May begins

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May begins
buying red tulips
at the store
and home by way
of a new bridge

I bought the red tulips at Caan Floral & Greenhouses in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  The person who waited on me wrapped them in green tissue paper and tied a ribbon around the bouquet.  I also bought two packets of nasturtium seeds.

The image is a free sample from The Complete “Chinese Ornament:” All 100 Color Plates, courtesy of Dover Publications.  So cheerful.

Blessings, Ellen

Sarah Young “Learning to be content . . .”

“Learning to be content is both a discipline and an art: You train your mind to trust My Sovereign ways with you–bowing before my mysterious, infinite intelligence.  You search for Me in the details of your day, all the while looking for good to emerge from trouble and confusion.  You accept the way things are without losing hope for a better future.”

by Sarah Young
Jesus Today
Thomas Nelson

2012 Author Copyright

This selection is from the 94th devotion in this book, page 218.  As many of you know, I mentioned this book in a recent post.  If Sarah Young is a new author for you, you can see she writes from her expression of God’s point of view, from her life of prayer.  This gives the book a personal feeling.  Each devotion is on one page, and then on the page opposite the devotion, there are Bible verses to support and further encourage.  For this devotion, the Scriptures cited and reprinted are 1 Corinthians 7:17, Philippians 4:12, and Romans 11:33-36.

I like this book design very much.  The book is small with a royal blue cover.  I like that when I am resting, I don’t have to turn a page, in order to read one devotion.  These details matter, I found, for someone not feeling well, a tired caregiver, during a busy day – for all kinds of reasons.

So much thought went into Jesus Today.  I sense God’s love and friendship.

Sarah Young includes different translations of the Bible.  As I type this today, the entire Bible in the Message translation is on a shelf by my computer.  I love the King James Version, and am also reading in other translations.  I love to study – yet I find a small book with prayerful thoughts and Bible verses is exactly what I need often now.

Jesus Today by Sarah Young

Here and there, I’m reading Jesus Today, Experience Hope Through His Presence, by Sarah Young (2012, Author Copyright; Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee).  She is thoughtful and sensitive, and grounded in the Bible.  In her Introduction, she writes of her experience with illness, and says, “I am convinced that if I had been healthier, I would not have been able to write this book.”  God is so good, and He brings good out of everything.  Sometimes it takes years to see, at least for me.

On another topic, I learned from The Dover Design Sampler email that March 30 is Vincent van Gogh’s birthday.  This painting of his, from 1888, is a free sample from 120 Great Flower Paintings.

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Daily Prompt – the why of our blog titles

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Today the Daily WordPress Prompt says: “Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.”  http://dailypost.wordpress.com

I’ve been reading the Psalms aloud since the mid-1990s, and I’ve always loved this poetry.  The Psalms are honest, emotional, and convey ever-growing trust in God, which leads to deeper praise and thanksgiving.

No matter how many times I read the Psalms, new meanings are given, along with the reassurance of their ongoing rhythm in my life.  I also am grateful for the beauty in nature.

Reading the Psalms in different translations helped me grow a new life chapter again, many years ago.  This spiritual practice was healing and also helped me begin writing anew.  I wasn’t reading as a teacher or scholar, I was reading as a child of God in need.  I’ll never forget the comfort they gave me, as I read a little or a lot, looked at a bouquet of flowers, trees and birds outside the window, and watched the light through the seasons as always.  God is good and He loves us.  I always feel as if I am just beginning . . .

Psalm 23: 1 – 2 (KJV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Image: http://reusableart.com.

A Few Poems About Creativity

This is a small collection of my previously published poems about the creative process, as I know this life so far. Blessings, Ellen

The following Bible verse is the theme for my blogs. God gave it to me in my 40s, when a chronic illness aged me faster.  Now I am 59, am well, and love being older.  I have to take care to stay well; I accept the rest I need and would recommend enough rest to anyone.  This means there are many things I cannot do, but God opens the whole world through blogging.  I am grateful for our community.

He hath made everything beautiful in his time . . . Ecclesiastes 3: 11a (KJV)

weeping willows
reach towards ground
humility

many sparrows play
in evergreen trees
perfect harmony

B  eautiful way to
O  pen hearts and
O  pen minds to
K  now new stories and
S  ongs

reading new
and old poems
variety of evergreens
in the brown clay jug

snowflakes fall
one-by-one
I read another haiku

writing poetry
sun shines on unfinished wood
around the window

R  estore
E  ncourage
S  ing
T  rust God

“the relationship between the artist and the work” Madeleine L’Engle

“At its highest, the relationship between the artist and the work shifts, and artist and work collaborate.  In my own way I have known such moments–I think all artists know them, because it has nothing to do with the degree of talent . . . “

Madeleine L’Engle Herself
Reflections On A Writing Life

Compiled by Carole F. Chase

Shaw Books
an imprint of WaterBrook Press
Copyright 2001 by Crosswicks, Ltd.

The Official Madeleine L’Engle website:  http://www.madeleinelengle.com.

Thanks and Service

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I finished Ann Voskamp’s new book, one thousand gifts DEVOTIONAL (Zondervan, 2012, copyright by author).

And I began reading again. Counting my blessings is something I can do, whether rested or tired. In her Devotion 4, Ann quotes Chesterton, who said that “thanks are the highest form of thought.” (Her book includes careful reference notes for sources.)

Then she wrote,” Why would we ever tire of bending low in thanking – thanking – this highest form of thinking?” She added,”This is what all the great artists and thinkers do – they stay awake to the wonders of God’s world” (p.24).

Years ago, I remember a sermon by Stuart Briscoe, at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He said, “The way up is down.” I remember when Jill Briscoe said in a sermon that sometimes people wanted to be standing where she was, and she said service begins behind the scenes.

When I was serving as a caregiver at my mother’s kitchen sink – not the teacher in front of a class anymore – I thought, “A cup of water in Jesus’ name . . .”

All the same work. Truly.

Stuart also said, “The ground is level at the foot of the Cross.”

I’m looking forward to Lent and Easter.

The image is from http://christianimagesource.com.

Ann’s site: http://onethousandgifts.com.