“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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not Just A Rare Sighting

I love it when phrases literally jump off the page at you...whether you are reading a letter, a blog, the Scripture...words mean so much and spark something in our hearts.  The title of my blog today meant something when I read it in a recent letter, which I will refer back to in a moment.

My husband is off to Kamchatka (again); second time in 6 months and we are so privileged and honored to be able to serve the Lord in this way.  He is once again helping with the construction of the church and finishing up his time sharing in a pastors' conference. This church has planted many other churches in areas all over the Kamchatka peninsula - even as far north as you can get only by snowmobile.  These pastors are coming together from all over to share, learn and be encouraged and challenged in their vision together.  It will be an awesome time for them.  For those of you who need a geographical update:

Please remember him in prayer these next three weeks as he helps our brothers and sisters in Christ in this part of our big (yet at times seemingly small) world!

The days leading up to my husband's departure were busy and a trifle bit worrying for me at times.  He, along with my two sons, spent 3 days in the pouring rain much of the time, on my mom's roof replacing it.  The rain, slickness of the incline which was fairly steep, and my three mighty men being up there led to much prayer on their behalf :)  I found out later that my youngest had the experience of accidentally sliding down the roof and being caught by the gutter :(  or the "hand of God" as I prefer to believe!! 

The last day, this same son drove my car back to our hometown to leave for camp.  On his way, he was to stop in Portland and pick up his older sister in the city.  Having never done that 3 hour trip and finding his sister's home (she'd just moved) with a map I'd given him...and his being not quite 17....again the prayers went up!!  As well, he was leaving for camp for a week before I'd returned home.  

My husband was leaving for three weeks and the trip there and back will take 25+ hours of travel and he left very tired and weary....

Culminating my worry...or is it motherly concern?  I get the two mixed up...is one better than the other???  Adding to my "prayer vigil" was my two daughters leaving before I returned, to drive to California for a mini-vacation.  I don't have a problem with driving to L.A....my "concern" lay with they had never done this before and the I-405 was closed and "Carmegeddon" was forecast :)  Ladies...I don't think I am so different than any other mom when her children set out on adventures; I am all for adventure!!  I did it myself when I was 18...set off across the world to Switzerland to begin my life in Youth With A Mission.  Lived in Italy during the campaign of the Red Brigade; spent the summer in Latvia during the fall of communism and lived in Russia when Yeltsin took over, revolution in Moscow when they took over his residence..etc.  So I am all for adventure...when it is me (kidding!).   

But as a mom now, I acknowledge the concern when our children set out to do something they have never done before...and I rest in the security they are in God's Hands :)  I think I am a "normal" mom...well, maybe not so normal at times :) and one thing being a mom accomplishes....becoming a deeper woman of prayer :)

Summing this up...on the night the girls arrived in L.A., I got a text "not an ounce of traffic...we are here!"  My FIRST thought, and I do mean my FIRST was "I LOVE YOU GOD!"  He brought peace to a mom's heart and seriously, I had no concerns the rest of the week.  God is GOOD.  I have lots to pray about in these days, but God always assures me that my children (and my husband thousands of miles away) are in His Hands...the SAFEST and most SECURE place to be!!!

Back to the beginning....a letter I just read again from Ransomed Heart Ministries (John Eldredge)....For us Jesus cannot just be there on Sundays.  He is DAILY BREATH...our LIFE...not just a mere figure of devotion.  John says, "We need Jesus like we need oxygen."  LOVE JESUS each day, each minute, each second.  What jumped out at me is we are to "share life with Him...not just a glimpse now and then at church....not JUST A RARE SIGHTING."

When good things happen (and bad things!!); when we cross paths with the beautiful....say I LOVE YOU JESUS.  What became so incredible to me was getting that text and my first response being I LOVE YOU! That's why John's letter was so personal to me!  I believe if we will make that a "practice" of devotion to Him each day, each time we encounter His goodness....saying "I love you Jesus", our lives will be different. We can't help but be changed!

Like John exampled...when I wake in the morning to sunshine, "I love you Jesus!"; or rain (seriously there are people in other parts of America right now who would do this in a second when the rains came!...us here in Oregon, we will shout it when we see the sun this "summer").  When I look into the faces of my children, "I love you Jesus!".  When I drink that incredible cup of coffee, "I love you Jesus" or eat Italian food,  "I love you Jesus".  When I see that gorgeous sunset "I love you Jesus!".  When I laugh, when I cry, any moment I am able to breathe....JESUS, I LOVE YOU!  As my children all return from their "adventures"  I LOVE YOU JESUS MORE AND MORE EACH DAY!  And yes, even in those times of extreme disappointment and sadness....Jesus is still there; He hasn't changed, though the circumstances and the world around us does constantly....I LOVE YOU JESUS!  

Oh, my....my daughter (who returned late last night) just said "It is so nice to be home."   YES!  I LOVE YOU JESUS!!!

And you know what is so incredible and makes my heart absolutely leap with the most profound JOY???    


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Busiest Day of His Life

Today is one of those incredibly beautiful and peaceful days when you just want to sit in the sun and enjoy!  I do believe "summer" has finally come to the Pacific Northwest!!  And I am one happy lady!  For those of us here in our little corner of the world, the weather has been a big issue....as my past posts have revealed. So... I grabbed my favorite Book this morning, a cup of coffee and settled myself on our deck to just "be".  I confess...it has been a few days since I have been able to do this.  Well, to be honest...I am able, just caught up in the busy-ness of life that distracts me so often!  My heart was hungry, I was thirsty and my soul was saying....stop and listen and just "be" in His presence.  It was rewarding.

This blog will be short (well, that remains to be seen, or read...)....but oh, how I wanted to share a tidbit.  After some straight to the point revelations concerning an issue in my life....His Word can be so faithful just when I need it. Funny, when we stop to take the time and our hearts are unsettled, He comes to settle with the right Word.  

In moments that followed, I enjoyed a chapter in a book I have been reading "Becoming A Woman of Influence" by Carol Kent (one my favorite authors...you want to be challenged, shaken and changed by the Spirit....read her book "When I  Lay My Isaac Down".  Warning...moms - you will cry your way through this book but it will so challenge you and God will reshape your trust in Him!)  

In the chapter I just finished, she shares about the priority of time alone with God.  In Mark 1:21-34 you witness what could very well be the busiest day in the life of Christ....he preached in the synagogue, he cast out demons, he traveled to Simon's mother-in-law's home, he healed the mother-in-law, he visited with these friends - and I am sure in the mist of all of this, he had meals and shared stories (it was just like Jesus to use the meals and times with friends to share stories with life-changing impact); and then after sunset, the whole town showed up on the doorstep!  Like Carol says....you are almost out of breath thinking of all He did in one day.  And immediately following in verse 35, it says "early the next morning, he went off to a solitary place to pray."  He had a BUSY life, but His priority was to continually meet with the Father.  No matter how busy!  He was energized by spending time with God!

Let's be energized - by the right Source!  Some parts of our summer should  be a time of relaxation, those dog-days of summer (another woman referred to "dawg" days...days alone with God...I LOVE it!).  I don't know about you, but my summer can slip past in so much busy-ness, I wonder where it went! (already we have moved two adult children into new dwellings and a new city for one, sent one off to first camp of summer - fundraisers for those camps, out of town guests and more to come, graduations & parties.....) This month, a roof-repair project, two send-offs - one to camp and Jim back to Russia (more on that later :) and I want to move one child to another room and repaint his room for a guest room ).  I set some "goals" for the summer...I am rearranging those as we speak.  I want some days of "intimate aloneness" with the Father.  Even moments, if not actual "days". That cup of coffee first thing in the morning, alone with the Father, can be a few moments of the breath of God over us.  Although I am planning a day or two at the coast with God...and a couple of very close friends to just enjoy the quiet and share stories, vision, dreams and friendship. 

I want my "energy" to come from the Father.  Ladies, or men if you reading this, whatever busy-ness lies ahead, let's focus our eyes on a very busy man with a very busy day...and His answer, His life Source, was time with the Father.  So, plan those moments...go to the coast.....

Okay...this coast may require an airplane ride....

But find those quiet places to enjoy the friendship of the Father! (Carol mentions in her book that "a solitary place is a state of mind that allows us to listen to God's voice in spite of outward chaos")  Richard Foster in his book "Celebrations of Discipline", says...there will be the freedom to be alone, not in order to be away from people but in order to hear better."  Great quotes with intense meaning!  

No matter where you find that "solitary place" ....in your car amidst the travels or commuting, in that airplane, in your bedroom away from the children, first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening, when all the rest of the family are still in bed.....or at the lake, coast or mountains....breathe in and enjoy His Presence.  

Lastly, some of what I love about summer...

Friends around the fire :)

The fruits of summer...oh yeah!

And my current favorite flower of the season...

I just love these colors...plus I "dream" of Tuscany when I see them :)
Avere una bella estate! (Have a beautiful summer :)