Church in My Backyard

DSC03385*I won’t be posting next week during Spring Break, but I’ll see you back here on March 28!

I’m not the most observant person in the world. Case in point: We helped move our daughter and son-in-law to a townhome in a new city one November several years ago, visited them on the following New Year’s weekend, and then again over the following spring break, but it wasn’t until the trip after that that I noticed they had a church in their backyard—or side yard to be exact. The point is it’s right there.

Imagine my delight when I looked out the upstairs bedroom window early one morning before anyone else was stirring and saw a church tucked behind the stand of trees lining their development. Wow, I thought. They’ve got a church right in their backyard! I could feel a blog post coming on so I grabbed my camera and started snapping away.

Even though Kristin and Shawn didn’t end up attending this particular church, I was still excited to think they had a church—such a visible reminder of God—standing tall and strong so close to their home. A picture of God, if you will, living in their midst, watching over them, inspiring worship and peace for any who would open their eyes and see (the way I finally did!)

Believe it or not, I have a church in my backyard, too. No, it’s not a building made of stone and brick. It’s simply my yard. But it’s filled with visible reminders of God. The trees, the grass, the birds, the breeze all point to him and remind me that he’s living in my midst. He’s watching over me, and yes, inspiring worship and peace when I take the time to lift my eyes and turn my thoughts toward him.

Amazing, huh? I can’t help but proclaim, “Wow—I’ve got a church in my backyard!” How about you?

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song…” Psalm 98:4

*Where are some places, other than church, where you’re inspired to worship?

*Hope this slightly revised and updated encore post from March 2010 blessed you today!

*My photo

Giveaway Winner Plus Power-of-Our-Words Quote

4686348235_444f5f004c_zAnother Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is now in the books. And I’m happy to announce that with the help of RANDOM.ORG, we have a winner of the $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. That lucky Life Notes subscriber is . . . Chandi! Congrats, Chandi, and enjoy!

As always, I wish I could give a gift card to each and every subscriber, but since I can’t do that, allow me to encourage and inspire you with a great quote today. In his book Love Does, here’s what Bob Goff has to say about the power of our words:

“Words can launch us. We don’t need to be a dean [of admissions] to say words that change everything for someone. Instead, God made it so that ordinary people like you and me can launch each other . . . I believe it’s true that the right people can say words that can change everything. And guess what? We’re the ones who can say them.”

Friends, our words have power. Let’s use them to encourage, comfort, challenge, and inspire others. Let’s use them to launch one another. Let’s use them for good.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1Thessalonians 5:11

*When has someone’s words launched you or made a difference for you?

*Flickr photo by bengrey, Creative Commons License

Relish the Moment

5186443909_d26eacd4d3_zIn a recent blog post, writer and blogger Jeff Goins encouraged fellow writers to really take in our surroundings and relish moments, to let them inspire us and shape our writing. But even for those who aren’t writers, that’s still pretty good advice, huh? Be in the moment, be inspired, and let that refreshed perspective fuel whatever it is you might be doing.

Jeff finished his post by suggesting a writing exercise—to stop whatever we were doing and notice our surroundings, to spend a few minutes writing about whatever was around us. I took up his challenge to relish the moment and thought I would share the result with you. I hope it will inspire you to relish moments of your own and then let that inspiration spill out into other areas of your life. Let’s live our moments, friends!

A Weekend Moment

I’m at my desk, early morning shafts of light shining through the blinds, leaving their reflection on the nearby wall. A train whistles in the distance. I love that sound.

My husband’s on-again off-again snoring makes it past the bedroom wall. Truth be told, I’m not crazy about that sound. But it’s part of our lives, and we live with it.

Four stacks of papers look back at me from my desk. Projects in process or waiting to be done. Some needing a simple read-through, others needing heavy work or development. Always more ideas and projects than time.

Pictures of loved ones look back at me as well, filling me with gratitude for the love we share. Making me wish my grown up girls were here this weekend. Hoping they are enjoying life today.

The duties of the day nudge. Time to move on. These quiet moments are so important, though, especially the ones with my God. Time to go meet with Him on my back porch, to soak in His beauty, His love, His care.

“’Be still, and know that I am God . . . ‘” Psalm 46:10a

*Are you willing to take up the challenge? Stop whatever you’re doing and notice your surroundings. Relish the moment. And then why not tell us about it? It will be fun! :)

*Flickr photo by Sheila in Moonducks, Creative Commons License