Sunday, 31 January 2010

double take

Two of the most delightful things in life are letters and fresh fruit.

P.S. This set-up was a complete accident. I :)ed when I noticed it.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

friends. really?

The moon is glowing
The moon is showing
Its silver beams are bright
The light it’s casting
Is sure long-lasting
White light throughout the night

Did you know that the moon appeared bigger and brighter this past weekend, than it will for the rest of the year? The first full moon of the year is known as: Wolf Moon. Its name is hundreds of years old, and is derived from the hungry wolf packs that used to howl at the moon near Native American villages. Interesting, huh? And the reason why it appears fuller and wider right now is because in each orbit, the moon reaches this closest point to us, called perigee. Fascinating, eh? But really, you don’t need to know any of that to enjoy it. And enjoy it, I have. Last night, I enjoyed it with a friend over a walk. And tonight, I enjoyed it from a car window, while cruising with some friends on the freeways of California. And I wondered, like a child, about that age-old question, why it seems to follow me home. Anyways, it was dominating the sky, and demanding my attention. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

Creation gets me thinking about the Creator (as God intended it to). And I was struck with this thought – I am friends with the Maker of the moon. I, little-old-undeserving-me, enjoy fellowship with the One Who is currently fueling and suspending that ball of light, in the dark night sky. I am friends with Him, only because of Jesus, the Son of God, Who has reconciled me to God.

Nothing(!) is more awe-some than that!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


The sun finally decided to come out and say hello today, and I have to say, it was nice to see him. Even now, I am enjoying his presence through my open window. Everything around me is all pretty and golden, and my back is being warmed nicely.

On my way to class today, I ate a delicious apple, which hasn't happened in a while. Lately, I've been disappointed with the kind that appear good, only to discover a soggy inside; but this one today did not disappoint. It was red, as red could be, and juicy as ever. You know what I'm talking about. The kind that you're convinced came straight out of the movie, Snow White. The kind that probably populated the Garden of Eden, before the fall. That kind. And so you bite and bite and bite, until there is nothing left but the core. yum. Speaking of apples, that makes for a smooth transition into what I actually wanted to write about today, which is the fruit of the Spirit. Imagine that.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:22-26

I am silly and arrogant enough to try and produce this fruit by myself sometimes, even though it is blatantly the work of the Spirit. Hence the phrase... the fruit of the Spirit. Couldn't be any clearer, huh? Still though, I try to love people, and be joyful, and live peacefully, and be kind, and show goodness, and remain faithful, and be gentle, and practice self-control in my own strength. These attempts are pathetic though, and result in - defeat, disappointment, and guilt, (and usually in that order). In other words, I fail miserably when I try to do these things on my own. My tree is bare and fruitless. I look like winter.

But that is not how God intended it. No, rather He, in His grace, gave me His Spirit when He saved me. And it is His Spirit at work in me that produces the fruit. It is nothing in me or about me that can do it. It is the Spirit, that raised Jesus from the dead, residing within me, that can do it. I am so glad God has shown this to me lately. I can breathe a hUGE sigh of relief. To rely on the power of God, and to keep in step with the Spirit, that is what I am called to... and then, and only then, I can watch the fruit grow and multiply into beautiful orchards. It looks like summer, and God gets all the glory.

P.S. That is why verse twenty-six tells not to be conceited or envious of one-another. I used to think that that verse was sort-of awkwardly tagged onto the end of this chapter. I mean... really? c'mon! How is that relevant to the fruit of the Spirit. Well, come to see, it is totally relevant. The reason we can avoid conceit and envy is precisely because it is the fruit of the Spirit. How can we be proud when we realize that we have nothing to do with the fruit, because it is the Spirit of God who produces it? And how can we be jealous of another, when it is the Spirit working in another's life to make them more like Christ? Conclusion: we should be humble (and not think of ourselves more highly than we ought), and excited (giving thanks to God for another's faith).

Saturday, 23 January 2010

I pretend to see little patches of Ireland. It's not exactly 40 shades of green. But, I'll take what I can get.

It's a nice thing
to go a walk in the rain,
without an umbrella,
and just get plain-old wet.
You should try it sometime.

(view from my dorm room window) Now you know why my blinds are always up.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

dear sky - you are so interesting

These past few days, a storm has been passing through California. This means that I walk through a maze of colourful umbrellas in the hallway to get to my room. It means that my sock drawer is almost empty, which means that my laundry bin is quite full. It means that the raindrops drumming on my window have been my music, and the sky, my entertainment.

I have been doing a lot of looking out the window lately, because of the storm.
The clouds are shifting
The clouds are sifting
The sky through their grey shapes
Their shadows dancing
Their patterns prancing
Until some light escapes

And then I thought today of the latter half of James 1:17 - "with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." I am glad that God is not like the sky that I have been watching. Rather, He is unchanging, and dependable, and consistent, and steadfast. That fact affords me great sanity and peace.

Monday, 18 January 2010

(not so) sunny california

The storm has arrived and the elements are fierce. It's bucketing, as we would say in Northern Ireland. The roads have turned into rivers, and the sky into one massive cloud. There are puddles in my shoes, and my trousers and wet and heavy. My umbrella almost took me for a ride in the sky. I've just made it to my room, drenched though I may be. You know you're soaking when you actually have to ring out your trousers. The heat is on and my shoes are drying. The blinds are up and I have a panoramic view of a very wet world. Waves of rain batters against my window, each drop like a tiny pellet. I'm enjoying its random rhythm. The wind is mighty, so that the trees are swaying violently; each tree branch is threatened with each gust.

Ah, I love a good storm.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

rainy afternoon

Rain always puts me in the mood to write... and to drink more tea than I already do. It’s funny what the weather can to do to you.

I am so glad God created a colourful world. Aren’t you? It is especially on days like today, when the clouds hang heavy and grey, that the colours around me are more vibrant. The grass looks greener. The dirt is browner. And the flowers seem revived.

I am happy to report that I have taken up a new sport, and am all the happier and healthier because of it. Perhaps you have heard of bird-watching. Yes? Well, I propose that, as well as something quite like it, called bird-listening. If you’ve got a pair of ears, then this is the sport for you! And if you tend to be a worrier, then this is definitely the sport for you! It involves fine-tuning your ears so that you can hear the birds. Usually when one starts chirping, others chime in, and before you know it, you have an orchestra overhead in the surrounding trees. I’m tellin’ ya… they are eager little chatterboxes. In fact, they are one of the most talkative creatures in all of God’s creation. The problem, however, is that we have tuned them out. Either that, or we are too busy listening to the competing worries inside our minds. This should not be so. God says that His eye in on the sparrow (Matthew 10:29). He also says that He feeds the birds, so that they are ‘careless in the care of God’ (Matthew 6:26/the message translation).

For me, birds are God’s little reminders that He is a caring Heavenly Father, who sees everything and sees to everything. That to say, I believe that Jesus would be an avid supporter of bird-watching and bird-listening. Not only that, but I implore you by experience, that these sports are good for the soul. I highly recommend them.

Some of my favourite lyrics are from Jon Foreman. In his song, Your Love Is Strong, he says this- I look out the window // The birds are composing // Not a note is out of tune // Or out of place.

Isn’t that wonderful? Yes it is.

P.S. Turn off your music. And listen to the rain.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

high five

five musings/realizations/thoughts (whatever noun you so prefer) as of late.

1. I have officially decided that I like my name better when it is said in Spanish, and best when it is said in French.

2. Sometimes I find myself trying to tinker with God's clock, often by trying to wind the hands forward a few days, months, years. I know that this is not only arrogant of me but also very silly. God knows everything. And God knows best. I best rest in His good hands and stop fiddling with my own.

3. "What is a dream to the glorious reality?" I read this yesterday in my Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. And it struck me fresh. What are all my dreams, no matter how grand they may be, compared to the glorious reality of my salvation granted to me through Jesus Christ my Lord. Nothing compares.

4. Just finished A.W. Tozer's little whopper of a book Knowledge of the Holy. It was excellent to say the least, so good that it's hard to summarize. I will say this though. Each chapter began with a prayer. This one in particular I feel is worth sharing. How great is our dilemma. In Thy Presence silence best becomes us, but love inflames our hearts and constrains us to speak. Were we to hold our peace, the stones would cry out; yet if we speak, what shall we say?

5. There are many beautiful things around us every day. The problem is we walk around too busy to notice, and that is tragic.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

listen to the birds

This afternoon I sat under a big, beautiful tree. It was an old tree. I could tell by its height and strong trunk. But it was a very lovely tree, as it's branches intertwined in such an interesting way, so that the sunlight peeked through and kissed my skin warmly. I was enjoying the bliss of it all, thinking about the Majestic Creator who was the Architect of the grand trunk and Designer of the twisting branches. He even tastefully decorated it with green leaves. He even gave me the senses to take it all in.

He didn't have to do that, as my professor reminded me in class today, but He did. And it causes me to praise Him all the more!

Now as I was sitting there, certain concerns sought to tiptoe into the back of my brain. There I was, enjoying moments of pure delight, and Worry the Weasel (as I have so named him) was threatening to ruin those moments. How dare he? He brought with him fear and reminded me of the question marks dotting my looming future. In just a matter of seconds, he distracted me from the Creator that moments earlier I was praising and enjoying.

And then, as it was raining leaves around me, it was like the Lord cued the birds to start chirping. It was His way of reminding me not to worry, Angela, not to worry. Jesus said, "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"

And that was the end of Worry the Weasel. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

God is real,

so live like it.

It is astonishing how many people nowadays give little to no thought at all about God. They go on with their lives, maybe dabbling in a bit of religion here and a little philosophy there, just enough to fill their fancy. They attribute the beauty of this world to 'mother nature' (whoever the heck she is) and disregard the complexity, order, and design of the universe as pure chance (like that's somehow rational?). They have no adequate answers for evil and can't even explain the moral 'ought' they know to be true within themselves. They focus on life and forget about the fact that they will die. As my grandfather says, "Statistics show that ten out of ten people die." Frankly, people just don't care. But they should care. They need to care. Because God is real. He has revealed Himself in creation and His Word!

Perhaps the more sobering thought, though, is for those of us who do believe in this reality of God. We should care far more about these things! Many of us claim God to be true and 'worship' Him on Sundays, but then operate like practical atheists every other day of the week - worrying and whining, bored and bewildered, sorrowful and selfish. Such living is unacceptable. It is incongruent. It will not do because it is a failure to understand that His reality informs and infuses life with meaning. It's about time that people, who claim Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord, start being consistent with that claim. What I mean is - what we know to be true about God in His Word needs to influence how we deal with every issue of life. If we believe God to be merciful, we should be merciful. If we believe God to be slow to anger, we should be slow to anger. If we believe God to be holy and just, we ought to be holy and just. If we believe God to be all-knowing and all-powerful, we ought to be free of anxiety. If we believe God to be gracious and good, why then are we not rejoicing always?

May we who know God, through Jesus Christ, rely on His Holy Spirit to help us apply His real truth to our real lives, to practice what we preach. Because then, and only then, God is glorified and people are influenced.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


A friend and I were enjoying some sunshine today. Ah, it was glorious. As we were chatting, an old man walked by and said hello. We asked him how he was doing, and you know what he said? He said, "Well, I'm still vertical, so that's good." I chuckled at his clever response and that was that. Later on, God brought it back to mind, and I realized how I was taking for-granted being alive today. Some would disregard that thirty-second conversation today as random, but I love knowing that God purposely arranged it, in order that I might be grateful, for being vertical.

... "for in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

Monday, 4 January 2010

it's time

Don't you love how delicious Christmastime is? I do! And if you're anything like me, you have consumed ridiculous amounts of sweets this holiday. Chocolate. Cake. Cookies. Pie. You name it, I ate it, and loved every bite of it! You know how it is... between the parties and presents, your sweet tooth is satisfied more in the course of a few weeks than it is all year!

It therefore comes as no shock when the pants seem to have shrunk a bit, as soon as January rolls around, or when the dentist finds a cavity or cavities. Leftovers are still around at the beginning of January and you find yourself postponing your new year's resolution to lose the holiday pounds. Tomorrow becomes the word of the day.

But, it is the fourth of January, folks, and I think it's about time that I stop having dessert after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But, it's just so hard. I'm telling you, it's like they call me from the fridge. And the promises of just one more bite dissolve as quickly as the chocolate in my mouth. And their calories don't scare me. No-sir-ee. Doesn't a little exercise take care of those things?

This needs to stop though, lest I become the blimp of 2010... lest I become the dreaded airplane passenger who should have booked two seats... lest I lose all my teeth to sugar rotting... lest people mistake me for a woman pregnant with septuplets! Not to mention, I so do not want to be one of the 'before' images you find on those weight loss commercials.

That said, it is time to back-away-from-the-chocolates for a while. And I will... as soon as I finish this last box of shortbread.

Friday, 1 January 2010

hello 2010

I don't know what is going to happen this year. But I do know that God will be faithful. And that is all I need to know.

"It is good to give thanks to the LORD -
to declare Your loving-kindness in the morning,
and Your faithfulness every night." (Psalm 92:1-2)