Friday, June 26, 2015

Invitation to Delight

St. Louis 1

Lee and I just got back from a little getaway to St. Louis.
Our teenagers have been at camp,
and we took advantage of some wonderful time together.
All along the way there was beauty of every imaginable kind.
There was God-made beauty.
And man-made beauty.
And the kind of beauty that can only be made
when people work hand in hand
with the creative God who made them in his own image.

St. Louis 3

There were animals, perfectly designed for their unique ways of life.

DSC_0414

DSC_0582

There we were, right in the middle of them, laughing.
Just the way I can only imagine that God laughed when he created them
(and probably when he created us!).
And when he watched us laughing, interacting with his other creatures.

St. Louis 7

St. Louis 4

There was lots of art.
But I was really taken by this Little Dancer of Degas'.
I imagined God watching Degas create, and thinking back to when he created Degas.
The same God who created me.
I thought, Isn't she breathtaking?
And I realized God said the same thing when he created each and every one of us.

St. Louis 2

There was the city itself, with all of her history and architecture.
Each building with stories of the people who made bold moves,
or big investments.
Not all of which turned out well.
For this world is tended by all kinds of people, meant for beautiful stories,
but not everyone pursues the sort of story God dreamt of when he made us.

DSC_0977

St. Louis 5

We saw all kinds of architecture,
all built to connect the occupants to the land and surroundings.

Hannibal

We explored a small town, known for its stories of mischievous boys
who were unlikely messengers of the truth that everyone is created with value
that is way more than skin deep.

DSC_0155

DSC_0742

We saw all kinds of plants...

St. Louis 6

DSC_0982

and homes of people who have made a life of tending plants,
plants that provide our very sustenance.

People everywhere, harnessing and using God's resources
to live and create beauty.

Recently, our Photo 52 theme was "Photographer's muse: What inspires you?"
This is it.
It's all this variety of life, sourced by a creative God
who invites us to enjoy and cultivate it right along with him.
It's awe inspiring.  HE's awe inspiring.
And the thing is--this is nothing out of the ordinary.
Beautiful life is happening right around us, all the time, if we simply open our eyes.
Every moment of every day, God is issuing us the invitation
to delight with him, to delight IN him, and in his creation.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower that the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Her Children Call Her Blessed

"Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her."
Proverbs 31:28

DSC_0424

This kid-wrangling grandma

Surprise

got a great big surprise this year on her birthday!

More surprises

She learned just how many people wanted to make SURE it was a happy one.
How many?
I didn't count, but a LOT!
All she really wanted for her day was to go to Jazzercise with her girls in the morning.

DSC_0560

But her family had a whole big party up their sleeves.

Daughter

McGruders

DSC_0087

Son

Her son and daughter-in-law hosted the big shindig,
and made all this beautiful food.

Food

Visiting

People kept coming to honor the birthday lady.
Lots of family, friends, and even former colleagues.

Fun

DSC_0511

It was obvious that she has spent a lifetime loving.
These people were so eager to return the love.

DSC_0507

Grandchild Wrangling

Her kids knew she would love a photo with all the grandkids.
She really needs to be an octopus in order to facilitate that.

DSC_0477

There was just so much cuteness going on.

DSC_0463

And a tiny bit of bossing.

DSC_0469

Cuteness

DSC_0621

Happy birthday Judi!
Wishing you many, many more years of celebrations
surrounded by the ones you love.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God."
1 John 4:7