Sunday, May 31, 2015

Favorite May Moments

My best friend is here visiting and I want to spend today with her so my usual Sunday post will be abbreviated. I am sharing my favorite photos from the month of May.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Surprise Guest at My Garden Hop

I tried my hand at making a video for  Jamie Ridler's Garden Hop. I thought I had it mastered but when I tried to post it, much to my dismay, there was no sound. Maybe next time.

Here's a photo of a few of my seedlings going in the ground this week. This is my first try at planting seedlings so fingers crossed

It's been a cold and windy spring here in northern Maine, but a few perennials are showing signs of life.

My first perennial to show her blossoms this year.

These are the same perennials covered with snow on Saturday morning!

Here is my little wet and shivering visitor who perched outside my kitchen window all morning until the snow stopped. I think the eaves above offered protection from the storm. 

This isn't the post I planned but hope you enjoyed a sneak peek at my garden.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heaven's Voice of Hope

"Don't get thrown off course." James 1:16 MSG

Fear has been poking his nasty head around the corners of my life.

Watching the news can be a scary practice these days. My hubby is a news buff, while I read women's blogs and Facebook posts from trusted organizations. Over the past couple of weeks, several of their voices have been ringing with wake-up calls for the Body of Christ.

I can't get Ann Voskamp's recent post out of my mind. WARNING: her post is not for the faint of heart. Her words brought the battle closer to home as my aching heart connected with women a world away.

Red flags shot up when I sensed the spirit of fear plotting an inside job. 

I bowed before the Lord.

LORD, why would you call me to dream big, to believe in the future if all that lies ahead is fear and disaster? What are you saying to me?

Proverbs 3 in the Voice Translation.

Stay focused. Do not lose sight of mercy and truth...
Rely on Him completely.
Stay calm.
He will safeguard your each and every step.
He pours out his grace on the humble.

Fear took a few steps back.

In the evening I happened across an interview with Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, California; he is a fifth generation pastor I trust and highly esteem. When asked what he wished he'd known when he first started out, Bill Johnson said he wished he had known how really good God is. He knew the goodness of God but not its vastness and depth. 

Fear's footsteps grew quiet.

I penned a prayer this morning as I pondered all the voices and messages scrolling through my mind.

LORD, you have taken great pains to get the message of your goodness into my heart. 

Anchor me in your grace.

Don't let me get sidetracked into fear by the evil of this world. Satan is accomplishing enough of that these days. I don't doubt the prophetic voices pleading for America to repent, warning of disaster to come


I know who You are.

You are Love.

You are Holy. 

You are grace and you've gone to great lengths to spread this gospel of good news throughout the world.

Holy Spirit, let your goodness be my focus, no matter what is happening around me.

 Position my heart in Grace. 

Let me be a vessel of hope, touching earth with heaven in days of darkness and trial.

Help me to live from the inside out!

In the midst of  fires that try faith, let Your Face rise before me. 

Let my voice spill over with hope to your world, the people you cherish more than I can know. I hear you say, as my hubby often speaks over our grandchildren:

I love you more.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Surrendering Every Moment

God does great things with surrendered people. And surrender happens every day in one thousand small moments. ~Jennie Allen, "Restless"

Those words stuck in my mind like velcro. I felt like one of those small bouncy balls, here I go, there I go. Bounce, bounce, bounce. By Thursday, frustration was getting the best of me. Then I remembered Jennie's quote and I surrendered. I surrendered via pen to page in my journal, giving God every past moment of three days focused on interruptions and shortfalls. 

The simple movement of faith shifted me in the direction of gratitude. What were the positives of my week thus far? 

*my workout with Kate on Monday * last meeting completing six weeks of Bible study as a teacher and host *praying while doing stretching exercises *blogging linkup with COMPEL *encouraging a friend *writing even when I didn't reach my goal *creating a Facebook group for my study circle * reading Lynn Austin's "Keeper of the Covenant," which is worthy of a post in itself *telephone chat with my oldest granddaughter, always a joy!

The following three days presented their own difficulties. Hubby and I needed to open our camper because our next two weekends already bore heavy schedules. This meant traveling three hours one way, lots of packing, cleaning, lugging etc. An allergic food reaction of some sort slammed my body. This together with my allergy problems in our camper made every task feel like slogging through thick mud. 

In the midst of my swampy thoughts and physical predicament, my littlest granddaughter came to visit.  We decided to take a walk while Grampy washed the camper, keeping her little fingers off the hose. Lily's focused delight  captured my full attention, as she picked handfuls of tiny flowers to put in her wagon. 

Our lives are made up of thousands of moments each day, waiting to be fully experienced with all of our senses.

As a young mother, I lost memories in the making to busyness and perfectionism, things that didn't matter. Spring and fall cleaning in themselves took weeks to complete.Women prided themselves in the completion of endless tasks during these seasons. Every wall must be washed down, floors spit-shined, each piece of furniture perfectly polished, curtains sparkling white. Who even does this anymore? 

I surrender those thousands of moments over and over to God, begging his help to smell, taste, touch, hear and see his presence in my present life.

Slowly, I bend over, grabbing a handful of flowers spread before my feet rather than trampling them without a glance as I steamroll through preconceived plans and fading competitions.

My holy pause makes space for the greatness of God.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spilling Grace

"It's all about me!"

We live in a world where selfies proclaim this point over social media every day.

But what if there's an underlying cry in our current selfie craze? What if the message is signaling our struggle to be present, to capture tiny moments, to make life count for something? Maybe even to be noticed.

 Recently I attended the funeral of a local farmer's wife. The farmer served as a prominent member of our small-town community, well-known employer, school board representative, and active in the local church.

Unlike her husband, Suzie served quietly. She worked hard on the farm, raised her children, loved her grandkids and helped in her church unobtrusively. There was standing room only at her funeral.

I thought about the reason I attended Suzie's funeral. I hadn't really spent any significant amount of time with her for years. The last time I saw Suzie was in the grocery store probably a year or more prior to her death. Yet she always made me feel like I mattered, enough to pause in her busy day and chat for a few minutes.

Women simply want to know they matter.

Two years ago, storm after storm battered our family, devastating my faith. Darkness enveloped my soul, blinding me to God's presence. I couldn't see Him anywhere. My wounded emotions led my thoughts down paths of rejection and abandonment. Late into the night, I sat on my bed and cried out to God, longing to see His hand change our circumstances. Instead I heard the still small voice I used to know so well.

"You can't see Me, child, but I see you."

He never took his eyes off me.

Months passed and the storm stilled; I came away with a new knowledge of God's love. I also learned the importance of noticing the people who cross my path each day. My prayer is that my life will spill grace upon each one as I pause to let her know I see her,  leaving her with the feeling she matters.

{ COMPEL enhancement/tip - First sentence hook, sharing a bit of my story, sticky sentence (phrase "spill grace"}

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Humming Your Way into Blessing

Is it possible to be both blessed and barren? 

At times, I stand knee-deep in gratitude for my home and my family yet feel the pulsing pain of a prayer unanswered for decades. 

I am not alone.

Isaiah 54 tells us that God feels our grief. What are the words He whispers as he pulls you close with compassion?


 Don't hold back.

Don' be afraid. 

God is declaring His Word over you. 

He will take every shard and "rebuild you with floors of shimmering mosaics" beneath your feet. (Voice Translation)

Take a single step future forward on the broken pieces. 

One foot placed intentionally, shaking with bravery, pressing through every holding-back thought. 

Open with a hum. 
Hum a little tune until you are able to expand your mouth wide with praise-filled melodies.

Be blessed barren woman.

Our God is able and willing to bless you, daughter of His Love.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Struggling to Find May's Rhythm

We are one week in and I struggle to find May's rhythm.

Over the winter, I established a few self-care practices  especially in the month of April. I took my morning tea with a half hour favorite television program to jumpstart my faith, followed by personal prayer and Bible time. I was getting to the place where I could fit in a half hour of yoga stretches. Evening rituals included bedtime journaling and reading more inspirational thoughts. These two ends of the day balanced my rhythm. 

Then I got sick again.

On the heels of recovery we traveled for two days and two busy days ensued. My good eating habits fell apart at the seams in the midst of all this. 

So here  I am.

Today was a little better. I wrote out all my concerns, intentions and  plans for the week, spreading them before the Lord, praying my memory verse: "The Lord makes firm the steps of those who delight in Him."

As I wrestle with dissonance and interruptions, I ponder the thought that perhaps a new rhythm is needed. I give room to this thought.

I've created spaces in your days. Don't fill them up with things you think you should do. Pray about each opportunity even when it looks like the right path. Keep your life opened up.

I hear the quiet familiar voice. 

Breathe. Wait. Listen. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Heaven Touching Earth

There are days when heaven reaches out to touch earth and we see it with our own eyes.