predator during a family camping trip and was murdered. On the way he meets with an accident and Mack discovers himself at “the shack” where he comes face to face with God.

And the journey begins.

What would you do or say if you came face to face with God, especially if He was totally different than you had envisioned Him? What would you do if He greeted you with love, a hug, excited to see you and with an invitation to join Him for dinner? What if He laughed and saw His world with eyes of positive expectation? In fact, what if He was a She?

During Mack’s weekend with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, he is confronted with his anger towards God, his personal guilt for not what happened to his daughter, and his desire for retribution.

“The Shack,” is a powerful book that challenges our perceptions of God, redemption, grace and forgiveness and gives pause to our usual responses to life. Originally written for his children, others who read Paul’s story encouraged him to publish it.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to facilitate a book review group of this book as part of a Lenten series at my church. Although I had read the book before, this was an in-depth study rich in revelations and take away lessons that could deepen our faith and walk with God. A couple of months later, I was privileged to meet, talk with and listen to the author himself when he spoke at our church.

Many people begin the book but never complete it. I encourage you to not only read it from beginning to end, and take time to pursue its deeper messages of grace, redemption, forgiveness and love, but also to make it a part of your own library.

Marlene Anderson

Post Script – Go see the movie – it faithfully follows the book and is a good see.

 

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Tree of Hope

MtBakerHaving lunch the other day with a fellow author, I became interested in a poem she had written.  Grieving the loss of a family member she shared the difficulty of writing during this period.  The poem she shared with us seemed so appropriate for the Lenten season, and I  asked if she would mind if I posted her poem on my website blog.  She said yes.

When she sent me the poem, I was blown away by the depth of love and creative talent that went into writing this poem.

Darlene Dubay, is not just another would-be writer.  I had the privilege of doing a book review of her book, The Tales of Two Sisters, available on Amazon.com. a few years ago. Follow the 2 links to see her website, and to read the review.

As authors and Christians, I am privileged to post Darlene’s poem as this week’s blog during Holy Week. The picture above was taken by a very talented photographer friend of mine, Maria Kumlander, who lives in California.

 

Tree of Hope

I remember being a seed, full of hope, dreaming.

I would be the tallest tree, and proud.

Then, thrust into the ground, I shuddered.

Darkness overcame me and I broke.

No longer latent, I began to search for light.

Yet wanting to be anchored, I thrust my fingers deeper into ground.

They laughed at me as I broke free.

“A twig,” they said: Insignificant nothing.

Yet I dreamed of becoming—magnificent I’d stand, towering above—mighty.

When finally ready I would be mercifully cut to become

A pillar, strong and straight to hold the weight of majesty aloft.

Or maybe I would be fashioned as a cradle,

Holding precious life, or toy or tureen—useful—

bringing pleasure by being used.

I did not fear the saw; it was a long way off.

But when it finally came. I cried,

“No, let me grow a little more. I want to be the biggest and the best.

I want my glorious form to be admired.”

I lay there on the ground, helpless—

My fate in the hands of those who ripped me from my roots.

It did no good to protest. My voice could not be heard.

Lying prostrate, I imagined what I would become.

It was not good. Their evil tones were hinting shame and disgrace.

“No!” I cried. “I did not grow for this.”

My limbs were ripped and nailed into a form

So horrible—degrading—a mockery of what was meant to be.

Bitter nails drove into my flesh,

But worse was yet to come.

Dragged and carried in my ugly form, I tried my best to help the struggling one,

But felt my weight grow heavier with each step.

Then on the top of that ignominious hill,

They laid me prostrate to accept my fate.

I felt his flesh caress the roughness of my bark.

I groaned in shame that I would be the one

To lift His whipped and trampled body far aloft for all to see.

I felt the spikes drive precious flesh and blood into my wood.

Helpless, there I stood, as I was lifted with my treasure.

Oh, the shame! The agony! The jeering crowds saying,

“It’s the end. His suffering has no meaning. ”

All is lost. What victory lies in death?

What justice shines through bitter clouds of hate?

I felt his spirit leave and fear of being discarded racked my being.

The coldness of his absence permeated me

And I wished for burning fires of purification.

Better to be cleansed than to lie rotting in the dirt.

The emptiness of my ugly form was wretched. I watched them haul him off—just another lifeless piece of flesh.

And me? I only hoped that I could fade to nothing.

On the third day, though, he returned.

He held me close and promised—what?

I could not comprehend.

“I live,” he said. “I am alive forever.”

“How can it be?” I cried. “I felt your soul’s anguish

And despair. I know the emptiness of your departing.

I never want to be the one who displays

Your trampled, lifeless body up for all to see.”

He held me closer then and I knew it had to be this way.

My gift of self will be forever a symbol of great love.

My collaboration in his plan will always be

The means to life eternal.

I’m honored. I am cherished.

And every day and moment

Someone remembers by my sign—

True life awaits those who hold me closest to their heart.

4-5-2010

Happy Lent,

Darlene 

Thank you Darlene.  You have graced my blog with your exceptional insight and talent.

I wish each of you a blessed Easter, knowing that it was the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, that brings us this blessed holiday.

Marlene Anderson

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