Laughter is a Leap

FullSizeRender-2

The arrow of time moves swiftly.

For some as 2014 closes, you’re happy to see the back of it, draw a line and stride over the threshold into 2014. A year of pain for some – health, finances, grief and loss, others, a year of surprises, adventures, twists and turns and for most a combination of all.

My inbox is full of inspiring New Year blogs this morning. Social Media alive with sparkle and well wishes.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog this year – my most read were “The Worcestershire Way’ ‘Fighting Fires’ and ‘Isolation to Restoration’. It was visited from 97 countries and as ever my mom is my biggest commenter and cheerleader! Here’s to my writing life continuing to do what it does. Musing on life, faith, the mundane and the mountaintop and weaving it into a God filled experience.

Join me again in 2015?

Every year we gather with a few friends over Christmas and discuss our one word for the year ahead.

Mine for 2015… LAUGHTER!

Laughter#ifonlymyeyesdidntdisappear

“Solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” GK Chesterton

God is joyful. He sings, he laughs, he delights. Scripture says all creation was given a measure of glory – that’s us too. You hold a part in the chorus of the creator that no one else plays. You are alive with light and life. There is something unique about you that represents the Father heart of God.

Our joy is often lost when were turn inwards – becoming negative and self critical. Let’s fix our eyes on Him, the great designer. We were made to recognize His voice, our issue is when we don’t hear him, or rather we don’t listen, when our negative critical self talk speaks a louder, darker voice.

‘Joy is peace out loud. Peace is quiet joy’ BJ

Lets have a quick look at Nehemiah 8 and Psalm 23 then you can carry on partying…

In Nehemiah 8 we see a people who have found God’s word after being without it. The picture is wonderful, everyone standing from morning until afternoon listening in to the word – families, communities gathered, listening. Soon enough, tears – mourning as they discover among other things a standard they cannot meet.

For some of us a familiar story.

Here’s the good news. God had other ideas.

Here it is in verse 10.

“Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

This image of family, community, eating, feasting, living, sharing. God knows life is hard work and He offers us His joy to be our strength!

The story goes on to say. Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

They understood. They lived it. The seed of joy taking root, far from the topsoil where the enemy can steal.

As I ponder this truth, I think of my one of my favourites, verse 5 from Psalm 23. ‘You spread out a table before me, 
provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies’

Picture that. Your enemies. You know them. We all have them. God promises you will feast in the midst of them. You will eat, know his goodness, and in that eating, you will find that the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Let us set the feasting atmosphere for 2015. TOGETHER!

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”(Herman Melville, Moby-Dick)

IMG_0428 Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Love, Michelle xo

 

Exhale

10350423_616549235118564_4597499449421779246_nVernon from the High Rim Trail

Hi friends,

Phil’s run went well, thanks for your interest. Here’s a little write up from him: Thank you so much for your support on my recent High Rim Trail run. How did this start? I sat one crystal clear evening, listening to the many news reports and I felt powerless over the Syrian crisis – I was a viewing participant but that was it. Then, a compulsion to act – a long distance run/walk flooded into my mind. So I did it! At least I could identify in the smallest of ways, focus my prayers, as each step became more uncomfortable, with those brief moments of isolation, disorientation (I did get completely lost three times). My toe nails, my muscles and the patterns of well placed mosquito bites testify that it was no walk in the park.This all fades into insignificance compared to the displacement of millions of little souls. The path runs north, but in reality twists, tears and lacerates its way through the deep shadows of the forest, with the occasional pairs of green eyes glowing, moving in a cycle from stunning old cedars, to crowds of antagonistic pines, the odd flower filled high meadow, to logged desolation. Relentlessly, the forest works to reclaim this path and stop its travellers. Fallen trees obstructing the way that one has to jump over, climb or bow down on all fours, the shadows seemed to smile at our endless genuflection. Deer paths confused us, thunderstorms and 2 hours of rain stole warmth, but we were encouraged by the many chortling creeks leaping between boulders, high above the Okanagan valley. We only met one other chatty traveller, trying to complete the High Rim Trail himself, he joined us for 30 minutes but soon called for a ride, we left him by the side of a random logging road. I explained to him that last time I looked $6000 had been raised for refugees – so I was willing to crawl to the finish. John Bunyan smiled. Thank you for your support!

In other news. The lost luggage miraculously returned, that’s another story…but needless to say we saw the suitcase miracle. Not because of the importance of clothes, insurance covers that, but the importance of a loving, caring God easing torment.

and breathe…

Todays word prompt ‘exhale’.

I love the image of Gods name…’Yahweh’ being not so much a word but a breath sound. Inhale ‘yah’ and Exhale ‘weh’. Just by breathing we praise the Lord. I love that in spite of ourselves and our pain, by breathing we are speaking the name of God. His name is on our lips! We see the breath of God in everything – through scripture – throughout nature.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 8.00.06 PMWe saw a crazy storm this week in Kelowna!

DSC01723…after the Storm.

“We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God… we are indeed God’s children.” Acts 17:28

Inhaling we are asking the Spirit to take control.

Exhaling we are releasing what the living God breathes into you.

Exhaling is living in a place of confession, short accounts and forgiveness.

Letting go, releasing.

and breathe….

I can’t end this little musing without a thought about Mom. We laugh a lot my Mom and I. A study from Oxford University found that laughter releases pain relieving endorphins, a critical factor and not just a feel good effect. Laughter boosts endorphins and eases pain. It’s not just a giggle here and there, if you want the full effects of laughter it needs to be a full belly laugh that involves the eyes, without eye involvement the benefits do not accrue according to the research. The reason why a full belly laugh has this effect according to researchers is that when humans laugh properly and deeply, we exhale repeatedly without drawing breath! By releasing endorphins you feel a greater sense of well being and that encourages you to be more at ease with lowered defences.

I love that laughter eases pain.

Laughter!Belly laughs.

Praying that as you breathe you find God’s name on your lips,

That you find a belly laugh here and there,

That you know God in your midst.

Love, Michelle xo

Speak to him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet.

Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. Tennyson.

 

Five Minute Friday kinda

PS. Thanks Barb x

Sunday Smiles.

Day 17.

tumblr_lbmragGvcb1qdw16zo1_1280It’s Sunday. It’s X Factor catch up and I’ve just heard ‘I’m a Celeb’ is starting tonight !

Which means one thing, I don’t plan on using my brain too much.

SO, today’s post is the best church bulletin bloopers, they still make me laugh…

  • Don’t let worry kill you – let the church help.
  • Thursday night – Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say “hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  • This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
  • Tuesday at 4:00 pm there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk please come early.
  • Wednesday the ladies liturgy will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing “Put me in my little bed accompanied by the pastor.”
  • Thursday at 5:00 pm there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All ladies wishing to be “Little Mothers” will meet with the Pastor in his study.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • The service will close with “Little Drops of Water.” One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
  • Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. Please use the back door.
  • The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”
  • The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7p.m. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  • Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
  • Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan who are preparing for the girth of their first child.
  • The Lutheran Men’s group will meet at 6 PM. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: “I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.”
  • Our next song is “Angels We Have Heard Get High.”
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
  • The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  • During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
  • Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
  • The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.
  • 22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.
  • Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.
  • Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
  • Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.
  • Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
  • The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.
  • Youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
  • This evening at 7 pm there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Hope they bring a smile today,

And finally… to ponder.

8churchSign-570x255

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

“Laughter is the greatest weapon we have and we, as humans, use it the least. – Mark Twain”

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Thank you

Following a word prompt. Because right now, that’s how I roll.

 Thank you.

We embarked on a 40 day Daniel fast last week. We fasted this time last year too. Read about it here. The Nativity Fast happens this time of year, otherwise known as St. Philip’s fast, so we join others in our pursuit of less of me.

On the Daniel Fast we eat anything that grows from the ground and drink only water.

Vegan gone large. Simple really…

Phil and I enjoyed lunch, a bowl of spinach, nuts and fruit.

We left the Chopped Leaf feeling all healthy and vegetarian and walked along the path, Phil stopped and began to salivate, his carb and sugar starved body drawn to brightly colored bakes.

‘Mmmmm. Christmas cookies.’ he said.

I encourage Phil to be strong and step away from the window, offering him more raisins.

Then we look up….

And laugh and then laugh some more.

As we realise we are looking in through the pet food store window.

Isn’t laughter great?

And while this Friday word prompt is over ‘Thanksgiving week’.

It could be any Friday, whatever the colour.

Or any day.

Or even better – everyday.

Thank you. It’s an everyday word.

Life is dark, an occasional spark. Shout thanks.

Heart is dull, words null. Mouth thanks.

Commotion crashes, peace merely flashes. Cry thanks.

In this and every other place, this sacred space. Live thanks.

by MC

Thanksgiving is an attitude. ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’

It is not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them. Living thankfully, showing, not telling, is a true measure of our thanksgiving.

Drop by next week, I’m going to share stories from the Hope Centre. One of my fave places on.the.planet. Seriously.

As ever thankful for you, your love, and your stories.

Stay in touch.

Love, Michelle xoxo

On your feet now—applaud God!

    Bring a gift of laughter,

    sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.

    He made us; we didn’t make him.

    We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”

    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.

    Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,

    all-generous in love,

    loyal always and ever.

Psalm 100 MSG

Five Minute Friday