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Things Will Look Much Differently Then

21 Oct

The air nips cold. My sweater sure feels good today, I pull it closer as I go about my daily chores. I cannot believe that we are already into the third week of October. Time, truly stops for no one. I’m feeling contemplative today, thinking about all I need to get done before winter makes its first frigid visit. Not far off… This morning I was standing on the front porch, waiting on the dogs to get finished with their mandatory jog around the property, when I gazed across the field to the barn standing at the other end. The color of the utilitarian structure was white gray against the brown and dry corn stalks. Wasn’t it just weeks ago that the trees bordering the field were green? And the air was moist with late summer heat? The movement of time grows louder in my mind. The pages on the calendar turn quickly. I memorize the snapshot I take with my eyes….in just two months it will be the week of Christmas. Things will look much differently then. Time will continue to click off the moments.

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Even the stark branches are beautiful

Even the stark branches are beautiful

The Best Way To Really Live

20 Oct

The turquoise Ball mason jar that I have setting on the kitchen window sill, is striking when the sun shines through it. A haze of blue-green illuminates the glass. A simple utilitarian vessel becomes beauty when touched by the light. It is amazing what one can see when her eyes are opened to all that is around her. The simple becomes something to marvel at, to appreciate, realizing that all things are gifts.

Life is so hectic and we often times rush through it, only glancing at the moments as they blur past us. The rushing through everything is a way to have a life, but that is not the best way to really live.

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*muted colors of autumn trees, like a water color painting on the horizon

*cool, brisk breeze that blows hair and gives a chill

*warm, well worn hoodie pulled close

*light through jars setting on the window sill

*rescued kitty purrs deeply, I believe grateful…

*long letters to family–news from across the miles

*family visit and memories made, stored in the heart

*my husband, so glad we found each other, the Lord blesses

*my children, growing up…swallowing hard

*cats on top of fence posts

*the soft muzzle of the horse

*gray blue sky

*wood smoke that smells like Autumn

*geese in a V, marvelous to watch

*eating well, getting strong and healthy

*going out to lunch with friends

*small groups and touching lives

*Jesus who makes all things possible

Listing All The Gifts That God Gives

18 Oct

Three weeks ago I started a small group study referencing Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Through this study we are learning what true gratitude is, and how to make eucharisteo a practical, daily word in our lives. Today’s post is from something I wrote a few years ago, when first introduced to the challenge of listing all the gifts that God gives.

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Eucharisteo

Jan and I made some vegan chocolate chip cooki...

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EucharisteoGreek.  yoo-khar-is-teh’-o. Verb. Definition: 1.To be grateful, to feel thankful. 2. Give thanks

In chapter two of One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is the key word. The meaning behind it, the challenge of this entire book.

To Give Thanks.

(pg. 30)”On this page Ann asks herself if she needs to see the world, visit the exquisite, before she faces eternity? Or isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? (31) Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?”

This is so true for me. It is easy for me to skim over the very real miracles of today, not seeing them. Blinded by the busyness of life, thinking I need to do something more. Something big. Something significant. Before I am witness to the incredible.Could it really be something as simple as giving thanks? Being grateful for what I have? Even if it is a simple thing…The simple things become the big things, if they are appreciated. If I remember to offer thanks for them.

(pg. 37) “What precedes the miracle is thanksgiving, eucharisteo, and it is a Greek word with a hard meaning that is harder yet to live. Do I really want to take up this word?”

Should I really take up the challenge of gratitude? Will it change me? Will my eyes begin to see the ways that God is saying “yes” to me, on a daily basis? Certainly it is true that God acts in big ways, when He chooses. But, isn’t it just as true that God acts in small ways? The small things that touch us in the grind of the every day? Shouldn’t I be as appreciative for the beauty in the quiet stillness of freshly fallen snow, as I am for the healing of a loved one? Shouldn’t I thank Him for hugs from children that he has blessed me with? As much as I see him in the faces of the forgiven? Shouldn’t the smell of freshly laundered towels be as heady to me as the view from a mountain top?

Isn’t God big enough to have everything under control? But small enough to to have communion with me as I thank him for the warm chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven? Why does my eucharisteo have to be small? Or only for certain things? Can I not thank God for ALL he does? All the ways he blesses? Even when I don’t understand? Even when things don’t go “my way”. Can I not thank him for being in control–even when I’m so out of control? For being sovereign when I can’t even see a second into my own future?

And with that…the Father of Lies whispers in my ear. He spits out the word eucharisteo. A whisper of irritation. A scratch of ungratefulness. “You don’t need eucharisteo. It’s useless. God isn’t listening.” And I am taken back to the garden. In the beginning he convinced Adam and Eve that ungratefulness was normal. That it was okay. That what God gave them wasn’t good enough…and with that they sunk their teeth into that glorious fruit. The same fruit that turned bitter and rotten in their mouths. Communion with God was fractured, and the ungratefulness started to fester. It has been that way ever since.

And yet…

I want to take the challenge….the dare….to give thanks. To live eucharisteo. To see with my own eyes the difference it makes.

Blazing Oranges And Reds

16 Oct

The blazing oranges and reds are muted by the gray morning sky. The monstrous combine sits waiting in the field across the road, waiting for the farmer to finish harvesting his soybean crop. The air is cool-moist, making me wonder if more rain isn’t soon on the way? I pull my thick sweater closer to me, its warmth feels good against the chilly breeze. This time of the year seems slower to me, almost deliberate, as if the whole world is getting ready to snuggle in for what lies ahead.

The view from my side yard looks like a Currier and Ives print. Burnt oranges and reds, and flaming yellows spread across the horizon. A barn cat perches on top of the corner fence post, as if surveying the acreage of the horse pasture. The collie sniffs the moist air, smelling something, that my nose can’t.

I truly enjoy this time of the year. I want to take photo after photo of its glory…so I can remember.

A perfect morning for a hot drink, and contemplation.

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Our Eyes Are Opened

10 Oct

I sat down on the front porch step. The collie laid down next to me and put his head in my lap. The boxer was on my other side, calm and serene for this brief moment. The terrier was walking around the yard.

The sky was bright blue, the clouds puffy and white. The sun was warm on our backs, even though the breeze was cool. The trees were already starting to turn into burning reds and oranges.

The moment was peaceful.

The river of time, that normally feels like a torrent, slowed.  I looked at the scene before me and breathed in deeply.

When we slow down, enjoy the moments, life becomes more clear.

Our eyes are opened to all that gives life meaning.

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Grace, So Amazing

9 Oct

The word “grace” has come up several times in conversations, during reading, and in small group study over this past week.

Is God trying to show me something? Reveal a truth? I ponder the word…slowly. Taking it all in. I wrap the word around me, as I contemplate what my Father is trying to tell me.

Grace…..this short and simple word, I quietly utter it. It slides off my tongue. This word that is meant for me.

Grace through salvation. Yes. Jesus, God in human flesh, took my place, unto death. He died for my sins. He pardoned me because He chose to, not because I did anything to deserve it. He bestowed grace. He gave me Himself. But, grace is more than that one moment in time. My relationship with Christ is ongoing. Every day. Daily grace.

Are my days about abiding in His grace towards me? Am I filled with His grace? Do I, could I possibly understand, what it is to live this grace? This gift? Right here. Right now. Not as just a word, but as the very air that I breathe. Am I showing grace to others? Or do I hold back? My fist gripping onto what was so freely given to me? Eyes so easily blinded to what truly matters.

I’m learning. Always learning.

Grace, so amazing.

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**************************************************************************************************************************************************************   2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Acts 11:22-24 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. Romans 3:20-24 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/20-inspirational-bible-verses-about-grace/#ixzz3FNk45ZHk

October Is One Of My Favorite Things…

1 Oct

Corn shocks pulled tight and wearing long sleeves,

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round hay bales and changing leaves.

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fall

Sky turns gray, and wind grows cold,

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scented candles, fields of gold.

candles

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