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All Things In Order

About 15 years ago I spent some time learning about addictions as part of the job I had. One of the most successful programs for alcohol addiction has been AA. Since they hold a lot of meetings and the meetings are free it worked very well to attend and listen. After my first meeting I thought I would probably understand the experience better if I “ran through” the program myself. I jumped right in and started writing out my “answers”.  A few days later I went to a co-worker who’s main job was working with people in recovery and asked him why the fourth step was so challenging. He asked me how much time I had spent on the first three steps. I told him I skipped them. Then he said something that has stuck with me. “They are in order for a reason and they are numbered for people like you.”

Looking at the commandments God gave Moses for the people of Israel I can’t help thinking God is truly a god of order. The first one is simple enough on the surface but the application is where we so often loose our way. I know I do. “I am the Lord your God.” Really puts it in order. Starts and ends a simple declarative sentence with Him and covers our roles and relationship in the few words in between. One thing I know for sure, I may not fully know who I am but God fully knows who He is. The next little bit is addressed to Israel and then the commandment.  ”Do not have any gods before ME!”

As I was looking at my plans for today I realized God wasn’t on my calendar. Dog food and laundry were scheduled but not Him. My first desire in the morning is coffee. Not real breakfast. As much as I love a good breakfast, that is the exception not the rule for my days. I have been running on empty lately. Physically and spiritually. And as I was picking up an apple fritter and my 3rd cup of coffee for the morning after dropping my daughter off for band practice and getting the dog food before I rushed back to pick her up from band practice, I heard my friend’s words “they are in order for a reason and numbered….” The sabboth is for people like me. It’s not the end of the week. It’s the beginning. It’s not resting up from what I’ve done all week. It’s preparing for the week ahead.

“Be still and know that I AM GOD”  All things in order…

Be Still Selah

Stand in the rain

Outside the window of my home office is an apple tree. Some of you, dear readers, have heard my heart before about this constant companion to my writing. The apple tree came with the house we bought 9 years ago. In the seasons that have come and gone it has produced exactly 5 apples. I know this because each year I sit here and wait for the blossoms to appear. I then wait for the smallest hint of fruit. A squirrel I have named George also seems to be keeping this vigil.

Next to the apple tree, just out of view is a large cherry tree. While the blossoms are plentiful, I have yet to harvest a single cherry. On the other side of the apple tree is a short stocky orange tree. Even now it has large juicy fruit and the beginnings of some of the most aromatic of all fruit blossoms. Possibly the smallest of the orange trees that dot our neighborhood it supplies us very nicely with a good crop of oranges each year. Our highly fruitful and messiest producer is the apricot tree just past the little orange tree. With branches reaching a full 30 feet in the air it is impossible to gather and process all of the offerings it presents us each year.

Our newest addition is my olive tree. It is in the backyard and the view of it fills the dining room window. A birthday gift from my husband 3 years ago it has increased in size and crop each year. This year is looking to be huge. I have cured the first two crops. The first being a full 2 dozen olives and the second passing the 100 mark. I am looking forward to this years bumper crop.

All five trees are standing in the rain today. Each is getting a good soaking, a gentle shaking from the wind blowing through the branches, and when the rain passes the warm northern California sun will bless them one and all. Without the rain there will be no flowers. Without the flowers there will be no fruit. Even if the only thing they have to offer is the beauty of the flower each one offers what it has. Each one stands in the storm. Each one reaching down into the earth. Each one responds as it is able.

Many of my friends have and are facing storms and standing in the rain. But without fail I have seen fruit. I have seen beauty. I have seen them reach deep down for their strength and lift their hearts and eyes upward. Time to stand in the rain. Healing Rain

 

TGIF

I mean that in the actual “do this” sense of the phrase.

Thank God it’s Friday. How often do we look at Friday not as the beginning of rest and reverence but more as the end of work and franticly trying to keep up? Do we look to the weekend for what it holds or for what it doesn’t? Are we as eager to spend time with God as we are to spend time away from the office or school or work? Are we running from or to?

The song playing in my heart today goes back more than a century. The simplicity of the words make the desire of the writer’s heart unmistakable.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

 

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

 

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

And, yes, Thank God it is Friday!

Take Time To Be Holy

He Wasn’t Irish!

But it’s not his nationality that makes Patrick’s life worth celebrating.

It was his response to the Irish. He loved them.

It made no sense for him to love them given the early years of his life but he did.

It made no sense for him to want to go back once he escaped the servitude he was sold into but he did.

What makes a man return to those who enslaved him?

What makes a country take up a foreigner as their patron saint?

What made this simple man a saint anyway?

And what makes him any different from us?

Response.

So today, with Patrick in mind, how do you respond to those who mistreat you?

How do you lay down your life for others?

What will be celebrated about your life when it’s over?

Will we lift a pint in your memory?

Will the meal of the day be in your honor?

What legacy will you leave behind?

Go bhfanad in Éirinn go brách

 

Flooded

Anybody else overwhelmed with the amount of information and mis-information being dumped on them? How is the average person going to keep informed and knowledgable about what is relevant to their own life?

One of the key tools I use is paper.li. It collects the blog posts from the people I follow on Twitter and organizes them into a newspaper format. I can also read other people’s paper.li without filling my my twitter with the people they follow but I don’t. I call mine Follow Up because the blogs often lead to information or people I would like to know more about. In just a few minutes I can run through all the offerings my Twitter list has from the previous 24 hours and not have to sift through or miss something in the hundreds of tweets. Setting up your own takes just a few minutes and subscribing to others is even quicker.

Another resource I am coming to rely on more and more each day is Evernote. This organization tool works across all three platforms I use, laptop, iphone, ipad, keeping my random thoughts, project ideas, to-do lists, and everything else electronic connected. I am seriously saving trees by not having notes written 3 or 4 times in different notebooks and then taking the time to compile them.

And here’s the best part…both programs are free! Evernote does have a buy up option which I confess I purchased. Money well spent. So you don’t have to be completely inundated to be current. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep up or sort out whatever interests apply to your current situation or projects. If you find yourself flooded grab a paper and an elephant!

John Bergquist

I know, your wondering who this guy is and why would I want to work with him. There are three things I considered when I put together my list of people I wanted to work with.

1) Are they doing anything that excites me?

2) Does what they are doing have worth?

3) Could our relationship benefit from working together?

The answers make the decision to work with John very easy. The first time I met John was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 2010. Our paths to that meeting are very ordered and that story alone could fill a book. So fast forward to that morning. We met at the Denny’s on Las Vegas Boulevard just across from the New York, New York Hotel. I had my daughter with me and John had the Soma Games team with him. If I knew anything about game development I would want to work with those guys, too. The reason we were getting together was to share what we were doing in other areas. You see, the men traveling with John were also part of the core team for Boot Camp Northwest. At the time I was working on the Go Deeper Still Women’s Conference that took place last March. We spent 3 hours over breakfast sharing our hearts and visions. John’s heart is all about reaching out to people.

But John is not just about reaching them but about really connecting with them. In the ever increasing speed of social networking and building resources John places a higher priority on really listening and hearing the heart more than just on the words used to express the latest idea or concept. There is an oft quoted phrase from The Godfather…”It’s not personal. It’s business.” John is just the opposite. It’s personal first and then it’s business. Building the relationship and the person comes before building a project or company or product. If the foundation is weak anything counting on it will fail.

As for the third question. I’m sure it would. Most relationships are strengthened and deepened by facing challenges together. Knowing what I do about John and the way he approaches challenges I believe working together we could really connect people in deeper and more meaningful ways. He’s already connected me on an introduction level with some amazing thinkers, writers, and most important, people.

I highly recommend you get to know John. Start here…http://flurrycreations.com/

Deceived

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Eve being deceived and how it happened. She knew what God said but she didn’t quote it back exactly. She already must have had some knowledge of right and wrong other wise there would have been no option of disobeying God. She seemed to want to be more like God even though she was created in His image.

I see so many areas where it is still easy to be just as deceived as Eve was. God has been very clear in His “Do’s and Don’ts” list. Spells it out fairly plainly in both sections of the Christian Bible. Even children who can’t read know the word “No”. They hear it because they choose to “Do” after they’ve been told “Don’t”. Usually they have a smile on their face and are looking right at the person who said “Don’t” when they “Do”. And how many hundreds of books have been written about becoming more Christ-like? So the temptations are still there. The deceptive traps lay all around us. How do we keep from being deceived?

“Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against God”…good start. Know what He said.

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves!” Ouch…deceiving yourself? That’s going to need some unpacking.

“and all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” Eve was created in the image of God. We are being transformed into the image of God. When He looked into her eyes did He see His reflection? When He looks in mine what does He see?

My hearts desires are so like her’s, to know His Word, to do His will, to be like Him. But it’s His job not mine. It’s His power not my own strength. It’s His time not my impatience. Have I been deceived? Many more times that Eve’s one recorded transgression. But my heart has been captured by His love. My spirit has been set free by His sacrifice.

Though I see through a glass dimmly one day I will see Him face to face…deceivable no more.

Cabin Sabbath

Nellie's Cabin Est. 1932

 

There are some places you just know have history. You don’t have to know the stories or the people. Just standing there you are surrounded by something tangible yet illusive at the same time.  For my husband’s family there has been one place that has stood the test of time. Thanksgivings have been the high point of the years at the cabin. Family from near and far have traveled to spend time together, catch up and celebrate their history.

Unfortunately, being made of redwood, the cabin is starting to really show the signs of age. The next year or so may see the end of the old place. While it is still standing we make a point of going up as often as we can. One of my favorite reasons to go is for a Cabin Sabbath. We get up there after dark, build a nice fire and sit drinking a good wine while we just relax and unwind. Saturday morning is pancakes and coffee and Jimmy Dean sausages. Then there are the cabin chores. Firewood to collect and cut. Water to heat to wash up. That’s about it. Mornings usually include a hike down the road to check on the fish in the stream or to see if there are any apples in the old orchard. No where to be and no time to be there. Time is an illusion at the cabin. Because it’s set in a mountain valley surrounded by 100 year old redwood trees the sun is only at full strength for about an hour at noon. It moves quickly from one side of the clearing to the other and then the shadows and shade take over again. Sometime in the late afternoon we decide to check the time and start packing up to head back down the mountain.

The cabin is a place of refuge and peace and simplicity. Some people find peace in a sanctuary, some on a surf board. Some find peace in their own backyard or front porch. Wherever you find a place to be still before God, to listen with your heart as well as your ears, to see with your soul and your eyes, to soak in beauty and the divine, may the grace and peace of God meet you there.

Be Still

One Thing

No matter what your circumstances.

No matter how your day has been.

Right now,

at this very moment

there is one thing to be thankful for.

There is one who cares about you.

There is one who would like to hear from you.

There is one time you can look back on with joy.

Right now,

What’s the one thing that popped into your mind?

Right now,

No matter your circumstances

No matter how your day has been

Right now,

At this very moment there is one thing you can do to bring joy

So, what your One Thing?

Do your Thing!

 

What Are You Going To Do About It?

You have a problem. No, I don’t know what it is specifically but if you are breathing you have one. It may not be a huge life or death kind of problem but then again it may. All I know is that you have one. One of the universally common traits of mankind is that each and everyone has a problem of their own. Most have a great long list of problems and if you have the time, and often if you don’t, they are quite eager to share them with you.

But sharing a problem doesn’t remedy the problem. It just gives it publicity. Sharing a problem doesn’t necessarily mean you want advice or suggestions or answers. It may just mean you want to kick it around with someone else, possibly turning it over to them and thereby making it their problem instead of your own.

And that gets us to the heart of today’s question. What are you going to DO about it? When I call a certain wise woman for advice she usually answers me not with a solution but a question. “What’s the best next thing to do?” Then she gives me my marching orders…”So do that.”

What’s the biggest problem staring you in the face today? What’s the best next thing to do? Do that. Get back to me when you’ve done it. I’d love to hear how big that step was.

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