Posts tagged ‘How God Works’

January 28, 2011

moving more

A huge part of the goal for this year is going to be Moving More. It has to be. If I don’t start working my muscles and stretching my heart and lungs, I’m simply going to collapse from underuse. As it is I can’t seem to move normally anymore without it feeling like work. Six months of unemployment has been six months of sitting still inside my flat. And my cardiovascular system is dormant now. More than ever before. So to say I need to “move more” is an understatement. I need to just move in the first place. And I NEED to do it so I don’t spread out and die. That’s a pretty good incentive, don’t ya think?

Thursday was my first step in the right direction. While I’ve been conscious of my goals all month I haven’t quite implemented any of them full-force. I know myself and my track record well enough to realize that head-on, full-out will just cause me to burn out more quickly. Three months and I’m usually over it all. So this time I wanted to make changes gradually, slipping them into a daily routine little by little in order to (hopefully) make a seamless transition that seems so natural I’ll wonder why I ever thought this would be difficult. By now, all of the goals are in place, the tools have been implemented, and I’ve started adding good foods into my diet and taking bad foods away. That leaves two major elements to begin: unplugging (which is a huge focus for next month) and moving more. On Thursday I put the latter into place.

Less than one mile from my apartment is a small lake surrounded by a concrete path. It’s THE PLACE for runners and walkers and a few cyclists, as well. It’s a perfect, peaceful setting for exercise, and it’s my go-to place. After forcing myself to stay awake all day Wednesday, I slept restfully through the night and woke at 6am with a plan in place. And I finally — FINALLY — worked that plan. A single lap around the lake. No excuses. Since the goal was not speed or endurance but simply moving my muscles and stretching my back, I used the lap as a photo walk. Doing so allowed me to pause every 30-50 yards and maintain a steady breathing pattern while appreciating the beauty of the site itself. In the middle of the day when most people were at work, it was a true blessing to just hang out with God and the ducks and consider the year ahead. And that left me quite motivated for the next time.

I recently read an excerpt from Max Lucado on valuing the body you have been given. For the first time I’m starting to understand how important it is for me to make serious changes in my life. They just may have eternal impact, after all.
 

God is going to renew your body and make it like his. What difference should this make in the way you live?
 
Your body, in some form, will last forever. Respect it.
 
You will live forever in this body. It will be different, mind you. What is now crooked will be straightened. What is now faulty will be fixed. Your body will be different, but you won’t have a different body. You will have this one. Does that change the view you have of it?

 
For the first time in my life I’m answering, “Yes.” To all of it.
 

Towne Lake
 
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Towne Lake

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September 11, 2010

September Listography | Day Eleven

 

ten ways I was changed by 9/11
 
Lights of the Twin Towers in New York City
 photo credit: Thomas Hoepker / ©2002 Magnum Photos (linked to source)
 
  1. I’ve become much more proud of my country and the people who inhabit it.
  2. I notice more blessings and fewer problems.
  3. I see God in every single little situation.
  4. I see more people recognizing His Hand at work.
  5. I’m more aware of a soldier’s world.
  6. I’m more aware of a firefighter’s heart.
  7. I get choked up at our National Anthem and selfless acts of kindness.
  8. I understand the need to remember our tainted history for fear of repeating it.
  9. More than ever before, I recognize the need for love without boundaries.
10. I hold people closer than ever before and say “I love you” more frequently.
 
 


My Listography was inspired by the site of the same name and by list-maker extraordinaire Andrea at hulaseventy

 

August 13, 2010

lakeside celebration

 
A week ago our only girl celebrated her Sweet Sixteen with a weekend party at the lake. Because she’s amazing like this, Kiwi asked that her family come on Friday night for a beachside celebration, and then she had her two best friends stay overnight in a cabin so they could continue the party on Saturday with another group of friends who would join them. I’ll admit that my first thought was, “Lake? In August? When the temperatures have been over 100 for weeks and I don’t ever go into the water? You must be joking.” Soon after that selfish thought I realized there was hardly anything that could keep me away from the girl’s celebration. She’d been dreaming and talking about sixteen for as long as any of us can remember, so I just couldn’t disappoint her by not showing up. Not this girl. Not when family truly means so much to her. So I stuffed down my dislike of summer and headed out with the rest of our side of the fam to join in the celebration of our only princess — the original Princess of Quite a Lot.
 
God knew exactly what we all needed on this night, and He brought a short shower during the late afternoon that took the temperatures down almost twenty degrees… or so it felt. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I was and how great an impact this one shift had on my demeanor. As soon as we got to the lake, I headed straight down to the water’s edge. A rarity, for sure!
 
By the time we arrived the waters were calm and pleasantly warm, and the sun was hiding well behind the clouds. There was even a nice breeze coming off the lake. Serenity was the word that immediately came to mind. And since it was a private beach, we had it almost entirely to ourselves.
 

serenity
 

I couldn’t resist the urge to put my toes into the slick, squishy sand. But only so far as I could still see the bottom. Two steps beyond the edge was murky and dark green, camouflaging all the little creatures who lie in wait. I don’t go there.

water's edge
 

Of course, D has to be held back from jumping in headlong. He’s a water-lover, but on this night his mom “forgot” (insert sarcastic tone of older brother here) their swim trunks so they were only allowed to play at the edge of the lake.

a bit of rolling tide
 

Of course, turn your back for one instant and off he goes!

D at play
 

At one point I looked down the beach and saw every single male skipping rocks into the water. It must be a guy thing.

rock skip
 

The dry sand of the beach was deep and loose and a perfect temperature for walking barefoot. Plus, there were various ephemera left behind by previous visitors that are perfect to spark the imagination of children.

perfect spot for D
 

Of course, that only works if the water holds no allure. Which is never the case for the youngest boy. All night I marveled at how deep we sank into the sand at just the very outer edge of the water. Walking in it was exactly how I imagine quicksand must feel!

D and J in the sinking sand
 

When the birthday girl came back to the beach to join us, both her cousins ran to her. It’s never happened quite that way before, and it’s a great reminder just how quickly they’re all growing up. A bittersweet reminder, but something to hold onto, nonetheless.

cousins
 

Moments later we turned to see D standing knee-deep in the water, bent forward at the waist, with his head submerged upside-down. He probably would’ve gone all the way under had we not shouted for him to get out. It really didn’t faze him. He was quite proud to have found a way to feel truly wet.

silly cousins
 

As the party began to pick up again, we headed back up the hill to the picnic area. D ran up the stone trail first and shouted back to me, “Follow my path!” He stopped twice along the way up to look back and repeat the instruction, making sure that I was coming along well and didn’t need any help.

follow my path
 

Before we left the beach, though, I had to get one last shot of that amazing sky. I said a little prayer of thanks, as well, for the clouds that shielded the blazing sun and also kept the storms at bay.

shaded sun
 

The party got into full swing after that, and we enjoyed grilled hot dogs and good conversation. I was thankful that there were no harsh words or hurt feelings on this night, but instead there was lots of laughter and chatting among two sides of a family that had been joined by marriage. And there were presents, too, of course! I’m pretty sure this t-shirt from my sister was Kiwi’s favorite gift that night. How a girl born in 1994 could be such an 80s music fan is still a bit of a mystery to me, but it also makes her unique among her peers. I love that it gives us aunts something to share with her. [Note: The Bret Michaels thing is all on the youngest aunt. That’s something we’ll never share. :-p]

fave b-day gift of the night
 

I was especially pleased to catch a small moment of the girl and her dad, and even more pleased that they both smiled for the shot. Believe it or not, this is one of their best!

daughter and father
 

As we hung out and celebrated being together, we were able to see the sun setting through the trees. For just about five minutes we all watched in awe as it dipped lower and lower on the horizon and displayed the most amazing colors across the water. In those final few moments both of my sisters and I headed to the clearing with cameras in hand, knowing we would all regret it if that moment wasn’t captured. It’s scenes like this that remind me how awesome our God truly is and how amazing it is that He creates these moments just for our pleasure. Glory be!

sunset
 

The subsequent darkness made for a perfect cake lighting moment. I’m not sure how Kiwi ended up lighting her own candles but it made for a fantastic photo! Of course, the wind had kicked up a bit by then and she spent as much time re-lighting them as she did doing it the first time. No one really seemed to mind (except Kiwi, of course). The cake itself was a custom design by the birthday girl. She wanted fondant instead of regular icing, and she wanted zebra stripes. The ideal cake was a bit too pricey but her mom found a great alternative that kept the spirit of the cake intact and look exactly like Kiwi herself. Plus, the inner cake was marbled and tasted really, really good. So in the end, it was the most perfect cake for the most perfect of birthdays (so far).

birthday candles
 

During the rest of the evening we just fellowshipped together. We could see rain on the opposite side of the lake and being the country folk that we are (whether I like to admit it or not), the lightning show in the sky was too much to resist. The majority of us headed back to the water’s edge to ooh and ahh at the incredible (natural) light show. I found a solitary spot on the rocks at the top of the hill and set my camera on high sensitivity in hopes of catching one of those amazing bolts of electricity. I never did, but after holding down the shutter button for a series of 100+ photos, I finally managed to catch a single moment when the storm lit up the entire sky. Despite the grainy quality, I think this photo is the one I’m most proud of from the evening.

lightning in the clouds
 

Then again, this last one of the birthday girl is pretty special too. You can see her two best friends on the opposite side of the table, and our girl’s face is filled with joy. It wasn’t a spontaneous moment — this is the result of a hair toss and bright smile over the shoulder that she was demonstrating as her intended “hello” to a college guy who was due to show up in just moments — but the lack of spontaneity makes it all the better. This is Kiwi’s personality. This is her true smile and her dramatic flair and her contagious joy. This is the woman she is becoming more and more each day. What you see in this photo is her true laugh, and that’s better than anything else I saw all night.

birthday joy
 

January 19, 2010

HAITI

 
All eyes are on Haiti. Hearts have opened up, minds have focused in on this tiny little country that has so much less than most people will ever realize. Suddenly, people everywhere are studying Haiti. People everywhere are learning about poverty in a way they’ve never considered before. Hearts are broken, tears continue to fall a week later. All eyes are fixed and compassion has been ignited.
 
The state of Haiti is worsened now, but Haiti has been devastated for quite some time. Most of the people have nothing at all, many live on less than $2.00 per day and sleep in lean-to shacks made of discarded materials. There is corruption and starvation and epidemic of disease, and this has been the case for so long that few even realize it continues. But now, all eyes are on Haiti, and the world is seeing the reality.
 
Though the word “punishment” has been bandied about, I wonder instead if God allows such devastation not for the people who suffer it as much as for those who do not. I wonder if natural disaster, destruction, oppression and suffering occur so that all hearts are made aware. To show us what we do not see, to teach us what we fail to learn for ourselves. “God does not punish the helpless. True judgment begins with the family of God” (Jeff Warren).
 
When disaster strikes, hearts are made aware. People begin to act, to move, to pray and deliver hope. Would that we do all this without such devastation. May compassion and service be on our hearts without global events spurring us to action. And may God’s restoration come quickly to the Haitian people. A mighty work has begun.
 

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