Never Say “Uncle”….
When I was a kid, I remember we used to play “Uncle”. I have to remind you that I had three older brothers and I was the youngest and the only sister. When we would get into a skirmish, we had these grips and holds that we would do to each other until the other person would call out “Uncle”. Then as if an unwritten law, we’d release the person. I have no understanding to this day why we did this, what purpose it served, or why we had to say the word “Uncle”. But even then, I had this streak in me, where I wouldn’t give in. I just couldn’t say “Uncle”. Sometimes, I’d scream, “Aunt”. But that didn’t work, because it was the wrong word. I just had this thing about giving up. Somehow it became a sort of survival instinct-”Don’t give up!” Kind of like Nehemiah on the wall. Sometimes, we have to have a plow in one hand and a sword in the other to get the job done, to fight the battles of life, to survive, to overcome, to walk in victory. Never come off the wall—Never say “Uncle”. God’s richest blessings dear friends. Tomorrow, I will speak for Tabernacle Baptist Church on Thursday November 30, 2023. This is a phone conference with the group, The Family Prayer Table. All are welcome to call in at 12:00, at 605-472-5396 code 395806#. My thanks to Dr. Rev Arthur L Brown, Rev. Rose, and Benzenia Hart for this invitation.
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Tony’s a Hit!!!
Interview on ABC Good Day PA. I have recently learned that Amazon.com is “temporarily out of stock” of “Tony the Lonely Dandelion”. Please know that “Tony” can be purchased from me directly from this page, from my website, marshabarth.com, or by contacting me via email, [email protected] This way I am also able to give you an autographed copy and can personalize it to your child the way you would request.
We Are More than Just a Weed!
What an amazing day!! To get to share my book “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” on Good Day PA-Author Spotlight.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. I will never forget the little girl in Hawaii where I read the book last fall in the King Kamehameha Grade School to 250 students. She whispered in my ear, “Sometimes, I feel like Tony.” And then there was the little boy who raised his hand and said, “I have to admit it. Sometimes, I’m a bully!” I smiled at him and said, “So what are you going to do about that?”
My sincere thanks to Amy Kehm, Brett Thakara and the whole ABC staff for this opportunity, their kindness and great support!!
Tony the Lonely Dandelion…..
by: Marsha Barth
Tony is the lovable dandelion who believes he is more than just a weed and wants to be a beautiful flower but everyone picks on him and says he is “just a weed”. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. I will be interviewing on WHTM-TV/abc 27 on Thursday, October 19, 2023 with my book–”Tony the Lonely Dandelion”.
My thanks to Amy Kehm, host of [email protected] for her time and support in arranging this TV interview. Good Day PA airs LIVE from 10am-11am. Remember you are more than “just a weed”. You are a beautiful flower!!!
Dare to Be a Daniel…
As we were driving to an appointment the other day, Mike said to me,”It’s harvest time.” I asked him how did he know? And he said, “You can tell because the wheat is heavy and bends over when it is ripe but the tares stands right up.” The wheat is heavy with seed and fruited grain, but the tares are empty small seeds which are toxic for consumption.
I find it amazing that two plants can grow side by side and look exactly the same and yet be totally different and this not be seen until harvest time. It is truly harvest time and like the wheat we must be true to what we are, lest we appear as wheat and truly only be a tare.
Can we dare to be a Daniel, and Esther, a Paul, a Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego? Or does the cancel culture have us so wrapped up in fear, that we are bound and afraid to be the Daniel or Esther that God has called us to be. It is harvest time…. I will speak for Tabernacle Baptist Church on Thursday September 14, 2023. This is a phone conference with the group, The Family Prayer Table. All are welcome to call in at 12:00, at 605-472-5396 code 395806#. My thanks to Dr. Rev Arthur L Brown, Rev Rose, and Benzenia Hart for this invitation.
The Cloud Has Lifted….
The fog lay so heavy in the valley today that it encompassed us that we could not see as we were driving. So often too, the clouds of life can cover us like a blanket, and we cannot find our way. And then all of a sudden the clouds lifted. Saturday, we had a great conference with so many wonderful women, from every walk of life, different churches, and all ages. Some knew of God, some had walked with Him many years, some were coming out of recovery. We cannot know the burdens that some were carrying—tremendous burdens, that we cannot often see.
And yet the speakers spoke-Theresa Johnson, Toni Stewart, Tamarra Bopp and Marsha Barth and God moved and touched every heart. There is such a joy in transformation—the clouds lift, we can see, and we begin to walk in victory, and the sun shines again. My thanks to all who worked so hard-the kitchen crew, the vendors, speakers, Ruby Shearburn for the pictures, and all the wonderful women and friends who came together for this great event!
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Mystery of the Butterfly….
There is a beautiful mystery of the butterfly that many don’t know. Somewhere between being that ugly squirmy worm and turning into a beautiful elegant butterfly, something mysteriously happens. There is a journey that evolves as the butterfly presses onward towards his destiny. It isn’t so much that he must fight for survival, but that he must endure the process if he is to reach his true identity. He will shed his skin painfully five times, before he encases himself in a living tomb to await his transformation. Little does he know what will transpire during that time. His body will release hormones and enzymes that will dissolve his very being except for a few select cells. Through this process he is liquefied and other cells that have been dormant and spared are now awakened and begin to create a complete and new creature, each with their own DNA codes to produce wings, digestive system, and everything that makes this creature a symbol of beauty, rebirth, hope, freedom, endurance, and love.
The mystery lies in the power of transformation from its creator. How amazing that something can be so completely transformed from an ugly worm to a colorful kaleidoscope of beauty to soar away from its past and fulfill its divine purpose. Oh, but what about the mystery of the child of God. Is it any less divine to see a soul broken and shattered, torn asunder, and its life’s purpose dissolved and destroyed, only to see the creator once again make it a new creature in Christ and cause it to rise up above the shadows of life and soar into their new identity and fulfill God’s purpose? Join us this Saturday, September 9th, 2023, at Faith Fellowship Church for our Women’s Free Fall Conference, located at 721 East Penn Ave., Cleona, PA. See flier for details. Book Signing at this event also–”The Shattering”, “The Shattering II”, “Tony the Lonely Dandelion”, and “Amazing Grace-Heaven’s Light”, author Marsha Barth.
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Sorrow in Paradise…
Anyone who knows me, knows my love of HI. It is not just the beauty that engulfs you when you step off of the plane, or the beautiful fragrance that feels the air, but it is the humbleness and kindness of the gentle people that live there. I write this article to those who have asked me how they can help and donate to those suffering from the Maui fires. Here is the link that I recommend. Dr. Marocco and his wife are pastors of King’s Cathedral in Kahului and love the people of Hawaii dearly. The church has partnered with nationwide organizations such as City Serve, Convoy of Hope, Mercy Chefs, Samaritan’s Purse and are helping so many.
We have personally met and spoken to the Pastors- Dr. Marocco and his wife in the past. Since Tuesday, more than 700 people have sheltered in the church’s building and parking lot.
I have done a lot of ministerial work in Maui. I have spoken to a homeless group at King’s Cathedral in Kahului. I have twice spoken for the University of HI-on Domestic Violence and Child Sexual Abuse. I have spoken at the prison 6 times, the last time to 13 cell blocks which took me three days. I have spoken at the Malama Family Center and the Aloha House (wonderful recovery programs for addiction) and I have had book signings at the only book store on the island (Barnes and Noble) who donated money to these recovery programs through my book sales. I have spoken at the Waiola Church, which was the first Christian church on Maui, established by Queen Keopuolani 200 years ago and just last year, I read my book “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” to five groups of elementary students, approximately 250 children at the King Kamehameha Elementary School. Both have burned completely to the ground in the Lahaina fires. What saddens me the most are the precious lives that have been lost. There are children from the King Kamehameha Elementary School who have perished in the fire, along with many family members of some of the people we have grown to know and love. This loss hits us personally. To anyone who has a burden for those who have lost their loved ones, and many who have lost all that they owned; their homes, their cars, and all their personal possessions, please feel free to contact King’s Cathedral at the link posted. I am posting some pictures of happier days in our Maui. God Bless~~Kindest regards~~Marty (Marsha Barth)
Are You a Repairer of the Breach….
I was raised in the beautiful hills of WV. The beauty of the land is only matched by the beauty of the people that live there.
Lately, I have been reminded about the path I have walked. As a small child, we were raised in a three-room house, not to be mistaken for a three-bedroom house. It was not HGTV approved and the one closet was big enough for just one of us kids to hide in. The bathroom was 150′ up the hill, the horseshoe pegs another 150′ and the cliff that went straight down, 150′ feet farther.
My brothers and I learned very early on, not to chase the ball past the horseshoe pegs. We had a good family, but we had some bad people in our family.
We had love, but often it was torn asunder by the wrong that others chose to follow. I found myself at the age of five broken and shattered by others’ choices. It could have all ended there. Or at the age of thirteen, when I felt that I had lived long enough if this was the way life would be.
An identity of hopelessness had covered me at that young age and was fortified by people who believed the same. It would have consumed me except a light shone through that darkness in my life. A light that showed me my true identity, and filled me with new hope, new promises and a new life. When there is a light we no longer walk in darkness. When there is light, everything looks different than in the darkness; flowers bloom instead of wilting, fear vanishes and hope shines brightly, naysayers words fall on deaf ears and we rise to the destiny and identity that God had planned for us all our lives.
Oh, if you could see yourself the way God sees you. If you could know and find your true identity in him and not in who you think you are, or aren’t. If you could know that you are more than a conqueror, more than broken, more than a failure, more than forsaken, more than unloved. For you are more, much more. But this precious gift of identity can only be found in him, for he is the one who created that identity and purpose in you, and for you only.
As, that small child, I grabbed hold of who he said I was. No one seemed to believe it, especially me. But as I took his hand and went forward on that journey of life, I have found more than I could have ever dreamed. One day many years ago, I was sitting and pondering all that God had done in my life; all that he had changed; all that he had healed; all the battles that he had overcome in my life and all the promises that he had fulfilled, never failing to keep a single promise. He showed me Isaiah 58: 12 … “you shall be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.” If only we could see that it is never too late, it is never the end. From the day we surrender ourselves to this Savior, this friend, this God, this deliverer, this restorer, our life changes, and it is a new beginning. Now you get to be “a repairer of the breach”. It goes on to say that our children and grandchildren will build the old waste places and that our choice impacts the foundations of many generations. We get to be a restorer of the paths that they will walk in.
I enjoy this walk with God. I found his reality those many years ago and his presence has never wavered. I enjoy sharing this joy and hope, through my books that I have written, through my events, and through my blogs. Yesterday, two of my friends and myself visited the Lebanon County Prison. There we get to share this true reality that we have found, with those who are probably at the lowest point of their lives; a point that many of them think and feel that they cannot overcome or change. Many will go to State Prison from here. Many have a long path ahead of them. But oh, wonder if they could know that they can be “a repairer of the breach”, that their identity is not in the color of their prison uniform, but in the palm print of a Jesus who loves them? This Friday, July 28, 2023 I will speak for Tabernacle Baptist Church in Harrisburg. This is a phone conference with the group, The Family Prayer Table. All are welcome to call in at 12:00, at 605-472-5396 code 395806#. My thanks to Dr. Rev Arthur L Brown, Rev Rose, and Benzenia Hart for this invitation.
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The Sound of Freedom………
I had to go see this movie! As many of you know, I am a speaker, advocate, and author against child sexual abuse. I was not disappointed in the magnitude of the truth that it exposed. It was excellently, professionally, and truthfully put together and is one of the most amazing eye-opener and best movies of our times. I would encourage any one, any one, who has any concern for our children to go and see this movie. As an author and victor of child sexual abuse, I know the approach and even sometimes the reproach that is portrayed at this theme or topic. I have been told personally by people that reading my book gave them bad dreams and they couldn’t read it. My thought to this was—do they have any idea of the bad dreams and nightmares that child victims are living through. (My book has no graphics and detail into the abuse, only the reality of what abuse is). It is our responsibility, our duty, to open our eyes, and to become aware of what is happening to our children. I have been told by book stores that they felt their readers/customers would not be interested with this theme. I merely commented that with statistics of 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys being sexually abused by the age of 18, over 60 million adults now living past their childhood sexual abuse, and that every 8 minutes in America a child is sexually molested, it will be hard for anyone to find that child sexual abuse will not impact them at sometime in their life. I have had people ask me unbelievable questions at book signings–”Why is it so hard for a child to get over child sexual abuse?” “Why didn’t you speak up?” I have had people pick up the book to buy, walk away, and then come back and put it down, saying this is too deep for me. I just smile, and say with my arms open, “It has a good ending.” And it does. And so does this movie! It is a story of Victory over Victimization. It is a story of defeating the evil that has ravished our children. You may say, “but what can I do to help the children???” It seems to my heart that if any one has any love for any of our children, they will put “their” feelings aside, or any “discomfort” that they may feel with this topic, and open their eyes and hearts to what is happening by standing against child sexual abuse and trafficking and supporting every cause that rises up against this. I encourage you to see this movie.
The other day I had two of the grandchildren up to visit. Oh, the joy that radiates from them. We talked (non-stop) the whole ride up to our house. We talked about everything and anything. They ask me to tell them stories, and I do. Stories about them, their daddy and their Aunt Jenny as children, and I even tell them funny stories about them. We laugh, draw, and play games. They love beating PopPop at “Skunk”. We went to the local fair and ate all the goodies. I went on one ride, and only one, turned green, and then ate funnel cake.
Children truly radiate God’s love. That night when I was tucking them in, I asked them who they wanted to pray for. Matthew said, “He wanted to remember all the people he loved that were not with us anymore. He is 8 years-old. My heart smiled. I said, “We can remember Nana and PopPop.” He said, “and Gramma too.” This was his great-gramma. They lost three grandparents last year. Love is so precious and writes its messages in our hearts forever. We see God in the hearts of children. We hear God in the chorus of songs the birds sing at the breaking of dawn and at the setting of the sun. We feel God in the stillness of night, his love and comfort embracing us. His reality is ever present in our midst—but do we call on him? “His arm is not short that he will not save, his ear is not heavy that he cannot hear.” So what does hinder us? I am reminded of this also as I went into the prison last Monday to speak. The women listened with open heart and many shared their story. One had been to her mom’s funeral that very day on furlough. I know also that she lost a small child not long ago. Do we know the hearts of these who are struggling? Do we know the hardships that led them down the wrong paths? We don’t. Do we know a Jesus who will take them under the shadow of his wings, deliver them, and set them free? Yes—we do. On this fourth of July—let us remember the one who truly sets us free. Let us rejoice in the goodness of our God who has truly by his grace and mercy blessed our America.
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“Hidden Riches in Secret Places….
Have you ever noticed a squirrel in the middle of the road?? They perceive danger, react frantically, race back and fourth before they hunch up, and freeze right before you as you are traveling fifty miles an hour. Wherein, you then perceive danger, react frantically and hunch up and freeze also. Have you ever noticed in our lives that we face many decisions in our lives the same way as the squirrel??? We don’t like to think that we do, and would rather perceive ourselves as the courageous lion who is unapproachable, or as the mighty eagle who soars above the clouds and troubles that crowd into our lives. The squirrel fails many times because he lacks depth perception and the ability to detect the immediate danger due that his eyes are positioned on the side of his head. It is unfortunate, that often we, in ourselves, can lose our depth perception, when surrounded by darkness, or situations in our lives that are clouded by circumstances beyond our control. It is then that we need to find clarity; find the “treasures of the darkness”, the “hidden riches of secret places.” It is then that we must find the light in our darkness so that we may see clearly again. I have found many treasures in my times of darkness, and many hidden riches in the secret places, once I found the light to show me the way. David found that light also and was able to slay the impenetrable bear, the mighty lion, and the overbearing giant. He found that Light in the Word as he declared, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” And John found it and said, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And then said, “the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” I have always found comfort in that light that shines in my darkness. Though we often cannot understand it , somehow, we regain our depth perception and our peripheral vision, as the light shows us a bigger picture. What treasures could we ever find in the darkness, or hidden riches in secret places? Oh, there are so many….Hope, Peace, Love, Kindness, Deliverance, Strength….not in ourselves, but in that miraculous Light that leads us through the darkest of nights…
I will be a guest speaker for Tabernacle Baptist Church at “The Table Family Prayer Group at 12:00 on Tuesday May 30th. All are welcome to join us by dialing 605-472-5396 and then code 395806#. My thanks to Benzenia Hart, Dr. Reverend Arthur L. Brown and Reverend Rose for this opportunity to share “Treasures in the Darkness and Hidden Riches in Secret Places.”
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Have You Smiled Today…..
“A child’s smile makes even the saddest heart happy.”mlb
I went to visit some of my grandchildren the other day. I was blessed to watch them for a few days—all eight of them. They always make my heart smile. They have an answer for everything. It may be the wrong answer, but I guarantee you it will make you laugh. We blew up some balloons. Actually, I blew up one balloon, (see picture).
In a world full of turmoil, it is the children that can show us the way—through their innocence, love, and tenderness of heart. But the question remains~~what are we teaching them??? Have we taught them love, kindness, and forgiveness. Children reflect what they see and embrace what they understand. I’m reminded often from my childhood, as I’m sure many of you are reminded, that children can sometimes also be mean, bullying, and even cruel. That is why I wrote “Tony the Lonely Dandelion”. It is sad, but true, that I can go through that little book and tell you who every flower in that book was in my childhood. I am actually “Tony”. “Mr. Gruff”, was a seventh grade teacher that taught us and was very harsh. His name was “Mr. Waggley”. He called all of our test scores out loud in front of the class. I remember our first test with him. He was calling out our names with our grades. When he got to my name, he paused. This scared me to death. He said, 98, and then paused again. I let out a sigh of relief. But then he stated, “You must have lucked out, or studied awful hard.” It was like I had been hit in the gut with a board.
He, like Mr. Gruff, just couldn’t believe that a “dandelion” could really be a “flower”. The other characters represented in the book as other flowers are the bullies, the unconcerned neighbors, the indifferent adults, and those who looked the other way. All of these are who children learn from and where they gain their trust and values. –mlb Wednesday May 24, I will be reading “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” for a class at Pine Street Elementary School. My sincere thanks to Deborah Miller and Pine Street Elementary Staff for this invitation. “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” –Wess Stafford
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Shadowed By Love……
At 19, when I was born, my mom had already experienced more of life than most people who were twice her age. She had known the sorrow of losing siblings, experienced the divorce of her parents, barely knowing her father, and lived through a great depression, knowing the reality of poverty.
They lived on ration coupons. Their ration coupons for clothes were issued from a men’s clothing store. It fell their lot if they were to have shoes or coats, they had to be boys. It was at this time that there was an outbreak of lice and the only cure then was to shave the head completely. On Saturdays, my mom and her sisters were given a quarter to go to the movies, while gramma worked to support them. I remember Mom telling me of her dilemma of going to the restroom and standing there trying to decide to go either in the girls restroom looking like a boy with her bald head and boys clothes, or to go in the boys bathroom being a girl. She chose the later.
When she was 16, she was married and had my eldest brother; at 17, my second brother; by 18, my third brother; and at 19 she had me. Married with four children, we lived in a little “three-room” house. It had a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom with one small closet that only one of us could hide in at a time. We carried our water and we walked up the hill to use the bathroom which was outside. These were some of the happiest times that I remember.
Mom was not raised in a Christian home or with a religious foundation. Her Mom was Brethren, her Dad, Jehovah Witness and somewhere in between it all, the children were raised Catholic. But Mom knew something of the Love of God. When I had a headache or earache she would pray for me. When I was afraid at night, she taught me to talk to Jesus. Someone sent me little Bible Stories in the mail when I was young. You had to read the story and to answer the questions. and mail them back. My Mom would help me answer these, neither of us knowing the answer, looking up scriptures and struggling for the meaning.
As my Dad’s drinking continued; I watched sin destroy our family, and I watched as my Mom struggled through all the hurt and pain to keep us kids from being completely swallowed up in it. She pressed 24 dozen blouses a day in a steaming factory to provide for us, while a community judged and condemned her for not being there with us.
It was my Mom, who knew how much a box of hundred Crayola crayons meant to me. It was Mom who nurtured me through my shut-downs, patiently drawing me back out to a fresh hope. It was my Mom who taught me to look on compassion to those without, to reach out to the brokenhearted, to care for the hurting. It was Mom who taught me that my words could be too sharp at times, that trust is best placed in the hands of the right people, and that Jesus would always love me unconditionally. It was her faith in a God, that she said she didn’t know a lot about, that taught me to lean on Him and cast my every care. My mom was not perfect, and she was not religious in the sense we know it, but she knew something of the simple and pure Love of God.
When I look at my Mom’s life, I see mostly hurt and pain. But I have never seen her bitter. She was never bitter at her childhood. She could take the saddest memory and weave it into a story of overcoming. She took the pain of her failed marriages, never blaming anyone, never retaliating back, never holding a grudge. She forgave in ways that I’m still learning.
My Mom played games with us, shared with us, worked hard for us, stood by us and believed in us. She shadowed us with her love and I will be forever grateful to God for giving me my Mom who has impacted my life so greatly.
Copyright 2000—Marty Barth Love Marty
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Treasures of the Darkness….
I was leaving home today to go out and as I backed the car up as usual, I turned and went around the loop of our driveway. I, by chance, looked over at our front window and there stood my husband. He gently waved his hand goodbye to me. Such a simple gesture, but one that our family has done ever since we moved here over thirty years ago. The family would always stand at the window, and when one of us left—would wave goodbye. We did it when the kids were leaving to go on the bus for school. We did it when, they drove off to their first dance. We did it when, they went off to college. A simple gesture of love.
We can miss the precious things of life in the darkness of our circumstances sometimes. On Thursday, I spoke for SARCC at Monument Park, in Lebanon, PA. I spoke of how there are “Treasures of the Darkness”, “Hidden Riches in Secret Places.” These treasures can be hard to find when we are in our darkest hour, but they are there, because God is there. He is not far, from the heart that is breaking. He is not far, from your tears that fall. He is never too far that He cannot hear your cry for help.
He is the Hope that shines in our night, and lights our path into a healing journey. His ear is never heavy, that He cannot hear. His arm is never shortened, that He cannot save. That Hope, that is, and can be, an anchor for our soul, if we will only reach out. My sincere thanks to Ali Perrotto, CEO SARCC for inviting me to speak and be a part of this wonderful event. My thanks to all of the SARCC family who made me feel so welcomed. Keep up the great work!!!
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Speak Up~~Speak Out
“Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about the things that matter.” I like this compilation of thoughts from Dr. Martin Luther King.
I too, truly believe that our lives begin to end, when we become silent about the things that matter.” It is with this passion of this thought that I will “speak up” and “speak out” tomorrow in Monument Park, at 8th and Lehman Street, Lebanon, PA, April 27, 2023, starting at 4:00. It is with this same passion of thought that I wrote my books–”The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”.
We so often do not like to talk or hear about things that make us uncomfortable, but I am reminded of what Edmund Burke in the 1700’s stated, “Evil can only prevail, when good people do nothing.” It is not only necessary, but it is imperative, that if we are to ever make a difference, it must begin with us “speaking up” and “speaking out”.
“If we can be brave enough to enter into the dark shadows of the unspeakable and pull back the curtains, we not only reveal the light but we also set the captives free. It is God’s desire to take you from lost to found, from victim to victor, from death to life.” (Quote from “The Shattering II”) Always remember that “YOU matter!!” “Hope is tangible and breathes life and passion into every human soul that dares to reach out, grab it, and believe.” (Quote from “The Shattering II”). All welcome to come and join us. My sincere thanks to Ali Perrotto, CEO, SARCC for this opportunity to be a part of this event.
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Speak Up, Speak Out!!
I couldn’t help thinking this morning about all the beauty that is unfolding before us as spring breaks. Everything is crying out for a new season, a new start, a fresh beginning. The trees are brushed with a tinge of green as they burst forth from the death of winter. The “laughy daffy’s” bade farewell as their encore to ushering in this new season has past.
Our lives are so many times ushered in through seasons of life. There are times when we only have the strength to endure and to survive our winter seasons. We feel truly at those times that we will never bloom again. We feel often alone as the winds of winter beat us down. But then the warmth of the Sunshine beats down upon us. It is healing, and hope begins to stir. New life begins to rise within us and we realize that we are no longer the Victim of winter but the Victor of spring.
Many of you know that I am an author. But I am also an advocate and speaker. It seems so fitting that April, the bosom of springtime, is when we promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 23–29, 2023. It is so often in the spring of our life that we are healed enough to “Speak Up, Speak out” and make a difference. My thanks to Ali Perrotto, CEO/SARCC (Sexual Assault Resource Counseling Center) for this opportunity to be a part of this event. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
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The sun was shining so bright. What a blessed day it had been. We had just come in from our Easter Egg hunt and the children had opened up their eggs to count their treasures. Most of you know that I have ten grandchildren-nine boys and one girl. The house was full of laughter and beautiful commotion. As we gathered around the table for dinner—we took hands as Mike led us in a prayer of thanks—I reached for my little two-year-old’s hand who was eating a double-stuff Oreo as his appetizer. I asked him, “You want to take MeMaw’s hand?” He considered the Oreo over my hand for a moment and then shifted the cookie and took my hand.
There is something precious when a little two-year-old places his hand in yours. The feeling of trust from their little hearts as they wrap it around yours. But in reality, they wrap it around your heart. I listened as my Mike echoed our hearts of thankfulness and wrapped my hand tighter around Evan’s. I felt the stickiness ooze from his fingers to mine. A big smile crossed my face. Such a precious moment. One I will always remember. I know that there will come a time when I will miss those sticky little fingers wrapping around mine. But for now, oh how I enjoy them. Life is so precious and memories so treasured. Gone are the Easters that many shared with us. We missed my momma, and Missy’s mom and dad, all who have went on to meet the Lord last year. But we go forward—not without them—but with them in our hearts, their love shining a light on our path of life; a light of love that can only radiate from that light of the Resurrection that we were celebrating that day; a light that shows us that death and hell were conquered on that day, and a hope that there is a tomorrow that will outshine the sun. May we grab hold of that Hope that forever shines and Who bids us to take His hand so that we may always know that we never walk alone. Be blessed my friends~~
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How Do You Deal With Conflict???
I find it amazing the paths of life that God leads each one of us individually. I was driving down to my son’s a few days ago and saw a woman about my age riding a bike. She was Amish and had a school crossing vest on. I watched her literally speed across the road on her bike. I was impressed as she was an older woman with white hair. I saw an older man riding his bike along the road, hunkered down in his coat as the cold wind blew against him. But what really caught my eye was the person on a bike pedaling up a hill. I had to step on the gas as the hill inclined.
As I went around the bike, I was surprised to see that it was not a man but an older woman. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw her slowly pedaling up the hill. She didn’t look at the top of the hill or even look up at all. She was totally focused on her goal–to make it up that hill. She could not focus on the struggle. She could not focus on the distractions around her. She could not focus on the cold, or wonder ‘what if I can’t make it up that hill’. I watched her as she struggled on, the wind beating against her, her bags in a basket behind her, determined to fulfil her goal. She was purposed in her heart. Daniel purposed in his heart the things of God. We are living in a time where we must “purpose in our hearts”.
We can no longer say, “Well I hope I can do this”, “I hope I can make it “, “I hope I can do better.” We must purpose in our heart that “we can do all things through Christ”. We must not let the distractions of life hinder us. We must not let the strong winds of life blow us off course. We must not let our age or circumstances tell us we cannot make it up that hill. We must not let the coldness of other’s hearts deter us, or people passing us by with ease discourage us on our mission. We must not give up! There I was sitting in a warm car, facing no wind, the heater blowing warm air on my face, stepping on the gas, going around those who were pedaling so hard. Our goal was the same, to get up that hill. Our situations were different but our purpose was set in our hearts. Are you purposed in your heart? We are having a great woman’s retreat on “Dealing with Conflict God’s Way “. How do you deal with conflict; conflict on the job, at home, in relationships, finances, health, unseen circumstances, confrontations, and the problems of life? Please see attached flyer for details and contact information. My books and cds will be available at the book signing table. God’s richest blessings dear friends.
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Can You Trust???
Trust is a beautiful thing. It is as a beautiful rose blooming in the desert and just as rare. True trust is hard to find because so many of our hearts have been broken or shattered when trusting. But true trust, like true love, cannot be defined by what has been broken, but by what is made whole. I had a wonderful experience while spending some time with my 9 grandchildren. My Zachary, who is 3 1/2 years old, and a soul that runs deep, became more interested in the big pool instead of the children’s pool. He is very cautious, which is a good thing at 3 1/2. But he decided he wanted to jump into the pool without his floaties, asking me to catch him when he jumped in. As he jumped in and I caught him over and over again, I was amazed at his level of trust in me to catch him. He didn’t falter or hesitate. This little guy who used to not like to be splashed was now jumping freely into my arms, over and over again. I wouldn’t even jump into my arms if I was him.. And yet, he trusted me. His trust melted my heart. I told him how brave he was and hugged him tightly. It made me think and ponder what would happen to us if we in all our doubts and fears could bravely stand on the edge of life and literally jump into the arms of a Savior who is waiting to catch us. It doesn’t matter if we can’t swim if He carries us. Oh such divine strength, courage, and trust to know Him more. I learn so much from my children . Be blessed my friends.
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Joy to the World…..
I love to etch-o-sketch. It is a strange hobby, I admit. But it relaxes me. People think that there is no way drawing a picture on an Etch-o-sketch could be relaxing, after all, there are no erasers. But when I make a mistake on the Etch-o-sketch, I just let God turn it into something else, something I wasn’t planning, and it turns out to be better than if I could have erased it. My life has been a lot like an Etch-o-sketch. God has worked all things for good in my life, even the hard things, the sad things, the bad things. He can do this if and only if, I surrender all these things to Him. There is an old song I sing—one of my favorites–”Something Beautiful”. “Something beautiful, something good. All of my confusions, He understood. All I had to offer Him, was brokenness and strife. But He made something beautiful out of my life.” I am reminded of the difference between Joy and Happiness. Happiness is an emotion-Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Happiness is often determined by the circumstances in our life—but joy is an assurance, and a peace in spite of the circumstances. It is that peace and assurance that carry me through the storms of life, through the hurt and pain, the grief and sorrow. Joy is a presence, God’s presence-a peace that passes understanding. This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel sorrow, deep sorrow. It doesn’t mean that I don’t cry. I truly do. But I do know that I have gained great comfort from that grief and sorrow when I allow God to wipe away my tears. Truly in His presence-there is fullness of joy. Happiness brings me laughter-and I love to laugh. But oh, joy brings me peace. And peace brings me hope. I mentioned to my beautiful Missy, who has had great loss this year in the loss of both her mom and dad, that I am ready to tuck this year away and start a new year. She smiled and agreed. As we continue to walk through this Christmas season into a new year, let us remember that more than the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the wise men gave to Jesus, was the gift that he gave to us–”Joy to the World.” Be blessed my friends….
The Joy of Christmas…
A very Merry Merry Christmas to our dear friends and family. How quickly the seasons of our lives change. The air is brisk and cold now and whips past us reminding us that fall is gone and the harvest has passed. Now we enter a new season that will beckon in the joy of Christmas. But many with a saddened brow will hang their head at the mere thought of how Christmas can be joyful. Many that I know these last few years have lost dear loved ones. We have been to nine funerals this year and have been impacted closely by 10 deaths. Their seat remains empty at the holiday dinners. I, too, had to say goodbye to my dear momma this year as I released her into the hands of our Jesus. Christmas never will be the same without her. Christmas will never be the same without those we love so dearly. I hold every one of them in my heart forever and will keep them with me at every holiday, every blessed event, and every season of my life. But I am reminded, that the “joy” of Christmas is not in our memories past, but in that same Jesus who holds our tomorrows. He is the one who was born that day to bring us hope, love, peace, and yes, even “joy”. I was remembering the many Christmas’ past. So many of them were filled with the struggles and heartaches of life, and yet I smile, when I see my three brothers and I trudging up to Grandma’s house for Christmas dinner, or racing down Macabee’s hill on our new sleds, or listening for my children to rush down the steps after hearing the Christmas bells ring, and now watching my ten grandchildren with their eyes in wonder, excited to open their presents. The joy of Christmas can never be found in the sorrows of what we have lost, but can only be found in the blessings of today, and the promise of hope for tomorrow. So at this Christmas time, my dear friends and family, we wish all of you, the “joy” of Christmas. May God’s love carry you through the storms of life and his peace comfort your heart from the anguish of sorrow, and His promises breathe a new hope into your heart; for this is truly Christmas. We wish you a blessed and happy Christmas season. All our love and prayers….Marty and Mike
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A Night to Remember….
As this Christmas season draws near, I am reminded of how very blessed I am. I dedicate this story to my wonderful husband and my terrific son. Both who personify and inspired the story below………
A small child looked up into his father’s eyes. He said not a word as he continued to peer deeply into his eyes. It seemed to the boy that surely all of the secrets of the world lay somewhere hidden in the depths of his father’s soul. The child lovingly reached up and gently touched his father’s face. The father smiled, his eyes steadily fixed on his son. But then he saw the boy’s expression change as it grew much more serious. His tiny brow furrowed with concern as if in deep thought. He slowly took his son’s hands into his own and held them lovingly and waited for his son to speak.
“Daddy,” the boy began slowly, “What is Christmas?”
The father began to speak, but stopped to pause. He continued to look into his young son’s eyes, full of wonder and thought. He wanted to tell him about how every question of our heart was answered on that first Christmas. He wanted to tell him of the hope that the Savior’s birth gave us, of the doubts and fears those young parents had, not knowing what to do or where to go, about shepherds who saw angels, and wise men led by a star. But he knew that his son had heard the story of Christmas and that he was asking him something more, something much deeper.
The father smiled down at his small son and began to speak softly, “Christmas is a night to remember.” The boy looked in earnest as his dad continued…
“Christmas is hope when your night turns to day.
Christmas is light that will show you the way.
Christmas is peace when your heart fills with fear.
Christmas is truth to know that He’s near.
Christmas is strength when we feel we shall fall
Christmas is grace who hears when we call.
Christmas is courage when doubt rushes in
Christmas is mercy that saves us from sin.
Christmas is all, of these things above.
Christmas is joy in knowing His love.”
The little boy sat quietly and took in the words of his father that he so loved and trusted. He looked up, deep into his eyes once again, and then softly said, “It’s a night to remember, daddy, isn’t it?”
The father put his arm around his little boy and gave him a hug. “Yes, son, it is a night to remember.”
copyright marsha barth 2020
A Tribute to Love…..
The snow crunched beneath our feet as we began to trudge up the hill to gramma’s house that day. I glanced at my three brothers. We looked like snow dolls. The freshly falling snow clung on our eyelashes and our cheeks were a rosy glow. There was a hush, a quietness that is only known during those first few hours that snow falls. Our laughter echoed through the valley breaking the stillness that surrounded us.
Gramma’s house was quaint, but the security and love it represented had always been a refuge for us. The big oak in gramma’s front yard towered before us as we approached her house. We were almost there and I paused for a few moments to get my breath. My thoughts wandered. Mom and Dad had just gotten divorced. Everything had changed and a great sorrow had filled my heart. I was eight years old and life had suddenly became very complicated as I discovered that the world is not always a wonderful and perfect place. The thud of a snowball hitting my shoulder and two more soaring past my head brought my thoughts back to the present. Grabbing a handful of the freshly fallen snow, I tried to pack a snowball to throw back at my brothers but the snow powdered through my fingers as I threw it and the remnant missed them completely as they ran ahead.
“Wait up you guys,” I yelled, as we all headed for the door to gramma’s house. We barged gleefully into the house, letting the door slam behind us. We yanked off our coats and threw them on the three-foot heap of coats already piled upon grandpap’s old stereo. Gramma and our aunts were all busy cooking dinner. Some were stirring, some were mashing and all were talking. There was nothing fancy at Gramma’s house. There was no wreath on the door, no garland draped around the stairs, no silver or china on the table. There was just a warmth that engulfed the soul and gave a security that only the love of Christmas can bring. I saw that the table would soon need to be set, so I darted up the steps quickly before I was seen. I rounded the corner, past the old piano, and into the living room that was full of the chatter of my brothers and cousins.
In the corner was gramma’s Christmas tree. It was a little pine that my uncle had cut down out of the woods a few days before. The tiny tree was trimmed and twinkled in the dim light. I stood watching the bubble lights. These were my favorites. I became oblivious to the laughter of my cousins and brothers as I gazed into the reflections of those same ornaments that gramma placed on the tree each year.
I knew that later we would eat dinner and then all of us would gather in this tiny room and gramma would give us our presents. The room would burst with the voices of so many loved ones. I can still hear them in my heart to this day.
Somehow Christmas was different after that year. All are so precious. They come together now as a collage of memories filled with love; more an era of my life than separate events.
Christmas was no longer presents under the tree. It was love and family. For the first time, I began to see the real meaning that was represented in the Savior’s birth. It was the gift of love.
Copyright 2003—Marsha Barth
I Didn’t Know….
I love the Monarch butterfly. Can anything be more beautiful than a slimy awful caterpillar that turns into one of the most beautiful and gracious creatures that God has ever created? I learned an amazing thing this weekend while away at a Book Signing for my books and a conference on Human Trafficking. Many beautiful butterflies never emerge from their cocoons. Often they are destroyed by all sorts of predators, from no fault of their own, while nestled in their cocoon that is supposed to nurture and protect them. Actually only 1 out of 10 ever survive to become that beautiful butterfly.
I wonder how many of us have been threatened in our lifetime by the predators of this world? How many of us as children or even as adults have fought to emerge as that beautiful butterfly? Or are some of us still stuck in the cocoon of life fighting to find our true identity? God never meant for us to remain that caterpillar—it was our destiny in Him, for all of us to emerge as that beautiful butterfly. Never lose heart or hope—God is a healing God.
Never believe the lie that you are just a slimy worthless caterpillar when you are a beautiful butterfly.
Fight the good fight. Call on a God that you truly matter to. Surrender to the One who will take you under the shadow of his wings, into the secret place, where you will emerge as His beautiful Monarch. My thanks to my dear friend Delilah Rumburg, Pastor Vince Wood, and all my friends from Providence Presbyterian Church in York, PA and Dr. Heather Evans, guest speaker for this wonderful conference. God’s richest blessings……
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“Suffer the Children to Come Unto Me….”
I remember when I was a little girl, we sang the song, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” Children are precious. I was reminded of just how precious and unpredictable they can be. I was blessed to speak to the children at the Kamehameha Grade School in Maui, Hawaii. I spoke to five sessions of eleven classes (approximately 150-200 students), ages Kindergarten-Third Grade from 8:30 to 11:30. I read to them my book “Tony the Lonely Dandelion”.
October was National Prevention of Bullying Month. They were absolutely precious. I think I know now how Art Linkletter must have felt when he talked with the children. You really never know what they are going to ask you. It can be much trickery than when I go into the prisons or the rehabs to present. One little girl asked me, “Where did you get the idea to write about Tony?” I answered-”from my children when they were just 3 and 1 years old.” She asked, “How old are they now?” And I answered, “42 and 44”. A slight pause, and then the little boy beside her said, “Then how old are you?” I burst out laughing and answered, “older.” The little girl reached over and poked him and said, “You’re not supposed to ask her that.” And then there was the little girl who asked me so maturely, “But how do you find the words to write it like that?” I paused and then simply said, “For me, God has to give me the words.”
The children would interact and say, “Oh that was mean for them to say that to Tony!” Or, “Poor Tony.” There was one little boy who was trying so hard to sit still and it was a real challenge for him. After a while, he raised his hand and reluctantly said, “I have to admit it. I don’t want to. But sometimes, I’m a bully.” I held back a smile and said, “So what are you going to do about that?” We shared back and forth and I got a lot of hugs on the way out. They made my heart smile.
And then there was my one little girl, hair in pigtails, kind eyes, and a gentle spirit, who lined up to go back to her class. She leaned over to me as I still sat in the chair, and softly said, “Sometimes, I feel like Tony.” I wanted to pick her up and put her in my pocket and take her home with me.
It is no wonder to me why Jesus loved to sit and talk with the children. Do we teach them, or truly do they teach us? Jesus loves the little children of the world. God Bless~~~
copyright mlb 2022
The Power of Words…..
It’s an amazing thing…the power of words. They can break or mend a heart. They can lift up or tear town. They can revive or destroy a soul. There is no such thing as “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” I remember when I was young, I went to a neighbors house to play. She was in my class at school and also in my Sunday School class. I was shy back then, and it took all of my effort to join her on the swing set. She didn’t say a word. Shortly, her mom came out and called her in for lunch. I sat down on the porch and waited for her to come back out. After a long time, her mom came out and said, “You might as well go home, she’s not coming back out!” And yet, I remember also the time, it was Mother’s day. I couldn’t wait to spend the day with my momma and give her the card I had made for her along with a bouquet of lilacs. This card was different because I had written her a poem in this one. It was the first story I had ever written. I watched as she read it and tears came down her cheeks and then she turned and gave me a big hug. Oh, there is such power in words. I had a wonderful book signing at Joy Bookstore, 2487 Stiegel Pike, Schaefferstown, PA . My sincere thanks to the owners, Jean and her son Tim who supported me in this. I met so very many nice people and talked with every one of them. And again, I saw a tear or two crease their brow. Oh, there is such power in words. Speak a word today, hug someone with your thoughts, and watch a heart change forever….God bless dear friends.
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I wonder what would happen if we truly took the time to look into the heart of a child. They are always so jubilant and full of life that often we can miss the turmoil that might be going on in their little hearts. I wonder also how many of us can remember a particular time in our childhood when we were bullied, or felt all alone in the world, and no one knew this, except us. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Statistics show that 1 out of 5 students report being bullied in school. The sad thing is that so often the children being bullied at school are also having a struggle with abuse in their homes also. This leaves the child feeling so alone and without hope.
My newest book “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” is a story of Tony overcoming his bullying and triumphing over all those who bullied him. Just newly released, I had written it many years ago for my children. In preparing it for publishing, I realized strangely enough that I could identify all the characters in the book from my childhood bullied days. Bullying leaves an impact on a child—but wonder if we can plant a seed of hope into a child, let them no how valuable they are, and that they are not what others say they are, but shine in their own light and identity. I will be having a Book Signing coming up on Friday, October 14, at JOY Bookstore located at 2487 Stiegel Pike, Schaefferstown, PA 17088, 717-949-6569 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. JOY Bookstore is also having a grand sidewalk sale then. 717-949-6569. I will be signing copies of my new releases–”Tony the Lonely Dandelion”, and “Amazing Grace, Heaven’s Light”, along with my other two releases, “The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”. Hope to see you all there. If not in the area feel free to private message me for your autographed copy. Remember the “Seeds of kindness return a hundredfold.” God’s richest blessings……
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“Walk into Your Season….“
Have you ever noticed how subtly a change in season comes upon us? It is as if all of nature takes a pause, a deep breath, and then yields to the beauty that awaits it. The birds have a different song. The squirrels fleet back and forth, unsure of whether they should eat that nut or store it away. Even the flowers seem to push forth their last blooms in full splendor as if to celebrate and declare the fullness of their purpose. And so it is with life. Life is only mundane, if we fail to see the beauty of our season.
What a wonderful gift God has given us, this gift of living. For many years, my husband and I had a garden center. It encompassed our life with many joys, sorrows, and beauty. Now, we walk in a new season. A season that continues in transition. This is the joy of life, to walk and go forward into seasons that are ever unfolding before us.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” Had a great time on Saturday. Presented, “Wearing the Crown of Forgiveness” and then followed with a book signing of my books….”The Shattering”, “The Shattering II”, “Tony the Lonely Dandelion”, and “Amazing Grace, Heaven’s Light”. The joy is in seeing lives impacted, hope overcoming sorrow, peace conquering despair, victory triumphing over hardships. Walk into your season…..
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“Wearing Forgiveness as a Crown…..“
Ashes for beauty, he has promised us…I look back at my childhood now and no longer see the ashes, but the beauty. I remember not too long ago, when my granddaughter was only three years old and she and her four year old brother were playing. He took her “Dollie” and she said, “give it bak Maphew.” He laughed, and wouldn’t give it back. I watched them go back and forth letting them work it out until Savannah started to cry. Her brother, moved with compassion, said, “Here, Sabanah, you can have it,” and gave it back to her. Still sobbing, Savannah took her “Dollie” and said very firmly to her brother. “No! No Maphew. I never fagive you, no, not ever!” But her heart spoke louder than her words and within minutes they were playing together again. I can look back to my childhood and see beauty because of God’s wonderful gift of forgiveness.
I wear it today as a “crown of Victory”. We will only see ashes, if we live in unforgiveness. The joy of being free from the burden of unforgiveness is a choice, an experience, not a feeling, not a condonement, not a release of accountability, but a choice to cease to hold onto an anger that is destroying my heart, to release the debt that was owed to me, and to reach further into a path called Victory!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk7_SBxYSZs
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
All welcome and invited to attend this free conference on September 10, 2022. See flyer.
copyright mlb 2022
“Are You My Friend?”
The other day I was blessed to be with eight of my ten grandchildren. They range in age from one years old to fifteen years old. The blessing was being with them for five days. I was supposed to be watching them, but in hindsight, I realize that in many ways they were watching me. My three-year-old is at that precious age of where he is learning the ropes to be one of the big boys. There are seven boys and one girl. I heard him ask his seven-year-old brother one day, “Are you my friend?” And without hesitation, his brother answered simply, “yes”. A short time later, I heard him in the living room with the rest of his siblings, and he asked his nine-year-old brother, “Am I your best friend?” And again, without hesitation, he answered, “Yes.” He then asked his brother, “Can I have some of your cotton candy?” And, his answer was as simple as the first, “No.” My little guy continued to try to persuade his brother. This same little guy loves to pretend to talk
on the telephone. I caught him one day not long ago trying to play one of my old Vectrex video games. He couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. He didn’t know I was watching. He picked up the toy telephone that was beside him and talked into the phone and said, “Hey, dis machine is not wouking. Can you come fix it?” Such persistence. And yet, I heard him once again the other day on his phone saying, “Yea, uh huh?” And then, “okay, bye.” When he got off, I asked him who he was talking to? He said, PopPop. His other PopPop has been in the hospital. I asked, “How is PopPop doing?” He answered smiling, “He’s getting better.” I asked, “did you talk to Nana?” He said, “No,” and immediately got his invisible pretend phone and called her. “Uh, huh. Yes. How is PopPop? Ok, bye.” I said, “How is Nana?” “Ok.” “And PopPop?” “She said, ‘He’s getting better’.” My heart smiled. Later that night, before bed, the seven-year-old asked if we could pray for PopPop. And without knowing this my five-year-old little girl asked the same thing. Oh, how their little hearts have such great faith.
We spent our days, playing wild games of “Sorry”, horseshoes, blowing bubbles, and wild glow-stick parties at night. We talked and shared stories, put out fires when disagreements arose, and made memories. I learn from them. They learn from me. My heart smiles. “Are you my friend?” Always honey. Always!
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“Magic of the Morn”…..
Not long ago, I was presented with a lovely gift from my three year old grandson. He came running up to me and said, “Here, MeMaw, these are for you.” And then he presented me with two of the most beautiful flowers a grandma could ever receive- two beautiful yellow dandelions. “Everyone knew that the highest honor among the flowers was to be given to someone’s mommy” or grandma. (Quote from ‘Tony the Lonely Dandelion’). Can there be any gift greater than a gift of love? Oh that we could see beauty through a child’s eyes; how different our world would be. Little did he know how precious that gift of love really meant to me. Most of you know that I recently have lost my momma. There is a sorrow that comes with a loss of someone who has been so pivotal and instrumental in your life. We grasp for remnants of their love and want to refuse the truth that they have passed on to our eternal home. I have a great peace with mom’s passing as we had talked often about her going home to be with Jesus, and yet, there is this hole in your heart when someone passes on. God is such a good God. One who said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have loved you, but you would not.” Oh, dear soul, how often He would comfort you, but you would not. Oh, America, America, how often has He loved you, but you would not. And yet, Joy comes in the morning. Joy doesn’t mean that our sorrow will be gone, it means that we can have peace in the sorrow. I went in to visit my momma’s place recently. There, I realize she is truly gone; and there I still feel closest to her. I sit on her porch and look at the view and I am carried away with my memories and am again reminded of a poem that my momma wrote long ago—
“Memories are made of many things,
that marks the time gone by,
Some happy ones, sort of sear your brain,
and stay picturesque inside.
The sad ones will stay awhile,
then melt away with tears,
Which leaves us with the time gone by,
the most picturesque of years. (Ethel Shaw)
While I was in and cleaning out some things, I ran across her copy of the devotional “Streams in the Desert”. She had it marked with the flap of the cover. I knew momma; that was the way she would mark her pages that she wanted to share with me. She would often call me up and read the whole passage to me. I took the book out on her porch and opened it. There in the pages laid a little wisp of momma’s hair. I softly felt the pages and then read the words, “Heaven is in the forget-me-not, though sorrow now be sorrow, Yet sorrow shall be beauty in the “magic of the morn.” David said it this way, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Be blessed my friends…….
copyright 2022 marsha barth
We Are More Than Conquerors…..
I was reflecting back the other day on some of the battles that Mike and I have fought throughout our lives…Mike had said to me one day, “you know Mart, we do not live a normal life.” I had to laugh, because we don’t. We went to the store one day when we were young and saw two men robbing a woman at K-Mart-we chased them down. We chased down attempted robbers at our store years ago and held the one until the police came. We’ve survived floods at our business where they pumped 500,000 gallons of water off our land. My brother Pat and I watched a wreck explode right in front of us one time. My brother being a nurse, we stopped, and concerned the car would explode, we got the man out of the car. My brother gave CPR without hesitation, disregarding his life, as I held the man’s head in my lap and prayed for him. Mike and I have held our lifeless son in our arms and watched God breathe the breath of life back into him. We have fought legal battles, politics, injustices, and unexpected occurrences in the strangest places. Even in Disney, a man collapsed where we were at and again, as Mike called 911, I held the man’s head in my lap and prayed, as others did CPR. We prayed for a man that wrecked his motorcycle right in front of us. We could hardly get stopped as we were pulling a U-haul with our 67 Camaro. He was thrown over a bridge and managed to walk up the bank and we talked with him before the ambulance came. Why does God put us in the places He does?? Because we are more than conquerors in Christ. We are Victors!!! Do we lay down the sword? Never!!! Do we get too tired to battle and slay the dragons??? NO!!!! When do other lives not matter??? Do we do it in our own might or power?? “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of the armies.” Zechariah 4:6 We are more than conquerors….We are Victors….. I have never been sorry for not living normal. I begin to think normal may be highly overrated. Be blessed my friends…Spring Conference at Faith Fellowship Church 2022
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Happy Mother’s Day Momma…..
This is my first Mother’s Day without my momma. She told me many times when we talked about this day, “I’ll always be with you my baby”. But I wasn’t ready to let her go. This video popped up while I was watching a swan video. There is no explanation, except that God knew I needed to hear it. Thought it might encourage others in their time of loss. God constantly reminds me–“She knew how much you loved her.” And I knew how much she loved us. The rest we will understand by and by. Happy Happy Mother’s Day Momma.
Where Does Strength Come From….
As a child, I grew up in beautiful West Virginia. A place where the people radiate goodness and the mountains reflect the strength of their heart. Yesterday, I traveled to the capital in Harrisburg to speak at the Crime Victims Summit 2022. As an advocate, I truly believe we can make a difference. Edmond Burke stated back in the 1700’s, “Evil can only prevail, when good men do nothing.” In a day, where we are being confined in using our voice, we must cry out the louder. Truth must reign, even when others say it is not truth. Truth must reign, even if it is not popular. Truth must be heard, if we are to stand against the wrong that prevails in our midst. I was asked to speak on resilience. Resilience does not give us strength, strength gives us resilience. Resilience must not be a substitute for healing. Both healing and resilience are a journey, not a microwave fix.
I shared a part of my story where I found the strength that led me to resilience. A strength then, as it is now, something that I found in what my three brothers and I did every Sunday morning in our childhood. Every Sunday morning, we would get ourselves up and dressed, fix our breakfast and head out the door of our house. My one brother had an uncombed rooster tail sticking up and usually sported a black eye, my other brother usually had milk spilled on his shirt, and my other brother usually had his shirt half tucked in and the other half hanging out. I usually had scuffed shoes, and my hair going in all directions. But we walked up the dirt road, (it is still a dirt road), with our little Cocker Spaniel following us to the top of the hill. There our puppy would lay down and wait for us at the door of the country church. It was there that I found my strength, that I found my hope; not in people, not even in religion, but in a God that I mattered to. People need to know that they matter. It is the first thing that I tell the inmates when I go into the prisons, or re-entry or rehabs. YOU DO MATTER! God’s richest blessings to you.
My thanks to CVAP (Crime Victims Alliance of PA), OVA (Office of Victim Advocate; Lisa Ryan), and CAC (Children’s Advocacy Centers; Chris Kirchner and Rebecca Buckham) for all the work that they are doing.
It Was a Blizzard…..
Yesterday, Mike and I traveled up to Frackville, PA. I couldn’t get over how much the drive reminded me of my home area of WV. The mountainsides were covered in full with Rhododendrons just bursting ready to bloom. As we drove, I couldn’t help think of where we were heading and why. I was going to visit the Mahanoy SCI (State Correctional Institute). I have visited prison institutes for almost 20 years now. Of all the work that I do as an author, speaker, and advocate, this work is probably the most enlightening. Like the snowstorm that blinded me upon leaving the facility, you truly never know what to expect. But there is one thing that I have found throughout the years, and it has always been true on every visit of every facility that I have ever done—and that is, that lives can be forever changed, no matter where they are. Often, I have shared with Mike that always there is “the look” when I speak to the inmates, whether male or female. There is a look of—“what can you tell me, you’re all cleaned up, how can you begin to understand or even know where I am at?” And in part, that is true. But there is a God who knows the depth of every single soul that was in that room-from staff to inmate. A God, that every single soul that was there, matters to. The most amazing thing whenever I see that look, and I have seen that look at every visit, of every facility, rehab, and re-entry program that I have ever attended, is that I get to witness the transaction that follows. I have visited a lot of facilities in the last 20 years, from here and across the state of PA, to FL, VA, maximum security in MD, Kauai and Maui. In my last visit to the Maui facility, I visited 13 cell blocks—it took me 3 days to do this. And yet even then, there was “the look”. The look of great brokenness and hopelessness, the look of what they feel is a great gulf between them and me. But then I get to see the transformation as a God that loves them, reaches out and touches them with a new hope, a hope that is tangible and breaths life and passion into every soul that dares to reach out, grab it, and believe. I see this transformation in so many of the souls. It is not for me to know all that God is doing before me, it is enough to know that he is doing it. So just as unpredictable as a snow blizzard is on April 18, so often is the God that cares for every one of us, and walks with us through all of our many lives, in season and out of season. My many thanks to James Flores, Corrections Counselor and the wonderful staff who arranged this visit and welcomed me in the kindest and warmest way.
Copyright 2022 marsha barth
We Can Make a Difference
April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I’ve often had people ask me, wonder if I report my suspicion of child abuse and I’m wrong? I answer them and say, “Wonder if you’re right?” The report is given anonymously and no one is hurt if there is no wrong being done. The greatest weapon that abuse can wield is “silence”. We can make a difference. My thanks to “Children’s Advocacy Centers of PA. for all the work they are doing and the children they are rescuing. Childline 1-800-932-0313 We can Heal. We can make a difference.
Love Makes a Difference….
I was organizing the other day. Husband’s beware. And I ran across this stuffed animal that was my son’s when he was a little boy. His ragged bow hung limply. His stuffing was coming out his one side and he looked so very sad. In my hurry, I almost passed him by, but then I stopped and picked him up. He looked even more sad and was very limp as I held him in my hands. It was as if he was saying, I am worn. I serve no purpose. I have no hope, my yesterdays are gone. I stood holding him and smiled. I said out loud, “You don’t know the love you gave, the difference you made, the joy and comfort you brought. Do you know today that that little boy that loved you so much is now a wonderful father of eight children? He nurtures them and cares for them the way he did you. You taught him that. He comforts and brings joy to others as you brought to him.” Our seeds of love are never lost, they just grow and spring forward and produce more. We should never feel lost of purpose. We cannot let our loss of our past blind us of what lies ahead. We have more to give, it’s just our seasons change. There are still those who need a smile of encouragement, those who need a helping hand, those who need a hug to know that tomorrow the sun will shine and that it can’t rain forever. I held the stuffed puppy one more time and smiled. The memories flooded through my heart of another era, but it brought me joy and not sorrow. Joy in knowing that love never dies but continues in our heart with the seeds of love that are planted there. And now it is up to us to go forward and to touch the hearts of others. We must not sit in our closets feeling lost and forlorn, but take the love that has been given to us and rise up and fulfill all the purposes of our life that God has so freely given to us. It is this loving God, whom all our strength and purpose come. Surely, He who loves us the most will sustain us, guide us, fortify us, and lead us forward as lights in a darkened world that cries out for a brighter tomorrow. Be blessed dear friends.
copyright 2022 marsha barth
How Could I Not See????
It’s very cold today. The wind is blowing and it is snowing, as if to convince me that I am still in the winter season. I look out my window and see the tall trees sway with power and force. But then I see very faintly, the brush of green, ever so lightly tinting the bushes. As I look closer, I see that the crocus’ have risen their tiny heads full of color. Then I see that the daffodils are blooming and in the distance the forsythia’s are in full color. How could I have missed these signs of the season? How could I have believed a lie that winter still had a hold on me? How could I not see???? We can become so blinded by the circumstances of our life; the hurt, the pain, the sorrow, and the confusion that we can miss the simple beauties that are in our midst. We can believe that the strong winds of life will always keep us hovering in the fear of what could be and in the pain of what we have lost. We can miss the signs of a new season that beckons us forward, by staying in a season that robs us of the promises of God. Oh, those promises, I see them every day—in the smiles of my grandchildren, in the sweet harmony of their birthday song to me over the phone, in the sweetness of my husband’s voice, in a friend’s card to me for comfort, in knowing that God’s presence walks with me through every season of life; loving me, protecting me and always revealing to me the reality of his presence. Be blessed my friends. (Marty)
copyright 2022 mlb
I walked down the halls that are all too familiar now. Amidst the swirling of my heart and mind, I cannot help noticing the pictures on the wall that remind me that Momma has been here before. The hospital feels cold and friendless as I walk towards Momma’s room as I have so many times. But today is different. Different in a way that I didn’t expect. I didn’t know that today would be the day that I would have to say goodbye to Momma. We had talked many times of this day, but neither one of us knew how to say goodbye. Sometimes, there are no words to really say goodbye. Momma, had a spirit, all her own. She wrote one time that her sister-Shirley had the stubbornness, that she had the temper, and her sister Joanie-patience. What she didn’t write was that she loved deeply. My mom had the capability of touching every single heart that she met and leaving an impact on them. She would be the first to tell you that she had made mistakes in her life, these she regretted the most. I know even before she passed, she tried to make sure that those she loved knew this. There is a peace in facing our giants and laying them at the feet of those we love. I believe my Momma did this. If you ever knew her, you knew she had the compassion of a lamb and the fire of a lion. She was quick to say she was sorry and to mean it, and she truly hated when she hurt someone’s feelings. She wrestled often with her lion and lamb—the lamb always won. My Momma was the one who loved us. She worked hard in a factory pressing 24 dozen garments a day. She bought all of our school clothes, Easter outfits, shoes and anything that we needed. I remember one time I asked her for a large box of Crayola crayons, which seems a simple thing. But for me, I wanted them terribly and I knew that she had very little money. She surprised me with them a week later. She took us for ice cream cones at the old Queen City Dairy, she popped popcorn and took us to the drive-in. She couldn’t afford to pay for all of us, so she had my brothers and step-brother jump in the trunk of the car while her, my step-sisters, and I sat in the car. I don’t remember the movie we saw that time, only the look on the surrounding people in their cars as we popped the trunk and the four boys tumbled out one by one. She took us swimming, made great chili-mac and runny fudge. Momma was the one that saw me struggling when I was thirteen. She stopped everything she was doing, took some vacation days off from work and just her and I went to Ocean City, MD. She knew I loved the ocean. Momma had all four of us by the time that she was 19 years old, so she kind of grew up with us. She played ball with us, hitting me squarely in the head with the bat accidentally when I was a kid. She bought me my first bike. She bought me my piano and made payments on it until it was paid. I still have that piano. I had a bad foot and she took me to doctors and rubbed it until it got better. I can remember her putting a cold cloth on my head when I was sick and a warm towel from the space heater stove on my ear when I had an earache. She loved to win. I mean really loved to win. Rarely, did I beat her at Rummy. She loved bingo and bowling,crossword puzzles, and writing poetry. I remember one time when I was very small I couldn’t sleep. I had my light still on and she came in and talked to me. She was not a religious person but knew the heart of a Jesus that loved. She told me she didn’t know how to pray but that she would pray with me that Jesus would help me. I remember her talking to me about the important things of life—to always be kind and never make fun of others, stand up for what is right, and to be more than what others thought you could be. I remember when I was 5, Pat was 6, Terry was 7 and Don was 8. (Don was glad he was not with us that day), we had bullied a boy. When Momma found out, she marched us down the hill, up another one, and right to the boys house and made us go to the door by ourselves and apologize. She told me when I had friends that were not good for me. She didn’t like my first boy-friend and she told me so-kindly with love. She adored my husband from the first day she met him until the day she died. She called him son. She told me things that she wished someone had told her. She had had a very hard life and always wanted more for us. She loved us without any motives or hidden agendas. She just loved us. She believed in every one of us. She loved the simple things of life. She loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved people and always wanted to hug everyone she met, whether they wanted to be hugged or not. I told her just the other day, “No, mom, you can’t hug the doctor.” She never could understand why people would refuse a hug.
Momma and me often had talks about her passing. I told her I didn’t know how I’d be able to deal with her not being here. She said to me, “I’ll always be with you “my baby”. We talked about heaven just a few weeks ago. I asked her how she felt about dying. She thought just a moment with that thoughtful look she’d get and then said, “I feel good about it.” And yet in the weeks to come I know she did some deep soul searching and confronted some issues that had long bothered her.
See, we all need to search our hearts. But not by our own-with God. We need to face the giants of our life-and we can do this with God, because He gives us Grace and Mercy—Grace saves us and Mercy keeps us. Grace was given to keep us from falling—and mercy was given to keep us when we do. Mercy is given not to justify us in our sins, but to deliver us out of our sin.
When, I remember mom, I will always remember what she said in one of her poems–
Memories are made of many things,
that marks the time gone by,
Some happy ones, sort of sear your brain,
and stay picturesque inside.
The sad ones will stay awhile,
then melt away with tears,
Which leaves us with the time gone by,
the most picturesque of years.
“The sad ones will stay only a while and then will melt away with tears.”
Her one grandson was able to tell her goodbye—He probably says it best. “I love you grandma—I’ll see you in heaven.”
Loved and sadly missed~~Your family
copyright 2022 mlb
Fight the Good Fight….
My momma is 87 years old. She has been my friend, my defender, my encourager, my momma. Recently she was ill and I had to take her to the hospital. I had consulted with her doctors and we had done everything at home that we could possibly do. There was a great risk factor, in taking my momma to the hospital. A “simple” cold could kill her with her COPD. The Covid would be devastating. It was with great reluctance that my daughter and I took her to the ER. This is not the time, if at all possible, to have a loved one in the hospital. I truly commend those on the medical front lines who have bravely fought for our loved ones at great personal expense and for all you have suffered from the fallout of Covid. I had to wonder if many of you faithful workers have left a field that was not kind to you, in light of what happened to my momma. The medical field has changed drastically in a very short time. I hesitated to write this but felt it necessary. Now is the time for America to wake up, stand up, and claim the rights that we still have, before they are gone. I would encourage every person that if you have a loved one—DO NOT take them to the hospital UNLESS you are going to be there tirelessly to advocate for them and be very familiar with your Federal Patient’s Bill of Rights. You must be able to speak up, speak out, and not be afraid, or try to run a popularity contest, because you will meet with stronger opposition than you have ever known. When we got to the hospital, we learned that momma not only had COPD complications, but was in A-fib. You try to work with the health system, you try to weigh your words, to understand the impact that Covid has had on the medical community, and to be kind, but from the beginning there were things I did not understand and it didn’t take long before I had to speak up. Upon registering my mom, naturally, and rightfully so, a Covid test was done. I expected this….but not for the one registering her to declare that she was sure that momma had Covid before the test even came back and this to an 87 year old woman in A-fib. As she continued to say this over and over again, I stated that momma was not to be put into a Covid area until the test came back. Immediately, two attendants tried to wheel her into a Covid waiting room, wherein my daughter and I stood in the doorway and said no. As we waited in the hallway, an attendant went to take momma back to the ER. As, I went to go with her, I was told, “no,” that I couldn’t go back. I said to them, that IF the test came back positive, I would agree, but until the test came back, I was going to stay with her. They pushed back, but I stood firm. I also notified them that in the event that she did have Covid, I would take her home to treat her there, that she would not be admitted. The first Dr. that came to see her, a cardiologist, bucked heads with me immediately. I tried patiently to explain her medical history, but he continued to provoke and belittle both of us. His words were exactly, “When that Covid test comes back positive, and it will!!! You will DIE!!!! My remarks were civil–”You might want to wait until the test comes back”. But inside, the “hillbilly” Marty was telling him a thing or two. The next Dr. was not any different. He was as rude and abrupt as the first. He barraged us with Covid info, hammered us up one side and down the other-and then turned to me and asked, “So why are you here today?” I said, “because she is having a COPD flare-up.” He looked angrily at me, and then poised himself and said roughly, “I didn’t ask you for a diagnosis. I asked you why you are here!” The Covid test came back negative. Before momma was admitted, I discussed with the nurses and then the Dr. that momma was to be a full-code with the exception that she did not want the use of a Bi-pap mask or intubation (ventilator) as with her weakened lungs, doctors had already told us that either process could kill her. We went from bad to worse—the refusal to give her the blood thinner that she took daily which as a supplement from her pharmacy and doctor to prevent strokes; to refusal to give her, her rescue inhaler—stating it was “not evidence based ”, to no bath in 3 days, to a basketball size beginning of a bedsore within 2 days. Her finger was injured there and staff refused to do a MRI-I insisted-it showed an injured tendon. MRI’s and medicine adjustments declared to me that would be done on that day were not done until 3 days later, and only per my insistence on them doing what they had stated. The Physician’s Asst. had taken off and no follow-up. There were nurses who hung up on me, DNR (Do Not RESUSCITATE) bands put on momma’s arm against her wishes, and so many other life risk situations that were done that I made up reports and submitted them to the “Patient’s Advocate”.My momma is back home and working hard on recovery. She is worth every ounce of fight that I have in me. When it is God’s time, she will go home, eternally. We do not fight against death—we fight for life. Death is not a foe, but can even be a friend. But our God has the keys to death and hell. No one has the right to take those keys from God or a loved one who does desire to see the sun shine again. There will come a day, when momma will say, “I want to go home.” And I will hug her and say, “it’s alright momma, go home to Him who waits for you. I will meet you there someday.” Fight dear friends, warn the wicked, save the weak. Fight the good fight of faith!…..when you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way,…. his judgment is required at our hand. Ezekiel 33:8
copyright mlb 2022
I Love Christmas….
I love Christmas. For me it is all the goodness of God shining through to man, a ray of hope–a hope in a world that is gripped in fear. The other day I was decorating the trees. I have a memory tree that has every special ornament that I have ever received. And I have the village tree that my grandchildren adore. While decorating the village tree, I noticed that the church was actually named-Jeremiah’s Chapel. I thought this a strange name to call a chapel but I couldn’t help thinking of the great promise of hope that Jeremiah gave to all of us in Jeremiah 29:11. Jeremiah is often referred to as the “weeping prophet” and yet he says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I can’t help but think of the elderly man that I saw sitting in his car in the parking lot the other day. I noticed him because strangely enough the music was loudly coming from his car. It was an old traditional Christmas song. For a second our eyes met, he seemed a little embarrassed that I had seen him enjoying the song. My heart smiled. Christmas is not just for our children. Christmas is a symbol more than a day of the year. It is a symbol of a Hope that was born that day. A Hope that desires to resound in our hearts and let us know that we are never alone, even in the most sorrowful of times. I met a woman who worked in a store I frequent quite often. I often wondered why she was so solemn and never smiled. As I checked out with my goodies for the grandchildren and family, we began to talk for the first time. She told me that her husband often said to her, just buy what you want throughout the year for your Christmas present. The Lord checked my heart, I had caught that she used the word “said” in past tense. I gently asked her, “Has your husband passed?” A wave of sadness crossed her face erasing the terseness that I often had seen. She said, “He passed last year, right before Christmas.” My heart ached for her and she continued slowly, Christmas is not the same for me since the children are gone.” Again, God tugged at my heart and I asked her what had happened. I felt she needed to know that a stranger cared. I saw that same wave of sorrow sweep over her face once again. She said, “I lost both my son and daughter a few years ago in a car accident right before Christmas.” I wanted to hug her. A line was forming, and I could tell that she could say no more. I asked her what her name was and with a sad smile, she said, “Holly”. I told her I would pray for her and hoped that my eyes told her more than my words. I left the store with tears coming down my face. And then I thought, of all names, her name was “Holly”. I will remember Holly throughout this holiday season. And though, her Christmas will be unlike so many of ours, there are so many like her who are facing such great sorrow. As I continued to decorate the village tree, the words of the Christmas song playing in the distance seemed to awaken me, “yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light, the hopes and fears of all the years are met in THEE tonight. For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above, while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.” May the Hope that was born that day, give you love that you felt was gone, peace that comforts you, and a gift of joy that you are loved beyond measure. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 Love and prayers~~~”Marty” Merry Christmas dear friends and may you know that you are so loved and appreciated.
copyright mlb 2022
A Time to Share….
Christmas is such a wonderful time to share. There is still time to order these books for great Christmas’ gifts. All can be personally autographed.
New Releases this year: Written and illustrated by Marsha Barth “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” -A children’s book for all ages on bullying. Who says a dandelion can’t be a beautiful flower? “Amazing Grace-Heaven’s Light”–An inspiring novel on the joys of heaven that awaits us and the reality of a God who truly loves every one of us. Full of mystery and intrigue. Wonder if heaven so surpasses all of what we have ever thought or dreamed about?
Also: “The Shattering-A Child’s Innocence Betrayed” and “The Shattering II-Breaking the Silence”–two true stories of inspiration and the joy of overcoming. We are more than victims—we are VICTORS!! Sincere blessings……Marsha (Marty) Barth
Copyright 2021 marsha barth
We Can Make a Difference…..
Years ago, my husband and I ran our own business. We had a beautiful garden center and gift shop. We met thousands of wonderful people who more than customers, became our friends. One day, a family with a little boy came in to visit. I was very young at the time, but almost instantly my heart began to break for the little boy. It seemed that the parents were constraining to hold back their disdain and abuse for this child. They were ever so careful when they saw me watching. The body language, the few words said, their treatment of him said it all. But I felt I could do nothing. Still, I planned-when they checked out- that I would get their information via a credit card or check and see what I could do for the child, but they soon left. This troubled me often. I still think of him today. Today, I speak out for those who can’t. I recently had the opportunity to work with (CAC) Children’s Advocacy Center of Pennsylvania. I tell my story to help others. There is no fear or shame, or guilt or blame. My books-”The Shattering” and “The Shattering II” are my true story of how one thread of hope changed my life forever. They are stories of inspiration. We can go from victim to Victor. I marvel at all God has done in my life and thank Him for giving me this opportunity. We can make a difference!
copyright 2021 marsha barth
Have You Not Heard?
Have You Not Known? How beautiful is the world we live in. It truly is. The beauty lies before us. It all depends on where we focus. I looked out the window this morning as I said a morning prayer. I hadn’t noticed that the leaves were changing from their rich green, to yellow blushed with orange, to bright red. How had I missed this beautiful change of season? Life is so full of the seasons of our life ever changing. I watched as a gentle wind brought the leaves floating through the air ever so gently. They floated through the air as if welcoming the change. Their vibrant colors danced across the yard, some twirling, some skipping, all as if rejoicing that another season was being beckoned. Change is not a bad thing. It can make us mount up higher, on eagles wings, to flights that we would have never taken on our own. I read a beautiful scripture the other day and it has been a word of strength to me. (mlb) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Copyright 2021 marsha barth
What Do You Do When You Can’t Go and You Can’t Stay???
The first time I ran away as a kid, I was probably about five years old. My oldest brother had shot my grandpap in the forehead with a glob of mud from his pop gun. He talked all three of us into running away from home with him so he wouldn’t get into trouble. You can probably guess how that turned out. But on a more serious note, I actually did run away from home when I was about sixteen years old. Things had gotten really bad with my dad’s drinking and it looked like my dad and stepmother were going to separate for good. So, I decided that I had no choices. I only knew that I couldn’t stay at home. My brothers were grown and had left home. I knew that I couldn’t live alone with my dad and endure his abuse. It is hard for people to understand the dynamics and impact that abuse has on any person, even more so a child. The fear of the unknown, not knowing what to do, what choices to make, or even what choices are available, seem overwhelming and can completely debilitate the person, putting them in a state of shock, paralyzing them with doubts and fears.
Many of you know that I am an author, speaker and advocate. Recently, I submitted a workshop for the Pathways for Victim Services Virtual Conference and was selected to present it at this conference. This is a free virtual conference to any one who wants to attend and is presented by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency-Office of Victims’ Services. Registration must be completed by October 21, 2021 for the sessions desired to attend. The conference runs from October 26-October 28. I present my workshop–”Going from Victim to Victor” on Tuesday, October 26 at 9:15-10:00 a.m.
It is my goal to provide a workshop to advocacy communities to better understand the victims’ perception and perspective in order to lead them to the resources that will enable the victim to become whole again in all aspects of their lives. Please see the attached flier for more information or visit the website at
All are welcome.
copyright 2021 marshabarth
A Still Small Voice…..
Selection from book “Amazing Grace…Heaven’s Light” by Marsha Barth
A Still Small Voice…..There are voices that we need to hear, but so often we cannot hear them because of the noise around us that drowns them out. Sometimes, we may not hear them because it is not what we want to hear. But if we desire to listen, we can hear, we can speak, and we can make a difference. I was blessed to speak and be a part of The Voices Conference in York, PA. My sincere thanks to Pastor Vince Wood, Providence Presbyterian Church, and Delilah Rumburg for this opportunity, their kindness, and hospitality.“And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces…but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire…..a still small voice…..” 1 Kings 19:11-12 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
copyright marshabarth 2021
We Fly Again…….
I saw a beautiful monarch butterfly the other day in the strangest place, on the pavement in a parking lot. He was trying desperately to fly but couldn’t. I reached down, thinking he would surely fly away, but he couldn’t. I picked him up gently by his wings and placed him on top of the garbage can. I thought the height would help him to lift off better. It was only then that I noticed that he only had one wing. I felt very sad that something so beautiful and with such a profound destiny would never fly again. A few days later, I was outside and as I came in the back door, startled, I saw a big walking stick. He began to cautiously walk away. He was so agile. I was fascinated by him. He truly looked like a wooden stick walking by itself. As he walked, I clearly noticed that he had only 5 legs. I counted them several times, thinking one must be tucked behind the other, but there were only 5 legs. I stood watching him. There was no limp, no imbalance, he was steady and sure and seemed totally unabated as he continued on. An interesting fact that I didn’t know at the time is that walking sticks can often regenerate a limb that is missing. However, an adult butterfly that is fully formed cannot grow and won’t heal and probably will never fly again. Many would think that the butterfly has missed their destiny and that their life is valueless but in reality if the butterfly is female and has already mated, she could still lay eggs and fulfill a great purpose and likewise a male could still fulfill a valuable purpose in mating. Our destinies are not determined by the expectations of what others think we should be. Our destinies are determined by what God’s purposes are for our life. We never get too old to fulfill our destiny and God-given purposes. I like to help the broken and shattered. Like the butterfly and the walking stick it doesn’t matter if they are missing a wing, or a leg. I see the beauty in what they can be. Sometimes, they just need a chance. Sometimes, a tender touch, a kind word, an act of love, mercy, or even a strong dose of truth can save the broken and shattered if we are willing to just reach down and lift them up out of the danger and help them to see their full potential. I am blessed and have totally enjoyed working with the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania this year. The other day they sent me a poster that they had made from the blog that I had written for them.
The work that they are doing will rescue many children who’s wings seemed to have been clipped. Little do the children know that they will fly again-soar to the highest heights, because someone reached out to care and made a difference.
copyright 2021 Marsha Barth
Never Give Up Hope……..
I was raised in Wiley Ford, WV. Every Sunday, my brothers and I walked up the mountain to attend the little church that sat at the top of the hill. Many years have passed, and yet every day, I still see the hand of God fulfilling the many promises that He gave to me when I was that small child. Never give up hope. Always know that Jesus is the solution and never the cause. I have had requests for the link to the CBN 700 Club Interview that my son and his wife did. There are so many more stories in this one—the night I held my son in my arms when he was only 4 and he wasn’t breathing; the diagnosis that said he had a medical condition that required medicine that could make him sterile; that he should have been brain damaged from the lack of oxygen that night, and instead went on to score the first perfect math PSAT ever in his Junior High, to a perfect math SAT in ninth grade-the first in the history of his High School. He married his Missy and they so wanted a child but it never happened. Six years went by and nothing the doctors suggested worked—but then God…..Now they have 8 children. And there are so many miracles—not because of us, or our might or power-but because of the faithfulness of a God that loves us and that we all truly matter to. Here is their story……..
copyright 2021 marsha barth
God’s Goodness Always Shines…….
To our friends and loved ones…Just had to share this event… Our son, wife and grandchildren will appear on The 700 Club tomorrow….
We lost our son at 4 years old when he quit breathing-but God gave him back to us. Both him and our daughter have been our greatest blessings in life, along with our dear Missy and our 10 grandchildren-8 of whom are Mike and Missy’s. Mike and Missy and our grandchildren will appear on the 700 Club tomorrow, Monday, September 13, for an interview and testimony of God’s goodness in their lives. The 700 Club airs on the channels–“Freeform” and also “TBN”. Cable channels vary so time slots may vary. We rejoice in the multitude of goodness that God has shown in our lives, our children’s, and our precious grandchildren.
Truth Sets Us Free….
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” Ida B. Wells
Many of you know from reading my books…”The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”, that I have three older brothers. I am the youngest and the only girl. When we were little, we did everything together. We were inseparable. We got the measles together, we hiked together, played army and marbles together, and even football. I remember one time, the four of us got together as we so often did and made a vow to each other. Actually, it was a vow to God. People do not always take vows seriously these days—to each other-and sadly to God. But at nine years old, I took this very seriously. We each put our hand on a Bible that we had received from Sunday School and vowed to God that we wouldn’t tell a lie. It scared me to death. So much so, that I drove my brothers nuts adding a “maybe” to every question they asked me. There is a beauty in TRUTH, though. Truth-truly sets us free. Telling the truth as a child reminded me of our visits to the South Branch of the Potomac where we swam. I’d step into the water and the cold water would just chill me to the bone. I’d inch out little by little until I couldn’t stand it anymore and finally I’d say-”what the heck”-and I’d just dive into the water. Truth is like this. Just jump right into it—it may chill you at first-but there is something invigorating when you speak truth—it truly sets you free. I am involved in working with advocacy against abuse. We have a long way to go to help those who live in fear and terror with their abuse—especially children. We cannot help, unless we speak truth and face these issues. No longer can we wrap truth in a garment of taboo and just hope that it will go away. I recently had an opportunity to work with “Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania”. This organization’s mission to help the children, reaches across the whole state of Pennsylvania. Their intervention is rescuing many children and enabling them to heal, giving them a hope-that truth can set them free. I was asked to share my story on their site and the work that I am doing. Here is the link to their site. https://penncac.org/marsha-shines/ Truth does set us free—and we can go from Victim to Victor!!! God Bless…….Marty
Copyright 2021 Marsha Barth
Never Waste a Wish-maker…..
When I was very young we called them fairies, later when I was older they were just wish-makers. I sat on the glider under one of my favorite trees the other day. I hadn’t had a chance to do this all summer. A gentle warm breeze brushed past me as I read the final draft of “Amazing Grace: Heaven’s Light”. I was on a deadline to finish it so it could get to the printers. Suddenly and unexpectedly, it floated right into my hand, out of nowhere. It was a fuzzy white wish-maker. I quickly clamped my hand around it. One should never waste a wish-maker. I put the book down and opened my hand slowly as if a child revealing some great treasure. I closed my eyes and I was eight again. I made a special wish, adding extra “ands” to it and then sat and pondered the special things that God brings into our lives. God seems to have a special way to take us away from the whirlwind of life, its demands, and the gotta get done things that can press us so. I looked around me and saw the flowers that still bloomed, as others faded in these last days of summer. I heard the birds singing, making beautiful music for any that would listen. I watched as a butterfly fleeted from bush to bush as if it was dancing in the sunlight. The aromas of late summer filled the air with a beautiful fragrance. Oh, the simple joys of life that are always before us. Oh, the precious still voice of God that talks to our heart when we take a moment to hear it. I sat and thought of my grandchildren who I had gotten to spend some time with the last few weeks. I heard their laughter, their voices asking me questions, their smiles that are etched in my heart forever. God is so good. He opens doors that cannot be closed. He closes doors that cannot be opened. He is a steadfast hope that will never fail us and will always lead us forward. I have a desire in my heart to spread that “Hope” in any way that I can on my journey of life. I am blessed to have “Amazing Grace: Heaven’s Light” go to print. My thanks to Robert D. Reed Publishers for their support and belief in this work. They enable me to spread that “Hope” that is so very real. It will be released in a few weeks.
I was also blessed to go into our local prison with my dear friend Theresa Johnson. This is the first time since the Covid Pandemic, a year and a half, that the prisons were able to open their doors for us to safely visit. Our thanks to Marilyn Nolte, Chaplain at the Lebanon Correctional Facility for this opportunity. It is the “Hope” that is planted in the inmates hearts that drives us forward. To see our Jesus touch their hearts and give them a hope in the midst of what is probably the darkest season of their lives fills us with joy and victory. We truly are more than conquerors. Every single one of us can walk this blessed path and become “Victors”. Love you my dear friends……
Copyright 2021 Marsha Barth
A Still Small Voice…..
The other day I was with my mom. This alone is a precious moment for me because she is almost 87 years old. We had a very busy day as I wanted to help her with some things while I was in to visit with her. Her health has been bad and all of the family has been pulling together and helping out. I was actually on the phone and she was driving. She actually is still a good driver and needs her independence. I do wear my seat belt though. While on the phone, she turned to me and said, “Marty, Marty, look, there are our clouds.” I barely heard her because I was taking care of the things that needed to be done. But I did hear her. I will forever, all of my days, smile when I see clouds that are purest white and puffy like cotton candy and etched in the bluest of blue skies. They will always be precious to my heart and I will always hear my mamma’s voice saying—”Look Mart, there are our clouds.” We must always never let the busy-ness and necessities of this life that demands so very much of us—rob us of the preciousness of what life is truly all about. We search for love, joy, hope, peace, encouragement and times of refreshing, but so often we find these in God’s still small voice. “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” I Kings 19:11-12.
Copyright 2021 Marsha Barth
A Need to Be Loved….
Had a wonderful opportunity to speak at Providence Presbyterian Church to a lovely group of women. Many years ago, when my grandson was very small, I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk in the woods with me. He looked up at me with those beautiful big blue eyes and said, “No, MaMaw.” I asked him why, and he again looked up at me, his eyes wider than ever. He hesitated and then said as if divulging a secret, “There’s monsters in the woods, MaMaw.” I would’ve never laughed at his fear but my heart was so touched. I said, “Honey, there are no monsters in MaMaw’s woods-Jesus wouldn’t let any monsters be in her woods.” But he shook his head slightly and again looked up at me and then earnestly said, “There are MaMaw, because Renee told me there were.” Renee was his little friend. I said, “How about you take my hand, and we’ll walk in the woods, and I’ll show you there are no monsters in the woods.” He did not hesitate to take my hand. We walked through the woods holding each others hand, not missing a single trail, and then back out into the yard once again. He looked at me as if surprised. “See,” I said, “MaMaw told you there were no monsters in the woods.” I will always treasure that look of trust and that sweet smile that gleamed from his tiny face. You see, we are not any different. We too, in this life, have often feared the monsters in our woods. But all it takes is for us to reach out and take our Savior’s hand and walk with Him. He will show us that there are no monsters in our woods and that truly we can trust Him to keep us. We all have a need to be loved and a need to give love. It is in the cleft of the rock, under the shadow of His wings that we find comfort, love, and trust for the path that we must walk in this life. My sincere thanks to Laura Cowburn, Robin Wood, Brittany Wood and all of the wonderful women at Providence Presbyterian Church who arranged this event and made me feel so welcome. God Bless….and always know you are loved and that you matter.
Copyright 2021 Marsha Barth
Climb That Mountain…..
I told a friend the other day that mountains are hard to climb, but the view is always best from up there. The question always remains—will we climb the mountain? Will we persevere when the paths of life seem too steep to climb??? Will we walk onward when the goal seems too hard to reach??? Will we look upward from whence comes our help and our redemption draws nigh??? Giving up is never an option. We have too much to gain to lose. Had a wonderful time of refreshing, meeting new friends, and sharing the Word together at the “Bloom Where You Are Planted” Seminar.
Bloom Where You Are Planted….
Have you ever noticed that trees don’t have feet???? There is a beauty in being planted. Only things that are planted can bring forth blossoms and fruits. We can’t grow or bloom if we are not anchored. What are you anchored in??? Do you desire to bloom???? “What shall separate you from being planted in the Love of Jesus—shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword—shall discouragement, doubts, fears, anger, hurt, unforgiveness, pain and sorrow? No, for in all of these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans: 8:35-39
All welcome to come join us in this great day of fellowship and encouraging word!!!
This Is How We Fight Our Giants……..
Many of my friends who know me often ask me how things are going? Some days~~not wanting to complain~~and not wanting to lie, I wasn’t sure how to answer them. So, I began to answer them with a smile~~”Slaying Dragons”. I always enjoyed their responses that varied greatly. Some look puzzled, while others smiled broadly and nodded, understanding. We all have dragons to slay, giants to bring down. But we cannot do this ourselves. We need to know how to slay our giants. For my local friends~~you are welcome to join us (Women’s Meeting) this evening at Faith Fellowship Church at 6:00 to hear more on “This is How We Fight our Battles”…721 E Penn Ave, Cleona, PA 17042 (717) 274-1350Phone: (717) 274-1350
Through the Eyes of a Child…..
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a child??? They tell you everything. You can see to the depths of their very soul; every emotion of love, sweetness, fear, hurt, pain, joy, anger. They hide nothing. When I look into the eyes of my grandchildren, I see a whole new world. I see their dreams for tomorrow. I see their fears of the dark. I see their mischievous twinkle. I see their love way before I feel the hugs. They light your heart with a newness of life that seems to flow from heaven itself. There is such truth in that we must become as these little children to even enter heaven. Our children are our most precious legacy. So how can anyone hurt a child???? There is never any acceptable reason.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every time you are even just suspicious of a child being abused—report it. Call 1-800-4ACHILD (1-800-422-4453) The first question I always get asked in reporting suspected child abuse is-”But what if I’m wrong?” My answer to them is “But what if you are right?” Always err for the child’s cause. Reporting is anonymous, and is based on suspicion, not facts. Each case is investigated and if there is no abuse—no one is hurt. But how many children are hurt and would be rescued if just one adult would make that call. Our children were never meant to be scapegoats for the fallout of the adults’ problems. Did you know that in a household where there is multiple cases of domestic violence that the child’s risk of abuse is at 100% and at 150% greater risk for sexual abuse? These are statistics that make us want to look the other way. But I ask you—don’t look away—look into the eyes of the children you see—at the store, on the playground—at school—at church—at the ball games. Their eyes will tell us—but are we listening????
I was thankful to be able to participate in an interview for Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania on March 15, 2021. My sincere thanks to Rebecca Buckham, Communications Manager, for this opportunity to be a part of this filming and project.
Be Encouraged….Never Give Up…..
copyright marshabarth 2021
“Tony the Lonely Dandelion….”
I have a soft spot in my heart for children. Maybe it is because a part of me has never grown up. Bullying is not a new thing, if truth were to be told. I wonder how many of us would answer yes, if asked if you were ever bullied. Earlier in 2020, I felt God lead me to pull out a book that I had written for my children, many years ago, when they were toddlers. I can still remember the day that I was given a “beautiful” dandelion as a gift of love. The excitement that was shared over this one poor little dandelion still makes my heart smile to this day. Oh the love that radiated from this one precious treasure that my children had found, and the joy that their little hearts experienced in giving it to me as a gift. Hence, “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” was born. I don’t know when, in looking back, that it clicked, that most of the characters in this book, I could identify. I can only say that in doing the reviews I definitely could place almost every character in the book to a person in my childhood. Strangely enough, one of the main characters in the book, had a profound impact on me. Long after I had drawn the characters, and upon doing the many reviews, it hit me one day who “Mr. Gruff” was in the book. I looked at the picture and smiled to myself, and said, “oh my goodness, that’s Mr. Waggley”. Mr. Waggley, was my seventh grade teacher. It is a very sad thing when you think about it, that honestly in my lifetime, I have never talked to any of my childhood friends and heard anyone speak fondly of Mr. Waggley. You would think that someone along the way would have had a kind word to say about a teacher that had the potential to impact so many lives. But I never have heard of any encouraging remarks. I can remember the seventh grade particularly. It was a very hard year for me. There were a lot of things happening in our family at that time. Back then, the teachers used to call out our test grades in front of the whole class. I usually did okay on my tests and this didn’t bother me for myself so much. But, I would always cringe and hurt for the friends that had their grades called out in front of the whole class and so often were humiliated. I knew, even then, how it tore away their dignity and stamped an element of identity on them that just was not true. On one of my first experiences in Mr. Waggely’s class, I can remember him going down the list alphabetically and calling out our test scores. When he got to “Layton” (which is my maiden name), he stopped and paused. I could feel my face get red as I waited for him to continue. My mind raced in embarrassment as I wondered if I had messed up on the test. He then continued, “Layton, 98. You must have lucked out or studied awfully hard.” I remember feeling a flood of relief and anger fill my heart all at the same time as he nonchalantly continued down the list. I can remember thinking, “So a Layton is just lucky to get a good test score. A Layton has to study hard to get a good test score. So a Layton is just stupid and will never amount to anything?” This was a hard blow on top of everything else that was going on in my life. I remember to this day saying in my heart, “I will show you who a Layton is. I will ace every test and show you what a Layton can do!” And I did. I got mostly A’s and B’s in his classes and he was a very hard teacher. Because I had found my identity in a Jesus who loved me, I was able to stand up to him in my heart. So when I looked at the picture of Mr. Gruff in the book one day, I was shocked. I thought, Mr. Gruff is Mr. Waggely. He even looks like Mr. Waggely. And as Mr. Gruff tells Tony in the book, “You are just a weed! You will never be anything more than a weed. You can’t be a beautiful flower. Just accept that you are a weed.” But you see, we are so much more; so very much more. Whether you are a lonely broken child, or a lonely broken adult, you are more….more than just a weed….you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the apple of God’s eye. You are a King’s kid. I received my copies of “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” this week! I was surprised yesterday to unexpectedly sell 12 copies. My thanks to everyone who continues to support me with their love and encouragement as I do this ministry. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in obtaining a signed copy. It is also available and can be ordered at any bookstore or through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P3LGKZM God Bless my dear friends. Always remember– you are so much more, and that God loves you, and He has a special plan for your life.
“A Night to Remember”……
A small child looked up into his father’s eyes. He said not a word as he continued to peer deeply into his eyes. It seemed to the boy that surely all of the secrets of the world lay somewhere hidden in the depths of his father’s soul. The child lovingly reached up and gently touched his father’s face. The father smiled, his eyes steadily fixed on his son. But then he saw the boy’s expression change as it grew much more serious. His tiny brow furrowed with concern as if in deep thought. He slowly took his son’s hands into his own and held them lovingly and waited for his son to speak. “Daddy,” the boy began slowly, “What is Christmas?” The father began to speak, but stopped to pause. He continued to look into his young son’s eyes, full of wonder and thought. He wanted to tell him about how every question of our heart was answered on that first Christmas. He wanted to tell him of the hope that the Savior’s birth gave us, of the doubts and fears of young parents who knew not what to do or where to go, about shepherds who saw angels, and wise men led by a star. But he knew that his son had heard the story of Christmas and that he was asking him of something more, something much deeper. The father smiled down at his small son and began to speak softly, “Christmas is a night to remember.” The boy looked in earnest as his dad continued… “Christmas is hope when your night turns to day. Christmas is light that will show you the way. Christmas is peace when your heart fills with fear. Christmas is truth to know that He’s near. Christmas is strength when we feel we shall fall Christmas is grace who hears when we call. Christmas is courage when doubt rushes in Christmas is mercy that saves us from sin. Christmas is all, of these things above. Christmas is joy in knowing His love.” The little boy sat quietly and took in the words of his father that he so loved and trusted. He looked up, deep into his eyes once again, and then softly said, “It’s a night to remember, daddy, isn’t it?” The father put his arm around his little boy and gave him a hug. “Yes, son, it is a night to remember.”
copyright marsha barth 2020
“Tony the Lonely Dandelion”…….
SOON TO BE RELEASED…..Excited that “Tony the Lonely Dandelion” is now being published…. Soon to be released. My thanks to Shannon Peduto, M.Ed., Executive Director of The Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center for a wonderful endorsement and my wonderful Publishers-Bob and Cleone Reed, “Robert D Reed Publishers”, for always believing in me!
copyright marsha barth 2020
The Flowers Are Still Blooming……..
It’s a funny thing how life can spin us at times. There is only so much that our minds can focus on at one time. Not long ago, I was walking out of the hospital from visiting my mom, and there beside me as I walked was a row of beautiful white blooming begonias. I thought, Wow!, the flowers are still blooming, though every morning felt like fall. The trees were then just starting to change their colors, loosing their deep green hues and turning to the light faded green with hints of orange color starting to blush the scenery. My mind had not been focused on the ushering in of fall, or even saying goodbye to summer. Seasons of our life are continually changing. There is an uncertainty in the changes of the seasons of our lives; especially, this year, with all of its underlying problems. But so often it isn’t the season that we are in that is important. What matters is that the flowers are still blooming. And even when they cease to bloom, and the cold chills us to the bone, we must remember—that they will bloom again. Amidst our lives that spin so fast, past the problems that overwhelm us, to the joys that flowers still bloom in our midst; there is a peace that truly does pass understanding as we walk with a God, who hears our cry, knows our heart, and always causes the flowers to bloom again. Be blessed dear friends and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
copyright marsha barth2020
We are in perilous times. The danger is not that we are in these perilous times, but that we don’t realize that we are in them. There is an old song that I love to sing, “My hope is built in nothing less than Jesus love and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” America, whether we realize it or not, “is setting in the balance and found wanting”– Daniel 5:27. In times past, when kings would rise up and tear town the groves where man served himself and his false gods; where they killed their own children in sacrifice; then with these torn down, their country would prosper, and God would be their God. But when the kings would rise up and rebuild their groves of idols and self, their country would fall once again. So often we can’t see past the injustices that are before us, and it robs us of our hope when righteousness fails to reign. But righteousness must reign in the heart, not in man’s devices and standards. Maybe that is what we have truly lost sight of. We seem to think that our country can be fixed by man and this is what has lead us to where we are today. We want everything to be fixed, without us tearing down the evil that has come to overtake our country and our lives. Yes, we need leaders that can lead us by proclaiming that we are still one nation under God, not gods; that we cannot allow our children to be killed for any reason. The ways of man are just not enough and we must not lose sight of the true hope amidst the chaos and turmoil of today. Maybe that is where we are truly lost; that we must not look to any man to fulfill our destiny but to the God of our salvation who created our destiny. Our destiny is too great to be defiled or destroyed by man, but it can be defiled and destroyed if we lose sight of the One that is our hope. My hope is built on nothing less…..than Jesus blood and righteousness….I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…All other ground…is sinking sand. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. There is no other way.
copyright marsha barth 2020
Slaying the Dragons…..
My husband has often expressed to me that “He could lock me in a closet and that trouble would still find me.” He asked me one time, “Has it always been like that or only since you married me?” I had to laugh because I had actually thought about that. I told him, truthfully even from birth, it has always been that way. Like unknown to me at birth, I was born with two separate blood types; a separate A blood type and also a separate AB blood type. They call it a chimera factor; very rare blood but fortunately very healthy blood. It seem all of my life that I have “fought dragons” and that’s okay. Maybe that is why I get so passionate in standing up for what is right. I had a person say to me one time when I was in a particular battle. “Why are you doing this? You cannot personally gain anything from this and you have much more to lose than to ever win.” I answered, “Because it is right.” And then I asked them a question, “When does standing up for right depend on what we gain or lose?” Now more than ever as I see the election approach, my heart is very troubled. Not about the battle of who thinks that they are right. But about the battle of what is right. What is right according to God’s word, not society’s standards? We have grown cold as a society, aloof, biblical speaking-”Lukewarm”. This is the most dangerous place that our “America” has ever been. We are at the threshold, a crossroad of where our nation will either go right or left. Isn’t it strange that the two parties are even called-right and left. We must not vote personality but principle. I have not received any fliers from the one party even listing his stand on abortion. Why is the issue of 60,000,000 babies dying not an issue important enough to make it to his flier? What about free speech? What about simply receiving unbiased reporting of the truth? What about our constitution, our liberties, our right to bear arms and so much more? What about one nation “under God”? Are we to lay all of these issues aside and become the Laodicea society that God has warned us against? “As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord.” It is time for us rise up and slay the dragons……
copyright marsha barth 2020
Mercy and Truth Walk Hand in Hand…..
Many of you know that I do advocacy work. The stories of brokenness are too vast sometimes to even imagine. “It is in mercy and truth that iniquity is purged.” We must be able to have mercy to those who are suffering, regardless of the reasons or their choices that may have gotten them there. At the same time we must be able to present truth. Neither mercy or truth can be compromised. My husband heard the other day a person state that they are against abortion but will vote for the candidate who supports abortion because of the “other issues”. What issue can supersede the value of 60,000,000 babies that have died due to that type of reasoning? I am reminded of the Israelites in the Bible who kept enough of God to pacify their conscious and then sneaked away to the hidden groves to worship and sacrifice for their “other issues”, their other gods. When there was a king that would tear down these hidden groves of men’s hearts, the nation of Israel would flourish, only to have it fall again when another king would allow the groves to be rebuilt. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” But we think we are above this today. “There are other issues to consider,” we say. We feel that we can modernize God’s word and that surely God will just have to understand. One of the things that upset God the most during that time was the non-chalet sacrificing and killing of their children by the people as they justified their actions as necessary; actions that appeased their desires, their goals, their other issues. Surely they thought, God would just have to understand. We have fallen asleep and with our lackadaisical mentality accepted that everything today is okay. We have become the church of Laodicea– “I know thy works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”(Rev. 3:15-16). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3-4) Mercy and truth were given to us to deliver us out of our sin, not to justify and comfort us in our sin. “It is in mercy and truth that iniquity is purged.”(Proverbs 16:6) (2 Chronicles 7:14).
copyright marsha barth 2020
What Would You Do???
If today you heard of a family that was very dysfunctional; the mother had lost her first child in her first marriage shortly after birth. She remarried into a second marriage. Her husband was an alcoholic and was known to be physically abusive to the children. Only three of the seven children that they had ever lived to adulthood. Their first child a boy died 6 days after birth. Another child a girl died before she was a year old. Another a boy died at the age of 2 years old and another little girl died at 1 year old. One that did live to adulthood died of tuberculosis. The mother died young of tuberculosis also. The father was suspected of having syphilis and was thought to have passed it congenitally down to his many children. The question is often asked—should this family, somewhere along the line, considered aborting the pregnancies due to these many circumstances and complications??? The answer that has surprised so many is that had this been done—then our remarkable Beethoven would have been murdered. Let me expound and comfort any person that has ever had an abortion. I had a dear friend who had a horrible time every year at the anniversary of the death of her aborted child. This is not an article of condemnation but an article to encourage all of us to take a stand, take action, and remember the 60,000,000 children that have been killed since abortion was legalized. Did you know that abortion would be the number one cause of death in the United States every year, if counted? In 2017 there were more abortions (862,300) than deaths due to heart disease at (647,457) and more than those who died with cancer (647,457). There are more abortions performed every year in America (862,300) than combat deaths in all of our wars put together from 1775-2019 (656,482). If we observe a 15-second moment of silence for each child killed by abortion, it would take us 28 years. So, I have to ask you—what would you do????? But you say, I do not support abortion….but will you vote for someone, anyone, who stands by the law to abort children? Why? Because you like their personality better?? Because, you believe they will help the economy better?? Because…… Why??? What could be a reason that could supersede the taking of a life of a child??? I can’t help wonder about what those 60,000,000 children would have become. Would one had found the cure for cancer, or have been another Billy Graham, an Einstein, or a Beethoven?? “For there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus…..Suffer the little children to come unto me…” I am attaching the baby pictures of my children and grandchildren in honor of life…..Please feel free to share this and attach pictures of your children in remembrance and support of life. Again, I ask, what will you do???????
A Bouquet of Flowers………
Today I had the privilege of watching my grandsons play sports. We went from soccer game to soccer game and then went to baseball. I so enjoyed watching all of them play. Many of you know that I have nine grandchildren—eight boys and 1 girl. So as the older ones played their sports, I got to enjoy the younger ones also. Savannah, came to me at one point and handed me what she thought was the most beautiful flower she could find and said, “MeMaw, plant it when you get home.” I smiled and told her that it was just beautiful. Her brother Matthew said, “It is the wish flower. You blow it and make a wish and it comes true. Make a wish, MeMaw.” They went to find more but it is very hard to find a “blooming dandelion” in the fall. I had to smile in my heart, for many years ago, my son and my daughter had also thought that the most beautiful flower to give their mommy was a “dandelion”. It was then that I first wrote, “Tony the Lonely Dandelion”, which will be published soon. I am convinced that every small child sees the beauty of the dandelion. I am also convinced that they see the beauty of the world way beyond what we see. They don’t base the value of what they see on what they hear from others. They do not know that a dandelion is a weed, because the beauty that they see determines its value. So often, that is what happens to all of us. We hear we are just a weed, we could never be a beautiful flower, we could never be of value. Many, all of their life, have heard and been told what they can’t do, and many were told that they would never be anything. They are told they are just a weed, and that they can never be a lovely daisy, a beautiful tulip, or a lovely rhododendron. They grow up being bullied and feeling so often that they really are a weed, and that they truly do not matter. You are so much more than what people have told you that you are. Through the eyes of a child, truth is so often revealed—“Here MeMaw, take it home and plant it.” Yea, MeMaw, blow it and make a wish and it will come true.” And Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
copyright marsha barth 2020
Wonder if…..Come join us for this great conference…..Tomorrow from 9-12 psu.zoom.us/j/93034521294 or Live Streaming on Facebook: facebook.com/Something-Beautiful-107114554414799 Wonder if tomorrow we would wake up and things would be back to normal? Wonder if we’d just fall back into the old routines?? Wonder if we could have back just one yesterday?….With a loved one passed, to retract one angry word, to forgive another? Wonder if we could begin to put our past behind us and to go truly forward??? We can!!! Join us for this time of refreshing; a time to gain ground, a time to go forward……….
copyright marsha barth 2020
We Walk by Faith not By Feelings……
copyright marsha barth 2020
The other week I was blessed to get to spend some time with all of my grandchildren. There is nothing more precious to me than being a part of their lives. To watch these dear children grow into these wonderful people, brings me a joy that only a grandparent can know. They say the most profound things in their childlike manner and so often I pause to consider who really is learning from whom. Many of you know that I now have nine grandchildren with one more due to join us in January. There are currently eight boys and one girl. Each one of their personalities radiate a different gift and I marvel at what they already have brought to this world and ponder the impact that they will have on it as they continue to grow. Throughout my last visit with some of them, my granddaughter, my only girl, would often ask me to sit with her. “Sit here, Memaw,” she’d say and pat the chair. She is three years old. “So we can be connected,” she continued. I thought to myself, what a lovely thought, and where did she come up with that. And then later, when we’d all be doing something together, she’d say again, “Come here, Memaw,” and then she’d add, “so we can be connected.” Throughout my visit, I’d hear many times, her sweet smurf-like little voice say, as a big smile spread across her face, “so we can be connected, MeMaw.” “Yes, sweetheart, how important it is for us, ‘to be connected’.” In these hard times that we are all going through this year, we have all had to face things that we have never had to face; as a nation, as a society, and as Christians. We are in a season, that now, more than ever, we must stand as a nation, as a society, and as Christians, for what we believe in. Never in our history, have we been called to stand, as we are being called to at this time. “For such a time as this,” was what Mordecai said to Esther, when she was called to take a stand for her God and her people. Will we do the same? Will we stand up for what is right, even if it is not popular? Will we take action on the faith that we proclaim we have, even if we gain nothing? Even if we lose everything? Even if it is not politically correct? “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? For the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is (man’s way). But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is time for us to come together as one nation under God, to proclaim the victory that generations of lives have fought to give us. And as my dear sweet granddaughter innocently proclaimed, “It is time for us ‘to be connected’”. God Bless~~
copyright marsha barth 2020
The Raven and the Cross…..
copyright marsha barth 2020
Let’s Not Forget Normal~~~
“What a Wonderful World”, Louis Armstrong sang in 1967. A song that topped the charts during an era much like we have today. In 1967 we were bombarded daily with news of the Vietnam war; some of the worst riots that our country had ever seen; Israel had just fought and won the Six-Day War; and so much upheaval in our country had turned our world upside down. And then, here came “Louie” and helped us find normal. “I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you. I see friends—saying, how do you do, they’re really saying I love you.” I went out on the patio today to have a cup of coffee. A little butterfly joined me. I sat watching him. He fanned himself gently, with his wings slowly going up and down. I sat there and marveled at the beauty etched in his wings. Beauty, that no artist could ever capture. I looked past him and saw small ants scurrying around on the patio, as if there would be no tomorrow. The larger ants ran past them, hurrying on to some great mission of importance that only they would ever know. I saw one large ant pick on a small ant. But the wiser of the two, ‘the small ant’, ran off ignoring the bully as if it hadn’t even phased him. I heard the birds singing and joining in a harmony that I never have heard sung by a choir. The smell of fresh cut grass filled the air mingled with the fragrance of the dynamic blooms of the flowers that surrounded me. There is still so much normal out there amidst the turmoil that we are all facing as a nation. Let us run this race together; with love, compassion, and hope. Let us not forget that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Let us hold up high the banner of our God, Whom, this nation was built upon. Let us not compromise or shrink from the principles that so many have died for, that we might be free. Let us not forget the ONE who died for all of us, to set us free. And, together we will stand; we will hope; and not doubt, or fear these troubled times, but will embrace them to become a stronger people, a better nation, a kinder world. Let us not forget normal, for truly above all these things– “What a Wonderful World.” mlb
copyright marsha barth 2020
It is Amazing Grace. God’s grace. Grace that gives us peace when we are troubled, hope when we are weary, strength when we are weak, and love when we are feeling alone. Mike’s new album “Amazing Grace”, will be released soon. Here is a song from it and a few words from Mike…..
Many of you have patiently awaited my next CD. “Amazing Grace….with David’s Song” is currently in manufacturing and will soon be released and available around the world on all music media applications. “Amazing Grace”, is an album containing many of our precious hymns of yesteryear. Each song has been painstakingly and prayerfully rewritten with up to 16 layers of instruments and voices to bless your soul and to carry you on a journey of peace. Many were the tears of our songwriters who wrote these songs of old. From Fanny Cosby’s, “Blessed Assurance”, who blind, wrote over 8,000 gospel songs, to Joseph Scriven’s, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, who lost his fiance the night before his wedding, and John Newton, who pinned, “Amazing Grace”, his song of redemption from enslaving others cruelly, became his heartfelt cry of deliverance for all; and so many more songs of triumph. “David’s Song”, is played in pentatonic scale, as on his harp, which had only five notes per octave.
My desire is that the brush of angels’ wings touch, and inspire you with this compilation of old-time favorite hymns, reorchestrated with perhaps some of the sounds of heaven. Attached is my song…”What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law. Copyright 2020
SHADOWED BY LOVE….
We all called her Mom….
We Have a Voice……
I was asked by CVAP (Crime Victims’ Alliance of PA) to do this video for National Crime Victims’ Week.
APRIL is such a beautiful month to welcome in a new season after a long hard winter. And what a wonderful month to welcome in a new season for so many, after their life season of a long hard winter. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is also National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and National Victims’ Rights Week–this week from April 19-25. Join us in this celebration of overcoming, for now we have a voice! God Bless~~
Stand Strong and Be Encouraged….
Not long ago, I was going through some of my old school papers and keepsakes. I was a little surprised at a memory that crept back on me. On the margins of a lot of my school papers was a little insignia that I had created. It popped up in the margins of my notes, scribblings, and many other keepsakes. I couldn’t help think of what this meant to me at that time. It would have seemed incidental to most people, and probably would have been overlooked by many if they saw it. But for me, it was different. It meant pure survival. I remember sitting there and looking at it. I fingered the papers and looked at the unsteadiness of my handwriting that was so different from today’s. Immediately, I knew exactly why I had written it on all of my papers. I also remembered very vividly where I was at emotionally at that time in my life. The little valley where I was raised, would never had known the turmoil that ate at my spirit like a cancer of my soul. But those words were more than words that I wrote on my papers. They were words that God had written on my heart. Words from Him, that were etched in the depth of my very being and gave me a hope when all had been shattered. The words were~~ “Peace Within”, encircled in a heart. But they were more than words for me. They were an experience that had lifted my heart out of great darkness and into a new Hope. I still live that Hope today.Faith Fellowship’s Women’s Ministry will be holding a special free Webinar on Saturday 9:00-12:00. Speaking will be myself, “Theresa Johnson”, “Toni Stewart”, and “Tamara Bopp”. I will be speaking on “Treasures of the Darkness” We truly invite any and all of you to join us. For many years many of our friends and family have expressed that they wish that they could attend one of our conferences. Now, all can join us. And it is free. It is as easy to do as posting a picture. Just click on this link on Saturday-starting at 9:00 and going through 12:00 and join us. https://psu.zoom.us/j/94052025249
Or by Telephone:
1-646-876-9923 or 1-312-626-6799
Webinar ID: 940 5202 5249—
RSVP on this event or to get all the update https://www.facebook.com/events/154777319192749/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1586395961130309
copyright marsha barth 2020
Lest We Forget…...
I hear a lawnmower in the distance and the children playing outside next door. The sun shines brightly and the birds are happier than I have ever heard them. Such wonderful reminders of the beauty of life and the beauty of this season. I have always loved Easter. When we were little, I would dress up in my new dress, new lacy white socks, and shiny black shoes. My brothers would wear their white shirts and bow ties. I even often wore little frilly bonnets and sometimes white gloves. There was dinner at Gramma’s house with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins; and always the Easter egg hunt later–with real eggs. The prize was the egg. And yet, I often found myself sad on Easter when I thought of Jesus dying on the cross. It wasn’t like Christmas, when there was great jubilation at his birth. As a child, I could never understand the joy of Easter with the sorrow of his death. It wasn’t until He came into my heart that I understood. The joy was not in His death, but in His life! It took a longer time for me to truly realize, and even believe, that He would’ve died for me alone. If there were no others, He would have done it just for me. So now, I like to remind myself of what He really gave me. I want it to be written in my heart, not just in my mind. I watched the “Passion of Christ” today. I couldn’t help crying through it once again–Not because of the sorrow that He bore, but because He bore that great sorrow for me. This is the joy of that sorrow, that He loves us. That He was wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquities, died, went to hell to take back the keys to death and hell, and then rose again in Victory! If we look at only the sorrow in life, we will dismay. If we don’t look at the sorrow at all, we will forget. As He died and rose again, so can we as a people, as a nation. May this great God of love, cover you in these storms of life, give you comfort when you are weary, strength when you are weak, joy in your sorrow, and Victory over death! Happy Easter dear friends……
copyright marsha barth 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 9 AM – 12 PM…
Tired of not being able to get out? Faith Fellowship Ladies Ministry is sponsoring a FREE Webinar for all who want to join us. All welcome. Guest Speakers are Theresa Johnson, Marsha (Marty)Barth, Tamara Bopp, and Toni Stewart.
Join us for an exciting time of encouragement in the Word. You will be able to join us on Zoom from the comfort of your own home! Never used Zoom before? Don’t worry. It’s very simple, and we will provide a link and instructions. All you need is an internet connection and computer or mobile device. More information to follow. RSVP on this event to get all the update https://www.facebook.com/events/154777319192749/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1586395961130309
Monsters Don’t Always Wear Masks
The birds sing. The flowers bloom. And the sun shines. All bring a hope to our hearts, in a season that has brought us all sorrow. They stand as a witness, that life is precious. Life is hard. And life is good. On this journey of life, there is beauty to enjoy, hardships to overcome, and love to share. It is so important that we know how to do all three. I wanted to write today on “life is hard”. I like the old show “Leave It to Beaver”. I watch the reruns. Today the dad was explaining to Beaver that the woman in the house down the road wasn’t a witch; that surely he could see this by how cleaned up she was when she visited them. “After all, did she look like a witch?” And Beaver told his dad, “Sure, dad. But maybe she just looks that way for adults.” I don’t think of abuse, all the time. Actually, I no more enjoy thinking of it than you do. When God heals you, and brings you out of any pain and sorrow, you are set free. You have no desire to revisit it. But sometimes you go back into the fire to rescue those that are still in the burning house. When Beaver told his dad that, my mind without any forethought, kicked right into gear. You see, in these times that we are living, especially now with our schedules tossed everywhere, and scurrying to find care for our children, we must be mindful that though witches probably do not live a few doors down from us, there may be a few monsters in our midst that don’t always wear masks. Listen to your children. Watch your child’s body language. And never assume that anyone is safe just because—they are a “neighbor”, “a friend”, a “relative”, “a Sunday school teacher,” “a coach”, “a youth leader”, a “babysitter”, a “teenager”, i.e. 1 in 4 girls, 1 in 6 boys are molested by age 18. This is based on only 40% ever being reported, 60% are never reported. And in children, it is estimated that only 10% are ever reported, leaving 90% unreported. One-third of child predators today are children themselves, under age 18. But we say, “not my child.” “I’m careful.” “And besides, my child would tell me.” In most cases, they will not. Not because they don’t love or trust you enough. But because they love and trust you too much. 93% of all children abused know their attacker. So in warning children of the dangers of strangers, we have protected them from 7% . I, like you, do not make this topic my morning read. But if it will help just one child, I will speak up. Watch and listen deeply to your child. Watch their body language. If they don’t want to hug someone, don’t make them. Give them a chance to learn who they feel safe with and who they can trust. Watch if they continually want to stay away from a place or a person. Remember, they may not even know themselves why they feel the way they do, but allow them to learn how they feel and allow them to learn who they feel they can trust. Talk to them on their level. And please remember, “monsters do not always wear masks.” Life is precious. Life is hard. Life is good. And roses will bloom again. God bless you my friends…..
copyright Marsha Barth 2020
Love Is A Gift For Every Day….
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband. He not only loves me, he is also a great cook. He just got done working an eight day stretch on his essential job. The first thing that he did this morning was make us breakfast. I woke up to smelling fried onions and potatoes. He makes everything from scratch. It is not our anniversary. It is not my birthday. It is no “special” day per say~~but it is “our” day. Love is a gift for every day. Mike and I have shared almost 48 years together. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, valleys and mountaintops, Mike and I have learned that God’s love has always knitted our hearts together and got us through all of these things. Love cannot be what we think it is; what we think others should do for us; or what we think we should do for them. Love is from God. Love is God. We’ve lost that simple reality in a world that has tried to define love by their own standards—-which by the way–aren’t that great. Now is a time to know the Love of God. Now is a time to come to the Love of God. Now is a time to experience the Love of God. Now is a time to share the Love of God. Be blessed my dear friends. ❤️
copyright 2020 Marsha Barth
A few months ago, the family had visited Florida. This is a special time of year for all of us, as we get to be together for two weeks. I love the one-on-one time that we get to share. Out of the nine grandchildren, I have eight boys and one little girl. She is pure delight, and quite a spunky little thing. Actually, Savannah and her older brother Matthew are quite inseparable. He is only 18 months older than her. My son calls them “Bonnie and Clyde”. One night, as I was watching them, they got into a little tith. Savannah was really upset. I said, “Matthew, you need to tell Savannah you are sorry.” He really was sorry because he could see that he had crossed the line with his little sister. He very sincerely said, “I’m sawry, Sabannah.” But Savannah’s feelings were still very hurt, and she said right back, “I no forgive you Maphew. Not now, no ever!” I just watched the two of them. Both had managed to crush each others hearts a little. The amazing thing is, that “no ever” lasted about five minutes, before they were back playing and laughing again. I know children learn from us, but I love the way, that so often, we learn from them. I wonder if there is someone today that you love and that loves you, that you may just want to give them a call. Maybe you, or them, have both felt the same way, “I’ll never forgive you.” The beautiful thing about my “Bonnie and Clyde” is, that they love each other. And truly love does conquer all. Have a blessed day!
copyright Marsha Barth 2020
Interview live tonight, Thursday, March 5 at 7:00 EST.
When I visit the prisons, rehabs and other venues, I begin by telling them, “the reason I come is not just to share my story but to relate to your story.” I tell them that we all have a story. And though our stories may be different, they are the same in this, somewhere in our lives, HOPE was shattered. I also tell them, “You Matter”. Know always, that YOU do matter to God. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” Isaiah 59:1 We are more than conquerors, we are VICTORS!
Whatever Happened to Mice, Dogs, Ducks, and Flying Nanas…
This will be a different blog. One that I have held off on writing, but I feel it must be written. When did it become wrong to voice an opinion? When did society change, that if your opinion is different than theirs, you are a mean, judging and condemning person? So we remain quiet. On all issues. I have friends that sadly have committed adultery, done drugs, stolen from others, and some that are, or have been in alternate lifestyles. I also have friends that have chosen other paths, some I agree with, some I do not. They know where I stand on these issues, and I know their opinions also. I don’t mitigate from what I believe in, just because I care for them. And I don’t hesitate to speak up against the things that I believe are wrong. That is why it is easy for me to go into the prisons, rehabs, and other venues and speak to all people. And this does not make me judgmental, condemning, or a homophobic. You can still love and care for someone and not agree with them.
I do advocacy work, along with my speaking and writing. And I am appalled at what we are doing to our children. Children are impressionable. They receive and take everything in, as truth. They have no capacity to filter what is right and wrong, and usually accept as truth what is told to them by sources that they believe they can trust. So it is our responsibility as adults to teach them to love people despite the differences. BUT, it is also our responsibility to teach them what is wrong, and what is right. And teach them that they don’t have to give up what they believe is right, because they care for someone. Nor do we teach them that they have to go along with everyone, fit in, and have no opinion of their own. When did it become okay to infiltrate our children with only what society deems is appropriate, true and politically correct??? When did society become the parents of our children??? When did having a good friend of the same sex, boy or girl, become suggestive that either or both child may be gay or lesbian?? When did we as a society began to encourage children to experiment with their sexuality before they even understand what sexuality is?? Why have we encouraged children to dive into sexuality while they are still children??? Why can’t they just be children??? They will have enough questions as they enter puberty on their sexual identity, and their identity as a whole, but they will be old enough then to sort through what is presented to them.
I am again, talking about the Disney situation. Whatever happened to mice, dogs, ducks, and flying nanas? I personally think a little wholesome fantasy from Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck, Mary Poppins, and Cinderella were good for our children. But, Disney has to bring us into the occult, with Demons and rituals, (The Owl House). And now Disney wants to also incorporate gay and lesbianism into these shows and movies, (Disney’s new movie “Onward”); and upcoming Marvel Studios’ movie (“The Eternals”) will include a homosexual superhero and a same-sex kiss.
Regardless of your feelings on these issues, I think we can all agree that it is wrong to indoctrinate our children and subtly or overtly weave it into the young impressionable minds of our children. Statistics show that in 2016–0.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender, the overall percentage of people with disabilities in the U.S. in 2016 was 12.8%, and nearly 3% of children younger than 18 years are blind or visually impaired. So why wouldn’t Disney and our society want to present to our children, movies of overcoming disabilities, being blind, or other themes to their movies. Why would you pick a theme such as gay and lesbianism, and demons, which are not suitable for children; or on a personal level for me; not for adults either. Unless your motive is to indoctrinate them into acceptance of these things? And if it is okay, as some will say it is, then why are you weaving it subtly and overtly into your movies secretly? Why are you trying to indoctrinate our children into believing in demons, and that an alternate life style of .6% is the normal? Do we teach our children to love and to not condemn all people?? Yes. Do we teach them to accept things and indoctrinate them with themes that are wrong and out of their reach of understanding at that age?? No. Disney is either a children’s platform or it is a platform for Demons, Occult, Political Correctness, and Sexuality issues??? Which are you Disney??????
copyright Marsha Barth 2020
Great Interview with host, Tamala Coleman, on “Amazing Grace” on Faith Broadcasting, to air live on Thursday, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. Tamala Coleman’s audience, reaches over 75,000 people. My sincere thanks to this great woman of God, and the mighty work she is doing.
copyright Marsha Barth 2020
A Song in the Night….
Not long ago, I came home late one night. It was dark and very cold. One of those nights when you practically ran out of the car and into the house. As I gathered my things and hurriedly got out of the car, I suddenly stopped and paused. There was a melodic sound in the air. It was so very beautiful, gentle, soothing. Then, it went away. But suddenly, I heard it again; a little louder now, but still with that gentle and sublime sound. I stopped and listened. The wind blew past me, brushing my hair aside, and I could feel the chill of the air, but I wanted to just linger and listen. Another gust of wind whisked past me and the music became louder. I turned and looked, and there it was. The wind chimes at the garage, sang loudly for all to hear. Every time the wind blew, it was a different tune. As the chimes beat one against the other, each one sounded out a different note. It was so beautiful. It was as if angels had stirred the chimes and they were echoing heaven’s chorus. I gathered my things and continued to the front door. My heart smiled as I paused to look for my key; “A Song in the Night”. How often have we missed our song in the night in the hurry and scurry of things? We all have night seasons in our life– times of sorrow and hardship that we don’t understand. I see this most clearly when I go into the prisons like we did the other night. One of the girls had read my book and I had the chance to talk with her. We truly cannot begin to know the heart of another until we see the pain they have walked through. That is why going into the prisons doesn’t bother me. There is a difference in those who have chosen evil, and those who have just lost their way. Do all belong there? Yes. I have never justified or excused the reasons any of them are there. But the sincere ones know this already without being told. But surely we can bring them a “Song in the Night?” I am reminded of an old song we used to sing:
“Some through the waters, some through the flood
Some through the fire, but all through the blood
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long.”
copyright Marsha Barth 2020
I was busy in the kitchen the other day. Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel like you’re moving in slow motion? The glass lid slid right off the counter. Going into my tomboy mode, I instantly went to catch it. And amazingly, I caught it, kind of, with my legs and slowed it down. I thought for sure I had broken its fall. But when it hit the floor it exploded into pieces.
I don’t think that I’ve ever broken something this bad. It was in hundreds of pieces with shards of glass everywhere. I stood looking at it, and realized, that it had not broken, but it was shattered. I think of this often, because “broken” we can fix—duct tape, crazy glue. But “shattered” we cannot fix. There are things in our life that have been broken and they can be fixed. But the things in our life that have been shattered, leave us standing hopelessly at a loss. It is then that we realize that God is not a Humpty-Dumpty God. He is not a God that just glues us back together again and leaves us with all the cracks to show. No, we have a God who loves us and cares about every shattered part of our lives. And if we will come to Him, He will heal our shattered hearts, lives, hopes, dreams, relationships, finances, hurts and pain. He is not a Humpty-Dumpty God, but a God that makes us a new creature in Him. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”2 Corinthians 5:17 Will interview with Tamala Coleman on iHeartRadio Podcasts/ iHeartRadio on February 29, 2020.
copyright Marsha Barth 2020
Awake Oh My Soul…...
What do we do in a world that has lost its way??? In a world where good is called evil—Where right is called wrong—where integrity and strength are called weakness? Where will we find our direction? Where will we find our strength? Where will we find the principles to raise a new generation with the qualities of life that stand for truth and honor? Oh America, how have you fallen asleep and forgotten all that once you believed, cherished and fought for? Will you awake or roll over and choose to slumber just a little while longer? Will you arise and rest on man, or your own strength and wisdom, or will you see past the limitations of your own ways, and thoughts, and see the need that we ourselves cannot supply, not even in our finest hour? And as for hope and strength, from which well will you draw them from? How long, before we awake? How long before we see our need? How long before we humble ourselves and call out? How long before we unashamedly, and without religious pretension, speak of the One that is higher than us? Probably, not until we come to the true awareness of His reality. A reality that supersedes our thoughts, our reasonings, our plans and our ways. A reality that supersedes religion and our differences, and a reality that it is impossible for us to find our way without Him. Awake, oh my soul. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4X8Pu-okGg
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
The Night before Christmas….
I lay in bed and hear the faint sounds of Silent Night filling the house. I stir, and my heart is reminded of the many Christmases that song has ushered in.
I had a lot of time to think on my drive into WV to pick up my Mom to bring her back to celebrate Christmas with us. Mom is 85 years old. She still bowls, likes to Bingo, and can still double wringer horseshoes. She reminds me of all that is good in this world. Her love has been a great comfort to me throughout my life. But this trip is different than so many of the others. I am picking Mom up from the hospital.
I drive unhurriedly, without rushing, knowing that she is coming home. I fidget with the car radio as the Christmas music that is playing fades out. And then there it is, a song that truly lights my heart,~~ “Take Me Home Country Roads”. I listen to the song and I sing along. Once again, those country roads are taking me back home. I pass a tractor trailer and read the post on the back of it, “His name is not the man UPSTAIRS,” it says, “His name is JESUS.” Again, my heart smiles, not only to know His name, but to know Him. This God who reached down and loved me. Who cares for everything that troubles me; who knows my every concern, my every doubt, my every fear.
I turn over in bed as I hear “Christmas in Dixie” playing softly in the next room. My mom rests. She is my Christmas present this year. Tomorrow we will head back to PA to share Christmas with my dear family, all 14 of them—my children, my 9 grandchildren. I need no snow to make it feel like Christmas, or presents under the tree. My heart fills with all the many Christmases of the past. This wonderful season, where joy and sorrow come together as one. Where Hope was born, and Joy and Peace were birthed, so that we may know that truly whatever season of life that we are in, truly a Savior which is called Christ Our Lord was born today in the city of David, called Bethlehem. He is never too far away to those who will call on His precious name. For He is Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He truly is more than the “man upstairs.” Merry Merry Christmas my dear friends. May the Love of Christmas carry and comfort you through every storm of life that you may be going through. “Marty”
A Hug from Heaven…..
?❤️??I look down and begin to read the words before me. I touch the thin light pages with my fingers as I read. “In the second month on the fourteenth day…” It doesn’t seem to strike me with much meaning, more of a historical note. But also on this page is one of my little bookmarks. I pick it up and look at it. I hold it in my hand and study it, and my heart fills with emotion. The letters are drawn ever so precisely. They are neatly colored and centered on the card. The words are surrounded by peach flowers and green ivy. I marvel at the simplicity of the bookmark and remember my dear friend of 55 years who made it for me last year. It says, “You Look Like You Need A Hug….” and then a little arrow points to the back. I turn the card over and in her handwriting is written, “Just consider this a long distant hug from me.” Tears fill my eyes with the love that I feel for this friend and sister. They are happier tears than sad. They fill my heart with joy as I remember her in love. She had made this little bookmark for me, as she had made so many of them, for me and others. I never thought last year at this time, when I visited her for Christmas, that this year she would be gone, and I miss her. I miss her love, her smile, her unique laughter, and listening ear. But I rejoice, because her love is still with me. She still even knows when I need a hug. “Just consider this a long distant hug from me,” the words in her familiar handwriting say. A hug from heaven, she sent me today, and it made my heart smile and fill with joy, not sorrow. I look and read the scripture, “In the second month on the fourteenth day…” And then I realize, Pam died on February 14, “the second month on the fourteenth day…” Merry Christmas my dear friend. Thank you for your hug from heaven……. ?❤️??
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
Windows of the Soul……
I had a long drive the other day asI drove up through the country roads that led to Shamokin, in Coal Township. It is amazing how black and white the scenery is at this time of year. There are no autumn colors of fall, no brilliant reds or gold. There are no purples and blues from the hydrangeas of summer or the lilacs of spring. Just cold and gray before you, unfolding with every turn of the road. The scenery kind of fitted in with the mood of the day, as I neared the Coal Township State Correctional Institute to speak on a “Crime Impact Class”. But as I walked through the corridors, and once again heard the familiar clank of the heavy iron doors, I realized that the vibrancy of life is not always seen in our surroundings, but in the windows of the soul, through the eyes of those we meet. We can easily miss this unless we intentionally look deep into the eyes of those who surround us. And we don’t have to be in a prison to do this. Have you looked lately into the eyes of those who surround you. Those that you love. Those that you work with. Those sitting alone in the mall. Those who have lost a loved one, or suffered a great loss in their lives. Those who are struggling with the complex or even the simple realities of life. What do you see??? Can you see the sorrow and loss, the struggle of the battle, the weariness of the soul, the despair and longing for hope in a world that seems to continue on without skipping a beat, oblivious to the heartache hidden behind the smile, but seen, if we look, in those windows of the soul? We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We can shine a light of Hope into those dark places. We can share a word of Love to those hiding behind the veil of life. I drove home that day with a smile in my heart. And though the night was falling, the setting of a beautiful sunset splashed across the horizon with a burst of color, its rays of brilliance lighting a path ahead. I then drove to the Lebanon County Prison and met my friend there, and we, together, went in to minister to the women there. Oh, to see hope arise in those windows of the soul and see a God touch their hearts with His love and promise. Now at this Thanksgiving time, let us pause to ponder and remember the joy as well as the sorrow, the blessings as well as the loss, the hope as well as the despair, “that we may abound in Hope.” Romans 15:13
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
BOOK TALK AND BOOK SIGNING…..
THIS THURSDAY AT 7:30 P.M. NOVEMBER 14, 2019
So many ask me about my books, “The Shattering”, and “The Shattering II. This local event will be preceded by a short talk about the books, with a question and answer session to follow. ALL ARE WELCOME. For those who like stories of healing and inspiration, these are my true stories, written in novel form, of the promise of hope, the power of love, and the joy of overcoming. My sincere thanks to our former representative, Mauree Gingrich for her endorsement on “The Shattering II”. Looking forward to this event and seeing everyone there. “Hope is tangible and breathes life and passion into every human soul that dares to reach out, grab it, and believe.” Quote, Chapter 21,”The Shattering II”. “The impact made a death-curdling sound that echoed throughout the countryside. Metal crushed, glass splattered, and then there was complete silence. … The Chevy sat crushed like a tin can, its windshield had splattered where Ethel’s head had hit it before she was thrown from the car. … The rescuers began to carefully lift Emma from the car. The sounds of sirens seared loudly as the woman from the Pontiac was whisked away. “Please,” Emma cried out to the attendants. “Is she alive?” The rescuers did not answer but began to pull the sheet up over Ethel’s lifeless body…” excerpt from “The Shattering”.
Signs Along the Way…
The other week, I visited the Lebanon County Correctional Center with our team. Often, when I go in to speak, I look into the eyes and heart of those that are listening. I sometimes can not help wondering what they looked like as a child. Where did the child go?? When did the child get lost??? I have found that one thing is certain, more than not, most feel that they do not matter. Many feel that they have never mattered. When a soul gets lost in the turmoil of life, they have no hope to light their way. I love to read road signs when I drive. I was surprised the other day, while driving down to my son’s house to see a sign that said, “You Matter”. I always tell those that I speak to that if they don’t remember anything I tell them that day, to remember that “You Matter”. I wanted to stop and look at that sign and see why it was posted there, but couldn’t. “You do matter!!!” Which reminds me of another sign I saw while driving. (I drive a lot) It said, “God is Speaking. Are You Listening?” So, I share with you, as I share with others— “God is Speaking. Are You Listening?” Because if you are— “You Matter”. God Bless~~~
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
This is my last post from Hawaii, on this trip. I love speaking at The Aloha House. It is a wonderful in-house recovery center. For the last 15 years, I have visited and spoken at many prisons, along with many rehab and recovery centers. Mike always drives me to these venues, and probably is my strongest supporter. He always asks me when I come out, “How did it go?” I have gotten in the habit of answering him with a big smile, and say, “I always get the look.” He gives me a big smile back, because he too, has seen “the look”. Mike is not able to go with me into the prisons, but he was allowed to go with me a few years ago into The Aloha House, and has went in with me every time since. The first time that Mike went in with me, he got to actually see “the look” and it kind of changes you forever. It is an amazing thing to witness. When, I go into a facility, any facility, there is a curiosity of the inmates, clients and residents as they see me enter, and rightly so. Many of them, have long ago, hid their hearts behind a hard wall of protection. “The look”, says, “You are all cleaned up, what can you possibly tell me?” And, I can honestly say that I have seen that look every single time that I visit, throughout the last 15 years, at every facility. But that is not the truly amazing part of the look. As, I began to share with them, and talk with them, God’s presence begins to move on those hard walls that are surrounding their hearts. One, by one, I get to watch God miraculously, begin to touch their hearts, and tear down those walls. As, God does the work, slowly, you begin to see the tears crease out of their eyes. The hardness begins to disappear, and then you see the real miracle—HOPE fills those eyes where there was once despair. It is like seeing a rainbow appear amidst a dark and stormy gale. And then, my heart smiles. Because you know, that once someone touches the “hem of God’s garment” and feels His love and reality, and realizes that they really do matter, that they are never going to be the same again. “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The Promise of Hope…….
When I was a little girl, every Sunday morning, my three older brothers and I would walk up a winding dirt road that led to a little country church. Our small Cocker Spaniel would follow us, and once there, she would cuddle up and lay down at the little church door and wait for us to come back out again. It was here that I found a “Hope”; here that God touched my heart and beckoned me to Him. Things at that time were rough at home, and I had truly lost my childhood hope. But there was always a
continual nudging on my heart as God called and drew me to Him. Somewhere during this time, in the midst of Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, I was given a little cardboard bookmark. I liked it so much that I thumb tacked it to my wall. Every night before I would go bed, I would take this bookmark from my wall, climb up on my bed rail, balance myself my touching the ceiling, and hold this little bookmark up to my ceiling light. I would then turn out the light, hop down, and thumb tack it back into the wall, and climb into bed. I would lay there in the dark and look at it on the wall. At the top of it was a picture of Jesus. The bottom part had a little purple velvet shield and on this shield was a little white cross. When I held it up to the light, it would glow in the dark. I would lay there and look at that little cross glowing in the dark and it would fill me with “Hope”. It has been a true Hope. A Hope that has led me through many dark and lonely nights, weathered many storms, and has always restored my soul. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13 “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast”. Heb. 6:19 . God has blessed me today with so many opportunities to share this Hope with others. Had a wonderful book signing at Barnes and Noble, in Kahului, Hawaii. Never have I been more welcomed, and received such hospitality at a book signing, than I was there. My sincere thanks to Cindy Mauricio and the staff of Barnes and Noble.
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
In the Belly of the Whale….
This was my third visit to the prison while in Hawaii. I have been going into the prisons for the last 15 years, from Florida to Virginia, Hawaii and Maryland and others. Some are men, some are women, some re-entrants, some county prisons, and even a maximum security all male facility. They are all different in many ways, but they are all similar in some ways also. You never forget the sounding of that iron door slamming behind you. It has to slam tight behind you before the next iron door is allowed to open. And so in many ways, this trip was not much different than the many others, and yet it was. I visited and spoke to a total of 13 different cell groups this time. I believe it was every cell block in that prison. There are different sections and levels in prison. I called this day, the belly of the whale. This was the more secured areas and thankfully, rightly so. And yet, regardless of the crime, no excusing of the accountability, there is still a great need to bring the Hope to the hopeless. Here I spoke to a small group of men who gathered to listen. Others still were behind iron doors, and pressed their ears to the doors to hear a word, any word. Oh, the desperation, of a lost and hurting soul. Others throughout the day would sit on their chairs and lean forward to hear, as the loud noise from the rest of the cell block was drowning out my words. And yet still, they leaned forward, to grab hold of any word. A word that could somehow bear some truth to their soul, that they do matter, and that they can change. Many have no desire to change. Many have chosen evil as a way of life. But there are some that hunger for a better way and they are willing to bear the accountability of what they have done, and to chose that better way. I think we must remember that Jesus went to the forlorn and those scorned by society, the Samaritan Woman, the taxpayers, Legion who was full of evil; not because they deserved it, but because Jesus was moved by compassion. I think we must remember that none of us deserve God’s love and mercy, and yet what a change in our life came when we were touched, just once, by the Master’s hand. “Hope is tangible and breathes life and passion into every human soul that dares to reach out, grab it, and believe.” Pg. 348-“The Shattering II” Jesus is that Hope.
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
A Diamond in the Rough….
One day on our trip, we looked out at the beach, and both Mike and I knew by the shoreline that it was a perfect day for looking for sea glass. Often after a storm, a full moon, or any other factor that causes the ocean to stir up its fury, it will cast stones, lava rock, shells, sand, coral, and anything within its grasp, to throw on the shore.This also includes sea glass. As I dodged the waves and focused on the shore, I began to find tidbits of little treasures amidst the massive debris of the stones and lava rock pieces. I’m not sure when it appeared, but I just grabbed at it quickly before the incoming wave could sweep it away back into the ocean. I tucked it away in my baggie and continued to search for more, not really realizing what I had found until later. Amidst the stones, it didn’t really stand out, it had no shine, and was doomed to be carried and tossed asunder in the ocean, lost forever. But there it was, this red piece of sea glass; opague, worn, rough, its beauty and purpose long washed away by many years of toil and turmoil. Or was it? Had the storms of almost 70 years, and being lost, somehow made it more beautiful than ever? Had it long ago, lost any and all purpose? It just needed to be found. Maybe it could no longer serve the purpose it was originally created for, and maybe it had lost its way long ago when it was broken by the hard tempests of life. But it was a new season now..This is the way I feel when I go into the prisons. Yes, there are many that have washed up on that shore. And sadly, yes, there may be many that wash back out to the sea of life and never find their way. But as God alone, who knows the deepest things of all our hearts, looks into the darkest of places, He sees that one lost and broken soul. He sees the one that will surrender to the shore, who wants to be found, who doesn’t want to be washed out to sea again, who wants to find a new purpose in life. Oh, they are hard to find. But the rarer they are, the more beautiful they are, even in the rough. All they need is for someone to reach out and grab them before another wave takes them back out to sea, to be lost forever. That’s what God does. I see Him do it every time that I go into prison, when He touches a heart with His love, and they begin to know His reality for the first time in their lives. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
It was a beautiful day as Mike drove me the Correctional Center in Hawaii. I watched the waves beat against the shore as we drove the long drive. They lulled me into a peaceful state as we drove along the one lane road. I could see it from a distance. The razor wire atop the chain fence made a statement of its own that seemed in dark contrast to the beauty of the island. As we pulled in and parked, we both paused as we so often do, before we part. I sat there for a moment as my eyes fixed on a small child that ran towards the chain link fence. She had straight jet black hair and the same jet black eyes, revealing her Hawaiian heritage. She laughed and smiled as she ran from her mommy as if she had gotten away with something. And then she turned. Her tiny hands gripped the links of the fence and she stood and stared at the buildings on the other side. Her smile faded and she looked confused as she stared straight ahead, her innocence in wonderment of why they were there. I said softly, “Look Mike.” We both sat and looked at this precious 2 year old who had stolen our hearts with her innocence. Tears filled our eyes. So many are impacted by the brokenness of prison. So many ask why I do what I do. But this is truly why. Maybe someday, her daddy will come home and his life will be changed. And her life will be changed too. God is a God of promise. He is a God of Hope. And yes, we all bear an accountability for our choices, but I am so thankful that His mercy endureth for ever. My sincere thanks to all of the staff, and especially Laureen who spent hours preparing these many meetings and went with me to every cell block. There would be more to follow….
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
A New Day…..
I hear the train rumbling in the distance with its quiet hum echoing through the mountains. The whistle blows softly once, and then again. It is a faint sound that seems to float up the mountainside and blends into the early music of the songbirds outside. Oh the beauty, as a new day is birthed. Its peacefulness settles the heart from the hurry and scurry that a new day often demands. It awakens my heart to the precious things of life that truly matter, the simple things of life that make the heart smile. We live in a world that often spins us with hardships where we often hide them away where no one can see them. “How are you today?” “Oh, I’m fine.” And the whole time your heart is breaking from the sorrow that you are carrying, the loneliness, the confusion, the pressure of uncertainty. There is a place that we can go to–“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the enemy, and from the noisome pestilence.” Psalm 91. Such a great promise. Today is a new day. Spoke with the team at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility. One of the girls brought up that they had read my book. The chaplain went to try to find the copies on their book shelves. She handed them to the girls and said, “Which one do you want, the worn out one, or the worn out one?” My heart rejoices in that the women can read the books and know that God loves them too. That He has a plan for their lives. That they are not defined by where they have been, what has happened to them, or where they are now, but who they are in Christ and that He has a plan and a purpose for their lives. God Bless~~
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
Snapshots of the Heart…
When I was in West Virginia visiting the other week, I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of my dear brothers. We took a day and drove down to where so many years ago we went to have our family reunions. The irony was that it was this exact time of year that we always went there. We stood in the corner of the pavilion and looked out over the empty picnic tables. There was a quietness, and for a moment we were nine and ten years old again. And beside us stood our other two brothers, eleven and twelve years old. There we stood, in the same exact place that we had stood over 50 years ago. The four of us, shy, anxious and nervous standing there looking out at all the family that we saw only once a year, bustling around the tables, packing away the leftovers of the buffet of food that we had enjoyed for lunch, before sitting down and getting comfortable to hear the singing. I could hear the guitars beside us being plucked and tuned. All we wanted to do was get done the singing so we could go play on the swings and get into a good game of baseball. A smile crossed my face as I turned to my brother. He smiled back. Remember how we sang, “On Wolverton Mountain”. “Her tender lips, are sweeter than honey…” We took one more long look and then turned to go. These are “snapshots of the heart.” They are more real than the pictures we take, for they are experiences of the heart. There is a goodness to my life when I think of all the good that God has brought into my life. How He truly wipes away all tears from our eyes, brings us through the stormy nights, and brings us into a new season where the sun truly shines.
Shared and spoke at the women’s seminar, “God is Completing a Good Work in Us” on Saturday, and also had a book signing for “The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”. What a wonderful time of fellowship, enjoying God’s presence, and feasting on the word.
copyright 2019 Marsha Barth
“Completing His Good Work,”
Free Ladies’ Seminar being held this Saturday, September 14, 2019. See flier for details. Come have a great time in God’s word, great food, and great fellowship. All welcome. Book Signing for “The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”. Guest Speakers–Marsha Barth, Theresa Johnson, and Toni Stewart.
How Far are You Going?
It is always nice to visit back home. There is no place like WV~~”Almost Heaven”. I got to visit there last week. I often ride past where we once lived. The house is long gone as the State took it when they put in the new road. I can’t help thinking, and I often told my children in times past, when we would ride over the exact spot, where the road crossed over what was once my childhood bedroom. It was always a strange feeling to realize that the then “Welcome to West Virginia” sign pierced through where once I had slept. On my drive back, I saw a sign on a tractor-trailer that said, “How far are you going?” and then in smaller print, “How far do you want to go?” It got me to thinking on this. How far are we going in life? And how far do we really want to go? We often gauge this by what the world and society deem as successful and important. But I truly feel this is not a reliable gauge. How far do we really want to go to just be the person that God purposed us to be? All the accolades aside, all the barometers of what success is or isn’t, what really matters is what is in our heart, and the lives that we impact. How far are you going? How far do you want to go? We all have the potential to make a difference, to brighten the corner where we are, to touch the heart of those around us. It all comes back to us—our choices. So often, I depend on this verse to get me where I am going–”Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 How far am I going? As far as God will lead me on this awesome journey of life. Visited a Prison Boot Camp and spoke to about 140 men and women inmates while away. I am always touched by how one thread of hope can change a life forever. God Bless you on your journey……
copyright marsha barth 2019
An Act of Kindness….
On my way to my son’s house we pass a beautiful old barn. The wood is gray and worn, the windows are broken, and it has a good 30% lean on its foundation. And yet it has weathered the test of time, and through all its brokenness, refuses to fall. It radiates a beauty that only age and time can produce. Beauty is often perceived in how we see it. Every day, in our journey of life, we pass the wounded and broken, those hurting and in pain. We see them at work, at school, at the grocery store, and even in our churches. They often don’t say a word, but we can see their fear, the lack of trust, and often the anger in their eyes. But what can we do? A kind smile, a silent prayer, any gesture of kindness could touch a life forever. They may not respond. They may silently or openly rebuff you, or walk away. But they may not commit suicide that day. They may not overdose that day. Maybe just one act of kindness could touch a heart forever. Finished teaching eighth week of “Victim to Victor” course at Teen Challenge this week.
copyright marsha barth 2019
In my books “The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”, I share many precious memories. Some are happy and some are sad. I had a favorite place of refuge during some of those sad times. It was the “cliff”. Often, I would go there to search out my heart, poor my soul out to God, or to clear my mind. Throughout the years now, that I have spoken at prisons, rehabs and recovery, churches, colleges, universities, and at state events and venues, I often tell this story. “I lived in a three-room house, not to be mistaken for a three-bedroom-house. The bathroom was 150′ up the hill, the horseshoe pegs farther up another 150′, and the cliff that went straight down another 150′ past the horseshoes.” Laughing, I continue, “We learned at a very young age to not chase the ball after the horseshoe pegs.” Often asked if I was afraid of the cliff, I answered, “No. I was more afraid of the outhouse.” When asked why? I would explain laughing, “Because they cut the holes in the outhouse to fit big people. I used to have nightmares of falling down the outhouse more than the cliff.” The cliff let me see that the world was a big place, where new horizons go on forever. It let me see that the promises of God reached much further than the circumstances of my life were dictating to me at that time. Far beyond the vast mountains, past the horizon, lie a hope. A hope that could not be seen, but a hope that God had placed in my heart during those most troublesome years of my childhood. God is not only a God of today~~But He is a God of our tomorrows. Past the hurt, pain, and confusion, He is the beacon that shines in our night, giving us a hope that is ever present and forever on our horizon. Currently, I am teaching the “Victim to Victor” study at Teen Challenge. For more information concerning the books or speaking venues, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
copyright marsha barth 2019
I love rainbows—that beautiful spear of brilliant colors piercing the dark clouds and reminding us always that God is always in the midst of our storms. Can there be a more beautiful display or reminder of the promises of hope that we have and are given, from a God who truly loves us and cares about our deepest struggles? A few weeks ago, Mike and I were heading to the hospital for his surgery. There was a light rain drizzling down from the dismal dark gray clouds, which seemed to reflect the mood of our hearts at that time. No one likes to go into surgery. There are always a million “ifs” ricocheting through your mind. But as we continued to drive, and talked about the pending day, there before us, bright and beautiful, appeared the most beautiful rainbow. Instead of a brilliant bow, it was more like an arrow piercing through the dark clouds that now were etched in the light of the rising sun. It was not just the beauty that was before us that gripped our hearts, but the great reminder of the promise that shone before us–a reminder of all the promises that God has given to us, and Who has fulfilled every one of them, throughout the many years that we have walked together with Him. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,” 2 Peter 3:9 Mike is still recovering but is doing well. Do you have a promise?? A promise that is steadfast and sure? One that cannot fail you? Tomorrow is as bright as the promises of God. I see them ever unfolding before me and reminding me that God’s ear is not heavy that He cannot hear, nor his arm short that He cannot save.
Taught the men at Teen Challenge—week #3 on the study “Going from Victim to Victor” I see God’s beautiful promises for each and every one of their lives….Rainbow Promises.
copyright marsha barth 2019
In the Eye of the Storm…..
I hear the loud rumble of thunder. I look up and see white bellowing clouds etched in bright sunlight. They move quickly across the sky as if fleeing the deep gray clouds that are tumbling towards them. Crack—and then another clap of thunder catches my attention. I stop and look up into the majestic sky. There is no rain. I cannot see the lightning, but I know a storm is coming. When I was a child, thunder terrified me. But now, I can hardly take in the splendor of the beautiful canvas that hangs above me. A portrait painted by the Master’s hand—majestic and strong. Now, I can see and know that just one touch of the Master’s hand can still the mighty storms that come my way. I have learned not to fear as the storm clouds of life gather round me, or the loud thunder rages, or the lightning pierces through the darkness. All is well, for in the darkest night or fiercest storm, you will always see Jesus walking in the midst, with His arms stretched out to love and carry us in the eye of the storm. Spoke and taught session two of “Victim to Victor” with the men at Teen Challenge on Tuesday.
copyright marsha barth 2019
There are no need for words when a child lights up the room with their laughter. There are no need for words when you stand beside the bed of a loved one for the last time. There are no need for words when the bride and groom walk down the aisle together, arm in arm, love as one. There are no need for words as the sound of the morning chorus of songbirds usher in a new day. There are no words to describe when you look into the depth of another person’s soul and see the spark of Hope where despair once was. Oh, the beauty of life–to see the beauty of a rose, rather than feel the thorns that surround them. May we on life’s journey, search out the beauty of the rose, and may we have the courage to reach out and rescue it from the thorns that hold it in its tight grasp. Taught the 4th session of “Victim to Victor” at Teen Challenge this week and also visited and spoke with our team at the Lebanon County Correctional Center. There I meet so many beautiful roses.
copyright marsha barth 2019
“Just One Touch…”
As I drove down the road the other day, there stood a little squirrel in the road. He turned his head frantically to the right and to the left, as if he was looking for cars. Then he stopped and lowered his body and head to his little friend who lay on the road not moving. He nudged his little friend, but he did not move. He nudged him again harder, but he still not move. He stood up again and looked right and then left and then frantically tried to tug on his little friend as if to say, “the cars are gone now; come on get up, before another car comes.” To watch this unselfish act of love of another creature as he earnestly tried to help his little mate and friend, moved my heart with compassion. We cannot know, how a simple act of kindness can impact a life forever; one kind smile, one encouraging word, one touch of understanding. I visit and speak at many prisons, rehabs, re-entries and recovery centers. Sometimes, I feel like that little squirrel. I just want to nudge them one more time to get up, before it is too late. But sometimes they just don’t or can’t respond. We must never give up to reaching out to those who need our help; that one kind smile, that one encouraging word, that one touch of understanding can change a life forever. It did mine. I visited and spoke at Teen Challenge-Week 2 of the series, “Going from Victim to Victor.”
“But the Master comes, And the foolish crowd, never can quite understand, The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought, By just one touch of the Masters’ Hand.”( Myra Brooks Welch)
copyright marsha barth 2019
They started by bringing me the clover flowers. It wasn’t intended to be a bouquet. They picked them not by beauty but by the ones that had the sweetest aroma. One pink petunia, that shouldn’t have been picked from their yard, was added and brightened the bouquet. And then the flowers from the Dogwood, well, they were just there, and had to be added, and they were allowed to pick these. Whether it is sitting on the grassy bank and watching my older grandchildren play hockey together, or teaching them how to make blades of grass whistle, or collecting flowers with the younger ones, these are the beautiful bouquets of life. Bouquets that make the heart smile. When we say a kind word to someone who doesn’t deserve it, when we give a smile to the elderly sitting in the mall, when we give up the right to be right because it benefits no one, when we help others with love and there is nothing for us to gain, oh, these are the beautiful bouquets of life. May someone shower you with some beautiful bouquets today. And may you shower someone with beautiful bouquets today also. Will visit and speak at Teen Challenge on Tuesday, June 4. This is a closed event.
copyright marsha barth 2019
Ouch! That Hurts!
Years ago, when we had our Garden Center, we had a beautiful wisteria that bloomed this time of year. It was so dynamic that people would stop in, just to ask what it was. Every spring it would bloom its large weeping cluster of purple blooms and scream with its vibrant colors-”Spring is here”. Every year, my husband pruned it until I thought for sure, he’d kill it. It was continually fed and watered throughout the year, and every spring it would reward us with this beautiful shower of blooms, filling the air with its fragrance. I happened to drive past there not long ago, and glanced to see its flowers, but there were hardly any. The foliage had gone crazy, but there were few flowers and they looked lost and forlorn in the tangled mass of green. It got me to thinking that this is what happens when things aren’t pruned, fed,or taken care of. All things need to be pruned and fed to grow and produce flowers and fruit. We need pruned too. “Every branch in me that bears not fruit God takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, God purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:2 We don’t like to be pruned. We like to enjoy our pleasures and never feel pain. We live in a society that seems to proclaim that we should never suffer or feel pain. We have a pill for every ache. And, although, I don’t enjoy pain at all, I have learned that pain is not our enemy. Pain, whether physical or emotional, is a warning sign to us that there is something wrong and that we need to take care of the source of the pain. Even as believers, we do not get a free pass on pain. We will be pruned, sometimes severely. And we must be fed the right food. We cannot be left to our own devices and go our own way-numbing the pain, and never dealing with its cause. The beauty of it all, is that the more we are pruned, the more fruit we produce. And if we have a wise “Gardener”, He knows exactly how much to prune from us without it killing us. Roses still bloom again, after a harsh winter, and a heavy pruning, and we do too. We have to deal, to heal, to feel again. Visited women at Lebanon County Correctional Center with Theresa Johnson.
copyright marsha barth 2019
I Don’t Want to Forgive…
My grandchildren love the sour patch candies, so for Easter I bought them Sour Patch Jellybeans. Personally, they are too sour for me. But there is something that bids us taste that which is sweet and sour. So it is with the subject of forgiveness, or rather unforgiveness. Often, when I talk on the importance of forgiveness, whether it be at a prison, a rehab, or at a church, I get the look. When people think that I do not understand or that I have no right to tell them this—I share my own story. (“The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”) What is forgiveness??? Forgiveness by definition is–a CHOICE to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. It also means to release a debt. Forgiveness is simply a CHOICE. The problem is that by RIGHT, we often do not want to forgive. By RIGHT, the person who wronged you probably does not deserve your forgiveness. But the hardest thing about forgiving others is that so often we think that if we forgive them, we are saying it is okay in what they did to us. And this is not true. Forgiving someone is choosing to stop feeling angry or resentful towards them for what they did to you. You release them of the debt that they owe you for what they did to you. BUT, they are still accountable for what they have done. They are still accountable for the hurt and pain that they have caused you. Matthew 3:8-”Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” Mercy and Accountability walk hand in hand. So what do you choose today to do???? Do you choose to remain feeling angry and resentful towards the person that hurt you?? Or do you choose to give your hurt and pain and anger that they caused you to Jesus, and release them of the debt that they owe you? As long as you hang onto your hurt, pain, and anger, you will never be able to release forgiveness. See it always our choice– to remain in bondage—or to be set free. Taught at PAATC (Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge) Do you want to forgive?????? Re: “The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”
copyright marsha barth 2019
Bringing Wholeness to the Hopeless…
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller
The sun was brightly shining today and there was a soft breeze as I walked up the steep hill at PAATC (Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge). I had to get out my WV legs to climb it. I couldn’t help marvel at the beautiful setting that encompasses this organization’s campus. PAATC is a faith-centered organization committed to restoring wholeness to individuals and hope to families and communities impacted by substance abuse. I count it a pleasure to visit and speak to the clients. I am teaching a four-week study that I developed~~”Going from Victim to Victor” and will be teaching it to the clients there. PAATC’s Vision of Hope states it all…”Bringing Wholeness to the Hopeless.”
copyright marsha barth 2019
Mercy and Accountability Walk Hand in Hand….
As many of you know, I speak at many different venues. I have spoken for our state at various events. I have spoken for the University of Hawaii several times and to other college Criminology and Psychology students, for Child Advocacy centers, to the Maryland state’s Social Service Department, to foster parents and advocates. I only mention these because my favorite venues of all has always been to meet and talk to those in prisons, re-entry, maximum security facilities, re-hab and addiction recovery. Here I get to meet people and take them the healing message of hope and God’s love. But every so often, I run into a situation that demands ADVOCACY. And lately, there have been several situations. I find it unusual that so often I have to jump fences. On the one hand, my heart reaches out to those hurting and broken-whether in rehab or incarcerated. But then, I find myself on the other side of the fence, advocating for those who are adversely affected, and horribly impacted, by the crimes of those who are incarcerated. I found myself in that situation last night. I have spoken to those incarcerated across the country for the last 15 years, but never have I seen any facility set up and operated the way that the Wernersville Community Correctional Center is done. First of all, who in their right mind, would ever consider placing offenders, (violent offenders, sexual offenders and all others included) on the same campus with the mentally ill? I am talking about a campus, where last night, it was stated that 70% of the patients are allowed to go outside on the campus unsupervised, while residents from the Correctional Facility are also allowed to have free discourse outside, unsupervised on the same campus, and unsupervised off the campus. Remember these include all offenders, sexual offenders, violent offenders. There are no fences to separate them. The incidents and violations of the “Universal Code of Rules” are too many to list here, and yet nothing changes. What was originally instituted to be a safe release program and a parole violator center that would include “NO violent offenders, NO sexual offenders, NO violation that involved assaultive behavior or possession of a gun, and there could not exist any identifiable threat to public safety from any such parolee. Also offenders were not permitted to leave the center without an official escort.” This is quoted directly from their website as of November of 2016, which since then they have taken down. There is now no website for us to obtain information. Please note that these safeguards were still in place after the 2012 Act 122 was passed. The outcry of the community has went forth from the day that WCCC was first proposed, initiated, and set up in 2009. Every proclamation and promise that was ever given to the community has been rescinded or not followed through. They say they want to be a “good neighbor” and in the same breath say, but we are the state and “we are preempted by state law” which would give them the means to control over township law and preclude the township from enacting their laws. If at the very least this would assist, aid or help the offender it would merit a discussion. But it does not. Anyone who has worked with offenders can tell you that to set this facility up without sound structure and accountability only enables the offender, and sets him up for failure. No one wins in this type of situation. Everyone loses—the mental health patients, the offenders at the facility, the residents in the community. They are all being put at great risk and danger. WCCC is a powder keg just waiting to be ignited. We must always remember—that mercy and accountability must walk hand in hand.
copyright marsha barth 2019
When my oldest grandson was young, he went to school one day and told his teacher that his grandma was going to prison. I wanted my grandson to understand that prison was not just full of bad people, but that it also had many broken people too; people that were lost and sad, hopeless and shattered. So after church one day, on the way home, I pointed out to him the prison that I visited. He asked why I went there and I explained that though all of them had done wrong, they still needed to know that Jesus loved them and that Jesus could forgive them and change their lives. He probably thought it was a nice thing to share with his teacher, “that his gramma, was going to prison.” Fortunately, most of the teachers knew us at that time, from our business. Most of them were customers of ours. The teacher mentioned it to my daughter with a smile, and she explained, that I “visited” the prisons. She did tell me later though, “Mom, you got to quit telling him you’re going to prison.” But all of my grandchildren know now that I go into the prisons. And all of them have a pretty good idea why. You see—God’s unconditional love can change a life forever. None of us are ever the same again when the Savior first touches us with His love. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without someone to tell them?” Romans 10:14. Visited and spoke with our team on Monday, April 22, at the Lebanon County Correctional Center.
copyright marsha barth 2019
I love “Laughy Daffys, as my husband calls them. They seem to scream, “Spring is here”! They can be covered with snow and yet their yellow heads will bob up, laughing at winter as it tries to hang on. Daffodils are the true smiley faces of all the flowers, I do believe. How can you look at a daffodil and not smile? They are a reflection of hope that winter season is truly past. They bring promise that a new season has begun. They are as sure as the rainbow that appears after a cloudy stormy day. And so are the promises of God. They are not mere words given to just encourage us, but they are words that are sure and steadfast. Have you ever received a promise from God that required you to stand on it even when all of your circumstances screamed out at you that it was impossible for it to come true? God wants to do just that for you. He has given me many promises.
One of my favorites is the promise He gave me when I was pregnant with my son. I had fallen down the steps, and thought for sure that I’d lose him. A few days later, I fell again and the cramps increased. I had gotten prayed for but the next day on the way to work our little Chevy Chevette was hit by a truck. I went home with the cramps increasing, sure that after five long years of waiting that I would lose this child. So, I went to my Bible and asked God to give me a promise and I opened up to Isaiah 44…. “Thus says the Lord that made you….I will help you, fear not…for I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessings upon your offspring…and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the water courses.”
And truly God fulfilled this promise, and my son, my first born, my only son was born. But four years later, almost to the day, we were dealing with another situation. My son had quit breathing, he had been miraculously revived, but no one knew if he would suffer brain damage as they rushed him in an ambulance to the hospital. I had jumped in the back of the ambulance and watched his little body breathing slowly. But he went into another episode and the paramedic panicked as once again she tried to revive him with no response. I did not remember the promise that God had given me those years before, but I did feel His loving presence come over me as I watched, frozen in the moment. The most loving voice spoke to my heart as my mind refused to think… “Will you still serve me, if I take him home?” I felt like I was in a trance, like I wasn’t really there, because he still was not breathing. And then a peace came over me, and my heart spoke because my mind couldn’t. “He was yours Lord, before He was mine.” Instantly, he took a breath and began to breath again. It wasn’t until the next day that we learned that he had no brain damage as he sat on the hospital bed and put together a 100 piece Mickey Mouse puzzle that his daddy had given him. And yet, I still did not remember the promise that God had given me those years before. It wasn’t until he was scheduled to go to the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital shortly thereafter for more follow-up tests, that I went out to the rocking chair one night after everyone was asleep and cried out to God, “I need a promise”. I reached for my Bible and opened it up at random, and my eyes fell on a scripture that I had underlined four years before. It was the date that I had written in my Bible beside it, that caught my eye. It was dated almost four years to the date. I began to read the scriptures and the tears poured out of my eyes and down my cheeks. “Thus says the Lord that made you….I will help you, fear not…for I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessings upon your offspring…and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the water courses.” Isaiah 44. And in the stillness of the night, I heard His sweet voice in my heart say, “The promise still stands. It has not changed from the day that I gave it to you. He will grow up as the willows by the water ways.” As we went through this journey-everything screamed out against that promise. Medical wanted to put him on medicine that would have caused him to become sterile. We thought it was too extreme and refused. But they threatened us that if it happened again, they would make the state make us give him the medicine. But he got well. And he grew up to be a fine young man. And now he has six beautiful sons and one beautiful daughter. Satan said, “I will take your son, your only son.” And God said, “I will bless your offspring and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the water ways. There is nothing more beautiful than the promises of God, steadfast and sure. They cannot fail or fall short. They always usher in another season of our lives—just like the “Laughy Daffys”.
copyright marsha barth 2019
Remembering Gracie Packer…..
I have been told by people that they cannot read my books because it gives them nightmares. This only astounds me because we cannot change what we won’t confront; both as a society and as individuals. I’m asking everyone to read the below—This was Gracie’s nightmare—you wake up from yours—she never did. April is National Child Abuse Prevention month-Please read this in remembrance of Gracie:
Gracie was 2½ years old when she was removed from her family’s home and placed in foster care in Berks County, Pa. She was 3, when she was put in foster care with Sara and David Packer. Sara was Supervisor at Northampton County’s Youth and Family Division. In 2006, when Gracie is 5 years old, David Packer causes indecent assault on Gracie. Gracie was 5½ years old when the Packers adopted her in 2007. By 2008, David Packer, Gracie’s adoptive father was investigated by Scranton CYF for physically abusing Gracie-now 6 years old. NO CHARGES are filed. In 2010 when Gracie is 8½ years old, Lehigh County initiates a criminal investigation into David Packer. On July of 2010, David Packer, is charged with indecent assault on Gracie from the 2006 incident. 4 years after the fact, he is charged. Gracie lives in this household these 4 years. It is important to note that the sexual assault was in 2006 and Gracie was adopted by the Packers in 2007. On June of 2011, David Packer pleads guilty to indecent assault in Gracie’s case and statutory sexual assault in another case on one of his other foster children. He is sentenced to ONLY 18 months-to 5 years, and goes to jail. Sara Packer is not charged but is “indicted” in an abuse case, meaning her name is placed on Childline-she had since been terminated from her job. Gracie is 9 and 10 years old when she goes through this ordeal. She continues to live with Sara Packer until at 12 years old she is placed in a residential treatment facility, Warwick House near Doylestown, PA in Bucks County. She goes back to her home with Sara Packer after that and finishes 7th grade at Vantage Academy, a Montgomery County alternative school. Shortly, thereafter she once again is placed back in Warwick House. She is now 13 years old. In 2015 Gracie is sent to North Carolina to live with a Packer cousin and attends part of 8th and 9th grades there. Sadly, in November of 2015, when Gracie is now just 14 years old she is returned to Pennsylvania to live with her adoptive mother-Sara Packer and her boyfriend-Jacob Sullivan. It is at this time according to court records that both Sarah Packer and Jacob Sullivan begin to plan how to kill Gracie. On July 4, 2016 Gracie attends a family picnic in Laury’s Station. On July 8, 2016, Sara Packer and Jacob Sullivan take Gracie to a home in Richland Township. They take her to the hot attic of the house where they bind, gag, and drug Gracie. Sullivan rapes her as Sara Packer watches and listens to Gracie’s screams and pleadings for her mom to stop him. They then leave her in a hot attic closet to die. Somehow, Gracie’s strong spirit survives the ordeal. She is miraculously able to free herself from the plastic ties. But she is unable to get out of the attic. When Sullivan and Sara return 12 hours later, they find Gracie still alive. Sullivan strangles her, and they place her body in cat liter and leave it there. Sara Packer then reports Gracie missing to Abington Township Police, Montgomery County. Sara buys a bow saw and 2 blades in Bucks County and dismembers Gracie’s body and disperses it in Luzerne County where it is soon found by hunters.
I write this, because Gracie’s voice deserves to be heard. Her story deserves to be read. We talk so strongly about giving a child a VOICE. But what happens when that child finds their voice and they speak out and yet no one hears, and the system fails them. The course of Gracie’s life spanned Berks County, Northampton County, Lackawanna County, Lehigh County, Bucks County, Montgomery County. That is 6 counties in PA, that had a chance to intervene for Gracie. Not 6 times but 6 counties, and she fell through the cracks of every single one of them. Sadly, Gracie’s story is not rare, or in many cases even less severe. You see, it is not enough to give a child a voice, if we are not going to be there to hear their cry for help. The child thinks they are going to be rescued and so often, so many times, they end up back in the home with their perpetrators. We gave Gracie a voice-she spoke up-but her cries fell on death ears. She fell through the cracks of a very fractured system. The question today is not so much why don’t children speak up—but are we going to hear their voice??? It is not enough to look at how far we have come. We need to look at how far we need to go. Marsha Barth
Remembering Gracie at the Crime Victims Rally in Harrisburg, Monday April 8, 2019.
copyright 2019 Marsha Barth
“The Shattering II” and “The Shattering”….
Had another great blog interview with Lena Nelson Dooley on “A Christian Writer’s World.” This interview was for my second book–“The Shattering II-‘Breaking the Silence'”. Visit this link and enter the contest for a free book- https://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-shattering-ii-marsha-barth-one-free.html
Lena Nelson Dooley’s blog interview and talk show reaches approximately 65,000 people per month.
How Far Can You See????
I love a quote that Winston Churchill said years ago, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” To go forward, we need to see clearly. And so often our vision is clouded or blocked unknowingly by the shadows of our past.The Bible says it this way, “…that we are to lay aside the weight and sin that so easily besets us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Heb. 12:1 And that “we are a new creature in Christ: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17 Truly, “the farther backward we can look, the farther forward we will be likely to see.” Will be speaking at St. Daniel’s Lutheran Church located at 480 Big Spring Rd, Robesonia, PA 19551 on March 31, this Sunday, at 10:15 a.m for the Adult Bible Study on “Going from Victim to Victor”. All are welcome-Sunday worship begins at 9:00 a.m. My thanks to Terry Williams and Pastor George Detweiler for arranging this. Book signing also-“The Shattering” and “The Shattering II”
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
The Smiling Angel….
I have an angel that sits at the entrance of my driveway. It is a realistic angel with a pure round cherub face. I have seen it many times as I enter, but only a few weeks ago when it was covered with snow did I take a closer look. I brushed the snow off of its head and shoulders and kind of said, “There you go little fellow.” As, I looked at him, I smiled. He had a smile on his face. I had never noticed that. Not a corny smile, but a faint Mona Lisa smile. He sits there every day, welcoming us home with that gentle smile, through the rain, in the storms, the snow and ice, and in the darkest night. Kind of sad, I had never noticed this. Even more so, what if we could see the Savior’s face, with that same gentle smile, bidding us to draw near Him, to rest upon His breast, welcoming us home, through the storms, in the snow and ice, in our darkest night. So often we miss His smile…..His tender touch, His loving presence… We are the children of God. “Come unto me you that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 Visited and spoke at the Lebanon County Correctional Center with our great team the other night.
copyright 2019 marsha barth
Great blog interview with Lena Nelson Dooley on “A Christian Writer’s World ~~ Characters Who Grip Your Heart.” Visit https://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/
to read the interview and to enter for a chance to win a free copy of “The Shattering”.Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning, multi-published Christian novelist, screenwriter, and hosts The Lena Nelson Dooley Show on the “Along Came a Writer” network on Blog Talk Radio which reaches approximately 65,000 people per month. Thank you Lena for the opportunity to interview with you and to share this message of Hope. Enter now while contest is still open. Scroll down to the bottom of the article and push comment button to enter the contest.
The Nightingale’s Song….
I walk outside and the chill of winter goes right through me. I grab the snow shovel and feel the cold wind on my face. Everything around me screams that it is winter. I hear the snowplow coming down the road. I feel my fingers begin to ache with the numbness from the cold. It is winter. Or is it? As I pause for a minute to take my breath, I hear the most pleasant sound. It is the sound of song birds. They are singing loudly and earnestly, as if to say, “it is no longer winter”. Their song echos through the mountainside in a chorus of melody, singing, “it is spring, it is spring”. It makes me smile. Yes, these are the spring birds, already singing their song. It makes no difference what I am seeing, or what I am feeling, what I am hearing is that it is spring. Do you feel you are in the depth of a cold winter season? Does everything you see and feel tell you that your winter will never end? Stop and listen. What do you hear? Can you hear the spring birds singing their song? Sometimes, we cannot go by what we see, or even what we feel. We cannot determine by today’s circumstances what our tomorrow will bring. Sometimes, we must listen to that still small voice of God that says, “roses will bloom again”. Do not proclaim tomorrow’s despair by today’s circumstances. To do this is to proclaim death and to lose hope and to forsake love. Even in our deepest sorrows, there is still love. It is the love that comforts us and is ever binding and lets us know that there are some things that never pass away. It is the love that brings us joy in the morning. And it is love that is the faintest flickering light in our darkest hour. The flickering light of love is so faint that in our darkness, often we can not see or feel it. It is then that we hear the sweetness of the nightingale who sings his purest song in our midnight hour. Listen carefully and you will see that even in our darkness our heart can hear a song. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness”. Colossians 1:13 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”Rev. 21:4 “Love never fails. Love never ends. Love conquers all”. 1 Corinthians 13:8 God’s love is the nightingale’s song in our night letting us know that morning is nigh.
I WILL BE A GUEST SPEAKER FOR CELEBRATION RECOVERY ON FRIDAY MARCH 8, 2019, at Faith Fellowship Church-Rt. 422-Cleona (Lebanon) PA. ALL ARE WELCOME — WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO RECOVER FROM–HURT, PAIN, LIFE. Fellowship meal at 6:30. Topic will be -“Going from Victim to Victor”. For more information please contact Nate Johnson at 717-507-9314
Satan Has No Hold on You!
Years ago, when my oldest grandchild was small, he mentioned in grade school, and to his teacher, that Gramma was going to prison. Fortunately, most of the community knew my husband and I from the business we ran for 27 years and they knew that I wasn’t really going to prison. But, I wanted my grandchildren to know the plight of others. We had always passed by the prison on our way home from church and I had pointed it out to him on several occasions. It had made an impression on his young heart. Though, God has opened many opportunities for me to speak at many venues, for the state of PA, to College Criminology and Psychology students, for the University of Hawaii, and Child Advocacy, and many other venues across the country, my heartfelt venues to speak at has always been the prisons, re-entry, rehabs and recovery. I was thankful last night for the opportunity to visit and speak at Teen Challenge. This is a phenomenal Christian based recovery center founded by David Wilkerson. In sharing with a client afterwards, I told him that Satan has no hold on you. What a wonderful facility that allows me to proclaim this to those that are in bondage and who want to be set free. And, Satan has no hold on you. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 “Casting all your cares upon him; for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 Satan has no hold on you!
He’s Always in Our Midst….
I was driving down the highway the other day to be with a friend who was gravely ill. My heart was troubled on every side. As I glanced up at the back of a tractor trailer, I saw the words, “Trust in God”. Three simple words, that brought my heart immediate peace. God is always in our midst. I wonder how often we miss the signs of His presence. Went in to the Lebanon County Prison last evening with our team. When asking the inmates, what do they do with their hurt, pain, and anger, the most common answer was, “numb it”. We have to deal, to heal, to feel again. Rather than numb it, why not give our hurt, pain, and anger to God? “A broken and a contrite heart, God will not refuse.” Psalm 51:17. Many of us today are not behind prison walls; and yet we are imprisoned just as assuredly as those who are– in our hearts, and souls, and spirit, by the weights, sins and hurts of this world. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 He’s always in our midst……
The Child Within….
I love the stillness of the night where there is no noise, and the quietness penetrates into my being. There, I can sort out the heaviness of life and hear the Lord’s still small voice speak to my heart. Here, I can dwell in “the secret place”, and “abide under the shadow” of the One who loves me most. “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children,” Walt Disney once said. I can’t help think of his statement every time that I go into the prisons, rehabs, and recovery programs. Every time that I speak and look deep into the eyes of those that are captive or broken. They were once all children. Sometimes, when I look into their eyes, that are fixed on every word that I am saying, I get a glimpse of the lost child within. I wait, as I speak, for that moment, when I see God’s love and reality touch their soul and then see what the hand of God can do for the lost and broken. As the tears flow down their cheeks, their eyes begin to fill with Hope. This Hope is not a mere wish, but “The Hope”. The love of a Jesus, touching their heart, sometimes for the first time in their lives. This is the Hope “that is steadfast and sure, an anchor of the soul.” It is a new beginning for them, a new season. “Behold all things are become new, behold old things are passed away.” I was blessed to speak to the women at the Orlando Community Release Center, in Orlando, Florida. My sincere thanks to Assistant Warden Carol Casimir, Officer Elaine Richmond and Lieutenant Betty Starks and the many others that made this visit possible.
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
A Still Small Voice….
I was on my way to an advocacy meeting the other day and was pondering many things as I drove the long drive. Anyone who works in this field knows the heartbreaking statistics and the sorrow of doing too little too late. But, I am continually reminded that “Evil can only prevail, when good people do nothing.”The question is not only, how we prevent and bring awareness of abuse, but how do we also reach the broken and shattered and let them know that they truly can take a healing journey and be made whole again. As, I was driving and concentrating on the heavy traffic, I had an unusual thing happen. It was only for a fleeting second, but impossible to miss. Truly, things have to hit me right on sometime to get my full attention, and this did. Out of nowhere a big white bird flew right in front of my vehicle. What struck me, was his beautiful wingspan that spread before me majestically. With one quick fleeting moment, he swooped down in front of my vehicle and then just as quickly, gracefully flew away, his white wings spread beautifully, and then he just disappeared. I can’t explain it, because such moments are mysteries to our soul, but my spirit lifted immediately. As if, God’s redeeming peace and love on the wings of a white dove assured me, that He is in our midst always. Sometimes it is the still small voice that awakens our heart. “But the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
Prisoner of the Heart~~~
The other evening, as our team went to visit in the Lebanon Correctional Facility, the atmosphere did not change much from the dismal rain outside, to the clouds of heaviness that hang over those in prison. We signed in and listened for the buzzer to open the heavy iron door. We waited for it to clang shut, before hearing the buzzer to open the next door. This is prison. We greeted the women that entered, happy to see some of them light up at our presence. I looked into the depths of each women’s eyes as I spoke and saw so many things—hurt, pain, sorrow, sadness, loneliness, brokenness, remorse, hopelessness, anger, hardness, resentment, frustration, discouragement. Long gone or buried too deep to see, is the joy, hope, peace, love, happiness, trust, goodness, laughter, and comfort that they might have once known, or maybe that they have never truly known. I realize, as I speak to them, that the prison that that they are in is not the windowless concrete walls that surround us, but the prison of their own heart. I see God chisel at these prison walls, as each member of our team, gets up and speaks to them. You see the chains of their prison begin to fall as their eyes glisten with tears, and a new Hope begins to rise in those same eyes. What prison are you in? There are so many. The prison of grief, loneliness, hurt, pain, anger and so many more. Jesus came to set the captives free. “Bring my soul out of prison,” Psalm 142:7 is the cry of all of our hearts. If we are to live in any prison—let us be prisoners of HOPE. “Turn you to the strong hold, you prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee” Zechariah 9:12
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
What Did Christmas Mean to You?….
Now that some of the frenzied duties of Christmas have settled, maybe once again, we can take a look at what Christmas means to us. Sitting with a cup of warm tea or coffee and looking at the Christmas cards sent from those who love us and truly care, or sitting back and smiling at the new memories and lives we are touching, as well as remembering those that we miss so very much. Christmas is so much more than a day, or even a season. Christmas is the birth of Hope Himself, born not only in a manger, but in the depths of our heart. It gives me so much joy watching all of my eight grandchildren enjoy and learn of what Christmas truly is. This year, it was our Matthew, who is three years old, who seemed to grasp this truth. He had a great learning experience this year. He seemed to soak every detail of Christmas in this year. He helped me make paper colored chains. And he enjoyed making gingerbread houses with his mommy and brothers and sister. But waiting until Christmas to eat them was a little more trying than he could bear. He did listen, and didn’t eat his gingerbread house. But that didn’t stop him from eating some of his brother Colin’s gingerbread house. Of course, with six of them, no one knew who had brought in the demolition crew to Colin’s house. So Colin diligently fixed it back up again, none too happy though. That night, when things got just a little too quiet, and you count and there is one missing, my son went to investigate. There they found Matthew, sitting in the dark, and yes, eating Colin’s gingerbread house again. This time, mommy and daddy made sure he knew the error of his ways, and Colin forgave him. When tucking them in to bed that night, Matthew voiced his revelation of the season. “Daddy, I know the true meaning of Christmas!” His Daddy smiled and waited. Matthew continued on excitedly, “The true meaning of Christmas is that it is Jesus’ Birthday and….. you don’t eat other people’s gingerbread houses.” As we pass another Christmas season, we ponder the joys and the sorrows that have come to us this year. “You that are weary and heavy laden, come unto Him, and He will give you rest.” We are entering a new year—we do not know what lies ahead, but like the old song says…. “Because, He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because, I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES!!!!
copyright Marsha Barth 2019
Where is Christmas Found???
The other day, we were driving down the highway. A light mist hung in the air, coating everything with a heavy gray mantle. The trees stripped of their leaves, stood bleak and lifeless, casting a dismal portrait, of where not long ago, the scenery had danced in vivid colors of red, orange and yellow, vibrant and full of beauty. The music filling the car seemed in deep contrast to this scene, a contradiction, a paradox of sorts. I turned to one of my grandsons in the back seat and said, “This is your favorite Christmas song, sing it with me.” His young voice, gleefully began to fill the air, with “Jingle Bell Rock”. My heart smiled and filled with joy. These precious unexpected moments, where you know the simplest things of life are etching a permanent joy on your heart forever. As we continued to drive, we passed orange cones set in the middle of the road. They were marked in dark black print—“funeral”. My heart ached at the impact and image that this one word invoked. Immediately, I thought of so many dear souls that are spending their Christmas without someone they loved dearly. A pain that is so great that it creates a gap in the heart, and drains the very soul of life and happiness. Where does one find Christmas when everything is stripped of the vibrancy of life and joy that once was? Where do we find the light that will show us the way? Christmas can only be found in our hearts. It cannot be found in the festivities of the season, or in Christmas’ past. Only in the depths of our heart, can Christmas be found. In our heart, where all the pain lingers and rents our very soul, where grief is born, and loss is irreplaceable, where peace and joy have been ripped from our very being~~this is where Christmas is truly found. For it is here, that the Comforter abides, if we will let Him come in. So often, there is still no room for Him in the inn. The inn of our heart. So often, He is kept afar, at an arm’s distance~~as if, lest His great comfort in relieving our pain, somehow would assuage the memory and presence of the loved one that we have lost. But in reality, as our grief heals, through this great Comforter, their presence and memory becomes more alive, because they are no longer cloaked with the grief of what was lost, but are cloaked in the joy of who they were. There is a Comforter who was born that Christmas day. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any person will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him…” “they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the Light shined.” “For You have broken the yoke of their burden,” “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given:… and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Rev. 3:20, Isaiah 9
copyright Marsha Barth 2018
What Would You Do?
A person, I know dearly, shared with me a story the other day. They were in a store and a little boy got lost. He had blond hair and was only four years old. The store was amazing and went into full shut down, securing all the doors and initiating an immediate search. They looked everywhere for over 20 minutes and could not find him. Suddenly, a person heard a small voice in the distance, calling out, “Mommy, Mommy.” Following the sound of his voice, they called back to him, but he became silent. The search continued and they heard his small voice again, “Mommy, Mommy,” he cried out desperately. But as soon as the men called back to him, he became silent. The last time that he called out, a customer heard him before he became silent again, and found him hiding in a bin. Everyone was so happy and excited. The customer picked up the little boy to comfort him. No one knew where the mother was, but the father came and took the boy. He then began to yell at the boy fiercely, telling him that he was going to be really punished when he got home for causing all of this trouble. The boy cried uncontrollably as the police left and the father took the boy home. We can often know more of what is being said, by what is not said. We can often see more of what is going on, by what we do not seeing gone. I have grandsons that very age. I know how adventurous my boys are-but this story did not add up. Believing in discipline ourselves, I know how my husband and myself would have responded differently. First of all, as a mother, wild horses could not have dragged me from that store, in a disappearing act, without my child. And second, my husband would’ve been the first one to sweep our son up and hug him until through tears he would release his embrace. Surely, we would talk to him and explain the dangers later. But who would not rejoice that your child was lost and now is found. Why did the little boy cry out to be found, only to recoil in silence when he heard a man’s voice? Why did he remain hidden when he wanted so bad to be found? Why was he not glad to see his daddy? Was it adventure that led him to hide or was it fear? What would you do???? I don’t know what is sadder, or more discouraging-the boy crying as he left the store, or the point that others seemed to dismiss it as a simple child’s prank. See, until we start looking at what is happening right before our eyes, things can never change. But, others say, maybe he was just being a little boy. Do little boys cry in fear when they are found? Don’t little boys hug their daddy when found? Wouldn’t daddy’s hug their little boys when found? Do little boys get yelled at and told they are going to be really punished when they get home when found? Remember, he was four years old. Is this the way you would have reacted if your child was lost and then found? We are all different, even as parents. But one thing remains constant in all good parenting—we love our children and they love us. When red flags arise-and something does not seem right, we need to act. We may say-but wonder if I’m wrong? The bigger question is-but wonder if you are right???? Call ChildLine 1-800-932-0313 to report suspected child abuse or general child well-being concerns. Childline takes all calls anonymously. You do not have to give your name or any identifying information. Also, please note-you do not have to prove abuse, you only report what you suspect and your concerns. Childline will respond to your call and have an investigation done. If there are no problems, the parents are not harmed or discredited in any way. If a problem is found, you change a life forever. Never look the other way. We all can make a difference. What would you do???? CHILDLINE: 1-800-932-0313
copyright Marsha Barth 2018
Setting the Captives Free…
We hear the loud clank as the large iron door unlocks before us. We enter, and then hear the door shut behind us with another loud bang. The next door is the same and we enter through it and walk down the long hallway hearing once again the door clang loudly as it shuts behind us. Later that evening, one woman cries that she has lost everything and that she prays, but feels that God does not hear her. I don’t know what rings louder in my ears; the sound of the iron doors closing with finality, or the earnest cry from a broken heart. This is the sad reality of prison and it’s hopelessness. I spoke to them on how we overcome by the “blood of the lamb”. My friend spoke on “knowing your identity in Christ”. We have such a short time to bring to them–Hope, Truth, and the Love of a Savior who truly cares for them amidst these prison walls. To tell them about a Jesus, Who can set them free from the bondage of sin and the prison of their hearts and minds. And then, as we are playing the song “You Say, by Lauren Daigle”–my eyes meet directly with one of the young women. She smiles and gently nods as she looks deep into my eyes and receives the words of the song into her heart. We close in prayer asking any who want to pray to come forward. “Come unto Me, you that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest…” Visited the Lebanon Correctional Facility last night. “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
copyright Marsha Barth 2018
“A Wok in a Weary Wand”…
My son loved to sing when he was little. He actually began singing not long after he started talking. He had such a good memory, even then, that he amazed me in that he not only knew the words to the songs but the exact melodies. We lived in NJ at the time. It was a beautiful season of our life. But like all seasons of life, there were hard times too. I stood at the sink one day doing dishes and looked outside the window. The picnic table sat under the little maple tree. Across the way, I could see the lake in the distance. My heart was weary, though, and I could not shake it. I wanted to, but the weariness just hung over me like a dark cloud. My grandma had just passed away, and my heart was troubled. Her death, brought back many memories of my childhood, both good and bad. God was beginning to tug at my heart for me to deal with my past. But it was too painful, and I didn’t see the need to confront it. I felt it was best left behind. But we never leave un-dealt with pain behind. It stays buried in a broken heart. We have to deal with what has caused the pain. We would never think twice if we cut ourselves, to just wipe away the blood and brush it off. We would wash the cut, nurture it, and treat it with antiseptic and put a bandaid on it. We would get stitches for it to heal, if it needed it. When we are hurt emotionally, we don’t do this, we try to just brush it aside, forget and ignore the pain. But we do not heal that way. We deal, to heal, to feel again. As, I stood there looking out the window, I felt a deep sorrow. My family that I loved was eight hours away and I was missing them and felt all alone. I felt God’s love call to my heart, for me to draw near to Him, so that He could give me comfort. I then heard a lovely sound coming from the dining room. It was my son singing. I still remember the words of the song to this day. “Je-sus is a Wok in a weary wand, a weary wand, a weary wand. Je-sus is a Wok in a weary wand, a selter in da time of storm.” As I turned to listen more carefully, he came into the kitchen, singing it again. I looked down at that little face, with those big blue eyes, with that big smile on his face, and my heart just lit up with joy. Yes, Jesus is the rock in a weary land. A shelter in the time of storm. And we must go forth and sing this new song to those who do not know this. While in Hawaii a few weeks ago, I was so blessed to be able to go to “The Aloha House”, a co-residential treatment facility for addiction and recovery. My heart is always touched by the sincerity and hunger of the people who grab onto this wonderful truth and hope—that Jesus is the rock in a weary land, in the time of the storms of our life. I was just sent this link on an article published yesterday in “The Maui News” concerning my visit there. God’s healing and delivering power are greater than our brokenness. “Come unto me, you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“The Aloha House”….
The Aloha House was my last event while on Maui. “The Aloha House”, is a residential recovery house that enables men and women to have a safe place to heal and recover from addiction. Years ago, when I started to do this work, I told my husband Mike what I have experienced every time I visit venues such as the prisons, recovery, and re-entry. When I go in to speak, no one knows me, nor me them. I understand the look that says, “you are all cleaned up, how can you know my life and what I feel, what can you tell me…” And then, as I talk with them, God moves on their heart, because He is the One, who does know their life, hurt, pain, and feelings of hopelessness. To experience this every single time–to see a broken and shattered heart be touched by the love and reality of a God that truly loves them and to see many for the first time experience the Hope– that maybe they really do matter–brings my heart to tears and inspires me to go forward with God’s message of love and hope through every open door, as He leads the way. My sincere thanks for the hospitality, kindness, and support from all the clients and staff, Jud Cunningham, Michele Navarro Ishiki, Frances Duberstein, and Jamee Howell. In the last picture, the clients made me the lei, that I am wearing, in their appreciation for me coming. Below is a link to their article on the visit.
We don’t have a lot of bookstores left these days across our country, but at Barnes and Noble in Kahului, HI you will find the kindest staff and the greatest assortment. I cannot thank everyone enough for your kindness, hospitality and support. Last year Barnes and Noble donated $282.00 from the Book Fair to “The Malama Family Recovery”. This year they will donate to “The Aloha House Recovery” in support of these worthy causes. Had a great book signing! My thanks to Cindy, Jenifer, Max, Keilani, Jordan, and the whole gang for your support and making it a very special day. “Mahalo” …Thank you.
To always act with generosity and kindness…. I could not help but sit on my balcony one day and look at the island of Molokai in the distance. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Paul hears the Macedonia Call. For me, it was the Molokai call. The Hawaiian people are some of the nicest people that I have ever met and yet the statistics of abuse run higher on the islands than the national average and there is a real need for people to know the power of love, the promise of hope and the joy of knowing that they really do matter to a God who truly loves them. When we first got to Maui, Mike had went to the store to pick up a few things. Strangely, as he was checking out, the cashier said softly to him, “You have a quiet voice.” Mike smiled, but was a little puzzled.Then she said, “Your wife doesn’t have to worry about you yelling at her.” It brought tears to our eyes. My heart was touched when Kelley Dudoit of the University of Hawaii, and Elizabeth Fujii-Director the MCAPP (Molokai Child Abuse Protection Pathways) teamed together and asked if I would come over and speak on Molokai. My thanks (Mahalo) to everyone that made this a very special visit in every way.
This beautiful Hawaiian word was posted on the wall of the one recovery center that I had spoken at. It means, “responsibility”. I had a beautiful experience at the Maui Community Correctional Center, as I was blessed to be able to speak to five different groups on two separate days, both men and women. Their hearts were so responsive to the love and mercy of a God who truly does care for them, and who touches their hearts with the reality of His presence. Mercy and accountability truly do walk hand in hand. As I opened it up to questions one day, one inmate said, “I heard you speak before at one of the recovery houses.” I gave him a big smile, and walked over towards where he was sitting, and then put my hands on my sides and answered back with another big smile, “Then what are you doing in here?” He smiled to, and the others kind of laughed, as he said, “I’m not coming back here again.” I felt a warmth in my heart and said back smiling, “I better not find you here next year.” You have to see the heart of the matter. “..Out of the heart comes all the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23. Statistics show and estimate that approximately 80% of all people incarcerated have been sexually abused in some way. Though we never minimize or justify the incarceration, this truly gives a better understanding to the brokenness that led them to this life. “Kuleana”, yes responsibility; but also “Ke Akua, ka mea i aloha ai”, God’s Love . My thanks to my friend Francis Zabinski, Liane Endo, Warden Deborah Taylor and Patricia King-Foley.
The Hawaiian language is one of the prettiest languages I have ever heard. When it is spoken in its native tongue it sounds like a melody being sung. Malama in Hawaiian means (Care and Protect). “Am I my brothers’ keeper?” Yes. Everyone of us are our brother and sisters’ keeper. One smile, one kind word, one caring moment, one act of letting someone know that they really do matter, can change a life forever. Was blessed to speak at the “Malama Family Recovery Center”. We can go from Victim to Victor. My thanks to Jud Cunningham, Anthea Iuorno and Lisa Ponichtera.
Book Fair~~Book Fair~~Book Fair
Support “The Aloha House”. Now is your chance to support a wonderful facility that works to help those who are fighting addiction and encourages and helps their clients to create and engage with active support networks to ensure long-term recovery. Please see the attached flier. 15% of any purchase of any item from any Barnes and Noble direct or on-line, from Wednesday October 10–Wednesday October 17 will be donated to “The Aloha House.” My sincere thanks to Barnes and Noble for working with me to sponsor this worthy cause. Please just use and present the #12442554 on any purchase of sale, for credit to be applied to this donation.
I look to the left and everything is gray, dismal and forlorn. Then I look to the right, and there are white puffy clouds with bright rays of sunshine piercing through the baby blue sky. And then there it was, out of nowhere, right in front of me, this beautiful rainbow of promise. A rainbow is always present in our midst, but we don’t always see it. The conditions that we are in often reveal it. Sometimes in life when we are surrounded by the dark clouds of life, we have to look at the bigger picture that surrounds us. Often, if we turn slightly to the right, we will see the sun shining through with bright rays of Hope. And if we look in front of us, so often we will find a beautiful promise of God that will light our path. “Though the promise tarry, it shall surely come.” “His ear is not heavy that He cannot hear, His arm short that He cannot save.” Link for recent interview on I Heart Radio, AMFM247 is https://www.iheart.com/…/spiritually-speaking-with-tamala-…/ Interview will play again on Sunday, September 30 at 9:00 a.m EST. My thanks to Tamala Coleman for this great interview.
Do You Want to be Free????
One day, when my daughter was a little girl, she tried to rescue a little mouse from a glue trap. The problem was that either the mouse didn’t know he was in bondage, didn’t care that he was in bondage, or was too afraid to get out of his bondage. Regardless, he did not want my daughter’s help. He would have preferred to stay in his trap, or die trying to escape on his own, than to have someone rescue him; so much that he bit her as she tried to rescue him. Despite this, Jen continued, until she had freed him. The story of redemption is a beautiful story of hope. So often, today, we don’t want to be redeemed from our bondage. Often, it is because we deny that we are even in bondage, and find it more comfortable to stay in this bondage and to accept it. In our society today, we have done away with what is right and what is wrong and have proclaimed that whatever we want to do is okay. According to today’s society, there is no wrong or right. And anyone stating any different is condemned as judgmental and condemning. But there is a right, and there is a wrong. The problem in us denying what is wrong is that we stay in bondage. We deny that we are even in any type of bondage because we have accepted that what is wrong is not wrong and it is okay. And then, we wonder why we are so unhappy and struggling so much. There is something very precious in being set free. There is nothing more empowering. There is nothing more fulfilling. We can be redeemed. “Once, I was bound but now I am free.” “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 Do you want to be free?
Interviewed with Tamala Coleman on “Spiritually Speaking” on AM 24/7 FM on “I Heart Radio” Tamala is a gifted interviewer with a listening audience of over 80,000 people. My thanks to Tamala for this opportunity. Will post link at a later date.
A Journey of Victory~~~
I have a magnet that says, “Lord, I want patience, but I want it right now.” We live in such a microwave generation and society that wants everything right away. But life is a journey, not a destination. And as we walk it, we can know the joy of overcoming and walk a journey of victory. We had the most beautiful seminar yesterday. What a wonderful turnout. My thanks to Theresa Johnson our coordinator, leader, and friend, and to all of the dear women who came. Toni Stewart, Rosemary Alvarez and Marsha (Marty) Barth were speakers.
Walking in Victory~~~
What do you do when you are in despair? Where do you turn when you are hurt and broken? Who do you run to when you have no hope? We can walk in Victory!!
Accountability and Mercy~~
Tired of reading all the articles on the Child Sexual Abuse cases in Pennsylvania? We shouldn’t be. We cannot change what we will not acknowledge. Why did this go on so long? Because people refused to hear the cry of the shattered. And those who heard the cry- stifled and ignored that cry instead of rescuing the child. So even now, do we within ourselves, each individual, skim over these articles, turn the channel, ignore this cry? Or do we join in with the cry and make it a loud voice that can now be heard? How long will our society remain quiet and look the other way? When will we rise up? Each of us have a voice that can make a difference. Some may say–”What about forgiveness?” Accountability and mercy walk hand-in-hand. I believe strongly in forgiveness. One cannot be free without forgiving others. Forgiveness does not do away with accountability. Matthew 3:8 and Acts 26:20 both state that true repentance requires us to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. It is important to note that fruit is a product that is produced after much labor, and fruit is not free. It comes with a price. The Catholic Church, (and we must note that we have only touched the surface—that there are many denominations and organizations where child sexual abuse has been committed) cannot just say they are sorry on one hand and then be the biggest opponent against the proposed law to remove the “statue of limitations”. There are no “statue of limitations” against murder. There can be no “statue of limitations” against the murder of a soul of a child. What should grieve us as much as this appalling news of such assault on our children, is that the very ones that caused it, allowed it, silenced it, are now considering what it will “cost them” if they are required to bear the accountability of their actions. Still, after all of these years of intentional negligence, because of weighing the cost of what would happen to them, over what had happened to the child; they are still weighing the cost of what it will cost them and not what it has cost the child that was horrifically abused and left to grow up as a shattered and broken adult. It is time—It is time!!!! If any one is truly sorry for all that has happened and for not stepping up to the plate, then step up now. The very least you can do, the very least, is to bring forth fruits of repentance for your actions and not only don’t fight the “statue of limitations” bill, but actually come out in support of it. Then we will know, truly know, that you are sorry. Accountability and Mercy walk hand-in-hand.
Often, when you present the sadder issues of life–people skip over it–“not now”. But we all have a story. We all have hurts and pains to overcome. We deal, to heal, to feel again. “His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear…His arm is not shortened that He cannot save.” Isaiah 59:1 His word is Good News. Song Credit–Good News–Mandisahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKDrg8qPt70
Beauty in the Desert~~
I cannot think of a more “desert” place than that of a prison. Or as one girl once corrected me and said, “it is a correctional institution.” The other girls actually laughed and agreed, “it is a prison.” Whatever, name we label it as, it is a “desert”, a dry place. Cactus grows” in the desert. They are not much to look at, and no one dares or desires to touch them. They are prickly, leaving their conversational topic. But what about the cactus that grows there in this dry desert place. Every time that I have visited the prisons—every time—I find a wonderful treasure. Always, in the midst of this dry barren ground, I find a blooming cactus. I was outside, not long ago, on my patio, and to my surprise there it was. It branched off the prickly spine and hung in radiant beauty. Who would have ever thought that something so beautiful could come from such a horrid plant? And yet out of dry and barren ground—a beautiful flower blooms. “Dry bones can rise again.”(Ezekiel 37). We went into the Lebanon Correctional Facility on Monday. There I was blessed to see many beautiful flowers blooming in their desert. God is a restorer, a Savior, a very present help in the time of trouble. What desert are you in? Come unto Him all you that are weary and heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Be Blessed my friends~~
When I was a little girl, I was so unaware of how unfair life was, how cruel people could be, and how much Jesus loved me. Life has a way of teaching us all of these things. I went to a little country church that sat on the top of a hill in our valley. Every Sunday, my brothers and I would walk the dirt road up this hill to go to Sunday School. Our little Cocker Spaniel would follow us, lay down at the door of the church, and wait for us to come out. There was one woman who always sat in the same pew and who always came to every service. There was something different about her. She was a quiet woman, but something seemed to radiate from her. Often my eyes would lock on hers and she would give me a big smile. It was one of those smiles that made her eyes twinkle and you could tell she was looking into your very soul, and you knew that somehow for some unknown reason that you mattered to her. As the years passed, and I grew older into a young teen, her hair became grayer until it faded into a soft white glow. Her walk became slower and she bent a little lower, but she never wavered. The strength and gentleness in her hand when she took mine into hers always amazed me and I had grown fond of this woman of love and inspiration and never tired of her encouraging smiles. We never really spoke; I was just a kid, and her, an adult. I wonder what she knew of my life, my situations and circumstances. I’m sure she had heard a lot through those years. But her love never faltered. One evening as I was leaving the church, Mrs. Dawson was there. She took my hand in hers with that same smile and twinkle in her eyes that had always touched my heart and she said, “How are you old faithful?” I wanted to cry. Her love and true concern had touched my life all those years. I smiled back. I like to think there was a twinkle in my eye this time for her, and said, “I’m good, Mrs. Dawson.” No other words were needed. Her love was genuine. I often wonder how often she prayed for me and lifted me up. She believed in me, and I knew it. I learned more from this woman of faith about the love of God than I could have learned from a 100 sermons.
I continue to visit the prisons, do interviews, and advocacy and let God open the doors before me. To learn more or to order my books, contact me here, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-Shattering-215752548593960/ or any of my social medias. Maybe we can all have a smile to give someone today. God Bless~~
The Light Still Shines….
I love to see the sunlight dance. Have you ever seen it? You walk into a room and prisms of light dance across the floor. Sometimes they dance on the ceiling or across the kitchen wall. Doesn’t it make your heart smile to see this—to hear the birds sing in perfect harmony at the breaking of dawn, ushering in a new day—or to hear the hum of a lawnmower in the distance—or the low rumble of a train echoing through the valley? All the beauty of the joy of life, so often taken for granted in the hurry of living. So often too, we can miss that still small voice and that tender touch of a God who is so real. A God who is not wrapped in the cloaks of religiosity, but One who is real and desires to wrap His love and forgiveness around us. “Come unto me you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Our team visited the Lebanon County Correctional Facility the other night. The inmates were so attentive, their hearts heavy, and yet receptive. They need to know, like so many of us need to know—that behind every dark cloud, the Light still shines…..
“Where Love Lives….”
Seemed strange to me the other day as I walked across the parking lot at the Virginia Correctional Facility to see this logo on a license plate. It caused me to pause and think right before I entered the facility. Where does love live? Love lives in our hearts if we want it to. But so often, we harden our hearts, afraid to love again, afraid to trust again, afraid to hope again. I am moved every time I go into a facility. So often, there is an atmosphere of hopelessness. I share and talk with them of my story and how that the God of Hope can fill us with joy and peace, even so, that we can abound in Hope-Romans 15:13. I get the privilege of watching God take the hopelessness, and see the tears that follow, as some, for the first time in their lives, feel the touch of a God, that they did not know existed and did not know that they even mattered to Him. “Where Love Lives”—and touches just one heart–we are never the same again. My sincere thanks to Sgt. Deanna Harvey, Cpl. Kidd, Lt. Thompson, Cpl. Jane, and Ms. Simpson for their support and kind welcome, and for making this visit possible.
What Does It Take to Touch a Heart???
Her name means “Consecrated to God”. Often, when I do a one-on-one in the prisons, I like to look the person’s name up and see what it means. I like to ask them while we’re talking if they know what their name means? They are often surprised. I remind them that this is who they are. That they are not defined by what has happened to them, or where they are in their life at this time. Sometimes they seem surprised and hesitant to believe that they can be whole and have a good life. I know many have chosen evil and they belong there. But there are those who are not evil and want to do right. I wish you could know their stories. It would surprise you. You would find them unbelievable. It would give you a different perspective. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I am still taken aback, every time, as they share their stories with me. Amazingly, the ones I’ve visited do not use their stories as an excuse, they just want to know how they can go forward.Romans 10:14 “…. how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without someone to tell them?” Will visit the Virginia Beach Correctional Facility next Thursday. What does it take to touch a heart???? Just the touch, of the reality of a God, that does love them and lets them know that they do matter.
What Is In Your Heart???
I am always amazed at the story of Jephthah. The son of a prostitute, raised by his stepmother and half brothers. Despised in all of their eyes, until he runs from them when he is of age. He has no one to speak of his character, except that he walks with God and is referred to as a mighty warrior. Judges 11. As I was entering the Lebanon Correctional Center the other night, there was a young woman walking ahead of me. She had her pink, orange, blue, blonde and green hair pinned up in braids. On her hip she carried the sweetest little baby who hung on to her blanket in her tiny hands. She entered, and as I approached, she held the door for me and then with a big smile, said, “I remember you. You’re from that church group.” I stopped and talked with her, and the baby gave me a big smile. She told me they were visiting the baby’s father who was incarcerated, she was about six months pregnant. I could see the sorrow on her face. Etched in that sorrow, was the reminder of what she had learned when our group had visited her while in prison. It’s easy to see people in the wrong light. It’s easy to say simply—choices, it’s all about choices-could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. But God’s not done yet! He’s still working on this life. He still sees her heart. He still knows what issues of life smacked her silly and drove her to this point in her life. So many of the people we meet are Jephthah’s. But let the love and reality of God enter their hearts and they can become a mighty warrior. A warrior that others come to for help as Jephthah’s brothers later did. So often the question is, not, “What is your problem?” As it is, “What is in your heart?”
A Sign Along the Way…
So often in life we are so focused on where we are going that we can miss the signs along the way. Signs that can lead us to the right or left, to speed up or slow down. We can forget that life is not a destination to travel, but a journey to enjoy. Coming home from a trip to West Virginia, I saw a sign out of the corner of my eye. The words really didn’t register until I was past. I almost missed it. It made me smile. It read, “In Despair, Jesus is the Hope.” God is always in our midst, working for our good, wanting to love us, and lift the heavy burden that we insist on carrying by ourselves.He is a very present help in the time of trouble. “We are troubled on every side, but not distressed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8
A Message of Hope…..
So often we hope, merely as a wish, and when it fails, we give up on hope.”We ask, and receive not, because we ask amiss,” James 4:3 “There is a Hope that we can have as anchor of our soul, both sure and stedfast. Heb. 6:19 This is a 10 minute interview with WMAP Radio’s “World’s Most Amazing People”. 30 second delay before it starts–-WMAP reaches into 83 countries. My sincere thanks to everyone at WMAP for this opportunity to bring a message of hope….
Show Me the Way…..
Bringing God’s Hope to the Broken and Shattered
Show Me the Way byDarlene Zschech – Hillsong
Is Silence Golden?…..
Live Interview with KC Armstrong on WMAP Radio, “World’s Most Amazing People” at 3:00 P.M. EST on April 20, 2018 at https://www.wmapradio.com/
I love to hear the laughter of my grandchildren, the sweet song of a robin ushering in a new and beautiful day, my momma’s sweet voice, the rushing water of a babbling brook, church bells ringing as they echo through the valley. Love is never silent, even if expressed in quietness. We hear with our hearts as well as with our ears. May we all hear the voice of those who touch our lives each day, even if, they do not say a word. Is “Silence Golden?” I don’t think so.
Accountability Ensures Rights…
Three years ago, I went to an advocate rally at the Capitol in Harrisburg. I had an opportunity to give Governor Tom Wolf a copy of my first book, “The Shattering”. On Monday, I attended once again, this years Crime Victim’s Rally. On the forefront is the attempt to pass Marsy’s Law. This law would make an amendment to our Constitution here in PA that would ensure rights to all victims of crimes and would enforce an accountability to all involved that these rights are not thwarted during the process. “We have no rights, if there is no accountability to enforce those rights.” mlb
Do You Hear The Cry?…
Every time you listen, and don’t turn away.
Every time you speak up, and believe what they say
Every time you reach out, to those broken and torn
You hear their cry in the night. (mlb)
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and National Crime Victim’s Week-April 8-14. This is a link to an interview I did last year with WHTM ABC TV 27
National Crime Victim’s Rally, Monday April 9th at 11:00 a.m,
Capitol Rotunda Bldg, Harrisburg, PA. All welcome.
Repairer Of The Breach……
Years ago, when my oldest grandson was very young, he mentioned to his teacher that his gramma was going to prison. Often when we passed by the local prison that I “visit”, I had shared with him how there are so many hurting, broken, and yes, guilty people there. We are a small community, so I can only wonder what his teacher thought when she heard this. I visited the Lebanon County Correctional Center last evening with our team. I always leave there with many mixed emotions–joy of the hope that I see them grab hold of, sorrow for the brokenness that I see, sadness for what could have been, and Victory in seeing God make a difference. Later, after I had left, I received a phone call. I put the phone on speaker and smiled as the phone vibrated with one of the loudest renditions of singing– “Happy Birthday MeMaw” that I have ever heard. My heart just overflowed, as the voices of my grandsons sang so earnestly, emphasizing every word with their love. I look back at my own life. We can be “repairers of the breach.” We can bring others to the “Restorer of paths to dwell in.” Isa. 58:12. We all can make a difference in the lives we touch each day, if we want to. A little kindness goes a long way. We are repairers of the breach.
Spread Your Wings~~
I have an Amazon Parrot. Gizmo is quite a character. Years ago, a previous owner used to have his wings clipped regularly to prevent him from flying. As the year