Monday, April 25, 2011

Signs of resurrection

 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is rises upon you...Isaiah 60:1
During the month leading up to the celebration of Resurrection Day, signs of resurrection life manifested within and without - day in and day out...

My pastor spoke on Easter Sunday, noting: "... resurrection is a pattern for Christian life..."
So, whether we are holding onto promises or experiencing problems, we can "choose to rejoice and draw strength from God" in thanksgiving, praise, worship and prayer.

I am on a gift hunt - opening my heart and my eyes to see the gifts all around and within; opening my mouth to sing and speak thanks to the Giver of all good gifts.

Joining the voices of thanks-givers on Multitude Monday - counting gifts, seeing grace...

#876 - 900

thanks -filled Good Friday celebration
completing 100 days of developing in three life areas
songs of freedom - sung by birds in the morning
puddles made for splashing
little nephews ready to splash in puddles

mall walking and talking with a friend
steady spring showers
full afternoon time with spouse
family gatherings all weekend
purple pansy petals

Resurrection life
feet set free to dance
colorful shoes belonging to feet that bring good news
steps ordered by the Lord
being caught when my feet stumble

lunch with Mama and friend
insurance to pay for health care screening
limbs that move even when aching
news of improved health status
prayers and encouragement for waiting ones

Resurrection signs:
healing heart
breaking free from fear
maturing fruit of the Spirit
encouraged in heart, united in love

The gift hunt continues...with joy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's happening when transformation is in process?

 I spent Good Friday with 8 young girls ages 5 - 11 years old.

Many years have gone by since my little girl walked through those ages.

So, when I agreed to spend over three hours with them, inspiration was needed.  I prayed for this special time.

We discussed resurrection - specifically that Jesus did die; God raised Him from the dead; and we can have new life in Jesus.

We read Truth; we laughed; we sang...

And we discussed the three ways in which this woman is being transformed on the road to resurrection of every aspect of life.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1  Thessalonians 5:16-18 
We wrote thank you notes to the Lord.  We sang songs of joy.  We talked to the Lord; and we practiced listening to Him.

Eight little girls showed me the power of yielding to the transforming power of resurrection.  They listened, they talked, they asked questions, and one of them sang an original composition - a new song of joy that she composed at the piano. 

As I thought of the places in my heart that long for transformation, my heart expanded to receive the gift of life - resurrected life as demonstrated in the lives of these young ones, as received by trusting in the Love that will not let me go...

My prayers for healing of family members and unstopping of flow of positive relationships continue.  Hope in the power of resurrection gives focus and feeds faith.
Resurrection precedes transformation.  The process continues...

I am joining with the folks at the Faith Barista Jam. Stop by to visit.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Journeying this week from thanks to praise to prayer

 Remembering this week: the Lamb slain for the sins of the world

Reading this week about the road that led to suffering;
the suffering that led to laying down His Life;
the Life that conquered death through resurrection;
resurrection that gives Life and Light.

Today I add my gratitude list to the multitudes who give thanks by the thousands

#851 - 875

butterfly pin lost and found
my lost and blind self graced with direction and sight
shouts of joy
completion of studies
4 family members graduating soon - such grace
walk to the mailbox
talks while walking
braided headband
hair, beautiful hair; she still has lots of it!
intrepid one IS creative

cries for help
whispers of love
learning to lean
unbroken three cord strand
knowing glances

lumpy mashed potatoes
sharing home and dinner table
connecting with dream group
listening to new sounds
chewing and swallowing Bread of Life
praising God from whom all blessings flow
praying through the day
clarity and strategy requested and received
visit with friend in hospital room
seeing result of waiting in faith

From a grateful heart,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Simply Divine: Living in His Presence

 And  I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to God, which I may call an actual presence of God; or to speak  better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God...  Brother Lawrence in The Practice of the Presence of God

Since this new year began, I have enjoyed a new facet of relationship with the Lord, which I call simply divine.  The cluttered and distracted approach to my relationship with the Lord is transforming into simplicity and awareness of His presence throughout my days and nights. 

Simplicity minimizes double-mindedness - duplicity.  Living simply enables me to keep my mind on the Lord in all circumstances (with help from the Holy Spirit).

Mindfulness - being aware - cuts through distractions.  I am content to sit and listen in God's presence. Charging forth with my prayer agenda can wait as I linger in conversation or in silence or both.

Relationship triumphs tasks in this season and my heart is transforming - softened like clay being molded in the skillful Potter's hands.  

This morning, I heard one of my favorite hymns from childhood: In the Garden.  The memory of my little girl voice belting out the lyrics -
"He walks with me and He talks with me; and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there; none other has ever known."
- the memory brought tears to these older woman's eyes.  I am enjoying this season of close relationship with the One who made relationship with the Holy possible.  My heart sings with thanksgiving and praise...simply divine.

Today, I join the Faith Barista Jam where many voices are sharing...


Monday, April 11, 2011

Transformation: How Butterflies Inspire Stillness

"Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you."–Nathaniel Hawthorne
I enjoy watching butterflies.  Since my teen years, butterflies captured my attention.

The process of metamorphosis - the extraordinary change from caterpillar to butterfly intrigues me.

Over time, since I entered the process of spiritual transformation - metanoia - at  age 14, butterflies remind me that I am still in process, still being transformed.

I began this year with the goal of increasing time sitting still in the presence of the Lord.  This goal has been elusive - my mind jogs ahead at a steady pace with reminders of what needs to be done.

When I saw Hawthorne's quote last month, I stopped in mid-thought. 

What would it be like to still my mind (even  more so than my body) so that I can hear more clearly?

Lent offers me a mind stilling pause as I ponder the transforming grace of God who provided the Way to know Life.  As I sit quietly, transformation comes and with transformation comes gratitude.

I open my heart and mind to record a multitude of thanks this day for:

#831 - 850

sitting still and being present

book pages turning

juicy green kiwis

sparking lemonade

observing comraderie between 93 year old Miriam and 2 year old Kaiden

fragrant and tasty pineapple

Mama's laughter

Shirley's determination

Delores' life and nurturing influence

Reggie's help with the floors

Rachel's loyalty and hospitality

dinner with Barbara

MGM's ability to live now

breathing deeply and blowing bubbles

habit-forming gratitude

newly planted burgundy and yellow pansies

purple pansies that survived the winter

dinner and conversation with young married couples

hope as an anchor

new beginnings

Writing and counting gifts with the community of thanks-givers.

Friday, April 8, 2011

When Pigs Fly?!!

Noel Perrin's essay, The Daring Young Pig, gave me new perspective on choosing joy.  Perrin writes about a young pig that would somehow get out of the portable pigpen designed to keep it and another piglet enclosed.

Perrin raised the sides of the  pen, but again the young pig managed to escape without digging.  She could be found in the flower beds each time she escaped.

The little sow was persistent in escaping and Perrin wanted to find out how she accomplished that task since pigs don't fly, and in fact, seem afraid of heights.

While hiding behind a tree, Perrin witnessed the pig's way of escape - she jumped three times her height to land on the other side of the pigpen! 

Sometimes, situations appear to hem me in with no visible means of escape.  In recent times, I am encouraged to turn my attention to the Lord to ask for grace to live above circumstances.  The fact that the little pig did "fly" makes me smile.
For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.  Psalm 18:29
What does a jumping pig have to do with joy?  I am reminded that choosing joy is a choice I can make in whatever situation or circumstance I am in - when I am in the presence of the Lord, my perspective changes.  So, whether overwhelmed with work or feeling lonely, I choose joy.  I must remind myself that I have a choice.  Joy resides in God's presence.  That is where I want to be! 

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
The Faith Barista's Jam is open...


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Counting Thanks - Receiving Freedom

I excitedly slipped on the black pantsuit with black satin collar and lapels trimmed jacket.  My daughter arranged for a wonderful evening of music at the Cathedral.  
As we approached our destination, I exited the car while she parked.  I stood still for a moment as I remembered the many times we gathered in this lovely building to hear this same daughter singing with choral groups and change ringing the huge bells in the tower.

I waited and remembered.  While waiting, I rehearsed in my mind the many gifts in my life. When I think of God's goodness to my family over the years, I give thanks. 

I remember how as a young girl and young adult, fears silenced my voice.  But the gift of Life given and received brought freedom. That freedom silenced the fears and released my voice.

As I watched my daughter approaching me in the lobby, I smiled at the grace that brought us to this place years before - and I prepare my heart to give thanks and receive freedom for God's gift of Life through Jesus Christ.

With the Gratitude Community, I write down the thanks that I give to the Gift Giver and Redeemer:

#821 - 830

dear daughter gifting me with an evening of Lenten songs by the Christ Church Boys Choir

dear son's gift of presence for a few hours while on travel for work

yet another lovely evening of music with gifted musicians - a gift from my dear husband

breakfast with my dear friend just before she left for a writer's retreat

a new song in my heart - a song of thanksgiving

forgiveness and freedom from the Lord - available every moment of every day

counting 1000 gifts = a thousand tongues to sing His praise

a new camera! (thank you my love)

chatting with six month old twin girls (and their grateful parents)

letting go of my own understanding - more and more by grace
Oh, thank God—he's so good! His love never runs out.  All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how he freed you from oppression... Psalm 107:1-3
This is part of my story of thanksgiving and freedom - what is your story?

Friday, April 1, 2011

How to Spring into Transformation

I've got the life of God in  me, the power that made all the universe with just a word has come to live in me abundantly.  I've got the life of  God in me.  Jack Hayford
April is one of my favorite months.  I enjoy the rain showers, newly planted flowers, and additional daylight.

Spring is also a time when the winter doldrums can turn into spring fever.  In those times, it is difficult to stay focused on day to day responsibilities.

Jack Hayford, in  Moments with Majesty, gives  three suggestions for springing forward when we are weary of spirit, soul and body:
  1. "Plan a break and have a blast."  Relax on purpose - take time to enjoy activities outdoors.
  2. "Budget time to keep two spring cleaning promises."   Be it cleaning the garage or clearing out a junk drawer, choose two - only two - chores that will ignite freshness and accomplishment.
  3. "Get up early with Jesus...even if it is only fifteen minutes before your usual roll-out time."  One sure way to stay focused and spring into transformation is to spend time in the presence of the Lord
Got any other spring transformation tips to share?