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Archive for the ‘Chasing Grace’ Category

Can I just start off by saying…I have been dreading this week’s theme from Darcy… you see I am the girl behind the camera not infront of it. I have tried to find a back door to slip out of but at last gave in when no magical doors appeared! I suppose self-portrait is self-portrait, or I am just not creative enough to get out of it.

Once I embraced the fact that I was going to actually have to come out from behind my camera, where I live, I knew exactly the shot I wanted to capture. Every evening about 5 or so the sun begins to set in front of our little house. I just love, love, love how the light floods the yard and shoots out from behind the trees and above the houses. It always captivates me and sends me into a magical world and thoughts of heaven light up my heart. It is like a spark of celestial joy rushes through the viens of life with in me and just for a second gives me a glimpse of eternity, of glory.

Yes, that is really what happens every time I am struck with the sun setting in my front yard… aren’t you jealous?

{Here is another photo I captured in this glorious sun light}

::

Well for the last 3 days it has been cloudy with 100% chance of terrential pour down and overcast when it wasn’t so I didn’t expect to be able to get my desired shot but heaven broke open this afternoon just as we were about to take a late afternoon walk in the crisp cool air. I ran for my camera like a crazy lady, truly crazy {especially if you were driving by my house when I was holding my camera above my head trying to get just the right shot of myself in my front yard. Conceited much? No really it is for a photo challenge, oh well… think what they will}.

I was able to get 3 shots… that was all the grace I was given before my battery died. This one was the best shot although not perfect… which is perfect neither am I… but I did capture the sun exactly as I had pictured…

How kind was it of Him to grant this silly girl such a silly little desire of the heart… I know how small I am and I am grateful, grateful. I pray that my gratitude for all of His many kindness and graces in my life will flood the earth in glory as this late afternoon sunset does each day in my front yard, for me.

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project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge my3boybarians.com

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“Seek God, not joy.” Elizabeth Prentiss

She says, this wise woman from the past, a woman who was said to have breathed sanctified air as a child. An old soul lost in the years. Her words are on my wall, a constant reminder that it is Him that I seek and there that true joy is found. A mysterious joy of the believer.

And so counting itself takes faith.

After each number I find a little more of Him, a counting not only into joy but into faith. We are told to “Count it all joy, when we meet trials of various kinds” in James.

Count it all joy?

Only faith can count it all joy in the midst of trials, see grace among the chaos, and find joy. Ann is daring the world to count God’s gifts right into JOY, and making it a habit, a new way of life.

It’s a dare to see God, a dare to believe God, that He is who He says He is… Emmanual, God with us. That even when our hearts are so full of worry, fear, grief, and pain we can have that joy that James talks about because we are loved. Counting the joy even in the midst of trials, those trials that dare us to ask the question, “is God enough?”

A dare that can change our lives forever.

::

I will be starting over, again, for a fresh start in 2012. 1000 gifts in a year, 3 gifts or more a day. I really like her JOY Dare calendar and will try to capture the gifts she suggests as well as others that introduce themselves to me through out the days.

So here is what I have captured so far…

 The passions given to me to love my family… reading… and writing. {3 things about myself I am grateful for}

  Tom-cat our adopted outside cat… Spice our soft furry white angel, a companion to us all… dirt and leaves left out in the grass from boyhood experiments. {a gift outside, inside, on a plate}

“She was beautiful” of the girl all dressed in white, the bride of the day… Kai speaking of bubbles, “they are like little friends, but they die… because they pop.”… “Amaris you are beautiful”, Eli spoken sweetly to his little sister. {3 lines I overheard that were graces}

Peace and Joy, my two Willow Tree angels that stand on my kitchen window sill from my sweet and lovely husband during a time of need… two sweet little fabric birds that match my bedding bought by a friend… the cross neclace around my neck with the little blue gemstone that I have worn for years. {one gift old, new, & blue}

Reading James with my husband in the evening… a future… his breathing heavy in sleep, sweet rest for a weary, tired soul. {something you’re reading, you’re making, you’re seeing}

M&M’s spilled all over the bottom of my purse, colors of love and chocolate… sour cream a close friend of ours… love. {one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart}

Daily big wet juicy kisses given with no expectations from Josai… an I love you Momma note… a message of encouragement from a friend. {3 graces from people you love}

The sun going down as we drive over the bridge into town…  a cats reflection in the window in the darkness… kitchen chairs on the hardwood floor. {light that caught you, a reflection that surprised you, a shadow that fell lovely}

A book, read aloud before naptime to a tired little boy… laundry clean and ready to fold… my oldest son on the kitchen counter while we did math together. {a gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, a gift you sat with}

27 gifts captured

and also…

a last minute afternoon walk by the lake.

a beautiful smile, a pause in our walk

brave boys on bikes going down steps

a wild soul, always a wild soul pedaling fast through life

a boy and his pink car, love

the rocks that sit quietly in the water, a reminder to be still

a pause for a sunset full of geese

34 in all

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Life is so full of delicious moments that can so easily, by my own permission, slip by untasted.

This afternoon I found encouragement in questions…

How does a heart sorrow over the time forever gone and still be present to the wonder of the time that is now?

How do we let go of what once was and accept what now is?

Questions I have been battling  {questions I know others around me are battling as well} as I try to live accepting change, accepting what I don’t understand.

Questions I already know the answer to and have known… from the beginning. To the one word that can heal

Eucharisteo.

Yes, thanks.

I am a mess, my life is a mess but I can choose to give thanks and live fully, right here.

Tasting the moments of this life, of Him.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 38:4

This is why I run hard after it. Why it is such a passion of mine. Desperately chasing after it, this grace and capturing it’s magic with my lens, so that I might just taste and see a little more of His goodness… right here, through this pain. Through this life of pain, constantly learning to let go… and live right here.

With each moment captured I do the unthinkable, the miraculous… I hold grace.

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There were 8 million other people who could have been here instead of me… am I going to be ungrateful?

Imagine this reality, let it sink in deep. Eight million other people could have been here instead of you.

What does that mean to you?

Does it fill you with eucharisteo, with awe and wonder of His amazing grace. Will you walk outside this morning and see with eyes wide open to His gifts, to His gift.

::Life::

 ::Breath::

Can you embrace your smallness, that you are but a snowflake in this blizzard?  Can you give thanks, see the beauty of it all swirling around you. You are surrounded, we are surrounded by grace.

Live now. Relish the tensions, the challenges, and laugh at the pains. N.D. Wilson

Can we do this…live now, relish the tensions, the challenges, and laugh at the pains?? Really. Is he just crazy, or can we get here one day where our hearts are so full of grace that we can truly live and trust… and laugh at it all?

I wonder.

Because I am not quite there yet.

So I continue to count, to chase His grace that surrounds me.

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::orange sunrises

::little stray cats that come everyday to our back door, beggers for survival

::their little reminder of the broken and hungry souls that are begging for the bread of life

::the call to go even though it is painful

::this pain of going, of saying goodbye

::a week of purging my heart from the here

::of looking to the future of there

::filling boxes to sell and to store away

::the uncertainty of our future

::living on faith

::walking blindly yet with eyes wide open

::naked walls; more pain of this reality

::11 years of love

::love; this miracle that won’t let me go

::a man who won’t let me go

::strong and deeply passionate for the things of God

::his smile

::his laugh; the most joyful comforting sound that fills my heart

::his eyes; blue-green hazel goodness that captures my soul

::his leading; knowing I can trust him with my life

::his deep reverence for the word

::his heart pouring out every Sunday in truth and in love

::the grace that fills him up and enables him to live joyfully

::his imperfections and all those little things that annoy me, I love them all

::a massive garage sale…

::finding Him amongst the chaos

::this journey of giving thanks, this opening of my eyes to see the world wide awake

::book; pages filled with words that breathe life and encouragement

::cool morning breezes

::laughing children

::the warm colors that are filling my home again

::the arrival of Autumn, slowly

::Pumpkins

::little things like toys left on the coffee table from a baby boy

::an early morning trip to the bathroom by two wispering boys

::the plastic butterfly that sits on my commentaries

::the soft humming of a humidifier

::Josai talking himself awake

::friends who labor in love

::soft baby cheeks

::a boy home from a 3 day youth hunting trip with his Papa Pat

::his smiling face walking through the door

::a little brother with a love drawn note awaiting his arrival

::an evening of UNO won by the girl in the bunch

::a night of wispers, laughter, and joy from the bedroom

::baby language

::signing a bridge of communication

::little hands signing more

::

Counting with Ann this morning, chasing hard after grace…

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This journey of learning to live eucharisteo is still proving to be hard. I can see more clearly how decieved my heart has been, how often I choose to be blind to the magic in the ordinary because I refuse to humble myself and live with my eyes wide open.

What would it be to live with eyes wide open to the grace of the Giver in my life? What exactly does that mean, anyway?

The grace of the Giver?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

{Romans 6: 23}

Our free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Eternal, everlasting life is the grace of our Giver. He gave His Son to pay our wages and give us this free gift.

If we miss all other gifts, let this one never escape our sight. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the One we remember. The center of our faith.

All other gifts find their being, their beauty in this one truth. This is what it is all about, this eucharisteo and I do not want to miss it.

::Him::

Every eucharisteo is remembering Him, lest we forget.

When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in rememberence of me.” 

{1 Corinthians 11:24}

I long to live and breathe this eucharisteo because I long to remember Him in this vanishing life with every breath.

Reflect today on simply remembering Him.

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A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.

HenryWard Beecher

I had to sit down with my oldest son the other day, he was being ungrateful for the food that was placed before him. It wasn’t what he wanted. It wasn’t we he thought he deserved. He thought he deserved something better than the gift that was placed before him, pride decieved him into seeing the gift as a curse.

How often do we do this? How often does our pride keep us from seeing His gifts, His grace? More often than we would like to admit it, as my son. His pride decieved him into thinking that he deserved something better for lunch.

Our pride makes us ungrateful, blinded to our sin. Pride is an enemy of eucharisteo. An enemy of the cross pouring grace into our broken lives.

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” Obadiah 1:3

The pride of their hearts deceived the Edomites, lifting them higher than their gift Giver. Their dwelling place was not in the Lord and they became ungrateful and blinded, forgetting God altogether. Have we done the same?

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Let us live low, close to the earth, grounded in grace.

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Preoccupied with ourselves, we have lost the grace of being thankful.  It is sad to live in a world where there is no one to thank because we have ourselves become the cause and source of all good things.

John Hannah

Are we occupied with the things of God or with ourselves? This will determine how we see

Let us live our lives with eyes wide open, fully awake.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

 1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks because He is good, not because you are good. Give thanks because you are not good and because He is.

::Empty to Fill::

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