Time to Review

The pumpkins and fall foliage remind me that the year will be over before we know it! I want to make the most of these last 2 1/2 months and in thinking about this, I knew a ‘goal review’ was in order.  What ‘unfinished’ priorities would pop off my goal list and potentially surprise me?

My goal review and reflection is too infrequent. God’s grace made this year’s reflection an encouraging one. As I contemplate, the reality of how important it is to review my goals becomes crystal clear. A review reminds, confirms and encourages.

Today, I remind my friends who join me in a scripture memorization goal that it is important to review what we have already memorized. My system uses a good bit of time to review what I have etched in my  gray matter (exercise time goes by quickly while quoting verses). In fact, I’ve been known to take a month off from new scriptures to remind, confirm and encourage myself in past scriptures. Regular scripture review is imperative even if I’m in the midst of new verses.  If too much time elapses between reviews, rust has often crept into my mind particularly on a reference or on the infamous ‘blank out’ words that often cause me a stumble.  Keeping words fresh helps me apply them more intentionally in my daily life.

We all need encouragement and support.  I love and appreciate you, my memory partners, who help spur me on in this discipline.

This year’s solid hold on memorizing scripture has been a most important goal for me. With soberness and grace it has helped me accomplish so many other goals in it’s rippling wake.  These words really are alive and active!

I pray you will join me as a partner in my journey of scripture memorization and goal setting..and regular reviews of both.

Enjoy the fall season – Madge


Goodbye, Hello, and Thank You

Saying goodbye to an old friend is not fun – even when it is necessary and desirable.

A recent farewell to my faithful van of 15 years was…believe it or not…a sad event. My highly modified van is a dear friend!
– It took Brent and I everywhere we went for our first eight years together.
– My mom rode next to me on the way to chemo treatments until she used a wheelchair and rode in the back.
– My precious former canine assistant, Murray, perched himself in the front seat as we went to work each morning; he flirted with other drivers the whole time, of course he curled up behind me in the back seat after a long day at the office.
– Tahoe, on the other hand, sticks with me and rarely hops on the seat when he rides.

So many memories..

Goodbye van
Although excitement is brewing with the thought that I will soon wheel around town in a new accessible sports car (aka a minivan), a few tears ran down my cheek as I watched my big old gem take its final trip from our home.

Isnt it funny how we hang on to the old in lieu of the new?

My recent ‘goodbye-hello’ experience sits smack dab in the midst of two bible studies – one from Deuteronomy and another from Exodus. OK,  I really appreciate it when the bible whacks me on the head! I knew this was a season of change in many ways….and like the Israelites during their journey from Egypt to the Wilderness to Canaan, I resist, don’t listen enough and take provision for granted…

…add an illness and a busy schedule and I might enter the land of complaint.

‘Hold up!’ I tell myself! I can live in the land of thanksgiving instead of the land of complaint.

The land of thanksgiving is full of provision. It may be quail and manna or it may be milk, honey, fruits and grains…but there is always provision.

Praying you choose the land of thanksgiving during your seasons of change.

– Madge

Here’s a short, but powerful verse for my scripture memorizing friends.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  
1 Chronicles 16:34

Song of Solomon and Our Anniversary Week

The first half of September is always special to me because my annual reading plan just happens to include Song of Solomon as our wedding anniversary approaches.

What a fun, yet touching and reflective book at an apropos time.  Some controversy exists on whether it is an allegorical look at God’s great love for us and Christ’s love for his bride, the church, but there is no doubt that this is a steamy book about marital love between a bride and groom.

Who ever thought the Bible was boring? Not me I tell you!

This love song, as seductive as it gets, often gives me a few giggles as the lover describes his beloved with compliments women of ancient times hopefully understood:

How beautiful you are, my darling!  Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.
Song of Sol. 4:1-3 NIV

I guess I’d be surprised if Brent complimented my hair by saying it looked like a goat’s – and we expect our spouse to be glad if we have ‘all’ our teeth?  It was definitely written in a different time and culture, but meandering through the book of Song of Solomon in a version like the Message illuminates an appreciation for the descriptions of courting in romantic love.

You’re so beautiful, my darling,
so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled
By your hair as it flows and shimmers,
like a flock of goats in the distance
streaming down a hillside in the sunshine.
Your smile is generous and full—
expressive and strong and clean. Song of Sol. 4:1-3 MSG

OK my friends, I think I’ll go check up on my blessing, Brent, and read him a few of the  words from Solomon’s chapter 5:

My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold; **(I’ll omit ‘his hair is wavy and black as a raven’ since he is beautifully bald….)
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend.

…and I’ll leave you to choose your memory verse (sure hope you are memorizing with me twice a month!).  Just in case you’d like a suggestion – here is a verse I’ve been reviewing  that you may enjoy:

Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O God,  You hem me in behind and before, you have laid your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:4-5 NIV

Blessings and love to you – Madge

New Seasons on the Horizon

The current temperatures and beautiful September sunshine is no indication that we are approaching a new season..but the calendar shouts of autumn’s approach and so do football enthusiasts! Spring and summer have always been my favorite seasons, and honestly a twinge of dread usually grasps my heart about this time of year.

New opportunities, new school years and new studies begin and events are planned that lead to joyous holiday celebrations, yet along the way comes my nearly constant companion – the cold natured chill. It’s the nagging ever-present, teeth grinding chill that sends me to want to sit in front of a space heater…permanently.

My challenge with the cold started right after my accident. It seems no amount or type of clothing can effectively do the trick…merino wool and hot water are my dear spinal cord injured winter friends!

All this to say, I am purposing to raise the bar on my heart of gratitude in preparation for the change in the weather. Although it’s not my favorite time, I CAN appreciate every season’s unique beauty and dynamics with a heart of thanksgiving!

My upcoming discomfort and grief will not prevent the power of gratitude to my Lord who gives me strength and joy.

My grateful heart opens the door to experiencing His presence more richly. So, as summer soon sets, my praises will rise on the wings of the dawn of autumn breezes and I will give thanks.

Praying an increase in gratitude for all my friends….as I know your new seasons may bring challenges that demand the amazing medicine of thanksgiving for your body, soul and spirit.

Scripture memory #17 potential verses:

– Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:15

– Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4.