Friday, February 23, 2018


A submission to FMF (Five Minute Friday) word for this week: BEAUTY
Leona Choy


GOD, in primal creation
splashed every color
hue and shade
splendid spectrum
throughout His world.
The firmament shows
His lavish handiwork
in infinite variety
design and symmetry.

MAN, as part of God's creation
his Creator
with human creativity
by taking brush
chisel or pen
instrument of music
voice and body
to express
to the eye
and the ear
Color, beauty and harmony.
The DEVIL, a disordered creation
forever masquerades
as an angel of light
but thinks black
expresses drab
detests beauty
shrouds himself in darkness.
He refused
to acknowledge God's way
so he knows how to play
only one discordant song:
"I did it my way!”

Only GOD paints in COLOR
reveals BEAUTY
and composes HARMONY!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Technology Tangles

For some reason unknown to me as a tech-challenged blogger, whoever or whatever manages the blog system kept refusing to add into the text the following. It left a blank space in the text no matter how often I retyped and reformatted the paragraphs.  Almost kinda ghostly!

Finally I gave up and left the conclusion of my previous post unfinished and published it, although I wasn't happy about it. I wanted the Scripture backup in the post which I titled ZIP THE LIPS.  

So we are compromising. I was forced to leave it out above, but I insist on letting my viewers know what was in the original. Please bear with and forgive this weirdness.

Here are the missing parts of the blog post text: 

I can't believe it! My blog systems controller
still did not print my lost text.
Go figure! 

A few Scripture verses come to mind, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise" (Proverbs 10:19), "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue" (Proverbs 17:28). The book of Proverbs is loaded with verses instructing us to exercise wisdom in our speech. The third chapter of the book of James waves a warning flag about the power of the tongue both for evil and for good, blessing and cursing.
Our seemingly innocent words can be full of deadly poison by the time they reach the person with whom we are speaking. Used improperly, our tongue can set an entire forest on fire or cause a shipwreck. Speech is powerful. God spoke creation into being and pronounced it "Good!" We, His created ones, are commanded to speak only for edification, to build up one another in Christ.

"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3). Teach  me how to bridle my speech, muzzle my mouth, control my tongue and zip my lips so that I won't sin against You or injure my brothers and sisters in the Household of Faith or the ungodly 

who too often mistakenly read our lips and our lives and are hindered from seeking You.


I pay attention to signs. Speed limit signs, street signs, even bumper stickers—especially billboards. Signs remind me where I am, where I want to go and often inadvertently carry a message that has a spiritual connotation. A certain large billboard along the route I drive to town not only gave me a chuckle but boldly proclaimed a truth.

Pictured was a huge horizontal zipper the width of the billboard superimposed over a man's hairy lips with an in your face sentence above it, “ACCUSED OF A CRIME? SHUT UP AND LAWYER UP!” Beneath it was the name and address of a local Law Firm.

In the course of our daily lives chances are that we're not committing heinous criminal acts which call for the Miranda Rights to be read to us. Those advise us that legally we don't have to speak and thus incriminate ourselves. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in the court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?"

What I do understand is that there's a time to speak and a time to zip the lips. The zipper terminology is unbelievably recent, within my lifetime. Zippers were first introduced to the public in the 1930s for children's clothing so they could learn to dress themselves at an earlier age. I remember as a pre-teen when my daddy bought his first pair of zipper-fly trousers. As time zipped by we now could scarcely function or attire ourselves without those rows of little metal or plastic teeth that open and close so many things for us on a daily basis.

How I regret the numerous occasions when I didn't use my mouth zipper and spoke impulsively with no regard for the consequences of my thoughtless words! I can't think of a single instance when I regretted waiting too long to weigh my words before I spoke. By delaying my verbal response to a situation I more often than not realized that I should continue to be silent and not speak at all. I was so thankful that I had zipped my lips.

My words are totally under my control. God gave me free will. I not only have the right to remain silent but God holds me responsible for careless words. That's a scary thought! When we let our words run from our lips unshackled, we are in danger of causing a mud slide. Once spoken, words can't be reeled in again.
King David in Psalm 39 said he kept his mouth shut especially when the ungodly were around, then spoke only when it was wise and appropriate. The control word he used was translated “muzzle."
Other verses speak of “bridling” our tongue as in directing a horse to obedience. I take both analogies to heart for myself.

I really do need to “lawyer up” even when I haven't committed a crime. God already appointed an Attorney for me, the Holy Spirit, who is “called alongside to help us.” A lawyer represents his client both in court and in giving advice in legal matters. He presents a client's case and protects his rights in order to obtain the best possible result. In court the lawyer stays by his side and instructs him when to speak and when to be silent, as the occasion may require. 
However, we must be willing to listen to our Heavenly Lawyer's gentle whisper and watch His Body language.

Friday, February 16, 2018


(In compliance with “FMF Five Minute Friday Community of writers”
The assigned word to write on is WHY?)

I splashed the WHY? word prominently on the cover of one of my published books, HOSPITAL GOWNS DON'T HAVE POCKETS! 
My subtitle was: WHY me? What now? Discovering Meaning in Physical Distress. I wrote that book during my recovery from major lung cancer surgery.

WHY? was large on my mind. Never a smoker nor around smokers, WHY did I develop lung cancer? Most of us who attain some measure of longevity have repeatedly met adversities and afflictions and have had to decide how to deal with them.

First, we should ask God WHY? in an attitude of inquiry, not a disgruntled whine of complaint. “What do You want me to learn through this event for my own life?”

And a second WHY? Is the reason You want me to go through this physical or other misfortune so I can help others? The apostle Paul declared that God allows ALL afflictions in our lives so that we may “comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (Second Corinthians chapter one)

In my lifetime of writing and publishing I have found that some of the most meaningful writing comes from the school of adversities which God allows in our lives. In addition to the books I've written to walk people through illness with God's help, after my own loss, I wrote a trilogy of books to help widows, and several books for those of us who have become calendar challenged.

The WHY? word when we ask sincerely of God, always has an answer when we listen to Him carefully.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Jesus founded the Church as a perfect, living organism, not a man made organization. He said He would build it Himself. (Matthew 16:18). So, as they say, “God don't build no junk.” Most of us acknowledge that the Church would be perfect, if it weren't for the people. Since I am part of the Church, I am part of the problem.

The same can be said about the human family dynamic—God established the family for our welfare, except it too is made up of imperfect people. Because of my presence in a family it becomes dysfunctional. The Church is also a family, the household of God and to all appearances the Church lacks the harmony and holiness that should characterize it. Nevertheless, God's calls His regenerate children, His new creations in Christ, to universal holiness. “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).

Perfect not in the sense of sinless, faultless, totally pure, virtuous and morally impeccable but in the sense of mature, grownup adults in the faith, weaned off of milk and able to digest spiritual meat. God's grownups who should already be teaching others need to go back on milk again, to “elementary, foundational principles” like getting along with each other in the same Family of God. (Hebrews 5:11-6:1-9) With our God-given free will we should be able to control ourselves through God's enabling. Surrendered completely to God and endowed by His Holy Spirit and His gifts, we should be able to get along with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Through God's chosen and inspired spokesmen who wrote the New Testament, He has given us ample instruction how to live in harmony together on Planet Earth and especially in God's House, the Church, His Body. To be precise and without all the trouble of chasing through a concordance or online sources to find each of the 100 “one another” instructions occurring in 94 locations in the New Testament, simply follow this link: One another

Here you will find an entire “how-to” course on Getting Along in God's Family. We are without excuse. These admonitions are not merely suggestions but commandments. Keeping these commandments is therefore a measure and standard to determine how much we love Jesus Christ, our Lord. “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15) and “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34) are our rocket thrusts for success.

What a faith challenge to pursue for the forty days of Lent which lie before us! Supposedly it takes only 21 days to establish or change a habit. If we pray and work on two of the one another instructions each day, by Easter we might be well underway for better horizontal harmony in the Body of Christ. We will be learning how to stop judging one another and letting the Oil of the Holy Spirit anoint our squeaky complaints about our Brothers and Sisters in God's big Family. 
Could we begin by Oiling the hinges in our relationships with those who live under our Church roof and our family roof?

Monday, February 12, 2018


by a contemporary man-poet friend, C. N., whose insights and literary expressions I highly respect. He wishes to remain anonymous. 

In past centuries, poets were predominantly men. Why do we by and large not hear the strong male voice in poetry today? Perhaps it is there but we don't recognize it—gifted men are writing prose with poetic style that sings to the ear. Let's applaud it wherever we come upon it, as it does below.

(Leona's note: I had just finished reading Saint Mother Teresa's COME BE MY LIGHT, The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta.” A bittersweet saga of a classic mystic whose anguished heart and mind were tested and purified by an intense, lengthy trial of faith. I closed the book with the desire to remove my shoes on holy ground, to walk softly and listen to God whispering through her mysterious dark root season to keep pressing on toward the Great Light in the Beatific Vision of God.)

“…I need more of the night before I open eyes and heart to illumination. I must still grow in the dark like a root not ready, not ready at all.” Denise Levertov, Eye Mask
I am in love with poetry. I adore poetry as one of the great spiritual guides in my life. I write poetry. I love poetry because of its ability to say much with so little, its deep spirituality, it intimacy and delicacy, to fill and to empty, to flourish and fire, to capture the deeper truths I want to embody in a crisp, concise way. I too must remain still and rest in the dark, like a root not ready for the world and all it contains. I must gestate longer in this womb of God; much like the Christ child in Mary, I too need more time in the darkness before I come to fruition.

Many people shun and even fear the dark; God reminds me that many good and wonderful things happen in the dark, more than just things that go bump and boo in the night. Fauna are out and about in the night where they find their sustenance. In the darkness, all manner of vegetation and flora take root and cling to the Earth like a babe to a breast finding life in the suckling darkness;
then so lovingly and compassionately turning from what they received in darkness to fill and feed those of us who walk in the day.

Darkness is a good thing. It is not something to fear, to run from, or to see as negative. Darkness is necessary for any authentic spiritual growth. In darkness come dreams, fantasies, hopes, inspirations. God spoke in the days of old and still does speak in the dreams that come in the darkness.

I need to go deep into the dark like a root, so that God can water my soul, give me the tenderness of damp, earthy shadows where I can remove all pretense, drop my skin and shell to the floor like old rags, and lick my wounds and set them free to roam in God’s healing freedom.

As a dark root, I let God touch my selfishness, my anger, my chards of rage, my fears, self-pity and my resentments. In the darkness, God heals me, nurtures me, molds me, and breaks me, loving me back to my humanity. Perhaps I too am still not ready for the illumination and blossoming that will happen in the day. 

I am in need of quiet, willing rest in this darkness, the emptiness of gestation where the Divine Love is always with me. I must be content to wait while growing in this sacred darkness, a little holy root of God. His timing is perfect for me to emerge from the darkness into the beauty and fruitfulness for which He destined me.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Don't underestimate the power of chicken soup. Served with hugs, chicken soup is a literal opportunity to minister to someone who may need a hearty helping of comfort. That's why it's called comfort food. You serve it in tandem with the Holy Spirit who is the Ultimate Comforter.

I'm tempted to be envious of the biblical Martha who had the firsthand opportunity of repeatedly cooking comfort food for Jesus when He dropped in for dinner (perhaps unexpectedly?) with a dozen or more of His hungry friends. I'm sure she knew His favorite food and always had the makings on hand. Or I wish I had been among the women who followed Jesus when His entourage traveled on foot from village to village. They were responsible to make camp at night outdoors at some rest stop. They must have shopped at the local markets along the way and were joyfully prepared to team up with their sister followers to provide a hot meal for all. What unique opportunities they had to minister directly to Jesus!

What is there about “inasmuch as” in Matthew 25:40 that I don't understand? “And the King shall answer and say to them, 'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me.'” 

In context Jesus said, “I was hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison.” The disciples didn't get it right away. Okay, I get it! I understand now that when I cook the chicken soup and bring it with hugs and prayer and encouragement and hope and comfort to my friend who has just been assigned Hospice care in her home, I am literally, not symbolically doing it not simply for Jesus but to Jesus.

Certainly it cost me next to nothing in these modern times of food preparation convenience. It was no sacrifice of my time or talent. I'm not a gourmet cook, especially in my late season of life when everything takes longer to do. I didn't have to go into a barnyard and catch the chicken, chop off its head, pluck its feathers out and start from scratch. (I don't think I could ever have done that!) I simply stopped by the supermarket and picked out a fresh one all packaged for me, one that ran free range, not pumped up with antibiotics or hormones, one ready for the pot. I let it take its time to simmer, added the noodles, then delivered the quart jar of broth chocked full of chicken pieces to my friend with my God-hugs.

I'm not bragging on myself. I relate this with tears of thanksgiving for God's lavish goodness to me. I recall how often I have received the Lord's compassion and love and comfort in my times of affliction and need. In turn He enables and motivates me to comfort others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I don't want to be slow to get that connection. God anticipates that I will in turn be a good steward of the comfort with which He has embraced me..

There is certainly more than chicken soup under discussion here. It is symbolic of pouring myself out for others in countless ways because I get it—I do whatever I do as His child with whatever there is in my hand and in my heart with the assurance that I am ministering directly to my Lord. Instantly. No delay. Actually. Not envious of Martha or the ministering women followers of Jesus. I have the selfsame opportunity when I bring the chicken soup to my friend. Or mac and cheese. Or a whatever casserole. Or simply to sit quietly holding hands with my friend, giving my time to warm her with God's love and comfort as much as if I had brought a literal patchwork comforter to put around her shoulders.

Lord, who else needs the equivalent of chicken soup from me to You to them today?