Reflecting on Preparation….

Ladybird and Flower (2) by The Little LeafWe just returned from a family wedding, a sort of extended holiday season. We were barely beyond Christmas and New Year’s when the big day was upon us. It was so good to see family and friends join together to celebrate with the happy couple and pledge their support to this new marriage. Yet the happy day didn’t just happen. Planning and preparation began last winter, along with many discussions and suggestions from all around. So I was drawn to this lovely photo by my friend Alana of a ladybug, or ladybird as they would say in New Zealand, amidst beautiful flowers. This little beetle has chosen the most tightly closed bloom, instead of landing on the wide open flower to the left. These flowers seem to emerge from a translucent film, slowly opening and unfurling their petals for all to see. A wedding is a lot like these flowers. Some guests may only see the open bloom, while others helped along the way. Perhaps some brought their experience from years gone by, like the glimpse of the open bloom to the right. Others listened patiently or offered new ideas, helping balance the needs of two families that became one. Yet we often forget the few who shun the spotlight and are content to help in the background, allowing those they love to shine the brightest. Make time today to be someone else’s ladybird. Listen without interruption, go beyond just the spoken word, seek to understand what is left unsaid. And always remember, when you let go of the need for outward recognition, the work of your heart will be its own reward. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘Ladybird and Flower’ by The Little Leaf ©2012, used with her permission. To see more of her work, go to http://thelittleleaf.net/

Reflecting on Waiting….

What glorious weather we had last weekend! It’s hard to believe it is almost December, especially after the freak snow storm last month. So I was drawn to this beautiful photo of the lake house view taken by my friend Joseph. I love how the early morning sun lights up the clouds and the surface of the lake, bathing everything in vibrant color. There are many mornings when I would rather roll over and sleep in, than rise to see the early morning light. Yet I sacrifice the in between time, the hush before the start of the day. Life begins at home in this tranquil, serene, in between time, not when we rush out of the house to arrive at work. That quiet time is hard to come by these days, when we are all overscheduled and overwhelmed by the conflicting demands of life. We rush onto the next task, skipping over things we meant to do, and often need to do. We even skip over Advent and start Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We must be reminded that our church calendar begins with Advent, a time of expectations, of preparation, of quiet reflection. When we celebrate Advent, we find Christmas is worth waiting for. To quote the Reverend Canon Susan Goff, “When we wait, God breaks through in unexpected ways to bless and renew us. [Waiting] is not a hollow barrenness that is just killing time until something better comes along. Our waiting, instead, is pregnant, expectant, charged and filled with blessings that will, in God’s time, be revealed.” Take time today to wait upon the Lord, to make space for God in those in between times. Expect God in the midst of unexpected delays. Allow stillness to soak into your soul and to fill your heart. And remember as you wait that Christ’s life began to change his mother Mary long before he was placed in the manger. Photo by Joseph Syzdek

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