Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Burgeoning New Life, In More Ways than One


A verdant green graces the hillsides, and yellow-headed dandelions spread their color over the gentle slopes.

Budding trees share the most welcome green as their tiny leaves unfurl into the sunshine.


Blessed spring rains bring this beauty to life, and we bask in the glory of springtime in Wisconsin.

It is a celebration to feel life again in our natural world. Our never-ending winter has finally yielded to a new season.

Spring has taken her sweet time to get here. Below normal temperatures delayed blossoms from showing their faces.


Stormy winds shed magnolia petals all too soon. And dark, dreary days perpetuated the despair many of us felt through this season of cold and dark days.

But have you noticed the length of our days recently? As we near the summer solstice, the daylight stretches into the nighttime hours. Before I know it, it's 9 p.m. and the daylight has only recently faded from the sky.

Today dawns warm and humid after yesterday's rain. Soon we no longer will feel surprised as we step outside into the morning air and realize that it's actually warm outside.


Spring is exploding around us! We need to enjoy every second of this brilliant green, expansion of life. Soon we will fall face first into the vibrant energy of summertime, and then there's no slowing down until the dog days arrive and force us to move more slowly.

For now, I treasure the springtime. The celebration of new life, the discovery of new plant growth and baby bunnies, and all the joys of the season.

If nature gets a chance at renewal, shouldn't we take one, too?


 "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." 
Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

I feel it, deep within a hidden place, a quiet space, reserved for contemplation.

A pause. A deep reflection. On ongoing attempt at finding my way. 

I pray God will guide me. I know that it is His hand that has stilled me, has slowed me; and that His love will show me the way, guiding me on this path of self discovery.

"Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me,  for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you."   Psalm 25:4-5
 
This, my life verse, guides me through all the changes in my life. I need to remember to pray this Psalm and remember its truth, and trust in the One who will lead me.

We need to be open to the changes that are happening all around us, and feel the hope that new life brings.



The promise is there for all of us, just as it is in all living things.

As the natural world sings into new life, let your heart find it's own song.

It's there, waiting to be born with the new life inside you. Nurture it, and let it grow. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Seeking Renewal

Vernon Marsh on a Springtime Morning

As I sit by the Vernon marsh soaking up the morning sun, a soft haze covers the marsh as remnants of this morning's fog remain.

I hear all the familiar birds and waterfowl, and my spirit is calmed.

I come here for this.


We need to deliberately seek peace for the renewal of our spirit.

Our chaotic lives leave little time for the peace our spirit needs. We need to learn how to nourish ourselves in body and spirit.

Just as our bodies need calories and vitamins to thrive, so does our spirit need to be fed.

We must seek ways of spiritual nourishment in order to feed our spirit. This may be as simple as finding time to be still. It may seem difficult to find time for a spiritual practice, but without feeding our spirit, we are running on 'empty'.

Nourishing practices of prayer, meditation, and yoga allow our focus to turn inward, while freeing tension and stress from the body.

This, in turn, allows the spiritual 'body' to rejuvenate. Oftentimes, as we actively release tension from our bodies, we free our minds to seek higher thoughts.

In other words, we let go of the ways of the world and open our hearts and minds to the healing the spirit provides.

Sometimes this practice will result in a great revelation -- that "ah-HA!" moment. The nudging the spirit was trying to use to get our attention had been blocked by busyness and tension, and can now find its way into our conscious mind.

Burr Oak at Waterville Prairie
 
When we open our hearts and minds in a spiritual practice, we are free to receive messages our physical body has been trying to tell us, too.

And when we open ourselves to just 'being', we are free to receive messages from the Holy Spirit who whispers to our soul.

That still, small voice cannot be heard above the distractions of this world.


So, take time to be still. Quiet the mind, rest the body, and open your heart to seeking renewal.

This can be as simple as finding a quiet place, away from the demands of life and and our endless to-do lists.
Late Autumn Blooms at Retzer Nature Ctr.

I like to escape into nature, where I find peace and a purpose far beyond the busyness of our human lives. Here, the simple purpose is life, and living. And I celebrate that!

Wherever you go to seek quiet and peace, even if it's in your closet (trust me, there have been times when that's the only place I could find). Try to make seeking peace a practice. Here are some simple steps to guide you.

When you rest and meditate, pray that God's white light will surround you and protect you. Bask in the feeling of comfort and love. Breathe deeply, and gently, to connect with your inner self. Connect with your breath, consciously breathing out the stress.

Use this time to pray for healing, allowing yourself the honor of praying for yourself.

Pray for others who have great need, and in your earnestness, seek the comfort and counsel of the One who can guide us through the difficult and often tumultuous waters of this life.

Give thanks for the life and breath we breathe, for this moment of peace, and for the beauty in the world. It's there, if we take the time to look.


My first tulip!


A bird's song, an opening flower; the smile of a friend. New life all around us. Celebrate with joy, and you will be fulfilled, and ready to face whatever life brings your way.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Believing in Prayer

 
Photo Courtesy Best Light Photography

 Sunday Scripture

and a

Song


"God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son."
Romans 1:9 NLT 


Has anyone ever said to you, "I'll pray for you"?

Those words bring comfort when you are going through troubling times. Knowing that someone would make time in their life to lift your spirit to the Lord in prayer is very heartwarming. 

And you can truly feel those prayers. I never would have believed it if I hadn't experienced it for myself. 

During a lengthy illness a few years ago, when indeed dozens of people were praying for me, I could actually feel a peace envelop me, a comfort, to carry me through those difficult times. It is rather indescribable, but I would say the feeling is like being "lifted up" and carried on the wings of prayer.

After a bad fall recently left me with pain and injuries, friends offered to pray. I did not solicit the prayers, but upon hearing of my circumstances, people told me they would pray for me.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to sing; indeed, singing is like breathing for me! It is my praise and worship, and my joy in living. Last evening we had our spring concert with the community choir in which I sing. My injuries threatened to steal my enjoyment of the night.

But through the prayer and love of my friends, I received a blessing of grace, and I was able to enjoy my concert and the reception following with no pain whatsoever.

I can't explain it, except to believe in the power of prayer.

The change was so dramatic from how I had been feeling. And I know that there were some friends, old and some very new, who were lifting me in prayer.

Experiencing this has charged my prayer life. Though I pause frequently throughout the day to pray for others, when prayer requests are received, or when someone who has a need comes into my thoughts, I know I will be more diligent and earnest in my requests for God's presence in these people's lives.

I believe in the power of prayer.

And I pray in gratefulness for those who pray for me. You know who you are, and I love you. 

May we all be enriched by knowing our Savior in every aspect of our daily lives, believing in the power of prayer to change us and guide us on our life's journey. Amen.


Enjoy "The Prayer" by David Forster, with Lyrics by Carol Bayer Sager
Sung by Katherine Jenkins and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, 
with a brief intro by the composer  
Subscribers please click on Hope to find to watch this video on my site.
Mobile viewers may choose to view this video on YouTube.