Apple of My Eye

IMG_3425What does the term “apple of the eye” mean? It is the reflection in the center of the pupil, the dark circle inside the iris. To view the “apple of one’s eye,” you must look closely into someone’s eyes. In the “apple”, you will see a minute reflection of your face. Go ahead, try it. You must get “up close and personal” to see it.

The Lord declares that we who follow Jesus are the “apple of His eye.” God desires intimacy. When He looks deep into the eyes of  His believers, He expects to see a reflection of Himself. He longs for His Bride to look into the eyes of her Bridegroom and see herself reflected there. As we embrace the privilege and joy of being Christians, we are now the Lord’s special people. May our love for our Beloved Messiah deepen as we draw closer to Him. May we long for Him to see in us a mirror image of His love and character.

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Udderly Mistaken

It started with a trip to a dairy farm. We were all herded single file through the rooms with grey cinder block walls and floors and the Mexican workers sitting beside the cows. The udders hung full and swayed heavily as the cows slowly headed single file through the metal shoots. Into the milking room and the smells of hay and animal filled my nostrils. All the cows were milked. We saw the whole process as kindergarten kids but I don’t remember any milk that we drank. It was just a field trip. The closest I got to cows.

Years later, in my complete naiveté, I stood beside a life-size statue of an animal. I called to my Dad from several yards away, “Hey Dad, watch me milk it.”

His shocked face and squinted eyes stared at me. He quickly pleaded, “June, please go get your daughter.”

I did not actually touch the statue and I was ignorant of my mistake since the hanging bulge looked like an udder to me and I had never seen anything except “cows.”

So, when it was explained, “Ruth Mary, that is a bull.” I was mystified and embarrassed.

You would think at age 19 I should have known better. Ah, the dangers of early childhood impressions. I was indeed, “udderly mistaken.”

Social Settings

I hated social settings because they made me fearful and nervous. I was in 6th grade and had just started wearing pantyhose. Since we were always on a tight budget, my mother would generally buy the cheapest items, regardless of quality. I was at a wedding reception in a dress, pantyhose and heels.

The hotel banquet hall was lavish in its décor of reds and gold with tantalizing foods spread in abundance. Two glorious silver fountains beckoned thirsty guests to come and be refreshed. My mother discreetly informed me that one fountain offered champagne and the other was merely punch. She cautioned me because one time in their early years of ministry, my father ignorantly proceeded to drink champagne, much to my mother’s chagrin. Since she often reminded me that I had hardly any common sense, she was making sure that I wouldn’t repeat my father’s faux pau.

Obediently, I steered clear of the champagne fountain. I was sipping my drink while holding a plate with cake, nuts and mints on it, wondering where I could sit and eat without having both hands occupied. My eyes were scanning the walls for an empty chair when a waitress came to me.

She was short in her black dress, fishnet stockings, crisp white apron and cap. “Honey, you dropped your bottom.” She promptly skirted away to continue her tasks for the evening.

I was thoroughly mystified and mortified. My mind reeled. “Are my pantyhose hanging bunched around my ankles, again? Or has the entire waistband dropped and the pantyhose are lying on the floor around my shoes? Is my slip hanging? What in the world did she mean, “I dropped my bottom!”

I found my mother and through gritted teeth told her what the strange lady said. “Mo-ther, what did she mean? I dropped my bottom?” My mother looked at me with twinkling merriment as recognition dawned on her.

“Oh, honey, she means the bottom of your cup.” She walked to the non-forbidden fountain to demonstrate that these cups came in two parts to be assembled. By the time she finished explaining verbally and visually, all I longed for was that the reception would finish and I could go home, far away from social gatherings, baggy pantyhose and dropped bottoms!

Dig Deeper to Why?

I wanted to learn to use a spinning wheel. At historical sites, I watched women dressed in traditional fashions of colonial times. They seemed to effortlessly spin yarn, dip candles, embroider and demonstrate skillful crafts to the admiration of all who watched.

I wanted to learn to massage people. Tommy was paralyzed from the neck down because of polio. He was seventeen and I was seven. As he sat in his wheelchair I massaged his neck, shoulders and back. He was so thankful that I took time to talk to him and massage him. It made me so happy to know that I could make him feel special.

I wanted to play the guitar. My oldest brother played for the Youth Sunday in church. He led the congregation to worship God with new songs. I loved singing hymns and I also enjoyed these more vibrant, peppy songs.

What was behind these desires and interests? Something much deeper wove through the fleeting attempts of pursuit.

I wanted to influence people, to touch their hearts, to see their lives change and ultimately to be used to draw them closer to God. I wanted to make them feel special, loved and cared for as individuals. I wanted them to feel valued and significant—not apart from God but with Him.

But, Why Writing?

Words. God chose words to write a book for all time. He used words to create all that we see in Creation. He could have used anything but He chose the power and beauty of language.

On a much smaller scale, I want to use words to draw people to Him.

Bloomin’ Cactus

My Christmas cactus is abundant with vibrant, pinkish-red blossoms. They cascade in all directions draping on the dining room table. By contrast, it only bloomed a little during the years that I lived further north in Alaska.

I contemplate….is it a picture? Regardless of some challenging circumstances the cactus never died. It took all its’ energy to produce a few blossoms in a severe climate. Two or three flowers adorned the green foliage every year.

I am in a different season—a time of rest and reflection. Through difficult situations, I persevered, relying on God’s grace. I stayed faithful and committed through His nurturing love and care. In this new place, my soul is being restored. Like the cactus, my life is blossoming with astounding beauty and joy.

A New Start

Sharing my poetry with you today.

New fallen snow
Is an amazing sight
Covering everything
In brilliant white

The sparkling diamonds
And fiery hues
Seem blinding
In the sun.

Like a zillion prisms
Reflecting the rainbow
Is the promise
Of God’s mercy
To forgive and
Cleanse everyone.

New, fresh, virginal
Unmarred by man
Or beast
Unlike a shroud
That merely hides
The ugliness underneath.

The snow,
Permeating deep,
Obliterates
The old trails
The places
Where we once trod

No longer exist
Because of
The forgiveness
Of God.

Ruth McElwee

Burst Bubbles

Do you remember soap bubbles? As children, we delighted in the dazzling rainbow colors, gently blowing the bubbles as they wafted in the breeze. Then, all too soon, they popped.

Like those soap bubbles, life is both fragile and beautiful. For a brief time, we enjoy the experience, and then, all too soon, it is over.

We desire simplicity but the rat race continues—chasing the wind, grasping at nothing, while hoping for something. It is ironic that after years of labor, sweat and personal sacrifice, achievements mean so little. The trophies collect dust, the accolades fade, and the successes of yesterday pave the way for the new award winners. We can take nothing with us when we leave this world. To seek worldly wealth in exchange for a vital relationship with Jesus Christ is to attempt to hold on to soap bubbles.

Dead Bones Rising

Many of us have skeletons in the closet. Things that we are ashamed of and that bring pain to our hearts. Those things in the past that have threatened to destroy us and that we have conveniently swept under the rug to forget. But God can take those very brittle and hard things that have shaped our lives and breathe life into the dry, dead bones. He can restore us and use those very bones to be like an army that stands strong to deliver us and others.

You Can’t Fail…if you never try

Greetings! I am so glad that you stopped by. It’s a new year and time to try new things. Have you ever wanted to do something but you’ve been so overwhelmed with fear that you just didn’t? I don’t mean anything negative but those things that would benefit other people? You know, all those “someday” goals that only slip by year after year? Well, I have. So, this year I am finally stepping out from all those places where I was so worried about offending someone or doing something I later regret, or just hiding my gifts.

I have wanted to be a writer for a long time—even back when I was a little girl. So a sampling of what you will find on this blog are poems that were written many years ago. There will be devotionals, poetry, thoughts and emotions that I want a venue to share. They will touch no one’s life sitting in a box waiting to be seen someday. I hope that you receive encouragement, insight or just a feeling that someone cares, when you drop by to visit.

I found this poem from back in my high school days. The emotions of it are still strangely appropriate as I venture into this new world of blogging.

I look at this blank

white sheet of paper

My pen poised in my hand waiting

to write.

My thoughts run through my mind

wondering what topic I should choose

Many are excluded as uninteresting

or too deep.

I think of how I’m to keep

my reader interested

Once I’ve picked my topic

and know what to write.

I wonder how

I’ll put into words

Exactly how I feel

and think.

With all my restrictions

I feel walls closing in on me

And I put away my blank

 white sheet of paper.