“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Appreciating the Creative Part of YOU!

Saturday...the one day of the week where I get to sleep in (sometimes!).  As part of a family Saturday can mean a variety of things...a day filled with those tasks that don't get done during the previous 5 days, sporting events, shopping, cleaning, laundry...it goes on and on.  Sometimes it can be a day of getting away and relaxing in nature (although right now it is a bit wet to really enjoy nature :). It was designed to be a day of rest.  In our busy world today, however, that day is relegated to Sunday, although traditional Jews celebrate this day on the original Saturday (Shabbat).

I remember growing up, Sunday was different than other days.  We were not church-going in those days (Easter and Christmas topped the list for making that journey).  My grandparents went to church, however, and we usually joined them for a Sunday lunch.  The afternoon consisted of roast beef, mashed potatoes...then napping :) and a drive in the country, often collecting dandelion for salads (don't ask!).  After that it was the traditional stop at Dairy Queen for a cone and then back home.  When my grandparents passed away, we still had the traditional larger meal at noontime, napping, drive and often times watching football. But overall, it was a day set apart.  It was also a day spent with family, extended family, and was a day I usually saw my cousins.  After I married my husband, realized he too grew up with Sunday being a day you spent eating a meal with family and friends, each minute and hour being absorbed by the richness of being with those you loved. That was after the morning being filled with being together in worship and teaching in church.  Basically, the whole day was with those you cared about.

God knew what He was doing when He told us to take a Sabbath (Exodus 20:8). Amazingly, thousands of years ago He knew even then we would need a rest today. I read recently on this day that traditional Jews stop working, traveling, building and fussing, and they instead ask themselves, "Am I am human doing or a human being?"

In the book "Judaism for Dummies" (no comment please...I love these "dummy" books), the author points out that the Bible says, "Six days shall you labor and do all your work" before Shabbat begins, implying that on this day, Jews should rest as though every undertaking begun were completed - the kind of rest that happens at the end of a project, when one is free to stop and appreciate what has been created.

Wow!  That is a concept that can transform me...stopping on a Sunday and taking the time to appreciate what as been created the week before.  Frankly, Sunday for me tends to sometimes be as busy as the rest of the week (I take all the blame for this by the way).  And more often than not, I am planning the week ahead instead of reflecting back.  But...what if I (we) stop and take a bit of time on a Sunday morning or afternoon and reflect, and appreciate what was created in and through our lives the previous 6 days.

I took a few moments today and reflected:
I created a home of peace (hopefully) and rest for guests we had in our home this week (from Poland and Montana).  I created meals, conversations and laughter in a home they could relax in as they participated in the ministry they were called to do while in our city.
I participated in a Bible study in which we woman were challenged and encouraged through God's Word and the support and prayer of each other.
I spent time with a couple of dear friends who needed a friend to listen and pray with them, needing to know they were not alone in what they faced in life.
I created a place of safety and again, hopefully, peace and prayerful instruction as adult children living away from home called to talk.  My oldest daughter calls these "phone dates"...absolutely LOVE these!
I created a few meals that my teens still at home complimented me on...and I REALLY LOVE this!!
I carved out a bit of time to get physical exercise, one time being a walk in the sunshine (yes, I said sunshine!) with my wonderful husband.
And...I creatively paid some bills and filed the receipts (I'm reaching here, I know, but sometimes we think our days are filled with "stuff"...and they are...but it can be looked upon as part of the creativity we make of our lives).

I think we are on to something here...what if the next 48 Sundays of 2011 had moments of pausing to appreciate what has been created the week before?  I think I will see more creativity and beauty in my life and a greater appreciation for each day I have lived.  And in this place of rest...appreciating the creativity of my life and those around me.

So, today as I enjoy my coffee (in bed!) and get prepared for a basketball game, a baby shower and dinner at the home of missionary friends, I will appreciate each moment knowing tomorrow will be a day of recognizing creativity in a week well-done and just being a "human being" with those I love.  

Enjoy your weekend dear friends and the Sunday that is before us!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Too Close For Comfort

Think back to being a child for a moment and remember watching fantasy movies and somewhere a child opens up a magic book and rays of light seem to burst out of it.  It's as if the whole person and room is enveloped in this magical light.  I woke up this morning imagining it would (or should) be that way when I opened up the Most Important of Books.  I like to think truth literally jumps out at me when I open the Word.  Well, streams of light did not necessarily burst out upon me, but a measure of understanding did.

I am reading in Matthew 5 which is where, of course, the Sermon on the Mount is recorded.  I didn't get past verse 12.  Especially verses 11 & 12.  I looked at several translations and the first 10 verses Jesus is telling the disciples about certain character qualities that if people possess them, they will have godly results and blessings.  He seems to be directing his comments yes, to His disciples, but He does say, "Blessed are those...or Blessed are they who".  A translation or two I found did say, "Blessed are you".  But most used the third person.  Now when He gets to verses 11 & 12, He seems to be more directly addressing His comments to the disciples themselves.  He says, "Blessed are YOU..."  The Message translation puts it this way:

"Not only that - count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me.  What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.  You can be glad when that happens - give a cheer, even!  -  for though they don't like it, I do!  And all heaven applauds!  And know that you are in good company.  My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble."

Another version said "How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me!"

I can imagine the minds of the disciples spinning thinking, "Whoa, wait a minute...I like the first words of blessing you gave us.  They sounded a little bit nicer and easier on us."  Verses 11 & 12 seem to point directly to these disciples and the uncomfortable life they are about to enter as they follow Him and obey His Word.  The thought struck me of the blessings of godly character I want in my life but as a disciple intentionally serving Him, those last two verses apply to me as well.  Jesus told the disciples go to and make "disciples"....of which I am a result of their obedience.

I love the thought of truth being lived out in my life because when it is....that truth will be too close for comfort for the world in which I live and imagine...heaven is applauding!

Hmm...this Book did bring rays of light out around me as I opened it and pondered what it said.  And yes, today I want the applause of heaven ringing in my ears as I live out truth that could be just a bit "too close for comfort". And I am in good company...a good kind of "trouble" to get into :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Year That Changes My Life

Well, this is a new beginning for me.  Already a month into 2011 and I am being challenged by setting up a blog :) and yes, I looked up that word to see what it really meant.  I love to put my thoughts into words and sometimes my mind goes faster than my mouth can keep up and I articulate with the written word better than I speak (or so I "think"). (For those times...which can be many...when my mouth goes off faster than I am thinking...it is good for me to take the time to pause and write my thoughts, and it may even sound a tad bit wiser :) Taking the theme from Beth Moore's "The Inheritance", Lesson #1, "The Year That Changed My Life" is appropriate as I am anticipating to go deeper into the Word this year and His purposes for my life. I felt inspired to go out of my comfort zone and let God have all kinds of opportunities to change my life....and this blog is one of them.  And so, as I experiment with this internet, web-way of sharing, learning as I go, I hope to make new friends, share experiences, and get feedback on your experiences to enrich our lives as women all-around.  I only ask one thing - please be patient with me as I learn; as I am mid-way through that 5th decade, I often have to ask my kids how to do this computer-thing (uploading, downloading, googling...all that "ing" stuff).  I am sure you, God and I will have a good laugh once in awhile.  So from time to time, grab that hot cup of java, a biscotti or two, and find a comfortable spot with a good view and let's become friends and women who allow God to transform our lives!