Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Studying the Sunsets

Studying the Sunset 
I have been studying each sunset and noticing the various colors, changing cloud formations, and the “awe” factor.  As I sit on the beach, I marvel at  how the reflection on the water changes moment by moment.  The once gray ocean slides into teal colored waters with spectacular red and gold highlights.  My mind grasps this vision and meditates on it long after the sun has slipped into the dark waters.
I realize that the sunset mirrors my search for the character of God.  Through the years, I have learned that Joshua Harris’ words are profound.  He says in his book Dug Down Deep, “What we know about God shapes the way we think and live.”  Studying God has affected every aspect of my life.  Like the sunset, His reflections have changed within me.  As a child, I talked to him under the psalm trees and knew Him as my friend, my playmate.  In my teens, I began to understand more fully that He had loved me so much that He had sent Jesus on this earth to save and nurture me.  As a young mom, I learned to trust him with my children’s lives and support me through their sicknesses and hardships.  When finances were scarce, He showed me He was my provider.  Each new wave of life and learning brought more understanding of the big picture.  I knew He was in each sunset and sunrise.  
Thomas Aquinas, the great theologian and philosopher said, “ Theology is taught by God, teaches God, and leads unto God.” In other words, our theology teaches us to care about the true things of God.  It teaches us to embrace our Heavenly Father through various colors of clouds.  It brings to light celebration of His Majesty upon our constantly changing seasons.  His word teaches us how to apply His reflection to our lives.  We reflect the Son’s light.  
I realize it is He who leads me beside still waters.  He rides on the clouds.  He provides for the poor.  He is my refuge.  He clothes the hills with gladness and creates sunsets for pondering and understanding His awe.  Each sunset creates in me a greater need to crave more of God.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Plates of Sunshine and Pod Play

  “Focus,focus,focus. Be here.  Appreciate this moment,” the yoga teacher instructed.  Just then, a young porpoise appeared, breached, and played in the water very near the beach where 107 participants rejoiced at Portia’s (my name for her) appearance.  We appreciated Portia joining our class.  Portia joined our pod for a few minutes as she does many mornings.  I think Portia wants to be a part of us gathering sunshine on our plate.

Gathering sunshine on my plate is a buffet of life experiences.  For example, I smile incessantly and uncontrollably every time I walk along the coastline and see the shell treasures.  The sea delivers these gifts to all who walk by.  The shells are magnets.  I cannot help to bend over and collect just one more.  I marvel at their contour, pastel colors, and distinct shapes. I am sensitive to their smoothness or roughness.  I often will pick up one that has been broken yet shaped by the constant sifting and pulling of the waves.  Today I picked up a colorful and smooth rectangle.  I included it in my collection because it reminds me that sometimes even when I am broken, I can be smoothed and refined by God’s loving touch.  I appreciate each shell for the life it has led, the hardship it has known, or the long way it has traveled.  

On the shore, the shells are so plentiful that a passerby might not realize how each one is special.  The clams discard their homes and leave perfectly shaped fans. Tiny whelks are ornate on the outside and smooth and beautiful on the inside.  Large whelks allow me to hear the sea long after I have departed.  These shells become my plate of sunshine for this day.

Sometimes my plate is filled with fulfillment as I reach out to a child who is in need of a hug or a smile.  Another time I give a meal to a disabled neighbor.  Many times it is just a peck on the cheek for my husband when he feels unmotivated because of his stiff back. My purpose this day is to make them feel special, wanted, and encouraged.
Giving to others is my shell treasures to them.  I see the look on their faces and that is my treasure. This small gesture puts sunshine on their plate.  The sea teaches me to give freely and produce constantly.  These are the things that create my plate of sunshine.

As I awaken and read the scriptures, I am so filled with joy that God has offered me such treasures in His promises, His parables, and His recorded words.  These words fill my plate with sunshine and begin my day.  Whether it is Portia, sea walks, or God’s word, I can fill my plate each day.  I must find these treasures, see them, feel them, and search. “Focus, focus, focus.”  Only then can I know His light and creation.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Marriage, A Yoga Relationship

Yoga in Marriage

Today I had a wonderful experience. I did yoga on the Englewood Beach. The instructor urged us to breathe with the ocean waves. The fine mist in the air gently washed away my cares and concerns. Approximately 100 people stretched to the sky and recognized the sand as their turf. It was a gentle class. I expect the instructor recognized we were mostly senior snow birds.

I was invigorated after our hour session. It was about 70 degrees. Warm feels wonderful to an Indiana gal. As I was walking back to our rental, I thought about the next few days.

We planned to fly to Seattle to witness our son’s wedding. He is 35 and has waited a long time to marry. This wedding is their official church wedding. He and Annie decided to be married before they lived together because they had been reared to know God’s ordainment is necessary and morally right. I so appreciated them taking this extra step. In April they are having a destination wedding with tropical flowers, event days, and lots of celebration. We are all traveling to Cozumel to have a wedding in the sands of time.

I realize this is exceptional in this era where so many couples choose just to live together. They make a commitment to share the rent. Somehow, rent sharing and fixing up a domain are not the basis for marriage. It is the external parts, but it takes God’s blessing to create a permanent bond. Even then, it is a difficult task to have a successful marriage in today’s culture. I pray often for Annie and Adam. I ask God to unite them in such a way that they will be magnets to each other for all of their life’s journey,

They understand it will take much work, patience, and turning their heads when one of them acts really stupid. I used to wonder how long” stupid” would last. Usually, the state of disrepair lasted a few hours when we were first married. After forty-three years, our “stupid” only lasts a short time. It is not because we are mature marrieds. We just seem to give each other more grace because we can’t remember if we are really right or wrong. Our most vivid attack is, “ Somebody”. We say, “Somebody forgot to put the milk away, close the cupboard, or give me a charge receipt,” and other such essential functions and earth shattering matters in marriage.

I enter into an understanding when I see an older couple holding hands as they walk together. Gravity has played a cruel trick on their once cute bodies. Heartaches and worries have engraved etchings on their faces. Rearing and running children made permanent laugh lines around their eyes and upturned mouths. The hand in hand couple look within to find comfort, honor, and respect. These are the foundations of a lasting marriage. I see them laugh as they pull up and down their swim suits in a synchronized way trying to hide the bulges that make most clothes feel awkward. It just doesn’t matter. They are one in heart, soul, and body. They have earned the right to bulge and still feel love, passion, and admiration for each other. These are the condiments of an old marriage.

I pray that Annie and Adam will feel the rhythm of the waves that I heard this morning. I want them to be the cleansing air and soft mist for each other. I know they will stretch each other, but I pray they can stay in balance as I did in the tree position. If they lose that balance, may they refocus, realign, and recall how good it felt to be stable as one. Just as yoga takes years of practice to perfect; so does marriage. Like yoga, even the practice is enjoyable. A session can create enlightenment, renewal, or a new understanding. Each season of marriage does much the same if we relax and let it work within us and outside of us. Ahhh, stretch Annie and Adam. You are in for a delightful season. Blessings to you both in learning balance.