Monday, April 29, 2013

'a million faithful moments'

Oh, it happens to be Monday. I used to write on here on Mondays. To keep track of the gifts. Count the ways I was seeing God working. Because I know it's all around. Then I lost track. Not of the gifts. But counting them, perhaps. Recording them, maybe. Ever so slowly, I write them down. Here. Nail by nail, pounding them in, counting them, reminding myself of what He brings into my life. Seeing Him all there.

153. birds chirping
154. little ones laughing
155. a friend who gets it. make that friends
156. an (almost) complete weekend without work.
157. a Sunday without work!
158. writing more
159. new friends at church
160. long walks
161 a blast from the past/Gilmore Girls with my friend
162. a maintenance man who shows up super fast and I can get to small group quickly
163. stillness, quiet

So for a moment, when you think things are lost, when there's pain, be still.  and just know that He is there for every corner you have to turn, every door you open. The sharp ones, the curvy ones, the adventure-full ones. He is there. And I tell myself this again and again, too.

A tucked out page in my journal. Torn out. Placed in the back. So I could return to it again and again:

...Recorded from 1000 Gifts...

Ann asks can God be counted on..."count blessings and find out how many of His bridges have already held.

Had I not trusted all these years because I had not counted.

Every time fear freezes and worry writhes..aren't I advertising the unreliability of God? That I don't really believe? But if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.

He's there in the valleys and the mountain tops.

"I fearlessly cross the next bridge."

Friday, April 26, 2013

friend




I need more than five minutes to write about friends...

More than I like to talk about the troubles of the world and pain and all the craziness out there, I like to write about friends.  Just sayin'.

The adventure of friendship is like a big room of balloons to me (I happen to be watching a movie with all sorts of colorful balloons in it as we speak. And I love balloons, so it only makes sense).

*I hope to write a book about community someday {yes, I have many ideas for books, but this is one of them, bear with me}, and my friends will be in it. I'm pretty sure I've had this conversation with my good friend Liz. We decided that perhaps others might not understand the stories that will go in it, but it will still be amusing (one can hope). And if not, it will still be amusing for me. I will be sure to include some inspirational thought. Don't worry.

A word about friends:
 
For some reason, this song keeps coming to mind. Yes, I know, old school.

But, I know I can call my friends. You have no idea what that means. I am not from this crazy digital age. I still like the 'phone.' Thank you, friends, that I know I can call late into the night, when life turns heavy.

Unless you are a friend who does not prefer the phone. Then perhaps I visit you at your house at random times. I probably enjoy sitting on your couch.

Thank you, friends for giving me a song to sing through to brighter days :) Oh the theme song...

Thank you, friends, because you're not afraid to speak truth. In love.

Thank you, friends, because I sing songs with you because karaoke is still where it's at.

Thank you, friends, because over and over I learn how good it is to laugh. And that it's okay to cry sometimes. Thank you for crying with me.

Thank you, friends, for asking real questions.

Thank you, friends, for praying with me.

Thank you, friends, that I have come to see God more clearly in my life because of you.


 
 
 
 
Linking with the five minute friday community today. Join in!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Get Off Your Couch, Julie!

"Get off your/the couch, Julie!"

So says my friend (half) jokingly.


I have to ask.

Are you a couch-rebel?! Check out this cause (thank you, Amy, for introducing me to it). Instead of donating money, they're asking for your creative juices.

Ever since I heard about it a couple weeks ago, frankly, couches have been filling up my conversations (thank you, friends, for bearing with me on that).

There are no potatoes allowed.

For the past few weeks, I've been assessing whether or not I should be included in this category.
 
I'm not going to lie - I love me a good couch. But I know, I know, it's better to get up, get going, and see this beautiful world.

There are moments and seasons for couches. I joked with my friends that at the current time I am enjoying couch-hopping (ie: I like to visit them and sit down for a nice chat on a comfy couch). And there are moments (or strings of time) where you might sit on your very own couch because you need a break and it's comfortable and that makes sense.


But, there is only so much you can see or do if you're sitting on a couch. Hypothetically speaking.

Remember, for every book sold, Blood:Water Mission can provide three people with clean water for one year!

Check it out at http://causepub.com/

(And then check out a couple fun music videos to get you moving today!)

Ho Hey



It's Time



Monday, April 15, 2013

a prayer

You remind me, it is true. Your love is my constant. I want to worship you. I know I'm still broken, splintered pieces, but not to You. You see me whole because you are the whole one, even when you give up everything for me.

For every wandering, or wannabe understood or want-to-understand soul, what do you hear when you ask "is it true?"

I love this above article. Read it if you get time. Then go read The Giving Tree.

Author Brenning Manning passed away this Friday. He was an interesting man. He even knew Shel Silverstein. Manning wrote books that spurred me on. His books like Ragamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust remind us of grace and that we are deeply loved. Praise God for this good news.

Recently in my journal I wrote out something I read in one of his books because it caught my attention.
It started with a prayer. I prayer that I could be more open to honesty, this "precious commodity" that requires we keep telling the truth to ourselves and to God.

"Many of us do not want the truth about ourselves. It does not distance us from God, but draws us to Him, as nothing else can, and opens us anew to the flow of grace."

Thank you God that you hear me. That I can't receive true life on my own. Thank you that when I hide away you find me. That even though I wrestle with you, and want to know answers, you teach me I can just be with you.

Amen.

Linking up with sixinthesticks for #concretewords for the prompt Worship.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Here

GO:

Here, right here, is a blip. It is light and momentary. This I remind myself.
I catch moments with friends; their laughter, a gentle hand on my shoulder - it warms my heart. I sing 'It is well with my soul' and believe this is true.
Here is not always easy but it is real and the Lord supplies what we need for this moment, gives us this grace.
My friend hands me back the book I once gave her, "Eat Your Peas Faithfully."  To remember  simple truths.

For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9

God's love for us does not change. Our lives change...seasons change.

"Like the seasons, we are restored and made new again.

Have faith!

Each spring the earth warms, and all is made new again. Tiny seeds majestically bloosom into exquisite fragrant flowers. Sleepy caterpillars transform into magnificent butterflies. And our dormant hearts awaken and come alive to the sun's life-giving rays.
Isn't God amazing?" - Cheryl Karpen, Eat Your Peas

Have faith.

STOP.

Linking up for Five Minute Friday (so late). Praying your lives - and mine - are lined with hope and peace and peas this week.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Musings, Post Moon Talk



“Darkness is light to you and all you ask me to do is trust what you say is true.” – JJ Heller

I was afraid of the darkness until I lived it for a while and then I realized it was there to point me to the Light. The Light was my journey back.

Our God “wears the scars of the singe.” – in the words of Ann Voskamp. This is “A God who bares His scars and reaches through the fire to grab us.”

And she says that no one told her.  That you could get strong again when you “set the words free…just let the Word, all words, free you.”

No matter what you’re going through or have gone through, there is power in the letting. In the setting words free.  In naming in the light what was lived in the darkness.

And yes, praise God, He is our Light.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

He saves to the uttermost. Those who draw near to God through him.

He lives and intercedes for us.  

Moon

I must tell my moon-truth. I didn't like the moon. Despite its glow, it reminded me of dark.

And it was hard to find the light. Not bright like daytime sun.  Lover of light, I can somehow miss you moon.  

I missed the moon like I miss the stars. Like I need to look up at the sky and dream.

I see the faintest of lights. Which becomes bright to me and reminds me why the darkness brings light and now I like you moon, in all your beauty.

And the sky is a gift-

 
Linking up with #concrete words at sixinthesticks: Moon

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring and Break and 11 Things

This here is Spring Break, which makes me Stop. because it's actually Spring! Thank You Jesus. I'm sort of allowing myself to participate in the whole thing, at least a little bit this week. It works out because the kids I work with have spring break. And it helps to acknowledge that Spring is here. And I love this season. Maybe not as much as summer. But the whole idea of spring cleaning and getting rid of clutter makes my house feel 20 pounds lighter just thinking about it.

And so in this season, I'm stopping to consider 11 (because I like odd numbers) things I'm also learning, and maybe some I've been re-learning, in no particular order:

1. It's nice knowing who your people are.

Small things make a difference. It's good to consider that you can learn a lot by the people in your life.

2. It rains a lot in spring.

Umbrellas that have since broken and won't even close might not be the best option.

3. One of my favorite things in the world is when people want to listen to my stories.

I love words; stories help me see life better. I want to hear others' stories; when I get to do this at work it doesn't feel like work. And I know in my life, the noise of the world and my heart somehow quiets when someone listens.

4. It's still better to listen than talk.
Enough said.

5. I use my iphone more for writing myself notes than Apps or games.
What's an App? Just kidding.

6. When I write a post after midnight, it is incredibly long and wordy.

See other related numbers about talking and listening.

However, I'm encouraged by Lisa-Jo's post today, you know for FIVE minute Friday, when she wrote and I quote her quote, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” –Saul Bellow

7. There are ebbs and flows to life and that is a good thing.

Life doesn't always move fast. Life doesn't always move slow. Okay, I'm not sure this is any ancient wisdom. I'm just sayin'. Sometimes I want life to race ahead and I think I can outrun God. It doesn't work like that. Then there have been times when life moved at snail speed and I didn't understand how people could talk about the months and the years moving by quickly. Life has ebbs and flows. Maybe on some level my heart has always known this but it has has to relearn it. I get to live in this moment.

8. I'm THAT bloggy reader.

 The one who reads your blog, and loves it. But for whatever reason (there's no good one), I rarely comment on your blog.
I read an article once about being a blogger and it said if you didn't comment on people's blogs regularly it was a sure fire way to keep down the traffic to your blog.
The reason I write isn't for traffic, but I love connecting with you.

I'm continuing to learn community in any form has to be shared. I still like blog-land more than I thought I would. I love sharing space with writers and dreamers and thinkers and other believers. This is a space that is inviting and challenging and peaceful and when I let it be, risky. Isn't that what community can be like in all of life?

9. People want to see the real you no matter what arena of life you're in.
Don't hide it. Period.
Who I am is many things that I continue to learn not to hide.
I like kids more than adults sometimes. I find myself telling moms at work that 10 passenger vans are a good idea (I can't help myself). I would be content reading and writing all day long. I am drawn to books by their titles (and perhaps by their content, a little - next on my list is Sparkly Green Earrings :) ).  I still want to write a book. There are still things I struggle with writing about.  I am better in afternoons even though I might complain that I want to have a normal schedule. Contrary to the sometimes belief in my everyday world, I don't think there are 'bad kids.'  Except we've all been the bad kids and we all need Christ. I can be more opinionated and competitive than I sometimes let on.
10. Laughter IS the best medicine.
That's all.

11. God is trustworthy.

I can trust Him. I'm learning trust is probably my word for 2013. Even though I had wanted bold to be. Trust might be better for me. Bold trust?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

My role is to trust. He will direct my paths.


What are you learning these days, friends?


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Love Dare

It's way past midnight when I write this and I should be sleeping, but I came across a topic I wanted to link-up with, Emily's Love Dare on writing a love letter to your body, and however belated, I want to join. The writing brain and these sacred late night moments wait for no man - or woman.
****

I only wish I could find the letter I wrote to my body some years back. By now it's mixed in with the rest of my writings and journals, but it's there somewhere. I know what it said because thinking about a love letter like that helps me remember that it was anything but. I basically wanted to know why my body didn't work right. Why things were so hard. 

I was honest to a fault and I had nothing to lose. There's something you often gain from that if you've ever been in that position for any reason.

So, in my old letter, I told my body, for all intensive purposes, "I just don't like you." I tried to come up with some nice things to say, but I didn't care enough to try to skirt around it, I didn't care enough to try and pretend I felt better than I did. I didn't care to try and help my body feel better then, really feel better, because I thought it had let me down.

There's always more to the story. And not just the part about where I was harder on my body than it deserved. I'm talking about how my body didn't really let me down at all.

It might sound like it, but this isn't just a tale of 'happily-ever-after,' it's about how my second letter would tell my body how God redeemed it, along with everything else, and that it matters.

It matters to think well of the body God has given.

It matters to receive His love and from that to show kindness and love to the places and people God does, and that includes you. Sure, it's easy to swing too far to one side of the pendulum. But I am reminded that as we give kindness and love and grace to one and other, may we also give it to ourselves.

I'm speaking to the old scowler in me, too, about this friends, if this is hard for you.

I could easily find the beauty and delight in others - but it was so hard to take on what Christ said about me.  But I now know, not only do I not have to live out of my flesh, but I am much more than flesh and bone. Strangely, this was freeing for me to accept the body He gave me and to take to heart that I'm made with a purpose. Who He made me to be is what He intended.

If I were to think about writing a new, love letter today it would be a letter of thanksgiving that God has given me a body that allows me to run (if ever I would choose to :) ), to dance, to sleep, to eat, and truly to live with a freedom that I can only find in Him. It doesn't mean there's perfection, it doesn't mean I live without pain sometimes, it doesn't mean life is without struggles. It doesn't mean I shouldn't be reminded about my true self- that the outward self is fading away but I am being renewed all the time! 
It does mean I can praise Him- God is good. He has done a work in me, body and spirit. I am thankful for the journey.




"all around hope is springing up from this old ground. out of chaos life is being found in You."