Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Meditation...Keep Choosing God

Source:  Little Birdie Blessings

Have I ever mentioned that Henri J.M. Nouwen is one of my favourite spiritual writers? His words often speak wisdom and counsel, not to mention comfort, into my heart on days when I feel my ship is blown off course... or worse yet, caught on a sandbar or reef.

He is expert at knowing how to get to the nub of issues ... and often I find myself nodding, Yes, you must be reading my mail. I understand....and thank you for bringing your own struggles out in the open so that I know I'm not alone in this.

This morning, I was dipping into his book The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom. A folded piece of paper already marked the spot that had obviously been meaningful in a previous reading. As I read the piece again, I felt drawn to share a wee except here with you:

Keep Choosing God

"You are constantly facing choices. The question is whether you choose for God or for your own doubting self. You know what the right choice is, but your emotions, passions, and feelings keep suggesting you choose the self-rejecting way.

The root choice is to trust at all time that God is with you and will give you what you most need. Your self-rejecting emotions might say, 'It isn't going to work. I'm still suffering the same anguish I did six months ago. I will probably fall back into the old depressive patterns of acting and reacting. I haven't really changed.' And on and on. It is hard not to listen to these voices.
Still, you know that these are not God's voice. God says to you, 'I love you, I am with you, I want to see you come closer to me and experience the joy and peace of my presence. I want to give you a new heart and a new spirit. I want you to speak with my mouth, see with my eyes, hear with my ears, touch with my hands. All that is mine is yours. Just trust me and let me be your God.'

This is the voice to listen to. And that listening requires a real choice, not just once in a while but every moment of each day and night.  It is you who decides what you think, say, and do. You can think yourself into a depression, you can talk yourself into low self-esteem, you can act in a self-rejecting way. But you always have a choice.... so move toward the Light, the Truth, and the Life."

This is what came to mind as I was typing the words above... that often we fear the old ways will come back, that it isn't going to work this time, that because we're still suffering the same anguish, we'll probably fall back into our old patterns.

But the perfect love of Jesus casts out fear. We do not have to be afraid of these things.  The way I see it, it's the fear that causes us to stumble or fall.

Maybe we have missed it...again. But we don't have to stay there. As Henri Nouwen so beautifully puts it, we have choices. And today, I choose God. I choose to believe him... that even this area of current failure will one day be a radiant testimony that his grace is always enough ... always!



With a gentle kiss atop thy heads,






Friday, March 21, 2014

Fresh Cinnamon Buns and A Movie



Happy first day of Spring, even though it feels and looks more like winter today. In celebration, I pulled out my sis-in-law's recipe for quick and easy cinnamon buns to have as a treat with coffee in the afternoon.




I won't tell you that Rick and I each had two of these buttery, crispy morsels with our freshly brewed coffee. Neither of us batted an eye when the suggestion went forth 'shall we have seconds'? And there wasn't even a hint of guilt around either, for which we were most grateful!



Almost as soon as they came out of the oven -- we don't like to waste time letting them cool -- we sat down with our treats and whiled away a cold-ish afternoon watching the graceful Joan Plowright in that lovely English movie Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. It was delightful.

I didn't realize the movie was a novel turned into screenplay. Which I feel excited about, as now I look forward to exploring the other writings by the English author, Elizabeth Taylor (1912 - 1975) ... (no, she's not the actress-of-the-violet-eyes fame). If the rest of her novels and short stories are as thoughtful and appealing as the story of Mrs. Palfrey, then I look forward to reading more.

According to one write-up, Miss Taylor's work is mainly concerned with the nuances of "everyday" life and situations, something I'm most interested in exploring myself.

On that note.... I'm wishing you a pleasant rest of the day.
Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Dreamin' Stage...

Photo Source:  morguefile.com


Every dream begins with a dreamer ~ Susan Branch


It's like Spring around here today. And my heart is so happy about it. Blue skies with frilly clouds floating past my study window. Sunshine making the snow melt to beat the band. And the neighbour's black and white Sylvester kitty cat enjoying his leisurely sniff and stroll atop the fence behind our house. (That reminds me, Christine, you once asked about Orange Kitten; her family moved away and I assume she moved with them. She was such a little sweetheart, that kitty). 

Add to that, a large teacup of lemon ginger tea with two homemade gingersnaps waiting on the little tray beside me... and you'll understand that Life. Feels. Pretty. Wonderful. Today.

We fervently hope that those long cold days of 'no sign of spring' will soon be a distant memory of Winter 2014. And we can start colouring in the calendar with different scenes. Like opening windows wide and letting in those fresh spring breezes. Bouquets of tulips on the table. The sounds of robins whistling from chimney stacks. And, yes, even the roar of the first lawn mower starting off the season of getting that grass cut. It's. All. Welcome.

We're writing.  Yes, we are.  But as you will note, it's not here on my blog at present. Which I am sorry about. But I'll get the rhythm back for that one day soon.

You see, I've been mulling and mooning over a book I've started. It began when I took that memoir class back in the fall. As I struggled to get it out on e-paper (with much pencil chewing and erasing), I realized that having a good seed idea is a long way from having it ready to blossom out onto the paper screen.

There's a whole lot of dreamin' and growing needed between times. And that, my beautiful friends, is a lot of what I've been doing these past weeks. (And, yes we still haul ourselves out of bed in the wee small hours to clean at our local performing arts center). So in truth, the cold days of winter were 'hardly' noticed as I mooned around wondering where to start, what memories to select, deciding the focus and pinning down that one teeny tiny slice of life upon which everything else will hinge and unfold......

Oh yes, and another thing that kept turning up to stall things is that defiant regiment I call 'The French Resistance' .... every sort and type of resistance of limiting beliefs and fears that could ever grow inside one's head and heart to stop one from moving forward. It all started showing up. So you'll understand that we've had to begin a fierce weeding regime to work through all that ole nonsense too.

The story I'm writing... did I hear someone asking about it?  It's a love story... my love story.

I don't know if I ever told you that I was single a long time before I ever met and married my wonderful husband. And it's been stirring in my heart for a while now to share that story... of a young woman's longing for love and marriage, the journey of discovery that one can live a beautiful and fulfilling life as a single person. Dealing with the angst of marrying the wrong person. And, discovering that loving the Lord Jesus truly opens the way to love one's self as He loves her.

Which then makes having a relationship with that Very Special Someone begin to look, feel and taste so much more like 'heaven on earth' (than that other place).

It's also about waiting for God's timing and trusting for the right ending, believing that no good thing will he withhold from those who trust him. As my dear sister once mentioned to me in the beginning stages of this love story, the rose that gets picked too soon won't bloom. Meaning, of course, if you push for a relationship...plucking its tender petals too early will cause it to die and wither rather than come into its full and fragrant bloom.

Of late, I'm being inspired by Susan Branch. She is a delight. She's creative, generous, funny...and has a gift for encouraging her readers to follow their dreams.  The ones, I believe, God places within our hearts. You may recall that Rick gave me Susan's book A Fine Romance for Valentine's Day and I've been exploring her blog ever since.

One of those sayings that keeps coming up in Susan's book and writings is....

If you can dream it, you can make it so.  



Photo source:  morguefile.com


Because nothing happens unless first we dream.

~ Carl Sandburg




So that's where I'm at right now.  And I'm happy to report that I'm physically feeling much more rested and ready to enjoy this new season.

On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful day. And may you catch multitude glimpses of heaven in unexpected places all week long......

Hugs and blessings,


 




   

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Peace Within

Earlier this week, I came across a lovely collection of poetry during a visit to the local library. It's entitled She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poetry, as selected by Caroline Kennedy.

"Inspired by (Caroline Kennedy's) own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother, She Walks in Beauty draws on poetry's eloquent wisdom to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman." ~ Amazon Book Description

I probably don't have to tell you, but I'm already yearning to have this beautiful book as part of my own collection of bedside reading. (Mmm.... that might have to go on my wish list for an upcoming birthday.)

Especially drawn to one poem written by St. Teresa of Avila (which I also found online here), I share it with you below as a little gift from my heart to yours as we start a new month and a new week.




“May today there be peace within.


May you trust God
that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget
the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content
knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom
to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.” 


With a gentle kiss atop thy head,
Brenda
xox