Monday, June 27, 2011

Transmission

I've watched my son Jordan dive in and learn how to do things by just.......well, gettin' in there and doin' it.  You know, like the Nike slogan "Just Do It."

There is a time to learn from others, and there is a time to explore and learn on your own by doing.  I think the Lord likes it when we are open to both avenues of learning and growing.

My overwhelming thought, when I took this picture last week of Jordan replacing the transmission on his Mazda B-2000 was this:

"If we, as weak and fallen (though redeemed and raised to new life) human beings, are willing to get this dirty and expend this much energy replacing the transmission on our earthly mechanical vehicles, how much more has God been, and is He yet still, willing to get down into the dirt, mire and grit of our earthly existence and do what needs to be done to move us on down the road with Him??"



He never gives up on us!  On me.  On YOU.

And if He's not afraid to get dirty, neither should we be.

Sharing the goodness of what He's done in me, means I can gladly, by His grace, step into the lives of others, and joyfully get dirty in the process of bringing about His redemption and reconciliation!  And I can learn as I go.  I don't need to have all the answers before stepping into the process.

Neither do you.

Remember:  He (Jesus) IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He will SHOW you what to do, what to say, as you take that step of faith in Him, and reach out and get involved in another's life.  Isn't this how we become transmitters ourselves?  Transmitters of His Glory.  One person, one situation at a time.

Just as we share one another's joys, we bear one another's burdens.  And that will vary in infinite ways, according to the unique gifting and calling of each one of us.  The smallest of deeds (in man's eyes) when done at the Lord's prompting, from a heart of compassion, yields a greater eternal harvest than can be imagined.

No need to compare yourself with anyone else...........YOU have a unique sphere, function and way in which God flows through you that is altogether vital and ordained.  Relax and be satisfied to do whatever He has placed within your reach, all for His glory~  Your gift, your bent, your way of touching others, is VALID and necessary.

I am thanking God today for the ways in which He allows me to grow in this with Him.   And, for the opportunities He's gives me to put my hand to the plow, or the shaft, or WHATEVER He sets before me.   Life is messy, and people are hurting.  In the midst of it all, God is working to bring about His highest purposes.

Don't be afraid to get dirty.  Someone needs your touch.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wait, and Dive a Little Deeper

Often I realize that I don't dive below the surface of my everyday life.  Everyday has it's challenges, it's responsibilities, and don't we all have a list of 'things to do' that we like to check off?  There is this need inside of us to be productive, or at least FEEL that we've been productive.  And sometimes, I think our idea of 'productivity' might be a bit skewed.......or perhaps we just limit ourselves to what we know 'has to be done', but forget the things that don't seem 'productive' at all.

For instance, yesterday we headed to piano lesson.




As Michaela was getting out of the truck to go inside for her piano lesson ( we have the best piano teacher in the world by the way), she asked me if I was going anywhere.  "I'm headed to Tractor Supply" I said, thinking I had just enough time to cram that errand in and get back to pick her up.  "Oh, but I wanted to go with you, to look for bumper stickers!" she said.

In that moment, I made a decision to wait.  WAIT.  That's kind of a big word.  And sometimes a hard one to DO!  But the time spent together with her after lesson going to TS outweighed my desire to 'get it done' and save time later in order to get home quicker.  I didn't NEED to get home quicker that day......!  So.........I turned off the truck, and sat there looking at Mr. B's beautiful backyard, which in reality is a clearing in the middle of a forest of trees.

I got out of the truck (instead of sitting in the truck updating my list of things to do in my daytimer to see what 'progress' I'd made, or still needed to make!).  And I just began to walk around the perimeter of his yard, along the tree line.  I sat down at the base of a tree, and I'll admit, I DID make a phone call (!) to my oldest daughter, Rebecca.  But at least I wasn't sitting in the truck!

While she and I had our conversation, catching up on life and the weekend and other things, I just walked around the back yard, then settled again at the base of the same tree.

At one point, a young spotted fawn came within a few feet of me just inside the tree line!  I watched the fawn watching me, it's gaze locked with mine.  It was so close, but I never would have seen it had I not been resting on the root at the base of that big tree.  I drank in the graceful beauty of this creature with my eyes, appreciating again the creativity of God.  I squinted and looked into the canopy of trees, noticing the various textures of light and dark, and how amazing God is to paint that pattern of light and dark on the fawn, to keep it safely hidden and camouflaged while it's mother is away......

And then, I began to look at the ground, I mean REALLY look at the ground.  I picked up a stick and started playing in the dirt.  At first it was just something to do with my hands.  But then, as I looked at the ground, really LOOKED at it, I suddenly had a flashback to my childhood.  I remember how much time I spent outside, playing hide and seek with my buddies, running all through the neighborhood or riding bikes, climbing trees, etc etc.  I KNEW what the earth looked and smelled like then.  I was so familiar with how the bark of each one of my favorite climbing trees felt under my fingers.  I knew the smell of the trees, the grass, the sound of the wind through the leaves in summer.......even the multitudes of insects and smaller creatures that inhabited our stomping ground, even they were a regular part of my world.  Then.  In my childhood, when I had time to dive into the wonder of God's creation, because I spent more time there.

That is always where I have felt the closest to HIM.  It still is.

As I sat there looking at the ground, I saw the artistry of God.  Right there in the dirt!  And I dove a little deeper, and stayed there, underneath the surface of daily life.  Being still, reflecting, remembering......absorbing.  How is it that such artistry can be right there, underneath our noses, within our grasp......but we rush on by so often?



There is something holy and restorative in nature.  God's natural creation truly DOES declare His glory, in ways great and small. I want to be so much more attentive to the currents of God's Heart.  The myriad of messages flowing forth daily, moment by moment, all around me!

Just as I caught a glimpse of the doe as she came looking for her offspring, Michaela came bounding out the door, her lesson finished.  Mr. B saw me creeping along the forest wall in his backyard and flung open the window to find out what I was intrigued by.  I held my finger to my lips, watched the doe dart away, and went up to the studio to share the story.  He told me that he'd seen the same fawn one morning in the backyard with it's mother, practicing it's dashing and darting skills, while it's sibling hid shyly in the shade, coming out only at the last minute to explore the open clearing.

Michaela and I headed off to Tractor Supply, and wouldn't you know it?  I ran into someone at TS that I hadn't seen in  LONG LONG time.  We caught up on one another's lives briefly.  Then, she dove deeper with me and shared a trial that she is going through.  A very painful deep valley.  And in that moment, I was even more glad that I had waited.  Had I not, then I would have missed this Divine appointment.

I was able to listen with my heart, and pray together with this beautiful but hurting sister.  Right there in TS.  And, I was able to put a treasure in her hands.  A beautiful book that the Lord has been blessing my life with:  "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.

Surely our steps are ordered of the Lord, and I am ever learning to wait.  Stop. Listen, and take the time to dive deeper below the surface of everyday life.  With HIM.

You just never know what treasures await!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fun & Freaky Friday Post

Here's one to consider as you ease into your weekend~  Don't you WISH you lived in KENTUCKY????????  Thank you very much~  :)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn8EQ0azXpQ

All I have to say is, don't turn down an invitation to our barn party, cuz Ernie will be our guest of honor / special 'speaker'......LOL

I'm NOT even kidding~

Seasons and Seashores

I've been thinking recently about how the changing cycles and seasons of my life are like the tidewaters as they visit and revisit the ocean shore.  The Lord says that "as long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest".  Cycles and seasons, these He has created and set in motion.  They exist and are upheld by the power of His Words, spoken from the very beginning of time and creation.  The sun, moon and stars He created to give light upon the earth, and to mark times and seasons.  And to declare His Glory in the heavens!

He also has fixed the boundaries of the earth, and of the seas.  And even of my life~

I used to spend a lot of time near the ocean when I was a child, especially once my grandparents retired and moved to Florida.  One set of grandparents moved to the East Coast, and the other to the West (Gulf) Coast.  Those trips down to visit and stay with them are forever etched not only in my mind, but in my heart.

I have so many vast memories of days spent frolicking near the ocean's shore!  I enjoyed hours upon hours of strolling along the beach with my grandmother, searching together for seashells, and learning from her about the ocean and it's creatures.  The myriad of tiny sea treasures that we collected on our walks together, she would then bring home to her beach house and craft into the most amazing little artistic renditions of various animals and people!  With a bit of glue, paint, wire and other miscellaneous items, Grandmommy's fingers brought forth a host of entirely new & colorful creatures.  My own creativity took on fresh expression as she guided me alongside her in the process.  How I wish I had even one of them with me now!  A tangible keepsake keeping strong the ties of my heartstrings to a childhood season past, but not forgotten.  Lived, but never truly lost~

New wonders were deposited each morning by the ocean's waves as she opened her watery womb, allowing the treasures of her deep to come forth into the light and atmosphere of another realm.  MY realm.  The place of land, air, sky, trees, grass......and ME, sitting in the sand.  Waiting.

Sometimes I dove and darted into the shallow waves, fluttering my legs as hard as I could to keep myself from bobbing to the surface, while my hands and fingers roamed greedily along the sandy ocean floor searching for starfish, sea urchins, hermit crabs, mollusks, scallops, oysters, or ANYthing that might be deemed an especially 'rare' find.  Oh, and sand dollars!  We really got excited about them.  Grandmommy taught us about the 5 little doves that were inside the sand dollar, but in order to set them free, we had to break open the sand dollar.  THAT was always a hard choice.  So we'd collect as many as we could find, so that we could break some open to see the little white doves, but allow the others to remain in tact.

I remember that I LOVED the sand almost as much as the ocean water.  Even now, as I sit here and write, more memories come flowing from my heart through my mind and out of my fingertips.  I think about how it felt when the waves would wash ashore and swirl around me while I sat there there digging my toes as deeply into the sand as I could.  After depositing little treasures at my feet with her foamy fingers, the ocean would quickly retreat again, washing away the finger etchings I had engraved into her shoreline.

My brother and sister and I always knew that the sandy castles and kingdoms we spent hours crafting would also be taken with the tide at some point later in our day.

But this realization did not stop us from returning again and again to her shore, to frolic, play, walk, rest, and create anew whatever came to our hearts and minds.  It did not bother us that for a short time, what we created would give us, and others,  joy.  Pleasure.   And then it would fade away, giving place to another cycle of creativity for a new day.

So I think it is with my life.

I sit at the shore of a new season.  I have been here before, but I am older now.  Hopefully wiser, but always there is the vast ocean of unknown possibilities and treasures before me.  The Ocean of God's Great heart, and all that He desires to show me in each and every new season, lies before me.   Always.   If I will but come and sit, after His tidewater has cleansed away what was before, He and I together will do what my Grandmommy and I used to do together so long ago.

Together we will create something beautiful, the Lord and I.  Something uniquely mine, but having it's source IN HIM.

The treasures of seasons gone by are never truly lost and forgotten, but only stored away in the heart and mind.  They are forever alive in eternity, and kept safe, somehow preserved in their niche of time and space, but not seen and heard in quite the same way as before.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  "To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, a time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.""

Ecclesiaster 3:11  "He has made everything beautiful IN ITS TIME.  He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds (a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy)..."

I cherish in my heart, and am grateful for every treasure, every gift, every grace of seasons gone by.  They cam e in their fullnesses of time, and they came to pass.  I hold them all in my heart and mind, knowing that these will always be part of who I am, and who I am becoming.  Even the hard and hurtful things of the past, or even the present, become gifts, treasures, doorways to deeper places of grace in God.  They are escorts to knowing Him more fully, and becoming who I am more fully, as He has created and intended me to be.

May I freely rejoice and lean forward into the future, knowing that each new season has fresh infinite possibilities.  Like the ocean, unfathomable and unsearchable is the heart of God, and the ages to come with out end will prove this to be so.

What a glorious eternal future lies ahead, and how grateful I am for a Loving God Who continues to meet me at the shore of each new season~

Welcome Him today, no matter what season in life you are in.  Whether it is a bittersweet, hard season (fading as the Fall, or cold and barren like the winter) or a refreshing season (warm and fruitful like the Spring or Summer).

There is beauty even in the difficult seasons.  And always, they give way to another.

Remember, just as my Grandmommy used to always say......"This too shall pass."

He holds out HOPE to you and I today, for the future.

What will you create on this new shore?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It Happens

So.....have you ever made a quick decision on the way to somewhere, and you were almost on the verge of being late, so you didn't really think it through, and you let someone else's input (given quite off the fly because that person knew you were in a bit of a hurry anyway) tip the scale in your mind and you just............WENT with it.  Even though if you were all by yourself, you probably would have made a different decision, but you were........yep.  Feelin' too lazy????

I did that today.

And, instead of having to face the consequences of that decision myself, my sweet hard working can't wait to leave the office and downtown and fight through rush hour traffic to get home husband came home to "IT".

IT happened.

I got the phone call while the girls and I were visiting at a new friend's home, getting the run down on her horses and dog and garden and such, which we'd be taking care of in a few weeks while they were on vacation.  Oh, and we were having quite a nice time chatting and just fellowshipping in general really..........you know, stopping to "smell the roses" and walking through those PORTALS that I blogged about yesterday.  O_o

While at home, my sweetie was smelling something ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT (than roses that is).  He walked through the 'portal' to our home and.....!!!!

You see, we (the M&M girls and I) had decided earlier that afternoon, when we left the house, that we'd just leave ole Max inside (our son Jordan's yellow labrador)........since he was older, and very tired, and moved slowly, and we were late, and it's hard to get him to move anyway, and none of us wanted to unlock the basement door again and go inside and find him, and.........

Anyway, as we were leaving, I asked the question "Where's Max?  Let's put him outside." The swift answer came "Aaaaawwww, he'll be fine inside"  Persuaded, I just let it go.

So we left.

And while we were gone............Max exploded.  His bowels just............EMPTIED.  In stages.  All.  Over.  The basement.  His bladder too.

Did I mention that we DON'T have hardwood floors?  We have CARPET.

Jeff's voice was actually quite calm as he explained to me that he just 'wanted to prepare me' for what to expect when we got home.  He said it was unlike anything we'd ever seen in all of our years of raising and training and caring for and nurturing dogs.......( and cats, and hens, and rabbits, and a bull calf and turkey and horses and even a one legged duck.  Oh, and many, many birds).

I told him we'd go to Wally World and get anything and everything we could, and come home and tackle the situation.

He continued to take some time to breathe fresh air and exercise the other 3 dogs while checking the pool pump, etc.........basically just staying OUT OF THE HOUSE.  Which STANK.

The girls and I purchased our arsenal of supplies, and in the midst of realizing what I was going to get to go home to, I had to make a decision.

Okay.  THIS is a portal.  Yep.......a messy, mostly insignificant mundane happens to everyone sort of thing......but not something that I was looking forward to.

I blurted out on the way home in the truck to the girls......."Okay!  I'm just gonna laugh and deal with this and.......and......not complain (thank you Moriah!).  And WOW.  Wouldn't it be funny if that song "It Happens" came on the radio right now????  I'd totally give God the thumbs up....!!"

You know the song?  Well, search it on youtube:  "It Happens" by Sugarland~

Of course, you've guessed by now, that JUST as we got off the expressway and turned towards home, what begins to fill the truck cab through the radio (?)  but the song "It Happens"!!!   Michaela recognized it first, and I couldn't believe it!!!

SERIOUSLY?????

Lord, You are TOO FUNNY!  He took me at my word, and gave me just what I needed to push me over the edge.  I walked through the portal that the situation presented.  I chose to sing along with the song (with both of my girls by the way) at the top of my lungs, and yes LAUGHING, with the windows down.!  I actually began to look forward to the opportunity to get home and attack that horrible gross unsanitary MESS that I knew was waiting.

We laughed and arrived home in time to find out that my son Jordan had beaten us to the punch.

That's right.  He had already cleaned up the entire mess, and I was actually disappointed.

DISAPPOINTED!

Well......maybe somewhat relieved!   LOL

Life is funny.  God is good.  And I sure would have wasted a lot of time being upset.  Needlessly.  Because no matter WHAT happens, we ALWAYS have a choice.  To walk in the flesh, or walk with Him, in the Spirit~   And there are a LOT of surprises and blessings there, no matter what the circumstances would like to convince you otherwise.

Hey, don't forget to go listen to the song....."It Happens".

Cuz sometimes, OFTEN times........it just DOES.

But we always have a choice.  An opportunity really, to rise above the current that would pull us underneath.  We really CAN walk on the water of our circumstances and experience a reality filled with life, promise or victory, rather than the everyday angst and frustration that so easily finds us in moments of weakness or weariness.

JOY.  Choose Joy.  And be thankful that we CAN~

And when "IT" happens to you, whatever your IT is.........remember that God works ALL things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose........and His purpose is that we become more like Him, and be WITH Him both now and forever. (Romans 8:28-29)

It's the "ITs" of life that sometimes are the means He uses, in small and BIG ways, to help us get there~  :)  Just sayin~

PS.  From now on, we've all decided and agreed that Max (on the right) stays outside with my dog Buster (on the left) on the patio, or in the kennel when we're gone~  :)



PPS.  Here's the link to the song "It Happens"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph49YlxCqi8

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Everyday Portals

I did something last week that I haven't done, but SHOULD have done a long time ago.  I spontaneously took a walk in my little town, while my daughter Rye played volleyball at the local community center.

I don't know why I haven't done it before....  I really don't.  People come from all over to shop on our historic Main Street.  Hoping to catch a glimpse, or get a picture of the train crawling through the middle of our town, they come.  Cameras in hand.  Artists too, bringing their easels and sketch pads and dotting our small town with their creative presence, capturing & preserving it's character for future generations.

While I, who have lived here for 14 years, have missed much of it's hidden treasure.

So I took a walk.  A long, slow walk.  I opened my ears.  And my eyes.  I tried to breathe in just a bit of the fragrance of this place.  Feel it's heartbeat from a different vantage point.  And appreciate it's beauty, uniquely all it's own.

I started by crossing over and walking on the other side of the railroad tracks~  :)



I thought about the fact that living life more purposefully and intentionally requires determination.  I must slow down and pull back the surface veneer of life...........MY life.  Dig deeper.  To where the treasure really is.

Exploring more requires that I push against the comfortable and familiar borders of my life's landscape.   For I know there is MORE.

I like to search for the doorways, the portals if you will, that God places before me daily.  They invite me to explore and penetrate the realm of His Spirit, which gives birth to what our senses can only experience in time and space.    As beautiful and glorious as that is, there is still more.  But oftentimes, I get caught up, trapped,  in the doing of the daily tasks and chores and comings and goings, and I brush past the portals that beckon me to go beyond.

Everywhere these portals surround us.  They are in God's vast creation, through out nature.  They are in the hearts, lives, faces and voices of people I know.   Some constant and familiar, others momentary and fleeting.  If I pause long enough, His Spirit allows me to really SEE.  Beyond the veil of human flesh and emotion, beyond actions and words and the flurry of stuff we  occupy ourselves with.......to the *heart* beneath.

When the invitation comes, it is the rarest of opportunities.

Plumbing the depths of my own heart is challenging enough, but another's?  Or a what about a town's heartbeat?  Is there even such a thing??

And then of course, there is GOD'S.  His Heartbeat keeps the Universe alive and pulsating......upholding ALL things by the power of His Word.  His word, that proceeds from His Heart.  Alive, active, sharper than any two edged sword, and it pierces to cut, slice, separate, and HEAL.  Severing that which suffocates and destroys from the treasure He desires to unchain and release from it's dungeon deep within the darkened corners of the human heart.

He does this in LOVE.

Always.

Even when we don't understand.  Even when it hurts.  He works, and He watches, and He waits for us to recognize Him.  Standing at the doorway, knocking......



My walk somehow became a metaphor for this new season in my life, unbeknownst to me~  I walked down side streets, alleys, along railroad tracks and sidewalks lined with picket fences.   Hungry to explore new territory, unknown places, sights, sounds and smells..........I peered into yards adorned with tenderly planted flowers, and vegetable gardens already beginning to yield fruit.  I passed grills and lounge chairs, porch swings and dog houses, old trucks and tires and shiny new mailboxes.....scooters and mudpuddles, bicycles and abandoned shoes.  I came across a front porch filled with old furniture, all covered with tattered tarp and dirty towels, waiting for someone to rescue & restore it to it's original purpose and beauty.

People are like that too.

As I nudged along the borders of their existence, I tried to imagine who the people were, and what their lives were like.  Did I pass them in the grocery store, had we seen one another at the park or at the local pizza parlor?  I'm sure I didn't know most of them at all..........but God knows.



I was struck by how small I am, and how little I know.  And how much there IS to discover.  And I felt a bit more alive~

God has placed along the path of each life, yours and mine,  doorways.   Portals to His hidden treasure.  These are His signs, gifts scattered thoughtfully, intentionally pointing the way to His Heart.

Sometimes the gifts come wrapped in pain, or heartache.  Disappointment or sorrow.  Sometimes the gift comes in unexpected surprise of joy or provision, new opportunity or fresh hope and inspiration.  New relationships, or a second chance.

These everyday portals to God's Heart continue to beckon us, waiting patiently for us to slow down and recognize that they've been there all along.

Not one of them is locked!  

I, for one, am learning to enter in more and more by His grace~