Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shake it up! Fall Fun for Families

I have to say, September 1st kind of crept up on me. I think I have to be one of the few people {in the south anyway} who could have summer all year round. I don't mind the 90 + degree days of sun and oven baked Junes, Julys, and Augusts. I know it's been a humid summer, but I love the scorching heat. I love me some Vitamin D.

Still, I'm reminded of something I talked about with a student I tutor sometimes. We were talking about the seasons changing and he said, "If it didn't get cold, it would be hot all the time." Stated so simply, yet so true. Sometimes our lives do need ebb and flow, and yet, I know I often want to stay with what I love the most.

I always think the summer is great for many reasons, but I suppose that those days that are gray or stormy or cold later on in the year do make me appreciate the sunny days that much more. This has been an ongoing trend in my life.

I grew up where it was cold and gray a lot of the year. We sort of joke there are more gray days in Ohio than anywhere. Growing up, I just was instilled with this mentality that you embrace sunny, hot days. You don't complain if it's a little too hot for your liking, because come winter, you're going to be dealing with some rough weather...and winter lasts a looong time in Ohio.

Even if September 1 doesn't mark the end of "summer," it's that sutble transition. Kids going back to school, those falls flavors coming back on the grocery fronts and at the coffee shops. The pool closes for yet another season.

Sure, all these things will swivel back around again next year. And, there's new and exciting things happening in the fall! That seems cyclical for me. Maybe my body/mind goes into a bit of remission in the summer. A little cooling off period even though everything else screams warmth. I'm not quite sure, but I do feel renewed, ready to shake things up, even though the fall weather is a comin.

Do you like getting all the different seasons? Do you live someplace where you get to have one season longer or more than the others?

Here's to shaking things up no matter what time of year!

In preparation for starting fall off right in a couple weeks, I tried to get in the spirit by searching and thinking on some fun things to do..here's the top 10 I found to help families get in on the action!

For kids and adolescents ( and/or families):

1. Go on a hayride
2. Take your dog for a run
3. Create a mural of a fall theme with sidewalk chalk
4. Send a picture/letter to someone who would least expect it
5. Make placecards for dinner
6. Pick leaves- make a collage
7. Write a haiku poem about fall
8. Got tomatoes from the garden- or some on sale at the store? Have a Mexican night and make some homemade salsa!
9. Go bike riding on a bike trail.
10. Help out in the community, such as raking leaves for the elderly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Singing Along

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.
e. e. cummings


Oh, music renews the crusted parts of me. The parts I need to give over to Him. The places I need to show up and let go and sing not only with my lips but with my life who He is to me.

What am I listening to now?

Robbie Seay Band ~ Miracle
Authentic, steady and consistent, "full sounds." A compilation of his other work and relationships, a meaningful array of responses to God's call in life and His faithfulness.

Matt Brouwer: Unlearning - This track challenges and encourages me. Songs like Redemption Hymn and "I Shall Believe" are soothing and hopeful.



(picture via amazon.com)

What is upcoming in the world of music?

Shaun Groves: Album called Third World Symphony. Released today, Aug. 30, 2011

Leeland's new album The Great Awakening : Release date: Sept 20, 2011

Check back for more on these artists!

I pause in thought with a song from The Great Awakening

..."No one's ever sacrificed

and loved me this way

So on my face I fall under your heavy grace

Here I lay in awe and wonder

Ohh, Ohh, and I wonder

I'm in awe at the majesty of who you are

Your love is a seal burnt inside my heart

All of the day I want to be where you are, Holy Father"

-"I Wonder"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Movement


"A thankful heart can make a poor man rich"

I once heard this phrase and I loved it. To me, it's not what you have that allows you to see life from the gift-perspective, it's viewing life from the perspective that it's all a gift. In that way, thankfulness allows one to become rich in heart and gratitude flows out of all of life.

So, despite imperfectness all around and inside me, or moments of could-a, should-a, would-a, I'm reminded of the goodness of God all around me, and this fills me up and lifts me away like a balloon on a clear blue day. You can just see for miles how far that reaches.

Linking up for Multitudes on Mondays to continue my list of gifts ~ Check out A Holy Experience to see more!

41. Change

42. The calm after the storm

43. That the Lord rejoices over me with singing - Zephaniah 3:17

44. A time for movement and a time to be still

45. The people He has put in my life who strengthen me and keep me thirsting for more of Him

46. Seeing God work. Hearing fun news. Being with people and friends I love

47. Family who loves and serves and puts others before themselves - never complaining

48. A kind of P e a c e that comes only from the Lord

Friday, August 26, 2011

Old vs. New

Linking up to The Gypsy Mama for a Five Minute Friday post :

Go:

There is so much you can do with the word older. I immediately think on the idea of old versus new. Things that are old are nice. For example, it's nice to have old friends, an old love, an old house. In theory, and probably in fairy tales, those things work out well, but for a lot of people I know, and for those things that have yet to occur in my life, what has come up new and suddenly has been really quite special.

I haven't had many old friends in my life. I was telling someone about this awhile back and I think it's a bit circumstancial but also because it's pretty difficult to come across your real, true friends early in life. I found about one friend during my mid-growing up years. The rest were in college or after, so I'm not sure that means very many are truly "old" friends in the real sense of the world. I have a few newer friends, and some that are probably fairly worn in, but I would say in a few years they will start to become older friends. That is something to look forward to. I guess it's better, at least for me, that most of my friends are more tight-knit than extremely vintage.

Now, on to love. Even though old loves can be nice, we're talking about newer love stories. Though I do not have one to share, the good news is that my closest, dear friend just got engaged! So fun! It is so great to see them together so happy . . . : )

Finally, houses. I think old houses have a great feel to them, for awhile. I even lived in one for a short time. I guess I just wonder if it was really old, if everything would start to break down. My friend, the same one who got engaged, always jokes that where I live is going to fall down one day because I have lived there so long and am never planning on moving out. I guess that is one way old places get so old and rustic and broken down (sidenote: my place of residence is not falling down . . . )

Stop.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Barlow Girl's Music = Love It

When I was trapsing around Europe several years back, I enjoyed gaining some new wisdom and fun phrases from my cohorts. One of the phrases I took from those months abroad was from my lovely friend Mandy, who used to ask the rest of us as she tried something new, whether it be a dish or new destination, whether we liked it or loved it. I enjoyed the way she put it too, as if not liking something was out of the question. We were on an adventure, after all! What's not to like?!

It's still vivid in my memory, though, our excursions, and the like-it or love-it conversations. Sometimes, we would sit down for a meal, and she would take a couple bites of something some exotic, or maybe just a Swiss meal that we weren't prepared for (you really weren't sure what you were ordering), and say, "I like it, but I don't love it. But, other times, we would be at one of our favorite Italian places, with the real pizzas, the kind with everything you can imagine on top and the really good crust, and she'd ask us if we liked it or loved it. Then she would say with a bright smile that she herself loved it.

I think about this now, because I really, really enjoy the thought of still being on an adventure. Not as if I have to live my life in a risky way all the time, but that I can still attempt new things.

I think in my walk with the Lord, and even in the scope of what I'm attempting with writing and music, that I don't always look for the places I haven't been before. Or, if I do, I don't admit that I haven't been there. Was it silly that only a few years ago I hadn't tried real Italian pizza before and I had to decide if I liked it? I don't think so.

Readers, only recently have I discovered the awesome band Barlow Girl. I know, many of you have found them before me. I heard of them before now, but only recently had I sat down to really find out who they were and to listen to their music and to take it in. I guess sometimes we live in certain corners and don't hear about great things until they hits us spot on. No pretenses, this was a like-it or love-it moment in my adventure, and I'm glad for it. There was no afterthought; with a bright smile, I jammed to their music and let their powerful vocals sink into my soul as I declared: "I love it."

I love the music - such real music - of Barlow Girl.

I love what they are about. Sisters, they want to make a difference and have an urgency for God's call on their lives.

I love that they are a different kind of band. They are expressive and bring me to a sense of thankfulness and wanting more God in my life.

I love this song.

Tell me something you love, all you Barlow Girl fans.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Different Kinds of Multitudes

For awhile now, I've wanted to talk about Corrie Ten Boom's book, Tramp for the Lord.

Off and on this summer, I've read the scatter of books I have (checked out at the library) by this remarkable lady. I'd like to add her to my collection of books one day, but for now, The Hiding Place, Tramp For the Lord, and Each New Day were just too much to do right now.

I sort of read her books in a backwards fashion. This should not surprise anyone. I knew about her background and inspiring story helping Jewish refugees and her time at a Nazi prison camp, which she wrote about in The Hiding Place. I certainly do want to read it, but I wanted to get a glimpse of her travels and trapses for the Lord following those beginnings. I was getting an inkling that this is where I needed to start for some reason.

Through what I knew of her and what I've learned about her through her faith in suffering, as well as reading some of her more in-depth devotional pieces this summer as well, was this sense that in her times of need, she reached out and wanted to know God more. She throws out this picture of what He is doing in her on the front end being this web of things that seem all out of balance, but on the other end, He is weaving together an embroidery that becomes something that only makes sense and looks right from the other side. All she knew was that even in darkness, she still knew that the "'Light of the World' was present." (p.30). And, she asked herself then, if the Lord was preparing her "for some time in the future when I would need to know that His light is victorious over all darkness?"

Along these lines, another main concept I take from Corrie Ten Boom and this book is not only her wisdom and insight into diffcult situations, but that her courageousness and joy continues to come back to a knoweledge that He has come and overcome the world, even a world that has shaken her up, caused her turmoil, and almost stolen her hope.

On this Monday, I'm being refreshed by a sense that there's a lot to take away from the insight Corrie had into God's promises and mercy, which still reign over stormy days.

I'm continually reminded that multitudes come in all shapes and sizes, and the gifts we seize in this life are sometimes reworkings of those times of hurt, or are the people in life who have been there through the worst of times. Suffering is everywhere, it doesn't leave a life untouched. Just today I heard an update from a friend of mine that dropped tears from my eyes...but those tears were wrapped in love, tied up with friendship, and woven with the gift of hope.

Today I'm linking up to continue with my 1000 gifts with A Holy Experience ...

31. Cold water

32. Writing, writing, writing

33. Telephone calls

34. Flowers, especially yellow or purple ones

35. Weeping willow trees

36. A good book summer

37. Reuniting with a friend after a long hiatus, and picking right up

38. Living somewhere long enough that it feels natural

39. Special mail deliveries!

40. I can take Him at His word.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Boxes


For some reason, today, I'm thinking of shapes. Do you ever think of what shape you resemble? I definitely don't think that I resemble a square, or a box-like shape. It's a perfectly nice shape, and I can think of tons of reasons to like it. And, plently of times, I get the idea that I like certain things orderly, where everything makes sense. I am just not a keep-things-in-the-lines-all-the-time, symmetrical kind of person. I think I prefer circles or squiggly lines. I always figured you could do more with them. Sometimes I like to test my hypothesis. To do this, I'm going back in time to my box story.

I remember one year around Christmastime, there was a fun, holiday decorated box that I must have gotten from someone, and upon opening it, I saw that there was another box. That's what the gift was, more boxes? Fun. I guess you were supposed to do something with the boxes, organize or something. But, inside that big box, there was another box. Okay, you're getting the idea. You've seen this before. I, at a young age, was just introduced to a new concept. It was interesting to me. When would the madness stop?! Tucking things away, trying to figure out how much space things things need, these are some reasons I don't like boxes. And, these were just little boxes. There was going to (supposedly) be a lot of organizing happening here if I was to use them.

Finally, the holiday box-inside-a-box gift opening came to an end. It was actually interesting. Even for someone who doesn't like boxes, and squares. And I remember how easy it would be to just keep them all wrapped up inside each other like that. Case closed. But, it was also fun to take them out and continue to peer inside and see how the little ones each would be able hold different materials and you could do something with them, and even though that's all they could hold, there was plenty of bigger boxes to boot.

So, I do think I used them some. I think I still needed (need) to grow in my ability to use boxed spaces. But, I'm starting to like the mentality of the box. I think my mind flows in ebbs and waves, where there's room to float back and forth and doesn't always want to be limited by walls. Yet, I think that sometimes, it's nice to have boxes in life because you understand what you take with you and what you leave behind.

What about the boxes we pack when we move, the ones we discard, the ones we sell, give away? What about boxes that hold special things, and they can't be loose because need some protection? Sometimes the things we need are a fixture to stay and they have lines or walls around them, and sometimes what we are is fragile and we need something strong holding us up.

What else are boxes good for?

Friday, August 19, 2011

NEW

I'm thankful for Lisa-Jo at TheGypsyMama and walking through her FiveMinuteFriday journeys. I've been caught up lately in thinking about different aspects of beauty and today I am trying to revel in her thought of making it enough to be caught up in this five minutes of just being, just writing, finger painting, letting yourself go, not being perfect in print and it reminds me of what a friend and I talked about yesterday in all things artistic...allowing this (imperfectness) of what's in your mind to come out in expression.

GO.

God is being gentle with me. I feel it all over. I feel it even when I am not always gentle with me, and when I want to dig deep and sense that there is a before and after. Instead, as Shauna Niequist says at the end of her book, "Cold Tangerines," she keeps coming back to the "again and again," instead of this charting things out before and after, how they were once, the I'll get it right this time mentality. I think if we're honest, even when people have strength and courage and lots of armor, she's right that there are always cracks there, "cracks in the armor," and even though we shouldn't go looking for them, I think what causes me to think that God is always doing something new, is finding this kind of strangely beautiful truth in what is a little surprising in life.




I pray God is being gentle all over with people, and I think He is. I think it's beautiful when people come back together when they were a little distant, maybe a relationship that had weakened a little bit. Or maybe, when you weren't sure you were going to make it because your kids had been driving you nuts for another week on end. Or when things did start to get better when you've been sick a really long time, and you've been praying and thanking God for the little things over and over again. Or when you're just so excited for the breath and depth of newness in your friends lives- that there's babies being born and relationships budding and it just makes you want to squeal. Or when that rock in your life that you thought was immovable started to change.

Stop.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beauty Turns Things Upside Down

Beauty Turns Things Upside Down

Beauty turns things upside down, inside out, both for good and bad. Beauty is all around us, God's great beauty throwing us deeper and more involved in this story of redemption and showing us how to look beyond ourselves at what He made.

Part of what He has made is us, and there's so much wrapped around getting a sense for looking at ourselves in relation to the world we live in. In my own growing up years, coming to terms with beauty and understanding it from the standpoint of who God is and what He says about me was something that didn't come naturally. There are tons of ways to explain why it's difficult, and we've heard most of them before: the standards to live up to in this society are complex and confusing, there are so many different voices that need to be sifted through and drowned out as one grows up, etc.

Still, there is hope, for lies and confusion can be replaced by truth and a clear understanding of that what God says about a person. This was true in my life and I believe that can be the case whether you are 11 or 77. I think
The Gypsy Mama hit the nail on the head when she wrote about asking 100 women if they think they're beautiful. Overall, it seemed the people she asked were pretty honest, and held a view of beauty that was more than comparing their outer looks to another and having it all together. But, it appeared many of them had been on a journey, a journey not far from my own, to sense that there's more than a longing to measure up, to be right by the world, to meet others' approval.

I ache though, with a heart of understanding, for girls, for women, who would not answer the same way to a question about beauty yet. We don't have to travel far to see the repercussions of what this does to a person, but I think there are practical steps to take both if this is you or if you want to be helpful to the overall portrayal of seeing women in this true beauty light:

1) Instead of feeling further dragged down by "the world," I think we can choose to remember we do live in it and build one and other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). There's a ton we can do to choose to change conversation so it's directed differently when people (women especially) start talking down about themselves and I think this is a way we can promote positive, God-honoring talk about ourselves, our bodies, our beauty, and so on.

2) Remembering that every good gift comes from the Father. God knew what He was doing when He made us, even though there may be imperfections (we all have them!). Those areas of the body that have changed over the years, with changes or accidents that have taken place do not make you less than "beautiful," or less then the person He created and formed for a purpose.

3) If you are struggling, you can seek out wisdom and specific, caring people who will be supportive.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: The Loud and the Calm

For this Tuesday Tunes, I didn't want to focus on one artist. I started to think about how God was showing up in a variety of music lately and the words He has been speaking into my heart, the rhythm of His voice, sometimes soft, sometimes louder. Usually, amidst busyness, it can be difficult to find that quiet, and at times music, while not always quiet, is a calming force in my life.

I begin to see things more clearly through music, all different kinds of music sometimes- music that leads me to see themes and to weave God's story more brightly into my heart, and to acknowledge His love in my life and in the world more. Music hits those cracks that are tiny and wedges that grow big, the places that need rest.

There's many, many songs that speak about love, but here are a few I'm singing along to right now and a couple I've been wanting to share for awhile.

Francesca Battistelli: Worth It- a wonderful, poignant ballad reminecent of Francesca's other beautiful songs, leaving a trail behind and catching you off guard with its subtle uniqueness.

David Crowder Band: "Our Love Is Loud" What's not to love about David Crowder Band and this powerful song? It is loud and calming to me at the same time, because it fills me with words of strength.

Need to Breathe: "Let Us Love" is upbeat and stirring. "Leave your hurting on the road behind you..." Need to Breathe has some other fun songs like "The Outsiders" and "Lay 'Em Down."

J J Heller: "Only Love Remains" I really love this song, and especially this video. If you have time to check it out, do, especially if you're a fan of JJ Heller. It's a jewel because it was done before she was "famous," when she was singing in church and I see a lot of just that raw genuine spirit and music in her then that we still see today.

"teach me to be humble
call me from the grave
show me how to walk with you upon the waves
breathe into my spirit
breathe into my veins
until only love remains"
JJ Heller

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Sweet Side of Sticky...the Up-side of Messy.

This week, I wanted to bring up the idea of messy. Messy can have a lot of layers, and sometimes, if you don't take time to accept that, or spend a little time there, you can miss the up-side of that. Not necessarily the up-side of things being out of control, but the beauty in finding your way back, and what is created from thick mud sometimes, when it finally mixes around with a little cool, calming water and when what comes out is a bit more easy to work with...

There's also a sweet side to sticky. Or is there a sticky side to sweet? Either way you look at that tongue twister, I think it's easy to consider that with a lot of things in life, there's often a couple different sides to the coin and while you don't always have to go through the sticky or the messy to reach or acknowledge the sweet, sometimes it allows you to savor it more or to recognize it where you might otherwise just walk right on by.

Even if you're in some muddy puddle right now, I hope you are able to savor a taste of something sweet in your life today.

Here's a few sweet parts of my life recently, as I continue on my journey of 1000 gifts: (Linking up for Multitude on Mondays with A Holy Experience)

21. Trying to play the piano ( very simple duets are my favorite)


22. The unspoken words "you are welcome here" by friends

23. New discoveries

24. New pandora stations

25. Moving forward with more work soon...!:)

26. It's still hot summer!



27. The best ever cake that even I like. I intend to market this for my friend one
day.

28. Starting to once again have a semi-normal sleep schedule. Praise the Lord!

29. Getting some walks in again - gonna try to get back at this exercise thing : )

30. The peace of God, directing my way



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adoption Sometimes Turns Heads...

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear Tony Merida speak on the topic of orphan care/adoption. He is the author of the book Orphanology, a pastor who has now relocated to my local area, and a professor. Tony has adopted 5 children, 4 siblings from the Ukraine and 1 from Ethiopia. For our audience, he told a remarkable story of going to the Ukraine and deciding to come home with more children than he and his wife intended. I am sure this is not the first time he has spoke on this account, for not only does he describe it as a climactic moment for him, but also a lot to take in for all involved. Apparently, the newspaper reporter documenting the adoption in the Ukraine asked him why he was "adopting all of these kids" and he explained to her that it was really Jesus. It was some act of charity, and it wasn't through a romanticized idea that adoption is just a great idea.

Adoption is a great idea, but as Tony points out, and as I've begun to understand more as I become enmeshed in what it's really about, it's not romantic when you're talking about children who need homes and caring families, and fatherless orphans. Even more, the picture gets bigger and grows deeper when you recognize that God first came down and in grace turned us inside out to perform adoption on us, and from that, we can see our motivation and gratitude and hope in the adoption story for others.



People often have questions on adoption. When I get into discussions with people, I find there are a lot of things that pop up: issues of infertility, how children can work through having and knowing about different sets of parents, why do people adopt domestically, internationally, etc?

Check out Tony's blog for more snapshots of Orphanology and his perspective on some of these questions, and also on adoption in general. Hearing him speak stirred some things around in my heart.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beauty

Linking up for Five Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama on the topic of Beauty.

Beauty, true beauty, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1) I love thee true beauty that has been etched in our souls by God when He knit us together and formed our very being. When He made us in His image, He declared that what He had made and His creation was "very good" (Genesis 1:31).

2) I love that even though sometimes we may struggle and we do have weaknesses, these allow us to see more of the fullness of God and don't lesses the beauty the Lord sees in us. For Paul writes, "But He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

3) I love what my friend Shelley Hitz says on her true beauty website here.

4) I love that no matter what standards the world places on beauty, which will be for a passing time, God's standards don't change. His character doesn't change. And wherever we go in this life, He is there. He has been there to see us through from the beginning, and He even with the parts of our lives that seem to create a distance from Him, or cause us to feel less than the persons God created us to be, we can remember the promises He has declared over our lives.

5) Psalm 139

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writing Where You're Stuck

Yesterday, I wrote about the book Cold Tangerines. It's been on my mind a little because I'm actually trying to read it to completion in one fail swoop. I often read books in bits and many at once, and this is one I'm trying to take hold of all together, as best I can.

Author Shauna Niequist talks about writing during some of her stories inside the book (I'm just into part II), and she says about the process, that she starts where she is stuck. Well, I can appreciate this. One for big ideas and starting writing projects, it helps me to find trends and patterns in my writing. Also, I like to look to the places that almost burden me, plague me in a way. I love to write about things that mezmorize me, but as Niequist discusses, when writing really takes hold of me, it "worms its way into the dailiness of my life and is creating a home there." This really describes my attitude toward writing, almost a state of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Knowing that where I've come from or what is going on is not always picturesque, but acknowleging the beauty amidst it all. I know all of it is worth seeing on the page, worth not missing.

Writing is like breathing to me, natural, yet sometimes, unnatural and hard, but I have to do it.

I think if you like writing, it becomes a piece of you, like other art forms do. That's why I love books so much as well. When I see the formation of something no one else has created, I can imagine what must have gone on for that to take place. There's nothing plain about writing, a way to pass on experiences, or dreams, or ideas, or creations.

Even when it seems like everything's already been said or everyone's out there saying it, there's room for you. If writing is like breathing to you, then start where you're stuck. Start where it's hard to breath, and you probably have something to say there, something inching its way in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Audrey Assad: The House You're Building...And Reading Straight Through

Please excuse my unorthodox Tuesday Tunes post. When I can't post on Tuesday, everything else typically changes as well. So today, I'm combining my thoughts on Audrey Assad's The House You're Building with a book I'm reading, Cold Tangerines, by Shauna Niequist.

They both have had a way of building me up lately when I needed something kind to listen to, to soak in, to hold me up. It's fitting, actually. The House You're Building is a delight. A story told beneath the piano chords and high notes, each with its own feel and Audrey's own personal style woven inside. The song called "The House You're Building" tells of finding our meaning in Him who is creating in us this home, this resting place, calling us away from our wandering...

"the shelter for every misfit soul."

When I hear that I breath a little lighter.

I also love her song, "Breaking Through." Not only does the sound get me every time, her lyrics speak loudly.

I am a blind man trying to find the way. Heaven is breaking through.

In a way, all these thoughts are so much what I take from Cold Tangerines as well. Heaven breaking through.

Not so much in piecing together every last bit of the lyrics and narrative, but more, when I hear Audrey's music and read Shauna's book I see people of God on their own journeys, and I continue to see my own journey with a sharper lens.

Cold Tangerines is the kind of book I have trouble reading straight through. I have to stop myself from flipping through to the chapter whose name sounds interesting, or to the end, and then go backwards. This has been an ongoing problem with me in reading at times. I think I get really excited with books sometimes, and can't just read straight through.

With Cold Tangerines, it's a collection of stories from the writer's life, and bits of wisdom and love and laughter she's taken with her throughout. It's possible to read it in the mismatched pattern I sometimes use to read these kinds of books, but when I saw myself starting to do this again, I stopped. I wanted to read straight through. Somehow, I thought I might miss something. There was something about the author's journey or the way she wrote and the idea the book portrays about not missing the everydayness of life that caught my attention.

I think this is why I see the element of relation today. When God builds the house He does in us, in me, I know, He wants me to see what He's doing, even in the little stuff...not to miss out there either...the ending is important, the special, catch your attention things are nice, but when you see it all throughout, there's something there that has raw beauty as well.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Traveling Gifts


Linking up for Multitudes on Mondays...a bit late because of traveling.

Isn't traveling interesting? It's like everyday life sometimes. You never know what your day will bring. Sometimes you find yourself a bit off center from where you started, or delayed in your journey, or somewhere you never thought you'd be. Today was an interesting assortment of that for me.

I thought it might be a good time to refresh my mind in this space of some gifts -some big, some small- that create in me a need for thankfulness when I get to thinking about them ... This is my continuation of my list started last week, inspired from Ann Voskamp's site.

11. 'Attempting' to unplug a bit from technology while traveling.

12. Arrivals happening safely.

13. Family here and family there. Family that stays near even if they are far.

14. The sweet combination of birthdays, laughter, and chocolate cake.

15. Babies being born (this makes my heart happy :) ).

16. The journey of friendship.

17. Reading a good book on an airplane.

18. Getting a fresh idea for something to write.

19. The clouds.

20. Excitement for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Gungor

This week's Tuesday Tunes highlights the band Gungor, formerly known as The Michael Gungor Band, named after the leader of the group.

There's a couple songs I find particularly special on Gungor's album Beautiful Things. Their song by the same name is such an original piece. It is now often played on the radio, but I find that no matter how many times I hear it, I'm moved by the liturgical feel and lyrics that point to renewal.

all this earth

could all that is lost ever be found

could a garden come up from this ground

at all ....-Beautiful Things

Their instrumental gives clarity to their sound, as seen throughout their songs, using harmonicas to banjos to glockenspiels. As the band continues to dive further into their music, listeners can experience the depth of worship in unique ways as well.

I like Gungor's song, "People of God" because of the lyrics that remind me of what unites us in our faith.


What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Refreshment

I have found myself consistently caught between the hustle and bustle of activity lately. I find myself eagerly waiting and praying for what feels like invisible balance between the state of business and calmness to level out. In the midst of that, it is easy to forget the peace the Lord provides no matter which cycle my external life presents...

Today (or rather tonight), I'm thankful for the chance to link up A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays:

Some gifts/things I am thankful for by the great giver of them all:

1. A make your belly shake laugh

2. The gift of refreshing sleep

3. Friends from afar who keep you close

4. Learning how to do new things

5. The thought that there are so many books I'd be excited to read

6. So many loving people who come alongside me in life

7. Long conversations that don't feel long

8. God's provision over the year

9. Singing along to songs on the radio

10. Vitamin D (aka the sun & summertime)