Shifting Shadows

My home office window faces due West, where the glorious sun waves goodbye to me each day as she continues Westward. On her way around the earth, she casts her spell on the mighty oak trees in my yard. Their golden and bronze leaves dance on my wall. As I sit in my office typing this post, they are dancing.

Mesmerizing, mysterious, almost spell binding.

Shifting shadows, dark and ambiguous.

Casting their spell on whomever lingers.

When I get mesmerized by the shadows of life, their friends are sure to follow: doubt, anxiety, fear, comparing, {fill in the blank}, etc.

Shadows in life are just that, shadows. They are not the real thing. They attempt to distract us from seeing clearly, from seeing the truth, the real image, not the shadow.

I think C.S.Lewis says it best in the book written about his love affair and marriage to Joy Davidman: Shadowlands: The True Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman: “Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”

When you are in the shadowlands of life, there are no easy answers. If they do exist, please inbox me with them! Sometimes for me, the only answer is Truth. Sometimes I only need to sit still and trust Him and His promises. He has never lied to me, nor can He.

Instead of being misled and mesmerized by the shadows of this life, I can cling to Truth when all else is dark and full of shadows. The pain doesn’t go away, but I know I am not alone in my pain. And pain is often times what I need to make changes. Changes that heal and give life.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” Hellen Keller

Beauty and Giving Thanks

Snow-capped mountain tops. Rainbows. A baby’s coo. A full harvest moon. Snuggling with those you love. The perfect nail polish. Sprouts shooting forth from seed. Giving to someone in need. Walking on the beach. Coffee with a friend. Blog readers!!

Beauty. We all seek it. We were made for it. But all too often, we miss it. For what we are truly seeking is the Author of beauty. God himself, the Creator, in full splendor.

I believe beauty is all around us. We sometimes have to slow down to see it, but it is there. Instead of rushing my daughter off to school, we bask in Autumn’s kaleidoscope each morning during our commute. A small shift that satisfies our souls’ need for beauty.

It starts with a simple “thank you, Lord”. As you celebrate this Thanksgiving season, may you seek Him. May you know Him more fully as you live with a grateful heart. He longs to dance with you. You are beautiful because you were made in His image. Seek Him and you will find Him.

I love the worship song, “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful”. Lord, may I never forget that true beauty comes from you and you alone.

What are you thankful for today, friend? I will start. I am thankful for you, one of my precious and beautiful blog readers! Thank you, Lord…

“Oh Lord, you’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek. And when your eyes are on this child, your grace abounds to me.”

Embracing the Dance

Every morning, I am assaulted by a cornucopia of colors: burnt sienna, golden yellow, magical magenta, and outrageous orange. These splendid hues dance on the trees and their personalities are alive with fire and passion. They fuel my soul and feed my need for creativity and beauty.

Transformation. Internal. Unseen.

I cannot imagine the life of a tree. There is something majestic about the oaks. Something prim and proper regarding the stately maples. Something emotionally engaging when I consider the dogwoods. Even in their silence, they speak. Not with words, but with their stature, their leaves, their offspring. Acorns, beautiful leaves, white crimson stained flowers.

Manifestation. Overflowing. Being.

Trees don’t do. They don’t have “to do” lists. They are what God made them to be and as a result, they bless me with their beauty.

Fruit trees don’t accomplish having an apple or a pear. A tree’s fruit is a manifestation or an overflow of what was inside the tree all along. Sometimes we can’t see what a tree is capable of by looking at its outer appearance.

But, God sees. He knows. He put it in the DNA of the tree. And He expects nothing less or more of the tree.

Beauty. Passion. Dancing.

As the leaves dance during my morning commute, I am blessed by their overflow. And for that I am grateful. As a pursuer of beauty, my cup runneth over.

When was the last time you took a risk in the direction of your dance? The leaves don’t ask for permission…

 “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”-Anais Nin

Weeds or Flowers?

Everyone knows what I am referring to when I describe the pesky yellow wild plants that decorate our lawns. The ones that are so difficult to eradicate. Yes, dandelions. You have to practically dig them up to remove them completely. The root has to be removed, not just the plant that rests above the surface of the soil.

We make an attempt every year to rid our yard of them, but we never succeed. The funny thing is that our children seem to enjoy our folly. They enjoy picking me a bouquet of the brightly colored wild plants. My son is on a mission almost every day to find me at least one or two weeds.

This was my gift last week:

The irony in this gift of love is sweet. My son loves me and he wants to give me gifts. There is an abundance of yellow wild plants in our yard that resemble flowers. He, in his innocence, trots around our yard in search of the gift…a gift from his heart. He gives me weeds and I accept them as I would a $100 bouquet of freshly cut flowers.

As with so many things in life, it is the thought that counts when it comes to gifts and gift-giving. There is more to learn from this story, though.

When is the last time you wanted something special? When is the last time you asked God for something that meant a lot to you?

Remember the last time you prayed and your prayers were answered another way…when you got weeds instead of flowers?

Or maybe you thought He gave you weeds…when He was really giving you the best flowers. When God answers our prayers and gives us gifts, He is the best gift-giver. No one knows us like He does. No one knows the future like He does. He is omniscient. He knows ALL. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

Recently, we were praying earnestly for God to give us a gift that would be a positive change for our family. We had tried it on for size, put it on lay away, and already claimed it as ours. We had a coat hanger waiting for it in our family closet…and God chose to give us something else. Weeds, so we thought. But as we tried the “weeds” on for size they started to look more and more like a precious gift of love from our Father. The keys to the future do not belong to us. He gave us weeds according to our here and now calendar, but looking back, He was a gracious Father to us once again.

So when it comes to the weeds or flowers in life, it is a matter of perspective. Remember that sometimes when you think you are getting weeds, they are really gifts of love given by the Lover of your soul. Enjoy the dandelions in your life friends…

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17

Occasionally, I will do a book review on my coaching blog. In the running theme of good gifts, if you haven’t read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, do yourself a huge favor and buy two copies. One for you and one to give to a dear friend. Your life will be changed for the better.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  -<br />
By: Ann Voskamp</p>