Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart Blog Hop Event - January 30 through February 17



I am taking a plunge here and participating in the One World One Heart blogger event. I am looking forward to "meeting" all sorts of creative folks from around the world...please enjoy a look around "my place"!

My name is Cindy, and I have always enjoyed art.

I like a good, strong cup of black coffee -
in the summer time I love sipping on my own version of a low-cal vanilla iced latte.

I am partial to cats, I think because they are like me - independent, but cuddly when it suits me!

I live in an area where we can hear the coyotes howling every night - some nights closer than others!

I desire to and try to live an authentic spirituality - a daily challenge; a daily adventure; MY life; yes, my life! I have learned (am learning) that truly living MY life is important...that I tend to live my life in the way in which I value myself...and I have young eyes drinking in how I do my life, so that she knows how to do hers...so I must live an authentic spirituality...one that points her to the One who can lead her in the life she is called to!

2011 is my year to push forward in the creative leadings I have...I am looking forward to this journey!

You can find out more about me by clicking on the "about" button at the top of the blog.

Now, if you would like a chance to receive one of three door prizes (shown below), please leave a comment on this post, and mention which print you love to receive the most! By the way, each print will be 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches in size, including a white margin. Winners will be announced on February 18th.











Guard Your Heart



Ephesians 3


Daughter of Virtue


Click HERE to find out more information and click HERE to find links to other bloggers participating!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sneak Peek Friday - Ephesians Prayers



It's Friday and Jennifer's Sneak Peek Fridays are back! Here is the first of a new series I am working on - scripture prayers that I like to use and personalize to pray for myself and others...the Ephesians prayers always come to my mind first.



I learned this method of praying shortly after being filled with God's Holy Spirit. He Himself led me into it as the prayers I was reading leaped off the pages of scripture and wrapped themselves around my heart and soul, drawing my true self forth (as He is still drawing me forth every day!) Of course, I soon found that He had led many others the same way, with whole books devoted to the subject!

Here is how they look side by side.





Click on the "In The Studio button" to find more sneak peeks from some talented artists!
StudioJRU

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Fast - Week 3

I am hungry:

To see the sacred in the common


To perceive the holy in the ordinary

To find His Presence filling my everyday…


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Name - Beginnings - Chapter One, part 2

Photo from here

Sophie was still thinking about the passage when Betsi called later in the morning. Her friend was eager to find out how her first real morning quiet time had turned out.

“How was it?” Betsy was always direct and to the point, just one of the reasons Sophie considered her one of her best friends!

“As soon as I sat down and began to pray, it was as if my brain had a mind of its own! Every negative thought I have ever had or heard about myself was racing around up there! Plus I’m not sure I can tell the difference between His voice and my own thoughts…that one rolled around for a little while! But I did push through and I was able to read through the passage 3 times before Peter woke up!”

Her friend’s voice sparkled. “That’s great! ­­­­­Not the struggle, but that you persevered and were able to read through the verses in triplicate. And I so identify with what you were going through! Although MY brain leans more towards listing every little task I have to do for the day AND the rest of the week! And the little people seemed to wake up early a lot when I was first starting my quiet time routine, too. But what I have learned, at least for myself, was that those distracting thoughts really were floating around my head all the time. In fact, I didn’t think of them as a distraction at all - more like my gift of administration operating constantly. But when the thoughts interrupted my attempts to deepen my relationship with God, they just didn’t feel “Spirit-led” anymore. But that’s another story. Oh, and you know Glenda? She used to be in my small group at Bible Study…she tried to have her quiet times at 10:00 a.m. and she said that she never heard her phone ring more or have people ring the front door bell as often as they did when she was trying to pray! So she went back to an early morning time and has kept that ever since!”

“Another thing is…I don’t know if I am doing this right,” Sophie confessed. “I have this vague feeling that I HAVE done something wrong, or I AM DOING something wrong and any moment now – WHAMMY – something will happen that is the punishment for whatever that thing is, but I still won’t know exactly what is wrong! And I am certainly not feeling peaceful and I am not feeling closer to God, or even that He loves me SO much that He would send His Son to die for me! It’s more like He HAD to send His Son BECAUSE of me!”

Sophie could sense her friend’s smile over the receiver, and when Betsy continued, her voice was gently comforting.

“Those feelings aren’t coming from our Heavenly Father, or from the Lover of our souls, our Lord Jesus,” she stated quietly. “They might be thoughts interjected by one of satan’s cohorts; or the thoughts could be coming from your own mind.” Betsy spoke knowingly, as Sophie had shared more of her past with her than with any other person in her life. “Or she knows from experience,” thought Sophie.

“ No matter where they are originating,” Betsy went on, “the Lord means for you to push through them as you did this morning, and maybe even confront them. Just don’t believe them!”

Betsy’s words seemed to wrap Sophie’s heart in warm golden love. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes and she couldn’t speak for a moment as peace flooded her being. Betsy knew God’s truth had just penetrated Sophie’s soul.

“That’s what His truth feels like,” Betsy whispered into the airway.

The friends said a quick good-bye, each standing at their kitchen counters in the midst of His.Holy.Presence.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thank you and a fast

Shema - Hear/listen...this week is a time for listening!

Just popping in to say thank you for those who commented and contacted me about the last post! I know I just sprung it on y'all - the first installment of a Bible Study (which I am familiar with writing) mixed in with a semi-fictional story telling (which I am NOT familiar with doing!). I wrote about what I knew God was weaving together in me here and this year is my year to jump in and do it! It won't all be "fictional Bible Study", but this IS the starting place!

The characters in this study are a composite of myself and people I have met through my life, through counseling and Bible Study and friendships. Any similarity to you, my friends, is totally accidental - or maybe a reminder that we all have so much in common in our vulnerable areas as well as strengths!



The portion of Scripture that is the object of this creative adventure IS my personal study material! Oh, don't get discouraged by what seems to be harsh wording here! Our Heavenly Father is so incredibly full of love, of lovingkindness, of covenant love (oh, I hope you come to the full understanding of what this truly is!), of Hesed and 'emet!! And as Sophie perseveres (because she is a little hesitant of the harsh wording too), she and you will discover the breadth and length and height and depth of this love that is deeper and wider and fuller than what we can think or imagine! In fact, this study was born out of quiet times where the Holy Spirit ever so gently was calling me to release my false image of God and meet the One True God of the Bible. I had already met His love - but I was afraid of the God of punishment. I was still (am still) healing from perfectionism.

Oh - and our Pastor has called us to fast this month - church wide we are fasting media this week...so this is my only post till next Monday (I have grace from Him to post this little message to you...I just can't explain all the reasons why!) Join me again next week! I know the next installment will be complete!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Name - Beginnings - Chapter One, part 1

She padded out of the darkened kitchen, through the dining area and into the living room, heading for her favorite chair, coffee and Bible in hand. The side table lamp was already lit, guiding her way. Today she would begin to do what she had been hearing others in her Bible Study group do - have a morning appointment with God. Sophie had chosen this chair after careful consideration over the last two days...it was positioned so that she could look out the window and into the serene landscape of the backyard or view the wall where the work of her favorite inspirational artists hung. These two reasons were why this chair was her favorite; Sophie was hoping the familiar surroundings would help her mind settle into the task of hearing God.

Sinking into the arms of the softly cushioned wingchair, she gently inhaled and closed her eyes, quickly reviewing the steps to having a successful "Quiet Time", the term the mature women at church used often to describe their daily appointments with the God of Creation. Sophie had the steps down:
a specific time.
a special place.
a simple plan.

Eyes still closed, she breathed out her first prayer of the day towards heaven, "Lord, I am ready to hear from You today, though I am not sure I even know how...". And then it happened. The racing thoughts, the subtle fears flooding through her being. Words tumbled around; snatches of sentences catching for a moment in her consciousness before being whisked away and recycled through her chaotic mind... "How will I know if it is Him or me", "What if I don't hear...", "Who am I that God would even speak...", "I've done awful things...", "I'm a terrible person...", "What if these thoughts are God's way of saying I'm not worth talking to...", "I'm not able to do this...", "I can't keep a commitment anyway...", "Who do you think you are!"

Her eyes snapped open at the last jab from her own heart; her pulse beating a rhythm she could salsa dance to. Only one minute had ticked by on the clock, and yet she felt she had just lived a life-time of emotion.

"What a way to start!" Sophie said out loud, softly, so as not to disturb the rest of the sleeping household. She was thinking about aborting the whole idea of getting a deeper relationship with God, at least for the day, and just drinking her coffee as she watched the early light of dawn reveal the peaceful setting of the yard to her gaze. In those few moments of calm, she noticed a quiet heart whisper, nudging her to continue her plan and open her Bible to the passage she had been considering studying for a matter of months. Sophie glanced at the clock. There was still plenty of the 15 minutes she had set aside for this venture left. She opened her Bible to the passage she had marked last evening with a verse card her best friend had given her for Christmas. 2 Timothy 1:7 was hand-written in Betsy's perfect script:


"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

"I sure needed that this morning," Sophie thought. She knew Betsy would smile when she heard how her gift said just the right thing this morning! Sophie searched for the words, somewhat familiar to her, and read them once again:

"Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." Exodus 34:6-7

Her eyes traveled the lines once again, her lips moving silently as she read a second and a third time, not quite memorizing the words, yet becoming familiar to the point that she could think back on them throughout the day. She looked out the window again, at the beauty this God of compassion and of lovingkindness and of punishing the guilty had created...

And that quickly, her time was over as little Peter stumbled through the living room trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes.

"Thank you, Lord," was the only prayer she could muster as she wondered if she really was.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Celebrate! My Word for 2011

Every year, since I fully surrendered to the Lord, He has given me a theme for the year, usually before the month of January is over...an anniversary present marking the time that our deeper walk began. It is always an adventure, a delightful challenge that causes me to stretch and become stronger and deepen my understanding of Him, His Word, His purpose and desire, and causes transformation in the very fabric of my being.

And so it was with surprise that sometime during the holiday season of 2010, as the word "celebrate" began to reverberate through my spirit, that I knew that the Lord was giving my anniversary present early! Sometime earlier, I had noticed a seriousness about my face whenever I glanced in the mirror. I would pull my mouth into a smile, but I knew my face was reflecting a heaviness in my heart. I know what this grief is, and it isn't robbing my steady well of joy that the Lord imparts - but it IS there. And then comes the whisper "Celebrate"...gently, over and over again it comes "I want you to celebrate life"...

Then, while I was cleaning the 5 weeks worth of dust and dirt that accumulates where the Christmas decorations cover (please overlook this in the photos!), I was surprised by the flash of bright jeweled wings trying to flit away from the suction of my vacuum! An unanticipated joy welled up within to see this bright reminder of resurrection in the midst of the cold and dead and grey of winter. Where did he come from? And how had he managed to get inside!

He found a place to rest, slowly opening and closing his wings in time to my breathing.
Almost as if he was meditating,

maybe

about where he was going,


about where he had come from,



or about what his next moves might be at the moment...







Then all of a sudden he fluttered off and landed on the curtain, as if he were trying to find a place where his bright colors would be camouflaged,
where he might not stand out, but blend in...
where he might hide...










In another flash, he moved off the curtain, out of the shadows, letting his wings unfurl and reflect the intense rays of colored light found in the patch of sunshine landing on the window sill...allowing the full beauty of who he is to be illumined...



I realize I have been holding my breath, and that I have just received a wonderfully illustrated first installment of my theme of "celebrate" for the year...and my heart is peacefully thrilled....