Sunday, March 22, 2009

His Holy Name Challenge: Creator

What Makes Me Happy

I have a few blogs that I read regularly. Some are artistic, some inspirational, and a few are just meandering mixes like mine. The other day one of those blogs posted a question: What makes you happy?

Hmmm. What makes me happy? Lots of things make me feel good about life. Lots of things make me smile. Happiness, though, is deeper than a momentary emotion. Happiness is really a state of being.

Music makes me happy. When I sing, especially with a group of committed musicians, I feel like a small part of something magnificent. I love to hear good music. It makes me happy that my children love musci as well. I am happy when I hear them sing and play their instruments (trumpet, piano, percussion.) The best is when I hear them sing together. Bach said, "The aim and final end of music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul." That's a pretty solid foundation for a life of happiness.

Learning makes me happy. I am so grateful that God has given me a thirst for knowledge and understanding of His Word and His world. Everything I learn makes me wonder all the more of God's amazing power...and that with all the glory of Creation, He chose me to be His child.

My family makes me happy. How blessed I am to have a husband who loves me without reservation and daughters who are strong and independent young women. The most joyful moments I know are the ones when my younger daughters, who are sisters AND best friends, laugh together. All of my girls have a deep and rich and infectious laugh, and when their peals of laughter ring through the house, I cannot help but know that I am a happy woman.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Unexpected Inspiration

I expected to spend 3 1/2 days in Savannah and Tybee Island and come away inspired. How could I not be inspired by historic buildings, moss covered trees, museums, horse-drawn carriages, and the sound of the waves on the beach? While I loved the time I spent walking the historic district, touring the museums, and sitting on a park bench in Oglethorpe Square, I found myself inspired most by a story on the lighthouse stairs.

As Corinne and I ascended the 178 twisted steps we passed a gentleman taking a short breather on one of the landings. Not long after we reached the top, he opened the door to the watchtower deck. I noticed his heart rate monitor, so I knew he was getting some cardio into his day. As he was a large man, I inquired about his heartrate. (I thought it must be racing.) I was surprised to hear that it was only at 120---immediately after 178 stairs! Then he told us that he had already lost 180 pounds!

In 29 happy years of marriage and a successful chiropractic practice in New York, "Dr. Phil"(as he calls himself) had gone from 200 pounds to over 460. Knowing that he had heart disease in his family, he determined to develop a healthy lifestyle so that he could be around for a good long time. He began slowly. His target heart rate maximum was to be 120 (based on his size and age) and he reached that just by walking from the locker room to the gym floor. Today his goal was not one, but TWO trips to the top of the lighthouse. Talk about perseverence. Lungs, knees, ankles---it all had to hurt after just one trip up all 178 steps. Twice was an admirable goal. His heart rate recovery was impressive--within just a few minutes it was down to the low 90s and he was ready to begin the trek down. He is part of Savannah's Biggest Loser competition--and he intends to win. I believe he will. The ultimate reward, however, is that his health will be fully restored and he will be wholly alive and well for his family.
How easy is it to look at any daunting task and see only the challenge in its entirety! God never intended for His children to be overwhelmed by the challenges He allows. He wants us to look to the Light as we move forward. The reward at the top of the Tybee lighthouse steps is a panoramic view of the island, the ocean, and the bridge to Savannah. The journey is taken one step at a time. As in life, some steps are more difficult than others, and there is sometimes great pain, but the reward is worth the effort. Life's journey ends, not with a panorama of creation, but with eternity with the Creator. The trials and tasks along the way refine us, change our hearts, strengthen our faith, and make us wholly His.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

So Much to Say

Saturday evening was a special event...and I had no idea how cool it would be. The handbell choir from church was invited to play at an international prayer conference in Atlanta. It wasn't a big gathering, but the people there represented ministries in Atlanta to a dozen different ethnic groups. There were leaders there ministering to Iranians, Russians, Indians, Spanish-speakers (Mexican and Cuban), Romania, and others I'm sure I've forgotten. The speaker I remeber most was born in Nazareth, worked in the Middle East, and now lives in Atlanta. He talked about prayer as a privilege, more important than sleep, and more powerful than the human mind can imagine.

Saturday was a lovely day--high in the upper 50s, sunny, and picturesque. Sunday afternoon, however, brought a March 1 snowstorm! Big fluffy flakes fell for at least 3 hours. Accoding to the news, Atlanta had up to four inches! Today ( a Wednesday) there is still snow on the ground anywhere that is shady or on the north side of a building. My poor tulip trees are terribly confused!

And then there was yesterday, Tuesday, March 3 when we all celebrated the short but full life of Brock Meadows: All four of my classes released balloons in memory of Brock and in honor of his family whose testimony in grief is honest and powerful. Brock's big brother, Asa, is in my 7th grade class, and it was cool to share that moment with him.