Wednesday, October 30, 2013

1000 gifts: waterfall tour

High Falls, Dupont State park, N.C.
Finally catching up on all the blessings add to my 1000 gifts list. I write these on my calendar, and then as I have a chance I type them up to share here with more details, as a record for my family and another offering of thanksgiving to God. My favorite part of October was getting to meet up with an old friend in South Carolina, and getting to go on an amazing waterfall tour in the Blue Ridge mountains!

707. High Falls, crown of the Blue Ridge mountains waterfall tour
This tour was put together by the NACIS (mapping/cartography) conference I went to in Greenville, South Carolina. We got to see Triple Falls,  Gorges State Park,  and High Falls - this was the "crown" of the tour for me, because ever since I saw the movie Last of the Mohicans (1990's version with Daniel Day Lewis) I have wondered where this beautiful waterfall was! We also had an amazing barbeque lunch in the little mountain town of Brevard, NC (highly recommend the ginger barbeque at Mayberry's - I wish they'd sell their sauce online!)

708. Reedy River Falls
Another beautiful falls right in downtown Greenville, with a trail alongside and gardens

709. "I wish this night would never end" 
 What my friend of 25+ years, Melissa, said during our lovely evening strolling through downtown Greenville and dinner at the New South Cafe. We may only see each other once every few years, but it's just like old times when we do.

710. Sighting a "glory" 
Got an amazing view of downtown Chicago as my plane flew in over Lake Michigan. Also saw circular rainbow "following" the plane and later looked it up and discovered it's called a glory. There are so many amazing light and atmospheric effects in God's creation!

711. B. did Bible study with the girls while I was gone

712. Found between cushions in my sofa
A slip of paper on which I had written:  "You are but a poor soldier to Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting, and suppose you can have the crown without conflict." -  John Chyrsostom (no idea when I wrote this, but it was nice to rediscover it!)

713. A map of your very own country
Dreamer drew me a "map of my own country" - a fairly decent outline of the US with additions like lizardtopia and a horse state.

714. D.L. Moody quote
We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God - Dwight Moody

715. Giselle
Every year my mom, my girls and I go to the Colorado Ballet in Denver. This year's production was Giselle, a story that has haunted me (slight play on words, the ballet is about dancing ghosts!) since I first saw it about age 6 or 7 with my mother. Here's Blaze and Dreamer dressed up for the ballet (we'll take the twins next year when they are 7). Only sad thing: Mom didn't feel up to going with us this year.

716. Goodwill clothes
Because I love paying $4 for designer jeans for me and Blaze. 

717. "it's like holding God's hands"
B and the girls and I took our annual Fall color drive to Aspen Alley this year, in Sierra Madre mountains of Wyoming. The fall colors were mostly dull this year, but on a short hike along the Encampment river Blaze collected beautiful rocks. When I said isn't it neat how God created each and everyone she said "it's like holding God's hands"

718. The ultimate group of map geeks
The NACIS conference for cartographers in Greenville, South Carolina was the best conference I've ever been too. Full of map geeks and map lovers! Amazing map gallery. Every time someone presented a pretty map or a special map technique the whole room would exclaim "Oooh Aaah! Nice!" (its a tradition). My favorite map was the "backwards map" created by Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison to show how Holland would look in the future if development does not protect its "green heart". Imaginative and thought-provoking cartography!

719. Green leaves and snow
Like I said, we haven't had much fall color this year; for some odd reason the leaves have stayed green much longer than normal, then turned straight to brown. But it create a striking effect of snow on green leaves. 

720. songbird out my window
Would dearly love to know what type of lovely song bird sings so beautifully outside my office window in the University of Wyoming's Prexy's Pasture (our central green area). 

721. Ten truths for the teenage girl
This lovely post was written by a woman looking back on what she wished her 13-year-old self knew: "The choices you make affect who you are becoming long before you ever get to college.
You are always becoming. You never arrive. That is, until you meet Jesus face to face"

722. "Lord I Need You" (adapted by Matt Maher)
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You're my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Finding roses and stones

Last month our church had another ladies' conference at a lodge up in the beautiful Snowy Range mountains, right when the aspen were starting to turn gold. We had an invited speaker, Cathy McIntosh, author of the book Joy In the Journey we've been studying this fall.

She taught us about finding ROSEs that God gives us: Remember, Open, Serve, Establish

1) Remember God's character - David confronted Goliath with God's character: I Samuel 17:45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands

2) Open your eyes to the unseen - 2 King 6: 16-18 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

3) Serve Him - David served God by going out to fight the Philistine

4) Establish memorial stones - David remembered how God had delivered him from the lion and the bear, and helped him kill them to defend his flock of sheep.
Joshua 4:20-24:  Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Then we were challenged to think of the times in our lives when God's hand was visible. When did you experience something that you know only God could have accomplished? And then think of a way you can establish a memorial stone for each instance. I came up with seven events where God showed Himself to me (there are others, too, but these are the ones that rocked my world).

1) November 1993, almost 20 years ago, when I challenged God and He showed me He was real. Job 38:1-7.

2) April 1999, when I asked God if it was his will for me to marry B. I was afraid because B. was divorced and had a four year old daughter. God answered me with Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delievered me from all my fears."

3) September 2006, when I found out I was having twins - twin girls, no less (a total of 4 girls, no boys!) I was discouraged and overwhelmed, but after praying, God showed me a quadruple rainbow (technically a supernumerary rainbow) and I knew it was His answer and His promise and I knew these twin girls would be a gift and a treasure from Him beyond what I could possibly imagine. Genesis 9:16 "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

4) Fall 2011 - Insight after a particularly bad season of depression. A new way to look at an old favorite verse, Isaish 40:31.

5) September 2012 - I have no willpower of my own. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9

6) April 2013 - We see Him more clearly, closely, beautifully, in our hardest trials. Job 42:1-5.

7) August 2013  - How God shared my testimony. Job 38:1-7 (again)

So I've been thinking about how to make "memorial stones" for each of these, something I could keep in the house or yard that would be distinctive, that my kids (and even visitors) might ask, what do these mean? I'm not a making-crafts person at all; the last "craft" project I attempted was a felt Advent calender that turned out kind of hokey (though the kids and I still use it every December). 

I would love to find some smooth river stones that I could paint the dates and verses on, but this time of year isn't the best for going out looking for river stones. So in the meantime, I bought a frame that fits eight pictures, and I'm looking for some family pictures that fit each of these memorials from God and I'll photoshop the verses on them, then superglue some small polished rocks from a souvenir store to the frames. Hopefully will have a picture of the finished project forth coming.