Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Nature of Joy

Really feel confirmation in posting this thought today. It's been on my mind for several days now, and wham! this morning I found "Joy" being discussed on several blogs. Even my daily devotional spoke of it - so here's my contribution as to how I see JOY.

Is that joy I see? Busily chatting with nature,
as it jumps small pebbles immersed in clear water
Do I hear joy’s sound above the lofty pines
perchance to lend cheer to those in its path.

Joy - happily singing, reaching out, touching
always careful to stay safely within its flow
Soon it will move cautiously toward the bank
then dart away to once again begin swirling motions.

Joy will speak tender melodies to the deepen pools
before losing composure to plummet downward
Over the waterfall to gracefully unfold as a silk fan
reaching out to join others in a mission to rejuvenate the land.

Yes, it is joy I see - Joy - bubbling with laughter,
pouring its temperament into the earth’s character.

Well, today I am making a choice. No "doom and gloom" for me - I choose JOY unspeakable and full of glory.

Picture: Happy Isles, Yosemite National Park

Monday, January 28, 2008

Season of the Harvest

The Golden Grain Cries
Harvest Me

I am Ripe, I am Ready
Harvest Me

The Field is Plenteous, The Kernel Plump
Harvest Me

Who Will Thrust in the Sickle and
Harvest Me

A friend wrote the above words for inclusion in a brochure for a Mission Conference in the mid-1980s. To this day the words still appropriately fit the task at hand. May our desire be to work in the fields and gather the harvest.

Vintage wooden harvester is located somewhere in the California foothills.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Soaring Above

The Ways of the Eagle
by K.J. Hopper

How does the eagle mount above every care?

A mighty bird gracefully soaring above
Her broad wings stretching into the heavens
All the while observing the happenings below
Thus allowing me to glean from the beauty of her spirit.

On the crag of the rock, she builds her nest
A lofty residence cordially shared with nature
Then looking afar, she seeks a trace of prey
With keen eyes, marking her unsuspecting target.

How amazing the eagle in its conquests!
In air, she slices through the mighty winds
On the ground, she gathers diverse rewards
Authority and power travel upon her wings.

May my desire be to learn the ways of the eagle.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." Isa 40.31

Friday, January 25, 2008

With An Everlasting Love

A loving smile
A tender heart
A lending hand
Everyone’s friend

Mark E. Hopper
December 25, 1960
January 27, 1993

You live in our hearts each and every day. With everlasting love, Mom

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let the Winds Blow

We cannot stop the wind from blowing
....but, we can set our sails, it helps us on our way.

the inspirational words of Joan Walsh Anglund
quote from Crocus In The Snow, A Book of Poems

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stop! Caution! Go!

God's Word is like a traffic light - each part of the signal must be obeyed in order to avoid a mishap. author unknown (but wise)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Three-inch Turquoise Heels

While cleaning out my closets (inspired by Janiver’s Journey post), I came across a pair of high-heeled shoes. The pair reminded me of one of those “faith praying” moments that we so often have in life.

I, like most mothers, tried to see that my children had the things they wished for, that is, if possible. However, there were times when money was truly a factor (i.e., wallet empty, checkbook balanced with big goose eggs, and use of credit cards a “no-no”). It was during those times I had to consider, seek, plant and then cultivate.

The occasion in memory involved a pair of three-inch turquoise heels for my youngest daughter, Alisha. She was only 13, and would definitely have trouble walking in them (could see her wobbling across the church platform), but, to her, these shoes were a life-or-death situation. Every heard that before? The pitiful part was the shoes only matched one dress and nothing else - and $75 was steep to pay in the mid-1980s (oh, for those prices again). It hurt to say the price was too steep, but we would pray and if they went on sale at an affordable price, we’d reconsider. Well, guess what? Yes, a drastic markdown to $30. Well, I was still hesitant considering a possible three to four wearings, and the other three children had wants too so with words that I am sure broke her heart - "Let's continue to pray, and if they get down to $10, and there's a pair in your size, we'll buy them." You know - God wanted her to have those heels because two weeks after the first markdown; we bought a pair of three-inch turquoise heels (in her size) for $10 (plus tax).

Why did I tell this story? Well, for one it came to mind while cleaning the closet and the other is that I believe FAITH PRAYING brings results. It is when we first consider, then establish a plan, implement it and cultivate it with sincere prayer that the end results will be according to His will and most often, in our favor. Right now, my spirit is crying for a mighty apostolic revival to cross our land. Sincere faith praying will bring that revival.

Well, gotta hush as there are a pair of shoes at Macy’s that I really would like to have and I’ve got to get over there to see if my faith praying has worked. As for the revival, I don’t need to check on it. The Lord is already taking care of that, and it won’t be offered at a discounted price. But I am sure we all will agree, for a real apostolic revival, we are willing to pay full price, no matter what the cost. You know, I think I’ll skip the shoes, and do some faith praying for something that really matters.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Be Nice

Be nice to others because . . Time will make a difference!

One day, you may not be the "BIG DOG"!
Just the old dog

Friday, January 18, 2008

Deception’s Waters

Was going through a stack of photos, and came across ones taken a couple of years ago while vacationing in the State of Washington. The location was Deception Bay, Puget Sound - what an overwhelming sight - the water appearing deep and serene. However, its character was misleading for in moving around its edges, it offered a new perception at every angle.

Stories tell that years ago ship captains guided their ships into the bay’s beautiful waters thinking it was a place of safety in the midst of the sea's storms. Inside the cove, they found the waters, in many places, to be shallow, rocky and turbulent. Its deceptiveness caused many a shipwreck, leaving mighty ships broken apart, with their crews wounded or having perished. I can’t help but think the bay stands as a lesson to guard ourselves at all times, even when all seems calm and peaceful on the surface - for it is the underlying conditions, not readily seen, that may be perilous and destroy the spirit. My poem is written as a reminder not to be complacent but guard myself from becoming a statistic of shipwreck.

Swells boisterously rise above shades of gray,
unmercifully lurching as beasts toward their prey.
In patterns of frustration they ruthlessly toss,
determined to dash anything in their path to cross.

Pivoting wildly beneath, water in the unrest of a storm,
every motion aspiring to seize an unfamiliar form.
Cunningly deception lies on the crest of the wave,
as a fortress, to conquer those daring in self to be brave.

Waters continually strike at each vessel’s existence,
hoping strength is gone, for to offer little resistance.
But as adversity comes to conquer, it must subside again,
it is here that one’s faith must regroup if a victory to win.

The secret in mastering the storms that reside in the sea,
is to set sail toward the pristine shore known as eternity.
For in trusting we embark on a voyage navigated from above,
and we will reach our destination in the safety of love.

Isn’t it wonderful that God speaks to us through the elements of nature? Why not look around your environment as I am sure He has a lesson waiting just for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

True Examples

The Fairest is a Lady

The fairest of women is a lady, my friend
who warms every heart, charity not to pretend.
One honorably respected by her peers,
integrity’s beauty confirmed through the years.

She is concerned with others’ every need,
tenderly scattering love’s precious seed.
Careful not to take dignity away from a saint,
but setting encouraging words upon each plate.

If I can but possess one-tenth of her stature,
I will forever be grateful in that much to capture.
The fairest one, a lady having given her all,
supremely answering the ministry’s call.

I would like to give honor to whom honor is due. Many an influence has passed on but many are living - true examples for whom I am eternally grateful. Their ages vary, their locations scattered, and their personalities individual and unique but each has and continues to touch my life with words of wisdom and genuine concern - while always faithfully giving, without expecting anything in return. Each one is considered the fairest of ladies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Crossover, A Way to Go Home

Last week was spent in San Francisco for my husband’s doctor appointments, so it allowed me a chance to revisit the wondrous beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing its towering presence spanning across the two peninsulas brought reflections of the years I commuted to and from work across the bridge. Each day the trip was so special - seeing the beauty that God had placed all around the structure. However, the best part was the return each night. It was the crossing that would take me home (and inspired me to pen this vision).

In the distance looms a monumental symbol of strength,
with framework structured to bravely stand all alone,
its temperament as solid as the rock anchoring it in place.
What a magnificent span between two borders,
with cables suspending high above glistening waters,
a magnificent creation constructed with painstaking care.

Fortified gates open to greet the weary traveler,
as a welcome passage over nature's restraints.
Its centerpiece, a display of paired towers,
with columns joining clouds like friends meeting for a party,
allowing celebration of the victories of sovereignty,
yet bonding the mass into a place of agreement.

Not all will perceive its infinite dignity,
nor discover the importance of its existence.
A beautiful symbol linking city to countryside,
declaring the unity of man with the elements.
To many it is an invitation beckoning all to travel its pathway,
But for me, it is a crossover, a way to go home.

My daily crossings bonded me with the Bridge forever. Its majesty and strength are etched in my heart as a reminder of what my final crossover will be like, and the beauty I will see during that journey. I pray you too will etch a place of beauty in your heart, allowing you to reflect often on the trip home to see Him.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mastering the Waves

Oh, the challenge of mastering the big waves of the Pacific Ocean - the turning, carving, snapping off the top, and getting barreled (a.k.a.: surfer talk). The waves I’m speaking of are the world famous Mavericks north of Half Moon Bay, west of Princeton-by-the-Sea, and south of Moss Beach (and straight above Pillar Point). Each year, since 1999, there has been a Mavericks contest to determine the conqueror or conquerors of the big wave; that is, if the waves cooperate (Pacific storms determine whether the giants will emerge or not, with the contest’s time frame somewhere in-between mid-December to February). If the waves are a no show, the contest is put off for another year.

The greatest surfers from all over the world come to battle the most wicked waves that the Pacific Ocean has to offer. These surfing daredevils challenge the up-to-50-foot high waves, the jagged rocks, the shallow reefs and the frigid water. It is a spectacular exhibition of man’s skills battling nature’s elements.

The contest brings thousands of big-wave surfers to the small beach sandwiched between lofty cliffs and giant, crashing waves. We lived for 10 years just 1/4 mile from the actual Maverick site. In fact, if you look at the picture (below) where the surfing fans are sitting on the cliffs, our house was on the other side of the Cypress trees. Living that close, you couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement of the event. Being there in person is breathtaking with the sounds of crashing waves, the smell of fresh sea air, and a mist that flows up the cliff to touch your face.

Some fans pay up to $275 (cash) to watch the contest in one of a small fleet of tour boats available at the Princeton Harbor. It is hard to believe that anyone would pay that much to get up close and personal and bob up and down in the rocky sea but they do. No refunds for the seasick.

Well, this year’s Mavericks contest has come and gone - and the winners have been announced. However, there is another contest that comes to mind. It's the contest that we participate in each day. Living for the Lord has its excitement, challenges, and emotions as we bob up and down on the sea of life. In the process, we become seasoned daredevils challenging huge obstacles and unseen dangers. It’s a spectacular exhibition of our skills battling life’s elements. May we all master life's breathtaking waves - and be announced winners at His contest's ending.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Plain Brown Manila Folder Or ??

What a major project to find the right folders to store an accumulation of last year’s receipts, records, etc. You say, just how hard can that be? Well, it was pretty hard. Especially when you’re looking for the plain ones. It seems Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, etc., are promoting the colored folders (color coordinated, guaranteeing easier access to documents). It’s true, colored folders work very well, but so do the durable plain, brown ones.

Talking about folders reminds me of people. Its getting hard to find people that possess individuality. They’ve become copies of what society believes they should be - also known as, excellence through conformity. In other words, unless they look like movie stars, dress according to the latest fads, live in large homes (with a mortgage to match), and drive luxury vehicles, they haven't arrived. Does that mean the “chubbies” wearing bargain basement specials, living in 1,200 square foot homes, married with kids, a dog and cat (maybe a fish), and driving small cars or SUVs are unacceptable? Are only the colored folders "in" and the plain folders "out?" Come on, let’s get real, and be ourselves. The Creator never wanted us to be “cookie-cutter characters”. He made us as individuals, flawed and imperfect. He only wants us to try our best to please Him.

Well, I’ve made up my mind! I’m going to remain my own person and not become a carbon copy of what society “thinks” I should be. Just put me in a plain, brown manila folder, and file me under "Work In Progress.”

Waiting - Update, No Longer Waiting

Today, are you wrapped in circumstances that need an answer? Well, I am - so I'm waiting, perched atop my situation, looking into the Heavens with the assurance that He will supply me with an answer - perhaps not as I wish, but as He desires.

"Wait on the Lord:.." Psa 27:14

12 hours ago, I did this post. I have received my answer.
Wasn't as I wished, but it was what He desired - and that is fine with me.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dreams Are More Than Fairy Castles

DREAMS - Ah the beauty of them. As a child, I dreamt of fairy castles, with halls of happiness and galleries of laughter. In my mind, PERFECTION was to be everywhere; however, life (also know as REALITY) had something else in mind.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t allow us to quill one joyous occasion after another. How wonderful it would be to float on puffy clouds, a glass of ice-cold lemonade in hand, while sailing high above every one of life’s cares. Or enjoying a sumptuous feast prepared expressly for our taste buds, with no gratuity imposed, dishes to do, or portions classified as fattening – or obtaining a college degree without cracking a book, attending a class or taking a test. Dreams? Certainly they are! And dreams should be a part of our reality.

Reality has boundaries and limitations. It places barricades across the streets we wish to travel, and its detours seemingly going nowhere. Barricades and detours always seem to be situated where we experience despair, heartache, and pain. And when we hurt it is only natural to start dreaming - dreaming of a better day, a better job, a better place, better health, better financial support, and the list goes on. Why do we dream so often in adversity? Because we were originally the creation of perfection, and the Garden of Eden, via Adam, Eve and the consumption of the forbidden fruit voided any chance for earthly perfection - so we must dream of it. Here’s my written assessment of dreams.

Dreams are liberties freeing the extremities of constraint,
allowing us to perceive tomorrow as a better day.
Our concerns and pressures lost in the murmur of bliss.

Dreams are wings commissioning flights into sincerity,
issuing tickets to destinations of wondrous beauty.
Bravery gallantly soaring above our daily cares.

Dreams are passages merging the present with the past,
dismissing any acknowledgment of what is and what is not.
Reality mixing life's ingredients so as to satisfy our yearnings.

Dreams are gifts wrapped in magnificent papers,
showing off vibrant swirling patterns, with tags of gold.
Excitement stands in awe, making each package exceptional.

Dreams are visions perceived through eyes of faith,
revealing the fortitude and strength of one's character.
Allowing mankind the opportunity to touch the hem of Perfection.

Yes, dreams can be wonderful; that is, if God is in them. Today, I dream of a great in-gathering of souls, unity in purpose and spirit, streets of gold, gates of pearl, my name written in the Book of Life (and my dreams go on and on). Please dream with me, for someday in so doing, we will genuinely know perfection - and PERFECTION will preserve us forever.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Give Me A Heart to See

Resolutions for the New Year swirl through my head. For me, it is really important to make my resolutions count this year. Don't want ones that will drop by the wayside in a few weeks. I am bent on not resolving to lose weight (although that would make my doctor happy, and me too), or to cut up my credit card (would make my husband happy, but not sure about me), or to floss three times a day (would make my dentist happy, and Delta Dental). My resolutions must center upon seeing life as never before. So, here I go . . . .

Give Me A Heart to See
▸ a light shining in the darkness of night
▸ laughter coming from deep within an anguished cry
▸ a smile upon a face blanketed by a frown
▸ innocence upon the sheets of evil doing
▸ a twinkle in the eyes of blindness
▸ genuine prayer kneeling before an atheistic altar
▸ truth’s cancellation of deceit’s documents
▸ exquisite packages wrapped in newsprint and tied with string
▸ You Lord, even when faith wavers and the way is rough

Please Lord, in 2008 Give Me a HEART to SEE.