Saturday, March 31, 2012

Always His Child

This has been one full week.
Full and long.
Instead of time flying it crept.

When I logged onto this sight it surprised me to see that only four days had passed since my last posting.  I thought it had been at least a week.

In trying to find the words to describe my experience a picture came to mind of slogging through thick, muddy water that is waist deep.
It was slow going or so it seemed.

My artist child's date never happened.
It is my own fault.
I allowed many little things to get in the way.

At one point I had to deal with awkward child who appeared uninvited.

Who is awkward child?
Let me introduce her, though I do so reluctantly.

I met her at a very young age and she became my constant companion for many a year.

Let me premise this with a confession.
I am not that graceful.
Klutzy is a much more appropriate word.

This fact caused me much pain and suffering for a long time.

It does not cause me much concern these days.
I am who I am.
No one is perfect and that includes me!

Besides I am a new creature in Christ and that creature is not so focused on the outward stuff.

In my early years of walking with Jesus He gave me many promises to carry me through.
One was from Ephesians Chapter One, verse six, King James Version:
"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved."
I am accepted in the beloved, His beloved!
That kind of thinking caused awkward child to need less attention.

However, once in a while she shows up. 
Really it is the enemy who comes dressed in her garb.

I met my book club friends at the movies Tuesday night.  We were seeing the one-night showing of Monumental.
One of the women picked up the tickets ahead of time and we each reimbursed her at the theater.

As I pulled my money out of my pocket, where I had placed it earlier so to avoid having to search for it, I could not find one of the coins.
That is because it had fallen out when I pulled out the paper money and was laying at my friend's feet, which she pointed out to me.
No problem.  I simply bent down and retrieved it.

Oh yeah, no problem.

At that moment I was back in high school.
It was senior picture day and my mother had chosen my hair style and clothes. 
I was ill at ease more than usual.

Once the photo session was done I got up and proceeded to trip over the wires that ran from the lighting.
Right in front of a group of the in-crowd.
They loved it.

Now, back to the theater.
This particular group of women is not representative of those that I usually spend time with.  My friend, who had invited me to join the club, had known them for many years and was at ease.

As for me, they represent those very popular people with whom I attended high school.
I was not one of them.

Those are the feelings that rose up in me.
It is not truth, but it is how I felt.

Satan is one sneaky fellow.
He is always waiting in the shadows.
Waiting and watching for an opportunity to knock us down.

It seems that when we most think we are standing that he has the greatest success helping us to fall.
Ah yes, there is a Bible verse about that.
It is found in First Corinthians, Chapter Ten, verse Twelve:
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
How to guard against this?
Lean on Jesus.

To lean on Him we must stay in constant connection, communication with Him.
It is too easy to begin to take even this relationship for granted.

Even the slightest lack of diligence gives the enemy an opportunity.

The good news is that Jesus is right there to pick us up again!

We are in His sight and care at all times.

Well, Jesus and I handled awkward child and did so with a chuckle.
After all I am permanently Papa's girl.
The enemy doesn't like that.

Papa and I also took a look at what happened to the rest of my week and I am now back on track.

This week is ending on a lovely note.
Our New York son, Jon is here for the weekend.
Tomorrow is my honey's birthday and the troops are gathering.
I love it!

Right now three of our guys are spending some brother-time together.
I love that too!

Thing is that now I would love to slow time down!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Wonderful World of Topsy-Turvy!

A pillar of the community.
Member of The Council.

Joseph of Arimathea was sitting pretty.

Then he met Jesus.

Mark and Luke both write that he
"was waiting for the Kingdom of God."

In realizing that the waiting was over he became a secret disciple of Jesus.
Why secret?
John states that it was
"for fear of the Jews."
I am sure that the mantel of secrecy did not fit comfortably on the shoulders of this man.

Mark also tells us that this secret disciple
"gathered up his courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus."
Not so secret anymore.

I can hear the rest of the Sanhedrin, when they get wind of Joseph's true allegiance.
"We should have known!  Remember how he always was talking about the coming of the Kingdom?   Like that's going to happen!"
"His refusal to give his assent to our plan and action against that impostor should have made it clear to us!"

His life was surely never the same.

No more Council membership was a given.
How about persecuted?
Oh yes, but not of anything the world would applaud.
His life had been turned topsy-turvy!

A dear friend of mine ministers with her husband in the country of Cambodia.
The arrival of her letters requires me to put the tea kettle on and then settle down, putting my feet up with my cup of tea in one hand and my mouse in the other (to move me through her wonderful letter.)

Papa had called Heather and Jeff to do a new thing in Cambodia.  This meant stepping away from the ministry they had been doing.

The call was to create a new kind of ministry training center.
Step by step the LORD provided what was needed.
Until one day The Rural Ministry Training Center was ready to accept its first students.

The premise of the center is to train future leaders in a setting that mirrors the villages that they came from and will be going back to.
It is set up as a small village.
There they learn such things as the importance of clean water and raising food and animals, as well as being able to share the Word of God. 

Many believed the center was doomed to fail.
In the Cambodian culture status is very important and teaching people to be servants is not well received.
The church has suffered because of this.
Papa wanted to change that and He is!

Often Heather shares how confusing the new way is for so many.  They are told that it will never work.
She and her husband must model the new ways clearly and consistently in face of much resistance.

It is paying off!
Her letters are filled with wonderful stories of how delighted the students and their teachers are when the realization hits that this new, upside down way is working!

Their lives are being turned topsy-turvy!

This is the third day of not reading for me.
It has felt very topsy-turvy for me.
Not normal.
I cannot tell you how many times I reach for something to read and then stop.
It seems so abnormal not to be taking in all kinds of information at every possible opportunity!

Yet it has opened the way for me to sort through much that needed sorting within this scrabbled brain of mine.  I often say that there is a little person up there that is way behind on filing!

Time has slowed down.
In this slowed down mode I am able to explore thoughts and ideas.
Thoughts and ideas that Papa is bringing to the surface of my mind.

It is as if He is airing out my brain and heart.
I cannot even put into words all He is doing and showing me, but let's just say my life is in a state of topsy-turvy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Selective Reading

I am in trouble.

This is week four of The Artist's Way and I just read the appropriate chapter.
The main assignment for this week is....


I write this with fear in my heart....

....reading deprivation.

See?  I told you that I am in big trouble.

I am already going through withdrawal and I haven't even had time to not do any reading!!

After rereading the words a few times, it began to sink in...

No reading.

But what about Brennan Manning's wonderful book of his memoirs?
Does this include all those thought provoking devotional books I read each day?
I will get behind on all that is happening in this world!

One consolation is that I now have an excuse for not finishing The Life and Legend of Rin Tin Tin for my book club, which meets this Thursday.
To be truthful I already decided not to finish it.  I might read a chapter now and then at some point, but probably not.  I am sorry I spent the money on it.  Not only am I not finishing it, but I can't imagine who I could pass it on to...maybe the local library.

Papa has a plan and I sense it unfolding as I sit here adding words to this posting!

I will continue to read Scripture.
Without any commentary.
It will just be Papa's Words unblemished.

This can only lead to something really good.
Though I know I will be chaffing at the bit this week, I am growing eager to see what happens when all other written word is eliminated.

What a gift to know that all that comes my way is intended to bless me.
No matter what form it comes in!

Whenever I am singing to the LORD I like to be aware of the words and not just mouth them.  During church service this morning we, of course, sang a number of songs.  A few words in one of them spoke of our certainty that He holds all things in His Hands.

So whether it is something as brief as a prescribed week without reading or something major, we can have the joy of knowing it is in His control.

Such a grand adventure it is when Jesus is leading the way!

Visiting the Book of Revelation the other day the words that end the Seventh chapter got me to thinking.
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, not any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes."
He shall wipe every tear from our eyes.

Know what tears I believe He will be wiping away?
Tears of joy!

Joy to see Him face-to-face!
Joy of knowing that this is the One who held us and led us and loved us through our life's adventure!

What a joy to always have His written Word to encourage and instruct.
Now those are Words that I will not deprive myself of reading for even one day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Freedom of Fun

This is week three of  the twelve week course,The Artist's Way, and I am really enjoying it.
The exercises are interesting and very doable and amazingly effective.

Effective in causing change and freeing up the one participating in the course.  Just what the author, Julia Cameron, had asserted they would do.

Each week you have to do something fun with your artist child and it has to be alone. 
You are not allowed to have a friend tag along!

I didn't get the why of it, but obediently followed the instructions.

Today we went to the movies to see The Lorax.
It is the movie adaption of Dr Seuss' book and I love Dr Seuss!

They didn't use his verse apart from the opening, but it was still entertaining.
It obviously was a movie put together by those who are strongly environmentalists, which would be fine if they didn't depict big business alone as the arch-enemy of nature.

Enough said.

On the way home it dawned on me that I was especially light-hearted.  I felt as carefree as a little child.
Papa and I giggled.  :)
And we sang!

I thanked Him for such a lovely gift.

Another exercise involves recognizing people in my life that are negative; those who poo-poo all my creative ideas.
I couldn't think of anyone....
Until today.

As I drove to the movies, I called a friend that I speak to a few times each week.
(Yes, I have Blue-Tooth!)
She is alone and I like to keep tabs on her.

After a couple of minutes of conversation I needed to hang up, as I found her very depressing.
Every subject I mentioned was met with criticism.
Even my invite for dinner and a movie resulted in more negativity.
This is nothing new and I have been more and more aware of it, yet not like today.
I told her that she was depressing me and I needed to hang up.

Once the call was over I realized that this friend of mine is one of the negative ones in my life.
Does this mean that I will cut her out?
Of course not, but it does mean that I will be more aware when talking with her and also time my calls carefully!
I will look to Papa for wisdom and discernment.

I wonder if this revelation contributed to me feeling so free?

It is exciting to see what else will come from participating in this course!

Meanwhile, I need a little help from my friends.....

I need some fun ideas.

One of the exercises called for making a list of ten activities that I have fun doing.
It wasn't easy.
I think she is looking for something beyond reading, watching a movie and the like....
Dancing did make the list and so did hiking, but I need more ideas!

This reminds me of the Adult-Children of Alcoholics group that I attended back in the eighties.
One of the characteristics of said people is that they are not in touch with their feelings.
The counselor, a kindly priest, helped us construct a list of emotions on the board.
Each week we would add to it and each week when we were asked to share how we felt about something we would look to that list.
Often we would not be certain which word to use.
Together we grew and learned and got in touch with how we felt.
We gave ourselves permission to experience more than anger and fear.

Well, all these years later I am discovering that I need to expand my fun list!
So if anyone wants to make any suggestions, I will be delighted!
As the list grows I will be able to explore what should stay and what should go.

My goal is to be all Papa has intended me and all He has for me to experience.
I know that as He expands my world I will encounter yet more people before whom to represent Jesus.
Now that sounds like a whole lot of fun to me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It is interesting just how many ways one can use some form of the word refresh .

Sometimes when the web is slow to find the site I am looking for all I need to do is hit Refresh.
     After a few hours into my day, I like to freshen up.
          Rooms and things can use refreshing now and again too.
                 Our memories need refreshing on a regular basis.
                      Some people's attitudes are very refreshing!
                           The weather lately has definitely been refreshing!!

It is a nice word isn't it? 
Just saying it makes me think of cool breezes.

Refreshment has the wonderful quality of becoming lovely memories that can, in themselves, refresh us.
I see Papa's fingerprints all over it!  It is such a God-word, isn't it?!

He loves to bring refreshment to our souls.  

Now there will be those who focus on the refreshment of our memories and say that it often is to remind us of something we have conveniently forgotten.  However, once we face something we can be free of it and that is refreshing!

Papa loves to give us a fresh perspective on things.
He did that for me this week.

It is so easy to miss gaining something fresh from Scripture when you have read it many, many times.
Two very familiar passages of Scripture could easily been passed over without much thought, but Papa had other ideas.

The first was found in the Nineteenth Chapter of Luke, the first ten verses.
It is the story of a little man named Zaccheus.
I had told this story in Sunday school quite a few times over the years.

The first sermon I ever heard my former pastor give was on Zaccheus.  He dressed as the man and acted the story out.  It was one of those refreshing moments.

For a couple of days I have been listening to Brennan Manning's book, The Furious Longing of God.
He mentioned Zaccheaus and explained what it was like in first century Israel to be a Jewish tax collector working for the Romans and profiting at your own people's expense.

Then my devotional called for the reading of the Scripture passage about this very person.
No coincidence to be certain!

It made me pay attention.
Papa had hit refresh!

Here was this guy, who was despised by his own people. 
No one ever invited him to dinner.  An invitation to eat together was an invitation to be friends.
No one spoke to him. 
He was shunned.

Jesus was passing by and Zaccheus was curious to get a look at him after all he had heard about Him.
Well, being short he couldn't see a thing and no one was about to make room for him to see, so he had no choice but to climb that tree.
Not if he wanted to catch a glimpse of the Rabbi everyone was talking about!

Jesus was surrounded by a huge crowd that was moving along with Him.
Not one in that crowd payed any attention to the little man in the tree.
No one but Jesus.

He overlooks not one person.
Not only didn't He overlook Him, but He sought Zaccheus out.
Just as He does every single one of us.
Then Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus' home for dinner.

The message was clear to him.  Jesus was saying He wanted to be friends with Zaccheus!

To this point I do not think this little guy had thought beyond having his curiosity satisfied.
Jesus had.

In that moment, not only did Zaccheus realize his true heart need, but it was met!
All because Jesus saw, really saw the man in the tree.
He saw one whom He loved and He saw one who was meant to be so much more than he was at the moment.

The refreshment for me was the message Jesus was giving when He invited Himself to dinner.
How He knows us and how He loves us!

Brennan related a story of a student who attended a college where Brennan was ministering.
It was evident that the young man had a very poor self-image.  He told Brennan that he wished himself dead when he looked in the mirror every morning.

He received a gift one Christmas that turned everything around for him.

His father accompanied him on the bus for part of the trip back to school after the holiday.
His father was a very straight-laced, proper man.  Most likely not very demonstrative.

When they reached the end of the route, they got off to wait for the next bus that would take the student back to school.
A few rough men that worked with the father were across the street and they began to belittle and heckle the poor young man.  They were just confirming once more what he believed about himself already.

His father turned to him and embraced him, kissed him firmly on the lips and told him that he and the boy's mother were extremely proud to have him as their son and that would not change under any conditions.

This demonstration silenced the unruly men and changed the young man's whole perspective.
He was loved!
Everything changed for him.
He was refreshed.

That is what happened to Zaccheus.

This morning I discovered that I had read the wrong devotional yesterday.  I had turned to the wrong date.
Or did I?

Today's passage was found at the end of the Twentieth Chapter of Matthew.
It is the story of two blind men that Jesus healed.

Another very familiar passage.

These two continually cried out to get Jesus attention.
The crowd kept trying to silence them.  There were more important things happening than two blind men!

Two crowds following Jesus.
Focused on Jesus.
But were they really?

Weren't they focused on their own desires and thought they had found the One who would satisfy all of them?
Who had time to notice some poor blind men?
Or a little man sitting in a tree?

Once again Jesus noticed.
He stopped and once again gave his focused attention on the seemingly insignificant.

He knew what they wanted and needed, but asked anyway.
Our God loves for us to ask.
And He loves to answer with so much more than we could even imagine.
These blind men did not only get to physically see, but came alive spiritually also!

Ephesians three, verse Twenty puts it this way,
"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,"
Exceeding abundantly!

Verse Twenty-One follows naturally,
"to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen."
Amen indeed!

Now are you refreshed?
I am!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Joyfully Sharing Words

What is the word I am looking for here?

Papa, in His sweet grace, gave me a fresh boost of joy this week.  He knew that I was drooping a little thanks to being in the grip of the cold from the land of misery.
I am trying to put a name to the role that He revealed to me.

In scanning the dictionary the closest I came was wordy.
Heaven knows I can be that at times.
(Ask my family and friends, if you doubt this.)

However, wordy doesn't fit in this instance.

It seems I will have to create my own.


Oh wait!  How about Bearer of Words of Good News?!

As anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows I love to read.
I also love to share those books that have touched my heart.

All kinds of books, as you also know.
Many genres are represented.

Those books often stir the hearts of those to whom I pass them on.

On Jesus and my adventure with One Thousand Gifts quite a few hearts are moved by Ann Voskamp's words.
Though my book club's review was not that favorable, mostly because of the writer's style, each and every person that read even part of it was changed or challenged in some way!  And all for the better!
Papa is so wise!

This book is now in the hands of a lovely lady that has been weighed down by grief for too many years of her life. 
I received an email not long after she had begun the read.  The note was to thank me for sharing such a healing, refreshing, liberating book.
Is Papa wise or what??

One of my favorite people is listening to my copy of C S Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia on CD right now.
She is gaining a fresh view of our beautiful Savior.  While listening one day He gave her a glimpse of Himself.
Papa's grace and wisdom just makes my heart skip and my feet want to join in!

My son Matt and I share the love of anything written by Stephen Lawhead.  Our all-time favorite is his masterful work, Byzantium.  It follows the adventure of an apprentice monk.  He is taken from the simple life of the monastery out into the world.  As he travels, so does the spread of Christianity.  In both we see the Hand of the LORD.
Faith and God's faithfulness shape him and the world around him.

My friend who holds this book, at the moment, began to read very reluctantly. 
At one point he remembers wondering why he was bothering to read it.
Then the story captured him.

We spent time on the phone the other day while he shared how the book had gripped him, though he doesn't yet know exactly why.  He barely could get the words out for the emotion behind them.
Did I say how Papa's grace and wisdom delight me??!!

It is so much fun to not only share a book with a friend, but to be party to them being touched by our Living God.  It is a joy!

Some might wonder why this so excites me.
Let me share an experience I had the other day as way of explanation.

As usual my i-pod was plugged in while I was driving.
And as usual it was set on random.

Besides an album of Max McClean reading the book of Revelation, I also have one that he put together for Christmas.
It is appropriate for every season of the year.

His voice is deep and would lend itself to Shakespearean works very easily.  I wish I could play it here for you.

The selection that began to play was Max quoting from the Book of Matthew, the Twenty-seventh Chapter.
"Pilate said to them, 'Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?'  They all said, 'Let Him be crucified!'  And when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the multitude, saying, 'I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves.'  And all the people answered and said, 'His blood be on us and on our children!'  Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.  Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him.  And they stripped Him, and put a scarlet robe on Him.  And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'  And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.  And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him....Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.  and about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?' that is, 'MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?'...And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit."
The selection ended and a song was next:
"What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!  What wondrous love is this, O my soul!  What wondrous love is this that caused the LORD of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul."
I do not believe any other words are necessary.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


This week has been a very slow one. 
Is it over yet?

Not much doing, because I have been laying low. 
Not exactly my style, but I have been enduring.

Tonight I should be at my friend's home meeting her precious new grandson, whose mommy was in my Sunday school class, but here I sit with my box of tissues.

If I had been well and had been off to her house I would have missed my son's call. 
He needed to talk.
It was a good talk.
Papa knew.

What a comfort to have such a wise God as my Papa!
So loving!

This morning during my quiet time with the LORD the emphasis was on His enduring love.

To endure is to bear, suffer or persist.

His love bears the weight of the world.
His love suffered the weight of our sin.
And His love outweighs everything else for all time.

The First verse of the Fifty-Second Psalm reads,
"The loving kindness of God endures all day long."
I went to my concordance to see what the original text says.  The words all day long really mean always.
His love endures always!

Endures what?
Whatever is thrown at it!

This is the message I will share with my friends at the rehab tomorrow, if I am well enough to go.
Please, Papa?

I would like to tell them of His exquisite love.

The Message puts Psalm Thirty-six, verses Seven and Eight this way;
"How exquisite is Your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings."
When we encounter the love of God, we encounter a thing of beauty; something that lasts.
How easy it is to run to the One that we are convinced loves us unconditionally.

There's the rub.
We need to be certain of this love.

If the Cross isn't enough evidence of that love then nothing else will be.

While we wrestle with this He waits patiently, His love persists.

First John Four, Nineteen doesn't read,
He loves us because we first loved Him.
No it reads,
"We love Him because He first loved us."
He waits with open arms in total, pure love.

Our loving God tells us in Jeremiah.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness." 
His very essence is love.  Earlier in that fourth chapter of First John it says,
"...God is love."
In exploring what love is we cannot forget the Thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians.

These words  and they fit my God too:

Bears all things
Endures all things
Never fails.

I hope I have drawn a small, but clear picture of the LORD God.
For thirty three years I have been getting to know my God and He is definitely love!
His enduring love has inspired me to endure too.
I hope my rehab friends can get the picture.  They need endurance.

In His loving arms we can all endure!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ramblings from a Sicky

Okay Papa, this is day three of not feeling well and I am beginning to get a little cranky!

Even as I began to type that sentence I felt a little self-conscious and uncomfortable.
Truth be told there are people, who are dear to me, some of whom read this blog, that are struggling with health issues that are a whole lot bigger than mine.
I know that they do not like being sidelined any more than I do and it is not just a matter of days for them.

I try to keep that in mind, so my perspective is not skewed and I definitely keep them in prayer!

Meanwhile I am still slightly grumpy.
I try really hard to exercise Monday through Friday.
It took a whole lot of years to get me so disciplined. 
I do credit Mindy for being a true inspiration in that department. 
Of course, the fact that she and Matt moved in here with a treadmill didn't hurt!

Anyway, I almost want to exercise these days and then my health gets in the way!
Rest is the order of the day.

Besides the sore throat and congested head, along with aches and pains there is the problem with my right eye.  I am seeing flashes of light and have floaters.
This began a week and a half ago and I am tired of it!
Aging is not for the timid!

The eye issue meant that I had to visit my eye doctor. 
I was overdue as it was.
I had been putting it off.
You see I really dislike eye exams. 
By the time the examine ends I am wiped out for the rest of the day.
I do not like anything or anyone near my eyes!

My sister Chris is the same way.
Our eyes are very sensitive to light and cold.  They tear very easily.
In days gone by when stores had more coffin style open freezers tears would run full tilt the entire time I was in the store.
I walked the aisles wiping at my tears.
A lovely sight to behold..

I have said all of that just as a way of explaining why I haven't updated this blog in five days.
It hasn't been that I couldn't find anything to share, but that I couldn't hold onto my thoughts for very long.
My thinking has been fuzzy.

One topic that I do recall wanting to address here arose as a result of my visit to a fast food establishment.
Every year or two I get a craving for a chocolate shake that is offered by a company who will remain nameless.
And it isn't to protect the innocent.

I placed my order with a young man who was standing alongside the speaker into which I would have normally been giving my order. 
He asked me if I wanted whipped cream and a cherry with my order. 
No.  Did you understand that I wanted a shake?
Yes, he did.
It seems that whipped cream and a cherry come with it now!!

What the shake itself isn't enough calories??  We need a little more fat with it; cholesterol making fat at that!

I think there is a plot to make us all huge!
Do you want to super-size that?
I guess if you can't be a super-model then you can aim to be super-sized!

Well, there are a few other thoughts that surface and then nose-dive again, but nothing very coherent, so I am going to sign off and go make a cup of tea.

I might need a few Girl Scout cookies to go with it.

Oh no!  If I don't get back to my exercising routine soon I might just become super-sized!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Joy of Words

New books find their way into my hands on a very regular basis.

There is whatever one my book club is reading...
Right now it is the Life and Legend of Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean.
The minute I held this book I was transported back to the nineteen-fifties!
Ms Orlean's words bring you into the time and place that she is writing about.

I thought it would be a light read, but as the author shares the story of the dog's handler, Lee Duncan, my heart breaks for him. He has had a life filled with loss and disappointment.   It certainly adds a depth to the story and reminds me of how privileged I am to have my Papa to go through the ups and downs of life.  How I long to see every heart find their way to Him!

Another current read is one that was on Papa's list for me.
He brought it to my attention through a good friend who suggested I pick up a copy of The Artist's Way, written by Julia Cameron.  He thought it would benefit my ministry with my friends at the rehab.

Oh, I am certain that it will benefit them, but not in the way Will thought.

I researched the book and found it intriguing enough to order it.

After a page or two I knew that this book was intended for me.
It is a twelve week course designed to set our creativity free no matter who you are.  The author's premise is that we were created by a Creative God and thus we have the potential for creativity ourselves.

One of the daily exercises entails writing, first thing in the morning, three pages of whatever comes to mind.
This has to be in long hand. 
That means with pen or pencil in hand.
Not my favorite way to write.
My handwriting reflects my dislike for the physical act of writing.

The hand cramps under the duress of the activity.
My small motor control has never been good and it is whose feet I lay much of the blame for the poor penmanship.
Yet, in spite of my reluctance to write sans the keyboard, the words are flowing!

I am surprised to find myself at the end of a third page and find that I could easily continue to find words to add to more pages.

They are treasures.
It is a joy to be surrounded by them.
By choice I do just that every day..

The Word of God.
So full of rich words.
Words that speak to my heart and direct my steps.
They come to mind to guide me through the day; to comfort and encourage and, of course, correct.

Words from others who love and follow Jesus.

One of those word dispensers is Greg Asimakoupoulos.
I am glad that I only need to write his name and not try to pronounce it!

I came across a little book of prayers written by him.  Maybe I have mentioned it before?
It is Prayers from my Pencil.
Wonderful little book!
He calls the prayers Personal Psalms for Everyday Believers.

Today's offering was entitled The Nerve to Serve.

The aim of Your love
is the flame of my heart
(kindled and fueled by the cross).
Across borders and cultures,
bridges and seas,
I am called
to carry the Light,
to the skeptic,
the beggar,
the confused,
and the proud,
to those who are lost
in the night.
Faithful Father,
please fan into flame
my desire and nerve
that the aim of Your passionate love
will be served.
In Jesus Name
I humbly pray.
I made it my own.

Mr A suggested that we read the first six verses of the Sixth chapter of Isaiah and then write an acrostic for Send me.

I did.

Solely Yours
Emptied of Self
Never looking Back
Delighted to Serve
Many joys to share
Everything from You and for You.

I love offering my words to my Papa.  He is so generous with His.
He is faithful to His Words.
By His Grace may I be as well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lessons from a Little Kitty

Our little white Sushi girl is warming up!
It has been a slow process...

This small girl had been found in the street with a broken leg.  She had clearly been mistreated.
We knew it would take some time for her to feel safe with us.
We were willing to be patient.

The process of adjustment began with a number of weeks in hiding.
Since discovering, trapping and then releasing her she decided to take a few chances around us.
How bad could we be if we set her free of that cage?

At first this little kitten would appear after our supper for her supper and allow us to pet her....

if we approached her very carefully.

Sushi loves to be petted and you can hear her purring from another room.

Still it had to be on her terms and definitely do not try to pick her up!
I did and she immediately panicked.
She must have felt totally out of control and vulnerable.
Anything but that!!

Every few days the little one would show up a little sooner and with time began to stay out of hiding for the night. 
As cats are known to do, the two play a good bit of the night. 
Once in a while I hear them running at top speed up and down the hallway.

They are playmates, which makes me happy. 
That was the idea.
One of their nighttime games is the cat version of soccer. 
Their ball has a little bell inside it, which jingles as it rolls across the floor.

Once morning came and everyone had their breakfast, our silky, soft Sushi would disappear.
That would be the end of her until it was supper time once again.

To this point she did not attempt to sit on a lap or even jump up to sit next to us.
Stir Fry on the other hand is not hesitant at all!

Monday morning I awoke at four o'clock and after a little tossing and turning realized that I was not going back to sleep.
Rising I headed to my little sanctuary.
Sushi greeted me as I came out of our bedroom and followed me into the room.

She would have been happy to have me bent over petting her for a good long time, but the position is not a comfortable for me, so the petting ended.
Besides I decided that her desire for more attention might just lure her closer.

After a few minutes she got up on her hind legs and nudged my hand.  I gave her a few pats and then moved my hand further away.
In time I had a kitty curled up next to me.
The petting and purring recommenced.

After a short while a little white head was resting on my lap, then a paw and then bit by bit the body followed!

Both kitty and human were very content.

Last night it seems that two sweet kitties took part of their play time to our bed!
I awoke to many paws scampering over me.  :)

In thinking about our timid kitten I couldn't help but see the comparison with how our relationship with Papa develops.

Just like Sushi, the scaredy cat, we often hide from our God.
We don't feel safe.
Maybe we don't feel worthy.

Self protection holds us back.
What does He want with us?

He wants to love us.

I was listening to a talk by Brennan Manning and he said that he believes that God will ask us just one question when we stand before Him.
"Did you know that I loved you?"
"Really loved you?"
What a gift, if and, when we discover this truth!

For many of us we learn this slowly.

We experience His loving touch, but dare not presume that it will last.
Others have said they loved us or should have loved us, but instead we felt pain.
Will He be any different?

Our God knows it takes time.  He is patient.
He sets about to woo us, very gently.

Moses writes in Exodus Chapter Thirty-Four, verse Six;
"Then the LORD passed by in front of him (Moses) and proclaimed, 'The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth."

Once we taste and see how good He is we keep coming back; seeking more.
And He is waiting.

Having climbed up into His lap myself I can say both the child and her Papa are content.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Parental Arrangments

The path of motherhood began fifty-three years ago for me.
That is the day that my mother came home from the hospital with my youngest sister.
She walked in the door and handed me the precious bundle.

I was eight years old.

Though it made for a strangle childhood it did not sour me on mothering.
I love being a mama.It is an opportunity to bless lives. 
An opportunity to arrange things, when possible, for an even greater blessing.

The role has kept me busy all these years.
Wondering, at times, why I did not consider a different path or two from the one I was on made me curious why it really never occurred to me.

On occasion others have had the same question and I never knew how to answer, but I do now.

Papa was arranging things in His infinite wisdom and grace to bless.

Let's fast forward to the present where I have a fresh example to share.

For eleven years I have been volunteering at a local drug/alcohol rehab.  With each year has come a little more freedom to speak about my Mighty, Gracious God.

Recently the residents have been asking for more time to talk about God.
I share their desire!
Subsequently I offered to visit a second time each week.

Of course the offer had to be discussed at the staff meeting, so we had to wait for the answer.
It came the other day and it was a no.  There was no time available in their schedule to give to me.

In receiving the news I felt an immense sense of peace.
Peace that passes understanding.

In the course of my day I gave the subject some thought and that is when Papa gave me His answer.

It felt as if He poured His perspective of the situation into me in one big swoop.
I cannot even say that I can explain it all, but I do know that His plan is all laid out for me to follow one step at a time.

Before I share the piece of the plan that I am aware of let me tie this in with my assertion that He is in the business of arranging things for me (and all His children).

Our God is Omniscient, which means that He knows all things....
Past, present and future.

He not only knows all things, but He knows what is best for each one of us.
I am always blown away when I consider that He works it all out for good for us as individuals and also for us collectively.

The story ends beautifully.
Actually, the ending is a most glorious beginning!

The ending of C S Lewis' final Narnia book, The Last Battle draws a wonderful picture of that beginning.

Oh, I know I digress, but I can't help it!!

So here is this amazing God that has watched over me my whole life, who has planted certain desires within me and who created me with a certain bent.
Certainly many choices I made were not from Him, yet in His infinite grace He has arranged things so that it all would come out well.

I don't know how He does it, but things get arranged in such a way that leave the way open for His will to be done.
I have had the great privilege to be the mother of four wonderful sons.  He is unfolding His plan for each one of them.  Regularly I recognize His Hand at work arranging things in their lives.
Such joy!

Opportunities to mother never end!
Now I use them to point to the perfect parent, our Heavenly Father!

Regarding the rehab, well, Papa let me know that I can make better use of the time I have.  With that thought came the first stage of the plan.  He just laid it out for me and I will be implementing it tomorrow!

The next step?
I did get the picture of spending lunch time with my rehab friends in the future.
If it is of Him then it will be and if not, it will be something much better.

Isn't it such a gift to be able to rest in Him and be anxious for nothing?!
He is doing all the arranging we need to simply watch and then follow.

I do believe He loves being my Papa!