A tribute to my mother (reposted poem)

You taught me the power of words-
You made me a poet.
You taught me compassion-
To see and to love those who are in pain.
You taught me to value diversity-
Helped me understand how it felt to be different.
You taught me the value of community-
Helped me learn to notice the lonely and left out.
You taught me to love mercy-
To treat people how I wanted to be treated.
You taught me to love my children-
To value who God made them as individuals.
You taught me to listen with my heart-
To hear the wounds of others that were hard to express.
You taught me that you don’t always
Get to choose how the lessons come
But to keep my heart open to God
And try not to miss them.
You taught me to value humility-
And to seek to do justice.
You helped me learn to look for the “jewels in the ashes”
and light in the darkest of places.

 

(Today or tomorrow may be her last day….she was exhausted, sick and in pain this afternoon but knew we were there).  The call where I was asked to confirm it was OK to give her morphine, avatar and just keep her comfortable and let her failing heart fail came today……praying you find peace, Mom.

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Jesus Is A Refugee (poem) reposted

See the  mother on the journey, tiny baby in her arms,
Running from the soldiers who’ve come to rape and kill
She’s tired from the running, desperate, hungry, full of fear—
How can she know God loves her, and that He walks beside her there?

He is there beside her in the dark and in the cold.
He knows what she is feeling, in the Bible it is told
That He was once a refugee. His parents ran to save His life
From the soldiers sent to kill him in Herod’s infanticide.

The way that God has chosen to loose the bands of wickedness
To give bread to the hungry and to help free the oppressed
Calls us to walk beside her in our prayers and in our hearts:
As the body of Christ, the servant king, it makes her burden ours.

But words and prayers are not enough, no matter how well spoken
God’s love requires our presence so He can walk beside His children.
Even though we’re broken, we are His feet and hands.
We stand in need of grace to obey His commands.

Though she sits in darkness, He came to be the light.
Though she now is hungry, He is the bread of life.
Though we turn aside sometimes or don’t know what to do,
We are all called in some way to help her make it through.

He chose to entrust us with His reputation
And to make us His body throughout every nation
As a king become baby, He risked everything
Calling us to embody the love that He brings….

I was hungry and you gave me bread
Thirsty and you gave me drink
A stranger and you took me in
In prison and you came to me….”
Lord, when did this happen?
His answer is quite clear
“When you did it for the least of these
It was for me, for I am there….

Teresa Norman March 2001

 

Night Songs

There have been so many times, for me, it seems God can’t get my attention during the day, so He’ll wake me up at night.  I know to some people that sounds strange, but I’m still a simple country girl and that kind of thing just seems normal.  Last night was one of those times where my busy little brain had been running in circles and I woke up to a song in my head I hadn’t thought of for many many years.

I Need to Be Still, by BJ Thomas, was a song a friend taught me years ago.  Part of the words are “When there’s trouble all around and my soul cries out for rest, when it feels like I’m failing even though I’ve done my best, when decisions get so heavy, there are answers that I need – you know it’s time to just be still and let God love me…..”  (click the link).  This was the gift last night.  A reminder that God knows where to find me, and that sometimes I just need to be still and not try to figure things out….easy to say, hard to do.

 

No lump-still cancer

Somewhere, a long time ago (a lump decades ago), I remember hearing that a breast cancer lump doesn’t hurt.  So when something was hurting, I wasn’t that concerned.  I had regular mammograms, it  hurt=it couldn’t be cancer.  I had a mammogram scheduled in a few weeks.  I feel pretty fortunate, that unlike some of the women in the video below, my doctors recognized right away what it was.  Since a lot of people have never heard of inflammatory breast cancer, I’ve included the link to the video below.  Good information.  Hope you and those you love never need it.

 

The Jack in the Box

On February 27, 2015, I got a phone call I had managed to avoid for years!  There had been lots of other scares  with lumps, bumps, biopsies, but all of them turned out to be benign.  This time the doctor’s seemed a bit more excited and some of their wording was more cautious, and I was scared.  Trying to find a way to describe the waiting, the poem below came to mind…..

Jack in the box sitting on the table

Looking harmless but it’s not stable

Never know when it will pop out

And scare you back to dealing with doubt….

The latch is tricky – won’t always stay closed.

How to fix it – God only knows!

So on my knees I ask for grace

To keep my focus from the fearful place.

Unsolved problems – got to let it rest

And trust and hope I will be blessed

With strength to walk where I need to go

Led by the one who loves me so!

Stage IIIB inflammatory breast cancer…. I had been ambushed by this new and unwelcome intruder.  Many thanks to Naomi, Gail, Lisa, Kathy and Barbara – some of the awesome people whose names and beautiful faces I could immediately pictures as friends who have walked on this journey and years later are still here!  Also remembering Penny and Kathryn, who walked this road and are no longer here.  Grateful for Gail’s nagging to always get the mammogram, which I had been doing ever since I met her.

 

 

Where do refugees come from? (2011)

Refugees to U.S. by Country of Nationality – Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011
2011 2010 2009
Country Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total              56,384 100          73,293 100          74,602 100
Burma              16,972 30.1          16,693 22.8          18,202 24.4
Bhutan              14,999 26.6          12,363 16.9          13,452 18
Iraq                 9,388 16.7          18,016 24.6          18,838 25.3
Somalia                 3,161 5.6            4,884 6.7            4,189 5.6
Cuba                 2,920 5.2            4,818 6.6            4,800 6.4
Eritrea                 2,032 3.6            2,570 3.5            1,571 2.1
Iran                 2,032 3.6            3,543 4.8            5,381 7.2
Congo, Democratic Republic                    977 1.7            3,174 4.3            1,135 1.5
Ethiopia                    560 1                668 0.9                321 0.4
Afghanistan                    428 0.8                515 0.7                349 0.5
All other countries, including unknown                 2,915 5.2            6,049 8.3            6,364 8.5
Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (Wraps)

Report (May 2012), from Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics is linked here: Refugees and Asylees:2011.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Last night we spoke with a friend who is going into a difficult situation and asked for prayer.  He is the in-between person to help try to resolve conflict, ascertain priorities, and work for peace between conflicted factions of his people, who are trying to end the ongoing oppression of the government ruling their country.  This morning on the bus, the Scripture reading of the day was Matthew 19:26 ” Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible.”  

Last night as we spoke, he spoke of Nehemiah and how they had their weapons in one hand, and their tools in the other-building safety for their people (a wall of protection), but watching in case the enemy came, or their were divisive, devious, sneaky attacks to keep them from building peace and safety.  Well chosen Scripture, as he goes to seek peacemaking.  He is a soldier.  I have seen him pastor those around him, although he doesn’t call it that.  He’s a good listener.  

God bless you, my friend.  May God, the source of all wisdom, give the wisdom you’re asking for.