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Archive for the ‘Nourishing the Spirit’ Category

I’ve been pondering about the source of creativity and what enhances its growth.

Creativity often feels like a river welling up within me. I only know the realness of this power when I’m practicing my craft, painting; but even more so when I haven’t painted for a while, when I’ve been without. I can’t go for too long without holding the implements of my craft. Just putting my brush to paint allows the flow of this spirited river. Some of my artists friends have felt this same energy when they cook a special meal, compose a song, write poem, paint a painting, perform a dance, play an instrument, or create a design. They too, have felt out of sorts and are about to burst, when they haven’t practiced their craft for a while.

I have had the tremendous honor of repeating this creative process over and over again as a painter. The times when I’ve been satisfied with what I’ve painted, I step back from my painting, look at it from different angles and say to myself, This is good.

I feel an intimate relationship with chefs, composers, writers, poets, painters, dancers, musicians, and designers who have shared their talents with me and others by allowing this river to flow through them. Whether I view a museum painting, experience fine dining, read a poem, examine the intricate details of a design, or listen to a symphony; I sometimes say to myself, This is good.  The art has taken my breath away. It has touched my spirit and lingers in my mind. I can’t forget it. I want to go back and experience it again and again. The art resonates within me, and I’m willing to purchase it. It lingers in my mind so much that I’m willing to pay a price for it. I say to myself, This is good.

My ponderings on the source of creativity have taken me back to the beginning:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… and God saw that it was good… . God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them… . God saw all that He had made, and  behold, it was very good… . (Genesis 1: 1, 25, 26, 31 NASB)

These verses show me a creative and intelligent God who has created me. Since I have been created in His image; I too, have this creativity. He is the source of my creativity. It’s really all His. I’ve also noticed the words used to describe God’s observation of His creation each time He completed a part of it, and God saw it was good; and the words of His final observation that punctuates His satisfaction and contentment, God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good when He completed His entire creation. I too, have found myself saying and thinking similar words about my art or the art of others, This is good.

My ponderings on the beginning from Genesis have led me to conclude that ever since the beginning, God hasn’t been able to take His eyes off of His creation, me… us. He lingers and stays with me… us. He just can’t take His eyes off of me… us; in fact, when Adam and Eve disobey God, He offered mankind redemption in His Son, Jesus. God as a loving, compassionate God who offers His Son as a substitute for our misdeeds—a pardon, freedom:

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:6 NASB)

When I align myself to God and submit to His plan, I’ve found the source of my creativity and the power that will enhance its grow.

God can’t take His eyes off of what He has created, you… and me. We linger in His mind so much that He was willing to pay a very high price for you… and me. In the same way a patron may pay for my art, God has paid for us, His masterpiece. We… I linger in His mind, and He was willing to pay a very high price for you… me, God saw all that He had made, and  behold, it was very good… . 

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Dear Friends and Family!

I wish you the most joyful holiday season and a healthful 2012!

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)

 

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Esempi di moneta locale che non appaiono come ...
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In recent years I have been flying back and forth from the east coast to the west coast quite frequently to visit loved ones. As a result, I’ve accumulated many frequent-flyer miles. It was great having free flights, but eventually the frequent- flyer miles started to expire. Afterall, how many times could I go flying around the country?  I have responsibilities —my family, work, this blog, etc.

To make sure I received the credit that was due me—my diligence in using only the Visa card associated with the airline that gave me the points for free flights and only flying with a specific airline even though it was a hassle at times to transfer in Atlanta during every trip when other airlines had more direct routes, I decided to make use of my free flights by giving them away instead of letting them go to waste.

On one occasion, the deadline for a free flight was fast approaching. I didn’t have any plans for traveling in the near future, so I decided to give away my free ticket to someone who couldn’t pay for the price of a plane ticket. I wanted to make the plane ticket a gift to someone who needed it but could not pay for it. I didn’t want any money or favors in return. I was just happy that all my hard work for the free flight could free someone of the burden of having to pay for a flight they were unable to pay for.

brush drawing on blue primed paper
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I was having my quiet time with God this morning. I started out by thanking God for all His blessings. I thanked Him for His salvation, His love. I sat and just praised Him for who He is. I then prayed for all the prayer requests my friends and family had requested via the telephone, e-mails, and in person.

After I made these prayer requests known to God on behave of my loved ones and friends, it became very quiet. I sat and sat quietly. Waiting, waiting upon God.

It was during that quiet moment that the the metaphor for giving my frequent-flyer miles away to someone who could not pay for his own flight came to me. The Holy Spirit made the connection for me—

God in the same way has paid for my freedom now and heaven in the future. He paid the price for my sins just like I paid the price for someone’s free plane ticket. I did all the work ahead of time so I could give someone a free plane ticket. God in the same way did all the work by sending His Son to die on the cross for me so that I could go free. All I had to do was to accept the free plane ticket. Spiritually speaking, all I need to do is to acknowledge and receive the gift, what God has done for me that I could not do for myself. The price was too high. I had no ability to pay for my sins, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). God did it for me out of His love for me. What a wonderful God!

It’s wonderful to pray in the Spirit. It is that quiet moment during prayer that God speaks to me. Sometimes it’s an audible voice. Sometimes it’s a knowing that something else is happening that is beyond space and time. Sometimes it is a name of someone I’ve only met once who is in trouble and needs God’s intervention. I never know what the problem is until after the prayer is over, and I contact the person.  Sometimes it’s the recalling of a past event in my life that needs healing and forgiveness. Sometimes it is direction for my life. Sometimes it is a warning. It is always a knowing that the Holy Spirit is at work. It is beyond my words. It is always refreshing, peaceful, and calm afterwards. I am in timelessness.

At the time that prayer becomes praying in the Spirit is when it is no longer my requests made known to God, but God’s requests being made known to me. It is an amazing, awesome event when prayer becomes listening to God.

How about it? Would you like to accept this free gift that God is offering you? A relationship with Him through Jesus Christ?

I’d like to pray with you.

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The Clay Cauldron

Do you have a prayer request?

I’d like to pray with for you. And I’m hoping that many others in Christ will join with me in this honored activity to make our needs known to God. He already understands and knows exactly what you need.

Each of us at one time or another has felt the heartbreak of separation, the lost of a loved one, the disappointment of broken promises, the devastation of betrayed vows, or the reality of dashed dreams. God was present in the  Garden of Eden when man turned his back on Him and was at Calvary during the death of His Son. Yes, He understands and knows how we feel and what we’re going through.

In Destined for the Throne Paul E. Billheimer describes this mysterious process called prayer as on-the-job training for the believers’ (Church’s) preparation to assume its rightful position with Christ in heaven.

You may ask, If God is who He says He is and is all powerful and all knowing, why would He need us to tell Him what we need ? Can’t He just accomplish it?

Billheimer’s book  explains why God needs the Church’s prayers through two analogies. The first analogy is a business check that requires co-signatures. Two people must sign the check so that the bank can release its funds. In terms of prayer, the first signature would be God’s. The second signature would be ours in order for the bank to release the requested funds, the answered prayers.

He uses the opening of a safety deposit box as his second analogy to prayer. Two keys are needed to open a safety deposit box to access the treasures in the box. The bank teller needs the bank’s key and the key from the person who rents the safety deposit box. Both keys will open the box to all the treasures. In terms of prayer, the first key would be God’s, and the second key would be our key. Both God and the believer are needed in the process of prayer.

Checks used by some business firms require the signatures of two individuals to make them valid. One signature is not enough. Both parties must sign. This illustrates God’s method of operating through the prayers and faith of His people. His promises are His checks signed in His own blood, His part was fully completed at Calvary. But no promise is made good until a redeemed man enters the throne room of the universe and, by prayer and faith writes his name beside God’s. Then, and not until then, are the check’s resources released. It is like a safety deposit box in the bank vault. The keeper has a key and you have a key. Neither key alone will open the box. But, when you give the keeper your key, she inserts both keys and the door flies open, making available all the treasures stored in the box. Heaven holds the key by which decisions governing earthy affairs are made but we hold the key by which those decisions are implemented.

It’s one of those books that I immediately planned to reread after the first chapter, because it spoke to my spirit—the Holy Spirit  spoke to my spirit. I just cried like a baby the whole afternoon. I realized what an honor it is that the God of the universe cares and loves me enough to first send His Son to die on the cross as an atonement for my sins; and, then on top of that, He cares enough for me on a daily basis that He wants a moment by moment conversation with me, prayer. It just boggles my mind. I am in such awe and am so grateful for what He’s done that I want to worship Him and thank Him continuously with my thoughts, prayers, deeds, and life.

I worship Him out of gratitude to Him for all He’s done for me. He loves me. I’m not alone in this life.

God loves you and has a very special plan for your life. No matter what your circumstances, He knows about them and loves you.

Many people have prayed for me in the past as they are doing now. God has transformed me from the inside out. The Holy Spirit guides me, comforts me, gives me love, peace, and joy. It’s not about me, but it’s about Him, Jesus:

…we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Be inspired by this youtube of Nick Vujicic. See how his life of disability has been changed by the love of Jesus.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord… .(Jeremiah 29:11-14)

I’d like to pray with you.

Do you have a prayer request?

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father's-day-570Happy Father’s Day

to all the fathers!

I want to honor all the fathers. You are very important. You are an essential role-model for your children,  and children, honor and respect your fathers. Ephesians 6:1-4 says,  “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’−which is the first commandment with a promise−’that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

This year will be my dad’s twelfth anniversary in heaven. I miss him tremendously and think of him often. I know I will see him in heaven some day.

I loved both my parents deeply while they were alive and presently treasure the memories that were woven through time.

Working in my parent’s laundry spanned many years, from childhood to adulthood. I wanted to grow closer to my dad as I grew older. I spent many hours after classes from elementary school through graduate school in the laundry with him.

During this Father’s Day, I’d like to share one of these memories with you, part of a memoir I am presently writing.

Under a Canopy of Sycamores

The falling temperature in the store was a signal for me to lock the doors to the laundry. One by one the shopkeepers, who didn’t have their own heating system, closed for the day heading for their warmer homes-Joe’s Shoemaker. Morty’s Drugstore and Luncheonette. Harry’s Meats. Jean’s Beauty Parlor. And Sammy’s Dry Cleaning. As the store lights went out, the streets lamps came on to light the path for the few weary commuters who worked late.

In that in between time of darkened storefronts and shadow casting street lamps, was the most terrifying darkness. Jumping at the sight of my own shadow, I warred with the wobbly screen door-pulling as hard as my shivering hands could pull. Its weathered-frame dug its claws into the frozen cement and gripped the ground in protest. With fear fueling me, I won the battle and latched it. Then I double locked the wood-framed glass door. The uninvited cold surged into the store.

The sole radiator at the front of the store clanged it last clang and hissed its last hiss for the night. Our unheated space was warmed by the fiery hot irons my ba-ba and I wielded in our hands. We ironed to the beat of rock ’n roll. The lyrics didn’t matter although they were seared onto my mind and awakened memories every time I heard them as an adult  as oldies on the radio.

Get ready for the big chill. The mercury will hover around 25 degrees this evening. The winds at 10 miles per hour will make it feel like 15 degrees. The winds will pick up as the mercury drops tonight. Make sure you bundle up if you’re going out. Snow is expected tomorrow evening. Now back to Cousin Brucee.

Seventy-seven, WABC.

This is Couuu-zin Bruceee. Snow is on the way!  Let’s warm up with Sixteen Candles on this chilly evening. Numm-berr  ten in our countdown  this week, The Crests…

Happy birthday, happy birthday, baby

Oh, I love you so

Sixteen candles make a lovely light

But not as bright as your eyes tonight…

As the temperature continued its descent, we donned our thickest sweaters. Eventually adding more layers to keep us warm as the last store with its own furnace closed for the night and as lone shoppers made their way homeward with their bundles.

Moving up this week from the numm-ber ten slot is The Coasters. Numm-berr nine in our top ten countdown is Charlie Brown.

Fe fe fi fi fo fo fum

I smell smoke in the auditorium

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown

He’s a clown, that Charlie Brown

He’s gonna get caught; just you wait and see

(Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me…)

I raced my father in an imaginary contest to see if I could iron more shirts than he did by closing time. I set the iron’s temperature to blister-making hot to keep my hand warm and to help me iron as fast as I could. Any slowdown would scorch the shirts and burn my hand. My left hand pulled the fabric taut so that the iron in my right could slide over the faint wrinkles like an ice skating blade gliding across the ice leaving a smooth remembrance.

First the front of the collar, and then the back. Now the buttonholes, first the front and then the back. Then the side with buttons.  Careful, around each button. Don’t rip them off. Around each gently…

This is Couu-zzin Bruceee with this week’s top ten countdown. Numm-berr six this week is Kansas City by Wilbert Harrisson…

I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come

I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come…

Left sleeve. Front and back. Right sleeve…

They got a crazy way of loving there

And I’m gonna get me some…

Not one wrinkle! Now all I need to do is to slip the paper inside the shirt and start buttoning. Remember to match the top button with the top buttonhole. Now the middle button and the last.

Burrr…It’s cold outside. Couu-zzin Bruceee with  numm-berr  four in our countdown this week, Paul Anka’s Lonely Boy.

Here’s the tricky part−flip the whole shirt over to the back without the paper falling out. One, two, three, flip. Great, the paper stayed in! Now fold the left side. Fold the long sleeve. The right side. Now the whole shirt in half. Flip again over to the front. A perfect rectangle!

How did I do ba-ba?

…I’m all alone with nothin’ to do

I’ve got everything you can think of

But all I want is someone to love

Someone, yes someone to love

Ba-ba props his iron up and walks over to my side of the ironing platform. He smoothes his right hand over the shirt like he’s re-ironing it. Inspects the corners closely. And rubs the starched collar between his thumb and index finger like he’s trying to separate the pages of a new book.

How smooth. Not one wrinkle. And so neatly folded. You iron faster and better than me, he says dotingly as he lowers his forehead to touch mine and kisses me on the cheek.

I love you.

Couuu-zin Bruceee here with this week’s top ten count down to keep you warm. Up frroom last week’s numm-berr  three spot is Venus. Herrre’s Frankie Avalon in the numm-berr two spot this week…

Hey, Venus! Oh Venus!

Venus if you will

Please send a little girl for me to thrill

A girl who wants my kisses and my arms

A girl with all the charms of you…

This encouragement fuels my hands to even iron faster.

I need to iron two more to be ahead of you, ba-ba.

Hey, Venus! Oh, Venus!

Make my wish come true.

That was Venus, numm-ber two this week. Couu-zin Brueee here with the top ten countdown for the week. Aaand nummm –ber one this week, two weeks in a row,  izzz… Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife!

Oh the shark, babe, has such teeth dear

And it shows them pearly white…

Time to finish up. Make this your last shirt. It’s getting late, and it’s getting very cold. We have to go home.

Can I just iron one more? Please? Please, baa-ba?

Now that Macky’s back in town

Look out, old Macky’s back!!

No. Finish the one you’re ironing. It’s late and getting too cold. Maa-me will have dinner waiting for us. We’ve got to get home.

Next time I’ll be faster! I almost ironed more shirts than you did tonight, ba-ba!

Remember to turn the radio off.

We bundle up. I in my gray and red-checkered coat with a gray fake-fur collar that feels two sizes too small and ba-ba in his gray wool jacket. I tuck my red wool hood into my coat collar and pull on my red gloves. My arms bulge like Popeye, and my body feels like a sausage. Buttons ready to pop.

We step into a night laced with crystals. The moon a yellow ball floated high above us in the blackest, black sky. We run across the street. The roar of passing cars become a distant hum as we walk under a canopy of sycamore trees. Its bare branches quiver in the icy wind as if ready to snatch me up. I tighten my grip on my father’s calloused hand. The chilled air teases a cough from my chest. I shiver and pull my head down into my coat like a turtle pulling its head into its shell seeking shelter.

Ba-ba kneels down to make sure my hood is securely buttoned.

Don’t worry. Everything’s all right. I love you.

Our foreheads touch. He gently kisses my cheek, and squeezes me in his arms. The whirling wind envelopes us in the fragrant pomade from his hair. Its lightness caresses my nose’s memory.

My eyes follow his tall, straight body as he stands up. A giant. Like one of the sycamore trees. His cheeks singed red from the cold. His thick, ebony hair slicked back. I feel the warmth of his hand through my wool glove as he takes my right hand again. Everything is all right.

Sometimes we talked as we walked. Our breath an alternating crystal mist dissipating into the darkness.

Now when you cough, don’t swallow the phlegm. Spit it into a tissue.

Yes, ba-ba, I’d nod.

I must remember to take tissues to school with me every day.

Sometimes he’d give me a little English lesson. When you have to go to the bathroom in school, tell the teacher, I need to go to the toilet.

I-need-to-go-to-toilet, I’d echo.

I will remember the words, ba-ba.

Most of the time he gave me words of caution and encouragement.

You, your sister, and brothers are our hope. Study hard. Don’t grow up and work in a laundry. Stay away from troublemakers. Confucius says that if you are near white, you will become white. If you are near black, you will become black. If you see someone doing something wrong, get away from them. You will be blamed, because you look different. You are Chinese. You must not shame me. You must bring honor to the family.

Yes, ba-ba.

Sometimes we raced the cold in silence. Drifting forward with the wind. Two misty clouds appearing and disappearing with increasing frequency under a canopy of quivering sycamore branches in the quiet race toward home.

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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A massive forest fire

A wildfire fire

sweeps over my spirit

I run, not knowing,

which way to turn,

searching for reasons,

I’m placed here to be,

a boat without a rudder,

a hawk without eyes,

Quench my unrest, oh God

where are you?

***************

I pursue the accolades

of man, only

to realize I am,

an eagle without wings,

a nightinggale without song,

Be my fulfillment, oh God

where are you?

***************

Lava Fields on Fire

War rages within me,

a spewing volcano

engulfing,

devouring

the landscape,

My tears, a reservoir

of disappointments,

Give me peace, oh God

where are you?

*****************

My pain lures me

to poppy’s seduction,

and alcohol’s forgetfulness,

Heal my memories past, oh God

where are you?

Where are you, oh God?

**********************************************************************************************************

My beloved,

Townsend, Tennessee
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve set the stars

in place to

give you night, and

dawn to disperse

the darkness

to show you

each day, is a beginning

to start anew.

***************

My beloved,

I am here,

I speak to you when unawares

I am here.

Delicate Fingers
Image by Chiceaux via Flickr

***************

I’m the innocence of the new born babe.

The whisper floating on the wind,

The calm of the evening sunset,

The hugs of trusted loved ones,

The comfort of the rhythmic seasons,

The green of the first glimpses of spring,

Snowflakes!
Image by nutmeg66 via Flickr

The lace of each fallen snowflake,

The majesty of the Milky Way.

The heartbeat of first love,

The tears of shared lost,

The disappointments of broken promises,

The devastation of betrayed vows,

The reality of dreams dashedmilky-way2

***************

I am in all of these to

gently guide you

to me,

I love you and am seeking you-

turn to me.

I’ve provided a way for you,

my beloved, in my Son,

Jesus.

**********************************************************************************************************

There are infinite philosophies from every culture, every nation, and every era. They represent the pinnacle of mankind’s thinking, creation, and imagination. Each has withstood the test of time. They deserve our respect and honor.

These philosophies have inspired numerous practices-sacred customs, magnificent artwork, exemplary standards for relating to one another, respect for God’s creation, healthful eating habits, caring for the less fortunate, and outward adornment that reflects a humble heart.

These philosophical practices have striven to seek and find God based upon human terms. Many of these philosophical practices claim that mankind is already perfect and good; however, if we look around us, at ourselves, we can quickly conclude that we are not. We are in need of a Savior, so…

What if ?

Just, what if there is a God who has set things right based upon His terms for us to come into a personal relationship with Him? After all, He is God. What if this God is who He claims to be and is the God of the Bible?

What if this God of the Bible is such a loving God that He sacrificed Himself, His only Son, instead of you and me, so that we could be set free from our sins, have a personal relationship with Him, and eventually have eternal life?

Just what if the Bible is true?

I’m not referring the cultural practices and traditions that have developed around God through the centuries. I’m referring to the loving, patient, sovereign God of the Old Testament; the sinless, sacrificially, perfect God the Son, Jesus Christ of the New Testament; and the empowering God the Holy Spirit of the present age.

A God who loves us just because He loves us. In turn, we love because He first loved us. We serve others in gratitude to God for what He has done for us and given us. We are who we are where we are and want to give away what God has given us.

What if all the claims are true-a fulfilling relationship with God, the healing of past hurts, forgiveness of sins, power to live the life He has planned for you, and in the end eternal life.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'” (John 14:6)

What if your purpose for being here is tied up with Him and His purposes for you?

What if the God of the Bible, the God who’s written a 66 book of love letters to you is who He claims to be?

Have you given the God of the Bible much consideration?

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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