Was Blind But Now I See

Cloud Burst

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is RISEN!!” ~ Luke 24:5-6

Today Christians worldwide celebrate an event so powerful it split history in two. Since I am a Christian, I join in remembrance. But though I’m a believer in the risen Jesus Christ, my journey of faith was not an easy one.

I grew up in a traditional Christian church that I didn’t fully understand, so I fully rejected it. And I didn’t return, until I fully examined it. And once returned, by faith I fully embraced it. Then the risen Lord transformed and made me fully alive.

The ancient words of the Bible suddenly became living and powerful. They have been a constant source of truth, peace, comfort, guidance, and encouragement since that time.
Once I Was Blind“He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”” ~ John 9:25

But the greatest truth of all is the simplest. And it is the crux of the entire matter. It’s what he says concerning death. Jesus claimed to conquer death by his resurrection, and faith in this grants eternal life to the believer.
Cloud Masterpiece“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

What is the universal fear of all mankind? Death. And Jesus promises life, eternal for the future, and abundant now. Life–the antithesis of death. Death–the enemy of life. He conquered it.

Heart Song

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

This is but a small glimpse into my faith. Perhaps you’re searching for that missing piece–or that missing “peace”. At the very least, examine Christ fully. You really have nothing to lose.

“God, in the end, gives people what they most want, including freedom from himself. What could be more fair?” ~ C.S. Lewis

Happy Easter

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Related articles:
Seeking the Living
My Thoughts on Aging
Weekly Image of Life: Easter Time
Aspiration for Heavenly

Photos credits:
Alexandria Sage and S. Michael

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Somewhere Down the Road | My Neighborhood

Somewhere Down My Road

Somewhere down the road, there’ll be answers to the questions …

Somewhere down the road, though we may not see it now …

Morning Mist in my "Backyard"

Somewhere down the road, you will find mighty arms reaching for you …

And they will hold the answers at the end of the road …

Sunrise Again

Oh, they will hold the answers at the end of the road …

“Somewhere Down the Road” ~ song lyrics sung by Amy Grant

This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme of “Phoneography—My Neighborhood”.  The intent is to capture photos of our neighborhood with a smartphone. So this is my “neighborhood”. My “backyard” is two-hundred acres of farmland. I live “somewhere” down this road and these song lyrics entered my mind when I took the first picture. The simplicity of their truth is what I cling to when I can’t figure out all of life’s mysteries.

All photos taken with iPhone 4.
Enjoy.
Alexandria

For more phoneography visit the Weekly Photo Challenge link:

Change—Certain as the Seasons

Fall Dozes …

The changing of the seasons mirror the rhythm of a soul. There are times of exuberance (summer) and times of reflection (winter). Fall and winter provide reflection and rest needed for the energetic spring and summer. I know this rhythm well.

Winter Sleeps.

I’m so glad I live in a place where seasons change. I lived in the American desert southwest for a brief period. Though it possesses an outrageous and incredible beauty, I missed the changing seasons. Once you get used to those rhythms your soul ever longs for them.

Spring Sings!

The seasons mimic the certainty of change. And as the verse goes, “there is a time for each matter under heaven”, I know God has his hand in every aspect of my life—blessings and difficulties. Difficult times will come are here, but there are many good things surrounding me, too.

This is how life is—the blend of trial and blessing, seasons filled with change. Remembrance of last year fills me now with warm nostalgia. Things have changed this year. Some changes I don’t like, but some I do.

As my sweet grandson and I decorated a gingerbread house yesterday, I wished him so hard to stay five-years-old! But he won’t. As I relished the moment of childlike delight I wondered will he have this much fun next year placing the sugar plums just so? I cling a little tighter to this moment and to him, all the while knowing they both slip from my grasp.

Why do I resist change when I know change is certain? Why does change fill a corner of my heart with an unsettling angst? I cry against it to no avail. It comes anyway. Why can’t I be like nature, welcoming with open arms, and just settle into it quite nicely, ready for the next? Change comes, of that I am certain.

Summer Shouts!!

But there is a certainty of which I’m glad there is no change.

“I the Lord do not change.” ~ Malachi 3:6

Though God set into motion seasons of glorious nature, he exempted himself from change. This truth is abiding and unchanging. This is the certainty I most need. I need his constant grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And he gives all. His love and mercy are the same—when we fall, when we stand. His hand is ever there to walk us through storms or meadows.

Within the unexpected turns of life He knew we needed I need something to remain constant.
Or rather—Someone.

Fashionable Fallacies

And I’ve never been out of his hand.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” ~ Psalm 103:12

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23


Other interpretations of Changing Seasons:
{Note: This is my first time using WordPress new tiled gallery format to display my photos. Click on a photo in each collection above for a beautiful gallery display. Enjoy.}

Mother Loads of Love | Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

I

“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.”
~ George Eliot

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week has a theme called “Love”.
I know—where do we begin, right? I’ve got other posts on love so I thought I’d focus on one particular type of love. Can you guess? These photos are just candid shots, some very poor images, but you cannot deny the very spirit of motherhood in them.

Sometimes love needs no explanation or definition. You just know it when you see it. Don’t you just see love in the photo above?

Now that my children are grown and in their twenties, trying to find their way, I do something I swore I would never do.
I worry.
If I let my mind wander and dwell it can flourish into a constant panic attack in my chest. I just have to push the “Stop” button sometimes. A lot of these thoughts can wander into places imagined, things that may never take place; but what of the real problems they face? Is there anything I can really do?

Hands Guide an Adventurous Walk

All three of my children are healthy, loving, and growing in wisdom. They are making good decisions as they face the realities of life. I thank God each day for them and turn my anxious thoughts into prayers. I wholeheartedly enjoy them.

I reminisce at their childhood. When they stumbled and got hurt I could scoop them up with heavy doses of mother-love and lots of band aids and everything was just fine. In fact, everything was just fine as long as they were in my hands, tucked safely in my arms. My arms could snug them tight and my hands could stroke and soothe. But then I learned the simultaneous joy and pain of motherhood.

And that was letting go …

Hands Let Go

First to preschool, then kindergarten, on and on.
My arms and hands were emptied of them and the thoughts would begin—are they okay? Will they get hurt? What if someone is mean to them?

As they grew out of physical harm the wounds of the heart kept my intuition on its toes. Once again, my touch could soothe. And each hurt pinched my own heart a bit. Still does. When you carry them inside you for those nine long months there is that strong bond of just “knowing”.

And I try not to worry. I try to pray. But I catch my hands, my arms. Empty. Where are they right this minute? Are they happy? Are they suffering? Is there anything I can do right this minute?

I thought about my grandmother, how she did this, standing there wringing her hands. My mom did, too.

Now I am doing it.

Why, oh why, oh why? This has just got to stop! And one day it did. While rocking my sweet grandson I figured it all out …

Arms of Love

The only time we feel our children are safe is when they are in our arms. When they are not we wring our hands. Our arms and hands must be wrapped around them, else worry never leaves us.

I remember the moment of their birth cradled first in my open hands, me all giddy, forgetting the horrific trauma of the prior moments! You’d think those moments would linger but no—our hands are full of a wonder so great the birth pangs slip easily from our memories as our hands and arms wrap around that gracious gift. And so it goes from the time they are born …

if they are not in our arms, we wring out hands. Our hands must, they must do something! Our arms, our hands hold the key to their safety, their wholeness, their existence, don’t they!

What are we to do with our empty hands? What should fill our hands when our children do not?

Why not assume a different position … and a difference perspective? Unclench and pry apart, then turn those wringing hands into peaceful palms together, then point them heavenward … in prayer.

Could it be for this very reason that hands folded together are prayer’s only adornment? I wonder that perhaps God knew mothers would need something useful to do with our hands when our little ones are grown and out in the great big world.

For in this simple gesture is the truest place where heaven does move earth, as a mother’s prayer is borne like no other. For those folded hands replace the empty hands and fill the heavens with songs whispering the best and highest we can do for our children—place them in the hands of the One who never sleeps and has His eye on them at all times.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

Other interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge that I like:

Christmas Surprise

D

’Twas the weekend before Christmas and I was on hospital call.
This weekend is known for “when you think you’ve seen and heard it all” and suddenly there’s another outlandish story. It’s the weekend notorious for the unexpected.
Or rather …

It’s the weekend of expectation. And as part of the call team I prepared myself for any surprise.

But it was not what I anticipated. No nightmarish awakening middle-of-the-night-jump-out-of-bed-race-to-the hospital. We worked hard but no 14-hours-straight-in-a-row-from-the middle-of-the-night-into-day. And I got to sleep all three nights. For the call weekend before Christmas it was pretty routine and, for lack of a better term—kinda boring mundane.

No surprises at all.

D

Wait. What did I just say? Mundane?
How can I speak so bland for what happened—or rather what did not happen
this weekend before Christmas? A weekend like this before Christmas never happens in my universe. How did I miss the miracle and dare to call it mundane?

How many miracles do we miss for mere expectation of other things?

Humming Christmas carols during the commute home I was lost in thought Sunday night as I pulled in the driveway. Nudging the car door open, I could not help but peer skyward. And I lost my breath. There it was.

My surprise.

A quick phone pic but I think you get the idea.

Gazing spellbound as clouds danced, swirling around the moon, I was wonderstruck. I sat in awe for a moment, taking it all in. The majesty of God. And I wondered …

What does earth look like down here from up there at Christmas-time?

Up there, amid blankets of swirling clouds and heavenly lights, stars glimmer and shimmer. But what about down here?
Does heaven gasp as the world wraps itself in Christmas—a spinning ornament studded with lights, glitter, and tinsel—another majesty of sorts—glistening from the most tasteful decor to the gaudy, even overdone? Or simple Charley Brown’s, from rich to poor, overdoing everything from lights to food to drink to family to travel to lavish spending?

It’s a celebration like no other. Smiling, I lugged myself in the door, feeling light as a feather.

Many said I got lucky this weekend. But it was not luck. It was so much more, or rather … so much less. Since much did not happen, I received what is nearly absent during Christmas—REST. I needed rest. Rest for the next night.

One of the most thrilling nights of the yearCandlelight Christmas Eve.

I

This is where I sing. A church filled with people from over eighty countries and all ages. And not just any music.

An orchestra accompanied by a glorious, ancient instrument—a grand organ with pipes from floor to ceiling, horns jutting from the walls. The form casts a breathtaking shadow for all who enter.

Walls of glass echo some of the most magnificent sounds ever heard.
For some it’s all about the music—multi-cultural and multi-generational, classics and contemporary. It is joyous, reverent, energetic, fun.

In the choir loft I have the best seat in the house. I get to feel the bass rumble beneath my feet, hear the horns lift, savor orchestral strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion surrounding sound—see the sanctuary fill with hearts full … or empty … or weary … or broken.

Children’s faces fill with wonder. Babies fuss. Families filling rows. For some people, it’s the first time they’ve entered a church for years. For others, it’s the only time of the year they come. And for some, they have never been at all.

But for all the sounds, lights, and rumbles it is long, hard, exhausting work.
Multiple services, focus, breathing, posture, presentation. I recall months of long practices, memorizing every word, note, count, and dynamic, climbing up and down to the choir room buried deep below to loft above, and I think—rest.

Yes, I needed rest for this night of all nights. To give the very best of myself to everyone. And to take it all in—majesty.

So we are all here tonight.
And so is He.

I

For tonight holds our greatest surprise. It’s the celebration of the world, as the glimmering earth spins in space, dripping in lavish everything.

As I gazed skyward the other night I imagined this eve—bathed in mysterious, glorious candlelight—inhaling the wonder of it all. Is God upon His throne inhaling the wonder as His creation celebrates the greatest event in all of human history—Emmanuel—God with us?

That miraculous moment when the divine intersected humanity.

Skeptics and unbelievers try with all their might to squelch Him, to destroy Him, to snuff Him out. But try as they might, the world, believers and unbelievers celebrate the mystery.
He cannot be silenced.

Just gaze at the stars above and you will see—night after night. Christmas is always there for you and for me.
You just can’t miss it.

I

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

Merry Christmas from my home to yours,
Alexandria

Photos of church by family and friends
All other photos by Alexandria Sage

Referring Article’s:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/
http://scottamartin.org/2012/10/30/a-story-worth-telling/
http://eof737.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

Christmas Reflections

I “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
I “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
I“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ” ~ Roy L. Smith

I“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
I “I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simple-minded and terribly vulnerable to joy.” ~ Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

“For all our high and lofty talk,
We are but children heart-to-heart,
Seeking shelter from the storm,
Places safe and warm,
And love … Outrageous, messed-up, joyous, crazy love.
Just plain love. (Presents under the tree helps a lot, too.)” ~ Alexandria SageI “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall” ~ Larry Wilde

I

“God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.”  ~ Josemaría Escrivá,
Christ Is Passing by
Related articles

Legacy of Joy

Sony Cyber-Shot. Self-portrait in front of a mirror. {Ok, WordPress, I’m trying.}

My dear readers,

WordPress asked all bloggers to write a post about what inspires us to blog. They wanted photos of us doing those activities. At first I was hesitant. I am far more comfortable behind a camera than in front of it. The other hesitation is my wish to maintain a measure of privacy. I confess the global world of blogging still intimidates me. But I will do my best to strike a balance with both.

WordPress encourages us to write and click. To write about EVERYTHING. To take pictures of EVERYTHING. I’m not a great writer but I love words in the form of quotes, with a dab of writing here and there. I love words that resonate healing, words that echo affirmation in the soul, words that bring joy.

I add photography and sometimes if I get lucky the pictures seem to coordinate with the quotes. Total creative fun.

Capturing another glorious sunset using the amazing iPhone camera. HDR settings, of course.

Capturing another glorious sunset with an iPhone.

Why do I blog? The biggest reason is my family—past, present, and future. And second, the multitude of friends throughout the years that have enriched my life, which now include you. I’m inspired by what makes me smile, that gives me a break in this hectic wild ride we call life and just inhale some gladness. I share to decrease sadness and increase joy … for everyone.

In addition, I hope to preserve a place that leaves words and pictures of my faith, footsteps, philosophy, and focus. WordPress says don’t hold back. But if I didn’t this would be a book. So here goes—in the most succinct I can be.

My mom and dad, both in heaven. Dad—the kindest, most generous man on the planet. Mom—organized, thrifty, clean. Together they gave me the best upbringing one could imagine. I miss them terribly. They were taken so soon. This blog honors their memory.

Wedding of my parents.

My parent’s wedding

My sweet grandmother. You lived two doors down from me. How could I ever forget the overnights and morning tea? Jumping on your bed and nighttime prayers? Your fluffy, down pillows? Your gift of sewing. You designed and made all the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses in the photo above. My family says I’m so much like you and I think that’s pretty cool.

My siblings. Amid the rivalry we emerged strong and united to this day. If I needed you at my side today, you would be there. {Dear brother, I’ll never forget when you drove cross-country to bring my Christmas presents.} In losing our parents so soon maybe we don’t take for granted the gift of each other.

Me peeking around for some candid shots at a family event. {Nikon D60 DSLR}

My husband. Wise, smart, funny, kind, philosopher, wizard. You give to everyone the most prized of possessions—your time. Cares for and watches over me with tenderness, patience, and love. Comes to my rescue for everything. Pulls over at a moment’s notice to let me capture another exquisite never-to-be-seen shot. Keeps my gas tank full. So much like my dad.

DSCF1993

Taking me up the hill the easy way, after a long sled ride down.

My children. Joy beyond belief. Each finding your way. Each blessed with kind and generous hearts. I know without a doubt that whatever path you choose, it will be done with the highest integrity. Where do I even begin?

A summer job for oldest daughter. She loved it {farm girl}

A summer job for oldest daughter. {Farm girl}

My grandson—I delight in this crazy notion called “grandparent love”. It is wondrous and enchanting. He is a ray of sunshine in my life.

The grand having a grand time in the mud.

The grand having a grand time in the mud.

My life-long faraway friends. Glenda, Debbie, Janna, Mary Beth, Peggy, Nancy, Lisa. We just pick up from where we left off.

P

Morning coffee on the back porch with a friend

My near friends. When I moved here you soothed my homesickness and the pain in losing my mother shortly after my arrival. We share the deepest parts of our lives, the heartaches and joys. You know who you are and I love the richness and trust we share.

My very shy friend. Yes, she's under there!

My very shy friend. Yes, she’s under the umbrella!

The day job. I work with exceptionally talented people in a very narrow field of medicine. I was stretched to learn a most demanding skill and with tenacity and a lot of prayer I did. And I get to do some really neat stuff that cares for very sick patients. Witnessed a few miracles, too. Every time I walk across the parking lot to begin my day I thank God for my legs and that I get to do what I do. At the end of the day I get to leave and go home. Those who are sick have to stay and wish they could go home.

Steve's stuff. He taught me how to use these—not easy.

Stuff I use at the Day Job—not easy to learn.

God. Sunrises, sunsets, flowers, nature bursting forth with color, light, and wonder. Majestic painter and creator you are. You are a very present help in time of need. Your Word, living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword guides me. Apart from you I can do nothing.

Winter sunset out my backdoor. Hand painted by God. Incredible.

Winter sunset out my backdoor. Hand painted by God. Incredible.

And this is just the introduction to my inspiration for the wonderful world of blogging. It’s a peek into my life “in focus”—behind the camera, behind the words. Relationships are my greatest inspiration. And these are but a few. Blogging is a place where I can sort of “hang my heart” in honor of all of them.
As I press on may I leave a legacy of joy.
Peace,
Alexandria

I

This is just a photo-op. Serious photographers know you can’t take a picture of the moon without a tripod and special lens. I’m posing with the Nikon D60 with stock lens. Like I said, a photo-op to show me taking a picture. It was a beautiful backdrop, full moon rising. One of these days …

All photos taken with Nikon D60 DSLR with AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens, Sony Cyber-Shot, or iPhone. Photos of me were taken by my family, except the first—taken by me. 🙂

Other interpretations of the Challenge and related articles:

In a World Gone Mad … Words That Heal, from an Anglican Parish Priest

Need Some Space?

A quiet place?

Space for
Reflection … Repose … Reposition … Respite … Release?
Space …
for Peace?

Expanse … Solitude… Space.
My soul needs to breathe.
What about yours?

With a world in turmoil, my soul needed some breathing and it came to my Inbox the other day. I just had to share it.
I am reblogging a post, with permission from the author, Simon Marsh, an Anglican parish priest from North Western England. The link is below, titled “SOME SPACE”.

Simon’s words washed over my soul with eloquence and elegance.
A message for a world o’ hurt.

Does your soul need a place to breathe?
There is a place … that always has space …
for you.

Thank you, Simon, for saying what I could not.

Peace,
Alexandria

http://simonmarsh.org/2012/09/13/some-space/
by Simon Marsh

© from Simon Marsh blog post “Some Space”

My Thoughts on Aging, from the Guest Author

The other day I was talking with a 75-year-old woman about the frustrations of aging. The aches and pains, the limited mobility, the failing memory, the sagging skin—how it all created significant frustration.

We joked about the 98-year-old woman who told me the best thing about wrinkles is that they don’t hurt. Then, in a tone more serious, she admitted she just didn’t understand the value of all this “getting old” business. She posed a valid question. The question prompted some thinking,
Might there be a valid reason?

My Dad always told me he wanted as many birthdays as he could have as long as he knew he was having them.
Over the years, he collected more than his share of serious ailments. No one loves his family or wants to be with them more than Dad. So far, he is still hanging in there. But I wonder if he is beginning to question that statement.

Like me, my Dad is a Christian. We believe in the place the Bible calls Heaven, and life will be better there than here. It is a beautiful place filled with reunion, the pain and suffering will go away, and the tears will be wiped away from our eyes. Life will be better!

So there, in the midst of that conversation, it struck me. Maybe this horrific thing called aging has a purpose.
By allowing us to change our sights from the here and now to the eternal, it reminds us that we are visitors here, waiting for our trip home.

And most of all, it reassures us that the best is yet to come.
The few glimpses of Heaven in the Bible show it to be an extraordinary place, a place so wondrous the Apostle Paul could find no earthly words to describe it. For our families it takes away a bit of the sting of death. When they compare their loss to the gain of the loved one passing, only the selfish can wish for the situation to be different.

So what should we do in the meantime?
Remember the answer to the riddle attributed to King Solomon? The riddle inquires—What four words will make a happy man sad and a sad man happy? The answer was inscribed on the inside of a ring—“This too shall pass.” And in either case, isn’t this the truth? Life is indeed fragile and every moment is a gift from God. Because of Heaven, we can have peace in the midst of all circumstances and hope in a future that bears no suffering.

This life does not end here. It is just the beginning.
So for now, love the life you are given, accept the ailments as a badge of honor, and remember—your Heavenly Father has a better life ahead.

Thoughtfully,
Steve

 

Daily Prompt: Young at Heart

Today | WPC Habit

7:15 PM.
It’s the day job and a moment in time—a break.
Day’s end nears. Check email.
Today

Today?
Not much time left TODAY.
Camera? Just a phone.
Oh well, I’ll probably skip this one … today.

Then, a moment in time
catches my eye.
Red rainbow glint on steel, fluorescent shine,
window, shadow.
Patterns emerge. Hmmm … lovely.
Cl
ick.

I move to finish day job.
Straighten straight lines. Replenish supplies. Done.
Color, lines, and pattern again.
Hmmm … not bad.
Actually,  fun!
Click.

Maybe … something will happen TODAY.
I say good-night and walk away.

Shine again,
the long hall …
which bore the long haul.
Click.

I move again and whisper prayer,
Can You give me something for TODAY?
Not sunrise or flower …
But,
If You wish me to share TODAY
just let me know, perhaps this very hour?
Somehow?

I depart the day job.
Click.

Then … another moment in time.
And I know
Not just rainbow red, glint off steel,
pattern, lines, or shadow.
But … something more.
I peer through window.
Click
.
Smile.
Rainbow tucked amid cold stone
and fluorescent square reflection.
To reflect,
He is here … and He is not silent
TODAY.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 NIV)

Peace,
Alexandria

These are some of the regular sights at my day job. This is an old one. I’ll have to beg forgiveness.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

First Voice

For me a sunrise can be likened to the arrival of God’s presence upon my day. He arrives softly—at first peering. Then, with a sudden blink, He bursts on the scene. Sometimes gloriously loud, sometimes whispering soft as the morning shown above—misty … soothing … calm. I, sleepy-eyed, am roused suddenly awake. He nudges me to rise, for it is a new dawn.

When I stepped into this particular morning there was simmering excitement as I witnessed something I’d never seen, and may never again. The fog, clouds, and sun combined with early hints of spring to render a surreal palate of soft color and pattern. And clouds melting?  I’ve witnessed a multitude of sunrises, but this—this was a touch of the heavenly. God’s hand painted for me another unexpected surprise. (See “Do It Again!”)

I become enveloped and embraced in soft warmth. Then I hear the whisper—no—the still … small … Voice.

My First Voice of each new day.
Good morning. I’m here. Take my hand?

He is … here.  But, am I … here?

To hearHim?

“… Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:11,12

And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mark 4:9

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10:27

“… but only one thing is necessary.” Luke 10:42a

Peace,
Alexandria

CenterPeace

“Worry is a cycle
of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.” ~ Corrie
ten Boom

“Can all your
worries add a single moment to your life? … Look at the lilies of
the field and how they grow. … And if God cares so wonderfully
for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire
tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.”

Jesus Christ Matthew 6:27,
28

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create | Portraits of Success

Children have an insatiable desire to create, to dream. What better way to adorn a front porch than with these beautiful child drawings? Don’t children provide a continual delight with constant surprises of the creative urge? We smile, we laugh, we delight. We are captivated, enchanted.

But there is deep within us a simultaneous lament, an angst that pains the delight. We look bare-faced at ourselves. Life progressed and the weight of the world gradually nudged out the child—and the dreams, drowned in the cares of life, swirled in a whirlpool down the drain. The child within seemed to disappear. Then we become bearers of children and begin a quest, and cultivate to make it different for them.

But should we do no less for ourselves?  Should we not reclaim the artist, the child within? For the artist within leads to one of our Creator’s intentions for us—joy. Sheer joy.

A twenty-something picks up a brush for the first time and discovers something wonderful

The insatiable desire to create was given by the Creator to feed our dreams throughout life and create, create, create into adulthood—to keep us, in the words of Steve Jobs—”hungry and foolish”—and become all we were intended to be. And we can find our “adult work” through nourishing the artist within. Our work will not seem like work. In a sense, it can even seem like play. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.” Children are risky and lavish as they create. They are not gripped with insecurity, fear, and hesitation that bounds we adults.

A great-grandpa stays a child and builds something wondrous—Thomas the Train!

As grown-ups we must practice the art of creation and reclaim our childlike wonder. We must be intentional this time because we have lost our natural inclination to do so. Keep creating, keep looking, keep finding. After all, our Creator has the same insatiable desire. Look at the intricate beauty He presents to us everyday, everywhere—touches of heaven. Let us mimic Him.

Chalk is a great place to start!

Thoughts on this, please?
Peace,
Alexandria

Other thoughts on this:

https://simplysage.org/2012/01/22/nourish-joy/

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 NKJV)

“To laugh often and much—to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children—to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends—to appreciate beauty—to find the best in others—to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition—to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do It Again”


“…it might be true that the sun rises regularly because God never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.

The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children—when they find some game or joke they especially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again!” And the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning “Do it again” to the sun, and every evening “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike—it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy—but we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

Nourish Joy

“We can thwart the work of God in our own lives. We can choose to nourish that which should be crucified and ignore that which should be nourished. In my own life I came to a point where I realized, joy wants to live here and I don’t have room for joy because I’m full of cynicism. I came to a point where I realized I had to cut out nurturing the cynical part of me.”

~  Rich Mullins

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