Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Here. . . is worship

Newly turned earth under my green running shoes crumbles away from my steps and I wonder why in the shadow of the house I thought to go back for a scarf. Unlayering, I pause for my tremoloing heart to slow.

Fresh air carries sunlight into my lungs and I grin back at the mountain behind me, and then turn to the half a mountain yet to climb. The new trail blends into an old switchback. I've walked this one once before a long time ago when Alice and I meandered long about life, love, and God.

My feet climb steady again. And I smile, remembering children feet flying along bluffs and fields and the blue of mountain ridges framing their world. An echo of the same color in the mountains that surround these hills. Sun fills my eyes as I top the trail breathless.

Sheer beauty flung as far as my eyes can see. The hearty wind dries my joy tears before they can spill far and tosses the crows higher into the updraft from the valley floor. They soar and dive and chase each other into the sun. Laughter spins me too - to be here again! On this trail my heart knew so well. To breathe in this 360 view once more - to be alive!

I try to memorize it all over again with my eyes. From rock to rock I travel along this bridge between worlds until I find a perfect granite perch in the sun. Folding up, face into the wind, I drink long and silent.

Emptying myself of words.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

Last week I read the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. An exquisitely written journey of learning gratitude in ordinary, mundane, and even in the hard places that fill our earth days.

In response to pondering these insights, I have been writing a list of 1,000 blessings to enhance my awareness of His love. It has been delightful! There is a joy in acknowledging the beauty around me that I often rush past, and writing them down is a way to say Thank-you! I am surrounded by the symphony of His love - expressed in these - and so much more!

Here is a sampling from my journal:

1 Morning Sunlight on my face
5 That my cancer is only stage III
7 Sky puddles spring blue
9 Pussy-willow velvet
10 A new palm frond opening
14 A hemoglobin of 13
15 Wearing wool warmth
16 Chickadees wiping their beaks
17 Last years leaves underfoot
28 Breathing
30 Early stillness
37 Spring taste in snow peas
46 Jennie's cooking
49 Strength to clean up supper
50 Breath to climb the hill
55 New fallen snow
57 Sore legs, muscles building
58 Luscious raspberries
59 Snow dust dancing
63 White tissue paper and raffia
70 Christy hugs
72 Planning surprises under the sink
75 Sabbath
76 Balsam Wreath Candle
83 Violin cello medley
85 Guitar songs by Timothy
86 Wooden frog calls
87 Ivan's humor
88 Daddy's laughter
92 Friends filling the house
96 Close harmony
97 Nana's prayers
100 Joel's visit
101 Sudanese children singing praises
108 Wind in my hair
109 Squirrels tumbling through leaves
111 Mrs. Eller's faith
115 Cardinal's sunrise song
117 Prismed light on cupboards
120 Eyes to breath in wonder
124 Roses from Daddy
124 Picnicking along the Tennessee River
128 Windy Ridge-tops
131 Megan's voice like island sunshine
134 Rest for the journey
135 Kelsey's gift of beautiful music
138 Elgar Enigma variations - Nimrod
137 Hayden string quartet in C, Op. 76
139 Cards from cousin Zeb's 5th grade class
140 Laughing so hard I cried
141 Her rendition of the 23rd Psalm
143 Rutter's choral compositions
145 Nathan hugs
146 Dramatic exclamations by Christy
147 Parrot feet on my neck
150 One more walk with Christy Joy
153 For the color purple

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All the way...

Hymn # 516 has been, arguably, my favorite hymn for quite some time. It has become a life anthem. Written by a little blind lady who knew what it meant to be led. To trust and thank the hand that leads. She had knew that trusting gratitude births joy. And joy ushers one into the presence of God. The place I am called to live - content.

Yesterday this music was given to me again from a kindred heart far away:

All the way my Savior leads me, what have I to ask besides?
Can I doubt His tender mercy who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell;
For I know whatever befalls me, Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living bread;
Though my weary steps my falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the rock before me, Lo, a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me; O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised in my Fathers house above;
When I wake to life immortal, wing my flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages Jesus led me all the way.

This my song through endless ages - Jesus led me all the way!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The blessing of cancer.

1. Cancer unites people.

The dark uncertainty of the disease summons the best out of humanity. And this beauty in a hard place is a God gift that brings healing on levels perhaps not possible without the pain. The restoration of hearts is a miracle of greater value then physical soundness.

My family has already grown stronger through these past weeks and I know that God will continue to bring good things in His time.

2. Cancer slows everything down. On an ordinary day life's precious moments flit past to fast anyway. Moments taken for granted are less, unnoticed and often missed altogether.

Cancer is helping me to be awake.

Alive. Alert.

And grateful for each moment.

This week I'm grateful for the following:

My family. Each one a treasure in my heart.

For the still moments when I lay stretched in the sunshine across the end of my bed and watch the wrens enjoying the suet block outside my bedroom window. Puffed in downy fluff, their cocky tails flicking as they chirp their approval at the treat.

Energy to sit through my little brothers basketball game. Enjoying the high energy speed of the game and the swish of my brothers' .

Heart to heart talks with dear friends. Our words that connect and bridge and grow our lives.

Sitting curled up on the couch opening stacks of mail from everyone I've ever known and half of those I don't. Seriously, I never knew it was possible for one person to get so much mail. It's like receiving .hugs from around the world

For the bouquet of sunshine flowers on the table.

Friends who cook me gourmet delicacies to tempt my appetite. Chocolate covered cherries anyone?

My incredible housemates who take care of everything!

Jennie, who can buy the perfect size pants for me on the first try without me being there to try them on! It's nice to have clothes to wear that don't fall off or feel like pajamas because their so big.

The resident parrot who comes and holds my finger with his little foot to keep me company.

And for my God. Who carries me each day on His strong shoulders and fills my heart with joy.