And I Heard Be Still

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I heard you arrive. Your breathes, some rushed and hurried. Some slow and halting. You stepped across the threshold to this place. And when you came you brought yourself. As you are today. In this moment now. Let’s capture this day together. It must be an art, no science, this noticing. It must be practiced and possibly never perfected. But there is joy in the practice. Ready, set, go notice.

Aren’t we all archeologists digging in the soil of our very lives. Chipping through the rock and rubble looking, even longing for the shiny. The diamonds in the rough and rocky. Ah but there is beauty in the rusty patina places. The layers of living leave their beautiful marks. They paint strokes of story and telling, leaving whispers, shouts even of what has happened here. Don’t we long to know what lies just below the surface. The untold story. The unseen beauty, hidden art, waiting glory, buried treasures of extravagant grace.

We the curious seek a soul knowing. Early on we toddled around touched everything, put everything to our lips and in our mouths to answer the question what is it. Why do we slow down in our discovery. Halted by age, slowed by a deliriously jadded heart. Frozen by complacency. Settling for the whatever.

Seeing past the very surface, the cliches, the what is clearly showing brings joy and gratitude. I saw the spanish moss last night, dripping in all its grey glory, majestic like cashmere scarves thrown over the shoulders and limbs of the oaks. And I saw God’s creative wonder, His very intricate design. And I said yes to His world, anew again.

I was in the Presence of The Living God. In a world watermarked by the wispy strokes of His creative hand.

I am dancing in a place of quiet searching. I am looking with a hungry heart. I am slowing down to see and listening to the whisper of be still.

We prayed last night to the sound of crickets and cicadas. Our little village bible study. Our first night. Doors wide open. Fall sneaking in to still our frenzied hearts. We struggled with our calendars to make a schedule for our group. Oh the irony. We are studying simplicity and are calendars do not want to bend into the schedule of twelve weary travelers.

But the chorus of night’s choir calmed. And a  soliloquy of sudden singing soothed us while we prayed. And I heard be still.

Listen with me, see with me, in the middle of the messy living. Cry out with me, pray with me in the still of the fallen night. Look with me into the deep crevices of wonder. Find with me the lyrical and the lapping rhythms of the day. See with me past the surface, into the God places slightly hidden from view. Wonder with me at the treasure trove of buried beauty. Excavate the layered living. And mine the God Beauty of this day.

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Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.  — Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

(This is day three. Are you following daily. Let’s notice together. Visit me on facebook, on twitter, or subscribe to this journey. Click here to read all posts in this 31 day series. Did you notice I said how grateful I am to have you here. I am grateful you are here. Truly.)

Noticing – A Journey Down The Road Of Fully Seeing

Noticing

Join me in October as I participate in the 31 Days Series withThe Nester at The Nester dot com. Last year at this time I was writing daily (well almost) on words. Were you here for the series, 31 Days, A Series of Words. I may have switched it up a bit and called it 31 Days of Wonderful Words. Either way it was challenging as a writer.  It was my first year joining The Nester and other bloggers for this writing link up and challenge. And now I am designing and planning year  TWO.

In  the next few days you will hear a little more about what I have in mind. But I want to hear from YOU also. Leave a note in the comment section or send me a note on Facebook or Twitter if there is something you’d like to see me cover in a post during the 31 day journey.

But mostly I am just going with a spontaneous writing project, sharing as God reveals beauty and wonder to me. Well as spontaneous as one can be writing for thirty-one consecutive days.

I hope to mix it up quite a bit. And I promise you it is my desire to design a series which will never be boring.

 You are invited to come along on this journey.

31 days of notiing

Encouragement – A Letter To A Friend

Today is Day 22. Today’s word is Encouragement. To read the collective sashay sway  shimmy  swish and swirl over here. To read others in the Series go here, to The Nester’s place.

Dear Encouraging You,

Today is your Birsday. Can I tell Webster that he has a new word for his book?

Have I told you lately that I love you. I bet I have. But I am telling you again. Beautiful you are Day 22. You are laughing that you have a day in my series.

Because you are the reason there was ever a Day One, in this writing life. And you would say it was God and I would too, but you helped Him. And we would both say He doesn’t need my help.

But you were an encourager. And you have been. The accountability partner I lean into. What richness my life has with your flesh and bones, hands and feet, lungs and laughter, heart and soul, and words and words and more words, and love rooted in my own.

You have given birth to hope and held a sister’s hand right smack in the middle of the yuck. Sweet you have had a word, a prayer, a dream and a strong arm of encouragement to grasp hold of a sinking drowning spirit.

The day I said I was done with writing. Or was it writing was done with me. Or was it I give up or was it I am through with this. You may be my memory here, but I know your words were brave and strong.

And you spoke into burying and putting under rocks things the Lord gifts.

Friends don’t let friends give up.

Encouragent reaches the long limb of grace into a life and drags it back like a mother cat moving her kittens into safety, out of a ditch.

You have shown that encouragement knows in her knower, deep in her inside places, when to speak and when to listen and when to love.

Tough and tender co-exist in the life of an encourager, the life of the precious you.

And when desperation despair dysfunction depression, an army of d’s show up, we put on the armour and together we battle, and together we stand, and together we fight.

For our lives, our children, our husbands, our families, our God. And His glory.

And there is always the beautiful. There is your lense, your eye behind the camera sharing the beautiful, calling it out, like a Southern Debutante at her coming out. Here she is, Beauty, give her her Day, present her for all to see.

When we swim upstream in a river of tears, like salmon seeking a place to spawn or float our boats down the outgoing tide of tears of joy, you encourage.

We’ve known death and life and you’ve said “though He slay me” more than once.

We’ve know some prodigal stories lived out and built trust and hope as tall as the Empire State building. We’ve cried to the Heavens and screamed to them too.

We’ve pounded the pavements and pounded our fists. And we have celebrated, because that heart of yours links up with mine and we say we have today, we have today, we have today.

There has been building homes, and nests. Designing and decorating .Hanging art and hanging out, journeying far and near. We have Glamped,we have Aqua-glamped and we  have stood against the Great Recession, sticking out our tongues, saying nay nay nay you can’t get me.

There have been literal Hurricanes and the other kind too. We have stood.

But never alone. Always with Him, three strands of a cord. Encouragement weaves that way.

And courage sits firmly in the middle and holds her ground.

Happy 60th bursday, H.  Thank you for inspiring and encouraging this sister. For walking out, talking out, and praying out this wonderful glorious life we have this side of heaven.

If you go first I will never forgive you. But if you do save a place for me. And yes I know it doesn’t work like that.

We have a lot of rocking left to do on the porch. A lot of sorting out and figuring out.

My heart needs more encouragement from you.

Thank you for showing the world how to live a life as an encourager.

Happy Birthday sweet friend. Your life is a work of art.

And thank you for encouraging me to pick up the pen and always live the highest and best, with joy and a spirit of celebration.

There are no words. And that may be the first time.(You know I know your thoughts).

Beginning your 61st year with laughter and love,

elizabeth

Counting Gifts because of Ann –of hope for a child, joy in family, praise in worship and worship in praise yesterday in church, time with family, conversations with a child restoring possibilities, expectant hearts for a birthday celebration, new writing friends friendships strengthened, new encouragers in my life, hearing my daughter’s praise music on her radio instead of the other station, watching her worship our Lord in church, hearing my son sing soft and low during worship yesterday, cold air, tough love, smiling face of my sweet friend Monica, a visit from the young man and his girl who has already flown the coop (tomorrow can’t come soon enough), their future and God’s plan, the flowers from The Patient One which still warm my spirit with their autumnal colors, life.

Joining Ann, Michelle, Laura, and L.L. Barkat

Thank you for traveling with me through this series. To subscribe click hereand we will keep journeying together.

When The Tail Wags The Dog (Or When Things Get A Little Crazy)

Today is Day 10 and it is not your imagination that there was no Day 9. So this is 9-10 and now you know why today’s word is CRAZY.

[This post is a part of a continuing series on Wonderful Words.
The Nester is hosting this 31 Day Series. And I am joining Sarah Mae for her What I Know Now Series with this post.)

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Did I hear that a time or two. Or am I mixing metaphors. Oh, joy. And there is this. Too many balls in the air and irons in the fire and does this sound familiar? There is this indicator, you text a text for a child to a friend and question marks come back. And you back track. And you cover your tracks. And you feel for all the world that the tail is wagging the dog.

And all the crazy making feels like disobedience to you. Because haven’t you learned this lesson so many times before,to breathe. And pause. And, those wide margins. Those wide margins of white space and calm and peace and what happened to that and those.

And though the list is long of people in pain and hurt and need, don’t you know. You is me. Me is I. Sometimes we write a corrective word to self and think there may be one who knows this too.

All the eyes on the stove are on high, the flame red- hot, the flame dances high, taunting its orange red and none can be reduced to simmer.

How the list is long and day is short, but the day is not because He designed the day and His day is the perfect length.

How the balls in the air are bricks and if you drop even one the consequences are dire, dropping the other shoe would be softer and less painful, but you don’t want to drop anything.

When it all seems pressing and all feels pressing and the needs are all great and you want to say get in line take a number. But all you want to do is write. And writing soothes the soul like a balm. And writing feels obedient and after that it all may be okay. After the obedience, all will simmer down and the boiling hot places may cool off.

And the woman-child-sister-wife- mother-friend-church- volunteer-child sponsor- mother- of- college -bound -child- soccer- player- volleyball- player- grown -child -girlfriend- has- an- interview-today hat is heavy like lead. And its all good, except for the parent  in excrutiating pain. And the parent, the caregiver is struggling too.

And one more hyphen may cut you in two like a blade. And the mail needs to be opened and sorted, so the CEO of the house needs to sit at her desk. And the hyphens keep coming.

But isn’t that when the full armor of God goes on.

Isn’t that when you yoke up with Him.

Isn’t that when you breathe a little deeper and sigh. Sigh deeper, longer.

And remember what you knew all along.

That chaos isn’t of Him. And that He doesn’t spin you like a top and chase you like a hungry wolf. That He is Gentle and He is Peace-Maker.

And your church is turning upside down too. Wasn’t that suppose to be a plumb line for stability. Wasn’t that The Rock. And there is uncertainty in her future. And you will welcome on Sunday but your heart is heavy at the uncertainty. But its not. Because really, He knows. He knows.

That this was never Him and this is never how He loves. He intended the dog to wag his own tail. His plan was for order.

So this is when you lay it down and lay it aside and say no thank you to crazy, I want no part. Knock on someone else’s door. Or better yet. Leave us all alone, Crazy. Leave us all alone.

And there’s a debate or two and an election and more uncertainty. But is it really? He is Certain. He is Sure. He is Reigning.

So this is when you say, nice try Tricky One. I want no part of that.

I remember whose I am and who I am in Him and send crazy-making out the door, the back door. No place of honor through the front door. That is reserved for the King. Who is welcome anytime, on any day, to order and restore.

He is the Restorer of Order.

And thankfully, the dog can way his own tail.

And she can breathe again.

So she goes looking for the dull, the mundane, the white noise places in her life and gives Him all her balls.

After all, He has always been a better juggler than she.

He holds the universe. Juggles the planets, moon and stars.

So  she  simply holds his hand. And pets the dog who wags his  very own tail.

Joining Emily, Ann, Duane, Jennifer, Eileen , Mary Beth, Joy and The Nester