CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 18, 2014

The 8 Maids-a-milking & the 8 Beatitudes

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

AND

THE EIGHT BEATITUDES

We’re too blessed to be stressed…even in a holiday season.

Eight maids-a-milking…the eighth gift in the song the Twelve Days of Christmas…is the theme of the Monte and Carolyn Holland 2014 Christmas ornament (each year our Christmas card is a hand-made ornament). NOTE: Each illustration uses one of my seven sisters, plus myself, our heads superimposed on pictures of maids-a-milking.

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

The eight maids a-milking addresses two of the major themes of fifteenth and sixteenth century English celebrations and parties during the Christmas holidays – food and romance.

Typically, the work of milking cows (and goats) was a woman’s job. Although milk was not a common beverage during this pre-refrigeration time (it spoiled too quickly), milk based products did not spoil so rapidly. Cheese, sour milk, and custards—which were prized treats for celebrations.

And the word maid? It’s a shortened form of (more…)

December 14, 2014

Thy Wife Shall Bear Thee a Son

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THY WIFE SHALL BEAR THEE A SON

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SCRIPTURE  Genesis 21:2, 25:21, 30:22; Judges 13:2; 1 Samuel 1:19-20   21:2. For Sarah conceived,…. 25:21.  And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  30:22.  And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.  13:2.  And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 19. …And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. 20. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived….(KJV)

Luke 1:13, 2 4   13. …and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  24. And after those days his wife conceived,… (KJV)

Related Scripture:   Mary 3:10-11

DISCUSSION:   Note that God is always punctual to his time: although his promised mercies come not at the time we set, they will certainly come at the time he sets, and that is the best time. It wasn’t by the power of common providence, but by the power of special promise Isaac was born. Note: True believers, by virtue of God’s promises, are enabled to do that which is above the power of human nature, for by them they partake of a divine nature.  (1=38)

When Sarah heard the angel’s message to Abraham she was shocked and laughed. Her plight was poignant. She had ceased to be in the manner of women,” and she asked “After I am worn out, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”  (1=38)

REFLECTION:  Surprise, Sarah! God has good news for you!

Likewise, March 17, 1997 was a good news day in our family, as was a day in May 1971 a good news day.

After much struggle and fear, Sandy and Greg announced that they were with child—evidenced by Sandy’s physical symptoms and a home pregnancy test.

After struggling with a lengthy infertility problem Monte and I discovered we were with child in the spring of 1971 was the time .

Both news announcements were preceded by many prayers and much lost hope (more…)

December 7, 2014

Saving Beyond Necessity: A Question

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SAVING BEYOND NECESSITY: A QUESTION

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 41:34   (and Joseph instructed) Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.   (NIV)

 Related Scripture:   Genesis 41:35-36, 47-48

DISCUSSION: Joseph not only interpreted dreams, but also presumed to make practical suggestions for a course of action necessary in light of the interpretation. He presented his case successfully to the Pharaoh, who immediately began to sift through candidates for the position of “Secretary of Agriculture.” Finally, he said to Joseph: as much as God showed you all this, you shall be over my house. Pharaoh conferred on Joseph symbols of the high office to which he had been appointed. (5 pp. 103)

REFLECTION:  A question occurs to me: If there were to be seven years of abundance, then seven years of famine, would not one save one-seventh of each good year’s harvest? Yet Joseph instructed Pharaoh to take one-fifth of the harvest, a significant difference (14% versus 20%) beyond what would be needed to pull the Egyptians through the famine, assuming one-seventh would be sufficient for one year’s sustenance.

Why the extra? Possibly because (more…)

November 9, 2014

“The Other Day…Welcoming an Adopted Child”

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

“THE OTHER DAY…WELCOMING AN ADOPTED CHILD”

THE REV. MONTE W. HOLLAND, COLLABORATIVE WRITER

1300th POST ON CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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NOTE: It’s a New Day was a daily (Monday-Friday) radio show broadcast in Connellsville, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s. My husband Monte, a local pastor, and I presented the following program on July 23, 1997. Names have been changed in this piece.

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Monte: Good morning. Welcome to It’s a New Day. This is Reverend Monte Holland of Wesley United Methodist Church on South Pittsburgh Street in Connellsville. My wife, Carolyn, is joining me in  sharing something that happened “the other day” when we were privileged to be part of a group of folks who gathered at the Pittsburgh International Airport to greet the arrival of a Chinese toddler and her first meeting her adoptive father.

Carolyn: We have known Grace for a number of years. She’s always known how to throw a celebration, but in this airport party she, her husband, and their new daughter were the guests. It was a celebration of the transformation of their family.

Monte: Grace and Mike have been dealing with the fairly common problem of infertility. This day was the culmination of the long wait to become parents. Grace and her mother were arriving from China with their new daughter.

Carolyn: On the way home you mentioned to me that while we were sharing in this 7:00 a. m. party you were observing several areas of caring. You indicated that there were at least four Scriptural imperatives being responded to. The most obvious Scripture applicable is that we are to care for the orphan.

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Monte: Grace’s mom shared that this child had been abandoned on a park bench so that the police would find her and see that she was cared for. This apparently is quite common in China where boy children are highly valued, but girl children are not.

Carolyn: That is why Grace and Mike were almost certain they would be adopting a daughter. We waited while all the passengers  disembarked the plane, then we waited a few minutes more until we saw Grace disembark with Marie in her arms.

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Monte: After Grace introduced the child to her new father and grandparents she sat on the floor and allowed the child to play with some familiar things. She did not subject her to more than casual interaction with those of us there. She allowed the child to be a person coming to a new place instead of (more…)

October 26, 2014

Tie the Thread on My Finger

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TIE THE THREAD ON MY FINGER!

Remind Me

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 41:9   Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharoah, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings….” (NI)

DISCUSSION: Finally, the hand of God jogged the cupbearer’s memory, creating a situation that brought release for Joseph. Pharoah needed interpretion of two dreams, and the cupbearer told of Joseph’s gift. Pharoah sent for him. (5: pp. 102)

REFLECTION:  Forgetfulness is a characteristic of mine. Once I complete a task or leave a situation, it is done. I no longer remember details as I move on to other things.

I excuse this as part of today’s high technology information age where one cannot take time to reflect, a memory enhancer, because the requirement is to multitask or to run from one event, memory or thought to another with no pauses in between. Time is of the essence. Production is what counts.

I also tend to have what I call “specific name and date memory deficit.”  It is not age related. Throughout my school years I has trouble with courses needing specific name and date recall—history, Latin, science. I recall substance, not specifics.

On school tests, I would (more…)

October 19, 2014

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

ANGEL RESCUES TRAVELER IN MASSACHUSETTS

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A Night Time Ride to Safety

Along a Circuitous Path as

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts

(A Devotion)

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 40:23, 41:9    23. But (even after all that) the chief butler gave no thought to Joseph, but forgot (all about) him. 9. Then the chief butler said to Pharoah, I remember my faults today. (AMP)

Luke 17:18   Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? (Amp)

Related Scripture:   Luke 17:12-19

REFLECTION:  Gratitude. For major events. And most commonly rudely forgotten.

For Joseph, who interpreted the dream for the chief butler and whose request to be recognized to the Pharaoh was “forgotten.” For Jesus, nine healed lepers neglected to thank him.

I, too, can be ungrateful. I don’t express gratitude often enough.

Sometimes, though, verbal thanks seems insufficient.

I traveled to New England by myself in the spring of 1996, and left Brocton, Massachusetts after 7 p. m., unconcerned about finding a hotel. I would be on a main road. No problem. I’d drive towards Merrimack, New Hampshire and stop along the way.

Wrong! I was traveling through a “bedroom community.” No motels!

At 8:45 p. m. I stopped at a drugstore in a strange town not too far from Framingham. “Are there any motels around?” I asked the pharmacist. Neither he nor the customers knew of any.

One customer said she felt bad. She had a spare room, but she also had company. She knew a place in Framingham but the dark night, the late hour and the heavy construction would create travel difficulties, particularly to a stranger. But she knew of a Bed & Breakfast out in the country. She’d call from her car phone.

A room was available! She drew me a land-marked map, then said (more…)

September 28, 2014

Tarantulas: Those Scary Creeping Things

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TARANTULAS: THOSE SCARY CREEPING THINGS

 download

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 6:7   So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.”  (KJV)

REFLECTION:     Many people would be happy if somehow the creepy, creeping tarantulas were destroyed, removed from the earth. But some people set out to save sick ones.

The June 5, 1999 AP headline captured my attention: Sick tarantula getting top-notch care.

2 ½ ounce Goliath, No. 79011, had an infection oozing from her side and an abscess the size of a quarter. The infection gave the salad-plate sized eight-legged critter value. She could teach doctors about medical care of tarantulas in captivity.

The antibiotic wasn’t working. Veterinarians planned CAT scans to identify problems during surgery that hopefully would correct Goliath’s problem.

Goliath, with her dark brown hair and turret of eyes atop her flat head, able to make a fearless person arachnophobic, must be a special spider. Such great lengths to save a creature that has “a habit of showing her fangs and shooting barbed hairs from her rump” doesn’t seem like something I might consider.

One of my pre-married era boyfriends would think differently. Stanley, my senior prom date, attended (more…)

August 24, 2014

Preparing Meals From Scratch

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

PREPARING MEALS FROM SCRATCH!

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 18:7-8   7.  And Abraham ran to the herd, and brought a calf tender and good, and gave it to the young man (to butcher); then (Abraham) hastened to prepare it.  8.  And he took curds, and milk, and the calf which he had made ready, and set it before (the men); and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. (AMP)

REFLECTION:  I thoroughly plan Thanksgiving dinner. I know (approximately) when people will arrive, when they will leave. But the meal is always big enough to feed extra people. It is cornucopic table, a table of plenty.

At other times I plan for unexpected guests by having easy, pre-planned menus on hand. Meals not taking hours to prepare. Or we dine out.

Our unexpected guest chomps on my summer flowers.

Our unexpected guest chomps on my summer flowers.

This scripture amazes me when I read it. Abraham had unannounced guests. Realizing they were (more…)

August 10, 2014

Nine Hundred Years Old

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NINE HUNDRED YEARS OLD!

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 6:3   Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years. (NI)

REFLECTION:  I’m awed with the longevity of Old Testament life spans. What a great deal they could accomplish with that life expectancy!

Then I reflect on the question What would I do with those many years?

Certainly I could have a larger family. I could raise several families in that time..

Eight-hundred and eighty anniversaries with the same man? What a wild thought! Maybe we would have time to get it right! Yet, evidence from our day’s limited increase in life expectancy proves different. It shows there is just more time for repeated divorce and remarriage rather than time for moving on to perfection. However, three score and seven doesn’t seem enough time to perfect the marital relationship.

I would have time to develop the six different (more…)

July 27, 2014

Do All Families Talk Perversely?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicon2-happy

Hug for

DO ALL FAMILIES TALK PERVERSELY?

A Devotion

Theatrical release poster by John Alvin

Theatrical release poster by John Alvin

After seeing the movie ET my friend Paul and I had a lively discussion.

“Did they really have to include the kids smoking and the off-color jokes?” I asked. “This ruined the movie for me because it role-modeled negative behavior for kids.”

“This is how all families talk,” said Paul, a youthful manager of a local pizza business, implying I was being too critical.

His statement troubled me. All families talk perversely? The style of joking and pattern of smoking didn’t exist in our household! Was our family different? Was I too critical of “normal” behavior?

I began an unscientific mental survey of our friends. Merle and Naomi, Tom and Diane, Shirl and Wayne, Phyllis and Gene. Did any of them talk that way? I didn’t believe so. Apparently not all families talk perversely and in a manner debasing God’s creation.

Perhaps these families, modeling their behavior on Scriptural imperatives, are not the present day norm. Perhaps these families who show (them)selves guileless and above reproach, faultless children of God in a warped and crooked generation, shine like stars in a dark world and proffer the word of life. (Philippians 2:15, NEB)

Perhaps if today’s perverse and crooked generation whose faults have proved them no children of his(Deuteronomy 32:5-6, NEB)

were to review their behavior they would be convinced to become more Christ-like.

Meanwhile, don’t be fooled. Not all families accept the standards put out in today’s media frenzy.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

A 6-Part Study of The Lord’s Prayer: Part 1

Jesus Refuses to Drink the Wine Mixed With Myrrh

Is Your Table Big Enough? If not, add a leaf…

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