Don’t think I can’t see you

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“Then from the neighboring thicket the mockingbird, wildest of singers, Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o’er the water. Shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music, That the whole air and the woods and the waves seemed silent to listen.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sometimes I wonder why the state bird of Georgia is the Brown Thrasher when all I seem to run into are Mockingbirds…………

Dare to find the right key

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(photograph: Julie Cook/ Savannah, GA 2013)
“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

A small gate sits in the middle of a large stone wall…who knew that a beautiful secret garden was hiding behind the stone wall? The gate is locked but all who pass by may peer in, if they stop long enough, they may catch a glimpse of the beautiful private garden. Are they too busy or too preoccupied to stop and glance? Do others know this garden exists or am I the only lucky one? The only one who stopped to look beyond the locked gate?

If beauty can hide behind a massive stone wall, can that same beauty not hide within a closed off human heart? Surly it can. It’s just a matter of finding the right key and getting inside. If you see the locked gate to a human heart, dare to be the finder of the right key— open wide the hearts around you to the potential beauty waiting inside. Dare to find the beauty that lies within the stone walls and locked gates to the hearts of the people you meet along your life’s journey. Who knows what joy you may discover……

The importance of a spin down the road

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(photograph: Julie Cook/ Savannah, GA/ 2013)
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A change of pace, scenery, direction is often what is needed most in order to clear one’s head, open one’s eyes, help one to gain a new perspective. Sometimes we are so caught up in what we are doing that we have actually lost our effectiveness. Being able to stop and change gears, so to speak, has a wonderful way of re-charing worn out energies. The change of pace allows us to suddenly be open to a new thought or idea that had actually been there all along—it had simply remained elusive, we kept overlooking it all because we were stuck with our tunnel vision of the moment.

Being able to step back from a situation can allow for a much needed new perspective. Just remember that the next time you seem to be up against a brick wall, going no where, caught in a stubborn mire of frustration–the gift of distance and time can do wonders for the situation. Be it a ride on a bike, a walk outside, a day off…the brief change in activity can mean all the difference in the world.

Southern Charm and hospitality draped in moss

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I don’t always have an opportunity of going on a leisure walk, yet alone in a beautiful city. I was, however, graced with such an opportunity over the long weekend. Savannah, Georgia is a lovely old town—Georgia’s oldest official city, founded in 1733. It is a city steeped in colonial history and is one of the largest seaports on the eastern seaboard.

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The city’s historic district remains just as General James Oglethorpe planned–a city consisting of multiple squares, or parks, surrounded by old picturesque stately homes which all date to colonial times–a city of a grid pattern accentuated by individual parks—all surrounded by the magnificent ancient live oaks which are draped in the ethereal spanish moss that blows ever so gently in the constant breeze–all giving way to a magical spell of history, Revolutionary war heroes, 13 colonies, pirates, ghosts, elegance, charm and peace.

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I just wanted to share a tad of this city’s allure and charm. Whetting the ol whistle—the gardens which seem to run on and on, the hustle and bustle of tourists down on the famous, or infamous, River Street, the colorful characters, the gorgeous parks, the shadows of a former era all collide in this southern coastal community—of which I am proud to say is a part of my state….such a treasure in my own backyard. And one that will play host to my son’s upcoming wedding…..but we have several more months in which to wait on that…more will most likely follow…this is just a small taste of life in the South…my glorious South.

Renewing a darkened spirit

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“God aims first to renew man’s darkened spirit by imparting life to it, because it is this spirit which God originally designed to receive His life and to commune with Him. God’s intent after that is to work out from the spirit to permeate man’s soul and body.”
Watchman Nee

This is a picture of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, GA. It is obvious upon first glance that the Cathedral is getting a bit of a facelift. If you ever travel much, especially to larger urban cities, particularly in Europe, you will certainly notice those buildings that are in the process of being restored, remodeled, renewed. The scaffolding is usually put up and immediately the entire surface is covered with a type of “drapery” film that usually has an image of the restored building or some sort of advertising. Seems the “powers that be” consider the draped film more attractive for viewers rather than the unsightly scaffolding–as the work is now going on under and behind the scenes.

Personally I think I prefer the scaffolding as I have the opportunity of seeing the actual work taking place. Drapery or scaffolding, either way, the look can be a bit unsettling especially when you walk up to the building expecting to see a historical, lovely and stately piece of architecture, but rather, you are met by a giant blanket or metal contraption.

It’s all about restoration. Whereas we may not be covered in scaffolding and drapery, we too get to the point where we need to be restored—we need some “work”—-and I’m not necessarily talking about the outside physical restoration that many seem to think so necessary such as a literal facelift, tummy tuck, a little augmentation here or there (see the post “These feet were made for Love”–March 27th regarding western culture’s obsession with physical appearance). Outside work has its place I suppose, especially as we may need to tone up and perhaps lose a little added weight, but it is the internal condition that is my focus today.

The restoration I speak of is what is needed on the “inside”–within our very being and soul if you will. I love this quote by Watchman Nee. He reminds us that it is indeed our spirit which is intended to be that which is receiving of God’s Spirit–however, we cannot do this if we are in poor shape. If our soul is dark or dim, if we have allowed ourselves to be swallowed up by our external lives without addressing our internal condition, then we are in no shape to receive, nor may we receive, the light of God. So the work must begin..and that work is not always what we think or believe necessary.

Restoration and renewal is a lifelong process as we are never where we truly need to be– which just means we are constantly having to have “a little work” done—that little analogy of God being the potter and us being the clay—as He gently and constantly works to form and shape us, most often having to always begin again and again.

I think I am glad that I am never where I exactly need to be–because I have yet to find myself to be “perfectly” complete. I may become comfortable and “situated” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m in a “good” place—there’s time for some “work”…a little remodeling.

I am greatly encouraged knowing that God is constantly at work on me, He never seems to throw His hands up in the air in frustration and walk off exclaiming that I am simply impossible to work with—which I know too often is actually the truth….but persevere He does—working, remodeling, repairing, polishing, preparing all that is within me, so that I may not only receive His light but that I may in turn reflect His light to others,

Here is to the remodeling of self and soul— just please excuse the mess as I am a work in progress!!