Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
Adventure, explore, experience. These are the buzz words swirling around the tourism marketing industry. People want to experience and explore something that is new to them yet represents an authentic adventure and no group craves this more than the Millennial Generation.
I believe that everything that happens has meaning and purpose. I believe God set this universe into motion and continues to work through every detail of it. I believe he is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives in an effort to bring each and every one of us into a relationship with Him.
This 4th of July we spent the day on Lake Pend Oreille on my aunt and uncle’s hugely awesome houseboat (hugely awesome defined: extremely impressive and large; inspiring great admiration and possessing great size). The kids were beside themselves with excitement, to say the least. The drive from our house to Hope, Idaho, where we were to meet the boat, meanders along the shores of the lake with spectacular views of the water and surrounding mountains. As a side note, the air conditioning in my car decided to die right before temperatures in our little piece of paradise decided to climb into the 90’s and 100’s for an unusually long heat wave. I couldn’t get an appointment to have it recharged for a number of days so I was sweating and driving with my windows down.
As I crossed the bridge that separates Pack River from the glorious Lake Pend Oreille, the combined smell of water, the Pack River Delta vegetation and 95 degrees of sunshine came rushing into my car and sent a shiver down my spine. It was one of those good shivers, like when the sun warms your whole body on a cool day, or when you climb into your bed wearing new socks with new sheets on the bed, or an Epidural in the middle of labor. The smell was so alive that it reminded me that I was alive; it reminded me to live.
God gave us our senses for a reason. Yes, there are practical purposes for a sense of smell, but what I experienced was a reminder about life; a reminder that life is short and I am alive and while I am alive I must live. It seems a silly little thing and lot of meaning to put into a little smell, but just one little smell set my whole day into a new direction and a new focus. I began to think about what other smells remind me that I am alive whenever I encounter them. The following is a list of smells that remind me to live:
- Coffee…it’s the best part of waking up (even better if it is being brewed before I get out of bed)
- Bacon in the morning
- Fresh cut grass
- Fresh baked bread at Grandma’s house
- A horse barn
- A sweaty horse
- A recently bathed horse
- Pretty much just a horse
- Lilacs in the Spring
- The earth after it rains
- The water on the lake at sunset
- My husband after he cuts firewood
- My husband after he showers
- Carrots straight from the garden
- A creek while you are sitting in the shade fishing for brookies
- A Christmas Tree
- A Campfire
- The morning at sunrise
- A fresh cut hay field
- Grandpa’s cigar
- A mountain trail
- An old Violin
C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and although I have not read even half of his books, I hope to (someday). He wrote both fiction and non-fiction works and while his fiction is magical, adventurous and exciting, his non-fiction is wise, educated and inspiring. Here is a little inspiration for today from C.S. Lewis.
TO ARTHUR GREEVES: On the meaning of interruptions and real life; on the difficulty of being patient; and on expiating through embracing one’s own sufferings.
20 December 1943
Things are pretty bad here. Minto’s varicose ulcer gets worse and worse, domestic help harder and harder to come by. Sometimes I am very unhappy, but less so than I have often been in what were (by external standards) better times.
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time—I know your problems must be much the same as mine (with the important difference that mine are of my own making, a very appropriate punishment and, like all God’s punishments, a chance for expiation.)
Isn’t it hard to go on being patient, to go on supplying sympathy? One’s stock of love turns out, when the testing time comes, to be so very inadequate: I suppose it is well that one should be forced to discover the fact!
I find too (do you?) that hard days drive one back on Nature. I don’t mean walks . . . but little sights and sounds seen at windows in odd moments.
I had a most vivid, tranquil dream about you the other night, just chatting in the old way. Let’s hope it will happen sometime. For the rest, I’ve no news.
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.
1 John 4: 7-21
“7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
Another long verse of the day, but how could I possible not share all of this part of 1 John 4? When love (God) lives in us and we love others, we are showing God to the world because God is love. We love because God loved us first.
“13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
There was just no way I could choose only a couple verses out of this part of Galatians chapter 5 for today’s verse of the day. I love this reminder to love others as we love ourselves, live by the Spirit, and to not become conceited when we think we have reached some level of “spiritualness”.
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
This is one of my favorite verses and therefore I thought it would be very appropriate to be my first verse of the day on the new blog site. I memorized verses 6-8 a few years ago. I tend to be a worry-wort and these verses repeatedly remind me not to be anxious but instead prayerfully and thankfully bring my request to God.