Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Slice of Life: Blossoms!

Two weeks ago we ventured to the park on a blustery January morning with grandson Ollie. On our return to the parking lot, a spot of yellow lifted my spirits. 


I intended to write an elfchen, an 11 word poem. Then I discovered it's supposed to adhere to a specific structure. I didn't follow that structure, but my structure reminded me of a diamante poem. So I married the two forms. Meet my elfchante!



swirls brown

 leaves. Yellow curtsies

to brown, harbinger of


- Ramona Behnke

Thursday, February 1, 2024

SJT: God's Love

Despite Patricia's reminder that SJT was coming soon, I was startled to see February 1 and Spirutal Journey Thursday arrive so quickly. Generally, I wait until my own post is written to read the posts of others. However, this month, I read Patricia's "Love Is" post before writing mine. I clicked on her link to the inspiring essay by Rabbi Sharon Brous, "Train Yourself to Always Show Up." Rabbi Brous shares an obscure Jewish text, about 2000 years old, that has become a north star in her life.

 Here's a paragraph I love from the essay:

"Showing up for one another doesn’t require heroic gestures. It means training ourselves to approach, even when our instinct tells us to withdraw. It means picking up the phone and calling our friend or colleague who is suffering. It means going to the funeral and to the house of mourning. It also means going to the wedding and to the birthday dinner. Reach out in your strength, step forward in your vulnerability. Err on the side of presence."

As a Christian, I often reflect on the two great commandments of Jesus as shared in Matthew 22:37-39:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

One way that helps me love the Lord with all my heart is to feel His love for me as an individual. I like this quote by Susan H. Porter:

“. . . do you know how completely God, our Heavenly Father, loves you? Have you felt His love deep in your soul?

"When you know and understand how completely you are loved as a child of God, it changes everything. It changes the way you feel about yourself when you make mistakes. It changes how you feel when difficult things happen. It changes your view of God’s commandments. It changes your view of others and of your capacity to make a difference."

Susan Porter continues: 

"God’s love is not found in the circumstances of our lives but in His presence in our lives. We know of His love when we receive strength beyond our own and when His Spirit brings peace, comfort, and direction. At times it may be difficult to feel His love. We can pray to have our eyes opened to see His hand in our lives and to see His love in the beauty of His creations."

Sensing God's love for us increases our ability to love Him. As we love the Lord we gain the strength to reach out, to step forward, and be present for others. As we focus on seeing His hand in our lives, His tender mercies and loving kindness will be an ever present source of strength and love. Indeed, His love and presence will be the catalyst that nudges us to be present for our neighbors.

Patricia J. Franz at Reading, Writing, Wondering is hosting our February gathering with a Love Is... theme. Pop over to read posts of other travelers sharing thoughts on this theme. All are welcome to join us.