Relinquishing all

We have clothed ourselves with Christ’s grace, with the whole Christ,
so let us spread ourselves like coats under his feet.

St Andrew of Crete

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(a silvery canopy of Spanish moss / Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga / Julie Cook / 2016)

No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.
Oswald Chambers

Relinquish
To let go
To yield
To release
To surrender

No holding on
No waffling
No balancing
It’s all or nothing.

Jesus beckons…
He calls your name.
He wants you…

Not the pieces…
Not the parts…
Not this or that
Not a portion…

But all…
Of you…

He wants everything…
Every aspect
Every love
Every like
Every dislike
Every hate
Every passion
Every possession
Even…
The darkness
The savings
The wealth
The debt
The stuff that makes you who you are
Your temper
Your joy
Your anguish
Your secrets

Yet are you willing to give Him your secrets?
The things you’re afraid others will see.
That which you hope to hide, especially from Him…
That which you hope to keep hidden…

What of the status, the position…
Your place among others…
What of the security…
The pleasures…
The comfort…
Are you willing to give away that which makes you comfortable?
Stable,
Steady,
Happy…

Are you willing to lay yourself, your entire being…
The good, the bad, the indifference, the naivety, the ignorance, the pompousness…
Everything that makes you you…not only at His feet
But under His feet?

Offering it all
100% of it all
No holding on and no holding back…

To the One who gave His all to you….

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17

Texture: an element of art as seen in Nature

Texture: An Element of Art, as well an Element of Design–is a principle which refers to the way things look or feel–either to the touch (tactile) or the visual impression something portrays as it might feel when touched.
(Elements of Art and Design include: Line, Shape, Form, Value, Color, Texture, Space, Form, Emphasis, Balance, Movement)

Nature is the art of God.
Dante Alighieri

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(spruce cones / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(spanish moss / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(knotted tree / Colonial Park Cemetery / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(wildflowers / Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(broken shells in the surf, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(reflections in the surf / Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
― Anne Frank

Nostalgia

“how sad and bad and mad it was – but then, how it was sweet”
― Robert Browning

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****this is the post I wanted to share Sunday morning—the morning following our big day.
It was a time of tremendous emotion.
A week long adventure of adrenaline, very little sleep, and a time of relishing in the love of dear family and friends.
Between poor wifi connections, exhaustion and a lack of solitude, time passed too quickly, never allowing for the finishing a private reflection. . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Underneath an ethereal blanket of gossamer grey,
snippets of time– those of one’s past, present and future– wildly and suddenly collide into one. . .
All the while, the heady scent of gardenia swirls sweetly on a southern breeze

He looks first at mom and then over to dad, who’s hearts now tug to and fro-
as his two parents helplessly, yet joyously, watch their little boy oddly fade from their sight.
A dam bursts forth as a flood of tender memories poignantly mix with the reality of time,
gently welcoming this transition of age.

There is a single violin’s rhythmic vibration, lifting upward to a Heavenly Host.
when a girl dressed in white, smiling with delight, offers her love, her life, her all—
The proud young man, whose conviction is firm, in turn promises this girl his world
All as a choir of united hearts gently whisper Amen

Celebratory joy mingles with glistening tears as Commitment is mysteriously at work.
Heads reverently bow as an obligatory hush settles over those gathered close by.
With Life’s transforming grace, serenely dancing under a tightly woven canopy of ancient oaks and moss, a single promised bond, tightly binds willing hearts,
while weaving two lives into one,

What is the fruit by which you are known?

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
Saint Basil

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(Photograph: Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013)

You may have noticed from a previous post or two how much I love nature….trees in particular….so massive and majestic. I feel embraced by their sheer stature. Living in the South as I do, I’m not a fan of our ubiquitous pine trees–tall sticks with needles–and they seem to exude heat which only compounds the heavy air we breath 4 to 5 months of the year. It is however our gracious oaks that speak to my soul.

I suppose I should one day write a post about trees. How I really love the western birch and Aspen trees with their silvery smooth bark and their leaves flickering in the wind like little muffled chimes— there are the beautiful northern firs that signal that I am “home” in the mountains I dearly love. And yet there is just something about the southern oaks—be it white oak, black oak, red oak or water oak… Stately and yet lazily offering delightful shade and respite from sun or rain.

They, the trees, have always provided us humans so very much–everything from shelter to food. And sadly we have taken them for granted just as we have with most of our natural world…but today is not the day to bemoan our poor stewardship of our natural world but rather a day of thankful reflection–as this is Sunday—a day of rest, a day of worship, a day of thanks and a day of reflection.

As blessed St. Basil reminds us, today, as well as any day, is the day that we should plant in order to reap. And yet we must be mindful of what it is that we plant. We have a lovely colloquial expression here in the South—you get a whole lot more with honey than you do vinegar…..Meaning a kindness usually generates a returned kindness…like for like…and so on…..

So on this beautiful Fall day of reflection, contemplation, rest and joy–consider what it is that you plant–if you are not pleased with the harvest you may need to check your “seed”
Happy Sunday

Southern magic, mystery and enchantment

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself”
William Blake

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(Photograph: Savannah, Georgia/ Julie Cook/ 11/2012)

There is something almost magical about spanish moss draped ever so delicately over the branches of a graceful southern oak, pecan or even lowly pine tree. It as if the moss itself is suspended magically in air– just slightly above a branch– not dumped heavily or haphazardly. The branches do not bend or bow down under its weight, it is more ethereal in nature, which only adds to it’s ghostly charm.

To be in the deep south on a hot humid evening, with the tiniest breath of a breeze gently swaying the suspended moss, ever so slightly in the branches overhead… along with the hypnotic cadence of the cicadas gently humming in the dark…there is a deep rooted, magical, wondrous mystery in all of this. Life is slower, calmer, of another time and place.

If you have never seen the moss in person, walked under the branches with their gently flowing silver hair languishing downward toward the ground, breathing deeply in the heavily perfumed air of gardenias or even the ever present salt of the nearby sea, then you have not known nature’s true eloquence. This is a gift that I wish for you…..