Saturday, January 30, 2010
In order to keep myself writing I will revert back to this topic of favourite things.
Tea. I love drinking tea. I like coffee too, but tea is quietly becoming the dominant drink in my day. Love them all, regular tea (Tetley of course) Chai, green, herbal, etc. Not too excited over the fruity ones, prefer spicy teas for sure. Love that i can drink tons and tons of it all year round, and never feel like it's quietly killing me... plus I can eat fruit with it, as well as baked goods, or plain toast and it's always a nice compliment, always. I can curl up in my reading chair with a blanket and a cup of tea, and I am happy, content and peaceful, if only for a moment (or until my tea needs to be refilled :)
My all time favourite tea is Bengal Spice Tea (by Celestial Seasonings) - my sister introduced me to it and I am officially an addict. I love love love it.
It is hard to find in Niagara Falls, but lucky for me, the Bulk Barn (another one of my favs) carries it. So I make a trip there every other week to stock up. Try it, it's spicy but not overpowering and the warmth lasts long after the last sip... :)
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Over the past few months Kari Jobe's self-titled album has been very healing and theraputic for me. Every single song on the CD is very peaceful and I just thought I'd share that with you. It's one of those albums you can put on repeat and it's refreshing. Her website is really cool too, lot's of testimonies. Love it.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The Arms of Grace
Strength... a few weeks ago my sister told me she thought I was one of the strongest people she knew, and at that minute I thought to myself, "if you only knew how weak I really am"...
At the time I felt so overwhelmed by everything that was bigger than me - which really was everything. But now in retrospect, i see that I really do try to be strong, try to "hang in there" when I don't know what to do, what to say, who to be... in that not knowing I feel truly exposed, vulnerable, weak - definately NOT strong.
Not that its a problem being weak, I know this in the deepest part of me, when i take a breath and "be" - because in my own strength I fail - every single time. I fail a lot. I am pretty strong, and that's why I fail. I want to learn to not dislike failing so much, mostly because i do it so often, but also because it's the only way I can truly live.
I fail right into the arms of Grace. God's grace which is sufficient for me. He is always my help, my wisdom, my strength, my answer. His strengh is made manifest when I fail, when my weakness is exposed and when I am humbled again and again. Less of me, more of Him, and yet i fight it every time.
Right now at this moment, He is my very breath, the One who sees the tears, the one who hears my cry, my very present help. The one who hides me and holds me -
I live with Him in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." He will save me, He covers me with his feathers, and under his wings I find refuge; His faithfulness is my shield and rampart.
The strong Arms of Grace hold me...
Thursday, January 21, 2010
A few weeks ago our pastor was sharing about using a compass when trying to get to a certain destination, and how you can't just have it point north and then walk in that direction because assuredly you will end up way off course... that you need to check and recheck your route to make sure you're walking the right way.
So that brings me to here and now, checking my course. (smile)
It's funny how easily you slide off of that very clear course with all the best intentions. But it's amazing how little is needed to get back on course. You just turn yourself around. I say this knowing that I've checked my steps time and time again and therefore was not way off base, and needing to walk a long way in another direction to get back, nope, just little adjustments here and there to my attitude, and my habits. To tuning my "listening ears" to the voice of the One who has never lead me astray.
I love how Jesus portrayed himself as the Great Shepherd. how he would leave the flock to go after the one that had wandered off, every time... a few blog entries ago I remember blogging about one perfect summer - when i was 16 and in Greece. It really was perfect in every way. During that trip, I remember we were crossing the country via my uncle's tiny car, and we were going through a mountain pass, I had drifted off to sleep with my head leaning on the window, when suddenly the car stopped and I was jolted awake by a very loud bleeting and a bell clanging. I looked out my window and yep, right by my face...there was a sheep. Several sheep actually, and up ahead a shepherd was leading his flock across the mountain pass, stopping traffic (us) in his work. I remember it didn't take him long to get all the sheep where they needed to be, because they knew his voice and his signals (little noises and clicks) - so they could easily follow him to safety.
Whenever I read Psalm 23, i am blessed again and again.
The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. (i shall want for nothing, He's my provider)
He makes me to lie down in green pastures. (he gives rest in places that are lush)
He leads me beside still waters (the spirit is clear, his voice easy to hear, beautiful to see)
He restores my soul (my mind, my will, my emotions)
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Names sake (Jesus is my righteousness, I walk His life in my days)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil(it is a valley - in between two mountain tops - and it is only a shadow, death is never the victor for there is eternal life)
For You are with me
Your rod (what we walk under to be counted) and staff (what you use to discipline me and get my attention with), they comfort me
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
Normally, you wouldn't set a table in the presence of enemies. Obviously your enemies would love to deprive you of your feast and steal it from you, but God demonstrates his absolute power in that he is able to set a table for you in the midst of your enemies and they can do nothing except gaze enviously.
You anoint my head with oil (by the Holy Spirit, you have set me apart for yourself, you have covered me with a healing balm, you have made me a sweet fragrance, and have ordained me)
My cup overflows - your continual blessing cannot be contained in my life.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life - they will overtake me and effect everyone who passes through my day...
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever... your house, your people - your body on the earth - we are the temple, and we will abide with and in Him forever...
What a powerful and beautiful picture He has given us for life. It brings me great peace to know, that no matter how far I wander in my ignorance or stupidity, He will find me and I will hear His voice directing me to safety and peace once again.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I will bless the Lord at all times
That's a pretty strong statement. How often do I sing it with oh such feeling and good intention, but when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of life, it's way to easy to complain rather than bless.
I look back at the last year of my life, and I am truly grateful for health (esp. that of my boys) and God's grace and provision. however, it has not been easy and I've not been myself. I don't know if it's a combination of the grief of losing my dad in 2008 and the regrets that only the passage of time can soften, or if it's the mid-thirty drift (heart, mind, horomones)- but somewhere I lost or put down my joy, and I didn't even realize it. It's been a struggle to truly enjoy each and every day - now i would not say i've been depressed (because I remember 1996 thankyou very much and never want to go back there) - no, but i remember feeling truly connected to myself, even when the world around me was uncertain and dark - i was sure and full. I enjoyed the smallest things, really enjoyed them. One of them was writing, another was going out, dressing up, cooking, decorating - and now, well, now
Perhaps its the toll of all the changes that last 2 years have brought finally catching up with me - gaining, losing, hurting, healing, losing again, fighting, letting go, giving up, surrendering, picking up, dusting off, trying again....
or it could just be the reality of me having to deal with issues I've long avoided... anyways, I remember that girl, the one I was and I'm wondering where she went, because the one looking at me from the mirror, well, she's just not me...
The great thing is though, that it won't be hard to find her, because she's been whispering to me all along (and of course, the Holy Spirit has been whispering to her all along too).
everything feels like WORK