Tag Archives: gift

A Missed Blessing?

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I think I may have missed a blessing, a gift of provision.  My eyes and ears are not always open to the things of the Spirit, and sometimes I know I’ve missed things because of unnecessary fear or a lack of faith even when I have felt prompted to do or say something.

On my way back home after taking my daughter to the airport in Manchester, NH, I saw some ice fisherman on a lake at dawn.  I immediately took the exit following, but being a woman alone and realizing I’d have to walk through the woods and then onto the ice to get a picture, I decided against it.  The morning light was so beautiful, and I really wanted to take a picture, but I foresaw no future opportunity along the interstate.  As I continued to drive, I felt impressed to take the Bethel / South Royalton exit long before I even reached it.  I said, “Lord, I want to take a picture, but I’m tired and hungry.  If You want me to take the exit, I will, but You’ll have to compel me.”

By the time I reached the exit, I felt compelled.  I hoped I wasn’t wasting my time.  I turned toward South Royalton and reached the intersection that hosts Eaton’s Sugar House, and it was open, bustling, and serving breakfast!  I bypassed it, not wanting to miss the beautiful lighting, and turned again toward South Royalton.  I found a place to park next to a rocky spot of the White River.  It was a beautiful spot, and since I’d been wanting to capture a slow-shutter water shot, it was perfect, and I used the rocks as a tripod.  I am so happy with how the photo turned out!

I didn’t end up stopping by the sugar house to have breakfast despite my hunger.  Instead, I decided to drive the relatively short distance and fix something to eat at home.  Strangely, it hadn’t occurred to me that the sugar house was just as much God’s provision as was the river.  Now, I’m kicking myself for possibly missing a greater blessing.  But still, I am filled with joy at His thoughtfulness.  I feel like He grabbed my hand and said, “Come with Me!  I want to show you something I know you’ll love!”


From the Heart

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I recently received a birthday gift from a friend who does not have access to cards or pretty paper, but it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.  He wrote down a poem from memory that wasn’t sentimental and had nothing whatsoever to do with birthdays, but it brought a huge smile to my face and even made me laugh.  He’s a man’s man with a big heart.  This is what he wrote:

“To Rene!!!
Happy Birthday Young Girl

I don’t have access to a store that sells b-day cards, so I’ll send you a funny poem or rhyme I heard on TV!

There once was a man
Name Barney Fife
Who carried a pistol
And a knife
The pistol all rusty
The knife all dusty
Cause he never caught
A crook in his life!

Best I can do for a b-day card for you!  Hope you like it!  It sure makes me laugh!”

Yes, it did make me laugh, and I treasure it.

His gift reminded me of two things.  One is from The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring movie in which Sam expresses a tribute to the recently fallen wizard, Gandalf.  The elves were singing a hauntingly, beautiful lament, and he said, “I bet they don’t mention his fireworks.  There should be a verse about them.”  So he stood and proceeded to create a verse, “The finest rockets ever seen.  They burst in stars of blue and green.  Or after thunder, silver showers came falling like a rain of flowers.”  Then he discouragingly said, “Oh, that doesn’t do them justice by a long road.”

The second thing of which I was reminded is how the Bible expresses God’s perspective on gifts.  Like an earthly father and mother who appreciate even the smallest, heartfelt gifts from their children, God doesn’t expect perfect pitch when we sing songs of praise and thanksgiving to Him.  He doesn’t expect us to give hundreds or even thousands of dollars when we have only two copper coins, and He doesn’t expect a huge bouquet of flowers when all we have is a fistful of dandelions.  God loves a cheerful giver and a gift that comes from the heart.  (2 Cor. 9:7)


Moving Forward

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Photo by Troy Sherk: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/509126

I recently shared with a friend an experience I’d had in the summer of 2011, and I feel like the timing is right to share it with you.  I don’t know what you believe about the gift of prophecy, but because of certain teachings concerning the doctrine of cessation, I used to believe it was given primarily to preachers and missionaries to proclaim or speak forth the already revealed and written Word of God.  While I no longer believe that, as I expressed in a previous post, I believe that any prophetic utterance must not contradict what has already been revealed and therefore, would not include any new revelation or foretelling of future events contrary to what has already been prophesied.  The Bible says that of all the spiritual gifts, we should be eager to prophesy, because it edifies, exhorts and comforts.

In the summer of 2011, I traveled to North Carolina to spend some time with my mom and attend my 30th high school reunion.  During an earlier visit, I had attended my mother’s church and learned they had a room to which people could go after the service for prayer and possibly to receive a word from God.  My mother attends a very large Baptist church that also does not believe in the doctrine of cessation, and they appoint proven people to minister in the room.  I didn’t go to the room during my earlier visit, but when I returned in the summer, I really felt the need for prayer and to possibly hear a word from God.  So, after the service I went toward the door of the room where a man was standing.  He asked if I needed prayer, and I said, “Yes.”  He lead me into the room where another person was ministering to someone else.  The room looked like a cozy living room or study with plush chairs, side tables, and softly lit lamps.  He motioned for me to sit down, then asked if he could pray silently first and ask God for guidance and insight.  Of course, I agreed.

After he prayed, he said something like, “As I prayed, I saw a vision.  Now, I don’t know if it will mean anything to you, and if it doesn’t, you can ask God if it means anything or you can just disregard it.  I am just a man; I am fallible, so you decide whether or not you believe it’s from God, ok?”

I really appreciated that, because I’ve been in charismatic circles in which people claim to speak for God in a “thus saith the Lord” way.  Some think they are speaking boldly with faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, but they don’t realize they may actually be speaking presumptuously and not at all from Him.

Anyway, he continued.  “You know the moving sidewalks?  Like the ones you see in airports?  Well, I saw a clear vision of you on one.  You were heading in the right direction, you were even walking, but you didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.”

I immediately started sobbing.  What he said was exactly how I was feeling.  Exactly.  I had been feeling somewhat stuck and hindered, and I wanted to know if I was heading in the right direction.   When I could finally speak, I told him what I was struggling with, and he counseled me a bit, prayed for me, encouraged me, and asked questions to get a sense of whether or not the church could be of further help to me.

As I’ve already mentioned, my mother’s church is a very large Baptist church.  It receives many visitors each Sunday from near and far.  The man did not know me, I had not been introduced to him, nor had I said anything besides, “Yes,” to him prior to his vision.  Because he didn’t know me, because his vision was so right on, and because it answered the question in my heart, I was so encouraged to keep pressing forward and trust the Lord.  So was it a prophetic vision and word from God?  I truly believe it was.


Remembering Papa

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Yesterday, my daughter, Yoshi, and I took our first jewelry making class.  She had been given Papa’s tools and classes as a gift.  Papa, her grandfather and my father-in-law, passed away a couple of months ago.  Although jewelry making wasn’t Papa’s trade, he had made several pieces during his retirement years.  He made the turquoise pendant shown in the photo of Yoshi working with brass wire.

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Since we had no real experience working with metals, our instructor had us start with wire.  She showed us the different metal wires, gauges, and tools to use.  She even demonstrated soldering, which we’ll get to do in our next class.   It’s a little intimidating, but it was fun.  And it’s a way to connect with Papa in some small way and keep his memory alive.

Thank you, Papa and Rie for the gifts.

http://sweetcapture.blogspot.com/2012/11/tools-of-trade.html


Where’s the Fruit

Ripening FruitI’d procrastinated with getting my garden started this year; I could blame it on all the rain we’d been getting, and while it could be a valid reason, I have to take some responsibility too.  You see, I had meant to purchase some mature tomato plants but… I procrastinated with doing that, also.  Even though my neighbor gave me some tiny plants started from seed it looked like I wouldn’t be seeing any tomatoes this year.

However, I went to a perennial garden on an outing with a ladies’ Bible study group and I was so blessed to find some tomato plants being given away… FREE!  They looked a bit ‘leggy’ but they already had fruit and they were  f-r-e-e!  I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth but rather saw them as a precious gift from my heavenly Father.  He sends rain on the just and on the unjust… on compulsives and procrastinators alike… even procrastinators like me who have proven to be less than diligent stewards.

Anyway, when a friend and I were talking about gardens and veggies before I’d gotten the free plants, I’d mentioned my tiny seedlings and lamented about the probability of not harvesting any fruit.  He’s an experienced gardener and told me to use 10-10-10.  I reasoned it must be fertilizer, but I asked if it was like Miracle Gro®.  He confirmed it was fertilizer but that I shouldn’t use the miracle plant food because it tends to produce a lot of foliage and little fruit.  After doing some research I learned that too much nitrogen will produce lots of leaves but the plant will either not blossom at all or it will produce very few.

Hmm… we can be like that as Christians sometimes, can’t we?  We do things to make ourselves look very mature, but without the right heart attitude and being guided by the Spirit we end up like a lush tomato plant with lots of leaves and little fruit.  I’d rather have fruit and few leaves than no fruit at all, just like my free tomato plants.  I mean, after all, what’s the purpose of having tomato plants anyway?  To make my garden look good so I can show others what a great gardener I am, or to enjoy its fruit?  So… are we nourishing others with our fruit, or do they go away hungry?


The Birthday Book

Yesterday was my granddaughter, Gracie’s, first birthday. My son and daughter-in-law hosted her birthday party at a local park. It was a beautiful day and a blessing to celebrate with family and friends! She received a lot of gifts, but the most meaningful was a book given to her by her daddy… my son. I’m so proud of the man he has become.

The Birthday Book
The book is a blank journal in which he has begun a tradition of writing a letter to her for each birthday.  For her first birthday he recorded some of her favorite things, her accomplishments, her characteristics, and an exhortation to always remember not only that he loves her and thinks she is beautiful, but God does, too, “and His opinion is what really matters”.  What a rare and precious gift.  Did I already say how proud I am of him?


I Heart You

Yesterday, my oldest son, Chris, came across this heart in a piece of lumber while he was working.  As I came out of my room after taking a nap, he said, “Mom, I have a present for you,” and he proceeded to pull it from his pocket.  Wasn’t it sweet of him to think of me and take the time to cut the piece of wood down to size?  I heart you, too, Chris.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there are different forms of love for the one English word, but the Greek language has four words:  storge, a natural family affection; phileo, a brotherly love; eros, an erotic love; and agape, the highest form of love because it is given unconditionally and is the most difficult one to give.

One of the ‘Beatitudes for Homemakers’ says, “Blessed is she whom children love, for the love of a child is of greater value than fortune or fame”.  I feel so blessed to be loved by my children… and now by my granddaughter.  When she holds out her arms to me, it just melts my heart.

Have you ever found strength and courage in love?  Laozi, a Chinese philosopher said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  In times of distress when you feel like you cannot go on, have you ever looked into the face of a child and found the strength, courage, and determination to persevere?  I’ve heard so many people express strength to accomplish something difficult for the love of family… a wife, a husband, or children… or even for the love of country.

Have you ever been afraid to love?  Ann Radcliffe, an American author, wrote, “Such is the inconsistency of real love, that it is always awake to suspicion, however unreasonable; always requiring new assurances from the object of its affection”.  Really?  The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  The context speaks of God’s love for us expressed by the sending of His Son as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins in order to be reconciled to Him.  God’s love is perfect, and we should have no fear in loving Him and receiving His love.

In the monologue The Woman at the Well, Chris Kinsley and Drew Francis expressed, “To be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known”.  Isn’t there a phrase that says we fear what we don’t know?  Although we also fear what we do know by experience, sometimes we fear what we think we know and have imagined, instead of seeking to know what is true.  We judge unrighteously and without knowledge and may miss out on love and happiness as a result.

I recently watched a short, humorous video by The Skit Guys called Romantically Challenged.  In it, one of the questions asked was, “How many of you have ever done anything for your wife without desiring anything in return?”  Is that a guy thing?  Not that women don’t ever do things without expecting something in return, but the video seemed to portray it as a common thing among men.  Did you know the Bible commands husbands to love their wives?  I know part of the reason is because feeling loved is one of the most basic needs women have, just as being honored and respected is one of the most basic needs and expression of love that men have, but I find it interesting that the Bible often instructs us in the area of our weaknesses.  Hmm…  Leo F. Buscaglia said, “Love is always bestowed as a gift —freely, willing, and without expectation.  We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”

While there is no formula for love, and if you’re looking for a formula, your focus is misplaced, nevertheless, it’s always nice to get some ideas of how we can express our affection to someone we love.  First and foremost get to know them, what they like and don’t like, and what’s important to them.  David Augsburger, an American Anabaptist author said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that, for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”  My son knows that I love photography and finding shapes, especially hearts, in everything from clouds to reflections of light and from wood to cracked asphalt.  He knows me.  He has taken the time to listen.  And when he saw the heart-shaped knot in a rough piece of lumber, he knew that although it may mean very little to someone else, it would be very meaningful to me.  Some people like gifts, while others like acts of service such as helping with housework, and still others need a physical touch.  Amy Carmichael, a Christian missionary said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

And one more thing.  Love is like a Ninja, popping up when you least expect it and turning your world upside-down.  (^_~)


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