Tag Archive | Peace

Idyllic Venue – Serene Setting

As with many weekend trips, something always tends to happen; sometimes large, sometimes small, and for Americans, always considered to be first world problems.

Imagine, if you will, a weekend trip that turns out unexpectedly delightful.

  • The drive; perfect.
  • The event; perfect.
  • The weather; perfect.
  • The venue; perfect.
  • The sense of belonging; perfect and heartfelt.

It sounds almost too good to be true, right?

But it was true for us.

We have some dear friends that moved away from here several years ago.

We have managed to keep in touch.

When they left, they had six children; now there are twelve.

The event was the wedding of the second oldest son.

This is the third wedding we’ve been to for our friend’s family.

We look forward to at least nine more weddings, and all the subsequent babies that come along with the territory.

In this post, I will not share photos of the family, (well maybe one) but I want to share some of the venue.

You have to understand, we live in the country.

We know what “quiet” is.

This place was not only quiet, but carried with it a serenity that most people search a life time for.

Just a few photos for the blog, and then I prepared a short video to share the venue.

I hope the sense of peace and serenity will prevail as you watch and listen.

The wedding garden.
Oh. There they are.
No. Here they are for real!

Be well.

Are You Hearing Voices?

I’ve gotten out of the habit of hearing His voice.

I have some questions here;

First of all – Who is “He”?

Nehemiah 9:6 from the Holy Bible says this; “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

If that’s the case, and I believe it is, then that is a voice I really want to hear!

Why do I want to hear His voice?

Beginning to hearing His voice, for me anyway, began with an intense longing inside of me to find out what more there could possibly be to my life.

You know, the life that goes through the same cycles of disbelief, low self esteem, caring so much what others think, at my own expense.

Expensive, because the voices I was hearing were telling me just how worthless I was. I had a longing to hear just one good thing about myself that I could hang my hat on. Something I could believe and hold on to.

That longing wanted to know who I was; all the while knowing that I could believe a lie, just as easily as I could believe the truth.

To avoid the lie, I had to find the right voice. There are cacophonies of voices out there just trying to be heard. Which one is the right one?

I believe it’s the maker of heaven and earth!

How do you hear His voice in the first place?

In order to sort through that longing, there has to be quiet.

Now MY quiet, will likely be different than yours.

When I want to get to this place of hearing, I require three things.

  1. Absolute quiet.
  2. My Bible.  
  3. A pad of paper and a writing utensil.

The absolute quiet is to get my mind off of everything that distracts. Even lovely music can be distracting. (I’m finding that now even while writing this)

I need my Bible. It has a great concordance (an alphabetical list of the words present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned.) in the back, so I can look up scripture by words or topics. I can search out any topic that is on my heart.

Then I can meditate on this word.

This meditation is not the same as emptying the space between my ears. Instead, it fills up all the empty space inside, by telling me the truth; about me, about God, about my life; past, present and future.

The pad of paper? My brain is notorious for running me off in a different direction while I’m trying to concentrate on being quiet. Anything that pops into my head and interrupts gets written down.

It’s safe on that paper, I won’t forget. I’ll pick it up later.

It’s calming, when you know you won’t forget every little nuance at it passes by your brain.

How do you continue to hear His voice?

I hear his voice by being quiet enough to let the words I’ve read roll around in my heart and mind.

I let them roll until they make sense. Until they become real to me.

I really dislike the way the word meditation is used in some forums. I’m speaking of the meditation on God’s word, and what it means to me. Not meditation that is emptying my mind. That is a whole different thing.

Instead, I prefer a meditation that asks; What do these words say? What do they mean to me? How can I put them into practice?

Once you have hear His voice, you will recognize it when you hear it again. John 10:27 says clearly; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Wow. He knows me – I want to know His voice!

How do you get back to it again after being away?

The dangerous part is in the drifting away. You release the habit for a day, and then a week, and then a month. No big, drastic changes.

You still hear His voice. But here’s the catch; after a month, the voice gets quieter, and you realize (maybe) that you have been going on memory, and that you haven’t “heard” anything new for quite some time.

Memory, like muscles, can get flat after periods of not being used.

Notice, the first thing I said was that it is a habit. It is most definitely a habit.

The first step to take is to get back to your DAILY reading. It need not be chapter upon chapter. Just a few paragraphs maybe.

We used to have a pastor who told us to “Read till you burn.” That sounds funny coming from a pastor, whose job is to insure that you don’t burn 🙂

But what he was trying to tell us, was that we needed to read the word until something came alive in our heart; until our heart caught that spark.

When that happens – You’re hearing God’s voice. He is speaking to you.

I’ve read the same thing several times over my lifetime, and then one time I will read it, and it is like the words jumped right off the page.

They bring something to life in me. They spark a realization in me about _________________! Whatever it is I’m reading about.

When I begin to roll those verses around in my heart and mind, they become a part of me. My soul and my spirit; my insides; are renewed. I can see an action that needs to be taken, or a mind set that needs to be tweeked.

James 1:22-25 (ICB) says this; Do what God’s teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. A person who hears God’s teaching and does nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. He sees his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. But the truly happy person is the one who carefully studies God’s perfect law that makes people free. He continues to study it. He listens to God’s teaching and does not forget what he heard. Then he obeys what God’s teaching says. When he does this, it makes him happy.

This quiet time, this hearing His voice; it gives me peace, and it carries with me throughout my days.

It makes it so that even the harshest of circumstances can be faced with some sort of calm, peace and joy.

A Tiny Trip

Every April, and for the months running up to it, my hubby is very busy. Sometimes twelve hours a day. Taking a break only on Sundays.

The month before our event is when I get busy.

The event happens on the last Saturday in April, and then, we are bushed.

This year, we decided that when the hub-bub was over, we were going to “run away from home”.

Just a tiny trip. Just a day or two. Just us.

Only two people knew where we went, so we left an air of mystery.

Our decision was to drive four and a half hours south to the town of Hermann, Missouri.
It is a beautiful little German town nestled in the hills next to the Missouri River.
For over forty years we have driven THROUGH Hermann, always on our way to or from “Down home” in southern Missouri.

We always said we’d stop. But we always had some where to be. Someone waiting on us.

Hermann’s claim to fame is in it’s wineries.

Since we aren’t drinkers, we took advantage of the many antique shops, and had delightful conversations with the occupants therein.

We enjoyed the charming architecture, and the little pocket gardens hidden absolutely everywhere in the town.

What we really went to see was the glorious display of the Dogwood trees.

It was just the right time of season, and they did not disappoint.

We could see these beauties splashed all through the timber on our drive.

Imagine our surprise when we found this lovely one on a hillside next to the city cemetery.

The closer we got, the more beautiful.

Do you know the story of the Dogwood?

Please allow me to share it with you.

The following picture does not belong to me, but rather, it was found on Pinterest. If it belongs to you, please let me know so that I can credit you properly.


So I hope you’ve enjoyed this “Tiny trip”.

Join me again soon!

Introverted Observations

Tis the Season

Tis the season coming up quickly for proms, and graduations and for moving into adulthood.

It’s a time of being with friends and family in a whole new way.

The parameters have opened up, and many are just not certain what is next. It’s a rite of passage I suppose.

The anxiety. The uncertainty. The clueless-ness.

I’ve been to several events in the past couple of months. Band concerts, chorus concerts, and the like.

The difference is that for two of my grand children, these events carried the distinct designation of “Last”.

The culmination of 13 years of schooling. 13 years of always knowing (mostly) what comes next.

A New Designation

Along with the “Last” designation, comes a new one as well. “First”.

The “First” time of being really responsible, entirely, (mostly) for what comes next.

But that topic is for another time.

Here I wanted to share what I’ve observed during these “Last” times.

I’ll share it here with just a snippet of what I wrote in my journal.

Journal Entry

Being so much of an introvert is OK, except for at those over the top social events. You know, the ones that are supposed to elicit great shows of emotions.

When you are an introvert, not so many people flock to your good bye. Not so many are devastated by your departure.

Your family celebrates you, and at the same time, they mourn your advancement into a new place of life, away from them … but you? You kind of fade into it. Quietly dismissing yourself, and making your way back to the safety zone that you have created for yourself.

It is a sad thing perhaps, but maybe hard to remember, at that moment, that it is a world you have created for yourself. A safe place.

Why Was it Visible?

I noticed this occurrence taking place in quiet corners in more than one school district. In more than one cafeteria, and at more than one event.

Those who were more extroverted, and were able to wear their emotions on their sleeves for all to see.

Those who were more introverted, put on a brave front, appearing to be OK, yet their smiles, never really reached their eyes.

Then, sadly, oh so sadly, I saw (felt) those who simply gave up trying to put on the act, not having the energy to fake it even one more time.

The extroverts, wondering why they are so emotional.

The introverts wondering if they could attempt to fit in just one more time.

The others, biding their time until they could escape to their own comfortable nests.

I saw this. I knew this. I felt this. Again.

It took me until I was full grown adult to realize that I was just wired that way. Quieter.

The noisy, raucous kid me, was all an act. A protection racket for the part of me that I saw as flawed

My quiet side has kept me sane, but at times it has also kept me alone.

What to Do?

The sadness I felt back then, can still be accessed by me, but it does not have to be. It no longer rules my life.

And still, when confronted by this, when I see this in my vision, when I feel this in my soul, when I see the struggle going on in front of me, I do not know what to do.

Telling them that everything will be OK, will not make it so. Only life itself, lived on one day at a time, can do that.

But the quiet part of me still seeks another answer. One that can help the loneliness subside, or at least to feel tolerable. Sooner rather than later.

Until then, if you see yourself in this narrative, please know;

You are wired a different way. A special way.


You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalms 139:14

The Down Side of Quiet

If you have been visiting here for long, you may know that one of my favorite topics is Quietude. Quiet. A little time for gathering the thoughts.

Even though this article is about noise, silence was mentioned as well. I thought this author had some interesting perspectives, pro and con.

I enjoyed the pros, of course.

I hope you enjoy reading it too.

Noise Cancelling: The Good and The Bad

Noise cancelling has it’s benefits and draw backs. We have to make sure we tune out the right things so we can best hear God’s voice.

Noise Cancelling
I travel a good bit these days, and spend a decent amount of time on airplanes.  Over the years, people have become more and more comfortable listening to anything and everything to block out the noise of the airplane, announcements being made, or crying babies.  Companies (BOSE, Beats, etc) have become better at creating headphones that can block out all noise around you so you only hear what you decide to listen to. And this doesn’t just apply to airplanes. People use these to focus at work or simply walk around outside.

People spend a lot of money on these headphones to accomplish one simple goal: block out distractions and noise. We want to have control over what we listen to or don’t listen to.

The Downside to Noise Cancelling

Airplanes:  If you can’t hear anything that means you cant hear any important announcements (safety, or emergency notifications).

Jogging/Running:  If you are completely blocked out from noise, a car could honk its horn at you, or someone could try and warn you about something around you, and you may not hear the warning signals.

The Lesson

Sometimes we decide that we know better than God does about what we should be listening to.  God gives us warning signs or direction through many different mediums throughout our lives.  If we don’t allow God to speak to us through a specific channel we are only hurting ourselves.  Using an extreme example, if you decide to block yourself off from anyone who isn’t a Christian in an effort to protect yourself and not be tempted, you are not abiding by God’s greatest commandment to “Go out and made disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)  While we have protected ourselves from the “noise” around us, we have limited God’s ability to work through us.

Related Post: God is Calling Us All to Listen

I would encourage you to ask God to speak to you. Start to listen to His voice everywhere you go.  God can speak through anyone or anything.  Don’t block Him out.

The Positive About Noise Cancelling

With that said, there are times that silence is important and being able to cancel out distractions can be helpful.

Basketball Players:  If you’ve ever watched a Duke basketball home game, the fans do everything in their power to distract the other team and make them mess up or miss a shot.  Players on the floor have to find a way to block it out and perform to help their team.

Football Huddles:  Or think about a football team in a huddle.  The purpose of the huddle is to block out noise and allow everyone to understand the next play’s plan.

Airplanes:  Sticking with this analogy from before, think about the pilots of the airplane.  They can’t be distracted by the passengers.  Their job with all the noise going on around them is to get everyone to the destination safely.  They actually wear headphones to talk with each other and block out the actual noise around them.

The Lesson:

Christianity is similar in that there are times you need to clearly hear God’s voice and not be distracted by the enemy who is doing everything in his power to knock you off track.  I grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) so I understood at a young age how the smallest of distractions could affect me.  I had to learn how to block them out.

When I want to hear from God, I need silence or an environment where God is welcome (worship, church, etc).  God doesn’t need complete silence to be able to speak to you, but sometimes you need complete silence to listen.

In those times, cancelling out your surrounding is a good idea.  After getting alone away from distractions, though, we should come back to full awareness of our surroundings so we can see and hear God move. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s needed to be able to hear from God. We block out the distractions but lean in to listen to Him however, whenever, and wherever He chooses to speak to us.

So noise cancelling can be both good and bad. In the end, don’t block out God or limit His ability to use you or speak to you by attempting to block out others.

Written by Charles Hamrick

I am very simply a follower of Christ.  While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest.  I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis.  I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.

Whisper

The world we live in, will not just give us a quiet place.

We must find it, or create if for ourselves.

So if that is what you need, I’d like to help you with that.

A tiny slice of quiet time, just for you.

Any time, day or night. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.

 

 

 

 

Quiet Time Musings

This week has been a breakthrough week in my mind.

Making a quality decision  to not ignore quiet time, and to put that time to better use.

By putting it to better use in this instance means to to use that time to create my own thoughts, consider my own beliefs, understand what things I think and why.

I can always find time to read someone elses words. I’m not saying that that is wrong, certainly not, because it does help to create questions for further thinking in my mind. I’m only saying that I need to find out what I, myself think about things.

One of my favorite/best ways to get my thinking to get moving, is to read scripture. It creates many questions, and answers many as well.

The place I landed in my thinking was about space. Quiet space. Loud space. Crampy space. Spacious space.

I then looked up my favorite verses about space, and realized yet again, why I love living where I live.

I grew up in a larger city forty miles north of here. Houses. Streets. Voices. Traffic.

White houses out my window in rows. Utility poles breaking every small stretch of sky.

Someone elses noise always, always, always filling my head.

Some people, and their different personalities, thrive on just such environments. I however did not. I always wanted to be out. Some place green. Some place that I didn’t feel smothered.

My Grampas’ house was like that, but as a child, not very accessible.

Psalm 31:8b (ESV) You have set my feet in a broad place.

Then we moved here. My children called it Podunk. It isn’t really. Podunk, to me, would be much further than the few miles we travel from here to get to town.

Psalm 18:19 (ESV) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued  me, because he delighted in me.

It is close enough to be close, and far enough to be far. Away from the hum of the city.

I knew I always wanted to be where I didn’t see only rows of white houses, and poles scratching at the sky. I just did not know how much. Nowadays, a trip to town quickly makes me want to return home.

It was very difficult to find quiet space back then, and it often involved a camping trip, or a car ride to a empty country road. Not impossible, but often difficult.

I am positive that living here, has saved my sanity. I have now spent almost exactly half of my life here; and I’m grateful. I am grateful for the overstuffed chair, that sits by the window, and looks out over a really broad space.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Maybe to you this does not sound like a gift; Your personality prefers the hum of activity.

Psalms 139:13 -14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(He knows how He made you – He will show you another way)
Maybe you are here just wondering when your gift will arrive; You’ve been waiting and praying.

Matthew 6:8…. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

(Hang on!)

Questions to consider;

  • Does my quiet time require total silence, or maybe some music or other ambient noise?
  • Do I require quiet EVERY day? Every week? More than once a day?
  • Does my quiet time involve time together, alone, with someone else?
  • Does it contain devotions? Book reading? Bible reading? Audio reading? A quiet video? Or just staring out the window – at my street, or at my space?
  • Does my quiet time release me from the stress and pressure of the daily grind?

Please feel free to leave a response in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Enjoy some quiet. It’s Under the Hill.

29jan2017