Friday, September 28, 2007

A Boy & A Longsuffering (& Clowinsh) Cat

Apparently, yesterday was portrait time for Ben. Mom allowed him to grab the nearest prop he could find, Anna's Kittie. Some rather humorous pictures were the result!

*note: Kittie actually enjoyed the pictured activity. She was purring the whole time.

Beauty, Out Of Ugly Things

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things
-U2, "Grace"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I am working on preparing a lesson to teach at the After School Club this afternoon. It is from I Samuel 12-15, and is about how Saul was instructed by God to kill all the Amalakites and their livestock, but instead kept the best for himself. He did not obey completely. That is the point of the lesson - complete obedience.
Last week we taught about giving God first place in your life.
It seems that each lesson teaches me something as I am preparing it, and this morning I was challenged to obey God completely, as I give Him the first place in all that I am. Do I really obey Him all the way? Or do I tend to lose interest and quit part of the way through?

Soul Anchor

Peru, August 29, 2006 - taken by Jaimie Rebelez

We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm and secure. ...
-hebrews 6:19-

Friday, September 21, 2007


he spirituality of wonder knows the world is charged with grace, that while sin and war, disease and death are terribly real, God's loving presence and power in our midst are even more real.

In the grasp of wonder, I am surprised, I'm enraptured. It's Moses before the burning bush "afraid to look at God" (Exodus 3:6). It's Stephen about to be stoned: "I can see ... the Son of man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). ... It's doubting Thomas discovering his God in the wounds of Jesus, Mother Teresa spying the face of Christ in the tortured poor. It's America thrilling to footsteps on the moon, a child casting his kite to the wind. It's a mother looking with love at her newborn infant. It's the wonder of a first kiss.
... Amazement and rapture should be our reaction to the God revealed as Love.

-Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, chpt V

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"If I Had to Live My Life Over Again"

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now get washed up for dinner." There would have been more I love yous, more I'm sorrys, but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it, really see it, live it, and never give it back.

-erma bombeck

Today I am trying to enjoy the moments as they come and revel in them, from the sunrise to the ironing, from dividing bulbs to smelling the rain to saying - and hearing - "I love you". Because each one of these moments is a gift straight from my Father, and none will ever be repeated. Ever.


You know what?

Life hurts.

But it is through the hurt and pain that we find our deepest joys.

In the imperfection we learn to appreciate the perfection of God.

Monday, September 17, 2007

simple things

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.
~oscar wilde

Sunday, September 16, 2007

tea & roses

I stayed home from church this morning because I have a cold (a miserable one, that I really don't want to share). Instead, I took a nap. I listened to U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind and the Newsboys Go and Devotion. I enjoyed a cup of tea. And took a picture of it. I read some from The Ragamuffin Gospel. I picked my roses. And relaxed. Was quiet. Even though I feel terrible today, I actually had a wonderful morning.

"When you look at the world
What is it that you see?
People find all kinds of things
That bring them to their knees"
-"When I Look At The World", U2

"What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things"
-"Grace", U2

"In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us - that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough." The Ragamuffin Gospel, chp II, by Brennan Manning

"That is his call to us - simply to be people who are content to live close to him and to renew the kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced." - Thomas Merton

I wanna start it over
I wanna start again
I want a new a new beginning
One without any end
It's a voice that whispers my name
It's a kiss without any shame
Something beautiful
Like a song that stirs in my head
Singing love will take us where
Something's beautiful
I've heard it in the silence
Seen it on a face
I've felt it in a long hour
Like a sweet embrace
I know this is true
It's calling out to me
It's the child on her wedding day
It's the daddy that gives her away--Father
Something beautiful
When we laugh so hard we cry
It's the love between you and I
Something beautiful
"Something Beautiful", Newsboys

...I hunger for the daily bread of Your ways
Ah, the bread of Your ways
They glow like blue in a field of black
Illuminating the runway ahead
I love to follow the angel tread of Your ways
Ah, the tread of Your ways
And when I tire, they bring a second wind
A word in season, a gleam in Your eye...
I need Your good word speaking
When there's nothing to say
I need Your Spirit here
Breathing on me every day
Every night I need Your love's pure light
And I've learned forever to trust
Ever to follow
Ever I'll praise Your everlasting ways
I love Your ways, Your true, Your perfect ways
I love Your ways, so beautiful to me
Lovely always, and faithful to restore
I love Your ways
"I Love Your Ways", Newsboys

Friday, September 14, 2007

What are you left with when we part?

What do I encourage you to? Experience God's grace and glory, know His love? I hope so.

I feel quite sure - if I did my best - I could maybe impress you
With tender words, and the harmonies, a clever rhyme or two.
But if all I've done in the time we've shared is turn your eyes on me,
Then I've failed in what I've been called to do.
There's someone else I want you to see.

Will you love Jesus more when we go our different ways?
When this moment is a memory, will you remember His face?
Will you look back and realize you sensed His love,
More than you did before?
I pray for nothing less than for you to love Jesus more.

I'd like to keep these memories in frames of gold and silver
And reminisce a year from now about the smiles we've shared.
But above all else I hope you will come to know the Father's love
And when we see the Lord face to face
You'll hear Him say, "Well done."

I pray for nothing less than for you to love Jesus more.

"will you love Jesus more?" - by shawn craig and john manderville

I know this song has been sung many times, by many people, but tonight it is true of me. I pray that your encounters with me, however brief, may lead you to love Jesus more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

end of the day, beginning of another

Sunset, September 12, 2007

Sunrise, September 13, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I love the smell of early mornings when summer is changing to fall. I love the way the air smells before the sun comes up. It is crisp and wet, it invites you to come outside and revel in it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

[Holy] Fear

P1010100, originally uploaded by Lizi Beth.

Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
- Isaiah 50:10

Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you ..."

"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? ... Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. ... We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

..."This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. ... You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.

Early in the morning they left for [battle]. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, ...! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; ..." After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever."

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace,
for his God had given him rest on every side.

-II Chronicles 20:2-29

All of the above post was from one of the sermons I heard yesterday (I ended up hearing two).
It focused on the idea that prayer is our means of communicating with our God. It involves worship. Humility. Waiting for Him.
The other sermon I heard also talked about prayer. It made prayer sound like it was our ticket to get whatever we wanted from God, treating His power like a gumball machine.
That bugged me.
It is true that God loves us, that He wants to grant our desires. In fact, it is part of Who He is! But He wants us to know Him, for our desire to be Him. He wants us to turn to Him with worship when a situation turns bad, because He is our Light and our Strength, not because we know that He will give us an easy out.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Letting Go, Laying Down

The secret of life is letting go
The secret of love is letting it show
In all that I do
In all that I say
Right here in this moment

The power of prayer is in a humble cry
The power of change is in giving my life
I’m laying it down
Down at your feet
Right here in this moment

Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all this is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone

The journey of life is a search for truth
This journey of faith is following you
Every step of the way
Through the joy and the pain
Right here in this moment

Right here, right now, and for the rest of my life
Hear me say

I am yours and yours alone

-"completely" by Ana Laura

It is the surrendering part that I have difficulty with.
I can love, realizing that I only love as I come to know the fullness Christ's love for me.
God does a pretty good job of keeping me humble, too.
It is the letting go, the laying down, and the moment-by-moment surrendering of all of me - all that I love, long for, desire - to all of Him - all that He loves, all that He has for me - that brings me to my knees. Because it is hard. I cannot do it alone.
But it is also in the surrender that He is glorified. It is when He has complete and absolute control that the glory shines through and I am most like Christ.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

psalm 63:3

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