Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Walking Stick Reassurance

Just finished reading Eugene Peterson's- 
 Run with the Horses.
It has challenged me to read
 the book of Jeremiah.
In the first Chapter, Jeremiah, 
the prophet to the nations, 
learns that before he was formed in the womb,
the Lord knew him, 
and before he was born,
he was sanctified- set apart. (v. 5)
 When he was concerned 
about his young age,
the Lord said:
I'll send you, tell you what to say, 
be with you, and deliver you-
do not fear. (v.7-8)
Jeremiah gets some details about his job-
and learns that he will bring news
 of judgment tempered with grace and hope.
Then comes the part 
Then the Lord asks Jeremiah what he SEES?
A branch of an almond tree, 
perhaps a rod.
(going with a stick in this play on words)
The Lord says- You see well, good eyes.
For I am watching, wakeful and ready,
to perform my WORD,
and bring it to pass. (v.11-12)
The almond tree is the first tree
 to bloom in the spring, to come awake.
An almond branch becomes 
a reminder that the Lord is STICKING 
with us, to make sure His Word STICKS
it out to the end.
His Word will come true.
Jeremiah plays here with 
the similar Hebrew words:
shaqed -almond
Last year when we visited 
Bethel Lutheran Church in Claremont, NC.
both John and I were given walking sticks.
Mine is the short one 
and the one on the left was given to John.
When the older gentleman who made them
 saw how tall John is,
 he decided he needed a taller walking stick.
A few weeks later John 
received the one on the right.
Our terrain is fairly flat 
and we don't use the sticks much for walking.
But, I store the sticks right outside
 the door we leave from each morning.
Almond wood or not,
 I believe they will now serve as
visual reminders.
The Lord is sticking with me,
and He is watching to make sure all His Words 
come true.
A pretty awesome way 
to start the endeavors of each and every day. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Lead Me Gentle Savior

Lead Me Gentle Savior
In the paths of righteousness,
 Lead me gentle Savior
Away from all worldliness,
Let me cast my gaze,
Toward the eternal days.
Lead me gentle Savior,
In the way saints have trod,
Lead me gentle Savior,
Ever closer to my God,
Each day a little nearer still,
 My heavenly home, Thy precious will.
Lead me gentle Savior,
Through the storm that rages near,
Lead me gentle Savior,
With thy hand I need not fear,
Tho the waves would swallow me,
 Like Peter, I will cling to Thee.
Help me gentle Savior,
To bring other souls to Thee,
 Help them gentle Savior,
That thy glory they may see,
Then Thy holy grace may flow,
As nourishment to help them grow.
Teach me gentle Savior,
To thirst for nothing but Thy love,
Lead me gentle Savior,
To Thy mansions up above,
There to ever live with Thee,
My gentle Savior, then I'll see.
Griffin and Laura 
and a visit to the University of Michigan-
 Matthaei Botanical Gardens-
Ann Arbor, Michigan 

This poem written by 
Katherine Elizabeth Graft-
my mother-
as a prayer for her children,
and grandchildren.
Now shared with all of 
her great-grandchildren.
Jack with Sophie

And Mr Levi.

May the Lord continue to gently lead-
all the legacy gifts of
Erv and Kay.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Five Year Anniversary

Sometimes starting something new
 is like heading down a new path,
and not REALLY knowing
 just what lies ahead.
This week I was able to hang out
 and have dinner 
with my dear friend, Pat.
We were talking about blogging.
I doggedly always bug her about starting one.
She graciously doesn't lock me in a closet.
I won't stop pestering.
Because she has a gift to be shared-
one of hope and encouragement
for me and many others on the journey.
Of what it's like to live 
when it isn't just blue skies
 and fluffy white clouds overhead,
 and the storm gathers on the horizon.
And life doesn't line up in a perfect row
 and shimmer in the sunlight.
But you CAN be the one who 
grabs hold of daily signs of promise-
that this isn't the end game,
but only a bitty glimpse of the 
real THING.
And cling to TRUST so
enthralling that it lights up the 
edges of your world and all around you.
So, in this space I 
for 5 years this week of 
telling the stories of His Faithfulness.
For 785 blog posts that bear witness to 
what He has done. 
For the gifts of wonder and imagination
that fuel my days, 
with a side of quirky and unexpected JOY.
So, with unfailing determination-
 of constantly be Constance,
I will continue to seek to lift up
 the voices of my female friends. 
So, that they may SEE the road ahead,
to tell the STORY
and bring light to those 
traveling along the way.
Is it time for YOU
to start a blog? 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bible Journaling- Psalm 27

Gathering some resources here.
A variety of approaches for time
in His Word.
Psalm 27- Sketch Notes
in a blank journal
 To divide up the space I made a border 
and then highlighted the verse
 I was seeing as MY focus 
for this time in God's Word.
More borders and doodles.
Much of the "notes" for this are from
The Message.
 Also spending time in the Inspire Bible.
In this Bible the design
 is already preprinted-like on the left side
 here in the margin.
This time I also added the words on the right-
The ONE thing.
Here is Bible Journaling from Oct 2014.
Actually sermon notes, 
with highlighted sections.

What I love about the resources
 available now for Bible Study
 and prayer time in God's Word
 is that there are so many
approaches and resources.
So many doorways in......

Sally Beck is a talented artiest
 that has been working with
 Visual Faith images
 over a long career. 
She was an illustrator 
for Creative Communications.
She shares her images for others to use.
They are available here with a
 Psalm 27 devotion by Natalie Hartwig.
DC Metro Bible Journaling- Files

Here is a sample of the Banner Design book 
from Sally Beck.
The simple designs for banners - 
without a lot of frou frou details
 make wonderful inspiration for Bible margins.
Though this book was published 18 years ago-
 it has wonderful help for anyone
 creating with Visual Faith.
Banners-Favorite-Bible-Verses-Sally Beck

Maybe there is something calling you
 to use Visual Faith tools 
for Prayer and time in God's Word.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back Home in Indiana

I always love when I can
 get home to check the crops on the farm.
We were home in July and drove by our land.
This year there is corn on the forty.
And a "crop" of Queen Anne's Lace
 in the ditch in front.
Think we would have enough
 for a cash crop.
Too bad this stuff makes my husband
 go into a sneezing fit 
or I would have a house filled
 with them in the summer.
Wheat is off on the field by the barn. 
Out buildings are looking a bit rough.
Dad always kept paint on.
That barn was built during the Civil War.
Expansive Indiana farmland.
Beans on the sixty this year.
Enough rain.
Good sun.
Thank you, Lord.

"Give thanks to the Lord, 
for he is good;
his love endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34

And as we leave we wave a goodbye-
knowing we aren't driving in Metro DC.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Rio Olympic Integrity

The 2016 Summer Olympics have closed 
and with it the names of hundreds
 of people that were
 on the watch of millions around the world. 
We knew the names in the last two weeks:

Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Michael Phelps, 
Usain Bolt, Ashton Eaton, Mo Farah, 
Allyson Felix, Connor Fields, Simone Manuel,
 Katie Ledecky, Gwen Jorgensen, Kohei Uchimura,
 Gabby Douglas, Lilly King, Kristin Armstrong, 
Anthony Ervin, Claressa Shields.
Names I remember now.
Many I won't remember next month.

The first Gold medal of this year's Olympics 
was won by Ginny Thrasher- from Springfield, VA.
She graduated from the same high school, 
West Springfield, as our three daughters.
Local hero. Amazing talent.

And then some names made the news 
with dark clouds shattering the noteworthy
 endeavors and accomplishments- Ryan Lochte.  
And the story unfolds of "embellishment", 
poor choices, and simple untruthfulness.
Actions not well-thought out become
markers for future hope.
A few moments of actions without integrity.
It is so difficult to STAND FIRM,
to be the best in all times.
What pressure to be the best.
I am so thankful that my "not the best"
choices haven't been caught 
on a security camera.
Seen round the world.
Tweeted to millions.
And that is only by GRACE.
So GRACE received 
must be given to others. 
And then there were the athletes
 that gave God the Glory.
That prayed together before a race.
Gave thanks after a race,
 no matter the outcome,
 in all circumstances.
So my final Olympic analysis 
comes to the word 
the quality of being honest 
and having strong moral principles,
 moral uprightness,
sincerity, truthfulness, decent, 
fairness, trustworthiness.
The state of being integrated, 
whole, cohesive.
The word I wished we talked
 about more in those we admire.
 We might be strong and fast,
with amazing precision or endurance,
but it matters not,
if there isn't a life of integrity.
The phrase that I heard so often
 in the past two weeks 
on the coverage from Rio was-
 Christ the Redeemer.
 This amazing statue which is 2/3
 the size of the Statue of Liberty,
 was built between 1922 -1931.
Perhaps more than one person 
Googled- Christ the Redeemer
to find out more about the ONE
 who does look over the world,
and each and every person.
The ONE who had a perfect 10,
stood firm,
gave God the Glory,
and lived a life of INTEGRITY.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Here and About- Holly, Michigan

My friend, Pat Maier, told me about
 Neil's Disco and Furniture.
A bit out of the way to find in Holly, MI.
 You just might not think you are in the right place.
And then when you get inside-
 perfect picker paradise.
We were so busy looking with our helpers- 
Griffin 2 years old and Jack 3 months old, 
well we forgot to take photos inside.
Checking out some things out back
 and found these lovely Queen Anne's Lace.
We fell in love with the chalkboard sign.
This was in the sold section. 
Great vintage industrial table - $40.
THEN...... We headed for lunch and landed at Red Devil.
Red Devil Restaurant

Shopping with the boys.
Interesting signage.
Cool cars- 
We found out there are vintage cars 
in town each Wednesday during the summer.
And we visited on a Friday.
Then we found The Shops at Holly 101.
Well-done displays.
Interesting items.
Really cool back doors.
Owner- Tanya Dempsey
Vendor Marketplace

 By accident we stumbled across-
Repurpose-Cari Cockney
 of HGTV's Cash & Cari 
Moving into new space 
and getting warehouse space ready.
Delightful helpful staff today.
repurpose shop
A street full of vintage stop-ins. 
Quaint all around.
Loved this sign as we left one store.
Carry Nation stormed Holly, Mi.
 with her hatchet in 1908-
making a statement for Prohibition.
Then on the way to the car 
we made a quick decision.
One Vote that makes the call--
Griffin the ice cream man.
Hudsonville Ice-cream.
The bowl in the front is a small for $2.50.
Cupcakes and Kisses
Owners Toni and Kevin Barnett.
We were served by the delightful
 daughter of the shop owners- Cora.
We left her a tip for more 
than we paid for the ice cream.
Ice Cream happiness.
A bit of fun.
Shop owner Toni was in today 
and she welcomed us
 and filled us in on some 
of the family events in Holly.
Eye candy and great treats.
 They post their cupcake flavors
 each day on their Facebook page.
Little Jack all tuckered out.
But we will be back to Holly, Michigan.
Thanks Holly for the pureMich welcome.