Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grace is all around us.

“What we fail to realize is that grace is more than our destination, it is the journey itself, manifested in each breath and with each step we take.  Grace surrounds us, whirls about us like the wind, falls on us like rain.  Grace sustains us on our journeys, no matter how perilous they may be and, make no mistake, they are all perilous.  We need not hope for grace, we merely need to open our eyes to its abundance.  Grace is all around us, not just in the hopeful future but in the miracle of now.   Richard Paul Evans in The Road to Grace   p. 232

Grace is all around us.  It is in every step of our journey.  I know this to be true.  And yet I don't always see that grace with every step I take.  The "tasks" of the day can act as blinders.  I am thankful for the moments of time where I am able to stop, to be somewhat still, and open my eyes to the grace that is all around me.  And I need to remind myself to try to do so more often.

Here are some of the signs of grace I've seen around me.

1379) birds eating seeds from one of my trees
1380) finishing stages of a quilt for my sister

1381) blue sky
1382) blankets of snow
1383) sunshine
1384) feeling organized
1385) meeting mini-goals
1386) dinner out with friends
1387) a little bird coming close to me, and resting on a branch while I was out on a walk
1388) finding my scarf!
1389) finishing a bag
1390) being able to bless a young mom with the bag
1391) reconnecting with friends at a baby shower
1392) encouragement and love from my school community
1393) trying out new recipes - curry pumpkin soup and pan-fried quinoa cakes
1394) enjoying the flavours of these foods
1395) wide variety of foods God created for us
1396) a warm home
1397) a safe and trusty vehicle
1398) seeing growth in students
1399 - 1413) the sights of a day in a winter wonderland


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reminder to Be Still

I took advantage of seeing the sun this afternoon - and using that boost to convince myself that going for a walk was a good idea.  Normally that's not so hard, but it's been gray and cloudy here for the last while and we're so not used to that.  We delight in our sunny skies.  So today I chose to delight in the moments of blue.  And it was a true gift.

I headed down to a park that I frequent often when walking on weekends.  I almost had to stop in my tracks, because the first thing I saw reminded me to be still.  Here's what it was.

There was a pool of still water set off from the river flowing by.  I've seen it a multitude of times.  But I never really noticed it this way before.  It's part of the same river.  It's the same water.  Just separated by a few stones that are slightly higher than the rest.  And the still part can reflect clear images.  I'm reminded yet again of my need to step out of the flowing water and into the still portion so that I can reflect.  And while inward reflection on life isn't really my forte, I do want to reflect God to the people in my life.  So I need to take the time to be still.  

This fits with the sermon I heard in church this morning.  I must admit that I had to talk myself into going this morning.  The idea of another peaceful day at home was pretty inviting.  But I went.  And I'm glad I did.  The sermon was on God as our Shepherd, based on Ezekiel 34.  The final challenge involved looking at the verbs for the ways that God shepherds us.  We were to choose one and then think about what our response would be to that verb this week.  The one I chose was God talking to us.  Which means my response should be to listen.  It's hard to listen without being still.  So - I will attempt to take time to step out of the river and into the calm so that I can be still and listen.

Part of being still is to take the time to see the gifts of God in my life.  So my list goes on...

1354) peace-filled weekend
1355) hugs from children
1356) being encouraged regarding giftings from God
1357) movie night with friends
1358) activities that feed my soul, like...
1359) reading
1360) creating/sewing
1361) walking and seeing God in the details in the woods
1362 - 1378) the details in photographic form  (Some of these are similar to previous photos, but I firmly believe that we can be delighted again and again by the beauty around us.  And not only can we be repeatedly delighted, but I believe we should be!)