“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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Survival Vs. Living

Are you surviving today?  Or are you living?  It's not a question of semantics but a deep down heart-felt question.  This weekend we went to see the Academy Award Best Picture "Twelve Years A Slave".  Heavy movie.  Be ready for heartache, deep issues of evil in the heart of man and ending with tears mixed with joy and sadness.  A statement made by the lead actor left an impression on my mind.  Solomon, a free man in the north (of USA) is kidnapped and sold into slavery (human trafficking is not new).  Early into this horrific journey he is about to face, he is challenged by another slave to be tough, keep his head down and "survive".  Solomon, in a state of bewilderment and shock at what has happened to him lifts his head and says, "I don't want to survive, I want to live."  Profound.

Egypt was a place of survival and death.  Egypt was where baby Moses was found floating in the Nile, placed there to escape the death sentence of all the male babies.  God then uses this same land as a place where baby Jesus and his parents found refuge the first years of Jesus' life.  A place of death became a place of survival, which led to life.   Interestingly, life changing ministries came out of this place from the lives of these two men.

Scholars differ but the general thinking is Jesus spent around two or three years of his early childhood in Egypt, before returning home after King Herod died (around 4 B.C.).  He and his family were surviving in Egypt.

During this period of "survival" Jesus most likely....

**learned how to walk
**learned to eat with a spoon by himself
**learned to talk
**began to recognize his earthly father and mother
**became attached to his earthy family and developed relationships with them....his early "community"

Places of survival can be places of learning and preparation.  And, they can be transformed into places of life.  Places meant for death can be transformed into life. 

Today, whatever season you or I are in, let's ask God to birth life out of it.  If you feel you are just surviving, barely able to keep your head above water, wondering how you got here in the first place when all you did was take steps of obedience,  let's trust God to bring life out of our Egypt.  Open our eyes to what God is doing in our Egypt - perhaps teaching us something valuable to use later on down the road.  We don't want to survive, we WANT TO LIVE! 

"Lord, in places that once meant death, or seem like death to us, we trust You to bring forth life.  Today, increase my faith in a place that seems to be dying, YOU will cause life to spring forth." 
(prayer from the devotional below)

(Some of my thoughts came from my devotional reading today; a wonderful Lent devotional that is free to download.  Even though Lent is the time period 40 days before Easter, this devotional has 17 days of devotions, so if you begin now or even miss a day or two, there is plenty of time to catch up before Easter.  Enjoy because this is powerful stuff!  Thanks to Ann Voskamp!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Where Do The Birds Go?

Firstly, where did I go?  I'm still here, just my energies concentrating on other areas as winter winds down.

catching up on month-long paperwork
paying bills
sending out newsletter
getting over illnesses from travel
catching up with family


shopping for a wedding dress
finding a caterer
reviewing options for decorations
looking at flowers
invitation decisions

Yes, I am a mother of the bride!  Since returning the beginning of February, the realization has set in that the bulk of the months of 2014 will be wedding preparation (for my daughter and I, at least).  So, if I only write once in a while, you will know why and where I am, more or less.

And I hope to be "where the birds go".  This morning I woke up to pounding rain and a windstorm that threatens to be an all day long event. I enjoyed my morning ritual of Bible, coffee and watching the birds at our birdhouse out our window

Okay, not my birdhouse, I just can't find my photo of mine...lost in my files :)

Only today, there were no birds to be seen.  Rain pelting the window and wind whipping the trees, I wondered "where do the birds go when it rains and is so windy?"  

"How priceless (exquisite) is your love, O God. How eager we are to run under your wings."
Psalm 36:7

"Be good to me, O God; I run to you for dear life. I'm hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over."  Psalm 57:1  (The Message Bible)

Birds, like us, know when to run for shelter.  To a momma or daddy bird to cover them; to the cleft of a rock for protection or the branch of a tree for shelter 

We, like our fine feathered friends, also run for shelter in the storms or the seasons of ultra-busyness.  Like birds, doesn't mean we are weak, just shows we are smart.  Hopefully, we know the best place to go to be protected and to receive strength.  So when the rain and wind passes, and the sun comes out again (which is always does), we are replenished and rested to continue.  Take heart, we will see the sun again.  This winter and season will soon be over.  The birds know this to be true.  I know where the birds go...and where I plan to go when things get tough.

"And those who wait upon God will get fresh strength.  They spread their wings and soar like eagles."  Isaiah 40:31