Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hope Fully

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary.                            Hebrews 6: 18-19  New Living Translation (©2007)
Hope in God's words and promises lead us into the presence of God.  Fully hoping in God is a journey I began years ago while in college.  School expenses and workloads were often beyond my reach.  I read that the Lord would supply my needs.  I sang the words: 'He walks with me and He talks with me."  And still I nervously advanced from semester to semester.  I thought, hopefully, I will have the funds I need; hopefully, my studying will result in successful outcomes.  Hope anchored me at the foot of faith, enabling me to grow in faith and trust in the Lord.

Years later, I heard a teaching by Jack Hayford about hope, referencing Hebrews 6: 9 -19.
PastorJack stated hope is:
1.  Conceived: hope must be clearly defined.  Write down that for which you are hoping.
2.  Perceived: know that hope will be assailed.  The enemy wants to crush our hopes.
3.  Believed: be anchored in God's promises.
4.  Received: rest within the veil, i.e., the Presence of the Lord

These words encouraged me over the years to hold onto hope, to hope fully, without reservation or shame.

I learned from my daughter (who learned from J.W.) that the word "hopefully", in Irish, is "le cúnamh Dé", which means "with the help of God." 

When I find myself fretting (as I did this week) about an issue, I pause hopefully - with the help of God.

How do you find hope?  You may want to share at Faith Barista's Jam Session today.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow Blankets

Winter winds bring snow that descends like white woolen blankets over earth, cement, homes, vehicles, and buildings.  The newness of freshly fallen snow draws pictures in my mind and memories of blanketing snows long ago, when I played with siblings outside, made snow ice cream, and simply watched the snow from the warmth of an interior window.

Snow almost always slows me down.  As I listen to reports of more winter precipitation, I pause to remember with gratitude:

#642  late night talks with Mama

#643 long "catch-up" call with a dear friend

#644 making hot chocolate for snow cold children sloshing inside after snow play

#645 freshly made chicken soup

#646 Sunday afternoon nap

#647 reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts

#648 clarity and strategy for work assignment

#649 shared vision with a loving husband

#650 new perspective on living a life abandoned to God

#651 growing, becoming, trusting, resting

Slowing down, remembering to count the gifts...

Gratefully yours,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Joy Over Easy - Really?

The reward of choosing  joy is joy itself...There is so much  rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the  midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration.  Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy.  Henri Nouwen in The Return of the Prodigal Son
As a little girl and a teen and a young adult, I would describe  joy as a "sunny side up" attitude.  If I did not feel joy, I thought, 'well, let me just put on a  happy face.'

Guess what - that happy face did not translate into joy.  I learned throughout my episodes of disappointments, pain, hurt, rejection, and fatigue, that joy could actually reside inside of me.  Joy in my heart, like a soft yolk ('over easy') inside a solidly cooked outer egg white, holds its own no matter what my circumstances.

What does joy look like?

I discovered a true and encouraging word in the midst of a discouraging time in my life when fear seemed too entrenched to be dislodged from the soil of my  heart.  I  read in Zechariah 3:14-15, 17 that I can have joy and rejoice because the Lord has forgiven me and He rejoices and sings over me!
 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments...The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
My perspective changed over time as I believed the truth.  I became a joy-seeker; living with a joy reservoir that refilled when I accessed and shared joy. 

When I am overwhelmed, heartsick, or in circumstances that press on evey side, in His Light, Grace, and Love, I find joy.

In the middle of messiness, relationally, physically, emotionally, I will seek a frame through which joy peeks out - sometimes gratitude brings that joy.  At other times, singing against the whining brings the joy.  I go after joy with all of my heart, spirit and senses.
Joy did not come easily, but it has come - I serve it up for myself by grace!

What is your joy story?  Share with the folks a Faith Barista's Thursday Jam

In joy,


Monday, January 17, 2011

One Year Old and Still Singing!

One year ago, I began writing this blog.  Singing in the Cold opened the Doorway to Hope and began a journey in hearing and writing words that encourage.  I desired to use this space to write "the right words to encourage the weary." (Isaiah 50:4)  

What I wasn't prepared for was the welcoming community of encouragers through the written word and photography.  The community of encouragers enhance this Doorway of Hope.  Encouragement transforms...

Songs of joy pour out of my grateful heart for the gifts that the Gift-giver unfolds daily.  Today, my songs of gratitude are for:

#632  the love of reading learned from my mother whose formal education ended early in her life, but whose life-long learning continues

#633 encouraging words that have power to heal, restore, strengthen, and comfort

#634 fellow bloggers committed to writing encouraging words

#635 grace to apply lessons on writing

#636 meal shared with friends

#637 wisdom for planning

#638 celebrating small steps forward

#639 shared vision for life in marriage

#640 team work

#641 creative recipes

Sing your song of gratitude with Ann's gratitude community.

In joy,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Walking on Water

This year, more than any I remember, the Lord is calling me to the joys of care-free trust in Him.  Confidence in His loving presence strengthens me.
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength... Isaiah 30:15 New Living Translation

Whenever possible, I spend time listening to and observing children.  The trusting ways in which children look to their caregivers astounds me each time I see it.  Children don't ask if the mortgage payment is in the mail or if you paid the electric bill online.  Children expect primary caregivers to provide what they need.  Of course, we all can think of times when this system of care fails children.  But, for the most part, when infants learn to trust, that trust is care-free. 

I am growing in care-free trust.

I am reminded of Peter's moment of care-free trust (Mark 14:24-31).  Peter and his friends sat in a boat tossed by waves watching the most fascinating sight: Jesus walking toward them - on the water!  Peter seemed to be the only one in the boat who asked to join Jesus - yes, that meant walking on water!

Although Peter lost his footing when his eyes looked at the water {circumstance} rather than at Jesus, he possessed confidence in the Lord who would enable him to walk on water.  He jumped out of the boat and started to walk.  Even when Peter's faith waned, he had confidence that the Master would respond when he cried out for help.

That type of confidence, i.e., care-free trust, is what God calls me to as I navigate the known and unknown aspects of my life.  'In quietness and confidence {care-free trust} is my strength.'  Faith-growing season is upon me!

How are you responding to the call to be confident in the Lord?

Join the Faith Barista's refreshing community to hear more about confidence.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be Thou My Vision

As soon as I put in my contact lenses, I knew there was problem.  The hazy view from my  left eye led me to take out the lens, rewash it and reinsert it.  No change.

I needed to leave for an appointment, so brought along a pair of eyeglasses and lens solution - just in case I needed it.

When I returned home, the lenses had to come out!  Physically and emotionally, the haziness of the day wearied me. I mentally made plans to see an eye doctor.

Upon removing the lenses, I noticed an identical contact lens case in my cabinet.  When I opened the case, I saw another pair of contact lenses - the new pair. I spent the entire day wearing an old pair of contact lenses!  I now wonder why I held onto those old lenses - they no longer provided the vision I needed.

In this season of transformation, I  recognize my tendency to hold onto the "old" just in case I need it later.  In this case, it proved to be unwise and unhelpful.  I do not need an eye doctor - I need to let go of the old and make good use of the new.  "Waking or sleeping" - the presence of the Lord is my light.  Oh for grace to see through His eyes.
But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. Luke 5:38
When have you held onto that which needed to fall off in your life in order to make room for something new?

Monday, January 10, 2011

When You Need a New Beginning

I tried really hard this time.  I set up reminders.  I readjusted the schedule. 
But still, I fell short of my goal.  As I looked at  the clock and saw the time was over one hour beyond the time I set as bedtime, a sigh escaped my taut lips.

I got ready for bed after folding a dryer load of clothes.  I set the alarm, sighing as I realized that my morning would be rushed due to this late bedtime. 

I awakened before the alarm rang and got up to adjust the alarm so that I received 20 extra minutes of sleep.  

When the alarm rang, I talked myself into uttering aloud thanksgiving words: thanks for waking me up; thank you that the shower will be warm, thank you for feeling rested, etc.  It seemed so dark outside - too dark for this time of morning. 

After all my morning preparations in bathroom and bedroom, I made my way to the kitchen.  I looked at the clock in wonder - the numbers on the clock announced in green splendor that it was a full hour earlier than the bedroom alarm clock!  Somehow, while adjusting the alarm time, I advanced the clock by one hour!

I laughed and laughed!  Early morning slipped in quietly and delighted this woman who felt defeated by the slow growth in the habit of going to bed in a timely way.

Before I slip off to bed tonight, I smile with joy and gratitude as I remember the love and faithfulness of God, even when I miss the mark.  A song of thanks tumbled from my lips.  New beginnings come with each new day.
What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God! To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night...Psalm 92: 1-2
I give thanks in the company of others at Ann's grace-filled place.

#621 - 631

laughter with Barb and Young-chan about my adventure with alarms

clarity regarding my goals for the year

enough time in the morning to place a wonderful meal in the crock pot

body warming hat, gloves, scarf, and coat

spirit and soul warming presence of Love and Faithfulness - day and night

new lessons learned in walking with Mama during this season of life

friendships that span decades

brisk walk in the cold to deliver a warm meal to a neighbor

long distance connection with Pam

sharing a fleece throw with hubby while sitting and chatting

winter sunsets

Multitude Mondays: one of my favorite activities each the week!

In joy,

Thursday, January 6, 2011


From my teen years, I developed a fascination with butterflies. The way butterflies moved through different stages in order to become beautiful, brilliant, colorful creations caught my attention. The Creator and the creation partnered for the end result of all those stages.

Developmental stages of human growth also interest me.  I remember saying to a friend years ago that I wanted my children to remember me as a person who continued to grow throughout my lifetime. 

And grow I have...from a young girl whose extreme shyness meant that I generally knew people by their shoes rather than their faces because I froze in place with my head down in the presence of people other than a college student pushing past fears to ask deep and personal questions of patients while in nursing a young wife who struggled to believe that true love triumphed over differing a mother of young children who cried out for wisdom to the woman who even today had to remind herself to be still and breathe in the midst of a stressful situation.

The word that serves as my theme for 2011 is transformation.  I am in process still, becoming the woman that God is transforming day by day.

My desire is to live free and unfettered, and to be available to the people in my world.
I want to grow in grace and truth; quietness and confidence; prayer and praise; worship and wonder; love and light.  And the beautiful truth is that the Lord longs to be gracious to me; He will oversee this transformation.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
I will keep my eyes on the One who transforms me into His image...Imago Dei.  This is the year that I will tune into the process like never before...the door is open for you to visit, hear and see what transpires in the life of this woman becoming.

Today, I pulled up at the table with my cup to join Faith Barista's Thursday Jam Session.
Wander over to hear the conversation...

Becoming still,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hope for Transformation

I spent the end of 2010 reading the allegory, Hind's Feet on High Places, and was struck by the reality:

just as with Much-Afraid, when I fully surrender my life to the Lord, He will transform my 'crippled feet', 'crooked mouth', and 'fearing heart.'

My desire is to walk, speak, and be in such a way that I fulfill my purpose on this earth.  In the midst of my pondering last week, I remembered a crucial truth: I am not in charge of my transformation - my role is to submit to the here I am.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:19a
What a joy to begin the year with the hope of transformation.  This caterpillar is poised for unfurling as a butterfly in those places of my heart that are under transformation this year.  The adventure continues...
In the dark night of the soul and in the best of times and at points in between, one desire warms my heart: "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:18). 

What does this look like in my life day by day?  Today, it looks like a list of gifts for which I am thankful.

#611 - 620

a new year

renewed yearning for living unfettered

new strategies for organizing

renewed hope for accomplishing goals

new butterfly pins, earrings, tealight holder

renewed faith for transformation in me; in others

new recipe for black-eyed peas

renewed passion for

new songs

renewed vision for a practice which ushers clients into the door of hope

Hope-filled on the journey,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Blessings

A New Year's Day cheesecake (so pretty and tasty) made by my daughter provided food for thought on the dawn of this new year.

My daughter determined to use ingredients at hand in the refrigerator.  So, she made a crust of shortbread cookies and animal crackers with a sprinkling of coconut.  She spied the frozen bag of mixed berries and envisioned a colorful and flavorful topping.  The other ingredients (eggs, flour, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, vanilla, sugar) succumbed to my daughter's culinary giftedness and merged to become a firm and fresh cheesecake.

Dear daughter created a masterpiece from what was once a motley group of solitary items.  She knew that, with her vision and plan, a great cheesecake would emerge.

Likewise, the Lord envisions all that we will become as we submit to His vision and plan for our lives.  This year, I yield with anticipation as the Great Shepherd guides me further into His plan.  I look forward to living free and unfettered as I become more of the woman God had in mind when I was conceived.
 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29.11
 The door is open - stop in to see what will be in 2011...

In joy,