Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sometimes a joyful noise... a whisper.

Do you ever find your voice, joined with others in worship of our Living God, hushed in order to listen in on the mulitude of joy? That multitude... joined voices, sound waves, words, notes... an intermingling miracle of backgrounds and circumstances that couldn't be more different from one another, unified in exaltation of the One who has touched, healed, redeemed each of those backgrounds and sets of circumstances.

A little glimmer, just a glimpse, of One Day:

"Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!' And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: 'Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!' " Revelation 5:11-13

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." Psalm 98:4


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Books Tell Stories...

...and not just the ones written on their pages. For instance:

Exhibit A: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, picked up at Piccadilly in London by my younger college self, who worked up the nerve to ask a complete stranger in a foreign country (this coming from the girl who used to make her friends ask the teacher if she could use the restroom in elementary school {a wee bit timid am I}) – the curator of this flea-market-style booth- how much it was (“for you, love? Five pounds”). I spent much of my free time on that trip sitting in the wide-silled window of my shoebox-sized dorm room, reading those worn pages. I stitched the flailing spine back together with thread found in my travel sewing kit (knew that would come in handy!).

Exhibit B: Five Little Peppers Midway: I snatched up this copy of the book, found underneath a table in a box at a library book sale. I had always wondered what came of Jasper and Polly, after my mom read this book's predecessor to us as kids. I remember not just that it was a wonderful story, but also that we bought it the fancy new Barnes and Noble 1.5 hours away, and also (I’m fairly certain) that  the paperback met its demise when it was later devoured by our slightly confused dog.
    My brother once told me that he thought our mom had the nicest (prettiest? Kindest? Can’t quite recall his exact adjective choice) voice. He was right. The voice that soothed us, sang to us, sang to our Lord, advised us, stood still to listen to us…and still does all of those things to this day. This book, read to us by that very voice, tells that story too.

That Christmas, my husband surprised me with the whole series:

...what a guy!

Exhibit C: Inscription upon Inscription; Paper mementos of relationships, lives, people I never knew. Surely the stories of those lives could fill exponentially more pages than those shown here:

Exhibit D:
Pages never read, never even cut (from the days when reading a new book meant slicing each page open with a knife... too violent for modern-day reading, I suppose). What tales does an an unread book have to tell? Perhaps that of a would-be-reader with a life full of walks in the park and daydreaming and wandering, with no time to read. Or an absent-minded professor, too occupied with the smoking flasks and bubbling brews on his work table to bother with the books collecting dust on the shelf behind him. Maybe an avid reader, who eagerly purchased this gem, and just never got to it. Or maybe someone like me, content to gaze upon it and wonder from the chair across the room, cozied up with quite another book.

..and best of all…
The book that tells of the One who saves lives, gives purpose, heals wounds deep below the surface, and calms the storms of the heart.

It does me good to see words that are dear and familiar to me, annotated by someone years (decades? centuries?) ago who also found them dear and made them familiar:

                                                                   "Tonic," it says.

                                                            "Marvelous," it says!

And that is why my shelves look like this:

 Books tell stories.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bringing Autumn In

(or, Autumn Decor on the Cheap)

I would call this a tutorial, but there's really not much to tutor on! It's basically what it looks like:
(1) a bundle of sticks tied with scraps of fabric,
(2) a white mini-pumpkin (which, according to some people in our house, looks like a giant
clove of garlic) procured from the produce section, and
(3) leaves harvested from our Virginia Creeper vine, pressed between layers of wax paper and
books, and finally hot-glued to some fancy-schmancy twine.
Grand total: 89 cents.
Linking up to Shabby Nest's "Frugal Friday."


holy experience

"Praise is what we are made for!" Ann Voskamp says, and thus began her practice of purposefully  taking note of what God is doing and has done around her, counting blessings and worshiping each step. This was the humble birthplace of the "Gratitude Community."

I remember sitting as a brand new young wife in my gracious landlady's living room, a place of warmth and welcome and wisdom. She would share with me stories of her life on quiet afternoons, and I would walk away toward the mother-in-law quarters where we were "playing house" that first summer, with gleaned understanding and a desire to be warm and welcoming and sharing of wisdom, too. One such afternoon she shared with me a line of a song that had stuck with her for years and years, and now it has taken its place in the "forever" part of my feeble mind: "Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings; see what the Lord has done." (Song and story behind it can be found here).

...and so, that is what I plan to do. Draw nearer to my Lord simply by noticing. Noticing His grace, His goodness, and the multitude of ways He gently, mightily, faithfully works and gives.

Let the counting begin.
1. The body of Christ.
2. A purse that, 11 years ago, accompanied me to prom, and now has found new life in sweet toddler hands, storing treasures such as tennis balls and beautiful blue gypsy-bead necklaces (of the dollar store's hot new line).
3. Sweet toddler hands, reverently pulling afore-mentioned treasures from above-mentioned purse to display for anyone who may happen by.
4. Joyful tidings from childhood friends
5. Reasons to pray
6. Psalm 91
7. Spontaneous project with my dad, accompanied by cherished recollections of a multitude of projects with my dad.


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