Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized

Harvey Imprints

Images imprinted on my mind forever:

Volunteers bringing their boats to help with rescues – asked to write name, social security number and next of kin on their arms in case they are lost in their rescue attempts;

A nursing home living area full of residents – one sitting in a recliner, submerged in water to her waist, awaiting rescue;

Signs posted on every bridge and flashed across TV, social media, and on radio announcements throughout the storm:
TURN AROUND. DON’T DROWN.

A middle-aged lady in a just-reopened Kroger saying she waited until the end of the day to come for her few necessities, “Mamas with their babies should be in line first.”

A rescuer coming in on his boat carrying a small fawn – It had gotten on a roof and I couldn’t just leave it there.

A mandatory curfew imposed on the city – no tolerance for looters – a handwritten neighborhood sign: You loot. We shoot.
 

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These images on television, my own rising water out the back door. Even as the water began to recede in my backyard, it only rose in others. We went to a sweet friend’s house to help pull soaked mattresses and soggy clothes and waterlogged toys of out of her home – 3 1/2 feet of water, possessions already molding – they lost everything except each other. Their street was piled with the accumulated belongings of every house . . . heaped mountains of personal effects.

I said to Steven on our ride back from her house (12 miles that took 2 hours because of road closures and flooded streets), “Will life ever feel normal again?” At Home Depot we were buying masks and coveralls and bleach when we should have been buying rakes and autumn yard flags. The huge display of fall mums looked out of place – who could buy flowers when your neighbor didn’t have a place to live?

When the emergency alarms went off post-hurricane on Thursday, my heart stopped and I burst into tears…it was only a test of the system. I’d heard those alarms simultaneously on the TV and every device we have, every few hours for four days: hurricane warnings, flash flooding, tornadoes.

I do believe that life will one day return to some kind of normalcy, but it may be a while and it may look different. God will heal the fear, the hurt, the loss because He cares. He will allow us to again see the beauty of fall mums and gentle rains and neighbors helping neighbors. He is teaching us what we value most: how quickly we can let go of things and hold tightly to people. He sees and is working in each and every circumstance.

And so He calls us to trust Him in the recovery . . .

He is God – in and out – of the storm.

Stand firm.
Today is a GOOD day!
~ Natalie
Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized

Feel the Wonderful

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~ Psalm 65:8

When did I stop noticing?

What are the tiresome distractions that pull my gaze down, preventing my attention from being captivated by the wonders He puts on show day after day after day…

a spectacularly radiant sunrise;

trembling green leaves on the aspen’s branches in my backyard;

the cheerful call of a song sparrow on the front porch swing;

the clean, fresh smell of my neighbor’s just-mown grass;

the laughing blue eyes of a mischievous child…

It’s easy to push these aside as everyday occurrences. We forget that every single sunrise is a miraculous visual symphony we could never conduct; every intricate snowflake an impossibly complicated design.

God spoke the living world into being, everything untouched and true, a never-before-seen mystery of astounding originals. One day on the Creator’s earth, the very first whale breached in the cool saltiness of the very first watery ocean in the light of the only sun that ever was or has ever been.

Wonder of wonders.


There is little need that I should tell you of God,
For every thing speaks of him.
Every field is like an open book;
every painted flower hath a lesson
written on its leaves.
Every murmuring brook hath a tongue;
a voice is in every whispering wind.
They all speak of him who made them;
they all tell us, He is very good.
We cannot see God, for he is invisible;
but we can see his works,
and worship his footsteps in the green sod.

~ From Hymns in Prose for Children by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Today is a WONDER-FILLED, GOOD day!
~Natalie

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized

Beautifully . . .

Do you think of yourself as an artist? If not, you might reconsider. Made in the image of God, we are indeed, artists. Not of His capacity, of course. He created all original, astonishing things. Light. Armadillos. Wind. Kiwis (the bird and the fruit). Purple.

Yet even within our human limitations, we are artistic. A synonym study shares that “art implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power”. So maybe you’re not a painter or a sculptor or a photographer, but what are you doing beautifully . . . artfully?

Some of us are:

Organizing our offices and homes

Molding Play-doh with our children or grandchildren

Preparing meals for shut-ins

Teaching 8-year-olds to swing a golf club or throw a pitch

Serving lunch in our local soup kitchen

Maybe we’re building a deck or making a casserole for our neighbor next door. At our best, when we make our way through our work artistically, we reflect in our own limited way the Creator’s commitment to excellence. And while we fall short of His perfection, our whole-hearted attempts glorify Him nonetheless.

Mother Teresa said, “There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.”

“Do it as beautifully as possible.” 

The way I spend my time here on earth is my creative offering to God.

So grill the steak and arrange the flowers – beautifully. Visit your friend in the hospital and pick up your grandchild in the carpool line – beautifully. Hold the hand of your dying parent and make up your toddler’s bed and ask the elderly man standing in line at the deli counter how his day is – beautifully.

Because today you have creative moments to live.

Live them . . . beautifully.

~ Natalie

Today is a GOOD day!

Posted in Creativity, Prayer, Uncategorized

Praying in Color ~ a book review

Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth brings simple art to prayer time. In this handbook-of-sorts MacBeth introduces the “art” of prayer time –  everything from simple doodling (“improvisational drawing”) to complex images. MacBeth teaches pray-ers of every level how to use pen, paper and color to create daily prayer reminders.

Her writing is casual and humorous, putting those who fear they lack skill or ability at ease. It is her mission to invite everyone into this practice. Early on in Part 2, Chapter 2, she discusses the nuts and bolts of starting a creative prayer time.  She then teaches her reader to create some type of simple visual illustration of a person being prayed for; this illustration becomes the catalyst for praying the remainder of the day. Lots of examples of colored doodling and art are included in the book, so her suggestions are easy to follow and implement. The strength of this book lies in MacBeth’s ability to encourage her readers . . . to just start!

Praying in Color is for everyone – no artistic talent required – just paper, pen, your favorite coloring art supplies, an open heart, and someone you’re praying for. In her own words:

When the drawing was finished, there was a visual record of my prayers. The images stayed in my mind and I carried them – and sometimes the actual page – with me wherever I went.   (p. 15-16)

I highly recommend Praying in Color for those who want to add a little color to their prayer life!

Today is a GOOD day!

~Natalie

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized, Writing

A Simple Note

Thank you so much for visiting my site! As I settle back into some writing after a short break, I’ve thought about ways I can connect with you.

Would you like to receive a short weekly e-letter of encouragement?

Currently, I am sending out a personal letter each week A Simple Note –  to those who’d like to receive it.

 This short, weekly letter includes:

  • a brief and sincere reflection – a thought for the day
  • a prayer focus to think and pray about
  • and sometimes a small tidbit that’s of interest

It’s short and sweet, a bit of encouragement for the day.

If you’re interested, you can subscribe here: 

Thanks again for visiting – it means so much!  And, as always, I welcome your questions and comments!

~ Natalie

Today is a GOOD day!