Friday, December 20, 2013

Bearded, Crude and Honored

I just have to get in on the conversation....in some way. There is no sense repeating the resounding appeal for freedom of speech, so I won't go on and on about that. There is no sense in trying to convince people of the living and inspired Word of God being truth...that is the Spirit's job. And there is no sense in trying to talk people into believing you can disapprove of something and still love at the same time...they don't WANT to believe that. 

No, my many words won't change much. Still, there is that insatiable desire to say something...while there is still the freedom to do so. To feel the freedom of expression without too much fear of hurtful reactions. Now that is something worth talking about. Lack of fear. 
I don't watch much Duck Dynasty, but just enough to know that these people are pretty real, pretty happy, happy, happy and pretty fearless. To have the guts to go on national television as a Bible believing, Jesus loving, duck killing, anti-razor family, with cameras following the intimacies of daily life is beyond my timid imagination. It is no surprise at all to me, that Mr.Phil made this statement. In fact, I was kind of waiting to see how long it would take before someone asked him about this issue. As expected, he stood firm and blunt on his loyalty to the Word of God. I'm stunned at the public surprise. 

I admire anyone, whether I agree with them or not, who has the courage to speak the truth of what they believe (for the record...I agree with Phil...and the Bible...and Jesus). They might not say it as gracefully as I would like, but at least they are saying it, not hiding in the shadows, hoping someone else will take the bullet for their freedom. God calls us to be courageous. We deny Him in so many ways, so many times and yet He continues to give us opportunity to show courage and trust in Him. To beat the fear. 

Mary was afraid. She was about to be seen as an adulteress. The evidence would be clear and yet accusations untrue.
"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.'" Luke 1:30

Favor with God. Not with ratings, TV stations, polls or public opinion. That's the assurance of  safety. Courage comes from knowing God is pleased with you. Not how perfectly you said something or how well you perform nor how many people stand with you...but with your heart. When He knows you love and trust Him more than anything, especially your own understanding,..enough to throw everything on the altar of uncertainty...He shows up for you bringing peace and power unmatched. 

The Christmas story has a lot of fearful people in it...Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, even King Herod. He sends bright and powerful messengers of hope to His timid but willing children. There is no guarantee of the outcome you like, but there is a guarantee that you'll like the outcome. The cure for fear is faith, not loop holes, compromise and avoidance. Funny...the shepherds had the honor of being Jesus first friends. I think Phil would've fit in quite nicely with that group of roughians. God honors those who honor Him. Even  bearded, crude and politically incorrect ones.





Monday, December 16, 2013

It's All About the Presence

 
It's list time. In my head and on paper. I am not going to lie. I love presents. I love giving presents. Yes, part of the excitement of Christmas morning is those beautiful little bundles of surprise and fun under the tree. the week before the Day of intense shopping is magical and exhausting, but a big part of the celebration. God is a gift giver and so we should be too. Trying to participate in this tradition but not get caught up in materialism and overspending is not an easy task though. A concerted effort is needed to stay within the spiritual purpose of the presents and stay clear away from the commercial monster that hijacks Christmas so often.  

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Wise men gifts. Although you won't likely find these products on the Walmart shelf, they can give guidance as to what kinds of gifts to buy. Gold...valuable, long lasting and fit for the little kings and queens we love so much. I try to stay away from the dollar store as much as possible for this reason. Frankincense...pleasing to the senses and healthy. Sure, treats are in order at this time of year, but not so much that it makes us sick, fat and depressed. Gifts are supposed to be a blessing to our bodies not a curse. Myrrh...representative of Jesus future. It foresaw the life of suffering He would face. Our gifts should reflect the person receiving it. It might be something I could use, but it's not for me. I love gifts full of thought and personalized.

The material side of gifts, however often distracts us from Emmanuel. Jesus came diapered and cooing centuries ago. He lived life, then died...just like everyone else. When a loved one passes on, we sentimentally talk of them still being "with us" in spirit. We long to feel their presence in quiet moments and the reality of the person is acknowledged...insisted upon and relied on for comfort and strength. Why don't we do that with Jesus? In fact, He is the only one in history who actually proved, in physical form, that He is no longer dead and communes with us still. The only one to cheat death and continue to be with us in spirit. The only one to reveal Himself to us everyday. He fills a heart with hope, help and happiness. Spending time with family at Christmastime is wonderful too. But there is no gift like the immediate presence of God. His presence is for now. It is more valuable, useful and eternal than gold. It is more pleasing and healing than Frankincense and it is more tailored to our needs and useful for our future than Myrrh. 

The movies, songs and cliches of the season seem to focus priority on the gifts and the presence of family and friends. For many, these things are not possible...poverty, sickness, work, broken relationships, or unusual circumstances. It's a reality. So should that ruin Christmas? If it does, then you've missed the point. The point is Emmanuel. GOD with us. Not anyone or anything else...just God. If you have the presence of God with you, then you have Christmas. Mary and Joseph were alone in the stable with God. In their hometown, with no family of friends visiting and no glittery gifts wrapped and under the tree. God alone was with them on the first Christmas morning...and that was enough. 

The gifts and the people are wonderful blessings that make the season bright, but if you can't have these, you can still have the essential. The presence of God Almighty. The one who loves you most and best. His presence will fill your heart with every perfect gift and bring the joy Christmas promises. 






Monday, December 9, 2013

Irish Spring and Jesus

Homelessness. I don't know that word. I've always had a home. I've always been loved, cared for, spoiled even. It's real though and I should be familiar with it. Why are some people without home and family? I don't know...alcoholism? Laziness? Mental instability? Misfortune of some kind? Does that change anything really? They are still hurting, cold and hungry. Some stand in soup lines with black eye and black soul. Some sit quietly with their 13 year old daughter who should be at a cheer practice or listening to Mom read her Little Women. Some reeking of alcohol and dirty shirt. No goal, no plan, no hope. Walking to nowhere in particular. 

I awkwardly offer him a blanket and a backpack filled with necessities, with a little fear of response.  Dirty hands rummage through the bag and gravitate to the plastic bag of toiletries...soap...he points longingly at the Irish Spring box and smiles at the sight and scent of cleanliness. Forget the jerky and the peanuts, mitts and hat...it's the soap. The cleanliness he longs for. He smiles and nods at me in gratefulness. I gave him a bar of soap for Christmas and he is happy.

The black-eyed man stands fearfully in the corner. Full of confusion and helplessness. He wants a bar of soap too. The kind that cleans the soul. The soul that has made too many wrong choices that keep leading him to this soup line. We offer him cleansing. The gospel wash...scented with Jesus' sweat, foaming with His precious blood and rinsed with the powerful resurrection. It's still his choice. The soup kitchen will always be there for him, but he needs to know what the choices are. We need to make sure he knows the options.Tell them that they aren't really homeless, they just don't know the address. Give them the divine directions home.

The friendly, small lady tears over the package of brand new underwear. Brand new. What a treat. Worth crying over. She continues the tears as the gospel track is read to her while she hugs the Fruit of the Loom delicacy. Again...cleanliness. I thought  hunger would be the issue, but I don't think it is. I know the joy of a hot shower, scented shirts straight form the dryer and smooth minty teeth...everyday. I also know the joy of freedom and forgiveness after a cleansing moment on my knees, secret confessions before my Father who knows already. He waits for me in the soup line. With my black eyes, dirty fingers and unchanged clothes. He must wonder why I insist on staying that way for so long. 

We long for cleanliness. He offers it, no matter how dirty we get, and yet we stubbornly continue to roll in the mire. I don't know why. Maybe humility is needed. Humility to just give up and let go of MY way. How many times do I have to end up in the soup line before I try HIS way? 

Humility is also needed to go there and offer the soap. You risk a little. Rejection, discomfort and aesthetic deprivation for a time. Just for a time. Humility is also needed to admit that it could have been me in that line, hugging those new undies. It might seem unlikely that I would let myself get there, but many of them were "somebody" once upon a time...they have stories. Images of God, tainted and broken. Not homeless, just lost.

"There, but for the grace of God, go I." -John Bradford

We really aren't much different. Just circumstances. I'm going to have a hot shower today...she won't. I can hear the fireplace crackling warm as I type..not so for her. New things adorn my body and home...today, she gets something new. Simply because I did something unusual. But with love and prayer we can both have Him...and He makes all things new.









Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Cashier...My Friend

 

Everyone has things in life that kind of bug them. Then there are the things that really annoy them. Then there are things that make them have to close their eyes, fake smile, go to that happy place and wait for time to cover over the war zone happening in their mind. For me, that place is in the grocery store line. All of the interesting tabloid stories, scents of Juicy Fruit and and elevator music cannot soothe the time urgent beast in me at that time.

Heading to that inevitable torture chamber with my cart full and overflowing is always a gamble. A stressful, life altering gamble. Which line do I pick? That question could change your life forever. It seems 9 times out of 10, I pick the wrong one and end up cracking open the survival kit of stress balls, breathing techniques and scripture verses. So, I pick a line based on years of observation and research: how many people in the line. How many items each one has. How many children distracting the buyer and most importantly...speed and efficiency of the cashier. Cashiers. Unaware of how they control my life for that precious half hour of my day. I have to confess, every time, the frustration I experience watching mine, scan soup cans in virtual slow motion while talking to the customer about the nice weather she is missing. My blood boils vigorously (still fake smiling) as I watch customers in the lanes to my right and left...unchosen, fluid happy lanes...slide through the exit. 

It's the only time I really pay attention to numbers. Making certain notice of my competitors on either side. The ones I would be directly behind if I had chosen their line. I count each one as they leave. One or even two can be reasonably accepted, but as three, four and five pass me, I hold back the eye rolls and sighs. Fake smile.I start shifting my weight...I can't leave my grocery cart full. I can't skip over to the better line with the PhD cashier...or can I? Another gamble. Stress level increases. My kids start to notice as I am not clearly answering their questions. They begin to assess the situation too. I fake smile at them and rub their undisturbed heads. No need for them to suffer too. 

No, if I skip to the better line I'd be behind my present place and God only knows that someone would need a price check and the temporary, beautiful flow would stop...just to teach me a lesson. It happened the other day at Tim Horton's. Two in front of me...10 went through beside me...I skipped over to that line and got through even before the people I was behind in the dreaded line! Sometimes the gamble pays off, so you have to think carefully over these things. The kids ask again about buying gum and I finally notice one of them almost through an entire Archie comic book that they shouldn't read unless buying. Good kids, breaking me of my selfish thought process. I regain my composure, abandon the casino I think I am in and accept fate. I am stuck. Live life in the line I chose. Stop looking around at my neighbors who look like they are better off. Refuse negativity, regret and pity parties. Stop counting. Stay away from Casinos. Look at what good is around me and wait patiently on my bored cashier who wants to be my friend. At least she wraps meat well and doesn't put it in the bag with the Romaine.

Sometimes grocery store line experiences are full of life lessons that really can make a difference.




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Church in a Circle

 

Fear...adrenaline...prayerful...relief...concern...faintness...exhaustion...wonder.

That was the roller coaster of  emotion I experienced on  Oct 21.

Being typical rural Maritimers, we heat our home with stuff of New Brunswick. Thick, scented cozy wood. Lumbermen have been in my family for generations. My ancestors ran lumber mills.  My dad manages his own woodlot...for fun. My 18 year old son has worked at a lumber mill for 4 summers. My husband gets out  there every Autumn to fall trees, cut and stack them for a warm NB winter. It's in the blood and contagious.

I can hear the loader at the local lumber mill my son works at humming during the hot summer days as I work my garden or coffee break in my hammock. It is my call to prayer. Anyone working with power saws needs constant prayer. Four summers of mercy and grace in the area of power saw injuries. I never pray that much when my husband goes to the woods. I guess I should have.

One brief second of a chainsaw with a mind of it's own has dictated the course of our lives for the coming year. My husband didn't lose much blood, his leg or his life, but he has lost control over his schedule for awhile and physical wellness. Surgeries, therapy and hard work are predicted. God has prepared him for this. He spoke to him through His Word shortly before the incident which  gave him much peace in the woods. He provided us with the vehicle we would need for the numerous hospital runs he'll have to make and the people...oh my...the people.

In ministry, you often deal with people on the giving end...it's what the job is. Never have we, in our lives experienced as much love, help and commitment than in the past two weeks. I have so many muffins, soup and fruit in the hospital refrigerator, I might get kicked out of the kitchen soon. My kids have a dozen or more welcoming homes to stay in while I'm with Guy. Visitors and well wishers by the droves surrounding us in a protective, strong circle. This is the family of God. People who would give practically anything to make our lives easier and our minds rest. You don't fully realize the power of God's love in His children until your back is against a wall...or your leg is half off...sorry for the crude, but literal analogy :)

That's what it is. Not the "stuff" necessarily that they provide, although it is needed, but the assurance and peace that we are taken care of. That no matter what we need, physical or spiritual, it will be provided, by hook or by crook, by these relentless, resourceful, compassionate, lovers of Jesus and...unbelievably so...us. We lack nothing. Never feel alone. Watch the hand of God love powerfully. Awesome.

It's not humanitarian. It's Goditarian. Followers of Christ do these things. He broke the trail of self sacrifice and empathy. Many people are nice and willing to give, but to give till it hurts...without end...to people you may not even like very much...that takes Jesus.

It's true that under the pressure of a trial is usually when you see the power of God best and His closeness...His love...His hope.

To Him and to all who have given in some way...thank you...God bless you...and may I be there for you someday with arms wide open.






Sunday, October 20, 2013

Go There...Yes...There

For "church people":

Comfort. Safety. Belonging.
These three things may be getting in my way. I still want them and can have them, but they need to drop down a notch on the priority list. This whole 40 something experience has me looking at life a little differently. The older you get, the more you realize that life is never as "fun" as you imagine it to be, personal accomplishments don't satisfy for long and you cannot live entirely for your children. My purpose and passion in life is to know God more and to share Him with others, so they can have true joy...forever. Those 3, previously mentioned addictions sometimes distract me from my purpose, and steal abundant life. Those three things are second prize. I've never been one to be content with second prize. I wonder what first prize would feel like?

Jesus was radical. He was always kind, always holy, but always doing things a little out of the ordinary for the church. His passion for His Father and for people...hurting, misguided people...fueled His life, His days and His weekends. He didn't waste any of His 33 years by sitting comfortably in the synagogue or at Peter's house watching Kendrick movies (which I love) for too long. He went to the uncomfortable places. The placed where He didn't fit in. He sacrificed His pleasure and comfort in order to be with, get to know and love however He could, people unlike Himself. I must say however, if you are not at all uncomfortable in placed void of Jesus, then you might want to spend a little more time at the synagogue or Peter's house...before you go there.

I fear criticism. I fear mocking. If I do as Christ did, I will likely receive both from opposite sides of the Jr.High School playground. Or maybe I won't. Maybe people will see Christ in me, preserving my integrity and using me in a way that makes earthly things dim. Maybe I will find that first prize. That experience of making an eternal difference in someone's life. Not just providing someone with  momentary relief from earthly woes, adding friends to my facebook page or receiving honor among men, but being there with God's Word at that moment when another wanderer reaches for Jesus and his life is transformed forever. Knowing the angels in Heaven are rejoicing, Jesus is crying joy and God is reunited with another of His children. To be part of that party. Indescribable. 

I've always loved people. I care deeply for my close friends and the woman in the car beside me at the red light, with perfect hair and a coffee, who seems stressed. I wonder if she knows Him? Boy, that would really help her. Now that I love God more than ever, there is a very passionate desire in me to see the two of them get together. I guess I'm a match maker. It is really no direct benefit to me, I just love romance and happy endings. 

I need to get out there...where the hurting people are...even if it is uncomfortable and dangerous. I need to teach my kids how to love that way too. Jesus did it and commanded us to do the same...trusting Him to protect us. Yes, we might...likely will, get hurt or even damaged, but everything good costs something. He knows what it will cost us and won't let us pay a cent more than necessary. He will not lose one of His own. Love people radically. Love God completely and forget about yourself.

 Fist prize.

Abundant life.








Saturday, October 5, 2013

Joy Again



This could be the first chapter of a very long story. It's a love story. A story of God's love overcoming adversity, reconstructing a broken life and then...like most of us warm blooded women love...a tall, dark and handsome romance becoming a reality. I almost hesitate to begin writing for doubt that it's really happening.

For the past 9 1/2 years I have been walking very closely beside my sister-in-law  as she tried to rebuild her broken heart and broken family. God obviously sent her to us at this fragile time in her life. With all of our hesitations, fears and lack of understanding, we believed we were following God's leading. We poured ourselves over the scriptures, lived in a constant state of prayer and took careful note of experiences that seemed to be God directing. With all of the seemingly obvious direction from God, we still had doubt. Nagging, chronic, unsettling doubt. Doubt that kept us in the boat, hesitant to step out and take His gentle hand and overcome the dark waves.

Her relationship with her Savior grew stronger and became the love of her life. Still, it seemed Mr.Magnum had some divinely placed position in her future...but nothing ever became a reality. Year after year passed. Many people saw what we were seeing, but not a word was spoken about it. An unspoken understanding. A promise under the Christmas tree, reserved for that special day, only to be dreamed of and anticipated. It was unusual and unconventional. Today, people jump into love, act on feelings and leave caution to the wind and then call it "really living". As much as this passionate romantic wanted to encourage that philosophy, I could see the wisdom of experience and trusting God's Word to enter into love His way. So, we waited...and waited...and waited...

You learn to worship while you wait. That's what makes the living abundant. Committing yourself to living firstly for Jesus, then for other people. Amidst differing opinions, wishing the past could have been different and fear of looking like you are doing something wrong...like Mary...you just trust His Word and obey. People talked. People assumed. People thought the worst of them...but God knew and they knew that they were being faithful to His leading by waiting for God's "go-ahead". The wait had been long, but necessary to prepare them both for what God had in store. I can only hope that I would be so patient and self-controlled in such a situation.

The joy and assurance in the air is full. The wedding bells play the song of a fulfilled promise. The preparations are a little surreal. It's one week away. A day ordained by God and set aside to proclaim His faithfulness and redeeming power. It will be a worship service, prayerfully, reflecting God's love for His bride the Church and a testament to His faithfulness and living power.

God's simple promise to her:

"There will be joy again."


Monday, September 16, 2013

Heckels and Handshakes


I heard a great song the other day. It spoke of being brave and saying what you want to say. Experiencing the freedom of letting the words fall out that have been kept inside for so long. It's really a great song...great dance tune too and I agree completely that we all  should be able to do that, but I'm afraid we can't. We can't experience the pleasure of freedom that is supposed to follow, I mean. With a blog and facebook, I  exercise my freedom of speech regularly. Most of the time my words are met with tolerance and even encouragement, but a few times they have not. I thought cyberpeople understood that sometimes you will not agree with what you read, and yet they still react surprised, miffed and ready to take censorship action. I myself get miffed at things I read, and once in a blue moon, write a challenging response...AFTER I have calmed my emotions and chosen kind words. 

In no way, do I expect people of opposing viewpoints or even people who post "inappropriate" pictures to remove them for my sake. I just "turn the channel", stop associating with that website or block the information from my eyes in some way...flee. Isn't that what the Bible instructs us to do? Yes, the Bible. If that is offensive, then may I suggest you delete my blog from your bookmarks, because you will read a lot about it here. The principle of God's Word are offensive to more people than I expected. Removing things from our sight that may get in the way of our pursuit of purity and Christlikeness is somehow seen as a bad thing. When did a movement toward goodness and purity become so hated?
 It's not that I think I am better than others, it's just that I want to become better than I have been. It's not that I think my kids are perfect, it's just that I believe they can be much more than the world thinks they can be. We are not animals that respond to hormones and desires with abandon and helplessness. We are souls with the potential for great self discipline, moral excellence and independent thinking. It's ironic that Christians are accused of letting "religion" control their thinking, but so called atheists or non-institutional types are completely unaware of the invisible grasp humanism has on their thinking. Everyone worships something. Everyone has a god or is their own god. The over-confidence of the latter always baffles me.

History should remind us that speaking out, although ideal, can bring much hardship. Be prepared for tomatoes and heckles as well as hearty handshakes. I'm thankful that we don't live in an age of sticks and stones because name calling is easier to take...although the tide may be turning. Be encouraged. When given the opportunity, express yourself with respect and love. Never look for a fight, run from worthless babble and prayerfully post inspiring thoughts. Continue holding a high moral bar for your kids, reminding them that less clothing, self-worship and careless expression don't mean more freedom. Thinking of what is helpful for others first, then yourself makes for people of character and free souls.

I still like the song. Praying that I can be that brave someday. And then again, as a person with SO much desire to express herself, I think maybe it takes more courage to NOT speak sometimes. Praying that my world will appreciate EVERYONE'S opinion and stop hating Jesus, His teachings and His disciples so much. How did goodness become so bad?



Friday, August 23, 2013

Solid Rocks



Our 22nd anniversary has just passed.
We ate Chinese and took a walk together along an Atlantic beach. 
We talked about the future, our aging bodies and collected colorful beach stones from the sand.
It was short and refreshing, like a brief sigh in summer air.

Of the many things I could say, both complementary or comical, there is always one thing that I appreciate about my husband. No. Not appreciate. Desperately need, require...like oxygen and water. On days like today, which come around often, I battle the mind. When emotions take over my thinking like a tsunami and I can't seem to find peace about anything...when music soothes but can't anchor...when chocolate pleases but can't nourish...when work distracts but can't rescue...and when friends hug but can't commune...Guy breathes for both of us. To have someone whom you trust that much...

Thankfulness isn't quite enough.
 Those stones from the beach aren't formed quickly and easily...
But they are precious.





Monday, August 5, 2013

My Body Building Dream


 
A legal fiction. This is what CS Lewis called the idea that "all men are created equal". Useful and necessary, but not by any means always desirable. He says that marriage is one place that it does not belong at all. Elisabeth Elliot says that we, men and women, were created different in order that we might become one flesh. I quote these two because I have teachers. No doubt, I have my own ideas and opinions, but my teachers help me refine, grow and solidify them. These two teachers loved the Word of God and followed Him, as I am trying to do. We together, flawed, fallen and forgiven, share and love the truth of God. They help give words to my notions.

Equality is a strange word to me, needing more. First of all a frame of reference. When I was in university, I was roughly chastised by my female classmates for my lack of zeal toward the feminist movement there. I had to carefully explain that I cared very much for them and their need to be valued and healed from chauvinistic blows, but they needed to understand my history. The shaping of my gender opinions came from gentle and loving hands. My father and my husband both have such high standards of love for me as a woman and a person, that oppression never had a chance to grow. The desire to "put men in their place" never entered my heart. My men are not like that. It never became my soap box. 
My parents are celebrating their anniversary today. Their marriage is a good reflection of Jesus and His bride. It tells the truth about the Gospel. Although imperfect, it follows God's design and it's fruit is that of the Spirit. I watched it up close for 18 years. Both of them submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ, loved and respected they way they aught to and enjoyed the "grace of life" as God calls marriage. It is still going strong. 

If I did have a soap box, it would be this. Embrace the gender differences. Fulfill your God given role. Delight in your design and stop fighting against an impenetrable wall...or glass ceiling. It's not real, this idea of gender equality. Yes, our value is the same. We are both equally loved by God and equally able to receive His salvation and life protection, but we are no where near equality by definition of nature and ability. It's like asking a mother which child she loves best. A ridiculous question. They are all so different and yet we value them the same. God made them for different purposes, therefore they have different roles to fulfill. For centuries, the genders have stood looking at one another perplexed and amused. We will always be from Venus and men from Mars...and that's intentional. 

Until I submit to Jesus and His plan for my life, this gender design thing will never be accepted. There may be things I love to do that only a man can do...like compete in mens' Professional Body Building...all cut and greasy...but alas...my chances are pretty slim. My husband may wonder and marvel at the experience of conceiving and carrying a living soul within himself, but if he just keeps believing in himself and never gives up...just maybe...

Accepting truth is freedom. Letting go of  Sinatra's "I Did it My Way"...I really dislike that song...frees me to have true success and happiness. As Elisabeth Elliot titles one of her books, "Let Me Be a Woman", I plead the same. I plead with the Church...let women do that which God so creatively designed us to do. If we don't, the fabric of family and society will unravel. We need to fulfill our role to build up the body of Christ...not our own. What is it that we are called to do? Pick up your Bible and read...unbiased...with no agenda...all of it in unity...led by the Spirit.




Monday, July 29, 2013

My Still and Silent Sport




I did it again. Another week of sitting on the sidelines, watching athletes, or at least sports lovers, do their thing, Intensely. Passionately. Even with injury and pain. How can you be such an integral part of something you don't care about? It's the play of waterski camp that I don't care about. Just the skiing. That's only one third of the week's activity. Much joy and entertainment come out of watching others succeed, reach goals and have fun. That's what I do there. I rejoice with those who rejoice. I feed them, bandage their boo boos and listen to their hearts. All the while, praying for the week to bring them one step closer to the God I love and want to share with them.

 
It is a gem of a thought to understand that the outward activity is irrelevant to the inward. Paul said, "I have become all things, to all men, for the sake of the Gospel". I have become a waterskier for the sake of the Gospel. All winter long I am a hockey mom for the sake of the Gospel. God gave me sports loving children and husband. If I am going to relate and share in their lives, I need to stretch myself. Fortunately, no one is shoving a hockey stick or a long rope in my hands, but my watchful eyes, my clapping hands and cheering tongue are fully engaged. There is great joy in that involvement. The campers hopefully see a family working and playing together even with differences.


This week was a special blessing in our camp experience. My oldest son, in his final year as a camper along with our next door neighbor friend, as a new camp counselor, shared their testimonies with the campers. I sat tearful as I watched many years of prayers and loving these two boys bear fruit. My son, a few years younger than Johnboy, would sit by the window every day, waiting for him to jump off the bus to play. Johnboy's patience with this little kid was beautiful. This little kid's admiration for Johnboy was endearing. Growing up together. Growing away from each other. Now growing beside one another in Christ. Two young men now, handsome and tall share a hug. A brotherly hug. A mother watches from a distance holding joy deep in her heart. My own silent victory lap.

This isn't about waterskiing. It's about love. The love of God that transcends commonalities. It transcends time and distance and history. These boys followed very different paths and ended up for a moment, in the exact same place, recognizing their kinship and Kingship. This Agape love adds Philos love which fulfills the second greatest commandment. I don't have to love waterskiing to be in this place, just loving God with all my heart and the people around me is necessary. 

My best friends have always been jocks. My family members are sports nuts. I think I am destined to be a cheerleader...minus the short skirts and pom poms. I carry camera and Band-Aids. Or maybe I'm the coach...I do carry a clipboard and chew gum intensely. When the day is done and the athletes sleep, I paint a picture or write a story of sacred, privileged mother and wife moments. They need to be loved and that I am passionate about.




Thursday, July 18, 2013

Supernatural Hobo

 

"To find yourself, you've got to start right here."
 A line from a Keith Green song. 
Wandering minds and dreamy intentions can get lost and off-line from life. Why do we think that we have to go somewhere else or do something different in order to discover and arrive at the place we need to be? Circumstances and locations are not the cure to our maladies. Our problems are within us. We take them wherever we go, whatever we are doing, they are still there. As my Mother-in-law always says, "You can't run away from your personality". Nor can you run away from your problems. They go with you because they are problems within you, not dependent on the external person or situation. We let them be problems...when they don't really have to be. 

The key is to figure out how to take away their power and hold on you. I don't know exactly how to do that yet, so there won't be a perfect remedy in this scribbling...only a direction pointing. How do I distance myself, not from the people I love or my situation, but from their hold on the health of my soul? Finding my total wellness in Christ alone and free from the grip of earthly dependence. 
"You say you want to find a place where people are not lying.
If you find a place like that I'll go there too."
Another line in the song.
There is no such place...not here...not yet. So the writer is directing us to start right where we are. Wherever that is. In a beautiful mansion, a jail cell, a hospital bed, a high rise office, a suburban split-level or a dessert caravan. It doesn't matter who you find yourself yolked to in some way. A spouse, a business partner or a difficult child. It does not matter where you are or what you are doing, the treasure, the answer, the cure is in your soul. In your relationship with Jesus...or lack thereof. When He becomes so real and practical to my everyday, I become free from the problems. When I hear His words loud and clear, see His direction and experience the joy His presence, I become free. His love, power and beauty distract me from those stresses in my physical world. I live supernaturally.
Start in the morning. Drink deep in the morning. it's no where else but in His Word. Not in Yoga, not in exercise, not in healthy food, not in music and not in any other reading. Some of these can enhance the antidote, but can never replace. It is a potent Word. Without it, we just band-aid everything. Start here. Open the Word before anything else. Let Him speak to your bruised and bleeding soul. Let Him direct you and comfort you like only the Perfect can.

I love people. I love accomplishments and living life to the fullest. But I can't love these things more than Jesus. My fear is not that zeal for these things will diminish, but that they will become my god. That I will need them to be "just so" for my happiness...it'll never happen. They need to take a back seat to the Jesus and me relationship. It's the only thing I can control and has no boundaries. I can take it anywhere into any situation and have the joy at my asking. Freedom. The grass in not greener on the other side. More green can't fix you or your problems. More green is only good for vitamins and paying the bills...both of which offer temporary, surface help. Go for the eternal.

I have run to the end of the highway and not found what I've been looking for. To find yourself, you have to lose yourself...right where you are. The world will tell you the opposite...how is it doing? I happen to be listening to the theme song for the show LOST as I write...Life and Death. The show quite reflects our battle over truth, life and death. The one thing I might agree with concerning the show...besides the fact that Evangeline Lilly and Josh Holloway are beautiful people...is that you have to get lost to find the truth. Lose yourself for Him. Free fall into Jesus. Right where you are...in whatever situation you might be in. Let Him free you in a stationary vacation. The only luggage you'll need is prayer and the Word of God.





Saturday, June 29, 2013

Whose Graduation??

 http://hspbooks.com/hspblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/red-shoes-graduation.jpg
It's been about 13 years since we started. 
That first day of abc's and 123's. The first official attempt at being solely responsible for his education. Having the papers of permission to teach 30 kids in public school made no difference in my confidence to teach this one, energetic, willful boy. It was an exciting, confusing and prayerful journey...for both of us. His comedy and capability kept me smiling, while his passion kept me on the edge of my impotent throne. Never did I rely more on my Jesus than in his teen years. Jokes about the teen years are funny...until you have one. Not that they are horrible, not at all...they are wonderful. It's the roller-coaster ride on the rails of thin glass that make for sleepless nights and worn out knees of prayer. How will it go? What will he do? Does he care? 

Research papers of little thought, undone worksheets and wading-pool deep books of pleasure can get a mom down. Eventually though, as you keep the gems of  good work, the light starts to shine. Leafing through dusty boxes of early school work kept, has reminded me of moments long gone, but forever etched in his memory. It's like I wasn't even there. I taught him this? He produced this? The boyish scribblings of dragons and ball games. His personality beaming through the paragraphs in obvious fashion. The playful doodles on the sides of the math pages. My red letters of instruction marking the pages. Years of learning sifted through and golden moments caught and preserved. That's what you must do in order to see the big picture. I had forgotten. I am now reminded. 

It's not that he knows everything that he needs to know for life. Hardly. It's that he has practiced how to learn well over and over and over and over. A little better each time. Culling the information into the corner that is best for him. Finding his niche and training him up according to his bent and God's will. A privileged and most qualified teacher guiding because no other could know and love him more and be more motivated to drag him to success...whatever that is.
All the book knowledge and experiences can never compare to the development of character and spiritual wisdom. The enlightenment of who God is and a birth of love for Him has made every pang of raising him worthwhile. The increase of the Holy Spirit being given to him is my reward. It is all I need. I can pass the educational baton on to the Spirit now, knowing he is in perfectly Divine hands. Mine, wrinkling, shaking, guilty and folded in prayer. Letting go of the reins.
This mother teacher thing is heavy. It's joy and pain. It's desired and feared. It's of God, through God and to God.

My first graduate is upon me. An event I never really thought about much. It seemed too far away. Is he ready? Did we do a good job? Where are the awards, scholarships and calls from universities?? Snap my fingers...remember what I have learned. Success doesn't look like that. It looks like a young man rising early to seek the Lord, drumming praises, holding me protectively in my fear, loving siblings and honoring Dad. There are many books to be read and work to be done for him. My hope is that this foundation will warmly and strongly hold him up as he lives out his calling.

"Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind."
 Ecclesiastes 12:13





Saturday, May 18, 2013

Of Hermits and Monks




What do Helen Keller, Albert Einstein and John Bunyan all have in common? One had a serious health issue, another a brilliant mind that caused him to be labeled as a reject and the last, the unfortunate experience of unjust incarceration. Each of them had to endure a kind of isolation. Helen, without sight and hearing, no available communication. Albert, the isolation of social rejection (home educated as a result) and John, years separated from family and society, left alone in a prison cell. At the time of their "misfortunes", the loneliness must have been tormenting. Hope of being a blessing to society must have been laughable, yet here we are, still enjoying and enhanced by each one's gift to the world, long after their death. What others would have seen as a detriment, God used as a blessing...through isolation.
New Brunswick's current Lieutenant Governor, Graydon Nicholas, spoke at a homeschool function once.  I will never forget what he said. Many of the most influential people in history went through a time in their life of some sort of isolation. He indicated that times of isolation are good for people. It allows for uninterrupted thinking, focus and prayer. All three of which are rare commodities these days. Homeschoolers often are accused of "isolating" their children, as if it is always a bad thing to do. Obviously, it can be bad in some cases where motives of fear and control are involved, but is it always??
We decide to take the 12 or so years of formal learning into our own hands and give our kids the best we can to it.  We decide to remove the noise from those years. The sea of peer voices that distract and contradict ours. Us...the ones responsible for what they actually learn. Peers and officials will not stand before God to give an account for our kids' education...the parents will. Not that I think I will never make a mistake or an omission, but if I am the one that will be charged either way, then I may want to do the work myself.
 One of the things that is most important to me for my kids to learn about and develop is the ability to think and take "every thought captive". If allowing them to be alone with their thoughts and activities for a long period of time will help this, then bring on the isolation. It sounds like a dirty word, but don't let it fool you. The ability to be alone with your own thoughts and not be afraid, depressed, productive or even bored is a precious gift. It builds strength and peace and allows for communication with Jesus the Life Giver. Nations that slowly and subtly had this removed from their people suffered communism and even destruction. It ruins individual and community health and freedom. 
 I also read an article lately that claimed the most valuable asset for the next generation, according to business owners, will be attention. The ability to stay on task and finish a job is desperately lacking in young people today. The constant interaction with people via social media is crippling the mind.  With the presence of texting at your fingertips, you cannot be left alone...ever. The world of interruptions is distracting people from thinking. If we can't think anymore, then we will be controlled. Not that texting and the sort are all bad, they are very convenient.  Just like anything else, abuse of a good thing will harm. I'm fairly sure though, that most young peoples' use of social media, in both content and amount, is not very well monitored nor controlled.
You don't have to be  handicapped, in prison or homeschooled to be isolated and alone, however. We can all remember that certain kid in school, always alone, never looking up, teased, unaccepted, desperate. Isolation is in the mind. With the opportunity and ability to think, reason and pray, lonliness and bondage can be the new strangers to a person, no matter where they find themselves spending their days. Homeschooled or public, isolation occurs, in ways beyond our control. It should be used for our growing. Seen as an opportunity to exercise this thinking task. In fact, maybe it can be something to be perused or valued. I think I am finally understanding possible motives of hermits and monks.
God made us social beings, however. Eventually, we need to come out of our wood, shake a hand and have a conversation. He wants us to depend on one another, so we don't become an island unto ourselves. Too much "me time" could make me a self-centered blob of uselessness. Have a party. Join a club. Play a sport. Text your overseas buddy. Just learn to see that quiet place for one as a sanctuary. Don't avoid it, go there often and use it for prayer and reason.



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Watching Her Watch Him



This Easter, I watched some of "The Passion of the Christ" again...as I'm sure many did. Only this time my gaze was fixed on the mother-son relationship of Jesus and Mary. Motherhood can consume a girl. Maia Morgenstern effectively made me feel just a little bit of what Mary must have endured. Her dumb shock, her compulsive following, and her instinctive nurturing that was often denied. I was watching a mother doing the hardest thing she could be asked to do and she did it well. God chose this young woman to mother His son. I think it might be good for me to watch her example and try to follow. Her humility and humanity would not want to be worshiped, nor prayed to. I have to try to blind myself from the blue clothed statues made by man and picture her as a meek and gracious sister, not on a pedestal I bow to, but as an honored role model to be learned from and appreciated.

She was, in God's opinion, highly favored, humble, inexperienced and close to God.

"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,  for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name.' " Luke 1:46-49

 "God has done great things FOR me"...she saw herself as a recipient of His great love. "Humble state of His servant"...she was contrite and lowly. "Glorifies and rejoices in God my Savior."..praises God alone. "Call me blessed"...she wants us to see her as a recipient of His blessing. 

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

She trusted her life to God and what His Word says, no matter how hard or easy that would be. Whether or not she fit in, had friends, had fun hobbies, got any "me" time, got to travel or ever found time to get her hair done.We aren't even told how she and her husband got along nor how many date nights they were able to have together. We don't need to know how old Jesus was when he started sleeping through the night, what sports she let him play nor how much TV she let him watch...you get my point. We are only told about how much she loved and trusted God.

I often want more guidance than that, but that is what matters at the end of the day and the parenting conferences. I will be in God's Word everyday and He will show me the "hows" to do this job well. As long as I am filled with His Spirit and loving Him with all my heart, as Mary did, He will guide.

Happy Mothers Day!!



Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Beautiful Ugly

 
I've been thinking...that's usually how these writings start. We are all searching for "happiness" or whatever you want to call it, but we are all looking in different places, hoping some divine voice will call "you're getting warmer...WARMER". For some it's in pleasures, others it's in a job well done, that special "someone" or creative expression. The search continues for years and years. Dead-ends prevail or else we wear out the hopeful idol. And sometimes, our time runs out, way before we thought it would. 

What if we are living life upside down? What if the secret to contentment, peace, happiness, strength and hope are in the opposite direction? Like a big stinkin' city traffic jam. Everyone is frantically stalled, fender to fender. Anxiously trying to get through, to get ahead. Every once in awhile, one guy gives up. he wriggles out of the common line, turns around and goes the other way. It seems absurd. That's not the right direction. But he's desperate for another way. He is really unsure of his decision, but he is convinced that his current course is not working. Losing his place in line is risky, but he cannot bear another horn honk, curse word or revving engine. The stillness is killing him. Faith and hope turns him directly around. A glance at the back of the line is not enough. Leaving his car and running to "check it out" back there is not enough. He has to  get out of line, turn around 180 degrees and drive...as fast as he can.

 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Mark1:15
The traffic is heading straight for a place called Self. Self is a place exactly the way you want it to be and the capital city is Me. It's laws command that you believe in yourself...your own strength, your own will and your own truth...custom made to your own desires. It's a Utopia. I like the idea of living there myself. The problem is that it's not real. It's a great idea, but pure fiction. If it were real, then the greatest people in the world, those who accomplish the most, make the most money, have the most power or popularity would have reached Heaven on Earth, but they don't. Sometimes they even take their own lives in the hopelessness of reaching another dead-end. The end of the highway. The end of pleasures.

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."
Proverbs 14:12

Brokenness. Before we find that place of peace, joy and contentment, we need to make a pit stop. It's a nasty and painful place...in the direct opposite direction most are traveling. You don't need to stay there long, but you need to sign the guest book at least. This place is wall to wall mirrors that show the hidden places of the heart. It reveals the ugly truth about what we often think, desire and do. The things that no one else may know. When you stand on the border of Good and Bad, with one foot about to cross the line, you start to realize what you are capable of. Every monster out there that we see in the news doing unspeakable things was once a precious baby with all the potential for good that we have. God's grace holds us back. Once we see the possibility of our own destructive nature, something changes. The fear, disgust and shock of that mirror's reflection is a critical moment. That horrific, but necessary moment is the key to passionate love and transformation. It is what turns us around, motivates us to really love and be loved.

 "Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:39
Contrite spirits. That feeling or showing or remorse for sin or a shortcoming. That brokenness over our failure and incapability. That is what ignites the power. That is the weakness that gives birth to strength. That is what furnishes the home where Jesus wants to dwell. Once He moves in, we get on the right road and move forward enduring every bump, turn and stall with indescribable peace and joy. His love for us, for that horrific mirror image we denied was there for so long, compels us to love Him back. Acceptance, faithfulness and unlimited hope is ours, never to be lost. That brief moment of darkness, that pit stop, opened the door to unending light. But most won't go there...not even for a moment.

  "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."
Isaiah 57:15

Some people begin their journey with Jesus at the pit stop of ugly mirrors and others experience a rejuvenation of their faith there. Either way, that's where the love is born or grows.  Being loved unconditionally by a perfect and all powerful God is the key, but we cannot appreciate that until we see how undeserving we are...what a great price that love costs. The uglier we see ourselves, the more beautiful He makes us feel. Opposite. Upside-down. Other direction. Turn around.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9

North American affluence and humanistic thinking...money and self esteem...often hide this turning point from us, as well as our own fleshly avoidance. Don't be fooled. Helplessly go there. It'll only hurt for a moment, as long as you let it go. See it...hate it...then give it away to the Healer. Ask Him to take you there, whatever the cost...He'll cover you. It's a beautiful ugly.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33








Friday, April 12, 2013

A World Without Buscuits

 

Home. 
Probably the most important place on the planet. 
Images of open verandas, trampolines, neat flower beds and a "room of their own" for every family member comes to mind...but not to reality. Home is a place not a theater stage or a store display window. A good home does not come easily and needs constant care.If left unattended, it will get up and run away on you. The people that live in the building are the home. The souls that rest, eat, work and learn there are the home. It should be a place or nourishment, education and safety. Every world leader, artist, scientist, preacher and Nobel Peace Prize winner had one. If not kept properly, it will produce bad fruit and will run away to join the circus.

I don't like politics, but we are all political to some degree and have opinions. When Hon. Keith Ashfield made the "Good Wife" comment recently, regarding his compliment to a young woman for her baking, these opinions started to fly...including mine. He said that she would someday make a good wife because of her culinary talents. She wasn't offended and neither was I. We "homemakers" aren't usually invited to share our expertise in the media, regarding issues of this kind, so we meekly carry on, holding up societal integrity by the laundry line. I'm not bragging about myself, I'm bragging about the job.


They say that homemaking is SO important and SO vital, but when push comes to shove, society refers to our nourishing as a wasted life. Those were the words of deputy NDP leader Megan Leslie:

“Look, his comments were disrespectful. Come on. Grace, you're a great cook? You're going to make a wonderful wife for somebody? In other words: there, there, stop planning for your future.”

It hit me hard. Even another woman. I planned to be a wife and mother...full time.

Me:  "I planned to give my husband and children the very best of myself, my talents and my time. Opening a restaurant to use my culinary skills never crossed my mind or heart! Forgive me, but I long to feed my family. I long to faithfully believe that behind every good man and woman is a totally sold out Mom, spending every ounce of energy on that short time with her children and that grace of life called marriage."

  Political Analyst Lisa Kirbie:  “In what universe is it acceptable to tell a young woman that she is going to make someone a great wife one day?”

Me:   "My universe...and I am Canadian. It is not only acceptable, but an honor."


  Megan Leslie:   “Wow, leave it to the Conservatives to encourage young women to get married as part of their economic action plan,”

Me:    "My kids have been running a small business since the age of about 6, making money and providing for the community. They couldn't have done that if I hadn't planned to get married, have kids and be HOME for them. My husband makes the money and I make it happen...unashamed. I believe that small business makes the economy go 'round...you're welcome...just doing my small part."

Please tell me you don't think being a wife can be reduced to biscuit making???

*Quotes taken from Huffington Post Canada, by Ryan Maloney,


I'm not trying to mock these successful women, I'm simply using the costly freedom and technological opportunity to stand up and speak my heart. I think it might do some good for the modern woman to realize that we don't all agree on this issue. On what "success" wears...a power suit or an apron?  I don't even wear aprons, but you get the picture. This little blog is my cyber corner of the techno-world where I can express my heart, where others might stumble and see who else lives in this great land.

I may have been able to become a Wendy Mesley, a Glenn Close or a Marie Curie, but I CHOSE not to try. I PLANNED to cook, laundry, clean, teach and love. Who knows what God might do with those efforts. It doesn't matter though. We all have the freedom to make that choice and we shouldn't be "offended" by another's choice. I'm not offended by the power suits. It's just not that important to me. Why should I offend you? Unless you think full-time love, service and sacrifice is NOT important? I think that's it. I think service sacrifice and even marriage are dirty words these days. All the melodic slide-show presentations highlighting the "small and humble" things of life are just a token applause. What is REALLY important today is being on the winning team, personal gratification and self-love.

The media does not represent our country's women well...but we are too busy forging and supporting heroes to do anything about it. 

 Enough about my thoughts...I've got to go feed the most incredible 5 people I know :)
I planned to do this...and it's an honor.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pray


The bare trees are a silhouette in front of the grey. The beautiful mountain, the blue sky and the careless clouds are hiding behind the grey. I know they are there, but I can't see them. I want to see them because they make me feel. The grey just makes me want. My heart conveys a message to God. He knows my desires. He has them in his hands...both hands because they are many. The grey tempts me to fear, to despair. The prayer fights the temptation. The prayer is the weapon of hope and mobilization. It is the invisible power that I forget is there, that I often refuse to use. Why on Earth would I do that? Because I depend on my eyes too much. Maybe that's why we close them in prayer. I continue to peer behind that tree searching for some other color than grey. If I would just close my eyes and fight. My will is limited, but my prayers are potent. 

Like Fanny Crosby, have faith and close your eyes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Contemplating a Corpse

I've watched people fight losing battles, perplexed by their blindness, but I fight failure tooth and nail. Becoming angry at anyone or anything that contributes to my failure or even perceived failure. Not much of a winning chance for a totally a depraved human.

Just when you think you're doin' pretty good, you forget an important meeting, make a bad decision or let some spitfire seep out between your consecrated lips. Other times we steal, cheat and murder. Some people don't blink twice before jumping up in their half-full cup of chances and moving forward, never to look back. Others, flop limp into the sea of despair, replaying their fall over and over. Wasting thoughts on what should have been, then searching frantically for the names and faces of those that could possible relieve the guilt by playing the scape-goat. Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy the pity party. 

Why is it so hard to BE human? I can know that I fail, accept the words that I mess up all the time, but what about that 30 minutes, or 30 years immediately following the hard truth? Do I fight the inevitable or do I humbly accept the cup that Jesus offers for freedom? Stop naval gazing and turn my focus toward His nail scarred hands, reaching to pick me up, brush me off and move me forward. I might as well spend life searching for pastel eggs, chocolate and bunnies if I refuse the power of the cross and resurrection.

Moments before the cross miracle, Peter...the Rock...failed his best friend and teacher...3 times...and announced by the piercing rooster call. The angelic message sent to the disciples, by the seeking, mourning women was this:

"But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'" Mark 16:7 
(italics mine)

He is not unfeeling toward our regret of failure...
He speaks directly to our guilt...
He longs to comfort us...
and to restore us.

He goes ahead of us into Galilee, expecting that we will delay because of fear, but expecting us to follow. There He is, in front of me. With all of my future failures standing between us. If I stand stuck I will miss out on His awesomeness in exchange for ugly reflections of a dead past. Why do I choose to stay in the dark, putrid, cold tomb, contemplating a corpse when there is light, life and the scent of victory offered ahead?
I must choose to have Easter. Where else can I trade death for life? Bury failures with the rest of the dead and let them rot. Walk on.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Snapping Cheese



"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."
Psalm 100:4

I'm not much of a photographer. My hands are more at home conducting a symphony of hues, wet and  palpable, on a quiet canvas. I haven't discovered the beauty in using technology yet, but I LOVE what it produces. Photography, especially macro-photography is a whole other world of art. I am inspired to paint from many snapshots I discover online. Many of my paintings are simple, up-close and personal type images, rather than a busy, detailed masterpiece. I like simple. Two of my favorite photographers are my sister Tracy and my friend Nancy, whose blog is a breath of fresh air for my eyes...and an opportunity to quiz my French language knowledge at the same time ( http://lajoiedapprendre-nabi.blogspot.ca/). Although I love what I see in macro photography, I've never thought much about why...until the other day while  I read  One Thousand Gifts

The author, Ann Voskamp, describes thankfulness in her photographs. As a busy homeschooling mother of 6, she takes the time to snap photos of the little things. The overlooked things. The things we miss most of the time because we are too busy with the big things. She is making dinner and grabs her camera, on macro setting, leans over a plate of shredded mozzarella in the sunlight and chronicles with her camera. Taking a moment to appreciate and be thankful...and to remember the little things we love. I get it now. I love cheese too. The photos freeze a beautiful moment in time. They make us slow down, even stop and bask in the beauty hidden, right there in plain sight. I've often been seized by a vast field and sunset that leaves no room for overlooking, but a plate of cheese? 

My life is filled with little tiny scenes of beauty. Beauty unappreciated, but now realized. I'm not about to take up photography, but I am going to slow down and scan my little world for the small masterpieces right under my nose. I will stop and be thankful for any little thing that can bring joy into my heart in that moment. In everything, give thanks.