Tuesday, December 16, 2014

365.304

My husband, a man of not too many words, told me he heard a good saying recently. After hearing it and considering the week I have  had already (ohmyland is it only Tuesday?)  I think I will declare his words very good.*

"A fish that keeps his (or her) mouth shut never gets caught." Bam!

Ok, well, maybe never is a bit extreme as a hook could catch the fish in the bum, or a fin or similar.  But I get the point.

Sometimes my mind is engaged elsewhere and I find myself indiscriminately sharing something that is quick or thoughtless.  Maybe it is a quick volunteerism because "I can" but the reality is, "I can" doesn't always mean "I should."

We are a world that has for the most part, become uncomfortable with silence.  We poke at it like the canvas of a very black sky, with sharp points until it is riddled with holes and the light shines through.  Afterward, we wonder what in the world were we thinking?  The truth is, often we weren't and the holes that were poked through cannot be repaired.

I think of the times when it would have been better for others to have not shared their opinion with me because they had no idea the amount of hurt it caused or the wound it left, thank you very much.  But the wounds that remain remind me that I too, make mistakes and I am indeed grateful for grace and the art of forgiveness.

Then there is a skill to silence others when they are speaking harsh things, untruths, or gossip that you are better off not knowing. State your boundaries without negotiation. It is ok, you know, to remove yourself from toxic waters.

fish fry

i'm as curious
and curiouser
as curious could be
gibbering jabbering
swimming along
if i ain't talking
i'm singing a song
there's no such thing
as silence in my day
why would I want
not to have a say
there's a multitude
of words
waiting to get out
so I open my mouth
and I begin to spout
advice I will give
because advice
is what is sought
and before I know it
by the hook I am caught.

*i am going to practice being quiet this week. Just sayin'

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

365.303

But Martha was distracted with all the preparations she had to make... (Luke 10:40 NET)

With the increase in technology, we have become a generation of multitaskers. It is a regular occurrence to see others with their heads down at stop lights, texting. Last year when we were driving to and from Pennsylvania, it was shocking to see so many people texting and driving. 

Four or eight lane highways and cars zipping in and out and there is a (mostly young) person in the midst of what I describe as organized chaos, texting. 

Overall, it was anxiety inducing to see this because it was pretty obvious (to me anyway) that all one's attention needed to be on the task at hand. Lives actually depended on it.

I wonder how many times God looks at us and thinks, "they are so busy preparing, they have forgotten the reason they are preparing." 

Which is a good thought to consider these next few weeks before the season whips by and we find ourselves in the doldrums of mid-January wondering what the heck just happened. 







Tuesday, December 09, 2014

365.302

More than a year hiatus. I was 63 days short of completing one year, and left the challenge and detoured a bit. This has been quite a year of personal transition. I am not sure if people would notice on the outside, but there has been a whole lotta thinking going on in the inside. It is like I hit 50 and slammed on the breaks, pulled over to the side of the road to check the map, and evaluate my position.

-what are the really important things that I want to focus on going forward?
-what has worked so far and am I happy with where I am?

I decided that mostly things were working well but that I could unbutton the proverbial sweater to the button that was missed, and rebutton it, lining it up properly so I will end on the right one.

That's not a bad thing. In fact, it's a really good thing.

I discovered that had I been given a chance, I would have done a few things differently. I would have shut up more in some areas and stood up more in others. And I am making peace with the fact that with some things there are no do overs, they just are. It is a humbling reality.

I am learning tons about nutrition and how food is linked to a whole bunch of nasties (mood swings, illness, depression, anxiety etc.) and basically that dietary recommendations and the things that have been happening to our food supply since the 80s, by and large without our knowledge (GMOs anyone?) have resulted in increased healthcare costs and overall pain.

I am learning that food security here on PEI is a growing concern.

I have made kombucha, kefir water, grown a bit of a garden, grown mushrooms, researched loads about sustainability and nutrition, wrote poetry, made new friends, connected with a few old ones….I have learned much.

I am also learning that like-minded individuals of all different backgrounds and worldviews can (and should) work well together to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. We can become overwhelmed with the amount of need around us, even still, when we help one, or a few, the ripple effect can be astounding.

I have learned that the God I serve and have served faithfully for 30 years is even more loving and full of grace than I ever gave him credit for.

More in the coming weeks. But for today, it's a start. Again.  I have had no big events or failures or out of the ballpark, home run successes over the past year, but life is good and I am grateful.

God loves  when we begin again, it's a fresh start  and he is all over it.




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

365.301


One of those days.  It seemed that at every turn it was bad news.  Phone calls, conversations, the newspaper, the radio.  A world gone mad.

I hear it often, "Are things worse?  Or is it because we are now aware of so much?"

I don't really and truly know the answer but I do know that some days the weight of the pain and sorrow and hard circumstances lies heavy on one's heart and thoughts.

And I wonder.

How, oh God, how do people get through the trials of life without you?

It is one out of the 10,000 reasons I am compelled to keep on keeping on, speaking words of comfort, of God's truth and of the ultimate hope we have in him.  Everything that we treasure, we lose over time; nothing is forever. Except Jesus Christ.

Our lives are vapour.  As I walked this morning, I was thinking that the dew on the grass will evaporate - just like our lives will, one by one, until this generation passes and another one takes it place, only to repeat the cycle.

Until.

Until God says, "ENOUGH. It is time! Son, go and GET MY CHILDREN!"

The trumpet will sound, and in the blink of an eye, Jesus will split the eastern sky and all that has been wrong will be righted. A sight that will simultaneously bring terror as well as uncontainable joy.

Joy-filled for those who know and love him and who will fall on their faces for their longing has been fulfilled and promises have come to fruition in their lifetime - promises that generations of the faithful have waited for and history is now complete.

Terror-induced for those who do not know, and who will also fall on their faces, not because they want to, but because they will have no choice except to bow before the  weight of the power of the presence of Jesus Christ.

In that moment, there will be a multitudes of thoughts; those of faith will be rejoicing that they are alive in the most exciting and glorious time in all of history.  Those who rejected the Good News will be thinking that what they are seeing cannot possibly be happening.  What they are experiencing is not what they believed, all this religion stuff is not real, or what they have been taught - and every false religions that man has dreamt up satisfy his own desires will be proven false.  Once and for all.

It will be a very costly, for all eternity, "uh oh."

But - in the long run, none of those thoughts will matter because they will be replaced with fear and dread, for at the very end of time as we know it - there will be no "do overs."

How can a loving God allow this?  Our loving God right now, puts up with the foolishness of man, sickness, and watching good people suffer - his heart breaking as we continue to use and abuse the planet and  hurt each other - yet he continues to allow free choice because he wants to give us every opportunity to choose to follow him willingly.

Call upon his name while it is still day.

If you have not read the Bible, try reading the book of John.  Humour me and before you start to read, address God:  God, please open my understanding and help me to see with your eyes and your heart.  Amen."

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1&version=NET

After a discouraging day yesterday I awaken this morning with this song on repeat in my thoughts:  10,000 Reasons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E

There are 10,000 reasons to worship his name today.  The sun comes up it is a new day dawning it is time to sing your song again, whatever may come and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.

Thank you Lord that in my joyful circumstances you are present and my life is fuller and richer because of your presence.  Thank you that in trying times and in times of uncertainly you are "even still" present and bring hope to all that appears hopeless in the natural.  

But you are not natural and there are so many things of you that we, mere mortals, cannot explain.  But this I do know:  You have a good and perfect plan and you have not forgotten your mission.  In this crazy world  where the created has forgotten the Creator, and pain and grief abounds, you are present, waiting to comfort all who turn to you.  

Even so, Lord Jesus come.  Thank you that I have read the end of the book and I know how it all ends.  And it ends good. 

For those who entertaining bitterness and anger, tempted to be sidetracked, help them to get their eyes off of what is -and on to what REALLY is.  Be the lifter of heads and hearts and remind your children that you have not forgotten them or their circumstances.  Help them to open their mouths and lift their hands in praise.  The enemy will be defeated, every time - even if at the moment it does not look like it.  The call of the Word is that we don't just run the race but that we finish strong.

For those of you who are reading and saying, "hmph, I don't believe all that 'stuff'." I implore you to ask yourself a simple question:  What if I am right?

What if, indeed.




Monday, July 15, 2013

365.300

Ps 17:8b Hide me in the shadow of your wings!  

Ps 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;  For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Ps 57:1b In the shadow of your wings I take shelter until trouble passes. 

Luke 1:78-79 Because of our God’s tender mercy the dawn will break upon us from on high to   give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Shadows appear dark and scary. When we turn our attention to  circumstances in the natural, seeds of fear and unrest take root in places that were lush with God's promises. They sprout like crazy because, believe me, fertilizer abounds:  naysayers, world events, pessimists, doomers and gloomers, unbelievers, mean-spirited people, discouragers - and the list goes on.

"What if?"
"How are you going to do that?"
"You could get hurt."
"Do you really feel called to (fill in the blank)?"
"That's ridiculous...impossible...silly....crazy..."

Well, I gots THREE things to say to you:

1. Circumstances are (ALWAYS) subject to change.

2.  You cannot trust your feelings, our own insecurities and fears can be your biggest roadblocks. 

3.  Don't - do not listen to naysayers, even if they mean well.  Open the Book. Get in the Word.  Listen to what God has to say.

You may be in the shadows and fear is overtaking you but thing seldom appear as they truly are. 

Look up.  

If there is a shadow blocking God's protective shadow over you, then do whatever you have to do (read the Word, confess, make a few changes, make it right, do the next right thing) and get out from under it and quickly get in line behind Christ so that it is his shadow only that you feel.

Nothing shakes or scares him.  He is Abba Daddy and he will fight on your behalf.

Then....breath.  Rest.  Relax.

Disaster avoided.  

Peace.

Keep going. Go and walk out God's good plan in his strength and good pleasure.  





Psalm 56:3  When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

365.299

Yesterday I saw a lot of young people wearing graduation gowns.  So much excitement, loads of proud families, grads standing on the precipice of great promise, and I found myself wishing.

(Actually, wishes are nothing more than little thoughts that occur in the split second of quiet, just before you take a deep breath and blow out your birthday candles.)

So yes, even though I knew that wishes are folly, I found myself wishing.

Sigh.

Wake up O sleeper, and turn your attention to prayer, trusting the One who was and is and will be forever more.

I then found myself transitioning from wishing to silently praying for and asking God's blessing and wisdom to be upon the young people who walked past me.

The thought that has showed up several times this past month and again arrived on the doorstep of my consciousness, shoving its way to the forefront: (much like Gatsby peering through the screen door waiting to be let in)

"I am 100% responsible for me.
I can trust God to do his part. 
You are 100% responsible for you."

God, please help me to remember...100 times a day if necessary. 

One cannot live on wishes, but one can live on God's preferred plan.

(Or not. Oh for the blessing and curse of that little thing called "free will.")  Because of free will, today I am reaping the consequences of choices made yesterday as well as from years ago. The question at hand is, "what am I planting today that I will reap years from now?"

Right now.  Here.  Today. You and I are at work continuously planting something.  If I am careful to remember this, hopefully I will increasingly endeavour to plant joy, kindness, love, peace, gentleness, and good things... 

Inquire.  Listen.  Test.  Check your footing. Honestly assess your resources. Act responsibly. Delegate.  Be kind. You don't have to win or be right or be the best at the expense of others.

Be the best you - and as you make choices - try to look at the bigger picture....and in the midst of choices when you're not sure which way to go or the way looks unclear - simply choose the  good, God-honouring path because good and God honouring is always right. 

So today, instead of wishing, I pray. I pray for my daughters, I pray for my extended family, and I pray for your children and family too.

I pray for those starting out on new roads...oh the joy and anticipation of fresh beginnings!

I pray for those who are on the path already and who are glancing back at the competition wondering if they are in the lead (doesn't matter - just keep running your race!)

And I pray for those who are nearing the finish line wondering if they have enough energy to keep going.  (No, you don't but God does - so trust, just trust - and He will bring to completion what He has started.)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

365.298

Your voice
Whispering
Calling guiding leading
Seeds of new
Sprouting from
Fertile good soil
Wake up
Dear one
And fall into your place
Without jostling
Standing shoulder to shoulder
Far away from the shores
Of usual and familiar
Choosing trust and
Honouring yesterday
With today's confidence
Stepping into 
His good and perfect will
My time your time 
His time


Saturday, May 11, 2013

365.297


4:21 a.m. musings....


"Don't hear what I am not saying." 

Sometimes I (or any given one of us) are not so great at communicating. It's a scary thought by times how words that leave one place and travel to another can at various points, be lost in translation.  I do wish that communication was easier.

I recall one time reading a few sentences that someone wrote. My mood as I read was a bit off as my interaction with the author hadn't been overly positive.

I felt offended and irritated and wondered how on earth I was going to respond.

I brought the e-mail to my boss and asked her to read aloud that which I had just received.

She did; and as she read with a steady, quiet and gentle voice, the few sentences took on a whole different meaning and suddenly the words seemed sweet, sincere, and non-threatening.

Same words, different filter.

Way good lesson.

It's why we should evaluate our own feelings and insecurities, joys, and sorrows, when we are finding someone or something affecting our mood, stress level, or actions.

It would be prudent to ask oneself, "Self, what lens are you filtering this information?" 

It is not easy to be that aware and often we are caught off guard, hearing things that were not actually spoken. 

And the enemy of truth; the enemy of all that is good; the nasty enemy of our soul, rejoices.

Bah.

So my thought, my prayer is that God would help me speak, write; communicate effectively with clarity, kindness of heart, honesty and vulnerability - all the time - or at least the majority of time!

And then on the flip side I genuinely ask for help to internally take a few seconds and choose the best thought scenerio when others are speaking or writing to me.

I truly believe that it is seldom someone's desire to hurt or destroy people, often they simply speak or ask from care and concern, "thinking out loud" moments and in all likelihood, their own filtered experiences is where they speak. 

The reality is, how can it be any different? We bring ourselves and our baggage to every conversation. 

It is a wonder when we ever get it right and perfectly hear another's voice.

All of it makes it super important to be listening and reading God's communicating to us (Bible) while we sort through life.  And sort we do - no worries, conflict, decision making or stress probably means you either live in total isolation or are heavily medicated.

Which brings me to this: a mind will reach a mind but a heart will reach a heart.

I want to connect at a heart level and I want you to understand me, not interject a million thoughts and experiences into the words I so often, unknowingly and with a lack of grace, convey. I need grace extended to me as much as I need to extend that same grace.

I think of what my girl Jenny, says to her puppy Gatsby, "gentle touches for gentle puppies."

Lord, please gentle me, gentle us all - and gentle our cosmic touches upon each other.  Then help us to choose the high road, believing the best about others and their intentions.

Let's go from there shall we?

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. (Proverbs 15:1 MSG)











Sunday, April 28, 2013

365.296

Orlando and back. I attended a conference and it was a watershed time for me at this stage of life. It will take some time to really process all that I learned and experienced. Hint: it's good, really good.

Over and over again I experienced God's care and love through others. It was way cool.

One of the things I have always wondered about is what would happen if someone had a heart attack on a plane.

You see, fear of unknowns is an area where I have struggled. I am sure there are reasons for that but I am not overly interested in figuring out the why's, I just want to be free in this, what has been a holdout area for me, and move forward - totally trusting others' plans and schedules without personal input.

My husband was supportive. "Go; you want to, I have every confidence this will be a great experience."

I turned 50 this year and one of the things I felt God speak to me for 2013 is "YES." I have the distinct impression that I need to just do stuff without analyzing every detail.

God is in the details, he wants me to trust him and others more, losing my personal preference and comfort zone agenda - in preference to His agenda.

Layers, levels, whatever you want to call it, God continually calls us to depth. He accepts us where we are but loves us way too much to leave us in that same place.
Such were my thoughts as I buckled myself in on flight #1.

"I'm not much of a fly-er." I told my seat mate.
"No worries, this is flight #2 for me, so I will explain everything to you."
And she did, step by step.
"So what happens if someone got sick or took a heart attack?"
"Well, likely there would be someone on board who could help. I am a nurse, so I could easily help."

I grinned, thank you God. I feel safe. Seriously, how amazing is God to put a sweet, friendly, helpful gal beside me who interacted, talked freely about her own uncertainties, and shared step by step, her newly acquired flying tips? A couple of times she looked at me and said, "normal, this is normal."

Before we parted, I thanked her for her help and asked if I could thank her with a prayer. With her quick agreement, I prayed for her - that God would continue to bless the work of her healing hands.

Flight #2. Sat with Bill. He answered my questions easily...

Orlando. Lots of great stuff. Still processing.

Flight #3. I tell myself to be calm. I have used the washroom, even took a couple extra walks into the bathroom just in case. I think I am good. Be calm.

I sat down beside a lady about my age. I told her I was a little apprehensive. We chit chatted a bit. She then told me she was a cardiac nurse in St. John.

Do you think I was getting the point that there was a theme here? If my biggest concern was being sick onboard, then God was assuring me. Thank you God, you are answering and blasting away my fear.

Chrisann was lovely and a lady of faith. We talked about lots of things and the flight felt fast. Similarly, I asked her for the privilege to pray a blessing over her and again, with quick agreement, did so.

"Did you ask God to bless my socks off?"
"I sure did."
She said she loved it and we laughed.

I could easily see that she is a fantastic nurse because she is a fantastic lady.

Flight #4. I am sitting on the aisle with no seat mate a moment or two before takeoff. I am having a dialogue with myself.

"Ok, you are seasoned enough now, you don't need nurse assurance, buck up."

I imagined God telling me that he has nicely provided every step of the way, and I agreed, thanked him and telling him it was fine, I was good by myself.

I then imagined him saying to me, "haha, just kidding, this time I sent you a pilot."

Yes, I laughed.

It turned out that this pilot regularly flew 15-hour flights in Tokyo and was headed home for a week with his family.

During turbulence I glanced at the pilot. No concern there.
Rougher turbulence.

"Is this normal?"
"Yes, no worries."
He explained why there is turbulence. "Just weather and temperature changes, all very normal."

Then I slept for an hour.

At the end of the flight, I thanked him for his company and for explaining flying stuff to me. I wished him a wonderful week at home with his family.

Flight #5. Puddle jumper from Halifax to PEI. Before boarding Bill explained to put my carry on in the luggage cart. Two young men in their early 30's were the pilot and co-pilot. I know at this stage of life they would definitely be wanting to arrive safely.

I loved the flight and seeing the red shores of PEI was sweet. I looked out the window and saw the red soil and I thanked God for his amazing provision for this 50 year old woman on the outside; 7 on the inside in regards to flying, and who needed to grow up a little. Or a lot.

With a sense of accomplishment, I whispered, "I did it."

No, more accurately, "We did it."

I thanked God for always showing up just in time, for Gingher and his enthusiastic and unwavering support at every stage of ministry; for Bill, Pastors Dave and Nadine, whom I have walked with for twenty plus years; and for Scott, who I am getting to know....for "well planted" nurses, and finally, for a pilot who was in need of a rest.

Matthew 6:26-28 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

365.295

I subscribe to a creative photography project called, "Humans of New York." Most days, one or more pictures are shared on my FB page of people that the photographer notices out and about on his daily jaunts around New York City.

One of the images yesterday was of a guy who appears to be inquisitive and daring enough to turn around in a booth and interrupt the photographer (who I assume was eating lunch), "sorry to bother you...how do you decide who to put on your blog?"

Interesting question. I am sure there are a plethora of reasons and that those reasons are different each day.

What strikes me and what I like about HONY is that the photographer is clever enough to pay attention; to take notice of what most people ignore, walk by, and dismiss.

Simple.

"We" are too busy to see the sparkle of life that is often hidden or missed at first glance.

Then we see HONY's photo. Within a short time there are thousands of "likes" and people from all over the world are saying how beautiful or attractive, brilliant, or courageous that person or persons are (yesterday's picture has 19,000+ "likes" at last glance).

Typically, there are hundreds of comments, lots of words describing the subject and I would say that for the most part, the bulk of them are positive, uplifting ones.

I say all of that to say this:

We. Miss. So. Much.

I am thinking that if we were more aware and consciously took the time to look up and out, making eye contact with the world around us, all of us would see a whole lot more beautiful people, situations, and things and that we in turn, would experience more joy.

Yes, beauty is subjective, but there is beauty and beautiful people everywhere...true beauty is essence. Beautiful on the outside does not automatically equal beauty on the inside; beauty on the inside always shines outward.

Beautiful people are in our workplaces, our schools, our families, our churches....maybe that person of intrinsic beauty just rang your purchase in at the local market and you never really noticed.

Have you looked? Really looked? Have you looked at your child asking you a question? Your spouse  across the dining room table? At the person in bed, weak and struggling? At the guy serving your coffee this morning?

Have you looked, really looked in a mirror and appreciated beauty without picking apart what you don't like? It is one's spirit, experiences, compassion, generosity, kindness; the sum total of life that composes real and lasting beauty.

See it all around you today. It's everywhere; you just need to open your eyes.

It's a new day. Embrace it and determine to act in kindness toward others walking out your own unique beauty, whether HONY is about - or not. Have a happy day.

PS - check out Humans of New York - neat! https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork

Monday, April 15, 2013

365.294

What if what we see
Isn't real
Only shadows
Of could be should be
Through glass we see darkly
Unveiled pulled away
And it is starkly
Evident
That illusions
Have fed our delusions
Invested in stuff
Now clearly fluff
That won't matter nohow
When time stops and
There's no choice but bow



Monday, April 08, 2013

365.293

I have journalled (see what I did there? I verbed a noun) for about 23 years, more on than off, and it took me some time to develop what really works for me personally - as well, my needs have changed over the years.

I remember exactly when I started to journal. I was in the hospital for an extended period of time (pregnancy), and had a pretty regular stream of SCOTN people popping in for visits.

One day, Jan Cowper visited and brought a scribbler of sorts. "It's to journal," she told me. I was intrigued.

She explained that lots of people use a journal, not as a diary, but as a tool to record what you learn in your devotional time (I didn't have one at the time). This sparked a desire to do so....*

This was a fairly new idea for me as the process began. The early years my journal was more of a diary, loosely recording bits of this and that I was doing. I wasn't particularly honest as I continually imagined someone would be reading them after I was dead - and I was particularly concerned that I leave a good impression (ha, ha, I was in my 20's and so mistakenly thought everyone was watching).

Then I went through a time (30's) where I became more honest with myself and started using bits of shorthand and code so that others wouldn't be able to read my stuff.

Turns out I can't really either because I have long forgotten the language of shorthand as well as the codes I made up.

Then I went through several years of using small, wire-bound scribblers with little pockets at the back. They were inexpensive and a perfect size for one's purse: about 6x5 inches. I think during that season I decided to unmask as I realized not many would care to read my ramblings whether dead or alive.

It was during this time (my 40's) that I needed the practice of journaling for me. It was necessary, as it became a place of safety for me where I could put my dreams and disappointments, talk about lessons I was learning, and write Bible verses and revelations that I was working through.

One consistency is that I always number each page and circle the number.

(BTW, I have stopped writing micro mini all through the margins of several Bibles that I carried back and forth to church for years (notes on 100's, if not 1000's of sermons) because I cannot see most of them now.
My husband's prophecy has been fulfilled: "You write so small there will come a day when you won't be able to read your own writing.")

Of course, if one is fortunate enough to age, life happens and even though in my younger years I was adamant that the things of age would not affect me, both gravity and the need for bifocals are now upon me.

I am sure I have mused about these things in one of the journals.

In very recent years I have switched to a lined, leather-bound or a Moleskine type journal. I have also started gluing pictures and bits of paper in them...additionally, I now write on one side only until the end of the journal, flip it over then travel back the other way until the book is full.  Because I only like writing on the RH side.  Unfortunately it took 20 years to figure this out!

I also require an elastic on the book as it contains bits of paper, pamphlets, ticket stubs; whatever. There are a multitude of business ideas, bits of conversations, loads of Scripture, and tons of words about what I am discovering about God, myself, others, and the world around me.

I have talked about my joys, my fears, and the things that are personal - sometimes so good that to try to explain to people they would lose part of that goodness.

Often you will see my journal lying about as I have simply asked my family to respect my privacy. To my knowledge that respect has been granted to me. This is a treasure I hold deeply in my own heart; that my husband especially, has respected me and my need to struggle through my faith walk on paper. There are many women who do not enjoy that incredible freedom. It is a gift beyond price.

This past six weeks I have attended a teaching by Mark Virkler and I find my journaling is once again being shifting and being massaged for the next season of life.

(Regardless of how this process evolves for me, I will always be a note taker in meetings, seminars, and sermons because that is how I learn and assimilate information.)

As I sat in the flow of the Holy Spirit, relaxed, waiting, and listening last night, I received the next step in regards to journaling:

"Glorey, you have spent 20+ years growing, working out your faith, telling me things I already knew but that you needed to discover. Now is the time to stop talking, and start listening."

And I laughed. It wasn't a correction, just simple direction for next. A beautiful word that brings tears even this morning as I recall them. I know that I know.

"OK, God. I got it."

I am excited about what God is going to show and teach me. His words. His life in me. Today I will do something I rarely do and will put aside my 3/4 full journal to start a brand new one.

This will clearly mark the "brand new thing" God is doing I think, in the body in general. Seldom do I have a new journal hanging around waiting to be used as I like to tend to search until I find the "perfect" one each time, but just in time, my youngest gal Jenny gave me a Moleskine journal for my 50th birthday (Apparently, this will be my 50's).

Red. It is like the red presidential phone; used for times of importance - a direct line that you answer on the first ring, alert to the voice on the other end and ready to act upon the direction received.

Red it is,
50's it is.
Perfect.
Bring it.
It is a privilege.

*studies and statistics show that teens deal better with life through the teen years and then beyond if they get into the habit of using a journal. (Who knew journaling helped with coping with life's circumstances? Thankfully Jan did and thankfully something bore witness to me that it would help me - and it certainly has). One small act of kindness that affected me all these years.  Thanks Jan.





I had no idea there were this many.  I have never seldom looked back at them except for the one I used for Encounter, which I have read many times because of its significance.  

Thursday, April 04, 2013

365.292

I don't know how many mornings I get up and say, "it's a new day" (hint, most) and I feel contented knowing it is a privilege to have another day to love on my family and enjoy all the people God has brought into my life; some for the long run, some for a season, and some for brief vignettes.

Thankfulness always changes our perspective from griping to praise, because the reality is there is always something to be thankful for. Sometimes we have to look for it as expressed in the story of the little boy digging through piles of horse droppings exclaiming "I KNOW there's a pony in here!"

Even while feeling grief and numbness, We can still whisper the words, "thank you Lord I loved so deeply..."

We build on yesterday and our history is important, but we live in today, so let's focus on today and the task at hand.

Even still, be sure to honour the past. It is because of the combination of the things, circumstances, and the people you experienced and encountered that has brought you to today.

Then, be sure to cherish the present. Not one of us knows what a day will bring. You may be sitting at your desk this morning and find yourself standing in the queue waiting to be judged in the next realm this evening. I know what it is like to wonder if the day was that day. 

It is, on one hand a scary feeling, but on the other hand, all that you believe comes into very quick priority and if you are fortunate to get past those moments and find yourself still here, then those moments become a part of you and you are forever changed.

Life is not a "take for granted" kind of thing. It cannot be, because it is too precious.

And lastly, be sure to look forward to the future. Yes, keep an eye on the future, but be mindful  not to waste today by attempting to live in it before it arrives. The "what ifs" will steal your peace and your joy.

Be where you are. Right now. If you are drinking coffee or eating breakfast, taste it. Often we eat so quickly we don't even engage our taste buds - it simply becomes fuel instead of an experience.

I think quality over quantity is a whole lot more valuable in most areas of life.

Do we want so many experiences, friends, jobs, events, that when we look back, we see our past as a blur, having lost the ability to focus because there was so much?

Or do we want to be able to pick out moments that have become bits of treasure because we took the time to rest, experience, and savour life's moments?

I look at little people these days who are in a frenzy experiencing everything. Life is fast! Social media, TV, video games, events and activities (sometimes more than one) every night of the week and it all makes me wonder if they will ever be able to enjoy solitude, quiet; the absence of noise and activity.

How will they ever figure out that learning to enjoy your own company in quiet is one of the keys to truly being able to connect with others?

Have we, as a society, gotten so tangled up with "busy" as we dragged our kids to everything that they fully assimilated and they now drag us to everything?

It is a task to consciously choose down times and not get caught up in looking over the fence at others who are constantly on the move.

As I look back now, I recall my all-time favourite moments of our children growing up.

It was the picnics all around the Island.  It was especially the 5:00 p.m. or thereabouts every evening, supper hour. We came together each day and debriefed. We fell into a pattern where each of us would be looking throughout the day for the story to share.  I often recall thinking, "oh, this is such a great story to tell at supper!"

And we all became storytellers. And it was wonderful.

Kids grow, one season leads to another, and before you know it, your parenting job is almost complete. The time is both joyous and sad and you find yourself internally thinking, "fly away, be free."

You still watch, hoping beyond hope, constantly praying that they make it with fewer mistakes than you did. Sometimes they come back needing the encouragement that mom and dad can offer, and that is OK....

I hope that they, too,  find for themselves the greatest thing I have discovered through good times, and the not so good, through sickness and health, sorrow and joy, chaos and peace - that real treasure isn't things after all.

Here are my top three treausres:

1. Relationships.
2. Relationships.
3. Relationships.

With Jesus, a spouse, children, extended family, friends....

Simple, oh so simple. Why do we forget? Why do I forget?                                                                                                                                                                       

Be reminded, our time is short. We live like there is always tomorrow but that is an illusion.



                                                                                                                  Summer, 2012
 

Friday, March 29, 2013

365.291

Been thinking about a phrase ever since I read it the other night.  That is typically a signal to me that I need to write in order to process it and move it along.

'It costs a lot to forgive, but to not forgive will cost you your heart."

I am not going to expound on that thought a whole lot, if you want to see what un-forgiveness looks like lived out...just watch for angry, bitter, controlling, unhappy people.  You can be sure that at the root of their unhappiness and pain is a seed of un-forgiveness that was allowed to take root and grow to full maturity.

Truth:  Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for others - maybe even more for you.  Please, choose to do the hard work of digging up those nasty, choking weeds because if you don't, they will crowd out the good things of life until all you have left is an overgrown garden of weeds that people do not want to visit.


Luke 23:43 32-32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The ultimate example of forgiveness:  "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Jesus. 
Had. 
Just. 
Been. 
Nailed. 
To. 
A. 
Cross. 

Not of his own doing or for his own sin...but for mine.  For yours.  For every sin ever committed; for every sin yet to be committed.

You see, we cannot obey all the commandments.  Ten simple rules. Not so much when you think of how many rules there could be... I have heard countless people judge others on those rules while disobeying them themselves, ugh, I have done it myself.

No one can keep them.  That is why they were given to us.  To show all that we are in need of Saviour, every single day.  It is only by God's grace that we have assurance of total and absolute forgiveness.

There is not one, no one, who is infallible.  Regardless of how "good" or how talented, or skilled, you are, it will never (ever) be enough.

Today is Good Friday.  It's a Good Day.  It is a sombre day.  It is a day to contemplate, to really think about the cost of perfection.  Oh, not the world's standard of perfection; no, that kind falls way short of God's definition. God's definition is sin-less.  Never a foul word, never an unkind thought, never a white lie....

Authentic perfection.  Bought and paid for by the blood of Christ so that you and I can live a truer and deeper life today and then someday stand in front of God and feel utter relief when asked by God "what right do you have to be in my presence and enter heaven for all eternity?"

Can't you just see it? Imagine for a moment, stumbling and fumbling with a sinking heart - much like the over confident student who thought failure was not an option, only to realize during the "do or die" exam that they have been an utter fool and are in no way prepared. This test, there are only two options:  pass or fail.  There are no Bell Curves or averages.

Then see the relief of that second where you feel the gentle touch of Jesus, the One you have walked with and trusted and come to know as your own...and hearing the amazing words, "Dad, this one is with me."

Whew!

You better believe it that today is Good Friday.  Because of today, passing a test that was designed for your failure, my failure, all of mankind's failure, is totally doable.  Not only doable, but done.




Monday, March 25, 2013

365.290

Perfect words from a true, tried, and tested friend - you know, the one that is a friend-forever-til-you-die-and-then-some" kind of friend who can speak brutal truth in loving kindness.

We have been talking about this season of (with purpose) discovering new: reading, music, travel, asking questions of God, friends, and of "friends I haven't met yet"... stepping out of my regular, same old comfort zone during my/our 50th year:

"If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good." (Dr. Seuss).

True that: But why wait until 50? Serving God has its ups and downs, after all, life is life - but it can and should be filled with joy and fun too!

When we meet with others with the purpose to worship and meet with God, there should be joy and freedom to express ourselves (however that looks), as well as time spent in reflection and consideration, quiet, and solitude.

Is it our business if another claps their hands (on or off beat, haha) dances, raises hands, waves flags...or stands/sits/kneels quietly in worship, praise, or prayer?

What is our business?

Hint: it's not your brother, it's not your sister, it's me Oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer - and to expound on that simple old song - also standing in need of being filled with a hope that does not disappoint, in need of (spiritual, emotional, and physical) healing, of God's peace, and in need of His promises for me and for those I love.

Yes, serving Christ is serious business; we are on a mission to positively affect others for eternity and point them toward Christ, but seriously, do we have to take ourselves so seriously?

Faith and trust in God is better caught than taught. Are you contagious? Do you use opportunities to bless and encourage? Or do you find yourself griping and complaining? (Oops, that too, can be contagious).

When is the last time you spontaneously spoke the GOOD things that you were thinking? Wrote a letter of praise for a job well done? Cried because of others' pain? Or out of so much joy that you can't contain it? Burst out in joy?

I think God has a wonderful sense of humour...after all, he created us and gave us emotions. Yet we find ourselves continually apologizing for tears, or loud bursts of laughter.

Don't apologize. And please, don't judge and come to conclusions about the validity of someone else's faith walk based on what you see in the moment.

Why? because you only see a sliver....and that sliver it isn't nearly big enough to correctly know if others are serving Jesus with a pure heart.

Truth:
Good trees do not produce bad fruit.
Bad trees do not produce good fruit.

Over time (TIME), fruit is revealed, it has to be, it cannot stay hidden. Eventually it becomes evident what kind of fruit people (or any ministry for that matter) produces.

Look around...what has been produced over the years where you are? Is there life? Or is there decay?

One prayer, one person, one act of kindness, one word of affirmation...can be life giving, breathing fresh breath into dead or dying souls, ones in danger of drying up and scattering with the next brisk wind.

Even still, look up. Be aware of that which is going on around you, but keep the bulk of your attention heavenward. Yes, be heavenly minded....but not so much that you are no earthly good.

And have some good, clean fun will you. It's a great day that had nil to do with weather or your work load or what others may think. This is the day The Lord has made, I will (choose) rejoice and (choice) be glad in it.

Go!

*Picture is of my stepdad, Howard, who was one of the most happy, fun loving guys I have ever known. He LOVED his God, he loved his family, his church, and man, he loved being a "postie".

I am thankful for his presence and his investment in my life. You see, it was his words, his example, his willingness to laugh...and cry, serve, and see the good in others, that really got me thinking (27 years ago!) about this Jesus that he served unreservedly and wholeheartedly. It's been fifteen years that Howie has been absent from the body but present with the Lord.

Sometimes when I hear the old hymn "How Great Thou Art" I imagine I can hear his clear, distinct, joy filled, swelling voice rising above the others coming from the right corner of our church, and I smile at the bittersweet memory. Hmph, maybe - just maybe, it isn't imagination.