A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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come as you are

An Invitation:  to a Celebration!

A Come As You Are Party

No need to purchase an outfit:  what you have on right now will do just fine.

No need to check your calendar for conflicts: come right now.

No need to find out who else is invited:  YOU ARE and that is all that matters.

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A week ago Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Season for 2016.  It will go on for 40 days.  Many who believe Jesus was and is the Son of God will spend this time in humble gratitude for what Jesus did for them.  They will fast some food or some activity that is significant to them.  Or, they will, as in my case, decide to stop a bad habit and acquire a better habit in its place.  They will allow this “Season” to be one of transformation.  Just as the humble caterpillar enters its cocoon and emerges a graceful butterfly, those honoring this Season hope to emerge a better, more grace-filled version of themselves.

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In many of my former years, I have elected to fast sugar .. or coffee .. or, not just sugar, but  sweet pastries .. or some other exercise in self-denial.  I emerged grateful for the aforementioned, embracing the delectable tastes once more. But, if I am honest, I cannot say I was changed, let alone transformed by the exercise in any discernible way.  Over the years, though, I have to believe that there has been a gradual transformation.  I now am fascinated by the WORD  and the Words of God!  I carry HOPE eternal in my heart that this world of woe belies.  I believe in the Power of Prayer to effect change.  ALL these things ~ and MORE ~ are due in part to my commitment to honor this Lenten Season which leads to the Via Delorosa which leads to Calvary which leads to the Tomb which leads to RESURRECTION MORNING!!!

What Lent requires of us is to Stand before Jesus, then to bow low.  I don’t easily bow low; my natural self prefers to STAND TALL!  But it is only in the laying low of self that the Journey to Truth occurs.  Only the Journey to Truth leads to Redemption.  And who doesn’t want Redemption?

“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”*

There’s a Party goin’ on .. non-stop!  And YOU – Me – We ALL are invited, “just as we are”!  We don’t have to get cleaned up or prepped in any way.  All that we need do is say, “YES!”  The saying is true that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross.

That means ALL are welcome.

Why not enter into Lent this year, if this is not your pattern?  Even though we are just a bit more than a week into Lent, if you commit the remaining time to draw apart from the usual, to draw in to taste His Living Water,** you will never thirst again!  You will find strength and peace for the day.  Not a placid, no troubles place is this peace.  Rather, it is a peace that looks beyond what sight sees and trusts that there is far more in the Invisible than all that is in the visible.*** It is a peace that endures EVEN in the tumult!

Jesus is the one who invites and His Holy Spirit says, “Come!  See!  Receive!” He was the First to show us LIFE Everlasting.  We, too, can have not only Strength for the day, but LIFE abundant and Life Everlasting.

Jesus says simply, “Just come!”

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*Psalm 34:8     **John 4:13-15; 7:38     ***Colossians 1:15-20


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Staying Patient in the Process

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Heard this recently that we might have some 60K thoughts a day ~ that’s SIXTY THOUSAND!  If I figure that right, that’s over forty thoughts which may motivate, inspire, bombard, plague with worry or fear in a minute!

Is it any wonder then that we women are frustrated and anxious about “all that we have to do”?  Remember, too, that as wives, mothers, daughters, employees, volunteers ~ contributing members of a frenetic society ~ we have all those thoughts with a multitude of interruptions, even disruptions.  From anything as simple as a toddler wanting a “cuppa water” to a major tragedy, we assimilate into our minds ~ and hearts ~ a multitude of disjointed thoughts.  How do we calm our minds to resist the hamster wheel of emotions that come along with those thoughts in the onslaught?

And men, too, are afflicted.  As husbands, fathers, sons, employees, volunteers you share in this.  Your interruptions, your disruptions may look different, may sound different, but these have the same ill effect on hearts and minds.  Your responsibilities cry out from the streets and the rooftops to hurry, the hasten, to “grab with gusto” all that you can get.  You men are not immune to the pressures of your multitude of thoughts.

Imagine with me now, if you will a River scene:  cool, tranquil, natural.  Sit down here a bit with me.  Find a rock or a grassy spot that invites you to just rest awhile.  Observe what is happening in your state of mind as you observe the movement of the water, the movement of the breeze upon the water creating heaps of water here and there, the flight of the birds round about and above the water.  See in your mind’s eye the leaves of the trees catching the breeze.  There is quiet here, though the random call of the birds and the splash of the water lapping the shore intervenes.  These rhythmic sounds create more of an interlude than an interruption.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Ahhhhh!

Repeat. Ahhhhh!

In just these few moments this is breath-bringing focus, this breath-bringing life.  Close your eyes, if you wish.  Ahhhhh!

Observe carefully as you re-enter your here and now this calming of your heart, this calming of your mind.  What happened during these moments that you took to re-focus, to simply breathe deeply?  Did your thoughts slow?  Are there fewer of them now than before you imposed this rest for your mind?  Or, maybe they are just more ordered, more cohesive.  Do you feel more peace-filled?

As you go forward now into the continuation of this day, carry with you the remembrance that you can push the pause button in  your mind, if you choose.  You can bring yourself this gentle gift of Moment Vacations, permitting patience for yourself and others.

 Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – Ephesians 4:3[NLT]