Archives for posts with tag: hope

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Silent Sunday

endings

are

beginnings.

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Thankful for …my walks at the river and that this time, when I asked, everyone said, “No, not today…” but then when I was ready to go, there were two sons and one husband ready to go along for the ride…and the walk. Sweet surprise. Love going for a walk, but love it more when there’s someone walking beside me.

Thankful for walks that include walking and talking, and walking and not. Silence feels right at home in the woods.

Thankful for wide-eyed wonder and little eclipse watchers. Thankful for ‘aha’ moments and the way they bring together whoever has eyes to see.

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Thankful for sweet moments with students…for dancing to sight word songs and laughing out loud when students get my stupid jokes on the side. Thankful for stubborn stand-offs and seeing the moment that the student realizes maybe this teacher is being stubborn because she really does care…and that’s why she’s willing to dig her heels in and draw her lines to help teach students more than math and reading. Thankful for breakthroughs that come after ‘stand-offs’.IMG_5283.jpg

Thankful for the amazing sunset that Tanner and I saw on the way back from a trip to the mall to get some new shoes. It was the night of the eclipse, and was different than any sunset I’d ever seen. Oh, and am so thankful for the “I’m going to do my own thing” kind of spirit that my LeBron-loving-Tan-Man had as he purchased …Steph Curry shoes. Ha. Quite the dilemma for a bit, but he’s defining his own little walk and not walking in another’s shoes. Thankful for that…and for the laughter and freedom that came after the dilemma was solved and he decided that he indeed could wear his Cavaliers hat and Steph Curry shoes at the same time because …he could!

Thankful for encouragement from friends.  For verses shared and words spoken that hit the need spot-on at just the right time. Thankful for being able to walk with friends during the hard times and horse-laugh not just in the good, but in the hard. Yeah. It’s good to have people that know you and can see a broader view when you’re stuck in the middle. Sometimes laughter is the best thing to grant perspective for sure.

Thankful for my favorite quote of the week from a 5-year old little boy with an ultra-fun baby sitter ...”How do you spell ‘havingagreattime’?   🙂

Thankful for the many details worked out in a week during  yet another period of lots of transitions for adults in my life who happen to still be my children <3. Thankful for so many steps forward, and some back, but that that’s the dance of life. Am so very thankful for this dance of life. Thankful for the chances for ‘do-overs’, reboots,  and ‘let’s try that a different way’-s that are about so much more than getting it ‘right’, but more about growing those heart and mind and spirit muscles in these ones who I’ll always see as my greatest gifts…

and last but not least am thankful for a Friday night when pizza is on the menu (and the cinna-bites that Tan-man wanted so badly that were worth every minute of the extra ten minute wait). Thankful for a Friday night  when I can kick up my feet and read and rest and be thankful for the week behind, look forward to the week ahead, but quietly sit here in the middle of it all and reflect on some of the sweet moments of the week.IMG_5300

Happy Thankful Thursday on a Friday 🙂

Blessings ~

Heather

 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

 

Thankful Thursday

 

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Yesterday, I took a little time out to sort beads. I went outside on the deck to be in the sunlight where I could see the difference between navy blue and black, and dark purple and brown. Amazing the difference of sunlight versus inside light on color. True colors show through so much more in the natural light of the sun. And on the deck, I get fresh air, and hear the birds, and, it’s amazing how people from inside the house will come and sit next to me outside of the house when I just sit down out there. Love that. Tanner came on out and started sorting beads with me…

IMG_5258So why am I even wasting the time to write about sorting beads?  Because the thing is that I had one of those awful gut feeling, restless, unsettled nauseous kind of vibes today. Woke up with it.  I couldn’t shake it. Not with prayer or reading or even coffee. I had even had a sweet session of playing guitar and working on a new song, but that restlessness kept creeping back in. Like a slow moving fog that fills a void, it kept taking up space. My mind kept racing from one thing to the next, and speaking truth to myself to calm the crazy feelings was just not working.  There were no new worries…but today, my take on things was just not good. And I couldn’t concentrate for the restless thoughts racing around my brain.

So…that’s when I decided to get some mind-less chores done.  I did laundry. I finished the dishes. Then I decided to sort beads. Because my mind could race all it wanted and I could still tell the difference between blue and green. Yep, mindless work can be a good good thing. It gives a way to be productive when my level of productivity at more complex tasks wouldn’t be so great. Not so great at all.

As I sorted the beads, I was thankful for the light. Because some of the beads I had previously sorted were  in the wrong spots. I’ve learned that purple can look like brown and deep, deep greens can sometimes appear black until the light shines. Sunlight helps me see. I was thankful for the beauty of the colors…all of those beautiful colors….a spectrum of light.

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There’s that word again. LIGHT.  You know the cool thing about light?  ROYGBIV always gets in line perfectly. Every  shade and hue of each color knows their place…it’s part of the Grande Design. When a design is in place, when there’s a master plan, there’s no effort in having to recreate the (color) wheel. Every color has its place and every place has its  color.  They just naturally fall into line.

My life sometimes feels like an array of a million beads splashing the surface, in all different colors in mish-mash mess.  (Tanner said today, as a bead bounced across the deck,  “You sure drop beads a lot don’t you, Mom?”  Yep, no doubt. I sure do….  Not just literal beads…am dropping balls all the time….”) But see, that’s the thing. I think of God as that Master Artist who uses that color spectrum to paint beautiful things. In the Universe, in the world, and even in me. And what may appear to be a mish-mash mess of beads in disarray to me, may one day be beautifully aligned just the way He wants them to be. God can change things in an instant, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. He can and He does and He will. And the cool thing is, the more I seek Him, the more I see Him, and the more Light just invades my world. And when His light,…Son-light…shines in my world, it’s amazing how I see things in a whole different light and can say…”Oops…that bead is not black…it’s dark green…that goes over here….”

All of us may have a different array of beads, but oh the beauty when they are aligned by the One who created us with a purpose, with a plan, with a Love that surpasses all the darkness in a world that often has the lights turned off or down low.

Here’s a funny thing…as I thought about the colors and the beads and the Light, that queasy uneasy feeling in my stomach, that restlessness that invaded my thoughts and had my mind racing in the morning, it all started to fade away. Sometimes when we can’t figure things out, well, we’ve just gotta keep moving our feet and staying busy. Sometimes the mundane tasks in a day can be a great gift of diversion. Fogs that cloud our thoughts can invade the empty spaces in our hearts and minds, but so can light. Light can flood any space and fill it. And today for me, thinking on God’s love and light did just that for me. I’m sure hanging out with my Tan-man  helped too. Thankful.   Just sharing a few thoughts and gratitude for being able to sort through some issues by simple tasks like sorting beads and laundry.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  Funny…today is the day that many have been waiting for…total eclipse of the sun.  So I can’t leave without this little thought. May we be me moons that reflect the Light rather than block it. Reflect. Light. See. Shine. Good words for a world that sure does have a lot of darkness.

 

 

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It’s happened quite a few times in the past few weeks. After dinner and a day of teaching, I’ll get in the car to run a few errands, and find that the car isn’t going from point A to point B in an efficient way. Nope,not at all. It seems to take the long way and end up gravitating to one of a few places with wide open spaces where I can see the sun going down..kind of melting into the horizon.

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I don’t know what it is. Of course, there’s nothing like seeing a good sunset. It’s beautiful and calming, and always changing. No two are ever the same. It’s also a reminder that there’s way more ‘out there’ than my little microcosm. Lots lots more. Of course there is. But being reminded of it by appreciating how vast our world is and how small I am, well, it helps get things in perspective in such a freeing way.  Yeah, these little diversions aren’t a waste of time.

I can remember when my kids were little there were those moments in a day when they’d be playing and then just out of the blue run to me and give me a hug or kisses or flowers or reach for my hand. I remember so many of these sweet moments of them kind of touching base and then quickly returning to their play…, and those little diversions….those are what my sunset diversions are to me.  In the same way that my kids ran to me, it’s like me taking that time out of my day to just run to God and acknowledge Him, thank Him, experience Him. It’s an intentional time to be grateful for the grace to see another day, for the beauty that is so easy to overlook, for the many many things in my life I have to be thankful for. The needs and deficits can have a way of making themselves known…They can scream loud in a day. Yes, needs are like the squeaky wheels that demand to be recognized. But when I take a little time to recognize the awesome things that can be taken for granted, well, it just helps me exhale and breathe a little better for sure.

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I love the verse that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  It’s not just saying Know….or think on…or believe…the verse is saying taste, see.…experience…savor. Savor the favor. Savor the moments. Savor the grace. Savor, taste, enjoy.  Acknowledge that He is good. Acknowledge and experience His Presence. And somehow, I think that awareness that God is good, that savoring of His grace, so strengthens us  when it comes time to address the squeaky wheels and needs and drudgery that can be in a day. And there sure can be a lot of that in a day. But there sure is always a lot to savor too. Sometimes we may just have to take some diversions to see it…Love that. Thankful for that. Strengthened by that 🙂

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

the name of the LORD is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:3

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure:  God’s story never ends with ashes.”

~Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

Wordless Wednesday

I can hear it before I see it.  Some days it’s louder and faster and more powerful. Other days it’s slower and  more quiet and peaceful. But I can always hear it before I see it. DSCN1597.jpg

I know plants can’t hear. But I’m sure there’s some sense of the water raging by.

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And spiders hanging by threads inches from the waters edge….I’m sure that they are aware of the powerful force of the waves beneath them.

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And rocks,…more like boulders, that have been there in the midst of the water’s flow…they stand still as the river rages on.  I’m sure there’s erosion, but it’s a little by little wearing down.  It’s a standing in the midst of the raging waters…they’re still standing steady, well-grounded, as the waters rage on.

 

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The rock stands the test of time, but the flower…not so much. But then again perennials come back year after year, and if not perennial, well seeds reproduce and the flower lives on through its seed. But in its short life time as this flower?  The delicate presence remains delicate and beautiful and present no matter the flow of the river a few feet from the ground where it has grown.

As my camera lens was  zooming in on the plant, the spider, the rock and the flower, these objects came into focus, into clear view.  But the more I focused in on the objects, the more the fast-moving waters became blurred. I loved looking through the lens and seeing the objects standing still in the midst of a world of water rushing by. And I loved it for a few reasons.

Sometimes life can feel like the world around us is in fast forward overdrive motion. And we can be tempted to focus on those waters. And it might cause us to lose focus…to lose a sense of a clear view of who we are and what our purpose might be. Yeah, raging waters, spinning worlds,…they move fast. But that doesn’t mean the rock does. Or the flower. Or the plant, or even the tiny spider hanging on its web. Yes, I loved seeing the steady standing still of the objects as the water rushed by.

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And I love seeing people stand strong and steady in the midst of the storms in their lives. I’ve witnessed it quite a few times just this week in ordinary souls who choose to stand strong when their worlds come crashing down with difficult news or circumstances.   Steady hearts stay focused. But not on rushing winds or raging waves. Steady hearts stay grounded in truth.  In love. In hope beyond themselves. Staying steady and faithful in a world that encourages people to bail on beliefs and get caught up in the waves of the next momentary trip,…staying steady in this world encourages people to have hope and maybe stay steady themselves. Yeah, it all seems to depend on where the focus lies… on lies or truth…on hope or defeat…on integrity or momentary choices that can get us caught up in a current we had never intended to ride. A wavering heart can lead to wind-and-wave-driven feet. Steady heart….steady feet.

Well, these feet were so thankful for the walk and exercise, and the FitBit was congratulatory when I hit my steps goal. But am most thankful for the encouragement that comes when there’s a little time to reflect, to think, to see, to wonder. Am thankful that God’s Creation speaks (LOUDLY) of His Presence, and that His steadfast love can keep the most wavering of hearts steady when they are stayed upon, focused upon Him.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S. I can hear the river before I see it. And the cool thing is, I can hear the Word of God and ‘see’ with eyes of faith things come to life before I see them. I can trust, believe, stay steady and hold on tight to the Truth…and I believe….that then it’s just  a short walk or a long walk until I see it fleshed out in my life or the lives of those around me. Sometimes hearing comes before seeing, and believing comes before the answer is seen. But much in the same way that i can hear the waters rushing and then know the river is there, I can read the Truths of scripture and trust God with each prayer…because it’s only a matter of time before I catch glimpses of the answer…or better yet, catch glimpses of Him in the midst of it all.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for he who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10:23

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of Lord endures forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

 “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13

 

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Asheville, North Carolina July 7, 2017

Waves of Blue on Mountains High

Rolling in  as I stroll by

I Lift my heart,  I Lift my eyes

As waves of blue draw me nigh

And what comes as I lift my eyes

Waves of Grace I can’t deny

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On this ‘Thankful Thursday, am thankful for…

…for sun…and rain…and sunflowers in the rain.

…for the way the seed from bird feeders has allowed for these beauties to pop up in some of the most inopportune places…and that even though they looked like weeds, I didn’t pull these sunflowers because I knew what potential for beauty they held. They were worth the wait.DSCN0786

…for looking on the bright side of having old cars: no car payment,  low insurance rates, and the humility that comes with driving them. 🙂 Also for the time I have to catch up on my summer reading during the three hour repairzzzz.

…for two more days of “Summer break”.  For time well spent with family and friends and for all the things crossed off my “summer” to do list.

…for phone calls from one coast to another from my kids.  For connections with them that miles can’t take away. Yep. Very very thankful for that.

…for a new coffee mug that I love and use for way more coffee than any person should ever admit to drinking.

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…for three different “chance” meetings with people this week. Love how paths often cross at just the right times.

…for little hands and eyes that remind me of wonder 🙂

 

…for the reminder that life is precious … and the reminder that we need each other. (A friend from years gone by lost her 24 year old son… have written some things…but tough to find words for things so deep sometimes.) Prayers for Ashley and her family…and for those Jake left behind who adored him and are facing a deep ache and incredible void.) May God comfort in the ways that only He can. Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 2.12.28 PM

…for a friend sending me songs ‘out of the blue’ that helped yours truly beat a bad case of the blues. (Thanks Cheryl. Worship gets my eyes and heart back to where they need to be…. and for the so cool fact that the first one she sent was one of two that I keep playing over and over daily.)  One of my new favorites is Starlight by Amanda Cook. Bethel Music.

…for my camera and misty mornings walks. For cows that make me laugh and dandelions that so don’t look like weeds to me.

 

…for visual reminders that help me see and understand deeper truths that I need to take hold of…and the truth that “Love hopes all things, bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”  It was on the bulletin for my wedding. And “if I have not love…I am a clanging symbol…”  Below is a photo of a visual of “the two shall become one…”  Black sand mixing with white sand as a powerful visual.  Tough to separate grains of sand. Marriage is a blending, a meeting in the middle, a union. Yeah, good to have that reminder for me and my oh-so-polar-opposite-of-me-husband (and him and his oh-so-polar-opposite-of-him wife!) Thankful for the differences though…I really am.  A balance of extremes can be a good thing. Even a great thing. Just sometimes the blending of the two isn’t as easy as with sand.  At all.DSCN9764

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…for Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola (tastes like dessert… probably even qualifies as dessert!) and the time to eat breakfast outside on a cool summer morning. (Yep, there’s my new coffee cup ❤ ) For the views, the fresh air, and a new day and the birds flitting around from branch to branch singing their little hearts out.

…for ‘game changers’…truths that reach deep and transform mindsets and encourage and give strength and a new awareness for the day (or the minute as it may be)… (Ephesians 1: 18-20)DSCN0798

…for writing…blogging…and the venting and processing that comes with it. …for time to be able to write over these past few weeks, and for the creative outlet it is.  For connections with people I’ve never even met but feel like I know, and for the deeper connection made with people I do know that comes through sharing of thoughts, heart, and experiences and those moments of smiling because we get it and understand where the other person has walked or may be walking.

…for this verse…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  Thankful that the ‘wherever you go’ doesn’t have to be distant lands, or huge undertakings. The ‘wherever’ is wherever…. grocery stores, back yard decks, car service stations, business meetings, schools…yep. It covers “where-ever”.  And the courageous doesn’t have to be big and bold and earthshaking. It can be the quiet trust that knows that it’s not alone…and that thought alone is enough to empower and en-COURaGe to take the next steps…where-ever and what-ever they might be. 

One thing I know is that there is always a lot to be thankful for. Not just on  Thursdays, but every moment of every day.  I’ve just gotta take the time to see it.  So thankful for extra doses of time these past few weeks to do just that…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

Thankful Thursday

 

 

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