"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Cup Overflowing, 361-380

One of my favorite sayings, taken from a daily devotional I use entitled Sacred Space, reads: "What is present to me is what has a hold on my becoming."  I'll let you muse about that.  In the meantime, I'll continue to count...

#361  an impromptu visit with my pastor Don Caulley

#362  spending an evening laughing and sharing Christmas with 34 Christ-sisters

#363  a haircut made holy when given the opportunity to speak life to the precious young mother in the chair next to me

#364  for the way God continues to bring Godly, wise and mature men into my sons' lives to mentor and encourage them

#365  the wonderful staff at Perry Presbyterian Church and the men that head us up and hem us in

#366  afternoon tea with friends -- Thank you so much, Carol!!!

#367  finding fresh flowers sitting on my kitchen counter ... and the husband heart behind them

#368  for a trombone player who encouraged me -- and kept me from crying on the spot

#369  the neighbor's leaves falling like rain -- beautiful

#370  a night of music shared with friends

#371  a much needed Friday morning sleep-in

#372  being encouraged by the Word to persevere in prayer

#373  smiles ... "Smile for G-Nan!"

#374  Agnus Dei and God's marvelous mercy

#375  experiencing a childhood friend's grandbaby's baptism

#376  playing with "the band"

#377  busy mornings .. and being allowed to live them

#378  Mrs. Ann's yearly gift of oranges and grapefruits showing up at my front door

#379  the joy of 101.3 Faith FM

#380  while in the midst of baking, taking the time to dance  -- to Jingle Bell Rock

Ordinary moments, each one having hold on my becoming....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Cup Overflowing, 341-360

Enter with the password: "Thank you!"  
Psalm 100:4 -- The Message

#341  the sound of rain after a season of drought

#342  the way steam escapes from the spout of a hot pot of chocolate chai tea

#343  a good night's sleep after a day of labor and exercise

#344  15 minutes on the phone with a friend ... and just being who we are to each other

#345  the way God calls me out on a bad attitude

#346  that "thankful" overrides "grumpy" every time

#347  that God shows no partiality -- but that "anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him" (Acts 10:35)

#348  full moons and foggy mornings

#349  the 100th Psalm

#350  being able to stand in faith for a friend who feels she has no hope for a future

#351  the excitement I experience when I'm to see my little fellow

#352  that God, in whose hands are the depths of the earth and the heights of the mountains, has time for me

#353  wide-eyed, open-mouth expressions

#354  turning the last page of Sacred Space 2012 and knowing that I had met God within its pages

#355  Rembrandt's "Woman with a Pink" -- and the profound silence

#356  lighting the first candle of Advent

#357  pathology reports that read "benign"

#358  the way the sun finds its way through the tree branches and brings light and warmth to my sacred space

#359  snuffed candle smoke -- instead of waving it way, allowing it to wrap itself around me

#360  being invited to lunch by my eldest son -- and his paying!

Just ordinary moments, made holy ...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Cup Overflowing, 321-340

A few weeks ago my son's pastor asked his congregation this question: "If all you had today was what you had thanked God for yesterday, what would you have?"  Boy, did that ever get ME to thinking.  What about you?

#321  carpets of gold

#322  running hot water ... When both elements burned out in my water heater, I realized just how spoiled I am.

#323  Women who pop in and out of my life and that when I hear from them, my whole world lights up.  Thanks, again, Telina!

#324  the ways God rekindles my weary flame

#325  little Indians and their sippy cups

#326  3 pair of cute flats marked down 70% -- in my size!

#327  the gift of pain which alerts to injury --  After 33 years of making caramel icings, I finally spilled boiling sugar and milk on my hand.  The enormous pain caused a quick reaction ...

#328  miraculous protection and healing

#329  for all the fruits of the earth in their season

#330  for the labors of those who harvest them

#331  celebrating Thanksgiving with family
How I love these guys!
#332  family time around a card table

#333  sipping coffee and early morning discussions

#334  freedom

#335  leisure to rest and play

#336  late night talks

#337  a marriage that defied the odds

#338  for nourishment of the soul

#339  the beauty of the earth

#340  children's Christmas pageantry and the cutest sheep I ever did see

Ordinary moments turned holy ... by counting.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Presenting Face

I was confronted with a thought provoking statement this morning in my quiet space (a.k.a. devotional time).  It simply read, "Reflect on the face that you present to other people."  I have to admit, I wasn't sure I wanted to do that ... especially at this season of the year when time seems to be our greatest commodity and traffic as well as lines at the post office and retailers our greatest irritation.

But what face do I present?  Do I offer people a CHEERFUL and GRACIOUS presence?  Is my smile mostly GENUINE or is it phony?  If like begets like, does mine cause another to be born in someone else's face?

Writing of her experience in Uganda where she had not yet learned the small village language,  Katie Davis relates in her book Kisses From Katie: "Although we were not able to speak to one another, we found many other ways of communication; the children seemed to know I loved them, and I knew they loved me, too. ... Days were spent learning to communicate, laughing hysterically with my students and trying to laugh at the frustrations that came with this new job."  In other words, the "face" Katie presented to those children was one of love and joy.  And they got it.

To some it is easy for me to offer graciousness in my face.  Those whom I love and enjoy, for example.  But to others -- those who are less desirable, those who irritate and rub me the wrong way, whose character offends me, whose own lives are so wracked with dysfunction that they don't even have it in them to be kind to their own self -- it is sometimes less so.  I don't have to speak an unkind word.  One look at my face, and they know.  

Could it be that a friendly smile is enough to make a difficult nature open up?  That a kind look really could heal a broken heart or just help someone make it through the next few hours?  I really think it could.  But what I'm coming to understand is that's not the real object.  The ultimate purpose in being kind -- in reflecting a gracious face and ultimately a gracious spirit ... especially to those who are less than deserving of such ... is to rejoice the heart of our Lord.

I'm convicted.  What about you?  To whom could you offer the gift of a pleasant face this week ... someone who needs such quiet affirmation -- and in the meantime, bring joy to the Lord as well? 

"For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  
Do not even the tax collectors do as much?  
And if you save your greetings for your brothers, 
are you doing anything exceptional?  
Do not even the gentiles do as much?  
You must therefore set no bounds to your love. ... 
In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, 
you did it to me." 
Matthew 5:46-48; 25:40

Just an ordinary moment...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Stress ... And a Little Peace

While finishing up the Christmas shopping this weekend for the kids, my husband and I stopped at a sandwich shop for lunch.  I placed my order: chili (with provolone cheese) and a drink.  And then I remembered.  "No, make that a water, please."  You see, I had been there before and suddenly I remembered the dreaded drink machine. 

Have you encountered it yet?  It boasts 120+ drinks out of one stinking machine!  Here are the choices that greet you when you walk up.

The customer presses one button and then another screen pops up giving him/her even more choices within the selection already made.  Christmas shopping and traffic can be stressful enough.  No need to add to that situation, and so I just ordered water.  The only problem is that the 120+ includes water (see bottom right corner) ... AND the ice, should you like your drink on the rocks.

So this is what happened.

I got stuck behind a guy who was going through his decision making process.  He AND the girl ahead of him were novices, no doubt.  Or just very careful not to make any rash decisions.  And, no, I did NOT strike up any conversation nor did I ask if I could take his picture.  But, Lord, have mercy, I could have made a short movie complete with soundtrack for the time it took.  And all I wanted was water!

Maybe I'm being a little melodramatic here.  But consider the fact that I did have time to think about it, formulate a blog, get out my phone, and take several pictures.  Of course, when I looked over at my husband who was still seated at the table, he had his head cocked with that look on his face that said: "WHAT are you doing?"  I was waiting to get my water, for crying out loud!

Why is it we tend to think more is better?  I don't know about you, but I'm starting to see a strong correlation between "more" and "anxiety."  We add more and more things thinking they will make life easier ... give us more time.  Make life better.  And before we know it, not only has "busy" become our status symbol, but we have become captives of our own choices ... all the time grasping for more and more time.

As I've reflected on this over the last couple of days, one thought and image has returned again and again.  And it's really quite simple.   But the angel said to them,... "You will find a BABY..." (Luke 2:10,12).  In a day of such complexity and confusion ... and "more", that truly is some good news. 

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth 
Luke 2:14.

Just an ordinary moment...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Cup Overflowing, 301-320

Thanksgiving, of late, has been my lifesaver.  It has helped insure that I live in the moment ... and not in that distance called "out there."  I counted ...

#301  laughing so hard at my niece's Instagram posts that I have to brace myself against the wall

#302  the smell of banana shrub as I help my daddy pull it off the truck bed and take it to the curb

#303  cleansing tears

#304  the Lord's prayer and learning to pray it again

#305  a young man that God continues to bring across mine and Sandy's path -- and another opportunity to just love him

#306  a girl's trip with 2 of my favorite girls (and daring to be different)

Only these two could have talked me into such.

#307  crossing the finish line ... on my feet!

#308  gut wrenching laughter -- even if it is at my expense
I said, "Flaming TURTLE," y'all!
#309  the sense of smell that alerts me to trouble

#310  learning to wait

#311  a day spent Christmas shopping with my mom

#312  the way children worship ... it is so pure

#313  a pastor who is teachable

#314  a friend's backyard that dates back to childhood -- and all the memories it holds

#315  being pleasantly surprised by another musician's spirit

#316  a Psalm of Thanks

#317  the sacred quiet of an empty sanctuary before worshipers begin arriving

#318  simple adornment

#319  a table made ready ... and the anticipation of partaking

#320  wrapping my arms around a friend and the years of love that pass between us

Just ordinary moments turned holy by experiencing them in the now...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Come, Lord Jesus

When I returned from spending Thanksgiving with family in Birmingham, I knew my feet would hit the floor running.  And, boy, did they ever.  Professional, social and personal duties kept me burning midnight oil and found me spending more time at the piano and musical rehearsals than I have done in a very long time. I try to refrain from using the word "busy" because I often find it carries a weight of self-importance with it.  But I have to admit, my life has been very "active" lately.  While trying to live in the "now" of every moment, I couldn't help but also look to today's date and think, "If I can just make it to then..."  And, obviously, I did.  But smack dab in the middle of all the activity and demands came the season I treasure the most: Advent -- the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas.  A time for waiting.  A time for hope.  

So in the midst of my cell, how appropriate the mantra of Advent: "Come, Lord Jesus."  Maybe you've recognized it in a slightly different fashion: the wistful tune of O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel...  Or you've sung, Come Thou long-expected Jesus, come to set Thy people free.  It's the cry of the season before we lullaby to Away in a Manger or ring the bells on Christmas day and sing Joy to the world!  The Lord is come! 

Come, Lord Jesus!  An Advent cry that speaks of deliberate emptiness ... a chosen non-fulfillment.  One that says, "I can't do this on my own.  I need help."  But it is just that thought that leads me to live life in expectancy -- in full hope of a future created by God.  To cry "Come, Lord Jesus!" is to live without closure, without demands, with resolutions ... but with arms wide open in absolute surrender and satisfaction.

Are you finding yourself in need this season of your life?  Then sound the cry of Advent -- not so much in desperation, though it may be ... but as a shout of cosmic hope.   Come, Lord Jesus!

Just an ordinary moment...