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I Love Early Morning

23 Oct

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I love early morning.

I love it more than extra sleep.

I love the quiet stillness.

The dawning of fresh opportunities….

as the sun is breaking over the horizon.

I am silent witness to God’s creative beauty and power.

Calmness washes over me in those first moments of another day.

Thank you, Lord, for this day. These moments. This life.

22The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”… Lamentations 3: 22-24

Memories Of It All

22 Oct

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The moments that make up a life,

like a mist that envelops for a short while.

Lens focuses.

Flash illuminates.

Frozen in time, with the snap of the camera’s shutter.

The faces, the places, that intertwine the days.

Memories.

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For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow. Psalm 144:4  NLT

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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