Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lily's Eyes

Lily has another cold so she stayed home from school this morning. At one point she grabbed my glasses and tried them on, making me laugh. I bundled her up mid-morning for a short walk. 

"Crunch, crunch, crunch." I kept repeating this as we walked through piles of crispy leaves. One neighbor's lawn in particular was covered in leaves, overflowing onto the street. I told Lily that they had fallen from the tree, getting ready for snow. 

That's when we looked up. There we stood, at the side of the street, our heads back, our eyes fixed on the golden leaves overhead, hanging by threads, fluttering in the breeze.

"I will catch them." Lily said.

I realized she thought they might hurt when they fell. 

"I will catch them." 

The magic of the moment pulsed through me. This is why I'm here. 

She may be trying on my glasses, but it's really me that needs to see life through Lily's eyes. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October in Flight

How can it be only a week ago that I drove home to the County? And one day more since we were in Portland watching our grandkids run a 5K or play soccer? I recall the heat of the sun warming my simple fleece jacket and its bright rays creating shadows as I took pictures. Today the sun peaked out for a few moments in the late afternoon, but it was a cold late fall day here in northern Maine.

It has been a busy week, but a good one. I managed to clean my house (clean is a relative word), finish office work, spend a day with mom, work on my writing course, and attend a women's conference to hear a friend speak yesterday. I'm afraid Susannah's "Unravelling" course is taking a back seat these days to my writing course through the University. 
I got in over my head, wanting to fill any empty hours I had, so I didn't let homesickness overwhelm me. Uhhh, I jumped in full force. Now I'm trying to keep up with "A Confident Heart" study over at proverbs31.org and do Beth Moore's study on the book of James. In all fairness to myself, I signed up for Unravelling and A Confident Heart before I realized my friend's church was going to do the Beth Moore study. Now that I live so close to the church, there was absolutely no chance I would pass it up. So I have had to decide where to focus my attention the most.
The book of James wins out, along with my University course. I feel badly about not participating fully in the other two, but all the pieces seem to be fitting together.

Tomorrow I will head three hours south to my home away from home once again. The weather is calling for a chance of rain or snow. Yes, it is that dreaded time of year when one never knows what the roads will be like traveling. As I was doing my James study this morning, I was struck by the thoughts that God often hides gifts in the testings and trials we face. Sometimes the gifts are simply character additions such as maturity or patience. But always, eventually there is joy according to James. 

It is always difficult to leave after a week at home, but I know gifts await me. My girls with smiles and hugs, a cup of tea with my sis-in-law, my little home away from home. Those are the things I am grateful for but I think God has other things hidden away for me as well.

Once again bags and totes litter my kitchen, ready to be packed and travel south. October is fast flying into November where we will set our clocks back and think about upcoming holidays. Change is in the air once again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wings, Rainbows, and Ordinary Days

Late yesterday afternoon, I collapsed in my comfy corner chair and my friend settled into the recliner. I just got home after a busy day and she popped over. We were chatting when I happened to glance into my art room. The setting sun was creating rainbows on a picture. I paused our conversation long enough to snap the photo. I haven't altered it at all.

This is the thing. My memory verse for this week is so close to the one on my picture. It's found in Psalm 36:7 GNT
"How precious,O God, is your constant love. We find protection under the shadow of your wings."

God touched an ordinary moment, an everyday picture hung in my home with his light and spoke.

Ordinary life is His holy ground.

Oswald Chambers puts it this way.
"It does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary life, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred that we have to do exceptional things for God, but we have not.
We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes."

I am home in the County this week. I know, it's hard to keep track of me. :) I will tackle the mound of bills and billing to be done on my desk today. I will be submerged in the ordinary and sometimes meanness of life. I will look for the glimpses of God as he pulls back the curtain separating eternal and earthly and let's me know He's here, in each un-extraordinary moment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumn Travels

Beautiful traveling skies this evening as we head south to see our sons and their families this weekend.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Past Meets Present

When I was 21 years old, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and take over my life. "Streams in the Desert" was my very first devotional book. I used it for years and then I must have loaned it to someone. What was I thinking? That I'd outgrown it? Oh, foolish pride!

When I went to purchase another, all I could find were revised, updated versions but they weren't the same. Finally in a second-hand bookstore I discovered an original copy. The owner had marked it profusely with pencil so now everyday I take my eraser to those marks and pen my own.

The last several days it's as though God has been speaking the words straight to my heart. Today's reading described how the children of Israel moved from faint discontentment and complaining to full-blown rebellion.
"Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or his love and faithfulness."
I have given myself way too much liberty. God has given me grace, but I have been stuck.

I am sitting in a new home away from home this morning, a little two room apartment provided by friends who live below me. It's lovely but it's not home. 
It's in the heart of the city, no clip-clop of Amish horses going by or quiet country nights. 
I am tempted to doubt but I have lived too many of my days in doubt this past year and in discouragement, the tools of the enemy to turn my heart into a rebel.

God is teaching me to trust him. He wants me to recognize my rebel heart and repent, turning to him, yielding to His all-knowing view of my life. 

I am here until the process is complete getting Lily established in all-day care. Yet over the past few days, God has been quietly whispering that He has a plan and I am here for more reasons than I can see.

"We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin." 

Doubt is sin. Whoa. Now there's a thought. Doubt is a weapon of darkness and it often is accompanied by discouragement and sometimes sadness. 

I love what she goes on to say. 

"I like to cultivate the spirit of gladness" 

Isn't that a wonderful thought? 

My heart turns toward the Lord today in gratitude for:

My daughter whose birthday was yesterday. I celebrate her life.
Peace of mind and heart, never over-rated. I can't get enough.
Old time devotional writers who have gone before us.
Journaling, a great outlet
God's limitless grace

Monday, October 14, 2013

Direction, Doctors and Devotional Thoughts

Poor neglected blog :( . It has been a busy time, moving, regrouping, head spinning.

Last night I tried to blog and had all kinds of problems, no wifi, links wouldn't work, iPad kept shutting down safari. Crazy.

It was a beautiful Columbus Day here in the middle of Maine. Hubby said it drizzled and was dreary up north. I started out my day finishing some shopping for a birthday present for my daughter. I found one Kelly Rae figurine in the city. She was beautiful with wings but when the lady went to put her in the styrofoam, her wings fell off. The clerk offered to hot glue them on (?) but I quickly refused. 
"This has been a tough year for her ( I didn't tell her who it was for), and I don't want any wings falling off." 
So happy it happened in the store. Definitely not the right birthday gift.
I did find the right one later.

In the afternoon I had the long awaited doctor appointment (9 or 10 months). He was very thorough and now I will need a bit more direction.

That's the word today: direction. I shared a devotional on Instagram by Joseph Prince on that very subject. He quoted from the book of James. God wants us to ask for wisdom. I'm asking.

Tonight I sit in my little home away from home and think about my day. About my visitors :), hubby up home, God's plan for me to be exactly where I am at this moment.

We don't always understand his plans. Somewhere in Proverbs it says a woman makes her plans, but God directs her steps. I am beginning to understand that a little better. 

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian Bloggers out there!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Last day at the camper. 

Tomorrow we will load up the vehicles, hubby will winterized the pipes and we will leave until next year. I am not sad to go because I won't miss the long drives back and forth, but I am sad to leave summer behind me.

This will be a busy weekend as we move me into my home away from home. 

Today I am grateful for:

A gorgeous day
Caramel almond decaf ice coffee with one cream at Dunkin Donuts
Watching Ramona & Beezus for the umpteenth time
Beautiful sunset
A friends son who had a miracle in surgery today

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye

It's always difficult to move into late fall because I know what is coming. Closing the camper signifies the shifting. It's the time of year when the leaves are falling, though still beautiful, and the nights are colder. 

I've waited nearly ten months to get into the specialist here and yesterday, with plans in place to go home for a week, I got the call. Monday. Even as I listened to the receptionist, inside I was thinking I would cancel it. I've been here before and never gotten help. Short of corrective, fairly new and uncertain surgery I have to live with a pancreatic defect which affects my ability to digest food. What will make this time any different?

Yet today, in the midst of totes and the messes of packing up a camper and all my stuff, I pray. Should I cancel this appointment, Lord and go home?

I feel the quiet nudge and hear "green light." 

Yesterday as I was listening to Graham Cooke and traveling, he was saying God has given us a green light to keep going forward, until he gives us a red light. I know that even now He can change the appointment, but I must move forward at this green light and trust. 

After lunch, hubby went out to wash the camper. I made my way through the totes and bags and lay down on the couch with my book. Soon I was asleep. My body reminds me of the problems within today and I rest until the ringing phone awakes me. 

What will spring look like in my life? These golden wet leaves will be ready to rake where we leave them and that is all I know for sure. 

Grateful today for:

Peaceful afternoons
The sound of hubby outside working 
Tinkling chimes with a message from my sons 
Lily's dance with a friend

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Cloak of Humility

When you lay down that sense of entitlement, you move into gratitude.

There is a fine line between faith and entitlement.

 As a daughter of the King, I learned over the years to stand in faith and covenant for the promises of God. The problem comes when He doesn't come through the way I think he should. My defaults are either self- doubt or underlying anger, a sense of entitlement. Most of the time I land in the first one but God has been showing me the latter one hanging around my heart this past year. 

The problem with an attitude of entitlement is that it shoves out servanthood, gratitude and worship. It means I left my cloak of humility at home.

Remember the elfin (or is it elvin?) cloaks given to Frodo and Sam on their journey? One time they used them to hide from the enemy. What is it that makes Frodo and Sam our heroes? Bravery, innocence, simplicity, companionship, loyalty and yes, humility. I've always thought the cloaks represent humility.

I was reading in my "Stuck" study this morning and Jennie Allen shared a little section about a young woman who deserved better in her life. She really did. But her whole perspective changed when she realized we don't get what we deserve because of grace.

 "It is Gods grace that we have life at all."

Immediately I was reminded to check my attitude today, to put on the cloak of humility over the armor of God and move into gratitude. I felt my focus shift.

As I move out of the camper this week and into a new place, instead of dreading another move and grieving that I'm not going home, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, to find joy in a new community, to count my blessings. 

I noticed on another blog which I will link to when I get on my laptop, that she lists her blessings, her gratitude list with each post.

Today I am grateful for:

Colored leaves
Stuck Bible Study

Monday, October 7, 2013

Leaning Hard into Grace

"When we step into faith with Him, God shatters everything, not just our Saturday night plans. He changes every relationship, how we spend our time, our motives, our passions, how we live and how we die. He strips us of performing and pretending and lays us bare, fully aware of our need for Him. While it is costly and even threatening, it is what we are designed for."
                                                      Jennie Allen

I am looking out the window of my camper on this dark, rainy Monday. I realize the people across from me are pulling their camper out today. My body is achy, my ears feel full, definitely fighting off something. I can't be sick. This is the week we pack and close up the camper, the place I've called home since May. 

Another transition lies ahead of me. 

On her DVD "Stuck" Jennie says that there is one thing God wants from us. He wants us to need him. Not in the way that He can crush us, but so that He can break our chains. 
The problem lies in the pain.

 I recall a quote by someone once.
"When the pain of change becomes less than that of staying the same, we will change."

That's when we say, "Anything, Lord. I just can't stay the same."

In The Lord of the Rings, Galadriel tells Frodo that he is the one chosen to be the ring bearer, only he can carry this burden and play a key part in bringing freedom to the world of men.
Frodo suffers.
The world is changing.
 He is never the same after this journey. 
Oh, how he longs to return to his beloved Shire, but there is a bigger picture, a call on his life.
He would not turn back.

Our world is changing.

Your personal world may be changing and shifting, even shattering. Or it may be the daily mundane sameness that tries you. Loneliness, fear, finances, illness. Fill in the blank.

Even though it seems overwhelming, this is what we are designed for. 

The kingdom of God lives within us. 

Frodo never knew what he was capable of. Neither do we, until we have to lean upon God.

Over a year ago now, I heard Him whisper, "lean hard."

Lean hard on his grace today. He will hold up. You will hold up and if you don't, he will carry you. Chains will be broken. Shattered pieces will be mended.

It's been a mere week since I was asking the question, "Does God live in me?" 

Yes, the answer lies in believing his word and not my feelings or circumstantial evidence. But it's more than that. His word is proven in the fire, tested in real life. Does He live in me? Does He live in you?

Let's test that out together, shall we? Lean hard today.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The In-Betweens

My Instagram pic today is an even better shot of this beautiful scene.

I've been pondering my verse from the other day. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

Lily has been sick all week with an awful virus that turned into the croup. She lay in the recliner with me for a while today and then next to her mama. This down time gave my daughter and I the opportunity to talk, which we don't often have time for.  

As we talked, I kept thinking about this verse from Proverbs. I realized how hard we have been trying to work things out in our time frame to make life a little easier. The problem is just that its not working. The answers are not in my head. There are times when we have to lay down our own ideas of how things should work and follow the path God has laid out before us.

 The in-betweens are the tough places.
 The weeks and months when nothing seems to change, when all paths seem to lead right up to the same wall with no way through. 

When I was sitting on the rocks Tuesday, overlooking this beautiful ocean scene, I felt like something opened up. I can't explain it and maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like a path opened up before me or inside of me.
 I read something the other day by Joseph Prince that I wrote in my journal.

"Trust the Lord to position you at the right place at the right time to experience His provision. Believe that He has gone before you and prepared a provision that will exceed your expectations."

Notice how much that trust word keeps popping up.

This past year has been a year of trust shattering and now in process of being restored, on several levels. This can't be done in our heads either. It is a step-by-step process, walking it out through every circumstance, every memory, every fear, each new day.

God didn't say the paths would be easy, but He did say he would direct them, He would make them straight before us so that we can find our way. He promised to take a firm hold of our hand and stay beside us. He also promised to gently lead those with young children and carry them close to His heart. (Isaiah 40:11)

I am counting on those promises tonight.
In this uncertain world, when so many things are being shaken, there are few things we can count on.  The Bible tells us that when everything is being shaken, there is a kingdom that remains stable.
The Kingdom of God.

For what its worth, these are my thoughts at the end of the day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God Never Shuts Down

Yesterday was a glorious fall day. I had been wanting to go to Otter Cliffs for a month or more. My friend, Nancy and I made plans to go, which is rare because she is one busy lady and we can't make our schedules sync. The night before our appointed day, Hubby called and told me that we would have to cancel those plans because the government was shutting down all the National Parks. I was devastated. Otter Cliffs is a must for me once a year and I really needed this.

When Nancy arrived, I told her the news and she said she thought we could still make it work. She was right! We went in by a road near the cliffs, parked outside the gated entrance to Acadia and walked in. Many bikers and hikers were doing the same.

Now I'm a follow-the-rules kinda gal, but seriously I felt like God opened this door and my heart. We walked in, sat on the rocks for two hours ( oh, for a pillow!) and I breathed the salty smell of ocean air, let the sun soak into my skin and listened to the waves breaking over the rocks. 

I kept saying to my friend, "I can't believe you got me to Otter Cliffs." 

It was exactly what I needed and a treasure I will look back on this winter.

p.s. Do you remember my post a day or two ago about God living in me? I got the coolest email today from Faith Gateway. Check it out here. http://www.faithgateway.com/christ-lives-in-me/

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Word at 2:30

In the wee hours of the morning I heard the whisper, "Trust Me."

Trust in The Lord with all your heart. Don't  lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Me and I will direct your paths.
                                          Proverbs 3

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Does God Live in You?

Does God live in you? 

A simple question that I would have breezed through a year ago.
 This was in my "Stuck" study this morning.

If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior, the answer, according to scripture, is no. 
Colossians says the mystery of the Gospel is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

I did ask Him in, decades ago. I've lived my life grounded in that knowing. "He who has the Son has life."
 I John 5:12

But today, looking at the question in black and white, I ask myself:

Does God live in me?

Almighty God
Prince of peace
Most High
 sovereign LORD
Leader of numberless angel armies
Worker of miracles
Love Incarnate

Does that God live in me?

I don't know.

No pretense, no fancy talk here

If this life I'm living right now is God living in me
 my God is too small.

I begin October with these thoughts. 

What is God beginning in me?