Where We Live (is all just temporary)

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Oprah Winfrey’s current tour includes our provincial capital city. That is surprising to me. Canadian-American actor Seth Rogen’s character in the movie Like Father demonstrated perfectly how us Edmontonians tend to introduce ourselves to our American neighbours: “I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,”  he tells actress Kristen Bell’s character. Not just “I’m from Edmonton.” Or from, “Edmonton, Canada.” Rogen’s comment when interviewed regarding that line:

“Yes, Canadians do that 100 percent. City, province, country. Canadians are always afraid, and rightfully so, that Americans won’t know where Edmonton, Alberta is. That’s a legitimate concern (laughs).”

I must admit when watching the movie, I laughed out loud at that line. It’s so true! Sometimes when I’ve found myself travelling and answering where I’m from,  I’ll add “It’s close to Calgary. You know, where the Olympics were in 1988.”

The hockey fans I’m chatting with will generally  know of Edmonton with our NHL team and Wayne Gretzky history. And the city and surrounding areas have been homes to Olympic medalists in skiing and figure skating, hockey and curling–all sports so-very Canadian.  Oh, and then there is the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America and 14th overall in the word. So, thinking this further through, I’d say Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is more than Oprah tour worthy. (Disclosure: I’m not interested in going to Oprah’s talk but would have gladly gone to see Michelle Obama, however the tickets were too high for my budget. So I’m waiting in line for her book from my library–I think I’ve moved up to 98th spot).

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All in all, we may be able to boast about world wonders in our home cities, or not. Where we live may be recognizable on a worldly scale, or just known by those within a 100 km radius or less. We may have to point on a map or show an Instagram post for others to understand where we call home. Or just say the city name like those from New York or Dubai and receive wide-eyed responses of wonder and questions.

Although our countries and cities, attractions and landscapes can shape our likes, dislikes, choices of career and hobbies, our identity is rooted in the One who created all. We need not ever be afraid we are unknown, or that we need to lean on a neighbouring place to be seen. We can be rest assured that in Christ we always know where we come from and where we are going.

For all this is temporary, until we are called home.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

Let’s get to know each other better! Tell me where you live and something you like about it.

I’ll start:

I’m from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada which is just east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that is a four hour drive north from Calgary where the 1988 Olympics were held! 🙂 I love the wide-open spaces of the wheat fields, watching CFL football on a summer day, and skating in the winter. On cloudy days and my birthday, I like browsing Williams & Sonoma, Anthropology and Pottery Barn all at the West Edmonton Mall!

Now your turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unexpected Way

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With my faithful blue back pack that carried my camera within, I walked the familiar path. My plan was to reach the pond on the western side of this provincial park I had visited many times before. At the pond, I’d hear and see the life of spring with whistling frogs and blooming cattails. However, it’s been a cool spring. Rounding a lower and shaded corner where ice capped snow covered the pathway, my hikers slipped instead of keeping me upright. Stubbornly I crouched, hoping I could somehow crawl myself to my wanted destination. Soon I resigned my plans and turned back, discouraged and saddened that I wouldn’t be able to complete the journey I’d set out for myself.

But then when I reached my starting point, I kept on, walking an easterly route I had never taken before. Soon I found myself at the edge of a boardwalk much longer than the familiar westerly one. I unzipped my jacket and removed my gloves noticing how the mid-morning sun shined the wooden slats of the boardwalk and lit the tips of the surrounding cattails. I easily navigated the bends and curves of this newly discovered pathway. I rested on one of it’s benches watching a pair of Canada geese, surefooted even on the frozen pond.

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If I hadn’t had to turn away from that westerly, familiar path, I would never have discovered the place on the other side of this park. Often, I can get so caught up in the familiar, that I don’t see that there just might be another way, even a better way, to navigate my places and situations. Sometimes it may take a complete roadblock or impassable path before I turn to look another way. And then discover something so much better than ever expected.

It reminds me too, how the disciples had thought Jesus’ life and power was the path for them to conquer the Romans. But the path was in the opposite direction, wasn’t it? It was through Jesus’s death that conquered something so much greater than just the Romans-the bondage of sin. The disciples familiar path to conquer with power and war was gone with Jesus’ death on the cross. And, in it’s place became an unexpected but much more better way.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 2:18-19

Is there a pathway you are turning to go His Way?  Or a familiar one you are being asked to turn away from? May you rest in knowing the unexpected path can lead to the unexpected and a better Way….

Happy Easter, my readers! I will be back here again after our Easter celebrations.

 

Peace from an Empty Place

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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19

An empty tomb.

The tomb which had held Jesus, their Saviour, their teacher, their friend, was empty. The broken body of their King, gone!

Peter and John, along with the other disciples (except for Judas for he had betrayed Jesus, and for Thomas who was not with them that day) drew together behind a locked door. John’s gospel teaches it was a first day of the week, and Peter and John had recently witnessed an empty tomb except for strips of linen, and the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.
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Then….

Then, He is suddenly standing before them.

“Peace be with you,” He says.

Peace be with you.

Even after all He had endured—whippings, a crown of thorns, a cross to carry, nails in His hands, and all the sin of world upon Him…
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Your all in all

They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. Hosea 8:7

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In Hosea 8:7 who are they? They are the Israelites who had sought forbidden relationships with Assyria and Egypt for military power, and had mixed in worshipping forbidden gods along with God. They were no longer being faithful to the One who could provide them all they needed. Harvesting good seed in grounds bathed by sunlight and filled with nourishment, produce a sturdy crop. The Israelites, though,  expended their energy on activities without roots for their souls, leaving them vulnerable. Danger was coming from foreigners–eventually the Assyrians invaded and conquered Israel.

I know I too, can spend time on hollow activities instead of taking the time to plant, sow, and wait. I can Netflix binge, or mindlessly scroll my Instagram and my Facebook accounts to ‘numb’ out. I can seek instant gratification that only leaves me unsatisfied. I can eat those four girl-guide cookies instead of taking the time to cook the nourishing spinach and eggs. I can try to fight my own battles by seeking out who I think will agree with me, commiserate and create an alliance, instead of seeking God first.

But these attempts at self-preservation only pull me apart from God. When I try to become more secure in the world without God, I’m left vulnerable to the pull of all things that only blow away in the whirlwind of time.

When we put our security in God, we become too deeply rooted to be swept away. We are less tempted to engage in that ‘quick fix’ or reach out for things that leave us hollow and wanting. Instead, we grow closer to the One whose faithfulness is everlasting.

“Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, Ordered in all things, and secured; For all my salvation and all my desire, Will He not indeed make it grow? Samuel 23:5

What things are you putting your security in? Is there something God is asking you to give up so He can be your all and all?

Linked up at #TellHisStory

 

Delight

 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:7

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Days can be full of plans unraveling, work pressures building, and expectations unfulfilled leaving you feeling unworthy, unaccomplished, and disappointed.

But God delights in you regardless if your check list is complete, or you didn’t meet a deadline, or you were unable to keep a commitment.

Hold on to your plans loosely.

For your well-being to God is more important than your to-do list.

What is one thing you can do today that shows He delights in you just ’cause you are you?

The Lord your God …will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Living Full Heartedly

The Mighty One, God, The Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising sun to where it sets. Psalm 50:1

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Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you will honour me. Psalm 50:14-15

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God’s creations are in abundance. Every day the sun rises and the sun sets, warming and cooling the earth, bringing us the light of day and darkened nights. Although God is timeless, He knows we need these cycles of light and dark to refresh and rest our bodies, minds, and souls. He knows what the earth needs to grow our food, and the amount of waters required to quench our thirst. In places though, fresh water and food is lacking. People are thirsty and hungry, and sick. Animals are migrating, trying to find new habitats, some populations dying away to extinction.

Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s abundance in the world among it’s sufferings.

Yet, God calls us not too lose heart. Why? Because He, our Creator, knows that through a heart of gratitude we are delivered from our anxiety and worries. He commands us to call out to Him when we are troubled, so He can provide rest for our minds even when all seems to be in chaos. When we wholeheartedly trust in God’s abundance, hope prevails. Instead of being downcast, we are energized to continue to seek ways to make the world a better place. Through heartfelt love and obedience to Him we honour Him and all His creations.

Where is God showing you His abundance today? How might He be asking you to make the world a better place?

Linking up at:

Counting My Blessings

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A Command to Be Very

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This post first appeared at Inscribe Writers Online

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn it from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Joshua 1:7

The Lord not only told Joshua to be courageous, but very courageous. I wonder if the Lord added the emphasis of an adverb before the adjective “courageous” because of Joshua’s extreme circumstances? His new job was to lead two million people into a new land and conquer it. Even though Joshua had grown to be a strong leader from assisting Moses for many years, I can imagine he may have felt extremely challenged for this upcoming new adventure!

But Joshua did not hesitate, did not measure the pros and cons, or run to his friends for advise. Instead, he ordered and directed the people to ready themselves for their journey to cross the Jordan, to the land the Lord was giving to them. While directing their next steps, Joshua reminded the people of Moses commands and the Lord’s promises, and the people obeyed their leader knowing they were also being faithful to God’s plan. And they too, encouraged Joshua to “be strong and courageous!” (v.18)

When facing new challenges, I can be very hesitant to take the next step. I want to be very sure so the outcome will be successful, on my terms. I can measure my success by my circle of influence expanding, or my finances increasing, or by the amount of ‘likes’ I’m receiving. Yet, unlike the worldly definition of success, success in God’s eyes is for us to be strong and very courageous through obeying and following His word. It’s being faithful to His plan for our lives. He directs us when we turn toward Him. And then we can rest in His promise that we will be successful wherever we go.

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Lord, thank You for always being with me and directing my way. Even though my situations can get tough, and challenging, I know you are with me. May I always keep my eyes on You, may I always turn to You, for when I do life with You, I will be successful in Your eyes wherever I go. Amen

And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Where might God be saying to you ‘be very courageous and strong?

 

Something different–End of month ramblings

Linda Stoll’s blog post this week encouraged to link-up with our end-of-the month post. I’ve never done an end-of-the-month post–until now. So, something different for you–my February ramblings–and as casual as a pair of well-worn pyjama pants.

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“I think you’re over-thinking it.”

“I can see the wheels turning in your head.”

Those were a couple of comments this February from my cross-country ski instructors as I tried to remember to keep my head up, bend knees, keep an athletic stance, shoulders ahead of knees, leap, weight on balls of feet, engage poles…all while singing in my mind ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ to develop a rhythmic cadence on the tracks.

“You’re an Alpine skier, aren’t you?” said one instructor when I was the only one in the class who couldn’t do a snow plow stop midway down a hill. I just skied right past him.

Yes, I have done a lot of Alpine skiing, so thought cross-country would be easy…

Very humbling, learning a new skill.

 

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What I read this month:

  1. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. You can read my review on Goodreads. And please become my friend!
  2. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy.  Teen/YA fiction is a genre I like to read as much as possible maybe due to having 35,000 words written toward a teen novel myself.
  3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont A classic non-fiction for writers that I dive into from time to time but have yet to read fully

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Our bible study is completing Spiritual Warfare: Overcoming the Enemy by Kay Arthur, David & BJ Lawson. These no-homework Precept Ministries Studies are designed to be 40 minutes, however when you get a group of women together, even 2 hours does not seem enough! I’m blessed to have these ladies in my home every Tuesday evening.

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And just some cuteness for you…

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I have these cute owl cards from The Creative Market . Every Monday, Creative Market sends me an email with six free designs I can choose to download. If you’re looking for graphic images, fonts, or paper designs, I’d recommend signing up for their Free Goods.

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What I want to finish in March:

  1. Scrivener for DUMMIES. I’ve had this book since last summer. I do have a couple of unfinished novels in Scrivener, however just guessed how to use the software. I want to learn how I’m suppose to use it (which I’m sure will be much more effective than I am now).
  2. Adobe Photoshop CC. It is the 2017 edition! Only skimmed chapters thus far, relevant to projects I was working on.
  3. Finish editing my three creative non-fiction essays that are my contributions for my writer’s group publication: The Hope Box. Stay tuned for it’s release targeted late 2019 (in time for Christmas). 
  4. Finish my Etsy Shop with my Journals and Digital Photography for purchase.

I could list my other dozen projects & what-I-want-to-learn items, however this year is about finishing. So shall stick with the above 4 for this month–and stay realistic and focused. 

(A blog reader was surprised to read I was a 7 on the Ennegram. I wrestle with saying no to a new project when working on another because I might miss out on something! Just thinking of only staying with the four items above makes my stomach tense! Sevens are known to “misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined.” Yup!)

My reward for finishing? Well, another want-to-learn-item of course! Adobe Illustrator. I’d love to learn how to draw those cute owls…

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Ending with some Canada for you.  These shots were taken summer of 2008 when traveling the province of Nova Scotia.

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What are you up to?

 

What I learned this week

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When reaching the end of  Mary Geisen’s Blog post this week, I found my eyes drawing upward to find her following words:

“Your journey is richer when you accept the breathtaking views as well as the limited perspective…” Mary Geisen – Mountaintop Vistas or Valley Floors

I paralleled her words with the art of photography. For, although a landscape photo gives a breathtaking view, a limited focal point of a macro (close-up) photo reveals a richness in the fine details.

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As a Type Seven on The Ennegram I’m apt to be scattered and miss the details, my mind  wandering out of the present. It’s constant work for me to stay focused, so I use tools such as lists in my day timer to help complete tasks, and leaving my phone at home or in the car when socializing.

Just moments ago a work colleague pointed out I wrote the wrong first name on an order.

And the brain chatter starts. “What is wrong with me?”

This week my eldest sister corrected me on my pronunciation of “pseudonym” and reminded me I tend to mispronounce other words as well.

What is wrong with me?

And on the same day I mixed up Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock.

What is wrong with me? Not smart enough…well-read enough…out-going enough…

However, being on the other side of 50 years, I have learned how to zoom out of the chatter quicker and into the larger perspective that all of us have our strengths, weaknesses, and all of us have places to grow, learn.

I may always be better at the spelling of words than a speaker, although I will keep working on learning the fine, rich details of pronunciation.

I may always have to look deeper into the details before commenting on literary authors and classic movies. Or take the chance to comment, and learn from my mistakes.

Regardless, that mind chatter–what is wrong with me–is like a cloud appearing in a breathtaking landscape. It will evaporate and disappear.

For the truth is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

“We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvellously who we were born to be.”
― Anne Lamott

(And just in-case you may not know, Edgar Allen Poe wrote Tell Tale Heart, and Alfred Hitchcock directed the 1960’s film, Psycho)

Recommended reading-Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

Discover the marvellous you through daily journaling prompts in Breathing Spaces-a 21 day journal of rest, reflection, and renewal

Linking up with Soaring With Him

 

A Wednesday Wintery Walk

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

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Life is full of twists and turns but, like a nature hike, the view around the curve can leave us breathless.

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Where are your eyes looking to today?

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I’m traveling for work presently, and will be back next week. If not already, I hope we can connect too, on Instagram at Lynn J Simpson and Inspiring Hope In You

Love,

Lynn