Friday, March 2, 2018

I Just Had a Thought...

It's Funny - Words
by Nina B.

I was just listening to an old song by Fernando Ortega and the song struck a cord with me.:-)

He sings about asking the Lord to "....make me whole". 

I'm sure someone out there has had this lightbulb moment as well: The word "whole", of course, is a homonym to "hole". Homonym are words that sound the same, but have different meanings. In this case actually, an opposite meaning, making the words an antonym as well. 

Hole means - a hollow place, a cavity, empty...

This, whole means - all of; entire...

So when we ask Jesus to make us whole, we truly are empty, (holes), of ourselves - being so much less the potential God has in store for us...

....and only He alone, can fill us... can fill me...

Who wouldn't want that?

Soli Deo Gloria 

Fernando Ortega - Lord of Eternity


If we think ourselves already full, one should question; with what are you full of? God desires to fill our holes/our lives with Himself, which is only Good. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Lightbulb by Nina B.

I've been a teacher for nearly twenty years, actually more if you count teaching on the college level and at night while teaching elementary school during the day and tutoring on my off nights from the college classes - that was a crazy time. For a treat, I would drive to the Oak Brook McDonald's before heading home and order a cheese burger with onions - only. My supper during those nights... back in the day when I ate meat.

God has delivered me and I have come a lonnnngggg way baby! I did that for two years to bring in much needed income. I didn't sleep much then... And as my children would recount - they didn't see much of me, so it was good that I taught full time at the school they attended, so I did see them and I did do mom things like: make breakfast, (weekend breakfast was my favorite - fried potatoes with onions), lunches, (my son tells me that he used to sell his lunch - I took special care into making them... special), suppers and wash the laundry and clean the house, (I hated cleaning under the boys beds - the mysteries of untold stories of where those "missing things" went...) - you know - mom stuff.

Once upon a time...way back when, it was my joy to simply be a mom at home - back then I was a homeschooling mom!

Good Lord, the kids and I looked like something out of "The Little House on the Praire".

I took pride in doing many things from scratch... breads, bagels, cookies... The kids used to beg to have store brought cookies. I was a part of a food coop... We had a vegetable garden.... It was good that I wasn't too handy with the sewing machine... But with six kids - we made due with lots of hand-me-downs...

Life was good. Thirteen years good... But then in 2000, I went to work as a teacher in a private Christian school in Chicago's Little Village. I didn't think I was giving up being a mom, I just figured that my family just grew...

Now looking back, with an empty nest and flickers of retirement looming ahead, I had a lightbulb moment....

My children had me as mom exclusively for thirteen years and really, I'm still their mom, no matter how far and how old they get, the connection is still true. However, it is and was also true for the thousands of other children who became mine throughout the course of school years. I get funny stares from my 21st century parents on parent/teacher night when I announce that for the time their children are with me, they become my own and so I parent, while of course supporting them too. For sure, it's a partnership.

Now remember,... my kids had me exclusively for thirteen years, so when I became a "teacher" to other children it was a little hard... For all of us. My children had to learn to share me and realize that while they were and always are paramount in my life, there were others that put demands on my time and attention and love. I still love my very own dearly, but my love had to grow, because I was / am a mom. To this day, if I refer to a coworker that happens to be near my children's age as my other child. My children really get attitude and are quick to remind me that they are exclusive and chosen and that any others, well... are ... Just other people.

I laugh, because my dear exclusive children know me... The family simply gets a little bit bigger...


God made the children of Israel exclusive to Him. They were His chosen people. They were the apple of His eye and had the job of drawing all nations to Him... But ... They didn't. They wanted, it seemed, keep God exclusively theirs and made rules and laws so important that no one could get to the God of Israel - this God that was so special...

But God's heart was/is too big to not share and He sees so many "other" children without a Father's love, not to offer His Love. Despite the grumbling and the walls and mountains and road blocks and  lies, and the stones and the crosses the children of Israel erected - God prevailed and allowed the family to simply get a bit bigger. God the Father sent His son Jesus to be our brother to bridge the gap over our sin... we, Gentiles just need to take His hand and go across the bridge that spans the divide...

Isn't that neat!?!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sustanibility: Do We Have the Stamina

This posting was much, much longer,... but less is more and I think you - whoever you are - will get my point.

So that we're all on the same page: Sustainability means the ability to maintain - avoid depletion.

Someone out there in the world is looking for that which can sustain; whether it be for fuel/food, or income. I would venture to say that we are all looking for something that can sustain us, but surely this means that we, ourselves are the "thing" that someone is looking for. Because we are the "thing" - we are in a constant never-ending search, because we, can not sustain - JACK!

Think about it... Energy source - nope, not really,.... Food - no thank you GMO's and all other sorts of science experiments,... Income - hello Lottery, (I don't play - I work!),.... Relationships,- I just have to look around my classroom at my students and the folks I work with, go to church with, see at the grocery store ... and BTW - I just have to look in the mirror... Till death, has become a myth...

We sustain nada!

Whether than consider resources and possibilities, folks don't want to do with less and they want to make sure that they have what they want and they want it NOW!

Oddly, in actuality, people do look for and expect others to sustain them!

Sounds like the mindset of a baby! A baby’s world is all about them.

To sustain, means that we are willing to go the distance...And sadly, I simply don't see mankind going the distance for much of anything, least ourselves and what we want. We are constantly on the lookout for the quick fix, thinking that it will surely hold us... but only until the next hit of the next "thing"... It's crazy, and we pity addicts.

Think of what we do to our children. We nurture our children to adulthood and then claim to "help out" our adult children, but make them dependent and so become co-dependent ourselves, because we want to sustain parenthood longer - because we like being needed and want to be needed and complain when it becomes a drain?!? This is not sustaining relationships. This is selfishness on all parts, and this is what makes the pockets of therapist bigger. Cut the strings and when the bough breaks, Johnny and Suzy will get up and grow-up. I need to hear this too.

However,... to sustain means to be sacrificial. To sustain means someone is going to give until there is nothing else to give - this is not temporal but eternal. Only God can sustain. God does not deplete Himself. God never runs out. God ALWAYS has something to give. God is

God has the ability to maintain sustainability forever. He does not need to avoid depletion, however, He is constantly, relentlessly conforming us into His likeness - being Christ-like. Not being a god, but having our Father God's characteristics because we are His children, (please, DO NOT think me a new ager - that, is pure craziness - but I digress). My earthly father lacked rhythm. I remember him being shy and attempting to enjoy the beat of a 50's crooner, as he danced behind a curtain separating the room - I am like my father. I lack rhythm and I do not dance. See? I have characteristics of my father, but I am NOT my father.

God orchestras scenarios for His children so we can become more like Him - having the ability to sustain - to go the extra mile - to maintain the stamina. To love more - PERIOD.

Think about the, what if... we simply loved more... Longer?... Not just harder... just longer...
What if we thought about someone else, rather than ourselves, for just a bit longer,...
What is we chose to do the right thing, for someone else, for a bit longer than our usual...
What if we sought after our Father God longer...

Father God pursues you,... me...un-relentlessly, with unbelievable love - unfathomable love - with a love that knows no bounds.

It is He who sustain us. He strengthens us for this life. He said this life would not be easy. He said we would not be happy... But, He said He would be with us ALWAYS and that joy comes...
Happiness is not joy. They are not the same. Sometimes, we can be happy, while other times we can have joy in deep sorrow… Happy doesn’t mix with sorrow… As an artist, I can see the pangs of sadness with the break of joy - it is a light buried deep - but is a glimmer that glows and melts the dark...

Consider reading His Book to you, (the Bible). It has living Words that can sustain you in this life.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Nina B.

This video is not my usual Christian music either, (like last month’s posting),, but because it lacks words and familiar music, I find myself being less distracted and more reflective. The composer is Johann Johannsson "Flight from the City". However, I really enjoy Max Ricther's compositions. The one that follows Johannsson's is "Meeting Again" - Exceptional.

Friday, November 24, 2017

I Once was Blind, but Now I Finally SEE

I listen to other music besides Christian pop
This is Max Richter's Departure Suite
Nice, but sometimes mind numbing, a place I visit.

I Once was Blind, but Now I Finally SEE
By Nina B.

My status changed over the summer. I went from being a driver to a commuter/walker.

One busy, late afternoon I was driving to pick up a former student for dinner. I had one former student in the passenger seat.  We were celebrating one of them entering college. However, a white van rear-ended me as I sat, stopped in line waiting for the light to change; and was pushed into the car in front of me… Sadly, the one doing the pushing drove off, not even checking to see if we were okay. I became the “meat” in the middle of two vehicles. My trunk was nearly accessible from the back seat!

Hence, I became a commuter and walker, (although, I always went for walks - but now I walk with a purpose -  to get places - not just for exercise).

At first it was hard. Actually, it still is… Being around people…

I never knew how much of a loner I was. The world I created for myself was very controlled. I only interacted with people that I chose, let alone look at people to see them. As a commuter and walker, you must be aware of who is around you at all times! It’s a safety precaution. 

(Aside: It hit me that I rarely look at myself! I don’t like what I see most times, and when I presume to see some strangers, I don’t like what I see in them either. Hence, Father’s work is never done within me.)

When I don’t want to bother with God’s image improvement plan for me, I avoid looking at myself. Once upon a time when I didn’t want to bother with people, I’d either drive a little earlier in the morning and go home later in the evening - less crazy people out on the roads! I’d sit in the back of church and disappear just at the last Amen. And during the sharing of the peace - I’d bury my head in drawing a picture on the back of the offering envelope - folks don’t usually bother you if you messing with your offering envelopes. I did my shopping usually on the same day at the same time so that the same people who’d I have to interact with, were in their usual same place. When I ate grilled salmon from Mariano’s; there would be the big fish butcher guy, (he’d see me coming and knew what I wanted every time - I was predictable - until the accident happened and I stopped eating salmon. (I stopped eating fish because the radiation problems with the Pacific Ocean - not because of the accident). I’d see the same farm stand lady, (she didn’t seem to like her job), the same cashier, … the same cart guy with the wild hair… I’d kinda see other shoppers, but I’d avoid making eye contact as much as they did. I’d move around them like a synchronized swimmer moving through water. I’d see a cart, the contents therein, a hand pushing the cart and I’d move… I’d rather look at the rows of pastas and bags of beans… The people would exist, but not to interact with - like Tennessee Williams, “Glass Menagerie” - the people around me were of specific collections… to be handle with care and at a distance - always…

I’d see my same students, the same colleagues the same staff... I’d interact with those I choose and the others, …  I am of the mind that what I do and what I think matters very little to most people - and that’s okay. It’s like the people at the store that I chat with - to be polite - they are numb, (like most people I see at work). They deal with people all day, everyday and have become de-sensitized to the constant droning of the noise that “people” make…


NOW, as a commuter and walker I see people like I’ve never have before - maybe it’s a novelty and will wear off - and become like constant droning… but I kinda hope not…

I see a young woman of about 25, with her little girl of about four. It’s some time after the dinner hour and to keep the pangs of hunger at bay the mom has purchased two bags of bargain hot and spicy cheese curls. A bag for each of them. They sit quietly, looking ahead at nothing as the scenes of our ride flash in seconds in the window. They lick their now red fingers as they eat and stare, silently.

I see a middle aged man, who is wearing a hoody. He is trying so hard to hide. He has the shakes - not from the cold. He’s clean, ...has an expensive cell phone that he checks for some message… good shoes… From time to time he looks up and out from his hiding place. His face is pallid. Empty. Searching.

I see a very large, overweight man wearing army fatigues. He’s in a wheelchair. He’s partially slumped over as he sleeps… He snores semi-loudly. His lips are thick and cracked. He wears a knitted non distinct sports hat. It’s pulled down over his ears, but held in place with those headphones that look like the tops of mason jars, but of course, more stylish.

I see an old woman who comes up to me when she sees me. She sometimes wears dark sunglasses when it’s already dark - she must be on medication that causes her eyes to hurt at the glare of any light. She always is dressed modestly, (and encourages me to wear a hat on my head). Her shoes are orthopedic and look heavy, but what shows of her legs are thick and strong. She is shorter than I am and she speaks in a thick Caribbean accent. She says, “Good Morning and God bless you”... She also blew my bubble totally away and hugged me.

I see so much now, however, still feel that I miss a lot,... like the man who was saying Happy Thanksgiving to me. I was in my bubble world and was hiding from the outside, by wearing my sunglasses and headphones, listening to Max Richter’s Departure Suite, but not too loudly in the event of danger, (I want to hear it coming if I miss seeing it first…). So, I heard a mumble of something as I passed and realized too late that he was speaking a kindness…

There’s so  much more that I can share of what I see - good, bad, ugly, rude, questionable…, but this already 4 pages and like Youtube videos that are longer than 20 minutes - who wants to read all this rambling...

So, what’s the point of seeing folks at this stage of the game… Seeing gives the point of entry into the game. The eye is the open window into the soul, (someone said once upon a time - I think it’s the heart - which is heavily guarded). Seeing provides the point of connection - when we do finally see. You connect with God when you see. It’s like He’s showing you His creation and gives you opportunity to work with Him to fix those that are broken or to share in the walk along the way... It’s like when a mom allows her child to stir the batter and then completes the work and serves a beautiful creation and the child is like, “Wow! I helped do that?!” The delight the mom has because the child is so happy... and the child wants to do more - so it is with the Father with us.

When we finally see, we have to do something. I can’t pretend there aren’t people there anymore. I can’t pick and choose whom I share Jesus with - He says I’m gonna break your bubble and push you out into the world so that you can be light and salt, to anyone I send your way.

For every disadvantage there is an advantage. My car was totaled, (I don’t feel that it’s God’s timing that I replace it just yet), so, I must get to work - not the busy work that I can do with my eyes closed, (that thing I do for 10-12 hours a day), but the labor of the Father where I must have my eyes wide open - allowing Father to open my eyes and see the work that is needed to be done.

Soli Deo Gloria

A photo I took some time ago and added a magazine pic 

Sunday, September 10, 2017


By Nina B.

My mother and father were not married, however, my father did give me his name and took responsibility for my welfare. Not only providing for me financially; there was an agreement between he and my mother that he would come every other Sunday and pick me up for a visit - usually just he and I, so that I would know him as my father and I would be his “Cookie”, (his pet name for me).

The earliest times that I remember was when I was about two or three and we’d walk to the park near where I lived and he pushed me on the swings, or encourage me to climb the monkey bars, or go down the slide or simply walk across the benches… And he’d take pictures of me - lots of pictures. These were indeed sweet times.
As I grew older our time together grew longer and we would venture to his neighborhood, and I remember feeling odd because the kids in his neighborhood, over by Garfield Park Conservatory, would stare at me. I’d complain and dad would calm my fears and simply explain - “They just don’t know you Cookie”.... We’d go to the park and have a “photo shoot”. He really did take a ton of pictures of me. He wanted to capture our times together…. I think he knew something I didn’t - that he wasn’t going to live to see me grow up.

God knows I miss those times of feeling that I was “The Princess”. I was indeed the apple of my father’s eye.

After our times in the park, with pose after pose by the geraniums, (they made my hands smell), we’d go to Woolworth and get ice cream. I always ate mine too slow and dad would have to clean me up with his handkerchief. A handkerchief was something that men used to have tucked away in their breast pocket of their suit jacket, that they usually wore when stepping out. Sometimes we would go back to his place with a pint or two ice cream from Walgreen's and my favorite soda at the time “orange or grape” and he’d make floats to go along with our pepper steaks and biscuits and peas. I think our meals were t.v. dinners because I remember the tin serving tray. T.V. meals or homemade, I still remember the taste - I loved it.

And I could do no wrong.

My father never raised his voice to me. Of course, I was an obedient child because after all, I was my mother’s child as well. One never did anything wrong. Looking cross-eyed got you “the look”. However, I do remember getting lost in a department store once. I didn’t even know I was lost. Dad didn’t notice that I let go of his hand and had walked away. I remembered my older sister was with me on this visit. I went to look at a Victorian style doll that was taller than the usual Barbie dolls, (they were still a novelty when I was a kid). The Victorian doll had a cloth like face that was painted. She had those over-sized eyes and her hair was done up in black ringlet curls. She wore a classic Victorian style, navy blue velvet dress with white lace accents. I was mesmerized as she turned under a glass cylinder with under lighting.  Dad didn’t know where I was. I don’t know how long I was simply standing, looking at the doll, but when he saw me and took up my hand again - it was as if I had been gone for days, (I’m sure it was no longer than five minutes, if that). But I could sense the panic in his grasp and in his eyes. The pain of that momentary separation scared the …. out of him. Me too - when I saw his eyes. I hadn’t meant to cause that pain. I was sorry - He knew I was. He didn’t scold me. He didn’t say anything. All was well with my hand back in his.

I remember waiting one Sunday after church for him to come. Looking down from our third floor window searching the street below for his humongous old Black car as each car passed. Mom said that it wasn’t the Sunday for our visit, but I waited anyway… and waited… One time I thought I saw him in a car. It was a big fancy convertible car… I ran after him calling, but it wasn’t him…

Even though I waited - in vain - for a long time, I still loved my father. He was still my dad… He still loved me… while we were apart… And he would come again, for me, another Sunday.

So, with the recent happenings of concentrated destruction and world powers gone totally out of control… Not to mention people seemingly not being in their right mind at all...  
Likewise, with the impending celestial event that has never happened before, but building, for some good folk - great expectation that our Heavenly Father - God, is returning for His children - soon - like in a couple of weeks.

Let us not loose hope...
…if He doesn’t come, when folks are expecting Him too - He's got the date already set.

He is still God. 

He is still our loving Father and will one day grab up our hands and we will look into His eyes and know that He loves us so much and that He wants us Home with Him.

Even though, it's not yet come… Have no fear...

And… Make a difference for those the Lord places within your circle.

Who do you see everyday? Have you shared your testimony? Do they know you’re a believer? Have you offered to ever pray for them? Have you offered to welcome them into the family? Have you offered hope? Do they know how to receive God's forgiveness? 

Tell them people... That's why they're in your circle of influence... Father - God planned it that way. 

Do not delay! Another Sunday is coming...

Always… Soli Deo Gloria

This is a video done by Pastor Robert Breaker of, (who shares a close resemblance to Pastor Thomas Johnson who is a few pounds lighter - okay, a lot of pounds lighter), that I found particularly interesting and thought some of you may as well.

Monday, July 31, 2017


Thoughts that I’ve Pondered in My Heart
By Nina B.

Mankind is like a tired stubborn child, who refuses to sleep or be comforted by its mother.
We strive after so many vain things that are inconsequential - that in the end, it’s total nonsense. We miss the beauty of the bigger picture? The grand scheme - to see ONE minute pixel, WE miss the glory of God, to only see our sinful selves and call it “great” when we are nothing - not even good - no, not one.
...And we’ve been doing this from the beginning. Why can’t we simply surrender and allow God to comfort the weary child - us?

Based upon that which is temporal - mankind
Is love always compromise?
Is there a love, where both parties “win”? Why is it that one person often gets more than the other? Why is there always a sacrifice - usually just from one?

Based upon that which is Eternal - God
We,  may never fully grasp the atonement for our sin, (I know, I don’t and therefore take it for granted). The total wrath of God was emptied onto Christ when He hung on the cross.
Jesus paid it all!
God only has love for us - no punishment - because of Jesus’ atonement - payment for our sins.
And there are folks who rather pay for themselves - Why? WE can’t pay the price - only Jesus can and did!

The Bible is one theme but directed at many different people. It’s like when I say something to my adult children, but say the same thing, but differently to my students, or to my friends or colleagues. It’s the same theme/topic, but different perspectives and different points to give specific understanding to various groups. For me - this is God’s Word - it’s to everyone and we’re all in different head spaces.

It’s been my observation that men on some pretty significant occasions have placed, however, seemingly gently; women under the proverbial bus, because they lack the legs to stand.

They have used these weak, shaky legs and stood back and watched women do the work or whatever is necessary while they sometimes, most times, benefited of sorts, from the efforts of their women. However the benefits surely weren’t long lasting, nor as sweet as they thought…

However first and foremost… Let me clarify: I AM NOT A FEMINIST, nor do I enjoy emasculating or undermining men. My point with this thought is to merely state an observational epiphany of sorts, that I had back in Jan. of 2016 and wrote a note about it.
My frame of mind was in the throes of some pretty ugly life changing events… But let me start at the beginning…

Let’s take Adam and Eve
You know what happened...

Adam stood back and watched the exchange between the serpent and Eve, (which I find just crazy - she was “conversing with a serpent” - maybe this was normal, back then), and did nothing. He heard every word. He watched Eve take the forbidden fruit and didn’t once stop her, didn’t once say, “Uh sweetie,...maybe we should ask God about this one…”. He didn’t even intervene with his opinion. He just watched to see what would happen and when the expected didn’t happen - That she would drop like a lead ball through wet tissue paper…. “Oh!?! Well, maybe it is ok and God meant something different…”


Then she gave it to him and he didn’t question, he just thought, (or didn’t…), and said “Oh...Ok!”

This is not being a man!

Then there was Abraham, who rather than stand up and be a man for his wife, said, Sarah was his sister… which lead to very bad international affairs… What were you thinking Abraham?…And Sarah, were you going along with your husband’s idea out of obedience or what? Bottom line: Abraham, you were trusting in your own ideas rather than God’s!

Truly, these are ideas that swim in the depths of my mind when I’m idle too long...

Everyone’s favorite - poor David - he gives so much fuel for the fodder. He’d rather commit adultery and then murder than to be the man of integrity that he was supposed to be… that he could have been… A man dies, and a child… for that weakness.

I’ve got others but those make my point. There are others where men allowed women just to be the boss, (kinda like these days). And stuff got really messed up, but there are other Old and New Testament men who fall short… We live in a fallen world, so there’s much to choose from, however, we’re all broken and pretend we’re not, (which makes us crazy - it’s like trying to drink from a broken glass and saying all the time, “it’s not broken”, even with the water pouring out from the broken places…”It’s not broken...really!” -  Insanity!). Men and women - boys and girls are broken! Past, present and future - BROKEN!

But in these dark days I see men abdicating their responsibilities left and right and it’s to the point now-a-”daze” where men are expected, encouraged and are supposed to roll over and simply play dead! I recently read a tweet from a person named “Zinna” that men are supposed to get over that thing between their legs, (this is a paraphrase) - still, this is insanity!

Despite the disappointment from the men in my own family, and broken marriage, I can only pray that the legacy, the cycle - just stops. That men, my own sons, stand and be counted as men… that they look to God the Father to be their example.

The struggle with the unknown. I sometimes have a hard time seeing how the proverbial “it” all fits together. I struggle to do the right thing and walk the righteous path - and more stuff just happens - I’ll be honest sometimes I just want to stay inside and never go out. I have my art stuff. I eat simply - hard boiled egg in the morning, salmon and spinach for lunch, maybe homemade soup for dinner. I drink only water - If I want a treat I put lemon and ice in my water. I can go without sweets.

See sufficient!

I know - methinks not too. :-/

I need Jesus and He tells me to get out into the mix...

Still, God is Good. All else that this world has to offer pales greatly - even on the BEST of days, to the Goodness and Love of my Father God.

Soli Deo Gloria

Sorry that this got a bit lengthy - I should post my thoughts more regularly - or simply keep them to myself! Of course, you don’t have to read this stuff either - it would be nice if you commented. I’ll email back - I’d be honored. In the stats for the blog I can see where folks are reading - You folks in Germany, Portugal, Russia, France! I mean - who are you? Singapore? Poland? The Netherlands?! I am honored and wouldn’t mind having a dialogue.
Jesus is my favorite subject. :-)