Thursday, March 15, 2012

Walking in the Light on a Saturday Morning

It has been a while since I last blogged.  I am just busier than I ever imagined when I retired from a regular teaching job and yet I am a blessed, happy daughter of God who loves her life.  It might be hard to imagine what I do with my time that makes me feel so happy and fulfilled.  The title of this blog is Walking in the Light because that is what I do.  I simply want to share how it is that a person like me Walks in the Light.
Are your Saturday’s free days for you like they often appear to be for me?  You know, a day to catch up with correcting papers, or when a student, writing papers or maybe catching up on housework, washing, or perhaps resting.  Often they were days of social obligations.  Occasionally that is still the case for me, but let me share a recent Saturday which I did not plan or have anything to do with the planning.  I just the responded to a call to be present and ready.
On Saturday, March 3rd, a Spanish Women's Aglow group had their meeting at Christ Church.  If you are not familiar with Women's Aglow, it is a  charismatic international organization of women who gather one Saturday per month from different denominational churches (not exclusively but mostly charismatic protestant churches) to listen to a Gospel filled message and to praise and sing to the Lord, in addition to lots of prayers.  Women come closer to the Lord at these events and it is indeed a ministry to the needs of women. 
I had previously only attended one such meeting but it was an English Women's Aglow.  I believe this Spanish Aglow is the first one being formed locally or perhaps in California, anyway, my understanding is that in Spanish it is rare.  This was the second one held at Christ Church and I was anxious to attend since I missed the previous one due to a prior commitment.  I heard that in February there had been a wonderful turnout of about 30 and the Holy Spirit really fell in the church and most of the women were really touched and even slain in the Spirit. 
The morning began with a gathering for coffee and delicious pan dulce after which we gathered in the church. 
I was just amazed as women continued to file into the pews.  What beautiful women were gathering, well dressed, bright eyed and ready to meet Jesus.  By the end of the service there had been about 80 women in the church.  80 women singing and praising and praying and ministering to one another. 


There was a long session of glorious worship music and some very intense intercessory prayers for the state of the world and the many nations of the world.
The music group came from a church in Visalia and the speaker was a pastor's wife from the Visalia area.    As I listened to her speak, I was so impressed with her personal testimonial message and how the Lord used it to touch some of the most essential concerns of Hispanic women living in our society.  She admitted that the message she had intended to present was changed by the Holy Spirit once she arrived earlier in the morning.  It was such an anointed message that many women came forward for prayers so that they could also turn over some of those same kinds of concerns to the Lord.  The message centered on the fact that whatever we have lived through in our past or are living through in our present lives, things that can seem overwhelming and painful, that the Lord is there to pick us up and liberate us from the pain and shame of sin and suffering.  And that liberation and grace thereby gives us right and power to be his daughters.  Also that we are being called upon in this age to become his power warriors, alongside our brothers, meaning the men in the church. 

The anointing of this service was so powerful that I know you would not have to understand a word of Spanish to be blessed by its power.    There was one woman who was interceding in the back the whole time until the message was delivered.  She told us that she did not speak Spanish so one lady began to interpret the message for her on the spot.  It was great!
I am attaching a little video I took with my iPhone so you can see the music and the women.  It is not the best because I was stuck in the back row due to my current handicap.  I had foot surgery again and my right foot is in a cast.  But you will get the idea. 
video

Let me also say, I was so blessed and the Holy Spirit filled me in such a powerful way that I had not felt for a couple of months.  Needless to say, it was a wonderful way to spend a half day on Saturday, full of healing, glowing and basking in the Light of the Lord. 



He also sent me a message, "When your foot is healed you too will dance in the Spirit with me."  What a loving promise, what a joy for me to hear and know.   I know that when we join Him on the heavenly side of the Kingdom, I will be a dancer but to know I will be able to dance on this side of the Kingdom is awesome!   Spanish Women's Aglow will continue to meet here on the first Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM and lasts until about l PM.  It includes a coffee time and ends with lunch!  Join us!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Magic of Ephemera

I have a new hobby these past few months.  It's an on-line shop on ETSY.com called MarkerMemories.  It all started when we were brainstorming ideas on how to raise funds for our outreach community food distribution project called God's Breadbox.  I wrote about that project a few blogs ago.  The CEO of God's Breadbox had a large number of Rockwell collectable plates and figurines, as well as few other collectable plates that were left after the passing of a family member.  She wanted to donate them for sale to raise funds for God's Breadbox but having no time or patience or knowledge about how to sell them, we decided to let me take on the project.  That is how MarkerMemories was born!  www.etsy.com/shop/MarkerMemories 

MarkerMemories is a vintage shop and whenever I sell an item that came from the donations earmarked for God's Breadbox, that  amount goes to God's Breadbox.  Other item's proceeds  will go towards the expense of running the shop, because there are small costs involved or sometime to replenish the shop.  We are not talking big bucks here, but it is a fun hobby and I am learning a lot.  I spend lots of time reserching values on-line in various places so I am becoming more and more computer literate.  I also get a little extra exercise walking around second hand shops and yard sales looking for prospective items to place in the shop.  I have had some good and some poor experiences but it is always fun and a learning experience.  Guess what, it also gives me opportunity to talk to fellow shoppers and staff in the places I visit and let the Lord's light shine around as we talk!  I love talking to people.

Today, I learned the meaning of a word I had seen, one I kind of knew the meaning of, but I had never really checked out the definition which means I would never use the word on my own.  Now I own it.  Ephemera.

The World English Dictionary says in it's second definition of the word Ephemera that it is "something transitory or short-lived." The third definition is directly related to my new use of the word, (functioning as plural) a class of collectable items not originally intended to last for more than a short time, such as tickets, posters, postcards, or labels.

I have drawers and boxes full of potential ephemera but I doubt much of it is worth selling! However, here is a photo of my first listing.

Yes indeed these are those wonderful tickets from the Magic Kingdom of the 1970's.  Two adult ticket books printed in 1975 and one child's book printed in 1978.  I actually think I remember finding these in my father's old desk and at the time I could not throw them away and stuck them in a box.  I started remembering old Disneyland visits, including my very first one when it  opened in Anaheim.  I was about 10 years old.  But I remember it because it was so exciting.  There is a very cool photo of the castle in Fantasey land from the very first year.  It looks exactly as I remember it and that photo could be of our visit, except I don't know the people in it.   You can find it at this link and this blog has lots of other information as well.

The back covers of the child's book, the bottom one in the photo, has Teresa's name written on it.  Teresa is my niece so obviously if it was in Grandpa Felix's desk, it originally had been purchased for her.  Funny thing, only 3 tickets were used from her book.  The two adult books are from an earlier time in the 70's so they were probably not from the same trip. 

So for all of you neat folks that throw everything away once it's usefulness seems past, just know, these ticket books now go for up to around $50.  The ones in from the 60's and 50's even more.  No, I priced them very reasonably. 

I wonder what else I will find in these boxes and drawers? 





 
http://vintagedisneylandtickets.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pictures are Worth Months of Words!

I started this blog before the end of the year and I was feeling like I needed to reconnect with those who have been such good friends and faithful readers of my first few posts.  But once again, I got too busy with all the goings on of the Season.  I do hope you had a very loving and Spirit-filled Christmas and brought in the New Year with gusto! 

Once our Diocesan Convention was over, a new Bishop installed, my trip to Toronto completed, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and the end of 2011, here and gone, I realized there would never be a way to catch up.  So here are a few photos to catch up up! 

Here is a photo of our New Bishop, Rt. Rev. Eric V. Menees and his adorable family, Florence, Sebastian and Milagro.  Surely you can tell which is the bishop! 
November, 2011  Daniel is holding Ella and Elana is holding Rachel. 
Grandma Jeannee is just in the middle of everything where she belongs!
I just love this photo of Baby Princess Rachel and Big Sister Ella reading and learning to love books with their Mommie.  I spent one week in Toronto and had a restful, peaceful, and loving time with my grandchildren and their parents!  I am so proud of all of them.  It is not easy to be Seminarians away from home and poor as church mice!  I believe they often share their quarters with mice, but that is another story!

As you can see, Sara got to visit Toronto shortly after I did and took this terrific photo of Rachel ready for travel out of doors.  My grandchildren just love Auntie Sara because she is so much fun.
Can you see why I think I am a most blessed woman with wonderful children and grandchildren like these?  Each one a pearl, each one a treasure, each one is God's Creation and Blessing. 

Thanksgiving Dinner with the Orr family was wonderful and we had so much to share and be thankful for this year.
Sara and I were so blessed to dine with them in Clovis.  We visited with the "Toronto Markers" on the Video Camara after dinner and it helped make up for missing them.

These are this year's Christ Church Christmas Pagent Performers!  A wonderful and fun
group of kids who told and portrayed the story of Jesus's Birth in Bethlehem. 

The following week, on the Friday before Christmas Day, a wonderful team of volunteers, assisted the Anglican Church Women with the distribution of food baskets and gifts to sixteen families in Lemoore.
As you can see the food was in great quantity and quality.  There were gifts for the children and not pictured here were the bicycles that were given away as well.  Lots and lots of them, donated and refurbished by inmates in Coalinga.  The joy and gratitude on the faces of needy families always brings more blessings and joy to the hearts of the volunteers. 
On Christmas Eve, Sara and I cozied around the fireplace and exchanged gifts, read cards and drank Brandy.  That is a kind of Grandma Marker (this one, not the old one) tradition for Christmas Eve. 

 Phil and I used to share a glass of Drambuie in the old days, but those days are gone.  Wish I had a photo of those days at Christmastime.  But I share this photo with you that my sister recently sent which I believe was taken outside St. James,Cathedral.  Don't we look colorful and joyful?  I see mischief in his eyes!

The week after Christmas is always a little difficult.  I can keep as busy a possible but I can't help but think about how much we miss Phil.  This year Sara and I took off to spend Christmas Day and the following day at the Coast.  We went to San Luis Obispo, spent the night, visited the Mission next Day, then drove to Pismo.  We ate lunch at the Splash Cafe - yes we ate Clam Chowder in a bread bowl - yes it was the greatest I ever ate! 
Although I did have dinner with good friends on Christmas Eve, I went home quite early and fell asleep.   I had been sad the couple of days before but now I awoke refreshed.  I was to preach on January 1, 2012, Feast Day of the Holy Name and was so full of joy because The Lord impressed on me that 2012 is a wonderful year.  I have no major resolutions made other than to be joyful, pray and love those he sends my way and make sure I continue to walk in the light of the Lord.  He  is my king, my savior, my Lord, and my constant companion.  I await the precious day when I will be reunited with all my loved ones and most especially when I will be able to live praising God and in peace and freedom. 

Thank you for stopping in to read this blog today.  I did not even begin to list the things like bible studies, prayer team or intercessory , food distribution with God's Breadbox and many other things that kept us busy this season, but suffice to say, that as in your life, I do keep busy, busier than when I was employed full time.  I have plans for sharing some inspired thoughts or stories with you this year and I plan to include some book reports, this year.   I hope you will come by again! I send you my love and blessings and Feliz Ano Nuevo.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Persecution of the Faithful

I am posting this blog because for three weeks I have had this prophetic dream on my mind.  The Lord has impressed on me that I must share it......and I have dragged my fingers away from the computer in resistance.  I have orally shared it with some folks, and first of all I sought out some with prophetic giftings for help in interpreting what it may mean.  Today I will share this dream because after praying I sincerely believe I am supposed to share it with those who will listen.

In the dream, I was standing outdoors with someone very close to me, but who was standing behind me.  I was comfortable and secure and never had fear.  This person I believe was Christ and we were observing the scene together.  We were not in the U.S. but I think in Israel, although all I saw was this huge airfield, I simply sensed it was Israel.  A plane landed in front of us and I believe we were facing the East.  The plane was being unloaded in front of us and contained huge packages of clear plastic through which we could see bodies.  The dead bodies had been cut up very carefully, but sliced in chunks, like huge tuna fish packages.  They were not recognizable in their cut up state, but each had the name of the person whose parts were contained within.  I knew they were missionaries and my first thought was, "Oh my, the war has really started!"  Persecution of the Christians, the Faithful Christians has begun.  I actually recognized a couple of names and the bodies were of missionaries from the East and Africa.  It was troubling and so sad.  Looking at the bodies was sad perhaps because I had the impression it was not unexpected and I was calm. 

We did not speak with words, but we were thinking alike and awed by the sadness.  Then another plane came from the West.  It came from the Americas.  We turned around to see that once again, bodies were being unloaded and once again they were cut up neatly and precisely and filleted like fish.  Again names were written on strips stuck to the plastic bags in which they were delivered.  But this time the names were of many clergy that I know or have known personally.  A couple were at one time local to our diocese but have been called to serve elsewhere.  Their names and their wives names were stuck on their bags.  Then I began to recognize others who are closer to home and all of them  were clergy,  some with spouse's names.  This was more stressful to see, but once again, I was not afraid, only filled with compassion and sadness.  We did not scream or cry for them because it was only their bodies we saw, knowing their Spirits had continued onto the other side of the Kingdom. 

Some of the thoughts that were going through my mind in the dream included that there would be more, that we were being persecuted, much like in the Holocost round-ups of the Jews and that terrorists were involved.  That this was expected was on my mind, that it was sad and horrible, was on my mind, but that these were the remains of the faithful was most clear. 

In analyzing and praying over this dream I feel I need to share that the names of those I recognized was not for the purpose of thinking that is how they will personally end up in chunks!  No, I believe it was to point out that the faithful leadership, the shepherds, the apostles so to speak, will be attacked and are attacked first and most severly.  You will remember that except for St. John, all of the apostles died martyrs. 

My role in this dream was as that of an observer, an intercessor.  That seems to be my usual role in these dreams.  I will tell you this, since I had this dream, I have taken on my intercessory prayers with more compassion and depth.  I have been drawn to spend more time in prayer for our Christian family, for our clergy, for all missionaries, and especially for those who are sufferinig persecution.  My eyes are wet almost all the time now. 

I hope that sharing this prophetic dream with you will have an effect on you as well.  I believe we are being told that if we have the heart and the ears to hear, we will prepare and be ready.  Stand firm in your faith because as you know, the last battles are already started.

Amen

In Defense of Telenovelas

For those of you who do not know what a telenovela is, let me begin by explaining that it is a Spanish television version of a soap opera.  There are many going on all day long on any of a variety of Spanish television stations here in the U.S.  They don't continue on for years, like American soaps do, they usually end in about 3 months or so.  Sometimes the story is a historical novela with lovely costumes and settings but whether the story is set in the past or modern times, they always have the same underlying themes.

There is always a conflict between the rich priviledged class and the poor working class.  The main romance in the story always takes one character from each class, making love all the more complicated!  There is always an extremely evil person, or several evil persons, but one or two are the most evil person you may think you have ever seen.  Evil is motivated by selfishness in the extreme and the evil person will go to any extreme to get what they want, deceit and murder topping the list.  To me, some of the evil characters have been written as the embodiment of Satan himself.  It takes a really good actor to pull it off.  Some actors are just so good at being so evil.

Of course, there is always a sweet demure female and an extremely good looking male in leading roles.  Oh yes, there is also a great cast of characters who take you on lots of little side stories so that you get to know each one's strengths and weaknesses.  Pretty soon these characters will begin to seem like real people who have now entered into your circle of acquaintances.  There are some women who just are so good at crying that I usually see them in the role of a woman who suffers and cries quite a bit.  Recently I saw an article about the telenovelas that spoke about how now the male actors are expected to show more emotion and tears.  I had just been noticing that myself and wondered about it.  I suppose it is because today we want men to be more sensitive and show emotion, even tears.  The entire story is always full of misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions, just like in real life.  The human condition is universal and multicultural, and it is always the same, regardless of historical time frame. 

Often a priest will be a main character and in all stories, there is always reference to church, or frequent visits to a Virgin of Guadalupe shrine for prayers and petitions.  The stories always involve family complications of life.  The strength of the family is always emphasized and often really wonderful unity is around someone being hurt or falling gravely ill.  There are always frequent hospital scenes.  There are always mothers, grandmother and grandfather characters, many of whom are full of wisdom and advice that they give to the other characters in the story.  The one I am watching right now has a lovely heavy set grandmother, so full of kindness and wisdom, who is actually falling in love with a wise grandfather type.  They are so cute!  Gives me hope! 

The novelas have some very good purposes.  I know, I get lots of teasing and flack for watching at least one novela, but they helped me learn quite a bit.  First of all, it challenges me to understand Spanish better.  Often I learn new words and through the context I learn how they might be used.  My mom and I used to compare notes on what we were watching.  Second, I get to see what is perceived as traditional Hispanic lifestyle and family dynamics, something I can relate to from when I was a child.  My life with my own immediate family was a blend of Marker/Rodriguez, kind of German/Mexican?  We used to laugh and say that our family culture was Californian Multi-cultural and quite normal for our time.  But seriously, if you have many Hispanic families around you and who are your friends, knowing what the Hispanic culture is like is a benefit. 

In spite of all the worldliness and sexy, worldly themes in these novelas, they still reflect the culture.  I don't like many of them because they are too young, too worldly, but I just love the romantic ones like the ones I described above.   Children in Spanish speaking homes often see novelas.  You might think that is terrible TV for them, but are English TV shows teaching better morals and values?  I doubt it.  But they are watching with their parents, which is a nice thing and it too will help them retain their Spanish language.  I once actually used the novela to explain some literary features to some "totally bored" 5th graders.  I asked them how many saw a certain novela, lots of hands went up and their eyes got huge when they discovered I watched it too.  We then returned to the topic we were looking at, "climax."  I was so pleased, they got it and it "was now fun."

So there you have it!  I watch novelas because I like studying the humans, I feel I improve my Spanish and also learn to understand more dialects and different accents, I love good romance stories and I like historical novels.  I like the passion with which each character is developed and if I don't like a story, if it is too offensive in some way, I can just click it off or choose another.  By the way, I record each one on my DVR, just in case you call me or I have to attend to something, I can go back and catch up!!  Technology is on my side.

Blessings, Jeannee

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thoughts on Fatherhood


I awoke this morning thinking about my son Daniel and his new little girl, Rachel Lily.  Then I thought about Daniel and Ella, his first daughter, who is not yet two!  I don't think that there has been a single other thing in the past two years that has brought me more joy and peace than seeing how he loves and cares for his little girls.  I just keep thinking that it is so reflective of the God the Father's love for each of us, his specially selected children.  Daniel is a godly man so I guess I should not be surprised.  So warm so deep is his affection for them and for his wife, their mother. 

I had a loving father, although, the culture and times of my childhood did not encourage the same kind of touch and affection I see in my son and his daughters.  But my daddy loved me.  Felix was a quiet man for the most part, looked serious and shy to the world, with exception of his work place world.  That was a construction site full of very "Manly" type men who were strong, hardworking, steel workers and heavy construction workers.  The California Freeway system turned out to be the product of their work in the 50's and 60's.  I was the oldest and had no brothers, so I was kind of his substitute son.  He tried to teach me about cars, like how to fix them, but failed in that effort.  He didn't fail, I just wasn't very interested.  So I was his strong, first born, daughter.  Now driving was a different story, I loved that and did not mind being my mom and sisters chauffeur during the week when he was absent.  My dad made me laugh, he could be very funny, and loved to sing.  Especially after a few beers. 

This photo of Daddy is one of my favorites.  He was lovingly holding my little Sara at a family reunion because she was afraid of the dog that was wandering around.  You can see she felt that security of being in a strong grandpa's arms.  That is that same sense of security we receive from the Father. 
My late husband Phillip simply loved both his children.  He adored them and bragged about their sports endeavors.  He was so proud of them and always thought about what would make them happy and successful in life.  Sadly, he died too soon.  God provides others when he sees the need and he has done that for Sara as well as for Daniel.  My pastor, Fr. Bruce has provided some support and our friend Rev. Roger Bradley has become a kind of father/grandfather figure to Sara and there have been several clergy around whom Daniel spent his days in Fresno who filled in some important fatherly roles.
 
I believe that father figures, really good ones, are not just given that role for their personal offspring.  I find myself being a mother in Christ to younger women and girls, even a few boys and so it makes sense that men may be called to become fathers in Christ to others.   Last week we lost one of those men.  Our Brother Larry Holsenbake died after a battle with cancer.  In those approximate 9 months of struggle, we prayed and loved and shared Christ's love with him and with his family.  We became stronger and better brothers and sisters because of the struggle and finally the loss.

Larry had been a father figure for years, not only to his own children but others.  He had been a been school teacher who had made a favorable impact on students, parents and co-workers for many years.  In the very short time that my daughter knew him she had grown to love him as one of the fathers in Christ in our congregation.  You see, our congregation at Christ Church really is a family.  She lives in the Los Angeles area, but she had been praying for him and keeps up with what is happening.  When she heard he had gone to join our The Father in heaven, she cried and said, well I must come for the service Saturday.  I share this with you because I think it such an example of how a man like Larry, probably without even thinking about it or planning it, was fulfulling a service for our Lord most of his life, by giving of himself in relationships and mentoring.  

Not too long ago, our friend and brother, Fr. Jeff Sampson, also died of cancer.  This was a very, very difficult loss for most of us and we are still mourning him.  At his Requium Mass, his sons had opportunity to testify to the love they received from their father, all of their lives.  His daughters and daughters-in-law felt the same love.  They attribute their complete commitment to the Lord and their Christian lives to Fr. Jeff's lifelong teaching and example as well as his Godly love.  It was such a moving tribute that I know for a fact that there were several men, clergy included, who vowed to go and make sure they would give all they had to share with their own children and grandchildren.  A tribute to a father, famous or not, was never more moving than what was shared that day.  And I know that Fr. Jeff also fathered many others, outside his personal family. 

We thank you O LORD for giving us such a wonderful example of a Godly Husband, Father and Brother in Larry Holsenbake and in Fr. Jeff Sampson.  We joyfully await being reunited with you and we love you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday at the Museum

Chicago Art Institute

Introduction

 I had a wonderful weekend when I went to Chicago to attend a conference on Hispanic Ministry last week.  This was my very first trip to Chicago.  The conference was an Anglican 1000 conference, if you are an Anglican and are familiar with that program you will know that it was very important and meaningful for me.  Perhaps I will share some insights from the conference on another day.

What I want to share with you today is what I did on Sunday.  Sunday is, for sure, the Lord's Day in the Marker household, meaning the day we go to church no matter where we may be.  On this particular day, I decided not to go to Sunday Worship somewhere in Chicago, but instead I asked the Lord to bless me and speak to me in the Art Museum.  So the Holy Spirit and I went on an adventurous train ride from O'Hare to downtown Chicago and walked a few blocks to the Chicago Art Institute.  Trains are fun because you can pray for people around you without them even having to know you are blessing them!

I did indeed have a wonderful day seeing paintings up close that I have only seen in books and other visual media.  I love to see and study great works of art and in the past I spent many hours at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in my young days, as well as other smaller museums.  When we visited Madrid, Spain I spent 3 days at the Prado and half a day at the Picasso Museum.  All those wonderful masterpieces by so many including Velasquez, El Greco, and of course, Goya.  Oh how I loved spending time with Goya.

Chicago Art Institute
Well, about Chicago.  The museum is lovely and has so, so much wonderful art within its walls.  I want to return to Chicago someday just to go to museums because there are many in this city and I only saw maybe one third of this one!  I had never seen so many Impressionists in one place.  I like to get up close and see brush strokes, but if you do, you miss the whole picture because it must be seen from a distance.  I asked the Lord what he wanted me to learn from what I saw and he said, "Look at all the little brush strokes, all the bits of color, each masterfully placed on the canvas, even though it looks so random.  That is how I created my church, that is how it all comes together as a hand selected, chosen and created masterpiece.  I am the Master and Creator."  Then He told me to consider all the strokes of the masterpieces I saw and think of the individual people in my Christian community and remember that all together we are what the world sees as his family.  Sometimes individually we don't look like much to each other but when seen from a few steps back, like these pictures, we are beautiful and lovingly created as a family.

I saw many Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Manet and Monet, as well as dear Vincent Van of Gogh paintings.  Then I moved along to many other masterpieces, some by Rembrandt, and even some Spanish painters and all my favorite Flemish painters as well.  Then suddenly I came face to face with the painting I had been specifically brought to see this day.  This one I had never seen in my life!  I stood in front of The Repentance of St. Peter by Jusepe de Ribera, who I believe was a Spanish painter who painted with the Italian painters of his period.
I was so taken in that I literally sat in front of the painting with my eyes glued to St. Peter's face.  I felt as if I was right there with him in his repentance.  I felt as if I was looking through his eyes at Jesus, begging not only forgiveness but for mercy and restoration.  Scripture tells us that St. Peter had been confused by Satan as Jesus Christ had told him he would be when he denied him three times.  When that cock crowed after the third time, he knew what he had done and wept bitterly before God.  Tradition says that for the rest of his life, every time St. Peter heard a cock crow, he would weep.  And that is what I found happening to me, I wept and wept quietly from my left eye.  First I felt his remorse but then I also felt a sense of compassion, just a taste of what I can only imagine the Father felt as well. St. Peter had failings but he loved God.  His faith had failed him but he did not lose faith in God's mercy.  That is why these things are recorded, so that we too will remember to have faith in God's mercy in our times of need and failings.

I sat in front of that painting for probably 15 minutes.  When I finally came to the point of realizing I should move along, all the people who were in that room had changed, which is one way I know for sure I had been there quite a while.  All day I had been talking to the Lord about various paintings we saw together but this was the most wonderful supernatural experience I had all day.  How wonderful it is to be able to see the fruits of the gifts God gave to those who have lived before us.  You know they are really gifts that can still produce spiritual fruits, as this one did for me. 

A Parting Thought
Well, I missed the one painting I would have liked to see "in person";  American Gothic by Grant Wood as seen below.  It was just too far away and I had been in the museum for 6 hours and could not make my way to yet another building.  Now you might wonder why this painting was so fascinating to me.  I have also added a photo of Fr. Bruce Taylor and myself at Christ Church, in Lemoore, CA.  My kids, Sara and Daniel Marker like to make fun of the photo saying we remind them of American Gothic.  What do you think? 
 
Grant Wood (American).  'American Gothic,' 1930. Oil on board.

American Gothic is supposed to represent an upright hardworking couple.  Many say they are religious and serious with little joy showing forth on their faces.  People read all kinds of things into their faces.  American Gothic was painted 80+ years ago so I suppose they were upright for their time and season.  I think we are upright and hardworking in God's vineyard for our day and season.  

Much love and God's Peace to all of you!  Jeannee