The Pierce of Passion. . .

Thorn and Rose

Photo: Ashlyn Elofson

 “She bent forward to look, then gave a startled little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying in the palm of his hand, but it was shaped exactly like a long, sharply-pointed thorn… ‘The seed looks very sharp,’ she said shrinkingly. ’Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?’

He answered gently, ‘It is so sharp that it slips in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know pain too.’

Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and repeated his words to herself. ’When the seed of Love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be loved in return,’ and a strange new courage entered her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared her heart, and said, ‘Please plant the seed here in my heart.’

His face lit up with a glad smile and he said with a note of joy in his voice, ‘Now you will be able to go with me to the High Places and be a citizen in the Kingdom of my Father.’

Then he pressed the thorn into her heart. It was true, just as he had said, it did cause a piercing pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a sweetness she had never felt or imagined before tingled through her. It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger. She thought of the Shepherd’s words, ‘It is so happy to love,’ and her pale, sallow cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shown. For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all.”
― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places

Dearest Readers:
I read this book 7 or 8 years ago, but this passage has never left my side. Our Horizon Hit is this book,by Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places based on Psalm 18:33. So my Lord intersects my mind, my heart and my sacred imagination workings like this. . .

My four girls gave me a painting by Vicki Wade and it stepped off the canvas and spoke to me of this book and Much Afraid’s journey into the high places. It spoke of my hinds feet and my journey into the high places with my Lord from where I am/from where you are. . .dear one. . .

My feet are so Hind’s Feet in their struggle to grip the foundation of my life. At times, I grip with such intensity to hold my stance that my toes go “white” with struggle. My heart/your heart is made for the high places of our Lord. So it is with my insight. . .There are deep piercings of pain in this illness/with the pain of your life and the loss each day and the loss of the future. As I conversed, in private whispers with our Lord on the pain. . . He spoke into it: It was not the loss that pierced my heart with impassioned pain, it was what I was meant to gain that pierced clean through being into another dimension. . .

This is what I “heard” from our Lord about the “pain”. . .”In the pain, it appears/it seems the pain comes from the illness or your circumstance. But the source of the pain is not the illness/it is not the circumstance. The source of the pain is love. The pain comes from how you know love can be, it comes from My dreams for you, it comes from your passion for True Life in Me. I’ve made your heart to know better than. . .to know deeper than. . .to know higher than. . .what circumstance drives through you. It is what you know of love from Me, in the sharp contrast with what presents in your life, that pierces your heart for the passion of what you long to experience through My love. The pierce of pain is for passion for MY LIFE in you. It pierces deeply for that is where love lives. It pierces deeply for that is where you experience Me to be. It pierces deeply for that is your passion for life in Me. The pain brings life to My best for you.”

And so I sit here with you, at our table of conversation and offer/ponder that is it not the disease that pierces me to the core of my being. . .it is my passionate love for life in my Lord, it is my passionate love for my husband and girls, it is for my passionate love for family and friends and the places of life we share in our Lord. I know the pierced pain in deeper ways now. The pain is not meant to rob, steal or kill the life out of me or you, it is meant to wake a passion that strikes Glory to flow the blush of Christ’s life into my/your cheeks and light to shine from my/your eyes through His light of love. As we share in our “piercings” (yes, God means to connect us to the Cross of Christ), we journey together in the places of pain that bring His life into what He means for good in all of us. And so we journey with hinds feet to high places in “the promised land.” And the greatest of these is: LOVE.

Dearest Father : May the piercings of our passions wake us to the love of life in our Lord and may the “blood” flow share life with one another. . .Amen (Let it be so.) twe

The Land of Promise, original oil painting by Vickie Wade: www.etsy.com/shop/VickieWadeFineArt

Land of Promise by Vickie Wade

It’s a Great Slant on an Old Favorite for the Holidays: Cornbread Salad

This Post is dedicated to Hope, for this is her Holiday Favorite!
It has many variations, (check the internet for what most appeals to you!) with adding black eyed peas, dried cranberries, lettuce shreds, etc. You can even cheat and use bacon bits (the “real ones”). The main thing is make in a trifle bowl and layer according to color. Use red and green bell pepper for a real festive look. . .And put a layer of the dressing in the middle. The top does not get the dressing to the bottom. It is best to make the day before for flavors to set. It’s a meal on it’s own 🙂 To make a big bowl like this, you will want to double below ingredients. I love to use the trifle bowl my mom gave me 🙂

Enjoy one of our traditions. (Made this year, yesterday!) You did not think I had it enough together to give it to you, before the holidays. . .did you!?

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Photo Seen Posted:  Credit to:leaandjay.wordpress.com

 Check her exact version of the recipe seen here. Mine was eaten too quickly to get a pic!

Cornbread Salad I

Submitted By: Rosemarie
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 2 Hours 40 Minutes
Servings: 12
“This is a crowd pleaser and the recipe serves twelve. What a coincidence! This is a layered salad that is fun to make and pretty served in a glass bowl. Lots of cornbread, corn, beans, green peppers, spring onions, and crumbled bacon. All layered with a creamy herbed dressing.”
INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package corn bread mix
10 slices bacon, cooked and finely crumbled or “real” bacon bits
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 cups sour cream (fat free is fine)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (light is fine)
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (and red bell pepper)
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (sharp for flavor)
2 (11 ounce) cans whole kernel corn,
drained
DIRECTIONS:
1. Prepare corn bread according to package directions. Cool, crumble, and set aside.
2. Place bacon in a large deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
3. Whisk together the dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise.
4. Crumble half the corn bread in the bottom of a large serving dish. Top with half the beans. Layer the beans with half of the tomatoes, green bell pepper, and green onions. Sprinkle with half the cheese, corn, bacon, and the salad dressing mixture. Repeat the layers. Cover, and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

This recipe from : allrecipes.com

“Go Out On A Limb, That’s Where the Fruit Is!”

Caring Angel

The angel resting above, on her knees is “Sadie.”
Dear Readers:
I hope that is true. . .hopefully in your regard, because I’m going out on a limb here, yes with you. Life, it seems, is too short to keep “God Secrets” to ourselves.

One of those days today. It’s just a tough day. Tears and frustration. I’m sure none of you have any of those, but just indulge me here. . . 😉

So a couple friend gave me a gift, I woke up to this morning. Many of you do not know, I am very sentimental. Probably, problematically so. . .But so it is with me. It was a Willow Creek Angel. She is the one called, “Caring Angel.” I sat there holding her in the palm of my hand and it started a conversation in bed this morning . . .

“God, I do not want to leave my special “things” behind. They are not just things, they are place markers for people, memories, relationships, Glory moments with you. I know you say we don’t need things. . .” He interrupted me. . .”Why do you frame everything in loss? It is not like that here. Have you ever considered the possibility that the ‘joy things there’. . .Come to life here?”

At that moment my sacred imagination clicked into gear within our conversation. I “saw” my little angel, in the palm of my hand. . .breathing tiny shallow breaths, and her tiny eyes blinked at me with sprinkles of twinkles flying out of her eyes like dandelion seeds. Her wings fluttered iridescently moving the air in my hand. And then my eyes saw through my window, four little chickadees chattering in “words” I understood and a snowman dancing in my front yard in the heat of the day. And my favorite gift books, the words read themselves out loud in the voices of the authors and the pictures popped off the pages and “performed” right there on the page. . .And a flower a friend painted for me grew around the post on a vine on my front porch and it smiles as I walk by. . .And laundry blows fresh on lines all hung out but it dances and puts out puffs of fragrant clean. . .And Christmas Lights burn year round. . .”

You get the idea. It’s pretty obvious, I’ve not been to heaven. . .and I don’t know any of those things to be true. What I do know that I know that I know is that my/your Lord goes to prepare a place for me and for you (John 14:2) and whatever is of Kingdom importance to you. . . it just seems in His Character to me that those things will be there perfected for your pleasure and for HIS GLORY. I don’t believe these little “visions” are just for me. It’s not about “me,” it’s about our Lord. It’s about His creative love. It’s about how He speaks to you, my friend. It’s about a heavenly destiny we all share. Certainly the book of Revelation challenges even the highest, most brilliant Biblical Scholars’ imagination, so just a few simple “cracks in the veil” will do nicely for us simpletons!

So there you have it, I’ve gone out on a limb for you. My prayer is my risk bears fruit in your life about whatever private ways you contemplate heaven. Be blessed and know that heaven is more than any of us can ever imagine in manifold beauty and experience of Glorious Light and Love! twe

Weight of Glory

I’m ready to dive in here, so here we go. . .This post is dedicated to Frank and Gaye. They are friends that carry the weight of God’s Glory is our hearts. The weight of God’s Glory through their friendship is in things like: integrity, faithfulness, service, consistency, goodness, humor, thoughtfulness and depth. . .To name a few.  We love you both like family!

Frank sent me an incredible picture, I want to share with you. . .but the picture comes at the end this time because I hope to have a conversation with you about the concept of the weight of GLORY that will challenge BOTH of us. Get a strong cup of coffee, and let’s expand our territory of Kingdom ponderings.

“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.”
― C.S. LewisThe Weight of Glory

I love C.S. Lewis. I love his depth and his Kingdom perspective (although I’ve not read he calls it that!). What I hear in that quote is that we can perceive the Glory, but we cannot enter it. We cannot yet, become part of it, but it calls us. I’m going to cut right to the point here (good friends can do that right?).  I think our scales of life are off balance? We carry, we experience, we know the weight of our circumstances or our struggles or our challenges. They weigh us down. But when it comes to God’s Glory. . .Does it carry weight with us? Do we allow the scales of our perspectives to tip as the Glory weighs into how we experience God’s goodness? Speaking for myself, I weigh in with worries about Bucky and my girls, my health with ALS, friendship issues, loss of “ministry” and I drag that weight around. (On a funny note, I weigh in at ALS clinic at over 500 pounds cause my “Big Boy” wheel chair weighs 400 pounds!) We do not understand Kingdom weight and so we look upon Glory in a smile, in a painting, in a church, in a sunset and we appreciate the beauty. The appreciation is often “light” and momentary and we do not receive it in a way that changes us. It passes by without “weighing in” with our sense of who God is. . .Step it up. . .Do we experience it beyond beauty as God’s Glory? Step it up. . .Do we receive the Kingdom weight of it as HIS Glory? Step it up. . .Do we embrace the Glory as intimately ours? One more step up. . .Do we allow a depth of reception to move us into a dynamic that weighs us down in humility to our knees into reverent Worship?

It’s a Kingdom shift God is after in us. A shift from taking ourselves with a weight (we are not meant to carry) to taking His Glory with a weight that moves us more toward the spiritual being God created. I believe the weight of Glory experience, in my opinion. . .is more of a reality than any circumstance. The weight of Glory and our ability to receive it prepares us for our heavenly destiny. A very practical application here is this. . .How do you receive God’s Gifts of Glory. . .As a feather in the wind or a bowling ball?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teihard de Chardin

I love sunsets. I love the soft closing of the day, the sense of a day well played out, cuddle time and tuck ins are on their way and I’ve earned a good night’s rest. The following glorious sunset is one of the pictures Frank shared yesterday via text message. Looking at it, on my tiny patch of cell phone screen, I thought, God, I cannot receive this, the gift weighs in with Glory beyond my capacity. I knew, I would have to spend some prayer time moving some heart things around to receive even a portion of this sunset offering. That is Lewis’ point perhaps, or one of them. . .Glory, challenges us to receive the weight of it in such a way that it shifts the balance of things in our life. Most of us are going to have to do some rearranging to make room for this kind of weight in our lives. Move more of ourselves out. . .to move more of God in. . .

And when we step it up. . .God willing. . .we will one day enter into that Glory of that sunset and become one with it’s Glory filled display at the Hand of His brush and canvas of creation. One last word about offerings of Glory. They are intensely intimate. . .This is Frank’s sunset. God knew he “needed” it. God was waiting to see if the Glory would weigh in with his heart?! Well, it did and he shared it with me, and now you have it too. Glory is meant to be shared. In sharing, Frank allows us a sneak peek into God’s gift to him at the beach, The Grand Hotel, Fairhope, Alabama. He captured the canvas of God’s Glory. Future sunsets will have different strokes and colors to capture Frank’s heart but this one is for the Gift of Glory moment it was. . .until the next one comes along. . .We cannot yet, enter, but may we challenge each other to receive the weight of the Glory from the Hands of a Generous God. Gifts that offer Glory calling us to reach beyond ourselves and our circumstances into Glory that prepares us to enter and become one with His perfected creations.

Tip the scales of your life with the Weight of God’s Glory today. . .the offerings are heavy, golden nuggets mined just for you. God is waiting and watching to see if you receive them into the weight of Who you know Him to be in your life. It will make a Kingdom of difference in who you are in Christ, in how you live your life and in what you share of God’s Glory offerings. Thank you Frank, for sharing your weight of Glory moment with us. 🙂 In the sharing, My experience of God’s Glory is magnified.

Frank's Sunset

My Favorite Christmas Ever. . .

Photo from Tracey's Alb_var_folders__d_w_vqsn1s53l9brxm4clk6dn40000gp_T_com.apple.mail.drag-T0x102323630.tmp.txNlv6_DSC01284_2_2.jpegum copy

Dear Friends and Family, several of you have asked to see our Christmas Tree and since not all of you can make it by, here she is in her Christ-like Glory. (Thanks to Marlene and Wesley and a light transplant!) December 26. . .And counting. It was my best Christmas ever. Not because of the tree or the wonderful, heart felt gifts and against the “merry, merry” odds is that I did not cook one thing this Christmas which was causing a full blown temper tantrum on the inside :(. It was my best Christmas Ever because I’m different, what matters is amazingly different, and what blesses me is simply different.

I want to be here, in the Christmas Eve service and see the candles flicker with that soft glow only a candle expresses. I want to notice the Christmas stockings on the tiny 2 year old girl her mom put on with mixed delight and frustration as she squirmed her wild legs. I want to watch my family settle in for a dinner out on Christmas Eve and watch the earnest desire to share the best of their palate from their plate. I want that embracing hug from that friend. I want to look her in the eyes on the Eve of Christ’s birth. I want the rough warmth of my husband’s hand in church prayer. I want to hear the click of “grown up” heels as they cross the threshold home. I want the sweet aurora of Piccadilly’s carrot soufflé and see the powdered sugar on top like freshly fallen snow. I want to recycle again that fun big golden jingle bell and gold stretchy cord on another present this year (that my sister sent several years back.) I want to plant an amaryllis bulb with my hands and send it home to bring new life in a widow sill. (Did you know if you soak them one hour before you plant them it will speed up blossoms by one to two weeks?) I want to put whipped cream on hot chocolate and sprinkle my love on top (powdered vanilla). I want to curl up and watch a Christmas movie, (not yet!). I want to watch love pass from one person to another just with their eyes. I want my Mollie to wear a jingle bells collar and be my in-house reindeer. I want to experience the profound peace of having all my four girls sleeping under my roof. I want to look at full stockings and smile at the girly surprises inside. I want to just listen to Christmas music and look at my tree. . .Hope’s pink tacky dime store ornament: Baby’s First Christmas, Glass drops from my sister Lu’s tree, fingerprint reindeer ornaments from little hands, felt ornaments I made as I a little girl, candle canes beaded by tiny fingers, various photo pics of girls in ornaments they try to hide front the front of the tree. . . . The tree goes on and on with all the memories suspended from the branches.There is even a real nest Kathleen brought to me several years ago and I have a dove family on the tree that moved into it for their home. I want to see my husband’s pleased affirmation that Christmas was “just right.” I want to be late to dinner reservations because we had so many little conversations on the way out of church. I want to make one special gift each year that will mean a Kingdom of love to another. I want to finally put the lovely Christmas Tree skirt on the night before Christmas so they dogs don’t destroy it. (Did that!) I don’t want my two front teeth (thank goodness). . .but I do want the little things to be the big things I might miss if I am not present for God’s giftings. I want to start a new tradition with meaning each year.

All was done for the night on Christmas Eve, thanks to Bucky and the girls. . . and after all were asleep, I rolled back out there just one more time, like I always do to see if I forgot anything or want to add a touch here or there? This year I went I found my favorite gift tags (an after Christmas Sale one year) and I made one for the five of the other family members with their name and a Fruit of the Spirit for each one on the back. After we finished opening the stockings and presents, I told them that. . .”The real gifts here were each of them, who they are in Christ. . . to go find their gift tag on the Christmas Tree and they would see what Fruit of the Spirit I saw most in them over this past year. (I asked them to tuck the gift tags in their stockings just for keeps)

We had a wonderful family dinner with friends too by our Christmas Tree, on Christmas Day, blustery and all, with The Nativity Story movie playing on silent in the background on the big screen. We sang Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus. . .my sister-in-law, (from my husband’s family) Lisa, brought a beautiful red velvet cake with cream cheese icing, which was so fun since it was my first sister-in-law, Char, (my brother’s wife) that taught me that birthday cake for baby Jesus tradition when I was still a little girl . . .and we satisfied a little sweet tooth and honored our Savior.

I have two new posts formulating in my head and new ideas for my Blog, so we have great new year coming. . . .In the meanwhile, I’ll share a picture of our Jesus Birthday Cake. (What you cannot see is the slice taken out of the back before we could take the picture: That’s so life, isn’t it? 😉 No doubt in my mind, Jesus was laughing! No one could survive well on this crazed earth without a sense of humor. Think of the challenges of the disciples. . .Surely without humor with Peter and his impulsiveness. . . even Jesus would have experienced impatience! What a life-giving perspective is a sense of “Kingdom Humor!”)

Photo from Tracey's Alb_var_folders__d_w_vqsn1s53l9brxm4clk6dn40000gp_T_com.apple.mail.drag-T0x102323630.tmp.txNlv6_DSC01284_2_2.jpegum

 

The Birth of Jesus. . .

The-Nativity-Story-900x600Scene from the movie: The Nativity Story

This Post is dedicated to the new birth in YOUR life today.

The birth of Jesus brought a reality of love to the world like it had never known. It was a miracle. It is a miracle. It will be forever a miracle. Perhaps we navigate our Christmas without the life-giving power of His Birth. The teaching, the steps, the healing touches of His life did not ascend with Him as He went to heaven. Those things remain through the Holy Spirit as a living, breathing, reality in our lives today. Slow down, and read that last sentence again. . .

You hold in your arms, you cradle near your chest, you gaze into the depths of heaven today that has the power of new birth. The miracle of love that births changes in you, changes in your marriage, changes in your children, changes in your health, changes your workplace, changes in your friendships. . . .

Your cousin comes to visit with her new baby boy. She offers Him to you tenderly. You hug Him close and as He opens His eyes you experience an intensity of Light, that illuminates dark corners in you, hidden from your awareness. She smiles in love and simply says, “You Hold The Kingdom to Come in your arms.”

Perhaps the life giving birth is in how we embrace the new life of Christ. . .Quiet, intimate, believing, marveling, trusting, entering, wondering, holding, warming, keeping, accepting. . . .this baby of God’s love into our arms and sharing Him with others.

Christmas Blessings that make His birth a Reality to you, twe

Merry Christmas Showcase of His love, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

There are two gifts I would want to give my readers so close to the birth of Christ.

The first:  God’s Word wrapped in His Beauty.

The second: a priceless memory, I’ve never penned to paper. I’ve held it close to my heart as probably, one of the three most magical experiences, God has poured into my life. I want to sketch it out for you in letter and word, here and allow your imagination to draw you in to relive the experience with me. . .

February, 1999, Winter Park, Colorado

It was dusk, at we stood and waiting in the silent snow. Only a candlelit post, embraced with greenery and boasted a velvet red ribbon to mark the spot. It was a group of us, mostly strangers and our family: Bucky, Tracey (pregnant round with healthy blonde, Kathleen), Hope: 10 years old, Ashlyn: 7 years old,Megan:3 years old. Interesting, how people sometimes know sacred ground. No one spoke, in the wait. There was more than enough to take in in God’s panorama of white winter wonderland and  the coming of eve in this snow laden forest. No sounds but those of nature as it creaks and moans with the weight of ice and winter wind. Then we heard it. . . . in the far distance, the quiet approach of bells, sleigh bells singing into the crisp, quiet of the blanket of coming sleep of night. Before any forms of life, we saw the flight of snow disturbed rising up before the Clydesdale horse prancing gate. Soft, white flight of freshly fallen snow still soft with hold of cold air layered like tissues protecting a fragile gift. It was all the things of a priceless dream only it was real to fill every sense to overflowing with warm excitement to chase the chill of the stirring winds. The plodding of horse hooves and ringing of bells built as in a crescendo of nature’s musical offering in season.

To see the sleigh, arrive in front of our wide-eyed wonder was magic enough to still the breath of every creature scurrying for tuck in time at home. The bells quieted before us as the horses stilled their strength in wait. As we loaded the red sleigh, piled high with bales of hay and we were tucked gently under the heavy warmth of woolen blankets, we settled into the ride of a lifetime. The horses pulled out with gentle reign nudges and we were off into a Narian Forest of imagination. I wanted it to last forever: The chill on the perked, cold blushed cheeks of my girls, their hair blonde and brown flowing in the winter winds, small hands fleeced with gloves, heads turned to catch the beauty crowned in tasseled topped caps turning every which way, the bounce of the leather belted bells gayly jingling along our path through the forest to a cabin for a warm, home cooked meal and old fashioned barn concert, complete with a washboard band. The time in the candlit barn paled in my desire to get back into that sleigh. (No easy feat, at 8 months pregnant with a baby that would be ten pounds!) Yes, I required some help in getting in and out of the sleigh :). My heart kept whispering, just one more round in the fresh untracked snow, just one more canopy of trees bowed in laced snow,just one more horse whinny in the stillness of His sacred Hand?

There are moments, sacred moments when God whispers beyond the magic of a Hallmark Moment. He whispers with excited anticipation. . .”Be Still and Experience, I am God.” On the way back to our post of call, I closed my eyes; I willed my heart open to every slight stirring God offered. This ride of “old time” sleigh play. . . called all of us back to when time moved with the pulse of people, not people moving to the heightened  pulse of the modern digital minutes that race past in a blur of the modern “clock.” Sacred moments are ours to experience in full, but I’ve noticed that as hard as I try, I cannot keep them with me. The sacred touches, the traces of Glory  change and move in our world, but it seems to me they cannot remain in the imperfections of our fallen place here. Perhaps when we get to heaven, those “God Moments” that moved through our hands like melting snow, will be preserved there to grasp and hold as gifts that remain as part of who we are in the Kingdom. I sure hope so. . .This priceless memory was one of those “God Moments” that I long to hold and hold and hold. . .forever and ever. . .Amen to the Wonder of His Winter Wonderland.

Sleigh Ride Moment w_vqsn1s53l9brxm4clk6dn40000gp_T_com.apple.mail.drag-T0x102323630.tmp.txNlv6_DSC01284_2_2.jpegum