Snake Pit (Sundays 6-Sentence Story)

Prompt:  MEMORY

Memory’s mostly snake pit.

Tormenting vipers of Yesterday…stealthy, fast, fangs pierce nightmares, daytime peace.

Toxic venom swirls through veins, infects Tomorrow’s hopes.

Why, I wonder, does memory save worst of moments, days?

Surely there were events, times, people of blessing, beneficent…

Somehow they get deleted:  mind’s hard drive refurbished, still faulty.

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.


Number Our Days

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #44: Numerology

Ennle (“casual)”, Christian blogger, poet & Bible student

V.J.’s weekly “assignments” are typically of a serious nature, and I tend to take them perhaps too seriously…stressing, as though I’m still in school and final grade depends on how well thought out and written my finished effort will be received by her.  Silly…but that’s the make-up of my constitution.  So when my initial comments to her expressed mild anxiety, she responded that she was sure I had a “favorite passage”, and that they were “numbered”.  I confess I had rather forgotten that, as a Bible student, I had much material to draw from…

Out of curiosity, I went to her link for “Token Rock”…no surprise to read I fit the “life path” description of Number 7.  The Bible is full of symbolism regarding numbers; for instance, 5 is considered the number for “grace”…and 7, symbolic of “perfection” or “completeness”.  I’ve deduced that my “7” is about the curse-ed “perfectionist bent”, nothing remotely close to being “perfect” in any saintly way.

So last night I was “cramming” to get the assignment completed, and went directly to the Old Testament’s book of Numbers.  Some people find it dry, but to me it’s fascinating, in particular the relationships between Moses, his brother Aaron, sister Miriam, and God.  But goodness, if I were to write about that it would take days, resulting in a long post none would read.  Which is where I’m already heading, I know…because I write the way I think, talk…

I’m grateful to have God as my writing partner…He sped up the process, reminding me of the verse in Psalms about “numbering our days”.  Since becoming a student of the Bible, I’m intrigued by, and have collected a fair number of Bible versions/translations for my library.  So let’s dive in for a short study, shall we?

Psalm 90:12, in the King James Bible reads:  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  Notice that the purpose of numbering our days is to “apply our heart” or study to gain “wisdom”.  In the New American Standard Bible, the psalm’s wording is, “That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” The focus is not merely to gain wisdom, but to be able to show an appreciation of what we’ve learned, to God.

And in the New Living Translation, same psalm, there is yet something more: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”  Life is relatively brief; thus, we are urged to respect the time and pay attention to becoming wiser.  I dare say God assigned me longer years than I might have liked because I was clearly a “slow student”…nearly 70, I’m only recently gaining a smattering of wisdom.

Before leaving this psalm and verse, I’ll include Young’s Literal Translation:  “To number our days aright let us know, And we bring the heart to wisdom.”  “Bring the heart to wisdom” is lovely language, I think…it’s not just about our thought-deluged brains, we collect wisdom in our hearts.

Job also spoke about our length of days.  “Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.” Job 14:5, NASB

And the New Living Translation puts a fine point on the same verse:  “You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” (underlining mine)

Psalm 139:16 (NASB) speaks about our Creator/Father God having seen and known us before our birth:  “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”   It’s worded slightly differently in the New Living Translation:  “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” 

And one last “numbering”, also from the book of Psalms (56:8)*, which reflects God’s loving attention to each one of us…so much so, that He’s kept track of our “wanderings”* (which is of particular comfort to me); He’s counted and kept/saved our tears*…and He’s even counted our “tossings”* (for those with sleep issues, I’ve interpreted 🙂 ).  ALL of these, God has written in His personal book on every single person He created.  As the Bible says frequently, “Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!” (The Amplified Bible)

*“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” English Standard Version

*“You have taken account of my wanderings; You have put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Berean Study Bible

Thank you, V.J. for a wonderful assignment this week…it did me good, I preached myself happy!! 🙂

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.

No Other Name, No Turning Back (A to Z Challenge, Letter N)

This being Passion Week, or Holy Week (in the Christian Faith), I’ve been enjoying a series on the History Channel called, “Jesus: His Life”.  It is by far the best docu-drama I’ve seen, in great part because of the panel of theologians and historians who offer insightful commentary throughout.  The acting is superior, lending vivid credibility to the prominent characters—people who were closest to Jesus—as they narrate their thoughts at pivotal points in each episode of the saga.

Watching, I experienced empathy for Mary, Jesus’ mother.  She’d received prophecy prior to her Son’s conception by the Holy Spirit, so she had some inkling of what the future held—yet, she was a mom.  She felt the impact of early slights, the prickly atmosphere of doubt, and the danger which surrounded Jesus and all of her family as He moved into His destiny.

Simon Peter’s delivery of his experience had me choked up with emotion.  Imagine being chosen to fulfill a mission of historical magnitude—Jesus gave Peter his new name and said, “upon this rock I will build my church”—and feeling imbued with confidence…only to betray the man he loved, who loved him.  His ache of failure was palpable, he felt there was nothing left but to return to fishing.  Then, after Jesus was crucified and it seemed there’d be no second chance for Peter to seek forgiveness, the Lord comes to him and restores him to his ordained position of leadership, during their conversation about love and “feeding, tending Jesus’ sheep”.

Mary Magdalene exemplifies Jesus’ power to heal and deliver.  She is among the women Jesus elevated to the same position as his male disciples, who provided support to His ministry.  The Church devalued women throughout its history—but Jesus never did.

There is no other name which carries power over death, power to heal and restore, to save eternally, to give us a holy identity—than that of JESUS.  Nothing but His shed blood on the cross would satisfy the requirement for reconciliation with God.  We are invited to freely accept and receive the sacrifice Jesus made for us, and acknowledge that He is who He says He is—the Son of God, Messiah, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Risen Savior.

As many of the people in this docu-drama portray, my experience and testimony is also that, once you’ve been touched by Jesusyou can never go back to whatever, wherever, whoever you were before.  When I had the life-changing personal encounter with Him in March 2011, the impact of His love left me breathless; it sealed me forever—as though searing me with branding iron of ownership.  No matter what trials I encounter, the challenges of this faith-walk…its ebb-and-flow, mountains and valleys…regardless how dark it gets some days…I cannot imagine turning from HIS LOVE which is like no human’s.

I’m not an evangelist, nor teacher or preacher…I doubt I have sufficient influence to convince anyone that what I believe is Truth.  My only hope is that I might encourage people…by telling my story, the good/bad/ugly, with genuine authenticity, blunt honesty.  I don’t know everything, I’ve much yet to learn in whatever time remains to me.  If you choose not to believe—it won’t change my conviction.  I may have my craziness…but my relationship with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is not a figment of wild imagination or mental illness. 

HE IS REAL, He is my anchor, my refuge; He lifts me up and holds me together.  If He is all I ever have…He’s all I need, desire.  He chose me when I was a lost child…He set me apart for Himself in ways that often felt like a curse of alienation…and even when I was unaware, He has walked with me everyday of nearly 70 years, calling me “beloved daughter”.  I have the lesser status of many marginalized citizens—low-income, I’ve nothing which reflects society’s definition of success.  But I am wealthy within, because I know to Whom I belong…and no one can steal that from me.

If I don’t share about this fire burning in my heart, the Bible says the rocks and stones will cry out…and I’m not about to let them have the mic 🙂

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39, Berean Study Bible

“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” Deut 4:39, KJB

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6, NLT

“Speak up and present your case—yes, let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is none but Me.” Isaiah 45:21, Berean Study Bible

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot.” I Peter 1:18-19, Berean Study Bible

“…Justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as an atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and to justify the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26, Berean Study Bible

“Then Peter began to speak: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism, but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. He has sent this message to the people of Israel, proclaiming the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” Acts 10:34-36, Berean Study Bible

Bible Verses:

Gotta Whine….Update for Followers

I was thinking, “gotta rant”…which led my brain to sing the old song, “Gotta Dance”…but never mind…  I’m tired and cranky—Why?  Well, I’m gonna tell ya:

Just had a rather unproductive “chat” with WP Support re the issue I’m having with the Reader not loading ALL the posts which should be appearing.  

I tried explaining what I see as “shadows” of posts which should continue loading clear and visibly (like the preceding ones which are cooperating); but they didn’t get it, wanted a screen shot…which I couldn’t do…

Support “chat person” reported that Reader loads fine for them.  Great, wonderful!  Still not working for me!  I tell them my browser is Microsoft Edge—the default in Lenovo Windows 10 laptop (“ideapad 330”). 

This is a brand new laptop for me; I was overjoyed to get it up and running…expecting sunny skies ahead for my blogging career.  Not entirely so, as this Reader problem personifies storm clouds.

Support tells me to try another browser.  I go to Internet Explorer, which I only use for making those cool Tagxedo word clouds.  Explorer is slow, and teeny-tiny-everything.  The laptop’s Microsoft Edge is set up to display LARGER, for my vision issues (and relative sanity).

Anyhoo, the Reader doesn’t load any better at Internet Explorer—same issue.  I briefly considered installing Mozilla Firefox…which used to be my go-to browser…but I was, by then, feeling fragile…with a huge headache.  Didn’t want to tempt Fate…

So, here’s the plan:  I will no longer be using WP Reader.  I will instead, as I did earlier today, use my blogroll—and visit everyone’s blog daily (unless something prevents) to read your current posts, and like/comment.

I’m willing to make adjustments, as life demands. (Smile pasted on clenched jaw.)

Now, the caveat:  if somehow I miss your posts (and you observe that it’s not just a temporary situation), I invite you to swing over here and let me know in the Comment box… I will strive to attend to business in my typically conscientious way.  Sound good?

I’m now going to take a pill, have dinner, and chill.

You, my readers, are all so wonderful, bringing assorted (like chocolates) blessings to my life.  I will not give in to temptation of jumping off balcony with laptop…I will soldier on with courage and good cheer.


Sea of Likes

(Sea of Galilee)

Fearing you may see a Sea of Likes

I languish on stressed midnight shore…

Apologies, for what it’s worth

Of comments there may be a dearth.

You know I’m faithful, generous

I visit, read you everyday…

Am now requesting patience gracious

Laptop/blog issues have had their way…

But soon, I’ve faith, I’ll applaud you more 🙂


True testimony of a Miracle:

Miracles still abound today…I shouldn’t be stunned to report this, but I never feel quite deserving of one.  My laptop was truly driving me mad, not playing well with WP Reader at all…and I’m no tech-whiz, so I couldn’t establish what the salient problem was.  I was quickly unraveling…almost hoping wind would knock the power out so I’d have a legit excuse to abandon April ship.

But I’m not called an “overcomer” for nothing…and isn’t if fitting that my theme for A to Z is “Faith”, because when that’s all you got (no other support resources), you’re pressed to “work it, baby”.

Here’s the back story:  last year when I was having issues with said laptop, I impulsively splurged on a new model.  I was hoping the Windows 10 with larger screen would relieve my increasingly poor vision.  As with most impulse buys, I soon regretted it—because a) there was much to learn…I was used to Windows 7; and b) in my impatient pounding/clicking here and there, I was certain I’d somehow brought on a virus (I’m so powerful)…dead, it seemed.

So I boxed it up, with plans to take it to my professional tech when I had funds…and retrieved the old laptop which, although imperfect, was able to get most jobs done.

Tonight, fully aggravated with it…I prayerfully wondered if “just maybe” the new one had rested up, been “healed”.  It was worth a look-see, before throwing myself off the balcony…or calling my tech for an appointment.

There are no words to express my awe-filled gratitude, as God had faithfully taken care of all things tech, and this old poet.  I turned the newer laptop on…and amazingly, I found my login info amid the haphazard pile of post-it notes, so was able to get “in”.  Next came the “hold your breath” moment—because last time I checked, it wouldn’t move, similar to a virus attack.  A hushed Hallelujah would be appropriate here—no virus.  It warmed up, cooperated with my every click…so I spent some time learning “10”, enough that I could attend to night-owl blogging.

Cynics may write this off as a tech glitch resolved—not me.  I know God’s eye is on the sparrow…and everything which concerns sparrows, including computers.

And the bonus?  I’m so glad I hadn’t already taken the laptop to my tech…I saved the $100+ I couldn’t afford.  My God is awesome!

As I’m still getting accustomed to Windows 10, I anticipate “everything blog” may be slow for awhile…re my reading and responding to readers.  Apologies in advance 🙂

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.


Hardship, What Doesn’t Kill You…

Fandango’s Provocative Question #20

“Does hardship really make a person stronger? If you think so, under what conditions and at what point is it too much hardship? If you don’t buy that hardship makes a person stronger, what do you think does make a person stronger?”

Do I believe hardship makes us stronger?  Ultimately, Yes…if we can press through the hardship.  But everyone has limits, breaking points.  My least favorite saying is, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”…usually backed up by quoting the Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13, which speaks about temptation.

I consider myself a devout Christian who loves God and believes He is good.  However, what are multiple suicide attempts, if not evidence I’d reached “more than I can handle”.  I’m neither proud, nor ashamed, to admit these times of desperation…and obviously God was determined that I survive to fight another day or foe. 

The thing about failing at suicide more than a couple times is that I realized the futility, and had to figure out better coping strategies.  The last attempt was 1991…and in the years that followed I purchased a handgun which remained in my bureau drawer for 15 years.  It was a strange comfort to have it—and proof of increasing strength that I never used it.  (Because it had not been fired, I sold it for the purchase price…which I’m told is not common practice.)

So yes, hardships of various description, over six-plus decades, have made me stronger than I would have imagined when I was younger.  There are still difficult times when I wonder how I can manage another day…but then I recall how often, and far God has brought me, grit my teeth as I pray…and keep keeping on.  The Lord won’t let go of me.

Here are some verses I meditate on:

Deuteronomy 7:9
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him…”

Psalm 124:7
“Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.”

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.

Bible Verses:

Image: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
File:Standing Female Figure in Armor Drawing Her Sword (Minerva or Bellona) MET DP832937.jpg

Deep Breath…April’s Challenge Month

Just a reminder to readers that my theme for the A to Z Challenge is “Faith”.  I’m taking a leap of faith that I’ll make it through the alphabet successfully…and also Na/GloPoWriMo, running concurrently (National/Global Poetry Writing Month). 

Be advised that I expect the “faith” posts will mostly reflect my Christianity…so if that’s not your cup of tea, I’ll respect your choice to skip them.  There’s sure to be other posts each day which may entertain, inspire or move you…as I’ve advised Muse there will be no vacation or sick days permitted during April 🙂

I hope this will be a fun time for all writers and readers—be of good cheer, and keep the faith…we can do this!!

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.