Friday, November 27, 2009

Light and Water

The beauty that is portrayed
when a vessel
is filled with
light and water.
Anybody see the analogy here?
(iPhone photo taken 11/27/09 - Diane Nelson)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all

May your Thanksgiving day be filled with
pleasant, warm moments
which will turn into
lasting memories...
treasures of your heart

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mountains of Spices - Gentleness

Chapter 10 - Mountain of Calamus
Gentleness (The Terror of Love)
This contrast became very vivid to the consciousness of Grace and Glory as she sat up there on the rocky throne beside the King of Love. On the one hand she saw the terror and the grandeur of the rocky cliffs, and on the other the grace and gentleness of the reeds which clothed the mountain slopes.
"The terror and the beauty of love." The words suddenly came into her mind with such force and clarity that she turned and looked at the king to see whether he had spoken them....
"My Lord," she said, "I have another question to ask you. You have brought me here to the Mountain of Calamus where the reeds of gentleness grow. And I know so much about the gentleness of your love in my own experience. But is there another side to love? Can love be terrible as well as gentle? Is love really like a consuming fire which cannot be approached without fear and trembling? Can love even appear to be cruel and terrible?"
..."Yes," he said, "Love is a consuming fire. It is a burning, unquenchable passion for the blessedness and happiness, and, above all, for the perfection of the beloved object. The greater the love, the less it can tolerate the presence of anything that can hurt the beloved, and the less it can tolerate in the beloved anything that is unworthy or less than the best, or injurious to the happiness of the loved one. Therefore it is perfectly true that love, which is the most beautiful and the most gentle passion in the universe, can and must be at the same time the most terrible ---terrible in what it is willing to endure itself in order to secure the blessing and happiness and perfection of the beloved, and, also, apparently terrible in what it will allow the beloved to endure if suffering is the only means by which the perfection or restoration to health of the beloved can be secured."
Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard, Copyright 1977 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mountains of Spices - Longsuffering

Chapter 8 - Mountain of Saffron
Longsuffering (The Suffering of Love)

Grace and Glory had seen the saffron crocuses growing on other parts of the High Places, but never in such glorious profusion as on this mountain. It was impossible for them to walk anywhere without treading on these delicate hued flowers and using them much as a doormat! As soon as their feet were lifted from them, however, she noticed that the dauntless, gay little things bobbed up again at once, as fresh and uncrushed as though they had not been trodden upon.
When she remarked on this to the King he explained with another of his happy smiles that this was the characteristic of true longsuffering. It bears quite happily everything that is done against it, resents not at all being trampled under foot, and reacts to the wrongdoing of others against itself as though no wrong had been done at all, or else as though it had forgotten all about it! For longsuffereing is really the lovely quality of forgiveness and bearing contentedly and joyfully the results of the mistakes and wrongdoing of others....
"My Lord," she said, "this is called the Mountain of Longsuffering. Has love no power to save and help others apart from suffering? Why must love suffer at all, and why, above all else, must love suffer long?"
"It is because the very essence of love is oneness," answered the King. "That is why love must suffer. If the beloved creatures whom the Creator created for love's sake must suffer, then the oneness of love makes it impossible for him to allow them to suffer anything which he is not willing to suffer with them. It is because the whole body of mankind is suffering so dreadfully from the disease of sin and all its dreadful consequences, that I, who am so one with mankind, must suffer it all with them. Ever since the first sin, the love of God has been, as it were, upon a cross of suffering....Think of what it means to be able to save and to heal. To be able to raise up out of that which has been so cruelly marred and deseased, something far more glorious than would otherwise have been possible."
Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard, Copyright 1977 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mountains of Spices - Peace

Chapter 6 - Mountain of Spikenard
Peace (The Atonement Made by Love)

The next of the nine mountains of spices to which the King led Grace and Glory was the Mountain of Spikenard, or Peace....The King's spikenard could be produced nowhere else in the world....It was from this lovely medicinal plant that he produced the famous balsam of peace, a great balm for all restlessness and pain and fever....
As they walked together among these bushes the King spoke to Grace and Glory and explained to her the nature of the true peace which can only be produced by acceptance with joy of all that the will of God permits to come to his people along the pathway of life, and of the streams of pleasure which sing as they leap down from the High Places, 'I delight to do thy will, O my God....'
"I would have you learn this truth, that love can never rest until real peace, which is perfect harmony with the law of love, is brought to the hearts of men everywhere....It must give to others all that it received or it cannot remain love. Love can only live in your heart as it propagates itself by sharing....
Love is the constraining power which makes my lovers willing to go all lengths, even to death itself, in order to bring the good news of the love of God to those who have never heard it. It is love to the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world and still must bear it and suffer with sinners until every sin-defiled creature turns at last from their sinning and seeks his delivering power. For as long as sin lasts and defiles and ruins his creatures, Love cannot come down from his cross nor cease to bear the sin of the world."
Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard, Copyright 1977 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mountains of Spices - Joy

From Chapter 4 - Mountain of Camphire -
Joy (The Victory of Love)

The Shepherd speaking to Grace and Glory: "The season when the (camphire) bushes are stripped bare and the bitter substance is poured into the soil and is left to be watered by the rains of heaven, is called up here 'the night of sorrow.' But this present season, when the bushes are all laden with blossom and the oil is ready to be extracted from them, is 'the morning of joy' when all the sorrow and bitter experiences are changed into gladness."

Grace and Glory thinking: "Oh, that I may always react to sorrow in such a way that it will be overcome and be changed into his joy."

The Shepherd: "Grace and Glory, have you ever thought of what joy it is to me to be a Savior? To be able to take something which has been marred and spoiled and ruined by evil and to produce out of it something lovely and good and enduring -- something which can never again be spoiled? No cost can possibly be too great in order to accomplish such a triumph as that. Whatever the price, love will pay it exultantly and with 'joy unspeakable and full of glory...."

There is absolutely no experience, however terrible, or heartbreaking, or unjust, or cruel, or evil, which you can meet in the course of your earthly life, that can harm you if you will but let me teach you how to accept it with joy; and to react to it triumphantly as I did myself, with love and forgiveness and with willingness to bear the results of wrong done by others. Every trial, every test, every difficulty and seemingly wrong experience through which you may have to pass, is only another opportunity granted to you of conquering an evil thing and bringing out of it something to the lasting praise and glory of God. "
Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard, Copyright 1977 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,Inc. All rights reserved.
This is the goal, the desire and the prayer of my heart today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mountains of Spices - Love

I've been reading "Mountains of Spices" by Hannah Hurnard. It is the sequel to the book, "Hind's Feet on High Places." I've read these allegories years ago, but am encouraged, again, in the simple truths.
The main character is a girl whose name was "Much Afraid" in the first book. The story was told of how she decided to leave her home in the Valley of Humiliation to follow the Shepherd to the High Places. In "Mountains of Spices," she returns to the valley to visit. She has a new name, "Grace and Glory," and is no longer crippled, disfigured or afraid. She is in the service of the Shepherd and lives in the Kingdom of Love.
For the next several days, I will post excerpts from the book that are meaningful to me. Most of the passages will be from conversations between Grace and Glory and the Shepherd as he takes her on a journey through the Mountains of Spices.

From Chapter 2 - Mountain of Pomegranates -
Love (The Law of Love)

The Shepherd speaking to Grace and Glory - "Righteousness is the condition of everything which is in harmony with the law of the universe and therefore right. Unrighteousness is everything which is out of harmony with the law of love and therefore unright. Love which worketh no ill to her neighbor is the fulfillment of the whole law on which the universe is founded. Holiness and happiness and health are the result of complete separation from everything which breaks the law of love, and a holy people are those who are set apart to love.
"Sinners are the poor miserable people who break the law of love and so bring evils of every kind upon themselves, such as abound down there in the valley. When men love they fulfill the law of their being. When they break the law of love they disrupt and frustrate the very law of life. As long as they love they are healthy and happy and harmonious, but when they cease to love and begin to think envious, resentful, bitter, unforgiving and selfish thoughts, then they begin to destroy themselves, for every part of their being is then poisoned by unloving thoughts."
"My Lord and King," said Grace and Glory, "what is true love? How can it be recognized?"
The Shepherd: "I am love," said the King very clearly. "If you want to see the pattern of true love, look at me, for I am the expression of the law of love on which the universe is founded. And the very first characteristice of true love, as I have manifested it, is willingness to accept all other human beings, just as they are, however blemished and marred by sin they may be, and to acknowledge oneness with them in their sin and need. To acknowledge also that every human heart needs both to love and to be loved, and that herein lies the very root of the oneness of mankind. For unless you sons and daughters of men are loved and also love all others besides yourselves, you cannot become what you are destined to be, the sons and daughters of the God who is love."

Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard, Copyright 1977 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,Inc. All rights reserved.

Swine Flu

There are plenty of things that raise their voices begging for my attention - all of which I choose to ignore today. I don't have the energy, and even if I felt I did, it would not be wise to use it up on "things" when it is critical that I take care of myself and my daughter.
She was diagnosed yesterday with H1N1 and she is not doing so well. She's running a fever (over 100 for a couple of days), her body is sore from coughing, tired, headache. The doctor prescribed an inhaler for the cough, lots of rest, Tylenol for fever and no school for a week. We were told to watch for "trouble breathing" - at which point we need to go to the hospital to be monitored.
After spending 2 hours in the freezing doctor's office yesterday to have her checked out, I went downhill pretty fast - feeling exhausted, weak, headache, fever (which broke in the middle of the night) and head congestion. For me, it seems like it was a "one-night-stand" with whatever virus it was. My daughter, on the other hand, is still slogging through with all symptoms present.
I am thankful for the Lord's angels. I had set my alarm for 11:00pm to check on her - I went to bed around 7:00pm. When the alarm went off, I couldn't move, I was so weak. I prayed a desperate prayer asking the Lord to protect her. I know that He did - there was no emergency. I am well aware of the swiftness with which some cases of the flu can take a turn into critical, so I am humbly grateful for His protection and presence while both our bodies battled through the night.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Mother's Heartache

It is so hard for a mom to watch her children go through their own trials. Mom knows what it feels like to face disappointment again and again and again. The toughest part is feeling their pain in her heart and knowing that it's not in their best interest if she tried to change the situation. There's not much she can "do" except to try to understand what they're feeling and give empathy when possible.
Adolescents and young adults are living life - learning the decision making process and living with the consequences of their choices. The time for mom fixing the problems is over. Her efforts are channeled toward praying for them and hoping they are becoming stronger in their sense of responsibility, accountability and self control.
I don't like seeing my kids lose their privileges; fall short of their goal; or face disappointment in relationships. All of these things are important tutors at this stage of their lives, whose instruction is invaluable for the bigger choices in life, yet to come. It's very hard to look into the face of the kid you love and hear their plea for one more chance, knowing that if you give in, they would be ecstatic - but, they wouldn't have gained the priceless reward of better judgment and stronger fortitude for the bigger decisions in the future.
As a mom, I haven't done this perfectly, but I am learning that "tough love" is real love. And, believe me, it's tough to love this way.
To all my kids, right now - know that I am and always will cheer you on to the highest you can possibly achieve. Life stinks right now. I know you don't like what you are dealing with - anymore than I did at your age, or do even now. I would change things if I thought it would help, but I know that changing things right now, won't help in the long run. I'm here to listen and love you, with the firm belief that you'll come through this difficult time well.