AdventPhotos2016 – Listen

30 11 2016

I took this photo last month when we spent a couple of weeks visiting the kids down on Florida’s gulf coast; we brought Bill’s parents down with us this time. I couldn’t tell you which day this was, mainly because at some point every day Bill & Dad were sitting in conversation. I don’t think I know of any two people on this planet who enjoy conversing more than these two.  In this pic, they’re out on the balcony. They usually start in the main area with everyone else – the on, there are lots of voices, dishes are clattering – but at some point they’ll get up and go into another room; just the two of them. It’s too hard to listen to just the one voice with all the other voices, noises, and activity. If and when I want to get Bill’s attention when he is with his dad, I don’t usually get a response from him on my first call, it’s at least two (sometimes more); “Honey” “Honey” “Bill” before his head pivots around to respond. In those times he’s listening for only one voice, his dad’s.

Advent is my balcony. A space separated from the normal clatter and chatter of everyday life. A place for me to listen, really listen, for His voice.


Heart – AdventPhotos (2015#7)

6 12 2015

The symbol of love, our feeling selves. This photo is my iPad background!
And every time I see it, it reminds me of the amazing blessing I have experienced throughout my life of an earthly father who has made it so very easy for me believe that my Heavenly Father wants only what is best for me. And, the capacity for unconditional, graceful love that I continue to understand more and more, the longer I am permitted the gift of being a parent and now, grandparent.

Covenant – AdventPhotos (2015#6)

4 12 2015

We’re Here To Recognize…

3 12 2010

How many times do you suppose we think about doing something only to have it disappear into the busyness of the day? For me, the answer is “too often.”   As I was reading the scripture passage from I Corinthians and I sensed the Spirit underlining a couple of verses for me I decided to not allow that prompting to become buried under a pile of tasks. I’m going to act on it now.

The verses that nudged my heart are I Cor. 16: 17-18 (HCSB) “I am delighted over the presence of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus…for they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore recognize such people.” The author of this letter is the Apostle Paul and for some reason I have always pictured him as being a fairly stern sort of guy. He seems to be pretty intense most of his writing and so I think it might have been that word “delighted” that caught my eye. It’s just such a happy, joyful word. He follows up on that by saying that these three guys have “refreshed” him.  Now, if he needed RE-freshed that would seem to indicate that that there was a period of time when  he was DE-freshed, which I can certainly relate to after this past year.  He then adds the instruction for us to give recognition to the refreshing people in our lives, and that’s where this post picks up.

I started thinking about the refreshing people in my life over the past six months. The longer I thought  the longer my list got.   It was starting looking like I would need to write a book on this topic, but that’s not something that can happen within the  “right now” requirement I gave myself, so I decided to follow Paul’s example here.  He recognized three people in the referenced writing.  That seemed like a good pattern to follow.  I’m sure there were countless more he could have recognized, but he just picked three.  I also added the criteria that they couldn’t be related to me.   These are three people who I am absolutely delighted to have in my life and who have been a consistent source of refreshment to my spirit over the past, somewhat de-freshing,  six months and  I want to recognize them.

Donna Book has been an unwavering source of practical, tangible support to me.  I said to my mom the other day that I can’t mention anything that I am wanting or needing in Donna’s earshot or she will get it and/or do it for me.     She has given a shoulder to cry on in times of hurt and frustration and has made sacrifices to enable my ministry that leave me utterly humbled by her generosity.    Her gift of giving keeps me in a position of always wanting to balance the scales in our friendship, but the truly beautiful thing is that she’s never keeping score.

Ginny Reisinger has a gift of encouragement that she has selflessly poured into my life in a way that I find continually inspiring.   As I pull out of my driveway on my way in to the office, I look across the street at our church and I know that Ginny has been there for the previous hour in prayer, and I’ve been on her prayer list.  I begin each work day with a prayer she has penned especially for that day.Her weekly affirmation that she can see God working in and through me is, in the words of the commercial, priceless.

My third individual probably has no idea that he is one of my “refreshers.”  Jim Lucas is a man of quiet fortitude and faithfulness.  Obstacles  do not defeat him.  I can’t think of a single thing I have done to make his life any better, and yet every Sunday, he stops me on my way past his seat in the back row of  Highpoint’s Worship Center to tell me he loves and appreciates me.  It’s a wonderful thing to be appreciated for who you are,  not just for what you do.  When I watch Jim, I am motivated anew to persevere.  When I talk to Jim, well, let’s just say there are far worse things that have been said to and about me than being told that I am  “cuter than a speckled pup.”

So how about you?  What if you were to follow Paul’s admonission to recogonize your refreshers?  Who are three people on your list and how can you give them recognition for the way they have nurtured your spirit?  If you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear about them.

Relationship Rescue (Part 2)

1 02 2010

There was a “thing” going around in my area of the Facebook universe last week. You were supposed to change your profile pic to a famous person that you look like. It sounded like a perfect way to ruin a day – I mean, do I really need 50 people posting “You’ve GOT to be kidding!” on my wall after I change my picture to one of Wonder Woman?  Not really, so I didn’t bother.   But, oddly enough, I did notice that the same topic of look-a-likes was raised in the book of Genesis.

Jacob and Esau are traveling toward each other after years of separation caused by relational conflict.  Jacob sends a gift ahead of him to Esau.   He expresses his hope that Esau will receive the gift and forgive him, but he is incredibly  fearful that Esau is coming toward him to seek revenge.

Chapter 33 is the climax to the story, they see each other, Jacob is filled with trepidation and uncertainty, but Esau runs to embrace him, telling him that no gift is necessary and then we read this breathtaking verse 10.   Jacob says to Esau, “I have seen your face, and it is like seeing God’s face, since you have accepted me.”  What an amazing and beautiful thing to have said of you – that you look like God.

Paul articulates the same thought in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 18; “We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord…”

We’ve all been wronged by others.  Maybe they did something that was unintentionally hurtful, or maybe what they did was so on purpose that it seemed like they were following a written plan on destroying your relationship.   Whatever the cause of the rift in the relationship, we see in Esau’s response to Jacob a pattern to follow when moving toward reconciliation.  Not a response of recrimination.  No demand for restitution.  But simple acceptance.

Would that my response toward others, those who are fearful, who are coming back toward home; those who have done wrong; even when it’s been directed at me; would be a response of such acceptance that they would say that I remind them of God.