Monday, December 10, 2018
For many years as my children were going up, it was an annual tradition to sit around the dining room table telling stories inspired by our special Christmas globe. The scenery of a small village snuggled at the base of a mountain and pine trees lent itself well to the world of imagination, especially when I allowed them to shake the globe and hundreds of glittering snowflakes would blanket the scene. They were always very careful to hold the globe tightly and shake it gingerly, often with my help.
As the children aged, so did the globe. One year, it began to detach from its inner base, but I still showcased it. My husband, with the best intentions, though he could fix it by gently tapping it back into place. However, his effort turned out disastrous and he broke it! I was heartbroken, though I salvaged the scene and displayed that for a few years. Then one year, after my mother had died, I decided to go through her Christmas ornaments and found the exact globe. I was thrilled, and set it in its place of prominence of the dining room shelves. The children were now older teenagers and not that impressed, but I think we used it to tell a story or two.
This year, when I went to take it out of its Styrofoam packaging, I discovered that this one had completely detached from its base! Somewhat dejected, I tried to shake it into place, but it remained upside down and unglued. I thought it might very well represent my present situation—scurrying to decorate with the family and grandchildren, still working full time as an art teacher, babysitting my three precious little ones, buying presents and trying to keep my spiritual life from falling apart. I decided to display it anyway, in a less prominent place, but as a reminder not to become completely unglued!
Everyday I would look at it and contemplate all my running around, praying that I wasn’t over involved. One day, when I was sitting having my breakfast and gazing at the snow globe, I heard a distinctive voice say, “Try fixing the globe again.”
“Is that you Lord,” I asked.
“Yes.” The gentle voice replied.
I answered back, “Well then, you know I’ve tried a thousand times and it just can’t be fixed!”
The voice spoke again. “I’ll show you a new way to twist, turn and shake it.”
“Really? You care about that?”
“Yes, now go do it!”
I gently lifted the globe and did what the Lord told me to do. I shook it, twisted it and flipped it. Slowly the whole scene righted itself and began to fall gently on its base. I couldn’t believe it! “Wow God! You really care about such details?”
“Yes, I do.”
I just couldn’t belief his level of caring. Yet, it reminded me of the scripture. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30). It really amazed me that God is so into the details of our lives, and the Bible confirms it! He can give us wisdom in the greatest difficulties we face and the smallest, yet important, details of our life. What an amazing God! The creator of all things, who knows the number of my frizzy, thick hairs of my head, communicated with me about a small yet seemingly insignificant snow globe.
Actually, it’s just like Him! It’s the same God of the Universe who stepped out of ruling in heaven to this problem riddled world, into what appeared to be an insignificant, small family to save us. Isn’t he marvelous!!
Posted by Anita Estes at 12/10/2018
Monday, November 12, 2018
Will you think of us today my children, the reason we gave our life?
Will we be in your thoughts my sons and daughter, anytime from day to night?
Will you hear us today my children, as I answered the call to love not my own life?
Will you see us in the beauty of this land, the trees and mountains, stars, or sky?
Will you know how much we loved you, sons and daughters of this land?
Will gratitude for what we've done be in your mind today?
We gave you everything you wanted—freedom, liberty and life.
We founded our glorious nation
on the wisdom of God's Eye.
His hand guided us, your veteran fathers
on the Words of His life.
But will it all be forgotten among the rows of poppies,
and the gravestones of this life?
Will you remember me today, my children
As I once held you in my arms?
Will you remember me today, my children?
As I taught you how to walk.
Will you walk beside me, Oh my children?
And remember I gave you my life.
Based upon the sacrifice of God's Holy Son.
We took His words to heart.
And bled for you to save this land
Where freedom once rang to not depart
from the Words of life He spoke.
Will you turn your face away
and not remember this day?
Will you run though fields of grain, my children
Or will you run and hide?
Will you turn to The light, my children?
Prodigal sons all in a line.
We all stepped over it, at times,
But will you trample it to death?
The life we spilled for you
We pray was not in vain.
See the blessings He has poured out upon you.
It hurts our heart to see you hide.
How you’ve trampled on the freedom we won you.
I offered you my life.
Listen carefully, My Golden Nation
Once the apple of His Eye
To the pages of My Holy Word
History does not lie.
See the downfall of the rebellious nations.
Who turned away their eyes.
And followed strange gods of their own making,
Replacing truth for a lie.
Be now careful in all your freedom,
For it will turn on you.
Learn the lessons from us and the pages of history.
Are coming soon upon you too.
Rebellion led many nations to destruction.
Hear what they have to say.
Will you think of Me today, My child
Or tuck Me far away?
Will you walk the way that I have shown you?
And be ready for that day.
I will return for those who love Me.
All others will be turned away.
Though they cry and scream they knew Me.
Only My Son will be the one to say.
Did you think of Me today My child?
And lead another on The way?
Posted by Anita Estes at 11/12/2018
Sunday, November 4, 2018
While walking through the woods near my home, the light was just right and the leaves golden which inspired this poem, based on The Lord of the Rings land of Lothlorien by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Time of Lothlorien
When the autumn turns to gold,
And leaves glimmer in the sun,
The time of Lothlorien has come.
Days of golden light, honey
in the atmosphere
and everything turns
with misty light,
to legends of old and ancient days,
stirring in my mind and heart,
whispers of heaven that will not depart.
As leaves quake in the aspen trees,
with lithe bodies dancing in the breeze.
Mysteries of old unfold,
Healing in the golden light
of elvish beauty and delight.
Who saturates this atmosphere?
Beyond the confines of time and place.
He treads softly and eyes behold—
His glorious countenance.
He is the Light of Lothlorien.
Beyond all mysteries and fantasies,
He resides in the Throne room of light,
While lightning flashes from His eyes.
All lies dispelled in the light.
Lighting up the Eastern skies,
He will return from Lothlorien,
And grace this earth once more,
to take us home to where we of
Golden light belong,
“Beyond the confines of time and space,”
Posted by Anita Estes at 11/04/2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Behind the Door of a Divine Story… was the theme of the dynamic Beth Moore’s women’s conference held this weekend at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. At first glance, it was an unusual topic, but as Beth revealed the points of Jesus’ powerful storytelling, it came into focus. She started out by declaring that there is a MYSTERY behind the door of all of Jesus parables and walked us through seven parables in the gospel of Luke. We see in a glass darkly and can only know part of the divine meaning of this earthly life and the stories Jesus told. The blank spaces, where we don’t understand, are where Faith grows. It is like the parable of the farmer who goes out and sows seed in the ground. He spreads the seed, but only understands a small part of what goes on underground to produce a plant. We cannot fully understand how God transforms a life, but like a seed, part of it is a hidden work underground. When we spend time in prayer, that work is accomplished in our spirit. We often water that seed with our tears as we wonder what God is doing in our life, but He is accomplishing His will! We just need to saw seed.
What else lies behind the story door? There is REVELATION to those who are willing to study the Word of God. He bids us to pay attention and to stay focused to hear and see the revelation in each story. We have to not let the distractions take us away from our time in the Bible and with God. Next, there is INVITATION in the story. God invites us into the wedding feast with Him. When we are clothed with His wedding garments and righteousness through Jesus Christ, we can celebrate with Him! And let me tell you we celebrated, both in worship music and a mini dance party during the break. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to dance and I certainly joined in and celebrated! Why not? Our God had done amazing miracles in our lives!
The fourth point had everyone shaking their head in agreement. Even though there is a fair amount of MANURE behind the story door, we can enter in. We can let God use all the ugly and hurtful stuff to transform us. Like the parable of the unfruitful fig tree, He also digs down around us. He unearths the junk that keeps us from bearing fruit. Then He spreads manure to fertilize the tree, that’s us. This is how Jesus wields His stories. He invites us in to listen and then if we are willing to perceive what he is truly saying, we realize the parallel to our own lives. We all have garbage, manure, that happens in our life and God wants to get it out into the open so He can deal with it and heal you. He also uses it to “fertilize” us so we can bear fruit.
We are also made to REJOICE in our trials and shake off the junk of this world. Joy is the hallmark of the Christian and Satan is working overtime to stress us out and destroy our joy. The parable of the prodigal Son invites us into both parts of the story, as the prodigal, before we knew Christ and as the other son, who judges the Father for rejoicing over the return of the prodigal. Where do you stand? Are you a prodigal or stuck in legalism, religiosity or pride?
Have you invested all you have for the KINGDOM and obtained the pearl of great price and worth? I hope so, for “What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard nor heart has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corin. 2:9). The kingdom is of great worth, beyond the treasures of the earth.
Lastly and supreme above all is the story of JESUS. He is present in every book of the Bible and the Supreme plan of God for redemption and salvation. He is in Genesis from the beginning as the Word of God and appears often in the pages of Isaiah who prophesies Jesus coming and his death on a cross. He is given birth on the pages of the gospels and in the book of Revelation as the only one worthy to open the scroll of the book. He will appear once again riding on a cloud and will claim His own. The Bible is a powerful story from one page to another and we are invited in to participate, to allow God to write His story on and with our lives. I thank Beth Moore for inspiring me to write His story in my life again.
Posted by Anita Estes at 10/27/2018
Friday, September 28, 2018
I sat in the parking lot of the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie and my car wouldn’t start. My phone had just died and there wasn’t anyone I knew around the area. I didn’t exactly panic, but became anxious. I grew increasingly annoyed as I tried several times to get the engine to turn over. What could I do? I said a hasty prayer and tried turning on my phone. It responded! I immediately called roadside assistance and hoped that it would connect me before the phone turned off. I was nervous because there’s always so much info to input before you got a person. On top of it, this company wanted me to do it all on-line to pinpoint my location. I prayed a little more fervently. My phone didn’t die and I got through. Now to wait for the call back. I phoned home just in case by some miracle my husband would pick up. NO such luck. I texted my friends that the writer’s meeting at my house would be delayed. A friend offered to come and get me, but I declined. I needed to be with the car.
I awaited the tow company’s phone call. About a half an hour passed and still no tow truck. Finally, it showed up. The service man tried jumping it with his special battery pack. NO go. I got worried. Oh no. What will happen next? The dealership is so far and they’ll change me and arm and a leg! It turned out that they did have to tow the car all the way to Kingston. The tow guy said it was probably the starter. Of course, the warranty had just run out and I had just paid off the car this month, but I refused to get depressed. The guy was very nice and offered to drive me to a diner where I could wait for a ride. My friend Evelyn rushed over to pick me up and we had dinner together. In the end it all turned out well, though I had some anxious and fearful moments at that time.Fear. It can hold you in its grip if you let it. We’re all subject to it and the slew of anxieties that result from its wake. Since God is our creator, He understands our weakness to give into fear. Concerned, He has encouraged us over three hundred times in the Bible, “Do not fear.” You could easily argue, easier said than done. After all, He’s God. Yet the Almighty goes further to assure us why we don’t need to fear
Here are a few scriptures that God gives us reasons why we don’t need to let fear have the upper hand. Do not fear because:
God will be with you. Joshua 1:9
God will be with you and strengthen you. Isaiah 41:10
God knows everything ahead of time. Isaiah 44: 8
God has redeemed you and will protect you. Isaiah 43:1
God has given us the kingdom. Luke 12:32
God gives us peace unlike the world knows. John 14:27
If we can get a hold of that fear, face it head on and proclaim faith in God to work it all out for good, we’re well on our way to conquering fear. If we can believe in a few of the hundreds of promises His Word offers us, we will begin the journey of trusting and overcoming fear. If we can look fear in the face and tell it. “You’re a liar," then our false beliefs about ourselves, God and our circumstances will fall away like dead leaves.I encourage you today to get into the Word of God and mine the treasures of His promises. One of my favorites is “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear eats away at faith and your mind, so don’t entertain it for long. Call on the Lord to help you. Alongside this verse is another powerful one I quote in fearful circumstances. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Nobody can overcome God or His plans. Just contemplate that and fear will run away, so you don't have to.
Posted by Anita Estes at 9/28/2018
Sunday, September 16, 2018
This week I lost a beloved colleague, which really impacted me. I wasn't sure if I wanted to put it on-line, but I think it has some merit for others. This is for all of you have experienced such loss. I'll let the poem speak for itself.
Ode to Erica in B Flat Minor
Today I heard the awful news announcing—Your concerto was extinguished.
It took my breath away.
How can this be?
I won’t hear your violet voice anymore
or see your honey smile.
Your brilliant eyes won’t shine anymore.
You won’t come up to me excited about the new artist suppliesyou snagged for a song.
You won’t plan with me anymore.
Hispanic paper bag ponchos or festive decorationsfor the children’s concerts, now in your fall.
Directing our young “scholars” onto chorus risers
in the gymnasium no more.
Your soul mate on piano,accompanying squeaking violins and plucking guitars
You won’t greet me in the hallway with flowing dresses and silver-grey hairShining in the light like an angel.
You won’t make any decadent chocolate desserts and cheese cakes anymore.
No more cranberry muffins you gave me the recipe for,
No more pastries, cookies and chef specialties anymore.
You won’t lay out a feast made for a king anymore.
How can I bear not to see or hear you in the hall?I wish you would have told me before
what was really going on
as you wasted away, and
slipped away from us.
How could I be so blind?
A colleague said you were happier now.
Why can’t I feel that way this time?
Why can’t I see you in heaven?
I’ve seen others before.
Perhaps sorrow covers my eyes like a veil.
I hope and pray you are dancing with the angels,
Shining bright like the stars of heaven.
When I lay my head down for my final rest,
I hope to see your smiling face and hear your lilting island voice
singing in the chorus, I pray.
Baking exquisite cakes for the King of Kings.
Maybe you’ll be organizing the African piano cadre or theIf so, I’ll clap my hands with you.
Mexican Hat Dance?
Mexican Hat Dance?
Posted by Anita Estes at 9/16/2018
Saturday, September 1, 2018
This week, I hosted Janet Johnson Schliff, the author of What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence. She addressed our writer’s group, and I was impressed by her ease of communication and all the materials she brought with her, especially the placards with witty sayings. My favorite was OCD: Obsessive Chocolate Disorder of which I am plagued with. The crux of her story is that Ms. Schliff suffered a massive brain tumor, the size of an orange, for almost twenty years. Standing before us, she didn’t appear to have a brain injury because of her fluent and sometimes verbose conversation, but she explained that this is part of the problem. Looks can be deceiving. Even after a number of years since the operation to remove the brain tumor, she still suffers from memory loss, fits of anger over small issues, misinterpreting or having little tolerance for people’s criticisms and so forth. She also gets easily overwhelmed because of processing everything around her, but our small group made her comfortable, as well as my dog because she owns one for emotional support.
Though Ms. Schliff is witty and engaging, her book, What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence, recounts her struggle with and the encroaching effects of a brain tumor that slowly grew undetected by doctors and eventually disabled her over a twenty-year period. Once an award-winning special education teacher, she had to give up her beloved career. Janet developed a dastardly disease, Mysophobia, which made her very fearful of germs so that she couldn’t be out in public without many precautions. This eventually led to her acquiring an Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) along with other physical and emotional disorders.
Yet the focus of Janet's talk that day was for writers and how to promote your writing and your book. Ms. Schliff has taken a very different approach then what is espoused in many seminars. Though she works to do something every day in promoting her book, she does not use social media at all. Her publisher place it on Amazon and she does not promote it through them. She prefers the personal touch because her team of doctors highly recommend that she does not use computers as she can’t deal with so much information. She contacts people in person—librarians, doctors, editors, pastors, friends, businesses, newspapers, radio announcers etc. It’s amazing how well connected she has become. It all started with an article about her in a local newspaper, The Daily Freeman. An editor saw her story and offered to help her write it, which she wrote out longhand, without the use of a computer!
Since its publication in 2017, the book has sold out on Amazon seven times and also in numerous bookstores in the Hudson Valley. At a speaking engagement at Barnes and Nobles, they had to keep bringing more chairs for people to listen to her presentation and towards the end there was standing room only! The manager of B&N stated that no other author has ever had more people in attendance. Many librarians have told her she had the best presentation they’ve ever heard. One of them even cried, touched by her story and her book. It is very moving.
As Ms. Schliff was addressing a group of writers, she included many tips—keep index cards handy for story ideas, always carry a journal, keep pen and paper on your nightstand in case you get an inspirational thought, use post it notes for short ideas, call yourself an leave a message when you’re out and about to record noteworthy incidents, speak at community centers, bookstores, libraries, research agencies and groups that your book/story addresses, keep your book fresh in people’s mind and do something every day to promote your writing. For a newbie, she had some great ideas!
While Janet has slowly recovered, she still has many after effects of the tumor, but she attests to God aiding her healing. Though she wrestled with many issues, such as relationships, having to terminate her career, anger issues etc, she is learning to accept, move on and spread some kindness to others. Janet hopes that her book illustrates that a little bit of kindness goes a long, long way. She left us with two thoughts. One witticism that she had printed on one of her t-shirts, I’ve Got Brain Damage, So What’s Your Excuse? The other profound, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” She gave us a lot to think about. So, what’s your excuse for not implementing your ideas?
Posted by Anita Estes at 9/01/2018