Sunday, October 20, 2019

On Our 13th Wedding Anniversary...

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Thank you, Bob, for 13 loving years...

Maude & Bob at Breezy Point, 2017.
DODI LI
For Robert Pych on Our Wedding Day, October 21, 2006

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."
Song of Songs 6:3

Shirley says
my heart is a thimble
and God's love is the ocean
and He wants to pour all that love
into my little heart

I have learned that the Lord
has made my heart
a little like His own

that the heart is limitless
in its capacity to love

that it may seem
the heart's chambers
are about to burst
…yet there's still room

that bodies grow older
…but not our hearts

I have learned
that God
is the Restorer of Hearts
the Master of mending
broken ones

that although sorrow
may visit us
the heart keeps its rhythm
…hope is not shattered
utterly

I grew tired of the Titanic song
weary of Celine's heart going on
and on and on

but now I understand
the heart does go on

I've also discovered
my heart is undivided
when it professes
Ani le dodi ve dodi li
and speaks of
two bridegrooms
One of my soul…Jesus
and one of my heart…Robert

and I believe
one of the best things there is
about knowing God
is that He is Love

…that we love
because He first
loved us

He just keeps on
filling our thimbles
with inexhaustible oceans

so we'll always
always, always
have Love
to give

Maude Carolan

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Getting to Know Him...

Image credit: Amazon.com 


MIST-ERY

I beheld You, not clearly...
In a fogged mirror Your mysterious Image
Materialized, then faded in diaphanous mist.

At the shining of re-birth, the fog thinned,
Evaporating like dew, droplet by droplet.
Learning day by day to know You,
The mist grows sheerer, more lucent...until finally

Upon entrance through the billowy veil
Into life forevermore,
Your Presence will emerge before me.
Squinting eyelids will flutter
As I awaken to brilliance
And the last layers of mystery
Dissolve into sparkles upon Your feet.

Maude Carolan



Get Ready:

It'll be here soon...

Release Date: November 20, 2019




Sunday, October 6, 2019

It's Time for a Walk in the Woods...

Photo credit: pinterest.com

SYMPHONY OF THE WOODS
I meander through woods
along a beaten pathway in North Jersey
and the music begins immediately

There’s chittering of crickets
and the cacophony of other insects
that are hanging on to life
until the frost, which will come soon
Leaves rustle in the trees
some whoosh past me
as they fall to the ground
and there’s a crunch
of dry ones beneath my feet

I hear an occasional snap of a twig
and the scamper of squirrels
or chipmunks, a raccoon
or field mice scurrying unseen
up and down tree trunks
or frolicking in the dense brush

There may be hidden deer or a bear
Some sounds I cannot identify

Birdsong completely fills the air
all kinds of birdsong—
chirps and coos
and warbles and squawks
I even hear the flutter
of wing flaps

Tying everything together
is the faintest whistling in the breeze
that feels something like tinnitus
ringing in my ears
but it’s not unpleasant

All the sounds blend together
into Nature’s symphony—
a serenade to my spirit
as I stroll

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, September 29, 2019

"Baby's Breath"

The American Lung Association says...
"If you can't breathe, nothing else matters."

Photo credit: yalemedicine.org


Have you ever kept vigil for a child with asthma?

BABY’S BREATH

Shortly after I weaned her
from my breast at eight months,
she endured her first asthmatic attack.
I hadn’t even known
what asthma was,
though I soon came to know it
as the violator
that stole my baby’s breath.

Her little chest rose and fell
in tumultuous heaves.
Haunting rhythmic wheezes
and mournful moans
disquieted me
hour upon hour
for days...days.
I re-attached the umbilicus.

During one intense episode,
I bathed her, rocked her,
sang soothing lullabies,
read stories
she was too young to understand,
trying to relax us both,
all to the constant
wheeze and moan,
rise and fall
of her straining rib cage.

I tucked her spent frame in the crib
and kept vigil,
daring not to close my eyes,
daring not to leave her side.
What if it got worse?
What if…she stopped breathing?

I reclined, just to rest awhile,
weary eyes wide
in faithful night watch,
weary ears tuned
to the eerily whistling
wheeze and moan,
wheeze and moan,
wheeze and moan,
ad infinitum,
ad infinitum.
At some point,
like a shameful apostle
at Gethsemane,
my heavy lids closed.

Suddenly,
I jolted awake,
bolted upright,
stunned
by the startling silence.

In panic, I reached frozen fingers
toward her…

O praise God!
She lay warm
and gently breathing,
sleeping the peaceful sleep
of an angel.

Maude Carolan


The above poem originally appeared in Sensations Magazine.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Celebrating the Jewish Feasts...


We'll Observe Rosh Hoshanna
at Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey,
Next Weekend...


Photo credit: jewishboston.com


A GENTILE CELEBRATES THE JEWISH FEASTS

It’s September
and I’m a gentile member
of a Messianic congregation
grafted into the Olive Tree
and excited to be celebrating the holy fall feasts

I look forward to gathering with believers
beneath the moon on Rosh Hoshanna
where our rabbi will stand upon a crate
and blow his long Yemenite shofar
tekiah…shevarim…teruah…tekiah gedolah
We’ll focus on repentance
and praise God for our atonement
through the sacrifice of Yeshua
grateful that our names are inscribed
in the Lamb’s Book of Life

and throughout the Days of Awe
we’ll examine ourselves carefully
for we desire to be right
with God and our fellow man
mindful that our God is a righteous judge
and all His ways are just and true
We know He will reward the righteous
and not allow the wicked to go unpunished

On Yom Kippur, the holiest
most solemn day of the Jewish year
we will celebrate deliverance
and salvation through our Messiah
who died for the sin of the world
We’ll proclaim our thanks and praise Him

Finally, it’ll be the Feast of Tabernacles
the glorious foretaste of Heaven—
My brothers and sisters
will build a sukkah out of tree branches
and decorate it with oranges and pomegranates
It’ll be sturdy enough to dwell in
and frail enough for us to see
starlight through the leafy roof
Our rabbi will wave the lulav
there’ll be water pouring and praise
and we’ll look ahead with joy to the day
we’ll all be in the Heavenly Jerusalem
dwelling with Messiah Yeshua, forevermore

Maude Carolan Pych



Sunday, September 15, 2019

Water from Jacob's Well

Photo credit: larrygrabill.com



A CUP OF WATER FROM JACOB’S WELL
Israel Pilgrimage—1986

We arrive at Shechem
and make our way
to Jacob’s Well

It surprises me to find
this ancient water source
that I first read about in Genesis
still operating

and I’m astonished
to be offered
a refreshing cupful
drawn deeply
from a bucket
on a rope

The water is clear and cool
and tastes ordinary, but
what can be ordinary
about water drawn
from the very well
of the old patriarch
built 4000 years ago?

I purchase a small ceramic urn
filled with an ounce or so
of life’s most basic sustenance
It is sealed with a plug of wax

I’ll place it on a shelf at home
not because of any
mystical or magical powers

(It is ordinary water, after all)

but to remind me
of how far back in time
God’s amazing story goes

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Rabbinical Tunnel, Jerusalem

Israel Pilgrimage, 2006

Photo credit: english.thekotel.com



TOURING THE RABBINICAL TUNNEL
Israel Pilgrimage--2006

One evening
some of us avail ourselves
of an unscheduled opportunity to tour
the amazing rabbinical tunnel
beneath the Temple Mount

The tunnel stretches
along the span
of the Western Wall
continuing near and beneath
the Dome of the Rock
leading to the place where
the Holy of Holies
likely dwelled

My mind boggles with amazement
as I consider this probability—

The women among us
observe, close-up
behind a curtained window
Orthodox men swaying
as they pray at the Wall—
We seem to be praying
in their very midst

Our group ambles
through a passageway
in places so narrow
we must turn sideways
to slip through

Along the route
we touch enormous
hewn Herodian stones
(one measuring forty feet by nine)
and cannot help but wonder
how they were placed here
and we stare at countless slips of paper
folded and tucked between stones
bearing countless heart cries unto God

We come to a portion
of the walkway
that has a transparent floor
and glimpse downward
to see cisterns and staircases
of ancient civilizations
in this land so rich in history

Pious women
garbed all in black
heads covered and bowed
are quietly praying
at the very place
rabbis believe to be
the closest physical point
to the Most Holy Place

Oh! I yearn to linger
but our group moves on

All along the way
we absorb and observe
pray and ponder
the wonder of it
and all it means to be
on this amazing pilgrimage
in the City of Our God

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Life of Richard Wurmbrand

MOVIE NIGHT
Saturday, September 7, 7:30 p.m.
Beth Israel Worship Center
11 Railroad Avenue, Wayne, NJ

TORTURED FOR CHRIST
The amazing life story
of Richard Wurmbrand

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand


PHILIPPIANS 4:4

Written after hearing Richard Wurmbrand speak at Beth Israel Messianic Center, Garfield, NJ, in the spring of 1993.  Born Jewish, he was born again as a young man and became a Lutheran minister.  He was persecuted in Communist prisons for 14 years for underground Christian activities in Rumania. Pastor Wurmbrand was the author of "Tortured For Christ" and founder of "Voice of the Martyrs." He died February 17, 2001.

The prisoners rejoiced,
singing, jangling,
wrists bound in iron chains,
hungry, shivering
in one dismal cellblock
somewhere in Rumania
between 1948 and `62.
Bound in shackles
but spirits free
and hearts jubilant,
like thorn birds
their voices
pierced the wretchedness
with a laser of unearthly joy.

“Praise God for providing
musical instruments,”
cling-clang, cling-clang!
“Praise Him for this crust,
a blanket, a bucket,”
cling-clang, cling-clang!
“Praise for our dear families
unseen for years,”
cling-cling-clang!
“Praise for fellowship
in midst of persecution,”
cling-clang, cling-clang!

There were days
without bread
when they partook
the Lord’s Supper
without elements,
but most solemn reverence.

Many years later,
after release,
the echo of chains
may have been
the loveliest music
their hearts ever heard.
In reverie,
the Body and Blood
without bread and wine
may have been
the sweetest Communion
of their lives.

Maude Carolan

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sharing Sunflowers!

"In My Sunflower Garden"



FREE GIFTS

For weeks now
I’ve been driving by a house
on Totowa Road
that holds no distinction
except for a vibrant flower garden
in front and around the side

What catches my glance
and causes me to smile
are perhaps thirty or forty
gigantic golden sunflowers
shouting for attention

Today I printed
eight sunflower poems
folded them neatly
and placed them in an envelope
decorated with a scribbled sketch
of a solitary sunflower
and a note saying
I love them, too!
and left the envelope
by the front door
of the house I often pass

Sometimes I leave bereavement poems
on a table at a neighborhood mausoleum
or give copies of my chapbook
The Widow’s Song
to newly widowed friends
Sometimes I mail poems
about butterflies
to people who love them
and regularly post poems on my blog
about God’s love and His mercy
with the hope
of reaching those
who need encouragement

When the one who gifted me
with a garden full of sunbursts
opens the door today
I hope my simple poems
generate a smile

Maude Carolan Pych


FREE CHAPBOOK:
To receive a free printable copy of my chapbook of 14 sunflower poems, "In My Sunflower Garden," send me a comment below, including your email address, and I will gladly forward a downloadable copy to you.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

"Sunflowers Along Emmaus Road"

Another Sunflower Poem...

Here is a sunflower field
that reminds me of the one I saw
several years ago, along Emmaus Road.



SUNFLOWERS ALONG EMMAUS ROAD
Israel Pilgrimage—1986

A field of big, bodacious sunflowers
seem to be a great cathedral choir
singing the Hallelujah Chorus
with exultation
while sun-shining millions
of dazzling petal spires upon us
along Emmaus Road

It is fitting
because I am ablaze
with Jesus-joy
to be here

as I think about my newly
Resurrected Lord, vanishing
at the very breaking
of the bread

astonishing the disciples
who sat with Him
at table

Those utterly bewildered disciples
whose hearts thumped
and blazed
with glory fire
as He walked with them
as He explained to them
the Holy Scriptures

2000 years ago
somewhere
along this very road

Maude Carolan Pych

Free Chapbook:
Leave a comment below
and include your email address,
and I will be happy to send you a printable copy
of my chapbook of 14 sunflower poems, titled:
"In My Sunflower Garden."



Sunday, August 11, 2019

Celebrating Sunflowers!

One day I drove past a house with a splendid garden,
a garden that boasted sunflowers in bloom.
I went home and printed a chapbook
of sunflower poems and left the booklet
on a little table in their garden...

Find information below
about how to receive a free chapbook
of sunflower poems.


Maude's Sunflower Garden--2018

SUNFLOWERS

Lafayette, New Jersey, September 1, 2001


God’s abundance wows me
from a sprawling field of sunflowers
which tower above
on thick woody stalks

They lift great ochre heads
framed in ragged haloes
of yellow gold
to shine sunrays upon me
like God’s own radiant face
amid a communion of saints
and I must smile back

Their leaves
are big green hearts
In their midst
my own heart
grows and greens

How God loves me!
He astonishes His child
with wondrous whimsies

Soon, when the season ends
they’ll just nod their weary heads
and shed their golden haloes
on the ground

and bequeath their gift of seed
to ravens of the air
which will feast festively
upon God’s abundance
unto them

Maude Carolan


Free Chapbook
Leave a comment below
and include your email address,
and I will be happy to send you a printable copy
of my chapbook of sunflower poems, titled:
"In My Sunflower Garden."


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunflowers are in Bloom!

Have you noticed all the magnificent sunflowers...
kings of the backyard flower gardens?


Happy me in my 1918 sunflower garden!



SUNFLOWERS MAKE ME SMILE

Sunflowers make me smile—
because they’re absolutely outrageous!
They’re taller than a beanstalk
and way, way larger than a flower should be

They easily pass me in height
and keep right on growing
Each stately stalk and its sturdy leaves
go up, up, up like a ladder to Heaven
and when that flower bursts into bloom
it lights up my whole backyard
like the sun’s come down for a visit
All the shaggy petals are golden sunrays
shining upon me, while
the bees buzz with delight
sucking in nectar

I think God made sunflowers
to cause us to look up and take notice
of His handiwork and His generosity

His Love, too! The bigness of it!
His magnificent magnanimousness!

Oh! It’s certainly no wonder—
Whenever I see sunflowers
they always, always, always make me smile J

Maude Carolan Pych





Sunday, July 28, 2019

"The Boardwalk Pavilion"

Summertime Worship
in Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Ocean Grove Beach Pavilion


THE BOARDWALK PAVILION

This glorious summer Sunday morning—

We’re drawn eastward
from north, south and west
by the magnetic pull
of God’s love-force

Drawn, to the old wooden pavilion
to the Atlantic, the Jersey shore
to the boards at God’s Square Mile—
Ocean Grove. Drawn

wearing khaki and denim
tees and tanks
sundresses, flip-flops
carrying water bottles
carrying Bibles
fanning ourselves
with song sheets

We fill the benches
then spill over
into the periphery
onto folding chairs, lawn chairs
beach blankets. Some stand
Some look for shade

It’s 80-plus and breezy
The sky, clear
The sea glistens
Waves slap the shore
merrily. We’re merry

Vacationers stroll past
Some peer; some stop
some smile; some don’t
Bikers pedal by
joggers jog

Hymnsong; guitar-strum
Son-smiles; praise dance
heart-moves; Kidz church
Gospel-preach

Agape flows outward
aboutward

Sea mist rises like incense
upward, Heavenward
toward the One
enthroned

We bask in the warmth
of His smile

of His warm, sunshiny love

Maude Carolan Pych





Sunday, July 21, 2019

Introducing Barbara Higby's New Book...

Bob and I returned this week from our fabulous summer vacation to visit family in Colorado and California. One of the best things I found waiting for us, amid the huge stack of mail, when we got home, was a package containing the new book by Barbara Higby that I had pre-ordered. It is titled "I Was Broken, Too."



Barbara is my friend and the facilitator of the North Jersey Christian Writers Group (NJCWG). The book tells the story of her remarkable journey from brokenness to hope. 

Quoting from the back cover..."I Was Broken, Too" was written for you, the broken, disillusioned, and wounded. If loss of any kind has assaulted your hope, follow the paths that revived Barbara's--they are achievable and hope is possible. You will discover that what God has done for her, He will do for you." 

Her book is published by Elm Hill Press and is available at amazon.combarnesandnoble.comand Christianbook.com.



And now, a summertime poem...

Let me introduce you to my granddaughter, Alana Dulce Muniz. In the photo below, she is in my kitchen, learning to make Irish soda bread. In the poem I'm about to share with you, Alana struggles with learning to dive during swim lesson classes, last summer at Erskine Lake...


Alana Dulce Muniz



LIKE A BABY BIRD
For Alana Dulce Muniz

Granddaughter Alana stands on the edge
of the diving board over Erskine Lake
Her arms are positioned high above her head
fingertips of both hands are touching
and pointing over the water
Her feet shuffle anxiously

She drops her tired little arms
looks around
lifts her arms again
points her fingertips, shuffles
trying to muster courage
wanting to do it so badly, but
too afraid to let herself go

Grandma calls to her
You can do this, Alana!
and Alana knows that’s true, so

she lifts her arms again
points her fingers again
shuffles right, left, right, left
then turns around
and climbs down the ladder

When she gets home
the baby sparrow in the straw nest
outside the kitchen window
is perched on the edge
It flutters its wings
It shuffles its little legs
The bird looks below
and shuffles some more
as mama bird flies to and fro
flapping her wings
with encouragement

Alana tells little bird
You can do it!
as we all stand by, like cheerleaders
hoping and waiting

Little bird remains perched there
for a long, long time
We give up watching
and don’t see it take flight

but it’s gone now

and a week later
when Grandma wasn’t there to watch
Alana perched herself, determinately
on the edge of the diving board
and dove victoriously
into Erskine Lake

Maude Carolan Pych