Monday, February 22, 2010
I am back from Utah with such wonderful memories and good reports. I started our first afternoon with a ski lesson. 'Beginner , trying to get comfortable with parallel skiing' is the group I opted for. I got a fantastic guy named Chris that took my skiing to a new level. He had a wonderful way of giving criticism and encouragement that just fit my style of learning. He challenged me and the three other women in our group to give up the snow plow and start having more fun. As I got more skilled at parallel turning my fun factor went up to 80 per cent from 30 per cent because of the previous FEAR FACTOR of facing a fall line out of control.
The second day we changed from Park City to Alta. What a beautiful place! The visibility sometimes was not great, but I made progress in what I had learned the day before with Chris. How funny...I have to tell you that I had to backspace and delete the 't' on the end of Chris. I had written...'what I had learned the day before with Christ'. Subliminal typo, but to the point of what I wanted to share. I believe I had a decision to make this trip as to whether I would continue to ski based on my lack of physical ability and how scared I was more than not on the runs. I also knew that much of my slowness and control was going to have to be surrendered in order to accomplish any progress in skill. Chris was the perfect challenger and fit for me to let loose and trust the new skills I was learning.
I knew by the last day that I would be returning to go skiing. I did an early quit on the last day in the afternoon because my legs just didn't have any more strength. I turned my skis in and got back into my hiking boots. I found a funky hat that perfectly matched the two purples of my coat (I know many of you are laughing right now) because I knew it would be getting more use. Also, just because I am a nut for fun, bright colors and matching pieces in my wardrobe.
I found myself in the two days after my lesson that the only time I got scared and returned to the snow plow was when I was skiing in flat light and heavy snow or my leg strength was gone and I needed to stop in order to avoid injury. Isn't it so true, at least for me, that when I get scared I will return to less than desirable behavior or actions to try to protect myself?
Before I left on this trip I asked God to link me up with the right instructor. I asked Him to show me right technique and the willingness to let go of wrong and bad habits I had accumulated or kept out of fear. When the student was ready the teacher appeared! My husband, who is a very good skier, told me that I was skiing twice as fast and keeping my skis parallel most of the time. The friends we skied with told me they were proud of me. I can tell you personally that I had a much more joyful time skiing than ever before. I was letting go and taking in spiritual energy to keep flying down the mountain (by my standards) by following directions from Chris and putting my hope and trust in God.
If any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
While I was out in the country shooting snow scenes I came upon this windmill. As I focused I realized it was aligned with a drilling tower. Both were about harnessing power; one wind and the other gas. They have to make a connection with their source in order to produce energy.
Just because we are connected to our 'Source' does not mean that we will be rich, healthy, or guaranteed a problem free life. Those very problems mature us and give us focus to discover our weaknesses and strengths, our need for God; our purpose in life.
Four of the most beautiful books of the Bible were written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome. Such love and encouragement poured out of him through the letters and testimonies written to the early churches. He was able to be full of joy even through the circumstances of being in chains and facing his eminent death.
It brings to mind how much I complain, whine, or criticize events or persons in my life. My source of power, Jesus, helps me to grow in my faith that He is with me, even though I may struggle and suffer. No matter what my circumstances, I know He never leaves me. He is my strength and hope.
I am going to make a genuine attempt to reduce my complaining and whining during Lent. Instead, I want to focus on expressing joy and encouragement, smiling at strangers, practicing humility and compassion, and rejoicing in all circumstances. My source of power is there to help me do it. I will trust Him and stay plugged in. Will you join me?
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The last few days in Texas have been a winter wonderland. When I couldn't get the car out of the driveway I took off walking the neighborhood to capture some creativity in the snow. The vistas of families playing in the snow were quite exhilarating. Joy abounded in tossing snowballs, sliding down hills, and packing snow into recognizable mounds. It was encouraging to see folks celebrating life and playing together!
The first photo above was my offering to the neighborhood snow sculptures. I was thinking how all this wet, heavy snow would be great for the coming season of wildflowers. The creative seed was planted to make a flower pot and fill it with long stemmed Calla Lilies. Our wedding colors were yellow and purple, so I took a bunch out after the pot was finished and arranged them for an early Valentine's bouquet to greet my husband when he came home from work.
I seldom take God's creativity and creation for granted, being that my passion is photographing nature. The expanse of God's mind is unfathomable. Don't you think it is amazing how He gave us sunny days to swim in oceans and soak in rays of light, rain puddles to run through and make us giggle, snow to become clay in our hands? Then he gave us skies by day and night that are brilliantly varied; beckoning us to raise our faces to Him? He paid attention to details of beauty on the Earth and throughout the whole creation.
God saw all that He had made,
and it was very good.
All these snow sculptures were handmade through the creative spirits that were planted in each of us. They are all at least four to five feet tall. Who knows, but God, where all the inspirations came from. We are co-creators with God. He put those dreams and skills inside of us when He made us. It is good to see creation flow from His children out of such a place of simple joy and community. God, thank you so much for this beautiful world full of creation and creativity!
For we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance
for us to do.
Friday, February 12, 2010
We have officially received over a foot of snow in this last storm. Yesterday morning I took a picture of our car in the driveway. I had actually cleaned it off the night before, so this was additional snowfall through the night. I have never seen snow in Texas like this. When I went around the neighborhood looking at all the snow sculptures people had made it was hard to see what color some of the vehicles were due to the covering of snow.
I have done countless things in my past that I am not proud of. Sometimes when I get a memory of one of them I start to get a shame attack, even though I know I have asked God for forgiveness and been forgiven. Those things were done by my old self. Trying to change the past is insanity. But those behaviors changed in the future with a relationship with God, submitting myself to the only power that could change me. I was given a testimony of overcoming and a reason for my hope.
Above all, I remember that Jesus dying on the cross took all my stain of sin away; past, present, and future. Jesus gave me a new heart that has at its center the joy of knowing Jesus and a desire to go and sin no more. Tide cannot take out the stains in my heart, but Jesus has rendered them white as snow. What an awesome God we have!
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Spending yesterday morning down at the creek during a heavy snowfall was a precious time with Jesus. I recalled from scripture when he spoke to the crowds about who he was. He told them that whoever believed in him would have streams of living water flowing within. Some thought he was a prophet. Others saw him as the Christ.
For me, I ask the Christ, flow in me!
We woke up to a total of 10 inches of snow this morning; final tally after snowfall throughout the night. The roads are icy and will be treacherous until midday. I hope to get out later to take some different roads looking for photo opportunities. A walk last night through our neighborhood turned into an aerobic shoe skiing as we used our shoes like short skis through the thick slush. We saw some wonderful snow creations. My favorite was a HUGE polar bear with a crimson scarf.
I couldn't keep the giggles from spilling out over this flock gathered at the banks of the river yesterday. The snow was falling and they were coming at me full speed thinking I had bread for them. As they got closer and saw no bread the male started posturing to guard all the ladies.
Do not fear, little flock,
for it is your Father's good pleasure
to give you the kingdom!...
Where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:32, 34
My husband told me that the expected snow had already started before he left for work this morning. I got warmly dressed and headed for the car to see what I could see. I found myself at the creek close to our house for my first photographs. I was enchanted with the small birds, squirrels, and ducks scurrying in the snowfall.
I came home to throw my soaked jacket and cap into the dryer before finding gloves and heading out again to take advantage of the beautiful snowfall. I tried to listen to my 'guide' and let the Spirit lead me to what He had planned for me to share. It seems like I have been out for days heading from glory to glory. I have been giddy like a child enjoying the crisp, unspoiled fields covered with nothing but footprints of wildlife. Indeed, my cup runneth over...
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy
will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.