Friday, 31 August 2012
Sometimes you get to journey the furthest by sitting still.
For a while now it felt like I was resting, waiting, sitting still. Now I find that I have actually been on a long journey.
A spiritual journey.
An internal journey.
By sitting still and waiting, not rushing into all sorts of things that I could be doing, an internal fear has been smashed and I have moved forward.
Are you taking time to sit still?
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Have you ever avoided doing something that you know you should do? I'm not talking about general procrastination, but those things that are a bit scary but that you know will help you move forward, learn, develop, whatever.
As Anais Nin said:
...and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom...Sometimes resisting the thing we know we should do causes more damage than facing the pain or fear of just doing it. It stops us from moving forward; from blossoming.
This is often the case when we need to forgive someone. The more we hold on to the hurt, the more hurt we become. I like to think about it as holding on to barbed wire: if we would just let it go, the pain would stop and the wound would heal.
Where do you need to blossom?
Monday, 27 August 2012
An old Yiddish proverb:
Everyone is kneaded from the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
This is a good thing to remember, especially when entering a new relationship. Not everyone does things in the same way. Just because your family always puts the salt and pepper pots back in the cupboard at the end of the meal does not make that the 'right' way to do things. Leaving them on the table is equally valid. I don't even want to mention the 'squeezing toothpaste from the end or middle' debate...
We are all different in our habits because of upbringing and environment. But we are all made of the same stuff. Focussing on our 'sameness' is a lot healthier than getting annoyed at our differences.
So when you meet that person you find irritating today, just remember that they are made of the same stuff as you - they love, they feel pain, and they feel joy just like you do. Make sure you build them up in a way that speaks to them...
...which is not necessarily what would work for you.
Friday, 24 August 2012
Came to this pre-prepped page in one of my journals today. What is happiness to you? I found that most of the things that make me happy are intangible.
For me, happiness is
spending time with my family
a blank page waiting to be decorated
a flock of lorikeets flying noisily overhead
These are all things that lift my heart.
This lifted my heart this week, too:
My wonderful husband bought me something that I would never have bought for myself. Now I'm looking forward to playing. Watch this space for some of my experiments...
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
I've been thinking a lot about community over the last year. We are all part of many different communities - where you live, where you go to church (if you do), people who share the same pastimes, the school community, etc. We have connections to lots of different people for lots of different reasons.
Last Sunday we had a joint service at church with our Sudanese congregation. It was fun to share together and learn a bit more about each other and find that, despite our obvious differences, we share a common faith that draws us into community together. We also discovered connections that we didn't know existed. A sort of 'six degrees' of the church. And although we don't always speak the same language - my Dinka is non-existent - we all laughed at the same things.
Our connections are important. Through them we become part of a network, meeting people we wouldn't necessarily meet in our normal sphere of life, striking up new friendships and thus having our lives enriched.
Who will you connect with this week?
Sunday, 19 August 2012
How do you feel when the walls are closing in?
...when everything has gone dark?
...when the pressure is on?
...when in danger?
Your 'valley of the shadow of death' might not be life-threatening, but it still produces stress, fear, and worry. How comforting to know that we do not have to go through it alone. A few lines on in this psalm we will find that 'You are with me.'
Difficult things are always easier to face if there is someone with you. I feel so blessed to know that whatever I am facing, not only do I have my husband and daughter with me, but God is with me, holding my hand and taking away the fear. And when the fear persists, giving me the courage to do it anyway.
Thank You, Lord.
Friday, 17 August 2012
This follows on from the previous page which you can see peeking through the circle on the left which says, "He leads me in paths of righteousness..." This page tells you why.
Names in the Bible held a lot of meaning. Lots of people had their name changed because of something they had done or something God was going to do for them. Abram (exalted father) became Abraham (father of a multitude) because he was the forefather of the Israelite nation.
When it talks about God doing something for His name's sake, it is talking about God's nature. Just look at some of the names of God: Almighty, the Lord my provider, the Lord eternal, the Lord is peace etc.. Because He is holy, He cannot lead us in paths other than those which are righteous.
Of course, we can choose not to follow.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
I've been thinking a lot about paths lately. I'm approaching an ending of sorts and am looking for the next direction to go in. I think I'll have a better idea after Monday. On Monday I'm giving my testimony at a Gideons International dinner. This is a huge deal for me. I hate standing up in front of crowds and speaking - I blush, stammer a little sometimes, lose my place, and generally feel incredibly nauseous. But I have come to a place in my journey where I know I have to do this; that the Lord has changed something in me and I need to act on it. Monday's dinner will be a turning point. I just don't know what I'll be turning towards.
Serendipitously, I've reached the verse in Psalm 23 that talks about paths of righteousness. It's a comfort to me to know that wherever God is leading me, it will be on a righteous path.
Where is life leading you at the moment?
|close-up of sheep and a tree that I was particularly pleased with :)|
Friday, 10 August 2012
Here in the southern hemisphere the dog days of summer are both a distant memory and a future hope as we endure the winter months.
I long for the time when I will exchange the wriggling of my toes in the sheepskin interior of my Ugg boots for the feeling of sand between my toes on a summer’s evening walk on the beach.
For when the sound of rain on the tin roof will cause me to throw open all the doors and windows to allow the cool breeze to flow through the house and chase away the heat, bringing the temperature down to a balmy 35℃, rather than have me running to the back garden to bring in all the washing. Again.
For the time when I will be able to do four loads of washing and have them all dry before lunchtime and bring them in from the washing line smelling of sunshine and holding as much heat as if I had just ironed them.
For turning a corner and being greeted by an avenue of riotous purple jacaranda trees looking like something from a Dr. Seuss story.
For the time when I won’t have to mow the lawn.
For early morning walks before the heat of the day sets in.
For visits to the beach where I can stand on the jetty and watch the dolphins frolicking just feet away.
For the vast blue sky that remains unclouded for weeks at a time.
The same blue that it is today.
Maybe - just maybe - spring is on the way.
Thursday, 9 August 2012
After being led into green pastures - fed - and beside still waters - being given peace and quiet - He restores my soul. (Psalm 23:3a)
What does that mean?
I like to think about it like a phone or computer. We personalise them with photos, ringtones, address books, but at any point we can return them to the factory settings.
It's a bit like that with life. We live it, we become damaged, we wander away from the path we're supposed to be on. Having our soul restored by spending time with God is like being returned to factory settings - being straightened out and lined up with Him again.
Take time to have your soul restored today.
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Green pastures and still waters. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
Green pastures are like a banquet to a sheep. And sometimes they don't know when to stop. God makes us 'lie down' when we have had enough. He gives us time to digest.
And then he gives us peace and quiet to reflect and listen.
There are times when we need to stop and reflect on how far we have come and wait to see where we are to go next.
Tuesday, 7 August 2012
What does your path look like at the moment?
For me, it is a little like this one - I can see a little way, but not too far. I'm not quite sure where the path is leading me, but I can see that I will be moving further into the light. I can see that the trees that are obscuring the view are going to open up and I will be able to see a little further.
I don't know what is over the crest of the hill, but I trust that God has it covered and is equipping me as I walk in trust along the bit of path that I can see.
What about you?
Saturday, 4 August 2012
'Want' is an interesting word. In this psalm it talks about not wanting. It isn't to do with not desiring, but not being in want. God knows what I need and makes sure that I have it.
It's just that sometimes what I think I need is different from God's idea of what I need.
At times like this, I must let go of what I want, trust that God knows what I need and go with it. It's not always easy. Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side. Often we have to make the mistake of tasting it several times before we realise that, actually, what we have is exactly what we need.
So when there is something that you want, let God be the judge of whether it is actually what you need.
Thursday, 2 August 2012
Working on the packs for the ladies who will be joining me on Saturday for the women's retreat. These are the tags that will go on the front of the info packages and will also act as place cards for the table.
Almost done now with the prep. Looking forward to the actual day now.
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
I've started on a book on Psalm 23 to try to remove some 'sameness' from my pages. Here I've used colours that are not usual for me and hand lettering rather than stamps. The background is made with masking tape laid on in torn strips and then painted over.
I like the shape of the pages, too. It's funny how something as simple as a different shape or dimension can break you out of a rut.
I've also been busy making hand-bound journals for the women's retreat I'm leading on Saturday.