Archive | November, 2011

A Name Above All Names

14 Nov
Dirty Hands

Image by matt.doane via Flickr

Crowds

Image by Mike PD via Flickr

Jesus loved people.

Even in the midst of great crowds and multitudes, Jesus saw the individual.

He humbled Himself, to wipe off another’s daily grime…to see the person.

He, who is God, understood the heart of those He spoke with.

God came to Earth.

The great I AM with skin on.

Jesus Christ, The Lamb that was slain,

The Good Shepherd,

Immanuel–God With Us,

The Light that pierces the darkness,

The Great Physician,

Teacher,

The Bright And Morning Star,

The Chief Cornerstone,

The Way, The Truth and The Life,

Salvation.

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Taking this day to thank Jesus Christ for all…..

That HE WAS

all that HE IS

and all that HE WILL BE.

I am able…..only because HE is.

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I am choosing this day to be thankful for…..

*strong winds

*a sturdy house

*a warm bed

*gray skies

*words of love

*fingerprints on the fridge

*words that speak life

*whispered prayers

*a love that knows no end…

*my Jehovah Jireh

Savoring Time

12 Nov
Wind chime close-up

Image via Wikipedia

Weekends are made for wandering…

enjoying a slower pace…

savoring time.

Touching– I’m attending the holiday open house at Finders Keepers, in town.  I love home decor and so this place is right up my alley. Everyone has been telling me that I need to check this place out. What better time than when it’s decorated for Christmas?

Tasting– When it’s cold outside, there is nothing better than some homemade cocoa. Chocolate and marshmallows. I mean, really, is there anything else?

Smelling–  I bought some new candles that smell like sugar cookies. This is a win, win situation for me. I can enjoy the yummy smell of cookies even when I’m not baking.

Hearing– The wind blowing against the house. I like where I live, but had no idea when we were building our house just how windy it was here. I used to have eight different wind chimes. Beautiful wind chimes. Lovely wind chimes. I do enjoy my wind chimes. After two years here, I have one wind chime, with all its pieces still intact. I need to create an indestructible wind chime that can withstand gale force winds. Just sayin’.

Seeing —Okay, I admit it. I love The Hallmark Channel. They are starting the countdown to Christmas this weekend. I don’t really like to “start” Christmas this early because I enjoy Thanksgiving and don’t want to rush things….but, I do love the Christmas movies, even with my husband’s rolling of the eyes. I don’t care how cheesy the movies are either. So there.

 

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends…..

slow down and enjoy your moments.

 

Waiting With Faith

10 Nov
Waiting in line at Hultsfred Festival.

Image via Wikipedia

At Faith Barista, Bonnie asked, “How Is God Currently Calling You To Walk By Faith?”

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Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.   Hebrews 11:1 NIV

My past has been filled with acts of faith–

in life and death situations,

career changes,

moves,

and in relationships.

I am able to look back, with hindsight, and see how

God worked in my life.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”                     

Ephesians 3:20 NIV

Today I find myself not sure of what the future will hold.

I have an idea of what I think will happen,

but I also know that what I want, or expect to happen, might not.

At this point in my life

I have many things I’d love to do…

but, God has called me to slow down.

To wait.

To savor.

To believe not only with my mind, but with my heart, the words of Ephesians 3:20.

Faith in Him.. who is able to do immeasurably more than I can even imagine.

“I have faith”…the words sounds easy.

The living it, is not.

Waiting on God, seeing how He will work…

it is not a passive act.

Waiting is not about what I am waiting for

it is more, what I am becoming in the process of waiting.

Faith is knowing that God is at work in me

and for now, that is enough.

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When I Am Thirsty

9 Nov
A Canadian Waterfall

Image via Wikipedia

I just finished reading Ann Voskamp’s blog post for today.

She has left her home in Canada, this week, to meet with Christ…. in Ecuador.

I could not stop the tears that streamed down my cheeks as I read.

God is there,

and God is here…

and who am I not to see Him?

How many times do I go through my days, only to be too busy to meet with Christ?

How many times do I squeeze in my time with Him because I feel an obligation?

Instead of longing to come into the presence of  The Almighty, aware of this privilege, I barely bow my head  .

And my spirit withers,

parched and dry…

desperately needing to stand in the rain

of the Living Water.

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  John 7: 37-38  NIV

When I am thirsty,

I need to drink deeply from Him,

like a woman who has spent far too long in the desert.

Because it is when I am full in Christ,

that I am able to reach out to others…

because love always flows from a full heart.

Reflection

8 Nov
mirror

Image by Paul Keller via Flickr

When I don’t understand…

and for when I do.

For when I ask, why…

when the bottom has fallen out-

as well as with unexpected joys.

When the words don’t make sense

or the events take a turn I didn’t plan.

When the tears fall….

or when peace wraps around me like a blanket.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.              1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Is A Discipline

7 Nov
Tree

Image by Adnan Yahya via Flickr

Why is it so much easier to find fault than it is to be thankful?

I look around and see the living room is a mess.

The kitchen counter is sticky.

I need to sweep the floor.

There is a mountain of laundry.

I have a mental to do list a mile long.

It is never ending.

I grumble, maybe not out loud…but, in my heart.

Which is worse?

There is a reason that showing gratitude is a discipline. It is not first nature. It is more difficult. It takes work.

It is easier to complain than to praise.

I’m quicker to mumble than to see the miracle.

How blind I’ve allowed myself to become on a daily basis.

I need to open my eyes.

Open my heart.

To all I have…

because of all He is.

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 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100: 4-5  NIV

*dark blues and smoky grays of  November mornings

*naked tree branches reaching into the gray, autumn sky

*the smell of French Vanilla Dunkin Donuts coffee

*a calm morning

*my husband, who almost always wakes up in a good mood

*this man who loves me through it all

*my son who races around in the morning at 100 mph

*my other son who keeps me calm and centered

*my daughter who teases me before she trudges out to the barn

*12 acres in the country

*combines with big headlights that look like UFO’s in the night

*the sound of the dogs barking

*friends who I still keep in touch with over the miles

*family

*home made hot cocoa

*God made a way for me

*Jesus loves me…enough.

Darkness Can Be Terrifying

4 Nov
Light in the night (Castelldefels)

Image by jcarlosn via Flickr

I set  it on the counter.

The flame in the lantern flickers. It sways with the current of air. I watch it as it dances, licking up the oxygen, giving off light.

Because…

darkness can be terrifying.

The unknown, the unseen–all fear.

Secluded.

One flame, but oh how it shines.

Darkness is overcome by the Light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”         John 8:12 NIV

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Are you facing darkness today? Are there things that are keeping you in the shadows?

You don’t have to stay there.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105  NIV

 

True Joy Is A Gift

3 Nov
PICT0027

Image by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Today Bonnie gave us this topic to write on….

Complete the following sentence:  A gift you’ve recently received from God.

Hmmmm….

I feel like I should write something BIG here, or maybe something deeply profound, or life altering. Alas, nothing like that comes to mind.

Over my lifetime, God has indeed given me gifts. Gifts that have forever altered my life. I don’t think that is what I’m going to write about today….Bonnie wants, recently.

The thought that keeps niggling at the back of my mind is the word contentment. Oh God, not that! I don’t consider contentment a “gift”. I’m not even any good at being content. I know. I know. It’s a lesson, right Lord? A lesson, that if I could ever REALLY learn it, would be a gift. A gift beyond measure. You’d think someone who had spent the majority of her life either as a student or a teacher (or both at once) , would be able to pick up on a lesson, right? Be able to catch on quickly? Um…. no.

I am working at contentment. Thank God, He has yet to give up on me.

The other night I was walking back from the barn with my husband. It was dark outside. We were walking together, my arm linked with his. I appreciated the quiet stillness all around us, broken only by the occasional distant moo, or bark. The moonlight made our front yard glow. I was thankful and content in that moment. I suppose it is a gift to be able to truly appreciate in the moment…to be able to consciously step back and be grateful for those minutes in time.

I long to be better at this. Happiness is fleeting. Don’t we all know that? Some days are better than others. I want more than happiness, because feelings are so fickle.

I want joy.

In my mind, contentment and joy are two sides of the same stone.

As I work on being content in all circumstances…God will give me joy.

And true joy IS a gift.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.   Psalm 28:7   NIV

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Learning To Simplify

2 Nov
Hilly landscape in Val d'Orcia.

Image via Wikipedia

It started this morning. I’ve got things on my mind. Schedules. Dates. Things coming up. Holiday events. Planning. I have much to do before the end of the year. It occurred to me this morning that it’s already NOVEMBER 2nd! Two months from now we will already be into the new year. Good grief! Where does the time go? What moments have I let slip by because I’m always thinking about tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. Or a year from now…

Breathe.

Sigh.

It’s happening again. I feel like a freight train that is out of control, barreling down the tracks, heading for an unknown destination….one bump and I’ll be derailed.

Breathe again.

Another sigh.

I was looking through a favorite house site, and noticed a clip from the movie, Under The Tuscan Sun. Regardless of how one feels about this movie, it does give a good example of a woman who was looking for something different for her life. She left the States, and while vacationing in Italy, bought and restored a rundown house in Tuscany. She found friendship, laughter, and meaning for her life, in the midst of it all. Her life became much more simple.

After seeing that clip, I took a few minutes to dig through my old journals until I found the one that I was looking for. A small black book, with a simple title. “SIMPLIFY”.  I think that says it all. I looked back through it to see what I had written. It was sort of a workbook of how to simplify. I smiled at some of the things I had written, and shook my head at others. Simplifying is a process…and, I am not there just yet.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life.” —Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Earlier this year, I read Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts. She talks a lot about slowing down, savoring each moment, and giving thanks. I truly enjoyed her book. It has been a “life changer” for me, not because I have it all down perfectly, but because that is something that I long for. It helps to know that there are other people out there that feel the same way.

The Lord tells me in His word not to worry.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34  NIV

I will be completely honest and tell you that I struggle with that verse. I know that God loves me more than the birds of the air, and the flowers of the fields, but when I’m facing decisions and feeling pressed for time, it’s easier to worry. Not that it does one bit of good, mind you, but I never said it made sense.

Another deeper sigh.

The more I try not to worry, to deliberately simplify, the more anxious I get. Sometimes it seems like a vicious cycle.

I think Ann was onto something …it’s impossible to worry if one is giving thanks to God. If I’m busy thanking Him for all things, I won’t have time to worry about the small stuff. It seems so simple, but really it is true. It is a discipline, though.

A discipline that  I continue to work on because I want this so badly.

 

 

 

 

Their Voice Goes Out Into All The Earth

1 Nov

For Take Me Home Tuesday, I’ve made a compilation of  “sky” pictures that I’ve taken over the past year.  (also one that my daughter has taken) All these pictures are from my home…or just down the road.

I realize that God is so much more than His creations, but every time I look at the heavens I am reminded of what a creative God I serve. He didn’t have to make nature beautiful,  He chose to do that.

The sheer brilliance of a new day… sunlight splashing across a sleepy sky. When I took this early morning picture the Hallelujah chorus was playing in my mind. Can’t you hear it?

Muted shades of gray before a summer storm.

Angry, darkness in the middle of the afternoon. Black clouds rolling as if waves in a vast ocean.

The heavens declare the glory of God.

If I can appreciate the works of Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Renoir and Monet, then how much more should I be in awe of the Master Artist?

Even a glimpse of His work, shouts aloud that there is, indeed, a Creator.

The luminescent pinks. The indigo blues.

With His hand the sky begins to fade.

As night descends…

As the sun sets on another day, the sky will not sleep…because God does not sleep.

Now begins the breath taking views of the night.

I could stare at the sky forever.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
   night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
   no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
   their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19: 1-4  NIV

The sky is unique, in that all people can see it. All countries, all continents, all races, all nationalities and tribes…

Lift up your eyes and see.

 

 

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