Morning prayer attempt

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I would not suggest inviting the cat (or in this case cats) to your prayer time. They insist on taking God’s place as first billing. This morning I walked down juggling heater canister, coffee and treat down to the prayer closet by the river. Mrs. Weigum was waiting for me and I held the gate open for her as usual. Since moving here, she and her brother have attached themselves to us since the neighbor is hardly ever home. She waits for prayer time because that means lap time.

I settled in and hardly had a chance to say, “Oh Jesus thank you for the miracle of this new day and I invite you into it……” When from my lap came a hiss and a primordial growl. Brother had followed us down there and she was extremely offended that he was invading her space. She slapped at him when he got too close.

He tried to jump into the prayer cabinet and I hastily closed the door. Then he investigated every surface in there and insisted on jumping into the little sink and then the window sill. (Whoever said cats were independent were never around any cat I’ve ever had). And these aren’t even mine.

After all the ruckus I gave up on praying or reading my devotional. I was too busy playing referee.

As I turned the heater off and blew out my candle, the sun was peeking through the trees and the birds were heralding the new day so I lifted the cover off the Adirondack chair and Weigumina and I sat there and watched as God lifted His curtain on another day. And a beautiful one it promises to be.

RIver

A fish jumped nearby and her head swiveled in that direction and then a crane launched itself from a tree across the river. I love watching how they fly with their long legs straight out. They have started their morning cacophony up in the trees across the way. We call them “the cluckers.”

I guess you could say I had my prayer time. It’s not always about the words we say, but the gratitude that fills our hearts when we thank Him for the new day and where it comes from.

Thank you Jesus.

 

 

 

Looking Up in 2017

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Hope in Me, and you will be protected from depression and self-pity. Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to Heaven. The more you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens; thus you are lightened. Heaviness is not of My Kingdom. Cling to hope, and My rays of Light will reach you through the darkness.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

As Jesus and His disciples were walking by the temple one day, one of them remarked on how beautiful it was. I can see Jesus glancing at it, maybe nodding in agreement, then saying (Message version) “All this you’re admiring so much–the time is coming when every stone in that building will end up in a heap of rubble.” Then He goes on to explain just how bad things will get before He comes back and sets everything to rights. At first glance that might seem like a real joy-killer, but then He says at the end of Luke 21, “Look up, for your redemption draws near.”

It’s easy to despair looking at the events of the world around us. And I’m only thinking of the things that happened this past week! It’s easy to forget how to look at the world through the lens of  wonder, filtering out all the anxiety and dread about what will happen next. But Jesus doesn’t just tell us to buck up, or think beautiful thoughts. He points us to Himself. He is our ultimate hope and the hope of the world.

Sometimes He reminds us of this in the simplest of ways. The other morning I took a walk down by the river and the neighbor cat decided to tag along. I watched as she sprang ahead, leaping with a wild joy as she chased blowing leaves. She high-stepped it, and shaking her feet at the wet grass she almost tripped me by running across my feet. I have to admit, I got caught up in her playfulness.

Why do we humans complicate everything so much? Why do we eat ourselves up with worry? On Friday night I lamented that I was worried about finding a new stop on my route. My wise friend said, “You’re not driving it today.” Then I said something else and she repeated, “You’re not driving it tomorrow either, or Sunday.” I was robbing my moments of peace which I do repeatedly.

As I continued my walk, camera in hand, I got several cute shots of the cat comedienne. I laughed and caught the wonder again through my camera lens. I looked up at the sky peeking through the trees. I need to do more of this, I thought. I walked back up and then smiled all over again when I downloaded the pictures to the computer.

This quote by Frederick Buechner kind of sums up my thoughts today:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and the pain of it, no less than the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments and life itself is grace. Frederick Buechner, Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

I plan on re-doubling my efforts to keep looking up during the course of the coming year. I plan to remember how to live in wonder at the world around me, and letting Jesus be my filter. I will fail sometimes, of that I have no doubt. But sometimes I will succeed.

Of perfect storms and sparrows

Since I started in this new area at work, I have unvolunteered myself for a couple of things I really had no business volunteering for in the first place. I know me right now. Several things in my life right now are stressing me out big time. When I started counting them all I realized it would be even more amazing if I weren’t stressed.

Today started off strange right off the get-go. The person I left at my station last night had transformed herself into a cactus. She focused her prickly laser-like vehemence on me as soon as I came in. It seems I left one thing undone which she proceeded to turn into her own personal very big deal. She left a nasty gram in bold print on my computer, detailing everything that happened as a result of my little mistake. The mistake by the way, that could have easily been corrected in about 5 minutes if she had chosen to respond in a different way.

I felt bad for her co-worker, who is a very nice lady.  She was rolling her eyes behind “the talking cactus.” Then later, I was scolded for not showing up to lead stretches yesterday afternoon. That was my fault, it was my turn. Not only that, I was told that my stretch leading was not adequate. I needed to hold them for 20 seconds each and include more of a variety. So I marched over and took myself off that list too.

Sometimes we disappoint people, ourselves, God. It can’t be helped. I have learned some things through this, though. That if you are stressed to begin with, don’t raise your hand up in the air and volunteer for more.

Sometimes you have to take care of you.

Sometimes you just have to “check out”

After the stretching incident I went outside for a few minutes to regroup and play my “Words with friends.” It helped.While I was out there, I studied a little brown sparrow on the wall. I meditated on that little guy.

I noticed all the variant shades of brown. There must have been 20 that I could see. He was really a work of art. Then I remember what Jesus said about sparrows…..how they are valued by the Father. Noticed, counted. And how not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing.

And He values you and me even more, much more, the Bible says.

I breathe deep. I start over. And now I will say a prayer for the counterpart that will come in tonight. I will be kind. Because I know there must be a reason why she acts as she does.

I also know that despite all the conditions in my life right now that are threatening to create that Perfect Storm? I have resources, I have people in my life who help me, support me, love me. And some have none of those things.

And writing about it really, really helps.

And most of all? I know the One who specializes in calming stormy seas.

Will there be horses in Heaven?

There is one prayer I have had that was never answered…..From my earliest memory, from the time I actually believed there was a God and that I could pray to Him I prayed that one morning I would wake up and there would be a horse in the front yard. From the time I first saw one, I was instantly in awe. I held them in reverence that was almost godlike.

It started with the pony rides. I didn’t care about anything else at the carnival, if there were ponies going around a ring I was there. My Dad would shell out the two bits. And in Yosemite there was what I would classify as a deluxe pony ride. We got to ride on a track, all around the stables….oh they were pure wonder. Which one would I get? I didn’t care, to me they were all as magical as unicorns.

We used to camp in old Camp 7……and just on the border ran the horse trail. My favorite part of the day was when they would come through. I can still hear my Dad announce, “Here come the horses!”

Oh, I would hear the footfall of those wondrous creatures as they walked through the carpet of dry pine needles that fell across the trail. The sound of them, blowing and breathing and neighing. I would stand stock still as we watched every last one pass.

And when finally the day came that I myself could go……….I was on top of the world. I was taller than anything. My big gentle brown quarter horse with a butt as big as a house was my new best friend. I could have cried as I bent down to hug his neck as he carried me into a place I had never been before, but only dreamed of.

Then, as what happens so often, we grow up and put away our dreams and convince ourselves those joys may be for someone else, but not for us.

And still, as I see them, even now. I remember that magic. And I wonder, will there be horses in Heaven? I think that if God created animals in the first place, he must want them there.

The Bible says He will be riding in on a white horse, after all.

Maybe I will be riding with Him? Maybe we all will…….

I am posting this today because sometimes just remembering something magical is miracle enough.  the joy of living, the joy of memory carries us through.

And it’s all a gift from God.

Joining in with these wonderful folks today just because I want to, not because this post necessarily has anything to do with promises or counting blessings. But then again, maybe it has everything to do with it!


A little bird told me

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

This verse comes just about in the middle of Chapter 10 when Jesus is sending His disciples out two by two. I take comfort in how many times He told the disciples not to fear. I guess I shouldn’t take comfort in that, that they feared, but I do. Let’s face it, the world out there can be a scary place.

Each day He sends us out too, and we never know who or what we might run into.

I guess that’s why I like birds……they remind me that God takes record of every one that falls from the sky and He is taking care of me too.

When I look at this little guy, a little ordinary brown sparrow, I see a master Designer at work. I see a hundred different shades of grey, brown, tan. I look at how the feathers fold so neatly together, how those little feet can grip just about anything. Perfectly suited to their environment.

God has placed His Own Spirit within us, so that we may be totally effective. Not only that, like this little bird, when we are controlled by the Spirit, we are perfectly suited to go out into the world and be God’s hands and feet. But it’s a battle, no doubt about it. At times I read that list of the gifts of the Spirit and I see where I am glaringly lacking.

There are far too many times I take the Spirit places He should never be, with my thoughts, my words, my actions.

And yet, still He strives with me.

Sometimes I pretend, it’s just me and Jesus. And He’s giving me a pep talk in my morning prayer. That is what it really comes down to, every day.

Me and Jesus face to face. And In that moment when I meet Him, the world falls away, and nothing else matters. When He looks in my eyes, He sees my heart.

He still wants me.

A Song in the Night

It was one of those tossing and turning nights. I seem to have a lot of those lately. A bleary glance at the clock told me it was 2:30 AM. And faintly I heard something that sounded like a bird singing…..Singing, at that hour! At first I thought it was one of those alarm clocks that sound like birdsong. My Dad had one that went through the whole repertoire of a mockingbird. Incredulously I staggered outside into the cool night.

The stars were bright overhead and it was so quiet, except for the unmistakably loud sound of a real live mockingbird singing its heart out in my neighbor’s lemon tree. It was so early the morning commute hadn’t even started yet. Don’t birds only sing at sunrise? This one’s internal clock was surely off, I thought.

Every morning since, I have heard it. The earliest recorded time was 1:30 AM.

At first I was a bit ticked off. I get up at 4 on my work days and every hour of sleep is precious.

But today, God spoke to me as He often does in that still small way He has. He said:

This little bird is singing at my own direction, and who are you to tell it that its not the right time? When is it wrong to sing of My glory, to sing just for the sheer joy of singing. Don’t I welcome any prayer, any song, day or night? Am I ever too busy to rejoice when one of my creatures is singing, do I ever turn away from your song?

And I don’t know if there is such an expression of a heart that pangs, but my heart did pang as I rolled down the window this morning in the dark just to hear my little friend sing.

A tear threatened, when I thought of all the times I have squashed another’s enthusiasm…..a song they longed to share, because I was too busy wallowing in my own problems to open up my heart, my ears, and truly rejoice with them.

And I thought….how I stifle my own song, how I rob someone of the joy of hearing it. Me, for thinking it’s not worthy of singing. Then, and this one last thought is painful……of voices long stilled, and how I would give anything to hear them again, no matter the day or the hour.

Thank you little bird, and thank you God. For using one of your creatures to instruct me once again…..

Wishing you a bit of grace

Not much going on around here…..just hanging out waiting to see if there is anything good coming out of the fridge!

Actually, I am at work. Briggs is the one just hanging out. More than likely right now he is dreaming of chasing mice or catnip…..

Until I can get a bit of time to post, I am at my desk.

Hope your Saturday is going wonderfully……

To all in Rome (and the rest of the world) who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7

The other morning before I left for work I grabbed a Bible CD from my bookshelf. I saw that it was Romans so I put it back, (I thought) since I had just read that. When I got in the car, I heard “Romans Chapter 1”

And I was glad, because you can never read the book of Romans too often.

Happy Saturday fellow bloggers and readers!