The Cabin

SPRING

Bright morning with clean, clear air; the smell of new growth is rejuvenating.

Light and promising, the still early sharpness of new Spring dances on the light breeze.

A cup of English Breakfast tea with bacon on toast sits with me on the high deck overlooking the meadow that soon blends into the forest.

I smile and greet the flowers dotting the meadow below me with their heavy, waving heads; their pale colors teasing at the intensity to come.

Welcome Spring!

Green-yellow shoots of new grass force their way up through the gentle earth, stretching and coming alive under the light yellow sun.

The morning is already noisy; full of life; energetic.

The happy creek is splashing and rushing in full force; water from melted snow forcing its way down the mountain; tender reeds and cattails making a brave show of guarding the greening banks.

Birds have been up since dawn, delighting in the awakening bugs, fallen seeds and promises of good things to come.

It is time to hike; time to get out there and discover the hidden gems, which are just awakening and coming to life after a long winter of silent sleep.

The ground is still soft and springy, pliant under my slightly muddy boots.

Brisk walking, blood is pumping; alert for woodland creatures also enjoying the new birth and tender delicacies all around.

The shining lake seems happy; full to the brim with birds and creatures and bugs galore, busily gorging on Spring’s buffet; the light breeze ruffling the water; this lifts the soul.

Pleasant afternoon turns to cool evening; sun going down.

Sunset on the deck during the evening meal of pasta and salad with lemony iced tea; lovely.

Forest quieting; night falling.

SUMMER

Rising early to savor the cool of the morning; the sun is peeking over the tree tops.

Ginger Peach tea with granola, fresh fruit and yogurt accompany me to the deck.

Hello Summer!

It’s a lazy morning; creatures are up and stirring, but the pace is less frenetic.

The babble of the creek has taken on a more languid pace and I can just make out some footprints along its bank. Raccoon? Skunk?

Birds call and swoop; coaxing young ones to take flight; bugs and other delicacies brought to the wide, young mouths waiting inside downy nests.

Meadow flowers and grasses are tall now; twisting and dipping in the warming, lazy breeze.

The pace is certainly slower.

It’s time to layer up for the hike. Pleasant now, but the afternoon promises to be warm and close.

Canteens of water, beach towel, swim suit. To the lake!

Cool mountain water zings the skin and wakes up the senses after that first daring plunge!

Warm, drowsy, pine scented air creates the perfect backdrop for napping on the old beach towel.

Memories of camping and outdoor adventures flit though the mind as I gently doze.

Sleepy and comfy.

Watching and listening to scurrying, rustling sounds in the reeds by the lake; family of ducks skimming the lake for water bugs, tiny frogs and dangling berry bushes.

Duck family leaves behind ripples that spiral outward toward the shore.

Heading back to fire up the grill; lovely night to bar b que and drink chilled white wine as the sun goes down, leaving a fiery trail on the horizon.

Sun has set; here come the marshmallows, grahams and chocolate bars.

The evening is still and pleasant; perfect for S’mores and stories.

Forest quieting; night falling.

AUTUMN

A chill in the morning air; sleepy sun pushes over the horizon; animals stirring.

Hot coffee with cream; warm oatmeal with brown sugar, golden butter and walnuts heads out to the deck with me.

Cheers, Autumn!

The chair is cool to the touch.

Warm hoodie and long yoga pants are just right for this crisp morning.

Warm, but less intense sun light filters down through the beginning to be bare branches, leaving a warm impression. Lovely.

The air has that certain and distinctive Fall scent to it of browning leaves, dusty earth, crisp air that isn’t quite ready to mellow into deep winter. The comforting scent of pine.

The creek water pushes on, but with a slower gurgle; a gentle flow. Animal tracks at the edges; areas that are flattened down from what remains of a creature bed.

There are resilient, strong, stubborn grasses and flowers that are not yet ready to relax; that persist and bring color to a waning meadow and forest.

Time to hike.

Hiking in Autumn demands layers.

The warmer meadow where the sun still reaches and pours warmth onto backs and shoulders; then deeper into the woods with that unmistakable chill of the forest; fresh and chill it demands a bit faster pace to keep comfortable.

That lovely, primal scent of pine.

Boots kick up a bit of dust; that leftover pliant earth from Spring.

The lake is restful; last vestiges of birds calling and making their Southward plans.

A bit too chilly for a dip in the calm water.

A calm and peaceful place to sit among fallen leaves and turning grasses and read, until the Autumn sun begins its descent.

Chipmunks and fluffy grey squirrels are chattering; roaming the branches and fallen leaves for those precious seeds and nuts that will be hidden away.

Scurrying and intent on seeking and finding provision.

Winter is coming.

The lit grill gives off welcome warmth; as aromas of grilling vegetables and juicy steaks fill the air around the cozy cabin. Potatoes are baking in the oven.

Red wine with dinner on the deck; sunlight fading; S’mores make their last appearance of the season.

A warm fire might be nice tonight.

Forest quieting; night falling.

WINTER

Blankets feel so warm in the cold morning; is it time to get up?

All is quiet outside the cabin. The watery sun seems to be struggling, too.

Rise and grab long, warm, heavy sweatpants and sweatshirt plus thick fuzzy socks.

First, hot coffee with cream; the mug sends warmth to already chilled hands.

Stoking up the fire again; warmth begins to infuse the chilly cabin.

Ah, Winter! You’ve arrived!

Second cup of steaming coffee accompanies me to the deck.

I have to smell the freezing, chill air; so brisk it takes the breath away.

There it is!  That crisp and lovely scent of pine. Refreshing!

Nowhere to sit with the coffee, since the chairs are covered in ice.

Brave birds cover the bird feeder and relish the seeds I’ve put there for them; fluffed feathers making them look like plump, roly poly little things.

More coffee, eggs, sausage and toast go with me to the little table by the window, as I watch the winter morning unfold.

Fire crackling well now; should last for a bit.

Donning hat, gloves, scarf, heavy jacket, boots; out I go to brave the cold and see the meadow and forest that winter has created.

No one is really out and about this morning.

Evidence of creature activity is all around, but those brave souls must already be back in warm, earthy dens; watching me from hollowed out logs or nests in tree branches; wondering at the sight of me.

Trudging on for a bit; breathing in the wintry, piney air; chilled nose, ears and chin; time to turn back.

The idea of a warm blanket, hot water with lemon, comfy slipper socks by the fire with my book is too strong of a call.

Shedding layers and climbing under the blanket, I relax and am swept away by the book.

Clouds have rolled in while I read. Brisk wind crept up and is rattling bare branches. Colder.

Dinner tonight will be hot bubbling soup and warm bread that I took a break from reading to prepare.

Back under the blanket, watching the fire, I hear the shushing sound of ticking snow on the deck.

Tomorrow morning will be white.

The forest is quiet; night has fallen on the cabin.

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Yearning

There it is again.  I feel it rising up from somewhere deep inside.  It is difficult to describe, but there it is all the same.  I want it to have a name.  Somehow that will make it seem safe and predictable, possibly even controllable.  However, it is anything but safe and predictable, most certainly not controllable.  It is pressure that builds and needs a release; a cry from the deep that can only be satisfied by an answering calm, a gentling of the urgency; a whispered word, saying “Peace, be still child; how very close I am to you.”  It is birthed in quiet moments of meditation and worship, where time ceases to exist and I know I have Your undivided attention.  It is a place where my voice, my love and the groaning of Your Spirit, mix and intertwine in the Heavenlies, bringing delight to Your heart; setting into motion things I could never comprehend.  It is so beautiful, yet not safe and certainly not predictable; uncontrollable.  This it comes surging up as I fall to my knees in awe of all that You are; knowing that the small bit I know of You is almost more than I can bear.  To know that there is more, that You are richer and more brilliant than my most vivid dreams frightens me, because that, too, is not safe, is not predictable and cannot be contained.  No, it is holy, a consuming fire, pure and wild; it’s more fierce and passionate than I can handle on my own.

At times, it swells up when my fingers finally release their death grip on what I knew all along I could never control or hold onto, yet almost died in the trying.  I hear it in the sound of chains falling and walls crumbling, as another stronghold tumbles to the ground; the scent of victory overcoming the stench of defeat. It comes as a wave, a pounding of the heart, as Your anointing falls when obedience calls and is answered with “Yes Lord, here I am.”  It is there when the howling loneliness calls out for filling, clawing in desperation until Your presence is given permission to enfold and permeate the void.  I sense it’s presence when joy unspeakable and peace that passes all understanding snaps like a banner in the wind, high above the circumstances and distractions of life, proclaiming that Jehovah Nissi is my covering and victory, shielding me with love.

As I wait in Your presence, I am beginning to understand what it is.  It is desire for You so indescribable it hurts, a needy emptiness that can only be filled by all that You are. It is the craving my spirit discerns can only be satisfied when I am forever in Your presence for all eternity. It is an obsession that keeps me hungry and thirsty for revelation and wisdom; for truth and a startling intimacy found only with You. No, it isn’t safe or predictable; it’s certainly not controllable, but I know it will be with me until I see You face to face. I am learning to love it, not fear it, to embrace the wildness and fierceness of it.  I will welcome it with open arms and tender heart.  Its name is yearning.

Mary, Did You Know? Pondering Treasures

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of my favorite people in the Bible. I aspire to have her spirit and her faith.  The way that she watches, listens and fully takes in the miracles she witnesses; the miraculous that becomes her life; the miraculous that collides with her humble and ordinary humanity and literally alters history and brings saving hope to mankind. As I imagine her feelings and thoughts; her wonder, fear and acceptance when the angel Gabriel appears to her and says, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” it captivates my soul and draws me deeper into her life, making me wonder what it must have been like to be her.

Did she wonder what Gabriel meant when he said she was highly favored? Did it terrify Mary that God looked upon her and trusted her, a virgin from a tiny town, to birth the Savior of the world? “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, who will be given the throne of his father David, who will reign over the house of Jacob forever,” (1) the One who’s kingdom will never end? How can this be? I’m sure this thought crossed her mind…yet, she believed that “…nothing is impossible with God.” (2) She received this honor from the Most High God and said “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” (3) I may not be asked to birth the Savior, but I am asked to seek Him, love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit. I may not be visited by an angel of the Most High God and given a commission that will alter the history of mankind, but I am asked to boldly and without fear tell my story of how He became my Savior, how heavens plans for me collided with my humanity and altered my history and forever changed me.  I want it to be said of me, as Elizabeth said of Mary, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (4)

I wonder what Mary’s thoughts were as she and Joseph set out on the long and wearying journey to Bethlehem. Did she worry about how they would actually get there with her being for far with child? Did Mary imagine and fret over the difficulty of it all and the enormity of what was set before her? Was she cold? Would they make it? Could they do this? Did Mary ever wish God had chosen someone else? Yet, they were obedient. They trusted God.  I’m sure the sound of Gabriel’s voice, his greeting and encouragement to her and the awe of the blessing bestowed upon her played over and over in her mind, as the God of all creation comforted her and reminded her that nothing is impossible.

As she wrapped her newborn son in cloths and gently placed Him in the manger, amidst the sounds of the animals settling in for the night, I imagine her listening to the rejoicing of heaven as the heavenly hosts praised God and sang of His glory and of the coming Peace and Hope of mankind. What was it like knowing that this was happening because of the birth of her first born son, the Son of the Most High? The very words of Gabriel coming to pass; prophecy fulfilled in her hearing; watching and listening as angels sang and rejoiced. This would be something to ponder in her deepest soul. Here would be what Mary treasured and stored up in her heart. I can see her smile and reflect on all that had been spoken to her and prophesied over her and her baby boy.

Did Mary feel wonder and awe? Was she afraid? Did her heart fill full of hope, joy, love and anticipation? I wonder if Mary sat that night and reflected in the quiet. Was she dreaming of the future? As she looked at Him, new, small and fragile, did her heart fill to the brim with love and expectation? Could she comprehend that this precious baby boy would be her deliverer? That her first born son would die for her sins? Could she understand that this baby boy was the hope of mankind? I wonder if her spirit discerned that this baby would cause her such joy and such deep sorrow.

Mary could not have foreseen all that her son, the Son of the Most High, would come to mean to me; an ordinary, imperfect, fairly normal and fanciful woman, 2000 years in the future. She couldn’t know all that I sit and ponder and store up in my heart about Him – what He has done, will do and is doing for me. How I know that He dances, rejoices and sings over me; how prophesy flows forth from His mouth as He calls me Daughter and speaks to all that is not, as though it was and it becomes what He pleases. All the small, little moments and miracles known only to my soul and my heart that I store up as my treasure; all the revelation, healing and protection He has showered on me – things that even my very soul and spirit cannot comprehend. It is all undeserved, but given with such a wildly, fiercely generous love. Mary, did you know?

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (5)

 

(1) Luke 1: 32-33 (2) Luke 1:37 (3) Luke 1:38 (4) Luke 1:45 (5) Luke 2:19 (NIV)

Faces of Peace

I am on a constant journey to find peace. It is something I crave on a soul deep, inner man deep, level. It is difficult to describe, but it is there and it is insistent.  I search for rest, because I am weary. It is not always the feeling of overwhelming exhaustion or the desperation of drowning kind of weariness, but sometimes it is. Life is showing me that peace has many different faces and it invades every situation. It can be quiet and unobserved, waiting to be noticed and when it is noticed, brings surprise and a deep sense of well-being. This happens in the wee hours of the morning, while rocking a tired, cranky baby; back and forth, back and forth, praying for rest and calm until suddenly you feel it – peace. It was there waiting, gently and softly. Rest. Peace. Joy. Love. All is well, you are safe and secure. Sheltered.

Peace is there on an ordinary day, when things are flowing smoothly and life is pleasant and people are kind. Peace was there before the day started off well, before everyone got up and got ready for work and school on time, before lunches were remembered and PE clothes were grabbed on the way out the door, before the house emptied and things were quiet. Peace was already there, waiting and present and real.

Peace is there in the absence of storms, just as real and alive and powerful, as it is in the midst of grueling trials and storms that seem to have no end. Peace is there, strong and powerful and full of compassion, when the Doctor opens the door to your room, takes a deep breath and says, “I’m so sorry. You have breast cancer.” It is there. Peace is what keeps you from losing yourself to terror when desperation blasts in and you feel like you are drowning and have no control. Peace is there in the middle of the fears of the “what-if’s” saying, “Yes! What if you are healed? What if you are well taken care of and deeply loved, what if you are never, ever alone in the midst of this, what if you are held in arms that are bigger than all your fears, what if you have shelter in the midst of all this hurt and chaos? What if? What if…

Peace reminds you that it was there before this storm hit and it will be there forever after. Peace lifts your face and asks you to fasten your gaze steadily into the eyes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. It is Jesus, peace is Jesus. Such calm, such safety, such lovely rest.

On this journey of mine, I have discovered time and again, that my searching and desire for peace leads directly to Jesus.  Every single time. I won’t find it inside myself, in my own strength. That will fall short every time. I know. I have tried over and over to be self-reliant and strong enough. The One who created me, when I was but a thought in His mind, the One who formed every single part of me, all my weaknesses and failings and all my strengths and gifts – He wants me to feel peace, to feel Him working out all things for good, according to that beautiful, unique plan that is my life. Your life. The time He took to carefully place us right where we are, surrounded by the people and circumstances that He brought into being, tells me that He knows what He is doing. He is the Master planner. He knows how it all ends. We win because He is victorious over death and sin. It is good. He’s got me, He’s got you. It is ok to not know what to do, if you know the One who does. It is ok to not have it figured out and planned and plotted. He already did that. It’s done. Can you and I walk this out? The not knowing? We can. We do it every day, don’t we? We wake up and just go. However, the going is so much easier when we understand and truly believe that He has us in His hands and that nothing, nothing at all, comes toward us, His children, that He has not first filtered through hands of love, a mind of infinite wisdom and a heart that loves us so intensely, intimately and fiercely, that He allowed His beloved Son to die for us, to take all this on for us, to forgive us and to become our Peace. This is a wild love. It is not tame and it is not controllable. Yet, in this fierce and protective love, we find the greatest of peace. Jesus.

Melissa Giomi, October 7, 2015

Isaiah 55:11 – A Word of Encouragement for those with children in our lives

Good morning friends! I want to share and pray over you these scriptures, whether you are a parent, grandparent or are blessed to have children in your lives in some way. I have a 17 year old daughter and an almost 13 year old son. I began this habit of praying God’s Word over my husband and I, to strengthen us and guide us to be the parents He wanted us to be and for us to be a good influence in the lives of our children and the children we are blessed and honored to know and love. I ask God daily to let this be a legacy we leave for our children; that their parents prayed God’s Word over them and over our family, anticipating great and amazing things from God.

Jeremiah 29:11 is such a beautiful promise, reminding us that He knows each one of us and the children in our lives and that He has good, good things in store for us; more than we could ever hope for or even imagine. He is the God of the miraculous and can turn around every hurt, poor choice and mistake into something that strengthens us and our children; beauty from ashes; sadness into singing; despair into joy and pain and abuse into a lovely legacy of hope. He is our hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) is one of my all time favorite verses. I pray it and say it out loud often during my day.

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

This is a promise from God that when His Word is spoken, when He sends it forth from His mouth, it WILL accomplish His will. This brings me such hope and encouragement. I hope you will sit with this verse and pray it over any and all situations happening in your life right now and the lives of those you love. His Word DOES accomplish His will, it will not return void.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Father God, I ask that Your Word will be fixed in our hearts and our minds. I pray that Your Word will sink deep into our souls, so that we know You intimately and are able to teach our children all about You. May we be examples of Christ’s love, sacrifice and character to the children in our lives that watch what we do and see us as role models. Give us many opportunities in our day to speak Your truth to the children in our lives and to lavish them with Your love. Give them teachable hearts and guide our words.

Psalm 78:4,6

“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders…So the next generation might know them – even the children not yet born – and they in turn will teach their own children.”

Father, I pray that You will put a passion and a strong desire in us to tell our children about Your power, love, might, strength and kindness so that they will grow up to tell their children and their children’s children. Remind us to share the miracles You have done in our lives and in their lives. Let us leave a godly legacy of trust, faith and hope in Jesus.

Proverbs 22:6

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Give us wisdom to train the children in our lives in the way they should go. Give us strength and patience and lots of love. Help us to hold their hearts gently as we speak Your truth and love and mercy into their lives. I pray that when our children are old, they will not turn from all that they have been taught, but will love You and follow hard after You, beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. May Your will be done in their lives.

Ephesians 6:4

“Fathers [Mothers], do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

I pray for discernment, self-control, wisdom and grace as we parent our children and teach those that we have influence over. May we bring our children up with loving discipline, wise instruction that comes from You and lots and lots of grace. May our home be one of kindness, safety, compassion, forgiveness and grace with wise and realistic expectations. May we be good examples of treating others with love and being the hands and feet of Jesus to all whom we come into contact with during our day. Let us show generosity, hospitality and understanding to those in our spheres each day. May we be good examples and may our actions speak louder than our words, as we seek to show the world how very much You love them.

Here is some  encouragement as you make your way each day from Galatians 6:9:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Peace, friends; God has You and those you love in the palm of His hands. He knows how this life will end and we have victory in and though Him!

 

 

 

Hidden in Silence

The storm is on the horizon. I see it coming, but from far away it doesn’t seem so violent. It doesn’t seem like something that really needs attention. Not a big deal. It was only a little side step off the path, just a tiny compromise, a quick detour. Surely this other, smoother way will lead to the same destination? I didn’t care for the rocky terrain up ahead or the steep ascent I’d be required to make further along. This approaching storm will blow over; it will pass to the left or the right of me; maybe bring a touch of rain, a bit of thunder; but manageable, definitely manageable.  I will ride it out like I always do. In fact, this will be fun, exciting, an adventure! Permission is given and Rebellion takes a deeper hold with a sibilant slither. It invites some friends to come with it.  This gives me a delicious feeling of strength and confidence.  I will manage. I’m in control.

The storm is here. It begins as a stiff breeze, bringing a noticeable change to the air around me. Pin prick feelings of edginess. “Silliness,” I say. “There’s nothing to get all worked up over. It will pass right by me.” Won’t it?

The storm is here. It does not pass me by. It does not veer off to the right or to the left. It comes straight to me. The stiff breeze turns to wind; a rising, howling, screeching wind. Pounding and scouring; it rages. The rains pelt, sting and bruise. Thunder deafens and lightening blinds. All my protective armor of misunderstood self-reliance is violently shorn away.  Rebellion is brought low. There is nothing left of my well insulated life that I padded with denial, supported with beams of pride and girded up with planks of lukewarm complacency. The storm takes my painstakingly fretted over structure and has swept it away. I suppose at the very back of my mind I always knew it would. But self-reliance is addicting. Rebellion masks itself as a unique strength of character, which ushers in Pride and Arrogance and an entitled sense of self-righteousness.  I feel the vulnerability of having nothing to cling to, of nakedness and unworthiness. I sit in deep silence. It is deafening. “What do I have left?” I softly cry.  You have removed all of it in one fell swoop. “Nothing left,” I think. This is just barren ruins of what used to be; of the things and accomplishments that I thought I had brought about and earned from all of my hard work for You.  Wasn’t I entitled to it? Silence.  “Where are You then?” I shout out.  Silence.  “Where were You when I made these poor choices? Why weren’t You shouting at me to stop, to change direction, to wait? Why were You silent? Haven’t You seen all I’ve been doing, all the hard work and tireless effort? All I have accomplished for You has worn me out. I am closed off, fearful and competitive. I feel like I will never be enough!”  Silence. “Do I even matter?”

“Yes.”

What was that? Was that a voice in the silence? My ears have become accustomed to hearing only my own voice and words that I want to hear; other voices that knew where the less traveled path would lead me and were deeply afraid I might choose it.  How hard they worked to seduce me with visions of recognition, accomplishment, and worth! How well they convinced me that I was doing it all for You. Self-reliance, Idolatry and Pride merrily hissed and whispered in my ears exactly what I wanted to hear, which effectively drowned out that one Voice I so desperately needed to hear. Yours.

In the silence of the storm’s aftermath, as Your whispered words reverberate in the stillness, I do remember the other path; the one from which I was so easily lured away.  It seemed less traveled, a little lonely even. There were definitely a few boulders and rocky terrain; a few very steep and narrow parts that looked daunting and difficult. It looked too hard and I was tired.  Surely the comfortable looking, wide path was good enough. Lovely trees, flowering bushes, gentle slopes.  Peaceful easiness that required little, but cost a lot. I see that now.  I close my eyes and I remember the little frisson of cold, creeping along my spine, as I turned away and headed along the wide, lovely path; the small Voice was quickly drowned out by singing birds and the sly smile of Rebellion. Idolatry and Arrogance beckoned and I hurried to them. Traveling along day after day, the calm routine of the well- traveled path began to numb the Voice into a breathy Whisper, barely noticeable, but still there. I knew it was there. I didn’t want it to be there. What a conundrum! I started out wanting to hear from You and seek You with all my heart, yet I didn’t want You here, on this easy, well-traveled path, filled with so many others who welcomed me and congratulated me and told me You were here, because  I knew this wasn’t where I would truly, honestly, completely find You. I was deceived and had no idea how to get back to you. Hopelessness told me it was too late; that You would be so very disappointed. Fear declared that it would be too hard to go back and that at least I was comfortable on this path. It was at least predictable.

“What now, Father?” I ask, “What now?” “Follow My voice,” You say. “I’m just over here, keep coming, keep walking, look straight ahead. You will know what to do.” I stand and look straight ahead. There is a small clearing just beyond the wreckage the storm produced. I have to clamber over strewn debris, broken idols, vestiges of what used to be and navigate some ruts and gouges in the ground, but I get to the clearing.  It is bright here. There is fresh air. Floating feathers; this is Holy ground. There is a pool that is deep, clear and lovely in the clearing, being fed by a bubbling stream. I walk to the edge of it. I see my reflection. I’m dismayed. I’m dirty.  I’m covered in debris and mud and my hair is tangled up with sticks and things I’ve collected along the way. The water looks so refreshing and inviting! Cool and pure.  Am I brave enough to step in? Am I willing to be cleansed? The stench of all I have believed and rejected, attempted and failed, attracted and repulsed is overwhelming. I want to live again, fully live, so I take the plunge and enter this pool of living water. As I go deeper in, I sense such peace. Here is undeserved mercy. Here is deep love and compassion. Here is being fully known. There is healing happening here; rejuvenation, rebirth, new life.  The striving, searching, desperation and fear are being washed away. Their voices are fading to nothing. I hear Your voice now.  I hear singing and prophesy. I hear joy and acceptance. You tell me I am enough.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

A Silent Night

The cabin is cozy; a quiet room with gently snoring dogs on soft beds.

A warm blanket with a purring cat.

The fire glows brightly; dancing colors mesmerize and hypnotize.

A favorite comfy chair; dog eared book on the table.

All is warm and pleasant.

Steaming cup of tea warms the body and soul.

Tree lights softly wink in the branches. Magical. Enchanting.

Wandering mind recalls vivid scenes of Christmases past;

pine-scented memories of the perfect tree; lights and cherished ornaments sparkle;

mugs of creamy cocoa; floating marshmallows.

The homey smells of holiday baking and coffee.

Christmas carols on the record player.

Memories of laughter, anticipation; such hope on Christmas Eve… Light of the world; blessed hope; holy and sacred.

Cat stirs and stretches, fire pops and crackles busily.

Peaceful evening flows on, past and present thoughts mix and blend; drowsy.

The distinctive sound of falling snow on this silent night.