Saturday, December 24, 2016

2017 - In the Stillness

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

I love my early mornings. I mean I really LOVE them. There is a very special “air” in the morning that I am utterly convinced is specific to the early morning hours.

I've been (happily) up for four plus hours now. I don't have a list of to-dos this Christmas Eve clamoring for my time or attention. I don't suffer from insomnia. I'm not weird or deranged.  (grin)

Simply, I habitually go to bed early and rise early.

This Christmas Eve morning I was pondering "stillness" and what 2017 holds for me.

Last week at some point I took one of those humorous "What does 2017 hold for you?" Facebook quizzes because I had seen a post from a friend, linking it.

(FYI, she's going to be a millionaire in 2017, according to the quiz. It turns out – I'm going to get married. Do you hear me laughing? You should! (grin) )

I did the the quiz on my phone, and without realizing it, it posted to my Facebook! Oh, boy.

What alerted me to this fact is that I saw where someone whom I haven't spoken to in years wrote a negative comment and signed the comment AS GOD.


(Shaking my head at their lack of clear judgment.....or too much judgment....or both?!)

Moving on.

Back to 2017.

I know, I know; I hear you saying, ”It's just now Christmas; New Year's is next week.”

But, 2017 IS “just” NEXT week. Yikes!

Not unlike many of you, I have had a lot on my plate in 2016.

Prayerfully, I intend to simplify my life in 2017. I already live a pared-down existence, but with deliberation, a further thinning will occur.

This past week on my personal FB page I wrote, “There is a stillness experienced in the early, early morning that simply cannot be experienced any other time. The sky was particularly clear, and the moon and stars were particularly bright.....and not a sound anywhere. Time such as this morning causes me see to a greater level just how busy this world is that we live in daily. #visionworthearlybeginnings”

Stillness is my fuel. It truly is. It's my “secret ingredient” that grants me the ability to accomplish what I do on a daily basis without frazzling myself.

Bless my Mom and Dad! They raised me to consistently put Him first....not by their word only...but by their  deed.

I have fond, fond memories ...all the way through my high school years.... of waking early in the morning, to find my parents in their den chairs; silently, individually reading God's Word... and then sitting in silent meditation for who knows how long but God Himself.  They still do this... and I am blessed to capture those current memories every time I return home for an overnight-er.

THAT was (and is)  my example, and at nearly fifty years of age, my time in the early morning with God has been a cornerstone for as long as I can recall.

Psalm 63 is one of my favorite Psalms:

O God, Thou art my God; EARLY will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.
4 Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.
7 Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after Thee: Thy right hand upholdeth me.
9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

My prayer for YOU, as you take this upcoming week and weigh what your 2017 holds, is that you exercise stillness in YOUR 2017. If you consistently do, you will develop a “spiritual six-pack.”

Thereafter, rise from your time with God in the morning, and live, out large, John's words: “Let us not love with words or speech, but with action and truth.”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you all in 2017! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What is Your Why?

After a long, long day at work yesterday, I was a tad wired.  It was only 7:30 pm, so I decided to exercise.  Put in five miles. It's what I do.😊

While exercising, I had this internal nudge, "Go to the movies."  I didn't think there was anything noteworthy or interesting to watch, and so I thought, "Tonight?"  The nudge affirmed...."Tonight."

So, after putting in my miles and getting cleaned up, I went to the movie theater.  It was then I saw that "Collateral Beauty" was playing less than thirty minutes from my arrival time.  I hadn't heard of it. Truth is I tend to be one of the last ones to hear about the movies currently playing.  It had a familiar cast, so as is my hard and fast habit, I "common sense media" searched it, and found there was nothing objectionable in the content.

Grief.  That appeared to be its theme.

(Spoiler: after watching it, I can attest that if you look beyond grief as the "surface theme".... life is its "deep theme.")

Okay.  Deep breath.  I purchased the ticket.  I can only describe my internal sense was "this is going to be good."

I know.....sort of illogical to pair grief with "it's going to be good."

Without giving everything away for those who want to go see it who haven't yet, there were many excellent life points.

Here is the opening scene....

It's a fascinating movie.  Sort of like "A Christmas Carol" .... but not.   Love, Time, and Death are personified.

In a key scene, Death asks a woman, "Who are you losing?"  The woman answers.  Then Death makes a peculiar statement, "Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty."

Being the optimist that I am, as well as a word study nut, this apparent oxymoron type statement struck a deep core in me, so much so I googled "define collateral"..... and proceeded to dig at the definition for a time (last night after the movie) until my mind was able to couple the two words together through the window of my own personal life experiences.

Beyond the clip above, allow me to share a few of the quotes from the movie:

"I'm Love.  I'm the fabric of life."

"Remember me? I'm Time. You wrote me because you need me.  I'm a gift, and you're wasting it!"


This life is fleeting.  So grievous to think that so many live the precious few minutes they have here on Earth wearing masks, pretending they are connected, while they live isolated.

I have been accused more than once of being too much to handle.  I have come to understand that those who live life without fear.... who live life large.... with a determination to find life's treasures while they have been given opportunity to hunt for them.... intimidate life's spectators, those who dominantly sit on the bench and with vigor call to those on the field to sit with them.  No!  May it never be!  As long as I have breath, I will LIVE!  And when this life passes, I will continue to LIVE!   

Will Smith's character had to find his way out of  a grief loop wherein he was.  A Christian's perspective of death it the death of a relationship, an opportunity, or a physical passing....has to become as God's perspective is.  It must be stewarded well.... and then released.

This life is a sowing field.  It is a tremendous opportunity and a gift, but it is not to be idolized.

I took much away from my time with God at the movies last night.  He is the best of dates.

I encourage each of you.... feel the weight of today.  Use today to build your muscles; dig into life's treasures today while you have opportunity.  Not having tomorrow is not meant to be an ominous proposition.  No!  It is to be motivation to be wise stewards with your NOW.

You can't explore life's wondrous mysteries and beauties while wrapped in a "self-bubble".  If you are sitting on life's bench, get up.... make a friend on the field!  Allow their bravery to rub off, to teach you a thing or two.

There used to be this expression, "Go big or go home."   Well, I don't want anyone to go, until I breath my last here, I'll cheer you on to go big.... and with bravery,  take notice of the collateral beauty.

 As Will Smith's character so aptly stated,

"Life is about people. We're here to connect."    

Are you?