Saturday, February 28, 2009

Favourite Snoozle-Spots

"No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a  nap."
~ Carrie Snow

Cats truly have one of life's great pleasures figured out—there's nothing like taking a nap for restoring one's sense of balance and well-being. Miss Kitty certainly has learned the art of the nap. And she is well aware of her favourite snoozle-spots for her daily 'doze' of catnaps... the Victorian chair with its button tuck back being one of them. She knowing where the sun beams will hit at certain times of the day, where the quieter out-of-the way corners are for one of those longer snoozes, or where naps on a lap along with gentle chin tickles are doubled pleasures.

In truth, I have a few of my own favourite snoozle moments.... 
Under the shade of a palm tree on a Maui beach -- so far, I've only done that once, but it remains a favourite memory even years later.

A sunny bedroom with gentle summer breezes blowing through the lacy curtains at the open window.

Nestled beneath a soft downy comforter on a rainy day.

Beside the fireplace on a wintry evening.

Arriving at our comfortable hotel room after a busy tourist-y day and taking a nap before going out for dinner.

Stretching out on a blanket under the trees after an alfresco lunch in the park.

After a soak in the hot springs when your body feels all mushy and mellow.

Kitties really do know best. Naps are so luxurious and restful for both body and soul. Ovid once said, "Take rest; a field that is rested gives a beautiful crop." He's right.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Book: The Return of the Prodigal Son

In The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen shares about his experience when he sees a poster of Rembrandt's painting Prodigal Son. Something in the painting captures his imagination and becomes the catalyst that draws him on a 'long spiritual adventure' toward something the felt like 'home'.

He searches his own life in the gentle light of the New Testament story this painting portrays -- exploring the themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation. Anyone who has ever felt the feelings of the 'lost' prodigal son, or the pining father, or the resentful elder brother will find this book a powerful and transforming read. And should you be interested in the painting itself, the author offers some interesting things on that line too.

Excerpt 1, p. 37... 
"Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: "You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests" -- the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light."

Excerpt 2, p. 42
"As long as I keep running about asking: "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with 'ifs'. The world says: "Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much, and buy much." There are endless 'ifs' hidden in the world's love. These 'ifs' enslave me..."

Excerpt 3, p. 73
"Joy and resentment cannot coexist."

Excerpt 4, p. 81
"Each child of God has there his or her unique place, all of them places of God. I have to let go of all comparison, all rivalry and competition, and surrender to the Father's love... As long as I stay outside in the darkness, I can only remain in the resentful complaint that results from my comparisons. Outside of the light, my younger brother seems to be more loved by the Father than I. ... In the light of God I can finally see my neighbor as my brother, as the one who belongs as much to God as I do."

Excerpt 5, p. 115
"Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world. I have a friend who is so deeply connected with God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. . . .When he shares his experiences, he tells about the hidden joys he has discovered."

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Father's Love Letter

Every time I encounter The Father's Love Letter, I am always moved by its hopeful and affirming message. Whether or not you've read it before, I hope that you will allow these words of love to wrap around your heart and mind today. If you'd like to see the beautiful video of it instead, click here.

Resting in His Love,


And He is the Father you have been looking for all your life.
This is His love letter to you...

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you. 
Psalm 139:1 

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. 
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. 
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28 

For you are my offspring. 
Acts 17:28 

I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5 

I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12 

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book. 
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live. 
Acts 17:26 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14 

I knit you together in your mother's womb. 
Psalm 139:13 

And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love. 
1 John 4:16 

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 
1 John 3:1 

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father. 
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11 

For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48 

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. 
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33 

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11 

Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3 

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17 

I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40 

For you are my treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5 

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul. 
Jeremiah 32:41 

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3 

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me. 
Deuteronomy 4:29 

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 37:4 

For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13 

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine. 
Ephesians 3:20 

For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you. 
Psalm 34:18 

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart. 
Isaiah 40:11 

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes. 
Revelation 21:3-4 

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4 

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23 

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3 

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you. 
Romans 8:31 

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you. 
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 
Romans 8:31-32 

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me. 
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7 

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15 

My question is…
Will you be my child? 
John 1:12-13 

I am waiting for you. 
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

* * *

Father's Love Letter
(c) 1999 - 2009, Father Heart Communications
(used with permission)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Get On With One's Loving

This is a forever favourite movie; I have watched it so many times, I know the lines by heart. Enchanted April is the award-winning 1992 film that's based on the book with the same name by Elizabeth Von Arnim.  It tells the story of "four dissimilar women in post-war England who leave their damp and rainy environs to go on a holiday to a secluded coastal villa in Italy...They come together at the Villa and find rejuvenation in the tranquil beauty of their surroundings, rediscovering hope and love."

A lovely movie with beautiful scenery and wonderful music, there are many spots that 'enchant' me. A most favourite place in the movie comes when Lottie, who found her own heart suddenly well and overflowing with love, entreats Rose to remember that it's important to get on with one's loving.

Perhaps I'm drawn to the phrase because, in our busyness, it's so easy to lose sight of what our lives are really about. If all our 'doings' do not enhance the beauty, joy and meaning of our lives -- and those we love and those our lives touch in some way -- then how important is it, in the end?

A perfect reminder as we celebrate Valentine's Day -- the day we give special attention to love. But like Lottie, I'm also eager to grace the other 364 days with ways to surprise, encourage, and just get on with our loving. Not just romantic love, but love in all its forms. After all, what can be more important?

With loving thoughts,

Monday, February 09, 2009

All the Beautiful Shells

One of my favourite places in Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea is the chapter entitled, A Few Shells. In it, she chats about how greedily she collected sea shells upon her arrival to her island hideaway all those years ago. She couldn't let one go by unnoticed; she couldn't even walk with her head up looking out to the sea, for fear of missing another gift from the sea.

Yet, as her tale continues, once her bookcase and window ledges were overflowing with her abundant collection, she began to be more selective in her choices. She realized,
 " cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few. ... For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant -- and therefore beautiful. A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side."

I live where I can enjoy abundance in just about everything. I'm truly grateful, yet there are those moments when I long for the simplicity -- and beauty -- of less. Where there are more silences between the notes and lots of white spaces where eye and soul can rest.

Perhaps this is a perfect time for me to begin clearing out some of that excess.... perhaps this longing of my soul for space to breathe more deeply will make it easier to be more selective and release what is no longer needed.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Simply Sunday... Keeping Sunday Quiet

I like to keep Sundays as a quieter and simpler day. It doesn't always work out that way, but an ideal week for me includes a day where I can shrug off the cares of the business at hand, to take time to pause and reflect, to look inward and upward.

Peter Marshall, (1902 - 1949), a Scottish-born minister who became Chaplain of the US Senate, gave us a similar thought shaped in a prayer:

"In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live---time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other."

I used to think the harried hurriedness of our society was just a malady of the 21st century, but after reading various books and accounts of people living in other decades and centuries, it seems each generation faces the temptation to 'live too fast'.

I've been learning that it takes deliberate planning to make space in my week to rest. But I'm also learning the value of taking that time, as Peter Marshall says, to become better acquainted with God, to relish the myriad blessings that have come my way, and to savour the friendships I share with family and friends.

I wish you a gentle rhythm of peace and rest today... may you have time to pause and enjoy!