Wednesday, July 4, 2018

WALKING IN FREEDOM

Getting up long before the heat of the day makes its presence known, I head out the door for an early morning walk.  It's a walk I've taken a hundred times before, but today...Today is different!  There is no agenda, there are no fitness goals to reach and no schedule to keep.  It is simply a morning devoted to stepping away from the routine and the noise of a busy life, quieting my heart and remembering to give thanks for the FREEDOMS I have, both as an American and as a Believer.      

For you were called to freedom, brothers.   Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.   Galatians 5:13 ESV 

At the foundation of our great nation, I see Galatians 5:13 lived out. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence served with love by pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to one another.

I am especially grateful today, to all the men and women in uniform who continue devoting their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to keeping our nation free.  It is thru that freedom, I can make the choice....to shut off life's noise for this moment in time, to walk thru my neighborhood and see the goodness of humanity all around... free people, serving one another in love.

A young mother walking her sleeping baby, 
Two grown sons helping their ageing father with yard work,
A seasoned veteran, gently and without fear, sweeping his driveway,
An athletic dad jogging (in flag shorts) behind his toddler's stroller,  
Two brothers working together, tearing out and rebuilding a cement porch,
A stranger watering her yard and taking time to greet me with joy,
and, lots of beautiful flowers and flags and porches at every turn, that beg, "come and sit awhile", this is the land of the free.

Psalm 33:12 says Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage.  
My heart is filled up this July 4, 2018.  May we as a free people 
 always remember
to give thanks...
and cling to the one who offers freedom, everlasting.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36
WALKING IN FREEDOM
                   

Thursday, May 24, 2018

FOCUSING THE LENS

I admit it!  I'm somewhat of a photo junkie.  Taking pictures has been a hobby  (an obsession) for as long as I can remember.  The evidence is everywhere!  In my prized collection of scrapbooks, in boxes and boxes of prints (from way before the digital age), and NOW in files and files of electronically organized photos... each good (and not so good picture) tells a story!

Capturing each moment along the way has brought me great joy!  The art and science of photography (and sometimes even a little irritation from my teenage subjects), has been a great way to mark the past, the present, and yes, even the future.


My husband and (now) adult children, (those once slightly irritated teens) have come to fully appreciate my picture taking habits.  Recently, (for Mother's Day) they gifted me a brand new camera.  I've gotten some great shots over the years with simple cameras, and I love my iPhone camera, but this one is a "fancy one",  loaded with lots of settings and lens options.   It's been fun experimenting, learning new techniques and angles and lighting features... all for the sake of capturing the moment...with creativity...quality...and you know, "THE PERFECT SHOT" 


Interestingly, as I expand my lens on photography, I am learning it isn't just about a hobby, it's becoming a daily reminder to expand my lens on life (my perspective if you will),  allowing me to push beyond my narrow borders---both physically and spiritually, to sit (or stand) in awesome wonder!  To consider, ALL Thy Hands have made. To take in, ALL of His creation.

I am reminded of the English merchant and a renowned poet who stood watching the sun come up out of the sea.  The bright yellow disk of the sun emerged, gilding the water and painting the sky with a thousand colors.   "Ah! I see gold!" the merchant said.  The poet answered, "I see the glory of God! And I hear a multitude of the heavenly host crying, "the whole earth is full of His glory."
one of my favorites- Wrightsville Bridge

There is a myriad of people, places and things I am already planning to capture through my "Canon Lens",  but what about the lens of a busy life, filled with noise that I sometimes have to sift thru? What about the circumstances where I struggle to see the beauty,  the desperate needs in the lives of so many, overwhelming me at every corner?

Whether it be photography, some other form of creative interest, or just plain ole' good intention and discipline...

Let us push back the narrow borders of our individual worlds, let us refocus our lens.  Through the BEAUTY and the BROKEN,  let us take in the WHOLE creation of God.


IN THE EVERY DAY, SEE HIS GLORY! 


Thou art worthy,  Lord to receive glory and honour and power; 
for thou has created all things.
  
Revelation 4:11 


Taken in Alaska in 2016


A recent favorite...not taken by me, of course :)  

Hadassah sending Uncle Matt graduation well wishes



Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World



    My two-year-old daughter toddled down the ramp.   Boarding the plane to grandma's house (with stuffed animal in hand), she enthusiastically exclaimed...."it's the greatest adventure!"
(her independent, risk-taking spirit was already evident at the age of 2)

Sarah (3) and My mom in 1996 
Since that day, there's been a lot of great adventures!  Now, so many years later, she's on another "great adventure."  One that will last the rest of her existence...Motherhood.

In a 19th century poem, What Rules The World, penned by poet William Ross Wallas, he praises motherhood as the preeminent force for change in the world.  From his writing has come a famous saying that goes like this.   


"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." 
  
Talk to any mama, whether her children are grown up and gone or she's just starting out, the assignment of motherhood can at times seem monotonous, demanding, unglamorous, exhausting, isolating,  thankless and overwhelming...  i.e., far from ruling the world.  

But in time, sleepless nights give way to first steps, and all too soon, our babies are riding a bike, then learning to drive.  Thru the never-ending mountains of laundry, grade school, high school and college, the years pass by.   

Mother's Day is a special time to celebrate moms, everywhere.  But, it's also about celebrating the great adventures, influenced by mom, along the way.
  
Think about it, every day you have influences in your life, I have influences in my life, our children have influences in their lives, 
BUT NONE....so profoundly influence like MOM!


Hadassah and Sarah - Mother's Day 2018

The Shaping

        The Loving
              The Forgiving
The Teaching
       The Praying
              The Playing
The Cheering
       The Believing
              The Guiding
The Saying I'm Sorry
The Late Night Talking
The Caring
       The Holding
              The Laughing
The Commitment,
The Investment, and on and on and on! 

The stage is being set for God's perfect design when one day the daily feeding and care of them no longer demand our undivided attention.  Of course, our lives remain interwoven and vitally connected thru every season, but with proud joy and honor, we pass the baton and the legacy continues.   

Watching first hand, 
a daughter giving birth, becoming a mother! 
The celebration of life, 
a new generation born.
  
Giving life to another human being doesn't just change you...it makes you, for the rest of your existence!  





Me and Hadassah in March 2018 (at her new home in FL)

In just a few short weeks my baby girl will board a plane with her baby girl, from Florida to Pennsylvania.

 I'm embracing it ALL, because
 slowly and surely,
 "The hand that rocks the cradle IS the hand that rules the world!"

To all the wonderful moms out there, 
Keep rocking the cradle, 
Keep ruling the world. 

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
Crystal  (AKA, NANA)