Friday, November 20, 2009

How God Made The World...And Stuff...

I don't know about you, but I have never really thought about 'how' God made the world.  I know seven days, I know what for each day - but not the how.  Have you?  Well someone in my house has been thinking about it alot, and the other day he told us all about it.

Luke turned 4 this summer, for context, and has a very interesting way of thinking and viewing the world.  He believes with his whole heart that God is the 'Greatest Worker' ever seen. Can't argue with that.  He has this intense desire to know not just what something does (lately the question starts with "What does/do ________ usually do?") but HOW it does it.  Not good enough that a transmission makes a vehicle drive, but how does it do that.  So I shouldn't have been surprised when he started telling me about God's construction company.

"Mama, did you know how God built the whole world?," Luke inquired taking off his boots and coat at the back door.  Looking down at his serious face I answer, "Uh I never thought about it, how do you think He did?"

Arms fling wide, eyes open large and I hear, "With a hugest biggest construction company ever seen with Jesus driving the bigger mixer truck and the hugest dump truck.  God gets to drive the big loader or the big excavator."

And the tale went on how they, along with their 'holy workers' constructed the whole world, and that they even painted all the colors on everything.  I was amazed at how his mind works, I never thought of how God made the world, but leave it to Luke to picture the Holy Construction Company at work.  No wonder I love talking with him, he makes everything look different just by running it past his wonderfully crafted mind.

Later that night, when we were saying our prayers (known at our house as talking to God) Luke told me about God and Jesus painting sunsets and leaves, and how they stirred the sky and oceans to make clouds, storms and whirlpools.  His faith in the world around him, and his joy at each discovery being something special humbles me and gives me great joy.

He believes that God's shop is run by someone almost as smart and strong and 'fix anything' as his Grandpa.  I'm only too happy to agree, because you see, after hearing how he 'sees' things I too want to put on the Lukey 'wobble goggles' and view it from his angle.

I am so thankful for the blessings of my family and my friends and for the created, wonderful world around us.  I humbly pray that I can be a good and faithful steward to them all.  Thank you God for Earl and Luke. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Grateful Heart - Journal of Gratitude, Joy and Beauty

I found a pretty journal the other day, it was in with my books, and I have had it for a long time but never used it. I don't 'journal' in the traditional way and I was saving this pretty purple journal with the cream pages for something special. What would be a special 'job' for such a pretty journal. ( long have I had it? Long enough that the matching pen has dried up entirely! It is still with the journal for looks only)

The Holy Experience blog by Ann Voskamp has inspired me to seek joy, appreciate beauty and express my gratitude as often as I can...and I've decided to do it through my hand written journal as well as here on my blog. Her blog gives me pause and takes me to the word, and brings me to meditation and prayer. I thank her for it. Another inspiration is the women at (in)courage and their wonderful, faithful blogs. You are my sisters!

Writing by hand, for me, leaves a record not only of our words but our way of writing - how it looks, how it feels to fill a page perfectly blank with words imperfect, smudged and uneven yet full of wonder, joy and gratitude. I have invited my family to share in the journal and when they have something to share they should write, in their own words and 'letter' their grateful moments, the results of their joy hunting or the beauty that they appreciated.

So I write, I keep my journal and the working pen close at hand. I have them numbered starting at 1/1000. I will probably have photos, labels, stickers and other things pasted in as well - I am a scrapbooker so everything should have some sort of embellishment at some point! :-) I want to have for my family a legacy of what mattered to me, what brought me closer to grace and what strengthened my faith. What was lovely in a day of dirty and messy. What was joyful in a moment of tearful hurt and frustration. What made me grateful doing the ordinary things of the day.

I will be sharing some of my random numbers from the journal here on my blog...and I invite you to do the same. Comment on what was beautiful today, what brought you joy and what made you pause and say a grateful prayer.

Right now I am looking at the beauty of a Lego town, the joy of a husband and son who love each other and I am grateful for all the little things that are the world to me! I'm grateful for the poems that I've thought of but never got a chance to put on paper, they will return from their flights fuller and better.

I'm grateful for warm days and the smell of horses. I'm grateful for endless reruns of favorite DVD's. I'm grateful for clean pirate comfy pants. I'm grateful for little hands and dirty feet. I'm grateful for every photo I can take that keeps these moments in time. Mostly I'm grateful for my faith, for the grace and love of our Lord.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grateful Today

I am blessed every day and in so many ways...and I am grateful today for...

My loving family, weird and wonderful, with whom I have shared so many tears, so much joy and together our faith grows deeper and deeper. Today I am grateful for our animals, and for the privilege of caring for them and loving them. They too are created by God's hand, and are deserving of our loving concern.

I am grateful for the amenities I have in my life that make things easier, simpler and sometimes more fun. I know that for many people in the world this life we have is beyond their beyond - and I am humbled by it. I am grateful for the opportunity to worship and express my faith openly and without fear of reprisals against myself or my family. We are able to be thankful, prayerful and happy in our faith.

I am grateful for the blessings of the day and the night. I am grateful for joyful little prayers, loving eyes, warm hugs and gentle touches. I am ever so grateful for the knowledge, creativity and grace that is shown in the touch of our Maker's Hands.

Thank you Lord for the sun, for giving life to the seeds I sow, it's the only life I know, thanks again for the rain. (Thanks to our friends Foster Martin Band for their wonderful song and the spirit of it.)

May you be brightly blessed, always and in all ways...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Prayers Like Bird Song

It was something that came to mind last night, if God loves to hear us talking to him as much as we love to hear bird song? If our prayers are like bird song to God, except He can hear each note and know the heart of each singer, then wouldn't it be grand to 'sing' to Him all throughout our day? I know this is a bit of a reach to express, but really it has gotten me thinking.

When I listen to birds singing I can imagine that our prayers as we go about our day are like those songs - but because God knows our song and note and us as the singers it is even more special and powerful. Then I really got to thinking about those times when the birds are not singing - when they are being still and listening - could it be those times for us that we are silent listening to the whispers of the Holy Spirit?

As the created beings of a Creator, we not only come with prayers of petition and intercession, but also joyful praise. Having Luke around gets you thinking about that aspect of God, and the Trinity, even more. He sees a bug, and wonders at how it came to be, he sees a flower and marvels that it is so beautiful. He joyfully splashes in puddles, plays with his animals and trustingly curls up in our arms at night. He talks to God, sings to God and that is such a blessing to behold.

When I get caught up in being a 'grown up' the birds and Luke remind me to sing, laugh and stretch my wings to enjoy flying - not the destination or the goal - but the actual flight with nothing but flying and singing in my heart. It is good for the mind, body and spirit.

Bird Song Prayer

Simple notes, sung by small birds,
Carry like prayers up to the heavens.

God listens to each and every note,
Knows each and every heart
Of every singer who has ever sung.

Simple prayers, sung by small children,
Carry like dandelion seeds up to Heaven.

God listens to each and every word,
Knows each and every soul
Of every little singer who has ever sung.

Silence, still and waiting, in our hearts,
Light or heavy, like a touch from heaven.

God knows each and every heart,
Speaks into each and every soul,
Of every spirit He created.

We wait upon Thee
Hearts, minds and bodies.
Birds, little boys and me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Repost: Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
It's like finding the perfect place to eat - the food is great, the people friendly and you feel satisfied in so many ways. You go back, and something has changed - subtle yes, but still - the people are friendly, the food is great but you leave with something missing. Is it a message that you are on the right path but this isn't the place to stop yet? Are you looking for something that is impossible? Are you too difficult to please (although you feel as if you are only asking for the basics?)? Are you on the right path but still needing to move forward to where God is leading you, to where you need to be? With so many wonderful things, this one thing is something you desire and ache for, you miss and wish to find. This I am struggling with and one of my favorite U2 songs is echoing through my mind...does anyone know this feeling too?

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing fingertips
It burned like a fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come
When all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well, yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds
And you loosened the chains
Carried the cross
Of all my shame
all my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for


from a note on my Facebook...wanted to share...more 'new' stuff soon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Animals Speak!

This is my week for animal tales - good, bad, mysterious and ugly.  Some wonderous, some sadly strange and some miraculous and some tragically sad.  That got me thinking about animals in the Bible - and how they have spoken on behalf of the Hand that also created them.  Animals speak to me all the time.  Now before you get worried, I don't actually hear them talking like people - they use their bodies and actions.

From the wild birds in my yard to the coyote in the field to my cows, horses, cats and dogs.  Animals I see when traveling have tales to tell, and some warnings to give. They remind me daily, sometimes moment by moment to be thankful for the blessings of this world we can see and sense around us.

My birds tell me about weather, predators and changes in our neighborhood.  I know when the weather isn't going to be good, I can tell when a bad storm is coming and it is often their warning alone that tells me to watch out.  Some animals are bolder than others, like the hummingbirds who harass me when their feeders are empty but flock under the eaves when a heavy rain is coming with strong winds.  The raven who plays with the dogs and steals their food, but is quick to fly high in the sky when the bears are out in the pasture behind us.  When you see one deer while driving, slow down because there are others close by.

Our dogs tell us what is going on, even miles down the road.  My cows and horses tell me things from when one of their members are not with them to their food or water is not as it should be.  They even tell me when someone is in their pasture that shouldn't be.

The Bible tells us that animals also spoke on behalf of their Creator in those times as well.  The famous snake tempting in the Garden maligned snakes until the Staff of Life redemed them later in the desert.  We still revere that staff of healing, and see it so often we barely think of what it's origins where.  Baalam's ass famously spoke to him about the Angel blocking his way after refusing even in the face of abuse to disobey God's own Angel, the obedient Whale redirected an errant prophet Jonah, Noah and his faithful animals upon the ark managed to survive until the dove found dry land and delivered the branch, after the raven tried and failed. 

 Jesus rode on a trusting young donkey who had never been ridden before, and the legend of the donkey's markings show the faithfulness that they share with their owners.  Heaven will have the wolves laying down with the lambs, although for many lions and lambs seem more noble (could it be because of the lions having their mouths shut to save Daniel in the infamous lion's den?) but there you have it in Isaiah.    I prefer the wolves, but that could be a slight bias on my part personally.

Many, many other animals did the work and bidding of the Creator in the Bible and we should pay attention to the message, as well as the messenger.  The animals show us their faith, and God reminds us that not even a sparrow falls that He isn't knowing of it (Matthew 10:29).  

God created everything in the world, there is no question of that for me, this is a created place.  We were created to care for this place, this world and it's inhabitants.  No question for me, there is a responsibility to care for our world and the creatures of it as they are all from the same hand which breathed life into it all.  Shouldn't we be as respectful of our fellow inhabitants?  Shouldn't we care for them as much as God does, and with the same loving care He shows us?  

The wonder of our natural world should serve as a reminder of the greatness of a Creator's Hand, it does for me. From the miracle of a kitten found and saved, to the wonderful blessing of a running healthy calf to trying to understand how one of the predators in this world would need one of my calves to feed their young.  How the circle of life goes around and around and around again.  

Aborignal elders tell us that the world was created before Man, and the land and the animals helped us survive when we were, as humans, very young and unknowing in the world.  We have impacted the world, and if we lost the plants and the water and the animals we would die.  If the world lost us, people, it would carry on.  See where we fit into the balance?  We are not great hunters (no sharp teeth or claws, no strong hide or limbs, no hair or fur, not excellent hearing or smell) and we are definately somewhat less a choice prey (dirty, smelly, violent and more often we prey on our own kind in a most dramatic way) but easy prey if the choice is there.

When I see an Eagle I am reminded of the promise of Isaiah 40:31) that we will not tire in our labours for the Lord.  When I see my horses running I think of power, freedom and also that horses serve as the steeds for the Four Horsemen Revalation 6:1-2.  There is power in listening to animals, and there is understanding in seeing their place in our Created world. There is solace and faith affirmation in the beauty of our world.  Remember Jesus is the Lamb of God, who better than He to remind us of the beauty of the Holy Spirit and the Creating hand of God?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Joyful Joyful

This old hymn is on my mind...and while you wait to scroll down and refresh yourself I have to tell a short little story.  The first five words, "Joyful, joyful we adore thee" could apply to our love of our son Luke.    He is a very joyfilled little man and we do adore him, and as parents we can in some small way relate to how much we adore God, and as children of God we are able to adore Him back.  
Each day we should be as children - finding something to explore, something to be in awe of, something that makes us laugh and something that makes us feel busy, dirty and tired.  We also can try to, as children do, laugh freely, love without reserve and forgive with a hug or high five. 

 I think about that alot, especially after we've frustrated each other and moments later I'm being given a yellow flower, a hug or a "Mama you are so pretty"...and we both know we are okay with what is done, and we are looking forward to whatever adventures lay ahead.  We look ahead with trust, with love and with a kind of peace that only comes when we truly know what it is to love joyfully but also to accept joyful love. 

 I do love the Hand that Created our world, and that same Hand gave me the miracle of our son and the miracle of his father and I's love.  There is so much in the world that is lovely and wonderful that gets missed in our quest to be busy and get things done.  

As we look forward to another week, I pray that we look for the beauty around us and for a tranquil spirit to apprecate it and of course an open heart to see and feel the love of God all around us.  May you be brightly bless, always and in all ways!

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chickadee Rescue Story

I wonder sometimes about our spiritual world, and how the angels and demons battle things out where we can not see, hear or feel them - and yet we can sense the battles that sometimes rage.  I was wondering about that tonight as I was watching my little hummingbird guarding what she considers 'her' feeder.  No one can feed there but her, and later on she'll allow her offspring to join her there. She chases all comes - males, orioles and wasps.  She won't back down, sitting and watching she chases and flies and then rests.  

She is a real little tiny toughie.  But many birds are - they have to be.  Migrating long distances, surviving cats and other predators, seasons of rough weather and humans.  We do impact our bird friends in nasty ways with our buildings, wires, cars and pets.  We also bring them abundant feeders, overflowing flowerbeds and often admiring stares and keep the bird book pages turning. 

All of this got me thinking of a while back - a Saturday morning.  Me hanging out in my bathrobe, Luke playing in the sunroom and Earl doing some homework (he was still in University then).  We looked outside in time to see the cat 'R' catch a chickadee.  Like some avenging angel I dashed out of the house, bare feet hammering on the rocks, bathrobe flying behind me.  I grabbed the cat by his head, plucked the chickadee free and with a flip of my wrist the cat was flying to the grass and me and the bird were on our way to the house.  A quick check revealed no injuries (it wasn't a catch to eat for 'R' but a catch to play) and just a very stressed out little bird. Some sugar water and warmth later we were enjoying some family time learning about birds. Luke was especially intrigued with the wings, tiny beak and that the bird would 'talk' back when he called 'chicka-dee-dee-dee'.  Soon, when the coast was clear of cats, we went outside and let the little bird fly free - most likely with no idea of what just happened except that it was still alive.

I think, sometimes, our lives are like that.  We have close calls both physically and spiritually where the power of God and His grace saves us for another task on another day.  We often, like the chickadee, don't know that Divine hands are grabbing the Devil's workers by their heads, prying us out of their grips and then gently caring for us until we are ready to fly again.  We don't know how often we are brushed by and covered with the protective wings of our Angels - but we should be thankful.   Thankful for angels, for divine hands guided by grace and for chickadees.  

Luke 12:6 "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bent Nails & Crooked Screws

I was doing some cleaning up today and found some nails my dear husband was saving, salvaging actually, and I wondered how many times he has done that (10,000+ I would guess and still counting) and then I remembered the crooked screw story...

We have animals, cows and horses, which means you have fences and gates. Boundaries are good for everyone and we all need them in some fashion or another.  The hinges are usually put on with lag bolts or screws or nails - dependent on what is on hand or will best work.  You can hammer nails straight again, or close but screws you cannot.  That means when they are bent that's the end of their useful lives - unless of course you are Earl!  So this gate, which regularily gets beat up by animals,weather and errant stock trailers, fell off the post after said stock trailer snagged it.  

After getting it unsnagged I was faced with the task of removing some screws, putting on a piece of 2x4 and putting it back up until we could build a new gate.  NO PROBLEM!  Grab the wood, the drill a hammer and some nails and screws - and Mama is in business.  Except for one thing - the last screw (not much of a story if it was the first one I know) is not coming out.  It isn't turning at all.  

Drill check - going in the proper direction, correct bit head and size and the batteries are good.  Yep all checks I start looking at the screw - it is different from all the others and it is the only one that is still holding strongly.  Why is that?  Grab the screw driver and start turning and my hand starts going in a large circle because the screw is crooked, and has to be removed by unscrewing it crookedly.  Not bright and shiny, not straight and true but strong, old and bent and twisted.  

I finally get it out and I'm laughing so hard there are tears in my eyes, the two fellas with the trailer are looking at me like I've let my good sense run off.  They were cross that the screw was used when it was obviously not new, straight or 'good enough'...but then I showed them two important things: it was an older style that held strongly, and it was the one that didn't pull out of the wood when the trailer snagged the gate.  It wasn't perfect in appearance but perfect in how it did the job it was put in place to do.

This, is I think, a modern parable for us.  God has tasks for us to do, and when we are doing them we are the tool He has chosen.  We may be bent nails hammered straight, we may be crooked screws holding things together because we could not be straightened for another task.  When I look down at the scars on my body from the living  of my life I realize that I am more a bent nail used many times for the tasks given me than a new, shiny one that is untried and unknown.  God has straightened me out many times, and I'm still a little bent, a little crooked in places but for the tasks He chooses me for I am as true, strong and reliable as I can be.

The experiences of our lives give us not only character and strength, they can give us resilience, drive, passion and understanding.  When the things that shape us leave their mark, it is more than as scar or a bump - it is a reminder of the things that make life worth living...and the things that have made us into the people we are today.  And who are are today is who God needs us to be today...

The Roan is Back!

Some of you may remember back in the day I had a column called "Strawberry Roan" (a nickname from a friend that sorta fits if you know the old song...anyway...) and I've been inspired to revive it in blog back and have some fun and fellowship here!

To get us going I'll repost something from Mystic-Mom but on this rainy day I think it fits very well!

Bright blessings,

Make a Joyful Noise

Psalm 100 - Make a joyful noise to the Lord

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! 
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into God's presence with singing! 
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! 
Give thanks to him, bless his name! 
For the Lord is good; 
his steadfast love endures for ever, 
and his faithfulness to all generations.

When I listen to Luke say his prayers, it is usually with a high degree of enthusiasm and often he sings them rather than says them.  He likes to talk to God with the joy of a little boy, just like Psalm 100.  We have our prayers for bedtime, we thank God for our food and for wonderful things we enjoy each day.  It is very humbling to see someone embrace fully joyful worship.

It did get me thinking that perhaps he is on the right track for him, and I think that nature and the world around us also praises with the same exuberance and joy.  Birds, flowers and trees in their riot of color, texture and song praise their Creator.  The roaring rivers, the rushing waterfalls and the endless waves add their notes to the endless song.  Even the seemingly senseless barking of my blind dog plays a role, as they are all creations of the Creator's hand.  

Our senses are gifts which allow us to experience the world around us.  Many would argue they are genetically selected functions which enhance the survival of our species, and yes to some degree they do fulfill that function (not was well for us as for some animals but we have other advantages sometimes).  I would argue they also serve a purpose for the survival of our souls and spirits - they allow us to sense and embrace the world around us in ways that feeds our spiritual selves, and brings us closer to God.  I do not believe that nature and all her wonders are meant to be a distraction from God, but rather a reminder of just how magnificent the hand is that can bring us beauty, wonder and joy. 

Spring, for those of us lucky enough to enjoy it as a season, brings hope from a dark dormant season, it brings life new and renewed, and it allows us after many months of monochromatic living to burst into a multicolored riot for the senses.  The world, after the silence of winter, bursts forth in joyful noise with the works of the Creator.  Just as my little boy bursts out in joyful praise, so do we when we allow the spirit of joyful praise into our worldm, into our lives and allow it to feed the gardens of our souls.  Let the birds sing, let the flowers bloom, let the new life that is waiting come forth and fill us with a joyful noise.

Be brightly blessed, always and in all ways!