Pages

Monday, March 28, 2011

Multitudes on Monday


Last week I began my new book, One Thousand Gifts.
And last week I took the dare to live fully right where I am.
I bought a new journal to record the gifts...and recorded 100 on day 1.

I am just a beginner, but before I ever found this book or A Holy Experience, I gave my Savior the gift of gratitude for Christmas.  And gratitude is what I worked on through January and February, progress was minimal but concerted none the less.  But on March 1st when I found the book, and read the first chapter online, and found the blog, gratitude every day seemed no more like drudgery, but salvation.  And not only this, but attainable, within my reach, like a star falling right into my cupped hands.
A goal for Gratitude has become a year of Eucharisteo.

Now I am on gift #217 and I'm still a beginner, yet aren't we all?  Beginners at truly coming to know Christ? and His goodness? and mercy?

But I am starting to see, clearly, and finding joy in the process, in the journey, in the moments.
It seems that now my test is to endure the hard eucharisteo, and the things like rain and snowy trials that don't look like grace.  But they are.  Because all is grace, even this.  And all is well, because everywhere there is a well to drink the living waters, we just must search and seek to find.

Some days He showers down sunshine unending and we feel and taste of His love so abundantly.
Other days He showers down sleet and hail and we feel and taste of bitterness if we choose, or grace if we have eyes to see that storms grow the trees and plants just as much as the sunshine.  
And we are the trees....needing the sunshine...and the storms.


#1. Awakening to home all quiet and peaceful.
#2. Knowing I have a Savior.
#4. A new notebook with its promise of fresh pages.
#44. First somersaults
#48. Small tick of clock inviting me to slow and savor.
#60. Light sparkle in the cracks of blinds
#67. Kisses "left on."
#85. New spices wrapped in glass bottles.
#88. Laughing--really and truly with my sweeetie.
#96. The love-knowing that comes from 5 years of marriage.
#99. Aching hand from a day of gift-chronicling
#129. The joy of the unknown future and the adventure it will be.
#136. Red velvety cupcakes with cream cheese icing
#141. Little Bear telling me my fresh blow-dried hair was so beautiful.
#142. Burnt orange weeds all aflame with the fire of God.
#143. Warm home-baked bread with creamy honey or chunky peanut butter and raspberry jam
#145. Practicing Eucharisteo when it's hard.
#149. Mid-afternoon napping in my sweetheart's arms.
#151. Still hoping...
#162. Feeling the peace of being so close to nature and God...

Multitudes on Monday


Last week I began my new book, One Thousand Gifts.
And last week I took the dare to live fully right where I am.
I bought a new journal to record the gifts...and recorded 100 on day 1.

I am just a beginner, but before I ever found this book or A Holy Experience, I gave my Savior the gift of gratitude for Christmas.  And gratitude is what I worked on through January and February, progress was minimal but concerted none the less.  But on March 1st when I found the book, and read the first chapter online, and found the blog, gratitude every day seemed no more like drudgery, but salvation.  And not only this, but attainable, within my reach, like a star falling right into my cupped hands.
A goal for Gratitude has become a year of Eucharisteo.

Now I am on gift #217 and I'm still a beginner, yet aren't we all?  Beginners at truly coming to know Christ? and His goodness? and mercy?

But I am starting to see, clearly, and finding joy in the process, in the journey, in the moments.
It seems that now my test is to endure the hard eucharisteo, and the things like rain and snowy trials that don't look like grace.  But they are.  Because all is grace, even this.  And all is well, because everywhere there is a well to drink the living waters, we just must search and seek to find.

Some days He showers down sunshine unending and we feel and taste of His love so abundantly.
Other days He showers down sleet and hail and we feel and taste of bitterness if we choose, or grace if we have eyes to see that storms grow the trees and plants just as much as the sunshine.  
And we are the trees....needing the sunshine...and the storms.


#1. Awakening to home all quiet and peaceful.
#2. Knowing I have a Savior.
#4. A new notebook with its promise of fresh pages.
#44. First somersaults
#48. Small tick of clock inviting me to slow and savor.
#60. Light sparkle in the cracks of blinds
#67. Kisses "left on."
#85. New spices wrapped in glass bottles.
#88. Laughing--really and truly with my sweeetie.
#96. The love-knowing that comes from 5 years of marriage.
#99. Aching hand from a day of gift-chronicling
#129. The joy of the unknown future and the adventure it will be.
#136. Red velvety cupcakes with cream cheese icing
#141. Little Bear telling me my fresh blow-dried hair was so beautiful.
#142. Burnt orange weeds all aflame with the fire of God.
#143. Warm home-baked bread with creamy honey or chunky peanut butter and raspberry jam
#145. Practicing Eucharisteo when it's hard.
#149. Mid-afternoon napping in my sweetheart's arms.
#151. Still hoping...
#162. Feeling the peace of being so close to nature and God...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Will I forget Him?


From my search in the Book of Mormon today, I found hard doctrines and piercing questions stung my heart.

"And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and proper those who put their trust in him.

"Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One--yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity." (Helaman 12:1-2)

These thoughts cause me to examine my heart:  
Will I forget Him?
"Lord, is it I?" (Matthew 26:22) 

And my Savior is asking, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67)

And I want to answer with my whole heart and soul, "No, Lord, I will never leave Thee, I will never forget Thee or betray Thee."

But my question is, how?

How do I do this when the natural, carnal man is "quick to be lifted up in pride...quick to boast...slow...to remember the Lord their God, and give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths!" (Helaman 12:5)

And in His goodness, the Lord answers:  "And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him." (Helaman 12:3)

Is this one of the reasons there is death and darkness and affliction and heartbreak and trial and storm everywhere we turn in this fallen world?  To bring us back to Him?  To help us remember Him in the depths of humility?  Perhaps.

Ann says, "All is grace." And it is.  The Lord is over all and cradles each our lives in the palm of His hand, clothing us as the lilies of the field, and when it is eternally hard to see how our trials will bring us happiness, we must simply have faith in the Almighty that one day, our furnaces of affliction will have fired our souls into pure gold...when all the dross and impurities have melted away. (See 1 Peter 1:7)

And to be fit for the Kingdom, we must be fit...exercised through much trial.  Else, how will we feel worthy to be in the Savior's presence, eternally living in His kingdom, if we have never experienced the bitter?  He, who was perfect, descended below all things, and we who are ever so imperfect wish to be exempt?  The thought makes reason stare.  We are to follow His example in all things, even to Gethsemane and Calvary.  Only when we have passed through heart-wrenching experiences will we ever feel worthy to live with Him again...because even our greatest suffering cannot hold a candle to what He suffered infinitely for all mankind.

This is the bitter that will one day be sweet, Eucharisteo.  Full Eucharisteo and undefiled.

May I never forget, or leave, or forsake.
May I remember, even in my wealth, even in my poverty. May I remember Thee, and all the good Thou hast done.


Will I forget Him?


From my search in the Book of Mormon today, I found hard doctrines and piercing questions stung my heart.

"And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and proper those who put their trust in him.

"Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One--yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity." (Helaman 12:1-2)

These thoughts cause me to examine my heart:  
Will I forget Him?
"Lord, is it I?" (Matthew 26:22) 

And my Savior is asking, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67)

And I want to answer with my whole heart and soul, "No, Lord, I will never leave Thee, I will never forget Thee or betray Thee."

But my question is, how?

How do I do this when the natural, carnal man is "quick to be lifted up in pride...quick to boast...slow...to remember the Lord their God, and give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths!" (Helaman 12:5)

And in His goodness, the Lord answers:  "And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him." (Helaman 12:3)

Is this one of the reasons there is death and darkness and affliction and heartbreak and trial and storm everywhere we turn in this fallen world?  To bring us back to Him?  To help us remember Him in the depths of humility?  Perhaps.

Ann says, "All is grace." And it is.  The Lord is over all and cradles each our lives in the palm of His hand, clothing us as the lilies of the field, and when it is eternally hard to see how our trials will bring us happiness, we must simply have faith in the Almighty that one day, our furnaces of affliction will have fired our souls into pure gold...when all the dross and impurities have melted away. (See 1 Peter 1:7)

And to be fit for the Kingdom, we must be fit...exercised through much trial.  Else, how will we feel worthy to be in the Savior's presence, eternally living in His kingdom, if we have never experienced the bitter?  He, who was perfect, descended below all things, and we who are ever so imperfect wish to be exempt?  The thought makes reason stare.  We are to follow His example in all things, even to Gethsemane and Calvary.  Only when we have passed through heart-wrenching experiences will we ever feel worthy to live with Him again...because even our greatest suffering cannot hold a candle to what He suffered infinitely for all mankind.

This is the bitter that will one day be sweet, Eucharisteo.  Full Eucharisteo and undefiled.

May I never forget, or leave, or forsake.
May I remember, even in my wealth, even in my poverty. May I remember Thee, and all the good Thou hast done.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beginnings

I am nearly halfway into "one thousand gifts" now.
Already I feel so alive and awake and changed.
I smile all giddy inside to think of the changes the rest of the words will bring.

And from Ann I see myself though situations differ.
We all face humanity's rush for more time and more understanding and just for plain more.
We all feel a lack of something, but what?
She presented Eucharisteo and I accepted, and for days breathed the word in hushed tones and aloud to reinforce the word, the meaning into my life.

But yesterday, a new layer was added, a practice, an action to apply much like one does when in Photoshop. To a picture, an action layered gives new color, new vibrancy, new life to the photograph, imbuing it with a brand-new personality.

The action was nothing more and nothing less than a chronicling of gifts from God.

And so we had a Family Home Evening lesson all about counting our blessings and used President Uchtdorf's First Presidency message from this month's Ensign.  And I gave sons and husband each a box to open, with a brand new notebook journal with fresh clean pages.  We helped our little ones draw and write two things for which they were grateful.  And though my Little Bear's entry consisted of fat and skinny sausages, the lesson stayed I think, imprinted on hearts.  This morning Little Bear, during the breakfast prayer, thanked Heavenly Father that we can count our blessings and draw in our thankful books.

And this morning I began by lamplight in the still of the peaceful sunrise...recording in my book with my pen dedicated to this purpose...to fill in gifts and more and more until it was time to get ready for the day.  But my hands carried the notebook wherever I went and my mind did not leave the gifts alone.  Fresh ones have been scratched on the page....more and more and more.

I have #71 completed now with #72 written, waiting to be filled.

I write as they happen, and here are just a few:

#12. Kissing scrunched up noses.
#15. Glowing lamplight on two-year-old toes.
#16. Long black lashes lacing beautiful blue eyes.
#18. Butterflies inside me reminding me of coming camera.
#19. Whoosh of heater happily turning on again.
#20. Swirl of golden ash hair all tousled from sleep.
#21. New black jet stream pen to be used only for this counting of holiness.
#38. Glass tinkle in dishwasher--music like chimes.
#40. Folder Games strewn out on rug.
#57. One more gift. There is always one more.

Ann says that "Naming is Edenic." And this thought strikes me because it is.  We are naming gifts like Adam named the animals and Father named His creations.  To name something shows us the God-given value of person, place or thing.  When we name, we are partners in creation.
And so I will continue to live this way.
Because I was promised in my patriarchal blessing that 
I would depart from this life "after living a full life."

Now this book and this answer to a blessing, and now I have learned (and am still learning) that living a full life is living a thankful life and noticing God in the present. In the details. 
In every moment of every day.
Because He is here.  He is I AM, waiting to be found.
And when we count the gifts He gives us as the moments pass, we will find that to magnify means to multiply, just as happened with the loaves and fishes...the Savior gave thanks, and the miracle happened.
The cleansed leper gave thanks and he was made whole (and the Hebrew word for whole is sozo...which means to be saved.)
Thanksgiving saves us and makes us whole and happy.
There is always enough when we give thanks for what we have.

So, will you take the dare?
Will you "dare to live fully right where you are"?

Will you begin your One Thousand Gift List today?

Beginnings

I am nearly halfway into "one thousand gifts" now.
Already I feel so alive and awake and changed.
I smile all giddy inside to think of the changes the rest of the words will bring.

And from Ann I see myself though situations differ.
We all face humanity's rush for more time and more understanding and just for plain more.
We all feel a lack of something, but what?
She presented Eucharisteo and I accepted, and for days breathed the word in hushed tones and aloud to reinforce the word, the meaning into my life.

But yesterday, a new layer was added, a practice, an action to apply much like one does when in Photoshop. To a picture, an action layered gives new color, new vibrancy, new life to the photograph, imbuing it with a brand-new personality.

The action was nothing more and nothing less than a chronicling of gifts from God.

And so we had a Family Home Evening lesson all about counting our blessings and used President Uchtdorf's First Presidency message from this month's Ensign.  And I gave sons and husband each a box to open, with a brand new notebook journal with fresh clean pages.  We helped our little ones draw and write two things for which they were grateful.  And though my Little Bear's entry consisted of fat and skinny sausages, the lesson stayed I think, imprinted on hearts.  This morning Little Bear, during the breakfast prayer, thanked Heavenly Father that we can count our blessings and draw in our thankful books.

And this morning I began by lamplight in the still of the peaceful sunrise...recording in my book with my pen dedicated to this purpose...to fill in gifts and more and more until it was time to get ready for the day.  But my hands carried the notebook wherever I went and my mind did not leave the gifts alone.  Fresh ones have been scratched on the page....more and more and more.

I have #71 completed now with #72 written, waiting to be filled.

I write as they happen, and here are just a few:

#12. Kissing scrunched up noses.
#15. Glowing lamplight on two-year-old toes.
#16. Long black lashes lacing beautiful blue eyes.
#18. Butterflies inside me reminding me of coming camera.
#19. Whoosh of heater happily turning on again.
#20. Swirl of golden ash hair all tousled from sleep.
#21. New black jet stream pen to be used only for this counting of holiness.
#38. Glass tinkle in dishwasher--music like chimes.
#40. Folder Games strewn out on rug.
#57. One more gift. There is always one more.

Ann says that "Naming is Edenic." And this thought strikes me because it is.  We are naming gifts like Adam named the animals and Father named His creations.  To name something shows us the God-given value of person, place or thing.  When we name, we are partners in creation.
And so I will continue to live this way.
Because I was promised in my patriarchal blessing that 
I would depart from this life "after living a full life."

Now this book and this answer to a blessing, and now I have learned (and am still learning) that living a full life is living a thankful life and noticing God in the present. In the details. 
In every moment of every day.
Because He is here.  He is I AM, waiting to be found.
And when we count the gifts He gives us as the moments pass, we will find that to magnify means to multiply, just as happened with the loaves and fishes...the Savior gave thanks, and the miracle happened.
The cleansed leper gave thanks and he was made whole (and the Hebrew word for whole is sozo...which means to be saved.)
Thanksgiving saves us and makes us whole and happy.
There is always enough when we give thanks for what we have.

So, will you take the dare?
Will you "dare to live fully right where you are"?

Will you begin your One Thousand Gift List today?

Friday, March 18, 2011

one thousand gifts

It's here!  My book is finally here, and I am soon to open the first page (though I've read the first chapter online already), and soak in the freshness, the familiarity, and to see myself in the mirror of its pages.

The journey is beginning...

one thousand gifts

It's here!  My book is finally here, and I am soon to open the first page (though I've read the first chapter online already), and soak in the freshness, the familiarity, and to see myself in the mirror of its pages.

The journey is beginning...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

{Initials}


What are your initials?

To me, initials are something to represent a life, a purpose, a mission even.

My initials used to be "JG" and my father one day told me they meant "Jewel of God," and for years this phrase directed my posture, my stance toward life.  I learned how to be a princess to my Heavenly Father and I gained a real sense of His love for me.
And just recently I was pondering my new initials of 5 years..."JGJ"
Last night I sat in my bed pondering what the Lord would have me know for the night and for the next day.  Words floated into my heart as they have so many times in the past:  
"Your theme is "Joy in the God-like Journey."  
Smiling, I knew why this was important for me to know at this time.  Because He has led me to find Ann Voskamp's daily journal and her 1000 Gifts which I am patiently dying to read...maybe for my birthday (or sooner)?  And He knows I have been searching for a life transformation.  It began with finding Ann Voskamp and using her insights about life to make mine more holy, more Christ-like.  And the capstone was placed last night with a life's mission given to me in the quiet chambers of the heart.

He is walking with me now, but I guess He always has, it's just that I have become more attuned to notice Him everywhere.  I feel close to heaven, closer than ever, and this process of coming to know God better and better each day is really all quite natural when we really believe with all of our hearts that this life is the time to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32).

{Initials}


What are your initials?

To me, initials are something to represent a life, a purpose, a mission even.

My initials used to be "JG" and my father one day told me they meant "Jewel of God," and for years this phrase directed my posture, my stance toward life.  I learned how to be a princess to my Heavenly Father and I gained a real sense of His love for me.
And just recently I was pondering my new initials of 5 years..."JGJ"
Last night I sat in my bed pondering what the Lord would have me know for the night and for the next day.  Words floated into my heart as they have so many times in the past:  
"Your theme is "Joy in the God-like Journey."  
Smiling, I knew why this was important for me to know at this time.  Because He has led me to find Ann Voskamp's daily journal and her 1000 Gifts which I am patiently dying to read...maybe for my birthday (or sooner)?  And He knows I have been searching for a life transformation.  It began with finding Ann Voskamp and using her insights about life to make mine more holy, more Christ-like.  And the capstone was placed last night with a life's mission given to me in the quiet chambers of the heart.

He is walking with me now, but I guess He always has, it's just that I have become more attuned to notice Him everywhere.  I feel close to heaven, closer than ever, and this process of coming to know God better and better each day is really all quite natural when we really believe with all of our hearts that this life is the time to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Year of Eucharisteo.


"I name years like I’ve named babies because each one births a different life that needs to be raised up and remembered."

 I've recognized this with the passing of each year, how each one presents itself differently woven together with common thread that make a tapestry theme.

I have noticed the last few years have taken on their theme from the "gift" that I've decided to give my Savior on Christmas for the coming year.

And this past Christmas I gave Him the gift of "living in Thanksgiving daily."
Some days life has poured me joy unending.  Other days it has been an upward battle.  But in it all, I have been practicing an attitude of gratitude like President Monson counseled us to cultivate.

Said he, "...to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."

This is, in essence, what "eucharisteo" means.

 From Matthew 15:32-38:
“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
“And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
“And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

President Monson says, "Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed: “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.”

"In the original language, 'gave thanks' is written eucharisteo. He gave thanks. He broke apart. He gave. The bread. Himself. Eucharisteo.

"The root word of eucharisteo in the Greek is charis meaning gift or grace. He took the bread and saw it as a gift...Do we see the common like bread and drink as pure grace, unmerited gifts from He who can do nothing but give? Do we take up each moment of life in this way, both the mundane and the trials of life?

"Charis also forms the root of the Greek word chara, meaning joy. Those three words...grace, thanksgiving, joy...come together. In all circumstances, even in our greatest trial, we can receive from Him this sustenance. Now served to us with nail-scarred hands, first we taste of grace—that He delights in us in His generous benevolence. Then we savor it with thanksgiving that both springs up from our spirit and nourishes us right down to our souls. And our dessert? Joy! Joy...from thanksgiving...from grace, freely bestowed on us, His beloved.

"With the taking, with the thanking, comes the breaking. As we feast upon His eucharisteo, so we then take our lives...our time, our talents, our treasure...and in the power of grace and in the spirit of thanksgiving, 'break' them to share them with a hungry world around us—our spouse, our children, our extended family, our community, our world. It is our gift...because freely we have received; therefore, freely we give."

And so this year, this beautiful year of eucharisteo, I will gather the daily manna sent so lovingly from my Father.  I have lingered long in the attitude of the Israelites when they saw the manna from heaven and "wist not what it was."  But now the Spirit whispers as perfectly clear as Moses spoke in response:  "This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." (Exodus 16:15)

The bread He gives me is the only Begotten Son and all of the miracles and beauty which, because of Him, are showered down upon me as abundantly as the manna from heaven.  I need only to gather, to notice, to relish each sweet morsel.  And then I will break my own bread of service for all around me, especially my dear family loved ones.  I will give myself as an offering, just as He did, but in a much smaller and more finite way.

How can I say it better than Ann?
"This work—the thousand endless jobs—they each give the opportunity for one to become the gift, a thousand times over!

"Because with every one of the thousand, endless jobs, I become the gift to God and to others, because this work is the public God serving, the daily liturgy of thanks, the completing of the Communion service with my service."

"...our happiness comes, too, not in the having but in the handing over.

"Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God. 

"I can bless, pour out, be broken and given in our home and the larger world and never fear that there won’t be enough to give. because eucharisteo has taught me to trust that there is always enough God. He has no end. And it is God Himself who serves me as I serve.

"Here you can enact eucharisteo; here you can become a current in a river of grace that redeems the world!

"God can be in me, even me, and use these hands, these feet, to be His love, a love that goes on and on and on forever, endless cycle of grace.
 
"I am blessed.
"I can bless.
"So this is happiness."


Year of Eucharisteo.


"I name years like I’ve named babies because each one births a different life that needs to be raised up and remembered."

 I've recognized this with the passing of each year, how each one presents itself differently woven together with common thread that make a tapestry theme.

I have noticed the last few years have taken on their theme from the "gift" that I've decided to give my Savior on Christmas for the coming year.

And this past Christmas I gave Him the gift of "living in Thanksgiving daily."
Some days life has poured me joy unending.  Other days it has been an upward battle.  But in it all, I have been practicing an attitude of gratitude like President Monson counseled us to cultivate.

Said he, "...to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."

This is, in essence, what "eucharisteo" means.

 From Matthew 15:32-38:
“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
“And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
“And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

President Monson says, "Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed: “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.”

"In the original language, 'gave thanks' is written eucharisteo. He gave thanks. He broke apart. He gave. The bread. Himself. Eucharisteo.

"The root word of eucharisteo in the Greek is charis meaning gift or grace. He took the bread and saw it as a gift...Do we see the common like bread and drink as pure grace, unmerited gifts from He who can do nothing but give? Do we take up each moment of life in this way, both the mundane and the trials of life?

"Charis also forms the root of the Greek word chara, meaning joy. Those three words...grace, thanksgiving, joy...come together. In all circumstances, even in our greatest trial, we can receive from Him this sustenance. Now served to us with nail-scarred hands, first we taste of grace—that He delights in us in His generous benevolence. Then we savor it with thanksgiving that both springs up from our spirit and nourishes us right down to our souls. And our dessert? Joy! Joy...from thanksgiving...from grace, freely bestowed on us, His beloved.

"With the taking, with the thanking, comes the breaking. As we feast upon His eucharisteo, so we then take our lives...our time, our talents, our treasure...and in the power of grace and in the spirit of thanksgiving, 'break' them to share them with a hungry world around us—our spouse, our children, our extended family, our community, our world. It is our gift...because freely we have received; therefore, freely we give."

And so this year, this beautiful year of eucharisteo, I will gather the daily manna sent so lovingly from my Father.  I have lingered long in the attitude of the Israelites when they saw the manna from heaven and "wist not what it was."  But now the Spirit whispers as perfectly clear as Moses spoke in response:  "This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." (Exodus 16:15)

The bread He gives me is the only Begotten Son and all of the miracles and beauty which, because of Him, are showered down upon me as abundantly as the manna from heaven.  I need only to gather, to notice, to relish each sweet morsel.  And then I will break my own bread of service for all around me, especially my dear family loved ones.  I will give myself as an offering, just as He did, but in a much smaller and more finite way.

How can I say it better than Ann?
"This work—the thousand endless jobs—they each give the opportunity for one to become the gift, a thousand times over!

"Because with every one of the thousand, endless jobs, I become the gift to God and to others, because this work is the public God serving, the daily liturgy of thanks, the completing of the Communion service with my service."

"...our happiness comes, too, not in the having but in the handing over.

"Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God. 

"I can bless, pour out, be broken and given in our home and the larger world and never fear that there won’t be enough to give. because eucharisteo has taught me to trust that there is always enough God. He has no end. And it is God Himself who serves me as I serve.

"Here you can enact eucharisteo; here you can become a current in a river of grace that redeems the world!

"God can be in me, even me, and use these hands, these feet, to be His love, a love that goes on and on and on forever, endless cycle of grace.
 
"I am blessed.
"I can bless.
"So this is happiness."


Saturday, March 5, 2011

I needed this.

Thank you Ann for this post.
My day was so dismal and bleak.
But upon reading these words, I realized that the bleak and the dismal can bring forth a bountiful harvest...of joy.


From Ann:

weekends are for grace’s sweet experience

Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes
slumbering in the cups of the flowers:
the wisdom of the great Husbandman
overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result,
and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth
the grateful odours of faith, love, patience,
hope, resignation, joy,
and the other fair flowers of the garden.
May we know by sweet experience, what this means.”        ~  Charles Spurgeon

I needed this.

Thank you Ann for this post.
My day was so dismal and bleak.
But upon reading these words, I realized that the bleak and the dismal can bring forth a bountiful harvest...of joy.


From Ann:

weekends are for grace’s sweet experience

Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes
slumbering in the cups of the flowers:
the wisdom of the great Husbandman
overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result,
and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth
the grateful odours of faith, love, patience,
hope, resignation, joy,
and the other fair flowers of the garden.
May we know by sweet experience, what this means.”        ~  Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ceremonies and Rituals.


I've been thinking a lot about rituals.
We've even invited a new one into our daily routine.
Just me and the boys...in a Sunrise Devotional...
...but more about that later.

First, you must read this from Ann Voskamp's post entitled: Live a Celebrated Life: Beauty of Ceremony

Young hands celebrate September with posies of pink erasers budding on the end of slim yellow stems and hours dressed smartly in routines. It’s the rite of back-to-school days: the folding back of fresh notebooks, the lacing up of maiden shoes, the cracking open of new texts.


It’s the ceremony of new school days.

We do that, us soul carriers. When we deem events significant, we create ceremony. Marriage ceremonies, baptismal services, holiday observances… yes, too, back-to-school traditions.
If we consider an occasion meaningful, we develop a ceremony to duly recognize it. Simply, ceremony is a repeated action that marks important happenings: always candles on birthday cakes, centerpieces for Thanksgiving, vows on wedding days.

And yet, isn’t every day important? Do not all of our acts warrant ceremony?

Each moment God generously bestows is momentous. If we embrace each day as gift, then isn’t each event noteworthy? And if each moment lived is important, could we not then live in ceremony, celebration wrapped around each bead of time?

God does. Every day, He acts in ceremony, repeated quotidian order of services: calling sun-orb to arch across skies, ocean waters to wet land’s lip, again and again, the globe to dance in orbit with milky moon through heavens.

Our God acts in endless ceremony to bring order to the world. And so we too, made in His image, are ceremonious beings, bringing order to chaos through ceremony.

Whenever parents create ceremonies, or a rhythmic routine, around any daily activity, we impose order on the environment, instead of on our children.

The order of service we create around bedtimes, school times, mealtimes allow ceremonies to prescribe behavior instead of each event requiring parental directive.

This atmosphere of known routine, expected ritual and, yes, celebrated ceremony, not only lessens the number of decisions that a parent must make throughout the day (the established ceremony directs, instead of the parent), but children thrive in such an environment.
Children “want things repeated and unchanged,” writes G.K. Chesterton. “They always say, “Do it again”… [It is] grown-up people [who] are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon…. The repetition in nature may not be mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.” 

When we reject repeated actions as monotonous and Spirit-quenching, are we simply exposing our weaknesses?

If we chose to “exult in monotony,” to embrace habitual ceremony, would we be inviting the same God who instituted the observances of feasts, temple ceremonies, the service of communion, to be our strength too?

Perhaps the repetitiveness of ceremony does not stifle the Spirit, but ceremony invites us to regular meeting places, places to commune with the Spirit.

So we meet our days with routines, ceremonies around the simple:
  • Perhaps we tie up breakfast with quiet music, prayer for the day, and a lighting of a candle.
  • Or wrap up school times with a habitual place, a consistent time, and an anticipated order of service: an opening hymn, a Word of Scripture, a time of happy sharing.
  • Possibly we establish a ceremony of evening circle, with a gathering for the read aloud of a classic while tired feet are massaged and hot drinks sipped, before tucking children into bed with blessings. 
 And so, as for me, I want these ceremonies, these rituals to be a part of my family.  When we can take a mundane act and make it memorable and special, life is lovely and joyful.  This is what I want.

So, we began something I've wanted to do since I was a young girl writing down lists of ideas and activities to do in my future family....Sunrise Devotional.  Each day after the dishes and chores are done, we gather around the kitchen table (which is lit with a charming candle) with the scripture reader and snacks.  We begin with a prayer.  And then we eat.  And read.  And share our questions and feelings.  It's been a tremendous blessing in our family life.  I feel more peaceful and empowered as a mother since we've implemented this tradition...and we haven't missed a day.


And then there's this morning.  We tried what Ann suggested with a candle and quiet music for breakfast.  It did give a unique ambiance to a normally crazy meal.  And sometimes we have a "picnic" in the living room while we watch a short movie and eat our lunch.  This one isn't an everyday thing.  Just every once in a while to keep it special.  But the boys ask me if we can do it nearly every day.

Family scripture study and prayer is a must every morning and night for prayers and nightly for scripture study.  And of course family home evening is something we all look forward to on Monday evenings.

My question to pose to you today, is, "How can we make these events more unique?  More special?  More ceremonious?"  I doubt that our Heavenly Father just "goes through the motions" when it comes to that "theatrical encore" of rising the sun and the moon each day.  How do we make the simple activities beautiful?  Like cooking? And cleaning? And grocery shopping? And laundry?  

What are your ideas?  What are your thoughts?  What has worked in your family?  What would you like to implement?  Please share.

Ceremonies and Rituals.


I've been thinking a lot about rituals.
We've even invited a new one into our daily routine.
Just me and the boys...in a Sunrise Devotional...
...but more about that later.

First, you must read this from Ann Voskamp's post entitled: Live a Celebrated Life: Beauty of Ceremony

Young hands celebrate September with posies of pink erasers budding on the end of slim yellow stems and hours dressed smartly in routines. It’s the rite of back-to-school days: the folding back of fresh notebooks, the lacing up of maiden shoes, the cracking open of new texts.


It’s the ceremony of new school days.

We do that, us soul carriers. When we deem events significant, we create ceremony. Marriage ceremonies, baptismal services, holiday observances… yes, too, back-to-school traditions.
If we consider an occasion meaningful, we develop a ceremony to duly recognize it. Simply, ceremony is a repeated action that marks important happenings: always candles on birthday cakes, centerpieces for Thanksgiving, vows on wedding days.

And yet, isn’t every day important? Do not all of our acts warrant ceremony?

Each moment God generously bestows is momentous. If we embrace each day as gift, then isn’t each event noteworthy? And if each moment lived is important, could we not then live in ceremony, celebration wrapped around each bead of time?

God does. Every day, He acts in ceremony, repeated quotidian order of services: calling sun-orb to arch across skies, ocean waters to wet land’s lip, again and again, the globe to dance in orbit with milky moon through heavens.

Our God acts in endless ceremony to bring order to the world. And so we too, made in His image, are ceremonious beings, bringing order to chaos through ceremony.

Whenever parents create ceremonies, or a rhythmic routine, around any daily activity, we impose order on the environment, instead of on our children.

The order of service we create around bedtimes, school times, mealtimes allow ceremonies to prescribe behavior instead of each event requiring parental directive.

This atmosphere of known routine, expected ritual and, yes, celebrated ceremony, not only lessens the number of decisions that a parent must make throughout the day (the established ceremony directs, instead of the parent), but children thrive in such an environment.
Children “want things repeated and unchanged,” writes G.K. Chesterton. “They always say, “Do it again”… [It is] grown-up people [who] are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon…. The repetition in nature may not be mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.” 

When we reject repeated actions as monotonous and Spirit-quenching, are we simply exposing our weaknesses?

If we chose to “exult in monotony,” to embrace habitual ceremony, would we be inviting the same God who instituted the observances of feasts, temple ceremonies, the service of communion, to be our strength too?

Perhaps the repetitiveness of ceremony does not stifle the Spirit, but ceremony invites us to regular meeting places, places to commune with the Spirit.

So we meet our days with routines, ceremonies around the simple:
  • Perhaps we tie up breakfast with quiet music, prayer for the day, and a lighting of a candle.
  • Or wrap up school times with a habitual place, a consistent time, and an anticipated order of service: an opening hymn, a Word of Scripture, a time of happy sharing.
  • Possibly we establish a ceremony of evening circle, with a gathering for the read aloud of a classic while tired feet are massaged and hot drinks sipped, before tucking children into bed with blessings. 
 And so, as for me, I want these ceremonies, these rituals to be a part of my family.  When we can take a mundane act and make it memorable and special, life is lovely and joyful.  This is what I want.

So, we began something I've wanted to do since I was a young girl writing down lists of ideas and activities to do in my future family....Sunrise Devotional.  Each day after the dishes and chores are done, we gather around the kitchen table (which is lit with a charming candle) with the scripture reader and snacks.  We begin with a prayer.  And then we eat.  And read.  And share our questions and feelings.  It's been a tremendous blessing in our family life.  I feel more peaceful and empowered as a mother since we've implemented this tradition...and we haven't missed a day.


And then there's this morning.  We tried what Ann suggested with a candle and quiet music for breakfast.  It did give a unique ambiance to a normally crazy meal.  And sometimes we have a "picnic" in the living room while we watch a short movie and eat our lunch.  This one isn't an everyday thing.  Just every once in a while to keep it special.  But the boys ask me if we can do it nearly every day.

Family scripture study and prayer is a must every morning and night for prayers and nightly for scripture study.  And of course family home evening is something we all look forward to on Monday evenings.

My question to pose to you today, is, "How can we make these events more unique?  More special?  More ceremonious?"  I doubt that our Heavenly Father just "goes through the motions" when it comes to that "theatrical encore" of rising the sun and the moon each day.  How do we make the simple activities beautiful?  Like cooking? And cleaning? And grocery shopping? And laundry?  

What are your ideas?  What are your thoughts?  What has worked in your family?  What would you like to implement?  Please share.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Walk with Him Wednesday

Today's Gem:

I was praying this morning for the usual blessings...thanking Him for many of the things I do everyday when the Spirit led me to pray for something I haven't prayed for in a long while.

I asked Him to walk with me today.

And then as I've gone about my day, I noticed a new found grace, an inner strength within me.
And I realized it was Him...answering my prayer.
Everything has been easier today since I invited Him to walk with me...my thoughts have been closer to Him as well.

And then when I read Ann Voskamp's post today, I realized the prompting to pray for this particular blessing was no mere coincidence.
I didn't know that every Wednesday Ann posts a spiritual practice that draws us closer to Christ...and it's called...

Walk with Him Wednesday.

Truly, "...the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth now. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be." (Jacob 4:13)

And as for my spiritual practice...you may already know.

It's simply praying to invite Christ to walk by my side.

Walk with Him Wednesday

Today's Gem:

I was praying this morning for the usual blessings...thanking Him for many of the things I do everyday when the Spirit led me to pray for something I haven't prayed for in a long while.

I asked Him to walk with me today.

And then as I've gone about my day, I noticed a new found grace, an inner strength within me.
And I realized it was Him...answering my prayer.
Everything has been easier today since I invited Him to walk with me...my thoughts have been closer to Him as well.

And then when I read Ann Voskamp's post today, I realized the prompting to pray for this particular blessing was no mere coincidence.
I didn't know that every Wednesday Ann posts a spiritual practice that draws us closer to Christ...and it's called...

Walk with Him Wednesday.

Truly, "...the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth now. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be." (Jacob 4:13)

And as for my spiritual practice...you may already know.

It's simply praying to invite Christ to walk by my side.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Beginning...

Through miraculous means I stumbled upon the most wonderful blog written by author, Ann Voskamp.
And deep within me, I feel that I am on the brink of something big...the verge of something visionary.
My life is changing as I write this.

I am starting a new chapter of my life, a new door has opened before me...that of
living a holy experience...indeed, a holy life.

Ann Voskamp states:
"This place is about finding the beauty and quiet,
slowing to see the sacred in the chaos, the Cross in the clothespin, the flame in the bush
Just to listen – laundry, liturgy, life, — holy ground.
A holy experience — because all of life flames with God."

And a quote that has always been dear to my heart comes from Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

"Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes."

And so I begin my holy experience.  I am starting tonight to notice how Heavenly Father fills the cracks and crevices of everything which we call our lives.  He is there in the melting, March-sodden snow.  He is there in the warmth of the sunshine.  He is there in the sound of our little one's laughter.  He is there in the dishes as they come clean, the laundry as it is moves from mounds to neatly folded piles, the chaos as it becomes organized.  He is there as we learn line upon line and precept upon precept how to notice His hand in every thing. 

My journey starts now.
And every day I will discover and implement a little gem to make my life more holy. more God-like. more happy. 

New Beginning...

Through miraculous means I stumbled upon the most wonderful blog written by author, Ann Voskamp.
And deep within me, I feel that I am on the brink of something big...the verge of something visionary.
My life is changing as I write this.

I am starting a new chapter of my life, a new door has opened before me...that of
living a holy experience...indeed, a holy life.

Ann Voskamp states:
"This place is about finding the beauty and quiet,
slowing to see the sacred in the chaos, the Cross in the clothespin, the flame in the bush
Just to listen – laundry, liturgy, life, — holy ground.
A holy experience — because all of life flames with God."

And a quote that has always been dear to my heart comes from Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

"Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes."

And so I begin my holy experience.  I am starting tonight to notice how Heavenly Father fills the cracks and crevices of everything which we call our lives.  He is there in the melting, March-sodden snow.  He is there in the warmth of the sunshine.  He is there in the sound of our little one's laughter.  He is there in the dishes as they come clean, the laundry as it is moves from mounds to neatly folded piles, the chaos as it becomes organized.  He is there as we learn line upon line and precept upon precept how to notice His hand in every thing. 

My journey starts now.
And every day I will discover and implement a little gem to make my life more holy. more God-like. more happy. 

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails