Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Art of Life

Every happening, great or small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.   Malcolm Muggeridge quoted in Carolyn Arends’ Wrestling with Angels  p. 41
The art of life.  I want to live such a life, a life that demonstrates the art of living.  As I head into the first official full week of a new school year, I want to be prayerfully aware of living a life that listens to God.  I will admit to being somewhat concerned that the busy-ness of life will crowd out the lessons and the habits I have learned in the detour my life has taken.  Lord, I pray that You will help me see the happenings in my life, to really see them.  And in so doing, to hear You and truly get Your message.
What follows are some of the happenings in my life.....
404) a summer evening walk in a nearby park
405) managing to find a place to park in that very busy and crowded part
406) a cool breeze which refreshes when walking
407) the variety of bird songs heard while walking in the park
408) light at the end of the tunnel - the gift of light as it plays on the trees

409) the setting sun illuminating huge billowy clouds
410) the satisfaction of coming to a decision
411) a friend who helps move furniture
412) seeing a good story come to life on the big screen (The Help)
413) Thai chicken pizza with freshly picked cilantro
414) a rainbow shining through the rainstorm
415) getting a classroom unpacked and finding room for most things
416) a willing friend who helps and who loves organizing (Thanks, E.B.)
417) sitting in a park on a summer evening, enjoying mint tea and the company of a friend
418) watching a rabbit chow down on dandelion leaves it finds in my lawn
419) the crisp, clean white of freshly painted window trim
420) the warmth of the sun on my shoulders as I run errands
421) hugs and expressions of compassion as a welcome back to work
422) excitement about new relationships with a new set of students
423) a bright little sliver of a moon
424) the first sweet peas of the season brightening my living room
425) sunshine warming my shoulders as I walk during a lunch break
426) watching butterflies flit around
427) laughter
428) a gifted story-teller
429) being inspired at the beginning of a new school year
430) a school secretary and her daughter who go above and beyond
431) colleagues who pitch in and help the secretary
432) morning walks
433) summer evenings
434) watching the sunset colours play on the clouds, changing and dancing
435) playing Scrabble in the park with a friend
436) managing 2 (yes, 2!) 7 letter words in one Scrabble game
437) a day of meandering, without much agenda, and discovering as we went along
438) plumbers
439) a free-flowing and quickly draining tub
440) successfully modifying a recipe never tried before - Mexican Quinoa Salad

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A wish from a friend

Last spring when I was recuperating, a friend gave me a fridge magnet.  (Thanks, J.N.)  On it were some words with powerful wishes.  When I read the list of wishes, I am reminded again of the need to keep my eyes open to see the gifts God places in front of me every day.  It is so easy for me to go through the days taking God's goodness for granted.  But, oh, how much richer it is to take the few seconds to thank God when I notice a gift.  And, I've found that by listing these gifts, I have become more attuned to seeing the "little" and the "not-so-little" gifts that abound every day.  This life God has given me is, indeed, a rich one.

This is my wish for you…

    Comfort on difficult days

    Smiles when sadness intrudes

   Rainbows to follow the clouds

    Laughter to kiss your lips

    Sunsets to warm your heart

    Hugs when spirits sag

   Friendships to brighten your being

    Beauty for your eyes to see

    Faith so that you can believe

    Confidence for when you doubt

   Patience to accept the truth

    Courage to know yourself

    Love to complete your life


And so my list of gifts continues.
345) the opportunity to "crash" my aunt's 80th birthday party, seeing aunts, uncles and cousins I rarely see
346) the peacefulness of my cousin's farmyard and the hospitality shown so freely

347) canola fields against a sunset sky (although this picture doesn't show the sunset)

348) the first fresh raspberries of the season, straight from the bush to my mouth - delectable!
349) sitting in a lovely backyard and catching up with friends (Thanks, T.M., J.K., S.B., and W.V.)
350) freshly picked raspberries on oatmeal
351) freshly picked raspberries with yogurt and granola
352) seeing paint as wallpaper paste succumbs to the scrubbing
353) my sister finding a way to conquer the paste a LITTLE more easily , helping us work our way to winning the battle of the WALL
354) seeing THE WALL with no wallpaper paste on it (This actually merits way more than one gift in the list!)
355) completing the painting of the walls
356) liking the colour I chose
357) having a sister help with the battle as I don't think I could have faced it on my own
358) painting the dresser to fit in with the new wall colour
359) rearranging furniture for a "new" room
360) attending the Canmore Folk Festival with family and a friend
361) staying in a lovely condo during the festival
362) sharing said condo with dearly loved family members
363) spending one day of the festival with a friend and both days with 2 of my sisters
364) sitting in the sun, looking at mountains, and enjoying great music
365) hearing voices in harmony
366) the wide variety of flavours God gave us in food
367) seeing a friend I hadn't seen or heard from for awhile
368) having dinner on a patio with friends - 2 nights in a row
369) having friends over so they can pick and enjoy fresh raspberries
370) playing Scrabble on a patio with a friend
371) short snuggles with cousins' kids
372) visiting a cousin and catching up after many years
373) walking the ridge path near her home and enjoying the mountain scenery and the company
374) enjoying a neighbourhood festival with a friend
375) being in my home church after a number of weeks away
376) warm greeting and conversation with a former student who has become a dear young friend (Thanks, E.N.)
377) being able to thank someone for encouraging a friend to reach out and reconnect
378) my brother's safe return from a backpacking trip
379) another successful surgical procedure
380) rides to and from the hospital
381) feeling good after the surgical procedure, surprisingly good
382) friends who take me into their home and care for me after surgery (Thanks, R. and J. K.)
383) family members and friends who demonstrate love, compassion and care
384) coming home again
385) washing machines
386) clear skies after thunderstorms
387) exciting news for friends, something they've been waiting for so eagerly!
388) a full moon in the early morning sky
389) having enough fresh raspberries to share with others
390) exploring a new provincial park with friends
391) the delightful view of the river valley with mountains in the background and prairies surrounding it
392) being able to do a fairly strenuous uphill walk, and feeling strong and capable
393) sharing dinner in a park with friends
394) seeing 4 deer throughout our explorations as we sought a park with a firepit
395) sitting by a campfire and watching the full moon rise
396) trees silhouetted against a night sky lit by a full moon
397) worshipping God with my church family
398) smiles from little girls across the church pews)
399) hugs from children after church
400) Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe
401) the gift of reading and getting lost in a story
402) the power of words to evoke an "ah-ha" feeling
403) the comfort of familiar music