Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Uncluttered Spaces

We need "uncluttered time and space 
in which we can distance ourselves 
from our own activities 
enough to see what God is doing."
Eugene Peterson

Keeping the rhythm of 
work and rest within 
God's time is necessary, 
faithful and wise.
I hear the disclaimer over and over 
among our harried lives--
too busy, too much, too little margin.
We need to remember that God will STILL 
work in the margins of our lives.
He prefers first fruits, and lifted offerings.
But, He still delights when His children
 come as beggars 
with little to offer and sit by the wayside.
His powerful presence will take
 our meager offerings 
and turn them into banquets that feed our soul.
How blessed that we have a heavenly Father,
who meets us right where we are-
strung out and strung along.
He takes frazzled, piece-meal connections
and still works Miracles.
And maybe from that point of view-
we can SEE what He is doing.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Visual Faith- Charleston, West Virginia

We gathered on Saturday- October 14, 2017 
at St. Timothy Lutheran Church 
in Charleston, West Virginia
for a Visual Faith event.
It was great to have a non-gendered 
and intergenerational event.
Visual Faith coaches 
Kathryn Stanis and Wendy Hardy
 came from the Pittsburgh area
 to bring encouragement for "starting out" 
and what has worked for them 
to begin a Visual Faith ministry.
Participants were from a variety of area churches.
What a blessing to be together.
Lots of show and tell to share.
The mother -daughter team of 
Connie Denninger and Sara Wilson
 brought stories of encouragement 
for Visual Faith practices.
Pages from the Bible 
of artist Daphne Boder.
Visual Faith coaches - 
Daphne Boder and Pamm Moore-Haley
 and Jan Northcutt
were instrumental in bringing 
the details of the day together.
Michelle Fowler was the chef extraordinaire.

Faith Art Canvas shared by
mixed-media artist
Candice Mullins.

Pages journaled in a "regular" Bible by 
practitioner- Bobi Bryant.
I will continue to pray over this faith community.
It is always a blessing 
to see what the Lord does in the Kingdom
 from these Visual Faith gatherings.
We already know that He
 is about the Next Thing for participants 
that were gathered in this place-
 for such a Time as this!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Increase Our Faith

 Bible Marginalia Series- #266

Luke 17
This section of Scripture highlights 
one of the challenges for me as 
I have been doing Bible Journaling practices.
There is so much HERE.
Temptation to sin reminders, 
and forgiving our brothers and sisters.
The Apostles ask Jesus to "Increase our faith," 
and then there is the mustard seed reminder.
The unworthy servant and our duty.
The Cleansing of the ten lepers--
and then Jesus says-
"Rise and go your way;
your faith has made you well."
And the coming of the Kingdom-
"behold- the kingdom of God 
is in the midst of you."
These are some of my well-remembered
 phrases in the New Testament.
Bible Journaling has helped me to SEE
 that sometimes they are all on 
ONE page of the Bible.
Though this makes it difficult to pick out 
what might be highlighted in the margin,
each time I come back to this page over and over-
it is so RICH in WORDS and IMAGES.
And since I don't do much actual drawing-
it is the image of the flower napkin 
in the background that makes 
these words jump off the page.
From right here- to my heart- as prayer.

Thank you, LORD, 
for making your WORD so full of meaning-
every time I linger in it. Amen.


Napkin- one layer
Tai-Art Clear Gesso
Alpha stickers
Colored pencils 
Fine-point non-bleeding Sharpie

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Sing the Lord's Song!

Bible Marginalia Series- #265

Psalm 137: 4

I have been thinking of this verse
 for a few weeks now-
 How shall we sing the Lord's Song?
Somehow in the aftermath 
of the shootings in Las Vegas- 
this thought comes front and center.
In a world full of disaster and hurting people,
where discouragement reigns supreme,
 hope slips away between 
the crevices of our days.
How do we respond 
as followers of Jesus?
We sing His GOODNESS.
We tell of His MERCY and GRACE.
Nothing that comes from us 
can begin to bridge these deep soul losses.
It must begin with our God, 
for He ALWAYS reaches for us first.
And in these days of grieving
 for so many and so much-
we certainly still have a song to sing.
We sing the LORD'S Song.

Napkin- (single layer)
Tri Art Clear Gesso
Acrylic paint
Assorted Alpha letters
Colored pencils

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Gifted To Influence- Leadership Conference

Had an opportunity 
to attend this conference
 this year as a presenter and exhibitor
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We were able to share the story of
 Visual Faith Ministry
 and launch the new website.

With Co-Founder-
 Patricia Maier- at our exhibitor's table.
Show and Tell for ideas 
for visual faith practices.

Our new logo for Visual Faith Ministry.

WLI Director - Darcy Paape
opening with "story" at the Honors Dinner.
I shared conversation and presented 
with the topic of Deploying Digital Missionaries.

Pat shared the vision for Visual Faith practices.
A bite for lunch downtown Milwaukee.
Some evening fun with comedian-
 Leslie Norris Townsend
And THIS foursome-
Patricia Maier, Wendysue Fluegge, 
 Deb Burma and myself
 will be leading an 
Extravagant Love 
Caribbean Cruise - 
February 9-14, 2019 with EO TRAVELS
Mark your calendars now!!!
Never ceases to amaze me
 about what the Lord is up to!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Visual Faith Ministry

Visual Faith Ministry website launched today.
That is what the Overcoming Obstacles series
 has been talking about in my world lately.

A ton of hours has gone into this endeavor and we
are so thankful for our Webmaster- Diane Marra, 
who has made all of this come together.

We still are in format stage 
as we find the best way 
to bring resources to those in the 
Visual Faith Communities that we support.

Here is the website link:

Check us out- 
find a free resource to download and share.

We thank the Lord for His rich blessing.

Connie Denninger and Patricia Maier

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- SEVEN- Worthiness

Overcoming Obstacles- SEVEN- Worthiness

There are days when everyone else seems to 
"have it going on"
except me.
Just plugging along- day in and day out.
 Things don't seem too different.
Dreams, goals and projects?
Why should things succeed for me?
Do I have enough education, 
knowledge, skill,
or experience?
There will always be many more
 with higher qualifications.
Seems like I can talk myself out
 of it before even starting.
Think it will just take experience and practice.
Knuckle down and get going.
Think Nike has had it right for a long time.
Just gonna sit right down 
and have a bit of "worthiness" talk with myself.
Coz- you remember where that starts from- right?
Our worthiness comes from the relationship
 with the ONE who makes us worthy.
 Not from anything we do or achieve, 
 plan and execute.
Our worthiness is pure gift.
For that we simply give HIM honor 
and follow His lead.

Bible centering:

And now, my daughter, do not fear. 
I will do for you all that you ask, 
for all my fellow townsmen know
 that you are a worthy woman.
Ruth 3:11

Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy 
of honor among God’s people. 
Help her in whatever she needs, 
for she has been helpful to many, 
and especially to me.
Romans 16:2

Thanks to Pat Rigsby for his article in Fit-Pro Summer 2017 
for the inspiration for this series.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- SIX- More Research

Read another HOW TO- Book.
Google something else on the internet.
Ask many more questions.
Read ONE MORE blog.
Set up another conference call 
about best practices.
You get it, right?
Find another excuse and reason-
that allows you significant 
Yes, research is good 
and the bottom line
  about using the internet
 for whatever you are figuring out how to do- 
is that as soon as your read ALL
 the content on your subject area- 
well, more just hit the cloud. 

So there you have it....
When do you know enough to get started?
 What if there is a walloping big mistake 
that ends up blocking your plan 
because that was the one thing 
you never read up on?
Well. deal with it.
Move on. 
Get going.
Back when I finished up my Master's Work
 a couple of years ago, I had read SO MANY books
 about Christian Spiritual Formation for Women 
that I became frozen. 
I could not process, 
synthesize and start writing.
Any excuse to READ MORE  
allowed me to NOT DO 
the very thing I was tasked to do- WRITE.
 I am sure you have used this same method
 in your own life when there was a new endeavor
 looming on your horizon.

Well, maybe it is time to get going.
Write, publish, create,
craft, do, start or MAKE.
Then you will have added more 
material for the next person to read about-
because you have also learned something 
to share along the way.

Bible Verse Centering:

Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance.
Proverbs 1:5

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
Proverbs 9:9

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- FIVE- Perfection

Got to get it right.
The first time.
What about on the tenth time?  
What about Never?
Does it even make sense
 to seek perfection?
How long does it take till "all of our ducks"
 are in a row?
What to do when something derails the plan?
OK, lots of questions.
Somehow we get it into our head
 that we need to know all the answers.
Before we start...
Perfection and the beginning of ANYTHING
 just don't go hand in hand.
New starts simply means a move from inertia.
There is the unexpected, 
the technology or scheduling glitches.
There is the failure of people to meet deadlines,
and they didn't understand your timeline.
Sometimes it is simply the best to extend
 your best effort-
with what you know and understand-
in the beginning.
You've got a starting point...
and the outline begins to form
 for stage 2 and plan B.
Sometimes we can only make improvements 
when we lay it all out on the line.
It also helps to remember that perfection
 is our Heavenly state.
That goal here on earth?
 We are just trying to be God.

Bible verse centering:

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
 that by testing you may discern 
what is the will of God, 
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

                          Out of Zion, the          
                           perfection of beauty,
                            God shines forth.
                          Psalm 50: 2


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- FOUR- Comparison

Yes- The measuring stick.
There will always be those who are faster,
 better skilled,
gifted for crafting framework around ideas, 
more innovative,
widely recognized for their contributions...
the list goes on and on.
So it makes it easy to give up along the way...
even if we did manage to get started.
Sometimes it IS necessary to put 
"blinders on."
Asking questions to check on 
JUST our own growth.
Have we ourselves moved- forward?
Are we following our own calling?
Do we see our work as God-given vocation?
Do we understand that we need to seek
 the approval of ONLY our heavenly Father?

Seeking the approval of only the ONE?
How this is gift!
Especially when we focus on work
 of eternal consequence.

Bible verse meditations:

For what was glorious has no glory now
 in comparison with the surpassing glory. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 3:10

For this light momentary affliction
 is preparing
 for us an eternal weight of glory
 beyond all comparison, 
as we look to the things that are seen
 but to the things that are unseen. 
For the things that are seen are transient, 
but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)

For am I now seeking the approval
 of man, or of God? 
Or am I trying to please man? 
If I were still trying to please man,
 I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV)