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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Cup Overflowing, 501-520

As I look back over the numbering of my first 500 gifts, I can't help but think I'm too simplistic in my list making.  Really, rocks?  Squirrels at play?  Cereal with icy blueberries?  I've wondered if I'm really getting this thing of thankfulness.  Surely there are more important things for which to be thankful.  And there are,  But today I read this in Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts:

The miracle of [thanksgiving], like the Last Supper, is in the eating of crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful.  Do not disdain the small.  The whole of the life -- even the hard -- is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. 

And so I continue to look for the small and ordinary ... and to be thankful -- because I know that the moments add up.

#501  standing in the presence of a Rembrandt painting -- and being surprised by its power

#502  afternoon silhouettes

#503  past and present written across buildings

#504  a stroll at sunset ... across a bridge

#505  being just free enough to line dance at The Wildhorse Saloon

#506  recognizing the dreams 

#507  appreciating the little things

#508  lunching with Annie Downs and stopping by Lifeway to check out her new book
Perfectly Unique

#509  experiencing the Ryman and sensing its spiritual heritage

#510  hotel rooms that become holy of holies

#511  that God exchanges my brokenness for His wholeness

#512  the feel of Music City

#513  lingering morning clouds

#514  a granddaddy reading night-night stories

#515  a day at rest -- on the shore of the Chattahoochee River

#516  breakfast with Cathy ... and my soul being refreshed

#517  worshiping at Riverstone and seeing the Body at work
The elements waiting to be broken open -- powerful imagery!

#518  a son and his wife kneeling together in prayer

#519  peanut butter and jelly noses

#520  the refilling of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs 

Moments.  My cup overflows with them...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday's Volume: Island of Saints by Andy Andrews

When a music student's parent dropped a humidifier off at my front door this week, she also included a bag filled with such necessary items one needs when sick: cough drops, Vitamin C, seltzer, night time medicine, green and herbal teas .... and a book.  With an already insurmountable pile of "to reads" waiting, I thought, I'll be on my 6th antibiotic before I can get to this one.  However, as I positioned myself on my trusty couch yesterday morning with my hot tea and electric throw, I picked up the book that I had placed on top of the  stack ... and I never put it down.  

Though the names have been changed to literally protect the innocent, Andy Andrews has embarked upon a story which reads like  fiction; but is not.  While digging up a wax myrtle in his own backyard on the northern Gulf of Mexico, the author unearthed a rusty old can that housed Nazi artifacts and 3 very old photographs ... one which included Hitler himself.  Putting aside his other writing assignments for this one adventure, Andrews goes on the search of a lifetime, and what he discovers rocks his world.  And many of those around him.  

Because it is a true story, I had to really discipline myself NOT to turn to the last page and see how it ends.  After all, fiction often comes wrapped in lovely paper with pretty bows.  But life rarely does.  I encourage the reader to use the same restraint and just read for the ride.  You won't be sorry.

If you are a history buff, well then you have U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico and a Nazi walking the streets of a Southern coastal town during WWII.  If you like love, there's that, too.  But Island of Saints is not just a novel and it won't be found in the fiction, romance or historical sections.  Rather, you will find it in the "Self-help" section for reasons the author himself explains.  As the subtitle reads, it's "A Story of the One Principle that Frees the Human Spirit."  What might that be?  Well, dear reader, you'll just have to get the book and find out for yourself.  

With a copyright date of 2005, it might not be the newest read out there.  But that doesn't change the fact that it's still a wonderful story and well worth your time.  And besides, you'll be smarter when you're through.

**Note: When I text the mother to thank her and tell her how much I was enjoying the book, she told me that she grew up in that area and that her relatives are mentioned in the book.  It's a true story y'all.  Keep that in mind as you read it.  

Tucked Away in the Father's Bosom

I had the holy privilege several weeks ago of standing with a dear friend while two ladies prayed for her and her child.  My job was just more spectator and agreement than anything else.  Of course, one's own prayer life expands when hearing others pray; and this particular morning was no exception.

It was really just one sentence that struck me so profoundly: "May this mother know that all the prayers she has ever prayed for this child, the prayers that have not yet been answered, are tucked away in the bosom of the Father."

WOW!  Take comfort in that, dear believer!  That all those unanswered prayers you and I have  ever prayed for our children, our grandchildren, our spouse, our parents and siblings, friends and relatives ... they are gently tucked away and stored in the bosom of our loving and kind heavenly Father -- hidden until the time is ripe for Him to answer.  That's mighty wonderful imagery, if you ask me.

I guess the only appropriate thing we need to be asking ourselves is, "Am I praying?"   

Just an ordinary moment...