Friday, March 27, 2020

Line by Line

My son and I have been spending time doing art...pencil drawings that we found on YouTube.  It has been fun and educational as we learn to draw.  
This morning I woke up with the phrase “line by line” in my mind.  
I am not a natural artist...or a natural musician. My music for years and years was more by note, reading the notes and searching for beautiful arrangements of the notes so that I could play something pleasant to listen to.  Within the past few years I have had a teacher who has encouraged me to get away from note by note and feel the music more...then play from my heart.  Keeping my ears on the sounds and using what I have learned to create something pretty...rather than keeping my eyes on the notes only.  He encourages me to listen to the music and keep my ears open instead of blindly “walking” a set path I have put before myself. 

And the art I have been learning has been by following a teacher.  Line by line.  When the teacher draws a square, I draw a square.  When the teacher says to curve a line, I curve a line.  To me when I am drawing it looks like a lot of lines but gradually the teacher connects the lines and adds shadings and as I watch and follow my blank piece of paper takes form.  It is better than what I can come up with on my own.  Trust me...I tried freehand drawing what was in my mind.  Somewhere there is a broken connection.

But when I take it a line at a time, waiting for the teacher to lead me...something beautiful and unexpected emerges.  When I listen to the music my teacher plays carefully and hear what needs to be added or even taken away, then something beautiful and unexpected emerges.  

And when I keep my eyes on Jesus...and my ears tuned to His Word...despite feeling like I do not know what is going to emerge during this time of stress and anxiety...He will make something beautiful of it.  Sometimes less is more in music...my teacher will say ,”Leave space for the music ...hold it without adding anything to it.”  Sometimes the art teacher will say erase the lines now and leave space on the page. And I think as many things are being removed from me with social distancing and shelter in place...God is saying,” I want to fill the emptiness with Me.  Keep your eyes on Me.  Listen to Me.  Hold on...and don’t add to what I am doing in your life.  I will make something beautiful out of this.”

My eyes are on You, Jesus.  My ears are tuned to You, Jesus.  I have seen what You bring up out of the ashes. 
You brought life out of death and joy out of mourning. Help me keep focused on You, my Teacher and my Savior and my Lord.  Amen.




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Corona Changes

This is just me sharing a photo that was odd coming home from Charlotte today from E. infusion.  On I-85 for at least a half a mile or so was that highly valuable commodity-toilet paper- strewn down the side of the concrete barrier! Rolls and rolls of toilet paper ripe for the picking of you could master the obstacle course of oncoming traffic :)
It was so strange.  For almost four years now we have been coming to Levine a for infusions.  D. always complains about the traffic when he drives...and it is treacherous at times and frustrating at the least.  However, today in Mecklenburg county there were notable changes .  It was the first day of the “shelter in place” order for their county.
1). The traffic was cut by at least half.  The drive that normally takes us at least an hour and forty minutes was made in an hour and fifteen.
2). In downtown Charlotte it was like a skeleton crew town.  No cars filling the parking lots.  Stores closed.  No crowds of people walking and lingering in small groups talking.  The only people I saw on the streets were construction workers and a couple of people walking their dogs. 
3). The many huge jets flying in and out of Charlotte airport which we love seeing were reduced to just two.
4). The train station where everyone parks to grab a ride into Charlotte had an empty parking lot. 
5). The noise level was so much quieter...fewer cars and trucks and people and construction.
6).  Even the beggars that stand at certain places, the homeless, were not in their normal places.  I did see one man in a sleeping bag with his belongings around him up under a bridge sleeping on the ground and I thought how lonely that must be.
7). On the road to turn into the hospital there is now a booth with a man with protective garb who stops your vehicle and asks what your business is on that road.  He waved us they when we explained that our little boy had to get an infusion today.
8). D. dropped us off but stayed in the truck instead of coming in as usual so there would be one less person in the infusion bay.
9). Before we could enter the hospital there was a guard and nurses set up at a table asking if we had coughs or fevers or runny noses.  We had to fill out a paper stating yes or no.  When I told her we did have runny noses but it was because of the pollen, she understood but said she had to put a pink bracelet on us.
10). Inside there was not the normal mulling around of hospital personnel...just the receptionist to give us our parent sticker and masks and the guard at the elevator. 
11). In the past we have had to wait for the elevator and crowd in with other parents and nurses and children.  Not today.  I pushed the button with a paper towel I carried in and the elevator opened to an empty space.  We rode up to the Infusion center.  Again no families waiting in the waiting rooms.  No nurses and doctors and administrative personnel busily walking and talking.
12). The infusion center was empty...just us.  Usually filled bays.  As we left one other family came in and was out at the opposite end.  Curtains were drawn.  Nurses masked and no hugging like usual.  Distances maintained.  Except the ones doing the IV.  We always pray before the IV and I prayed for our nurses and all those working in the hospital.  I cried a little , thanking God for nurses willing to get out there and keep helping children.  After “Amen” the nurse was a bit teary eyed too. 
13) It was also the first time E. had to go without his special dog that has been with him at all the dr visits and infusions.  To prevent any possibility of contamination we didn’t bring him into the hospital.  And the nurse said he should probably stay home at the next apt. in two months too.  But she went and got a new stuffed dog out of the closet for E. to hold onto which was very sweet but “just not the same”.
14). The things that were different were many.  The things that were the same were the few but the important things...gentleness and kindness from our nurses, caring amongst everyone, and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” sang loudly while the IV was being put in.  I thank God for the blessings and I pray His protection over the medical personnel working to still care for the sick.  
Just my thoughts.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

More To This Life

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;  You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.”  Psalm 30:11,12






I have always loved to dance.  I love the movement of arms and legs and body to music. I’m not saying I am a good dancer LOL! With the music flowing around you though it is a deeper participation in the music to move in the rhythm.  I was not a girl who took dance classes...not unless baton classes with a choreographed routine counts :). I just danced in my room to a record player. 
Dance as a teenager had the capacity for great sadness as it was rare for me to have a partner when other girls had partners.  But with age dance lost all the sadness and only brought joy.  Dancing alone is more about connecting to the music intimately.  
It became more about exercise than anything else in college.  Still enjoyable but with more purpose and less creativity.
Now in my older years I realized how the longing to dance never left me ...but I began again to see dance differently.  With two sons there have been many dances in the living room when they were little and thought I was the best mom in the world :). As they get older they don’t dance with me as much, but they smile when a summer rain comes on a hot day and Mom goes out swirling and dancing and laughing in the rain.  Or in the winter when snowflakes fall and I am outside twirling, I think they will remember the intense joy their mom had with life and the things God created and sent to her...like rain, snow, sons, husband, music.  
My husband is not a dancer but he has publicly danced with me twice (very special moments to me).  And as he has grown to know me through the years, he has acquiesced to my pleas to dance at home more often than not :)
I know as I age my knees will not bend as low and I can’t spin without risking vertigo, but today I danced and realized I have never danced alone really.  My dance has truly always been with my Lord in the joy of the blessings He has given me.  The yearning to dance is just Him pulling me closer to Him and I will always love the closeness I feel when I am seeing God  in my life.  I rejoice in the Lord my God!  

When Jesus told the story of the prodigal son who returned home He told of the welcome home party with music and dancing ( Luke 15:25).  So I know that one day I will be able to dance in heaven in praise to Jesus for His love for me and His forgiveness of my sins!

Today I heard the whisper of God in movement of dance in music as I praised His Name for the blessings He has given me :)
“Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;  let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.  Let them praise His Name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbre and harp.”  Psalm 149: 2-4

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Battles

Battles are intense. Your life, your eternal life is on the line. I’ve never been in a battle for my life like soldiers, battered women, victims of violent crimes have been. But I have fought on the battlefield of my mind and heart many times. When I was younger it seemed I breezed through battles with hardly a scratch. Now that I am older it seems there are scars left and some wounds that have yet to heal.I find myself wanting the war to be over so I can go home... be done with fighting. But just as soldiers have to continue on, just as police officers get up and fight crime...I cannot give up. A warrior gets tired and needs refreshing, nourishing, encouragement...and in some seasons so do I, and I am sure you do as well. I wonder what difference I have made if any. I wonder if I am useful at all to God. I ache in body and spirit each morning . The battle seems long and hard, and yet I can pray along with David,the psalmist, like this: ““May the Lord, my rock, be praised, who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare. He is my faithful love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him; He subdues my people under me. Lord, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭144:1-4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ I must persevere. I must not give up. I must prepare and do battle every day against the enemy. Who is my enemy? I will tell you for he is yours as well. It is the devil, the liar of all liars. “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-13‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ People are not the enemy...although it seems like it at times. The enemy is evil itself. And who am I to fight against evil? I am no superhero...I am a tired, battle worn old woman. How can I expect to fight much less win the battle? The answer is I can’t. But I serve the One who can. “You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.’ ”” ‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:17‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ So when I am weary...or when you are weary... remember the victory is already won and the battles that we face we are not expected to win on our own power. We have the Lord fighting for us. I am preaching to myself...reminding myself of these facts. “A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ “Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:12-13‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ There is a song that reminds me of how much I need the Almighty God to fight for me. It is called “Fight For Me”.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Deserving



I wrote this song a few months ago .  With a circle of friends we have been going through the book of Revelation and chapter five just resonated with me.  It speaks of how deserving Jesus is of our praise and worship.  So this song is one of praise to the One who saved me from a life of sin and death and walks with me each day, renewing my mind and creating a new heart in me.  Only God can do that work!!

"Deserving" by Pammy Martin copyright 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

Preparing for Fifth Grade!



As the school year is about to begin, I relish the time spent in preparation.  I have all the books in order on my bookshelves.  Notebooks and pencils are ready.  Teacher's guides and textbooks are ready.  The only things I have to do is to order two sets of activity sheets...one for Science and one for Eastern Hemisphere.

We are so looking forward to our Sonlight 5th grade year!  Our first year was last year and it was the first year of homeschooling that my son actually was excited about math, and by the end of the year really ENJOYED reading!  He actually pleaded to do Sonlight again this year!  I love the time saving lesson plans, which gives me more time to actually teach and do hands on activities.

This year we plan on adding a cooking curriculum since he wants to be a chef which will involve learning the chemistry of cooking, trying new recipes, and interviewing local chefs and restaurateurs. Also, we will be working on learning to read music and using the voice as an instrument.

Sonlight Curriculum is the best! With prayer, enthusiasm, and coffee as well as support from our local homeschool group ....I have a really good feeling about this year !!
Sonlight Curriculum

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mandolin Pruning





This afternoon my friend Bill did a little “pruning” on my mandolin.  The sound of the mandolin is really good.  It is in tune.  It plays well.  Until you get to this certain spot.  At one particular fret the two strings which are supposed to be perfectly in tune with each other were not.  He agreed to check it out and see if he could fix it.  He has the tools needed to do that kind of precision work.  So off came the saddle, off came the strings, off came the bridge.  I didn’t know how to fix that issue even though it is my instrument.  There was some cutting done and filing.  The notches in the bridge were changed with a cutting file.  Then the actual metal frets themselves received some sanding and friction and were changed to be lower than they were originally.  After that the frets were a little flat, not rounded and shaped the way they needed to be, so more sculpting was done with a special tool for shaping.  Soon the frets were back to a shape that would be easy for the strings lay on at the perfect angle.  All of this was done in tiny increments, a little at a time.  Finally the fretboard was polished and cleaned as was the body of the mandolin, new strings were installed.  The problem was checked and it was fixed but there was one more little spot that needed attention.  Once again two strings were moved into a different position and the bridge notch was filed a bit and strings put back in place.  Pressure was applied by changing the bridge height a little.  And …voila!  Now the mandolin sounds really pretty and plays like it is supposed to….and once I learn to play it well, the music will hopefully be beautiful!  😊

As I was watching this process, this Scripture kept coming to mind and I was made aware that God has to “make adjustments” that can be “cutting” and “rough” to His children too.   But what struck me the most was why He does it.  Just like that mandolin needed to be worked on to continue to produce pretty music, we as Christians need to be worked on my our Maker to continue to bear fruit.  And just like the joy that comes from hearing the mandolin being played and the sounds it is able to produce, Jesus wants our joy to be complete by having us abide in Him.  It was such a beautiful picture to me of how God works in our lives to bring us joy in ways we may not really understand all the time.

So this is the Scripture on my heart tonight...Jesus said "I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that DOES bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."


Sometimes I think I have had the idea that when I am going through difficult seasons of life, or troubles, or temptations, or worries, or hardships....I have had the idea that it is punishment...And sometimes God does use consequences of actions as a disciplinary action ...because He loves me. I have experienced His discipline in the past, I assure you.


But just going through difficult times emotionally or struggling with things in life does not always mean that you are being disciplined. No, these words of Jesus say that the branches (that's us who love and follow Jesus) that ARE bearing fruit (meaning being productive for the Lord, spiritually productive, doing what it is He asks of us, not being rebellious)...we can receive things in our daily life that are pruning.


And pruning is not a punishment...it is a help.


But pruning can be painful because there is a cutting away ...and anytime there is a cut, there is pain.


The pruning though is because God sees that we ARE being fruitful, and He wants us to continue to be fruitful. He wants us to turn into His arms even more and grow in the way He shapes us to grow. Why? So we can grow more fruitful and show that we are His disciples....because by this God is glorified!


" Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples."


The pruning is done not out of meanness or hate or disappointment, but just because it is necessary to grow...and it is done out of love. LOVE. LOVE.


"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love."


And Jesus wants us to know this so that we do not get discouraged when pruning comes...He wants us to understand and receive joy...His joy!!!! What a difference that makes in how I see struggles and trials in my life!


"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. " John 15 : 1-12

Line by Line

My son and I have been spending time doing art...pencil drawings that we found on YouTube.  It has been fun and educational as we learn to d...