Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World

I was introduced to "The Sabbath Society" and Shelley Miller several years ago by a simple Google search.  The Lord had been drawing my heart into the contemplative life; and I myself desired to radiate peace instead of the constant harried feeling that was my constant companion.  I knew God had instituted Sabbath as the final crown to His creative passion, and so the word was my search.

From the beginning, Shelley's words brought grace, peace, and a time of satisfied fullness of spirit.

But it wasn't till I became a member of the launch team that I really applied fully the lessons Shelley was teaching us - and I can say I have learned much and God is bigger in my heart and more reflected in my life than before I put Sabbath into practice!

So it is an honor to be part of the launch team for the book that was birthed out of her own journey to discover Sabbath, and that she shared with those following her and now has been released for the rest of you!

If you have thought Sabbath was: 

an Old Testament construct only, 

a legal requirement to the Jewish people,

a nice idea that would never happen for you,

something that only happens on Sunday,

something that only happens on Saturday,

just one more thing laced with rules and restrictions,

another Biblical concept you could fail at,

a reason to avoid learning about rest...

Then get ready to learn what Sabbath really is...

A reminder to pause and let our hearts be focused on what is important...

A release from perfectionism by focusing on the only One who IS perfect...

A reminder that we belong because we are already accepted...

A pause for prayerful listening, even for a few minutes, 
that brings everything that is important back into focus...

An interchange with our Creator—it’s a choice
an elective He hopes you’ll pick first from the list that is keeping you busy...

and so much more!  Consider getting a paperback copy to sit with, mark up, devour and digest.  It promises to be a very close friend to your Bible for your quiet tiimes!

Page by page, chapter by chapter, you will be invited to savor the very best portion of your life with God and His rich desire to relate to you personally.  There is no condemnation, nothing to conform to - just a reissuing of God's invitation to come to Him and find rest for your souls...

Rhythms of Rest is available NOW - you will put it on your book shelf right beside your Bible and "1000 Gifts" - I highly recommend it...http://amzn.to/2dFBtLV

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted - Slow Time Sabbath

"Then Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath."  (Mark 2:27 NLT)

A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted
 John O’Donohue

Take refuge in your senses,
open up 
to all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
when it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of colour
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself. 

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.

Learn to linger around someone of ease
who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually you will return to yourself,
having learned a new respect for your heart
and the joy that dwells far within slow time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

God Will Rewrite Our Story...Plus 5-Steps to Healing Hurt HeARTs Prompt

Each one of us has a story...

Every day we are "writing" that story in the way we live our lives.

Some days we do better writing than on other days...

Unlike an author that writes with pen and ink, or even types, we cannot throw what we have written away...or what someone else has pushed in and written what they willed on our story

Over the course of time, our skills improve.  
We meet people who help us along the way.
People become a part of our story whether we invite them into it or not.
Challenges, joys, griefs, fellowship, laughter, dancing, births and deaths;
mistakes and successes; transformations and inspirations....

All are transcribed on the pages of our lives...

The good parts; the painful parts; the parts we regret eventually...

Everything is there - nothing can be thrown away or erased...

But there is another Author.  The One who has written upon all of history.  

When we submit our "manuscript" to Him, and let His careful eye read;
He doesn't erase.  He doesn't reject.  He doesn't throw away.

2 Corinthians 3:3

He rewrites.  He writes over the places that need help.  He writes over the pain and mistakes and regret and doesn't remove their fact...

By His writing, He redeems our story. 

Nothing is removed - it is reframed and written by the Author's hand to reflect what He knows is true.
And as He writes, a miracle occurs...

We begin to see as He does, and we begin to co-author our stories with His...
Just as in any good story, there is a beginning, a climax, and then the end...
Between the beginning and the end, there must be a conflict...

Healing Art/Healing Journaling Prompt
 (Please read through the entire entry before you begin.  This will give you a better experience as you will know what to expect as opposed to 'just winging it'!)

In my last post I shared a spontaneous journaling piece I had done that morning. As I was writing that blog entry, I remembered this technique I had tried several years ago, journaling on top of journaling to make interesting marks on art...I don't believe I ever published anything with it, as I was still practicing - I still like the look of it - and the idea of "abstract journaling" comes to mind...

The "look" is abstract; or modernistic if you prefer - but it isn't random.  In putting new writing on top of the old, we are becoming co-authors with God, rewriting our past with His promises and truth - His words coupled with the act of writing will help cement His promises in our hearts (not to mention that you will end up with something that looks very contemporary to use in your art, or just keep in your journal.)1


Prepared art journaling page or plain journal - even just a sheet of paper of choice
writing tool
a Bible

Step 1:

Prepare to write.  Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly three times.  Still your mind.  Ask the Lord for His Presence and guidance for this prompt.  Pay attention to what comes up in your mind:  is it an image; words; an emotion felt even in the body?  Jot down 3 - 5 words that will help to remind you of what came up at the top of the paper or journal you have with you.

 Step 2:

Using free writing (quickly writing the stream of thoughts and ideas flowing through your mind without regard to proper grammar or punctuation), write the words that come to you concerning the topic found in Step 1.  You might want to set a timer for around 5 minutes for this portion, so you don't get bogged down in possible negative thoughts or memories.  This is just a suggestion, not a hard, fast rule!  Remember that healing art is supposed to be fun!

Once written, do you need to step away for a few minutes to ground yourself or regroup?  You can drink a cup of tea or coffee, take a short walk, move around for the duration of a favorite song or two.  These activities help to get you "out of your head" and into the present.

Consider if you want to do the next part of this exercise now or wait a while or even wait till tomorrow.  Any decision is perfect for you - and waiting may give you more time to 'hear God' for His promises and purposes and healing words for what you have written.  You may want to take time to search the Scriptures for specific verses that apply to what you have written (trusting that the Holy Spirit will "illuminate" the one's He specifically is leading you towards)

Step 3:

Return to your journal entry and begin to write over the top of your previous writing any words, promises, quotes, verses, etc.  that you believe the Lord is saying to you about the topic.  You can write in any direction!  For my piece, I turned my original journaling upside down and then wrote over the top of it.  I got some nice upstrokes and downstrokes over the course of my page using this method.  Write as much as you like.  If you run out of new words to cover your original writing, just begin to repeat until all of your original entry is covered.  Or, if you have more new words than old, you can stop when the old is covered OR begin a third layer of writing!  Fun!  And the Lord may speak something to your heart about these layers covering your original!

Step 4:

Add extra embellishments if you like.  I noticed swishes and dots (from dotting my "i's" and "js", and I had space to add embellishments and liked the way it turned out.  (Plus, it gave me some additional practice with my dip pen!)

Step 5:

You might want to do a little reflective journaling about what you learned through the process.  Consider documenting the words, scripture, quotes and promises that you used in your overwriting to keep them as a legible way to remember what God has written over your heart!

Need some ideas for God's promises?

Check these links:

Promises that speak to fear and anxiety 
Promises that speak to worrying 
Promises that speak of God's love for you 
Promises that speak to times you feel overwhelmed 
Promises that speak of God's compassion and mercy 
Promises that speak of His constant presence 
Romans 8 is a tremendous chapter of the blessings we have because we are God's children.
And finally, a list of "I am" through the promises of God verses (also known as our identity in Christ) 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"I know it is hard sometimes to know where to start..."

Need a place to start doing your art?  Or just need to get unstuck from something that seems to have blocked your freedom in Christ?

Just start, just do it, let it flow...a quick free writing exercise to get the blocks out on paper is sometimes all you need!  Free writing is done by just jotting down the words/thoughts at the fore front of your mind with no regard as to capitalization, punctuation, or grammar rules (or spelling!)...set a timer for 3-5 minutes, and then be finished. 

I am sharing my spontaneous, free writing  journaling this morning as I was adding to "scrap" paper to make story cards (a UFO from a spring class I was in!):

"I know it is hard sometimes to know where to start with your art ~ color, lines, images, value, shape, inner dreams, like "I want this to be beautiful, a masterpiece. But I must practice for that to happen - where do I start?"

I tell you - just start...there is no wasted time when it comes to putting pen or pencil to paper (or paintbrush!). Even now, the inner critic says I ruined my paper by writing over the top of color and shapes ~ silly inner critic...doesn't she know there are no mistakes in art?"

Monday, March 14, 2016

Saint Gobnait - Musings about an Ancient Irish Holy Woman

A white stage, inspired by St. Gobnait's story....

"Gobnait" (pronounced GAWB-net) is the Irish version of Abigail - In Hebrew Abigail means "my father is joy".  And I cannot help but think about these verses:

"...in your presence there is fullness of joy..."
Psalm 16:11

"...You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy..."
Psalm 45:7

"... the joy of the LORD is your strength..."
Nehemiah 8:10

St Gobnait is one of few women Irish saints we have and she lived around the 5th– 6th century. She is known as the saint for bees and beekeepers. She is also the patron of the sick and it is likely that she used honey as a healing medicine (which is considered to be one of the three great Celtic healers - the other two being water and labor).

Gobnait was born in County Clare. She fled from Clare and took refuge in the Aran Islands, where she encountered an angel who instructed her to go on a journey. The angel told her that when she came upon nine white deer, that would be her "resurrection place".   She wandered through Waterford, Cork, and Kerry in search. At first she saw three white deer in Clondrohid and followed them to Ballymakeera where she saw six more.  Finally, when Gobnait arrived in Ballyvourney, where there was a small rise overlooking the River Sullane, she saw nine white deer grazing all together just as the angel had promised, so she settled there and founded her monastic community.

Christine Valters Paintner writes: There is a deep and rich tradition among the Irish monks to seek out the place of one’s resurrection. This was done through the practice of peregrinatio, a setting sail without oar or rudder to let the currents of love carry you. (This happened in metaphoric ways as well.)

In Christian iconography, the stag/buck is a representative of aspiring to be closer to God (consider Psalm 42:1). It is a symbol of thirsting for purity (this plays into the color white, too) and union with the Holy Spirit. The stag is also a symbol of solitude and going within to connect with spiritual wisdom.

St Gobnait shows us to listen to our hearts to find our home and once there do all in your calling to love and protect it.  (Jean Wise)