Thursday, June 26, 2014

Me reciting my poem, "The Storm"

 From my post Video Bible Study: Storms Part 2

Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. Ezekiel 1:28

This poem is in: "The Seven Story Tree; A book of Poetry"
 

The Storm

You say no one cares for you
Well that's not true 'cause I do
And God does too!
Oh that I could fix your problem
I'd mend you up-
You'd no longer be stuck
In that addiction or depression-
The trials that come in rapid succession.
But what can I do?
I cannot fix you!
I can't make you believe.
I can't even relieve
That deep ache in your heart
Just where do I start?
Don't do nothing! She yelled at me...
So what shall I do?
Scream and shout? And run about?
Perhaps sit and pout?
I'll fight a war upon my knees
In quietness and confidence shall be my strength,
He keeps my prayers and my tears
Perhaps the overflow makes the rain?
To water all the pain upon the earth,
I'll thank Him for this thorn,
I'll praise Him even when I'm worn,
Because He carries me through the storm.
Yes He walks to me on the tempest sea,
The rain brings life back to my dying tree-
And one day through the clouds I'll see
The rainbow...
 

Me reciting my poem, "What Elephant?"




This poem is in my post, One Thing: Why I Hate/Love Men

What Elephant?

Was there ever an elephant in your room?
When it moved it went boom,
You tried to deny it,
But you couldn't hide it,
Where can you hide an elephant?
Oh no that's a cat,
You'd try to say,
Or maybe a bat, it'll fly away....
If you can't admit it,
There's no way to quit it,
Go ahead face it!
Can you trace it?
Could the truth set you free?
Or will "they" all laugh at me?
Perhaps-
Who are "they" anyways?
And why do we care if they laugh?
They have a hyena in their room,
That's so much worse than just an elephant!
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time,
One day, two day, three...
Day by day these things I pray...
I have a Higher Power Who created elephants,
Maybe He can take care of it?
I wonder what He'll do?
Will He take it to the Zoo?
What!? People will come from miles around,
To see the greatest show in town?
The elephant, he now does tricks,
And people pay to get their kicks?!
God can take your ashes and give you beauty,
You thought you had to sacrifice,
Everyone must pay their price,
If I give Him the elephant he'll die
But the Ring Master doesn't work that way,
The elephant will live another day,
He'll sing and dance,
Because he got another chance,
The Circus is a place of joy and wonder,
Because the Ring Master has a plan,
Trust the elephant in His hands!

I almost titled this poem, "My Life is a Circus" but that spoiled the ending. lol


This poem and others are in my first book, "The Seven Story Tree; A book of Poetry"
  

This poem is now a children's book! You may go to my website RedheadedWritingHood.com and get a signed copy directly from the author! me!

 

Me reciting my poem "The Haunting"

This poem was inspired by the classic devotional by Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost For His Highest" Oswald asks the piercing question, "What are you haunted by?" and states that we should be haunted by God. Also inspired by Psalm 139.

 From my post on Dreams Part I: Sowing and Reaping
The Haunting

I could just run away,
Try to live my way another day,
But what would be the use?
Wasted time, a wasted life,
But then again,
I could give it all to Him
And He transforms it,
If I turn to the left or to the right,
You're half way there
Or perhaps not quite
I hear Him all the time,
I open my eyes
And He lights up the sky,
In a song I see Him
In a tree He's there
What is this love?
He has for me?
Wherever I go
To a movie or a show,
There isn't a thought He doesn't know,
He is the great I Am,
And yet He is my friend?
It's too wonderful to comprehend,
He'll always be there 'til the end,
When we've been there ten thousand years,
His voice will echo in my ears,
Still His praises I will sing,
Always and forever He is my KING!



For this poem and more get my first book! "The Seven Story Tree; A book of Poetry"
 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Truth and Freedom


 













The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Maya Angelou
1928-2014

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

OK here it goes: I'm writing about FREEDOM. Sometimes I seem to have something in mind for a long time to write about before I actually write it. Every 4th of July I'd think of it. When I was with my nephew Darren and saw the eagle with the chain statue (POW memorial) at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins I thought about it. But it wasn't time to write it then. It's time now.

Years ago right before I married Bob I was a live-in nanny for a Jewish family. 1985. I was 18 years old. The Kaufman's had three girls. Their oldest was about 10 years old at the time and I shared a room with her. They adopted their 3 year old when she was an infant and then had a pleasant "surprise" another baby girl who was 2 years old at the time. Bob and I had started making plans to get married. And one night I had a nightmare about that. I was sleeping in their oldest's room with her, just as in actuality I was. It makes it somehow scarier and more real that way, doesn't it? I got up out of bed and walked towards the closet and as I did, it opened and a wedding dress on a hanger came floating out of the closet, it was a wire hanger (No wire hangers!) and it unraveled and went around my neck and began to strangle me and I awoke in a panic. Alison said later that she heard me making an awful sound like I was choking. I told Mrs. Kaufman about the dream and she only said I must be just having the normal "cold feet" thoughts and I should just dismiss it and I did. Now I see it as a foreshadowing. But still I had a wonderful peace and joy when I married Bob- 28 years ago today. And it was "meant to be"- How could I say it wasn't? All my children would be "mistakes" and they are NOT! What I guess I cringed at my friend who left her family said was her statement, "It was a mistake to get married just because I was pregnant". How could she say that? She had three more children with this man. When we believe a lie, it leads us to making wrong choices (i.e. SIN). Just read Genesis chapter 3 and see for yourself. I'm not going against what I wrote in my May post  because I'm talking about what she did was wrong- it was sin- but she's not wrong and I didn't know what all she went through to get to that point and I didn't even listen to her when she tried to explain it. However, it's my belief that she believed a lie that lead her to abandon her children. That's why the TRUTH is so important. Jesus called Himself, "The Truth" in John Chapter 14 and said He could set us free in John 8: 


Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."


His love is like a water fall....Chris Tomlin

For Memorial Day week end I went to Niagara Falls with my sister-in-law, Joyce. Joyce is my brother Jon's wife. This trip began when Joyce wanted to visit her niece in Cleveland, Ohio and she was flying here to Georgia for her son, Darren's graduation from Basic Training. When she made her reservations she found her ticket wouldn't cost any more if she went to Cleveland for a few days and then to Georgia. While she was there she decided she wanted to go to Niagara Falls again. But none of her friends in California could go with her. So when I was there in April visiting all my fam in California she asked me to go. Had it been January or February I would 've said, "No" because I would know the hubby wouldn't want me to. Besides I felt like I needed to stay home to make sure my 23 year old was OK. I had to stay, "in control" (and under control) you know? But this time I said, "Yes!" without hesitation. 

Joyce married my brother Jon in 1990 and I was set, especially when we went to California for a visit in '92, to get Joyce "saved". It was Christmas-time and Sarah was 5 and Teddy was 2 and a half. Mom and Dad drove out from Texas to meet us. I remember going to Georgia Fronteire's (At that time she owned the Los Angeles ram's football team) mansion where my brother Paul and my sister worked at that time. Christmas day we were at Jon and Joyce's. On Christmas morning we sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and I remember Joyce said, "That was the first time I've sang "Happy Birthday" to someone who wasn't present." I replied, "But we believe He is"


My grandma Olsen was living at that time and we drove up to Northern Ca to see her and other family. My mom let Bob and I ride with Jon and Joyce and they took Sarah and Teddy in their RV with them to give us a "break". So it's a 6-7 hour drive to the Bay area from Los Angeles and I had a "captive audience", so I witnessed to Joyce all the way to San Francisco. I wrote a poem in 2001 about how I used to be somewhat "over-zealous" for souls. Was I being obnoxious? 



FisherMan

They’ve got to believe! I said to God
The Bible’s true, they’ll go to hell!
Trust Me He said, You mustn’t yell,
But, God they could die any day!
They’ve got to believe!
I must show them the way!
Trust Me, He said, “I am the Way,
The Truth and the Life
Fishing is a passive sport
Settle down, Susan, you’re rocking the boat!
I dreamed of fishing and realized,
God brings them to you,
The bait He provides,
Do you have something they’ll thirst for?
You must be salt
But I am the door
Trust Me, Live a Holy Life
Always be Ready to give a Reason
Everyday, in every Season
Hold forth the Truth and NEVER be
A stumbling block to those who would come to Me.
 
 When we got to grandma's Joyce said, "Well maybe some day you'll convert to Judaism". But through the years I've learned how to not be so obnoxious- well mostly and I decided Joyce and I could be friends and we've had so many laughs. She knew where I stood, we had had that long talk on the way to San Francisco. We remember especially the year when I told her about asking the flight attendant what the in flight movie was and she replied, "It's about a boy" and I wondered, "Why won't she tell me the name of the movie?" That was the name of the movie! hahahaha Also, "That's a pretty purse, whose it made by?" "Guess" lol

In 2009 I heard that Joyce was taking a class on Christianity at their Christian church. She was reading, "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. In April of 2009 is when my Mom passed away. Needless to say, I was pretty upset, even more so to have been confronted with my fear in the midst of my grief. On that trip out there we started going through my Mom's stuff. Mom had alot of books, it's something I think she purposefully passed on to us and it's in the genes, I think but she also lead mostly by example. So we were there and Joyce says, "I need to find a book that will help me to be a good Christian" It's hard to describe the joy I felt right then. I hugged Joyce with tears in my eyes. It had been 17 years since my over-zealous attempt to convert Joyce. I know Jon set a good example to his wife and Jody witnessed to her mom, the church had the class. Lee wrote the book. I know I prayed. Mom and Dad prayed and God worked. The Apostle Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." I Corinthians 5:6 This is the first step: accepting the freedom from the punishment for sin that Jesus offers.


In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5

I was caged in, then You opened
Every door that held me bound and You gave me the key
No more pressure I can just breathe
The girl I tried so hard to be, has always been me
Dara Mclean



So Joyce and I went to Niagara Falls and we had a blast! We went on "The Maid of the Mist" tour, "The Cave of the Winds", we ate at the restaurant over looking the falls, we went on the trolley and we went to the "Three Sisters Island" and "Goat Island". It was fun. We saw snow! In the evenings we went to the Canadian side. On Sunday when we went to "Three Sisters Island" Joyce struck up a conversation with a lady who had two cute little dogs.So this lady asked us if we've ever been to Lewiston and we said, "No". She said it was a quaint little town nearby and the underground railroad ended there (Where the slaves would cross the Niagara river into Canada) and there was a memorial and antique shops! Joyce sells old paper (post cards etc.) on E-Bay and I just love old books. Joyce would also give me treasures she found that she knew I'd like, like an 1890 tiny copy of Thomas A' Kempis' "The Imitation of Christ". Unfortunately falling apart. I have a new copy for reading. So that's where we headed on that Sunday afternoon.




  Here's another example of how God "connects the dots" and makes my blog posts all "flow". I put this quote below from an old devo I have in last months post on Dreams  and had no clue that this month I'd be talking about the slaves again: 

"John Brown dreamed his mad dream of freeing the slaves and contributed mightily to that end. Body mouldering, his soul went marching from Fort Sumter to Appomattox court house."


I found this info on Lewiston on Wikipedia: For many African Americans' escaping slavery in the 1840s and 1850s, Lewiston was the final stop on the Underground Railroad before they crossed the Niagara River to secure freedom in Canada. Lewiston is the setting for the book, Freedom Crossing, by Margaret Goff Clark. Many schools use the book as required reading for thousands of grade school students across the United States as they learn about the Underground Railroad movement. The Historical Association of Lewiston has prepared a "Freedom Crossing Study Guide". They dedicated the Freedom Crossing Monument on October 14, 2009. The large-scale bronze monument stands on the bank of the Niagara River.


Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise...Micah 7:8
 
Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


You can hear me recite this poem here

The first book I found in Lewiston was a book of poems by George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) or Lord Byron as he's better known as. This is copyright 1911. I mention that our town is named after him in my post, Oh The Irony! The first poem I read was, "The Prisoner of Chillon" and the way the prisoner becomes so accustom to his chains was intriguing to me.

Check out the antique shop where I found this little gem: Antique to Chic

The prisoner's father is killed for his faith,  "That father perish'd at the stake -
For tenets he would not forsake";
and then he's imprisoned with his two brothers who eventually die: They're in the same place chained, yet they can't see each other. They hear the waves crashing against the castle's walls and think they may die that way; "Because I could have smiled to see -The death that would have set me free." When both his brother's have died he says,  

A frantic feeling, when we know
That what we love shall ne'er be so.
I know not why
I could not die,
I had no earthly hope--but faith,
And that forbade a selfish death.


But then he goes through the horrible monotony but yet grows acustomed to his prison:
And fixedness--without a place;
There were no stars, no earth, no time,
No check, no change, no good, no crime 


Then a bird comes to him!  


A light broke in upon my brain,--
It was the carol of a bird;
It ceased, and then it came again,
The sweetest song ear ever heard,
And mine was thankful till my eyes
Ran over with the glad surprise,
And they that moment could not see
I was the mate of misery.....




But through the crevice where it came
That bird was perch'd, as fond and tame,
And tamer than upon the tree;
A lovely bird, with azure wings,
And song that said a thousand things,
And seemed to say them all for me! 


Fetter'd or fetterless to be,
I learn'd to love despair.



These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage--and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home:
With spiders I had friendship made
And watch'd them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?
We were all inmates of one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill--yet, strange to tell!
In quiet we had learn'd to dwell;
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are:--even I
Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.
Lord Byron
As do I Lord Byron, as do I!


As we were leaving Lewiston we saw a sign that said "This way to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima". Joyce always called our daily excursions "adventures" and we were both curious so we followed the signs....and got lost! I thought, "Oh well neither of us are Catholic anyways, we can just go back to the hotel" But Joyce was not giving up! She put it in her phone. She had a pretty hilarious and interesting conversations with her iphone's "Sirius" and she considers him a close friend. And he showed us the way to "Our Lady of Fatima"! When we got there Joyce exclaimed that we had "hit the jackpot"- it is a beautiful place but bitter sweet to me. "Religion" places too much importance on the outward and the things we as human beings build as our Towers of Babylon to God. God is more concerned with His Son and your heart!  Just trust Him!

Also I was very disappointed that there was no statue of Joan of Arc! Come on! I looked every where, I don't think I even saw them all. I will hopefully put more photos here soon. They're on Joyce's camera. It was like the corridors of the witches castle in C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" where all the creatures were that she had turned to stone.

 BTW- I expect to write more about Joan in an upcoming blog post on "Fire". So stay tuned!



Basilica of

The National Shrine of
Our Lady of Fatima



But wait! Our adventures weren't over yet! We went back to Cleveland and I got to meet Joyce's niece again who I had last seen probably at the wedding in 1990! This family are Orthodox Jews, so interesting to observe yet another religion and me with "Jesus" tattooed on my hand. Joyce and I had discussed at length my tattoos before I got them, she was gently trying to coax me away from them because especially of the jobs I might not be able to get because of them. So finally when the day came when I was in California to get them I said, "I'll have them make the "Jesus" small enough for a band- aid to go over" Joyce replied, "OK now you're being reasonable" But it was too late when Joyce said, "Where's your band-aid?" lol

I wrote a poem about "Religion" a while back:

Castles in the Sand  

It all makes perfect sense
“It’s Biblical”, they say
Then you ride upon their wave
You are carried far away
You see it started way back when
 Satan said to Eve,
“See, this fruit will make you wise”
“You shall be like God!”
It’s man’s way to form a calf
To build a tower to the sky
 But Jesus said, “I am the Way”
Although the cross seems foolishness
We must come through Him alone
But we build elaborate castles in the sand
All the work of our own hands
I was baptized and I’ve been good
But it all gets washed away.
Put aside your bucket and spade
Trust in Christ alone today
and your castle will stand
No matter what may come your way.



Our last stop was "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" before heading to Georgia for Darren's graduation. Rock and Roll does seem to go along with this subject also. It's "freedom of expression". And our military certainly goes with the subject of freedom. Freedom IS NOT free!


                                           Darren with his beautiful cousins




The girls and I went to see, "Maleficent" with Angelia Jolie last Friday. It's a different story than the "Sleeping Beauty" we heard before. I think it may be something like "Wicked" in that it tells the story of how the bad girl became the bad girl. Kinda like how Star Wars Episode 1 and 2- tell us how Darth Vader came to be the bad guy. I haven't read, "Wicked" yet, although I bought a copy at a yard sale some time ago. I think Sarah has it and I want it back. Spoiler Warning! If you want to go see "Maleficent" and don't want me to "spoil" it- STOP reading now and skip the rest of this part of my story. What I thought was sad and interesting is that the boy Maleficent meets, the only "love of her life" ends up clipping her wings so he can be king. So sad. So tragic. So similar or familiar.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing. 
Maya Angelou








Who will listen if I can't speak
I'll never move a mountain with arms so weak
With one word You can make them fall
You go before me now
Your faithfulness destroys the doubt
Your strength is fire to my soul

After all You’ve done in me
I will be Your hands and feet
Follow where You will lead
As You say


Set My people free
Dara Mclean


Help end the modern day slavery of sex trafficking, check out; The A21 Campaign- donate- get involved!

Books I've read: 

"Girls Like Us" by Rachel Lloyd founder of GEMs Girls Educational and Mentoring Services 

"Fallen" by Annie Lobert founder of Hookers for Jesus

In Georgia Out of Darkness 

Buy beautiful handmade things to help stop human trafficking all over the world Eternal Threads 



I'm pretty sure this is a photo of the POW memorial at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins- either that or it's just like it.


Look Unto Me
You Lord I see more clearly,
Day by day I love You more dearly,
Just one look at the serpent upon the pole,
He will heal you,
By the law no man will be justified,
Otherwise why was Christ crucified?
If you justify yourself
Why would you need Christ,
Do you trust in your own whiteness?
Then you are hopeless and Christless.
Humble yourself under God's mighty hand,
Or in shame you will bury your face in the sand,
He will exalt you in due season,
When you always remember He is the reason!





I do confess that I'm not very "original" and yet at the same time I am. If you listen closely you will hear the echo of all I read and hear. Some that inspired these poems are Matthew West (Obviously), Roberta Flack, Casting Crowns, The Giving Tree, Nicole Nordeman, DC Talk, I Am Second, For King and Country, Shindler's List and The Velveteen Rabbit.




The Seven Story Tree
I think it's time I write about the tree
It's the story of my life
A musician singing my life with his song
He's sung it several times
How did he know?
Matthew West
God loves me more than the stars that He taught how to shine
He is mine
Now it's a song about family
And a tree
Destiny
But what does that mean to me?
When I live as a Pharisee
I can't be free
God hates divorce
I can't quote you chapter and verse
Malachi 2
But does He like force?
Subtle abuse, manipulation and control?
What is this cosmic power that chains me to this solemn tree?
Mutiny
Is it me?
Set me free
 But the tree can be
An oak of righteousness
Thinking of yourself  less
The tree is the person who abides in Him
In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
The tree is me
And the love of family
Now I see how I can be the tree planted by the river of life
Forever free
Fruitful, thriving
Just to know my King and
To make Him known
Is Joy Unspeakable,
Faith Unsinkable,
Love Unstoppable,
Anything is possible

See Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17 and Isaiah 61

 

"He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction." Malachi 4:6


The Perfect Storm
Let the bough break
My dogs are panting, pacing
So I comfort them to return the favor
Lights out
Rain pelting
Wind blowing
Where's it going?
Spirit moving
Dove cooing
Quiet waiting
Love is patient
Tree free falling
But still living
and always giving....



For all these poems and more click HERE to buy my first book! "The Seven Story Tree; A book of Poetry"
 


The Fool

I'm so crazy, I shouldn't have said anything.
Even a fool is considered wise if he holds his tongue
Well whatever,
I'll be a fool for you.
Jesus wants us to talk about Him,
Share the hope that lies within
Better open rebuke than hidden love
So say it
Love like I'm not scared
Give when it's not fair
Love Him- love others
Live for your brothers, sisters
I am second, third, last
I will not leave this place until I'm made a fool
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
He came and made Himself a fool for me
Truth has a way of breaking through
It can set them free
Someone set free because of me?
Just one life is worth the world entire
I will not regret saying the truth that
I believe and feel
For just one to know His love can make them real


Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Martin Luther King Jr.