Naming one thousand gifts… day 7


1,000 Gifts

1,000 Gifts (Photo credit: LearningLark)

I’ll never forget the day I was reading a soon to become favorite chapter of my old KJV Bible… Isaiah 6 … and came upon this note in the middle column. It said,

“his glory is the fullness of the whole earth”

…and it being Spring, and it being that time of day when I walk my old dog Buddy, I began to think on those words and that idea as I walked through my neighbourhood seeking evidence of God glory.

I looked and saw… a rose bush, fragrant with hundreds of blooms. I moved closer, nose pressed into the middle of a heady bloom like a small girl filled with wonder and I thought… there is enough glory in this one bloom, but his glory is the fullness of every bloom on this bush and every bloom on every bush multiplied over and over and over and over and over… And that… and even that, is just the beginning, a minutia of the glory of the one I call God. The earth shouts glory glory glorious fulness everywhere!

And these walks and this seeing began to be part of who I was, how I lived and how I wrote about what I saw, and the thoughts that came from those things that my eyes beheld. Poetry was born in the beholding. Stories germinated there…

I found God in new places, heard him tell me truth, share love through the world around me, in particular the natural world. And my heart began to grow in the process, my understanding of God stretch a little wider, deeper. In 2009 I share one such God ambush in,  “October Valentine”.

So, it’s no wonder that when I begin to read Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” a couple of weeks ago, my heart presses hard in my chest as I feel an echo of Ann’s words that I believe I am living (not every hour of every day, but still…). Ann’s idea of slowing down, taking notice and finding God in the details of the life beauty all around me… makes complete sense to me.

But, the naming, the listing, of those gifts from God, the thankfulness for them a doorway to gratitude and joy and a changed life… well that is a new idea to me. And here He draws me…

Thus, my list begins and grows longer and my heart yearns to learn and I lean into whatever this part of the God trek is that I am on, somewhat limping and sometimes sidetracked and still believing… I write it all down…

98. unexpected invitation from my husband

99. unexpected text message from my son

100. unexpected gift from a friend

101. sun, 27 degrees,  first day of summer feels like the real deal

102. dog laying at my feet

103. chicken on the bbq

104. a good article to read

105. textures

106. colours

107. cold glass of fruity white wine poured with love

108. planting potential in the garden

109. the way NY Red Bulls Thierry Henry moves a soccer ball

Red Bull New York's own TH14 Thierry Henry, ma...

Red Bull New York’s own TH14 Thierry Henry, making a play on the ball midfield versus Real Salt Lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

110. all of us watching major league soccer on TSN

Post Christmas Random Ramble


I am so thankful for all of you. Those who drop by Buddy Breathing and stay a while, those who offer something in response to my writing, those who are regulars. This place has become a touchstone for me, somewhere to share my ideas and rants, even the messy stuff off the top of my brain that needs to come out! And knowing you are ‘out there’ makes it all the more worthwhile. So, thanks for listening.

I wish each one of you a Merry Christmas, and for the New Year may you continue to find people in your life with whom you can ‘buddy breathe’… share oxygen… fresh air… with one another. Breath deep!

Sol deo gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Things to remember for next year;

1. Absolutely, positively, (if at all possible), join in the experience of a Christmas Eve Service… VOLUNTEER…sing, usher, act, organize… whatever… just get involved! There’s a feeling of ‘bigger’ that accompanies this… not so much about having my house in order, my gifts wrapped, my cookies baked… more about preparing for others to experience the message of Christmas… Emmanuel, God with us! And if you absolutely, positively, can’t help out, then please… attend a Christmas Eve Service somewhere! Stop, consider, breathe, pray, believe in the miracle of Christmas personally.

2. Get up early… the long day was wonderful. Sure Bob and I were a little tired at first, but nothing a coffee or two with a drop of Baileys can’t help. By afternoon we were able to rest, read, relax and listen to the sounds of our kids chilling. Even the dog was happy to nap on the couch beside us. Yes, as my Dad always said, “The morning is the best time of day.” Mind you, I’m talking 7:30 AM, which probably sounds like sleeping in to those of you with teeny tiny excited kids! There are definitely some advantages to having teens!

3. Buy less. Every year it’s the same feeling… I intentionally try to buy less. I think I’ve put a lid on the excess and then I see all the presents under the tree… worse still, all the wrapping around the living room after we have finished opening up the gifts and I feel… a little nauseous. For those who say set a budget… sure, that’s fine if the bottom line is ‘value’ of what has been purchased… but I’m talking pure amount of ‘stuff’ that now needs to be put away and absorbed into our already abundant life. I mean… come on!

4.Write more Christmas cards. I enjoy writing. I love getting mail. Perhaps others feel the same? Sure I hand delivered some cards this year, but next year I’d like to mail them out early in December, perhaps tuck in a photo or two, and bless others with something they can hold in their hands. Of course email is good, and Facebook is a great way to share a greeting… but, still, the handwritten paper in hand kind of greeting is much more personal… don’t you think?

5. NEVER, EVER, EVER, cancel the caroling party again. No matter the number of folk who can’t make it, no matter if no musical accompaniment is available, no matter how easy it is to just say, “Oh well, we’ll try again next year!” DO NOT DO THIS! Even though I delivered a basket of cookies to the seniors in place of our melodious voices, still I missed sharing a meaningful evening with them. I missed our home being full of friends afterward, playing party games, sharing stories and treats, I missed the stress of ‘managing’ the crowd as we walked around the neighbourhood to sing, and I even missed the angst over whether the coffee would be ready in time, or the food enough for everyone. All of it. Mostly I missed the feeling of contentment and pure joy as we gathered to sing carols like ‘Silent Night‘ and ‘Joy to the World‘, our voices softened by the cold night air, snow gently falling as we gathered at someone’s doorway and met the smiles on their welcoming faces.

6. Let the dog chew the wrapping paper. Emmy was so good. Sure she sniffed every package, and she certainly tried to steal various presents right under our noses, but mostly she was really good. Claire wrapped a bone in paper and let her rip it open. I think Emmy enjoyed the paper as much as the bone! Not that she ‘ate’ it, but the sound it made, and the process of tearing it off the bone… I could almost swear she was smiling! We only put her in her kennel for a short time, but that was simply because we should have taken her for a walk earlier… she was a bit stir crazy by mid afternoon… yikes, earlier than 7:30 AM? Which takes me back to item #2!

7. NEVER STOP reminding myself what this season is really all about. Never stop posting reminders on Facebook, or reading the Christmas Story in Luke, or the prophecies of our Saviour in Isaiah. Never stop reflecting on the miracles found in the story, how the angels came to earth as messengers, how the shepherds found everything ‘exactly’ as they had been told, how a virgin conceived and bore a child… the son of God, how God came… in the form of a teeny tiny baby, to earth, and that’s just the beginning of the story! And most of all, how God IS with us… in each experience of who he is, every tiny little way that he shows himself to us, in creation, in music, in people. How God is here, and in the most intimate way possible, desires to be part of each of our lives.

8.Never stop sharing my story. May my life be an open book to who God is, and what he has done and is doing in my life. May I be bold, honest, transparent, reverent. May my life be filled with opportunities for God’s story to shine through me.

9. In the words, and expressed in the life, of my Uncle Dr. David James Cook, who passed away this Spring at the age of 71,

“LATHER LOVE LAVISHLY”…

on your family, your friends, your neighbours, those you meet every day…

because you never know. Time passes by so quickly, kids grow up, friends move, parents pass away…

Make the most of EVERY moment.

I miss you Uncle Dave. I miss you Art. I miss you Buddy.

Peace.


Sunday Soliloquy


In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other,

Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
His bright glory fills the whole earth.
The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said,

“Doom! It’s Doomsday!
I’m as good as dead!
Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—
blasphemous even!
And the people I live with talk the same way,
using words that corrupt and desecrate.
And here I’ve looked God in the face!
The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”
Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said,

“Look. This coal has touched your lips.
Gone your guilt,
your sins wiped out.”
And then I heard the voice of the Master:
“Whom shall I send?
Who will go for us?”
I spoke up,
“I’ll go.
Send me!”

from the book of Isaiah, chapter 6, verses 1 to 8, in The Message



Sunday soliloquy


Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

Image via Wikipedia

“1THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,(A)

2To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] [a]and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,(B)

3To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61, verses 1 to 3, The Amplified Bible