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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Harry Edenfield, a Christian author, offers a thought-provoking daily devotional for this season of Lent.

Today’s verse is from Genesis 19:16: “But Lot lingered. So the angels seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.”

Edenfield reflects, “Lord God, your servant Lot lingered in Sodom. Sometimes I love my chosen place too much. You urge me to leave my sin spot.

I linger.

I linger even if it may be injurious to my loved ones. Remember me: I, too, need an escort from the magnet of sin.

As we leave together, Holy Spirit, urge me to have no regret about the exit from sin. Urge me not to look back.”

Amen.

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Scènes de ma course du matin:

Morning fog creeping over low pastures and seeping into the road

Fungal sunrise

Preparing horses for polo season next month

Farmer made hay this week

Dragonfly mating season

Unflappable turkey buzzards

Thank You, God, for the joie de vivre of running, of freedom, of health, of vibrant life. Merci pour my quiet mornings with You.

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Fire dances, mesmerizes and consumes. It can quickly go from subtle, romantic and soothing, like my evening candle of ambience, to raging maniacal destruction, as I witnessed earlier this year in the aftermath of the horrors of the deathly California wild fires.

Somehow this fire display on my trip to Costa Rica last month, felt safe and calming, when surrounded by water.

Set fire to the sky, the sea and the spirit…

The Fire Dancer seduced the audience with her sultry moves, her body ever-changing with the beat of her soul

Thank You, God, for setting fires which refine and redefine, through death and rebirth. Thank You for new beginnings and for hope on the other side of destruction. Help us to always know that new growth only comes through the tests of fire.

Happy Easter, y’all!

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Sea songs and sandals

Bright birds sing of life

In a faraway land where

One finds no strife

Steady the waves rhythmically

Lull one to rest

No wonder so many say

Here, it’s the best!

Beauty abounds and

Art’s seen in all

Nature and man-made

Both having a ball!

Doors, walkways and steps

With fountain or pool

I’ve fallen in love,

Costa Rica’s so cool!

Time to chillax!

Gracias, Dios, por tu creación y por nuevas aventuras. Tu belleza está a nuestro alrededor, esperando ser descubierta.

Hasta mañana, amigos!

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Depth is critical. Without it, life is two-dimensional and only has length and height.

3D, however, is by far richer because it adds depth. And depth adds dimension, perspective and soothes the mind, heart and soul because it helps bring things to life, and life into focus.

Similarly, in photography, depth of field allows us to discern distance between what is in focus while keeping an eye on what lies beyond.

Note that neither concept embraces looking back.

Ironically, last week before this post came out, I had captured a shot down by the bay that I’d sent to my blogging buddy, Mr. 3D, for his feedback, since he has a really good eye for photography, creativity and all things beachy keen.

My mother’s favorite flower was the camellia, a flower she paid handsomely for to enjoy in her native Chicago, but which grows abundantly here where she chose to live out her last years with me. So I always think of her in the winter when the camellias bloom so beautifully like this.

Some of you may be aware that I laid my mother to rest, summer before last.

Or so I thought!

In an odd and truly unusual religious turnaround, the priest sought me privately after church last week and made a very unexpected confession. “Er, I believe we found what appears to be more of your mother’s ashes, back in the sacristy. What would you like us to do?”

You see, the priest had been hit by a drunk driver the week before mother died (fortunately he was alright after a few weeks of recovery), so the interim priest did the funeral and interred her ashes in the church memorial garden.

I know mother was buried because I and my family was there in vivo to participate in the solemn event. We wept. We joined hands. We sang hymns and prayed. The children scooped grandmother into the earth. Rites were performed.

We said goodbye. Forever.

There was apparently some miscommunication about a second box that turned up long after what the rest of us thought was the actual second box, had been dispersed to the places her ashes were scattered over water. Somehow, the funeral home had created three boxes and delivered them to the church and with the main priest out of commission, nobody knew about Box 3.

Until this week. They’ve been doing a head-to-toe cleaning of the church as they prepare for the regional Diocesan Convention to descend upon our church later this week.

Mother was a photographer and she also had a great sense of humor, so I’m sure she was LHAO from all points beyond, when we learned she had actually been haunting the church for the past 18 months.

So when the priest asked me what I wanted him to do, for a split second, mother’s funny story about what to do with her ashes (pre-death) danced across my mind.

At some point in her 80s (she died at 93), some funeral home solicitor kept calling her every week trying to get her to buy a funeral plan. They were, as pesky solicitors are, relentless.

So one day mother, anticipating their call, decided to rig up a sure-fire way to get them to stop calling. Sure enough, the phone rang that day and she answered with a wry smirk on her face and when they asked yet again she’d decided yet to buy a plan with them, she said without skipping a beat,

“Yes, I’ve finally decided what plan I want. I want to be cremated and for my ashes to be divided into four. Each one of my children will get a portion of my ashes to keep in the trunks of their cars. That way, should they ever get stuck in the snow somewhere, I can still be of help to my children.”

The hapless funeral solicitor never called back. And I decided against suggesting this to the priest, although I might save the story for him for a lighter time in the future.

So yesterday, mother was officially laid to rest with the rest of her ashes, in the church garden where we thought we’d been going to visit (all of) her all along.

The garden happened to have many different-colored camellia bushes behind the memorial section, so I picked one for mother this morning and located her plot, which was newly disturbed with broken grass and unearthed dirt.

Rest finally in peace, Elizabeth Anne – and may you take some awesome photos in Heaven!

Thank You, God, for the gifts You have given me through my mother – love never ending, a happy spirit, an abundance of laughter, a zeal for learning, an eye for Your creation, a passion for seeking You…and for 3D and depth of all fields.

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I love a good window to the world, whether it’s a window of opportunity, a window to the future or a window of wood, as below:

Peek-a-boo pier

Sunset on Mobile Bay

Columbia River Gorge

Thanks, God, for the glimpses of heaven You give us through the windows of Your creation here on earth. Let nothing separate us from You…may the windows be flung open, that we might climb through and know and live the beauty we see on the other side.

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This week of Thanksgiving in the U.S., I decided to begin a few new traditions.

Research shows that you can improve both mood and health throughout the day by identifying one or more (different) things you’re grateful for, first thing in the morning. No more than 1-2, however, since studies also show that listing 5 or more dilutes the gratitude and its benefits.

So in that predawn hazy zone of waking up and just before I open my eyes, I then count a blessing or two.

(I wonder if saying a gratitude just before drifting off at night would yield better slumber and/or dreams?)

Our longstanding Thanksgiving family tradition is to walk off our feast down at the town pier at sunset. We are always thankful for the friends and beautiful scenes we see:

Cast netting…he might bring up crabs, mullet, shrimp, shark, eel or redfish

Colorful kayaks await tomorrow’s paddlers

A pelican under a wavy ribbon of clouds

Crimson Tide

Quiet fishing

Mother/daughter bonding through texting?

Roll, Tide, Roll!

Contemplation? Praying? No, hunched over texting…

Nautical Christmas spirit!

Serenity indeed…

Life is good at this latitude!

Thank You, God, for a holiday with a sole purpose of gathering to give thanks and gratitude for blessings past, present and for blessings to come. Thanks for the privilege of life, the bounty of love and the gift of mercy.

Thanks for beauty everywhere…for precious time…for forgiveness…for laughter…and for those people and things You that touch our lives in ways that make the world a better place along our journey.

May we never take these gifts for granted and always be grateful.

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Today marks the third birthday of this blog.

It began as an alternative way to communicate. And, like many blogs, it evolved into a completely different animal altogether, then transforming to a platform for creative writing to a platform for photography to a platform for prayer and reflection. God, the sea and musings have never failed to tie them all together.

All these things are a reflection of growth having occurred, of forward movement, being swept up in the current of life.

If you’d asked me three years ago today if I saw myself (or this blog) where I am today, the answer would have been an unequivocal NO.

Growth is so cool, y’all! See where time takes you? Places you never dreamed!

Staying stuck sucks. (say THAT ten times fast!)

So in honor of the third birthday, I offer a bit of creative writing, photography and prayer.

Minus the mistakes I’ve learned from, like ditching the 2k word post, straightening out the horizon on my beach shots and such.

Why, here’s a picture I just took this weekend on my beach – how many of you were too polite to tell me in days past that my crooked horizons made you seasick? This one’s for you:

2014-07-05_10-14-28_755

Okay, so the horizon is just about straight, but the damn chair is crooked – I’ll get it right one of these days. Thanks for bearing with me….

Oh, but here’s another one from the same day – is this better? (Side note: water temp, 82 degrees F, perfect for snorkeling, boogie boarding, kayaking and tubing – all of which I was blessed to play in those cerulean waters yesterday – c’mon down, y’all)

(and no, I did NOT photoshop any people or crowds OUT of the picture – this is really what my beach looks like – never ever a soul encroaching)

2014-07-05_09-53-10_272

Okay, the horizon is not slightly off – that’s the curvature of the earth, right?

(I went for a run later down the beach and saw that catamaran up close – it’s a beaut!)

I was told my blog had been branded as this or that and I felt compelled to live up to the brand, one of which included reverent prayer. I was so busy bowing my head I got out of the habit of blogging for laughs, like the Expense of DIY post or Chore Evasion and others like it, back in the day.

As I sought a title for this post, I Googled the word THREE and these suggestions popped up (my memoirs of the last 3 years in parentheses):

  • Three waters green (I am surrounded by three waters of green, blue and other colors depending on whether or not BP decides to blow a gasket near my beach)
  • Three days grace (What I needed last year when I counted up the number of lawyers (eight) for various reasons I never foresaw, between work and family matters)
  • Three circle church (I don’t go to that church, but I did find myself involved in three different churches/denominations at once, which was growth-promoting)
  • Threes (Things come in threes – I have nothing witty to say about this one)
  • Three mile island (What could be said about the state of my house right now, especially after a neighborhood of kids chose our front yard as pyrotechnics central for the 4th)
  • Three stooges (3 of my 4 children who are still in the stage of finding flatulence funny)
  • Three brothers arms (What I often sternly say I’d better not see in my rear view mirror after the car line at school)
  • Three dog night (What happens in my back yard when our dogs and the neighbor’s dog get crazy over a nighttime thunderstorm, and they jump the fence)
  • Three rivers state park (A beautiful area, if you’ve never been, where Florida and Georgia share water, sorry, no 3 year connection here)
  • Three days to kill (If this is any insightful analysis into the state of my brain right now, I had to read this twice to decide if it meant if there was a deadline of three days to murder someone, or if it meant I needed a vacation….I settled upon the latter)

But my FAVORITE thing that popped up when I Googled THREE, was this literary gem:

Three Years She Grew

By William Wordsworth

Three years she grew in sun and shower,

Then Nature said, “A lovelier flower

On earth was never sown;

This Child I to myself will take;

She shall be mine, and I will make

A Lady of my own.

 

“Myself will to my darling be

Both law and impulse: and with me

The Girl, in rock and plain,

In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,

Shall feel an overseeing power

To kindle or restrain.

 

“She shall be sportive as the fawn

That wild with glee across the lawn

Or up the mountain springs;

And hers shall be the breathing balm,

And hers the silence and the calm

Of mute insensate things.

 

“The floating clouds their state shall lend

To her; for her the willow bend;

Nor shall she fail to see

Even in the motions of the Storm

Grace that shall mould the Maiden’s form

By silent sympathy.

 

“The stars of midnight shall be dear

To her; and she shall lean her ear

In many a secret place

Where rivulets dance their wayward round,

And beauty born of murmuring sound

Shall pass into her face.

 

“And vital feelings of delight

Shall rear her form to stately height,

Her virgin bosom swell;

Such thoughts to Lucy I will give

While she and I together live

Here in this happy dell.”

 

Thus Nature spake—The work was done—

How soon my Lucy’s race was run!

She died, and left to me

This heath, this calm and quiet scene;

The memory of what has been,

And never more will be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hey, God, thank You for three years of evolution, of coming into being and coming to You.

God bless the readers, artists and publishers of WordPress for this positive momentum of growth and self-actualization. Hitting the PUBLISH button isn’t the end-all goal, it’s the journey that counts and the joys found therein.

Thank You for this platform for finding my way, for taking me through, bringing me up, keeping me afloat and sending me into the future. And most of all, God, for bringing me HOME, home where I belong. Thank You for the journey, God.

And thank YOU, dear readers, for joining me here on my beach. Your friendship is the most cherished thing of all.

~~ssm

Happy Anniversary!

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Duck!

We rendezvous with risk and yet pray to be rescued.

We overschedule ourselves and yet pray for rest.

We fiddle around in folly and yet pray for wisdom.

We hide from You and yet pray for Your presence.

We dance with darkness and yet pray for light.

We find ways to rationalize our wrongs and yet pray to be righteous.

We jam-pack our emptiness with clutter and yet pray for space.

We revel in dipping our toe in just a fraction of filth and yet pray to be clean.

We discount those whom You put in our path and yet pray for finer fellowship.

We enjoy a little slide down the hill and yet pray for a helping hand up.

We overindulge and yet pray for relief.

We fecklessly fool ourselves and others, and yet pray for truth.

We wage war and yet pray for peace.

We become overly focused and yet pray for perspective.

We are bountifully blessed and yet pray ever for more.

We curse the miraculous manna and yet pray for novelty.

We willfully wander and yet pray to remain on the best path.

We sneak a little snooze now and then, and yet pray for our eyes to be open.

We invest money, time and energy into enslaving ourselves, and yet pray for freedom.

We selectively listen and yearn to be heard, and yet pray to hear clearly.

We create complication and yet pray for simplicity.

Wet Sunset

God, thank You for knowing us and understanding that our shortcomings are what ultimately sharpen us…

for blessing all our brouhahas…

for Your grace in all of our gobbledygook…

…and especially for Your patience in our paradox.

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To rise at 5:30 or 6?

Stockings before (like usual) or after (why not?) presents?

Should we make the kids call everybody and wake them up and thank them early while they’re full of zeal for each item, or wait till the day has worn on and we’re more prone to deep conversations like, “Um, thanks grandma, for the, um…that, er, thing you got me.”

How many sweets to allow before church?

Did the baby’s face get scratched in the nursery of his own doing, or was he really mauled by a ferocious bear like he insisted?

If the matron in the nursery thought Daddy was his grandpa, who in blazes did she think I was?

Kid darting in way of scalding water being poured down sink during meal prep: pour it on me instead?

How much will Christmas dinner menu shrink when Daddy and the boys have to cook it themselves while Mommy soaks her melted fingers?

Will they think it’s a ploy that got me out of both cooking AND dishes? (Scored!!!)

Are the new pet cockatiels always going to act this neurotic, or are they just mimicking the children who are jacked up on all manner of sugar?

Is feeling full after one helping a sign of good health or old age?

Pier or beach?

Crabbing or casting?

How could we forget to ask the man in the wooden canoe before he paddled away again, how long it was taking him to get from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Fort Myers, Florida? And what did he have in his two little backpacks for that long trip, anyway?

Is it my imagination or does it already seem to be starting to stay lighter, later?

How long before they notice all the loud toys have gradually and mysteriously wound up in the loud toy time out twilight zone?

Should we send out terribly late Christmas cards, or make a slide show and distribute it electronically tonight?

Will all four of them ever stand still long enough within 2 feet of each other so we can take a picture? A picture without motion blurs and bunny ears behind the heads of the unsuspecting?

What’s more relaxing to listen to at dusk on Christmas, the comforting creak of the porch swing, or the winter-faint chorus of crickets?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Enough gluttony (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, electronic) to crave fasting…

Enough slothfulness to look forward to exertion…

Enough mayhem to search for peace…

Enough noise to worship silence…

Enough diversion to seek and appreciate routine…

…no wonder New Year’s resolutions are so popular.

God, help us to keep our focus on You…You are peace. Help us return to this after all our busy-ness in this season which is supposed to honor Your Son, but has somehow turned into a worldly diversion from You. Help us be quiet, be still, be disciplined, and at peace…with You. Help us choose to slow down before You slow us down. Thank You for giving us things to consider, and choices to make…let us choose You.

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