Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daisies galore

Yesterday morning I sat once more on the patio in my muskoka chair enjoying my delicious quiet time as the day broke. Waiting - my camera ready - for the sun to rise over the cedars to illuminate the daisies. Hoping that I would be able to capture the little finches - or whatever those little birds are that have been coming around - as they played amongst those flowers I love so much.

But alas, all that came was a hummingbird, buzzing for a moment by the fuschias. And then, lo and behold, a raccoon came down out of the cedars, walking towards me. I managed a quick shot of it.

Later, while I was on my third mug of coffee, the light on the daisies was good and I was able to shoot them at their best. They're wonderful, even if there aren't any little birds playing amongst them. Such a clean beauty - such free flowers - such an expression of joy.

I'm so grateful for this peaceful morning time - time to enjoy God's creation and experience His presence.

On a not-so-wonderful note: My 96-year-old mother is in hospital, probably with a blood clot in her lungs. Also a heart problem. Our holiday is cancelled and life has become a bit strange. A focus on Mom while trying to enjoy some rest, even if we can't go away.

Yet I'm thankful for these quiet times. Thankful for the joy my daisies bring.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chickadees in the daisies

A wonderful morning quiet time on the patio this has been - lots of time to think and pray. But in future I must keep my camera handy as I sit out there. This morning a flock of chickadees came by, spending quite a bit of time in the Shasta daisies just a few feet away from where I sat. What pictures that would have made! Little birds in the midst of my favourite flowers.

I've been doing a lot of praying about next week's holiday we were planning with our motorhome. Don't know if it can happen. My mother has come down with the flu - bad news for a 96-year-old. Pretty hard to go far away, so far out of reach of her.

Other things are happening. We had our cat Max in to the vet a couple of days ago for tests. He has all the symptoms of diabetes. If that's what it is, we may end up being tied down more than ever. Imagine having to give him insulin shots daily! And our neighbour, who usually looks after him when we're gone, would not be able to do this. My husband and I are the only ones who can really get close to him. We should find out the test results today.

Besides all this, there are at least three friends who are needing a bit of care. I'd really like to help two of them out with a pot of soup or something. Would have liked to do this earlier, but I just didn't have the time. And one of them I worry about and feel I need to stay close to right now.

Ah, but how I looked forward to going to the Chilcotin! It's a special place for us. Quiet. Very few people. Good fishing for Wes and wonderful quiet times for me. I looked forward to lots of uninterrupted reading. Time with God and with my husband. We needed that time.

This morning, though, I thought of a park close to town where we could alternatively go for a few days. We could be close to Mom and keep tab on her daily. Golden Ears Park is beautiful, with lots of good hiking trails. Maybe this is where God wants us to go for now. We'll see.

Today is a Living Room day. Thank God I haven't had too much to do to prepare. Mark, my co-facilitator will lead the devotional time. So good to have him as a partner. Not that I don't like doing devotionals. It's a blessing to do so. But things have been terribly busy and it has been good to have someone else do the preparation instead of me.

Today's meeting will be the last of the summer. We will take August off to rest and relax.

The picture? My husband Wes at a lake in the Chilcotin. Note the loon in the background. I just love the cry of the loon in the stillness.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Out on a limb

Oh, do I ever want to share Pastor Don's sermon about Zacchaeus with you today! At least parts of the very meaty, inspiring, Spirit-filled message that came through to me yesterday. I've been trying to transcribe bits of the sermon which is online in its entirety for you to listen to right here. Yes, I've been trying to transcribe, but it's so hard. There's just too much good stuff and transcribing word by word is hard. I'll zero in on a wee bit though:

You all know the story, I'm sure. Zacchaeus, the short, greedy and rich tax collector, in a very undignified manner climbed a tree so he could have a look at Jesus passing by. He was curious to see this person who seemed to like people like him - people who had been rejected by others. I think he must have had a deep longing for someone who would love and accept him.

To his surprise, Jesus looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." (Luke 19:5) In Pastor Don's words, "It turns out that, while Zacchaeus was on a quest to see Jesus he discovers that Jesus is on a quest to find him." Yes that's exactly the way God works, isn't it? I've found it out in my own life. When we seek God, we'll always find Him, because He's actually seeking us as well. And how good that feels! To know that we mean so much to God that - though the world is filled with such multitudes of people, we are special enough to God that He seeks us out.

Pastor Don continues: "All around us people are seeking - searching for something. They have tried different things but nothing is working for them. They haven't rejected Jesus; they've rejected the legalistic religion in the church. If they would just meet someone who is a follower of Christ who would see them the way Jesus sees them, not wanting to just dump a bunch of religion on them! [but just listen to them.]"

"Contrast how the people in the crowd saw Zacchaeus and how Jesus saw him. When Jesus sees us he sees someone different than what we see. If we would only see ourselves the way Jesus see us, our lives would be instantly transformed." and "If we would only see others the way Jesus sees us! Jesus invites us to see people in the way he sees them. He sees people of great value and great worth."

So good - isn't it? to know God loves us so much. So good to know we can pass on that love to others.

If this seems kind of piecemeal, I'm sorry. Might be best if you listen to the entire sermon. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Honestly speaking

I was thinking of sitting down with my journal - my black book journal - tonight. I have so much happening inside me. So much I need to process. And then I thought, why not journal in my blog tonight? Why not be honest in my blog, even if it's a guarded honesty?

Today I happened to look back at some of my posts from years ago, from those times when Living Room was a fledgling group, totally unaware of where it would end up. And boy was I honest. Refreshingly so. I don't know what has happened with my blogging. It has become hard to know what to share and what not to share. I guess that's why I've come to do so little of it, while years ago I posted almost every day. I wish I could be that person again. What has happened to me?

I suspect that it has something to do with Living Room having become so well known. I want to keep some of what's happening quiet. Telling you all the tough stuff I deal with as a result of it might not be such a good thing. Would you lose confidence in me, its leader? And telling you all the good stuff would be like I was tooting my own horn.

Yes, I have far more responsibilities weighing on me than I did years ago. I don't feel as free. There's a big work connected to me now. I think it has changed me somewhat.

And yet I am the same person I was in that I have a mood disorder that at times makes me a very needy person. Just over the last while I've had to struggle again with realizing that I've become too self-centered, complaining to a friend about how overwhelmed I felt and the stress it was causing. I wanted mothering. I wanted compassion. But I did not remember that she herself has a lot on her plate too. I need to be there for her too.

That kind of self-centeredness - that overconcern about myself - crops up far too often. But it's a common symptom of our illness, isn't it, both when we're high and when we're low. Yet I know I need to fight it. I learned long ago how thinking of others' needs ahead of my own can be a source of healing. And I must tap into that.

So, today I was in pain. Remorseful for how I had complained to someone who never complains but carries her load with and eager courage, trusting that God will help her. How I need to learn from her!

This friend used to have a role of caregiver for me, mothering me when I needed mothering - something that happened often. But I've grown up a lot and she no longer mothers me in the same way. I don't need her in the same way. She has come to expect me to be a more mature friend, a friend with whom she can share equally. In her eyes I'm not as much a victim as I used to be, but a conqueror. I should be happy about that and accept that role, no matter how weak I may at times feel. And, like her, I need to trust that God will fill my needs and help me with my workload. After all it's His work I'm doing - not my own. It's God who is actually doing the work. All I'm called to be is a foot soldier for Him.

...and maybe I should pray more when I'm feeling so overwhelmed. Maybe I should remember to start each day by giving it all to Him.

The photo? A little girl on a balcony in a village on the island of Naxos in Greece. Cute, eh? I love that hair.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Crazy how you can make a little thing into something so big that it threatens to take you down into depression, eh? The feeling of rejection I talked about a few posts ago caused recurring pain. I think because I was focusing on it so much instead of forgetting it and moving on. But I was preparing a devotional for Living Room on the topic and was analyzing the topic to bits - hanging on, trying to learn from it, when perhaps I should have, for my own good health, shrugged it off.

But I didn't shrug it off. I hung onto the source of the pain and it kept hurting. I studied the why and the wherefore, especially for those of us who live with mental illness. I tried to understand what to do with the pain so I could pass what I learned on to my group on Friday. I also talked about how to escape the pain, to avoid having it take us down into depression. And we talked about how we can live so that we avoid the feeling of rejection.

The pain kept coming back as I focused on the problem. Finally, a talk with my pastor Don resolved the issue for me. He told me some things which comforted me greatly. I shared his words with the group and I will share them here with you:

"Be who you are, who God made you to be, and know who you are in His eyes. You are a person of great value and worth to God...ultimately what matters most is not what I think, or even what you think or others, but what God thinks. His first and continual and last thoughts of us are overflowing with love and grace."

What comfort those words gave me!! And this truth is what I passed on to the group at various intervals. Yes, we need to live our lives knowing who we are in God's eyes and be strengthened in that knowledge. Then rejection won't affect us so powerfully.

The photograph? I took it many years ago. It means a lot to me because I identify with the little girl. God comforts us like that if we go to Him, doesn't He?

Monday, July 05, 2010


Just want to share a picture. No further grand theme to this post. Just want to touch base with bloggerland. There are a lot of stray cats wandering around in the Greek islands - most of them pretty mangy. This guy was begging for some tuna from the sandwich I was eating. I couldn't resist sharing some with him.

My mood? Getting over some decidedly low times last week. Strange, I had no problems in Greece. I think being in a lot of social situations like I tend to be here at home causes problems for me sometimes. I'm just too sensitive. And yet I love being around people. It's important to me to be around my friends. Go figure.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Morning has broken

An amazing answer to prayer: My friend in hospital has improved by leaps and bounds. Two days ago she wasn't allowed her clothes because she was still so suicidal. Today she will probably be allowed an accompanied pass, meaning she can leave the hospital if she has someone with her.

Her spirit is so up. She is so grateful, praising God. She delights me so much and gives me such joy.

The day after she turned around so well I was sitting in my favourite chair on the patio having my quiet time, feeling very grateful. I noticed the sun shining on our hanging fushchia basket. I noticed how it illuminated one of the blossoms beautifully and decided to photograph it. As I was shooting a few pictures, a bee flew into the frame. How special that bee made the picture! It takes the picture from being an ordinary picture of a flower to being something a bit more special. God's work, eh?

That very day I made a bookmark from it for my friend, a bookmark celebrating her turning from darkness to light. "Morning has broken."

I'm praising God this morning. He is so good. He answers prayer.

To read more Thankful Thursday blogposts visit Lynn.