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Posts Tagged ‘Praying’

Found

The 16 year old boy who went missing 3 weeks ago is now reunited with his family at home. He was found in Houston, TX, the same day of the El Paso shootings, safe and sound.

Out of respect for his future, his family, his dignity and his digital footprint, I have removed the initial post about his disappearance.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to implore parents to never underestimate the power contained in the electronic device you put into your child’s hands.

When it comes to their online presence….

Be where they are

Go where they go

Whether near or afar,

Know who they know

Thank You, God, for his safe return. May his parents have wisdom in what lies ahead, take comfort in Your mercy and deliverance, and may we all be aware of how our online presence influences outcomes.

God, please protect our vulnerable children whose parents may be blind, lackadaisical or naive to the very real dangers of others with power, money or psychological pull, who may lure and ensnare their loved ones.

May we all know how to cultivate and maintain a close relationship based on trust, unconditional love and patience.

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Tonight our church observed a new tradition, holding a service of the Longest Night, marking the coming of the literal longest night of the season which immediately precedes the coming of the nativity of our Lord.

I’d never heard of it before, but during some of the moments of silence in the service, I reflected how it mirrors other challenging times that precede other celebrations, such as the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter.

I suppose I’ve had some years of merriment, a seven year Mardi Gras of sorts, leading up to this Longest Night. But through the darkness and in quiet solitude, God is faithful to fill our horizons with bright crimson Sonrise.

This morning’s walk was breathtaking…

Psalm 46 was read tonight, one of my favorites: “Be still, then, and know that I am God…”

I decided to try out the service for 3 reasons: that I lost my mother last year and continue to grieve the deaths of both parents, that I work 70 hours a week helping the mentally ill, the suicidal and others who grieve, have lost, are hurting or are lonely…and that I myself have a fresh loss that has been a long time coming but just yesterday confirmed that it is a forever loss.

And yet, by God’s mercy, all 3 are gains.

Yesterday’s loss was punctuated by the sting of being told that only merry emotions and memories were welcome during this season, that my needs for afore-promised comfort, attachment and reassurance were interfering with the celebration of a dear one’s Christmas…

”So why would I want to be available to your mood swings during these precious days celebrating the birth of Christ, detracting from it?” the email sharply read, banishing me into the land of coal and switches, for even daring to darken the doorstep of one picture-perfect American Christmas. A fantasy blog to which I was apparently, blatantly and abruptly blocked. Unfriended. Unfollowed. Deleted.

My arms got tired holding up the happy mask 24/7. I flunked Christmas Perfection 101. Failed to leave the party while it was still rocking.

My Longest Night had begun, and the service could not have come at a better time.

The intercessor began with, “In the spirit of the season, let us now ask God for what we need for ourselves as we participate in the Season of Christmas as people coping with loss, pain, suffering, loneliness, grief and sadness.

“God, we come to you as Christmas dawns with pain growing inside us. As the nights have been growing longer, so has the darkness wrapped itself around our hearts. In this season of our longest nights, we offer to you the pain in our hearts, the traumas that some of us cannot put into words. Loving God, hear our prayer.

“Compassionate God, there are those among us who are grieving over what might have been. A death or loss has changed our experience of Christmas. Once it was a special day for us, too, but someone has died or moved away or abandoned us. Or we have lost a job, or a cause.

“We find ourselves adrift and alone, lost. Lord, help us find our way.

“The Christmas season reminds us of all that used to be and cannot be anymore. The memories of what was, the fears of what may be can overwhelm us. all around us we hear the sounds of celebration, but all we experience is a sense of melancholy Please be near us this season.

“Compassionate God: You loved the world so much that you sent us Jesus to bear our infirmities and afflictions Through acts of healing, he revealed you as the true source of health and salvation. For the sake of your Christ who suffered and died for us, conquered death, and now reigns with you in glory, hear the cry of your people. Have mercy on us, make us whole, and bring us at last into the fullness of your eternal life.

“Each of us comes bearing our own hurts, sorrows, and broken places. We want to invite each of you to offer your wounds to the God who loves each of us deeply and wants to carry our pain. God waits, patiently, gently calling out: ‘Give me your pain, come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, I will refresh you!'”

We were invited to either stay put and observe silence, come to the altar to receive a blessing or go to the back and light a candle.

I appreciated the options since I could have easily benefited from all 3. But I couldn’t go to the altar because I would have wept openly (what was I thinking, not packing Kleenex in my purse for this?!), and I didn’t want to passively stay put in silence.

So I made my way to the back and lit a candle and said a prayer for my parents and their parents before them, all godly people who fucked up and righted themselves at some point and somehow made their way back to God.

And, after looking around to see if it would be greedy to light a second candle, grabbed another one and quickly lit it, mourning the loss of my bff and noticing the brightness of that candle, there in the darkness, committing it to God and thanking Him for the salvation of a marriage and a family.

I quietly returned to my pew, kneeled in reverence, was washed over with peace and gratitude for God’s mercy.

Thank You, God, for Long Nights, for they signify that daybreak is near.

Thanks God, for Things that matter most. Sometimes the Long Nights are the Things that matter most.

And letting go (of things that matter most) IS letting God.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

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It has literally been years since I created a new header, but I was inspired to freshen things up a bit by my (Irish) bff who recently treated me to a yacht excursion.

The “recommended pixel dimensions” and limited cropping windows prevented me from capturing the true moment, so I wanted to share the essence of the day…including the captain casually but expertly steering with his feet!

(Blessings beneath the pics)

Cloudy but calm seas

Thanks, God, for smooth sailing!

The common Irish blessing (and a few others) come to mind here:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

May good luck be with you Wherever you go, and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.

 

May your days be many and your troubles be few, May all God’s blessings descend upon you, May peace be within you, May your heart be strong, May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.

 

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been

the foresight to know where you’re going

and the insight to know when you’re going too far

 

…and, in that vein:

“May you be in Heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you are dead!”

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Who can resist a well-earned Special Olympics smile from a kid who wasn’t supposed to live past age 4?

David turns 18 in 22 days!

Thank You, God, for defying all odds, for playing the ultimate April Fool’s joke on death – showing the universe for once and for all that where death seems inevitable, life rocks on!

That there is no such thing as finality, that You are the only Omega…and Your gift is eternal life. May we always recognize that those things seeming to a close = opportunity for new beginnings in ways we haven’t yet fathomed.

And therein lies faith…and trust. Faith and trust that there is always more in store than we can possibly know or deserve in our finite wisdom. Thanks, God, for perpetual resurrection and preciousness in all things. SMILE!!

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It’s been awhile, friends. I’ve missed y’all!
I did not abandon the blog, but have been pleasantly distracted by this, that and the other in life, like…
 

Monitoring my teenagers’ phones and finding stuff like this

 
 

Selling the farm

 
 

Easter Egging

  

Teaching young men to be gentlemen

  

Coming home to a fountaining water heater and getting a new one

  

Noticing odd photo ops

  

Finding out my kid discovered Photo Shop on my iPad

  

PMSing

 
 

Trying a lighter hair shade, going Garth-Blonde

 
 

Getting to see what my town looks like from the air

  

Getting one of two hip replacements

  

Doing a homemade color-by-numbers during recovery

 

Bloodletting

  

Barely getting out of the hospital alive (note listed allergies & plate)

  

Watching Mr. Lizard go a-courtin’

 
 

Mardi Gras parades & assorted residual loot

  

Being visited by a cardinal

  

Septic fun!

  

Coming home to find the silverware gnomes organized my silverware drawer

  

S’mores…

  

…over a warm winter fire dancing

  

Savoring thoughtful sentiments from little ones

  

Hot morning coffee in the cool spring sun

 

A winter walk on the beach

  

Turning 50

  

A little getaway to my favorite Suites

 
Thanks, God, for a long season of joy, renewal, hope and resurrection. Thank You for the dead of winter yielding to the lifeSpring of growth and eternal life. May my readers be thusly blessed in their seasons, as well. 

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This week’s Photo Challenge about dreaming is great, because I like to do a lot of it, night and day, as both participant and observer…

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Some day, I will soar far above the oppressive fog and into the bright, white-hot sun one day, free – like Jonathan Livingston Seagull:

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Dreams can throw us off-balance just enough to remind us that perspective may not always be what it appears. They keep our minds sharp and tap into our greatest resources: to think deeper, to contemplate, to problem-solve, to entertain the dimensions that seem to exist only in delta waves…

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Thank You, God…for all the dimensions You’ve created. Thanks for rich neurological magnificence that affords us a glimpse into the depths of our brains and those other dimensions.

Please give us the grace to let go of dreams not meant to be, courage to face our nightmares and hope in hanging on tight to our dreams.

Thanks for your infinite wisdom in Your hand in our dreams.

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I invite you to share a few contrasts in my world by the sea, for this week’s Photo Challenge:

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Sargassum: Golden, life-supporting treasure of the sea

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Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)

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Florida Horse Conch (Triplofusus giganteus)

Hey, God – You have created some of life’s most profound contrasts. Good and evil, heaven and earth, wisdom and folly, to name a few.

But my favorite contrasts are the concrete ones that require little more than awestruck attention, the ones we can simply enjoy in the moment, beholding the beauty and wonder of Your creation.

Thanks, God, for the magical, interdependent web of life You created, where contrasts complement each other and are necessary for perfection and often delicate balance.

Thank You for the contrasts in our lives that You provide which foster growth, perspective and harmony.

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What mighty fortresses we build,

Around our hearts and souls;

But only those on Solid Rock,

Can ever meet their goals.

 

The Rock is moved by neither wind

Nor flood, nor rising tide;

But steadfast He is ever there,

When no longer can we hide.

 

“Cling to Me!” He beckons,

To any who will hear;

“For sand is always shifting,

But forever I am here!”

 

His love is unconditional,

And promise to unknown;

What beauty, what a precious gift!

He’ll never be alone.

 

To run is pure fool-heartedness,

To cling is much more wise –

For when sand fortresses come down,

His Rock of love shall rise.

 

You’ll never have to worry –

Cast all your doubts to sea!

Build your castle on His steadfastness

Forever safe you’ll be.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

~~Matthew 7:24-27:

Hey, God – Thank You for being unmoving, for being our Rock, our foundation for everything.

Help us to cling to You unconditionally in good times and times of challenge, that we might know You and take comfort in Your good will, in Your mercy, in Your grace; whether sun or rain, peace or storm.

Thank You for promising to love us unconditionally. Thank You for those who have not seen and yet have believed.

And thank You for being our Rock – of salvation, of refuge, of safety – and especially on red flag days, when the sea roils and churns and brings all manner of chaos.

Thanks for everlasting security – yesterday, now, and forever.

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For this week’s Photo Challenge, my temptation was to look upwards to find Spring – up to the budding trees, the blooming jasmine vines, the crepe myrtles bursting forth with new leaves. And way up to the welcoming, blue sky.

Instead, I decided to look down to see what Spring delivered, and found this, um, new growth? It was near a bed of blooming hydrangeas….

New Growth

Hey, God…thank You for the promise of new growth after long dormancies. May we rejoice in the beauty and miracle of new life!

Thank You for life after death. In these post-Easter days of Spring, help us remember in every season to come, that You offer everlasting life in Your bright, shining light through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

And, God? Thanks for planting us, watering us, giving us Your light and everything we need here on earth to grow and to reach You, season after season!

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Sea Close-Ups

“Sea”  if you can figure out what these things are:

(scroll for answers at bottom, but don’t’ cheat  – give it a whirl!)

1.)

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2.)

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3.)

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4.)

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5.)

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6.)

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7.)

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8.)

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9.)

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10.)

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11.)

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12.)

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13.)

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14.)

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15.) Okay, so here’s an easy one:

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1.)  Florida Horse Conch – its foot suctioning to wall of its tank

2.) Alligator Gar skin (big fish that has teeth like alligator but swims in rivers here…very prehistoric)

3.) Sea Cucumber

4.) Baby Seahorse behind a shell

5.) Colorful bubbles at the top of an aquarium tank

6.) Shark jaw with rows of teeth

7.) Squid

8.) Eye of a Lionfish (invasive species! can sting! beware!)

9.) Looking through the nostril hole of a Sea Turtle skull

10.) Manatee rib bone

11.) Octopus beak and suction cups at center-bottom of body

12.) Rubber ducky that octopus plays with

13.) Horseshoe crab mouth licking its chops after we fed it some squid – yum!

14.) Foot of Florida Horse Conch (the hard part that covers the tender snail part so it can retract into its shell)

15.) Baby alligator with his head above water

Thanks, God, for the wonder of all your creatures! May we understand and always respect the role they play in your universe, as we continuously marvel at its collective and individual beauty. And thanks for the sea – a place of wonder and mystery to also be understood and respected.~~

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