Thursday, March 31, 2011
Ever notice how our time line is not the same as God's? Either things are not in order or on time according to our schedule. Making a plan is a good thing. But make it loosely or lose your mind. Expectations can throw you for a loop. We do not get the blessings of taking it easy and getting surprised in a good way if we become too rigid. I have noticed that the expected order of appearance of wildflowers has been topsy-turvy this spring. The first sighted by me this spring was an Indian Blanket; usually showing at the later stages. I typically see Indian paintbrush first and then bluebonnets. Pink primrose and verbena show, with many yellow wildflowers, and then the blankets.
I also went through the same color dilemma with the varieties of paintbrush as I did the bluebonnets coming in different colors. These photos are both of paintbrush varieties. I have seen paintbrush in coral, white, yellow, red, purple, and fuschia, Don't even start on what colors black bears come in. It can't be a black bear if it is brown or honey colored. It must be a grizzly. That is for another day. So many lessons in nature!
I am delighted to find a fuschia paintbrush, as well as a crimson bluebonnet. It stirs the expectancy in me to watch closely to catch when God might swirl His paintbrush in a new color on an old idea.
Sometimes we see something and our brain identifies the shape, but the color is wrong. We rub our eyes to refocus and see if another look might clear things up and the shape/color will match what we expect. It just can't be what I know that it is, because it does not fit in the box. That's what I thought when I saw this plant and knew it was a bluebonnet. Not just any lupine, but a BLUEBONNET, except that it was CRIMSON. I had seen bluebonnets in deep to light blue, white, yellow, and light lavender. But this one blew my mind. Right shape, wrong color. It was identified as an A & M crimson bluebonnet. Isn't it beautiful?
Sometimes we have to update our image of a thing or a person, including ourselves. Our judgments or expectations hold to what has been in the past, and do not allow a new definition to come forth. We keep ourselves or someone else stuck in an old definition. We don't try because we think we will fail. We don't start because we think we cannot finish. We don't go because it is scary. We don't pray because we have decided God doesn't hear us. We don't grow because our box is just fine, thank you very much.
In this past year I persevered in going snow skiing a few more times. Something clicked with my skills and I got into the joy zone. I got my own pair of skis for my birthday to go with my own boots. Making progress at 59 in such an endeavor is a gift from God. I cooperated: I went to the slopes and put on the skis. I kept at it. It reminds me that I can still get better at skiing and I can still pursue making progress at other things as well. I intend to lean into that river of life. I want abundant life; to live and give abundantly.
I got into my wildflower books and identified this one as the Blue Star. I have rarely seen it, but it is definitely one of the 'stars' of the wildflower showing in our area this spring. Several fields close by are filled with its soft blue clusters atop tall stems. They lent themselves to typical Texas scenes in front of old fence posts, scattered among mesquite trees, and lining barbed wire fences.
I am delighted to find a flower that I have not identified or seen before. It reminds me that, when there seems to be no solution, there may be a 'new' thing just around the corner. With God all things are possible!
Stop by to see another 'new' thing tomorrow. It blew my mind!
This pink pig usually sits
in a pink chenille chair.
but escaped out the door
to get some fresh air.
She found two-colored verbena
and gorgeous primrose;
though she will not be wheezing
through her fabric nose.
Now me? I might pay
with itchy eyes and a sneeze.
I must play in wildflowers;
just as blooms draw the bees.
I rush out to find them
in the short Texas spring.
Taking joy from wildflowers
is a very good thing!
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Being an introvert, in relation to how I get energized, I can tell you that I really need to have some time by myself; especially after being cramped into an event with hundreds of people. I think that is okay. I know that Jesus had to go be alone with the Father to get refreshed. Guess I'm not in bad company.
Other times, it is very precious to spend time with just one other person. Most of the time, for me, it is with my spouse, a grown child, or a very good friend. I know I treasure my adventures with my husband, grown daughters, grand children, and with my good friends. Seeing something for the first time and being there with someone you love sometimes multiplies the 'WOW' factor. Those times make special places in the heart to remember acts of courage, times of persistence in finishing a steep trail, or times to giggle and shed tears of gratitude for the opportunities together. They help us to remember to help one another have courage and make us witnesses of overcoming. They are treasures higher than silver and gold.
One of the things I struggle with is the chant on my shoulder of not being good enough. I know I can do lots of things well, but still stumble into the 'not measuring up' pot. I hold onto the healing balm of my heavenly Father that I do not need to 'do' anything in order to be loved by Him. But at the same time, I am called to give my life for Him, and long to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant!".
I have some times coming where I really need to lean into the experience, strength, and hope of God working in my life. We all do, don't we? Getting away by myself or with one or two others is essential in my life to being able to get refreshed and restored to sanity.
This spring the wildflower showing is not as plush as last year due to the lack of rain. However, spring in Texas is my favorite time of year. I go out in search of patches of wild color, and take delight in finding only a single bloom at times. I have found several kinds, and taken the liberty of letting some of my wild friends play in the flowers as I photographed the blooms. This first little bunny found a hillside of verbena. Glorious, is he not?
I plan on posting a different flower and some playful wild creatures every day for awhile, so be sure to stop by and 'smell the flowers' without having to sneeze! I hope, as you visit my blog, that the scenes will help you remember to thank God for the carpets of flowers and the eyes to see them as we pass by.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
What a wonderful 59th birthday I had today! It started out with breakfast with my two girls, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. A wonderful plate of hash browns, two eggs, and FIVE slices of BACON... now really how good is that? Then I went to do some errands before getting a MASSAGE. I returned home to do some work on Easter banners for church. Then I showered and got ready for my birthday dinner with my husband at Tillman's in Ft. Worth.
I had a wonderful honey crusted salmon steak sitting in an unbelievable LAVENDER sauce. Skipped the hors d'oeuvre so we could indulge in the table side S'mores. These are the 'BAM' version of campfire sammies. The marshmallows are GIANT, in flavors of coffee, maple, and orange. We toasted them, put them on a homemade graham cracker (I brought my own GF version), and topped with a slab of dark chocolate, followed with another graham cracker. It was a spectacular meal from start to finish.
Before the main course was delivered my husband handed me a note. It was telling me that I was getting my OWN skis delivered tomorrow. I can tell you that it is not as important to get stuff as it is to be appreciated and spend time together. The skis were a representation of promise of fun times ahead with my husband and ski friends. The breakfast was yummy, but the time my kids gave me was precious. I had abundant life and love conveyed to me today and received the message that I was precious to my family.
I sort of think it is the same way with God and His kids. We can give him all kinds of stuff and money. But I think the most important thing, what He made us for, is relationship. He desires that we spend time with Him. Love God and one another. It is the very core of abundant life; not how much stuff or money we have. Abundant life is about the condition of our hearts. God sees the heart of each one of us. How do we respond? Ask Him to move in.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
You can imagine with a new baby in the family that everyone has an opinion as to who she favors. These two pictures have rendered lots of laughs and nods of heads. In the first photo she looks like her daddy. My mother thinks so! In the second picture she looks like my mother. The baby's father thinks so, too. Too funny that each of them thinks the child looks like the other. It is comical how we all kind of wish to ourselves that someone might think she looks like us. We take a bit of pride in it.
I was smiling to myself as I was hearing all this 'who she looks like' banter that God is smiling when He sees us grow in relationship with him; progressively looking more and more like Jesus. Don't you want people to see Jesus when they have dealings with you? I humbly desire that to be truth in me as I grow in Christ. He is the one I want to look like in thought, word, and deed. That is the big picture.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I found this pitcher and basin last summer at a garage sale. I also found the piece of fabric I serged to make a tablecloth at another garage sale. As I was cleaning the stored things out of the craft/guest bedroom, I decided to bring these items out and make a Lent tablescape. I had originally thought wildflowers would be in the pitcher. But I knew when I brought it out that it must be filled with Easter lilies.
When I see a pitcher and basin it brings to mind foot washing. I can envision the aching love and humility of the Christ as he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples. I remember the admonishment from Christ to Peter as he was denying Christ the act of washing his feet. He said, "if I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing." He told Peter that his act of foot washing would be also the act we would all be called to do as his disciples.
The other Biblical scene that comes to mind with foot washing is that of Mary washing Jesus' feet with her tears and hair. Hair down, walking into a room full of peopl; kneeling and washing Jesus' feet was quite scandalous. Yet, it was an act of great love preparing Jesus for his death. She risked judgment to enter there and show him that he was her treasure.
This song was one I wrote ten years ago, yet I can still hardly sing it without tears collecting in my eyes. I am again convicted with the humility we must have to accept what Christ did for us. My heart is indeed broken in this season in remembrance of Christ walking out the steps leading to his crucifixion.
WE ARE BROKEN
By Connie Wisman copyright 2001
WE ARE BROKEN, YES WE ARE;
MY JAR, AND ME, AND YOU.
WHY IS IT THAT THEY CANNOT SEE
THE THING YOU GO TO DO?
MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
BECAUSE OF TIME I SPENT WITH YOU.
LET ME PREPARE YOU FOR THE WOUNDS;
DON’T KNOW HOW I’LL BEAR THE LOSS!
LET ME WASH YOUR FEET WITH MY TEARS AND HAIR,
AS I CONCEDE YOU TO THE CROSS.
AS YOU GO TO MEET THE FATHER,
TAKE MY LOVE AND OIL IN FULL MEASURE.
I LONG TO HEAR YOUR EVERY WORD.
YOU ARE MY ONLY EARTHLY TREASURE!
DESTITUTE, UNDONE, AND IN LOVE
IS HOW SHE CAME.
EVEN THE DISCIPLES
ONLY SAW HER WASTE AND SHAME.
SHE COULD SEE HE WAS GOING TO HIS DEATH;
SHE DID THINGS OUT OF FASHION.
THE BUSY AND RELIGIOUS
DID NOT SHARE HER CHILD-LIKE PASSION.
WE ARE BROKEN, YES WE ARE;
MY JAR, AND ME, AND YOU.
WHY IS IT THAT THEY CANNOT SEE
THE THING YOU GO TO DO?
MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME
BECAUSE OF TIME I SPENT WITH YOU.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
One generation shall laud your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
Our weekend family night sometimes ends up with me and the grand children making music with the piano, guitar, and several percussion instruments. The 18 month old grand daughter was getting a pretty good rhythm going with two fingers exactly an octave apart. The oldest grand daughter was helping the younger one stay seated safely on the piano bench, while striking a few keys in the lower range. The grandson was joyfully beating two of gram's drums. I smell a future praise band!
It is indeed a privilege to be able to pass on the love of music, especially while praising God's name, from one generation to another. I make up silly songs for them, and what they relish is the love that is represented by the time spent together having fun. There is such joy in the Lord, and singing love songs to my grandchildren and love songs to God is just about the best way I know to thank Him for my life progressing into such pleasant boundaries.
I painted a banner on my hallway wall above the rogue's gallery of our daughters and their families. It reminds me to be grateful, and to joyfully pass to the generations the love and grace so inherent in praising His name and being his disciple.
The boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
Friday, March 4, 2011
I had to laugh when I saw what I had captured in this pic. Four gulls were all going in different directions. At first it seemed like chaos, but as I studied the picture I began to see its meaning for me. I felt like it was portraying the members of the Body of Christ. One might be bold in leading; another a prayer warrior praying over the others; another flying off to do mission work;
another behind the scenes keeping finances and organizational things straight.
We often wonder to what end we were made. We wonder what our purpose is; what makes us significant in our existence. I can tell you that it is wonderful to be part of a church where it is vital and crucial to identify and develop the gifts of its members. It has been painful along the way for many who have been pushed aside or not noticed. It is just as frustrating for members of the body to be in the wrong place because that is what is needed, but not their skill set. There is a place for those good at finances, missions, music, creative skills, teaching, organizing, and all things that each of us as individuals in the body have been given separately in order that we might serve the Body with our skills. One is not better than the other; each is necessary.
We need the whole body to function! We need to find our groove because we are uniquely different and given gifts differing for a higher purpose!
As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you' nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Cor. 12:20-21, 27
To the artist's eye a grouping of 'three' is very pleasing. I have been extremely blessed in the past few days with some amazing 'three's'. The blossoms and gulls almost took my breath away as I saw them strongly resonate with my spirit in how they spoke to me of Christ on the cross. One of the gulls seemed to be turned away, and the other toward the one with his wings outstretched. The blossoms as well, against the tree, spoke also of the same scene.
Jesus, the very son of God and man, was without sin. Yet, he was crucified between thieves. The thief to one side rebuked him, and the other defended the Christ, saying that he did not deserve the crucifixion. Jesus responded to the second man wanting to be remembered, that the man would be with him the same day in paradise.
God created us, yet we turn away from him. He gave us redemption through the cross. Yet, it is still, by free will, our choice to love him. Amazing, simply amazing! So where are you 'hanging' in response to his amazing love?
For God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
may not perish but have eternal life.
I have been out being blessed by the earth in bloom. The Bradford Pears are in full bloom, as well as redbuds, forsythia, clover, dandelions, plums, daffodils, and magnolias. The bees are going crazy with the wonderful banquet provided for them. Spring is in the air (achew!!!); and it is good to sing our praises to the Lord, as I was reminded by the song of the dove.
...the flowers appear othe earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Song of Solomon 2:11-13
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I love scripture that says our God sings over us. I also love the thought that He advises that we take shelter underneath His wing.
When I saw these two gulls such a scripture came to mind. It seems like the gull underneath is looking not straight ahead, but getting off the track; perhaps a little rocky and insecure; losing focus. Hello, me. Yet the one above hovers and covers the one below.
It gives me comfort to know that the Holy Spirit guides me and dwells in me. It also is a wonderful comfort that I am underneath His wing. He abides and guides. I am not alone.
Let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Yesterday morning was an exercise that became exceedingly blessed as the hours passed. I began the journey by going out to photograph new blossoms of spring. Yes, trees are budding out in Texas and I will be seeing the first bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush any day!
Then my flower journey took a turn to photographing birds as I saw a dove in a tree and a flock of gulls flying overhead. I proceeded to the gull hangout in the Sam's parking lot and was richly rewarded with time spent there with two others enjoying the time apart from the busyness of the day.
While I was there I got a call from a wonderful friend inviting me to lunch. I proceeded to the Braum's at Western Center and I-35. She was not there yet, so I went inside to wait. The clerk at the front check out wanted to know what I had been photographing as she commented on the camera around my neck. I showed her my pictures of the gulls. Then a gentleman came over to check out and said he had just been with the gulls and a lady had been up there taking photos. I said, "That was me!" What were the chances of us both going there to eat? But God... I gave them each my card with my blog so they could see the gull pictures and the stories with them.
Since my friend had not come yet, I got the 'nudge' from the Holy Spirit to go across the street to the water while I was waiting. I could see the parking lot from there as I kept a watch. As I neared the water I could see some white motion above the water. There is often trash and those white plastic bags, so I knew it could be a white trash bag stuck on a limb that was catching my eye. But as I got closer I could see my reward in the waiting. This beautiful egret was not only by itself, but seemed to be holding school for two turtles intent on hearing what it was teaching.
I am amazed and excited on my little treasure hunts what God puts in my path. He invites me to turn directions and find something I had not even imagined I would see in the waiting. I love listening and following when I feel the nudge to take an alternative path to the one I planned. He shares a secret place and leads my longing heart to follow the call and see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living...
Wait for the Lord; be strong,
and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I went out this morning to capture some blooms of spring that I had noticed yesterday. My quest quickly was diverted to the flight of gulls as I caught sight of the beautiful lone flyer. I remembered seeing gulls in the parking lot of Sam's before, so headed there to get gas and see if there might be more. I was delighted to find several, and a few other human travelers enjoying them as well. One fellow was throwing bread up into the air, and that lent itself to some fabulous antics and wing configurations as the birds fought to grab the morsel first.
You know, I don't think these creatures could have been any more beautiful if they had been on some swanky beach in Florida. The graceful gliding indeed reminds me that God has liberated me. My spirit soars as I thank my Savior for setting my soul free!
Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
2 Cor. 3:17