Joy has Come

Christmas is one of those times in the year that is always crazy busy… demanding much from ones senses…
Laughter, fun, celebrations and family time…
…as well as
An ever increasing, enervating, downward spiral of too much food and drink, too much noise and traffic, too many trips to the shops and line-ups everywhere…
In addition, expectations reap disappointment as we long to be affirmed as significant by people and the trimmings of this life….
Comparing ourselves to those around us our insecurities condemn us….
And so, often, the romance of Christmas is fleeting at best…
….and yet….
This is the season we celebrate the Gift that ended all this need to focus on the temporal…
The seasons’ activities, tables, gifts and friends do not define us…
Peace and Hope are in the midst of the confusion ….
Meaning and True Celebration are present – no matter what our circumstances…
God is with us.
Joy has come!

Wonder to Worship

In recent months everywhere I go I find myself wanting to take my camera out of its neoprene skin and use it to try and capture some of the wonder I am experiencing at having my eyes opened to the simple things around me. I am constantly looking for the insignificant things to photograph, and as I do I uncover the joy in the regular and in the unusual and find that suddenly all my senses are informed as to the Glory around me. Stopping shows me that there is so much more than just the original subject matter and in that place I discover worship in its truest sense as all my senses are awakened….
I have discovered for myself what Addie Zierman in “The Daily Work of Wonder” (http://deeperstory.com/author/addie/) says is true: “There is nothing passive about true wonder. It is not dependent on bigness or limited by smallness; it is not the response to entertainment or to spectacle. Wonder is a choice. It comes only when I choose to stayIt’s that thing that happens when doubt and astonishment and mystery converge. It happens when I stand in one place long enough. When I stare out at the broken cattails or the winter-bare branches or a dew drop until it stops being about me. Starts being about the branch. And then about more than the branch. And then about God.And it doesn’t always feel like epiphany or the climax of a hit movie. Sometimes it comes and goes so quickly that you almost can’t believe that it was there…. But in that moment, something in your heart reaches towards God. And for a small span of space, you believe Him to be all He says He is, and you know it is enough…and this is the true heart of worship”.
Attached are some pictures some of the things I have been marveling at…… although I cannot share the smell of the roasting chestnuts, the sounds of the squirrels in the leaves, the touch of my friend’s skin as we hugged or the wet in my shoe after the puddle…..but I can share that in everything I saw God…
 20130303-091730.jpg 21. 2012 December 2nd - Wonder to Worship 3  20130303-091817.jpg
 

Fighting Floating

I currently find myself in a season of “soul breathing“: I am doing more looking and more thanking. I am taking the time to notice patterns in the sand, the way the sky looks in the middle of the day (not just at sunset), appreciating lines of character (previously called wrinkles), the different way people see the world and other daily gifts that previously went un-noticed. I am looking and marveling how I got to be so very privileged, so many daily gifts to enjoy – I am full of wonder and give thanks.
  

After reading my last blog post, the man I love commented about how overly fortunate my life looks right now. It wasn’t a criticism, just an observation. Yet, it spoke directly to my fears. I have done nothing to warrant my being worthy of the life I live, I have tried to live it generously and with my hands wide open, but it’s a life of privilege…. “part of the 0.01% of the world“. A phrase the same man reminds his family of constantly.

My fear has me wondering what have I to say that would be worth reading. It immobilised me from writing but not from wondering and appreciating even more the many gifts contained in life. So, I am still ‘breathing’ and trusting that when my world looks less pretty and my life less blessed again, I will still be able to appreciate the shape He makes, the beauty of the shadows He allows that are then cast across the picture.
Today I read a story by Alece on “Deeper Story” posted on October 25th  (http://deeperstory.com/home/story/) and it touched me deeply:
“I’M THAT GIRL WHO IS DROWNING”
Due to severe trauma Alece suffers from ‘Fuzzy Brain Syndrome’ … My worst nightmare. I am not drowning, not right now, instead I am struggling to float, wondering what to do with the calm, feeling in every way that I don’t deserve this season of quiet waters (and I don’t). Yet, I know in my heart that fighting or fearing prevents me from being able to completely enjoy Life and all the gifts contained in this season. Hiding or pretending would be un-grace and my attitude an ungrateful one to the One who Loves.So for different reasons to Alece, this season is a matter of surrender for me.

This is what my life IS right now – an undeserved gift for to enjoy!

Holding onto Beauty

 
While browsing the web recently I came across a challenge by a lady called Lisa-Jo Baker on her Blog “Tales from a Gypsy Mama“. In it she encouraged other bloggers to join her every Friday for what she calls a “FiveMinuteFriday”. In her words she says this is a “pause to do a kind of mad, flash mob celebration of the written word“. Each Friday “a beautiful crowd spends five minutes writing on the same topic and then shares them“. She encourages people to just write, without worrying if it’s right or not.
 
At the end of September the word was “Grasp“. I was in Canada at the time and not able (and perhaps a bit too intimidated) to sit and join the crowd in the writing experience. Nonetheless, it was a perfect word for what I was experiencing and below is what I mulled over in my mind:
Grasp
The beauty before me in Canada this Fall is engulfing. I find myself wanting grasp and hold onto it in my heart and mind.
My overwhelming emotion as I have had the privilege of a short trip to Alberta has been one of thanksgiving and yet also loss. More than once as I have taken a photo I have said that the problem is that I want to take more than just the image home with me, that the picture will not do the scene before me justice. A still representation will not allow me to fully evoke the scope of the glory in the scene before me. The sight of the magnificent, clear, cobalt blue sky….or the yellow leaves translucent with the soft, fall light… or the wonder of creation in the combined effect of river, mountain and sky….is not all that my heart experiences as I reflect on this beauty.
My heart tries to take it all in, my mind tries to contain the fullness of the image but it is too big, too beyond this world…. I am unable to explain my emotions, I am left speechless only able to bow my knee and praise Him.
For more information about joining the mob on Five Minute Fridays go to:

Boot Camp

 
“Boot Camp”
A few mornings a week I am fortunate to join some beautiful woman out in the sun to exercise, laugh and enjoy health together. These glorious ladies of various ages are an inspiration to me.
Sometimes when I look down a line of us all running, skipping or doing sit-ups I have to smile. In many ways my day is made. How fortunate for me that some of the “Yummy Mummies” were so welcoming, patient, encouraging and allowed me to join their established workout!
Before starting my day I am privileged to enjoy the gift of friendship across about a 35 year age gap and so, during the challenge of exercise, I often see the glory of life…
Older and younger extending empathy to one another: both ‘groups’ succeeding because of their strengths and the support of community. The older ladies, of which I am one, refuse to succumb to the inevitable plague of age which they are already experiencing in their bodies – steadfast and resolute – tenaciously embracing every, breathless moment. The younger girls and “Yummy Mummies” still able to achieve (or at least hope for) picture-perfect bodies are full of unbridled zeal – their passion infectious. Together we all make a formidable group of enthusiasm!

As another “homeless” friend in the group shared with me: “I have to tell you its the highlight of my week to bond with such amazing women, to me they are my bosom buddies and like my family as I don’t have that here. I even said to one of the other women – I dont think they realize how much they mean to me”.
In this season of our lives, we are the fortunate few…
…with health and time to enjoy an hour exercising together each morning
For this I am three times a week THANKFUL!!