Reflecting on Rain….

It’s been raining for almost two weeks, with thunderstorms rolling through our area. We badly need the rain since last winter was so warm. Yet it’s easy to allow the rain get you down. So I was drawn to this beautiful photo by my friend Lynda. I love how she captured the raindrop bouncing back off of the deck, with a hint of her lovely garden in the background. The few flower petals scattered across the deck remain steadfast, defying the rain. It’s easy to lose sight of the beauty beyond the pain, to focus on the negative at the expense of the positive. How often have you heard someone saying, ‘How could you spoil such a perfect day’? Yet it’s the person asking the question that is spoiling the day. As a young executive, I soon learned each day would be a mixed bag, some good, some bad. The only way to remain motivated was to focus on the positive. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s easier said than done. So I began to pray for an image, or a Bible verse, to hang onto to. I began to see the frightened disciples in the boat, in the midst of a storm. At first, I was disappointed. Really, God, really, things are not as bad as all that! Yet I stuck with it and claimed that image. So much of bad behavior results from fear, or our reactions to another’s fear. We were all stuck in the same boat, yet we were all safe in that same boat, with Christ asleep in the stern. Even when the heavens open and our boat may be tossed about, our Lord and God is with us, knowing that all we fear can be quelled in an instant. Take time today to embrace God’s love, without beginning or end, a love that drives out all fear. Pray for an image or word to encourage you, for a love letter from God. Allow the Holy Spirit to shine through you, to shine for those that travel with you in this life. Respond in love to their fears, rather than reacting with your own fear. And remember, even the worst storm is but a little thing to the same God that conquered sin and death on the cross. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘Water, Water Everywhere’ by Lynda Jeffers ©2012, used with her permission.

Reflecting on Birds….

It’s a mild winter morning and spring will soon be here. Daffodils are blooming and birds are singing, ready for the earth to awaken with new growth. So I was drawn to this amazing photo by my friend Lynda. The muted colors of the sky are balanced by the dark branches, softening the scene and welcoming us in. I love how the bird is perched in the crook of the branch, ready to take flight. Since ancient times, birds have been considered a supernatural link between heaven and earth. These delicate but powerful creatures can defy gravity, soaring high above our heads. For centuries, man dreamed of flight, trying all sorts of contraptions to join the birds in the heavens. Perhaps what we seek is the bird’s eye view, the ability to take in the whole scene, to see it all at one time. We want to see through God’s eyes, to discern the hidden, rather than painstakingly piecing together the whole picture. It seems a heavy burden to place on a tiny bird. Yet the Celts considered the lowly wren the king of all birds, flying further than the majestic eagle in a race to the sun. Take time today to step back and consider the whole picture. Look at a difficult situation from all perspectives, not just your own. Seek to understand the motivation of others, refraining from judgment or snap decisions. And remember, when you grow weary, that even the lowly wren can win a race to the Son, one prayer at a time. Photo entitled ‘Bird’s Eye View’ by Lynda Jeffers ©2012, used with her permission, to see more of her photography, visit http://lynda-jeffers.artistwebsites.com/index.html

Reflecting on Haste….

The air is cool and the sun is warm, showing off the glorious autumn colors. Our leaves are finally turning, brilliant against the green dogwoods. So I was drawn to this photo entitled ‘Tree Hugging’ by a follow blogger, Lynda. I love the contrast between the single tree in the sun and the surrounding trees in the shade. The colors almost seem translucent, as though you can see through the vivid leaves to the trees beyond. But more than anything, this tree reminded me of the tree of life, the one tree in the Garden of Eden that none of us has eaten from. Yet instead of flaming swords keeping us at bay, this tree invites us in, asking for a hug. Its singular beauty inspires us to pause, to linger long enough to soak in the miracle of nature. Long ago, just after I left military service, I met an inspired priest named Jasper Pennington. He often preached on haste and its effect on modern life. Jasper was a historian by education and avocation, and saw our lives through a long lens. What others saw as isolated events, he saw as the culmination of 10, or 20, or 50 years of history. Jasper lovingly, persistently, insistently reminded us to be thoughtful in our actions, to take time for those we loved. He wanted us to understand that our actions today affected the arrow of time, often in ways we may not understand for years to come. What we said or did in haste we often regretted, and could not always take back or easily correct. Take time today to truly listen, to be there for one another, to hug a loved one, or even a tree. Soak in the beauty that surrounds you and give thanks for the blessings of this life. We offer so much to God in prayer, so why not offer up our time? Photo by Lynda Jeffers © 2011, used with her permission. See more of her photos at http://lyndajeffersphotography.wordpress.com/

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