Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hi, this is Jill with my mom Margaret!
We have waited for a long time to have a chance to visit with Cathie,
 see her lovely Little French Sewing Room and catch up on family news.  

Thanks for the delicious Lemon and Blueberry Muffins, Cathie!
Sent from Cathie's Little Room that I (Jill) call the 'Girl's Room'.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Musings

To borrow, and then alter, the words of William Shakespeare....

To blog or not to blog;
That is the question...


Monday, April 19, 2010

In The Beginning

Good Monday morning to you!  My day is promising to be full, however, I wanted to take a few moments and offer you, such as they are, my Monday Musings.

This past weekend I spent the majority of my time in the garden. Saturday was wonderful, it simply poured with rain and there I was mucking about, dividing the hostas and irises, planting gladiola bulbs and digging out sod to enlarge the side garden... it was wonderful!  I was wet and muddy and completely in my element!

Sunday was just as enjoyable, although the weather was the complete opposite, being beautifully bright and sunny and warm!  I continued to dig and plant and plan out my garden, the grass was newly cut and the trees are beginning to show their new life in an amazing show of fresh colour, the deep russet of the Split Leaf Maples and the yellow greens of the Honey Locust.  New Beginnings are all around me... and within me.

We all have beginnings that begin somewhere, whether it's the beginning of our day, beginning a new friendship, a new resolve, a new career, a new way of life, life itself.  Sometimes our new beginnings are hidden deep within and although they have already begun, their season to bloom yet lies ahead.

Even the name of the first book of the Bible, "Genesis" comes from the Hebrew word 'bershith' meaning 'in the beginning'.  Throughout the years I have continually found comfort and direction in the first four words that begin the Bible...

"In the beginning God..."  (Genesis 1:1)

Before anything was... God Is.  All things have been created and have a definite beginning point - God.  In the words of the song of 'Maria' in The Sound of Music...

"Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start..."

Of course the difference is that instead of beginning with the abc's of the alphabet like the song suggests, our intent should always be to begin with The Very Beginning of all things - God Himself!  He is the Alpha (The Beginning) and the Omega (The End).  He knows the end from the beginning!  A Very Good place to start indeed!

The verse in Genesis 1:1 continues on and says...

"In the beginning God created..."

God is the Creator, not us.  When I was out in my garden this weekend, I was not creating, it was God creating through me, and it was a sweet time of reflection on the Beauty and Wonder of my Creator God, Who invites me to join Him in the joy of His Creation.

What is it that you have been trying to create?  A good life, loving and healthy relationships, a beautiful garden, a beautiful you?  Cease your striving, and know that He Is God!  Begin all things with Him and bring all things to Him, then watch as He leads you through Life, like an abundant garden, and shows you the vast and beautiful array of the unfolding of His purposes.

I encourage you to join with me and begin this day, and all days, with God... after all, He is the God of New Beginnings.

New Beginnings are all around me... and within me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crossing the Line

We took The Fun Bug across the line this past weekend to check out the Tulip Festival in La Connor.  

There were absolute masses of them... tulips and people!   

I had no idea that this Tulip Festival was so popular!  

There were helicopters for hire flying through the air, police traffic controllers at country intersections, cars parked in fields, balloons, food... and did I mention the masses of people and tulips?  

We did eventually park and have our walk through, but then we headed on our way - to take in the other sights in a quieter part of the countryside.  

As we left the fields of tulips behind I was thinking of how the beauty and the simplicity of the 'one' can be lost in the masses of the 'many'.  I thought that I was going to love seeing those fields, but really... not so much.  I still prefer just a few tulips from my garden in a vase on the table... 
for some reason I tend to see the beauty in just the simplicity of a few.

It's kind of the same thing when it comes to people.  As much as I can appreciate crowded gatherings, I tend to gravitate more to the beauty in the few, as we laugh and share and enjoy one another in smaller, more intimate gatherings.  I would much prefer to sit with 'a few' around my table than to be placed in the middle of the 'masses of the many'. 

It was a gorgeous weekend,  and Scott and I had more fun just cruising around, looking at all the lovely homes and gardens in some of the smaller towns.   There were some fun little shops too... like Bunnies on the Bay...

We ended our day with a very leisurely and enjoyable dinner before beginning our scenic journey home.  Just me and my man.... lovely, simple, beautiful.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!

"And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.  
And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"  And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.  
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.  And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Who has been crucified.  He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him...."
                                                                  (Mark 16:2-6)

A few years ago I remember arriving at church and fellowshipping in the lobby area before Good Friday Services began.  As a sister in Christ approached me with a huge smile on her face, my spontaneous greeting to her was, "He is risen!"  She looked at me for a moment and then leaning in towards me, said in hushed tones , "But Cathie, it is only Friday, He does not rise until Sunday."  I tilted my head to the side and said, "Really?  But I was just talking to Him!"  It only took her a moment, and then she too began to laugh as we linked arms and walked into the sanctuary to continue our mutual worship of our already and forever, risen Lord.

Keeping the above verses in mind, I wonder how often we come to visit the 'tomb' when the Son has already risen.  How often do we, in our minds, or even physically, visit dark and cold places of death, prepared to mourn, when the Son has already conquered both death and the grave?  Sometimes we too, just like the disciples, are inclined to go visit that dark place, prepared to mourn, and when we arrive, we actually begin looking around for others to help us in the removing of that 'extremely large stone from the entrance of the tomb', so that we can re-examine, or pay homage to that dead thing... notice it was only when they looked up that they were then able to see that the stone had already been rolled away and that death itself had been conquered in the Risen Lord.

She (Mary Magdalene) went and reported to those who had been with Him, 
while they were mourning and weeping.  
And when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, 
they refused to believe it."
                                                                     (Mark 16:10-11)

Sometimes, grief over death can be so overwhelming as to keep the eyes down, causing them to refuse to look up.  It can be the death of a loved one, a death of a dream, a death of an ideal.  It can even be the fear of death or the threat of death or the anguish of watching someone in abuse or sin heading ever closer towards death - it can even be just living in that dark place that speaks of death.

When the eyes are cast down, even the witness and testimony of others, others that have been in the presence of Jesus and have walked with him, seem to have no effect.

And after that, He (the Risen Lord Jesus) appeared in a different form to two of them, 
while they were walking on their way to the country.  
And they went away and reported it to the others, 
but they did not believe them either.
                                                                    (Mark 16:12-13)

There is nothing wrong with looking into the tomb, it's just that we are not meant to linger there.  Isn't it wonderful that while at the tomb, the women were invited to go ahead and look in for themselves, to see that Jesus is not to be found among the things of death - He is Living! and so their next instruction was to go and tell others that Jesus had risen! - that they would indeed see Him again, and they were reminded that Jesus Himself had already told them these things!

How often, when confronted with the dark things of this world, we forget what God has spoken to us through His Son.

We need to remember what He has spoken to us.  That He will never leave us, nor forsake us.  That He now works in us, with us, for us, and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit.

For those who belong to Him, who have turned from darkness to Light, the birth, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord is always and profoundly with us.

The cross of Christ speaks to our greatest need and the resurrection of Christ speaks of new Life in Him.  May the power of His resurrection speak afresh to you today (Ephesians 1:18-21)... I pray this over you and your family today, just as I pray it for myself and over mine.

Now, let's link arms and together, as sisters, walk boldly forward into the Day, continuing in our mutual worship of our already and forever, risen Lord and God! 

Blessed Easter Sunday to you!

Friday, April 2, 2010

How Deep The Father's Love For Us...

How deep the Father’s love for us...
For I am convinced that neither death,
nor life, neither angels or demons,
  neither the present or the future,
  nor any powers, neither height nor depth

 How vast beyond all measure...
  nor anything else in all creation,
  will be able to separate us from the
  love of God that is in Christ Jesus,
  our Lord

 That He should give His only Son...
  For God so loved the world that
  He gave His one and only Son...

 To make a wretch His treasure...
 ... that whoever believes in Him shall
 not perish, but have eternal life.

 How great the pain of searing loss...
  Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
  “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

 The Father turns His face away...
 which means, “My God, My God,
  why have You forsaken me?”

 As wounds which mar the Chosen One...
  But He was pierced for our transgressions,
  He was crushed for our initquities;

 Bring many sons to glory...
 ... the punishment that brought us peace
  was upon Him, and by His wounds
  we are healed.

 Behold the Man upon the cross...
  And they crucified Him.
 My sins upon His shoulders...
  We all like sheep have gone astray,
  each of us has turned to his own way;
  and the Lord has laid on Him
 the iniquity of us all.

 Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice...
  He was despised and rejected by men,
  a man of sorrows
 and familiar with suffering.

 Call out among the scoffers...
  Like one from whom men hide their faces
  He was despised
  and we esteemed Him not.

 It was my sin that held Him there...
  He Himself bore our sins
  in His body
 on the tree.

 Until it was accomplished...
  ... so that we might die to sins
  and live for righteousness;
  by His wounds,
  you have been healed.

 His dying breath has brought me life...
  The Good Shepherd
  lays down His life
  for the sheep

I know that it is finished.
Jesus said, "It is Finished."
I will not boast in anything...
  But whatever was to my profit,
  I now consider loss
  for the sake of Christ.

 No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
 But I will boast in Jesus Christ...
  What’s more, I consider everything a loss
  compared to the surpassing greatness
 of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
  for Whose sake I have lost all things.

 His death and resurrection...
  “They will kill Him,
  and on the third day
 He will be raised to life.”

 Why should I gain from His reward?...
  Now if we are children, then we are heirs -
  heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
  if indeed we share in His sufferings
  in order that we may also share in His glory.

 I cannot give an answer...
  If anyone would come after Me,
  he must deny himself
  and take up his cross
  and follow Me.”

 But this I know with all my heart,
 His wounds have paid my ransom...

  The punishment that brought us peace
  was upon Him,
  and by His wounds,
  we are healed.

May God bless you with the Reality of His Presence
 and Purpose this Easter,


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