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Friday, September 30, 2011

Done painting within the lines...

5 Minute Friday....Friends....

This is not an easy topic for me….I am in my 50’s and I am starting over….
The short version….close fellowship…painful split.  We and other families gather  ourselves together and start the healing process.  When that kind of wounding comes from the body…it takes something away…trust.  We now as a new group turn inward…become a very tight knit group…one that was there 24/7…laying down our lives, time and sharing life together.  We did not need anyone else….people could try to come and break in the circle…people came and went…but this core group remained committed….I thought I was safe forever…safe for 20 yrs…but the unimaginable happened….the enemy wins again…torn apart…deep wounds and this time it is with the closest of family relationships.  

These kinds of wounds…this kind of fellowship…tends to make a person want to play it safe…paint within the lines.  The gift these last years have brought me is freedom…I see how closed off I had become… how I had to be with people who thought just like me….safe…where no one questioned…challenged each other…safe…arrogance grew…because it was safe to be the most right. 

So I am done painting within the lines…painting with one color…God is teaching me how to paint with vibrant colors…different textures…a mosaic … this mosaic of friends will bring more beauty to my life than I can ever imagine.  Friendships take time…20 years is a long time to lose the art of friendship….by God’s grace… He and I are painting together…it’s been way to long….



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Life Will Break Forth

I love the hymn...”This is my Father’s world”…all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the sphere. 

His voice speaks…just in the everyday course of life.  As I wrote about waiting in the silence, I study Biology with my daughter.

 I was reading a “new friend’s” blog…Jen…and she talked of a dream…seeds being planted in her head and heart years ago…and now she sees the fruit.  I study Biology with my daughter.

The topic…germination.  How a seed is buried deep the dark…planted in silence…called to wait…called to receive.  The seed must wait for the water to come…come for the soaking because it takes soaking for the life to break forth.

While in the deep…the silence, the dark… where no eyes can see…where no ears can hear… there is only hope...hope that this embryotic seed will bear life. So the seed becomes a receiver…doing the job of a seed…letting the water in… letting it fill and in due season….the seed becomes impregnated with water…so full it must burst open.  It must release all that has been pent up in the holding…the hoping.

The movement is slow…still in the dark…still in the silence. But now …this hope  takes anchor …so when it grows…and the winds and storms come to shake it…this new life will hold.  So patiently the seed lets the roots go deep…now the roots start the receiving process…to drink deep the nutrients…to feed the seed.

 A seed’s environment affects the rate of growth…the seed waits in silence…waits in the dark…waits for life to be called forth…to be strong enough to push through the soil…to be driven through the hard ground toward the light.

And then one day…almost without warning…hope breaks forth…Romans 8:25.”but if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure”.  New life…planted hopes…answered prayers…the deepest longings of a heart springs forth.    And just like for Jen…the planted hope shoots up right along our path…

May we all continue to wait in the silence…hope in the dark… trusting in His wisdom as the Master Gardener tends to our gardens…because in due season…new life will  break forth.

Psalm 27:14…”Wait and hope for and expect the Lord: be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”






Monday, September 26, 2011

Continuing to be awaken...

Continuing to count the blessings…the graces…continues to awaken my soul…not just with a heart of gratitude toward God and all He is … all He did…all He continues to do each moment of each day.   But this heart filling with gratitude is being awakened to the world around me. 

How long I have passed by the beauty of His creation…taken a half glance at His majesty displayed… the sky…a glorious sun set…clouds hanging against a beautiful blue background.  Life racing by too quickly to stop…. to smell the roses…to drink in the magnificent array of colors showcased throughout the spring as flowers burst with brilliance … the golden, red and yellow that crown the trees…each  season demonstrating God’s Glory. In God’s love, He created all this beauty… this beauty gives praise to Him…Isaiah 55:12…. and as I awaken…absorbing all the world around me…my voice rises with creation to sing His praises too.

God’s most glorious creation…us…you and me…made in His image…conformed to His likeness.  My heart is waking up from a long hibernation.  This dormant heart is slowing be kindled with the fires of His love and compassion.  I hate to admit…but I must…compassion would not have been an adjective used to describe me.  When hearing about someone’s misfortune…suffering…my reaction was a quick…that is too bad…but nothing seemed to penetrate deep into my heart.  But praise God…rebirth is coming.  Like a dormant seed buried deep in the earth prepares itself to bear new life…going through a transition…this change hidden from human eyes…so are these seeds of love and compassion taking root in my heart.  Little signs of life…signs to give hope…Ezekiel 11:19… that one day a new heart will be beating with His heart for the lost… the orphaned… and those marginalized by society. 

 So each day…I continue to count…continue to be awaken to Him…to all His creation…

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!


                  1930~1942
~prayers together
~hope
~Psalm 139
~son cleaning and organizing fridge
~ being inspired to organize kitchen cabinets and draws
~seasons changing....natural and spiritual
~friends up in the night...praying for one another
~learning to let go
~meeting up with our basketball "family"
~fundraiser for friend's adoption of 2 precious ones
~a heart opening up
~people who reflect God's heart
~being shown another way...a better way
~ sara's life...her impact on me...on many
~sara dancing...free from all that weighed her here




Friday, September 23, 2011

                                  Doesn’t growing really take dying? 

“Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil… and dies it remains alone.    

                 But its death will produce many new kernels…a plentiful

                                                   harvest of new lives. 

Isn’t that what we all desire…new lives…transformed lives…but does there

                             
     
                really  have to be dying…a leaving behind.

Sometimes the leaving behind …the dying… is a letting of even “good” desires…

                             good marriages…jobs…friendships…ministry….

                                        and sometimes it’s leaving ourselves behind…

             I hear God call…come…come to me…and I see the passageway…

                              it is more narrow then where I am standing 

                    God says come…but all you carry…all you hold on to…

                                                can’t come with you…

                          you must lay it down…just leave it at my feet .

                                       Here is where the dying takes place…

         laying each ‘right”…each hurt…each justification…because….”

                   “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and

                                   take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

 So in this upside down Kingdom… to  grow up in the likeness of Christ…

                                 to grow….first requires death.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What does one do when waiting…waiting in the silence…waiting with desires…groanings…deep guttural sounds giving wordless expression to the ache…a deep expression to something that rumbles all pent up inside… when God is silent…when voices all around are silent… when words I long to hear don’t come…

In the waiting there is an echoing silence…a silence that shakes my soul…rattles me and loosens my grip…a silence so loud it is deafening.

I am waiting in emptiness…an emptiness longing to be filled.

But is this where greater freedom will come?  Is this the path I must travel? Is there another way? Deep inside the questions stir…is it here I gain greater freedom from my need of approval?...looking to others to affirm me…greater freedom from my sense of entitlement...what is”owed”me…greater freedom from my expectations...”expectation...another name for premeditated resentment”...greater freedom from wounds…more love to replace the bitterness and resentment.

I have been here before…where silence echoes…emptiness gnaws…when waiting drives me to premature action.  In times past, I have taken the process into my own hands…grabbing for the fruit before it takes full root in my life…how much stunted fruit lies rotting on the ground…bearing so little because it was too immature to give lasting nourishment…to sustain life.

So here in the silence…the emptiness…I wait…I choose to trust…trust in Love… Love that is preparing the soil for the receiving… the planting… the watering…the weeding… so fruit can ripen to fullness.

I choose to let the echoing silence become a chorous to be sung over me…my silent athem to freedom. I choose to let the gnawing draw me to the well…”all who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled.” 

In the waiting, I choose to learn to rest…to be held in His arms of Love…I choose to let my Master Gardner tend to the garden of my soul…because in due season I shall reap harvest …


"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."                                       Heb. 11:1






Monday, September 19, 2011

#1888...On the air with Ann


This is just where I am…


I thought I would be more comfortable by now…my sneaking out into the blog world. But I still am hiding…just my husband and younger kids know…not my daughter(sorry Amy) or older sons...my friends…or extended family.   Now I am starting to be haunted by the hiding.  And I thought the more I blogged…the easier the blogging would be…to be honest...I really kind of dread each blog.  But I know I feel compelled…one blog entry at a time…compelled to keep going by that still small Voice…and the kind encouragement from my husband. 

I ask my husband… what is wrong with me? Why do I still hide?  Why, when I am with a group of people, do I think...Oh, I don’t ever want them to know?  Is it just straight up my pride?  Doesn’t everything really all turn downward…back to the root of pride?  These questions I kept brushing aside... are now gnawing at me.

I can give many logical reasons for my hiding….first and foremost I am not a writer…I had 3 attempts to get out of freshman English…I think the third time they just had pity (or should I say mercy) on me.  When I taught school…all my reports had to be read by another teacher before they could be sent out.  These and a long history of trouble with school may have dashed my confidence a bit in this area.

Possibly another factor…my life is in such transition...not all the transition is bad…but transitions are just hard for me.  I like sameness…I can eat the same thing every morning…run the same route everyday…I naturally find comfort in ruts.  Through changes comes challenges… and these challenges seem to be exposing my insecurities…and right now I am a bit more insecure than I really care to admit.

In this season of transitions….God has been transforming my heart, soul and mind.  I am under reconstruction (hard hat maybe required). I feel the ground shifting beneath my feet.  Ground He is shaking so what is left can be more of Him.   So sharing the deepest thoughts of my heart … thoughts that may not be manifesting themselves in my life yet… can sometimes feels somewhat fraudulent.

Another frontier for me to conquer in the bloggy world is friendship.  I find it interesting and plaguing all the stories of on-line friendships…friendships that seem as authentic as IRL.   My friendship quandary is probably for another post.  But in short...because of the type of fellowship/friendship of the past 15-20 yrs. …I lost the art of friendship.  Like any skill…if the skill is not used it becomes rusty.  So like a painter…I am learning again how to paint…paint a picture of friendship.  This time the painting will be vibrant with color…will have a variety of textures…  all blending together to make a beautiful picture.  I have been slowly learning how to paint like this… I am still young in the process.

And I am well aware of the evil one who comes and breaths lies …the ones I listened to for many years.  But He still comes…I know they are lies…but they still shake me a bit. 

So this is just where I am...putting myself out here and  it appears that I may be here longer than I planned…trusting God with each post…letting Him have this space to bring more freedom to my life...


until next time... :)
    
                                       ~1873~1895~
~washing machine working
~the blood of Jesus
~the cross
~health
~freedom
~grace
~peace to trust
~empty to fill
~nearness of God
~His Love
~a good walk
~taking pictures
~Surprise on the radio
~Ann Voskamp's voice over the airways
~taking a risk...dialing the number
~on the air with ANN...
~thanking Ann with my own voice
~sweet gifts of God
~early morning cross country meet with my husband...taking "professional" pictures for the school
~grace to host my husband's work dinner...while he was home sick. 
~restful weekend
~did I say...talking to Ann on the radio....sweet:)


Friday, September 16, 2011

Fixing our eyes...

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God….

I never thought of my self as a negative person…never have been really depressed…but then God came a pealed back the layers of negative thinking in my life.  These thoughts were so subtle…just small choices I made over and over again…I was shocked to see I did look at the glass half empty much more than I wanted to admit.  I was awakened to the hundreds of chances…choses I have throughout the day to choose…to choose thankfulness and trust…to push aside complaining…self-pity…frustration…and all the many other attitudes that rob me of joy. 

So how do I choose joy…I choose Jesus…I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus…keep looking to the one who is the giver of all joy…the one who can give joy even through the darkest hours…joy as we pick up the crosses in our life because He says, “My yoke is easy my burdens are light”.

So now I am learning I have a choice…and when I choose Him…. I choose JOY!



Monday, September 12, 2011

No Greater Love...

Along with thousands yesterday...I remember...I remember clearly getting that call from my husband telling us to turn on the TV.  We stopped school...and we watched in shock. I struggled...how much do I let the kids see...but we were glued...trying to take it all in...but that day was really too much to absorb at any age.

Yesterday we watched different acounts of that horrific day ten years ago...at the time of the attackes my youngest was only 5.    She had seen and heard over the years enough to know something terrible happened...but yesterday she was still...taking it all in...with gasps...groans and questions.  It all sunk a little deeper into her heart and mind...and in a way... mine too.  I  observed with her...with fresh eyes...I saw in the midst of such darkness and hatred...Love did shine...Love that was not self-seeking...time after time... we saw love in action...no greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for a friend.
           
                                                 1835~1850
~for love in action
~first responders
~man and woman who sacrifice for a greater good
~first grandbaby... growing healthy
~pink
~Elliott(ellie) Faith Ross will be her name
~Son and new daughter-in-love over for dinner
~sweet love between them
~a quiet house
~letting go...leaving more behind
~walking along side my husband in his new job
~transitions in life
~challenges...stretching
~peace in the silence
~patient husband...best listener...best friend

Friday, September 9, 2011


In real life… is where the rubber meets the road….flesh is put on bones….truth is

                 applied to theory. 

          In real life…God takes our mountain top experiences and brings us in the

               valley…   and there we are fashioned  through the fires…

pure gold…real fruit.

          Sometimes reality is hard…sometimes it overwhelms us to see the 

               reality of our own  hearts.
 
          Because it is in real life…real families…real hurts…real pressures we get 

a real  pulse on where we are….sometimes it can be disheartening. 

Oh …but sometimes we see the mighty work the Lord has done in our heart.  

         In real life…is where we see the real workings of God.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011



              Faith, hope and Love…the greatest of these is Love-

          Maybe it’s because of my beginning…the way I came to Christ.

When His voice of Love called to me….I followed…like the disciples  I left all

                                                  to follow Him.

By  following Him, I lost everything…family…education (with time…all were

restored)… radical is how I came….radical is how I walked….radical is how I

viewed faith… the radical faith that has an edge to it…the kind that follows at 

“all cost”…not the “count the cost” kind of faith…but the kind that pays an

               unnecessary premium...the kind of radical faith where Grace…

                                       and Love are barely visible.          

But after many classes and lessons in the school of “hard knocks”…my view of 

faith is going through a metamorphosis.   Transforming my hard edged faith…

                                 into a faith that reflects the Faithful One.
                   
                 He is teaching me a new way…His way…to walk by faith.
                                                      
 The kind of faith…even when radical…will be wrapped with Grace and Love.

                    So now I am holding on to faith…faith in Him…
  
                              faith in His transforming power.

                     … that by His Spirit, He can make a heart anew.   

               I am holding on to hope…hope that one day my family…

                                    those my life touches…

   will see a woman of faith… but now with a faith walked in His Love…

                       because the greatest of these is love.






Monday, September 5, 2011

Wedding Bliss...

What a glorious weekend....celebrating the union of two in Christ.  Words spoken from Grandfathers from each family...each speaking from their 60 yrs. of marriage.

All five siblings speaking sweet words...emotional words... The youngest always has the hardest time letting go...the sweet brother just pulling her over to sit on his lap as she attempts to speak through her tears of "losing" a brother....tears of joy for gaining a sister.

Welcoming Jenny into the fold:)
    
                                                      The baby bump!!!!
                                                        A treasured moment.


                                                               Pure bliss...

~joy of two becoming one
~getting all things done on time
~servant's hearts
~Shaun Groves "All's Grace"..playing on repeat... in the car as I darted places...
~wonderful weather...a little hot..no rain
~a sweet family joining ours
~Godly heritage on both sides
~seeing the mantle placed on my son...he wears it well
~friends gathering to join in the celebration
~peace and calm even through the audio trouble
~beautiful vows crafted carefully to reflect the depth of the covenant they made
~seeing my daughter's belly growing
~friends working tirelessly after the wedding
~dear friends gathering at our house after the wedding to eat..share...laugh
~being a family of 9
~on this Labor Day...giving thanks for the labor of love of many to make this weekend special!
~God's love reminding me of the scripture I read... Col.3:12-14...I charge myself with these words too
~words fail to express the thankfulness in my heart for God's mercy and kindness to us as a family.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wedding weekend...rest!!!


Rest is what I will need after this weekend of wedding festivities. 


 But in each moment with the one thousand things to do…I will look for rest….

choose to find a quite resting place in my soul…a place to quiet me…a place to fill

Me….a place to lay all the anxious thoughts…all the emotions …that place where only

I can find true rest…..in God’s everlasting, loving, safe arms.

Well ….that was less then 5 mins… but time to start my very full day… but always

seeking my place of rest. 

Ps.  Shaun Groves…All’s Grace is playing constantly… helping to carry me to a place of rest…love it!!!!