An offering from Bev: Where are you from?

September 18, 2012
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At a function recently someone asked me, “Where are you from?”  I answered in the usual way, giving the name of my hometown, but I secretly wanted to reply:

“I am from a song that was begun long, long ages ago,

breath and vibrations and imagination.

 

I am from where snow begins,

high in the sky, falling silently.

 

I am from a bird’s song

resonating from high atop an ancient oak tree.

 

I am from a chant sung by a Native American fore-mother.

 

I am from lullabies hummed by ancestors from across the ocean.

 

I am from my grandmother’s homemade biscuits, butter, and jelly.

 

I am from the back of a horse, saddled for me before breakfast by my grandfather.

 

I am from peaches and pecans from the trees in her yard and creamy,

Rich fudge from my grandmother’s stove.

 

I am from sitting on my grandfather’s knee and singing songs together on a road trip

halfway across the state of Texas.

 

I am from coastal sunshine, salt spray, and fish caught with my daddy.

 

I am from clothes beautifully crafted by my mom.

 

I am from sailing adventures with my brother.

 

I am from climbing trees and giggles with my little sister.

 

I am from games and cousins, and Christmas trees and camping,

and books and hymns.

 

I am from a place that, when I was 11 years old, was devastated by a hurricane

and resurrected by determination, faith, and countless helping hands.

 

I am from women and men who lived with Jesus

and taught others, who taught others, who taught others,

who taught my Sunday School teachers.

 

I am from many places, far from here.”

 

“And where are you from?”

 

Peace, Blessings, and Joy

Bev

 

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An offering from Lee: Life is funny

August 29, 2012
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Life is funny.

Doesn’t it just make you laugh all the time?

Yeah, right

Me too! (not)

What does make you laugh?

What make you smile?

What gives you joy?

 

Music

Animals

Beautiful places

Babies

Small children

I think these are more or less universal.

What else does it for you? (List)

Do you have special memories of those kinds of uplifting times? (Remember)

Are their things that you can do or people you can be with that tend to offer you these sorts of experiences? (How long has it been since you did those things or were with those people?)

How often do you laugh at yourself? Is it easy to do or hard?

I may be kind of unusual (understatement probably) but I believe that God is in every smile, laughter and joy we experience (as long as it is not at someone else’s expense).

In fact one of my special names for God is “My Jokester God.” God has such a sense of humor with me!  God is always surprising me, playing tricks on me, being silly and funny with me!

Do you see that side of God in your life?

If you haven’t …I think, and this is just me, but I think you would if you looked for it! No really. It is there, and if you ask God to show you , I bet in no time you will start noticing “My Jokester God” paying visits to you, too!

Tell me about it when it happens! I want to hear your stories that will let me be around that part of God even more.  Email me at self_biz@charter.net.

Thanks,

Lee Self

Rev. E. Lee Self

 

Dear God of fun and silliness and joy,

Be with us all. Help us open our hearts, minds, eyes and ears to you.  Help us share your holy joy with all that we meet.  Help us use the sense of humor that you gave us to make this world a better and easier place to live.  Help us share your love in seriousness and in light-hearted fun. For you are our creator and with us through it all.

AMEN

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An offering from Eunice: Amazed by Grace

August 26, 2012
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Amazed by Grace

When is a Birthday Cake not a Birthday Cake?  …. When it is a bouquet!

On a recent busy morning, my husband and I had received some bad news and had decided to go out for a quick lunch to get it off our minds for a while.  However, we kept getting interrupted by phone calls and finally agreed not to pick up again.  We were in the process of locking up the house when the phone rang once again.  It was a familiar number so my husband reluctantly answered.  Our son was calling with good news — he and our grandson were coming to visit the following week.

Our spirits buoyed we began to lock up again just as I saw two dear friends headed up our front walkway.  I puzzled over what they were up to until I saw they were carrying what appeared to be a rather large cake.  With all that had gone on, I had completely forgotten my birthday was the following day.  When they handed me the cake, I was surprised to find it was really heavy. Turns out they had not baked me a cake after all, but as they carefully explained had arrange the dozens of daisies and pale green asters in cake-shaped floral foam. . A beautiful bouquet in the shape of a cake!  I have seldom been so amazed or thrilled.

As we finally headed out to lunch, I couldn’t help but reflect aloud on how quickly our spirits can hold both joy and sorrow at the same time and how things are often not what they seem – especially at first glance.  The cake bouquet became a sacred object – it reminded me what a grace it is to be able to celebrate another birthday in such good health, the joys of long-term friendships and the blessings of both family and friends. The bouquet lasted for two weeks and I was able to share it with other friends who seemed equally amazed.  It was a daily reminder to look more closely, to wonder what opportunities for wonder, gratitude and beauty are missed because I am trying to head out in another direction.

As I pray an evening examen, I have a new viewpoint and a deeper way to focus as I look for God’s presence in my day.  I have been re-picturing my day keeping in mind that because of low spirits or preconceived ideas I may have missed an encounter with joy, an encounter with God.  I am determined to move a little more deliberately– to take a closer look, to listen more carefully – in the hope of being amazed by grace.

Eunice

Eunice Cheshire, Founding Director

 

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