SIMPLE CONVERSATIONS

 

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Do you ever have conversations with God? You know, just talk to him as you drive along or walk down the street by yourself.

I do.

All the time.

It’s different from praying in church or over a list of people and concerns.

It’s more like talking to a friend.

Stay with me here.

Before you call me crazy and jump off this page, hear me out.

I can’t say I’ve ever heard God’s voice audibly. And I can’t exactly explain how I differentiate what I hear from my own thoughts, but I’ll try.

Be Wise

For one thing, as a Christian, I know there are lots of voices out there. So I use the Bible as my point of reference when I evaluate what I think I’ve heard, mainly the New Testament. (Lots of things have been done in the name of God that He had nothing to do with.)

If it involves important decisions, I run it past someone I respect spiritually. I also ask myself if it’s just my wishful thinking. And I do my best not rush into anything.

How Do Answers Come?

Sometimes I get my answer when I read or hear the same thing several different places. (After the third time, I really pay attention.)

Or a Bible verse may play over and over in my mind the way one did at the beginning of the year. If you missed that post, you can still read it here.

Other times, an answer will come in the form of a new thought that leads me to do a little research, which gives me a new perspective.

Consider the Trees

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As I walked down the street one afternoon recently, I heard,

Slow down.

No need to rush.

Look around  you.

See the deciduous trees?

This is their season of rest.

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I began to look closely at the beauty of barren branches. Some reached upward like slender ballerinas.

 

Others stood guard like sturdy He-men, arms outspread.

Some were old and ragged, missing limbs. Others leaned in one direction, stretching toward the sun.

Each was beautiful in its own way.

tree4Questions Are Okay

“But Lord,” I said, “aren’t they doing something that I can’t see? Like putting down roots deep in the earth?” (And, yes. I talk to him the way I might talk to you.)

Look it up, I heard.

So when I got home, I Googled What do deciduous trees do in winter?

I found, according to Mother Nature Network, Northern Woodlands and several other sources, deciduous trees go through a dormant period in the winter similar to animals hibernating.

Webster’s Dictionary notes dormancy as being marked by a suspension of activity. It’s a resting phase in which essential life processes continue at a minimum rate.

“Okay,” I said. “But if that means you want me to slow down even more, you’ll have to help me let go of saying yes when I shouldn’t, falling back into striving, and measuring my worth by what I achieve.”

What I Heard

Just meet me every morning with your Bible and your journal. Sit with me. Be present to Me. Tell me what’s on your heart. Then listen.  Allow Me to restore your soul. I’ll show you how to be present in the moment so that later you can be truly present to those around you.

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Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.

Be.

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Just BE in the presence of the Great I AM.

My Answer

“Here I am, Lord.”

What about you?

Can you identify your own particular season of life ?

I’d love to hear about it.

 

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”
when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:21

 

PLANTED IN FAITH

Recognize Potential

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Thank you, Suanne!

Gifted to me by my friend, Suanne, this bag of daffodil bulbs has been sitting on my counter all week. Each time I pass it, I promise myself I’ll plant them. Soon—maybe this afternoon. After all, November is the perfect month for planting spring bulbs.

 

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Looking Beyond Today

These bulbs have nothing to commend them in way of appearance at this stage, but I’m reminded of the transformation they’ll undergo between now and spring—if I’m faithful to plant them soon.

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I have the right tool, manufactured expressly for that purpose. It’s up to me to use it. I may get my hands and knees a bit grimy in the process, but I actually find that satisfying.

Rewards

Come spring, I’ll be looking at golden daffodils. Others will enjoy them, too.

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The Bigger Lesson

It strikes me that planting those bulbs is an expression of faith. There are opportunities in our lives that don’t appear very attractive. Yet if we’ll act on them, eventually, they’ll produce beauty as surely as golden daffodils will grace my yard next spring. I don’t need to put off planting them.

I like the way the International Children’s Bible explains faith.

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for.  And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.  Hebrews 11:1 (ICB)

The bottom line for me is, I’ll reap results if I will:

  1. Recognize an opportunity.
  2. Acknowledge my ability take advantage of it.
  3. Complete the task in a timely manner.
  4. Go about my business until I see the fruit of my labor.

One More Thing

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Bulbs have a way  of multiplying so eventually they need to thinned. I’m sure the bulbs Suanne passed on to me came from a diligent person practicing good gardening. And Suanne practiced good stewardship when she realized she wouldn’t get around to planting them this year. (She’s still getting settled from a recent move.)

I need to close for now. I have bulbs to plant. I want to be faithful.

But I’d love to hear from you.

Did you plant spring bulbs?

Or is there something you need to do today as an act of faith in the future?

 

And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come on time.

Habakkuk 2:3 (MSG)

5 Ways Gigi Inspires Me

This is the final installment of my three-part series about sea turtles. In MEET GIGI, I told you about a blind loggerhead sea turtle we met at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. TEN FACTS ABOUT LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES provided more information about sea turtles and their plight.

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Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s motto: Giving Sea Turtles More Tomorrows

As you can tell, I’m still pumped about our visit to NBSTCC last month.

I’m Always Up for Shopping

And you probably know, there was  no way I was leaving without visiting their gift shop, the Seamore Store. It’s manned by–you guessed it–volunteers. We met two delightful ladies, Cinnamon Holderman and Christy Meyer.

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Don’t you love Christy’s red turtle girls rock shirt. I want one.

 

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I suppose the largest souvenir we could have carted home from NBSTCC was this turtle chair. We decided to pass on it.

But I did try on t-shirts and admired toys, books, photographs & paintings, along with lots of other items crafted by locals. I can’t believe I didn’t buy a T-Shirt. (Well, I would have if they’d had my size in the one I wanted. Next time.)

I did bring home a few items.

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That red sea turtle circle in the middle goes on the end of your flashlight to soften the light’s impact on the sea turtles that might be hatching on the beach.

NBSTCC didn’t happen overnight. In 2011, this group cast a vision for creating a center to educate the many visitors to the island on the plight of sea turtles and provide a place where rescued turtles could be rehabilitated. You can even sign up to volunteer while you’re there. They told us a couple from my hometown of Searcy, Arkansas, was volunteering soon. How cool is that?

When I volunteer at NBSTCC, I want to work in the Seamore Store, maybe with Cinnamon and Christy. I want to wear one of those blue volunteer t-shirts, too. (Yeah, I want two shirts.)

In closing, if you vacation in Florida, I encourage you to also Navarre Beach Marine Park just next to it. You’ll see the buildings just beyond Gigi’s home.

NBMP actually predates NBSTCC  and is a larger success story that began in 2009. It works for and promotes all forms of local sea conservation through programs and onsite educational offerings. Their latest project involves a grant for a mobile unit to go out to schools and community events.

They cast a large vision when they launched this volunteer organization.

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We saw a model of how they go about restoring coral reefs.

At NBMP, you can snorkel or scuba dive along one of the manmade coral reefs or take out a glass-bottom kayak and watch the sea life from the surface. You might even encounter one of those magnificent sea turtles. (The reefs in the Santa Rosa Sound might be better for snorkeling.)

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NBMP’s story is truly worthy of its own series. I plan doing that–right after I kayak out to one of those reefs in the sound. Next trip.

Life is so much richer when we venture out beyond ourselves. I’m amazed when I look at groups and foundations right here in Arkansas that began by someone seeing a need and embracing the vision to meet it.

What’s your passion?

Where’s your next adventure?

I really want to know.

 

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord 

as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14