Wherein I take Nothing for Granted

It’s your breath in our lungs
As we pour out our praise,
Pour out our praise,
It’s your breath in our lungs
As we pour out our praise
To you only.

All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry,
These bones will sing,
Great are You, Lord.

It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To you only

Leslie Jordan & David Leonard, All Sons & Daughters
– – – – – – – – – – –
There was a lull in the sanctuary the other morning as the worship pastor’s guitar faded; the piano’s tones softened on the keyboard. A quietness fell while we waited a few moments and listened.

From the back of the room a voice was lifted in confidence and confession–
     “I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your wonders of old.”  

Norm shouted his praise from Psalm 77 and we ‘amened’ the words on the other side.

It is not remarkable that there would be a moment of spontaneous sharing like that on a Sunday morning at our little Foursquare Church.

What is remarkable is that Norm is frail and bent over and confined to a wheelchair.
And without his oxygen tank towing forever behind him, he cannot breathe.

You would think he’d bemoan this fact each time he had a chance. That he’d recite a litany of ‘woe is me’s’ about his limited abilities to get around, his waning strength this last year, his reliance on the kindness of others to get him hither and yon.

But no, he shows up at church and our small group, he brings the Word and with all the breath he has in him, he belts it out.

Later on that day, I read these words:

There are countless hours in each day I never give a second thought to the fact that I can breathe, unassisted. I am upright, mobile, strong and healthy. I can shout and sing, laugh and yell. All manner of expressions are mine because of my Maker.


It is GOD’S breath in my lungs, whoooshed into me at birth, gracing me with strength and health these 60 plus years. I probably think about that fact a total of 30 seconds a week (or maybe never).

In/out, in/out, sing, talk, laugh, shout, pray….how many ways can I use my voice? How many times can I lift it in song? Countless, countless number of times. Without giving it a second thought.

This week I want to put on thankful, breathing praise in and out, and remember everything I have is a gift. 

Everything.
~~~~~~~~~~
What is something ‘every day-ish’ that you take for granted? Share in the Comments.

Hunting for Red in October, 3rd Edition

Our summer was VERY long here in the Pacific Northwest and it’s been harder to find the beauty of red that I’m used to this time of year…So I really did have to hunt.  
(You can see my first two ‘Hunting for Red’ posts here and here.)
this plant is called a ‘burning bush’ plant and should be entirely red by now.  
Only a few leaves have obliged.
‘Cardinal Flower’ still in bloom in the garden.

Chocolate Cosmos, purply, really…

the twigs of the dogwood
berries on the hawthorn tree

spikes of chard–magenta, really

my neighbor’s holly bush (really!)

and the only red maple leaf I could find.  
We normally have stands of red in neighborhoods already;
I think they’ll be turning a little late, I guess.
And the best red, the blood of Jesus. My watercolor attempt to
show what beauty flowed from the cross.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why I Didn’t Give up Anything for Lent

My mother in law is 93 years old and lives downstairs in our finished basement apartment.  She’s still got a pretty agile mind (when she remembers her hearing aids and actually listens to what is being said) but her body has pretty much given out.


We help her with meals during the week, bringing down extra casseroles and soups, salads and an occasional dessert.  She doesn’t mind being reminded to eat (that being a precursor to staying alive and all) but she is so over it when it comes to being bothered with meal preparation.

“I’ve cooked so many dinners in my lifetime, I’m just tired of even thinking about it.”

That’s the thing about our daily lives–as someone said, they’re so daily.  If you are breathing again each morning you wake up, Jesus has made it clear He still has a purpose for your being here.  
“But really, you wonder, do I have to cook dinner again????”

I can’t decide to only eat (or not eat) certain days of the year; I can’t give up something for just 40 days of Lent–a vice of some kind, a bad habit, a fleshly indulgence–I need to decide to give things up for LIFE

I was not raised in a Christian home and when I found Jesus (or He found me) I began worshipping in a very evangelical Protestant denomination. We’ve never followed the Church calendar when it comes to liturgies, we don’t ‘do’ Advent or any of the organized observances like Lent. (Frankly, it’s much to our loss, as those rituals can often bring a deeper meaning to our faith.)

However, I still wanted to read something this year about the season of Lent, words that fit my mindset and the way I worship. Kris Camealy’s book “Holey, Wholly, Holy” seemed to fill the bill. The book’s subtitle is, “A Lenten journey of Refinement.”
From ‘Why Lent?’ page 8:
“This is the hard refinement, the journey from holey (broken in sin) 
to wholly (surrendered) to holy.
Kris’ words resonated,
“It occurred to me that perhaps what God calls us to give up, really, is ourselves.  
The paltry offerings we prefer to give up, 
(less TV, no chocolate, shopping for clothes), 
while they feel challenging, are perhaps less pleasing 
because we fail to give up the one thing that stands between us and Christ. 
Ourselves.”
‘Why Lent’, p. 8, italics mine.

Yes, giving up myself and my wants and my fleshly desires and my sin (for that’s what it is) will be a lifelong journey. My daily life provides me ample opportunity to do the same thing over and over again, to repent anew each day, to be reminded of how much I need the Cross and God’s salvation–not just preceding the Easter Season, but every day of my life.

While I’ve been reading HWH, I’ve also been memorizing Isaiah 55 with the online group at Do Not Depart (see my sidebar….the gurgling fountain picture 🙂
The word ‘behold’ begins many of the verses in that chapter, and I’ve been meditating on ‘beholding’ Jesus and ‘being held’ by Him.  

:When we turn to Him, he holds us.  When we behold His face, we are changed.:  

A quote from Alan Redpath opens the Introduction to HWH:
“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 shortcut to holiness.”

If there are no shortcuts, clearly this WILL be a lifelong process.

I will have to find new manna every day.  
I will have to come back to God’s table to be fed. 
I will have to come back to the feet of Jesus and lay my sins and 
shortcomings at the cross.
In the week before Easter, this seems a fitting focus for my life.

Kris writes in the last chapter,
“The journey through Lent is a journey that doesn’t end at the cross.  No!  
This journey ends at the empty tomb when we realize that He’s beaten back death.  This journey ends in the victory of grace for sinners and redemption for those who believe.”

Oh, I say Hallelujah, for that.

As we move into the Holy Week preceding the Resurrection,
I pray that you and I will have a heart of thankfulness that rests in the daily assurance
of God’s grace 
that gives to us again and again and again,
the grace that causes us to say, “I give up!” for Life.
~~~~~~
Linking with my sisters Jen
               Finding Heaven
Jennifer, Emily and Lyli

Jesus, That Impossible Name

You’ve heard of the movie “The Incredibles”, right? The 2004 Disney animated film about an unlikely undercover family who thwart evil and save the world by doing the impossible?  (I mean seriously, those uber-stretchy arms the Mom has?  Now THAT’S impossible.)

We were in the middle of worship recently, hands raised, singing these lines,

“All powerful, all glorious,
There’s nothing like the name of Jesus….” Grace Abounds” (Hillsong)

and I thought about The Incredibles.

Then I thought about my old blue recipe box in the kitchen cupboard, with a divider that says, “Impossibles” on the tab. This one:


“Impossible” recipes are those all-in-one wonders.  Everything goes in a bowl, starting with the trademarked cup of Bisquick. Carefully mix it all together, pour into a prepared pan, bake as directed in the oven and Voila! Like magic, there is a crust on the bottom and your delicious creation on top. The Bisquick does the impossible.  

Kind of like the name of Jesus….

Only the name of Jesus can bring healing and forgiveness.

Only the power of Jesus can do the impossible–change our hearts.

Only the power of Jesus can raise our dreams from the dead by mixing in His power.

“I will always show you where to go.

    I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—

    firm muscles, strong bones.

You’ll be like a well-watered garden,

    a gurgling spring that never runs dry.

You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,

    rebuild the foundations from out of your past.”  
Isa. 58:9-12  The Message Bible



Only He can revive our broken hearts by stirring us up.

And only Jesus can bring gifts to the surface by turning up the heat.

Are you ready for The Impossibles??
~~~~~

Linking with Laura for Playdates, Michelle for Hear it on Sunday, 
and Jen for  the Soli Deo Gloria Party.

This is Love

 Sometimes I have a hard time with………. 

and wish I was better at just doing THIS


but then I remember His


“This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God,  but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  
I John 4:10,11
~~~~~~~~~
Linking with Laura for Playdates (fun around my house)