Friday, September 28, 2012

More Creative Techie work...+ inspired to new work...

Have you ever tried to make a gallery using NexGEN gallery with wordpress?  Well, this week I have been educating myself as I have received advice to sell art and items from my own website - I am almost there!  You can see one gallery (my photo work from this year) here, or click on the image below:
I have most of the galleries finished - but not linked to pages  :-0

However, all the technology dabbling of the week has left me longing for creativity where I get my hands "dirty" - so I made a pinboard of inspirations that are somewhat like what I am seeing inside...

click the pinterest button below to go see it...
birds, text, deer, music, hand sewing and an occasional piece of jewelry...what will come of it all?  Perhaps next week you will see something made with hands......{smiles} 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Open Letter to All Christian Youth Leaders...(I really want to hear your comments)

First of all, I truly want to thank you for the service and sacrifice that you have given; for answering God's call and for working in the harvest field of teens and tweens...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jMOSlH6PzPc/TcFMgj7oezI/AAAAAAAAAdQ/JqP53sN13Ys/s1600/praying-hands.jpgFor prayers prayed in the secret place, for firmness when these youngsters have acted out, for holding them gently when hearts are broken and cheering them on as you watch them "get it", for letting them see you worship, for letting them ask the hard questions and hearing you say "I don't know, but I'll ask God...", for being an example to them and a reflection of Jesus...

I think about what the books in heaven that God writes and are written in His Presence must say about these days of yours and secretly hope to read them with you and Him one day!

I have a story to share with you...
There was a man, a manager, who was working in a certain company that had branches throughout the world.  The branch he was part of was a minor part of the corporation, and was located in a remote area.  But this man liked his position and his job and was perfectly content in his place in life.  He ran his projects with exquisite administrative skill; his few workers assigned to him loved his organizational power, the smoothness that all their projects were always completed in; so they weren't surprised at all when the CEO of the corporation called their manager to company headquarters in order to oversee a new program that had been in the works.  The manager's new group was exponentially larger than the handful of employees he was used to and many had their own ideas about how to proceed with the R&D project that was already underway.  Immediately our manager saw he needed to go in a different direction than the group's previous leader had been going, in fact the entire reason the CEO had brought him into the situation was that the CEO knew the manager would accurately direct the project in the way the CEO knew it needed to go in order to be successful.  This new direction would ultimately allow everybody who was part of the project to interject his or her own unique style for the ultimate good of the company and the population who would use this system.  With the help of some of his old trusted workmates who had relocated with him, the manager began the monumental process of initiating the change. There was some resistance - persons who were loyal to the former leader didn't like the new manager, others felt their personal leadership and ideas were just as good or better than the new manager's, and others just went with the flow.  Small conflicts and office politics arose and yet the manager continued on, using the same skill set he had developed back home to keep the work moving along as well as encouraging the dissidents to work together for the good of all.  The CEO was pleased and had frequent conversations with the manager about the project, the people, and personal issues as well.  They became quite close as the work continued.  Occasionally, the entire group would be stumped as to how to proceed, even the manager, but the CEO could always see what was needed and would inform the manager during their daily chats, and he in turn would take the instructions back to the group and the work would move forward.  In truth, all the manager needed to do was to speak the word of the CEO; the resulting flow of ideas and connections and fresh innovations for the group was nothing short of miraculous.  

It became time to take the project out in the field.  The CEO placed the manager in charge and provided for the entire group to accompany him as they implemented the new program in the various company branches and other venues who were wishing to use it.  Their conversations continued on a daily basis, a good thing as implementing the new system and traveling brought new challenges and conflicts that needed to be worked through.  As always, the CEO was on top and knew what the entire group needed, trusting the manager to convey his (the CEO's) words accurately.  Some of the workers saw the gifts the manager had and aligned themselves with him, becoming his apprentices so to speak for they had vision to see that the new system and its benefits would extend far into the future, and they needed to learn the manager's strategies to continue the work and to train others who would come after them.  Others kept trying to implement the system in their own way, almost in opposition to the gifted manager.  It was these who stirred most of the group into grumbling and complaining when the travel and training seemed to reach an insurmountable problem which would effectively shut down the new system for all time, resulting in going back and redesigning the entire thing.  Most of the group were declaring "failure", only the apprentices stood by the manager.  Our manager, tired, stressed, and quite frankly, inconvenienced by the continual friction came back from his daily conversation with the CEO to address the entire group...and for the first and only time, his actions displeased the CEO.  The manager began by reciting to the group his feelings of the moment, "You are a rebellious group, will you listen to the solution!?" and he struck the podium with his hands, not once, but twice.  And as he shared the CEO's words, the solution did come forth and the entire group continued their tour of training and implementing the system.

But when it was time for the travels to end, and the group was going to be kept together in a brand new location that the CEO had provided to be the center of the new system (in order that anyone who wanted to learn it could come and train, then stay or take it back to their homes), the CEO had to tell our manager that he couldn't continue to lead the group there...the personal anger displayed that fateful day was not a true reflection of the CEO, and the vision, the history, that was to be written about the new system had to remain free from the idea that striking and anger was part of the new methods.

The CEO and manager remained close friends however, conversing often through the day, until the death of the manager...

This story is loosely based on the account found in Numbers 20.  I trust the history of Moses and the dealings with the people of Israel in the wilderness are familiar to you...



I know you are human, as Moses was, and I am glad you are willing to be a leader of such a similar mob of tweeners and teens!  But just as Moses, when tiredness and stress and inconvenience makes your words and actions less than grace-filled, less than a reflection of the truth of God's nature, I wonder about the far reaching effects of such...

There are Joshuas and Calebs in your care, watching and learning from you...there are others that will become strong men and women for God - Deborahs, Samuels, Hannahs, parents of Samsons and Ruths, worshipers like David and Bathsheba and Obed-Edom, prayer warriors like Nehemiah and Daniel...


When you are spent, and spent because you are working for and caring for our precious children's spirits, I pray that you see the heroes of the faith when you look in their eyes, when you listen to their words, especially their immature, hormone driven, less-than-stellar toned words...

A hand is reaching out in the sky for help Stock Photo - 11432611

You know this "unruly mob" is dealing with parents' divorces, bullying, peer pressure, perhaps domestic violence at home, and wondering if they should entrust you with a deep secret they have never told another living soul...just to name a few...and even tho' they have just had a great time, you don't really know what they are leaving you to go home to...

I pray that your words will "always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person"...

Party Poster Stock Photo - 11646326
The other night, you told my learning disabled daughter, when she couldn't recite certain information to you, that "you were not going to wait another hour for her parents to show up" and when she explained her dyslexia was interfering, you were curt with her again - you made your inconvenience her fault (in front of other youth I might add), and she is afraid to come back to youth because you promised her punishment if she didn't get this one certain thing right...something she struggles with because of her learning disability and doesn't have control over, an issue that we had provided for because she cannot control it, but again, on the leader's end, our provision was not available...

The good thing about her communication with you is that you assured her you would be talking to her parents about it, and as you can see, I want to talk to you about it...


We are not derelict parents who try to drop off our child every chance we can and leave them for as long as we can...in fact, unknown to you at the time, we were already on our way to the parking lot to be there when the bus arrived, so in reality if you had to wait, it was because of ALL the other parents in the same situation as us - not knowing the youth leaders had decided to come back early (and why weren't we sent a text while y'all were on the way back home? When the appropriate leaders HAD the information needed to do so?) - because when we picked our daughter up there were about a hundred other kids waiting for their parents...in actuality the problem was with the leaders, when they chose not to make the calls to parents or to text them.

In the large scheme of things, I have thanked God that it happened to her/us, because He knew how we would handle the situation, how I would speak to her and how I would speak to you.  Trust me, if she had misbehaved we would be taking measure to correct that misbehavior.  In this situation, I think I have made it clear that I am thankful for your serving of the Lord, of us parents, and of our children, but I am asking that next time, you just try to hold it together for that one more hour (when you think of one hour in the light of eternity, it is so small) and continue to see those tweens and teens as future faith heroes instead of an inconvenience...that that one more hour might be when that secret is told, or the special intimate moment with the Lord during the retreat is shared with you, that somehow, maybe, God wants to give you a divine appointment to treasure till the day you are with Him in heaven...that hour of inconvenience might just hold another entry into those heavenly books He writes about us...

I hope you have heard my heart in this letter; please call me after you have read this...


**********************
I am hand delivering this at youth group tonight - what are your thoughts?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cycles of Worship - Part 2 + Sneak Peek Friday

Heads bowed with the weight of ripe glory, the field watched and waited,
knowing the harvest was soon...


The rains had come, warmth and light had performed their duty, 
and the growth to maturity had been slow yet sure...

Sure as the seasons, marked by moon, stars and sun...
Sure as the rotation and orbit of the earth...
Sure as the Creator who had set all in place
And whose presence was felt in the field every moment...




Growth was always up and out -

Up - branch arms and heads reaching and stretching always towards heaven, towards Him...
Out - spreading and growing and becoming fruitful and multiplying, not only reaching up, but reaching out - enlarging the harvest...

and the field knew what it was to be spent for the harvest...



  The maturing crops wondered if the crown of creation noticed...





Did they notice how each blossom, each color, the bees visiting and pollinating, each shape, each spine or leaf or stem spoke?









Did they notice how every detail pointed to some aspect of their Creator, declared how the the Lover of their souls cared for them, revealed the depth of love He feels for them?

 Did they know that He created beauty just so they could delight in it?
And so they could remember their true purpose when the deceiver sought to blind them to it?
Because the beauty they encountered in the world was designed to remind them that they, too,
were beautiful?


And did they know that every time the wind blew, causing the harvest to gently wave, it was to remind them that the Lord of the Harvest was moving in each of them, and through each of them, and would be a catalyst to help them move together in the beauty of harmony?




The appointed days arrived, the people came to gather in the message

- and even harvested, the fields continue to speak out:

there is a harvest, 
it is growing, 
multiplying...




when the people gather the harvest, they see spiritual reality
before their eyes...
and each generation is able to experience the unseen truths as well...

when they watch the fields ripen, 
they understand the principles of growth,
that there are seasons to life...






And that counting the time, measuring the passing of days, 
it wasn't to remember their need for salvation, 
(tho' that also was woven in after the fall), 

but that the days, and seasons, and years, and signs...
were all to be crescendoing love gifts...

that the Creation would understand cycles of life and growing and maturing...
all eternal realities...

...and that He is counting the days till we are all gathered together...

in one incredible colorful and unique and diverse harvest.

And the joy of repeating the counting is poured out - 
over and over and over again...
generation after generation...
till the harvest is complete...

And the fields, gathered now to grace the harvest celebrations,
continued to bow their worship to their Maker.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cycles of Worship - Part 1

The summer grasses waved their glory every day I passed; glowing golden in the late summer dusk...

Reminding that the later harvest was almost here.

I wondered how so many days had crept by, the desire for Lent to linger - pulsing and burning the path of life and liturgy and contemplation - dying down {yet not out}, counting by adding stalks of wheat in a vase...

four days:



             thirty days:














counting to Pentecost (fifty days and fifty stalks of wheat)   
                                               

and the idea occurred to me to continue on past Pentecost:  
Here is what 100 days (after Resurrection/First Fruits) looks like:
                                                     

The counting seemed natural, like how we count the days to Christmas and thus we know how to plan our budgets and time and ways to show love, just as the Jewish people knew because they were to count the days from one Feast to the next...

Somehow, when I had allowed the habit of the daily count to slip away, my attendance to the details of each day also slipped - of course the laundry was done and meals prepared and worship was given and scripture studied; joy and sadness and firmness and, yes, contentment was still woven through the life liturgy I live - and the conviction of purpose and meaning, that my existence was important also slipped.  My ministry to my family seemed small and inconsequential, as if it didn't matter in the larger picture of life...

and yet the golden heads waving desperately declaring that counting helps keep one: 

present:
looking forward to what is yet to come,
 aware of the day that today is  - 

focused:  
to make the most of today while
making the most of each day to come,

full of anticipation... 

grounded in purpose...

living in celebration of life... 

When God created "lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night," he said, "Let them be for signs, seasons, days and years".  Later, these mo'adim became known as mo'adey Adonai (the appointed times of the Lord)— the yearly cycle of festivals ordained for Israel. Before Israel or even mankind had been created,God anticipated Israel's life of worship and made detailed provision for it.

And while the appointed times are to help turn our eyes and hearts to the Lord and to reveal Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He is showing me even greater depths of His love towards us...

What can you count?  1000 gifts with Ann Voskamp?
                                       Days of the Jewish Festivals and between?
                                       Days of the Liturgical Church Year?
                                       or make your own calendar of days?



Friday, September 14, 2012

Sneak Peek Friday - Creativity?

 


The Lord gave me this word one day for those who would come across the website...

Such a full week - and if our creative natures - instilled by the Creator Himself - touches each aspect of our lives, then this week has seen much creativity!  Tho' none has been 

pencil to paper
paint onto canvas
thread in and out of fabric...

and I long for that sort of creative endeavor soon!

but this week I did create:

language worksheets
bread pudding (twice!)
quiet spaces in my heart
and in the heart of another




new techniques in photoshop (to the left)...

learning to take better photos - still with my little shoot and go camera!


and if html code is art, then I did a lot (!) as I was able to integrate my blogger blog into my website! 
(Notice the new heading and navbar?)
I am still getting my blogger links into the new navbar...





And I invite you to come visit on Wednesday, when I reveal what God has been teaching me about counting, and you can see how these images will be altered and how they fit with that theme (and new images will be there as well...)



The whitest place for photo shoots!
    


sneak peek

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Lord's Mercies...Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today
September 11, 2012
Late summer grasses near our house...
Outside my window...the cooler air seems to make the blue of the sky that much more crisp!

I am going...to get my fall garden planted this week!

I am reading...lots of things to sweet tweener...

From the learning room...school has begun - and days are full and or so fun!

I am pondering...more on contemplation and found a lovely spot to infuse my own journey...

A favorite quote for today...on education (at my flicker site)

One of my favorite things... lacy things

A few plans for the rest of the week: Sort and organize sweet tweener's clothes and new "beauty" products in her bathroom...

A Scripture to meditate on from this morning: 

Lectio Divina:
We read the passage slowly: lectio
                 Lamentations 3:22-23

We meditate on the Word or phrase: meditatio 

In the Jewish calendar, the month of Elul is a month of preparation, leading up to the Jewish new year (marked by Rosh Hashana).  It is a time of reflecting on the greatness of God, of our severe limitations when it comes to leading a holy life, and on how much we  desperately need Him, especially how much we need His mercy, or more accurately, His mercies...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope...(1 Peter 1:3).



The Hebrew word for "mercy" is rachamim. It's plural. In Hebrew, you can't say "mercy" (singular). You can only say "mercies" (plural). God provides abundant mercy—; not just one mercy, but mercy upon mercy upon mercy. It's enough not just for one time, but for every time we need it. It's enough not just for bad sins, but also for the very, very bad sins.

We ask for mercy and God gives us rachamim. He gives us mercies overflowing and able to fill up and cleanse every sin and failure, with mercies to spare. So open your heart wide. He doesn't just have mercy for you. He has mercies— - and more than enough for you to live a life of abundant joy and victory.

...let the failures, the sin, the pain, and the guilt of the past be healed by God's rachamim
(The Voice of the Lord for Elul 20)
(You can sign up for "The Voice of the Lord" daily devotions to be delivered to your inbox at www.studylight.org)
 We talk with God: Oratio
We are silent: Contemplatio


Monday, September 10, 2012

Raindrops are the perfect lullaby



http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3by2aD7Vb1rtxj3eo1_1280.png

It rained Saturday morning, and a cool front came through - it finally feels like fall in Texas!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Remember this...a new idea

Another great find on Tumblr...since I like collage, why not try this - same shot, different times of the day, different times of the year, slightly enlarge, slightly decrease, then collage together - I love the artsy feel to this!

Saturday, September 1, 2012