Into His Image

This day, at A Holy Experience, we are writing on: The Practice of Joy…. What does it mean to choose Crazy Joy? How do we authentically walk through hard times? How do we practice the “gigantic secret” of Christians?

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Present

How do we choose joy?  Is true joy a choice, something we make for ourselves? Or does it just happen to us? A whim? A destiny? How can we choose to be joyful on a daily basis? And can real joy change our lives?  I’m not talking about happiness which is circumstance driven. Happiness is a fleeting emotion…it can’t be depended on. I’m talking about a joy that comes from knowing.

I was startled when I first read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Her written words so closely echoed my own thoughts. I could relate, when she said, “When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift? For He might not have.” (p.94)

Doesn’t it all become a gift? It isn’t difficult to find joy. It is there in the every day. Often times I am too rushed, too busy, too self absorbed, too afraid, and much too cavalier to see the joy.

There is something that happens when thanksgiving is being lifted up. Being thankful to the Giver of all Gifts, changes the heart. Each good thing becomes even more precious. Each hard and difficult time shapes me. As a follower of Christ, both of these things conform me into the image of Christ. As a follower of Christ I know that the greatest gift I’ve ever received is the gift of salvation. If I never was given another gift, He alone would be enough.

Jesus is the gift. He is joy…and it is through Him that all the other things make sense.

Is That A Gray Hair?!

leg warmers photo from flickr by iluvrhinestones

Does anyone else wonder where the time went? I always heard that time seems to go faster, the older one gets. That is the honest truth.  Some days I feel older than others. Yep. I wake up and stumble to the bathroom mirror and think, “Wow. When did this happen?”

My daughter enjoys that I can get all the 80’s references in the show that we watch together. The best music is still from the 80’s or earlier, in my humble opinion. I miss leg warmers and Jordache jeans. (although I saw a commercial yesterday for Walmart that Jordache jeans are making a comeback. I had a pair circa 1985.)

I was always the one that said I would age gracefully, ala Katherine Hepburn style. Lately, I’ve just felt the burn…without the Hep. Sigh. I know. I know. I have several readers that are older (read that as mature)….and would love to be 44 again. Okay, so that might be true, but I’m still seeing gray hairs and feeling achy joints. I’m sojourning on, but aging can be the pits. Just sayin’.

On the positive side, as I’ve aged I think I have a better perspective about things. I at least try. Experience brings

wisdom…well, at least with most things. The important stuff, truly is the important stuff, and I realize it. I’m trying to slow down. I want to enjoy the moments that God has blessed me with.

Life.

I’m always learning, and taking it one day at a time.

(P.S) I secretly wish I could still fit into my Jordache jeans from 1985. A girl can dream.

The Storms Of Life

Everyone is tuning in to hear the latest on the big storm that is going to hit the east coast. The weather people are calling it

English: Halloween Storm at Peak Intensity Vis...

the “Franken-storm”, the “perfect storm“, or just plain Sandy. Whatever it is called….it is big and messy. My beloved home state of Maryland is probably going to get a direct hit. Here in Ohio, where I’m at now, we have the wind and snow. It is snowing on and off even as I type this post.

How many times are we faced with storms in life? Sometimes, much like Sandy, we can see the storm coming. We can prepare ahead of time. We know what we are up against. Other times we are caught in a storm that slams us to the ground. We didn’t see it before it hit. We are left scared, beaten down, and drowning.

What do we do when faced with a “perfect storm”?  How we react in the middle of the storm, when the waves are crashing hard, tells a lot about what we believe. More than that…it tells in WHO we believe…. He, who can calm any storm in life.

He (Jesus) got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39 NIV

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Thanking Him even as the storm approaches……

* a warm, snug house

* taking care of all the pets, making sure everyone is fed and warm

* the smell of fresh brewed coffee

* a new chocolatey creamer

* goofing around with hubby

* steel gray, wintry skies

* the first snow flakes of the season

* new cars for sons

* happy faces of boys that have “wheels”

* big brown doggie eyes

* friends

* shopping with my daughter while she reads me interesting “Guinness World Book” facts

* warm, cozy socks and sweaters

Carving Out Some Time

To all my faithful blog readers…..

The past couple of weeks I have been so busy. As the days go on, I’ve often times thought, “I need to blog about this or that.” By the time I actually can sit down at my computer, I’m so tired I can hardly put my thoughts together. I guess we all go through seasons of life that seem busier than others.

Please stick with me. I will be back. I’m going to make a concentrated effort this week to carve out some blog time. I’ve got a lot to tell you!

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

 

Every Good And Perfect Gift

Sometimes when life seems overwhelming, and the to do list isn’t close to getting done…

Lord Howe Island snorkeling - Double headed wr...

When the vehicle needs a new part, and the appointment needs rescheduled…

My students need my time and the lessons aren’t quite done…

The floor needs vacuumed and the tables dusted…

The urgent screams loudly and the world spins in a frenzy.

And my head feels full of all the stuff.

Breathe.Breathe.Breathe.

Slow down. Open your eyes!  Look around. The things to be thankful for are there.

They…..are…..there.

Lord, please help me to never stop looking. Never stop seeing. I never want to be blind to all that is.

Today is the perfect day to be thankful for:

* taking my son to school

* purple streaks of sky splashed on the horizon

* the miracles in nature

* the night sky in the country–diamonds on black velvet

* the chill in the air as Fall erupts in color

* golden trees shimmering in early morning light

* wet dog noses

* singing in the car

* my sweet husband laying next to me

* hugs

* a clean living room

* a full day of opportunity

* a new pitcher of tea

* baby llamas that couldn’t be any cuter

* Christmas catalogs in the mailbox

* Peanuts videos, looking forward to the holiday cartoon “classics”

* safe travel

* visits with family

* children that want to be with me

* friends, near and far

* teaching

* Jesus who knows me, all of me, and yet loves me still

* He who creates

* The One who forgives

* God is good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 NIV

Little White Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve taken pictures of this country church several times before. It is very picturesque, and captures my love of simple beauty.

While looking at this church I think of all the people that have worshiped there. How many people have sang hymns to the Heavenly Father in this holy place? How many prayers were uttered to The One who always hears? How many marriages were celebrated? How many tears shed for the ones that have gone on?

I think a lot about history. I wonder about these things through the eye of my camera.

Oh, the stories to tell…..

 

 

Crisp Autumn Days

I’ve not been online much, this past week. I did not leave, just had a lot going on. I took a break to visit with family and to catch up on some things. Just this weekend I was telling my husband that, lately, time seems to be getting away from me. I never used to be like that but, now I find myself forgetting to do something on my list,  trying to do too much at once, or even procrastinating altogether. Life doesn’t ever really slow down for any of us, does it?

This is the first time in over a week that I have a few moments to sit and actually blog. I miss it when I can’t write. Even though I haven’t blogged this past week, I did take many beautiful autumn pictures with the intent of posting some of them for you to see. I could stay outside all day at this time of year. The crisp air and the vibrant colors take my breath away. It’s as if God has one big show, a last burst of color before the muted shades of winter appear.

Today I am thankful for crisp Autumn days: