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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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Living "in Between"

Thoughtful Thursday Logo Finished
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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 . . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2014

WHAT IF?

Some thoughts from a few weeks ago.

What if?


What if "Being used by God" doesn't mean "bringing lots of people to the Lord" or "building orphanages in Africa" or "being involved in your local community" or any of the other things with which that phrase comes loaded in our churches?

What if "Being used by God" means being willing to DELVE INTO THE DARKNESS within your own heart and within the hearts of others.  What if it means not hiding it, not denying it, not pushing it under the carpet? What if it means being real, raw and honest about the doubts, about the questions, about all that stuff that we are so good at avoiding.

What if it means not trying to FIX that stuff, but accepting that it's part of the journey and that by acknowledging that stuff, the journey will be richer and deeper and truer and actually closer to God.

We assume that what we see as negative = BAD
that what we feel as negative = MUST BE FIXED
that what we hear as negative = NOT ACCEPTABLE
that what we are told is negative = WRONG

What if we change the way we look at things.  What if
Negative = OPPORTUNITY
Maybe what you see as negative, what you see as needing to be ditched, maybe that is actually NECESSARY and you just can't see it yet!

Under a cloud?

Maybe we need to stop trying to FIX and learn to BE.  It's not about sitting under the negative like a cloud, or about letting it break you, it's about being willing to engage with it, dig into it, etc.

What if "exercising your faith" means HOLDING ON even when you don't believe, even when you can't believe?  What if it means holding on even when you have big questions, valid questions, questions that you can no longer ignore?  What if?

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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.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Summer Art journal Book Study Part 7

Here we are at the next word or spiritual practice in the Brian D McLaren book - "Naked Spirituality", the word PLEASE.

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

Summer Reading Art Journal

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When we move from HELP to PLEASE we move from Petition and we enter into Intercession.
The author discusses through an example from his own life how when we experience pain and struggle we can experience the upside of increased compassion for others.
If we experience some degree of comfort in our own pain, we eventually find ourselves empowered to turn outward in sacred compassion toward others.
He also explores the dilemma that intercession can bring, because it means that others are in pain and we don't have the answers as to why that is.
So, we practise compassion in intercession not because we have fully satisfying answers to explain the suffering of others, BUT BECAUSE WE DON'T
 The practice of compassion through intercession, in this light, is not just a response to the agony of another in pain.  It is also the response to our own pain of not having answers about why anyone is in pain.

Summer Reading Art Journal

Chapter 15 begins with the story of the paralysed man who was lowered through the roof before Jesus.  One of the points the author makes is that it is written that Jesus noticed the faith of HIS FRIENDS.
They literally carried their paralysed friend.  They let the weight of his condition become their burden to bear.  In a sense his paralysis became their paralysis and their ability to move became his ability to move.  
Will we join the stretcher carriers, the burden bearers, feeling the pain of our fellow humans being and making it our own so that we carry OUR pain - their pain together with our pain for them - to the one we call COMPASSIONATE.
The author goes on to discuss not just praying for people, but for all of creation and also challenges us with the concept of praying for our enemies.
Will praying for our enemies really make a difference?
The important thing is to keep praying, whatever answers do or so not come, whatever you think about HOW prayer works, because however much or little prayer changes THINGS. prayer changes YOU and you need to be changed. 
That last concept, THAT would be worth reading this whole book for, I think.  But there is SO MUCH MORE.  "Naked Spirituality" by Brian D McLAren".  Check back tomorrow for yet another post with yet more pages as we move into the season I bought this book for, the autumn of perplexity.


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.
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