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Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

God, IF You Are Real, then Please . . . . .

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No explanation today, just something for you to read/watch and consider.


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Prayers of
“God, IF you are real, then please  . . . .”
Are supposed to be saved for unbelievers.
Right?

For those “still searching”,
Who don’t know yet.

Then why do I find
myself
asking these questions?

Why am I the one
crying
“God, IF you are real then please . . . . . “?

I’m supposed to have it all together,
I’m supposed to know the answers.
For crying out loud
I’ve been “following” for nearly 30 years.

But I am not alone,
Others have gone before me on this path,

Others far more versed in Loving than me,
Others most would think of as “knowing Him.”

Mother Teresa,
Revered by many,
Loved by thousands if not millions,

We may disagree
on theology,
But surely we
can agree
that she
Was
Follower of God
Lover of the unloveable
Friend of the untouchable

And she,
yes even she,
cried from the bottom of her heart,
“My God, I have no faith,
So many unanswered questions
live within me
Afraid to uncover them,
IF there be God
Please forgive me.”

No, I am NOT alone,
Others have gone before me on this path.

Consider Moses
At the burning bush
Negotiating
Even arguing with God

Or Gideon
DEMANDING proof

Or Job
Who
Was NOT afraid
To
Ask the questions
Burning in his heart

No, I am NOT alone,
Others have gone before me on this path.

And we read psalms
Where David praises
David rejoices
David cries
David begs
“How long Lord?
How long will you forget me?
Will it be forever?”

No, I am NOT alone,
Others have gone before me on this path.

And so I stand
And so I sit
And so I lie
And so I cry

With the man
Of Mark 9:24

Lord I BELIEVE

HELP ME IN MY UNBELIEF!


Come back next Thursday for another Thoughtful Thursday post.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Art journal Book Study - Part 9

Here we are at the next season and the next word or spiritual practice in the Brian D McLaren book - "Naked Spirituality", more from the season of perplexity and the word "No!"

Summer Reading Art Journal   Chapter 18 No!

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Sometimes the prayer of aspiration works like a long doorless passageway.  You keep trudging along until you're ready to collapse.  You turn a corner, come to a door, open it and suddenly you're outside.
BUT SOMETIMES it doesn't go that way.  Sometimes the void expands.

Doubters, atheists & sceptics have an important part in the community of faith.  Their "No!" comes from a sadness that a truer, brighter, bigger, better, REAL God isn't showing up, only an imposter.   It's also a refusal to accept the true god's absence.  No!  I will NOT accept this!

This daring word, NO! has more holiness to it than it gets credit for,  Through it we refuse to let God off the hook, we demand not to be abandoned.  We stamp our foot in God's presence. We raise our fist and we say "I will NOT accept this!"


Summer Reading Art Journal   Chapter 19 No!

However one reads the beginning of the book of Job, the middle rings with Job's refusal to paper over the ugly cracks in reality.  SCANDALOUSLY, God agrees with Job.

No! is the response to all that is unacceptable, a refusal to accept everything that is not as it should be, in our worlds, our lives, our emotions, our thinking, our relationships, our situations, NO!  No isn't a rejection of God, it is a refusal to accept the unsatisfying attempts to let God off the hook.  And it's a parallel refusal to give up hope altogether.

No! then is actually a YES! to a deep and pure belief that G-d, if G-d exists, would rather us be honest doubters than hypocritical believers.  AND that if G-d exists, G-d is even more opposed to and heartbroken by the current status quo than we are.  BUT it doesn't feel like a "yes" most of the time,  It feels like death and then it gets worse.

The only sane alternative is to hold the pain, to feel it, to lie down in front of it and let it crash over us and as we do, to voice our protest, disappointment, rage and refusal with No! shouted, screamed, groaned, whispered, however we need to express it, however we have the strength left to express it, No!


So far in this summer journey of reading and exploration I have shared with you


You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Living "in Between"

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Wait,
Stay,
Be,
Learn to "Live in between".

Between is not comfortable,
Between can feel pressed,
Between is neither one thing nor the other.

It is a no man's land,
A place of harsh landscapes
And not belonging.

Living in between
Can leave you exposed on both sides,
Not knowing who to trust.

Living in between
Can make you doubt everything you thought you knew,
Can you even trust yourself?

And yet,
Living in between is a good place
Because something is coming.
And while it might not be here yet,
(well you wouldn't be between if it was),
It IS coming.

Living in between
Can become a place of hope,
Where deep wells are dug.

Living in between
Can become a place of visions and dreams
Where YOU decide what really matters.

Does that make living in between any more comfortable?
No.
It is still a place others find difficult to understand.
It is still a place where,
Digging deep inside yourself,
You never know what you will find.
It is still a place where,
Digging deep inside your faith,
You have no idea what discoveries you might make.

Because living in between
Means facing the questions,
Holding apparently contradictory concepts in tension,
Discovering that who you are might not be who you imagined yourself to be.

What you will find is
Not something to be afraid of.
What you will find is
The real you,
The real Saviour,
The real Father.
What you will find is
A reason to live
REALLY live.

© 2014, Zoe Gregg (Aisling Beatha). All rights reserved.



You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Art Journal Book Study - Part 8

Here we are at the next season and the next word or spiritual practice in the Brian D McLaren book - "Naked Spirituality", the season of perplexity and the word "WHEN?"

So far in this summer journey of reading and exploration I have shared with you
Summer Reading Art Journal

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The season of perplexity takes us from summer into Autumn.    From the times of simplicity and then struggle into times when sometimes there is no winning and there are no answers in sight.  In this season what matters most, more than being right, more than being effective, is being HONEST, authentic, even brutally so.

For all its angst there is beauty in perplexity.  there's the strength of ruthless honesty, the courage of dogged endurance, the companionship of the disillusioned, the determination of the long distance runner who just will NOT give up.

Summer Reading Art Journal

And so, we come to WHEN and the questions of, what happens when, pray as we might, vicious cycles spin and spin, gears grind and grind and we get NOWHERE?  The coping strategies that have carried us this far in our journey of faith no longer work.  And we are left with what seems to be nothing but questions.

WHAT IF when we pray we think we are just talking to ourselves, or when we read our bibles it seems like a nothing more than a bunch of legends, of when we are at church we find ourselves thinking it's all a bunch of group make believe?  What if we don't want to think these things but we just CAN'T HELP IT?

What comes after this is fear, the fear that this will never end.  And so we move to survival.

Summer Reading Art Journal

The when of survival  is one of aspiration morphing into desperation.  And yet, above it all the flag of hope says "again", as in psalm 42.  Hope in God for I again shall praise Him.  it doesn't dare to be brave enough to say "SOON", it just manages a more modest "SOMETIME".  And so with that repeated mantra of when? again! when? Again! When? Again! we survive for one dragged out moment at a time.  We survive through delay, frustration, hardships we feel we cannot endure for one more minute, and our desire is tested and stretched.  Do you really want this?  How much longer are you prepared to wait?

And through it all, day after day we SURVIVE.  So we hold our WHEN or HOW LONG or WHERE before God, we make space for it, we allow ourselves to feel it rather than fear it, we let it out like an OUCH!

Check back soon for more pages from this art journal, although they might be slightly delayed as we have holiday club (VBS) next week.


You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Introducing - THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS

I've been thinking about my blog and getting a little more structure over here.

Over the next few months I am thinking of introducing a few different themes for posts, so I can keep the mix of creative stuff, foody stuff, but also provide that space for me to do what I love, but haven't done in so long, and that is share my thoughts, on the deeper stuff of life.

So, we shall begin with that last one, through Thoughtful Thursdays.

Thoughtful Thursday Logo Finished

A few months ago I was asked to write a set of notes for sharing with my church.  And now it's time to share them with you.  Those will make up the first couple of months of thoughtful Thursday posts.  Some of them are reposts of previous items on my blog, some of them refer back to previous items on my blog, but put together they seem, to me at least, to make a complete whole.

When I was asked to write these I was reluctant.  I knew that the journey writing them would take me on was not an easy one, and that I would get to take all my readers along with me for the ride.  These Thursday posts might sometimes leave you worrying about me.  You might worry for my faith, my salvation, or my sanity, but you need not be concerned.

The place I'm going to take you to is one where deep faith and deep doubts and questions are held in the same pair of hand.  It doesn't mean I've fallen away from God, lost my faith, or just need to try harder.  I was going to tell you that this is a place I have gone to willingly, but I have to admit that at times I've been dragged kicking and screaming.  It is, however, a place that God has led me to, and a genuine part of the journey.

I'll leave it at that for now.  But watch out next Thursday for more . . . .
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