Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Every year it happens. Either I am driving on the freeway or in a store and there will be a moment when I make a conscious decision not to join in the madness that seems to be picking up tempo all around me.
My heart beat slows.... I take a step back. It happened this past weekend when I was driving on the freeway and I had to slam on my brakes because people were driving even crazier than usual. I realized the fever pitch had started. Speed bump number one.
Then at the Mall, it happened again when I saw Santa's Village already set up taking pictures of the kids. I don't remember them starting that early last year. I saw Santa sprawled spread eagle in the chair looking bored to tears while the "elves" were like circus barkers trolling for customers. Really? I asked the same question I ask myself each year.
This is Christmas? Speed bump number two.
And last night I had the mute button all ready for when the decibel level went through the roof on the commercials.
Don't get me wrong, nobody loves Christmas more than I do. I totally get into decorating the house and doing the baking, and I do love to buy gifts, but I don't go crazy. And I will deck the halls and love every minute of it. There will be a tree in every room. In my bedroom, the tabletop Victorian, and in the office, the Southwestern tree. And Elaine has an ocean tree, decorated with while lights, mermaids, and shells.
And in the kitchen, a tiny tree with plastic snowmen and snowflakes and other Christmasey type things. Have to be careful with that one, the lights are old and very hot and if it fell next to something flammable it would be a tiki torch in no time.
And then there is the main tree, which is a pre-lit 8 foot we found in a Costco return line one year....I am always amazed when the lights come back on each year. One year I threw my back out trying to stuff it back in the storage container. The first two sections were no problem, it was the last (fat) section that did it.
Never again will I try to do that alone.
Advent is coming.....I feel it in my heart. I am slowing down. I will make peace with whatever doesn't get done. I will not succumb to the alien gods of commercialism run rampant. I will however, enjoy every little moment God gives me before the calendar turns over yet again.
It will be over all too soon.
Monday, November 19, 2012
As I went about from window to window the other night closing the house up, my heart was seized with gratitude.....of having a home to come to, a warm place and a refuge from the noisy world. "Why me?" I thought, "when so many others have no home, no place to go?" Safety for them is a far-off dream, something other people have.
I could have been born any place at all but I was born here in America. The land of blessing.
It's so easy to be Thankful when things are going well, but how thankful am I when things aren't?
Gratitude, as I have learned, is more than simply feeling grateful, it's a way of thinking. That no matter what happens, there is a reason for it because when we have God, we still have everything.
And it doesn't mean you are doing a happy dance when things are falling apart around you. It means that you know deep inside who is ultimately in control and that you trust in His love because He has already saved your life, past present and future.
And when that terrible thing happened He wasn't looking the other way.
And if you want to hear the best answer to a question I have heard so many people ask when prayers don't go their way? You really need to go here and read this gem, by Duane Scott.
The thing that causes hearts to go darker than anything else is Lack of gratitude........"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21
And today, I am also linking up with Ann at Holy Experience because she is the one that actually got me started with writing my gratitude down on paper and teaching me a new way to see.
Grateful for my home each and every day.......and that I have a job so I can help others.....for laughter in church.....friends at work who are like lights in the darkness......fixed cars that run like tops......thankful the driver behind me the other night was paying attention when the whole freeway stopped......formerly unknown people who I now count as dear friends thanks to FB, yes, FB.....pumpkin pie for breakfast......steaming cups of comfort to wrap hands around....being totally lazy on a day off.....a great day yesterday. #945-956
And for a great way you can build hope for children in Haiti, click on the Help One Now button on my sidebar, where just a little can go a long way. Blessings my friends, Lori
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sometimes everything quiets down and we step out into the freshly laundered world, gingerly so as not to break the silence because we know it's sacred......
Sometimes, we get the grace to see everything as new as when it was first created.
And in that sacred silence that is part of the eternal, we feel the pulse of life.
He gives us the same wonder He feels.
Heaven and earth meet, and it is peace.
God lifts the veil.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep and I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep......Robert Frost
Photos by Carolyn Fulton
Friday, November 16, 2012
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. Matthew 19:13-15
"I am doing a new thing with Lauryn now before she goes to her class," my Mom said. "I lay my hands on her and pray a little blessing." She saw someone do this on one of her Sunday morning shows. "I thought, why not do it for her." So now right before she slings on her backpack and heads off to join her friends, my Mom holds both hands on a very fidgety child and says:
"The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace."
She went on to say that the first time she did it, she was wiggling around a lot, wondering what she was doing. "But now," she says, "She expects it, and I think she likes it a little." I verified this with my own eyes when I was there. She got this little mischievous smile that I caught on camera right after the prayer.
What a blessing to have a Grandma who prays for you...........and the laying on of hands? The Bible encourages it.
My Mom paused in her activity and said........"Do you remember how you and I prayed before school by the fire?" Of course I do. I told her I blogged about probably more than once, and I know I have thanked her more than once too.
How could I ever forget those times? Just she and I in the warm glow of the firelight. She praying for a very unhappy teen aged daughter because she just didn't know what else to do. I can still hear how she sounded, and feel her work-worn hands of love in mine. It makes me want to cry for the gratitude of her.
And it's not like you are really praying for safety, because things do happen, despite the prayers before going out. It's more like a release. It's a way of saying:
I give you to the Lord, and no matter what happens, we will be okay.
And we will.
For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6,7
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Sometimes the blogging world gets noisy. And sometimes you even forget why you blog. And you go to a post where you feel you have held your heart out to the world...painfully so, and you get no comments. And you are disappointed. Even though you know you aren't writing for:
Accolades......Comments......Validation.....and those are all good things, that was never my motivation.
And you read all these wonderful other blogs, and you feel like your voice is just one more and it's not quite as beautiful, as esthetically pleasing....as skillful, as creative....fill in the blank.
A scribbling on a blank piece of paper could save your life, if it is just what you need to hear in that moment.
I have also been mad at the "blogger" platform. Different reasons. All of a sudden my playlist didn't work. It won't start playing right when you open my blog. I thought I had it set up to do so, but I still can't get it to work right.
When I noticed myself scrolling to comments right away? That's when I knew I had lost my way. I needed to remember Who I was blogging for and why I started in the first place.
Only three reasons, but they are big ones. God, the Word, and You the readers.
I have been going through some changes myself, and no doubt this blog will change with me. Change is a good thing. But the one thing about this blog that will never change is the message. It is a little four letter word but it means the world.....and it's what the world needs right now:
And I realized another thing. My little voice means something, and so does yours.
And after all, how many voices are too many for praise to the living God?
This year has been tough, and it still is. Going on two years of care taking and it takes its toll no doubt about it. But Elaine and I are still laughing despite the circumstances. And now I am going through some other things personally, physical changes which I have talked about here.
And even when the moods are incredibly dark? The amazing thing is that at unexpected moments I have this absurd joy. It just won't stop, because God has me. And He has you too, no matter what else is going on in your life. Because each and every one of us has circumstances we have to deal with. Those will never go away.
But neither will God.
That, my friends is my main message. And this morning, as if to highlight what I was feeling, this song came on and it said: Let my life song sing to you.
Let my life song sing to you. And you and you.
And like those stones along the road to Jerusalem that would not be silent? I will never ever stop praising Him, because He is worthy.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
“If you’re really looking for answers, look past me. But if you’re interested in how I got to where I am, I will be as honest as possible.”
– Rich Mullins
– Rich Mullins
Dear readers, I treasure you.....I am taking a short blogging break. I will be back soon, I promise. Feel free to browse through the archives!
Monday, November 12, 2012
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Psalm 3:3,4
This morning I went out to pray like a monk, I was glad there was a hood on my sweatshirt, because all of a sudden it has turned cold.....cold for here anyway. As I lit my "prayer lantern" I sank into my chair and bowed my head. There are so many things I am thankful for, why do I feel such despair at times? I have a good job and people who love me. I am doing some writing and there are actually people who get something out of what I write. I am constantly surprised by joy over that.
But there is another thing I have been fighting, and it's a big one. I hesitate to even write about it because I don't think I can put it into words. And yet I must because writing is my way out....my way up.
I've been fighting this thing. It's called "The Change." There is a reason they call it that. I wondered and wondered why I have felt this way and it suddenly hit me.
I am grieving. Grieving who I was before.
Who has taken my old happy life and what have they done with it?
As it hit me, tears gushed. And part of it was the relief of knowing. The other part is the not knowing. I don't know what waits on the other side of this tunnel. Every now and again normalcy touches down and I breathe a sigh of relief.
My faith holds me now. I howl like a wounded animal on the inside because I don't want anyone to hear.
I walk down the Christmas aisles at the store and I want to cry. Pumpkin pie filling makes me cry. People being kind to me makes me cry.
I drive on the freeway and I feel the white heat of anger lashing out. I call unsuspecting people all kinds of names they don't deserve. They are just trying to get home, after all.
I am losing what I fought so hard to get back when I starved myself. The part of me that was always a reminder of health.....possibility....promise....life.
How do you let go of something you have had all your life? And who will I be on the other side of this.....will it make me less than I am right now?
How do you go about going through a change that will usher in the last phase of your life, especially when you still wear Miss Me jeans and buy your clothes in the junior section?
I got up and wiped my nose on my sleeve. And God gave me something, just a little vision of hope. I was sitting on the little train I used to ride at the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk. It was two to a car....And in the seat beside me: Jesus rode.
And He promised he would be with me all the way through. And I know He will, He's a man of His word. Yes, there is much comfort in two to a car.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Today, Lord I acknowledge my desperate state before you. Anything less means I am walking around in a state of delusion. When things are going well, it is so easy for me to think I have things under control. That I don't need you quite as bad as when circumstances are:
unpleasant, painful, spiraling out of control.............But the truth is, I need you just as much and in just the same measure every single day.
Sometimes I act like a person holding up a golf club in the middle of a lightning storm. I flirt with the world, I skate on the edge, I get too close to swinging the doors wide open that should remain closed.
And I shouldn't. Forgive me, precious Lord. Thank you for remembering my dust. Help me to never take advantage of your good grace. I acknowledge again that though you are completely Holy, you are not waiting up there to strike me down when I fail, but waiting with an arms open kind of love.
And forgive me for asking you once again to deliver me from things you have already set me free from. Sometimes I have amnesia. You are infinite Love. I remember again and again the great length you went to save me.
All the way from Heaven to earth.
Goin back to the foot of the cross today.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
He is still on the throne.
So now we get on to Kingdom work. I have no idea what the next four years will bring. All I know is that I hope that it will bring more people into God's kingdom.
And it is always a good time to pray, now more than ever. Even though the one I voted for won't be taking up a seat in the While House, I have to think back to the best and worst moments in my life and ask myself a question. With eternities values in view, how much does this really matter.
Right now today, if something happened to someone I love this little election and all my feelings about the next four years would cease to matter. We have very important things to do. And I was challenged by the Internet Monk today to pray for our President.
It might take some work, but I can do it. Because he needs God just like everyone else.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
There are so many more important things going on right now than this election. Yes, I will vote today, and yes, I believe it matters how we vote, but ultimately what matters is who is ruling and reigning on the throne of my heart today.
Unless He is? None of this really matters. And I am thankful today. So thankful that I know who will write the end of this story. All over the world, people are doing great and courageous things. Pastors in Haiti are caring for orphans. Sleeping with them outside on the ground.
People are fighting for our freedoms and putting their own lives on the line, thinking nothing of it.
God has a plan for this world. He died, He rose again, He is coming back. No matter who is in office in the White House, or any other house. So today I will vote, because I still think it is important to exercise our wonderful freedoms. And then I will watch the results and I won't be disheartened if my choice doesn't win.
Because I know who untimately does.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Thankful today, for another chance at clean.......Yesterday Pastor Kevin continued in his series of "Living Under the Influence" of Christ. Handing there on the large wooden cross in the center of the stage, there was a beautiful white wedding dress. As he talked, and with every example of how we flirt with living back in the world, he gave the dress another brown splotch from the bottle he held.
It hung there on that cross with ugly brown spots all over it and then we prayed, heads bowed, some going forward to kneel before that cross to get clean all over again.
I celebrate with Thanksgiving today, at another chance at clean. And better days. When you are depressed, and then you feel the sunlight seeping through your soul again it's like a celebration of hope. Of Easter right in the middle of the week.
Another small miracle that tells us that whatever hardship or challenge we are going through now, that it won't last forever.
Heaven however, is forever.
I ran this morning while night and day mingled together and for a short time, were one.
A few shy stars were out. The morning bird had not spoken yet, he was still sleepily blinking from his perch. The light from the sun was beginning to fill the sky and I realized that all over the world this pattern is repeated.
In nature, in hearts, in lives.
Thank you Lord, the new beginnings, and forgiveness.......
Counting my thanks........Lifting depression.....conversations that bring about healing....good work function outing yesterday.....health that allows me to do physical exercise which always makes me feel better......laughter sprinkled throughout every day, however hopeless it seems.......beautiful weather.....more great memories of back home......a brave girl who broke through her fear and participated in her school parade.....simple joys of washing and a washer that works.......clean bedding.....friends and family who make this life worth living and God who makes everything possible. #945-957
Linking up here with Ann and below with Michelle today.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
How big is your God? I know my God is big......He is big enough to heal the deepest sorrow, and repair the most broken of hearts. I know because He's done it for me.
And even though He's big? He can make Himself show up in something as simple as a ray of light on the walkway because just now I asked Him to meet me there and He did, I felt Him there. I also prayed that He would meet you in my words.
And how many have prayed for just that, and have not felt that assurance? He rains His Grace down at unexpected moments. You may not always feel Him, but that doesn't mean He isn't there.
He always has to make room for faith to kick in. And faith is always rewarded my friends, that's a promise.
And the days when you know that prayer is the only thing holding you together? He knows that feeling too. He knows how it feels to not even want to be around a single solitary soul. Honestly, I think there were times He wanted to tell everyone to just go away. Those are the times He went off alone to pray.
He also knows that sometimes the best thing you can do for a friend is just hold them while they cry. Job's friends did that at first and then they blew it by starting to talk. There's a time for talking, and a time for just being there.
And no matter what you might be feeling now, you can still have hope. God has an inexhaustible supply.
You can still have hope if you know God. He is the God of all comfort. He knows how. When our words run dry and crackle in the air and fall flat.....The Holy Spirit speaks in groans deeper than any words straight to the Father.
I believe He is even better at translating the prayers that never make their way into words.
He's near. Nearer than your own breath.
Friday, November 2, 2012
They were all wearing the same expressions of worry and anxiety, and now so was I. It dawned on us that this must be because of diverted flights due to Hurricane Sandy. Everyone was orderly and somewhat calm. TSA has effectively whipped us huddled masses into submission like recaltritant children. I looked at them all, jostling kids, bags, nerves, and me right among them.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
I still had time, but would it be enough? We went out to curbside and there was a line but not nearly as bad. I bantered with two ladies going back home to Toronto about our general complaints of the airlines. How they are charging for every little thing.
I punched my confirmation number in the little space on the screen and my ticket was spit out the bottom. I clutched it as any apprehensive flyer does. It had my name on it, a little bit of peaceful assurance in a scrap of paper. My seat was 9F.
Upstairs it was more of the same. Everywhere, people scrambling to get home or leave home.The line was four deep going through security. I passed the Canadian ladies again. One of them asked, "How did you get ahead of us?" And we laughed.
I reached for the bin, filling it up with everything I could take off.....scarf, shoes, belt, metal jewelry, sweater. I was motioned into the infamous TSA scanner......Arms up and hold please. The evil scanner. Will I ever get used to this?
Put my heart under Your scanner Lord. Tell me what I am doing wrong....... "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts" Psalm 139:23
I thought of how at first, I had refused to fly. On justifiable grounds of gross invasion of privacy. Just the topic would sent me into a fit and quoting the first amendment. And now I just go through like everyone else. Just one of the cattle.
I clutch my ticket, make all my calls, and settle in for the boarding announcement. I think of myself, one who dreams often of being in the wrong place, or late, or being six months behind for a class and realizing I have not turned in one assignment. Its always so important for me to be in the right place at the right time.
I scan my boarding pass for the 5th or sixth time, noting the boarding time, the zone number.
I think about that other ticket, to that most important of places. The ticket I clutch even more tightly as the years go by, my Bible. The Words of God. That's one trip I want to be prepared for more than any other. The Holy Spirit is my deposit. I lean back in the seat and breathe deep. Thankful.
I won't be late because it's all in His timing.
".......and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us." 2 Corinthians 1:22