Distractions

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I spend a lot of my time feeling distracted.

Being a creative person- there’s always some song I am compelled to play on the piano, or an amazing sunset I want to take a picture of… or I am inspired to read my Bible, or write.   All of these things require my undivided attention, but with two teenage daughters, a husband, two dogs, and a home to take care of- there is always something else that needs my attention when I’m at home.

And this has, at times, led me to being very frustrated.

But He is really opening my eyes to something…

In my quest to focus on my creative outlets, my ultimate desire in doing this is to have time with Him.  That is when I feel closest to Him- when I am quietly and focused, in my creative zone, with no other distractions around me.

But His presence never leaves me, and my fellowship with Him is continuous- no matter if I am alone or in a room full of people.  No matter if I am driving with my daughters to school, or cooking dinner with two dogs barking underfoot. He is helping me to live in the moment, and to recognize that He is using ALL things- even the things that distract me- to strengthen my walk with Him.  In fact, I will say that this is a huge “aha” moment for me- that I am able to see distractions as part of His will for each moment of my day.

One of my dogs will sit at my bedroom door in the morning, and he whines until I get up to let him out.  He is waking up earlier and earlier, and  I am not always a happy camper when I roll out of the bed at 5am to let him out.  But the other day, as I leashed my dogs up, I realized what a blessing it is to be up so early- and to have all that quiet time.

I sat down on the couch that morning,  and as I reveled in the peace and quiet-  I noticed an eerie glow coming through the dining room window and the kitchen.  Distracted from my “quiet time”, I got up and looked outside, and the clouds were absolutely stunning- it was like they were on fire.

It was such a beautiful moment for me, because I felt that little nudge from Him-

He is there in the quiet moments

and He’s right there in the distractions, too.

Fix your eyes on Jesus- Hebrews 12:2

When the sun rises, so do I

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colors blaze

across the sky-

when the sun rises,

so do i

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a fresh new day 

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when the sun rises 

so do i

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ocean crashes

seagulls fly 

when the sun rises

so do i

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I climb the stairs

with a pensive sigh

when the sun rises

so do i

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This past weekend we had our annual women’s retreat with our church.  We went to one of my favorite places- the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

At home,  I am usually the first one to wake up, and the first thing I do is make a cup of coffee.  I like my quiet time in the mornings.

But one of the things I enjoyed most about this weekend was waking up early and finding fellowship with the other ladies who were also early risers.  I loved drinking coffee together, watching the sunrise, and sharing stories with one another…and then sometimes we sat in silence.

I told the ladies that I LOVE it when our clocks “fall back”- because I LOVE getting ready for bed early!  As soon as the sun comes up, I naturally wake up- no matter what time I go to bed, so the earlier to bed, the better!

When the sun rises- so do I! 

…weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning- 

Psalm 30 

 

want a treat?

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Like every other morning, I heard the whimper of a lonely dog at my bedroom door.  One dog sleeps in my younger daughter’s room (Jack thinks it’s actually HIS bedroom!) and the other sleeps in the hallway- on guard, protecting his sleeping family.  But around 5:30am, Remy will put his nose right up to the crack at the bottom of our bedroom door and whine- just loud enough to wake me up.

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I got out of bed and immediately made a cup of coffee.  I sat on the couch as I sipped my steaming cup of love, but that wasn’t exactly what Remy had in mind… then comes the tail wagging and the barking at my feet.  I got Jack out of his room and then the two dogs romp around in the foyer.  Honestly, I wanted to finish that one cup of coffee… but it wasn’t going to happen until I took care of business.

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And then I caught the sunrise out of the corner of my eye- something I have missed lately! I leashed up both of my boys and took my phone outside with me.  It was a nothing short of a miracle- I held both leashes in one hand and even took a picture with the other!  I came inside and asked the boys the usual question as they wagged their tails and barked with excitement- “Want a treat? Want a treat?” 

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a beautiful sunrise.

But you know something? I wouldn’t appreciate it nearly as much if I got to see it everyday.

As my dogs ate their treat, I realized He gave me one this morning,  too!

All eyes have turned toward You, waiting in expectation;
    when they are hungry, You feed them right on time. 

Psalm 145:15

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rise and shine

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5 am, eyes open wide

the morning light

called me outside

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the moon and sun

played hide and seek

behind the clouds and mountain’s peak

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And when the sun

did finally rise

His splendor shone before my eyes

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the sky was crystal clear  

My hubby and I took a recent trip to the mountains and one of the things I most looked forward to was watching the sunrise.  From my home, there isn’t a good view of the sunrise, so while we were away, I couldn’t wait to watch the sunrise come up over the mountains!

The funny thing was that I didn’t even set an alarm that first morning- my eyes just popped open at 5am!  I’m definitely a morning person- but 5am is a bit early… thankfully He got me up right on time for the show 🙂

God is good!

 

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enjoying the view…

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early morning… you can still see the moon in the sky 🙂 

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.  

Psalm 113:3

joy comes in the morning

 

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OBX Sunrise

I sat in silence watching you

reveling in daylight’s debut 

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a front-row seat upon the sand 

morning sprung forth from His hand 

 

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we witnessed daybreak’s glorious light 

across the glassy ocean bright 

 

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like looking through a kaleidoscope 

the beauty filled my soul with hope 

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as I sat in silence watching you 

reveling in daylight’s debut

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I am a “sunset” girl- and I get to see them pretty often.

But getting to see an actual sunrise on the beach?  That’s a special occasion for sure!

It was going to be our last full day at the beach, and so we decided to get up super early and make the 5 minute drive to the ocean to watch the sun come up.  As I was drifting off to sleep the night before, my hubby asked me if I had set the alarm since we were going to get up at the crack of dawn to see this!  No- I had forgotten… huge shocker, lol… I forget EVERYTHING!!  But I just knew the good Lord will wake me up on time to get there, I smiled as I told my husband.

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Sure enough, about 4:30am my eyes popped open.

We drove the short distance to the ocean and as I walked across the dunes, it was like a wonderland.  Misty, slightly cloudy- the ocean water glittered like diamonds, shimmered with rosy hues as it reflected the dawn sky.  It was just stunning.

DSC_0416.jpgI could have sat there all day long.  The Lord woke me up right on time, and He gave us a magnificent morning.

God is good.

…but joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5

The first gleam of dawn…

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The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
    which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
    They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

My child, pay attention to what I say.
    Listen carefully to my words.

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Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil.- Proverbs 4:18-27

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So often I sidetrack myself with my own mind.  Thinking instead of praying.  Talking instead of listening.

I was in a battle with myself yesterday.  You see- for nearly 3 years, I’ve written on here every single week- sometimes twice a week.  That once a week deadline (that I’ve tried to live up to) was yesterday.  I know others who write daily and even more often than that.  But for me- I have a hard time making myself do tasks such as these because- well, I have to have the time, and I have to be inspired!  You can’t “make” yourself be inspired to write!

The girls are home on Spring Break and there are lots of Mom things that still have to run as usual.  And I knew that if I didn’t “write” yesterday, that my once a week post standard that I have set would be broken forever. But you know what I did?  I allowed myself to feel like a failure for an entire day because of it. I did that to myself!!

And you know what? The sun still set last night.  The girls had a mini slumber party on the couch (their favorite non-school way to sleep), and I woke up this morning to my cuddly dog snuggling with me.  My hubby kissed me goodbye on his way out the door for work this morning.  And not a single one of them knew I labeled myself a “failure” all of yesterday. Life still went on as usual.  The only person who made me feel like a failure was ME!

The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37

It brought me great comfort to read the above verses this morning.  When I delight in Him, I have no room for unpleasant thoughts about myself.  When I fall, He picks me right back up. And when I take my negative thoughts and surrender them to the Lord- I immediately feel the peace of Christ reign in my heart once again!

So, stop being so hard on yourself…surrender those thoughts to HIM! It’s a new day to love the Lord and to recognize how much He loves YOU!

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 2 Corinthians 10:5  

This too shall pass

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As I sat on the couch, my dog began to slowly whimper beside as he subtly attempted to get my attention.  He needed to go outside, and I needed to bundle up due to the cold air that has settled in here.  I layered up while he ran in circles around me, and as I opened the door, I noticed the pink hued sky.  It glowed with the promise of a new day.

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I wasn’t outside more than a couple of minutes, but reveled in the beauty.  I quickly ran inside, gave my dog his “treat” and glanced out the window again… and nothing.  Nada.  Not even a hint  of the colors that captivated my eyes just moments before.

What a simple reminder from Him to seize the moment, find joy, and revel in the beauty of NOW…

before it’s gone.

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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extending hands of grace

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Sunrise on my morning walk

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

As I do most mornings, I leashed my dog up and headed out for a walk.  It was sunny and mild- the perfect spring morning.  As I was walking, I took notice of a police car heading in my direction, which I perceived to be going faster than the speed limit.

I immediately defaulted to judging- thinking negative thoughts about him, based on nothing more than the thought that he *may* have been going slightly faster than usual, with no other cars in sight.

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I continued walking and began to cross the street.  I glanced behind me and noticed the cop car had turned around and was driving towards me on my side of the street.  I crossed the street and kept walking.  The cop pulled up beside me and motioned for me to come to his car.

Great!  Immediately my mind wandered to the millions of things he could be stopping me for- and not one of those thoughts was a positive one.

God ever so gently showed me the err of my ways as I saw the cop extend his hand of grace to me-

“Here you go!”  The cop smiled and handed me a larger than normal dog biscuit.  “I just wanted you to have this.  Hope you have a great day!”

And in that instant I realized how guilty I was- of judging him, of thinking he was not there to help me- but to reprimand me for something.  Honestly- I didn’t even know if he had been going above the speed limit, but in my split-second judgement of him, I had already sized him up- stereotyped him as someone who thought he was “above the law”,  looking to pull someone over.

But God wants us to see others through His eyes of Love and Grace. Apart from Him, I fail miserably at doing this.  Instead of thinking the worst about someone, we need to put our hope in Him always and expect Him to show us the good in others.

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12

And as far as I have come on this walk with Him- in His wonderful, loving way- He shows me just how much further I have to go.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  Psalm 119:18

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My walking buddy and his “treat” from the cop

   

The morning after

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Easter Sunrise from our church

 the morning after 

we continue to proclaim-

“He’s risen, indeed!”

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Easter Sunrise

The joy of celebrating His resurrection grows sweeter as the years go by.

The thing is- I don’t want to stop celebrating!

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 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”.

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.  John 20:16-18

I love reading the story of Mary and Jesus.  I can hardly imagine how overjoyed she must have been to realize that He was, in fact, alive!  He immediately tells her not to hold on to Him- but to go!  There is some Good News to be told and although she probably wanted to “tarry” in that garden with Jesus, she was ready to go when He said go!  For me, there is always a little bit of a “let down” after Easter… so much preparation for the “big day”, and then before we know it, the day is over with. Sometimes I wish I could “tarry” in those sweet moments of worshipping Him!  Reading His Word today reminded me that there is still lots of work to be done, lots of Good News to share, and that the Resurrection Day isn’t just “a day”- He is Risen- in the present tense!

And that is worth celebrating and praising Him for every moment!