Thursday, April 29, 2010
Scripture says that if we seek Him we will find Him. I think my country travels are about communion and stirring up my heart for God. I am looking for and finding many blessings along my way. It is especially nice when I find some livestock and wildflowers together. I feel doubly blessed! They are in green pastures just being themselves.
I find myself listening on my trips by myself for instruction about which roads to take. I am seeking direction for my path. I trust that He is leading me in the way for my good. He wants to be my travel companion. He wants me to find him. My encounters will indeed be blessings, no matter how I feel about them at the time. God is with me.
If you seek me with all your heart,
I will let you find me.
The older I get the more I find myself being drawn to quiet country roads. The pavement, rushing, and crowds of the big city are adrenalin to some who are stimulated by being with lots of people. I am an introvert in how I get energized (being by myself or with just a few people), and a drive in the country is a peace pill to me. I feel love spilling over me as I am able to let my spirit be quieted. I am drawn from the freeways to the paths where grass ridges mark the center of the roads. A drive in the country helps me to remember to keep things simple, get enough rest and quiet time, and trust that the Lord will continue to be my strength when I must drive back to the city.
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I keep my grand daughter on Wednesdays, so I had a plan to get the new horsey, grand daughter, and wildflowers together today. The joy and trust of a grandchild in your care is such a beautiful gift. She had a great time on the horse and fell asleep on my shoulder when we got home.
After I took her home in the afternoon I travelled down a country road that hardly has any traffic. Only one truck went by while I took pictures of the hillsides of color. I was fortunate to get a butterfly landing on a blossom.
Wildflowers, a baby's trust, playing with a child, getting to photograph a butterfly landing on a blossom; all a journey of glory to glory as I experienced these expressions of God's creativity. The evening ended with a combined choir practice for our new church families meeting together on Sunday. Voices combining to show praise and reverence, to honor our Creator, added another layer of glory to this day. Wildflowers, butterflies, playing and sleeping baby, singing fellowship: all gifts of God's glory! Even, and especially through difficult times God's radiant glory is present for us to see if we but look and believe.
Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
When I go out on a shoot I especially like to have a point of interest in a field of flowers or on a mountainside filled with trees. It gives a focal point framed by the life around it. Perhaps a bee on a bluebonnet, a gecko on a leaf, a ladybug on a flower. I took this picture and didn't realize until I could see it bigger that the flower had a little caterpillar crawling in it.
Sometimes we beat ourselves up for not having been able to see the writing on the wall. We judge ourselves for missing something that was right in front of our eyes. But each day is a new beginning, and we can look back to see that we are becoming something different. We can give ourselves grace that we are God-created and in the process of becoming more like Him. Through the Spirit we are being developed to see the big picture through His divine inspiration.
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
1 Cor. 2:10
Friday, April 23, 2010
I posted this picture of myself on another venue and a friend reposted with my eyes BLUE. She may have to post again with my eyes PINK due to the fact that I woke up with pink eye today! lol! I have had it a couple of times in the past year also and not at all before that since I was two years old.
I went into action to cancel appointments and headed towards my daughter's house to get some eye drops. I turned the corner onto the main road only to stop in traffic. It took me 40 minutes to get a couple of blocks, and an hour to reach my daughter's house. Then the trip home. It became obvious as drivers were reaching a fever pitch of frustration being late for work that I had to be vigilant to not get into another accident. People were being very pushy trying to change lanes and force entries or block intersections from cross traffic.I had to be willing to give up my slowly deteriorating attitude and not take on theirs.
I know that for me developing a peaceful state of mind comes through praying and praising and other ways of being in relationship with God. I have been under some physical and emotional stress also, and know that allowing myself to rest and relax will be for my best good and restore my creative energy to be of service to others. Praying and praising reconnects my trust and belief that God is aware and working out a path for all of us. The perspective gained from practicing the presence of God restores my smile, love, and enthusiasm for life.
You will keep in perfect peace him
whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
As we walk through these difficult days of the shadow of death with a friend, it has been exceedingly troubling to see peace escape him. I have silently spoken the 23rd Psalm at his bed, praying for contentment and secure rest. I count on the guidance, rescue, and protection of Jesus even through death.
I have been led to spend time in the fields of wildflowers. The paths and roads restore my soul as I take breaks to soak up the blossoming pastures of Texas.
A bit staged, but this is a little statue I found that I took to place in the bluebonnets. It reminds me that the shepherd will leave the 99 to rescue the ONE who is in trouble. He is a personal God of relationship. The rod and staff of our Shepherd King never rests. The gentleness as He carries each one from trouble to safe harbor in His arms melts my heart.
I pray that my friend will experience his head being anointed with oil and the great tenderness as the shepherd leads him to the banquet table. He loves good food, so I delight in imagining such amazing culinary creations that make French food seem drab! He will feast and worship the Shepherd King!
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I took myself out for a little nature excursion before afternoon of work yesterday. I came by this fellow fishing. He was cautious, but didn't fly away as I neared to take his picture. It was delightful watching him fish in the bubbling water.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we are light.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I had some cancelled work this morning so took the opportunity to take a country drive. I caught this lovely pair off a country road west of Ft. Worth. The new birth of spring in wildflowers, crops, and babies is wonderful to behold!
O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love!
I have pressed into spending some time in green pastures during this wildflower season. That time gives me a reservoir of strength and beauty from which to draw on in some stressful times. The rest for my soul keeps me lit up to help others. God infuses me with that rest and comfort that can come only from purposeful 'stopping' to smell the flowers and being poured into by the living God.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
'Boundary' is an interesting word. It infers a line or limit of some kind. A dividing line of territory between countries would be a boundary. Acceptable behavior might be considered a boundary.
Certainly, much of my life has been about learning and holding healthy boundaries. However, some of my best 'living' has been getting courage to go outside the lines; go farther than my predecessors in education or travels or ventures. Some of those feats were because of courage given to me by mentors and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I am thinking especially of a friend who is very close to 'crossing the Jordan' that afforded me the opportunity to visit France several times while he lived there. I learned so much from being able to experience a foreign country, especially through the wit and expertise of my friend and travel guide, Jim. We saw many miles of beautiful French gardens and vineyards and ate many beautiful meals with a side of some mysterious vegetable puree full of butter, usually followed by a brilliant chocolate creation for dessert. My cup and my portion, my boundaries, have been stretched in beauty because of his generosity. I bless him in his journey to the land even more beautiful than any we have seen or dreamed.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave.
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not like to be in crowds or around lots of people for very long. In fact, the road less traveled is my preference. These two roads off the main trails just call to come spend some time and see where they lead. The invitation may be a destination or a journey; perhaps both. Asking and receiving directions from our Teacher is never a waste of time.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord
are loving and faithful.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
We set out for the Bluebonnet Trails in Ellis County this afternoon, even though the weather forecast was rain. We went trusting that the time had been provided to get away and God would do the rest. When we started on the trails the skies cleared and we were blessed with the most incredible painted hillsides. We have made this trip many times, but never seen the amounts and varied colors strewn as they were today.
So many times on my trips with my friend from Colorado we set out with terrible weather only to reach our destination with an opening in the skies and perfect timing from our 'guide'. So it was with my husband today. We snuck back into Ennis for a Peanut Buster Parfait break at Dairy Queen. Then we embarked on the last few trails. We did them all in five hours this afternoon.
Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
I got up this morning and took a drive in the country. Even though it was raining, it was very peaceful and verdant. I was led to green pastures full of wildflowers and cows. Beautiful restoration to my soul as I let myself be led by my shepherd.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Yesterday we were able to take two of our grandchildren to parks after spending some difficult but productive time with our friend Jim. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. The joy of the Lord is our strength. He gives us each day what we need to persevere, not only just survive, but shout His praises in all circumstances. He leads us beside still waters and restores our souls.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I found some SIMPLIFIED, and simultaneously AMPLIFIED, scripture in The Message translation of Luke 12:32-34:
Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Pretty interesting words considering the recent years of bank insecurity, recession, and worries about how and where to keep money and treasures. Our security is best not put in banks at times. People and institutions can rob you of your money. What else do you 'bank' on?
A key to great advice appears earlier in this translation. It advises us to relax and respond to God's giving. Know him, and don't worry. Steep ourselves in God's reality, power, and provision. Believe that God knows our concerns. Then don't get self-centered. Generosity, loving others as ourselves, loving God...these give us our real treasure. Our treasure is relationship with each other based on our inner life that knows to whom we belong, and being secure in the love and care of our Father in heaven.
One of things I treasure so much as I travel with my camera is being on the bank of a lake strewn with wildflowers or a hillside of bluebonnets crowded around an old farm machinery. Such visions remind me that my needs, my food and clothes, all my concerns are being met.
I don't know if you have ever 'steeped' tea. The longer you let the tea stay in the warm water the more flavor and color is infused into the liquid. I love that THE MESSAGE used the word, 'steep' for what we should do with God. We steep ourselves with his nature and love by studying his word, spending time with him, and counting him as our dearest treasure. For, the place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I just read some of my favorite scripture in THE MESSAGE translation. Instead of the 'consider the lilies' in most translations, this translation uses 'wildflowers!' What a gift! It made the message I was trying to send out today even more intimate and personal to me.
From Luke 12:
Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance~~but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with GETTING so you can respond to God's GIVING.
As two friends and I traveled some country roads this morning we were wondering if many of the passers-by were even aware of the beautiful wildflowers scattered along the roadsides. Nothing like walking into the fields of wildflowers to get me joyful and amazed at the artistry, attention, and love of the Father!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
This evening we took a ride on some lake country roads near us. It has been a stressful time helping a friend who is very ill, and it was necessary to take a break to gather ourselves again for service. We saw some wildflowers, but these huge tree limbs really ministered to me. There is something about a huge, sturdy tree limb that just calls for a simple plank or tire swing. A living foundation from which to be rocked back and forth.
I vaguely remember my grandmother rocking and comforting me. Of course, my husband has often, through the years, held me in his arms as I grieved over some losses. There is something comforting about that rocking. I use it often as a massage therapist to ease tension and relax a person.
Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving them his peace, and to not let their hearts be troubled. We are invited by the Holy Spirit to take comfort; to crawl up in the lap of the one who laid down his life for us, and let him collect our tears. I love my children to the degree that I am capable, but how much more can Jesus love and comfort us.
All rocking is not about being comforted, however. Some swinging is about simple joy. It is about feeling the wind in your face; giving it everything you have got with complete abandon, knowing you are more than okay because that swing is held by a sturdy limb. It is about trusting and leaning into the momentum. It is about being hyper vigilant of the life force that pumps through your veins and heart, about gratitude for life. It is about living fully, with the foundation of peace that Christ offers us.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
We had such a wonderful Easter celebration this last couple of days. Our children and grandchildren spent most of the day with us on Friday. Today we went to a sunrise service at 6:30 and then another at 10:30. The two congregations are joining together. I have experienced so much love in our own family and widening church family this weekend. After all, LOVE is the distinguishing mark of Christ's followers.
We spent time after church with more extended family and returned home about an hour before sunset. I felt compelled to drive out to some of my favorite country roads and spend some more time in prayer with and awe of my awesome Savior. I kept being drawn to vistas of roads. I thought about the fact that no matter what our individual paths or roads are in life, they all eventually lead to death.
I was remembering our pastor's words about the percentage of people who escape death. That would be zero! I believe the quote was credited to Billy Graham that one out of one of us will die. The good news, as Jesus took our place on the cross, is that there is life after that death. He tells his believers that he has gone to prepare a place for us and will come back to take us to be with him where he is.
The bookends of this day have been incredible...
Amazing Love, How can it be? BUT IT IS! Thank you Lord Jesus for what you have done for us. Your love is AMAZING!