Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Radiance All Around

"Having a purple and teal kind of day with the rain coming in..."  Her status read, completed by a photo of her eyes simply adorned with some beautifully unexpected shades of these hues. 

I have a friend who thinks in color.  Brilliant colors, swirled together; color all around her.  She sees it wherever she goes.  When she needs to talk to God, she paints.  Once I suggested she may enjoy journaling her prayers, as I do.  She stared long at me.  "Hmmm....I'm not one to sit down and write."

"But crocheting prayers?  That I could do." 

And she does.  She gets out her hook and yarn, sits a spell and talks with her Savior.  And when she is finished, there in her lap is a glorious piece of art.

When the rain is coming down...what do you see?  Do you see the gray lines streaming, one after another; drippy wet soaking the already sogged earth?  Do you see the fact that you need an umbrella, and where did you have it last anyway?  Does your mind frantically run to figure out which plans for the day are altered or even canceled?
Photo Credit
Or do you see teal and purple?  Do you get out the brush and swirl together the possibility of what colors can be made of all that glorious rain?  Are you able to see the unexpected color in an otherwise soggy day?

"Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking."  ~Ezekiel 1:28

See God's glory today.  It's all around you.  Sit a spell with Him and see what He creates in and through you.

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Extraordinary From Ordinary

Do you know the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana?  It goes a little something like this:

Jesus is at a wedding.  The host runs out of wine for the guests.  His mother, Mary, approaches Jesus and lets him know of the dilemma.  Jesus shows compassion on the situation at hand. 

He tells the servants to fill some stone jars with water.

They do.
Source:  Bing Images
Jesus then tells the servants of to draw some water from the jars and take it to the master of the feast.

They do.

The master tastes it, and it is wine.  The water had become wine.

This is a pretty basic synopsis of portions of the story.  I am sure there are great intellectuals who can dive into the Greek origins of specific words and cull out amazing lessons that span far past my breadth of understanding.  But here is the beauty of the scripture.  God speaks through it to even my humble spirit.  His word is living, active; and if you open if and ask for understanding, He will graciously grant it.

You know what I love about this recorded piece of history?  Here it is.  Jesus told the servants what to do.  They did it.  They didn't question Him.  They weren't slow about it.  They surely didn't understand why they were filling these jars with water. 

But they did it.

And out of their unquestioning obedience Jesus created something extraordinary.

He took the ordinary and created extraordinary.

That's what our God does.  He is master of taking the raw material and making beauty.

Do you respond when God calls you?  Do you practice obedience to His will? 

Try it.  Give yourself fully to Him. 

If you give yourself fully to Jesus and trust Him, He will take your ordinary life and create something extraordinary.

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Embrace Your Inner Dork

Opening the door late last fall, it flung wide from a great gust of wind as I called back to my husband that I was going for a walk.

"Really?  Are you sure?"

"Absolutely!  It's the best time to do it!"

Donning my chicken rain boots and Mickey Mouse poncho, I strapped the leash onto my little dog, who for all the world had the frightened look of Toto in "The Wizard of Oz" with all the wind, and off we went.  He and I took a stroll through our chaotic neighborhood with downed tree limbs and flooded yards.  It was the middle of Hurricane Irene.  

As we walked, wind whipping through my hair, I thought about the picture I may have made to anyone peering out of their blinds:  30-something-year old, chicken galoshes, waterlogged little doggy and Mickey on my back.  And I just didn't care in that moment.  Do you have any idea how deliciously free that walk felt?  Feeling the elements up close and personal, the slightest fringe of the breath of God Himself rushing past me?  Glorious.  

Have you felt that these days?  Is there something you have been longing to do but you've been held back by convention?  I'm just going to be blunt here.  Let it go.  If it's not contrary to God's will for you and for other people, why not give it a try?

So here is your permission to:  take a walk in a hurricane, roll wildly down a grassy hill to see if you can make it all the way to the bottom, join a group of children in a softball game, laugh loud and hard till you're red-faced and can't breathe, raise your hands high during a worship service and love unabashadely.

Now get out there and LIVE!

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Worth A Thousand Words

Beauty on my kitchen counter

I believe in natural beauty.  I believe in doing things the way God, through His creation of nature, intended. 

And that is why I believe in all-natural handmade soap.  

All natural goodness, swirled together to create sheer beauty.

Average commerically-processed bar of soap
Bricks of soap resting on my countertop definitely call to my primal instincts; that basic part of my soul that loves to wiggle my toes down into the green grass, scoop a handful of rich black soil to my nose and deeply inhale while gardening or stare long at the twinkling stars in the expanse of night sky.

For me, I choose beauty.  I choose the open expanses and the stuff of nature; perhaps even a bit of the wild and untamed.  

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Fading Mirage

A simple thought for today:  first world or third world?

Many of you reading this today live in a "first-world" country.  We live in a place where we can flush our toilet paper down the toilet, we have shelter, and we have access to food and clean running water.

We have Bibles.  Everywhere. 

There are paved roads to walk on that don't leave our feet caked in dust and mud.

We have access to education, books and Internet.
Trying to hold in tears as I hold this little one who never smiled, not once, for an entire morning.
Most people around the world don't live in anywhere near the opulence that we do.  Yes, that's right; opulence.  It's a strong word, and perhaps you've never thought of it quite like that before; but it's absolutely true.  Shimmering opulence.

Sometimes the shimmering can blind us to the bigger picture in front of us.  Have you ever looked at the sun for too long and then tried to focus on the earth around you and things became blurry?

Perhaps the shimmer of this luxury and opulence is nothing more than a mirage...that will fade away even while we are desperately running toward it here on earth.

You see, a day is coming when the tables will be turned.  The first world becomes the third world, and the third world the first.  

"But many who are first will be last, and the last first."  ~Mark 10:31

In God's economy, none of our perceived prestige or power matters.  Nothing that we have built for ourselves will stand.  

What does last?  God's heart for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the lost, lonely and those in bondage to sin remains beating ever-strong; desiring that all people be set free and enter into relationship with Him.

Seek Him today.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Three Minutes

Comfort.  All those pairs of big brown eyes staring into ours, seeking reassurance.  We offered a smile, a kind word and comfort. 

The day was hot and a bit sticky.  Children filled the room, squirming on the laps of their loving mamas, here for their nourishment assessment. 

Josh and I were in charge of taking their height measurement.  Using our limited Spanish, we would encourage these little ones to stand with their backs straight against the wall, feet together, and to look straight into our eyes while we took their height. 
Demonstrating for the little ones how to stand tall for their height measurement

Josh would make funny faces and talk in silly voices to try to get them to crack a smile while I would gently cradle their chins in my hands to make full-on eye contact.  Many smiled wide and belly-laughed.  

Many didn't.

That was hard.  I'm not going to sugar-coat it.  It was simply flat-out painful to give our very best in the "make a child smile" department, which never fails with all of the children we know, only to be met with an empty stare.  Scratch that.  Not empty...broken, perhaps?  Tired?  Pained, broken and disappointed?  Fearful and maybe even collapsed.  

What could we do?  You see, we had that moment.  That one moment.  That specific span of three minutes was gifted to us by God with each child.  And so what did we do?  We poured out the love of Christ beyond language barriers in every possible way for that three minutes.  We smiled.  We looked fully into those beautiful child-eyes and communicated without words that they are loved by God.  We gently tied the laces of shoes two sizes too small back onto battered feet.

You have a day today.  It is not yours; it has been gifted to you by your Creator.

You have three minutes, after three minutes, after three minutes with so many different people that your life will touch today.  

What will you do with those three minutes?  What can you do?

You can pour out the love of Christ again and again and again, smiling wide, offering comfort and looking fully into the eyes of others communicating that they are loved by God.  You can gently tie the laces of shoes onto feet worn from battle.  You can take an uncertain hand and give a reassuring squeeze. 

Three minutes.  Don't let it slip away. 

Redeem it for the glory of God.

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, May 11, 2012


This past week, Josh and I traveled with a team to Nicaragua on a Vision Mission trip.  We were able to witness first-hand some of the amazing work that God is doing in and through the local churches there.  We took health assessments to measure the base line malnourishment level of children at a new feeding center being opened.

We came back with hearts full of the economic injustice throughout the world...and also hearts filled with hope for the work that is already being done and will continue to be done.

We brought with us lavame clean all-natural soap to be used at the orphanages for the children.
There is a dedicated organization, ORPHANetwork, that is backing local churches in Nicaragua to help eradicate malnutrition within the country.  Their method?  To do this through the work of Nicaraguans helping Nicaraguans.  By employing these means, true and lasting change can occur.

ORPHANetwork seeks out leaders and pastors in Nicaragua who are already "giving their guts" as they like to say, and then get behind them and back that leader's vision.  It is truly a worthy vision.

The country is only the about the size of the state of New York.

This is totally possible, people

You know what I love about these people?  They aren't afraid to open their eyes and see the enemy clearly. They have driven a stake in the ground and are rushing full-force ahead into the battle.  With great gusto and with unabashed determination they have said, "Enough."  

And the very best part of all of this?  They do it all in Jesus' name, the only One to whom all power, authority and glory belong forever and ever.

"For nothing is impossible with God."  (Luke 1:37)

Enjoy today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grace-Starved Souls

In a sudden rush they pour in; tanned faces with beautiful large brown eyes examining us.  It is clear they wonder who we are and why we are there. 

We work our way through the line, smiling, calling out "Hola!" And "Quantos anos tienes tu?"  We grasp their hands and gently hug their frames.  They give us tentative high-fives in return.

The group of children had arrived at the local church initiative in Nicaragua with ORPHANetwork to receive perhaps their one meal for that day.  Some had eyes that were wide and hopeful.  Others seemed skittish, as if they might turn and run at any moment.  Still others were hardened.  

The eyes that broke me though?  The empty ones. 

We grabbed trays and headed to the nearest table to collect the bowls each child had brought with them.    Returning from the kitchen with previously empty bowls filled to the brim with a nourishing meal, we were guided in matching bowls to owners and placed them gently in front of the eager recipients.  The children took it from there, making quick work of their generous meal.

Walking into the building these children embodied hunger, poverty and need.  And then they sat at the table.  And there, by the grace of God, they were filled.  Hungry they came, and full they left.

We come every day to God's divine table of grace.  Each day we come to Him alone for this meal complete with full nourishment and sustenance.  We often find Him at a local church initiative; a soul-feeding center.  His people are there day in and day out; serving, loving and pouring themselves out.  We are the embodiment of hunger, poverty and need.  Our souls are desperately needy for a God who fills our hunger and satisfies our thirst.

This day, we stand in line with our bowls.  Jesus heads straight for you.  Why?  You are special enough that He would leave His home and travel to you, His child.  He smiles His welcome to you, squats down on your level, and lovingly whispers His greeting to you.  He fills your bowl to the tip-top with His grace and gently sets it before you.

You can come back day after day after day.  

We are all desperately hungry for grace.  There is a place, a beautiful place, where it flows freely without end.  Receive it.  Let it fill your poverty-stricken places.  And then give it.  Again and again and again.  Day after day after day.

"You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor; so that by His poverty He could make you rich."  (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Enjoy Today,

P.S.  You are welcome here!  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Feel free to  join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.