A Monet Morning

IMG_4707

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20
I awoke early one morning on my visit back home to California and the Spirit beckoned me to the Lake. All was quiet as I tiptoed through the wet grass and parked on the street. The fish were jumping and the sun was throwing her covers off on the other side of the world and beginning to color ours with the first promise of light.
The regular walkers were just beginning to come out as I made my stroll around the lake, this place where I grew up and spent so many family outings. I never fully appreciated it when I lived here.
Two ducks padded up, wondering if I had anything good to eat.
IMG_4704
The whole experience was something like a prayer without words when the sun made her appearance like jewels strewn across the sky…….
IMG_4716
It was one of those Holiest of moments when God touches down.
IMG_4714
Heaven kissed earth. I kissed back……..
IMG_4721
This guy got caught by the sprinklers………
IMG_4726
Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

The Color of Time

IMG_4587

The clock finally died. The one I got from the Spiegel catalog some 20 years ago. I thought it was so beautiful when I bought it and now, even though it’s stuck on 7:32 forever I can’t seem to get rid of it. The time piece probably costs more than it’s worth, so for now it is leaning against the wall in my bedroom.

What color is time anyway? The time that is speeding so wildly past us all. Of course it has no color for real. I guess if vapor or water has a color that would be it. But if I had to give it a color at all, it would be like looking through a stained glass window. Each color comes alive with a memory.

Every time I see purple I think of her……she owns this color now, the one to whom these sweet hands belong. I hate to think of the day she will no longer be so excited to play for hours in sand.

And sometime in the future, years from now, I will see sand and time will be that color.

IMG_4515

Her color………….

Treasures of value can’t be measured, they can only be held in our hearts and yet God holds each one in eternity, He knows their worth.

I pour the rich brown of the coffee in my cup and hear the voices of dear ones at my Mom’s kitchen table over the years……different faces, different friends, and the joys and sorrows attached to each cup, each memory.

Yes, time can be the color of coffee too.

The Bible says there is a time for everything under Heaven. And the Byrd’s did a song that said those very words…..Turn! Turn! Turn!

     A time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

And God holds it all……not one moment is lost to Him. And the world drags time along with it, spinning rapidly beyond my control. I click moments furiously trying to stop it all. To catch every color.

To catch time.

IMG_4586

As time continues to write its name in the dust, I pause it for just a moment. Here, can you see it on the shelf? I purposefully left it there for you to find. I guess when it comes down to it, that’s what blogging is:

Each one of us, writing our name in the dust of time.

What color is time for you?

When you don’t fit in and it’s okay

IMG_2449 reflection

I grew up in a church that was somewhat legalistic. I didn’t think much of it until the first time I went to an Assembly of God church where people clapped and raised their hands, and not just shoulder height, all the way up! It was like a whole new world opened up to me. You see, in our church we weren’t even encouraged to clap. I am not sure what’s wrong with clapping. Maybe they thought it would lead to other outward expressions and then God forbid where would you draw the line? There has to be some control after all. Otherwise you might have people jumping over pews and rolling in the aisles.

I say that tongue in cheek, but looking back I always felt somewhat restricted there. One false move and you might be visited by two men in dark suits. I will never forget the time we had an outstanding musical performance and someone must have forgotten the rule because there was a burst of applause. It started strong, but then the Pastor raised his hand in admonition……”No, no clapping please.” The people (us) being properly chastened, it quickly died down.

I remember never quite fitting in. Don’t get me wrong. I have many good memories of church and I am thankful, so thankful my Mom insisted we go. I have to say, I got a wonderful Scriptural foundational knowledge there. People that love the Lord with all their hearts still go there. And yet, when I got out. I remember feeling a profound sense of freedom that I had never had before and it was a little bit of Heaven.

My joy was no longer contained……I felt like a balloon taking flight for the first time. I could feel totally comfortable lifting my hands to the sky, or equally comfortable going down to the altar and planting my face to the indoor outdoor carpeted step. I finally felt I could express my joy over being forgiven, being redeemed properly.

I have taken part in all different types of church services, and I am glad I have. I consider myself  bit of a church mutt. I have been immersed in liturgy and felt extremely moved by its beauty. I have been to services where people felt totally free to kick off their shoes and dance in the aisle. And what I have come away with is this:

There is no right way or wrong way to praise God and as soon as you start making people believe they have to do worship a certain way, then you are excluding those who don’t quite fit your mold.

There is room, my friends. Room for all of our individuality at the Cross. And as long a congregation is true to Scripture, it’s all good. Just because I lift my hands in church doesn’t mean someone else has to. Their hearts might be bursting with praise within. God knows hearts. He knows each thought, each feeling, He hears whispered praise as well as praise that shouts to the sky.

He is big enough to contain it all.

Time to get small

img_0982.jpg

It’s almost the weekend.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Some weekends feel like finally setting your foot safely on the shore after swaying, teetering and flailing your way across a rushing river, stepping stone by stepping stone. I am always the one who tends to get distracted by the thought of falling in……losing my balance. Or by thinking about how cold the water is and how fast it’s flying by. Painting all the worst scenarios. I forget how Big God is.

And get overwhelmed with how small I am.

I am a slow learner, but He is patiently teaching me how to take stone by stone, day by day.

He nods and smiles and sometimes shakes His head from the shore. Sometimes He cries with me. And when I, like Peter, forget who He is, He reminds me by reaching an arm out and steadying me on my feet.

Today is the last day of my workweek. It’s the day that ushers in my weekend. I feel the stress receding like the tide, and I’m catching my breath. It’s time for slowing down and getting small enough to let the peace and joy seep back in.

To gaze at the world with eyes of wonder again.

Sometimes, getting small is a very good thing.

moss

My favorite way of getting small is by going outside and staring up at the sky. When I realize how small I am, it focuses my mind on how big God is. Even the simplest thing such as gazing at the way moss clings to a rock has a way of shrinking my own problems, the ones I think I have anyway, down to size.

When I get small enough, and still enough, I can feel how close He is.

That’s when I can finally let my imagination come out and play. That’s when the magic happens and I begin to wonder things.

Things like how birds can stay on the bough slumbering all night without falling off.  Just once I’d like to be there with them in that deep green of twilight, right after the last bird sings. In that silence when evening falls and night noises rise and the call of the cricket and bullfrog bring it to life.

I wonder how it would be to ride on God’s shoulders during a thunderstorm while He walks among the clouds.

And when it rains like it did last night I will do like I did when I was very small and press my face to the glass and imagine a world parallel to this one where everyone shines, and everyone wears diamonds.

Get small with me?

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:1-4

 

At close of day

IMG_3606

There must be a time of day when the man who makes plans

forgets his plans, and acts if he had no plans at all.

There must be a time of day when the man who has

to speak falls very silent.

And his mind forms no more propositions, and he asks himself:

Did they have a meaning?

There must be a time when the man who prays goes to pray

as if it were the first time in his life

he had ever prayed,

when the man of resolutions puts his

resolutions aside

as if they had all been broken,

and he learns a different wisdom:

Distinguishing the sun from the moon,

the stars from the darkness,

the sea from dry land,

and the night sky from the shoulder of a hill.

Thomas Merton

No Man is an Island

Heaven and Earth were finished, down to the last detail. By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done. This is the story of how it all started, of Heaven and Earth when they were created. Genesis 2:2-4

The Woodpile

IMG_3737 woodpile

It was just a little place to store wood.

It looked harmless enough, and yet when I saw it things tumbled out of my heart that I didn’t know were there.

There was the promise of the first snap of fall and the times when the leaves start floating down,

back down to rejoin the earth.

There were long nights by the fire, and conversations by the glow of embers burning low.

It was celebrations toasted and ending and new beginnings.

And all in that little stack of wood.

I saw snow falling, heard rain pelt on the window and moaning winds and creaking branches scraping on windows.

Times when it’s so cold that only your nose is peaking out of the covers.

It is camping and sadness and times that will never come again. It was remembering the time my Dad and I stacked wood and what a good time working together we had.

And how long ago that was now.

It was prying a lid of emotions that I try to keep neat and stacked just like that wood.

Somehow that little woodpile makes me wonder just how much the human heart can hold without spilling over.

IMG_3738 woodpile

The Snow Day

IMG_3467

Tuesday night my little corner of the desert took a cue from the rest of the country and got uncharacteristically cold and gray. When dawn drew aside her curtain we were treated to a view that was almost Holy.

Snow had dusted the top of the Superstition Mountains…..and all day long my camera beckoned from its place on the shelf.

I needed to get closer to that view…..closer to God. I drove through rain-soaked drizzle and felt the snap in the air as I waited for the heater to kick in.

My spirit was bogged down with an anchor that held my heart fast, kept it from sailing free.

IMG_3477

And in this life isn’t there almost always a pain, a heartache, an issue, “a thing” to weigh down our hearts?  But I have learned one very important bit of wisdom in my time on this earth.

Really, you could say that it is one of the most important lessons to learn.

God is always there too, and He’s always bigger than the thing, whatever that thing  is.

IMG_3480

Sometimes, we just need to know that He remembers us down here; that’s how I found myself praying that day, as I drove.

Remember me Lord…….remember me as You remembered Noah, Moses and Abraham.

See this woman down here; this woman driving around getting lost looking for the perfect view of the mountain, the perfect view of You. One who worries about her family. Remember me as my pain blooms to life once again by something I see that reminds me of what used to be.

IMG_3478

And then somehow, a miracle does happen because it’s not only God remembering me, but me remembering God, and all the big things He’s brought us through before and I know He will again.

On days when we’d rather throw the covers over our head, what we need to do is swing our feet over the side of the bed and ask God what kind of miracle you and He are going to pull off together. It’s what I had to do this morning……

I remember You, God. And today I will set my sights on Heaven.

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Colossians 3:1-4