Thanks Given

 

There are seasonal reasons to be thankful.

I am thankful for the rain that arrived today.

There are national reasons to be thankful.

I’m thankful for the original Americans for their generosity in feeding our ancestors a turkey dinner for which we now celebrate family and thanks.

I am thankful for my kids, my husband, my friends and family.

Primarily I am, as well, thankful because I know who to thank.

That’s a big one for me.

I know who is ultimate, infinite, eternal, loving and close by; it’s Jesus.

There are times it feels like finding a needle in the haystack, seeking God when all about seems like dried hay, while I’m grabbing for straw- that messy, unmanageable and itchy stuff; I still know Jesus is in there waiting for me to glorify him and grace Him with my appreciation and ignore the mess in life.

Today has been a day where I feel I’m covered in a huge pile of loose straw.  I keep finding I’m in a messy haystack but I keep busy seeking Jesus somewhere inside.

When tomorrow comes and we are sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner; let’s ready ourselves to thank the one who brings everything to us.  Be prepared to thank for what is, what is not, what might have been and what will likely never be.  It’s all His and He is using all of this to do His wondrous mysteries for the benefit of us all.

Pretty cool huh?

And a Happy Thanksgiving to All..

Humbleness + Stillness

Some days are for growing.  Some days are for learning.  You can’t always take your pick.

If you are a Christian; you can as well accept the joy in this truth.

Now a story…

She arrives at my door moments after nine political yard signs are dropped off on my porch.  I don’t choose the timing of this.  She couldn’t miss seeing them.

She is my sister through Christ, a beloved friend and a long and dear childhood acquaintance.

I know that her stance on this particular political issue might be different than mine.  She comes in and I can feel an elephant in the room with us.  I suggest we clear the air of this thing before anything else.  As we sit opposite the table (physically and figuratively) I take hold of my stance.  She is much less positioned and even pokes at the side she is leaning toward.  She is brilliant.  I take baby steps to explain my views; yet I feel an urge to be a bit more serious and persistent.

At one point; we feel a presence of grace between us.  I credit this because we both agree to let Jesus be more important than any of this political manmade stuff.  Then she adds…”the horse is already out of the barn.”  I ask the meaning of the phrase.

She leaves a container of homemade Alligator chili.  She is remarkable in this way- full of surprises and unusual gifts.

The afternoon finds me gardening and planting, weeding and watering seeds.  I feel unsettled the entire afternoon, so I thank Jesus.

Archie and I attend church at 6:30.  Paster Bill leads us through a part of Isaiah.  He explains that God teaches us to be humble and contrite.

By the time I arrive home; I know that I had been yearning for an outcome on this political theme.  I was urging for it.

But this morning Jesus was up early teaching me some things.  I sat down and wrote long-arm, a letter to my friend.  It was to share blessings with her and gratitude for her, oh- and thank her for Alligator chili.

By mid-day these words fill a page:

What do you yearn for? For what are you eager?

Humbleness is freedom.  It is free from yearning and free from desire.  It is free from placing hope in future desires.  I give you humbleness that you can be free.

Humbleness is a state of stillness.  It is where thanks can be given, grace received and HIS will accomplished.  It is where HIS spirit is shared.  It is where we give HIM glory.

One gift of stillness is peace. One gift of humbleness is communion.

Today I see the efforts that robbed me of my stillness and peace yesterday.  Today I learn another great thing about God and why he offers us the wisdom to stay humble!

Yearn for HIM only…it’s truly freeing.

Thanks for reading.

-Shelly

In HIS Time and Truth, Witness and Glory

God works in his own time.

HIS will toward our good

on HIS time.

And now a story…

Many years ago, I became friends with a paper artist in Napa.  Her name is Orna. Orna and I had joy talking about art.  We also worked together on art projects.  Then I moved to Patmos Greece.

When I lived on Patmos with my four children; Orna came to visit.  She came about once a year.  We traveled on road trips together.  We made artist paper on the island. With found objects we explored the limits of paper and its inherent strength to include these objects.  We had laughs and were good friends.  I supported myself and my children through the sales of my artwork with exhibits and through sales to individuals traveling to the island yearly. There were several of us who had created an ‘art-trail’ for travelers to see our studios and to support our lifestyle.

Years later unexpectedly; I returned to Napa with my children, including my youngest son Will’s broken foot.  Will needed therapy every week.  This was impossible given we lived on a distant island with no medical staff.

My return to Napa did not come easy.  The kids had to begin school with friends they had not yet made.  I had no work and was a single mom.

One of many blessings was that Grandma’s house was vacant and we had a home to live in.  We shared this home with my parents in many ways.  They were adjusting to living at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville.  They would come and live as they had at Grandma’s house (during the daylight hours) and return to sleep at the Home at night.  They opened Grandma’s door with their key, would arrive at any hour and make coffee and enjoy the house.  They would have dinner parties then leave everything for me to clean up.  They also enjoyed trying to make endless suggestions to me about what I should be doing.  This was their way of loving me.

My parents did not appreciate my friendship with Orna.  She considered me a very good artist, supported my endeavors to continue this work in Napa and was fearless in letting my parents know this.  My parents disagreed with her thinking.  They would seemingly sabotage any idea or effort I made to work toward the goal of artist.  Rather, they suggested that I get a quick job at In and Out and bring in a little money.   It was a difficult time for me.  I dropped my friendship with Orna and went on to surrender to my parents’ misunderstanding of my life.

Orna and I had not seen each other since 2000.

Less than a week ago I was in Vallerga’s market picking up some food to make a salad for Charlie Hoffman’s memorial.  Orna was in the check stand next to mine.  I looked in her face and said, “It’s good to see you Orna.”  She listened.  After we had checked out our grocery items; I approached her and said, “Orna, if you have a few minutes, I’d like to make amends to you.”  She said, “Ok, but let me get a coffee first.”

I hadn’t even known that I needed to ask Orna for forgiveness.  I had actually forgotten about this part of my life long ago.  Jesus planted in me the understanding of HIS will (in the time it takes a heart to beat) and brought Orna directly to me to accomplish this (with no effort from me).  HE put into place events that could have challenged my reason of time.  HE made this graceful event possible.

I let Orna know how sorry I was that I had dropped her friendship.  We spoke kindly to one another asking questions about each others lives and reminisced about the times we had on Patmos.

Please pay attention because this part is incredible.

I asked Orna what she had been working on.  She told me she had been working on quilts; I let her know that I had just finished one. I told her I found a woman in Richmond who is a skilled long-arm quilter.  She had just finished my quilt.  Orna told me she is the president of the guild this woman (the long-arm quilter) belongs to.  What a coincidence, yes…?

A month ago, I picked my Mom up from her friend’s house in El Sobrante.  Gay and Mom have been friends since junior high school.  Mom is 88.  They have been friends a long time!

Gay told me she has a quilt in a show set for this Saturday and Sunday, March 17th-18th.  Gay told me she is unable to go.  She hands me a ticket and urges me (several times) to make sure I use the ticket and get to the show.  The show is sponsored by the guild that Orna is president of.

Do you see?  I would have run into Orna at this quilt show without Grace and without Forgiveness. Because Jesus is more Gracious and Merciful than this; HE made better plans for me.

Jesus, capable of piecing together years and memories, hurt and friendship, sorrow and loss, made it possible for me to resolve an old burden. By joining all these things together along with two old friends in line at a market- HE proved again to me how he is not bound to the timing of my understanding.  He is able to bend time, join people and serve up big dishes of Grace.  HE proves faithful to my trust.  HE heals me and restores me even if I don’t recognize my faults or comprehend my needs.

I hope in this missile you are able to see the praise I give to Jesus and the gratitude for uncovering an old ill and offering healing in its place.

I hope that I am always able to give, in my humble way, praise to HIM -however small it seems to me.  He takes on my work, gives me opportunity to heal, even when time has made forgotten my fault. HIS time has forgiven my fault.

Jesus, I publicly thank you from my heart.  May I always bid your will and serve you- endless and timeless…

Thank You Jesus.

I love you.

Shelly

As the Year Begins- Let Us Tune Up Our Intent

I remind myself.  Put the past in the past.  Learn from it.  Put expectations there too.  They don’t help a thing.  Put love right out in front of you like a hood ornament (the kind they put on old Fords) ready to meet things first, with a bit of shine.

You know; if I told you the past year was a doozy for me full of hard lessons; you’d be able to find someone with more difficulty and more trouble.  The world is full of examples.  So, let’s just say that last year gave me enormous opportunity for growth.  For this; I am grateful.  For if nothing changes; nothing changes.  Jesus has decided to rein me back in for some more work under the hood. He might check that all the gears are working and the steering too.

With daily intent to seek the understanding of His will and all that I need to fulfill it; there is peace in me.

My life slows.

I hear more with greater understanding.

I react less.

My defects appear to me.

I turn these over to Jesus.

He reveals.

He heals.

He is the Great Encourager!

Gratitude appreciates from day to day.

The only sanity in this world is to live here as God intends.  If we live in this world in our own way; we alone cannot fathom it’s purpose or endure its difficulty.  But if we live in this world knowing that each thing and every person has a part in Divine order and Heavenly purpose; we can live well.  We can heal from the things in the past that got us stuck.  We can step into the future with greater joy, thanks and mobility.

One of many things that we can see in the Bible related to Jesus is: he steps forward into every situation with whatever ability God gives him at each moment.  He doesn’t read about what to do or ask another what to do- he takes the action of meeting his day- face to face on God’s terms.  Jesus shows us he never forgets to thank God, his father.

We learn by doing; at least I do.  The better I get at understanding my place in the order of Diving things; the better I become at it.  Each of us, yes- I’m looking at you.  Each of us is designed according to the will of God for the purpose of His design alone. Through our being, fashioned for His purpose; we bring variation, individual interest, personal abilities, extraordinary uniqueness and personal joy to His amazing plan.

So don’t go out of your way listening to what others say you should do or what you shouldn’t do.  Go straight to Jesus.  Ask him if it’s time for you to have a tune-up.  Pull up and let yourself be inspected and repaired!  God made you a beautiful child for his pleasure and joy.  Never forget that he alone loves you more than any one else ever can or ever will.  His love is perfect.  His plan is Divine.

Blessing this New Year!

Thanks Jesus for keeping all the parts in order and the motor ticking…

 

 

Humility, Humus, Ground or Soil- ταπεινότητα

If you garden you know soil.  You know that the ground is always under your feet.  You also understand that soil is a medium in which things can be grown.  The things that can be grown are either desirable or not.  They either produced the things that you hope and work for or with neglect produce abundant plants that you scorn.

Why all this?  The soil, the ground and what is beneath is what the quality of humility is in reference to.  The Greeks use the word ταπεινότητα (tapeinótita).

for humbleness.  For me, it is what is low, grounding and that which holds all that can grow in a quiet, inert place.

Today I was reminded that this quality is neither self-depreciating nor does it come with inflated ego.  To me it is the inertness that we should allow in us where we meet God.  It is the place where we are as one with all that is, neither in distraction or presumption.  This place of humility is rich in portion.  It is quiet, peaceful and mysterious as well.

Let this day hold for you ample humility.  Let this be your grounding, your humbleness.  Let this become the fertile place where you cultivate an even deeper, more present relationship with Christ.

May this season of humble beginnings be also yours in Christ.

Thanks Jesus for your humble birth and the meaning of such.

Χριστούγεννα
Merry Christmas