Faith-Based Inspirations, Stories

Dungeon

“I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning; for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress. Unto You, O my strength, I will sing praises; for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower, the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.”
(Psalm 59:16-17)

DUNGEON
By,
Louisa Cambridge

    Within the bowels of the dungeon, stood a man shackled in chains. His eyes stared, unfocused. For hopelessness dulls the senses of men.

Time had transported the man chained against the stone wall, into a stagnant existence. No longer could he determine day from night, nor did he care. But as the sound of a commotion outside drew near, increasing into cries from an angry mob, the ear of the chained man was captured. He could hear the massive door to the dungeon open. As it did, sounds from the mob, the cracking of whips, increased in volume. He felt a burst of fresh air rush through the stinking prison, announcing the arrival of another man. Followed by the clamoring of boots upon the narrow stone steps.

Torches lit the stairway leading down to the prisoner’s chamber. Casting shadows, encased in golden light to dance upon the walls. Moments later, the soldiers appeared, pushing into the chamber two, new prisoners, not one. At the commander’s order, the two men were shackled to the floor. The chained man watched, taken back by the deep, purple bruises swelling on their beaten bodies. What had these men done to warrant such severe abuse? The commander addressed the jailor, threatening, if the two men escaped, it would cost the jailer his life. Snatching a torch from an iron bracket on the wall, the commander turned and left the dungeon, taking with him the golden light.

Shocked by the commander’s threat, the jailor stared at the two men, feeling a moment of compassion. But experience and fear, pushed his compassion away. Rubbing his forehead, he assigned a fresh set of guards to watch over the two men and retired to the comforts of his private quarter’s where he could rest. The chained man shook with hatred for the guards. Anger bubbled inside of him causing his body to shake. The sight of the guards, always brought back memories of his life that was lost. Memories the chained man struggled to forget. A draft, cooled by the dungeon’s stony depths, circulated through the chamber, caressing the chained man, sending gooseflesh down his arms and legs. Trembling, the man stood, in his chains, forgotten, caught in the clutches of hell.

Somewhere in the darkness, the new prisoners groaned. They were stunned that death had passed them by. Moving slow, for every movement brought fresh ripples of pain, they inched their bodies as close together as their shackles would allow. Quietly, talking. Their words fell like feathered whispers, rising and falling, growing in strength, echoing off the dungeon’s walls. Some of the prisoners began to curse, when they realized the two men were talking to God. Praising God, as if God was in the dungeon with them. As if God was listening. The chained man wondered if the two men were mad. New prisoners always made frantic pleas to God when they first arrived, but never spoke words of praise. In time, their voices stilled, once they realized that God wasn’t listening, that God didn’t care. Still, the praises of the two men grew in strength. They lifted their voices, empowered by faith that seemed to know no limitations.

As the praise increased in volume, the cursing men shouted profanities, mocking and stupefying the two men’s faith. Yet, the psalmists, raised their voices louder. They praised without desperation, but adoration accompanying every word. Their words transformed into songs. Songs that resonated through the dungeon’s chamber. As the chained man listened to the melodic strains, he felt a stirring of hope. A foreign energy had somehow pierced through the dungeon’s walls causing tears to stream down his face. The prisoner’s shouting profanities yelled louder, with faces bibulous and red. Insane men babbled and cackled, gyrating up and down. The guards looked at each other bewildered and alarmed, as the uprising intensified into uncontrollable bedlam.

The chained man barely noticed the tremor that shook the earth until the dungeon’s foundation began to shake. He stood in terror, as ear-piercing sounds from the shaking intensified. He felt the wall vibrate against his back. The shackles around his wrists and ankles cut into his flesh. The dungeon lurched and shifted, sending boulders from the ceiling crashing down. When unexpectedly, the chained man’s shackles opened and he fell to the ground, unhindered. With eyes closed and teeth grit, the man waited for the deadly strike that would surely hit him at any moment. He welcomed it. The floor shimmied and shuddered beneath his hands and knees. Boulders continued to fall from above. The dust was so thick none of the men could see. Breathing was difficult. The thundering sounds of the walls falling in drowned out the men’s cries of panic… Then… the quivering stopped. Boulders became stones. All was still, except for a showering of loosened pebbles.

Sunlight, coming from the shattered roof, spilled down through the settling dust. The men were scattered; every one of them free from his chains. For several minutes there was silence, no one dared to make a sound. The unexpected freedom was so astonishing that it rendered the men unable to move. Not one, instigated the desire to escape. The silence was broken by the frantic jailer bursting through the dungeon’s door, downing the stairs. Seeing the prisoner’s free from their chains, he pulled his sword from its sheath in fear, readying his hand to plunge the blade into his heart. The new prisoner, named Paul, yelled for him to stop. Reassuring him that every one of the prisoners was accounted for. The jailor’s life was safe!

Stunned, the jailer moved to step forward, but his legs buckled beneath him. As he fell, Paul, and the other named, Silas, went to his aid. The jailer marveled at the respectful way they treated him and remembered their cause. They spoke of Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. Whose followers, like these men, believed he rose from the dead, calling him the Messiah, the Son of the living God. A hush descended upon the prison as each man realized they were in the presence of the supernatural. Humbled, like small children, they waited to be told what to do next.

The free man stood. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he examined the scars on his ankles and wrists. He looked at the open shackles hanging from what remained of the dungeon’s wall, savoring the pleasure of moving his unhindered limbs. Waves of emotion gripped his heart as he listened, while the jailor asked questions about Jesus. As Paul answered them, the free man believed. The seed of hope inside of him grew, expanding as the dawn rising over the horizon, stirring him with its powerful love. He never knew there was such love! Falling to his knees he realized the light of Salvation had conquered his darkness forever.

Meaning Behind My Name

Horses, Seeds & Hummingbird Wings

Horses: My mother tells me, I was born with a hoof in my mouth! It’s probably her fault, because she is the one who introduced me to horses and started the whole obsession. As a young-women, Mom frequently rode down the long equestrian trails nestled in Cuyahoga County Park, in Ohio. My dad, who was severely allergic to anything with fur, drove me to locations along the trails, where we could meet her. Daddy lifted me into the air so I could bury my face in the horse’s mane and smell its sweet scent. I always cried when we had to leave. Mom became my equestrian advocate, making sure that my passion for horses was properly fed. In addition to supporting the purchase of my first horse when I was fifteen; a two-year-old, appendix Quarter Horse, mare, named Missy. In truth, I know that without mom’s help I would have eventually found my way as an equestrian. But I’m so, very grateful that mom recognized in me, a reflection of her own love. She understood the frustration, a horse lover feels, when not around horses, and made sure I had many horsey encounters. As a result, I’ve always been carried by a beloved equine I owned, down the trails of life.
Seeds: Growing up, my Grandmother Bury was the gardener in the family. We lived in the beautiful city of, Bay Village, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, just west of Cleveland. It was my job to mow Grandma’s lawn and water her garden. As a kid I hated the chores and often tried (especially while watering) to exert as little effort into the job as possible. Grandma wouldn’t have it! She always checked my work, making me redo the chores over and over until they were done right! My mother was the same way when it come to housekeeping. Presently, I never water or work in my own garden without thinking of Grandma. I feel her spirit and I hear her instructing me to give the beds a good soaking. I’m so grateful that Grandma’s love of gardening was transferred to me!
Hummingbird Wings: One morning, just before Jeff and I moved to Fort Worth, I was sitting on my back porch, in my house in Colleyville, relaxing. Because we were getting ready to move, my bird feeders hung on their hooks, empty. Over the years, I developed a following of hummingbirds that frequented my feeders. Many happy moments were spent watching these intriguing creatures drink their fill then fly back to their nests in the trees, only to return for more. On this particular morning, one of the hummingbirds tried to drink from an empty feeder, that for years had hung full, on a hook, by a rose bush, close to where I was sitting. When the little guy found the feeder empty, he flew right up to me, hovering in the air about three feet away, and proceeded to scold me because the feeder was empty. I was stunned! He hovered for quite a while, emphasizing his point with chirps, then flew off to sit on a corner of the roof. Slowly I stood and retrieved the feeder from the hook, taking it to the kitchen to refill. As I hung the full feeder back on the hook, I took my seat, wondering if the hummingbird would return. He did! Drinking for a long, long time. When he had his fill, the little guy flew over to me, hovering closer that before, silently staring at me. I knew I was being thanked. I also knew I had just experienced a miracle! One of those rare moments where humans interact with wildlife, in terms of offering help. I have always loved hummingbirds and will cherish the memory this encounter for the rest of my life.
(The photo at the top was taken just a few days ago.  I was gathering wildflowers and stop the enjoy my horses, Dude and Roo.)

Home Decor Ideas, Parties

My Kentucky Derby Party

Originally, I was going to host this party on Derby day, Saturday, May 5th, but one of my guests is becoming a grandmother on that date, so we rescheduled for two weeks earlier. Thought I would post photos of my decorated house for fun. Maybe give some other Derby hosts some ideas too. Several of my ideas I found on Pinterest. All of the wreaths I made myself, along with the table decorations and outdoor welcoming horse. I included mason jars containing my homemade lip balm, soap and hand sanitizer. On the tops I hot glued moss and plastic horses. We played a fun game that included a Chinese gift exchange. Happy Derby day to all my equestrian friends!
Louisa

 

Meet My Family, My Son, Christopher

Breath So Near

From the moment I learned that I was pregnant, my values and ambitions for my life changed. Suddenly, the world wasn’t all about me, but the new little being growing inside of me. I loved this child from the moment I first suspected his existence. The most profound change was the tenderizing of my heart, which hasn’t changed to this day. I know that not all women feel this way. That handling a new baby can be very frightening. It is! But from the moment I laid eyes on my son, motherhood blossomed. I was possessive of his tiny form, protective. The most profound moment in my life was the moment he was born. It was the same for his brother and sister. This poem was written for all mother’s, in honor of those intimate moments we share, alone with our babies. It’s also for my son, Christopher.

 

BREATH SO NEAR
By, Louisa Cambridge
Tenderly the heavenly Father
Looked upon His sleeping daughter.
Safe and restful was her slumber.
Not a sound would dare disrupt her.
In the quiet night unmoving
Angels kept their watchful duty.
As He looked His heart was full of love.

Then a tiny little stirring
Filled the room with urgent mewing.
Capturing the girl’s attention,
Summoning her warm affection.
Eagerly, her arms encased him.
Lovingly, her eyes embraces him,
Cradling, most carefully, her son.

Snuggling to his mother’s bosom.
Drawing warmth from milk that soothed him.
Satisfied, his tiny body calmed.
Reaching for his mother’s finger,
Holding tightly, clinging to her.
While he nursed she softly stroked his hands.

With fingers formed so small, so perfect,
Yet, with strength—they had a purpose,
In the future path this child would walk.
She prayed that God would lead and guide him.
Asked for heath and peace to find him.
As the Father heard He sang a song.

The love that emanated from Him,
Filled the room, encamped around them.
Settled gently on the girl and child.
Her heart was filled with deep emotion,
Full of blissful sweet devotion,
For this precious babe within her arms.

His little mouth sucked slower now.
With milk stained lips he gave a smile.
His eyes were studying her face.
With innocence and trust he gazed,
Until his sleepy head began to nod.

In loves sweet songful harmony,
There came to them, the gift of peace.
It wrapped around their earthly forms.
It soothed her mind, it touched her soul.
And then the pleasant thought of sleep
Again descended sweet and deep.
She hugged her baby close and dear
And whispered in the Father’s ear,
“I’ve never felt Your Breath so near to mine!”

20180427_091543
Christopher, an hour after he was born

 

Parenting a child with special needs

Parenting a Child with Special Needs

By, Louisa Cambridge
One of the subjects I hope to write about, in addition to sharing helpful information, is the subject of parenting a child with special needs. I was an adoptive, foster mom. I also raised a child with cerebral palsy (pictured above) and another with ADHD. I too am ADHD, with extra hyperactivity (I’m sure my mother would agree) and have struggled with dyslexia my whole life. So, not only do I have experience working with these kids, I was one of these kids, and I understand on a personal level some of the struggles they face. Working with special needs kids has taught me so much and I want to share what I have learned. As a whole I am a much better person because of my precious children. Some of the issues that I want to address are:
1. Dealing with social rejection
2. Helping my children, who I viewed without limitations, survive in a world where their limitation are all others see
3. Guilt! Loving my child versus hating the disability (I can admit that now)
4. Fear! Am I doing the right thing? Making the best choice?
5. My mental and physical burn out
6. Isolation and loneliness
7. The importance of journaling, especially for women
I’ll start with these subjects, adding more as I go along. In the meantime, I’d like to share a passage my friend Molly wrote about autistic daughter, Fern.
“I promise my girl, during this month of autism awareness, that I will listen to her and her autistic brethren first and foremost. I understand that my knowledge on autism should come from first person accounts of adult autistic and most valuably, from her when she can communicate on the subject. I vow to respect her privacy when our world isn’t designed to support her needs—and it all becomes too much. I will spend my life making activities accessible and showing that we spread acceptance through love for each other and our unique diversity. I’ll love every ounce of Fern. [I highly recommend “Neuro Tribes,” by Silberman for greater autism awareness]”
—Molly Stinson West
Also, I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful blog written by author, Leslie Means. Leslie has great insight on difficult subjects such as grief, loss of a loved one and raising kids with special needs.
www.herviewfromhome.com/