Sep 27 2010

Feathered Gratitude

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268. Grateful for the little hummers visiting me today.

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269. For the little feet.

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270. For the amazing wings.

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271. For glints of iridescent red.

272. For the Creator God who designed these little hovercraft and that they always show up when I need to remember Love.  They are God’s laughing “Yes!” to me.

(for more hummingbird delight, go to my photostream here)

And….

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273. Now back from an emergency trip to be with my parents in Texas, I am so grateful that my dad is doing better after being in the hospital!

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Aug 2 2010

Thank-Full

Mondays are for gratitude…counting to 1000 and beyond…

Ben and family

221. The twinfants were born to my dear friends Kimberlee and Doug: Ben and Luke.  After a scary week, my godson Ben is doing much better, breathing on his own now. So thankful! Photos coming soon.

222. For the team of dedicated people at Group Health and Childrens’ Hospital.

223. For the prayers of the church community for these little ones.

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224. A wonderful ordination service and send-off for my friends John and Tara.

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225. Continued gratitude for help getting settled: Cindy’s generous roadside find and her taking me on a trip to Fred Meyer to create a balcony haven.

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226. A little beauty to inspire restful sleep…

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227. My serene little guardian, Theophilus.

228.  Vivaldi

229.  Foggy mornings, sunny afternoons.

230. Good conversations with my parents.

231.  Red and yellow finches, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers feasting at the feeder.

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232. Redemption of the past and prayer’s wonderful retroactive aspect.

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Jul 19 2010

Three Weeks of Thanks

Mondays are for gratitude…counting to 1000 and beyond…

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“We never know where God hides His pools.  We see a rock, and we cannot guess it is the home of the spring.  We see a flinty place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain.  God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs.”  Streams in the Desert, July 5th

The past three weeks have been full of wonders and many things to be thankful for as I moved into my new apartment (aka The Contemplative Cottage) and spent time with friends.  Looking back on my worries about leaving Boston and then the fears about choosing this apartment, I can’t believe I doubted! The above quote from one of my favorite devotionals captures my feeling now as I sit at my desk.  God knew exactly what place I needed to embark on the next and final stage of my PhD.

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206. Wonderful furniture from friends, rides for moving stuff, and shelves for my books.

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207. Fourth of July beauty shared with friends.

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208. Little Sarah.

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209. An afternoon on a mountain river without a clock or email or cell phone (not having reception was a great Sabbath stop!).   Forever inspired by nature artist Andy Goldsworthy (a lovely excerpt from Rivers and Tides here), I tried my hand at building a cairn…

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…and discovered water bugs that look deceptively like little twigs–until they start walking around.  Yes, what you think are pieces of bark are really three life forms!

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210. Camping fun with friends.

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211. Exploring mossy woods with my young adventuring friend.

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212. A sunlit glen hidden off the trail.

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213. After giving myself a break the past few months, I finally had the feeling on Saturday, “It’s time to begin again,” so I stacked the main books for a dissertation chapter on my desk.  I had worried that the academic push of the last 5 years had permanently ended my love of reading and writing and even theological study, but each day I’ve been finding evidence that there are still embers of this vocation glowing, which God is gently fanning back into flame.

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214. A lovely afternoon at Kimberlee’s twinfant shower.

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215. Black-capped chickadee enjoying a feast.

216. Bible study books are not usually satisfying for me, but Cynthia Heald’s Becoming a Woman of Excellence has really opened my eyes to some life-giving insights. I’d love to go through it with a small group.

217. It seems that the twinfants have decided to stay put until they are full term.

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218. For the Word’s challenge and the Holy Spirit’s conviction this week,  and the hope that God provides the heart’s treasure.

220. Matt Maher’s song “Hold Us Together.”  On July 4th, Pastor Dan told the congregation that he was leaving Bethany in November and taking a position in California.  He has been our senior pastor for 11 years.  It was the last thing I expected, but I’m trusting that we can walk this path because Bethany is a community of people who love Jesus and love each other.  God has a plan, hope, and future for Dan and Anne, he also has one for the Bethany community.

You can listen to the full song one time here: http://bit.ly/ck52Tc

Hold Us Together

It don’t have a job,
It don’t pay your bills,
Won’t buy you a home
In Beverly Hills

Won’t fix your life
In five easy steps
Ain’t the law of the land
Or the government
But it’s all you need..

Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
And I’ll be my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone

It’s waiting for you
Knockin’ at your door!
Every moment of truth
When your heart hits the floor
When you’re on your knees then…

Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
And I’ll be my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone

This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright, gonna be alright


Peace and Joy to you this week!

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Feb 11 2010

This Moment

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Outside my window…brilliant blue sky, bare tree branches, and a large squirrel condo, toasty warm with lint from a dryer vent  stuffed between the twigs.  The three youngins haven’t been out to play yet.

Thinking…as I sit surrounded by yummy books, that the challenge to pay attention and concentrate has little to do with external circumstances.  It is a constant exercise to still my brain in patience and dive deeply, one at a time.

Thankful for…joy in conversations today, a little more peace with memories, and a growing sense of hope.

Praying for…the children of Haiti who have lost their parents.  Lord, bring them into families and communities who will love and care for them.

Creating…my prospectus, still, plus emails and conversations and a couple of day dreams.

Hoping…for 5 more pages written by the end of today.

Going…to plan some events for my birthday year (40 needs more than a day to celebrate).

Reading…lots of books on prayer–Karl Barth, Marjorie Suchocki, Eugene Peterson.

Hearing…the clinking and clanking of the radiators and the whoosh of high winds.

Around the office…it is quiet enough to almost hear the whispering books.

Favorite thing…reading and pondering a beautiful line by Ann Voscamp:

“And they can build monuments and they can make millions and they can write memoirs but this is what lasts, this is what goes on forever and ever and will endure times and winds and all the ages. Heaven and love and Jesus. And there is such a thing as too much money and too much sun and too much of a good thing, but this world has only one thing that there can never be enough of: there is no such thing as too much love. And they may not etch it on memorial stone, but granite erodes and quiet people know it so we get up every day and we make the porridge and wash the underwear and pay the bills and tend to the hurting and we etch the love on the hearts, that which beats on without end and we pulse throughout the universe. There’s a way to do work that lasts forever. Just do everything with love.”

Post inspired by http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com


Feb 2 2010

Blessing Light: Candlemas

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My two favorite feast days of the liturgical year are not big name celebrations.

Certainly, I get goosebumps hearing the first strains of “O come, O come Immanuel” or “Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” each Advent.  Knowing that the palm branches so green the year before become cross-shaped soot smudged on my brow never ceases to quiet me, dust to dust.  And in turn, I wave those palms and wash feet and listen in morning darkness to the story of salvation across the centuries, and wear red for tongues of flame and gifts poured out.

All great and important days.

Yet two less known, not widely celebrated feasts fill me with simple, smiling delight.  The first is sometime around October 4th, St Francis Day.  All the animals get to come to church for a blessing.  Hamsters, cats, dogs, rabbits, birds. Or in rural areas… sheep, horses, chickens, goats, the whole peaceable kingdom come to worship.

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the might mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.” Psalm 36:5-6

My other favorite day is…today.  Known by a number of names, Candlemas, or the Presentation, remembers Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the Temple to be offered in service to the Lord as a first-born son.  In Luke’s Gospel, the family is met by Simeon and Anna, who have both longed to see the Messiah:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss  your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32

In more liturgical churches, Candlemas is when all the candles set-aside for the coming year’s worship are blessed.  At St James Cathedral, Seattle, this is taken seriously: hundreds of creamy beeswax candles are stacked around the baptismal font, enfolding worshippers in their delicious honey fragrance. My mouth waters with the memory.

Although I’m no longer part of a community that celebrates Candlemas, today I light my morning candles with a prayer, honoring the Light which was foretold, birthed in the stable, held to Mary’s breast, blessed by Simeon and Anna, and presented to God in the Temple. Hope. Life. Love.

“The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word.  The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” John 1:1-5

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