Walking Dead – the New Little House on the Prairie?

I remember reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel around the same time our eldest daughter was expecting their first child. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Had I known how disturbing the book was I probably would have set it aside for another season. The reason being, there is a chapter that describes Jewish babies being murdered. That being said the Holocaust happened, and I wanted to remember for those who lost their lives. I wanted to read it, so I could be a better person. I whispered a prayer of gratitude, that the world in which I lived was not in the grips of evil as it was then, or is it?

When we brought our babies home from the hospital I was in awe, at the overwhelming privilege of nurturing a new life, but mostly I was in awe with God, and why he would entrust us to such a sacred opportunity.

As our vehicle got closer and closer to our children’s home, I tried to imagine what it was going to be like when I looked into my grand-daughter’s eyes for the first time, and when she looked back at me. Nothing can prepare you for what takes place. It’s like the beginning of time starting all over again inside of you, and it swells, and swells until you think you might explode into a new universe. And in some ways that is exactly what happens. Not even the stars look the same.

Today I wonder why we’re doing all we can to snuff life out? Have we progressed since the holocaust, or are we getting better at justifying death?

We weep with families who have lost loved ones in shooting rampages across America. A few days go by, and we go to the movies and watch our heroes shoot up the screen, and tell ourselves we are in no way applauding violence.

We weep, on a cold Monday morning, driving to work as we hear the news about those who have lost loved ones in wars outside our borders. After work we tromp down to the television, and tune into more war, only in the form of a cop show, or a navy seal drama, and our sensitive souls are fed what exactly?

We’ve gotten so use to justifying the story, and the spilled blood that we don’t see the person anymore. Reality and pretend are no longer blurred, they share the same time slot. “Walking Dead” in the near future will be the new “Little House on the Prairie” -guaranteed.

At some point in time something has got to change, and we can start by talking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Settling for Shade, When you can Have…

Went for a walk today. I have this favourite trek all mapped out, one that allows me to avoid traffic eighty percent of the time, and disappear into nature while still in town. Thanks to my specific route I can tell you where the deepest purple lilac bush grows, and the bluest blue spruce. I’ve found one of the longest living row of trees that line the north face of a hidden park. Today I needed their shade.

As I made my way home on the last stretch I noticed something different, a piece of nature that wouldn’t have been there a week ago, and won’t be there the next time I round the bend.

One lone pink rose. The unique thing about this rose was how it had its head stuck through a metal fence. It was smiling in full bloom despite its predicament. The metal fence had those plastic inserts which hid the rest of the bush, and the yard in the shade. But this one rose wanted the sun and left everything behind to get it. Everybody else was settling for status quo, but not her.

I think she knows it won’t be long and the wind is going to take a swipe at her petals. Sticking out so far into the unknown is risky, but settling for shade when you can have the Son? There’s nothing like the Son.

…..raking leaves

My plan was to use the treadmill and have breakfast before starting work in the studio.  That plan changed when I walked out into the unusually mild fall weather and saw the dancing leaves.

Many of my neighbors had been sweeping the leaves off their driveways and raking them off their yards, while I had left them carpeting our property with their festive yellow hues.  I marveled at their color and the sound of their voices whispering to me as I swished through them ankle-deep.

The forecast for the next day was rain.  Dry leaves are a joy, wet leaves get really messy.  My morning plans shifted.

As I swept large piles of my yellow friends from the sidewalk into the gutter, I noticed a lady out walking her dog.  To my surprise she waved and crossed the street towards me.

She called out to me by name, and I nodded.

She had seen me leading worship on Thanksgiving Sunday, and recognized me from across the street.  She and her husband were new in town and were attending our church.  She was very pleased about living in the area.

While we chatted she noticed a bird, a white breasted nut hatch, is what I think she called it.  The bird was peeking at us from a nearby branch.  As I listened further, I learned they can go backwards down a tree, and their call sounds like a “sick duck”.  Her words, not mine.

Our conversation shifted to her family.  Sadly her adult sons had suffered issues at Bible School.  Her children shared the same gift and love for music I did.  One of her sons was finding life quite difficult, in a city nearby.  I asked for his name.

I briefly told her about a pattern that had been developing as of late.  I pray for one of my framing customer’s sons, and she prays for mine.  All young people experience challenges as they move out into the world and find their place and purpose.  If it was alright with my new neighbor, I would pray for her son as well.  She nodded and commented on the importance of prayer.

We both embraced on the end of my driveway, and waved goodbye.

I didn’t tell her how my Grandmother’s prayer had saved my life thirty-three years ago on Thanksgiving day.  That’s another major God moment story for some other time.

Trust Remembers the Rainbow…

What to do when we are hurting or someone we love is in pain?  Humanity falls so short of who God is and how he responds to our pain.  As believer’s we pull out the trust card, but realize we can’t find it.  The storm has come and the wind has blown our trust away.  All we can see is the fog.  All we can feel is frozen.

We sink into despair.  Despair is close at hand and can be found.  Our minds keep weaving webs of blame, “what did we do wrong?”, when we should be asking “who is God?”  God is faithful, and someone we can trust.

Trust is not searching frantically for our umbrella to keep us dry.  Trust is standing in the pouring rain knowing He is beside us.  Just as the rain grows the fruit of the field, so our pain can grow the fruit of the spirit, if we trust that God is indeed in control.

Trust is knowing He loves us soaking wet with tears, or dry to the spiritual bone.

Trust is not trying to be who we think we need to be, in order to forge a future, but asking God to be our future.

Trust is stepping aside, because His plans are better than our own.

Trust exists in the midst of pain.  Like folded angel wings it waits.  Trust remembers the rainbow, the cross, and Easter morning.  Every pang and sting grows fainter as we….

…”Trust in the Lord with all our strength and lean not unto our own understanding, but acknowledge him in all our ways, and He will direct our path” Proverbs 3:5,6

Who is God?  He is our creator.  If He can give us life, He can sustain us.  If He can raise Christ from the dead, He can heal us.  If He is preparing a place for us in eternity, then he most certainly can help us find our place here on earth.

And so we pray for our beloved who is in pain…

Colossians 1:9  “…from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”

Creating a Collage of Achievements

Knee surgery, among other less invasive issues, has kept me from my spring cleaning.  But it didn’t stop us from  having a house concert with Ben Rogers, Dan Zepick, and our daughter Julie Palin!  Class act indeed!

After the dust settled and Monday morning came, I hobbled slowly down the stairs to choose another forgotten object off the shelf.  This time – a Fire Fighter license plate.  My husband volunteered with our hometown Fire Department for fifteen years.  Once he recognized (in his own words) that he wasn’t getting quality time with his toddler children, he quit.  Everyone thought I put him up to it, but he made that decision on his own.  I think he decided being part of his children’s lives was just as important as saving lives.  He may have stopped putting out flames, but having him home kept the home fires burning.

Recently I framed his Carpentry Apprenticeship Certificates and hung them above the desk he made for his final project.  This license plate is going to add to the collage of his achievements.  However, rather than frame it just because I can (we own and operate a custom framing business called; My hometown Framing), I thought hanging it much like a sign would be the trendy thing to do.

I visited http://www.pinterest.com and pinned a few of  my “license plate” choices on a new board called; license plate art.  The selection is vast and varied, but I selected only those that suited our home.  One in particular stood out, with a black background.  I was actually looking to find choices with the plate standing alone (without a frame).  If I decide to hang the plate without a frame, I want to use the same hardware you would use to fasten a plate to your vehicle, but only a false front look, as you don’t want big nut and bolt holes in your wall.

Next, I searched pinterest for ideas on hanging different kinds of art on the wall together.  It is one thing for me to create a collage of art on our art rail, and a whole other story to create a collage above my husband’s desk.

We have a letter “P” that my sister gave us one Christmas.  I noticed that many of the wall collages contained different shaped frames with an object or two, like a “letter/alphabet” to create interest.  I’ve decided to hang the letter in the collage as well, since it represents our last name.  The letter was designed with an inset hanging device on the back, so a simple nail should do.

I’ll be sure to pin a picture of this collage – to my pinterest board, http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=hanging%20art%20collages

 

 

METAL is IN and Apparently SO is SHREDDED Paper!

What is it about containers that fascinate us?  The material they’re made of can tell us something about our personal taste.  That being said, my personal taste has got to fit in the “eclectic” category. I have every kind of container under the sun, but as you know I am about to change that.  Cleaning up, throwing out, or is that throwing up and …..anyway – I’m getting the job done one day at a time and blogging about it!

My photo boxes are usually cream with some of kind of warm antique feel as if I’m gravitating towards my grandmother. But who really needs all their photo boxes to match?  I guess I do.

My storage boxes, no big deal, but usually plain cardboard.  I do like that raw quality, and a place to label what’s in the box.  Perhaps that means I’m an earthy anal combination?

What about the metal kind of container? It appeals to my sense of clean lines, looks professional, and did you know?  Metal is in.  I think it’s a classic type container, like navy and red in fashion.  Never goes out of style.  In actuality I believe we bought the metal containers for fireproof reasons to store important paperwork.  And indeed, I looked inside and found paperwork dated 2001.  I have heard from reliable sources that you can throw your personal paperwork out after seven years.  If I am wrong I apologize, to whom ever I need to apologize to – because I am shredding the paper as we speak.  I know, multitasking, two hands on the keyboard and big toe on the shredder power button.  Kidding.  Be careful using a shredder!

The shredding lasted for about five minutes.  It has got to be the most mundane chore in the world.  And what to do with it after it’s shredded?  We can use it to pack boxes, or recycle it.  I highly doubt any lurking criminals at the recycling station would want to piece my top-secret information together – but you never know.  So…. maybe a craft?

I betcha it wouldn’t take me long to find something on Pinterest,  handmade and spectacular, and out of shredded paper?

You may want to visit me at Pinterest and check out what I found!

http://www.pinterest.com/cindysouljourn

one of my own creations at www.pinterest.com/cindysouljourn

one of my own creations at http://www.pinterest.com/cindysouljourn

Living Vertical in a Horizontal World

Good morning Jesus. It has been an interesting week, holding on tight to your hand and walking with you while you open my eyes and lift my chin gently upwards with the tips of your fingers.  You keep me living vertical.

Windows and doors open all around me, revealing images of this world’s reality, of our perilous soul condition.  Objects of desire are blotting out the Son, blind sheep still wander.  The weight of it wraps around my feet and threatens to keep me horizontal.  The pain of it tries to drown me, but you severed my ball and chain on the cross, and we walked into freedom from the tomb.

Since you joined the Father and left your Spirit here, there’s a lot of seeking going on, but not for you.  Your truth has been traded for brighter lights, bigger toys, man’s temporary fascinations.  As if we can compete with you and your design, your purpose and your plan? Have we forgotten the cycle of history repeating itself?  Our struggles and our triumphs are not original, or the first, or the last, but You are.

You hand crafted our intricate, brilliant minds in your image, kissed our lungs with air and yet some can’t even bring themselves to speak your name.  So much safer and hip to use the buzz words of the day, so non-committal, so plastic intelligence, empty, and most of all – powerless.  But my soul is not downcast.

You delight to say my name and called me before the earth felt the warmth of the sun.  The realization that I even bleep on your radar slays me, that I am so much smaller than the stars, yet matter more to you than the entire universe put together.  I am but a speck of star-dust orbiting around you.  You are a mystery magnet I cannot explain. I am in awe of you and go deeper, past the velvet curtains of your solar systems to the beginning and the end, into your heart.

How do I know you are real?  How do I know there is one God, and that you love me?  How do I know I have nothing to fear when I put my trust in you?  You have proven yourself over and over and over again.  Every living cell bears your seal, every generation has witnessed the majesty of your handiwork.

The closer I come to you, the faster you run to me.  I don’t need to see the exact lines of your face to feel you here beside me.  I am not ashamed, and I will not apologize for believing in a baby born in Bethlehem, born of God and born of man.

As the world grows darker, as the pages of time draw to an earthly close, even though my body may lie down before the trumpet sounds, keep my spirit living vertical.  I love you.