When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I’ll shout with the millions on high.
Franny Crosby was the most prolific hymn writer in history. She was also blind since her infancy. Her perspective on her disability in her own words was, "It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me." It seems her troubles drove her to the cleft of the rock, the secret place of God's presence, where she saw, not with her physical eyes but with the eyes of her spirit, "rivers of pleasure". It was there that she fell in love with the Lover of her soul, for she also said, "when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior"
I've too often resisted the very things that drive me closer to the heart of God. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, May 29th, atWoman to Woman Ministrieswhere each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)
Give me a movie or television show featuring a lovely home and I will somehow keep up with the movie plot while scanning the background to observe the decor details. I've also been known to zoom in on blog or instagram photos to see more closely the items people use in shelf decor or vignettes. Demijohns, the bottles used to hold wine or olive oil, (often encased in wicker), are items I see used in decor frequently. So I went hunting for some.
They can be pricey! I was happy to find my two vintage ones, the one on the left and the one in the middle, inexpensively at local antique stores. Both had wicker on them, but I prefer them without, so I took it off. The bottle on the right is a newer bottle, not vintage, but it was the right color and shape and perfect to make a grouping of three.
I gathered the group of demijohns together on an old french bread cooling tray that I had hanging on the wall in our former home. In our new to us house, I haven't found the perfect spot to hang it, but am pleased with how it looks here on the dining room table. A cotton stem purchased at a local antique store and my vintage scale topped with a succulent plant in a clay pot complete my demijohn vignette.
The world is desperate for some joy, for a reason for laughter. The media bombards us with bad news and backbiting. Then there are the pressures of normal life. Too often we push through our day weary and worn and bruised from the bumps that this life gives. I think that's why Chewbacca Mom is a world wide sensation. We all need the good medicine of a genuine belly laugh.
For a few weeks now, I've been feeling the weariness, the heaviness. Like Chewbacca Mom, I've found it's the little things, the simple joys, that are like an energy drink for the soul. Here are some of the recent simple joys that have bolstered my spirits.
Going on a brisk walk and having a gut level honest talk with Jesus about what's weighing on my mind.
Sharing a big bowl of popcorn and an icy cold diet coke with my husband, propped up in our bed and watching a favorite movie together.
A spur of the minute invitation on an ordinary Tuesday evening to hang out with a friend, and realizing that laughing with a girlfriend was exactly what I needed.
Lighting a candle on a gray, rainy Saturday morning to make the house seem cozy and baking a rich chocolate cake, then having a houseful of people over on Sunday afternoon to eat it.
Spending time with the grandkids. (And wondering why, oh why our just turned two year old grandson who has known how to say Papa and Nana since he was one now refuses to say either of those words and refers to BOTH OF US, much to Papa's dismay, as "Nonnie".)
Going to morning exercise class at the church, my friend and myself being the only two "women of a mature age" that attend the class, and being able to laugh at ourselves when we can't quite keep up with the moves.
Texts with a friend who understands.
A phone call with a friend who I haven't talked to in too long.
Watching the wild bunnies in our yard nibble on the dandelion weeds that have sprung up in our flowerbeds.
Talking on the phone with my big brother.
Watching two western scrub jays, (I think that's what they are), that live in the spruce in our backyard and like to perch on top of our arbor.
Group texts from our daughters that can go on and on with photos and funny comments.
Worship music playing in our home.
Comforting a friend who is mourning, and realizing that there is joy in bearing another's burdens.
Suddenly thinking about several silly songs that I learned from my usually no nonsense, very practical Mama. ("Jeepers Creepers Where'd You Get Those Peepers", "Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy", "Everybody Loves A Baby That's Why I'm In Love with You" to name a few).
Maybe we can all learn a lesson from Chewbacca Mom. When life gets you down, look for the simple joys, and if you can't find any, do what she did and make your own.
In the area of our neighborhood where I go on my walk/run, there is a neglected house on an equally neglected lot. Overgrowing onto the sidewalk is a holly tree, which I foraged from at Christmastime. There is also a rose bush, overgrown and all abloom with pink blossoms. Then there is a little clump of these purple flowers. I don't know if it's a survivor from a long ago flowerbed or a wildflower. I pinched a small bloom off just for the sake of capturing it's simple beauty.
"I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.” Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
This world really is wounded and sin broken. Gratitude to the Creator is impossible for those who deny, reject and fight His existence. It's we who know Him and believe, who see this world as His creation, who recognize His good gifts and praise Him even when life is hard, that are speaking life into our world when we speak our thanksgiving and praise to the One Who made it all. This is one way we bring light to the darkness.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)
-healing that comes, layer upon layer
-hot chai milk with sweetener and a splash of milk
-going grocery shopping and recognizing all of the abundance we enjoy
-God's help to get things done, in spite of weariness
-my granddaughter's note to me- "the rose is red, the sky is blue, oh how I love you"
-planting some herbs together
-a nice day to go to the park after "Nana school"
-praying over a friend's new home
-being able to talk to Jesus about anything and everything
-a beautiful day to sit my the river for devotions
-my husband meeting me for a walk
-dinner by the river
-our secondborn's birthday
-time with my youngest grandson
(Someone was not getting his way at the restaurant. I love that pouty face!)
-dinner out and spending time with the birthday girl and family
-a Friday day off day of resting
-a delicious lunch together
-reading, watching movies, napping
-a gray rainy day, a perfect day for baking a yummy cake for a church function
-cleaning and doing laundry while listening to worship music
-going to a fun baby gender reveal party-it's a girl!
-texting my long time friend
-ending a full day with quiet time, Bible reading, writing