Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blogging Break!

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? Luke 24:5

I wish you all a Blessed and Happy Resurrection Day.......

I will be taking a short break from blogging since I will be gone visiting family in California. I plan to take my camera and prayer journal and will be ready to start posting when I come back in one week.....

Still I post again, I pray you have a peaceful and joyous Easter......


Friday, April 22, 2011

The Best Worst Day in History

Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!"

 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The thickness of this curtain was about 4 inches thick.....
The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!

The awful, wonderful cross became the bridge that continues to span the chasm between God and man....

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

All verses taken from the book of Matthew.
All photos from Google images

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sweet Fragrance or Bad Odor

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness......Galations 5:22

She makes no bones about the fact that she is "not a team player." She listens in on co-worker's phone conversations with clients and then corrects what she feels needs correcting about what they said, even after only hearing part of the conversation. She has arranged it so that she gets all phone messages first, even before the boss, and then fills him in on her version of what the message said. She is first to hold her hand out when free gifts are passed out from vendors and then she doles out the leftovers to her co-workers. She constantly brags about how much money her husband makes. She tries to sell clients what they can't afford if she thinks it will benefit her. She seeks to damage others credibility.

Everyone takes a deep breath when she leaves the office. You can actually feel the tension dissipate and everyone relax. And what bothers me most of all? She has a sticker from a well known Christian church on the back of her car.

Toxic people. We have all worked with them or known someone who has.

You know the kind I mean. At work we call them "pot-stirrers." They never seem to be happy unless they are stirring up trouble for someone else. They get on the bosses good side, and when he or she shows up they act real busy. As soon as they leave they slack off.

Someone can call themselves whatever they want, but if their fruit smells rotten, well..........

This makes me wonder about Judas. I wonder if there was any indication at all as they were together for those three years, what he would become? Was there a feeling they got when he was in the room? When he left the room? Did they brush off doubts about his character? No one knows for sure, but I do know this, the Bible is very harsh with those who say they are Christians but go out of their way to cause dissention and trouble.

The enemy seeks only to do these three things....To kill, steal and destroy.

But Jesus comes to give life.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:5,6

Help me Lord, to be a Jesus person and not a Judas person. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit who helps me in every situation, even dealing with toxic people. Thank you for being my protector and shield, and help me be a life-giver and not a life-stealer to those around me......Amen

photo credits: Josef Petrek public domain pics

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Real Prayer

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord......

In prayer today, my brain was like a Sunbeam mixmaster. My mind full of stuff on my list. My agenda. In a few days I am leaving on a jet plane. I need to ship a box to California, I need to go to Walmart. I haven't even showered yet. I feel time slipping by.......

I sat in prayer trying to quiet my mind and asked myself......."Why am I here?" I needed to ask it of myself, because sometimes it seems even my prayer time is all about me, and I don't want it to be. The answer that landed at the bottom of my pile of thoughts was:

I pray because I want to spend time with God, and I miss Him when I don't.

Here is a prayer I read in Kathleen Beard's wonderful book, Into the Mist that brought me up short, really short:

My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life. I have treated you like a servant. When I wanted You I called for You; when I was about to engage in some work I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task. I have kept You in the place of a servant. I have sought to use You only as a willing servant to help me in my self-appointed and chosen work. I shall do so no more.

Just now I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it to You. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a sick bed with cancer. You may blind the eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet.

You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. It is Your body from this moment on. Help Yourself to it. Thank you, my Lord. I believe You have accepted it for in Romans twelve and one you said, "acceptable unto God." Thank You again, my Lord, for taking me. We now belong to each other.

Raymond V. Edman
They Found the Secret

I can't help but wonder how my life would change if I only had the courage to say that prayer and mean it. This prayer humbles me beyond words.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blog Musings.....

"You weren't an accident. You weren't mass produced. You aren't an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman." Max Lucado

I am running into a blogging quandary. Just when I think I have my sidebar all neatly arranged and my wonderful collection of blogs final, my sidebar bouquet perfectly crafted, I run into another wonderful blog I simply must add. This is the thought that has been nagging me: I just know that for every blog listed, there are hundreds more out there waiting to be found, waiting to be heard. And I will never have time to read them all!

This is also the most wonderful thing about blogs....and books. An endless procession of beauty and wonder waiting to be discovered. It seems I can never have enough books, or blogs. There is always a story that just has to be told, a new thought to express and a new way to express it. We will never run out of books or blogs or people. Each one is an individual's own unique perspective, each one a different window to the world around us.

It has been two years since I started this blog, and I have never tired of it. I have never tired of you. How could I? You enrich my life with your have become my blog family whether you want to or not, and I count you all as friends, even though we have never formally met. Some of you I won't meet until we are all together with Jesus.

I wonder.......what would Heaven's blog would look like?

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Late for Palm Sunday

The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:10,11

It is easy for me to imagine that I might have missed the procession coming into Jerusalem that day. I used to have a problem with lateness.

Imagine how you would feel having just missed the crowds, having just missed seeing Him. A few palm branches strewn across the road to Jerusalem are all that is left. That, and the distant sounds of a worshiping, excited crowd......a cloud of dust settling now. All you have left is a sinking feeling that you missed something or someone wonderful. Life changing. Ever been late for an important date? Job interview? Maybe your own wedding? Imagine missing Jesus.

I can remember one time many years ago a special cousin was in town asking to see me. My Dad called and asked me to come. It was important to both of them. But I thought I was too busy. At that particular time in my life, my priorities centered pretty much around me......All these years later, it still haunts me. Even after I have seen this cousin many times since. I still missed that time.

Now, even though I am rarely late for anything I still have dreams that I am frantically running somewhere, late for a class. But years ago, I was late.....for everything. That is, until one particular day I will never forget. I had made my friend late yet again for a class we were taking together. That day she said something that changed me forever. She looked at me with hurt in her eyes, and said......"You'll always be on time for what's first in your heart."

It meant something to me because she meant something to me. I finally realized my lateness was hurting her. Just like that, I decided to make a new be on-time.

Palm Sunday always catches me by surprise. It seems I look up and it's here and I say......"Wow, how did this happen, I'm not ready!"

But this is what I love about Jesus. I have a feeling that if He knew that I had wanted to see Him on that day, He would have come back just for me. Just like when He saw Zaccheus in the tree and read his heart; and then gave him his own private audience of one for dinner. And just like when He healed the lepers and one came back to thank Him. And Jesus sought him out......

Mary had to love Him so, I can imagine her saying......"That's my son the heart reader.....the heart changer.....the heart Doctor."

What Mom wouldn't be proud?

We never have to be afraid that we missed Jesus. Seek Him out today.

"His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him--though he is not far from any one of us." Acts 17:27

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interesting Bible Facts

Halleluiah! I have just gotten to the point in Job where God finally speaks, right after Elihu "defends" God, as if He needed any defending.....

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" GOD

God uses a little sarcasm here, I love it!

Here are a few interesting facts I found.....

At a time when it was believed that the earth sat on a large animal or a giant (1500 B.C.), the Bible spoke of the earth’s free float in space: "He...hangs the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7)

God told Job in 1500 B.C.: "Can you send lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, Here we are?" (Job 38:35). The Bible here is making what appears to be a scientifically ludicrous statement—that light can be sent, and then manifest itself in speech. But did you know that radio waves travel at the speed of light? This is why you can have instantaneous wireless communication with someone on the other side of the earth. Science didn’t discover this until 1864 when "British scientist James Clerk Maxwell suggested that electricity and light waves were two forms of the same thing" (Modern Century Illustrated Encyclopedia).
Science has discovered that stars emit radio waves, which are received on earth as a high pitch. God mentioned this in Job 38:7: "When the morning stars sang together..."

Medical science has only recently discovered that blood-clotting in a newborn reaches its peak on the eighth day, then drops. The Bible consistently says that a baby must be circumcised on the eighth day.

And here are two very strange facts about two events that have nothing to do with the Bible, but that I can count on happening as surely as I breathe....

Event #1:

I will invariably look at the clock at the precise same time every morning when I get ready for work: 4:28
This happens so often I am really starting to worry about the significance of the number. I always think the same disgruntled thought....."How did it get to be that time already.....?"

Event #2

My feet (and everthing else) gets so warm at 2:00 AM that I have to throw socks and covers across the room. This is no mystery to most women of my age. The cats are no longer surprised by this......they stir briefly in hopes that in my confusion and distressed state that I will feed them early, and then go back to sleep.

I wake up about 1 hour later, cold.

Have a blessed and wonderful day, everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Every Day is a Grace Day

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.” Frederic Buechner

Ever wonder why some days you wake up and all through the day you have this wondrous sense of well-being? It is as if you are stepping in Grace, walking in Light. The normal things that bother you just can't touch you on days like this. You feel a strong sense of God's Grace surrounding you.....

You're walking through a primrose path......lilies strewn at your feet......tip-toeing through tulips, you are walking in the light and nothing negative can touch you.

And then there are those other days when you feel like the whole world is conspiring against you. As if the very forces of nature are working to make things difficult, like a cosmic battle that you can very definitely feel, but can't see. A black cloud seems to follow you like dust follows Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoon.

You are stepping in something alright, but it is not grace it's something else.

Yesterday I had one of those good days. I was walking out the door at the grocery store and this wonderful sense of well-being washed over me. It followed me to Starbucks, where I acted out of character and spoke to a stranger who was doing a beautiful pencil sketch, a copy of a photo.

I said, "That's gorgeous." Because it was. He didn't even acknowledge me......not a look up, not a thank you, not a grunt or a smile. He just kept sketching and looking down. Something like that would have ticked me off on another day. This day, it didn't even faze me.

I think sometimes God gives us those as wonderful gifts of grace, not only because He loves us, but because He knows someone else needs a blessing......someone we come across needs lifting up.....someone in our life needs our strength and encouragement. He blesses us and it spills over like sunlight onto anyone who walks in our path. I think these days are what carry us through the other days.

In truth, every day is a Grace day. However we wake, it is with the breath He gives us. We grumble, we groan, we give thanks, we bless others, we curse the traffic and gas prices, we laugh......

And it's all Grace.

Monday, April 11, 2011

God's Place of Rest

"These are the words of God, the God of Israel, to you, Baruch. You say, 'These are bad times for me! It's one thing after another. God is piling on the pain. I'm worn out and there's no end in sight.' Jeremiah 45:2 The Message

"Just how much more does God expect me to take?"

You feel out of control, like one of those plate false move and they all come crashing down. "I've got it, I've got it!" you say.....but you know that just under the surface lurks an erupting volcano. You feel like any little remark can set you off. When you pass a Dunkin Donuts or In-N-Out Burger you feel the drive-through sweeping you in like the pull of the tides. (Or in my case, the local Walgreens for a bag of Whopper Malted Eggs)

Tears come easily, and so does unexpected anger. This is sometimes what caregiving feels like.

But God's place of rest is there in the midst of it. He is ready and waiting to do a work in you and me, but only if we release it to Him. He longs to take our burden, but He knows that sometimes He has to "pile it on" so that we will have no choice but to dump it at His feet.

We don't have to take it all on........He will.

It is so hard to tell someone that.
Someone who is trying so hard, dealing with so much.
It feels like one more thing they have to do.

It feels like we are saying, "Just tie a knot and hang on, sister....."

Except that they aren't just any old words, they are God's words, and His words are backed by His promises.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

Lord, I pray for everyone today who feels overwhelmed and beaten up by the world. I pray that they will trust You with their every burden and care, and they will find that place of rest for their souls that you have promised them in Your word. Hide them under your mighty wings today, as the mother eagle shelters her young and give them the faith they need to release everything to You, knowing that You will give them peace in exchange. Amen

Great music in church yesterday, moments of refreshment and peace, little joys of flowers in the desert, singing into the phone and making someone smile, a good night's sleep, a refreshing rain on the roof, unexpected moments of exhilaration, a great lunch at Chilies, 39 dollars from coinstar I didn't expect I had, a time of peace at Starbucks while blogging.....

holy experience

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Flew to Work

"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:" Isaiah 40:4

Nothing against the current Christian music scene, but sometimes you just need something that makes the sky crack open and Heaven come down. Songs about "losing my keys, that's the stuff He uses" is okay, but not for me this morning. I needed to raise the rooftop, or in my case, the sunroof since I was driving. Nothing does that like Handel's Messiah. I had forgotten that I had left it in the car from Christmas. I was going to start with the Easter portion, but then I thought better of it. I needed the whole enchilada........


Only problem is, the more I was inspired and lifted to the Heavens, the faster I drove. By the time I got to telling the good tidings to Zion, I was going 82 in a 65 MPH zone! What's worse, sometimes I get so inspired by this great work of Handel that I actually have to close my eyes! That's another problem when you're driving.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot at work to the soaring strings of "For unto Us a Child is Born" I felt like I was in the throne room of Heaven. This great work has always inspired me to tears. I find that when I start to sing certain parts of it, my throat closes up and I can't sing. It always takes me back to when I learned it in choir years ago.

It was an Easter Sunday and we had to "borrow" an Adventist Church for the big crowd. Our director at that time had experience singing opera and he had a great voice, (he was also very easy on the eyes), but that's another story.....He had some professional guest soloists come in from an opera company. We all practiced very hard....It was quite a feat and we were all very proud of ourselves. Our director made a bunch of North Dakota German/Russian laypeople, many of whom were pushing 50 sound darn good!

My brother ended up dedicating his life to the Lord that day. I will never forget how handsome he looked walking down that aisle, how gallant and humble, this tan wide-shouldered man in his white shirt.

It was a great Easter that year.......But then again, isn't every Easter?

I made it to work without any speeding tickets, praise the Lord!  Hope your weekend is a great one.....and may you count many Slug bugs, Punch a Buggies, or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Very Important Conversation

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2,3

I had a very important conversation the other day. It was only the second like it in eight years and that is what makes it so noteworthy. I listened with bated breath as she went on and on, speaking in fragments, excitedly as only a special needs late talking child can do. She was telling me about her day. They were saying in the background, "Just hang up whenever you want to....." But how could I? I have waited such a long time to bond with her and every word was precious. Mom said she was running to and fro showing me things......In Lauryn's world everyone has skype, we are just slow to understand it. She went on and on, telling me this and that about her babies, her Tyler and baby kitty. I understood most of it, and what I didn't didn't matter........

I cherished that conversation with "our girl" Lauryn....I love her so much. Everything she does is wonderful...every stride she makes we all celebrate. As a slow talker, every new word is cherished, every new accomplishment celebrated. Just as it should be for all of us.

In thinking back about this conversation it struck me. How much does God love to hear from me? Can I even imagine how precious my own words to Him are? Do we even know how He longs to hear just anything from us? If we only knew, I think we would talk to Him all day long. Imagine him smiling like I was smiling when I listened to Lauryn.....He does you know, and He writes it down.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. Malachi 3:16

Yes, He loves our words......every non-sensical thing we say. He understands perfectly.

He is leaning out from Heaven and longs to hear about your day.....all about it!

Bonding with a special needs child is sometimes a challenge, but the rewards are tremendous! Every time she grabs my hand it thrills me, every time she leans on me, I remember it and write it down. Every time she smiles in my direction, it makes me melt. And one day when she runs into my arms I know I will fall to pieces. Every time I leave her, I cry. When I am not with her and I think of the little things she does, my heart aches.

I love her so much......but still not nearly as much as God loves me and you.

"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" Matthew 21:16

I will see you soon little Lauryn!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Because He lives, life is worth it!

“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! Job 19:23,24

I am continuing my reading through Job. It is slow going, but that is okay. It is tempting to skim through Job. It's painful reading.....As I read through his life, I am starting to feel like I am watching a dear friend suffer, and it hurts. Job wasn't just a very wealthy man with a large family, he was also well known for doing good in the community. He was actively involved in taking care of the poor, opening his home to others, sticking up for the underdog. He wasn't satisfied to just  sit back and enjoy all of God's blessings when he knew others were suffering and in need.

It is tempting to skip through the long winded speeches of his so called friends. I want to tell them to be quiet! But maybe I am being too hard on them. There is truth in much of what they say, I just don't think much of it applies to poor Job. Anyway, I can learn from their words what not to do. There is a time to speak and a time to comfort in silence.

So I am going slow. I am going back when I catch myself scanning instead of reading....because every word is important.

Right after Verse 18 when Bildad winds up his speech, Job starts speaking again. And his words stun me because I always thought this verse came from Isaiah. In the midst of his excruciating suffering, the Holy Spirit speaks a beautiful prophecy spoken through the dry, split lips of suffering Job. Like manna from Heaven the words float down.......

I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

Right there in the middle of Job....... a well known aria from the Easter portion of Handel's Messiah! I know, I know, there are people, Biblical scholars, who say that this has nothing to do with Jesus, but I disagree.....I think that Job knew exactly who his redeemer was, and that he also knew that when his time on earth was through, that he would see the One who redeemed him. He knew like one who has been through the refining fire of suffering knows......He lives! And maybe it took the suffering for Job to know that he truly did believe....

To echo the old song that I used to sing in church......."Because He lives, I can face tomorrow." Because He lives, I can get up and go to a stressful job. Because He lives, every day is a gift. Because He lives, it's all worth it! "......And life is worth the living, just because He lives!"

And lest you beat yourself up because you feel you should be leaping out of bed instead of praying face down on the carpet, remember this: "There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus".....That was one of the first verses to spill out of the CD player this morning on the way to work. I take great comfort in the fact that He doesn't love me because I am perfect, but because I am His child!

In the end, Job got his prayer answered. The book of Job is considered one of the most beautiful literary works of all time. His words stand the test of time and eternity......

Photo by Andrea Schafthuizen, public domain pictures

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Sparrow Story

Paul Harvey relates a modern parable about a religious skeptic who worked as a farmer:

One raw winter night the man heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.

Touched, the farmer bundled up and trudged through fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in the corner. But the sparrows, which had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness, afraid.

The man tried various tactics to get them into the barn. He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them. He tried circling behind the birds to drive them to the barn. Nothing worked. He, a huge, alien creature, had terrified them; the birds couldn't comprehend that he actually desired to help. The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window.

As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky: If only I could become a bird - one of them - just for a moment. Then I wouldn't frighten them so. I could show them the way to warmth and safety.

At the same moment, another thought dawned on him. He grasped the reason Jesus was born.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A walk through the weeds.......

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

We humans can turn on a dime. Yesterday I was counting blessings, participating in the One Thousand Gifts over at Ann's, thinking positive, counting blooms and blessings. Today on my walk, it seemed all I could count were weeds! I saw the brown trees this years freeze destroyed. I saw weeds in several yards.....My mind was like a ticker tape of negativity......"Why doesn't the park enforce their own rules?" and "Why do we even have a home owner's association?" I went on like this halfway around the perimeter until something strange happened. I got ticked at myself.

Something happens when you really start to count gifts. It changes how you think, and you no longer want to think the other way, the old way. We talk about paradigm shifts a lot at work. That is what happens in your mind when you cross over to living a life in gratitude to God, when you keep count. It not only changes your thinking, it changes your life.

It is a new determination you have......not to give in. So I walked on determined not to see the weeds or the brown trees this morning. I told myself and God that I was not going home until I started seeing beauty and blessings. I am kind of stubborn that way. Do you suppose that was God's plan for me today?

This is what I saw.......A dove nesting in a spiny cactus........groups of quail walking across the road. A bunny eating the veggies someone had left out. I heard the cry of a cactus wren, I call them all "Renny" for the one who lived in the cactus next door. Here is the thought that came to me.......These little desert creatures scurry about very happy to be what they are. They don't pay attention to the weeds unless they can find something useful about them. If they can't eat them, or use them for shelter they ignore them.

That was my lesson today.

I just had to laugh last night, as I picked up Elaine's Mom from the nursing home where she had just visited her husband of 60 years, "That man is the most negative person on the planet, he finds absolutely no good in anything." What?? This from a woman who is equally negative about anything and everything. Once, the three of us were walking along on an impossibly beautiful sapphire blue sky day. Elaine made a comment about how beautiful the sky was, and her Mom said caustically, "Well, Elaine the sky is always blue." We still joke about it.

Like she says......."Where did I come from?" She learned to count blessings a long time ago, against all the odds. Despite her surroundings, despite the people who raised her.

Yes, Lord......despite our circumstances, surroundings........we can be positive, it is possible, if we let the counting, and God renew our minds.

Photo credits: Public Domain Pictures
Weeds by Andrew Schmidt
Dandelions by Petr Kratochvil

Monday, April 4, 2011

The List Can Wait.....

You can't always get away and sit by a restful stream in the mountains......
but you can always find a moment to kick back and be like a cat.

put the list aside for later......sometimes later is okay.
Sometimes the time is right.....
A little slice in the day.
Just make room.

Sydney approved of my plan.....He said it was a very good one.
He even settled down to let me read a bit!

 Sometimes letting yourself break away for just a few precious moments, makes the day a little celebration all it's own. Cats have mastered this......
I am learning from them.

Keeping count in my heart today, in gratitude for all these moments. I don't want to let them just slip by unnoticed because they will never come back. I am determined to learn to live in the present.
I want to shrink the amount of time I look back unless it is to treasure a memory.
And minimize the time I look forward, unless it is with my eyes firmly fixed on God.

Who holds all the future.

Celebrating thanks today for every moment I have been given thus far......

holy experience

all pics taken with iphone

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shining Through

"I am grateful that despite everything, a lone bird singing at dawn can still move me to tears. The sight of a crescent moon in a sapphire sky can still take my breath away......"

I was feeling emotional this morning. A dear friend lost their cat early yesterday morning. She lifted her head and meowed once and then layed down as if she were asleep and that was it. It's funny how the death of a pet can let loose all the emotions that have been stuffed down for everything else. It's like you feel again, everyone you have ever lost before. Death is just so unnatural.

A bird sang alone as I opened the door to leave this morning at around 5:20. It brought me to tears. I have often written about how I feel that birds are little harbingers of hope given to us by remind us that life is always, always worth it. So when I heard it sing this morning in light of all that has been happening, and Allie dying, and changes at work, I was reminded again. God is the glorious backdrop of everything else.

And though I feel the joy of the Lord burning inside me when I think of all the wonderful things He has done for me and continues to do, the challenge remains. How to get that joy to spring forth so that it spills over onto others. Lately I haven't recognized the person I am at work.

How do you shed the light of Jesus when you're at a place you are not excited about being? In general, I am very excited about being here on the earth, about what God is doing in my life. But then I get to work and I feel more like a wet blanket. I see the person I should be at work, and the person I am, and I feel the gulf between them. Too many times, I keep my light hidden at work. I feel like a firefly beating around in that bushel Jesus was talking about.

We all have bushels in life, what's yours?

The challenge remains, how to get the light that is inside my heart out to others?

The place of prayer is the place I go when I can't find the answers, there, and in the wisdom of the Word that brings life.....I hope something is shining through even when I can't see it myself.

How do you let your light shine in challenging times?

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

You are missed, Allie! Thank you for the joy and comfort you brought in your six years of life.....

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jesus didn't preach grey sermons

I believe that every absolute truth Jesus spoke, was spoken in absolute love..........

and sometimes with tears streaming down His face.

Our culture is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable with absolute truth. We get nervous when bold statements are made. In mixed crowds we feel the need to be careful, to make people feel at ease, comfortable. But much of Jesus time on earth was spent making people feel very uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that He was almost stoned (John 10:32) and pushed off a cliff (Luke 4:29).

I found a post yesterday on Matt's blog, click here that I just have to share. I think it is the best post I have read in a while because I have been increasingly uncomfortable about what I have been hearing from some popular Christian pastors and leaders today. I hope it speaks to you as it spoke to me, it was really like a breath of fresh air blown into my soul.

Things Jesus didn't say:

I am one of the ways the truth and the life

You don't have to come through me to get to the Father

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9,10

Couldn't resist, I love those pesky seagulls......all pics from public domain pictures