find praise

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(a tired weary sheep slowly gets up / Slieve League, County Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Worn and weary
Run ragged and haggared…
Feeling forgotten and alone in all you do…
Overwhelmed and underwhelmed by all that must be done…
Add in the busiest time of year…
You’re stretched too thin yet can you please offer up some more?
They want the proverbial blood from a turnip…

There is a heightened sense of urgency.
The overbooked schedules…the events, the pageants, the parties, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the traveling, the wrapping, the singing, the sledding, the shoveling, the chopping, the washing, the exams, the grading, the deadlines, the reports, the dinners, the meetings…..it’s all simply never ending.
Or is is too quiet…
Too lonely, too empty, too little, too late…
Just shake it all up and pour it up neat…either way it’s all too much.

It’s either too cold or its either too hot.
You’re either too late, too soon, just in the nick of time…or simply put… you’re simply out of time as the deadline is all but passed.

The lines are endless and the tempers are shorter.
Good cheer is hard to find in the overcrowded parking lots, roadways, and snarling traffic jams.
Rush here, hurry there, get this and pick up that as you have yourself
a Merry Little Christmas now…

Or is it all just too quiet…
Too empty and too painful as you struggle though the day?
Remember, lock your doors and look over your shoulder, bad things lurk in the shadows. And don’t forget to unplug the lights….

Is it any wonder you’re tired, overwhelmed, ill tempered…
Fussing and cussing, complaining and lamenting…
The lists grow longer as the cash flow falls shorter.
As the airports cancel the flights…
Sneezing, coughing, aching…getting sick with no extra time in sight…
It’s hard to find a smile when hurting, silent and sad…
Bah humbug you shout, let’s be done with it already.

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani”

Forsaken and forgotten…alone and at wits end.
Vulnerable and exposed or simply empty and spent?
Who has time for joy, merry and bright…
When the mall is packed with people…
When you feel only sad and lonely…
When you’re so busy you’ve forgotten what it’s all about…

Emotions are heightened, raw and frayed this magical yet manic time of year.
Be it good or be it bad.
Isolation verses exposure as you fight to find the happy middle.
For there is no middle road to your life this season of the festive.
Only emptiness as everyone seems unable to understand why.

You cry out day and night but no one acknowledges your need as they’re too busy walking away…as the lady rings the bell…

Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

The party goes on with or without you, as everyone jumps to grab the ring.
The glasses are raised with each and every cheer, yet your glass is empty and your plate is oddly bear.
Everyone gloats as they bask by the fire, yet who’s really happy now?

But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.

A second wind is found, a helping hand is offered, a needed embrace takes you in while comfort is found in a smile.
And deep within you manage to find the words…

“From you comes the theme of my praise…”

I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.


(excepts from Psalm 22)

time is fleeting

“Your poor heart, in which God put appreciation for everlastingness, will not take electronic gadgets in lieu of eternal life. Something inside of you is too big for that, too terrible, too wonderful. God has set everlastingness in your heart. All the things of this world are here for but a moment and then are gone. None can satisfy the longing for that eternal ragging in the soul of every man.”
― A.W. Tozer

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(a fleeting tiger swallowtail / Troup Co. Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015 )

Time is not mine this week. . .
Yet I wonder. . . is time ever really our own?
There are no guarantees, just all assumptions on our part.
I think we’re all actually just a bunch of gamblers who play the odds. . .
We bet that our days, our weeks, our months and our years will always play out
neatly and conveniently. . .that is. . .up until the moment both Time and Life intervene. . .

So while Life and Time have their way with me this week, I will grab hold, riding the waves come what may. . .clinging to the one Truism in my world—that no matter what life, time, the world may throw my way, God already knows how this week will pay out and in that I find my Peace. . .

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.

Isaiah 59:1

Busy growing

“Never be so busy as not to think of others.”
― Mother Teresa

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(a bumble bee caught in mid flight at the blueberries / Julie Cook / 2015)

Places to go
And people to see
I’m just as busy as I can be

Time’s not my own
Is that Dad on the phone?
Closing my eyes I shutter and groan

Life’s always changing
It shifts and it moves
We pray for the best and hope it improves

With our ups and our downs
We all come and go
It’s the struggles we suffer which help us to grow

Red Sky at morning, Sailors take warning. . .

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DAWN! thou hast every possibility of life! What canst thou not reveal to man in thy flaming sky? Enough thou sayest, to recreate a world of men. Blind are we. How many of us read thy words aright? We pass them by, cold letters, divining not the fire of eternal life behind them burning. Dawn, thy opportunity is full! We, alas, know not the meaning of thy gorgeous page. Dazed we watch thy letters pale; cold embers, left upon the sky; Life’s opportunity flickering into naught.
ELISE PUMPELLY CABOT, “Arizona”

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(both images taken from the back deck / Julie Cook / 2013)

A beautiful early morning opportunity is given for the observation of a brilliant sunrise.
Life is busy.
Busier than I prefer. . .
Alas–it is merely the fate of this holiday season.
Time will simply not permit the leisure of reflection nor the joy of the recording of such.
Yet in the advent of time, the gift of a glorious morning sky, full of the expectation and anticipation of the birth of a new day, simply may not overlooked nor ignored.
This is my small gift to you.