Friday, March 30, 2012

The Beauty of Nature in Springtime

I am joining Friday Favorites with Rachel for the first time today.  I am becoming acquainted with some of the bloggers who host memes thanks to my friend Lea CiCi's Corner. She tells me it is such a great way to meet other bloggers and a way to blog regularly even if you are suffering from writer's block.  This sounds good to me, so thank you Rachel for letting me join you this Friday. 
Finding Joy

The Beauty of Nature in Springtime

While the pansies are wilting in this early Spring weather, the blooms that normally appear in April in North Louisiana have made themselves known in mid March this year.  Our area is known for its spectacular azaleas.  And they did not disappoint us.

One of the mysteries in our yard is the Clematis.  It can look so completely dead most of the year, but in March it is revived and becomes a traffic stopper on the side of our house.

One of the favorite spring beauties in Louisiana is the Iris.  The yellow is so pretty!


Friday Blessings

Some of my Friday Favorites
Hostas seeking the warm earth and sun after a dormant winter
The sound of bubbling water
Thank you for joining me today for Friday Favorites.

"All things bright and beautiful, all things great and small,
All things wise and wonderful; Our Father made them all.
Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings;
He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.

Cold wind in the winter, Pleasant summer sun,
Ripe fruits in the garden; He made them every one.
He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
How good is God our Father Who doeth all things well."
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Cecil F. Alexander, 1818-1895 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fancy Fireflys and Soccer

This is my first time to meme with Carissa for Miscellany Monday  My sweet friend, Lea at CC's Corner suggested that I might enjoy this and even spent an hour and a half on the phone walking me through it.  Now that is a good blogging friend, isn't it?  Of course, we did some visiting during that time as well.  So thank you Lea for hooking me up with Carissa.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Five-Year Olds Playing Soccer
This past weekend we made a trip to the Dallas area to see our youngest grandchild play soccer - The Fancy Fireflys.  There is just nothing like watching these little girls play their hearts out and have fun.  Ava Grace was quite serious as you will see.  Being part of Prestonwood Baptist Church's program, they began with a devotion.  I love this!

Ava Grace was pretty determined to get her foot on that ball.

Love the tongue and finger work.
A race for the illusive ball!

I happened to look across the field at the opposing team and just had to laugh.
  Soccer game?  What soccer game?

This is the face of victory and pride!

Ava Grace with one of her BFF's.  They are so adorable and love each other so much.

Is this the face of a proud Bibby or what?

Thanks for joining me on my first Miscellany Monday posting. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Does Your "House" say About You?

"It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness."  Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata, 1889
What does the Bible teach about beauty?  There is a paradox regarding this topic in the Bible, but one thing is sure.  The Bible never instructs women (or men, for that matter) to desire it, nor does it necessarily depict beauty as a blessing for those who have it.

We do not ever find in the Bible that physical beauty is the same as goodness or that it is any kind of virtue.

What the Bible does show us is that a beauty of holiness is to be desired and that only belongs to the Lord.  Other words used in the Bible to demonstrate the beauty of God's holiness are radiance, glory, resplendent, shine, and splendor.  One day we shall truly behold His splendor and glory.  Won't that be wonderful!

But aren't we as God's Special Lady supposed to reflect to others that beauty of holiness?  How do we do that? 
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."  Debra Evans, Beauty and the Best, 1993
That's the kind of beauty that lasts forever and is not dependent on our age, what we wear or what we look like.  This kind of beauty grows brighter and brighter with the passage of time - it is the reflection of Christ's lordship within us.  It is stored in our hearts and fashioned supernaturally by God.  Haven't we all seen those glowing faces of saintly women who by the world's standard would not be considered beautiful, yet they radiate God's likeness?

This is the beauty that the Bible says is "of great worth in God's sight."  It is not what we put on our faces in the way of makeup or our body with expensive clothes.  It is created by our Master when we become a "new creation" and allow Him to be our re-Maker.

As I've thought about these things, I related it to houses.  This is probably because I love to ride around our beautiful city and see the different neighborhoods and architecture.  Right now the spring flowers are absolutely spectacular.  But that is another topic.

As I thought about what beauty without/within really means, I thought first of the person who is without Christ, with no hope.  Their life is a mess.  They've allowed the world to beat them down and they see no hope of anything or anyone ever making a difference in their life.

Then, there is the person who gives every appearance that life is perfect.  They may be lovely and appealing on the outside yet that person is completely empty on the inside.  They seek the frivolous things of life that have no lasting meaning and this leaves them vacant with temporary satisfactions.

What about that person who is constantly remodeling - always trying the latest fads or trends or teachings in order to satisfy a longing for something permanently meaningful?

Then, there is the person who has completely surrendered themselves to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and truly reflects that supernatural radiance, glory, peace, and holiness of God.  They are the Lord's delight and are beautiful without and within. They are God's temple!

So, what does your "house" say about you?

Praise Him for the beauty He alone can give - the only kind that lasts forever!

Oh Lord, continue to re-make me into that reflection of YOU!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Anne Voskamp - What to Do When You feel like a Loser...

I want to share with you today's blog from Anne Voskamp.

What to Do When You feel like a Loser…

It’s half way through Lent and forget that sign of of dust they brush on the center of your forehead.

I’m bowed over the sink after a teenage daughter’s slammed out the backdoor.

Slammed out of my ugly diatribe.

And I’m thinking I need something more direct, right there on the middle of brow.

Like the “L” sign.

The one the Farmer frowns deep at me and shakes his head that it isn’t true.

She says she didn’t. I say she did. I don’t know how it suddenly got so loud and we both lost.

I do know there are parenting days when the terms of endearment can get confusing and it all feels more like the terms of endurement.

Our arguing, it can go in circles. I don’t like it. What I like even less somedays is me.

It’s there in the center of the kitchen table, the the wooden Lenten wreath — Christ encircling round everything on His way to Calvary.

Encircle our crazy circles, Lord?

Everything blurs and spills.

Whoever had the crazy idea that Lent was for the good who were forsaking some lush little luxury?

Lent’s for the messes, the mourners, the muddled — for the people right lost. Lent’s not about making anybody acceptable to a Savior — but about making everybody aware of why they need a Savior.

Wasn’t it Lewis who said that we are to be Little Christs?

If I’m following Him on His way to Golgatha, the place of the skull…. I finger the figurine of Christ carrying the cross.

Lent’s about little dyings.

How could so much of my flesh still be alive?

The girl whose side the sharp edge of my tongue pierced, she’s escaped to under the Manitoba Maple tree. She’s leaning up against the trunk’s mark — the scarring mark where a wind storm ripped off a limb last spring.

How could I have said those things and what part of this glorious child has my storm ripped off and how have words left marks?

In one wild moment, my disordered desires can betray how quickly I can lose my God-orientation.

“Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” I’m this spring rain over sin and everything swims.

Encircle us, Christ, us in all our dizzying chaos.

When I feel like I’m drowning–

I’m at last ready to drown in the ocean of God’s unearned grace.


The sun sets.

She’s at the couch, cheek against the window, looking out. I sit softly beside her, say it softer…
“I’m sorry.” I reach out and her shoulder’s warm under my hand. This way of somehow holding her, healing her. I murmur it again and again, trying to find the way out, the way back, and repentance is always the first step. “I sinned and I’m so sorry; I’m so sorry.

Hadn’t Mama always said that: “It’s not that you aren’t going to blow it. It’s what you do with it after.”

“I’m the one who did it wrong, Mama.” She turns from the window, turns to face me.

She hardly whispers it, but it reverberates loud in this canyon, “Sorry, Mama.” And everything fills and our eyes find each other, flow into each other, and I reach for her hand, squeeze her hand, and forgiveness is a river that sweeps everything away.

“You know what you are?” I smile into her eyes searching mine.

She shakes her head, eyes brimming.

That’s when I know she needs a sign of who she is, right there on her forehead. That’s when I know she needs to know who she is no matter what is said, what happens, what storm descends. Her and I both.

Her mother needs to make new signs to hang everywhere, to live under.

“You know that index and the thumb that makes the stiff “L” sign — the loser sign?” She half grins.

She knows what her Father thinks of me making that hand gesture and she says it slow, “Yeeees?”

See how these fingers can angle — how they can bend in surrender to Him.

And if you lay the other index finger a cross, pick up your cross and follow Him– there it is —
there’s the sign to wear, the sign showing the way out of a mess: “A”amazing.


She has to know this, that the word, “amaze,” it comes from the act of wandering in a maze, to be bewildered, overwhelmed with wonder — amaze.

The losers, the ones lost in the labyrinth of life, are the ones made amazing – by the One who solves the mazes of life.

I touch her cheek, “In Him, you are already amazing.”

She blushes and I laugh, nod my head yes, insisting to this daughter who has to know her Father’s heart for her now because of the Son.

“In the flesh, you’re a mess.

In Christ, you amaze.”

I sign the “A” over her and Christ with the scars, He marks her.

“You’re already amazing.”

“And you are too, Mama.” She laughs and marks me with an “A” and all the daughters they can take up the sign and wear the mark of the Son and know it’s true.

The figurine of Christ there on the table, there with the sign of sacrifice, He’s showing us this Lent how to move again. Move in the right direction —

encircling the maze and mess of everything with an amazing grace…

Thank you Anne again for touching our hearts deeply and reminding us that as God's child we are
A MAZE ing.