Showing posts from February, 2012

The Surrender of a Little Gumnut

While on retreat, I explored my issues of wanting to be in control and not surrendering to God. In the process of reflection and meditation, God gifted me with this: Julian of Norwich has her hazelnut in the palm of her hand which symbolizes God's love, David from "The Big Silence" BBC documentary has his pine cone that symbolized his opening up and letting go; and, now I have my gumnut. I found it in the retreat's labyrinth before I started walking it. I am still learning gratitude but the meditation was exploring surrender. Give up control? Stop wrestling with something I have no control over? Are you nuts? (geddit?) I held the gumnut to my nose. It had fresh fallen out of the eucalyptus above, it's cap still green, still firmly sealed over its flower. The gumnut smells of home. I carry it throughout the labyrinth mediating on "Let go. Trust God. Let God." I rub it with my thumbs as I walk and I realize -- I cannot make this gumnut

A little blue hat ...

It's been a while since I've done a completely crafty/vintagey post. I stopped by a vintage/antique store recently and near the front was this pretty blue hat. I walked away. I came back. I walked away again. Kept looking at the price tag. And finally, after waiting a good 5 minutes for the gal to return from the back, bought it. The label inside reads Eva Mae Modes... I thought I might cannibalize it for the pretty blue velvet flowers ... but now ... I'm not so sure ... But what would I do with it, if I don't take off the flowers?

Joy Dare Monday...

Weirdly, it's made a difference this week to pray: "Thy will be done, not mine..." I've been a lot less anxious or triggered. Not completely, but getting there.  This and giving thanks is a process. My post-EfM group is reading Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" so I found some questions from Zondervan online and am going through them to prepare. It's made me think more about Ann's writing ... but my hubby's reading it, so I'll have to wait :) This past week's gifts... 160. chance to work on art 161. another wee patch of weeds cleared 162. my three "boys' snoozing on the couch with me 163. feeling overwhelmed at work 164. warm sun, traffic noise 165. bratwurst, swabian-style 166. shade 167. ashes 168. bread and butter 169. nutella shake ... smooth 170. beautiful shadings on blogs 171. sharp sliver smile moon 172. loads of wisteria blooms 173. golden rays between 2 grey cloud banks 174. misunde

Joy Dare Monday: Giving Thanks...

"The gifts of God for the people of God" is said right before we receive communion in my church. It's an Episcopal Church tradition that I'm sure is not unique to my church. Communion, or Eucharist. It's not a big leap to eucharisteo , especially when the liturgy leading to the actual distribution of communion is called "the Great Thanksgiving." Jesus's Last Supper is one of the key images that Ann Voskamp uses in her book to illustrate eucharisteo . The whole service is a thanksgiving: preparing ourselves to be present with God ("cleanse the thoughts of our hearts..."), remembering how God has always been a part of our story (the readings from the Old and New Testaments) and giving thanks, giving thanks. Giving thanks for a God who became incarnate, a God who took our sufferings, our wrong-doings onto Himself, out of all time and in all times, and died to give us salvation. How could we not give thanks? Thinking back, I'm a

What are You Reading for Lent?

I finally made my choice. "Simplifying the Soul" by Paula Huston. The book should arrive tomorrow. What are you reading for  Lent?

When Loving is Hard...

Ann Voskamp has been sharing her heart-worries for her son who is in another country on a mission trip. It gives me an idea of what my mother went through when I left the country. For good. (well, I go home for visits) I left to marry an American and to live in the U.S. I didn't think it would be hard. I didn't think that one phone call a week wouldn't be more than enough to keep up. It was hard. One phone call a week isn't enough, although it's about all I can manage. For some reason, I didn't think I'd miss my baby brother grow into adulthood. Or that I couldn't really be the big sister to a brother going through heartbreak. I didn't think about the possibility of nephews. About how they change and grow every day and how I'd want to spend every waking minute with them when I'm visiting home because I see them once a year if I'm lucky. Or that I would have snatched moments with aging grandparents who would die when I

Joy Dare Monday: Being on Retreat

My list this week is a wee bit epic. On retreat, I had more leisure to observe God's gifts. One of the things I am learning is about being not just aware of God's presence but open to it. Perhaps that's the same thing. While on retreat, I ended up spending time examining some of my negative emotions with the goal to let them go, a practice I had just learned via a Monk in the World podcast . I didn't realize it until that evening, but God had other plans. I am walking, processing negative emotions and I see seed pods fluttering in the breeze. I am utterly distracted. I resume walking and thinking, but noting what's in flower and then in the midst of journaling some particular insight, someone says "look at the turtles!"  Funny how it blurred, it looks like an impressionist painting... better pic later... I finish writing (ha!) and look at the turtles and share that with a few others in the park. Admire someone's purple glasses. Get back to

God's Love Stories: Who Else Is Telling A Similar Story...

I am not the only one talking about discovering God's deep love for us, no matter what blockades of shame, guilt, unworthiness we put between God and us. What Does He Say to Our Shame? The Benefits of a Reverse Perspective @ Still Forming. Remembering God loves, not condemns... Transparent Evangelism @ Build Faith. Using Apple evangelism to mentor and guide those new to faith One thing not on your to do list (but should be) @ Chatting At the Sky. Do you let yourself experience the gift of "be loved"? (Which is part of my church's tagline!) Just added her to my Google Reader blogroll... Shining Up Our Scars @ Stuff Christians Life. Jon's "Serious Wednesdays" get me every time. Go Easy on Yourself: Nobody is Perfect @ All Our Voices. We are not alone... What links or stories  have you found that speak of God's love for us? Please share in the comments below!

... Come to the Fountain...

It seems to me that when I wrote my blog post about the song "All who are thirsty", I didn't actually finish it. Why I didn't realize this before the post went live is a bit of a mystery, because as soon as I read it, once published, I knew it was unfinished. If you missed the last post, here it is. I'll be here when you finish reading it and come back. And in case you didn't click on that link and read it, I reflected on the lyrics of a Christian praise song that I suddenly realized was meant for me as much as it was for the congregation I've sung it to. I am thirsty, weak, in pain and in sorrow. Yes, but that's not all there is to me, or indeed to any of us. fountain @ St. Mary's Retreat House, Santa Barbara For there is, if we but open our hands to accept it, God's love and mercy, the water of life, through God's gift of Jesus to us. Come to the fountain Dip your heart in the stream of life....  Come, Lord Jesus, come ...

Joy Dare Monday: I reached 100!

Continuing the list... 82. finding my iPhone (it took 5 calls to it to track it down) 83. seagull soaring, curve of wing 84. Sunday's anthem running through my head: "God Will Supply" 85. finding Tim Tams @ Target 86. a half moon so high and far away 87. a dog that needs a haircut (and looks so goofy) 88. finally caught up in the Bible in a Year challenge and finished Exodus 89. world exhaling vapor into crisp, fresh morning air 90. boss in a ridiculous lightweight mood 91. writing my first letter to the child I'm sponsoring 92. a sung prayer, coming back again and again throughout the day. "To You." (you can hear a preview of the song here at CDBaby ) 93. husband safely home 94. singing with my voice 95. first lesson in being taught how to use the camera off the auto setting 96. the evening star so bright 97. conversations on Christianne's blog (aka she mentioned me in a blog post) 98. words I needed to hear 99. enjoying

Lenten Study Choices

What to study this Lent? I have a plethora of choices, only one of which is actually already in my possession. Here's my Top 5 list: cover from Paula's website "Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness" by Nan C. Merrill "Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew the Spirit" by Paula Huston "Windows into the Light: A Lenten Journey of Stories and Art" by Michael Sullivan "Windows into the Soul: Art as Spiritual Expression" by Michael Sullivan (the first book) "What Women Tell Me: Finding Freedom from the Secrets We Keep" by Anita Lustrea And if you're keeping track, that's two Catholic authors (am guessing Nan was), two books by an Episcopal priest and one non-denom author. I am taking Nan's Psalms book with me on retreat, so I'm thinking Paula Huston might be the book of choice, mainly because her other works look really interesting too, and this might be a nice introduction to her s

The Language of Love

As an Australian living in the U.S., my use of certain words and phrase occasionally proves tricky when it comes to others understanding me. The way I pronounce words, the slang I grew up using can often throw an American for a loop. (Hopefully I’m not losing anybody now...) Some would say the language of love is the billing and cooing of lovers, but it is more, much more than that. It’s how you build relationships, by meeting someone on their own ground, in their own language.   The language of love uses lay terms instead of jargon, so that others can understand without having to learn the insider’s tongue. The language of love is found in the give and take of a conversation. The language of love is found in the intentional silence of listening. It’s the language God uses and it’s the language used by those who believe they are to reach those who have not heard God. My goal with this blog is to reach those who believe God does not love or care for them, some of whom are Christians,