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Linda Roorda

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Linda Roorda last won the day on January 25

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  1. The Lost Art Of Braid-In Rugs Parts 1 & 2

    These are great! My mother used to make these braided rugs when I was a kid; came out very nice!
  2. Bookworms

    Recently read a new book at my library, "The Ghost Ships of Archangel: The Arctic Voyage That Defied the Nazis" publ. May 14, 2019, by William Geroux, re: ships bringing war supplies to Russia during WWII in the Arctic waters north of Scandinavia heading east to Russia ports - it was excellent, very well written. Appreciate stories of overcoming life's obstacles and those who made sacrifices in this venture. Never been a fan of fluff novels.
  3. Yet More Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes At ElmiraTelegram.com

    Neat title reference to the David Bowie song! But, Chris, I totally understand the changes you've been making. Tho admittedly, I'm finding it hard to land here because I don't have a cell phone to mark the web address. You've done a great job with this site, but you do have other things to fill your time with. So enjoy!
  4. Keep Guiding Me

    It usually helps to have a guide, a map, or simple written directions for the journey ahead. Without those directions, I don’t know how we’d arrive at any given destination… because I, for one, cannot imagine going on a trip without explicit directions! Since I don’t have one of those talking directors on my dashboard, like a Garmin or TomTom, and wouldn’t trust them anyway because I’ve heard about the mistakes they make, I carefully write out my directions - line by line, of each road and turn I need to take. And then fret and worry until I arrive… have I gone too far, did I miss a turn, are we there yet, it should be right here…! So imagine being lost in a big city. Stopping to ask a passerby where to find your destination, you hear, “Go to the second light, turn left and go three more blocks, turn right, now go several blocks till you see the church on your left and turn right there. Go four more blocks, cross a bridge, go two more blocks and then take the next left…” “Ummm, I’m afraid you’ve lost me. Can you say that again?” “Hey, I have a better idea! I’ll drive you there! Hop in my car.” And off you go. It helps to have someone show you the way, doesn’t it?! (paraphrasing Chuck Swindoll in a sermon, 11/24/19) This poem came from realizing that I need directions for life, someone to guide me… like the directions that come from reading God’s Word. We used to enjoy listening in the evenings to tapes that Ed made in the morning of pastors on radio that we really like, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, and, for a time, Joyce Meyer. They have so much to say in their practical application of Scripture, expounding on stories of the many biblical characters we have all come to love… folks who were so much like us in their failings, their good deeds, their sins, and their love for God – simply put, their humanity. There is so much wisdom we can gain from studying their lives and the implications of all they’ve done… in the good, the bad, and the ugly, and in their confession to God and His gracious cleansing forgiveness. Yet, so often I tend to think I can handle life on my own terms. In reality I need help from the Lord to guide me on a better path. Studying Proverbs in our church’s adult Sunday School class a while ago showed a wealth of wisdom to be gleaned and clung to. I’ve read and studied this book in the past, with my favorite verse being, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) But, isn’t it true that we often need a refresher course in trusting Him every step of the way? I sure do! From these initial thoughts came this little poem. May it remind us that we need to look to our Lord to keep guiding our journey… daily, hourly, and every minute of the day… Wishing you a Blessed and Happy New Year! Keep Guiding Me Linda A. Roorda Keep guiding me, my Father, my God For in this world it’s Your voice I seek And in the stillness You gently speak Words of wisdom that I might stand firm. ~ Lord, show me the way that I should walk A better way with Your word as guide A path of faith as Your truth I see So all my steps bring honor to you. ~ May I be wise in using my time Between the rising and setting of light That all I do will honor and praise The One who created this world I enjoy. ~ Yet so often I go my own way Thinking I know how best to handle Keep me from straying as you guide my feet As I walk this path… this rocky course. ~ When pressures arise may I seek your face Give me a heart that longs for You A heart that is steadfast in trusting You And in your presence find wisdom and truth. ~ Keep guiding me, Lord, on this path You prepared That I may shine Your light to this world A world in need, with no place to turn, In search of grace and healing for wounds. ~ December 2014 ~ You may share this blogsite, but It may not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  5. Silver Laced Wyandottes

    We had them amongst our mixed flock when I was a teen - I haven't a clue on their production, but they're beautiful!
  6. Overnight Sausage And Egg Breakfast Casserole

    I made virtually this same recipe several years ago for the family, and, yes, it was really good!
  7. Plated And Ready To Serve

    Your chili looks great! Spaghetti sauce and chili used to be Ed's specialties!
  8. Turning Pens

    Those wooden pens are gorgeous! My Dad and grandfather (general contractor in NJ yrs ago) were both skilled in turning out beautiful wooden lamps and other things on the lathe, some with layering stacked wood of differing kinds/grains/coloring – always looked great. But love those gorgeous pens!! Very fine delicate work - I'm impressed!
  9. Quilting

    QUILTING - Enlarged a lap quilt to twin bed size the past few days - not the preferred method as one should decide what size is really needed before binding it in the first place LOL! This is the second one I've enlarged; they both went well, and I'm pleased with the results. Zig-zagged additional cotton batting to the former 1/2" binding inner section, did some "stitching in the ditch" along a front seam to sew the additional backing on, extended the extra fabric border to the original opened-up binding border, then sewed on the new binding strip, and hand sewed that to the backing as usual. Love the larger size!
  10. Would I?

    Christmas is so much more than busy days of shopping, fancy decorations, and Santa. It’s more than admiring a special baby in the manger with his parents and shepherds. It’s all about the why of his birth, and the hope he brings to the world. But, I wonder if I take my faith for granted. I’ve known Jesus and been “in the church” since I was a baby, I have seen God work in my life in special ways, felt Him draw me to His side as my Savior, and heard Him speak to my heart. Yet, what would I have thought if I had walked where Jesus walked when He lived upon this earth? How would I have reacted when Jesus taught his disciples and the crowds that gathered? What would I have thought of His combined humanity and deity, His love for sinners, and His great miracles? Would I have accepted Him as my Savior? Or, would I have turned my back and rejected Him, calling for His death with others? What would I have thought if I had been Mary? With her pregnancy foretold by an angel, not married to Joseph yet, she was initially troubled. But, Mary soon felt overjoyed to be chosen as mother of the Son of God as the angel had said (Luke 1:26-38) and glorified her Lord in song! (Luke 1:46-53) Joseph was also visited in a dream by an angel to help him understand Mary’s pregnancy. Yet, what about the attitudes they may have faced among family and friends? Despite what the angel said, and Mary’s simple faith in God, she could have been stoned to death for her supposed unfaithfulness to Joseph by being pregnant before marriage. (Deuteronomy 22:20) Still, Joseph was a good man, heeding the angel’s message, loving and protecting Mary rather than walking away from her. And into these humble but loving beginnings was the Son of God, the baby Jesus, set to be born… (Matthew 1:18-24) When it was time, Mary gave birth in a stable full of dirty smelly animals because no one, no one, had even a small room where they could welcome their precious newborn. As she gently wrapped her baby in swaddling cloths, calmed his tears, nursed him, and snuggled him in her arms, I imagine she gazed on him with the tender love and joy in her heart that every new mother feels. When he’d fallen asleep, she laid him gently on the hay in the manger, as the animals made their own soft chorus of night-time noises. (Luke 2:4-7) And what would I have thought if I were a shepherd on the hills protecting my sheep when suddenly a brilliant light appeared? Imagine hearing an Angel say that a Savior had been born. A Savior? Was this the Messiah promised to the world so long ago? And then the heavens opened as a great host of angels appeared in the brilliantly-lit sky, all singing and praising God! What an awesome sight and sound! It must have left them speechless! (Luke 2:8-13) When the angels left, the shepherds rushed to Bethlehem to search for this newborn babe. And they found him exactly as they’d been told, lying in a manger in a stable. Quietly, the shepherds gazed in awe upon Mary’s little boy. She was amazed they knew all about him, and he was just born! She heard about how the angels sang praises of her baby, calling him Christ the Lord. Now these humble men glorified and praised God for her baby… as Mary treasured and pondered it all in her heart. (Luke 2:15-20) And how could Mary ever forget the time she and Joseph couldn’t find Jesus among the crowds while walking back to Nazareth. Imagine their consternation on finding him teaching the elder rabbis in the tabernacle. Her little boy was only 12 years old! He had even told his parents, “Don’t you understand I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) His father’s business? His father was a carpenter, not a rabbi! She and Joseph did not understand, but she pondered these things in her heart… how odd it all was, and yet how amazing! Surely, she remembered what the angel had said about her little boy… Mary saw the crowds who followed after her son as a grown man, hanging onto every word he spoke… going from town to town. How well did she and others understand that Jesus truly was the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah? The religious leaders were deeply troubled by his teachings. Still, there were so many miracles… and no one had ever seen or heard anything like this before! Then there were the 12 men who were called her son’s disciples. Jesus had chosen them to follow Him, and follow they did, going everywhere with their beloved teacher. And yet, even they did not truly understand. Oh, sure, Jesus taught them with authority and an earnestness. One time he even asked them, “Who do you say I am?” Peter had answered, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon… you are Peter (which means rock)… for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven…” (Matthew 16:13-20) Peter knew, he understood, and believed; but, just how deep was his faith? Anyone’s faith at that time? Because, sometime later, after the soldiers had taken Jesus from their midst in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter was questioned by two servant girls and others around a warming fire. Three times he told them “I don’t know the man!”… and then the cock crowed… and Peter remembered Jesus had said he would deny him. (Matthew 26: 69-74) “Even if I have to die with you, I never will disown you!” Peter had exclaimed. (Matthew 26:31-35) But, now he had done just that. Oh, the shame of it all! Peter walked off by himself, sobbing with a broken heart. (Matthew 26:75) He had abandoned his best friend, the man who had called him a rock for the firm foundation within him, for the church to be built on this rock. He, Peter, who had been nothing more than a humble, dirty, smelly fisherman before Jesus saw something better in him… he, Peter, afraid of people’s reactions, afraid to admit how close a friend he had been to Jesus. Did Peter really understand then that his best friend, Jesus, truly was God? All these things Mary pondered in her heart as her son was dying a horrendous death above her on a cross. Did she understand what her son’s birth and life on earth had been all about? That he really had been going about His Father’s business? That His heavenly Father was theirs also? That her son was born to live among them, yet came with a purpose… to die for their sins and ours, and that He arose and returned to Heaven that we all might have the gift of salvation and eternal life with Him? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 KJV) Would we have understood the truth Jesus was teaching… without the written Word in our hands? Would we have followed Him, regardless of the cost? Would we have shown others what the love of Jesus means? So much to consider… so much to ponder… that I have to ask, would I? May you have a Blessed Christmas! Would I? Linda A. Roorda Would I know this Child from Heaven sent? Would I pause like Mary to ponder? Would I grasp His Love meant for me? Would I walk the paths that He trod? Or, Would I be ashamed to know Him? ~ Would I know the depth of His love? Would I feel the sorrow His heart felt? Would I stay awake as He prayed? Would I take His cross on my back? Or, Would I pound the nails in His hands? ~ Would I know Jesus died for me? Would I feel His grief for my sin? Would I know my Lord in risen glory? Would I in joy to God’s Gift be true? And, Would I love, forgive, and shine forth His Light? ~ April 2012 You may share this blogsite, but It may not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  11. Merry Christmas Traditions!

    I think Christmas is everyone’s favorite time of year, especially a white Christmas! Right?! Even shopping has begun in earnest, just the day after Thanksgiving. But, many of our current holiday traditions either changed dramatically or began only in the 19th century. Writing in the “Broader View Weekly” local newspaper in December 2012, I explored the origins of many of our American Christmas traditions, and how others celebrated around the world. December 6th is a day my/our Dutch ancestors would have celebrated Saint Nicholas Day, part of traditional European Christmas celebrations for centuries. The Dutch word “Sinterklaas” for Saint Nicholas is considered the origin of our American “Santa Claus” with Washington Irving and Clement C. Moore helping to make him who he is today. The earliest writing in America of a figure resembling our modern Santa can be found in Washington Irving’s satire of Dutch culture. In “History of New York” published in 1809, Irving writes in chapter IX: "At this early period…hanging up a stocking in the chimney on St. Nicholas eve…is always found in the morning miraculously filled; for the good St. Nicholas has ever been a great giver of gifts, particularly to children." Clement C. Moore immortalized St. Nicholas in “’Twas The Night Before Christmas.” In this ode to St. Nick, he appears on December 24th, Christmas Eve in America, not the original St. Nicholas Eve of December 5th in Europe. Moore’s poem, published anonymously in a Troy, New York newspaper on December 23, 1823, promotes a new appearance to the original lean St. Nicholas: “He had a broad face and a little round belly…He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf…[with a] "sleigh full of Toys" [and] "eight tiny reindeer…[as] Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound." The two original reindeer names of Donder and Blixem were later changed to Donner and Blitzen. Once again, the Dutch influence in the former New Netherlands was involved as “donder” means thunder and “bliksem” means lightning. While Irving and Moore both present the jolly gift giver as Saint Nicholas, political cartoonist Thomas Nast is considered the first to refer to “Santa Claus” in his illustration for the January 3, 1863 edition of “Harpers Weekly.” President Lincoln had requested that Nast depict St. Nicholas visiting the Union troops. Nast’s illustration shows Santa Claus sitting on his sleigh at a U.S. Army camp, handing out gifts in front of a “Welcome Santa Claus” sign. Another treasured tradition of our modern Christmas is Charles Dickens’ short story, “A Christmas Carol,” written as a commentary on the greed of Victorian England. Available in book stores the week before Christmas 1843, it sold very well, never being out of print since. Scrooge has the distinction of being one of the most well-known literary characters. But, what do we care… Bah, humbug! Our decorated Christmas tree comes from German traditions with Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert putting up the first decorated tree at Windsor Castle in 1841. Based on illustrations of this event published in America in 1849, Christmas trees then became fashionable on this side of the “pond.” Small candles were used to light the tree, with popcorn and cranberry strings typically used for decoration. From the religious aspect, Christmas celebrations differed in many ways based on national origin I found it interesting to learn that Christmas celebrations were outlawed in Boston by the Puritans in the mid to late 17th century with fines for violations, while the Johnstown, Virginia settlers enjoyed their merry celebrations under Capt. John Smith. After the American Revolution, Americans looked down on English traditions, including Christmas. Apparently, Congress was even in session on December 25, 1789! In fact, Christmas did not become a federal holiday until Congress declared it such on June 26, 1870. By the late 19th century, celebrating Christmas was made popular through children’s books and women’s magazines. Church Sunday School classes began encouraging celebrations, and families were decorating Christmas trees with everyone “knowing” Santa Claus delivered gifts on Christmas Eve, traditions which have been carried on into the 21st century. Other popular traditions we all look forward to include decorating our homes and trees, baking scrumptious special treats, singing carols, and either making or shopping for just the right gift for each special person on our list. But, alas, the years have also taken a simple celebration in honor of Jesus’ birth and made it into a highly marketed holiday, one often filled with ostentatious materialism. Personally, I prefer to step back to the simpler traditions of my Dutch ancestry and childhood home, one without “all the trappings” and media frenzy. With my dad being a first generation Dutch-American, we veered from Dutch tradition in some ways. We maintained Christmas Day with a morning church service and a big family dinner; but, our gift-giving was held the Saturday before Christmas, not the Dutch traditional day of December 5. My first and last adoration of Santa Claus came the Christmas I was 5 years old when Santa visited my grandparents in Clifton, New Jersey. We three little granddaughters shyly sat on his lap to share our wants. Afterwards, my grandmother took us to an upstairs window to watch Santa and his reindeer leave. All I saw was a car with red tail lights driving away between the snowbanks. At that moment, I was crushed and disillusioned, and just knew there was absolutely no Santa Claus because, despite dressing the part, he did not have a sleigh and reindeer! After all, everyone’s favorite reindeer is Rudolph with his nose so bright! Supposedly written by Robert L. May for his daughter when her mother was dying of cancer, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was actually written in 1939 for his employer, Montgomery Ward, as a Christmas book given out free to customers. Though May’s wife did die around the time he wrote the story, he read it to his 4-year-old daughter as he worked on it simply to ensure it held a child’s interest. With memories of his own childhood, May decided on a tale with roots in “The Ugly Duckling” and the taunts he had suffered as a child. Poor Rudolph was ostracized by other reindeer for being different, having an obvious physical abnormality… a glowing red nose. No one else had one! Regardless of his defect, Rudolph thrived under his parents’ love, overcame his disability and the taunts to became a responsible young deer! And then one foggy night, Santa noticed how Rudolph’s nose shone through the dark, and asked him to lead the team of reindeer pulling his sleigh on Christmas Eve! How excited and honored Rudolph must have felt! http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/rudolph.asp We’ve all been blessed with special Christmas memories over the years. While visiting my mom at Elderwood, she shared that her mother had always put up and decorated a large Christmas tree in their front parlor. It was a big change for her to learn that her new husband was not so inclined to such ostentatious displays due to his more austere Dutch upbringing. With limited decorations and no trees until my mid teens when my dad finally gave in to the pleading of his six kids, I have found it difficult to step out of that mold. Yet, I have enjoyed putting up a tree with lights and decorations when our three children were young. And now, since my mother-in-law gave me her ceramic tree the Christmas before she passed away, I am honored to share her generosity in this smaller and simpler display. My favorite Christmas memory was when my husband, Ed, farmed with his dad. With finances tight, I usually sewed clothes for all of us. But, one year I also made doll beds for each of our children by taking free soda boxes from the local grocery store, gluing the bottoms together, and covering them with wood-grain contact paper. My step-mother gave our three children a Cabbage-Patch type girl or boy doll she had made, while my grandmother sewed clothes and blankets for each doll. And our kids could not have been happier! Our local churches do not have a Christmas morning service like Ed and I grew up with, though we have enjoyed the local Christmas Eve candlelight services and singing of favorite carols. We also began a tradition of reading the Christmas story with our children before they opened gifts on Christmas morning. And another favorite of our family has been the TV special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Charles M. Schulz. With the busy holiday shopping extravaganza and commercialization, I think we sometimes lose a little of the wonder of that very first Christmas. “Narrator: It was finally Christmastime, the best time of the year. The houses were strung with tiny colored lights, their windows shining with a warm yellow glow only Christmas could bring. The scents of pine needles and hot cocoa mingled together, wafting through the air, and the sweet sounds of Christmas carols could be heard in the distance. Fluffy white snowflakes tumbled from the sky onto a group of joyful children as they sang and laughed, skating on the frozen pond in town. Everyone was happy and full of holiday cheer. That is, everyone except for Charlie Brown…” “Charlie (to Linus): ‘I think there must be something wrong with me. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I might be getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel…’” “Later, after a day of frustrations, Charlie says: ‘I guess you were right Linus; I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I don’t really know what Christmas is about. Isn’t there anyone who understands what Christmas is all about?’” “Linus: ‘Sure, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.’ [Walking to the center of the stage, Linus speaks:] ‘And there were in the same country Shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone ‘round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not! For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’” [Luke 2:8-14] And, for me and my family, that’s what Christmas is all about… Merry Christmas to all!
  12. A Thanks Giving Heart

    Thanksgiving Day… a time of reflection and appreciation… for memories shared from years past as we recall what touched our hearts deeply… as we remember our loved ones who are no longer here among us… for extended family gatherings with delicious food and lots of it… for endless football games (sorry, not my favorite)… for hunting, especially if there’s some snow for tracking… all with grateful hearts! There’s so much to be thankful for… like starting each new day with a heart that simply appreciates the little things of life… because it’s so easy to fuss and fret about those little things that annoy me/us… for it’s the grateful heart that brings the best out in each of us! And simply thinking about being thankful got me pondering deeper. How grateful I am for the love of family and friends, smiles, cards, and encouraging words! With love, we lift each other up, strengthen, bring comfort in difficult times, and see the good in each other, reminders of hope and renewal to cheer us on. As I began to write this reflection a month ago, it was another cool and dreary, cloudy, drippy, fall day… the kind that tends to depress me just a little… warm summer days have passed and the cold snowy winter is coming. But then I realized that we were blessed with a good summer and sufficient rains, overcoming the droughts of recent years. Though they might seem an irritant to enjoying sunny days, the rain and snow are so needed to renew and replenish the earth and our water supply, and so I am thankful. A grateful heart shares love and joy. From our own thankfulness, we reach out to help others. I have often admired those who give their time to serve holiday dinners at local missions. Yet, I have not volunteered as I also feel it’s important to spend holiday time with my husband who cannot go out and about… a way to make his day special. Family time and making precious memories are also blessings from God to treasure with a heart of thanks. I also like the idea of a thankfulness jar, but never implemented one in my home. Throughout the year, family members can write notes about what they’re especially thankful for and put the slips in the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, or perhaps several days in a row, slips are removed and read aloud, reminding everyone in the family of all the ways we appreciated and blessed each other. A thankful heart is at the root of the joy and happiness we often search for. With a thankful heart, we praise the Lord for His many blessings each and every day, even for every breath we take. With a grateful heart, we express love for each other in a myriad of ways, and are open to seeing the hidden beauty among us and around us. With a thankful heart, we are more apt to focus on the good that can come from trials we face. And with a grateful heart, we see that which we tend to overlook, or take for granted, as the genuine blessing it truly is. For with a thankful heart, we will readily say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His love endures forever…” (Psalm 107:1) Happy Thanks Giving Day! Thanks Giving Linda A. Roorda For the dawning of each new day For the sun which shines its brilliant rays For the birds who share their sweetest songs… We thank you, Lord, for blessings rich. For desperate pleas You hear with love For all the ways you meet our needs For the answers to our many prayers… For all the friends who grace our lives For the ones who left our arms too soon For tears and peace that fill our hearts… For those who fight for freedom’s sake For those who protect our streets from crime For those who gave all that we might live… For each new season in the cycle of time For spring’s rebirth and summer’s bright sun For autumn’s harvest and winter’s rest… For the joy of life in a newborn’s cry For hope-filled days as our youth pursue dreams For resilient smiles that greet a harsh world… For our great bounty midst a world in need For each new breath in a day not promised For all the ways we love each other… We thank you, Lord, for blessings rich. ~ 10/22/18 You may share this blogsite, but It may not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  13. Strands of Three

    It doesn’t take much to realize that greater strength lies in the cord of several strands twined together rather than a single strand alone. And so it is with marriage. Marriage is often compared to this tightly woven cord of three strands though, admittedly, at times our strands were not as tightly woven as they should have been. But, isn’t that how we grow wiser, learning from experience? When we’re individually joined in marriage, we become a couple. I believe God created us distinctly men and women, establishing the marriage union first with Adam and Eve. As we read in Genesis 2:18, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” And in this, God joins the two to become a more efficient unit. As a couple, our differences or weaknesses are strengthened ; and, as we work together, we complement each other. In joining our hearts, we are also united with God in a holy union, like a cord of three strands for greater strength. And we find biblical wisdom demonstrates this very point: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10a, 12) Married in 1974 by Rev. Robert W. DeVries from Rochester, NY overseeing our Owego Christian Reformed Church, one of his examples was that if we attempt to do things in our own strength we will often fail. As a couple, we have a better chance to succeed in facing this journey of life when united in a common goal. But, an even stronger bond is created by the triangle formed as we keep God at the top with the lower horizontal points balanced by each of us as husband and wife. “‘Haven’t you read,’ [Jesus] replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female… For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV) For me and Ed, our marriage is especially close and strong when God is at the center of our relationship, so intertwined that we acknowledge Him in all we do. In seeking God’s wisdom through prayer on this journey, we find the answers we need to overcome obstacles and move forward in His will. Like bookends, anniversaries hold between them the memories of our lives. And October 26 marks our 45th anniversary. Our love has seen us through both difficult and happy days as the decades witnessed change and growth within ourselves and our family. I’ve often said I wish I knew then what I know now, but God grew us each in unique ways as our tiny infants matured into the young adults He intended them, and us, to become. And though the years witnessed much sadness, including Ed’s disabilities and the loss of our oldest daughter at 25 years, the Lord also blessed our family with much joy and peace. As part of our vows, Edward promised me his deepest love, unselfish devotion and tenderest care. He promised to direct our lives into a path of faith and hope in Christ as a faithful husband, no matter what lay ahead. Expressing deepest joy, I came into a new life with him as my husband, loving him, learning from him, and seeking to please him. As God had prepared me for him, I vowed to strengthen, comfort and encourage him, no matter what lay ahead. Though imperfect, we sure tried! But I will admit that I have not always sought God first. As alluded to in my poems and blogs, life is not an easy road... at least it has not been for us, and I have to fight the desire to take the reins myself. Maybe it has something to do with being the oldest of six, and, with my husband’s disabilities, being responsible for much. Instead, I need to release that tendency and give control to the Lord. Over the years, we learned true love cannot remain the same; without growth it ceases to exist. Yet, how often don’t we find that love grows by facing those difficulties of life together… the hard times which can either draw two hearts closer or tear them asunder. Love must be nurtured and fed, and given room to grow and expand horizons in order to complement and care for each other. True love is all about teamwork that strengthens bonds. True love is a choice to remain committed to vows made before God on a joyous wedding day… because the tough times will come. We’ve been there. And those tough days will attempt to tear apart bonds once considered unbreakable… offering an easy way out to a seemingly better life. Little tears can either become permanent scars that irritate, or be scars which evidence the soul’s healing to bring wisdom and understanding with peace and a deeper love. True love is also about making sacrifices… thinking more highly of our spouse than ourself… carrying the one who stumbles or becomes ill long term… opening up in total honesty with mutual respect and trust, extending forgiveness and grace with arms open wide… for true love grows deeper as the foundation is strengthened. As the words flow when writing a poem (and later writing its reflection), I find the Lord speaking to my heart… imparting His truth and wisdom. Coming from a family whose parents divorced amidst dysfunction, I’m thankful for the Lord’s guiding hand through life’s difficulties. In writing the poem below, I had no idea there was a ministry named for the “God’s Knot or Cord of Three Strands”. Simply searching for the verse above which referenced the strands of three, I came across a ministry that provides three cords on a golden ring for the bride and groom to braid as a symbol of God’s presence intertwined in their marriage. What a beautiful reminder of our Lord’s presence among us! Contemplating the sturdy cord made from three strands, it becomes clear we are not as easily pulled asunder when the Lord is intertwined within our marriage. United thus, we can better resist and withstand the temptations and trials which inevitably come our way. Strands of Three Linda A. Roorda The day I said I do to you Was the day we joined our hearts as one Thinking we only were thus entwined The Lord made three for a tight-knit bond. When young we think our love holds secure It’s all we need to face the great world With hopes and dreams and wide-eyed innocence We’re an open book, invincible team. You let me know how great was your love You’d never let me wander alone You took my hand as we walked this path Lit from above by wisdom’s grace. Yet there were times we could not see Life’s toughest road around the corner Devoid of help or so it had seemed We could only grasp the three-stranded cord. Together we stood as the storms hit hard When winds blew fierce like gales at sea You held me close with a calming peace Protecting my heart from disaster’s fate. You set me free on a mountain peak Your love released my soul to new heights That with your gift others I may bless For love is meant to be given away. And so I sing as the love we share Brings grace to each in the time of need For who are we mercy to withhold When the Lord above is woven within. No matter the test when focus is held Our loving Lord gives mercy and grace For our journey’s steps reflect strength within When our hearts are twined as strands of three. ~~ Jan 2015 - 05/22/15 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. ~
  14. There but for the Grace of God...

    I suspect we’ve all heard, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Truth be told, I think we all know how true those words are. This world has so much to offer with all of its enticements… and how easy it is for any one of us to be swayed aside… but for the wisdom found in God’s word. I’m thankful to God for preserving me from being enticed to follow a path that seemed so good, so right when younger… which, in reality, would lead to destruction. Studying the book of Proverbs in Sunday School was an eye opener. Oh, I’ve read it before, but have not studied it verse by verse in a class setting with a good instructor like our pastor. Here, the wisdom of Israel’s King Solomon is directly before us as he speaks to his son(s) and daughter(s), his children… us… me. And, knowing his life’s story, the reading becomes even more poignant. When King David died, his son, Solomon, took over the reign. In a dream, God told Solomon to ask for anything. Rather than great riches, the humble king asked for wisdom with which to rule. I sure hope I would have thought to ask for that! In granting his request, the Lord gave Solomon not only great wisdom beyond compare, but also great riches. There was no one like him before or since. To know the rest of the story is to understand that, although Solomon began his reign intending to follow God’s precepts, he was soon swayed by the world’s enticements. From humble and wise beginnings, Solomon gradually took to himself 700 wives and 300 concubines, allowing worship altars to be built for all their various gods. And it wasn’t long before this worship by his wives of their pagan gods also contributed to an undermining of his own faithful worship of the one true God. In studying the great and powerful words of wisdom in Proverbs, I can’t help but be struck by the fact that at the end of his life, Solomon realized how far he had fallen. His had been a life of great riches with glory and fame following wherever his wisdom and searching soul led him, and he was left to ponder at what he had gained. Believed to have also been written by Solomon, Ecclesiastes begins: “The word of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem: Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labor...? …I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Eccl. 1:1, 2, 13, 14) Understanding that he had pursued all that which wisdom had to offer in this life, it appears the Teacher, presumably Solomon, was not afraid to admit it had all been for naught. His conclusion, instead, was that there was a purpose to be found in the relationship with his, and our, one true God. For, in the end, the Teacher concluded, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come…and the spirit returns to God who gave it… Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12: 1, 7, 13) And these were the thoughts which came to mind as I reflected on this poem well after it was written. Not one of us can say we are sin free. Assuredly, we haven’t committed major crimes. But, deep inside, in all honesty, our heart is not always pure as we struggle in our human attempts to follow a perfect Lord. We, a product of this world, tend to seek our own way in our daily walk – and I know my own bent. And I am so thankful that He pursues us with a never-ending boundless love. May I learn from Solomon’s wisdom, and from his mistakes, and humbly bow my heart to our Lord. May I learn to follow His words of wisdom, and His will for my life, wherever He may lead… for “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NIV) Your Word Linda A. Roorda Your word is like a comforting hand Within the midst of stress-filled days It calms the heart and soothes the soul To find a peace within Your embrace. Your word is like a sharpened sword It pierces the soul with words brought to mind Causing a change when nothing else can Instructing me, Your wisdom to heed. Your word is like a beautiful scene That greets my eyes, tranquil and serene It points to You, Creator of all Showing Your power and infinite might. Your word is like a solid rock Unshakeable with its absolute truth Lasting forever, foundation secure Its wisdom gained to guide and to lead. Your word is like the calm after storms When winds blow fierce and clouds gather dark As rain pours down to freshen this world So to the soul are Your words of peace. Your word is like a beautiful bud Daily growing under sun and rain It opens wide with petals of silk To show the world its hidden glory. Your word is like a fine sunny day With healing warmth down deep in the soul It broadens faith, shines light on wisdom And illumine steps to direct my path. ~~ 10/27/14 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  15. A Question For Grandma

    Reread this - loved it that much! You are blessed, Ann