Monday, March 30, 2009

Clouds and Ducks

Psa 36:5 "Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."

Yesterday was on of those days that called your name to enjoy the outdoors. My sister-in-law called after church and asked if we wanted to go for a walk. Of course we said yes, and we enjoyed a beautiful stroll around a lake in a park near Bill and Janet's home.

I had my camera and took photos.
My favorite ones - of clouds and ducks and geese on the water.
They had a theme in common.


I noticed how my photo below shows God's faithfulness both in the reflected clouds and the goose and gander who mate for life!

Ducks also mate for life and I smiled at how they were never far apart from each other getting ready to build a nest and raise a family together.

Examples of faithfulness in the lifelong mating of birds or animals in nature always warms my heart because it reminds me that even though faithfulness is something that is no longer greatly valued in our society, God's examples in His creation still serve to encourage us that faithfulness is and always will be important to Him.

Our unchanging God is a God who is faithful and calls us to faithfulness as well - To Him, to His Word, to each other in marriage , in friendship - Faithfulness in our commitments and duties and prayer and caring for those in need.

As I looked at my downloaded photos yesterday, my heart thought was .. "How beautiful faithfulness looks!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

What Stands Out

When our friends were here from Mississippi, we took them cross country skiing at night under the lights at Hollyburn - Cypress Mt.
We stopped for supper at the old hut that stands off to the side of the Nordic trails. It is old and rustic to the point of being beyond worthy of repair. I took a picture of some of our party sitting in the newer end of it.

When we entered the room, my eye was immediately drawn to the one spot of beauty - one little stained glass pane in one of the old windows. It so stood out because of its contrast with the drab look of the rest of the room. Before we left I went to take a close up photo of it.

It made me think.... beauty among beauty is easily overlooked, but beauty in the midst of ugliness stands out ! It's beauty is not diminished by the worn out or ugly but rather enhanced ! Just like a candle shines brighter in a dark place than it does in the glare of the noon day sun.

I thought of the beauty of Christ that we, His followers, are called to show to the world. There is no doubt that our world can be an ugly place, and is becoming increasingly so.

Do we stand out as this window pane - not in the least affected by the evil or darkness around us? Or have we allowed - either by sloth, or careless sin, or discouragement - our beauty to be tarnished by the world? Have we begun to take on the look of what is around us , or do we STAND OUT !!

We have so many opportunities to stand out.... and it is not through the good blessings we enjoy but rather how we shine in the difficult, the dark, the discouraging times of our life. That is when we will draw attention if we keep the beauty of Christ shining through us.

I think I learned another lesson from this stained glass window too. A few days ago, I lost the main marquise diamond out of my engagement ring, that I have worn for 44 years. It wasn't the first time I lost it. ( you can read about the other time, and the miracle here )

I couldn't believe that I could have lost it again, and of course felt that sick, sinking feeling in my stomach.

I knew I had not lost it outside the house, but the last thing I had done before I noticed the empty setting, was the dishes -- rinsing, unloading the dishwasher, loading it. Vic took everything apart - all the plumbing. We searched everywhere we could think to look, but nothing.

In grieving over my loss, I thought about what was really important. I thought about women who had recently lost their husbands and thought about how gladly they would give up their rings to have their husband back. So I looked at Vic and told him that I was so thankful that I still had him - that it was my diamond I had lost and not him.

I also thought about how different it was losing the stone this time from last time. Last time I didn't have the Lord in the picture - this time I did. This time I could trust Him that He could either help me find it again or use it for some purpose. This time I know that everything that is of eternal value is still mine. I loved my diamond, but other things are infinitely more valuable. The diamond, sentimental though I am about it, is just part of this world's treasure -- not heaven's treasure !

My prayer is that I will stand out for who Christ is in me - and that the things of this world will become ever more unimportant to me ...... until only He is left !

2Co 4:6 "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Peak to Peak

We spent a wonderful two weeks with our dear South Mississippi friends !
Tammie, McKenzie, and Benjy !

I was thinking of our vacation and realized that all of it was peak to peak experience with no 'valleys' inbetween ! Wouldn't it be nice if all of life was like that ? I know it will be in the life to come .. but peak to peak living on THIS earth is not the norm. We all experience the shadows of the valleys that move through our lives where our view is at best, limited.

Yet, in the spirit we DO live continually in high places - seated with Christ !
Eph 2:6 "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus"
If only we would remember when this earth's pull becomes more than we can bear!!

Our friends came for a skiing vacation. We had a very snowy winter here - which I had been praying for since last year. We could not have had better weather - lots of snow but the roads were always good.

We took them to Manning Park, Hollyburn at Cypress Mt. and to Whistler!

Whistler is of course hosting the 2010 winter Olypics.

New, in time for the Olympics, is a new Peak to Peak Gondola line connecting Whistler Mt. to Blackcomb Mt.
It is the highest and longest gondola in the world -- 1 mile off the ground and almost 3 miles across !

In spite of some trepidation, we were convinced we could not send our friends back to Mississippi without experiencing it !

It turned out to be a highlight of our vacation - even though on our return ride the gondola stopped at its highest point!
Everything was instantly deathly silent .... not a sound!
We were all praying ! and I was wondering how long we could sit in the car before we froze to death! It was a long 5 or so minutes before the gondola began to move again!

The first day we tried to buy tickets we were advised to wait because of the biting wind adding unbearable chill factors to the already -19C / 6 below 0 F temperature. We went back the next day and though it had not warmed up any , without the wind it seemed much less cold !

If you get a chance to experience the Peak to Peak, do !! but if you can't - here are a few photos that really don't do it justice !!

A Japenese photographer in our gondola car graciously offered to take our photo!
The views from the Gondola car are spectacular --- if you wish you may ride in a glass bottom car..... we resisted ! smile.....
On both peaks there are shops, restaurants...... anything you might need!

You can see the snow edge on the photo below... don't walk tooo close - its a long tumble down !!
Standing out on the patio of the restaurant where we ate lunch!
There has been some kind of snow sculpture happening earlier in the year.. We couldn't quite decide what the scultpers were ... penguins perhaps ?

What started out as an online friendship between Tammie and I .............
has become a close, precious friendship between all five of us.
My daughter and her family have also joined in the relationship and we love what God has done.