Posted in Uncategorized

NEW! Reflections: an Advent journey

A New Advent Devotional

Over the last few months, I have been working on (creating and writing) an Advent project – and it’s ready!

Reflections: an Advent journey is an unbound collection of 25 devotionals (Dec. 1-25) with Scripture, prayers, and evening reflections.

Description:
looseleaf pages of hand-cut fine ivory parchment paper
printed in black ink
held together with jute cord
a handmade tag
packaged in a clear cellophane tape-resealable bag

$14.00 – includes shipping

For Sale in my Etsy shop here: SimpleNoteShop

IMG_0895

 

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized, Writing

A Simple Note

Thank you so much for visiting my site!

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

Sign up here . . . 

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!

 

Posted in Creativity, Life, Uncategorized

I See You…

 

When I look to the mountains,

I see You . . .

I’m awed by Your breathtaking majesty and unparalleled might.

 

When I look to the valleys,

I see You . . .

I find shelter in Your overshadowing protection and Your gentle guidance.

 

When I look to the rivers,

I see You . . .

I am witness to Your unrestrained, dynamic power.

 

When I look to the oceans,

I see You . . .

I try insufficiently to capture Your vast, fathomless, uncontainable love.

 

When I look to the seasons,

I see You . . .

My eyes plainly see Your orderly, unforced rhythm of creation.

 

When I look to the sky,

I see You . . .

And all at once I shrink at

Your ENORMOUSNESS. . .

and my smallness.

 

When I look to those around me,

I see You . . .

I am grateful for Your compassion, for Your grace, for Your mercy.

 

When I look for You

I will find You . . .

You, walking beside me,

Your guiding hand securely holding mine.

 

Your love is never far from me.

 

For everywhere I look,

I see You . . .

Natalie Hall 2018

 


 

Today is a GOOD day!!!!

~Natalie

 

Sign up to receive A Simple Note in your inbox each Wednesday:

A Simple Note

 

 

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized

Of parking spaces and perspectives

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority
 it is time to pause and reflect.”
~ Mark Twain


 

It happened in the Costco parking lot.

An open parking space. The driver of the first car missed seeing it by inches and began backing up to park there. The driver behind her laid on his horn and rushed to maneuver his car tightly inside and past hers, into the space. And though he’d won the battle for the space, he still got out of his car visibly fuming, saying what I believe were not-so-nice things under his breath.

All over a parking space.

This is what we call a perspective problem. Someone’s morning is ruined because he almost didn’t steal the parking space closest to the door.

There is a daily battle being waged between the world’s perspective and the eternal perspective.

The world’s perspective cries out, “Here I am! Me first! Look out for number one!”

The eternal perspective rallies under, “There you are! You first! How can I serve you?”

Living under the world’s perspective is a heavy burden.

Social media vies for our attention, baiting us to join the contest of comparison. Advertising reminds us that unless we have more, we can never be more. Our credentials and vehicles, our toys and houses label our “worth” according to the world. And we are comparing and consuming and dissecting and spinning these expectations, all the while trying to swipe the best spot in the Costco parking lot.

But we don’t have to live this way. 

We don’t have to choose self over all else. Self-centered sin doesn’t have to burden us. There is an eternal perspective that allows us to run our race, the one He has chosen for us, with peace, perseverance and an eternal outlook.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.~ Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

Jesus says we can get rid of the heaviness of sin, our self-fulfilling mindset, and trade our burdens for His.

“My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” ~ Matt. 11:30 (AMP)

The yoke of this world is anything but light and easy to bear.

With an eternal perspective, my thinking radically shifts. Now I am concerned about what God thinks. Now I try to see situations as He does. Now I want to care about the things He cares about.

My perspective has changed.

And suddenly that Costco parking spot doesn’t matter at all . . .


“O Lord my God . . . May I strive to please no one or fear to displease anyone except Yourself.”

Elizabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart

 


So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

 


Cling to the eternal perspective –
today is a GOOD day!
~ Natalie

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

In Awesome Wonder

 

Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.

~ Psalm 98:8-9


 

In an imaginary dream life, I might have been a naturalist.

 

My love of all things nature often baffles those closest to me, including my husband, who now only shakes his head when I’m frantically rescuing a lizard from the flood, mourning over a dove snatched from our yard by the neighborhood hawk, or asking him to build a warm goat barn for my two little Alaskan goats (true story).

 

Spending the last 13 years in Alaska, we were greeted each day by a certain kind of unparalleled beauty. First and second and third time visitors were always in awe. One of our visitors broke into strains of “How Great Thou Art” as he gazed upon Bridal Falls on the road to Valdez.

 

How fitting.

 

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made.
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed.

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee,
How great thou art!
How great thou art!*

 

It was Alaska that confirmed my insignificance in relation to the cosmos. Dwarfed on all sides by her ice-capped peaks, waking each morning in the shadow of Mount Drum (12,000 ft), we lived at the actual top of the world.

 

In midwinter’s 40-below nights, we looked out at a billion crystal stars, the Northern lights dancing overhead.

 

I felt so small.

 

Every day God reveals His awe-inspiring power in those stars that He simply spoke into existence, in the mountains and valleys and streams He declares good. I am allowed to see Him as the master Designer in His creation – in its microscopic perfection, its uncontainable power, its symbiotic nature and its fluid rhythm.

 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  ~ Psalm 19:1

 

This week, take a few moments to notice His creation. The unblemished perfection of His flowers. The complex life of His pollinating bees. The unstoppable rushing of His rivers. The invisible potential of His wind.

 

We are so small, a part of something so big; and, yet, He cares for and loves each and every one of us individually.

 

Thank you, Lord.

 

How great Thou art!

 


 

Isaiah 44:23

Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

 

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

 


 

Today He declares throughout creation: it is a GOOD day!

Natalie

* “How Great Thou Art” – Carl G. Boberg (1859-1940)

 

 

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Everyday Beautiful

“’Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.’”

~ A. Milne


 

Our holiday this year was great . . . amazing actually. Many of you know what it’s like to have your children away at college and then, suddenly, at Christmas the whole gang is together again. Quite frankly, it’s magical.

 

For me, the pain of separation feels especially sharp because our family situation – living in rural Alaska and homeschooling for so many years –  knit our family closely together. So when I knew our middle son was finishing that last day of school, our youngest was closing his books, and our daughter was on her way shortly on a flight from Virginia . . . well, I could hardly sleep.

 

We had such a great Christmas Eve and Day, filled with the traditions we embraced those many years in Alaska. But as the boys now start school again and our daughter flies back to her college life, I realize the memories I’ll treasure most from this Christmas aren’t the perfectly planned meals, the opening of thoughtfully chosen gifts or the addition of our decorations to a new-to-us house.

 

I’ll treasure the everyday times.

 

Watching “The Polar Express” in our PJs, eating homemade pizza. Picnic-ing after a trip to the zoo. Watching nonstop football together on New Year’s Day, everyone cheering for their favorite team. Playing switched-up teams of Taboo around the kitchen table.

 

Talking and talking . . . and talking.

 

I think Jesus and His disciples must have felt this way. While we read about Jesus’ divine miracles and the profound truths He taught, I have to believe that, in His fully-human state, He did lots of everyday things, too.  Did He experience joy as He sat down for a very everyday dinner with His disciples? Did He look around the table and think, “Ahhh. . .this is happiness.”? Did He feel sadness when one of the disciples was missing for a meal or was absent from a discussion?

 

We are told that He knows our joys – our everyday being with the people we love. And He knows our sorrows – when the everyday changes and we don’t want it to. He understands.

 

So enjoy the quiet dinner with your spouse. The walk with your grandchild. The call from your mother. These are the everyday moments.

 

And I’ll store up my Christmas moments, treasuring them as my everyday changes yet again. And then I’ll treasure the new everyday moments too.

 

Because it’s all everyday beautiful.

 

 

Posted in Prayer, Uncategorized

Precious Jesus

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus.

 

When the demands of my crowded calendar overtake the cry of my weary soul . . .

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus.

 

 

When the days to come look more like fear and less like joy . . .

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus.

 

 
When my heart is heavy and my head is bowed in sorrow and tearful remembrance . . .

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus. 

 

 
When silence is the sound that envelops me . . .

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus.

 

 
When You calm me and I recognize the hollow longing I carry day in, day out . . .

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus.

 

 
When I finally stop.
And gaze upon the manger and catch a glimpse of wonder . . .

Lift my eyes to You, precious Jesus.

 

 
When the night is Silent and Holy, when I know what Child this is, when I fall on my knees and I hear the angels . . .

 

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him, but in heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
When like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.*

 

 
You, Precious Jesus.


 

Because of Him, today is a GOOD day,
~ Natalie

*Hymn: “Once in Royal David’s City” (1848) by Cecil Frances Alexander