It’s Come!

Carols, cantatas, and choirs… Oh, my!
It’s that special time of year
The sound of music fills the air
Of voices and brass and string

Candlelight now softly shining
Red bows and green wreaths displayed
Stories recited and children excited
Games to play and words to sing

Rest from work, busy preparation
Traditions make the season special
Quiet moments for thought and prayer
Love offered and gifts to bring

Times to treasure and remember
Uplift, renew, be of goodwill
In community we worship God
May peace, hope, and joy now ring


Charlotte-Anne Allen

Velvety Purple

Purple both inspires and calms
Bringing warmth and thought

A vibrant hue and pleasing blend
…Of blue and red companions wrought

Riches and honor it may imply
Of royalty and favor

But of vain arrogance be warned
Be uplifting and do not waver

Creative insightful encouraging too
Brave of heart and valued worth

Of majesty so rich and true
And one small child of manger birth

Our heavenly King who came to us
To give Himself …now robed in purple

From “On Colors”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Sit a Spell


“Sit a spell and rest your feet!”

What a welcome southern invitation bringing thoughts of warmth, good company, and honest labor! Settling down with a cool drink of water and comfortable companionship lifts one’s spirits. After a long but satisfying day of work, I look forward to sitting and relaxing for a while. Don’t you, too?

I find that it’s harder to get to sleep at night if I haven’t given myself some time to just sit and find refreshment in some simple enjoyable things. Easy time talking with a family member is appreciated, as well as some time alone. I look forward to a nice quiet spot by myself where I can read or write, spend some time in thought, pray, and do other things which I enjoy.

What are some things that refresh you after a long or busy day or week? Those of us who are caregivers may be especially challenged to create moments to refresh yourselves. Seeking ways to pause, if only for brief breaks, will do much for our frame of mind and our ability to do our best with a positive attitude.

This reminds me that even Jesus was intentional about creating those times. As he was traveling with his disciples, they stopped at a well and Jesus sent the disciples off to town to buy some food. He sat down by the well, tired and thirsty, seeking refreshment and welcoming the pause.

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey,
sat down by the well. It was about noon
. John 4:6

I remember my childhood days of warm summer evenings playing outside with my brothers and neighborhood friends. I hear again the sounds of occasional passing cars, televisions, and our laughs and shouts, as our parents sat and talked after finishing the day’s chores… drinking from that well that comes from God. I remember times when we gathered with my family around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and enjoying each other. I’m thankful for those times and for opportunities to create them now, to pause and be refreshed.

May you be blessed this week as you rest in your travels and sit down by the well. Prayers for refreshment and renewal, quiet times of rest, and comfortable companionship!

Honey Gold

Warm and rich
Glowing in light’s embrace

Sweetness for tea
And expression of face

Bright rising for day’s awakening
Splendid banner of night’s approach

Let not vanity arrogance creep in
Be true to others and above reproach

Generosity speaks most loudly
Of caring together beneath earth’s dome

Of royalty and kingdoms see
Holy Child and heavenly home

What now this radiance reaching out
Uplifting inspiring our true gold

From “On Colors”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Frost

Feathery spikes of numbing embrace
Drawn from that unseen, yet touched

Transforming changing cooling
Gathering under night’s covering

Or written by fog’s chill greeting
Air heavy with enfolding moisture

Growing delicate dainty arrays
Splendid intricate formations

Look closely in simple wonder
Upon its quiet arrival

Shining upon leaf and blade
Season’s brush raised in salute

Rising from earth’s frozen womb
Signpost of Jack’s dark days

Pointed touch banishing leaf and bud
To bide their time for warmer days

…Now crushed beneath heavy trod
Or vanishing upon warm touch and light

To await once more its rising

Dost Bow Your Head

Dost bow your head, as they would say
In olden times when they would pray

We come before God with humble heart
In quiet thought at a place apart

In worship of His mighty power
Secure with Him, we pause in this hour

With troubled thought we seek a guide
Or time of joy… We do not hide

God knows us well. He loves us all
We rest in Him, both big and small

Now be assured. Release your stress
He bids us come, and he will bless

Dost bow your head

Never


“Well, I never!”

Have you ever heard or expressed these same words? When taken by surprise, when the unexpected or unplanned hits us head-on, this simple phrase expresses it all! Fill in the blank.

Never, never, never… A word that can express relief, disappointment, anger, conviction, and so much more.

I never have to go there again!

– We never thought they would do such a thing.

I’m never going to talk to him again!

I’ll never give up.

Sometimes “never” is a positive word, a practical expression of the end of use for some item (That’ll never come clean or That can never be repaired). At other times “never” is a call of desperation. Think of the times when you’ve worked to complete, learn, or do something and you reach the point when out of frustration or exhaustion you just think, “I’ll never get this done!” When we reach such low points, “never” can loom its head and drive our thoughts downward. We struggle with self-doubt, need, or depression… echoes of The Raven’s “nevermore”!

How do we cope when our thoughts take a plunge?! When “never” seems like a dark storm approaching? Pausing for some quiet time and prayer sure helps. It would be so nice to have some support too, someone to help out or to be a sounding board and understanding presence.

That reminds me of when Jesus spoke of satisfying hunger and thirst, not just physical satisfaction but a deeper hunger and thirst for a full and significant life. He knows our need for forgiveness of wrongs, for peace and happiness, and for God. Jesus was saying that all who come to him will never go hungry or thirsty for what really matters in life. He will never turn anyone away who comes to him. Now those are some good “never-s”! *

As we encounter our “never”, surprised by the unexpected or unplanned, may we be drawn to God’s “ever” …ever with us and ever satisfying our greatest longings and needs.

*John 6:35-37
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Citrus Orange

Orange speaks of happiness
Relaxed and friendly, enjoying life

Joining neighbors red and yellow
Warm and comfortable, overcoming strife

It speaks of endurance and of strength
A glowing light in evenings sky

Fragrance wafting, juicy sweet
Tangy goodness sends the spirit high

Persevering ever forward
Creative bright and shining out

From One who knows our fears and joys
May our lives serve to brighten about

Lifting encouraging one another
Shining like that splash of orange

From “On Colors”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

God is My Hour

In prayer walking with you, oh God
Bowing before You; humbly I fall
Secure in Your presence
Whatever will come

God is my hour

Each minute and second
Our time is revealed
Across ocean’s vastness
Upon this earth

God is my hour

In strength or in weakness
God, you give all that I need
You hold me securely as I turn to You
… Life’s offer to One Who Knows

God is my hour

Morning rise, full of light
Evening come, darkness starshine
Through each day and blackest night
Whatever besets me…

God is my hour

For family, friends, and community
Needy world, where’er I’m found
Thanks be raised that God is here
Faith now offered; comfort bring

God is my hour

To my pastor, Mark Reece, Jr, as he steps out in service
and to all who seek God. Be encouraged.
– Charlotte-Anne Allen