Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Week of Quotes and Words - Day Four

Today's word from Kim Klassen's e-Course was focus.

Aligned Focus
She was like a camera chronically out of focus until someone came by and twisted the lenses into alignment.

-Deborah Harness

While this quote seems to be about focus, it is also about properly aligned priorities.  I wanted to capitalize the word "someone," as it was Someone who aligned things in my life so my perspective was corrrected.  As the great John Newton hymn says, "I was blind but now I see."  And when things start to blur, I know things are getting out of alignment once again, and that Someone becomes my focus and things miraculously line up again.  Beth Moore says, "Worship is focus."  And so when I am able to worship, I am able to focus, and I'm able to say Eucharisteo, and even though I may not see the ending or the final outcome, I am able to see His hand in all, knowing all has sifted through God's hands for my good and His glory.

But how do I get this alignment in check...where everything is in focus?  It can only come by spending time with Him, listening to His heart through His word, and allowing Him to do what He needs to do in me to be able to align me as is necessary.  The alignment process is often unpleasant.  This is my greatest area of failure, and when I am not doing it, it shows.  And as a result, the enemy gets a foothold and I can no longer see anything properly.  And, boy, does it show!!!!!

Again, my time spent with God cannot be seen as optional but a spiritual discipline.  At times, though it should seem as natural as breathing, it can feel like work.  The rewards, however, are worth it and cannot be quantified.

Inspired Focus or Focused Inspiration

With gratitude,

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Week of Quotes and Words - Day Three

Our inspired word for day three  from Kim Klassen was the word "change."  The hardest thing for any person is change:  changing routine, changing environment, or changing themselves.  At the same time, if viewed as a gift, change can also represent opportunity.

Often change can come in the cloak of adversity and events that seem contraindicated by God's character of goodness, lovingkindness, mercy, and everlasting love.  Yet it is very clear in James that these elements of change and loss have a Divine purpose that comes from the deepest part of God's heart.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials  of various kinds, for you know that  the testing of your faith  produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be  perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Most often it is not the major trials that trip me up, but the day-in and day-out annoyances and irritants that diffuse the Light and Hope in me that I so desire to reflect.  It is the same things that I mentioned in my previous post ...also things like changing offices to a different building outside of the hospital, stretched thin because of staff on leave, computer glitches as we transition to electronic medical records, and the scale up a pound or two, that blinds my eyes to the gifts that God is giving by way of "change" to make me more myself.  That is, more like Him.

More Myself

And so through these things I am constantly reminded of my much I miss the mark...and how much I need to embrace the "change" as God's way of completing the work in me that He has promised to do (Phil. 1:6).

With gratitude,


A Week of Quotes and Words - Day Two

The inspired word for Day 2 was the word, "peace." That word conjours up a myriad of images and thoughts.  It brings to mind sights, sounds, places I've known, a state of being, and most of all, thoughts that either help or hinder peace in my life.

From the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning, it's off to the races in my work at the hospital.  I have more "to do's" than I can fit in a day with competing priorities.  And if I stayed until all was complete, I would never leave.  And another word comes to mind:  enough.  What is enough?

Then I came across this quote as I ponder the word "peace."

God is Awake

I am only responsible for what I can accomplish in the day and that must be enough, as long as I have done my best.  We are all given only 24 hours in a day and each are given varied responsibilities from God to accomplish what He brings our way.  No more, no less.  And He stands vigil while we rest in His peace to be renewed for the next day.

As I continued my contemplation of the word "peace," it saddened me to realize how little peace there is in our lives.  As for me, I am always conneccted - either by pager, by cell phone, by computer, by cable news, by ongoing stimulation.  I would not say that I am a loner, but I do know that I find the greatest peace in solitude.  Or is it that I need the solitude to maintain my peace?  Often when I take time to slow down, disconnect, and get off the merry-go-round of dailyness, I am able to see more clearly the gifts and mercies God has lavished on me multiple times each day.  The clamour and demands and distractions of every day (don't even get me started on polarized political discourse that abounds), oppress my spirit, knowing Jesus has modeled what I need to do as reflected in multiple places in the Gospels.  Jesus, the God Man, needed to withdraw to a solitary place to commune with His Father.  How much more do I, a fallible, imperfect soul, need to do this?  How can I see from His perspective, if I never take time out to look at Him?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Without this discipline, peace will continue to elude and the din of life will continue to oppress.  And so I see the mercy, the gift, of being welcomed into the solitude of contemplation and time alone with the Lover of my soul.

Solitary Peace

With gratitude,


A Week of Quotes and Words - Day One

In my eCourse with Kim Klassen in her Beyond Layers - 52 Weeks of Artfulness class I started in January, we have been challenged this week to focus on one word for each day and pair it up with a quote and photo representing that word/theme.

I've always been drawn to meaningful quotes, prose, and poetry...writing them down in spiral notebooks with red felt pen as a teenager.  I have collected them, printed them on decorated computer paper, cut into little pieces, folded them and put them in a jar, with a ribbon on top as a gift to special people in my life.  This challenge was going to be a pleasure.

The first challenge word is "life."  Every Memorial Day, I take some extra time off to decorate the graves of my relatives/ancestors in West Virginia.  Someone years before had planted these lillies in front of my Great-Grandfather Powers' gorgeous, rich in color.  I sat on the ground in front of the headstone at bloom level at dusk with my camera lens drinking in all this beauty.  And how poignant to think on the word "life" as I sat on the grave of a loved one who died long before.

 I heard someone point out that "life, at best, is brief."  The years blur and run together and before I know it, I'm eligible to order from the Bob Evans' 55 and over menu!

There really is no dress rehearsal for life...and it goes by quickly.  Not a single day is guaranteed.  I think of Psalms 90:12 that says,
So teach us to number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Once again, as I pondered the word "life," I reflected once again with the backdrop of a cemetery.  As a Hackers Creek Pioneer Descendant, my Memorial Day weekend ritual took me to Friendship Cemetery near Jane Lew, West Virginia on Hackers Creek.


Today I see the merecies of God that for a moment I am physically separated from those I love who have gone onto heaven, the relationship endures as I hold the memories close to my heart, knowing that what has been will always be, meeting again "on the other side."

With gratitude,