30 June 2012

Carrying prayer

Do not be discouraged at your faults;
bear with yourself in correcting them,
as you would with your neighbor.
Lay aside this ardor of mind,
which exhausts your body,
and leads you to commit errors.
Accustom yourself gradually
to carry prayer into all your daily occupations.
Speak, move, work, in peace,
as if you were in prayer,
as indeed you ought to be.

François Fénelon

After a most chaotic week I'm joining Sandy in the quiet


29 June 2012

Missing here....

Oh how I miss this white space here
the freedom to release whatever tumbles in my brain
or rests heavy in my heart

Tornado winds knocked out our power Tuesday night and restoration has not yet come
I plug in cell phone and laptop to recharge when I am able to go to town and find a place to plug in.
Today I find peace and hi-speed wireless in the coffee room of a friend's business and a bathroom with a flushing toilet!

Those of you familiar with country living will surely understand that no electricity also means no water as the pumps shut off.

One end of a downed power line started a fire in the back field Wednesday afternoon.  Good and watchful neighbors noticed the smoke and called Rick home from work.  Volunteer fire department contained things quickly.  Power to that line was shut off and we were placed on the emergency list for service work.

Yesterday afternoon, for reasons unknown, the power to that line was switched on again, and once more the field caught fire.  Same neighbor phoned, same fire workers returned, and this time two old graineries burned along with more hay, almost to a tree line.  Scary, scary stuff, but nothing of value hurt except my nerves.

I am reminded again and yet again that surely God is in control for we certainly are not.

Manitoba Hydro is busy working removing trees so they can replace power lines.  Perhaps as they said, service will be restored tonight, not quite trusting that yet.

Pictures will follow when I'm able.  Maybe after a nice hot shower......

26 June 2012

How can I not sing?

There have been rocky days and unsettled nights in our home, tension hovering in the air like the steam that rises over water just ready to boil.

We are facing updates or repairs to our water filtration system or an enormous investment in running rural water lines across the miles.

All at once I am faced with a variety of health issues, some minor, others more substantial.  Appointments are scheduled, prayers requested, and yet, fears linger.

Add to these, vehicle breakdowns and the need now to not repair, but likely purchase again, when we have only had mere months without car loan payments.

I am not foolish enough (though I would gladly be a fool for Christ) to watch these troubles piling precariously one on the other without some sense of uncertainty.  I would be a liar to claim I am free from trepidation.  It seems as though we have been stuck in a life size game of Jenga, waiting for the tower to topple.

In our daily verse email this morning God's message was unclouded:

Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life. Ecclesiastes 7:14 NLT

He Is always
His thoughts and plans just beyond my grasp
and even when I am afraid
when my eyes don't see the light
He Is worthy to be praised

and through my mind rumble the words of a hymn by Eva Cassidy:

My life goes on in endless song
above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it's music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Linking over at Peter's where the word today is jubilant

23 June 2012

Sunday flower

Blossoming flowers look great before they're cut or picked,
but without soil or water they wither more quickly than grass.
That's what happens to all who forget God—
all their hopes come to nothing.

Joining Deidra and the Sunday choir



This morning, the Lord reminded me of the words He spoke to me yesterday, before I knew of the storms that would be crossing our path later in the day:

Learn to live in the uncertainty. 
Trust Me and Me only.

So today, I set my concerns about vehicle breakdowns and other financial obstacles into His hands and lean into the stillness that only He can provide.
Joining Sandy and the others seeking stillness today...


21 June 2012

Constantly Craving by Marilyn Meberg

I admit that I struggle with always wanting more, more love, more food, more God. The book Constantly Craving How to Make Sense of Always Wanting More by Marilyn Meberg sounded like it had been written just for me. The back cover promises:
Counselor and author Marilyn Meberg knows all about cravings. She also knows the One who knit us together, desires and all. With wit and compassion, Marilyn helps us understand our appetites, offers advice for managing them here on earth, and encourages us to eagerly await the day when we will find total satisfaction in heaven.
As Meberg worked through Scripture to show us how what we need is more of the Lord I found myself losing interest. It seemed that she repeated the same theme over and over again. This would have done well as a conference topic or a short essay, but there was not enough meat to truly flesh out an entire book.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, a bit more humor perhaps, certainly more words about the feeling of stark need. I believe there were many paths Meberg could have followed yet I felt as if we were stalled at a corner she didn't choose to turn.  I was in fact craving more than what was offered.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own


The Way Bible - Tyndale House

As I frequently mention, I have a yearning for real, for true, for living honest and transparent in the world.  When I read Tyndale House's words about their revision of the 1970's Bible The Way:
Today’s 16–30 year olds are looking for connection to something bigger than themselves. They want something that works and is honest, authentic.
I thought, "yes, indeed", though I am surely in a different age group.  The hunger for authenticity transcends age.

Though perhaps not my favourite, I do enjoy the New Living Translation for a refreshing change of language. The translation, however, is not what sets this Bible apart from others.  It is the notes that introduce each book, the sharp black and white photos, the Living in the Way commentaries that lead to deeper thought about what living like Jesus really means.  What I most enjoy are additions from real people scattered liberally throughout the pages.  These include This Is My Story and What I Wish I'd Known,  true stories of struggle and learning.  There are also the words of hearts crrying out for answers in pages called Laments.

With only an old fashioned cell, not a smart phone, I could not take advantage of the more interactive benefits of this journey through God's Word, and as of yet have not scanned a single QR (quick response) Code,  I'll be interested to see howthat adds to the experience.

The back cover reads:
The answers that Christians have given me just seem to fall flat. Like maybe the people giving them don't even believe what they're saying. What I really want is someone to show me that all of this matters. That there is a better way to live.

Show me that the way of Jesus is better.
I believe and pray this revision of The Way will do just that.

Advanced Reader's Copy of the Bible has been provided courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Talking about the weather over here...

After the long winter I was enjoying the lengthening days and the feel of sun beating warm against newly exposed skin. In a moment of surrendering my own desire for a greater good, I began to pray for rain.

Soon the forecast changed; the probability of rain was high. You could smell it in the air, yet the ground grew drier. For days, the sky darkened and the sun remained shaded by steely gray clouds that seemed as hard as their metallic color. I had relinquished the sun in exchange for rain, yet the dry days and nights remained....

come on over and read the rest of the story at Internet Cafe Devotions...

20 June 2012

Losing time

Tomorrow will be summer
again, and it seems
I have just packed away Christmas.

Time is slipping through my fingers
faster than I can ask
where have the hours gone
the days, months, years?

Soon vegetables shall ripen
in the garden that seems just seeded
and I will be about the task
of preserving the harvest
in freezer bags, jars of spicy recipes
quickly, before snow flies

Yet even this worrying has no use.
Perhaps I was never meant to hold time
but let go, let Him
do as He wills
when He wills
He always has
He always shall...

Yes indeed, it won't be long now." God's Decree. Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won't be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills
Amos 9:13 The Message

Joining Jennifer rejoicing in what is never coincidence

and walking in community with Emily and the imperfect


19 June 2012

Lettuce for a disciple's spirit

I often have cravings for tossed salads, the mix of fresh in a bowl always jumps with flavour, each ingredient enhancing the taste of the others.
Sunday's message was the third in a series about:

#1 - Following
#2 - Jesus
#3 - Together

The big screen behind the pulpit displayed a head of green leaf lettuce, or perhaps it was buttercrunch, I couldn't be sure.  The reason became apparent as our pastor began to read from the Word of God in Hebrews 10:

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10-22-25 NIV

What an exceptional way to allow our brains and spirits to soak in these truths from the lettuce chapter, I mean the let us chapter.

After church we almost always gather with others for a meal at a local diner.  Most ordered breakfast, as usual.  I however ordered a garden salad!

Next time you see a bowl of mixed greens, I suspect you'll think of these words of encouragement too, words we need to feast on and live out daily.

Joining Michelle and others as we try to live out what we learn...


16 June 2012

Giving up

Give up the struggle and the fight;
relax in the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus;
look up into His lovely face and as you behold Him,
He will transform you into His likeness.
You do the beholding--He does the transforming.
There is no short-cut to holiness.
Alan Redpath

Joining Sandy in the stillness

15 June 2012

I simply follow

Winding hills and flat stretches
without a curve or bump to help mark the time
this path He sets before me
rarely can I see past the next step
this too is by His design
for would I go if I knew what waits for me?
would Paul have risen from that Damascus road
had he understood the trials that would come
walking in obedience to the one he came to know as Lord?

Each day is filled with the expectation of surprise
and yes, sometimes my heart grows weary, worried
when I forget to trust the path’s Creator.

My hand is always within your reach - He whispers
you do not ever need walk alone
and even when you do not feel it
I Am leading you

How then could I ever dream of choosing another road?

Joining Lisa-Jo writing in 5 minutes about path


14 June 2012

Seeking real

I like to think of myself as a disciple of Jesus
listening, watching, following
His call to abide the song that heats my blood
stirs every fibre, urging me on
to be ever more like Him
in thought, in word, in action
this is my desire.

This too, is where I fall ever short
so unlke Him, so much like me
this tangled maze of raw emotion

This is where it gets messy
when the inside leaks through cracks
to hide behind the mask of perfect Christ likeness
like so many others accomplish with ease
is a lie I cannot tell
my skin too thin to cover
so seeking real I spill out here
recognizing He already knows my ugly

Where I want to find love for those who have wounded me
I have found the storehouse empty
old cuts still sting, bleed fresh tears

yet in that salty confession
waits thousands of second chances....

Walking with Emily and the wounded, imperfect but wholly loved


12 June 2012

Justice for who?

Often we cry out for justice
wanting what is right for ourselves.
Pounding fists on tables
pointing fingers
how loud our demands.
"justice justice justice"
shouts out in the streets
"I want what is mine"

Where is mercy?
Where is kindness?
Where is the heart of our God that He longs to have beating in us?

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ Zechariah 7:8-10 NIV

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 Amplified

Joining Peter today where we're talking about justice


11 June 2012

His words come back to me

This afternoon I received a call from the ear, nose and throat doctor that sent me for the MRI of my brain that I wrote about here. The imaging showed what he was looking for and what I had already suspected from my searches online.  I have an acoustic neuroma.  He said the usual treatment is to simply monitor these things, but he feels this is large enough that he is referring me to yet another doctor who has more knowledge and can better decide on treatment options - surgery seems the most likely.

This specialist is in Saskatoon, a good six hours drive away, so Rick and I will have to make it at least an overnight trip.  I don't know how long it will be before I know when my appointment is scheduled.

I feel a bit foggy, knowing I will need to be courageous and patient in waiting and also knowing that patience is a gift I have difficulty holding on to.

I'm reminded that the words the Lord gave to me for 2012 were courage - focus - trust.  With the year almost half over I re-read His message, humbled and awestruck and again in His hands.


09 June 2012

In the hidden parts

Geranium buds begin to open
looking much like roses in their unfolding...

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom

Inhaling the silent stillness with Sandy

and celebrating Sunday in community with Deidra


08 June 2012

Life here is... and the scent of water

Life on an acreage in the Canadian prairies is like living a dream I never knew I had
more than I could have imagined
here is space, and clean air and freedom to be
here is a sky littered with stars
here is where my dog runs and runs and runs without ever leaving her own land
here are barn cats and hummingbirds and fresh veggies from the garden

and here is well water, an almost endless supply to pump from the ground into our home
and with it the unpleasant aroma that can seem to take up every inch of indoors
when the filtration system malfunctions or simply can't handle the balance of matter in the water

I light scented candles to mask the smell
I shower quickly
dishes are washed and rinsed with alarming speed
and, yes, I complain...

This morning, I think of those who have no water at all
or they have water but if they drink it they will die anyway
we use sweet, clear bottled water for drinking and cooking
my health is not threatened
and I know things will sort themselves out

so pardon me for my grumbling
and if you feel led to pray
pray for those who live and die without all we take for granted


07 June 2012

Waiting for the storm

It feels like the sky should burst
yet the sun returns again and again
this afternoon
waiting for a storm to arrive
static in the still heat
cracking as tension piles on tension
chaos just around the corner

I would perhaps
prefer the rain
the threats of large, damaging hail
to this holding on the edge

It feels like life should break wide open
yet normal returns again and again

I need not look for faces in the clouds
knowing He Is there. seen or unseen
all of this
in His mighty hands


06 June 2012

Blooming in the shade

The days have grown long now
the vegetable garden begins to explode
with the promise of fruits to come.
Yes, these are the practical plants
seeds that are transformed into body nourishment
for ourselves and others.

Like any other farmer, Rick, the gardener,
does his daily, or twice daily, or thrice daily walkabout
checking progress, whispering prayers
exhaling words of thanksgiving.

These last few days
there has been time for the frills
the colour and chaos of flowers.
We planted in baskets, containers and beds
and I do my daily, or twice daily, or thrice daily walkabout
taken with beauty, whispering prayers
exhaling words of praise.
I hear His voice in these gardens
see the creative work of His hands.
Each flower unique in its thriving
those needing heat do not scorch in the sun
while others demand shade's cooling touch.

He Is, always
both my light and my shelter
I bloom beneath the shadow of His love.

The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.

Joining Jennifer in celebrating His God-incidences

also walking in community with Emily and the redeemed