In the Margins {Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas}

christmas treeHere in Virginia, it’s a beautiful sunny December morning!  Light is streaming in the windows and the air is cold and crisp.  It’s a *second-cup-of-coffee-by-the-Christmas tree* kind of day and I’m finally stuffing stockings and planning menus while my favorite holiday playlist is on repeat.  It really is all about the little things.  Simple goodness.

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In Quotes

“Till ringing, singing on its way,

the world revolved from night to day;

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

of peace on earth good-will to men.”

{Henry Wadsworth Longfellow}


church bells

There’s something truly wonderful about the sound of belfry bells ringing!  As a child, our house was just a few blocks from a beautiful old church whose steeple was home to three massive bells.  Every Sunday morning they would peal their reverent and joyful invitation as if to say “O come, let us adore Him!”.   Even today, that familiar sound brings back a rush of memories for me.  Without words they proclaim that all is well;  their music warms us on the inside while it blankets everything on the outside with a deep sense of comfort and calm anticipation.  Much as the angels’ burst of song to a hillside of shepherds stirred a slumbering, waiting world, the ringing of bells this time of year awakens in us the hope we possess knowing His birth was a promise fulfilled — it calls our hearts to worship.  Indeed, a new day has dawned! Continue reading

In Quotes

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

G.K. Chesterton


leaves-autumn-fall-hands-nature-royalty-free-thumbnail

Hello again, friends!  How have you been?  I’ve been praying for you — that, regardless of where your journey has taken you this week, His presence has been made more real and more abundant than anything else in your life.  Let’s keep abiding.

Today I’m stopping by briefly to share this wonderful quote with you!  Here in my corner of the globe, we’re entering a time of year when thoughts turn toward the simple act of giving thanks.  Of all the things we put on our calendar to mark with intent, this might be one of the best.

Chesterton often wrote about the power of thankfulness and here he gets to the heart of what gratitude really is by way of this lovely little word — wonder.  Do you remember the last time you were uplifted by wonderment?  The bright though brief days of childhood seem to hold the lion’s share of it for most of us.  Truly, I understand — realities of adulting can often numb us to simple mercies that fill our lives.  In a post from this past summer, I wrote that I want to daily be more gratefully aware of all the wonderful that surrounds me and flows from His loving kindness.  Even as I keep the long view of life in mind, it’s about taking notice of each small and good gift that graces our journey, noting the sacred in the midst of the secular, and allowing common simple goodness to foster as much delight as the exceptional.  Pausing to give thanks and pray.  To engage all of my senses as I see the beauty of each new day blooming alongside the thorns.  Because when happiness is humbly enjoyed with a profound sense of wonderment, it’s enlarged and leads to a profound sense of gratitude.

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In the Margins {Just As We Are}

pearl in clam

Of all the invitations we might send or receive, there’s one that can’t be beat.  Four little words strung together like beautiful pearls  — “Come as you are”.  And just like pearls formed around something as seemingly unremarkable as a grain of sand, He always invites us to come as we are, but never leaves us the way we are.  At the heart of it all is the miracle of transformation and restoration.  Yes, this is for you and me; with our questions and doubts, rough edges and brokenness, but made in His image, created for so much more.   Full of grace, these simple words let us know there’s a special place with our name at the table.  We are welcome here.

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In Quotes

“How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their later days!”

{John Burroughs}


fall tree 1

I found this quote at the back of a magazine last week as I waited in the doctor’s office on a gorgeous autumn morning.   Among others sitting in the room with me were several elderly people and, looking around at their faces, I thought about how each of them had a name and a story all their own.  They’ve celebrated many birthdays and no doubt earned every wrinkle around their eyes and each gray hair on their head.   They’ve seen countless sunrises and an equal number of sunsets; known ups and downs, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, companionship and loneliness.   And I found myself hoping this quote described them too.

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In Quotes

“A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

{Old English Proverb}

 


ship in storm3

Is there anything in nature quite like the ocean to remind us of how small, how assailable we are?  I have very mixed emotions about the vastness of it all.  I don’t know how to swim.  So, a day by the sea usually involves sitting contentedly under an umbrella with a book in hand; soaking up the sound of rhythmic waves; the smell of salty air; and the panoramic view as banded shades of white, green, blue, and gray appear stacked on top of each other as far as the eye can see.   A walk on the beach in the surf’s ruffled edge;  collecting little treasures of driftwood, sea glass, and shells is pure relaxation.  How easy to lose track of time, lulled to sleep as the sun warms my face and seagulls call overhead. What’s not to love?

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In Quotes

“Prayer is not only asking, it is an attitude of heart that produces an atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural.”

{Oswald Chambers}


 

path to horizon

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and just had to pass it along to y’all.  Everything about these words resonated with me.  Honestly, when I read it, it made me smile and my heart glad.

There are many wonderful books on all the facets of prayer (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, etc.), and most of the books on our recommended reading list touch on these in varying degrees.  But for this post, I want to share a couple of things I’m learning to help simplify a topic that often becomes unnecessarily complicated.  It all comes back to relationship.

Turning to Him with the faith of a child;  dependent, expectant, and submissive.

Trusting that in His goodness and grace we are free to boldly ask for things only He can do and provide.

Not hesitating to show Him the parts of our heart we’re reluctant to share with anyone else.  He sees and knows it all anyway,  so why not rely upon Him to change and mold us according to His good pleasure.

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