February 20, 2011


Several years ago our family took a road trip to see the redwoods in northern California. We experienced a profound sense of wonder standing in the midst of the Creator’s handiwork. Recently I learned a few facts about redwoods. Apparently they don’t really have individual root systems. Instead their shallow roots are interconnected as they are outgrowths of a parent tree which grow in a circle called a cathedral. They support each other with merged roots standing against and surviving Pacific winds, fire and disease.
Isn’t this a great picture of a community - roots bound together, supporting each other against adversity?
Community – a group; an association; a gathering; a circle; a body sharing support, a sense of purpose, a goal, a commonality, a connection, and a kinship.

Standing still, I close my eyes and in my mind stand in the midst of the redwood community. I am encircled. I ponder about the communities in which I actually stand – work community; school community; neighborhood; church; friends; and family. Each of these are segments of the community of my life. I think about the groups and how all the segments create a whole. What are the associations I have with the members of our existent community? What purposes are served? What is our ultimate goal? Are there connections and commonalities that draw us together to interconnect and face adversity – some of which will be our greatest trials, our greatest doubts, our greatest attacks, our greatest losses?
Life has shown me that the communities truly rooted in and established in love are those that are strongly rooted, entwined, and anchored in God’s Will and Word. Members of such a community possess love, compassion, patience, kindness, caring, sincerity and encouragement as they live and stand together.

Standing still I began to list those in my community who despite time and distance have held me strong. I have been blessed with:
-Parents whose priority it was for me to be raised anchored in faith on a firm foundation.
-a husband who is my greatest friend walking through great joy and great sadness holding me, helping me through, encouraging me to press on toward the goal
-children who’s faith often provides learning moments for me; a joyful witness; hope, sunshine and warmth as well as insight - all giving strength.
-two extremely loving friends for life who met each other half way, leaving husbands with young children behind as they traveled onward to come meet an angel who had very little time on this earth with us -they came to hold, hug and pray with all of us – compassion, comfort and love.
-friends who accept you where you are but love you enough not to leave you there – they grow you; batten down the hatches in stormy seasons of life but support you as they heave and ho to help you press on.
My community elements have God’s love as a base. I picture a cross in the middle of my ‘cathedral’ community.

Stand still in the midst of your “cathedral’ and picture your community. You may find many positive traits. Weigh what it means or could mean for your community to be rooted and established in love. Are you anchored in Him? Do your commonalities have purposes of love, hope, joy, peace and love? Is it time to reestablish a new community or a make an addition? Maybe a little renovation is in order - possibly a few cobweb sweepings.
My prayer for you is that your community will be rooted and established in love – His Love.

1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Philippians 2:4 "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others."
Ephesians 3:16-18 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Job 4:4 Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.
Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you,
Psalm 36:7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings

February 18, 2011


"You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life."- Zig Ziglar

I came across these words. I smiled as I thought of several of those moments in which I had been the recipient of such a blessing – the blessing of encouragement.
I’ve been standing still with the concept of encouragement. The teacher in me dissects the word itself: prefix en- meaning to bring into the condition of, put into, intensification; and courage meaning the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, determination, endurance.
Encourage is to hearten, inspire, prop up, reassure, restore, refresh, revitalize, strengthen, boost, cheer, fortify, invigorate, comfort, motivate, console, enliven, rouse, embolden, urge.
I am awed that a few sincere words can bring so much – appreciation, support, respect, motivation, inspiration, engagement, communication, cooperation, confidence, community and success. (There are so many more benefits that could be added to this list.)
Three immediate thoughts come to mind as I stand still with encouragement.
-I am deeply thankful for those who have offered a few sincere words in moments they were needed.
-I hope that I have offered such in moments others may have needed. And I pray that I develop an awareness of my words – do they more often bring some sunshine to those around me or create gloom? Am I more often lifting those around me up or inadvertently bringing them down? I become aware that I need to develop self awareness – monitor the negativity I may express; avoid speaking subtle criticisms and instead voice respect; support, and encouragement.
-I am especially thankful for Our Heavenly Father who is the Ultimate Encourager. He whispers those words so greatly needed straight to my heart. He speaks to my soul through others around me. He provides His reassurance in the proclamations found in His Word.
In the still moments of your day, may you feel the warmth of encouragement given.

Psalm 10:17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
Romans 1:11-12 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

February 4, 2011

A "roundtuit"

I can remember the first time I saw one. My initial reaction was that it was somewhat playfully ingenious – insightful. People constantly say that things will get done when they get a ‘Roundtuit’.

If I actually had a Roundtuit I could accomplish all those things sitting in piles around my house - the pile of dishes, the pile of school papers, the pile of house papers needing to be kept filed, the pile of laundry that I never seem to totally complete, the pile of pictures I want to put into memory books. And this is only what comes to mind of what is actually visible. Peek into any other room or the garage and you can find more reasons for my needing a Roundtuit. That circular object would help give me the ability to get those things (and more) done that I’ve been putting off. Just think about it – no last minute struggles, no doubting if it can be completed, no facing what I’ve procrastinated.
Oooh, here’s a thought - I could get Kid 2 and Kid 3 each a Hoptuit. We’d really make things happen and get things done. Then what we really need is a few Sticktuits. All our jobs, projects, and plans would be completed then. Hmmm….

Time to get back to reality! No roundtuits, hoptuits or sticktuits that will magically bring about productiveness. I live with the reality that time is limited; waiting for perfect conditions never allows things to get done; and procrastination ends in slavery to never ending tasks.
So is there an answer or solution? Standing still I come to several conclusions.
First and foremost it is important to prioritize. The ordering of my tasks is necessary. I remind myself how important it is though to set aside the “Be Still” moments with my Father. When I do, all else seems to fall into place and is put into perspective.
Then comes planning. Several quotes come to mind: “He who fails to plan, plans to fail” and “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans”. The quotes are contradictory at best. But both are true. Balance and flexibility becomes key to making plans. Possession of each will ensure productivity as I follow through.
Finally, I need to keep my heart into all that I do.

Rountuits, Hoptuits, Sticktuits – are wishful.
Perspective, balance and ‘heart ‘n’ tuit’ – is a productive reality.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you
Matthew 22:37-ff Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.