One Word – EXTRAORDINARY!

For 2015,  I adopted ONE WORD

for the entire year –

EXUBERANCE

I chose to live my life in a new direction at the beginning of 2015.  I prayed for guidance and this is the word that immediately came to me.

I wanted a life that was alive with God’s promises and I wanted to know I was no longer going to be a person who sets goals or makes resolutions. or set my own life-path.

Instead, I turned my thoughts to be a person of INTENTION and EXUBERANCE. I found this new path to be one of kindness to myself, a much more  God-directed, personal life of intention. This is not a life that is focused on meeting goals and crossing off the completed ones, but instead a  sought a life of waiting on God’s leading in all I do. It is a spiritual life, not a secular life of striving, resistance  and self-serving achievements.

When I hear people say they are “setting goals and intentions” then I know they have no clue what an INTENTION really is. In no way is an INTENTION a GOAL.  A goal is self-driven striving, and an intention is leaving everything in God’s hands and waiting on HIM. It is a spiritual way of life.

I have read “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” by Deepak Chopra several times, and he outlines seven spiritual steps to a life of exuberance and it is extraordinary.

 

Photo_Chopra_Intention

The  “law of least effort.”

I embrace that wisdom.

Instead of doing “more”

or putting forth “more effort”

we  “do less” and not force anything and put forth no  resistance.

 

 

 As you can see, this is in no way the mindset of a person who is a goal setter or one who sets New Year’s resolutions.

 

God opened up doors for me in 2015 that were beyond my wildest dreams!

 

He actually gave me an entirely  new way of life, living in EXUBERANCE and with INTENTION.  Along with the new life, He gave me a new career in WRITING.

 

I write 2 blogs.  Occasionally, I feature  guest bloggers so that I can provide a platform for them to share their thoughts, too.  Both blogs had tremendous growth last year and I have a nice group of interesting people scheduled for this year, too. It’s so exciting to present their ideas and achievements on the blogs.

In addition, I was blessed to have my stories, articles and poems published in a number of venues – all new to me! It’s  such a wonderful experience to meet the editors and publishers and work with them. I love it!

For 2016, my ONE WORD is EXTRAORDINARY!

Here is the GOOGLE DICTIONARY explanation of

EXTRAORDINARY:

 

ex·traor·di·nar·y

ikˈstrôrd(ə)nˌerē,ˌekstrəˈôrdnˌerē/
adjective

remarkable; exceptional; amazing; astonishing; astounding; sensational; stunning; incredible; unbelievable; phenomenal; striking; outstanding; momentous; impressive; singular; memorable; unforgettable; unique; noteworthy; out of the ordinary; unusual; uncommon; rare; surprising; informal/fantastic; terrific; tremendous; stupendous; awesome; literary/wondrous;

“an extraordinary coincidence”

 

Photo15_Lynda_Feather in HandMy prayer:

Jesus, I am releasing my intentions today – the  innermost longings of my spirit.  Like a fragile feather,  I am carried  on the currents of a summer breeze.  I release myself to you, like  this  beautiful feather I found in the woods on a summer afternoon.

I release my intentions  to be carried  on the  life-giving breath of your EXTRAORDINARY Divine calling on my life. Amen.

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Copyright 2016. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

 

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Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog
Contact Lynda:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net
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Lynda’s Bio

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.
Contact me:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Symbol of Advent – The Angel Candle

Symbols of Advent

Part 4- Week 4

The Angel Candle is purple!

Also known as  the Candle of Love

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

GET READY!

LIGHT the 3rd  candle of ADVENT

A miraculous world-changing event will take place.

For a Christmas delight, click on the link:  Angels we have heard on high

 

I Believe in Angels!

 It is nearly Christmas once again.

I am listening to Christmas music as I write. I love to listen to the great songs  that are  a celebration of a miraculous event – the birth of Jesus.

 

Christmas celebrations of past years linger in little snippets, layered  and overlapped  like  Christmas melodies playing one by one.  Each Christmas carol I listen to brings forth more memories and more pictures of a family member, friends, and neighbors.  It also brings forth memories and pictures of our walk with the Lord over the years. The miracle of his coming into our own hearts as we turned around one day, and answered his call to “come.”  I answered that call to come, forty-two years ago.  My life turned around, never to be the same again.  How about you?

Matthew 11:28-29New American Standard Bible (NASB)

28 “Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Blog_2014_IBelieve_Angel_PHOTO

“I Believe in Angels”

 

Folks often say Christmas is for children,

skating on ice, building  castles of snow.

Oh, I believe Christmas is a holy birthday!

a time to sit by a warm fire, sing holiday songs.

I believe in shepherds!  and angels!

and Three Kings who delivered priceless gifts.

 

It’s a joy to be with friends, to give  gifts.

Adults once again become like children,

who look out  the window to see the first snow.

The Ancients anticipated this birthday

the celebration that  began with heavenly songs

when the birth of Messiah was announced by angels.

 

The holy birth was shared with shepherds and angels,

long before mass marketing, tinsel, and glitzy gifts,

The promised Child would heal earth’s children.

Perhaps the plains were deep with snow

on the night of His miraculous birth.

Yes, I believe in angel songs!

 

In the darkest winter night, listen for the songs

sung by a choir of angels.

The greatest heavenly gift

came  to walk with earth’s children.

As I light the Advent wreath I look out at falling snow-

and remember the reason behind this ancient birthday.

 

On bleak December days, consider His birthday.

Listen in the quiet night for angel songs.

The birth of Messiah, announced by the angels,

is the reason for exchanging gifts.

I believe Christ’s birthday is truly for children

like me and you who walk in a world of wintry snow.

 

Every child knows the delight of playing in snow

the joy of receiving gifts in celebration of a birthday-

I believe in birthday songs!

I’m a  child once again as I listen for angels

songs and remember the wise men who brought gifts.

the Anointed Gift from God – I believe in children!

 

*** by Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Copyright 1991, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 

Blog_2014_Ibelieve_AngelStarSkyPHOTO

I wrote the poem, “I Believe in Angels” during a difficult  time in my life.  I wrote it as a Christmas message and sent it out to friends and family. Even in the darkest moments of our life,  when we seem to be alone, lost, or confused, Jesus is with us.  I can tell you that for sure because I made a decision to follow Jesus in October 1973.  I’ve had a lifetime of encounters with the Divine since that day.

 

May you find the truth of the Angels announcement in your own life.

Luke 2:10-11King James Version (KJV)

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

Fear Not!  

 
Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.
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You can read my three previous articles on the Symbols of Advent by clicking on the links below;

 

*** Link to Week 1 – The Candle of Hope at this link:

Go To Week 1 – the Candle of HOPE

*** Link to Week 2 – The Candle of Preparation (The Bethlehem Candle)

The Candle of Preparation (Bethlehem candle)

*** Lind to Week 3 – The Candle of Joy, or the Shepherd’s CandleWeek 2:
*** Link to my story, “A Western Pennsylvania Christmas”

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Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog
Contact Lynda:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net
_____

Lynda’s Bio

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.

Skip to Walking by Inner Vision Journal:

In 2015,  Lynda wrote  30 Writing Assignments and Lessons to help you begin to write your own life sotry.

Symbols of Advwent – The Candle of Joy

Symbols of Advent

Part 3- Week 3

The Candle of Joy

Also known as  the Shepherd Candle

 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

GET READY!

LIGHT the 3rd  candle of ADVENT

A miraculous world-changing event will take place.

For a Christmas delight, click on the link below to listen to a Christmas song.  JOY  to you today.

 

Listen to _While Shepherds Watched Their Flock by Night”

Kings Choir performance

One thing I know for sure is this:

God comes us  in ordinary and everyday events.

 

We can be visited in unexpected times and in unique ways.  I have experiences visitations and deliverance many times in my seventy-two years of life. I bet you have, too! Pay attention to how God comes to YOU in the mundane activities of your life.

Begin to have a consciousness of God’s presence in the ordinary!

For the birth of Jesus, historical documents and texts show that  God prepared this event in advance.  We saw that preparation in last weeks Symbol of Advent – the Candle of Preparation.  Week 2 _Candle of Preparation

 

For Week 3 of Advent, we see that  sent ANGELS  to make an announcement to  LOCAL SHEPHERDS as they were working at night in the fields near Bethlehem.   Just another silent night in the fields!  An ORDINARY night, so they believed.  But then, the MIRACULOUS came to visit them. It would become a night that the  entire world would remember. Even now, over 2,000 years after the event people all over the world stop to remember it.

Blog_2014_PHOTO_Shepherds

A miraculous visitation of ANGELS, sent from the Divine, happened without warning.  The humble shepherds  were summoned to leave their fields.   The destination of their God-directed trip was a stable in Bethlehem  where the shepherds would see a newborn baby.

My extensive background in art and art history leads me to look for a connecting thread from one event in history to another. Historical context is what I seek to understand contemporary events and life in the 21st Century.

 

The one thread connecting every character in this ADVENT story is that each person was required to make an unexpected, unplanned, trip from one place to another.  Every single one!

I feel the  underlying loneliness that underlies  this miraculous story – everyone had to give up something that was familiar  and travel to an unfamiliar place to do unfamiliar things, with unfamiliar people.

Travel – Journey – Go – Trip – Excursion – Passage – Flight

 

Mary and Joseph had to leave their home at a time when no pregnant woman would choose to be going anywhere on a trip – especially by foot and by donkey. Yet, the trip was mandated by the LAW  and they had no choice but to go.

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When I was nineteen, I gave birth to my first child.  Eighteen months later, the second daughter was born. At age twenty-five, our third daughter was born. For all of those births, I was living in a comfortable home with my husband.  I had a local doctor, and when the time came, he delivered our daughters in our local hospital just 2 miles from our home. And, I remember how frightening it was – every time – when the pains of labor were intense enough that I was bent over double, unable to even stand up straight and I knew it was time to leave for the hospital and give birth.

OH, how did young Mary bear the long days of rugged travels when her body was heavy with her baby boy?

How did Mary  straddle the back of a donkey and ride those many miles with her bones and her muscles aching and cramping?

How did Joseph bear it to see her pain during the long journey to Bethlehem?

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Dear Mary,

Oh, Mary! As a mother living in the comfort of my own time in history, my  heart is sad when I remember  that you did not even have a warm bed or the comfort of your family  that night in a barn, in a city that had no room for you. You must have been so frightened – your first birth, your unfamiliar circumstances, your willingness to be obedient to the visitation you had from the Divine.

Mary, you knew you were carrying God in your womb, but how you must have wondered “why” you had to be so far from h home, so lonely, and in such a strange  place as a barn that night.

Mary, when I need strength to meet the demands of my ordinary life, I remember you.  Your courage, your love, and your obedience to God are more than enough to bring me through in victory from very inconvenience, every strange journey, every lonely day, and night.  Mary, I hold  you in my heart today as I write this letter to you, across the centuries.

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I know that in art through the ages, in songs, and now, in contemporary depictions of the Nativity, we see Angels, the Holy Family, Shepherds, and Three Kings all there together with the animals. Yet, when I read the ancient scriptures that record this event, what we see in the depictions of it are not at all accurate.

The nostalgic Christmas card scene has been pieced together over the years into a fantasy world that never existed in that way.  The centuries of lore have put together a very odd mixture of Christian history mingled with pagan practices, ideas, superstitions, and myths.  And, then add to this mixture, the cultural and racial confusion that exists to add to the fantasy.

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One evening in October 1997, I heard Him whisper to me, “Come away, my beloved!” I turned, and walked towards Him, and as I walked, I remembered the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “When Christ calls a man (woman); he bids him (her) to come and die.”  Like one of the shepherd’s in the fields near Bethlehem, I too became a shepherd who came to see, the infant who would one day be known as “The Good Shepherd.”

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There were only a very few worshippers around the manger in Bethlehem – just a handful of shepherds.  Oh, yes, the Three Kings were on the way, most likely, but it would be quite a long time before they traveled the distance and bowed before the little boy.

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Luke 2:7

“[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

A lonely birth. There were no midwives, no assistance to Mary at all. The Bible doesn’t even mention that Joseph was present. Perhaps he was, but if he was typical of first-time fathers, he would have been of little help to Mary. She was basically on her own.

 


Unlikely Testimony

Luke 2:8-20 describes the experience of the shepherds when Jesus was born. Think about that for a moment. Out of the whole of Jerusalem society, God picked a band of shepherds to hear the news of Jesus’ birth. That’s intriguing because shepherds were among the lowest and most despised social groups.

The very nature of shepherds’ work kept them from entering into the mainstream of Israel’s society. They couldn’t maintain the ceremonial washings and observe all the religious festivals and feasts, yet these shepherds, just a few miles from Jerusalem, were undoubtedly caring for sheep that someday would be used as sacrifices in the temple. How fitting it is that they were the first to know of the Lamb of God!

More significant, they came to see Him the night he was born. No one else did. Though the shepherds went back and told everyone what they had seen and heard, and though “all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds” (v. 18), not one other person came to see firsthand.

We are left to wonder when we search the historical, scripture accounts – about the shepherds.  We don’t   how they knew where to go. I imagine they just came into Bethlehem and began walking about, asking, “Do you know where a baby has been born tonight?” The important thing for us to know is that they came!  They came because angels had visited them while they were taking care of their flocks at night. They had a visit from God, and they left their fields and followed the direction of the angels to go find the baby.  The shepherds became that night, the first Christian evangelists. They went out from the manger, and they told others what they had found.

***

Well, now that I have talked my way through the meaning of the shepherds, I can better understand Psalm 28. (NIV) and, here is where I find the connection between “joy” and the journey of the shepherds. I wish you a joyous journey to the Christ Child tonight, too.

 

 My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

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As you complete this essay, you will LOVE the music and video I have placed here for you today – Check here!

 Come, Let us adore him, Christ the Lord

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Link to Week 1 – The Candle of Hope at this link:

Go To Week 1 – the Candle of HOPE

Link to Week 2 – The Candle of Preparation (The Bethlehem Candle)

The Candle of Preparation (Bethlehem candle)

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Note: Photos by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.

This essay was written by Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Please share it with your friends! Thanks!

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Next week:

Look for Week 4 – The Candle of Love (The  Angel Candle).

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Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.

Symbols of Advent: Week 1 – Candle of HOPE

HOW TO make your wreath

The WREATH is an array of evergreens formed into a CIRCLE and placed on a table in  your home.

You can cut the evergreens and arrange them on a wire wreath form that you can purchase at a crafts store. Or, you can select a nice round container such as a cake baking pan, ceramic dish, or styrofoam circle that is thick enough to hold your evergreens.

To make it EASY, I use small glass candle holders for each of the slender candles – you can buy them at a Dollar Tree store.  They will hold your candle in place, and you can weave the greens around them.

You may  also choose to use pillar candles and place them in your container in a circle.  Make sure they are tall candles so the evergreens will never be near the  flames.

Place  the greens around your candle arrangement in the sequence of the weekly symbols as I have listed them below.

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HOW TO place your candles in the wreath

 

Put the WHITE CANDLE into the CENTER of the WREATH.

Place the purple and pink candles in the evergreen circle.

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Each candle in your wreath will be SYMBOLIC of the different aspects of the FIRST CHRISTMAS STORY.  You will be lighting  one candle per week.

 

SYMBOLS:

The evergreens are green – the color of HOPE and RENEWAL.

The Advent Wreath  is a CIRCLE of LIGHT which symbolizes eternal life. It has no beginning, no end. It goes on forever, in a circle.

 

The candles will be placed around the outside of the wreath in this way.

Candle 1:  (Purple) Stands for HOPE.

It is the CANDLE OF LIGHT. For the Christians, our HOPE and our LIGHT is Jesus Christ.  We are now entering into the preparation of our lives in anticipation of the FIRST coming of the Lord.

Candle 2: (Purple) – Preparation, The Candle of Peace.

Candle 3:(Pink) – This  candle of LOVE,

is for Mary and the shepherds who were visited  by the Angel.

Candle 4:(Purple) – This is Angel’s Candle o r the Candle of Joy.

Candle 5: (White) – The Jesus Candle!

This pure white candle symbolizes PURITY, the virgin birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  He would also be known as  “The Spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

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Through the four weeks of ADVENT, we are anticipating the first coming of Jesus Christ.  Each candle we lit along the way has brought us to this moment when we can light the JESUS CANDLE  and complete our journey to see the Christ child.

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I watched as a  priest lit the first candle.

 “This first candle stands for hope,” he said.

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The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey Along an Unmarked Path

Meet  October’s Guest Blogger 

 Donna W. Hill

The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey

Along an Unmarked Path

 

Blog15_DHill_Redwoods_Donna-&-Hunter-on-path-Glowing-Mist_by_Rich_Hill

This photo of Donna W. Hill with her guide dog, Hunter in ” Glowing Mist in the Redwoods” is by Rich Hill

 

It was 1954. A four-year-old girl with blond banana curls was in the living room. The house was quiet. Her parents were at work; her brother and grandmother in the backyard. She felt relieved to be alone. She didn’t know, nor would she for 14 years, that she was already legally blind.

 

The voice startled her. She stopped breathing, her ears scanning the house. But, it wasn’t necessary. She had felt the message settle into her spirit.

 

“You are here to do something important involving music.”

 

What did it mean? She instinctively took it as an anointing from God, though one with a disquieting lack of detail.

 

The Calling

 

That four-year-old was yours truly, and at sixty-five, that message still puzzles, intrigues and guides me. Initially, I assumed it meant that I was to become famous for my music. I didn’t share the experience, but I begged my parents to get me an accordion.

 

“You’re too small.”

 

Always a literalist, I was amused in second grade when — instead of the “massively-huge” accordion” — they bought me a piano . I progressed quickly, my nose on the brightly lit book, developing my memorization skills.

A Rude Awakening

 

Later that fall, I was selected for the Christmas concert. I was sure my ship had arrived. I was, however, wildly mistaken. I soon realized that there would be major obstacles.

“Go up to the top row of the risers.”

I was in the auditorium for our first rehearsal. I didn’t know what risers were, but I was soon on a contraption that shook and rattled with no way to steady myself. I didn’t understand how tunnel vision impacted my balance, and neither did anyone else.

Almost instantly, the director ordered me down, dismissing me from the group. She wouldn’t give me a few minutes to work it out or let me stand on the floor. The lesson wasn’t lost on me; although my voice was good enough, something more important about me wasn’t.

 

That spring, my teacher took my workbook away, despite my above average grades. She wasn’t comfortable watching me struggle to read. The other shoe dropped the following fall. I was placed in “Special Class,” where only first-grade large-print books awaited me. The thrust of my education was to fulfill the tiniest assignments, after which I was encouraged to play with pre-school toys.

 

My ophthalmologist was outraged. I was removed from “Special Class” and placed into a normal third grade class. The teacher, displeased with the placement, delighted in allowing open bullying of me and punished the girl who read me the questions from the board.

A Mission Slipping Away

 

By sixth grade, my vision was worsening, and piano music was far more complicated. My ability to memorize it was at a breaking point. I did what I thought any self-respecting twelve-year-old would do. I quit.

 

How was I supposed to interpret what I had heard in the living room? For the first (and far from the last) time, I considered the possibility that it could have merely been the ravings of a deranged mind.

In Search of a Miracle

 

Had God changed His mind? Or, perhaps, I needed to do something else first. If so, I knew what that was — get normal sight. It was obviously impossible to be successful without it.

 

Years before hearing televangelists discuss healing, I somehow knew I had to believe it would happen. Every morning for months, before I opened my eyes, I thanked God for restoring my sight, imagining the bright and detailed world that awaited me. My eyes, however, opened to dimness and confusion.

 

Progress and Compromise

 

At fourteen, I was devastated without music in my life. I asked for and received a guitar. Though I was too shy to share them, I started writing songs, beginning the inexorable link in my life between music and language.

 

In Junior High and High School, the bullying became more physical. The increase in work coupled with declining central vision necessitated a prioritizing of my work — literature and science were in; history and math out. Braille and recorded books were never discussed. I was legally blind in a world where it was more important to read and navigate with your eyes, regardless of how many mistakes you made, how much time it took, how sick you got or how many other things fell by the wayside, than to learn nonvisual skills.

 

The overt bullying stopped when I entered college. Nevertheless, I had lost the reading vision in my better eye that summer and was ill-equipped to take full advantage of the college experience. For the first time, however, I used recorded books and readers.

Reawakening the Dream

 

After graduation, I tried to make up the deficit. I trained with my first guide dog and learned Braille. I would pursue my dream of being a self-supporting musician — initially, as a street performer in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station.

 

I had my own apartment, kept an organic garden complete with a compost pile, baked whole grain bread and made everything from soup and tomato sauce to pesto and spanakopita. I started performing at schools, churches and other venues. I wanted my audiences to have a comfortable experience with a blind person and learn a bit about how we do things. I released two albums — “Rainbow Colors” and “Harvest.”

 

“If I had healed you back then,” said the same voice, “You would have never known that blindness didn’t have to limit you.”

 

Sidetracked

 

While recording my third album, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, Rich and I married, and I finished the project. Just as “The Last Straw” was coming out, I found another cancerous lump. The drain on our energy and finances prompted a change in plans.

 

What about my mission? Had I done what I was supposed to do? Perhaps it had something to do with the many small contacts I’d had over the years. Maybe it was the man who wore out his copy of “Rainbow Colors” while recovering from an auto accident. Maybe it was one of the thousands of kids who had seen my school programs. I was well aware by then that we are all here to do something important. putting forth our best efforts and walking in love is the greatest, most difficult and most rewarding mission.

 

I didn’t give up. Blind people still aren’t being welcomed with open arms. Education, digital accessibility and unemployment remain major problems. I learned to use a computer with text-to-speech software to pursue another dream. In an effort to promote acceptance among the general public, my novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill was designed to allow the reader an intimate look into the mind of a blind teenager, embroiled in an exciting adventure. And, the music angle? Abigail’s a shy songwriter.

 

Blog15_DHill_THAH-w-multiple-Amarilis-blooms-1-22-15-010

Donna’s novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill, an educator-recommended diversity and anti-bullying classroom resource for middle school and older readers, is available in print, eBook versions and accessible formats for readers with print disabilities. For more information and to follow Donna’s blog, visit:

http://DonnaWHill.com

 

 

Photo by Rich Hill. Photos used with permission of the photographer. Thanks so much!

 

 

 

Donna is a singer and songwriter.  Click on the LINK below to enjoy listening  to Donn as she sings, “Love of my Life.”

 

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Special THANKS to Rich and  Donna W. Hill for allowing me feature this story on the blog today!

Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Little Step #3: Choose Better Words

Part 3 – Little Steps at the Beginning of the Journey

Part 3 of 7-Part Series

CHOOSE BETTER WORDS – Eliminate Feeble Words

Discover the Past

Recover the Present

Revise the Future

Blog15_SCAN_June12_GoldenApplePHOTO

In my previous article, Little Steps #2, I spoke of my personal  challenge to STOP speaking words of  criticism, complaint, and gossip.  It is an ongoing challenge – much more difficult to do this than I could have imagined.

 In today’s article, I introduce you to  Little Steps #3 when I move on to discuss HOW we can develop our words more carefully and change them from negative or weak words, into powerful, life altering words. If you are a writer this Little Step might be what you need to think about in developing your work. This Little Step is a good one for anyone, in any profession.

***

I created  2 lists and tacked them on the wall beside my computer. I need to look at these 2 lists often to remind myself to use more powerful and direct words.  I use my 2 lists to edit my writing. Create your own lists and check them often until you get in the habit of looking for the words that are weak and feeble in your writing.

List #1:  Passive Words – they give a feeling of uncertainty  to your writing.  You want to be direct and certain, not wishy-washy.  Go through your writing draft  and change the passive voice  into strong active voice.

Eliminate:  was; were; are; is; have been

List #2: Feeble phrases and words to eliminate from your writing:

Eliminate: amazing; awesome; actually; really; very; things; it; quite; got;

perhaps; maybe; literally; stuff; in my opinion; incidentally

Review your writing, then get out your blue pencil or hit the delete button on every word from this list. Replace those “busy work” and “filler” words with powerful clear words that make your piece strong.

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This link will take you to a good page to read on Active and Passive Voice in your writing:

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-active-and-passive-voice.html

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When you CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY, a better choice of words  enables  you to speak and write better.  You will feel like a WINNER!

The next time you feel the words, “I can’t because…” coming up in your mouth, switch  it to “I will figure out how to do…!”

When you say “I can’t” you’re  telling yourself, or others,  “I won’t.”  In Little Step #2, we decided “NO MORE EXCUSES for YOU – Change your words – change your mind. Recognize feeble words and self-defeating excuses.  Just don’t say those words anymore! You can do it.  Be a GOLDEN APPLE in a SETTING of SILVER.

I love this verse from Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

***

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Written and published by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright, 2015. Al Rights Reserved.

~ Our spirit whispers to us – listen for the message!  ~

Kaleidoscope: Collecting Patterns of Light and Dreams

“Kaleidoscope: Collecting Patterns of Light and Dreams”

by Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2015

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Note:  The first version of this essay was first published on “Amy’s Adventures Blog, by Amy Bovaird,

April 24, 2015.  Thank you, Amy, for inviting me to create a guest blog for you.

You can VISIT me at Amy’s Blog by clicking here:

 http://amybovaird.com/friday-friends-spotlight-on-lynda-lambert/

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“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,

and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 ~

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Patti and I walked down the old, narrow stone path on an April afternoon in the 1950s. Our pastel plaid dresses fluttered slightly in the soft afternoon breeze.  We removed our cotton sweaters, draped them carelessly over our arm for the journey back home. Like most days in April in western Pennsylvania it had been raining in the morning that day. A few hours later, the day took a turn and now it had warmed up significantly since our early morning walk to school. We felt happy because there was not a rain cloud in sight as we took our time walking along our familiar path. Now we meandered at an easy pace in the opposite direction.  School was over for the day and there was no reason to walk faster.   We walked a short distance and then we were standing beside a large field.  The aroma coming from the thick blanket of woods violets slowed us down even more as we scanned the field. In a moment, without speaking to each other, we stepped lightly between the moistened deep green leaves that flourished in thick patches of weeds and flowers. We were absorbed at the moment, bent over the deep blue-violet blossoms and reached out to gather some dainty flowers.  One by one, we snapped the fragile, slender stems of the violets.  While we picked our violets with our right hand, we placed each one in the grasp of our left hand.  Our bear arms were hot as the late afternoon sunshine turned our pale skin bright pink. When our left had could hold no more violets, we stepped away from the field and continued our walk home where our Mother was waiting for us to return   we came into the 1920s frame house through the back door with our fists full of violets, she was delighted with our small gifts.  She went to her cupboard, got out two small glass jelly jars and put the bouquets in water to keep them fresh. Our floral  gifts remained on the windowsill in our kitchen.

***

This year I set my intentions on observing small details in nature.  The landscape is changing continuously.

I see crystal  drops of dew on tender new leaves in the meadow.  They are sprinkled with transparent silvery diamonds.   Another turn, and I am walking beside a field of dewy dark green leaves with little periwinkle flowers peeking through the moisture.

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I felt the velvet softness of Sumac branches. I looked at layers of last autumn’s leaves intermingled with shoots of new grass, and budding Hyacinths   Along the stone walk, I observed the red stalks of Peony bushes forging upwards through the moist earth.   Oh, Yes!  It’s Spring!

 ***

All these thoughts bring me to think about the beauty I have seen in a kaleidoscope. The word “kaleidoscope” has Greek roots.  It means “a form beautiful to see.”  I am compelled to ask you…

“When is the last time you have had a kaleidoscope in your hands with one eye focused through the small round window?”

“Do you recall the vivid colors, ever-changing shapes, as you slightly moved your hand around the barrel of the kaleidoscope?”

You give it a small twist and all the shapes fall into new pictures.  Hidden fragments inside the instrument create  numerous symmetrical, abstract  pictures.   Envision the world such as you have seen in a kaleidoscope!

 

Could you describe what you feel as the colors dance and flow over the mirror images inside? And did you know that inside the kaleidoscope are tiny, ordinary objects such as buttons, stones, chips and fragments – every illusion you enjoyed viewing is merely a collection of ordinary little things someone gathered and put inside with mirrors set at 60 degree angles

***

It has been over six decades since I picked wild violets with my sister in a rural farmer’s field.  I realize my faith in God still works in the same way it did when I was a child gathering God’s little presents.  Just a small twist takes us to a new landscape.

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Big things make headline news, are celebrated and sought after. There is no mention of the ache we have in our inner being and the feeling that something is just not right.  Oh, I know that yearning that whispers from deep inside my body.  Could it be that once again I have walked on that familiar pathway that led me to places where I was not called by God to be?  There is always a sense of discomfort and painful stumbling blocks to be experienced when we are outside of his will or his calling, for our life. Fortunately, we can turn around, retrace our steps back to where we need to be and get our direction going once again. That is the good news – we can change direction!

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Sitting in silence, being calm, listening for God’s still, small voice takes us to his glory.   Small treasures surround us   When I sit down and spend time alone with him, in silence, I experience transformation.  I turn another bend, there is a shift in perspective, and those little gifts are reflected by the mirrored light of his countenance. I am transformed yet again, by small gifts.

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God works just like that!

The longer we look at him, the more our faith grows.  Each turn we take towards him opens up a new landscape that shows us insight into his character. I approach quietly.   Slowly, I realized the rain has stopped. I tilted my head towards the sky, listened for the songs of the circling birds as they hover above the tall trees; it is happening again.  Something new.  My feet are damp from the spring shower. Just another small turn of the kaleidoscope – yes! I can see it now.

Transformation.

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Copyright, 2015. Lynda McKinney Lambert. May 9, 2015. All rights reserved.

Written for publication by Amy Bovaird. April 24, 2015. With much gratitude for the kind invitation to write for Amy’s Adventures Blog. Thank you!

 http://amybovaird.com/friday-friends-spotlight-on-lynda-lambert/

Little Steps…Part 1 Begin the Journey to Discover, Recover, Revise

Little Steps, Part 1 – Begin the Journey

Part 1 of 7 Part Series

~When April whispers to us, “Move on!”~

Discover the Past

Recover the Present

Revise the Future

Blog_2014_Dec_PhotoRoseCenterBright spring flowers flourish all around us by mid April.  I bought a little pot of yellow tulips recently when I was shopping.  They brightened up our dining room table and made me feel happy every time I glanced at them. I am not a gardener so I enjoy buying potted plants and floral bouquets throughout the year with the changing seasons.  Each season brings a new array of colors.  April’s flowers sparkle with brilliance in dazzling yellow daffodils, tulips in a range from vivid red and coral, to  soft pink and white. By the end of April, Pennsylvania’s grassy meadows will be covered with blankets of brilliant purple-blue violets.

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Our walk home from grade school took a bit longer when I was a little girl. Our rural home was nearly a mile from the school and unless the snow was too deep, or a storm was brewing, we walked along a meandering path morning and afternoon. By mid-April we found the delightful blooming violets in the fields.  The small, fragrant blooms beckoned my sister and me to come closer!

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We forgot that we were supposed to walk directly home after school on those long-ago  spring days as we stooped down  low, extended our eager hands, and began picking violets to take back home with us.  The hot afternoon  sun beat down on us as we gathered a fist full of the fragile delights.  Once home with our treasured flowers, we put them in our mother’s little jelly jars.  Our bouquets remained in a special space on  our kitchen windowsill. To this day, many decades later, I still remember the joy of small wildflowers in the house. From now through the fall season, my home will have wildflowers  and weeds from the woods in little vases and jars as the months move towards winter.

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 April signals that it is now the  beginnings of new life surging in Nature.  On mornings like this one, I take leisurely walks with the dogs. I became conscious of the subtle changes today, wanted to focus on them.  After a long lasting winter this year, each new spring day seems especially precious as it brings  warmth, sunshine, budding bushes and trees, and colorful flowers to my little part of the world.

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***

I considered my different senses and how I experienced them as I walked my usual path around the neighborhood  today.

“Sometimes, we get too caught up with the visuals all around us,” I reflected.

We forget we have other important  senses giving us information if we dwell primarily on the visual stimulation and distractions.   I am legally blind and the entire world is a diffusion of shadowy forms and distorted, foggy impressions.  The positive aspect  of sight loss is that I am more aware now about the things I missed out on when I was fully sighted.  I was too focused on looking and learning only through my eyes.  Really, my excellent vision in my earlier, sighted, years, prevented me from discovering many aspects of the world that I appreciate now.

***

I listened carefully, became aware of the low sounds of an owl singing its final notes this  morning as the  sunshine brought  strong light to this new day. I thought about the owl and imagined it must be celebrating the end of a fruitful night of hunting for food to eat, and flights in the comfort of the darkness where it can be free.  For the owl, I thought about how the rising morning sun marked the end of its cycle of hunting and searching for food as it flies over the treetops and settles onto high, dense pine  branches.

While the owl can settle down and relax in the dense tree branches to have a nice sleep for the day, I am just beginning my day.  I breathe deeply and feel the coldness on my face and hands.  My nose is moist and I take out a tissue to wipe the droplets of moisture that come from breathing in the wetness of the early morning atmosphere.  My face tingles with the cold breeze and my hands remind me they are exposed and I have not brought along a pair of gloves to warm them up on this hour-long walk.

But, I am not so concerned with the coolness of the morning today. Instead, my thoughts move on to the meaning of spring and how each day is bringing changes to the world around me.  It feels good, the cold air, and my lighter jacket is just right for this new day.  I reach down occasionally to tell my dog, “Good Girl!  Heel.  Good Heel.  Good Girl!  She glances up at me, and quickly looks back at the path before her and sniffs the air.  When we come to a wooded place, near an abandoned mill, I relax her leash and allow her to enjoy tramping in the winter packed leaves that lay all around the trees.  She digs down into them in places, and pushes the leaves aside, seeking a direct passage to the scent that caught her attention. Eventually, I pull her back to heel position and we continue on for the second half of our morning travels, and we had back towards home together.

 ***

I know that we often think of January as a time of new beginnings. After all, it marks the New Year.  Perhaps we might rethink this idea when we find ourselves walking in the early morning in April, with the warming of spring sunshine on our bodies.  April truly is the time of new beginnings.

While it is true, January urged us to begin anew, set our intentions for the New Year.  Like most of you, I did carefully think about my intentions and weighed them out while considering my own talents, skills, and passions. Now, April urges us to move on.  I recognize I need to look back to DISCOVER anything that will keep me from reaching the heights I’d like to find this year.

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My definition of a successful person is an individual who knows the will of God for her life, recognizes it, and chooses to do God’s will as she walks her unique God-given path in life.~ Lynda McKinney Lambert

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I don’t want “just enough” or “good enough.” I want a life of personal integrity and excellence.  That does not mean I want perfection – no, just the opposite of that! Perfection is unrealistic; we could chase after perfection forever and we would never reach it for it is an illusion. But, integrity and excellence are  attainable because we have the promise of new life, renewal, and rejuvenation each spring.  Life is bursting out all around us in every direction. We can fully participate in it.  We are creatures who have the gift of choice. We can CHOOSE to have integrity and to be excellent in everything we do.  I have witnessed so many people running after the myth of perfectionism.  I see it in just about every magazine I pick up – perfect homes, perfect neighborhoods, perfect careers, perfect lawns, perfect cars, and perfect lies.

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April asks this question:

Is there anything that will hold us back and take away our joy of life?

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April affirms life and growth, just like all of nature, we can DISCOVER, RECOVER, and REVISE our life.

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Here in Pennsylvania, we have “stink bugs” that slip unseen into our homes in the late fall, just before winter sets in.  They are hiding in drawers, closets, attics, and basements where they will sleep, hidden away, through the winter months. When the April sunshine comes into our homes, it wakes up the stink bugs who begin to come alive. We will find them to be annoying as they zip through the house, wake us up in the morning light, or buzz around light sources at night and disturb our sleep.

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One important FIRST STEP is to DISCOVER hidden, sleeping, secret forces inside of us that may be holding us back. Just sit quietly for awhile and think about your past and the hurts that may still be haunting you. We all have them. We have all experienced  rejection, suffering, failures, disappointments, and personal disasters.

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 In April, begin to DISCOVER the past hurts that will prevent us from living a life of peace, joy, creativity, excellence and purpose.  We cannot hold on to those feelings for unforgiveness will always hold us back. We will actually find that we are stuck in the past – our minds will go back again and again and relive the hurt. From this day forward, vow to never again speak of this hurt but to give it over to God today. Refuse to relive it or speak of the hurt or demean the person who has hurt you. This will set you free from the hurtful past so you can come alive again and experience the eternal forces of spring inside your own spirit.  Be assured, the words we speak are living forces. If we continually drag up the ugliness of a situation or personal hurt, we are creating our present and our future unhappiness.  Our words are LIFE.  Speak what is good, nourishing, and excellent.

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 You can move on, and April is the perfect time to do it. Join me on this FIRST LITTLE STEP of our life’s purpose and journey to wholeness.

Yes, forgiveness is a choice, and it has nothing to do with the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is the choice to hand your hurts over to God and let Him make up the difference. When we choose to extend forgiveness, that’s when we choose to receive His forgiveness! ~Joel Osteen

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I am DISCOVERING the prickly thorns in my own past that have prevented my growth to excellence. One by one, I am giving them up, allowing God to take them away, as I RECOVER from the hurts.  I won’t be talking about them any longer. I won’t be going back to feel the pain again.

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The good news today, in mid-April, is that after we DISCOVER and RECOVER from past hurts, we can REVISE our own future.  As I take the higher path of forgiveness, I find the days are growing brighter and brighter still, with each new day!

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Listen to Lynda McKinney Lambert, interview on April 17, 2015_ Purpose Talk Radio.

Discover your CALLING in LIFE by examining your own Life’s Timeline.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/purposetalkradio/2015/04/17/7-little-steps-discover-the-landmarks-in-your-life-timeline

Oh! March Arrived…like a Capricious Cat!

???????????????????????????????March arrived this year like a CAPRICIOUS CAT – or – is that a LION?

Do you live in an area of the country that experiences the cold days of winter? If you do, by the time March arrives you will probably hear people grumbling about “enough snow” and how “tired” they are of “shoveling it and driving in it?” I hear them speak of spring every day and it begins my mid-February and by this time in early March it becomes a tune that so many people are singing.

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Then, I wonder why they don’t understand that spring cannot come yet.

It’s not the  appointed time for Spring. It is still “late winter” time.  It is a rhythm that was set into place by the Creator when this universe was created by HIS hand. Yet, generations of humanity keep wishing for something different. Why?

Can we just take a moment to think about why people always long for things of the future? By doing that, we will  fail to take the time to appreciate the day we live in. We  are, in essence, wishing away the days of our life by not looking at the day we  have, today.  When we are  “future minded” we miss out on some of the precious  joys of life.  The only thing we know for sure is that we are HERE, TODAY.  If  we constantly look forward to another time, another season, another year, another job, another spouse, another home, another activity, another life, we never experience the DAY in which we are living right now.  Please consider this and don’t wish away your life. Appreciate and hold onto the special moments of today. Will you do that?

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English Standard Version – Psalm 118:24 says:
This is the day that the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I  share on this post  some photos I took in the past few weeks, in which the beauty of the season resonates.  When you learn to take the GIFT  of the DAY you have been given, you will find the beauty and peace that is here – TODAY!   ???????????????????????????????

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Take a walk outside today. No matter the weather. If it’s raining, take an umbrella. If it’s snowing, dress warm and put on your snow boots!  If it’s sunny, then bask in the warmth.

Use all your SENSES today.

Can you FEEL this day?

 Can you SEE this day?

 Can you HEAR this day?

 CAN you TOUCH this day?

Can you SMELL this day?

I think I will WRITE a POEM about this month, MARCH! I’ll post it in my next article.