Magnificent Spring

308-1I’m reading the book Wonderstruck, Awaken to the Nearness of God, by Margaret Feinberg. It’s a lovely book — being read in perfect timing — and it reminds us to see how near God is each and every moment of our lives. (You can read the post that convinced me to buy the book over at Ann Voskamp’s blog.)

Reading it has challenged me to revive The Magnificence of God series I started a while back.

—————–

Spring is my favorite. Its first warm breeze seems to blow life back into my soul. The singing birds. The popping flowers. The promise of new life.

Spring has been a bit of a tease around my home this year. April has been chillier than normal. The grass is turning green. The birds are chirping. The flowers are starting to bloom. But the warm breezes have come and gone. I’d like them to stay.

But even in the chill, I can see the signs of new life. The beauty God created for us to enjoy. Here is some magnificence from my yard.

002

007

012

___________________________________________

This post is part of Magnificence Mondays. Do you have something marvelous to share? A story, a picture, or anything that comes to mind. Write a post or comment below! And more importantly, notice and remember.

Here

Here.

Part of my year of Dance was the idea of being spontaneous, in the moment, fully present. It seems like a fleeting thing, as a mom, to fully live in. this. exact. moment. There are so many thoughts always running through my head. What’s for supper? Who needs to do homework? Where is that missing birth certificate? Why did I say that to so-and-so yesterday? What did the teacher think when I forgot the T-shirt form?

It’s so much easier to rehash the past or worry about the future.

I had a moment of just being here today. My four-year-old asked me to pick her up and dance with her around the kitchen. I was making a grocery list and we needed to keep moving so we could get to the store and to pick up her siblings from school on time. I could have said no.

But, I didn’t. I took the time to be here, and it was well worth my time.

#KitchenDanceParty

#KitchenDanceParty

_____________________

5 minute fridayThis post is part of Five Minute Friday, a writing exercise from Lisa-Jo Baker. She posts a writing prompt each Friday and we write for five minutes, and five minutes only. 

A Reminder

I’m cheating a little today. Sort of. It’s a busy day and week for all of us, I’m guessing. So, I’m going to post a song that I really enjoy, and it reminds me to stop and look to see God in my day. It’s a country song, so some might not appreciate the sound, but listen to the words anyway. Play the song while you bake cookies or wrap gifts or work on your Christmas letter. (Note to self, all of those things are still on my list.)

George Strait’s I Saw God Today:

Chorus
I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book
I know He’s here but I don’t look
Near as often as I should … yeah I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today.

 

And, hopefully, as we pause and see God in our days, we’ll have many things to write on Magnificence Monday in the future! (Not that I don’t have anything to report today, really. I’m just too tired to put something together that would be readable.)

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

This post is part of Magnificence Mondays. Do you have something marvelous to share? A story, a picture, or anything that comes to mind. Write a post or comment below! And more importantly, notice and remember.

 

The Motions of Life

The first day of my Couch to 5K running plan, I loaded up a song list on my husband’s iPod and headed out the door. The songs were set to play at random, and I had to chuckle at the first song that played.

“This might hurt

It’s not safe

But I know that I’ve got to make a change … ”

— Matthew West, The Motions

(You can listen to the whole song here or click the link in the video box at the end.)

I can hardly think that song was “random.” I think God has a serious sense of humor.

This might hurt: Learning to run caused some physical pain with sore muscles and stiff joints. (Although, not as much as I anticipated, I think due to how slowly the running plan starts out.)

It’s not safe: It felt incredibly awkward to clumsily jog around my neighborhood for one minute at a time, trying to find good stride and rhythm. There was no guarantee I would finish the program, or even the first day.

But I know that I’ve got to make a change: I know that I need to make some changes to improve my physical health.

There is something more about this running thing and this song, though. I first heard the song about a year ago. I think it could be my theme song for what I am repeatedly learning in my life for the past two years or so.

I don’t want to go through the motions.

I don’t want to just be a good Christian who knows all the answers, lives a nice life and adds knowledge to my mind.

I don’t want to be a wife that lets my marriage become a formality, just an agreement to tolerate each other.

I don’t want to be a mom that let’s life fly by without enjoying my kids at each stage they are in.

I want to really live. And I’m learning that it really is the little things I do each day in my relationship with God and my family that matters most.

To pursue God, listen for His voice and act when He speaks.

To be intentional to spend time with my husband, respecting his leading in our family and appreciating his desire to provide for and protect our family.

I want to enjoy moments with my kids being mindful of how quickly they grow and change.

I used to think that I had to do something huge or risky or dramatic to avoid “going through the motions.” I’m finding the opposite is true. It’s those little things I do each day — even as small as an attitude shift — that determine whether this will be a day of just surviving or intentionally living.

Outlive Your Life

1.75 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.

1 billion are hungry.

147 million children are orphans.

It’s hard to even comprehend those numbers, let alone begin to figure out what can be done to fix them.

Then, there is the neighbor who just lost a job.

A friend who lost a child.

A grandmother who has lost her memory.

So, what are we to do about all of the needs and hurts in the world? Can we really even make a difference? Can one person really do enough make an impact?

Max Lucado says, “Yes!” We can make a difference, in fact, we were made to make a difference! In his newest book, Outlive Your Life, Lucado says we should stop seeing the above statistics as unfixable problems and start seeing them as opportunities to step up, make a difference and share God’s love with the world.

Outlive Your Life is based on the book of Acts from the Bible and the stories of early Christ followers. They were ordinary people who made a difference, eventually spreading the hope found in God to the far reaches of the globe. Lucado weaves throughout more modern stories of people who did things that seemed small but had a huge impact on the lives of others.

My favorite story is about a Texas high school football coach with a winning team who asked his fans to cheer for their opponent, a team of kids from a correctional facility. More than 200 fans made banners, learned the names of players and cheered their hearts out for a group of kids that usually have no one on their side. It completely stunned the opposing team. After the game, one of the incarcerated kids participated in a group prayer. “Lord,” he said, “I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to say thank you, but I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.” (Page 124)

I highly recommend this book. As with all Lucado books, I love his story-telling style and ability to make Bible stories come to life. Outlive Your Life will not leave you feeling condemned for not doing enough. Instead, you will feel encouraged and inspired to act in ways where God leads. Lucado uses Biblical principles to give practical advice to figure out how God has uniquely designed you to make a difference. The book has short, easy to read chapters, making it ideal for anyone.

In keeping with the message of the book, all of the author’s royalties are being used to help children and families through World Vision and other faith-based compassion ministries.

_________________

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Pockets of Joy

I have been amazed with the energy and excitement of my 2-year-old daughter.

If she’s in one part of the house and wants something in another room, she runs to find it as fast as her little legs will carry her.

She’s always asking, “Where we going next?” As though every place we go is a new adventure.

She is very interested in trying new things and doing them by herself. “Me do it!” she says.

She notices the sound of trains, planes and loud trucks.

She sees sparrows in the grocery store parking lot.

She finds bugs outside — and sometimes inside the house.

She proudly shows me how she properly used the potty.

And she gets very excited when her shorts, skirts or pants have pockets. “Oooooooo! Pockets!” she says, as if it’s the most joyful thing to be found.

Thank you, Lord, for little legs, planes, trains, bugs, birds, potties and pockets. And for little children who remind me how blessed I am to have all those little things I often don’t even notice.