Tag Archives: Greg Olsen art

2020 VISION: Weekend Streams.

Tonight is the perfect summer night. Been awhile since I’ve been able to sit outside and just listen to the night, feel the breeze and see the stars shining as brightly as they are right now. Hear the trickle of water as it continues to drain through our usually dry stream bed.

A deep breath of night air is a good way to end the Sabbath.

“The Lord has done great miracles for them!”
Yes, he did mighty miracles and we are overjoyed!
Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory!
May streams of your refreshing flow over us
until our dry hearts are drenched again.” Ps 126:3-4

Weekends have always been a time to regenerate the energy level – especially when I was teaching, raising kids, and tending various species of critters that had entered my sphere of influence. I liked walking the land given to me for a space of time. I liked tending gardens. I liked mowing grass. I liked finding time to play the piano, read a few chapters of a book, watch a few special movies. It was a time to re-connect with the basics that have always been a part of my life.

When I was little, we lived in town, but the parents owned three acres “in the country”. It was actually just outside of town. I could have ridden my bike there, but for some reason, I don’t think I ever did. I certainly rode outside of town in all other directions. As I look back, I laugh a little because it was back a small 2-track dirt road that we shared with neighbors who owned the house in front of our land. We went there often but especially on the weekends.

In the winter, there were Christmas trees to help my dad cut down (I really just ran around with whatever kids came to “help cut down a tree” and let the grown-ups do all the work). In the spring, family and friends would gather there as we planted new pine trees and seeds in a big garden. Sometimes we would have a bonfire. Most times, we ended up at our house or someone else’s where the instruments would come out and the party would commence.

Refreshing weekends were something my parents loved as well.

In the summer, I learned to weed with my toes. My dad was the real expert. I didn’t ever manage to measure up to his standard, but I did love digging my toes in the dirt and trying. By late summer, feast time was beyond compare. Corn, tomatoes, beans, peas. Fresh out of the garden as we picked or as a dinner party at our house – where the ice cream maker would magically appear, and we all took turns cranking it.

Weekends are special time of renewal.

Tonight was one of those nights when I could almost see it all again as I sat on my small porch and watched the dogs snap at insects or answer a barking dog that they heard down the street. We had a screened-in porch at both of my childhood homes. They were the perfect places to make music and not have to deal with biting insects (like I had to do tonight). Eventually, I would fall asleep to the music of guitars, banjos and lyrics being sung all around me and wake up the next morning in my bed.

Sunday mornings would swirl all the days into His days.

The walk to church. Sunday school teachers who were often friends of the family or my school teacher. Sitting in a pew with Grandma Mac as she handed me her hankie with a piece of gum tucked inside. Mom singing a solo with the choir. My Godmother playing the organ. My dad sometimes with us, but mostly – goin’ fishin’. Family get-togethers where I got real food instead of boxed or burnt food. Sunday night youth groups.

Streams of living water to carry us into the new week ahead.

“Those who sow their tears as seeds
will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee.
They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow,
but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing!” Ps 126:5-6

My Father continues to send streams of living water every weekend as I relax and breathe in deeply. Those rolling waters are a little different in form these days. Tears are often mixed in, but the shouts of glee are there as well when His presence overwhelms me. As always, the Sabbath wraps the renewal all together. A deep breath of fresh night air clears out the foggy vision that built up during the previous week, and I can see more clearly.

Weekend Streams of living water – refreshing water.

If I have to wait for Him to move His cloud pillar so I can walk forward, I might as well be about His business while I wait. Back to school (with Grands, new students, those in my sphere of influence), and time to walk into the new week with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness. Time to harvest the overflowing armload of blessings that He has already placed on my path.

[Greg Olsen artwork]

LENTEN INSIGHT 2019 #1:

Now tell me again why “Thoughts and Prayers” don’t matter??

THOUGHTS

How many times did Christ mention thoughts? Thoughts that cause us to sin. Thoughts that show our love for others. Thoughts that direct our paths. Thoughts in our Be-Attitudes. Thoughts that He shared with all He encountered. Thoughts that shape the mind – the body – the faith.

PRAYERS

Time and time again, the Gospels mention Rabbi Yeshua praying. Praying with those around Him. Praying with a crowd. Praying over meals. Praying in the temple. Praying all alone – in the dark of night – in the early hours of the morning – for others – for Himself – in praise and thankfulness to His Abba.

 

“Thoughts and Prayers” matter. 

They mattered to the early Christians as they faced the lions – faced stoning – faced crucifixion.

They matter on the battlefield of war – of illness – of addiction.

They matter to me. 

They matter to Christ.

They matter to Our Father-GOD.

“Now it came to pass in those days that [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”~Lk 6:12               alpha-and-omega-greg-olsen   [Greg Olsen artwork]

LIGHTS OUT #2

“The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary…”

It has been one of those winters. Cold – dark – dreary – and – sigh upon sigh – rain, rain and more rain. As I pulled a candle out of the window tonight, I looked out into the darkness. There are only two candles left and on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day, I will pack that last Light of Advent away until late Fall of 2019.

How time flies.

“My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast…”

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring-like day. I dug in the soil. Got my hands dirty. Moved a couple big rocks and pulled a muscle (which – btw – still hurts – hence the whining). Laughed with my Grands as they tried to follow the birds fighting over their place at the feeders. Picked at the flower beds a little here – a little there. And tonight? Not a star in sight. Even the neighbor’s security lights were dimmed in the heaviness of heaven’s tears. And…I sighed again as I turned off the candle’s light.

Just then – as I was beginning to write – that memorable line popped into my head…”Into each life some rain must fall…”

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Rainy Day

I remember memorizing this poem in grade school. We memorized many poems back in the day. Have no idea why or what teachers required them; I just know we did it. Often the lines of those poems will pop up in my head. I never seem to remember the whole, but I remember in part. Luckily, we have search engines, and I don’t have to dig through a pile of books trying to find an obscure line in a poem that I might or might not have on my dusty shelves.

We also read Bible stories, memorized Bible verses, sang hymns/carols and prayed. These tend to be a little more in-focus, but it seems I can never – ever remember the book or the chapter or the number of those verses. (Is that whining again?)  I remember in part but never the whole.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.”~Ps 103:8

Not sure where this going.I started out with one idea in my head, and now, here I am walking in faith with my words. I’ll blame it on this amazing teacher/preacher, Jason Brown, former NFL player turned farmer, who spoke at our church today. I may have extinguished another candle in my home, but Mr. Brown’s sermon is still lighting up my soul with thoughts about faith and how we need to walk through this life with faith. I love it when the Holy Spirit moves me to think and re-think understandings of His WORD.

Better than candles in the window. Better than a man-made light on a rainy night. I have the Living Light of His WORD for this new Lenten season. I needed this reminder today. Come to think of it – I need it everyday. I needed it everyday while I was growing up. I needed it everyday when I was in open rebellion of His WORD. I need it everyday now. When the pain of an aging body gets me down; when I let that ever youthful rebellion surface; when the whining turns into a sarcastic pout, or when I just plain don’t walk in the confidence of faithfulness to His WORD.

“And Yeshua spoke again with them and he said: “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall find the Light of ife.”~Jn 8:12 (Aramaic translation)

Abba is “Behind the clouds…the sun still shining.” Waiting for us to look up. Waiting for us to get tired of the rain – of the darkness – and look behind the clouds where the Son is still shining. Shining bright enough for us to see the next step. Shining bright enough to dry our tears. Shining bright enough to shed Grace over our heavy hearts and grant us peace.

It is the season to reflect. A season of to wonder – to ponder. A season to choose Light over darkness once again. A season to “…go and sin no more.”

“Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”~Jn 8:10-11 Forgiven [Greg Olsen artwork]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #14

Tuesdays are usually an easy day for a Gratitude Attitude.

I get to see the Grands. How easy is that for Gratitude? I get to listen to the Grands babble all the way home about the wonders of the day. I get to teach the Grands piano. Every good boy does find… FACE! I get to be torn a half-a-dozen different ways as the Grands want me to see new favorite things or the new favorite power ranger on a poster or favorite American Girl doll (and accessories) in the Christmas catalog or the new chicken coop or the new addition to the clubhouse (that they made all by themselves).

Phew!

After piano lessons (and an impromptu composition by the Grandson that made this Grandma’s heart glad), while the Grandson was busy getting ready to go to the first practice of a new basketball team with Coach Dada and Sis, Grand daughter snuck me away to show off the new excitement outside. Chicken coop – check. Addition of a second floor to their stylin’ clubhouse – check. Conversation on the narrow, leaf-strewn, stump-laden path – – – priceless.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”~Is 11:6

“Grandma, you sure do walk slow.”

“Yep. Old creaky, knees slow me down a bit.”

“Wow, I’m waiting and you still are behind me.”

“Don’t get smart, kid. I can only go as fast as the shovel.”

The shovel was my makeshift walking stick. It actually worked pretty well. But the best thing was Grand daughter turning around – waiting for me. At least three times on our short walk, she turned back to look at me with her smile in her eyes, her legs sticking through the giant holes in the knees of her pants – leaving her pant legs flapping in the wind at the back of her legs as she ran ahead of me in her polka-dotted rain boots.

It is the way of the best memories in this life. A simple day. A simple walk. A simple expression of love. A simple – priceless – treasure chest memory.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” ~Is 45:3

It is good on days like these to do a little “pondering”. To think about those riches we store away in our treasure chest. It is part of the Gratitude Attitude. Ponder. Wonder. Walk forward on that crazy path with a shovel as your staff and laughing in joy with the “Child” who is truly leading you.

Gratitude is like that. It is all in the Attitude.
Can you see Him?
The lamb and the lion by His side?
It is knowing He is there. Knowing that He is waiting for your slower steps to catch up. Joy in His eyes. Prayer shawl around His shoulders. Ready to take the shovel when it isn’t needed any more and that smile…..that smile in His eyes just for you.

 

It is all in the One leading the way down that path. The riches we gather on our way that have been stored in secret places just waiting for us to arrive –  gift from Him to all who choose to follow. Hearing Him call our name. Now that truly is the Gratitude Attitude that governs my life. Blessings!Be! 

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”~Rm 8:14 

[google/Greg Olsen art]