December 19, 2016.
You can enjoy this conversation now.
Lynda McKinney Lambert – Writing with Intention, presented LIVE on Branco Boracast on Recorded LIVE.
Thanks for flying with me in 2015 on SCANdalous-Recollections.
Lynda McKinney Lamber
December 19, 2016.
You can enjoy this conversation now.
Lynda McKinney Lambert – Writing with Intention, presented LIVE on Branco Boracast on Recorded LIVE.
Thanks for flying with me in 2015 on SCANdalous-Recollections.
Lynda McKinney Lamber
I’ve been cleaning and organizing my office. It’s a room in my home, just off the kitchen where I sit to write everything that ends up in my books, stories, poems, website and blogs.
Why there? I have “profound sight loss. ” This room holds the high tech equipment I must use to write, make art, “see” and communicate with others around the world. Here is where I speak with YOU, on a very good day. Thank your for visiting with me today.
An enormous part of my world is housed in this room. A life filled with creating visual art and writing – all my archives are here.
Everything has to be in order and easy to find when I need it. I’ve been working for an entire week to get this room organized – and that means I’ve had to sort through mountains of “things.” I’ve made some exciting discoveries this week as I have been working here.
Just today, I found a notebook where I wrote some things I wanted to remember, years ago when I could still see. I wrote notes on the work of Ranier maria Rilke.
This reflection from Rilke is perfect for today:
“Finding a thing is always enjoyable; a moment before, it wasn’t yet there.”
We have all been given an extraordinary gift, and this gift that is precious and wonderful beyond understanding and measure is life.
Life: the joys and heartaches, the laughter and tears, the expected and unknown, the blessings and the curses are mingled together to mold and shape us as our years grown in number.
Life is the most sacred and incredible gift that we will ever be given, and we must do everything in our power to honor and cherish this incredible blessing. Living an embraced life is just one example of how we can make the most of the precious gift that has been bestowed upon us.
It is important to first acknowledge the definition of what it means to “embrace.”
One definition of embrace is to hold tightly and lovingly, which is something that we should definitely practice in our lives.
Another definition of embrace is to enthusiastically accept or support something. An embraced life is engaging in both of these practices: to hold on tightly and lovingly, and to enthusiastically accept and support things that come our way.
The only thing certain about the precious gift of life is that it is not certain. No matter your age, health, or status there are no guarantees in life. Your time on this Earth, the precious gift of your life, can expire at any moment. There are no guarantees. Your plans may fall exactly into place, or your plans may go totally awry. You may travel smoothly along your path, or you may travel a path that is full of mountains and curves and bumps. The one certain thing about life is that you can never be certain of what lies ahead. When you live an embraced life, you cherish and live life to the fullest embracing whatever comes into your path. This helps the uncertain, the unexpected, to become more tolerable and manageable.
We are human, and we are not created or born to be perfect. We may strive for perfection, but we are not divine, and therefore are imperfect. We are imperfect, flawed, chaotic, beautiful disasters of creation entrusted with life as a precious gift. The embraced life allows us to embrace ourselves as imperfect, as continual works of progress along our paths. Our stories have yet to be written. We were not finished yesterday, and we are not finished today, and our story will still remain unfinished for an undetermined amount of tomorrows until we take our last breath. Only then will our story be realized in its entirety. When we lead an embraced life, it adds flavor, strength, and character to our story.
It is easy to embrace the good things, the joys, the blessings, and the triumphs in our life. We encounter those things to give us a taste of sweetness, and fulfillment, and satisfaction. These happy moments bring us peace and light in the dark, scary, and difficult moments in our lives. The embraced life recognizes that the blessings always outweigh the burdens. Repeat this: the blessings always outweigh the burdens. Always. Even when it seems that there is no light, no peace, no joy to be found, it is during those times that we cling to, and draw from, the happiness, joy and blessings that we have been given in our lives. As we cling to the good, the light and the peaceful blessings, it enables us to travel the rough patches with grace and strength.
When we are experiencing the dark, overgrown, troubling parts of our path in life, it is easy to wish things were different, to wish for better days, to wish for greener grass and a smoother road to travel on. It is our nature to wish for those things during hard times. We are not perfect. We are not built to handle everything perfectly and with grace all of the time. When you live an embraced life, you embrace the dark, rough, and troublesome times. You embrace these times with as much support, acceptance, and love as you embrace the happy times of light and peace. Wishing for better days, better times, and better things is futile. When you embrace the bad, as well as the good, it will bring you abundance beyond your wildest imagination.
The concept of living an embraced life is something that I have witnessed in action, an ideal brought to fruition, as I have watched my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles growing up. I have witnessed by many excellent living examples what it means to live an embraced life. On my own path, I have done my best to lead by the example that I have been given by my family, to lead an embraced life. The practice of living an embraced life has been particularly beneficial to me in the past few years as my husband and I have experienced several ups and downs in our family, especially with our medically complex, special needs daughter Elizabeth. We have had to learn to embrace the good with the bad, the trials and the triumphs, and the blessings and the burdens along our path together. I can say for certainty that we did not plan for, expect, or anticipate any of the challenges we have faced, especially with our daughter, but by leading an embraced life to the best of our abilities, we have definitely witnessed miracles. Above all, through all of the uncertainty, we are certain that the blessings outweigh the burdens.
Live the life you’ve always dreamed of and always imagined. Live life to the fullest. Create something every day. In each day, embrace the triumphs and trials, the blessings and curses, the beautiful and the ugly moments. Embrace it all. Embrace the life you’ve been given, the path that you travel, the blessings and the precious gift of life. It is yours to live. It is yours to embrace. It is your gift. Cherish it, live an embraced life and remember that the blessings outweigh the burdens. Always.
Tara Bly Hackwelder is a stay-at-home mom for her two children Celtan (age 5) and Elizabeth (Age 2). She recently left her teaching career behind to become a full time caregiver for Elizabeth, who has many rare and complicated medical and special needs. Tara and her family live in Butler, PA, and she is a native of Chicora, PA.
B.A. in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University with minors in history and journalism.
She has also earned a M.A. in Sociology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania an
M.Ed. from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
Tara has worked as an adjunct professor teaching social science courses, as a social worker, teacher, and in many other capacities as an advocate for special needs and minority populations.
Tara’s interests include writing, as she currently writes a blog about her daughter’s journey, at www.teamelizabethjeanne.blogspot.com.
She also writes a blog about love, life, housewife/ stay at home mom tips, recipes, and crafting at www.alovespicedlife.com.
She enjoys crocheting, fashion, advocacy, baking, reading, history, philosophy, teaching, volunteer and humanitarian efforts, traveling, and spending time with her family and dog.
You can follow Tara on Twitter and Instagram @alovespicedlife.
this post is presented in much appreciation by Lynda McKinney Lambert.
Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.
Below: Lynda Lambert, Photo by Bob Lambert: “My Pink Scarf”
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2016.. All Rights Reserved.
Send off the FIREWORKS
LIGHT UP THE SKY-
This week is our HAPPY SCANdalous BIRTHDAY Celebration
ONE YEAR of publishing essays is a landmark so let’s CELEBRATE!.
Let’s take a LOOK BACK to what I was thinking about one year ago as I wrote the first blog article on the new blog.
The FIRST article I wrote and published is
“When I Begin my Day with Mozart.”
I did not know at the time I wrote it that it would launch my writing into a new career. One year later I am a “freelance writer.”
The essay was published in LIGHT Magazine, Sept/October issue, 2015. This magazine is published by Christian Record, PO Box 6097, Lincoln, NB 68596. (I will post the original essay below my comments here so you can read it.)
Some STATS on Scandalous-Recollections at the one year anniversary:
Most popular post this first year is “Kaleidoscope: Collecting Patterns of Light and Dreams.” 777 views
I wrote this story, originally, as a GUEST BLOGGER, for Amy Bovaird’s blog.
Here is the link if you want to read it:
How many visitors did we have in the first twelve months? 1,308 visitors
How many VIEWS did my posts have? 2,247 views
Essay: When I Begin my Day with Mozart
(First published on November 11, 2014)
I put the morning coffee on to brew and then reached for a CD of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B flat. After I carefully placed it in the CD player. pushed the “play” button on the remote and my Bose player began filling the kitchen with music. The soft, slow opening lines of the Largo – Allegro began. I listened. A piano and a violin began to gracefully move me to listen closely to this composition, written centuries ago. The lyrical melody begins and I close my eyes awhile before I continue writing my essay. There is something compelling about Mozart’s music; it gently urges me to stop whatever I am doing. The music takes me back in time – but not the time in the Eighteenth century when the music was first performed for a royal audience. It is my own time, near the end of the Twentieth century when the music of Mozart became a core element in my personal life. While listening to this music, my mind is taken on a journey far away from this present chilly, gray November day. My musings create layers of memories.
As I begin writing the opening thoughts of this essay, I enjoy my cup of fresh coffee. I spiced it up with some hazelnut creamer. The days and years of past times come visiting me once again as I slowly recall my first exciting days in Austria. Yes! It was just Mozart and me.
When Mozart first performed this original composition on April 29, 1784, in Vienna, there was a surprising bit of information that came out of the original performance. It’s a unique story that lies behind the music I am listening to today. In the audience, that day was Emperor Joseph II. As Mozart played the piano, the Emperor made a shocking discovery. He had eventually noticed that Mozart was actually looking at blank sheets of “music” instead of the traditional written music that a musician would use. It turns out that Mozart did not have time to copy the composition that was in his mind. He had to play it from his memory and did not want the audience to know he had no actual sheet music. Therefore, He put the blank sheets on the piano and began to play that day. You can read about this and other interesting facts about Mozart by visiting this link
My first trip to Europe was in the summer of 1991. The trip was a gift I gave myself to celebrate a goal I had completed in May. I finished my MFA degree at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. Soon after my graduation, I arrived in Salzburg, Austria at the beginning. My arrival was just in time to join in the celebration festivities for the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. My month-long visit was filled with special art exhibitions in palaces and museums, all focused on some aspect of Mozart’s life or his music. I attended as many concerts as I could, and viewed special exhibits of art that month. OH, I was hooked on Mozart! I walked through his birth house, and death house, and stood inside the churches where he performed for masses. I attended the Mozart Mass at the Dom du Salzburg and basked in the sweet aroma of swirling, smoky incense as the priests entered the sanctuary. I even found the grave sites of his family members and his wife, Costanza. Like most tourists, I purchased the famous Mozart candy, Mozart t-shirts and sent out lots of Mozart postcards to all my friends and family.
I know you must want to know what took me there that month. I had enrolled in a drawing class that was taught by a former professor. We students were in classes Monday through Thursday mornings. I was so excited to be there and was prolific in my art adventure. I created a body of work on the theme of Mozart’s death and music. I wrote continuously as I traveled and viewed exhibitions and listened to concerts. I made many ink sketches on white paper. I chose to do all the artworks black and white. The works on paper would make it easier for me to transport them back to the US. After I returned back home, I put my work together and it became a traveling art exhibition. The mixed-media works on paper appeared in museums and galleries. I called my show,“Memory of a Requiem.”
Ten years after my first trip, some of my poems, sketches, and reflections from that experience were crafted into a book, “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.” The book was published by KotaPress.
Prior to the trip to Austria, I was in graduate school pursuing my MFA degree. I worked diligently during those two intense years doing research, creating art, and teaching. At times, I was so exhausted from working days and nights. When I went back to my apartment for a rest and some meals, I often refreshed my mind by listening to Mozart’s music. I was particularly drawn to his Requiem Mass because it echoed my own weariness. My visit to the city of Mozart’s birth and death was a natural choice.
While in Austria, I made an intention for my own life. I realized that I fell in love with Austria, the artworks, architecture, the people I met, and the music of the masterful composers who lived in Austria over the centuries. I intended to order my life in such a way that I would spend my summers there every year. Of course, I had no idea how that would happen, or if it could happen, but I knew it would be the life I would choose to live.
Eventually, my own professional teaching career began when I accepted a tenure-track position at Geneva College, a private college in western Pennsylvania. This was just five years after I had visited Austria for the first time as a student myself. As a new Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities, I quickly realized there was no study program for students that provided the opportunity to study in Austria or Germany. I proposed to create such a course and the following year I was back in the city I love, with students of my own. This was the first of many years that I would have the joy of bringing students to Austria every summer. I taught a course called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.”
My students came from across America
to work in a studio in a small village in the Alps.
Most days, we met early in the morning and then traveled somewhere to draw and write at the different places we explored. It was a dream that became my reality. I had the joy of sharing this magnificent country with my students every summer for a month-long sojourn. On long weekends, we traveled together through Germany, Czech Republic, and Italy. We climbed mountains; we stood on a mountain peak and gazed down in amazement at the eagles lying beneath us. On one such sunny afternoon, I locked arms with one of the students and we skipped down a high Alpine path. We stopped only when we ran out of energy and we bent over double, laughing together, gasping for breath. We wrote poems and stories in our journals; we wrote about our own experiences. Art was the focus of all we did. We created drawings and paintings in our morning studio and took our sketchbooks and journals to the streets and mountain pathways. Together, we trekked our way through the new places we found. Later, our sketchbooks and journals would provide us with information and memories to work with once we were back home and working on new projects.
Gradually, over the years, I began to realize that the seeds of what we love become the life we live when we set our intentions in that direction. On that first visit, I had set something in motion that would become my life journey at a later time. It would be years, though, before I would understand it all.
Now, sitting here in my office typing up this essay, I listen closely as the final piece of music comes to a conclusion. The piano and the violin have been playing together as I write. Each instrument is strong and one never overpowers the other – they are a good match!
If you would like to enjoy this lovely work of art by Mozart, you can listen to it here:
The Violin Sonata continues and I listen to the rapid notes of the piano moving of playfully through the house in what seems like a race with the violin. I can envision a spring afternoon in an Alpine meadow. At other moments, the violin and piano seem to me to be romping in the sunshine, chasing each other about on the lawn of a Bavarian castle, or around a formal rose garden in the city. . At times, if sounds like the piano takes the lead, yet, this is not the case. The violin weaves through the many notes and in the end they are one. I listen as applause breaks out immediately as the piano and violin strike the final note together.
This day will take me on other, more mundane journeys as I walk my dogs, care for my cats, take my husband to the hospital for a check-up, and edit this essay tonight. At special moments throughout my day, I just might hear a few bars of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B flat Oh, I hope so! Oh, I hope…at the end of this day the music and I are on the same note.
Essay by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
Visit my website for additional information at: “Walking by Inner Vision”
Meet October’s Guest Blogger
Donna W. Hill
The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey
Along an Unmarked Path
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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.”
Special THANKS to Rich and Donna W. Hill for allowing me feature this story on the blog today!
Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Little Steps #4 – Look for the EXIT SIGN
Discover, Recover and Revise your life through some Little Steps
Part 4 of 7-part series
“Little Steps” by Lynda McKinney Lambert
Artist and author, Tammy Ruggles, recorded an interview with Lynda McKinney Lambert in 2013.
Click on the link below to listen.
Visual artist and author, Lynda McKinney Lambert, lost most of her eyesight due to
Ischemic Optic Neuropathy in 2007
Topics discussed on this video:
Diagnosis and finding help
Treatment and Rehabilitation Services
Begin your Personal adjustment
Recover a functional and creative life
Find your own path after sight loss
Seek answers from your own past – your Timeline
Change your life for successful transition to your next step
Regardless of any situation or challenge you will face at any time, remember there is a way OUT. You may veel like you are locked in, secluded, alone, or trapped. Remember, YOU are NOT any of those conditions. You have CHOICES you can make and those choices will take you in a better direction.
The KEY is to ELIMINATE HESITATION – Grab that EXIT SIGN
Do it NOW.
Look for your EXIT SIGN!
“The more you are challenged the more you change.”
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
You can read Little Steps #1, 2, and 3 by clicking on the links below.
Lynda is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.”
Visual artist and author, She is currently working on two new books.
“Kaleidoscope: Patterns of Light and Dreams” is a series of realistic fiction based on memoirs.
“Eclipse: Hands Folded in Prayer” is a book of poetry.
Introducing my GUEST BLOGGER for May – Beckie Horter
I am delighted to feature a writer I met a number of years ago when she attended the college where I taught. Beckie is a graduate of Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. We reconnected recently and she wrote this GUEST BLOG ARTICLE exclusively for SCANdalous! And, here she is……
United by Stories
Our hearts were made for stories. Fearfully and wonderfully made, said the Psalmist. And it’s true: we were built for giving and receiving stories as a means of soul sustenance. It’s the gift of truth told, lessons learned, and humor offered to lighten the daily load.
I’ve been noticing the power of stories lately as I spend time with my 86-year-old mother. Her short-term memory is terrible. But her capacity for long ago stories lives on. She remembers days on the farm, walking to school, and what an old woman wore on the beach in 1950—a full slip instead of a bathing suit. Scandalous!
Those are the best conversations to have with her…she’s comforted by those tales. They are real to her and part of who she is. Just as all our experiences become part of who we are and what we share with the world.
“I like a good story, well told. That is why I am sometimes forced to tell them myself,” said Mark Twain.
I can relate! Even though I am shy and introverted—not the bold speaker Mark Twain was—I am often called upon to tell a story. One girlfriend, after I haven’t seen her for a while, will sit me down and say, “Tell me stories!” She wants to know what’s new, of course, but she wants it told in an interesting way.
I am happy to oblige. Telling stories, either on the page or in a small group, brings joy and unity. It takes us on a journey even while we remain perfectly still. Our minds join together for a time, and we imagine scenes and sounds, and smells and tastes that go along with the narrative being told.
When it came time for class plays, I always volunteered to be the narrator. Others wanted to have a big speaking role and fought to be the main character, but I wanted to tell the story. Because the narrator had the scoop. They kept everyone together, brought the story up to speed, and answered all the questions in the end.
I think Garrison Keillor, a modern-day storyteller, would agree. “Be as crazy as you want to be,” he said. “Just let me tell about it.”
Where do we get this impulse? This need to tell stories?
I believe it comes directly from God. He is the giver of all good things, including stories and imaginations. God’s Word is laden with memorable stories, and it was Jesus’ first choice for teaching the people.
Consider the parable.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed,” begins the parable of the sower in Luke 8. From this teaching, we understand that the seed is the Word of God, and there are four types of soil—or hearts—the Word can fall on. Shallow soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil. In the end, only the good soil, or the heart that has been properly prepared, is the one that will yield a crop for eternal life.
We may conclude from this story that three-fourths of the time the Word is shared, it will not have lasting effect. Wow! So we are not to be discouraged when we don’t see change. Jesus told us that the devil will snatch it away, that some will believe for a time and then fall away, and others will give way to worry, riches and pleasures. This is a cautionary tale, too. We want to have good soil and avoid the pitfalls Jesus warns of.
We get all that from the mental picture of a farmer, seed, soil, thorns, rocks, etc. But, of course, it represents so much more! The truth that we are built for eternal life seeps into our hearts like a healing balm. We instinctively know it’s right. And it quiets the longing inside us.
A great teacher will always incorporate a story along with the lesson.
Stories work better than lectures.
Our defenses are down and our hearts are open.
And while the points in a lecture quickly fade, a story imprints our memory.
So, as summer kicks off this week, I’m hoping to build my story collection by making new memories. To journey down the road a bit and see new sights, notice something different, talk to a stranger, laugh about a situation, and then come home and tell the story.
Maybe you’ll do the same!
After receiving her B.A. in Writing from Geneva College, Beckie worked as a correspondent for the Allegheny Times. There she covered government meetings and wrote feature articles. Telling stories and loving it! She went on to proofread for the paper until a retina condition erased most of her central vision leaving her partially blind.
Following a period of adjustment and seeking the Lord’s will, Beckie once again returned to her passion of writing—albeit slowly. God showed her how to use her remaining vision and continues to open doors to spread His message of hope.
A theme she often explores on her blog,This Abiding Walk, is how God works through the brokenness of our lives. Although the subject matter can be quite serious, Beckie gives her readers comic relief and writes in a truthful and thoughtful way. Read more by Beckie Horter by visiting her blog:
Most recently, she’s been delighted to become re-acquainted with her former drawing professor, the colorful Lynda Lambert! These two find that God works in unusual ways. And they are both enjoying the journey!
“Kaleidoscope: Collecting Patterns of Light and Dreams”
by Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2015
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:
“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 ~
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
Bright 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
April asks this question:
Is there anything that will hold us back and take away our joy of life?
April affirms life and growth, just like all of nature, we can DISCOVER, RECOVER, and REVISE our life.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
Did you come up with a list of resolutions for this new year? If you did, by now you might be worried about how you will stay on target with your list of resolutions. Maybe you have even forgotten some of them by now?
I found a better idea that is more realistic and more personal. I want to share it you today. Be kind to yourself and instead of writing out a list that will be forgotten soon, focus on just one word for the year – let’s see where the journey takes us. ONE WORD will be far more personal and much easier to stay focused on than a big list – won’t it!
Think about joining in with people who are turning to God and praying about getting just ONE WORD that will be with you for the 365 days of this year. I just did! You can find the link right here, and take a look and see if this would be something you might like to do.
Yes! When I thought about this word, I immediately thought of the Matisse dance paintings in the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia. I cannot think of another image that would better represent what it means to be exuberant; one word that would represent a person filled with exuberance. I think of this word as a noun, as well as an adjective. Matisse understood this word, I am certain.
EXUBERANCE…this is my ONE WORD for 2015. This word just came into my mind near the beginning of the New Year, settled in, looked around and decided to stay with me for the entire year. How did this happen? I have no idea how a single word comes to mind and lingers. It’s a mystery to me. What I do know is where it came from, the source of it. It is gentle and yet, persistent, and it whispers to me as I sit a while and have some quiet time with God. The time for silence, set aside, and practiced at the beginning of the day, or any other time apart, is one of my “intentions” for this year. I wrote about my intentions on an earlier blog post. The daily periods of quiet time are when I reflect and experience God’s presence in my daily activities. I speak of exuberance, as a noun. This painting by Hanri Matisse expresses what the noun, EXUBERANCE, might look like. It’s JOYFUL, and delightful, and full of life!
The word, EXUBERANCE, dates back to the sixteenth century,
Left: Photo of Matisse drawing on canvas – the beginnings of his paintings of dancers.
When I think of EXUBERANCE, I think of Matisse! And, then I think about what this word will hold for me during 2015. I will hold it in my mind, envision it in my spirit, recognize it in my prayer life, every day of this year.
I ask myself, “What will the final painting of my life be like?”
Today, I am beginning the drawing of it. A year from now we can look back and see what the word we chose has brought to us this year.
Pray about this and see what word God has for you this year. What will your finished work of art look like? God is the Creator of the entire universe and we can trust him to create in our lives, something exciting, new, and joyful.
Let your light shine everywhere you go this year.
Be a picture of JOY, like a painting by Henri Matisse!