Sunday, December 28, 2014

After the Birth, the Dedication













SIMEON & ANNA

Simeon wondered
if he were seeing things
He rubbed his tired old eyes
squinted and peered again
at the little family
that came through the Temple doors

The Sanctuary
was shadowy and dim
Flames from the oil lamps
were flickering
Were his eyes playing tricks?

Wasn’t this an ordinary family?
…a couple like any
ordinary Jewish couple
here to present their firstborn son
holy to the Lord?

Nothing special about them
Just poor folk
with two lowly turtledoves
for the sacrifice…yet?

Perhaps this was wishful thinking
Perhaps, his imagination
He needed to be sure
Simeon moved a bit closer

Oh, he’d been waiting so patiently
for the fulfillment of the promise
of the Lord to comfort Israel

He knew He would—
for the Holy Spirit
assured him
he absolutely would not die
until he beheld the Messiah
…but that was long ago

Suddenly an unmistakable quickening
began rising up in his spirit…Yes!
…O Glory! Glory!

He bounded
toward Mary and Joseph
with arms outstretched
and swooped up
their swaddled infant son
uttering prophetic proclamations
jubilant and terrifying

I behold God’s salvation!

A light to the Gentiles

The glory of God’s people Israel

and directly to Mary, he prophesied:

…a sword will pierce your soul

She shuddered…
for she knew God had a plan, but…
What could this mean?

Then the widow Anna approached
Bent and grey and pious
she was a prophetess
who dwelled in the Temple
most of her life, praying
fasting and serving the Lord
with a joyful heart

Spontaneous praise
sprang from her lips
as she beheld the babe
Then Anna proclaimed
to all who would listen:

Come and see…
This is our newborn redeemer!

…from that day forward
Jesus grew
in wisdom and grace

the Cross before Him…

…and a sword did pierce
Mary’s soul

MAUDE CAROLAN PYCH

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Something to Read to the Children...

Photo credit: prekfun.com

‘TWAS THE NIGHT…OF ALL NIGHTS!

Children, gather round. It’s time for a story,
one that’s filled with hallelujahs and glory.

It’s about the glorious night of all nights,
angels and magi and sight of all sights!

About God, a virgin, the birth of a king,
wooly sheep, poor shepherds and gift giving!

My story takes place long ago, far away
and starts with a Babe in a crib full of hay;

His mother’s a virgin, His father is God,
the birth, a miraculous Heavenly nod.

The Baby is born in a Bethlehem barn
near a few smelly animals, like on a farm.

Poor shepherds in a field shudder with fright
when suddenly the dark sky fills up with light

as beautiful angels, bright splendors winging
tell of the birth with hallelujahs and singing!

So, the shepherds and sheep the very next morn
set off to visit this special Newborn.

Rich wisemen follow a bright beaming star
to the Bethlehem barn; the journey is far.

They ride astride camels, carrying treasures
to give to the One they’ll worship forever.

Why in the world would they do such strange things?
Why travel so far? Why great treasures bring?

The reason is simple, the Babe in the hay
becomes the world’s Savior, Who takes sin away.

His name is Jesus and He loves you and me
and wants us to love Him for eternity.

That was the night of all nights here on Earth…
the wonderful story of Jesus’ birth!

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Holiday Homecoming"

One of the most wonderful things about the Christmas season is getting together with family and friends. There are assorted nut breads in my freezer and tins, tins, and more tins of homemade cookies ready and waiting for the doorbell to start ringing.

'Tis the season to be hospitable...













                                                  
HOLIDAY HOMECOMING

She smiled as she dusted
the ceramic crèche
on the old oak credenza,
sang as she swept the kitchen floor,
even Lysoled the bathroom bowl
with effervescence.

Humming a Yuletide carol, the woman
rolled pastry into a thin rectangle
and cut cookies into shapes
of stars and angels and lambs.

Spontaneous praise proceeded from her lips
as she stuffed the twenty pound turkey,
trussed it tidily,
rubbed it with butter and sage
and lifted it into the moderate oven.

She dressed the table with china and silver,
the slightly yellowed table linen
stored in her mother’s cedar chest,
and a silvery bowl of pink poinsettias
bought at the flower sale at church.

Her feet ached, but her eyes sparkled.
This was among life’s highest joys:
Her adult children would soon be at the door
bringing presents, hugs and laughter
and she would get to serve them Christmas dinner.


Maude Carolan

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's all about...the Lamb--Vol. 17, Issue 4

December 15, 2014
Vol. 17, Issue 4




It’s all about…The Lamb


Maude Carolan Pych/Quarterly Poetry Letter


Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches
and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” Rev 5:12 NASB


It’s all about…The Lamb is a quarterly publication for lovers of the Holy Lamb of God, who also enjoy poetry. The purpose is to magnify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and inspire an ever-deepening relationship with Him, the lover of our souls.

FESTIVE HOLIDAY EVENT

MAUDE CAROLAN PYCH—Featured Poet
VICTORIA WARNE—Featured Musician

Friday, December 19th, 7 p.m.
The ANT Bookstore
345 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ

Press release:

On Friday, December 19th at 7 p.m., the ANT Bookstore and Café at 345 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ, celebrates the festive holiday time with a special poetry and music event. This month’s featured poet is local Totowa resident Maude Carolan Pych, who together with musician Victoria Warne will transform the ANT.  An open mic follows. Free admission. Info: 973-777-2704.

Clifton coordinators – poet James Gwyn and musician Victoria Warne – are always looking for anyone interested in participating. Contact them at the event or at ergo.therefore@gmail.com.

Maude Carolan Pych is a former newspaper reporter who now writes inspirational poetry and poems to record family history. She’s a four-time finalist and twice recipient of Editor's Choice Awards in the Allen Ginsberg contest, and she has won awards for poetry at St. Catherine of Bologna Art Exhibition, Ringwood. Her poems have appeared in The Paterson Literary Review, Sensations Magazine, Lips, The Pillar Monthly, and William W. Francis' book, "Celebrate the Feasts of the Lord." She regularly posts to her blog: http://maudespoems.com. Current chapbooks include God’s Square Mile—Poems about Ocean Grove; A Pilgrim's Quest—A Poet Visits the Holy Land; From My Heart to Yours at Christmas—Cookies & Poems; and The Widow's Song. Maude belongs to the North Jersey Christian Writers Group.  A mother and grandmother, she and her husband, Robert, reside in Totowa. They attend Beth Israel Messianic Center, Wayne, where Maude serves as a deaconess.


Victoria Warne is a singer/songwriter and leader of the Victoria Warne Band. She has played in many local venues and has toured internationally and recorded two CDs that blend blues, rock, and jazz elements. Her many past collaborators have ranged from Spyro Gyra’s Julio Fernandez to jazz great Billy Eckstine. Joining Victoria on December 17th will be guitarist Cathy Vita of Totowa. Victoria has made Clifton her home since 2004. 

Come, join us…

Admission is free
Refreshments will be served
Open mic follows



MAUDE’S CHRISTMAS POEMS:

This season I wrote and mailed out two Christmas poems to family and friends because I couldn’t decide which one to send. Both poems rhyme. The first one was written during the Christmas season last winter while Christmas cookies were looking so delectable and tempting on the pretty holiday platter. Poem #2 was inspired and penned recently after a radio commercial mentioned the “Season of Lights” and started me thinking about Hanukkah and Christmas, the Light of the World and the candles on the menorah.


+ + + THE POEMS FOLLOW + + +



COOKIES & POEMS


So many Christmas traditions abound—
Old ones get lost and then new ones are found.
Some get omitted, but there are a few
things we love doing and simply must do.

For instance, I write a poem every year—
a real Christmas poem that draws Jesus near;
a poem that lauds Him, Star of the Season,
for He’s this holiday’s only true reason.

The poem’s perfect paper, I search far to find,
arrange words artistically as I’ve in mind,
select address labels with the same theme,
choose envelopes, stamps that go with the scheme.

The pen and the ink are chosen with care.
To use best penmanship, I have a flair!
I write out hundreds with joy and much zest
and sometimes include a few words to bless.

Bob applies the stamps and labels and seals;
a trip to the post office completes the deal.
When they’re mailed, I start thinking cookies—
Trust me, with baking, I am no rookie!

We select recipes; gather the tins,
make sure there’s flour and sugar in bins,
stock up on butter and chocolate and nuts,
molasses and spices and trims lots and lots!

I block off a few days in my datebook,
roll up my sleeves; open up the cookbook.
Chocolate chippers, and shortbread soooo buttery,
sweet sugar cookies, anise biscotti,

spicy pfeffernuesse and wee pecan jewels,
drop cookies, rolled cookies, some cut with tools.
Bob stirs the batters; they’re thick as can be
and he’s the chief taster, take it from me!

Each cookie and poem is fashioned with love—
LOVE is what Christmastime is made up of.
God’s gift of LOVE came with the Savior’s birth
and there’s no other gift of greater worth!

These simple gifts…some cookies, a poem,
for Christmas, to you, from our humble home.

Maude Carolan Pych



DECEMBER LIGHTS

It’s the Season of Lights…We delight in the glow
of Christmas and Hanukkah; the stories we know
of God’s awesome miracles, deliverance and Birth
to show His great Love for all people on Earth.

Alongside our manger there stands a menorah;
we sing Joy to the World and then dance the Hora,
ignite the nine lamps and hang a wreath on the door,
tell of brave Maccabees, the virgin birth and more.

We worship with believers, Gentiles and Jews,
we recite the Shema and share the Good News,
read Old Covenant prophesies from A to Z
like the Gospel revealed in Isaiah Fifty-three!

Our Messiah is Jesus; Yeshua, some say—
He’s the Light of the World; our great hope for today!
We praise Him, adore Him, we’re blessed to impart:
His fire burns brightly in our circumcised hearts!

We believe He was born to save us from sin,
that He died and was buried then rose up again.
By Blood He has saved us, our Atonement, He Is!
By His Resurrection, we’ll live for He Lives!

We are Olive Tree branches, Gentile and Jew—
united in Messiah…and all Born Anew!

Maude Carolan Pych



Comments are always welcome and appreciated. If possible, please post them directly to the website.

Look for the next edition of It’s all about…the Lamb, March 15, 2015


A FEW CLOSING WORDS…

Dear Reader/Subscriber,
Since Christmas is just a few days away…

Take a few minutes to do something Christmassy for yourself: Sing your favorite Christmas carol and meditate upon the lyrics or linger at the crèche or read Luke, Chapter 2 while sipping a cup of peppermint tea. Whatever you do, let it be a sweet time of blessing with the Lord.

Happy Hanukkah to all who are Jewish!

And to all…May 2015 be your best year yet!

And always remember…
God loves ewe!

Maude



After God’s Own Heart Publishing
P.O. Box 2211, Woodland Park, NJ 07424

          http://maudespoems.com

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Annunciation to the Shepherds

How startled and amazed the shepherds were that night when the sky burst bright with golden light and angels appeared to them, singing...

My poem, "Shepherds" follows. I'd be pleased to hear what you think about the shepherds, the angels, that miraculous night, the poem.

Photo credit: churchoftheworld.com









THE SHEPHERDS

Shepherds recline around the fire
Their long day’s work is done
The air is crisp, the sky is clear
they watch the setting sun

The sheep that grazed the fields by day
now safely sleep nearby
Men each take night-watch turns
to watch for wolves and foxes, sly

They eat some fish, some barley bread
drink water from the well
draw woolen blankets ‘round them, snug
they laugh and stories tell                     

Suddenly the calm is stirred
by singing in the sky
The shepherds lift their drowsy heads
What’s happening and why?

They can’t believe their ears and eyes
for what they hear and see…
a throng of shining faces, wings
snow white and fluttery!

The rugged shepherds tremble
The angels chant, “Do not fear…
We bring you tidings of great joy
all people need to hear

For unto you is born this day
in little Bethlehem—
swaddled in a manger, Christ
The Savior of all men!

Glory to God in the highest!”
sweet angel voices sing
“Peace on earth, goodwill to men”
They proclaim the newborn King!

As the angels take their leave
the men vow in the morn
they’ll go to Bethlehem and seek
The Christ, the newly born

So with the rising of the sun
each with his staff and rod
the shepherds with their sheep set off…
Their quest, the Lamb of God

Arriving at the humble place
the angels sang about
they enter with resounding praise
and hallelujah shouts!

As the shepherds kneel, adoring
a spotless wooly lamb
approaches the lowly manger
and gently nuzzles the I Am

Maude Carolan Pych

This poem appears in my chapbook, From My Heart to Yours at Christmas--Cookies & Poems".


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas at the Mall

Well, Thanksgiving is behind us and the frenzy of serious Christmas shopping has begun.  Let's take a deep breath and think about the true meaning of Christmas and not allow the "busyness" of the season to steal our wonder, peace and joy...





CHRISTMAS AT THE MALL

Day after Thanksgiving, at the mall, what is this I see…
Santas sledding in the air and a tinseled Christmas tree,
a roly-poly Frosty, red-nosed Rudolph with some elves,
glittery garlands, balls and bows, bedazzling on the shelves?
The shops are alive with music, “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells;”
there are “ho, ho, hos,” “let it snows” and cinnamony smells.

It certainly all seems festive, so cheery and so bright,
but what oh what does it have to do with that Holy night?
I cannot find a manger scene, an angel or a star,
I do not see the wisemen…wonder where the shepherds are.
I do not hear a carol or the story of the birth
of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who dwelled right here on Earth.

Many, it seems, have cast aside the things that matter most.
By replacing them with fairy-tales, the Treasure became lost.
My heart fills up with sorrow, and I feel the need to prod
the waning faith of restless souls who live apart from God.
We all need to remember the virgin and the Child…
Revive, O Lord, the rock of faith that’s been so long exiled.

Maude Carolan Pych

Announcement:

I will be the featured poet at a special holiday program of poetry & music at The Ant Bookstore, 345 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ, Friday, December 19th at 7 p.m. Holiday music will be provided by Vicki Warne. Come, enjoy and say hello!

Would you like information about ordering my booklet of Christmas poems and cookie recipes? Just scroll all the way to the bottom of this blog to find it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

DINNER WITH THE HOMELESS

The following poem was written several years ago, following a Christmas dinner for the homeless, at Beth Israel Worship Center, then located in Garfield, NJ. Well, I think Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to share it.

Let me take this opportunity to wish each of you a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving Day.

Photo credit: lilesnet.com


THE HOMELESS DINNER

Beth Israel Messianic Center

Long ago, periodic collect calls
came from various cities around the country
from Brad, down on his luck
desperate for quick cash

Tried tough-love
Get a job
Get it together
Go to a mission
His sinister response to that last suggestion
still burns in my ears…

Before I sit through a sermon

for a bowl of soup

I'll stick a gun in my mouth

That catapulted me out the door
to the Western Union desk
one more time

Every winter
my congregation sponsors a dinner
for the homeless

We circulate fliers at shelters
and Penn Station in Newark, the week prior
and arrange for buses and vans
to pick up all who want to come
We cook up our best dishes
bake our most sumptuous treats
and set each table with linen
and a fragrant pink rose in a bud vase
We donate warm coats
and scarves and gloves
soap, toothbrushes and paste
This year there were even
plenty of new eyeglasses

Gary Selman has been emceeing
the event for years
in faded jeans and red muffler
He tells jokes, makes wisecracks
and strums his guitar
An avid collector of Elvis memorabilia,
Gary humorously strikes a "You Ain't Nothin'
But a Hound Dog," pose and asks
Who wants to sing an Elvis song?

The Sanctuary bulges
with a few hundred people
who appear street-wise and unchurched, so
their quick reply takes me by surprise
especially in light of the long ago words
that still smolder like gunpowder

No! they exclaim

No! We want to sing about Jesus!


Gladly, Gary sets himself to strumming
songs to the King of Kings, the Rock of Ages
instead of the long dead King of Rock

One enthusiastic young man
with a Baptist choir voice
takes the mic and sings
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
another, a victim of AIDS
comes forward and gives his testimony
Then homeless and congregants
break bread together
in white linen circles of brotherly love

I can see a lot of TLC

went into the cooking, says one


I hope I can get a pair of glasses, says another

Do you think there'll be a coat in my size?
The lining of this one is torn. See?

Twenty-six people accept Jesus

No sermon for soup
Just love in action

That's what serving Jesus
is really all about

 Maude Carolan