Thursday, May 17, 2012

beauty


Beauty is everywhere, if we look for it....


Friday, May 4, 2012

"Easter Lily"

It was an incredible day at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday...I just happened to arrive on a day when numerous night blooming cactus decided to show their blossoms off to visitors with their stunning, yet ever so brief appearance of less than 24 hours.  They bloom in the dark, and are at their best at daybreak, starting to fade as the morning sun shines on them, til by mid-afternoon or so they are mere shadows of their former selves as they hang shriveled and forlorn from cactus arms.

The blossom below is called an "Easter Lily" - an echinopsis hybrid that comes in various colors.





Monday, April 23, 2012

Squash Blossoms

Spring is here in full force and there is no shortage of beautiful images to capture and share.  Living in the southwest we get to enjoy the rare beauty of cactus blooms in abundance, and it is truly a treat!  However, when I was at the Desert Botanical Garden the other day, what ended up capturing my attention were some gorgeous squash blossoms they had planted in the herb garden section.  So that is what I am sharing this week with "i heart macro".


a new blossom ready to unfurl...

an open blossom against a rusted beam

a gorgeous bloom up close



studio waterstone


Saturday, April 14, 2012

i heart macro - poppies

Poppies are one of my most favorite flowers, and I eagerly await each spring when they appear again with  their cheery golden faces smiling warmly toward the sun....




studio waterstone

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Warmth


Living in the Southwest, the prompt "warmth" from over at Project Alicia elicited different images than those I would be coming up with if I lived in colder climes....


Warmth of February sun is
bringing to an end winter slumber.
As trees once again awaken
with new life surging
through their veins,
they are compelled to cast off
all last vestiges of death,
pushing out new buds and leaves.





Warmth of February sun
calls forth a colorful array
Of beautiful blossoms
That draw buzzing bees
And fluttering butterflies,
Who spread delicate wings
Wide to warming rays
While drinking deep of
Each flower’s offering...







Beautiful promises of the spring fast approaching.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Solitude


A place to escape to,
where the noise and activity of
everyday life are far away....
a quiet spot at the edge of the river,
where the soothing sounds of water
rippling and flowing downstream
wash over my soul,
and my heart is refreshed looking up
to majestic red rock and
lifted in gratitude to the Creator.

Oak Creek, Sedona, AZ

Saturday, February 4, 2012

i heart macro


A favorite picture from last spring....looking forward to the butterflies coming again!
   (you can click on the image to enlarge)

"Well, hello there....!"




studio waterstone

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"i heart macro"

I grabbed my camera this afternoon and ventured out into my backyard to see what I might find to shoot for "i heart macro" and "shoot.edit.submit." (links below).  Initially the Mexican Bird of Paradise didn't catch my eye as it doesn't have any of it's brightly colored flowers this time of year, but the more I looked at it my eye was drawn to the branches and the way the leaves hang down on them, so I aimed my macro lens at one, and liked what I saw.

The first picture is pretty much straight out of camera.  The second two I cropped and took some artistic license with using Aperture 3....I am continually amazed at the beauty found in such seemingly ordinary things!





















 







studio waterstone

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Creative Exchange: Yosemite

I just got introduced to "The Creative Exchange" through a friend, and decided it was timely to participate.  I like the theme, which is "your camera in one hand, your heart in the other."  Honestly, I don't think the two ever part ways when I take pictures, but obviously some photos have more personal meaning than others.

The 21st of this month marked five years since my dad passed away.  He had Alzheimer's, but thankfully what took him before being fully ravaged by that disease was a sudden heart attack - he was gone in an instant after returning from a walk with my mom in his beloved outdoors.

The pictures I am sharing were taken just this last Thanksgiving in Yosemite, a place very dear to my dad's heart from boyhood until he passed.  He was blessed to live nearby at the end of his life, and would go on weekly hikes with his "buddy Tom".  Alzheimer's took a lot from him, but never his love of Yosemite and being outdoors.  We just had a family reunion at my mom's at Thanksgiving, and one afternoon took a beautiful drive through Yosemite.  I will share a few of the images I captured that afternoon as sun and clouds shifted and played games with the incredible, ever-changing landscape where rain and snow had fallen just hours earlier....

I love and miss you, dad!


the road down into Yosemite valley

Bridal Veil Falls

fog shrouding the tops of granite walls

the sun breaking through and lighting up my dad's favorite tree to photograph

fall and the falls

the sun was shining on the valley floor, lighting up the fall colors while winter was presiding at the top

Half Dome was covered with clouds almost the whole trip, but suddenly the clouds cleared and late afternoon sun lit it up in spectacular fashion

low clouds started to gather again as we were leaving

as the sun was going down and it got cooler, mist began to rise on the meadow

a shot through the windshield of the rising mist

our last look back as we left, with mist rising from the meadow and the setting sun kissing the snowy peak good night...






Saturday, January 14, 2012

i heart macro

Shortly after coming across "i heart macro" this week for the first time, I walked by my window and saw the morning sun illuminating a seed pod in it's fleeting light in my backyard.  I quickly grabbed my camera and ran out to capture what I saw a before the sun shifted and left the pod in the shadows again....







studio waterstone

Monday, January 2, 2012

the mystery of wind-breath




















eyes closed it is crystal clear,
vivid picture in my mind:
a small sturdy sailboat
her white sails bulging
taut with power
and mystery
the mystery of wind-breath.

...the Spirit breathes where he wills
and you hear his voice....
the Spirit breath-speaks;
am i listening?
am i positioned to hear,
to receive life-giving,
life-propelling mystery into myself?

his heart exhales,
pulsing breath-voice
whooshing softly to fill sails;
to guide this little vessel
sure and steady,
puff by puff
breath by breath.

without his breathing
i am stalled
dead in the water;
a dormant vessel
needing to reposition
sails again toward the wind
the wind-breath of the Spirit.


The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 
 John 3:8 (Amplified)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

the exchange


the morning air
is a gentle breeze
refreshing my body
refreshing my soul
refreshing my spirit.
as i breathe in pneuma
that Holy Spirit breath
at the dawning
i breathe in life
and exhale the old
exchanging night's
oldness for new life
at the beginning of day.


"...he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit [pneuma].'"  ~ John 20:22

Thursday, September 22, 2011

a band of women




unbidden they come
they follow
they pour out their means
for Jesus and the twelve -
a band of women
drawn to him by love.
compelled by gratitude
they must be near him
they must take care of him
they must give all to him.

these are the forgiven-much ones
who love much in return.
these are the delivered-from-demons ones
the healed and set free ones;
women who have freely received
and now freely give.

no more crippling shame
no more sickness or bondage or fear.
instead freed hearts and lives
full of gratitude and joy...
a band of women
with Jesus and his disciples
bringing kingdom wherever they go.


"...he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.  And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna...and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means."  ~ Luke 8:1-3


[stock photo]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

forgiven



a woman of bad repute
and uninvited
she quietly kneels behind him
as he reclines at the table.
tears flow freely
washing his dusty feet.
gently drying them with her hair
she takes costly perfume
and pours out all,
anointing his feet with
sin-bought gift of devotion
and tender kisses;
love language of a bursting
full-of-deep-gratitude
forgiven-much heart.


"Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.  But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."  ~ Luke 7:47

[stock photo]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sweet supply


















in the freshness
of the early morning
the little hummingbird
darts and hovers
drinking nectar
from the uplifted cornucopias
of vibrant purple blossoms
life-giving nourishment
for the taking
supplied abundantly
by the Father


Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father  feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? ~ Matthew 6:26

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Hunger and I Thirst















Hymn lyrics that have put words to early-morning longings of my heart for many years....


I hunger and I thirst,
Jesus my manna be;
Ye living waters burst
Out of the rock for me.

Thou bruised and broken Bread,
My lifelong wants supply;
As living souls are fed,
O feed me or I die.

Thou true life-giving Vine,
Let me Thy sweetness prove;
Renew my life with Thine,
Refresh my soul with love.

For still the desert lies
My thirsting soul before;
O living waters, rise
Within me evermore.



This poem/hymn, written by John Samuel Bewley Monsell; born 1811, ordained 1834, died 1870.  Author of 11 volumes of poetry, encompassing almost 300 hymns.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

weighty words


in my set-apart chair
i sit in the early morning hours
savoring first the sensory.

my body nestles into cushiony embrace
while open hands feel
the comforting weight of the book.

fingertips caress the texture
a texture that stirs my heart
with anticipation
for breaking the dark night's fast.

hugging it close
with eyes closed tight
my nose takes in its
leathery smell while
savoring this slight delay
that makes the anticipated repast
all the sweeter.

then the deliberate opening
and the soft sound
of thin pages rustling
until my eyes settle
on words for today.

my heart begins to partake
of their vitality
as i break the fast
with my Father
and i lean in close
to hear him speak his Word
to me for this day.


Your words were found, and I ate them. and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. jeremiah 15:16

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Life In A Cup


"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?" 1 Corinthians 10:16

Cup of blessing which we bless
was the bitter cup he drank.
Bitter cup he asked to let pass,
chose he instead to drink.
Costly crimson outflow from the bitter
becomes life-giving cup of blessing
to the ones who gratefully
receive and partake.

Bitter cups we choose to drink,
and sweeten with the tree*
cast into our bitter waters ~
poured-out fruit of these cups
become rivulets of blessing
to parched and hurting souls;
the ministering of inwrought
experience of the Christ-life.

Bitter cups becoming cups of blessing
as we draw hard strength to echo his
"Not my will but Yours."
Bitter cups becoming
cups of salvation for us,
cups of blessing to others,
as we call on the name of the Lord;
mercy and grace, love and forgiveness,
redemption and hope ~ life in that name.



"I take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord."  Psalm 116:13


* "Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter....And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"  So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree [type of Christ's cross].  When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet."  
Exodus 15:23-25

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Enjoy Me" ~ poem by St. Teresa of Avila



" 'Enjoy Me.'  Just these two words He spoke changed my life." ~ St. Teresa of Avila 


What a burden I thought I was to carry -
a crucifix, as did He.

Love once said to me, "I know a song,
Would you like to hear it?"

And laughter came from every brick in the street.
And from every pore
in the sky.

After a night of prayer, He
changed my life when He sang,

"Enjoy Me."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Song in the Night

Restless and unable to sleep,
my heart so aware of needs,
I began praying over
the things weighing on me.

Finally I arose, got a drink,
and slipped outside
to pray in the dark warmth
of the summer night.

With the gentle rhythm of the glider
my insides began calming,
when suddenly I was startled
by the silence-breaking song of a bird.

Joy and gratitude welled up inside
as I listened to this little creature
warbling and chirping and singing
his cheerful, multifarious birdsong.

How like God to come and sing
and be my cheering companion;
to remind me of his sweet presence
in the quiet of my lonely night watch.


"The Lord will send his faithful love by day;
his song will be with me in the night -
a prayer to the God of my life."
(Psalm 42:8)


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

God Within

"God is within. And where he dwells, there is a holy place....a hushed and holy Presence, too sacred to be destroyed, too wonderful not to be visited continually.

There is something awful, that is, awe-inspiring, down at the depths of our own soul. In hushed silence attend to it. It is a whisper of God himself, particularizing himself for you and in you, and speaking to the world through you."

(The Sanctuary of the Soul by Thomas Kelly, p. 38)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

eyes of wonder


Afire With God

Earth's crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes -
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


May we have the eyes every day to see all the heaven that is crammed in on earth. If we take moments to pause and look with eyes of wonder at even the most seemingly ordinary, we can't help but be in awe, and "take off our shoes".......the blackberries are good, but to be able to see a breath-taking God in every little bush is even better!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

spirit to spirit

pulling up to the
low-slung, stucco building
i park, put on my badge
and gather my things.
after signing in
at the front desk
i stride down the halls
of this nursing facility
looking for the patient
i've come to visit,
not sure where i'll find her
this time of day -
sitting somewhere
in her wheelchair
or perhaps resting.

turning into her room
i greet her as she lays
motionless upon the bed
staring vacantly at the wall.
she doesn't move or
acknowledge my greeting
as i settle close by her.

i am getting to know
this mostly silent woman
and what she responds to
so i begin singing,
"Jesus loves me this i know...."
her head immediately swings
away from the wall towards me
and her brown eyes lock
intently on mine.

i am there for almost an hour
and as long as i sing, her eyes
do not stray from my face
and i marvel at that
mysterious and powerful
spirit to spirit connection
coming through spiritual song
a connection that transcends
the human faculties;
a heavenly connection
a deep unto deep.
somehow
though her mind is
rapidly failing her
her spirit is not;
and so we commune
she and i
through our eyes,
the open windows
that allow the transmission
of spirit to spirit
while i sing.

with a gentle squeeze
and a prayer
i leave her,
in awe of the amazing
mystery of Emmanuel -
God with us
and God in us.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

God has created us tripartite beings - body, soul, spirit. And though our body and soul may fail us our spirit is eternal, joined to God - indestructible. I am thankful for this bright glimmer of hope in the midst of the darkness of pain and suffering; of the not knowing or understanding.

"For his Spirit joins with our spirit..."
Romans 8:16

"But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him."
I Corinthians 6:17

Monday, April 27, 2009

writing to save the day

I read these timely words by Henri Nouwen today. Sometimes writing is frustrating and I lose touch with the value of writing in the midst of my own inner unrest and creative blockages. It is good to be reminded again just to put pen to paper by faith, and see what will come forth, whether it is for myself alone or to share with others. To value the process itself, and not just what I want to come out of the process. To let the process itself be an experience of intimacy with God, as I write with him and through him, in his presence.


Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

resurrection power

I haven't posted in awhile, but the last few days as I've been thinking about Christ's death and his resurrection, I've had this poem on my mind that I wrote last year. I decided I would post it again, as the words are still so vivid in my spirit. I can still feel the power and the meaning of the words so deep within. But how could they ever grow old or powerless, when they speak of the triumphant, death-defying resurrection power that changed life and how it can be lived, forever! Resurrection is not just historical, but takes place daily in us and in so many ways in the world around us. Nature gives us such beautiful and vivid pictures of this life-power. And so I share again what touched and continues to touch and give tremendous hope daily. I hope you too will be touched and encouraged in the re-sharing of these words. What a Christ who lives in us!



God waters
the barren land
the desert places
and new life
springs forth
in response

this is the mystery
of the desert
that seeds lie
dormant
seemingly dead
and without hope

who would guess
the secret of life
that lies hidden within
the heart of the seed
locked in parched earth
waiting
for the drought
to end and
water to come
and the power
the life-force
within the seed
to be released
and to push its way
through hard dry ground

to blossom
in breath-taking
awe-inspiring
death-defying
beauty

this is hope beautiful
hope triumphant
hope realized
hope of life
hope of the seed
hope of the flower
bursting forth
in power
in beauty
in vibrancy
in triumph
over adversity
over death

resurrection
is the triumph
of divine life
and this
is the power
this
is the promise
of Christ
as the life-force
planted deep
in our hearts

the desert places
need not discourage
rather
let the hope
of resurrection power
give strength

and courage
to wait patiently
to trust
to believe
to not lose heart
to endure

and in time
to rise again
from the ground
triumphantly
and bloom

"And when He comes... springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland....The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!" Isaiah 35:6,1-2

"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
I Corinthians 15:55

Sunday, March 22, 2009

a macro God

he is not a God far off
he is a God near

he doesn't stand aloof
over there
looking us up and down
at a distance

he is so near
up so close
that all he can see
is our heart

and he whispers
"I love you"


For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

Saturday, March 21, 2009

a stll place in the market

I love these words by Henri Nouwen. It is always good to be reminded that we need quiet, still moments with God. But we obviously have lives we need to live too, and the challenge is to somehow allow the experience of 'being still' to be carried into our daily living. It makes me think of Brother Lawrence, and his little book, "The Practice of the Presence of God", and how he learned to experience God's presence in the midst of the clatter of pots and pans as he worked in the kitchen.


"Be still and acknowledge that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). These are words to take with us in our busy lives. We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world. But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on business, teach, work in construction, make music, or organise meetings.

It is important to keep a still place in the "marketplace." This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us. It also is the place from where we can speak in a healing way to all the people we meet in our busy days. Without that still space we start spinning. We become driven people, running all over the place without much direction. But with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say, or do."

Monday, February 23, 2009

grateful

So on my walk this morning, I was conscious of gratefulness. Grateful for a fresh, new morning. For coolness in the air. For awakenings of early spring becoming visible in the brightly blossomed bush. In flower stalks sending slender shoots up tall while balancing tiny, delicate purple flowers at their tips. For blue sky mottled with whitish-gray cloud swirls. For the renewing of life in the park grass recovering green from a careless fire. For the birds giving life to the air as they fly and twirp and twitter. Grateful for legs that can stride briskly without pain. For eyes to see beauty in the common and uncommon around me. For ears to hear breeze rustling through trees; to hear the many varied bird songs and occasional dog barking. To hear passing conversations and snatches of music wafting through the air. Grateful for a heart filled with wonder and awe at the invisible God within and for the God made visible without through created things around me. Grateful for a sound mind to consider all these things, and for a voice to try and utter the welling up and tumbling-over gratitude wanting to burst out of me.

So grateful.
"Lord, accept my grateful thanks...."
(Psalm 119:108)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

fieri

fieri ~ Latin: to become, to be made....."become still so you can know who I really am"

be

to have, maintain, or occupy a place or position ~ to remain unmolested, undisturbed or uninterrupted.

be still

cease striving ~ be quiet ~ calm ~ trusting ~ attentive ~ waiting ~ not distracted ~ be fully present with Me.

and know

not just intellectually, but experientially be acquainted with ~ be intimate and familiar with ~ recognize the nature of ~ wonder overwhelmingly ~ hunger and thirst for ~ ingest and digest.

I AM

I just AM...from eternity to eternity ~ I AM everything ~ I AM everything you need ~ I AM everything you desire ~ whatever you lack I AM in you ~ I AM Jehovah ~ I AM Jehovah-Rapha ~ I AM El Shaddai ~ I AM Jehovah Jireh ~ I AM your supply ~ I AM the Lord ~ I AM God.

God

Father ~ Creator ~ Healer ~ Savior ~ Provider ~ Ruler ~ Omnipotent ~ Omniscient ~ Love ~ Peace ~ Just ~ Holy ~ Merciful ~ Sovereign ~ Good ~ Faithful ~ Wise ~ Gracious ~ Comforter ~ Intercessor ~ Master ~ Strong tower ~ Rock ~ Shield ~ Defender ~ Papa.

be
be still
and know
I AM
God


be still.

fieri.


(psalm 46:10)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

expectant waiting



















here i sit in the quiet
in the sanctity
of the morning time

oh, there are noises that want to
profane the holy if i will let them ~
muffled street noises
inside the house noises
head and heart noises

but in my set-apart chair
i choose to draw quiet space
around me like a cocoon
and bubble myself
in expectant waiting

deafening my ear
to all manner
of plotting intrusions
my heart stills
looking for the One
who will come and remove
beginning-of-day chill

who will gently probe the gray
for buried embers
who will coax forth hungry flame
to renew love again
for this new day

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

glorious reflection












like a blank canvas
the sky's clarion blue
forms a perfect backdrop
for fall's flaming palette of
molten reds and golds
yellows and oranges

not content to merely
showcase against the azure sky
she passionately flings
her fiery colors
onto the lake's mirror stillness
multiplying the splendor
of her incredible beauty

and merging sky and earth
into a grand and glorious
reflection of their Creator

Thursday, November 6, 2008

divine energy

It is important that whatever we do and wherever we go, we remain in the Name of Jesus, who sent us. Outside his Name our ministry will lose its divine energy. (Henri Nouwen)

A good reminder of the source of our strength and power, and our need for dependence, as we minister to those around us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

morning prayer


in the morning, when i rise,
give me Jesus....

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

hallowed be Thy name.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

On earth, as it is in heaven.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

Give us this day our daily bread,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

And forgive us our debts,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

As we forgive our debtors.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

And lead us not into temptation,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

But deliver us from the evil one.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

For Thine is the kingdom,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

and the power,
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

And the glory forever.
(...when i rise, give me Jesus)

Amen.


"in the morning when i rise

in the morning when i rise
in the morning when i rise
give me Jesus

give me Jesus
give me Jesus
you can have all this world
but give me Jesus"
(fernando ortega lyrics in italics)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a blossom and a butterfly

on my walk, i said a prayer for you today.
i prayed for your heart,
your pain, your not knowing.
and as i prayed,
God showed me a cactus
blooming late, unexpected....
there in the midst of many thorns
lay a beautiful, white
solitary blossom,
like a promise of hope
in the midst of pain.

on my walk, i said a prayer for you.
and as i prayed God sent
a majestic monarch butterfly,
like a promise of hope,
richly robed in orange and black.
as this regal creature flew by
he dipped his wings my way,
and lifted my prayer from off my lips
before soaring up and away.

i said a prayer for you today,
and God listened, and answered
with a blossom and a butterfly.

Monday, September 15, 2008

at last

slipped outside early,
inhaled deeply and
embraced the cool caress
of the morning breeze
with closed eyes,
eagerly nuzzling the
slight sharpness of the
air enveloping me,
as one would a lover
finally returned after
a long summer away.

stood there
savoring the moment,
heart aroused
to joyful anticipation
of intimate encounters
with God
in nature
again.

hints of fall
in the desert ~
at last.


"there is...a season for every activity under heaven. "
(ecclesiastes 3:1)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

thoughts on art and creativity

Here are someone else's thoughts regarding art and creativity that I can't easily pass over. How much does my thinking need to change and be renewed in this area concerning myself and my abilities, and how I use them? These are some things I'm wrestling with on my journey....

In the book, The Christian Imagination, poet, essayist, and teacher Luci Shaw writes about beauty in her essay "Beauty and the Creative Impulse". Here's a snippet from that essay:

"Art is what we say, what we sing, what we show about the beauty that is bubbling up within us like a pot on the boil. It cries out for recognition and response. Because it is so significant, so full of wonder to us--this upwelling from our creative imaginations--we want to show and share it with kindred spirits. And so we have poetry readings and art galleries and concerts and square dances and films and fashion shows and coffee table books."

From Franky Schaeffer's Addicted to Mediocrity:

"Any group that willingly or unconsciously side-steps creativity and human expression gives up their effective role in the society in which they live. In Christian terms, their ability to be the salt of that society is greatly diminished" (24).

"Christians must free themselves from the misconception of more than a century that everything must be measured in terms of its usefulness to the cause of Christianity" (40).

"Creativity, human worth, the arts, cultural endeavor, the media, communication, enjoyment of beauty, creativity in others, enjoyment of our own creativity, enjoyment of God's creativity--all of these need no justification. They are good and gracious gifts from the Heavenly Father above" (39).

"There is no Christian world, no secular world; these are just words. There is only one world--the world God made" (47)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the sand

(the following is a poem i wrote for my best friend when we graduated from high school many years ago - my first and only poem until last year)

you are like the sand
which the restless sea
can rest upon
and leave
and come back to
again and again
and always be greeted
by open arms

the changing sea
rushes to cry
on the sand's broad shoulder
or to dance and ripple
joyously with it
or leaves for a moment alone
always returning to the sand
after every retreat

the sand is unchanging
as the sea tosses aimlessly
or pounds it
in a moment of misunderstanding
after which the sea
creeping slowly and ashamedly
back to the sand
begs the forgiveness
which is given freely

and once again the sea
and the sand
join hands and romp together
the sea noisily whispering
it's secrets to
the staunch and faithful sand
who in turn reveals
it's silent secrets

and so the sea and sand continue
so completely different
yet inseparable ~
and so our friendship continues
given to us by our Father
who made the sea and the sand
and you and i

Friday, August 8, 2008

fear

I've been thinking a lot about fear recently, and how much it can shape the way we live. I've been taking a deliberate look at some of the things I am afraid of in my own life, and seeing how much power they have to influence what I will and will not do. I realize how oblivious we can be to most of our fears - we just think and live a certain way, and that is how life is for us, or what is true about us. I "can't" do something, "that's not me", I "don't want to", etc. But why is that? Are those really true statements? What drives us to believe those statements?

As I'm looking more closely again at some of the things in my life that I've voiced those views about, I'm having to reconsider more honestly the veracity of those statements - especially when others in my life seem to be seeing and saying something different.

Part of what got me thinking about it again was being with different friends recently and talking about some of their fears. I can so easily see some of the lies they are believing and the bondage that fear has put them under, and how it hampers their moving forward in certain areas of their lives. But as I thought about it, I realized that I am no different than them. My fears may be different than theirs in some ways, but they have the same net effect on me. They are keeping me from moving forward in certain areas of my own life. When I think of doing certain things, there is a paralyzing fear that rises up, though it is more cleverly cloaked in "truth" that says, "I can't do that, I don't have the ability." Or even better, it can be spiritualized like, "God's not calling me to do that. I don't have any desire or passion for that." Really? Or are my fears blocking me from hearing and feeling God in those areas?

It's hard and uncomfortable to get really honest before God over some of my fears. Some are obviously not good, and I can identify them and stand against them more easily. But others have been woven into the fabric of who I perceive myself to be, they are part of my identity, they are my "truth" - however warped they are in the light of real reality and truth.

They have become a safe and comfortable place to hide, a safe place to operate from, a safe way of seeing my world. And it's kind of scary when I look at my fears that way. Scary because I don't want to just live a "safe" life and never change. God is calling us all to change and transformation and trust. And trust is what is needed to move forward. I need to distrust my own perceptions and views. And I need to be willing to trust what others, especialy friends and God, see and say about me more than what I've experienced and feel, and therefore believe.

This is the crux of the issue. Who and what am I going to choose to believe? It can feel scary and unsafe to step out believing others more than myself. So often, when I look within for confirmation to take a certain action, i feel like my legs are cut out from under me, I feel totally void of affirmation. It feels impossible, like no way do I have what it takes to proceed. Yet I am slowly finding that if I make myself take even a baby-step, it is not as bad as I feared it would be, and my confidence is growing as I am being inwardly renewed.

The key point is making myself trust and act on someone else's words - and the Word. I have to choose to believe that their words and sight are more accurate than my subjective feelings about myself. And so often when I trace back my objections or unbelief, they are deeply rooted in fear; and fears aren't going to just pack their bags and move out the minute I ask them to. Fears have gotten quite settled in and intertwined with my living, and are very happy to be part of my life.

The enemy's purpose is to use fears to keep us from God's purpose over our lives, and we need to be intentional and persistant in resisting and ousting fears. Some fears can be made to leave fairly quickly, but others are more deeply rooted and require a firm, steady, continual resistance. A daily saying no to them; a daily speaking of the truth in their face, when they feel more true; a daily choosing to not let them be in charge, until the truth - God's truth - really takes root in our hearts and there is no place for the lies to reside anymore.

So this is where I am finding my own self as I see some of my friends realizing and confronting - or sometimes blind to - their own fears, and the profound effects they can have on their daily life. It makes me realize how blind we all can be to areas in our lives where we've assumed a certain reality is truth. I know from my own, and others, experiences that it takes courage and determination, and prayer and the Word to stand against old patterns of thinking and acting. It takes letting others into my life, and learning to trust them more than myself in certain areas.

I am glad for the light, though part of me dreads it too. We tend to be settlers by nature. We get comfortable in ways of thinking and living that feel most safe for ourselves, even if it is limiting. Change requires something from us, and often is uncomfortable. I am trusting the Lord for the grace and courage to take the necessary steps out of my own comfort zone and warped view of myself, into God's view and purpose for my life.

I am so grateful for my friends who are standing with me and patiently speaking truth into my life, encouraging me on with every little step, and loving me when I fall down or slip back. And I am glad for where God can use me in that way in their lives too. Together we can go forward, together we can overcome the lies and fears - with one another's help and the help of the Holy Spirit.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

frenzies of untrust

Sometimes we forget who God is. What he said he'd do and be for us. Sometimes we get blindsided by fears. Fears that drive us to frenzied actions of untrust that seem right and safe to our logic, which is largely informed by our wounded hearts.

We have parts of our heart that need the gospel - the good news - to be believable again, so that the faith of lilies-in-the-field and birds-of-the-air is renewed in us. We need to know and experience God as our healer and restorer of hope.


Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for You are my praise.
(Jeremiah 17:14)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

honesty

draw me to honesty, God
for only in real honesty
am i genuine
transparent
vulnerable

only in honesty am i
truly able to receive
the real help that i need
the deep down
transformational help

not merely angry
or reactive honesty
but honesty without defenses
deep and painful honesty
naked honesty
honesty that confesses
i can't but You can

take me to the naked place inside
a letting go place
an acknowledging of God place
a surrendered and bowing place
a trusting place
a place where i am little
and You God are big

a place where You speak
and i listen
a place where deep connection
and deep healing can happen
a place of real freedom
of joy and hope
and change

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

when i am weak

God, give me courage
when i am weak
take the yellow
and make it gold
take the cowardly
and make it kingly

Monday, June 30, 2008

an altar to God

"Let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." Genesis 35:3

There have been different points along the way of my journey when I have had the distinct desire, like Jacob, to build an altar to God. Sometimes the altars have been big, and sometimes they've been small, but they all mark some kind of transaction significant to me and to God.

There have been times when God has converged things in my life together in such a way that I had a fresh epiphany. Not long ago was a deep realization again that I owe everything - all I am , all I can do and all I have - to my God who has faithfully been with me and over me in the many different ways I have gone throughout my life. I was drawn to look up Romans 12:1 and the four verses preceding it:

"Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him."

When I stop and consider that I live and move and have my being in Him, then the very least I can do is to offer myself with my whole heart back to Him in gratitude.

He is so worthy of this kind of worship.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

morning by morning

morning by morning
breathe on me Holy Spirit
breathe hard your holy breath
blow away lifeless gray ash
stir dying embers
fan into flame again
that gift of God within
cause my heart to burn hot
with love and desire

"create in me a clean heart, O God
renew a right spirit within me
do not banish me from your presence
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me
restore to me the joy of your salvation
and make me willing to obey you"


(Psalm 51:10-12)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

heartswirl

in vain i
chase after brainswirls
~ thoughts driven
in haphazard flight

like helpless kites
on a windy day
that wildly swoop
and dive

ah Lord God
draw my weary soul
ever closer
ever deeper

still the sharp swirling
of my thoughts
shut up the drivel
of my fears

quicken my ears
that i may hear
your call to stillness
and to knowing

swirl my heart
deeply and freshly
to love and trust
again


"be still and know that I AM God...."

(Psalm 46:10)

Monday, June 23, 2008

little bird

my soul
wants to hold tight
to what feels safe
in my life

it is hard to step out
beyond the inward bounds
of the comfortable
the familiar

fears wait
in the shadows
ready to whisper their lies
in my ear

who am i ~
where do i belong
my questions still...
am i forever like

a fragile little bird
with broken wing
who dares not leave
the safety of it's cage

or is my cage
not really a prison
as perceived but
rather a place from which

God wants to teach me
new songs to sing


"he stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure i wouldn't slip
he taught me how to sing
the latest God-song
a praise-song to our God"

(psalm 40:3)

Friday, June 20, 2008

creative travail

how do i funnel my impatient self down into the deep place - a God place - where elusive words, fleeting glimpses of ideas, and smatterings of thought come together into cohesive expression? into the hidden birthplace of creative?

it is hard sometimes to wait patiently for embrionic form to uniquely take shape and grow; to wait until it has enough strength and substance to be birthed; to wait until it is the right time for it to emerge and speak it's heart with grace, yet with honesty and transparency.

"may the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Friday, May 23, 2008

words of mine

a winterish chill bites hard the air
that should be late spring warm
a freakish storm
a welcome reprieve from
the relentless approach
of summer heat

the cold keeps me inside
cozy with books and coffee
thoughtful from the things i read
yearnful and a bit peeved
that i cannot write
like the ones whose words
my soul leans into
and admires

anxious to know when words of mine
that tease and play hide and seek
and other mind games that
cause them to run from me
will at last come home

and show their true selves
bold and unafraid to give
revelatory voice
to the muffled deep

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

wrestlings

God
i want to draw near
but i have some questions
i'm wrestling with
that want to push me far

i pray that i would not let
my questions become
a wall between us
but i would allow them
to bring me nearer You

that they would be
a bridge to You
and not a door
shut between us

i do not want
to leave You
i do not want
to be far

keep my heart soft
in the midst
of my wrestling
i know the answers
are not found
apart from You

the answers i need
are found in You
if i will press deeper
if i will not let myself
be too dismayed
by this awkward place
if i will keep coming
to You

You who stretched out the heavens
who laid the foundations of the earth
who formed the spirit of man in him

You who are steadfast
and big enough
for all my questions
all my wonderings
all my wrestlings

Monday, April 28, 2008

in the beginning

word
creative power
"let there be..."
and there was

this word is mighty
this word calls things
not being as being
this word holds everything
in the universe together

this word incarnated
this word walked
this word spoke
this word graced
this word truthed
this word loved
this word wept
this word touched
this word healed
this word set free

in the beginning ~ the word
the word was with God
the word was God

Friday, April 25, 2008

dance

here you are at the dance
in your pretty new dress
and new high heels
in your rented black tux
and starched bow tie

you look self-consciously
at each other
feeling stiff
while the music flows

so just kick off your shoes
rip off your tie
open your heart
and close your eyes

and dream
and dance
dance your dream

who cares
what you look like
what does it matter
if you breathlessly collide
or your feet get tangled

listen to the music
in your heart
let loose and dance
the dance within

hear the song
God is singing to you
and let it
set your being free

Monday, April 21, 2008

Word

i sit in silence with my words
i sit in silence with the Word

my words become speechless
in the presence of Word

my words fall prostrate
at the shining of Word

my temporal words cease
dissipated by the beam
of eternal Word

Sunday, March 2, 2008

hope in desert places

God waters
the barren land
the desert places
and new life
springs forth
in response

this is the mystery
of the desert
that seeds lie
dormant
seemingly dead
and without hope

who would guess
the secret of life
that lies hidden within
the heart of the seed
locked in parched earth
waiting
for the drought
to end and
water to come
and the power
the life-force
within the seed
to be released
and to push its way
through hard dry ground
to blossom
in breath-taking
awe-inspiring
death-defying
beauty

this is hope beautiful
hope triumphant
hope realized
hope of life
hope of the seed
hope of the flower
bursting forth
in power
in beauty
in vibrancy
in triumph
over adversity
over death

resurrection
is the triumph
of divine life
and this
is the power
this
is the promise
of Christ
as the life-force
planted deep
in our hearts

the desert places
need not discourage
rather
let the hope
of resurrection power
give strength

and courage
to wait patiently
to trust
to believe
to not lose heart
to endure

and in time
to rise again
from the ground
triumphantly
and bloom


"And when He comes... springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland....The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!" Isaiah 35:6,1-2

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

this awed creature

the trail wends its way upward
through verdant splendor of spring
and desert flora.
arriving breathlessly at a welcoming saddle
nestled between freshly watered slopes
nature beckons me to sit awhile
to bask in the warmth
and gentle breeze
and listen to the music
of carefree bird-songs
and humming bees.

poppy patches are gaily splashed
across luscious green hillsides,
vibrant yellow and orange faces
open wide in joyful response
to the sun’s bright, warming rays.
as my bursting glad heart
smiles back at them,
hymn-phrases begin singing within.

“Fairest Lord Jesus!
Ruler of all nature!”
“Awake my soul, and sing of Him!"

"Crown Him with many crowns!"

with delight and wonder this awed creature
rejoices in creation and Creator.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

heart overflow

in gratitude and awe
i come with heart overflow
to worship you
God who is love
lover of my soul
tender and patient
melter of my fears

with heart overflow
i lift up heart and hands
stringed instrument and bow
in exultant praise
at the work of your hands
to creator without equal
to you, my God

let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
oh Lord,
my strength, my redeemer

you have made this day
Lord, my God
the earth
and all it's rich fulness
i will rejoice
and delight in it
yes, i will give thanks
deep thanks
to you

in everything
i will give thanks to you

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Made into Bread for Others

This is a quote by Oswald Chambers, and it speaks deeply to me every time I read it. This view gives purpose and meaning to my life and the difficult things I pass through. My life is not just about me, and often I don't understand my life fully until it is put into the context of others I come into contact with.

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (I John 3:16) Jesus Christ was made broken bread and poured out wine for us, and He expects us to be made broken bread and poured out wine in His hands for others. If we are not thoroughly baked, we will produce indigestion because we are dough instead of bread. We have to be made into good nutritious stuff for other people. The reason we are going through the things we are is that God wants to know whether He can make us good bread with which to feed others. The stuff of our lives, not simply of our talk, is to be the nutriment of those who know us." (Love of God)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Taking the Risk

The account of feeding the five thousand in the gospels is such a powerful story to me, one the Lord has used a number of times to speak to my heart - most recently this week. I had been having an email dialogue with a friend regarding a quote about and by Henri Nouwen:

Nouwen believed that what is most personal is most universal; he wrote, "By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others."

This quote challenged me because while I see the value of being that open, and have been helped by Nouwen's openness in sharing his own life and struggles, it is another thing for me to be that open with my own life. Sharing personal things in the past with some has caused wounding in my life, so I have been reticent about being too transparent, and not sure it is worth the risk, that it will make that much difference.

Then God reminded me again of that story in Luke 9. Crowds of people have come out to hear Jesus teach, and they have been with him all day. They are in a dry, deserted place and they are hungry. The disciples are talking to Jesus and they just want to send the people away so they can find their own food and take care of their own needs. But Jesus' response to them is, "YOU give them something to eat."

They looked at themselves, they looked at the crowd and I'm sure they thought, "Us? No way." How could they ever meet the need? What did they have that could even begin to feed the multitude of hungry people? All they had come up with was five little loaves of bread and two fish - not even enough for themselves.

But Jesus was not bothered by the small amount of food they showed Him. He just took what they had, and He lifted it up to the Father for Him to lay His hands on it and to bless it. After it was blessed, in order for it to be able to feed everyone, it had to be broken. And through the breaking something was made available that fed and blessed others who were in need.

Sometimes there are people in need around us that we are tempted to send on their way, or we want Jesus to meet their needs. And His response to us is - YOU do it. He knows we don't have much in ourselves, but He asks us to be willing to offer what we do have to Him. When we do, He will bless it and break it, and use it to meet needs; but it can feel scary to make that kind of offering to God.

However, God is able to break what we offer Him of ourselves in a way that does not leave the gift broken in a useless way. Rather, in this story the brokenness of the gift enabled it to meet the needs of those who were in a dry, barren, and weary state. The broken offering brought refreshment and hope and strength to the people.

To be broken in the world in painful. But God wants to redeem and use our brokenness to minister to others, if we will take the risk and offer it to Him. This is what God is asking me to do. I have been taking baby steps, but now He is asking me to trust Him more by taking bigger steps. Am I willing to give words to my intimate experiences and make my life available to others?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

falling leaves

a profusion of words
in my mind....
i throw them
into the air
like handfuls of
autumn leaves
and let them float
slowly down
to the ground

gathering them into piles
i roll around in them
then lay pensively on my back
staring up
at bare branches
and brassy sky

at last i rise
covered in autumn hues
golds and reds and browns
clinging haphazardly

what will these words reveal
about this season
of my life
as they
begin
f
a
l
l
i
n
g

like
puzzle
pieces
from
my
soul
?

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the silence

they needed help
someone to watch house
and pets
I said okay

now I sit plunked
seemingly in the middle
of nowhere
it might as well be
nowhere
because I am stuck here

my life as I live it
is suspended
~ over
for two weeks

that seems like a long time

my only company
two phantom-like cats
who pretend not to know their names
and an old
harrumphing dog
who startles the silence often
with hacking dry heaves
followed by a whistling wheeze
and a soft groan
as he settles down again

I guess I should be grateful
for that noise
as the silence here
feels deafening
like the stark silence
of a mausoleum

it's not the comfortable quiet
of my cave at home
I love that silence
because I make it
I choose it

so God
where are You
in this silence

I didn't choose this
but
I know You are here

and I want to find
where
You are hiding
what
You are saying

in the silence

"...but the Lord was not in the wind...the Lord was not in the earthquake...the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice." (I Kings 19:11-12)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Brilliancy

Brilliant.

I realized today that this is a word the Lord is giving me. At different points in the last few years God has given me significant words for my journey, and I haven't had one for awhile...my last word from the Lord was wait, and I've been in a waiting mode for a long time. But I sense God beginning to move me out of that place. The waiting time has been about a lot of inward motion toward God. Now God is placing some people and some possibilities in my life that call for more movement out.

So what does this have to do with brilliance? I have been considering Matthew 5:16 a lot lately, and what it means for me. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." How do I let my light shine? What are the "good works" in my life that will glorify God?

Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the brightness, or radiance of God's glory. So the more we know and experience Jesus in our daily life, the more He will be the brightness, the radiance in us shining out to others. This shining will be made visible through the "good works" He personally calls each of us to do in this world. When others see Jesus shining out of ordinary people, God gets glory.

Brilliancy: "Luster; a quality that outshines the usual."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In to the Father, Out to Others

I have been thinking a lot about my daily life and what the rhythm of my life should be. Basically the question I ask a lot is how much of my time should be "in", in solitude, and how much should be "out", interacting with others. I know I need both, it's just how much of each should I have? I more naturally have a drawing to go inward, but I also find a needful and a compassionate compelling to go outward too.

A little while ago I read a book by Henri Nouwen called Out of Solitude, which speaks poignantly to this tension in our lives. His text is Mark 1:32-39. Sandwiched in between verses talking about Jesus healing, and preaching and casting out demons is this verse: "In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there."

Nouwen goes on to write:

In the center of breathless activities we hear a restful breathing. Surrounded by hours of moving we find a moment of quiet stillness. In the heart of much involvement there are words of withdrawal. In the midst of action there is contemplation. And after much togetherness there is solitude....I have the sense that the secret of Jesus' ministry is hidden in that lonely place where he went to pray, early in the morning, long before dawn.

In the lonely place Jesus finds the courage to follow God's will and not his own; to speak God's words and not his own; to do God's work and not his own. He reminds us constantly: "I can do nothing by myself...my aim is to do not my own will, but the will of him who sent me" (John 5:30).

Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures. The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life and should therefore be the subject of our most personal attention." (p. 13-15)

Surely if Jesus lived a life of withdrawing to spend time with the Father, we too should live our lives this way. It is not so important how much we do for God, as what - or who - is the source of all our doing. Jesus did nothing apart from the Father, though He surely could've done a lot. I want to live my life the same way, taking time to hear from the Father, and drawing supply from the Father, so I can live out the life He is calling me to live with others.

Our lives should be a graceful rhythm of going in to the Father, going out to others; in to the Father, out to others. How much time doing each will fluctuate from day to day. The main thing is making the time to have this discipline. Going out is easy and often compelling, because we live in a busy world that can demand much of us. All the more we need to determine to create that precious space to be with our Father daily.

Monday, October 8, 2007

monday morning

fall is here
cool mornings at last
taking advantage I go for a walk
in the nearby park
on this monday morning

the air is filled with the
earthy smell of the
freshly mown carpet of green
notably devoid of the weekend’s
softball-playing men
soccer-playing kids
and picnicking families
it is a quiet monday morning

maintenance men ride
puttering tractor mowers
looking like boys at play
gloating I’m sure
as people fly by in
metal cubicles
rushing to reach stuffy offices
on a workaday monday morning

leashed dogs tug and pull
and sniff one another
while their people converse
oblivious of their power
to disarm awkwardness
and bring strangers together
on a generic monday morning

small clusters of moms
begin to gather here and there
for their power walks
offspring safely deposited at school
eager for girl talk again
glad it is monday morning

breathing deeply of grassy air
my eyes linger on the pleasingness
of shade trees still full of green leaves
then rise to take in nearby
dark shadowed mountains
contrasting sharply against the horizon
I feel the warmth of brilliant sun
in cloudless blue sky
gently penetrating morning coolness

I walk and let myself be alive
to all that is around me
then my mind meanders
to home and morning schedule
to daily Bible reading and journaling
suddenly an epiphanic moment ~
I am surrounded by Word
right here

in the beginning God spoke
“Light!”
“Sky!”
“Land appear!”
“Earth, green up!”
“Earth, generate life!”
“Let us make human beings in our image!”
and God saw that it was all very good

revelated
taking in deeply what God has spoken
spontaneous song lyrics well up
“give thanks! with a grateful heart!”
as I walk through the park
on a glorious monday morning

Saturday, October 6, 2007

her need

she called me saying
she wanted to talk

now we sit facing each other
and she begins to recount
the saga of the last few months
of a heart offered
and hurt
again and again

tears rim her eyes
her pretty face shadowed
with the pain
of disappointment
and betrayal

so many things I could say
but no
better to be quiet
her head already knows
what I would tell her

she doesn't need my advice
she just needs someone
to listen

to care about her heart

as we rise to go I hug her
and say I will be praying for her
"oh!" she exclaims
"that's what I need!"

yes, I say to myself
as she walks away
what she needs most right now
is to know someone cares
someone is praying


"Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs....Keep on on praying. " (I Thes. 5:14,17)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Soul Friends

"Soul friends show hospitality by making space in their lives for others....Soul hosts prepare for their gift of hospitality by cultivating a place of quiet within themselves. This is the place where they will receive others....When I have begun to be a person with a quiet, still center, I can invite others to come and rest there. It is out of this place that soul friends offer their gifts of presence, stillness, safety and love." (Sacred Companions by David Benner)

This is such a beautiful picture of hospitality. Often we think of the outward aspects of opening our home or sharing a meal with others when we hear the word hospitality. And yes, we may share outward space with others, but what about our inward space? Have we made room in our hearts for others? The real essence of true hospitality is that in opening up our home to others, in making extra room at the table for them, we are also opening up our inward parts to them. We are inviting others not merely into the physical space of a house, but into our hearts too. We have prepared a warm and welcoming place for others to come into and be loved.

"...given to hospitality." (Romans 12:13)

Friday, September 21, 2007

hide n seek

you know how little kids
play hide n seek
how they hide
behind a skinny tree
arms and legs
still visible

or duck behind
an overstuffed chair
with their back end sticking way out
or cover scrunched eyes
with pudgy fingers
oblivious
that they are not
hidden
at all

how often
do we play this game
with God
or with others
trying to hide
the real us
the us
we are ashamed of
the us
we fear will be rejected

but the response in God's heart is ~
I am sad
when My children
hide from Me
I want them to come
just as they are
without fear

know the truth
that
I love you
I chose you
I formed you
in your mother's womb

you are beautiful to Me
and I delight in you
please ~ don't hide

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Who Am I...?"

I borrowed this quote from someone else's blog, because it really captured my attention and made me think deeply about what it said:

"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.....as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


~Marianne Williamson

Powerful. And piercing. Convicting.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Hinds' Feet

"The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! " Habbakuk 3:19 (Amp.)

I love this verse, and one of my favorite books over the years has been "Hinds Feet on High Places". It has been an encouragement during the hard times of life to not give up, but to keep pressing on to know Him. The book is an allegory that starts off, "This is the story of how Much-Afraid escaped from her Fearing relatives and went with the Shepherd to the High Places where 'perfect love casts out all fear'." Much-Afraid worked for the Shepherd and loved what she did, but she was crippled and disfigured, which hindered her work and made her feel distressed and ashamed. She longed to be whole and to walk in the High Places, but she didn't have the strength and ability to get there as she was.

When she told the Shepherd she wanted to be able to go there, he said he would give her two companions that would take her in the way that would develop strong hinds' feet in her so she could ascend the mountains. The names of her two companions were Sorrow and Suffering, and unless she was willing to trust Him and go with them she would never be able to escape from her evil cousin Craven Fear and the other Fearings, and have the strength to walk in the High Places with the Shepherd.

It is clear from reading the Word that we will all experience sufferings in this life, and that we need the attributes of endurance and perseverence. All the difficulties we pass through are to produce the character and strength needed to live the life God is calling us to. But we do not need to pass through these things alone - indeed, we are not supposed to pass through them alone. He is with us and He lives in us to be all that we need as we pass through various trials and difficulties.

He lives in us to be our life, our wisdom, our strength, to be our courage, to help us stand against the enemy, and to make our feet like deers' feet that have the ability to walk through and even on top of of the hard things we encounter in life. His goal is that we would not be overwhelmed by what life gives us or try to make it through in our own strength, but that we would come to know Him as the source of everything we need, and that we would experience Him as our way through everything that life brings our way.

In the verses just prior to the one above, Habbakuk is describing a bleak situation: "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation." How could he talk this way? Because he had experienced the Lord strengthening him before when things were difficult, and he knew that the Lord was able to make his feet like the hinds' feet; that the Lord would help him to stand firmly in the high places above his earthly troubles.

The Lord is wanting to do the same for us. He is using adversity and trials to make us inwardly strong as we look to Him and depend on Him to be our very present help in times of trouble, to be our strength and our security in the high places. His ways are often different than our ways, but He is so wise and He loves us and is for us.

"He makes my feet like hinds' feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places." Psalm 18:33