Friday, December 20, 2013

A Baby Bump Divine

A Baby Bump Divine

Not Kanye or Kim,
Nor William and Kate.
But Mary and Joseph,
A betrothal state.

No personal message
Or e-mail gave word.
Mary did Face-time
With and Angel of the Lord.

Joseph would wonder,
Perplexed, confused.
“The Voice” in a dream…?
He’d obey and choose.

So they checked all the sites
Of how to pack light.
Headed out to register,
A “Modern Family” flight.

No Paparazzi
Shadowed the pair.
Nazareth to Bethlehem,
No Rolls, but a mare.

It wasn’t the Waldorf,
The Hilton or Ritz.
But a back room rental
Minus the glitz.

“Listen to the Sound of Music,
It’s live from the sky!”
A shepherd tweets timely
As angels fly by.

Prophesied, on a watch list,
A Royal Baby born!
(Yet His crown…
A circle of thorns).

The Wise Men came bearing
The scent and the bling.
On-line shopping under
Gifts for THE King.

“True Blood,”
God in the flesh.
But perfect in purpose
To fix our big mess.

Though Satan swings
His “Wrecking Ball” through,
The GodCare Plan
Is individualized for you.

The Christmas Child vanquishes
All the “Blurred Lines.”
For righteousness divides
And clearly defines.

So don’t be caught up
In the “Walking Dead.”
For Jesus is life,
You're Eternally fed.

Snap a “selfie,” and
“Tag” Jesus, the Lord.
Update your status,
He grants you great reward!

Christ with us
“Breaking Bad” from our will.
“Happy, Happy, Happy,”
A Dynasty of Grace fulfilled.

Merry Christmas 2013
Coleene VanTilburg

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hidden Manna

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of a fire. Not just any fire, but our fire...

THE fire, a spark and a flame that changed my family’s life; significantly and spiritually changed mine.  

Where the light is coming through, is where Christmas bins rested. 

The burning, the gaping holes in the roof, the smoky yet wet stench conjure up an image of a violation of all we came to depend on, all we take for granted. In one mere wind-whipped moment, life happens. Firemen roll up their hoses, police take their reports, neighbors give hugs, but desperation moves in, confusion calls frequently and regret ransacks all that remains.

While sifting through the ashes, salvaging anything slightly recognizable, intact, scorched but not permanently scarred, I found hidden treasure.  Almost all of my Christmas d├ęcor incinerated, yet a miracle in the desert of debris revealed itself. Crystal angels and every piece of my Nativity Set, I began pulling from the rubble.  Gone, the wooden stable, just like my own walls, left this precious  “Christmas Family” without a covering.  In that moment as I held the characters of the Christmas Story, God overwhelmed me with His mercy. 

Jesus the Christ, the Savior of the World, came to us through a specially chosen young girl, and a devout and obedient young man. His birth announcement sang out by the heavens to lowly, stinky shepherds and to Wise men deliberately searching and waiting for a sign.  Here He is, the Babe, a ceramic figure, covered in soot and I held Him tight as tears dripped down my own ashen face.  In this moment, Manna from Heaven poured into my soul, extinguishing the cinders of rebellion and filling me with a hope and a strengthened foundation, a good place to rebuild.

On my knees, I take in the Hidden Manna; a promise to me that I continue to feast on while God helps me discard the rubble of my life.  

I took each figure and with a toothbrush and time, cleaned them up.  Mary, her unwavering belief and innocent reverence, Joseph, His love and protection for his betrothed, the shepherds and sheep, a reminder that the Lord is our Shepherd. Even the one lost sheep, He will seek, find and restore. The Wise men, their crowns and testimony of knowledge from their searching in the heavens of the Words of promise from ancient days, their reward to see Him and present Him their gifts.  Even the gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh, remind me of purity and eternity, that which perseveres, and becomes refined after a fire.

Manna from Heaven, no longer hidden in what once looked like a pantry of a stale spirit, but rising in the Bread of Life. 

With a Cornucopia of Thanksgiving, the Manna of His provision overflows with fruit, filled with seeds of a continued pursuit of purpose.  Work lay ahead of me. Rebuilding took a diligent effort and a lot of prayerful planning time. His provision for me gave me sustenance to endure the wilderness. 

A fire. A purposeful flame. I see now, your  foundation on which to stand, on which to rebuild a life with a testimony. Thank you for persuing me Lord.

 A lost sheep, found again and wiped clean of what dulled His Glory, a  journey I began. Eternally thankful for the burning, for the rescuing, for the restoring, for the revealing of what lay hidden within me, He continues to show me beyond the worldly walls, and I continue to stand on a firm foundation of His sovereign plan. 

Help me Lord, to grace those around me with uncovered manna, to share what God redeems. Amen. 

These crystal angels, no chips or melting occured. Hidden Manna: A favorite,  my son's cub scout sleigh frame, (and in time I'd come to know how very precious its survival was), and a puffy heart that says:"Christmas is Love." The little dough angel's wings are discolored but functional! I dug these out of the blackened debris. 

Timmy's stocking, the only one that survived. I still hang this one today. 

With a new "stable," the Nativity.

Thoughtfully yours, Coleene   

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mickey-Mousing It

Shoosh, Shoosh, down the hill and over the moguls. We tried to go at least 3-4 times during the season. We owned our own equipment, so semi-seriously we took on the sport.  I loved skating as a kid, so skiing felt like something I might be OK at. 

 Yep, just OK.  

Only one time I made it to a run I had no business being on. Definitely a mistake, getting on that wrong lift. It took me to the very top of Heavenly Valley.  The view--totally worth it, but how to  maneuver myself down the hill without killing myself or someone else? That  presented a problem.  I think If I remember right, I sort of butt-skiied and sort of side-stepped down past the steep bumpy snow. Heading for the lodge to meet Ted, I think he had something to do with that little "adventure."  

We've left the mountain, the cold, the equipment, the exhilaration of navigating down a hill on your boots and skiis, swiftly, smoothly and successfully with our youth. The snow boarders will relish the thought we are not in their way.  

Team Imua 
Gone are the days of outrigger racing. My only athletic requirement?  --Getting the kid and eventually two kids and the dog in the car, down to the race, follow the race, unpack the bunch and cheer on the team. Occasionally, going on the escort boat for longer races required some boating experience--keep the racers hydrated!   Ted, on the other hand, practiced 3 nights a week, ran several miles a day and raced every weekend from April through October for fifteen years.  

Ted in center

Great memories of special friends and trips to Hawaii captured in many photo albums recall those early days of our young married life.  

Then, we coached.  I say we, because you know team mom came into play many times.  
Ted coached little league and soccer. Soccer became a weekend ritual for all three boys. Ted succeeded in coaching and mentoring and my boys and others were blessed by his knowledge and passion.  

Trophys are dusty, medals are packed away in memory boxes.  

Time ticks on. Golf clubs almost outnumber tools in my little garage.  Old ones, used ones, borrowed ones, treasured ones. Someday I'd like to learn, but in the meantime I think Ted and I need a "sport" to enjoy with more time together. We need to fight this ticking clock and keep active.  

How about car racing, tobogganing...

Hang gliding? 

Space exploration or treaure hunting?

Pillaging or looking for honey? 

Check this list out: 

Searching for Nemo or exploring the Mississippi in a paddle boat.

Dancing to the steel drums and following wayward "spirits." 

Archeology and exploration.

Taking a Wild Ride, splashing down a mountain in a log jam. 

Visting Wonderland with a grinning cat, 

or the Wild West with Davy Crockett,  target shooting. 

Bug hunting in 3-D,  

An African Safari!    

So, this is it. Attempting to capture are youth, holding hands while strolling down Main Street, we intend on frequenting Disneyland, becoming card-carrying regulars. It gets me away from social media (not that I have a and Ted away from the remote control. I don't have anything to complain about when I'm at Disneyland and Ted can freely crack his jokes with my full attention.  

Disneyland, a magical place for inspiration, people watching, and child-like laughter that keeps one young. It's a place where love keeps blooming, where fairy tales become real and castles glow in the night sky. It's a place where a hard working, "mature" prince and princess can don Mickey ears and just be silly. 

Fireworks, parades, glorious displays of hope and happiness wait on the other side of the  turnstiles.  Until we get to Heaven, we'll take a little Disney to keep us animated and smiling. Mary Poppins said it best, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." 

Life is an E-Ticket and I want to enjoy it up until God buckles me in for my last ride!  

Besides all that...I think butteflies like to hang out at Disneyland too!  

"Every person has his own ideas of the act of praying for God's guidance, tolerance, and mercy to fulfill his duties and responsibilities. My own concept of prayer is not as a plea for special favors nor as a quick palliation for wrongs knowingly committed. A prayer, it seems to me, implies a promise as well as a request; at the highest level, prayer not only is a supplication for strength and guidance, but also becomes an affirmation of life and thus a reverent praise of God."

WALT DISNEY, Deeds Rather Than Words
Thank you Lord,  for Mr. Disney. 

                                                          When you wish upon a star
                                                       Makes no difference who you are
                                                           Anything your heart desires
                                                                    Will come to you 
Google image

Imagitively yours, Coleene  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Seeds of Harvest

 Jesus walked from city to city, town to town, healing every kind of disease. 

Cancer, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Cystic Fibrosis, Kidney disease, Crohn's disease, ALS, Emphysema, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's,  blindness, hearing loss. 

And every kind of sickness and condition, 

Depression, chronic allergies and asthma, anxiety disorder, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsey.

He looked out over the multitude and he FELT compassion. 

And He knew our need. 

Our need for The Savior.  

He knows the human condition, beyond critical...grave. 

Add to the diseases, homelessness, hunger, clean water, murder, suicide, "active shooters," addiction, abuse, human trafficing, genocide, rape, bullying, gangs, poverty, missing children, earthquakes, typhoons, tornadoes, accidents, wars and rumors of wars. 

Entitlement, arrogance, self-indulgence, anger, hurt, greed, 

Then He said to His disciples, 

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." 

A beautiful pattern of grace grows in each one of us.  We gather that grace and grow it under the sweet rays of love and He nurtures us. 

Behold, that tilting towards Him gave us a miracle of redemption. Plentiful, the seeds of purpose.  

Do we disregard the gift?  Is our beauty only a past memory? Where can the Christ in You be seen?  

His design in nature, a reflecion of His glory.  He calls us to the Harvest.  

Each seed plucked from its comfort zone. 

Layed out and individually touched. 

Looked at with compassion. Loved for a divine purpose. 

Separated from our sin, the chaff disregarded.  

Blown away onto a cross and whisked away with the wind of a rolled away stone. 

What held us so close, what gave us room to grow and develop our passions, also freely lets us go into the earth to further proclaim, bringing the beauty of His grace to another's barren land. In the Body of Christ, we develop our individual calling; for the ground around each of us needs compassion, healing, encouragement.  

Each one unique. No two alike. Black and White. 

Some wait in the gray area. Picked up and scattered afar, separated from what once made a difference, with a hard shell of...whatever...

He heals all the diseases, the sickness...the whatevers...

Return to the Harvest. Plant your "whatevers" deep in the soil of his softening grace and watch what sprouts.  

Where is your passion plot?  Can you feel the autumn winds of Harvest upon your cheeks?  Gather around the barns and begin preparing your heart and possibly the hearts of others to receive the banquet table of the Lord.  


In the Harvest of His Goodness, Coleene  

Matthew 9: 35-38.  

* google image.  


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ground Zero

Two projectiles, piercing humanity, striking out at God.
Flesh torn, metal exploding and fire blood drips down,
Pooling at ground zero.
Saturating the world at its center.

Unbelief pilots.  Mobs defy reason.
Terror crowns the Glory and evil dips his wings in compliance.
And blood streams down again,
Through the heart of the matter.
Nerve endings absorb the impact of the weight of it all.

Hallowed Ground opens up.
It is finished. Forsaken.
Earth shudders and the tree drips in wreckage,
Pounded down past the crust of regret.
Sacrifice for all, Greatest of Love is this,
A brother who lays down His own life…

The World is heavy and tears start to fall
The water and the blood move
To extinguish the fire burning soul deep.

The skies grow quiet, ashes fall
---And some fall,
Down on our knees,

Grace arises, removes the concrete rubble.
The stones of the living resolve, freedom fight.
Let’s roll.
And we believe again.
We know Love again.
We’re made Holy again.

Soldier on to make peace.
Shine light beams to Heavens door.
Honor the brave hearts,
In the stairwells of our lives.
Stretch out arms east to west,
Search out, pay it forward.
Glide on wings like Eagles in freedom.
Say, “I love you,” with grace abounding,
For it binds up the wounds.
Live fearless, transfomed.

Remembrance waters run deep.
Never forget that day, what was done,
What’s been undone.


Lamentations 3:20-23
"I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (NIV) AMEN."

 Thoughtfully, Coleene