Friday, November 30, 2012

Wonder: To Be Curious or In Doubt About

Advent{ures}: Let's Go to Bethlehem

I wonder as I wander. I wander as I wonder. My mind wanders to how I should spend my time, my money and my gifts this season. I wonder what I should give to others. What I want for myself. I wonder how much my wandering thoughts take me away from the One who inspires awe. Will I wander to Bethlehem or will I walk with intent?

How does one wander and wonder without doubt? How can this wonderful season cause so much tension in me? One minute I marvel and witness the miracle of birth. The next I wander into doubt and fear, wondering if I will ever be still and know. Will I ever trust completely? Or will I meander off into self-pity or selfish pride? Will I pretend that everything is wonderful, when in reality the world rubs off and keeps me wandering into fields where there is no Shepherd?

A sheep lost without a Shepherd is my deepest fear. Yet, I marvel that He finds me every time. He leaves the flock and I am found once again.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins,
everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.
(Isaiah 53:6 The Message)

 Linking up with:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Companionship: The Fellowship Existing Between Companions

Advent{ures}: Let's Go to Bethlehem

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the
 love of God and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)

As we prepare to enter the journey of Advent, this coming Sunday, the companionship of travelling together surfaces as one of the key aspects of this season. I could curl up on the couch with my pile of devotions and the Bible, light a candle, listen to soft music, sip a warm brew, and munch on my fresh baked bread with butter and jam and I would be content.

Yet, I would be missing the whole intent; Jesus entered the world to restore fellowship, to offer the intimacy that Father, Son and Spirit have enjoyed forever. To break bread together fulfills a need, here at this place, in my home and through other gatherings.

“Withness” is what I long for in this time of contemplation.

To share this journey will be a gift. And we will experience the fellowship of grace that transcends time and place. How will this happen? Through the miracle of words. To me words are bread. They nourish the soul. God calls Jesus, the Word. He gave us a whole book of words to feast on and He has gifted us with writers who share their words freely.
All this food, and yet sometimes I am hungry, because I neglect to feed on these gifts. (Or worse I eat them so fast, I do not savor their flavor and essence. It goes something like this: Eat the Word. Check. Go to next thing.)

As the Advent{ures} begin let’s pray that each one of us will slow down and savor the Savior. I am thankful for your companionship and look forward to the days ahead because I know I am not alone.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Setting the Table

Advent{ures}: Let's Go to Bethlehem
Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it.
(Numbers 4:7 NIV)
 “Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.”  (Henri Nouwen)
When making bread, you must wait. After combining the ingredients and kneading the dough, (with a food processor or a bread machine or even with your hands) you wait. You wait for the yeast to do its work, growing the dough into a loaf. Then more minutes pass as the oven does its work to finish the bread. Finally, you place the warm bread on the counter savoring the aroma, rummaging for a knife, some butter and jam. The promise of slicing into it and devouring its goodness is realized as it melts into your mouth.

This whole idea of heading to Bethlehem holds promise. I have journeyed there before in my imagination, but for some reason this year, I hope to discover something new. What does this “house of bread” have in store for us? All the familiar allusions to Jesus as the Bread of Life and Our Daily Bread come to mind. And the Old Testament practice of placing bread before God as an offering, what does that mean? Soon we will know, as we continue the journey, more will be placed before us, nourishing our souls.

As the season of Advent approaches, I sense God setting the table. I imagine Him spreading fresh faith over our hearts, placing plates, dishes, bowls and jugs of delicious fare centered on the best bread ever, the bread of His Presence.
Let’s go to Bethlehem to taste and see the Goodness of God.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Companion: With Bread

Advent{ures}: Let's Go to Bethlehem


Yesterday I introduced some new companions that I chose for this journey.

Companion derives from the Latin roots "with" plus "bread". It is interesting to me that our destination combines two Hebrew words to mean:"House of Bread."

Just a little something to whet your appetite.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Companion: One That Keeps Company With Another

Advent{ures}:Let's Go to Bethlehem

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15 NIV
“Let’s go,” a simple invitation with immediacy attached. The address implies that another is included. It’s not a solitary imperative, but an inclusive one. As I embark on this advent{ure}, I desire companionship. I want someone to come along with me to discover the wonders of this season afresh. So, I invite you.

Most pilgrims have a destination, which we have. We’re going to Bethlehem. This time there’s no star leading us. No angelic choir proclaiming a birth, while we watch sheep by night. Our guide will be other companions. Ancient texts revered over time reveal the back story of this little town.  Other authors, thinkers and crafters of ideas and words will light our path. And I hope to shed some light with my own musings.

Here’s a short list of companions that were introduced to me by other readers and by searching the annals of amazon:

1.       The Holy Bible (ESV or other versions as they serve the purpose of this journey)

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Let the Advent{ures} Begin

Sometimes the Advent season starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving. After checking the liturgical calendar, I discovered that Advent will not officially start until December 2nd this year.

So I have an extra week to prepare for Advent and so do you.

In the meantime, I am setting my heart on pilgrimage. 

Our destination is Bethlehem . . . the birth place of Jesus. How will we get there? What will we experience on the way? Who will we become as we journey once again through this sacred narrative?

Come, let's visit this familiar story with open hearts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stay Tuned

The rest of the week, I will be taking a break from blogging in order to celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for the Advent{ures} ahead. Have a blessed time recalling the goodness of God
in the land of the living.

When I return, let's go on an Advent{ure} together! I will begin a series for the Advent season called . . .
 Advent{ures}: Let's Go to Bethlehem

When: Sunday, November 25 through Sunday, January 6
What: Recollections of the Nativity: Before, During and After
Where: Right here at Nourishment for the Soul
Why: To Renew Our Spirits

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
Luke 2:15 NIV

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stay:To Remain With

Stay the course. Don’t get off track; keep your eyes on Me the author and finisher of your faith.

Don’t let setbacks discourage you. Start what you finished. Stay with me, baby, we’ll go far.

Won’t you stay…just a little bit longer…say you will

It’s hard to rest, to remain, to abide, to be still…I wonder…I wander…I want to move.

I find staying in one place difficult…but it is good for me, I know.

Slow down, pace yourself, you are trying way too hard…you have a choice

You can stay or go…but I’d rather you stay…simply be…enjoy this…trust…rest…be…

Please stay with Me….just a little bit longer…say you will
. . . weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5b NIV
Linking up with:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Jody Lee Collins

Today, I would like to introduce you to Jody Lee Collins over at Three Way Light. I love her tagline..."reflecting, revealing and shining for God's glory"

How did I meet Jody? We met out here in the blogosphere. We found out that she and I share a common love for words and their meanings.

She writes poetry, snaps photos and blogs about an ironic twist, after I asked her to be the guest for this Thursday, she started a silent journey to Bethlehem...desiring to learn more about Advent.

She explains why in this post...Six Weeks of Silence (Sort Of)

Now, do not fret, she has a whole year's worth of archives, so go browse and get to know this word-loving, life-embracing, Jesus-following friend who will brighten your life.

 Click here to read a poem that gives you a glimpse of Jody.

Linking up with:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Despair: To Lose All Hope or Confidence

My God, My God,
why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
Psalm 22:1 (NKJV)

Doubt and despair. How could I have fallen from such great heights of wonder and delight in two days?

The common cold has descended upon my head and throat and chest. Weighing me down; tempting me to despair. You may laugh at me or you may hurl curses at me depending on how deep your struggle with doubt and despair.

I used to find comfort and challenge in the quote from Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables, “To despair is to turn your back on God.” But I’m not so sure about it anymore. Often the root of my despair rests in a sense that God has abandoned me to this germ-infested, pain-ridden world, full of brokenness and irreparable damage. Death and dying trumps life and living so many times that it’s simply impossible not to lose hope.

Even Jesus, anguished over the where are you God question:

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34 NKJV)

Jesus died on the cross. He surrendered to death and joy did come in the morning, but the hours in between still were marked with grief, doubt and despair.
Am I willing to w[rest]le with the despair long enough for it to bring new life?

I am not encouraging anyone to have an affair with despair, but at least let hopelessness do its work, let it bring you to your knees. Let the dark envelop you so that the light shining in the darkness means something--really truly gets into your heart, soul and mind.

And then once we’ve honestly poured out our wailings day and night, the gentle spirit will whisper a simple thought: Hope. Hope again.

O Holy Night (John Sullivan Dwight)
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need,
to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Got Questions?

I call on the LORD in my distress,
and He answers me.
Psalm 120:1 NIV

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wonder and Delight

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
Psalm 62:5 NKJV

This weekend I was wondering if I should take a couple weeks off from blogging, so I gave myself persmission to do just that.
Then this morning, I noticed the two chairs I recently placed around the table, painted with the words: Wonder and Delight.
I chose delight last summer, so I decided to paint another word on the second folding chair. I thought to myself, what word goes with delight? Moments later, wonder popped into my mind. I was delighted.
Always needing more definition in my life, I went to the dictionary to search out the meaning.
wonder (n): a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable. (New American Oxford Dictionary)
Ahhh...the joy of words strung together like jewels on a necklace. As I marvelled over the depth of wonder, I began to worship the One who delights to reveal Himself through words.
Here is a little poem to our Wonderful God, who delights in our praises.
O, Lord, do such
New and amazing
Enter daily into my
May this be your experience today:
Opened eyes delighting in
Embracing ever-widening


Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Quiet [Roots]

Quiet Roots

Underneath, beneath the ground . . .

Do you ever ask what shall I do this day?

Or do you just stay the course?

The course of spreading out

Soaking in nutrients

Seeking moisture

Storing energy

Do you ever wonder what you will be?

Do you know if you support a tree

Or do you know you are a tuber, like

a sweet potato or a red one?


Oh, I wish I were a root . . .

Without a care in the world

Just meandering, wandering

Never wondering

Just being . . .
Linking up with:
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Random Journal Day Blog-Hop

Today I want to share a not so random look at my journal from the
2012 Advent Season and an intentional invitation to check out the
where you can meet the Modern Day Disciple, Dawn Paoletta.

Last year, I came across the idea to cut out magazine pictures to paste into my journal as a backdrop for my musings. As the holiday season arrived, so did many catalogs and I bought some of my favorite magazines at the store.

I stacked them up on my dining room table. Of an evening, I would thumb through the pages ripping out images, ideas for gifts and words. Then another evening or two, I arranged pictures and words, glued them in place onto the blank pages creating a welcoming space to journal and keep track of ideas for Advent and Christmas.

It was like a mini getaway each time I opened to the next page. Sometimes the image and words would prompt me to write on a certain topic. Other pages became my go to place for checking off the gift shopping list or for preparing the menu for Christmas brunch.

This type of journal was a gift to myself, making my experience of the holidays, so much more pleasant.

Here are some photos of the cover and some inside pages.

Cover: What You Love (Essential Guide) stamped with "Gloria In Excelsis Deo"

Holiday Gift Ideas

Curl Up with a Book

Inviting Me to Sit At Jesus Feet and then to Go!

Time to be With God

Now hop on over to the Modern Day Disciple to see how she journals through the holiday season. (Click here)

Also check out her review about The Detailer, a innovative personal organizer.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him
(which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:23 NIV

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Proclaim: To Praise or Glorify Openly

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5 ESV

On Halloween, a profound sense of holiness and awe came over me. As the holiday season approaches, my heart yearns for the sacred One.
We often associate Halloween with darkness, goblins and ghosts and candy. Yet the word hallow merged with eve means holy night. The word holiday has become common enough, yet I see holy plus day in there, and I remember that each day can be filled with the distinctive character of God.
As I pursue a season of rest and solitude, this slowing down of the pace and this shortening of days that pours in more darkness than light, I am strangely comforted. My heart desires to wander through the shadows and see if there is any good in the dark.

As I contemplate the holy entrance of winter and Thanksgiving and Christmas, I discover this quote over at Seasons with Soul:

“Humility, like the darkness,
reveals the heavenly lights.” Henry David Thoreau

And a deeper appreciation for darkness invades. A longing to comprehend how the contrast of dark and light mingle. How a light entered the world and overshadowed the darkness. A miracle of light playing off the night sky, a star leading us to a Savior.

Words taken apart, distilled to parts, broke open a fresh perspective—a need to embrace the holy, the sacred, to sing with hope a carol of redemption. To proclaim a Savior’s birth. To fall on my knees in humility.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
(John Sullivan Dwight)
Linking with:

Word Filled Wednesdays

Monday, November 5, 2012

Recall: To Bring Back to Mind

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
Psalm 84:5 NIV

 With the 31 Day Challenge completed, I continue on this journey to seek God as we approach the season of Advent. I am preparing provisions, spending time in solitude and recalling the goodness of God in the land of the living.

As we close in on the end of this year, my mind returns to this time last year. It always amazes me how much can change over twelve months. Last year this time, I was putting the finishing touches on a dream. I was in a flurry of activity. Finishing papers and studying for finals to complete my bachelor’s degree in English. Editing and formatting two books. The first being, a collection of poems, prose and art pieces published for Bellerive, the literary publication of Pierre Laclede Honors College. The second, my own self-published collection of devotions: Defining Moments: Overflowing with Living Words. To recall the vast array of accomplishments humbles me, because truly without God’s strength, I would never have dreamed of completing a degree and a book in the same year. (And not to mention that I still prepared and celebrated the holidays with gusto.)

This year has been a year of rest. A year of saying no to good things, in order to nestle into God’s goodness and wait. To taste and see that God is good in the midst of hard things. He carries us through in ways we never could imagine.

This time of year brings to mind the munificent provisions that have been bestowed upon us. God sees beforehand every single thing that we need. He knows exactly what will be best for us, even if we can’t see it for ourselves.

As we celebrate this season with gratitude, may the blessings of God restore your hope, peace and joy!
Linking up with:


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Some Brave 31 Dayers

Over the past month, a mere 1239 bloggers participated in last month's 31 Day Challenge hosted by the Nester.

Today I wanted to highlight a few of the brave souls who bared their hearts, encouraged others and completed the 31 Day Challenge.

31 Days of Honesty

31 Days of Faith Life Preservers

31 Days of Letting Go

31 Days of Hope

31 Days of Coming to Grip with My Age

31 Day of Writing Your Story

I could write a little blurb on each, but I just wanted to offer you some good reading for November. The titles speak for themselves. So click on the title that interests you most and enjoy!