HAPPY GREGORIAN NEW YEAR!

With the changing of the calendar there are disagreements about if it is really a new decade.

What a silly disagreement.

Humans feel they control time. They can catagozie and contain it. However, as diverse as Humanity is, there are as many ways to contain time as there are civilazations.

I Celebrate three New Year’s. My actually new year is aligned with my pagan beliefs with the start of the year on Samhein, Halloween.

Then I recognize the Gregorian New Year, which most of the world, particularly the Western World, follow. Then, finally, I celebrate Chinese New Year. This is out of appreciation for Asian culture.

I once owned a Tibetan Buddhist Calendar. It being based on the moon as opposed to the sun. It was definitely different.

My friend in South Korea has two ages. One which is “western,” one which is based on her culture.

Not only are there calendar and time controls within different cultures, there are different views of time in various religions.

Growing up in the United Methodist Church we followed the Christian calendar (hint we are still in the Christmas Season until Epiphany). There are specific traditions and practices associated with certain times of the year in every religious practice.

And don’t even get me started on the different political calendars across the globe.

Sometimes this societal agree on the meaning of time is to our detriment. More and more people are having sleep problems and health issues because they are no longer in tune with their own physical, internal clock, their circadian rhythm.

It is worth remembering for all of the different views and beliefs on time, it is all fabricated by our brains. It is simply a way for our brains to catagozie and barely begin to understand our place in the Universe.

This Gregorian Year of 2020 I suggest we all take a step back and allow the Universe to speak to us, to reset our clocks to its time, instead of the chaos of societal time.

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Goodbye 2019

Last night I told my mom. when she said she was grateful 2019 was almost over, there were good things which happened in 2019.

Be grateful for the good things in 2019 and leave behind the rest.

I say again: BE GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD THINGS IN 2019 AND LEAVE THE REST BEHIND.

Going further, be grateful for the lessons learned from the bad things that happened in 2019.

Overall, move in 2020 with a grateful heart. Forgive the events, people, and perhaps most importantly, yourself. Gratitude for the what was and gratitude for what will be. This is the best way to progress into the next decade.

I end with my favorite Scripture. Philippians 4:4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

The Three Ghosts of Christmas

Behold, the joy of the holidays – giving and receiving, is upon us! It was just a week before Christmas that Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in the year 1843. The many books this author wrote reveals his deep Christian faith and the principles of a moral life. His most infamous character, Scrooge, is the story of a heart transformed, or should we say re-born? It’s no wonder Dickens called this work-of-art his “ghostly little book,” for Christ reflects all over the pages.

If we analyze the character of Scrooge, like ours, we see the light and darkness of life, salvation, and a second chance of God’s blessings. Three spirits visited him: The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Let’s begin with the first spirit…

Our Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Past reflects on Scrooge’s younger years. Similar to us, there is happiness, sorrows, and perhaps even regrets. We struggle to find the true meaning of life. Where do we fit in, and what is our purpose? We work so hard to achieve comfort, security, and the American dream. However, we avoid suffering and challenges to preserve our dignity and self-worth. Soon, it becomes clear those ghosts will eventually reappear to haunt us later in life. Just as Scrooge learned, bad decisions leave us fearful, confused, shaken, and empty, and we carry them into the rest of our years.

Our Ghost of Christmas Present

Scrooge is now absorbed by the worries and burdens of wealth. Consumed in running his business and providing for his own needs, he cared little about others. His happiness equated to money and possessions, but ironically, he is the most unhappy character. Our Ghost of Christmas Present opens the door to glimpse how quickly we alienate friends and family with self-centered actions of greed. The lack of helping others in need placed Scrooge in the category of being a miserly, old man. How would others see us too?

Many characters in The Christmas Carol opened their hearts to Scrooge. His nephew, Fred, encouraged him to be a part of his life and home, even at Christmas. Scrooge grumbled, “Bah humbug.” His employee, Bob Cratchit, wanted him to participate in fundraising for charity. Still Scrooge quickly snubbed such a crazy idea. Cratchit tried to make him see that joy should come from our treasures – family, friends, life, and love – not material goods.

The characteristic of imprisoning ourselves with possessions, if we don’t share with our neighbors, is synonymous with a lack of love and compassion for others. Jesus warns us in the Bible we can’t take earthly things with us when we pass from this world. So what’s the point of it all?

I have a revelation to ponder… what if God only gave us our blessings to give to others who really need them? What if they were not meant for your exclusive pleasure?

The joy of Christmas should reflect a smile of happiness when someone receives a gift of love, yes? I know many say that presents are not what the reason for the season is about, am I right? Jesus was our gift from God. He walked the earth to teach us how to live graciously, godly, and always to serve others. What better time than the season of giving, to follow in His footsteps?

Scrooge realizes his selfishness and sins, and a change soon comes.

Our Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Scrooge’s “conversion” points to finding his salvation based on redemption and charity. He walked the streets with a smile, greeted everyone, helped beggars, and glowed the love of God. Though many were apprehensive of his attitude change, they discovered some significant event, indeed, altered his life. Isn’t this how everyone, one day, falls into God’s grace? We realize this life is more comfortable in a relationship with our Savior. When we break our own mortality, our hearts soften for others.

Christ gave Scrooge a second chance to make it right, and He does this for us too! Our life should be a journey of service to the Lord.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

www.danabicksauthor.com

May everyone be blessed with a beautiful Christmas! Give and receive with a gracious heart to your family, workplace, and community. It is the three ghosts commandment – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!


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The Carols Heralding

Many enjoy our words of faith and enduring inspiration; however, not all of my life is colorful as the fall. But, this is not about those I’ve turned over to God in prayer, but the joyful ending of God’s faithfulness. The holiday season is fast approaching, and I won’t focus on the ugly parts of life, but the joy of Thanksgiving.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Living in a state of humility and reverence, I find myself so thankful for answered prayers. The summer winds turned to the north, and the foliage of forests turned harvest colors. It’s time to lie down arms, repent, and comfort those we might forget this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Yes, it’s time to rejoice! Give praise to our almighty Father for our many Thanksgiving blessings. Join hands to commemorate the peace and love we’ve found in each other. It’s not just the pilgrims landing anymore. Our sovereignty, through God, our Father, blessed the table we partake this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

I so often return to the words my wise dad spoke, “count your blessings, not your problems.” I welcome you to share this thought on Thanksgiving. Lay aside the differences, if only for one day, and thank God for your life. Count your many blessings and be thankful. We fill every day with memorable moments.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

As for my family and I, this year’s Thanksgiving Day holds a significant meaning. It falls on the twenty-eighth, which was my Dad’s birthday, and I commemorate him in heaven. It was also my parent’s wedding anniversary. Married in 1958, I bet they picked this day so my dad would never forget their anniversary. Only one person knows their story for sure, and he’ll never tell… or will you, Uncle Bill?

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!


Be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 1 for the ongoing “Everything Christmas Blogs”

Autumn in October

A silence resonates from heaven as Christ fills the voids deep inside my soul. I see the troubled storm clouds approaching, and they make not a sound. A busy world persists, running in circles, but I keep an eye on the sky, for only my God do I wait.

Standing at the edge of a great canyon where extinction begins, and life ever after looks like a desert floor, I harbor the love Christ sends me. Within His peace, windows open with new opportunities. The canyon is far and wide, and in times of adventure, it seems an impossible crossing. For some, it’s a quest, but for others, it’s a stepping stone to enter eternity and be with Him.

I bundle my love and faith and wear it as a code of honor. It’s autumn in October… seasons change, and life emerges with new horizons. The sun salutes the night watchman, and I bid farewell to another night. God, in his miraculous way, restrains the spiritually encountering distance. His quiet voice calls, and I must be patient. It’s autumn in October, and the hour grows nearer.

Seeking my own passage, I step lightly on the ledge of fate. The rocks are jagged and sharp, and death is just a slip away. But God watches over me with a promissory note I pledged to Him. The canyons divulge how minute I am as I step out where courage calls.

In the autumn of life, the Lord’s love is upon me. He gathers His herd of humanity for a voyage to explore the canyon walls of life. The fiery nights beacon October, and it quenches our thirst and hearts. Please, Father, turn the desert floor into meandering waters. The quests are over – some I failed, but some I conquered by Your blessings.

It’s autumn in October, and a new child is born. Goodbyes of another life are hard. Still, a new life is always on the horizon, for as one door closes, another is born again.

Another adventure, another voyage as the pride of time, sets my course upon another mission. Only God will bridge the heavens as I wait at the ledge of the canyon walls. I built my caves… now it’s time to surrender. The slope is deep, but it is in God’s hands to bestow the faith as He calls me home.

Love is filled with memories, in yet another autumn in October. The mystical canyon mourns, and the life which once prospered refrains in the setting sun. The shadows long for God’s calling… come home with Me when you’re ready.


Our blogs will resume next Sunday, November 10, when we celebrate Christmas with the “Everything Christmas Blogs.” Please be sure to join us!

All Things Become The Teacher

Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the weight of thousands of miles traveled, but I nearly cried when I saw Spam Fried Rice on the menu. The overwhelming sense of nostalgia came with that one uniquely Guam dish.

Even though it had been 25 years since I was last on Guam, the place felt the same. The individuals, the business names, and the political players changed. Roads have widened and beaches narrowed. Yet the essence that is undeniably Micronesia is perhaps stronger than before.

My trip to Guam in September of 2019 was a lesson in synchronicity and serendipity. For the 10 days that I was there, I only had one activity planned: the book launch on Wednesday, September 18. I went with an open heart and mind to let the journey unfold as it would and trusted a Higher Power to guide each step of the way.

The reason for the trip? Back in 1992, while attending the University of Guam, I was part of an Anthropology field school on Ulithi Atoll. Fast forward 20-some years, the professor retired and finally had time to compile a book about Ulithi. Papers myself and fellow students wrote as a result of the field school were part of the volume, Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia: Recalling the Past, Reaffirming the Future, along with more recent research from the 21st century.

Less than a month before the formal book launch, I was contacted by one of the book’s editors to inform me about the existence of this book. That was just one of a cascading volume of “coincidences” that were part of my Guam experience.

My former professor had tried to track me down me before. When time was running out, she asked the other editor to try. If this person had tried a week or two earlier, she would not have established contact.

The only reason she was able to reach me was that, merely a week prior, I had added the URL for this blog onto my Facebook page. If I hadn’t done that, I would have completely ignored the friend request and I would have absolutely no knowledge that this book existed, and hence, I would not have journeyed to Guam. As it was, she conveyed a message through the comments section on my blog, which comes straight to my inbox.

Guam is an island of connections. It seemed that everywhere I went and everything I did wove tiny threads of synchronism linking events, people, the past, and the future into a cohesive whole. I had such an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there.

The day I arrived, a two-day conference ended about decolonizing Guam. This is a topic I was actively learning about to inform the novel I’m writing. Turns out, a former classmate who I had been looking to reconnect with was very involved with the issue. When we met for dinner, it was as if no time had passed and we talked and talked, much to the annoyance of people waiting to be seated at the restaurant.

Another motivation for returning to Guam was to get more information about the Suruhana, the traditional healers on Guam. This was also to inform my writing. ‘Coincidentally,’ my friend was familiar with a number of Suruhana and an avid supporter of helping the tradition survive in the 21st century.

Oh, and so many more parallels. When I had been on Guam in the 80s and 90s, I knew my friend had grown up on-island. Little did I realize that she had gone to high school in Medford, Oregon, a rather small, rural town. At that point, I had never been to Oregon. After moving away from the island I had happened to go through Medford shortly after my husband and I married in 1995. We fell in love with the area and have lived there ever since. So, my friend and I also had Medford in common.

There were too many other coincidences and parallels to mention. I’ll just say that every conversation confirmed that I had needed to be on Guam at that moment, to have that conversation, to gain that insight.

Overall, a strong sense of “it is time” pervaded my consciousness. It was time to act. Time to show up in the world. Time to let my voice be heard. Time to move beyond fear and fulfill my purpose. Heady stuff? Yes. Yet all it really means is that I must trust myself and do what is in front of me.

I can’t help but believe that my meditation practice allowed my mind to be clear and to fully discover the joy and meaning of each moment. In Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s words, “As we grow accustomed to looking at the clear surface of our minds, we can see through all the gossip about who and what we think we are, and recognize the shining essence of our true nature.” (The Joy of Living, p. 132).

I believe that you can come to know your true nature through many different religions and paths. As my husband recently heard, when the student is ready, all things become the teacher. So whether you’re in a 12-step program, a devout follower of a religion or anything in between, my wish for you is that you come to know how amazing you truly are and can follow your passion to your ultimate fulfillment.

Reprinted fromI Am Many Things

Things I Take for Granted

My front porch calls me at the time of the morning most people are asleep or perhaps at work. The mowed lawn is edged, and a gentle southern breeze talks to me. The flag flaps in the breeze, and I can hear cars on the busy highway, not far away, echoing through the trees. My flowers are all in full bloom…

… the things I take for granted.

I rest my legs on the glass table and lean back against the cool metal glider. Staring across the neighbor’s lawns, I listen to the birds as they feed their young. My American flag stands tall and proud at the corner of my property as I thank God for blessing me with this homestead. In the shadows of the roofline, the sun approaches with a refreshing breeze. What a beautiful morning to enjoy a warm cup of coffee!

… I thank God for the things I take for granted.

Happy thoughts ignite as I remember my wife and I sitting on two empty crates, in this exact spot, before we closed on this home. I smell the shrubbery I’ve planted since then; the fragrance is enticing for the little bluebirds who frolic amongst the branches.

… I count my blessings for the things I take for granted.

I should mention, of course, my health and personal life. I’m pushing seventy years old, but I feel as though I’m thirty-five years young. Nothing hurts or aches me much today. What a gift from God to be anointed with such good health! Then there’s ‘my love’ who rediscovered me after thirty-two years of searching – thank goodness for social media. Every day is a celebration as we wake in love, together at last. Nothing will ever separate that which God has united. After decades apart, our life is nothing short of pure, blissful matrimony.

… oh, the things I used to take for granted.

It is in peaceful times like this, I wonder if our future generations will ever know what real love feels like, or if they will find it one day. Will they be able to sit with their feet propped up on a rail and look out over their own lawn at the forest? We live in desperate times, so they allocate every penny to bills. I will remain in my own little world and pray for their success.

… I thank God for that which I have taken for granted.

In this hurried world of pressures and appointments, the greatest gift I take for granted is the one from God. He makes everything possible in life. Can I ever thank Him enough, for He so richly deserves it? What can I tell Him? What can I do to prove how much love I have for Him, my dear Lord, while I sit on my front porch, taking this glorious morning for granted?  I guess I’ll sit here a while longer to say,

“Thank you, God, for all I took for granted and the joys I rendered from Your blessings.”

What a wonderful Father in heaven we really serve!

www.danabicksauthor.com

__________________

but the Bean could never split

Robustly rattling the shell,
i was gravely biding
for the groaning cracks
to surface the crust
but the Bean could never split.

A layer of tar
despised the Bean
swelling the germ
and softening the shell
with the molten fury
but the Bean could never split.

Thriving for germination,
my echo strikingly reverberated
within the caliginous tunnel,
screeching for the shell to break
but the Bean could never split.

Congested damp clogged the pores,
barring the seed from rooting
in the milieu of growth,
while i redundantly reiterated
to clear the illusion
but the Bean could never split.

The baggage of throes
coated the fettered seed
with aches forcing it to wobble,
when i finally hammered out the shell
and there lay the seed deceased,
thus how could the Bean split?