Right Here, Right Now

“Thank you, God, for this day. Be with me and guide me.” These and similar thoughts and prayers are my daily morning greeting.

Whether we’re someone who awakens quickly, fully alert and moving, or are someone who slowly regains consciousness through blurry eyes and reluctant body where moving is concerned, we all have in common our needs or plans for the day.

With each day’s beginning, we also have a choice about our attitude and our outlook. Our thoughts and responses will likely follow what we have chosen to focus on. Are we dwelling on the negative? Do we make a conscious commitment to see the positive? I am learning to capture the bright spots, to be more aware of them, and to be thankful for those moments.

As I stood at my kitchen sink one day, humming to myself as I washed dishes, I was suddenly aware that I was happy. There had been frustrations earlier with my office work. I was concerned about the health of some family members. There were any number of things to get me down. But “right here, right now” I was happy. I repeated that to myself and smiled, and I thanked God for the “right here, right now” times. I am thankful for moments when I can refocus and trust that God walks with me, and I with him, when my focus turns away from stressful things and rests in Him.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he urged people to think on things that are good and positive. He urged them not to worry but to rejoice and to know that God was near and that His peace would guard our hearts and minds. * These words themselves are cause for happiness and hope.

How many times have we rushed on to the next thing without fully appreciating or acknowledging our spots of joy and happiness? Yes, bad things happen. Yes, some days are exhausting. People die or face pain, frustration, or tragedy… Then too, there are the powerful moments, when we realize in the “right here, right now” that happiness and peace comes from our great and loving God and His presence with us. Memories and moments can burst upon us and make us smile, even through our tears, and laugh and know God’s awesome love in the midst of it all.

My prayers for us all are to gather those moments and smile and exclaim to ourselves, “right here, right now… I’m happy.” God bless.

*Phillipians 4:4-9

Freshen

A puff of wind upon my skin
And sun’s rays transform the day

Memories of morning’s dreary sky fade
As time’s settled dust is chased and lifted

Freshen, freshen
Earth’s voices call

Splash of water, clean and pure
Songs and rhythms now renew!

Darting fish in coolest depths
Shading trees unfurl green buds

Freshen, freshen
Healing nourishing

Dusty feet and weary minds
Shed discontent… stretch and rouse

Quickening hearts claim moment’s peace
Restore, revive … and freshen

Enter

Standing at the threshold
What lies ahead
Sunlight gleams
Pointing the way

Pausing attuned
Listen to silence
Or the singing of birds
Peaceful and warm

Drawing breath deeply
Fragrances from life
Bring back memories
Poignant or comforting

Searching eyes seeking
Cool shadowed woodland
Bright lawns or gardens
Faces and homes

Reaching out a hand
Taking the first step
New year’s dawn brings
Anticipation and prayers

Treasure

mother child flower-308077_960_720_pixabay_cropped

“Do you want to see my treasure box?!” exclaimed the young child proudly. Eager hands removed the top and began to tell the stories of things they held dear. There was the dried flower, especially picked for mom, and a sparkly stone shining all colors of the rainbow in the sunshine. There’s my heart, drawn and colored with “I love you” carefully written in crayon. Here’s a family photo and a chew toy of a much-loved pet now gone…

As a child, I had my own treasure box too, filled with small cherished items that brought happy memories as well as some sadder ones of loved ones now gone. The thought comes to me that now my home is like a treasure box, full of memories and of current life.

The wise men brought their treasure chests too and offered gifts for a king, the baby Jesus. Jesus’ mother, Mary, treasured the words the shepherds shared, and she treasured what she saw and heard in her growing son.

I think of the things I treasure now and how those things we value grow and change with us. Have you ever kept something, only to pull it back out weeks or years later and think, “Why in the world did I keep this?!”

I think of how God wants us to treasure His words, His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Life is truly a journey to do just that and to share it with others! Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said that God “has shone in our hearts to give…” He went on to say that “we have this treasure in clay jars” so that others will clearly see that “this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” Always, we point to Christ Jesus, to God who is our greatest treasure.

My prayer for us is that as we pull out our own treasure box, we will consider what is in it and what is of true and lasting value. That we will see in our everydayness, or plain clay jars, the treasure we are to God and the gifts He gives us. That we will offer to the King all that we have, and so give freely and fully. I know for myself that it’s easier to do this some days than others. May we join in the adventure.

*Luke 2:16-19, 51; Matthew 2:11, 2 Corinthians 4:7

 

Reflections on Dishcloths

dishcloth_edited

• We may become stiff and dry from the rigors of life
• The warmth and compassion of others can restore and renew
• A friend who listens is like a welcome scrub
• Scrubbing helps clear away dirt and accumulated grime
• Rinse away stress and fatigue
• Rest after a job well done
• We can become musty from disuse
• Putting your skills to good use is satisfying
• A worn cloth is full of memories
• Warm companionship and thoughtful service transform

 

SNOWY WINTER CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

christmas-1907639_1920_pixabay_cropped

Our recent snowy weather has stirred up childhood memories of winters past with my family. Building snowmen was a group affair full of laughter and the usual banter. There were cold noses, snowball fights, sledding, and then hot chocolate to greet us when we arrived indoors to warm up.

In December, as Christmas approached, the house brightened with colored lights, ornaments on the tree, and candles. Angels, a wreath, greenery, and bows brought cheer and the manger scene had a special place in the living room. Putting up and decorating the tree was a story in itself as we rediscovered ornaments made in Christmases past, remembered times gone by, and heard tales of long-ago family Christmases. The kitchen was a special gathering place for baking and decorating Christmas cookies and cakes and for preparing the Christmas meal. Christmas day was family time, hearing the Christmas story and the reminder of God’s greatest gift to us, the excitement of opening a few simple gifts, and perhaps watching some Christmas programs on the television or playing with a new game. Good memories.

So, as we enter another “Christmastide,” may we cherish the simple, make way for quiet enjoyment with friend or family, reach out to others, and be thankful for God’s greatest gift of all through His Son, Jesus.

*Luke 1:30-33; Luke 2:1-20

In the Quiet of Your Presence

Grand Tetons_Sep 2017_by Kathy Owen

Photo by Kathy Owen
Grand Tetons

In the quiet of your presence
Come sit with me
My companion
During loss and distress
Pain anger despair

In the quiet of your presence
The touch of your hand
A welcoming shoulder
For tears grief
For memories laughter

In the quiet of your presence
Great storms tumult
And pounding waves
In fear anguish
Drawn to your haven

In the quiet of your presence
Oh whys and what nows
No and no and no
Reef of danger or
Rock of safety

In the quiet of your presence
Blessed stillness
Washed
By shared tears
Battered and worn

In the quiet of your presence
Oh God!
Hold me
For I am bereft
Cold lost alone

Resting
In the quiet of your presence

Light Dancing

autumn-tree-leaves-red-63614_pexels

Light dancing on splashes
Of gold, red, and orange
Beckons to passers-by.

Greens and browns
Wave their fronds,
Seasons past and to come.

Evening’s chill
Brings thoughts of tomorrow,
As time tolls; prepare!

Day’s warmth
Welcomes memories
Of life, laughter, and tears.

And so we dance,
Welcoming light’s hope,
In quiet contemplation.

And so we dance,
Resting sorrow
In those swaying boughs.

And so we dance,
For life’s joys
In our Creator’s being.

Light dancing on splashes
Of gold, red, and orange
Beckons to passers-by.

Apple of His Eye

apple on tree-wet_pexels-photo-257840

 

Apples! I love apples! …I remember the taste of crunchy, sweet apples fresh off the tree in the backyard of our small-town home when I was growing up. The smell of apples cooking as Mom busied herself about the kitchen making apple butter and jelly, pies, and applesauce still lingers in my mind! Those wonderful summer days of gathering apples, listening to the neighbor’s honeybees about their work, and resting in the cool shade of their boughs are forever etched in my memory. I can still hear the sounds of laughter as my three brothers and I played, worked, and ate our fill of those apples!

Have you ever wondered where the phrase “the apple of my eye” came from? The writer of Deuteronomy says that God found his people in a desert land, “a barren and howling waste,” but cared for them and guarded them “as the apple of his eye.” The psalmist prayed to God, “Keep me as the apple of your eye”! This phrase is literally translated “the little man of the eye.” …If you look closely into the eyes of someone, you can see your own image reflected in that round central circle of their pupil. Think about it. Our very image is reflected in the eye of God! How awesome is that?!

God watches over us. Cherishes us. He keeps our very image before Him! Like those childhood memories, He brings comfort and joy to His children.