30 August, 2016

Winter Blessings

I typically share my seasonal recapitulations (because that’s what ‘recap’ is short for, and I like big words) in a series of unconnected paragraphs, but seeing that a change is as good as a holiday, here’s this winter’s happenings. It’s a list of blessings, because truly, every good thing comes from Him.

Playing with sparklers
Being blessed by my brother for seventeen years (happy birthday, Bro!)
A night camping with the siblings
Starting a diploma of Christian counselling
Passing a violin exam (and God was right there, holding my hand)
Singing and being part of an orchestra again
Having an article published
Having fun photoshoots with my sister (thanks for your patience ;)
Eating at a vegan café
Grown-up things (and who knew job applications could be so complicated?!)
Nineteen years of life.
Thoughtful friends (you guys bless me so much)
So much rain
Knitting my first pair of socks
Super kind and thoughtful family
Making baked avocadoes, pumpkin pie, stuffed onions, custard slice, and pizza

Favourite books:
The book of Psalms – there’s always something for every situation
How Then Should We Live?
Between A Rock and a Hard Place
The Father Heart of God
Chasing Jupiter (have you read it yet?)

Updating my about page
Nina’s post –The Test of the Talents
Kate's post - I'm in the Closet Too 
Hosanna's Post - Miracles Still Happen Today
Elissa’s post - I Serve One Master 

How was your winter/summer? What books have you been reading recently? (Or, what have you been eating recently, if you prefer?) What fabulous-ness in the internet world have I failed to mention?

17 August, 2016

Thoughts on the Pace of Life

A few weeks ago, I was driving through a large city, and the contrast was so great compared to the roads I typically drive, I had a rant about it in my diary later on:

…I think I’ve hit upon a fact. When you’re driving quieter roads, you can pay attention to people. You notice drivers, and feel a kinship if you follow someone for a while. You wave on the quieter roads, you notice people, even in town. In the city, it’s looking out for yourself; survival of the fittest. You just make sure you’re going where you want to go. You can’t befriend the cars in the rear-vision mirror – you don’t have time to notice. You can’t get a glimpse of driver’s faces – it’s divided road. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to make it through. That’s the thought pervading everywhere. It’s tiring. It’s existing, not living. And I guess that’s why the open roads and country towns are my favourite. The pace allows for breathing, observing, and soaking in life, and the beauty of it all.

We want fast paced – fast cars, better roads; faster internet, better computers; faster food, faster entertainment. But speed doesn’t equal happiness, contentment, or security. Fast is a lonely place, a place of competition and hollow striving – a place where we’re running so fast we don’t have time to get to know others, so we judge.

…Have you ever wondered why we speak of a ‘walk with God’? I mean, have you heard someone inquire, “How’s your run with God?” Think – can you hold hands when you’re running, sprinting, dashing? No, you’ve got to put all your energies into gaining speed, maintaining balance, and conserving energy. But how about a walk? You can hold hands, you can admire the clouds, and flowers, and how tall the trees grow… We were made to walk.

My siblings (who are trying to start a fire in the photo above) and I camped on the back of the ute the other night for my brother's birthday. We drove up to the saddle between some hills at the back of our place, and parked on the flattest ground we could find. My brother got a fire going, and we sat around it watching the flames and sparks, throwing more logs on, playing with sparklers, listening to music, and talking. The moon was so bright we barely needed torches. We arranged our sleeping bags, blankets and doonas (it is winter here, after all) on the back of the ute, under the plastic my brother put over it to keep us (mostly) dry for the night. It was cozy, and warm. We woke up to the sun rising through the fog - one of my favourite scenes. We relit the fire, and sat around it warming our cold fingers,  reading Psalm 140, and thinking about how David could've been sitting around a campfire in the bush when he wrote that psalm.

I wonder how many people have experienced life at that pace? I wonder how many people know what it's like to go out in nature and pause and listen, even for just a few minutes? I wonder how many people know how refreshing it is to slow down

It's like everything else - there needs to be a balance between exciting, fast days, and quiet moments. It's just finding that balance that's the hardest thing. We need to be energetic, but not rush along so fast that we miss out on the beauty around us. After all, God does say “Be still, and know me.” 

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the pace of life. I feel like I've just blabbed on though, so tell me: what are your thoughts on the pace of life? And do you prefer city or country driving? What do you think about a walk vs run relationship with God? How do you make time for quiet moments?

07 August, 2016

The Colour of Winter

"The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter." Psalm 74:16-17

June 3, 2016

Cold nights
Blazing fires
Well-worn books
Fresh  bread
Handmade blankets
Family chats
Thick socks
Sparkling mornings
Flannelette sheets
Long evenings
Hot soup
Dull days

There’s something about winter that brings everything closer.

Back in June (the beginning of winter here) I set myself a challenge of writing a list every day. Just any list – it could be points about a topic, a debrief of the day’s events, or just my thoughts in sort of free-verse poem-style. Anyway, that was one such list of some of my favourite things about winter. Of course, there’s still fresh bread, and family chats in every other season but somehow in winter everything seems more… romantic? Dreamy? Idealistic? Storybook-like? It really does bring everything closer. 


Also, see that verse above? I found it for searching for ‘winter’ in the Bible. (There are very few verses about winter, by the way.) I thought it was nice and poetic, and reminded me of God’s creation, and all those good things, so I put it in. But then this morning, I read the psalm it's from, Psalm 74.

In Psalm 74, the author is pleading for relief, for God to notice everything that’s going on. He’s reminding God what enemies are doing in His sanctuary and congregation. You can hear him ask, Come on, God! How long are you going to let these people reproach you, and blaspheme Your name? Why don’t you just do something?! 

But then, the psalmist pauses and remembers what God has done in the past. He divided the sea by His strength. He broke the fountains, and dried up mighty rivers. He prepared the day and night, set the borders of earth, and made summer and winter. 

I’ve been reading a few books lately that explain the way human thought has progressed (or rather, regressed), especially as society left the principles set out in the Bible, and while it’s fascinating, it’s also somewhat depressing – the lack of value humans place on themselves because they don’t believe they’re created in God’s image, the lack of value humans place on other humans because of the same reason, the lack of any firm right and wrong, the lack of any purpose in life, all because they don’t know God. And I’ve met people who subscribe to all those ideas, and their lack of hope is overwhelming. It's so easy to be discouraged.

But, God spoke to me through this Psalm. Don’t you think I’m big enough? Look at everything I’ve done, all these displays of My power. God is all powerful – how did I forget? How did I forget, that even though this world is messed up and Satan appears to have a grip on everything, God is still more powerful? He’s more powerful than all our problems, and than all the world’s problems. And, check out this verse from the same psalm:

"For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth." Psalm 74:12

God’s been king since ancient times, working salvation in the midst of the earth – in the middle of messed up humanity with all our problems, He’s there working salvation. And, do you know what the definition of ‘working’ is? Habitually and systematically making - habitually! It’s God’s habit to give salvation and victory to whoever will accept it. I like that. It’s not just something He does at random, or if we beg Him long enough. It’s His habit; it’s what He does

I wasn’t intending to have so much to say, but all of a sudden that verse meant a lot more, and I really wanted to encourage you guys: God’s still on the throne! Keep trusting Him. 

What do you like best about winter (or whichever season you’re in)? Is there a colour you associate with winter? Are you a list-writing person? Any thoughts on the way the world, society, etc  is going? And tell me, what have you been finding in God’s word recently?