Monday, March 28, 2011

Awareness and Gratitude

This season of Lent finds me becoming more aware as I grow in gratitude. 

Growing in gratitude makes me more aware of:
  • the gifts in and around me;
  • Love and Grace that remain;
  • moments in time...
Gratitude comes with awareness of:

#811 - #820

the privilege of eating fresh, uncontaminated fruit

teaching teen girls about counting grace gifts

homecomings from: trip to wedding, hospital

leisurely drive in the country

finding colorful light on the wall

pleasure in cooking for family

one hour visit with friend in town for an evening

anticipation of upcoming concerts

good news letter - goal accomplished

joy strength for weary soul

The Gratitude Community shares grace gifts today...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Under the Rest

When my son was 4-5 years old, he and his best buddy liked incorporating me into their imaginative play. 

One of my favorite characters to watch them emulate was cowboys. They took a big blanket and made a tent by covering dining room chairs. They enjoyed being sheriffs and keeping the peace in their make-believe town.

Often, while I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes, I would hear them whispering. Usually, immediately after the whispers, one of them would 'sneak up' behind me and say sternly: "Put your hands up! You are under the rest!"

Somehow the word 'arrest' was never clearly understood to them - they heard: 'the rest.' After much laughter, they tied my hands behind my back and led me away to the jail.
In my task focused moments, this command to be 'under the rest' jarred me. How prophetic, how captivating was the command to rest.

Working hard came in my natural DNA from both parents.  I would tease my friend, Bea, telling her that I needed to trade the first two letters of my first name -  Do - for the first two letters of her name - Be!  Performance  was my middle name.

More often than not, my soul worked hard to live right, be right, walk right, talk right - I took literally the admonition to work out my soul salvation. I lived with soul exhaustion until I believed the rest of the Truth:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2: 12-13 (ESV)
 I did need to obediently live out the salvation of my soul. However, I was 'under the rest' when I believed that it is God who gives me the power to live in a way the gives Him pleasure...under His rest.  In His Presence, I rest.

Being faith-full - believing God - pleases Him and that gives me emotional rest.

God rest your soul...

Join me with others at today's Faith Barista Jam

How do you find emotional rest?


Monday, March 21, 2011

Remembering to Rejoice - Rejoicing as I Remember

Another hospitalization of one so dear who lives so far away;
Ready to run with help; held back by dear one saying, 'no - not now.'
Fighting back familiar enemies - fear and uncertainty;
Wrestling to sputter out trust and faith and love.

A whispering voice reminding me: "Remember..."
I remembered: awe of conception; miracle of birth;
sadness with diagnosis; comforting grace;
living fully in spite of; disappointments at times;

Loving Presence always;
Always Loving Presence.
Remembering to rejoice came
As I rejoiced while remembering.
The works of the Lord are great, studied  by all who have pleasure in them.  His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever.  He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;  the Lord is gracious and full  of compassion.  Psalm 111:2-4
Today, I remember to count gifts with the Gratitude Community as I await news of healing.

#791 - 810

pain meds that work

opportunities to grow at work

hot tears melting a cool heart

Earl Grey tea with lime juice

warmth from sun-baked windows

love note on the door

smell of apple sour cream cake baking

new contact lenses

new eyeglasses

road trip to conference with a friend

purple and white crocuses peeking from the ground

sunshine with raindrops

stately church steeple

toes rubbing soft blanket

waking up refreshed

daffodil-filled vase

tasty dinner prepared by husband

lunch time walk

warm pea soup

borrowed books from the library

How are you remembering to rejoice?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Season of Lent: 7 Essential Pieces of Wardrobe

I picked up new glasses and contact lenses yesterday.  I wore newly prescribed glasses over my contact lenses as I drove home - the world looked so different with my newly acquired depth perception!!  Driving with transformed eyes prompted thoughts on Lent.

Lent comes in the midst of waning winter and soon-coming spring.  My soul cries out for the fullness of all that the Lord provided at the cross and in resurrection.  I am more acutely aware this week of my need to sit in the Lord's presence; to be still and know He is God in the midst of harried work days and loved one in the hospital and misunderstood communication and weary bodies and...

With every season, we wear clothing that works for the weather, mood, etc. 

Come to the dressing room with me to select clothes for Lent - clothes that will  transform.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness...  Isaiah 61:10
  1. The Lord offers freely the garment of salvation
  2. God places a robe of righteousness on us when we receive His Gift
  3. Humility is an essential clothing item (1 Peter 5:5-7, Colossians 3:12)
  4. Wide open eyes - awareness is crucial
  5. Ears tuned to the voice of the Good  Shepherd
  6. Joy oils the joints and gives perspective
  7. Willingness to press through to seek the Lord (like the crocus pressing through hard packed winter earth)

What are you wearing during Lent?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vision Screening: What Do You See Today?

I am very nearsighted - myopic in vision.  Since the age of nine, I have used visual aids to help with seeing clearly in the distance. 

Last week, I visited my eye doctor for a routine exam.  She checked all the facets of my vision and asked me questions. 

The news that my use of monovision contact lenses impaired depth perception surprised me!   We discussed options.  I ordered a pair of glasses to wear with my contact lenses while driving or sitting in an auditorium so that I can add depth perception to my vision.

My thoughts turned to my visual acuity spiritually.  

Am I myopic or can I see into the distance?  Sometimes yes- sometimes no.

One habit that helps me to see freshly, to see with new vision is giving thanks... I join the thankful throng on Multitude Mondays giving thanks for gifts - many gifts...

#771   juicy sweet cara cara oranges

#772   sharing oranges at home, work, and with Mama

#773   tea time

#774   laughter in the office

#775   warm, sudsy dishwater

#776   moonlight through the windows

#777   restful sleep

#778   ginger scented candles

#779   driving dear Mama

#780   jump ropes

#781   orange ginger lotion

#782   eyeglasses and contact lenses

#783   sun peeking out from clouds

#784   tenacious Mama

#785   loving and faith-filled husband

#786   gracious and beautiful daughter

#787   intrepid and life-embracing son

#788   pray-ers to help when crashing collisions occur

#789   medical missions team in Argentina

#790   Lord, my Vision

What are you seeing today?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent: A Season of Growing Awareness

When I was a young girl Lent was a season for counting the costs of sharing - literally.  To those who wanted to participate, my church gave a card with dime-sized slits. 
blank 5.00 dollar  coin folders
I remember sliding a dime in each slit during Lent.  I attentively supplied a dime each day during Lent.  A completely filled card supported missions work. 

This year, I am marking the days prior to celebration of the Resurrection by slowing down enough to grow in awareness.  What will I see in the slits of my eyes this season? 

Several fellow journeyers inspire my awareness:

Dianna reminds me to praise along the way;

Counting gifts and living fully is a habit I learned from Ann;

Stephani uses a camera lens to sharpen awareness;

Praying enhances awareness as Lisa writes; and

During Lent, rules don't rule - Life leads, as Cassandra notes.
I continue the transforming cycle that is my focus this year:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Transforming Cycle: Three Actions for Springing Forward

I sat with a friend in a coffee shop on a chore-filled Saturday.  We chatted, we sipped and supped...the conversation waned.  We sat in silence. 

Then she asked me: "What is your rain?"   "What fills up your reservoir?"

After we parted, I pondered those questions for the remainder of the day.

I thought of wonderful people and grand activities and satisfying hobbies that fill me up.

Throughout the rainy Sunday, I continued to think about being filled...

Then I got flooded - in the youth worship hall singing to the Lord about pouring out my love on Him.

I realized in that moment that no one and nothing fills me like the three things that land me in the Presence of Love every time.  The three actions that transform my life daily:

Rejoice always;
Pray without ceasing;
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Take Five: Choosing Rest

As a child, I remember worrying about seemingly every.little.thing.

Will it rain today? Did I remember to bring my homework? What was that noise I heard?

As I grew into adulthood, the anxious thoughts lessened, but continued. Worry, worry, worry beset me - the more I tried to shed it, the more I worried about worrying!

Until I truly began to understand God's grace and provision.
Until I truly believed God's unfailing love.

I missed a trolley that would take me to my destination from a parking lot.  I decided to walk instead of waiting for the next trolley.  What a restful choice! I strolled, took pictures, even sat for a few minutes to read. 

Rest for me begins with trusting the Lord. From that place of trust, physical and emotional rest come.
How does that trust look daily?

Psalm 23 guides us into rest.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want,
Each day, we have the opportunity to believe that all we need will be provided.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
We choose rest by being still on a regular basis. Restoration comes in various ways when we are still: listening to music, reading scriptures, writing what I hear, conversing with friends, walking in a park, and more...

He guides me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake.
As we trust in the Lord with our whole hearts, lean not on our understanding and acknowledge him, he guides us and teaches us the way to go.

Even 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.
Even in the most difficult situations, the Presence of the Living God brings life and light.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
When we trust the Lord, his strength sustains us.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We cannot outrun, outlive, outlast God's faithful and powerful presence. Now that is rest!

Pull up a chair - pour a cup of your favorite faith brew and share about rest over at the Faith Barista Jam

Restfully yours,