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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Joy and Not Regret


She brings the ice cream cake with the unicorn because she remembers how much I liked horses growing up,

And I sit and think back on two decades,

Wondering where all the time has gone,

Thinking about who I've become.



If you'd like to share in giving me the best birthday gift of all this year?

Well, regardless, I'll share a bit of this (rough draft of a) song as my gift to you:

Joy and Not Regret
©2013 Mary Schieferstein

Where did the years all go?
Where is that little girl with puffy cheeks?
Sitting in the baby swing?

Do you know?
She was rocking in her little chair,
Now I can't find her anywhere.

All the Barbie dolls and saddle shoes
Are packaged in unlabled tombs
As pictures of what's been smile at me
And, when I look in the mirror, that's not what I see.

Why do the seasons change?
Where is that child with her big mistakes,
All the old regrets that she couldn't shake?

Why can't I contain
The memories that slip so fast
Of laughter, friends, and Christmas past?

And all the Barbie dolls and saddle shoes
Are packaged in unlabled tombs
As pictures of what's been smile at me
And, when I look in the mirror, that's not what I see.

And I see more than a sum
Yet I see hints of the years gone by
Between the ironed folds
Of grown-up's clothes,
In the sparkle of a woman's eye.

And where the years all went
May be the question at the end
Of pages tiny fingers turned,
Lessons that my young hands learn,

Evidence that I'm still trying
To figure out how time ought to be spent,
But it's a gift.

All the Barbie dolls and saddle shoes
Are packaged in unlabled tombs
As pictures of what's been smile at me
And, when I look in the mirror, that's not what I see.

. . .

And all those Barbie dolls and saddle shoes
May one day find a better use,
And the decades that have slipped on past
Are joy and not regret.




Reasons 5112-5395 today,

Because the next however many years there are of my life?


I want to spend them thinking about Him:

  1. The flashes of jealousy are flashes of fire, His very flame (Song of Songs 8:6)
  2. He has reared and brought up children (Isaiah 1:2)
  3. He left survivors (Isaiah 1:9)
  4. Had He not left survivors, His people should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:9)
  5. The multitude of Sodom and Gomorrah's sacrifices is nothing to Him (Isaiah 1:10-11)
  6. He has had enough of burnt offerings of rams (Isaiah 1:11)
  7. He has had enough of the fat of well-fed beasts (Isaiah 1:11)
  8. He does not delight in the blood of bulls (Isaiah 1:11)
  9. He does not delight in the blood of lambs (Isaiah 1:11)
  10. He does not delight in the blood of goats (Isaiah 1:11)
  11. Vain offerings of incense are an abomination to Him (Isaiah 1:13)
  12. He cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly (Isaiah 1:13)
  13. His soul hates iniquity and new moons (Isaiah 1:13-14)
  14. His soul hates iniquity and solemn feasts (Isaiah 1:13-14)
  15. Iniquity and new moons have become a burden to Him (Isaiah 1:13-14)
  16. Iniquity and solemn assembly have become a burden to Him (Isaiah 1:13-14)
  17. Iniquity and new moons have become a burden to Him, He is weary of bearing them (Isaiah 1:13-14)
  18. Iniquity and solemn assembly have become a burden to Him, He is weary of bearing them (Isaiah 1:13-14)
  19. When those whose hands are full of blood spread out their hands, He will hide His eyes from them (Isaiah 1:15)
  20. Even though those whose hands are full of blood make many prayers, He will not listen (Isaiah 1:15)
  21. If His people are willing and obedient, they shall eat the good of the land, for His mouth has spoken (Isaiah 1:19-20)
  22. If His people refuse and rebel, they shall be eaten by the sword, for His mouth has spoken (Isaiah 1:19-20)
  23. He declares (Isaiah 1:24)
  24. He is the Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 1:24)
  25. He is the Mighty One of Israel (Isaiah 1:24)
  26. He will get relief from His enemies (Isaiah 1:24)
  27. He will avenge Himself on His foes (Isaiah 1:24)
  28. He will turn His hand against those who have turned against Him (Isaiah 1:25)
  29. He will smelt away the dross of those who have turned against Him as with lye (Isaiah 1:25)
  30. He will remove all the alloy of those who have turned against Him (Isaiah 1:25)
  31. He will restore the judges of those who have turned against Him as the first (Isaiah 1:26)
  32. He will restore the counselors of those who have turned against Him as the beginning (Isaiah 1:26)
  33. Those who forsake Him shall be consumed (Isaiah 1:28)
  34. The mountain of His temple will be established (Isaiah 2:2)
  35. The mountain of His temple will be established as the highest of the mountains (Isaiah 2:2)
  36. He will teach the peoples His ways (Isaiah 2:3)
  37. He will teach the peoples His ways, so that they may walk in His paths (Isaiah 2:3)
  38. He will judge between the nations (Isaiah 2:4)
  39. He will settle disputes for many nations (Isaiah 2:4)
  40. He has abandoned His people who are full of superstitions from the East (Isaiah 2:6)
  41. He has abandoned His people who practice divination like the Philistines (Isaiah 2:6)
  42. He has abandoned His people who embrace pagan customs (Isaiah 2:6)
  43. His presence is fearful (Isaiah 2:10)
  44. His majesty is splendorous (Isaiah 2:10)
  45. People go into the rocks, hide in the ground from His fearful presence (Isaiah 2:10)
  46. People go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the splendor of His majesty (Isaiah 2:10)
  47. He alone will be exalted in the day when the eyes of the arrogant will be humbled (Isaiah 2:11)
  48. He alone will be exalted in the day when human pride will be brought low (Isaiah 2:11)
  49. He has a day in store (Isaiah 2:12)
  50. He has a day in store for all the proud and lofty (Isaiah 2:12)
  51. He has a day in store for all that is exalted (Isaiah 2:12)
  52. He has a day in store for all the proud and lofty (and they will be humbled) (Isaiah 2:12)
  53. He has a day in store for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled) (Isaiah 2:12)
  54. He has a day in store for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty (Isaiah 2:12-13)
  55. He has a day in store for all the oaks of Bashan (Isaiah 2:12-13)
  56. He has a day in store for all the towering mountains (Isaiah 2:12-14)
  57. He has a day in store for all the high hills (Isaiah 2:12-14)
  58. He has a day in store for every lofty tower (Isaiah 2:12-15)
  59. He has a day in store for every fortified wall (Isaiah 2:12-15)
  60. He has a day in store for every trading ship (Isaiah 2:12-16)
  61. He has a day in store for every stately vessel (Isaiah 2:12-16)
  62. He alone will be exalted in the day when the arrogance of man will be brought low (Isaiah 2:17)
  63. He alone will be exalted in the day when human pride will be humbled (Isaiah 2:17)
  64. People will flee to caves in the rocks from His fearful presence (Isaiah 2:19)
  65. People will flee to holes in the ground from His fearful presence (Isaiah 2:19)
  66. People will flee to caves in the rocks from the splendor of His majesty (Isaiah 2:19)
  67. People will flee to holes in the ground the splendor of His majesty (Isaiah 2:19)
  68. People will flee to caves in the rocks from His fearful presence when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  69. People will flee to holes in the ground from His fearful presence when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  70. People will flee to caves in the rocks from the splendor of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  71. People will flee to holes in the ground the splendor of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  72. People will flee to caverns in the rocks from His fearful presence (Isaiah 2:19)
  73. People will flee to the overhanging crags from His fearful presence (Isaiah 2:19)
  74. People will flee to caverns in the rocks from the splendor of His majesty (Isaiah 2:19)
  75. People will flee to the overhanging crags the splendor of His majesty (Isaiah 2:19)
  76. People will flee to caverns in the rocks from His fearful presence when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  77. People will flee to the overhanging crags from His fearful presence when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  78. People will flee to caverns in the rocks from the splendor of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  79. People will flee to the overhanging crags the splendor of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19)
  80. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support (Isaiah 3:1)
  81. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah all supplies of food (Isaiah 3:1)
  82. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah all supplies of water (Isaiah 3:1)
  83. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the hero (Isaiah 3:1-2)
  84. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the warrior (Isaiah 3:1-2)
  85. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the judge (Isaiah 3:1-2)
  86. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the prophet (Isaiah 3:1-2)
  87. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the diviner (Isaiah 3:1-2)
  88. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the elder (Isaiah 3:1-2)
  89. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the captain of fifty (Isaiah 3:1-3)
  90. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the man of rank (Isaiah 3:1-3)
  91. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the counselor (Isaiah 3:1-3)
  92. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the skilled craftsman (Isaiah 3:1-3)
  93. He takes from Jerusalem and Judah the clever enchanter (Isaiah 3:1-3)
  94. He makes mere youths officials (Isaiah 3:4)
  95. He makes children rule over people (Isaiah 3:4)
  96. The words of Jerusalem are against Him (Isaiah 3:8)
  97. The words of Judah are against Him (Isaiah 3:8)
  98. The deeds of Jerusalem are against Him (Isaiah 3:8)
  99. The deeds of Judah are against Him (Isaiah 3:8)
  100. The words of Jerusalem are against Him, defying His Glorious presence (Isaiah 3:8)
  101. The words of Judah are against Him, defying His Glorious presence (Isaiah 3:8)
  102. The deeds of Jerusalem are against Him, defying His Glorious presence (Isaiah 3:8)
  103. The deeds of Judah are against Him, defying His Glorious presence (Isaiah 3:8)
  104. He takes His place in court (Isaiah 3:13)
  105. He rises to judge the people (Isaiah 3:13)
  106. He enters into judgment (Isaiah 3:14)
  107. He enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of His people (Isaiah 3:14)
  108. He will bring sores on the heads of the haughty women of Zion (Isaiah 3:17)
  109. He will make the scalps of the haughty women of Zion bald (Isaiah 3:17)
  110. He will snatch away the finery of the haughty women of Zion (Isaiah 3:17-18)
  111. His branch shall be beautiful (Isaiah 4:2)
  112. His branch shall be glorious (Isaiah 4:2)
  113. He shall have washed away all the filth of the daughters of Zion (Isaiah 4:4)
  114. He shall have cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment (Isaiah 4:4)
  115. He shall have cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of burning (Isaiah 4:4)
  116. He will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day (Isaiah 4:5)
  117. He will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night (Isaiah 4:5)
  118. He will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, for over all the glory there will be a canopy (Isaiah 4:5)
  119. He will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night, for over all the glory there will be a canopy (Isaiah 4:5)
  120. His vineyard is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:7)
  121. The men of Judah are His pleasant planting (Isaiah 5:7)
  122. He looked for justice (Isaiah 5:7)
  123. He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed (Isaiah 5:7)
  124. He looked for righteousness (Isaiah 5:7)
  125. He looked for righteousness, but behold, an outcry (Isaiah 5:7)
  126. He has sworn that surely many houses shall be desolate (Isaiah 5:9)
  127. He has sworn that surely large and beautiful houses shall be without inhabitant (Isaiah 5:9)
  128. He has sworn that ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath (Isaiah 5:9-10)
  129. He has sworn that a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah (Isaiah 5:9-10)
  130. He is exalted in Justice (Isaiah 5:16)
  131. He is the Holy God (Isaiah 5:16)
  132. He shows Himself Holy (Isaiah 5:16)
  133. He shows Himself Holy in Righteousness (Isaiah 5:16)
  134. The root of the people will be as rottenness, for they have rejected His Law (Isaiah 5:24)
  135. The blossom of the people will go up like dust, for they have rejected His Law (Isaiah 5:24)
  136. The root of the people will be as rottenness, for they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 5:24)
  137. The blossom of the people will go up like dust, for they have despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 5:24)
  138. His anger was kindled against His people because they rejected His Law (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  139. His anger was kindled against His people because they despised His Word (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  140. He stretched out His hand against those who had rejected His Law and despised His Word (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  141. He stretched out His hand against those who had rejected His Law and despised His Word and struck them (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  142. He stretched out His hand against those who had rejected His Law and despised His Word and struck them, and the mountains quaked (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  143. He stretched out His hand against those who had rejected His Law and despised His Word and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst o f the streets (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  144. For the rejection of His Law and despising of His Word, His anger has not turned away (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  145. For the rejection of His Law and despising of His Word, His hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 5:24-25)
  146. He will raise a signal for nations far away (Isaiah 5:26)
  147. He will raise a whistle for nations far away from the ends of the earth (Isaiah 5:26)
  148. He will raise a signal for nations far away, and behold, quickly, speedily they come! (Isaiah 5:26)
  149. He will raise a whistle for nations far away from the ends of the earth, and behold, quickly, speedily they come! (Isaiah 5:26)
  150. He is high (Isaiah 6:1)
  151. He is exalted (Isaiah 6:1)
  152. He is seated on a throne (Isaiah 6:1)
  153. The train of His robe fills the temple (Isaiah 6:1)
  154. Holy, holy, holy is He (Isaiah 6:3)
  155. The whole earth is full of His Glory (Isaiah 6:3)
  156. He looks for someone to send (Isaiah 6:8)
  157. He looks for someone to go for them (Isaiah 6:8)
  158. He can send everyone far away (Isaiah 6:12)
  159. He sends people out (Isaiah 7:3)
  160. He sends people out to meet kings (Isaiah 7:3)
  161. He sends people out to meet kings with encouragement for them to invade and conquer nations (Isaiah 7:3-6)
  162. He sends people out to meet kings with encouragement for them to invade and conquer nations, yet it will not take place (Isaiah 7:3-7)
  163. He sends people out to meet kings with encouragement for them to invade and conquer nations, yet it will not happen (Isaiah 7:3-7)
  164. He invites people to ask Him for signs (Isaiah 7:10-11)
  165. He invites people to ask Him for signs, whether in the deepest depths or the highest heights (Isaiah 7:10-11)
  166. He gives signs (Isaiah 7:14)
  167. He will bring on His people a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah (Isaiah 7:17)
  168. He will bring the king of Assyria (Isaiah 7:17)
  169. He whistles for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt (Isaiah 7:18)
  170. He whistles for bees from the land of Assyria (Isaiah 7:18)
  171. The flies and bees for which He whistled will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes (Isaiah 7:18-19)
  172. He will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River - the king of Assyria - to shave off King Ahaz's head and private parts, and to cut off his beard, also (Isaiah 7:20)
  173. He tells people to take large scrolls and write on them with ordinary pens (Isaiah 8:1)
  174. He tells people to take large scrolls and write “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” [quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil] on them with ordinary pens (Isaiah 8:1)
  175. He tells people what to name their children (Isaiah 8:3)
  176. He tells people to name their children “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” [quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil] (Isaiah 8:3)
  177. He speaks again (Isaiah 8:5)
  178. He brings against the people who have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates (Isaiah 8:6-7)
  179. He brings against the people who have rejoiced over Rezin the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates (Isaiah 8:6-7)
  180. He brings against the people who have rejoiced over the son of Remaliah the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates (Isaiah 8:6-7)
  181. He brings against the people who have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah the king of Assyria with all his pomp (Isaiah 8:6-7)
  182. He brings against the people who have rejoiced over Rezin the king of Assyria with all his pomp (Isaiah 8:6-7)
  183. He brings against the people who have rejoiced over the son of Remaliah the king of Assyria with all his pomp (Isaiah 8:6-7)
  184. People devise their strategies, but they will be thwarted, for He is with those they are devising against (Isaiah 8:10)
  185. People propose their plan, but it will not stand, for He is with those they are planning against (Isaiah 8:10)
  186. He speaks to prophets with His strong hand upon them (Isaiah 8:11)
  187. He is the One people are to regard as Holy (Isaiah 8:13)
  188. He is the One people are to regard fear (Isaiah 8:13)
  189. He is the One people are to dread (Isaiah 8:13)
  190. He will be a Holy place (Isaiah 8:14)
  191. For both Israel and Judah He will be a stone that causes people to stumble (Isaiah 8:14)
  192. For both Israel and Judah He will be a rock that makes people fall (Isaiah 8:14)
  193. For the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap (Isaiah 8:14)
  194. For the people of Jerusalem He will be a snare (Isaiah 8:14)
  195. He hides His face from the descendants of Jacob (Isaiah 8:17)
  196. He gives people children (Isaiah 8:18)
  197. People are signs and symbols in their nations for Him, who dwells on Mount Zion (Isaiah 8:18)
  198. People should inquire of Him (Isaiah 8:19)
  199. People should consult His instruction (Isaiah 8:20)
  200. People should consult His testimony of warning (Isaiah 8:20)
  201. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun (Isaiah 9:1)
  202. In the past He humbled the land of Naphtali (Isaiah 9:1)
  203. He humbles lands (Isaiah 9:1)
  204. In the future, He will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan (Isaiah 9:1)
  205. He honors lands (Isaiah 9:1)
  206. He sends a Child to be born (Isaiah 9:6)
  207. He gives a Son (Isaiah 9:6)
  208. The government will be on the shoulders of the Son He has given (Isaiah 9:6)
  209. The Son He has given will be called Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
  210. The Son He has given will be called Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
  211. The Son He has given will be called Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
  212. The Son He has given will be called Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
  213. Of the greatness of the government and peace of the Son He has given there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  214. The Son He has given will reign on David's throne (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  215. The Son He has given will reign over David's kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  216. The Son He has given will reign over David's kingdom, establishing and upholding it (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  217. The Son He has given will reign over David's kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  218. The Son He has given will reign over David's kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  219. His Zeal will accomplish His plans (Isaiah 9:7)
  220. He sends a message against Jacob (Isaiah 9:8)
  221. He sends a message that will fall on Israel (Isaiah 9:8)
  222. He strengthens Rezin's foes against Israel (Isaiah 9:11-12)
  223. He spurs Israel's enemies on (Isaiah 9:11-12)
  224. Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth, yet for all this His anger is not turned away (Isaiah 9:12)
  225. Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth, yet for all this His hand is still upraised (Isaiah 9:12)
  226. He strikes His people and yet they do not return to Him (Isaiah 9:13)
  227. He strikes His people and yet they do not seek Him (Isaiah 9:13)
  228. He will cut off from Israel both head and tail (Isaiah 9:14)
  229. He will cut off from Israel both palm branch and reed (Isaiah 9:14)
  230. He will cut off from Israel both palm branch and reed in a single day (Isaiah 9:14)
  231. He will cut off from Israel elders (Isaiah 9:14-15)
  232. He will cut off from Israel dignitaries (Isaiah 9:14-15)
  233. He will cut off from Israel prophets who teach lies (Isaiah 9:14-15)
  234. He will take no pleasure in the young men because those who guide the people mislead them (Isaiah 9:16-17)
  235. He will take no pleasure in the young men because those who are guided are led astray (Isaiah 9:16-17)
  236. He will not pity the fatherless and widows because those who guide the people mislead them (Isaiah 9:16-17)
  237. He will not pity the fatherless and widows because those who are guided are led astray (Isaiah 9:16-17)
  238. He will take no pleasure in the young men because everyone is ungodly and wicked (Isaiah 9:17)
  239. He will take no pleasure in the young men because every mouth speaks folly (Isaiah 9:17)
  240. He will not pity the fatherless and widows because everyone is ungodly and wicked (Isaiah 9:17)
  241. He will not pity the fatherless and widows because every mouth speaks folly (Isaiah 9:17)
  242. By His Wrath the land will be scorched (Isaiah 9:19)
  243. By His Wrath the people will be fuel for the fire (Isaiah 9:19)
  244. By His Wrath the people will not spare one another (Isaiah 9:19)
  245. By His Wrath the people will devour on the right, but still be hungry (Isaiah 9:19-20)
  246. By His Wrath the people will eat on the left, but not be satisfied (Isaiah 9:19-20)
  247. By His Wrath the people will each feed on the flesh of their own offspring (Isaiah 9:19-20)
  248. By His Wrath Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh, and together they will turn against Judah (Isaiah 9:19-21)
  249. He sends the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a godless nation (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  250. He dispatches the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a people who anger Him (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  251. He sends the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a godless nation to seize loot (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  252. He dispatches the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a people who anger Him to seize loot (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  253. He sends the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a godless nation to snatch plunder (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  254. He dispatches the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a people who anger Him to snatch plunder (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  255. He sends the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a godless nation to trample them down like mud in the streets (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  256. He dispatches the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, in whose hand is the club of His wrath against a people who anger Him to trample them down like mud in the streets (Isaiah 10:5-6)
  257. When He has finished all His work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.” (Isaiah 10:12)
  258. He sill send a wasting disease upon the king of Assyria's sturdy warriors (Isaiah 10:12-16)
  259. He sill send a wasting disease upon the king of Assyria's sturdy warriors because the king boasts against Him who used him (Isaiah 10:12-16)
  260. He is the Light of Israel (Isaiah 10:17)
  261. He will become a fire (Isaiah 10:17)
  262. He will become a flame (Isaiah 10:17)
  263. He will become a fire, and in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and briers (Isaiah 10:17)
  264. He will become a flame, and in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and briers (Isaiah 10:17)
  265. He will become a fire, and the splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy (Isaiah 10:17)
  266. He will become a flame, and the splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy (Isaiah 10:17)
  267. He will become a fire, and the splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away (Isaiah 10:17)
  268. He will become a flame, and the splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away (Isaiah 10:17)
  269. He will become a fire, and the splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away, and the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down (Isaiah 10:17)
  270. He will become a flame, and the splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away, and the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down (Isaiah 10:17)
  271. The remnant of Israel will truly rely on Him (Isaiah 10:20)
  272. The survivors of Jacob will truly rely on Him (Isaiah 10:20)
  273. A remnant will return to Him (Isaiah 10:21)
  274. A remnant of Jacob will return to Him (Isaiah 10:21)
  275. He will carry out the overwhelming and righteous destruction decreed upon the whole land (Isaiah 10:22-23)
  276. His anger against His people will end (Isaiah 10:25)
  277. His wrath will be directed to the destruction of the Assyrians (Isaiah 10:24-25)
  278. He will lash the Assyrians with a whip (Isaiah 10:24-26)
  279. He will lash the Assyrians with a whip, as when He struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb (Isaiah 10:24-26)
  280. He will raise His staff over the waters (Isaiah 10:26)
  281. He will raise His staff over the waters, as He did in Egypt (Isaiah 10:26)
  282. He will lop off the boughs with Great Power (Isaiah 10:33)
  283. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax (Isaiah 10:34)
  284. Lebanon will fall before Him (Isaiah 10:34)
Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him: 

(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)



<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:



Friday


Friday, November 1st, I get home and dig through the pile of papers on the table.

I find an envelope with my name on it,

An envelope and logo with the words I was looking for,

"MESSAGE FROM YOUR SPONSORED CHILD".

I rip it open as I sit down on the couch to read.

I pull out the blue paper and know it's from my correspondent child in the Philippines.

A sweet teenage girl,

She writes about her family and her passion,

Tells stories and shares Bible verses,

And I sit there staring at the paper for minutes after I've read,

Thinking how much I love this girl.

I take the letter back to school with me

And hang it on my letter-display clipboard above my bed

So I can look at her words and think of her every day.


Friday, November 8th, I'm definitely thinking about her.

Compassion sends an email that the Philippines has been hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

They don't have much information yet, but ask for prayer.

And, oh, I'm praying.

That night, my roommate and I watch footage of the devastation on her iPhone.

She says she'd read 100 people had been confirmed dead already.

It hits me even harder.

See, I've lived through some so-called "natural disasters",

But nothing too serious.

None of the serious ones have ever threatened anyone I love.

Until now.

Until this one.

This one has gone directly toward that sweet teenage girl whose letter I'd ripped open a week ago,

The one who loves to cook and tells me of making food for her family,

The one who picks up her first-grade-age sister from school every day,

The one who loves and helps her parents yet feels that maybe at times she has a little too much responsibility.

Oh, I love this girl.

I've never met her face-to-face.

The argument could be made that I don't know her that well,

But my heart is sick to think of the danger that she and her family may have faced.


Saturday, November 9th, I go for my walk

And I'm wrestling with God a bit,

Trying to wrap my head around it all.

I'd told my roommate the night before that it's so hard -

That, on the one hand, I love the Power of God displayed in natural disasters,

The sharp reminder that He is in control, that He is Mighty and Awesome,

Yet this kind of Awesome is maybe not the kind that I'd like,

And springing up from what's left of the sinful nature in my heart is just a hint of the desire to tell God that He can't do that -

That He can't just send gigantic storms that kill people - kill children, like that sweet teenager I have the privilege of corresponding with, like her adorable little sister whom she picks up from school.

I want to pick Him up and put Him in my box.

"Good Gods don't do that."

Boy, do I need to get over myself.

I keep walking and praying and asking Him to help me understand that He is Good,

Even in this,

And it's good to care,

But it's also good to trust.

There's a reason why He's God and I'm not.


Monday, November 11th, Compassion posts on Facebook the areas affected by the typhoon.

Geographically challenged as I am, I go hunting through maps online.

As far as I can tell, the area my correspondent child lives in wasn't among those listed as severely effected.

So, so many children and families do live in those areas, though.

And the estimated deaths are now up at or above 10,000.

There is so much need in the Philippines right now.

There is a need for prayer, and there are so many prayer requests.

Yet, to help those in desperate need, action must be taken as well.

So many organizations are asking for donations.

And, yes, Compassion is one of them.

Compassion has a disaster relief fund already set up to help areas with severe and immediate needs.

Right now, that is the Philippines.

And Compassion stands ready and willing to help.

But first, they need help.

Compassion posted on their blog some guidelines for deciding which relief organizations to donate to?

They didn't promote their own organization too much in that post,

But, from what I know, here's how they meet their own criteria:

They already have people working in the Philippines, so all money that goes into the relief fund is going directly to bring relief, rather than some providing travel money for people to go and the rest being dedicated to relief.

Compassion works through the local church, so it was there before the typhoon hit, and it will be around for long after.  They're not just going in, helping, then leaving again.  They are committed to loving and caring for the people of the Philippines.

There are already people from Compassion traveling and assessing the damage, as well as developing plans to use donations most effectively to bring the Filipinos the greatest possible amount of relief.  They're not just using money arbitrarily, but they are doing so purposefully, even anticipating how needs might change as the immediate impact of the disaster wears off.

So, if God is putting it on your heart, please consider donating to Compassion,

And, if not to Compassion, then please just give as God leads you.

There is so, so much need right now.

Please don't miss the opportunity to make a difference.

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon


Maybe a few words of encouragement from that sweet teenage girl to end with?

In the wake of all this, these words were what I needed to hear.


That wise man?  His house weathered every storm.


Oh, yes, always working for our good.

Even in this.

And the best part?


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Stone of Remembrance


If I were wearing boots, I'd be quaking in them.

I'm standing around,

Waiting for other people to have their turn.

I tell my best friend that I'm so shy,

I don't know what to say.

I've already ripped the plastic wrap off 3 CDs

And she has my camera around her neck.

I'm standing feet from one of my all-time favorite artists

Who's just given a phenomenal concert.

There's so much I'd like to say,

Like, "Thank you for being such an inspiration and encouragement to me."

"Thank you for all those blog posts that are such a help to young artists like me."

"Thank you for writing and singing truth."

"Thank you."

There's just one problem:

I am so shy.

Maybe it's because there's a fan girl in me,

And yet there's also an artist,

And maybe I know better than some just how human she really is?

Yet it feels a bit like meeting one of my heroes.

Maybe that's because it is?

I don't know.

The people in front of me finish,

And it's my turn,

And I open my mouth, not knowing what to say.


Fortunately, I don't have to start the conversation.

She looks at me and tells me I look familiar.

I'm absolutely shocked.

Somehow, the words, "Um, we've communicated online a couple of times" come out.

She thinks for a moment, then she says my name.

"Mary."

She knows my name.

This is turning out to be something even I wouldn't have dreamed up.

(And, believe me, I've dreamed up some pretty interesting encounters.)

She asks what I've been up to.

I stutter something about homework.

(Because, really, what else do college students do?

I can guarantee they don't sleep.)

Maybe she had to clarify,

Or maybe she wanted to know both,

Because next she says something about my music,

What I'm doing with that.

I don't even remember exactly what it was that she said,

But I know I would never have brought up my music on my own.

What have I been doing with my music lately?

It's kind of been one of those seasons . . .

Just no time.

And yet, there's more time than there was last year.

Maybe I just haven't been making time?

I manage to say that I haven't been doing as much as I'd like to,

But my goal for Christmas break is to put a set together.

She signs my 3 CDs

And we pose for a picture,

And I go home,

Scarcely even able to believe that Christa Wells knew who I was . . .

And asked about my music . . .


It takes me awhile to get to bed.

First, I must share the excitement of the evening with my friends on Facebook.

Then come the usual before-bed activities.

I open my composition book to write,

But it's a little hard with the refrain of "Shine" still coming through clear and strong in my head.

Instead, I flip through earlier pages,

Hurriedly scribbled characters

Spelling out the words I twist in my brain.

There are songs about friendship,

Songs about reconciliation,

Songs about mental illness,

Songs about laughter,

And lots of songs about being tired and needing sleep.

(I guess I should make more of an effort to write earlier in the day . . .)

I remember the events that sparked them -

The songs about death from when I watched my grandmother slip away,

The song about going into the river from a particularly inspirational sermon,

The song about steamer trunks from my family's summer cleaning project.

I look back on the pages

And find my years traced out in song,

These tiny stones of remembrance

Of the Faithfulness of God.


I finally manage to write something,

But falling asleep seems to be a different problem.

I can't stop thinking about my music -

All I've done,

All I haven't done.

But it's good.

It's good to remember what this last year has held.

It's good to remember that God has been working,

Even if it seems,

In my crazy, day-to-day life,

That not much has been going on music-wise.

Maybe it's time for me to lay a few stones of remembrance here?


What's Happened With My Music in the Past Year:

January
I got braver and ask some friends to critique a song for me while on a road trip.  They really liked it and asked me to sing it as we're riding in the van.  Very nervously, I did.  When I finished, everyone applauded.  I was humbled.
My friend encourages me to not write "elementary lyrics".  He knows that I can do better.  And I can.
I released Masterpiece, Album #2.
I'd gotten better at recording.
Maybe I'm getting a bit better at marketing, too?
I created a Facebook page the day after it released.
I asked for help through this blog in sharing about it.
Kelli Woodford and Pam Depoyan kindly responded to my pleas.
I'd never met them before, but I'm so glad I know them now!
I made my first $4.20 as an independent artist (and then some in the following weeks . . .).
I asked for $5 per album . . . and I sold almost all that I'd made (which wasn't very many, but every time someone asked for one, it meant the world to me).
"Past the Wishing" became the song that marked this season of my life.

February
According to Facebook, had writer's block for a couple of days.
Fortunately, it's never lasted too long.
Had my siblings take some new pictures of me.
Sold more CDs.
My amazing best friend recorded my first-ever interview, during which I talked way too much.
Lent.  I write "Fall on Grace".  I needed that song.  Still do.  Every day.
I showed the song to the friend who had given me advice on lyrics before, telling him those were the least elementary lyrics I'd ever written.  He agreed.
I nervously email my first draft to Ann Voskamp, whose post inspired the song.  She kindly writes back and thanks me for grace.

March
I'm just going to paste this from Facebook:
So Sunday, two days after once again coming face-to-face with some of my fears about my music (and particularly my voice, which happens to be my greatest insecurity in this area), two of the people at my church who had purchased CDs from me told me how much they enjoyed them! And one specifically told me that I had a lovely voice! It's amazing how God uses people to encourage us in exactly the areas in which we need the most encouragement! So blessed!
Released a demo recording of "Fall on Grace", which is still one of my favorite songs.
At one point, I was so inspired that I wrote songs on scrap paper in the middle of the day.  I love it when that happens!  So much fun!
Received a lot of encouragement from friends - seriously, there are days that this is what keeps me sharing what I write!

April
The cover art from my album was accepted in my school's art show.  Pretty impressive considering I used a cheap program that won't do what I want it to.
I was having trouble deciding what to write about and ended up with my best attempt yet on the issue of human trafficking.
I had a hard time going to sleep because I could imagine exactly how I would want a recording of the
song to sound and I really wanted to record it.
Several friends critiqued for me and one even started working on a guitar part for me.
Still would like to get that song recorded . . .

May
Divided songs on Noisetrade into albums.
Started working on my website.
Talked with Dad about maybe doing voice lessons.
Looked back at God's Faithfulness in my music.
Found that even remodeling can inspire music (as if there was ever any doubt).
Signed up to do special music in July.

June
Continued working on website in spare time.
Worked on updating all social media to match website.
Got my keyboard set back up in my room again.
Was a counselor at summer camp.  Sang one of my newer songs to my campers and they loved it.  One little girl wanted a recording.

July
Officially announced the new website.
Planned two weeks before special music to play the song I'd sung to my campers and an arrangement of "Past the Wishing".  Practiced once and made little progress.
Planned one week before special music to play "Fall on Grace" with a piano accompaniment and "How He Loves" because I knew it.  Lost hours of sleep throughout the week getting ready.
Asked Dad for help critiquing accompaniments and almost started bawling telling him how much I wanted to be doing music over the summer and literally hadn't had any time to practice.  The voice lessons the two of us had talked about earlier in the year never happened.
Played the songs for special music and even told the story behind "Fall on Grace".  Received a lot of compliments.

August
Started working on videos from July performance.
Had a little more time to practice.
Spent a couple nights before school started playing the piano for quite awhile.  Realized how much I miss that when I don't get it.

September
Was inspired to write in the middle of the day again.
Roommates critiqued some lyrics for me.  So good to have feedback!
Got the videos from my July performance posted.
Got to practice the piano for HPE homework.  Three times.  Best assignments ever!

October
Had a tough week struggling with sin.  Fought by playing and singing for awhile, and later singing hymns while doing the dishes.
Got to pose for a friend's art project (a.k.a. got to play the piano for over an hour!!!).
Went to Christa Wells' concert.  This is the closest thing I get to creative community, and it was awesome.
All the stuff this post started with.
Had several people ask about my music since the Christa Wells concert.  People at my new church are now starting to find out that I write.
Realized that my lyrics have been a bit more "elementary" lately and resolved to do better.
Spent the last several days thinking about my music, what God's been doing in my life, and what this all means to me.  Which has been totally awesome.

So, in sum?

God is Good.

And I've been missing that lately.

I've started praying for guidance again

As I'm trying to take steps on this crazy path He's leading me down

And hopefully I'll be paying more attention

To His Faithfulness in leading me as I walk.

Thank You, Jesus.




 
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