• Standing in the pre-dawn dark of my kitchen I resisted the urge to turn on the lights while I filled the coffee pot. A little voice reminded me to linger and take a few moments to simply look and listen.
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 I've been reading #TrueYou by @michellederusha and words from last night's chapter came to the surface. 
Thoughts about resisting the urge to  d o  something and just be present in the moment were in the back of my mind. Instead of beginning the day with a fluorescent accompaniment, I glanced out the window above the sink to the line of cars in the distance, headlights gleaming on the horizon as all the worker bees headed off to their appointed rounds.
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 I might have missed noticing them if I'd switched on the lights. Instead I chose to pay attention. The Holy Spirit spoke gently, "Diamonds shine best in the dark." ******
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 Friends, the glitter and shine of jewels God is placing in your life are produced and revealed in the dark and pressure-filled times of your life. Instead of praying to get out of our difficulties or those times when God seems faraway in the distance, it's good to remember He is working in the deep-down, underground where life begins. And the place where diamonds are formed. .
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."Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4, The Message Bible
....... #Godspeaks
#notetoself
#Scripture
#TrueYou
#listen
#spiritualpractice
#quiet#wordfortheyear
  • "Listen to your life and then respond to what you are hearing." @shellymillerwriter #RhythmsofRest 
Revisiting Shelly's book.... "quiet" is my word for the year (last year it was 'listen"). They go hand in hand...
#Spiritualpractice 
#silence
#pauseforpeace
  • The only way to hear Jesus' voice is to be close to his chest, with your ear turned towards Him.
Walking with God is a daily balance between moving ahead with what he's given us to do and being open to his redirects along the way. He carries me, not because of my weakness, but because together we can image forth what the journey of dependence and joy look like.
#faith #trust #joywins
  • I first learned the root meaning of the word 'amateur' in Robert Farrar Capon's, "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb," a book with recipes and so much more, particularly the love of food and cooking and the kingdom of God. (If you haven't read it, find a copy. It's a fascinating and rich read.)
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. 'Amateur' is from the Latin 'amator', lover (root 'amare', to love). Playing with watercolors this year, stepping into the unknown of allowing myself to be creative, makes me feel like an amateur. According to Webster's, an amateur is, "One who engages in an art, science, study or athletic activity as a pastime rather than a profession."
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In other words, it's something one engages in because they want to, not because they have to. Of course, the other distinction is that amateurs don't get paid for their work, whereas professionals do.
It is rather freeing, in my opinion, to not be pressured by the idea I would be paid for my artistic endeavors or have to produce or perform in order to be successful. (That would hardly be the case if you looked at the little color studies adorning my desktop.) The release that comes when we spend time doing what we love--baking bread, taking photographs, arranging flowers, playing with art (whatever the medium)--leaves us with open hands to receive from 
Father God the creativity He wants to pour through us. Producing out of love and freedom also makes room for more of God's joy to flow in, the joy we take in our play and the joy He sees in our creativity as 
we image who He is in the world through our many expressions.
So here's to being an amateur--what are y o u loving today? .
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#creativity
#watercolors
#koiwatercolors
#photography
#paint
#play
#spiritualpractice 
#baking 
#beautymatters
  • There's a Bible verse we often quote when we're in the midst of despair where Jesus says the Devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Well, he does (stupid Satan) but why is it that we so quickly recall the negative more than the positive? 
There is something to remember in the other half of that sentence separated by one small semi-colon. 
Here's to memorizing the most important part of the equation, the Jesus part. John 10:10
#godsword #truth #Scripture
  • "Somehow the creation of a thing that was intended simply to be beautiful and nothing else gave her a feeling of spaciousness that was simply delicious.
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. "Why?" she asked her husband. (He) was reading, removed his spectacles and thought about it. "Because a thing that has no practical value but exists simply to be beautiful, a picture or a symphony, or yellow poppies enriching white satin, is a vision of reality." .
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"Why?" she asked again.
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. "A thing that's intended to be useful ties down your spirit to mundane things, but a thing that is simply beautiful opens a window and lets you go free--that's why you feel spacious…" -Elizabeth Goudge, Island Magic, 1941
  • #Fridayfollows Have you ever noticed that God begins a gentle nudge in a particular direction when He is opening up something new for you? Or that you hear a 'sacred echo' as Margaret Feinberg termed it, of a particular practice showing up over and over again in your life?
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In the middle of a particularly crazy, busy season last year (August through December) I was casting out lifelines any way I could to land on something that would lift me up above a daily schedule that was burying me. 
I willed myself to stop as often as I could during the day, particularly when I was outside, and pay attention. That's all. I began to notice the simplest kind of beauty in color or light when I took the time to focus, even for 5 minutes.
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About the same time I happened upon an Instagram account curated by a local writer/gardener/artist here in the Seattle area. @gardenercook had a practice on her daily walks of finding something alive and growing then bringing it home to paint a palette encompassing all the colors she saw. A simple practice but so doable. 
I wanted to try the same thing myself, playing with color and paint and it has been fun.
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I am continually inspired by @gardenercook's daily posts here on Instagram. I would highly recommend you take a moment to check out her IG feed--Beauty abounds there. 
#fridayfollow #beautymatters #creativity
  • I talk too much, especially when I have something profound to say that I'm certain you need to hear. (Or when I'm nervous).
This year I sense God whispering the word "quiet" to my soul. As in, "listen first, ask Me what I'm doing and whether or not your bright ideas and thoughts are from me. Hold your words close to your heart and hang on to them until and unless I say to release them."
My oh my I have a lot of surrendering to do. 
How about you?
#wordfortheyear2019 
#notetoself 
#Godisatwork 
#Godallowsdoovers
  • "God is over all things, under all things;
Outside all; within, but not enclosed;
Without, but not excluded; 
Above, but not raised up;
Below, but not depressed;
Wholly above, presiding;
Wholly without, embracing;
Wholly within, filling." -Hildevert of Lavardin, 1125, from 'Meet the Austins', Madeleine L'Engle
#readupstream
#beautymatters
#MadeleineLengle
  • In Memoriam (Ring Out, Wild Bells)
Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 1892
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,  The flying cloud, the frosty light:  The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. 
Ring out the old, ring in the new,  Ring, happy bells, across the snow:  The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true. 
Ring out the grief that saps the mind  For those that here we see no more;  Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind. 
Ring out a slowly dying cause,  And ancient forms of party strife;  Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws. 
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,  The faithless coldness of the times;  Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in. 
Ring out false pride in place and blood,  The civic slander and the spite;  Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good. 
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;  Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;  Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace. 
Ring in the valiant man and free,  The larger heart, the kindlier hand;  Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
(Calvin College chapel photo mine)