Listen

It is early morning. Distant thunder resonates in the changing sky as the first rays of sun burst victoriously through the clouds in an impressive display of pink and purple and orange. The sound of traffic is such a distant hum, it could easily be the wind. And birds chirp cheerily just outside the open window.
Sometimes in the mornings, as I go through my devotions, I will try to take a few minutes to just listen; listen to God.
Most days, I don’t feel like I “hear” God. At least, not in the way that I would hear another being talk to me. But I think God says a lot through his creation. Through its beauty, how it is provided for, and how it brings glory to Him.
Lately the verse “Be Still and know that I am God”, has popped in my head repeatedly. And perhaps I misinterpret it, but It reminds me to trust in God; it reminds me to pause every so often, take a deep breath, and remember who is in control.
In a buzzing world of Go! it reminds me to slow down.
Sometimes life gets noisy.
But if you stay still for a moment, What do you hear?

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The Time I Prayed the Hardest..?

Despite my efforts, there have been days in my years of being a Christian, where I wasn’t as close to God as I would have liked to have been. Not exactly a deliberate rebellion, just a passive straying, from time to time. (Does that really make it any better though?) Such as the case when I travelled two months in Europe. Surely God was there, but I kept him packed up in a little box, and tucked away into a back corner of my mind, for when I would really need him. But otherwise, this trip was for my enjoyment; to enjoy being young, being free.
However, when there came a time that my heart quickened, my mind started racing, and those little red flags started popping up, who then did I turn to?~~~~~~~~
Here we are, two young Canadian girls in the foreign country of Poland, pacing the train station carrying a large Canadian flag. We were waiting for a gentleman who would pick us up and drive us over to the Auschwitz tour that we had booked online. The Canadian flag was so that he could pick us out from the crowd. (‘Cause of course, we didn’t already look out-of-place!)
An hour passed. No ride. My friend is having little luck contacting the tour company.
Flag One.
A not so restful night on one of the last cars of our jerky train may have been a contributing factor to the jumble of thoughts now occupying my mind.
We booked online…
We paid online…
We are totally being screwed over.
The attempted phone calls continue for a time, as do my doubts, until finally, she gets through. Our supposed ride is where we are, but cannot find us, we are informed.
The ball of yarn continues to unravel, as we endure painful minutes of more miscommunication. To the extent that this “tour company”, ( I was still suspicious of its legitimacy) had contacted the number we left upon booking the tour.
(My friend’s folks’ home number. Thousands of miles away. In a whole other time zone. Oh dear.)
Finally,  a man approaches us – perhaps in his late 30s – and in his very limited English, manages to communicate to us that he is with the tour group. And we follow him out of the train station…
Flag Two.
…Across the center, a short way down the street. And there is a plain white van parked at the side. No writing. Tinted windows. We climb inside, then quickly depart.Flag ThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTen…
Despite my earlier suspicions, it had not occurred to me NOT to get inside that van.
Have Hollywood movies not taught us anything???
Perhaps it was then, I realized what real anxiety was. My gut knotted over and over again, and I was nauseous at the idea that we may have walked all too casually into our death beds. We followed so blindly. I don’t even remember where in the van we sat, just that, upon entering it, my mind didn’t cease in its repetitive prayer.
God, please let us be okay. Please don’t let us die. Please keep us safe. Keep us from harm. Please get us to the tour safely. Please protect us God.
I stared out the window, wondering if we had just done the stupidest thing in our lives, with entering this unmarked, travelling trap. I nearly pleaded with God for my life. And while doing so, did not utter a word to my friend.
Though our driver did not appear threatening, I knew that looks could be deceiving. Who knows where he could be taking us?  I didn’t have time to theorize about such things however, what with pleading for my life, and all.
And then the van stopped. My curiosity peaked.
The driver leaves briefly, then returns with two more people; an Irish man and his teen son.
And for some reason, it was then a wave of relief flooded over me.
At least we were no longer alone.
And, it turned out the tour company wasn’t a fraud.
And, as you may have suspected, we made it both to and from our tour destination A-Okay.
My fear revealed where my hope and trust lie, should times become desperate. It’s not always easy to trust him whose face we don’t see. I try to turn to God when I hurt, when I’ve had a bad day, a bad dream, etc.
It’s easier to cling to something when we are desperate.
However, I’m guilty of not thanking God enough on the days that are good. The days that are blessed. For life in general
I should be praying – talking – to him diligently everyday.

Summer this, Summer list

I’ve learned lots this summer thus far. Things like:
~ The less time you spend with people, the crazier you get.
~ Sugar right before bed, can result in a night of neverending dreams. Dream after dream after dream, and… what the heck was I running from again?
~ The lawn doesn’t mow itself.
~ The library is a splendid thing
~ The ice cream truck is a delightful and recognizable sound anywhere you are. ( Even if you are Not buying ice cream!)
~ Beauty is everywhere
~ Coffee cured my headache (Huh?)
~ Physical distance is bound to happen among friends as we grow older and seek our own paths, but hearts can stay close should we choose to make the effort. ( Note to self: Make the effort!)
~ Pursuing Christ is a daily choice. This is not really a newsflash, but something that every so often, I need to remind myself of.
~ And, last for now, for whatever reason, I just can’t wait for Autumn!

Finders Keepers, right?

My job is… a cleaning gig of sorts.
I’m a car detailer, to be more precise. About half the vehicles I detail are units that have been traded in. Unwanted, 2 to 6 year old things already being shoved aside for something younger, faster, stronger. But I will remove the garbage that has been carelessly jammed into its every crevice; vacuum the gravel and dirt and fries and mysterious half-eaten goodies; Wipe, wash, rinse, and scrub to restore even a  fracture of its dignity.
And occasionally, perhaps out of its gratitude, I am rewarded. Sometimes in nickels, dimes and pennies. A loonie on a good day.
A 20 dollar bill on a really, really good day. ( Woohoo! Free lunch!)
And  a diamond ring on an exceptional day.
I kid you not.
Just a couple inches out of suction reach of the vacuum hose, in a pile of sand and dirt, it sat. Blingy things and sparkly rings don’t usually turn my head, (Except when my husband and I got engaged. I was then totally transfixed, and it’s a wonder I never walked into walls or drove off any roads!) but when I saw that small metallic circle I just had to be sure. Just had to get a closer look. Just had to –
“Wow…”
I turned it over in my awkward, blue-gloved hands. It was pretty. It appeared to be an engagement ring; A diamond in the center, and a few smaller sparklers on each side. White gold.
This was the first real treasure I had ever found in a used vehicle. I assumed it was real anyways. Closer inspection revealed inside the band, ’10KLIBCO’. Whatever that means…10 karat, something-or-other. Sounds real to me. So I took it up to the managers. It was kept in a safe place as they spent nearly two months trying to get a hold of the vehicle’s previous owners and leaving them voice mails.
Now, it is in my hands.
I suppose one person’s misfortune, is another one’s fortune. I was both excited and uncertain to be handed over this ring. Did we try hard enough to  find the owners? Maybe they were on holidays..? What do I do with it? Should I sell it? What if someone suddenly calls back?
My husband and I want to get it appraised, then probably sell it. And then what? Maybe put the money towards school, or fixing the lifeless honda in the driveway, or just adding to the ol’ savings account. But… part of me just wouldn’t feel quite right about any of those options.
Every so often, it is laid on my heart that my money is not my own. My fortunes and blessings don’t end with me. That ring hasn’t made it very far yet, but if it does get sold, I would like to see at least some of the money go somewhere other than my pocket. Maybe the church; someone in need; a charity or fundraiser of sort; etc.
I’m trying to grasp the meaning of generosity. Through observing fellow peers, I can see I’ve got a long ways to go. But  I try to keep this thought in my head, when something good comes my way…
Blessed, so we can bless. Given so we can give. Pay it forward, right?
So maybe, in a sense, it shouldn’t be finders keepers, should it?