Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

There’s a busy, crazy, obligation and performance driven world rushing around you…

Stop and sit.

Rest here for awhile.

Look, listen, and feel a different rhythm of life…

These chairs have given rest and renewed strength for many a weary pilgrim.

Today they extend an invitation to you.

Sit.

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This is not just a picture, it’s a thousand words for you to hear…

If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. 
If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. 
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. 
Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?

Psalm 127:1-3 MSG

What other words will God speak to you as you rest here today?

With Him.

© Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved.

 

All I Need to Know

I started a new journal a few weeks ago…one where I write just for me and God. It’s a journal where I don’t have to edit myself or organize my thoughts and I’m free to doodle, type with my eyes closed, or switch subjects as fast as lightening or as slow as molasses.

It’s my place to play.

And as I play, I’m discovering more freedom, more joy, and more of the Linda God created me to be than ever before.

God’s showing me all I really need to know is quite simple, like this classic poem from Robert Fulghum:

God’s also showing me that all I need to pray for is quite simple too, and asked me to share this little piece of my journal with you…

I’m praying my prayer for you today too. May you draw, paint, sing, dance and play some today as the joy of the wonder of life fills you to overflowing.

Linda CrawfordThank you Lord, you have all we need to know today.

~Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up, 2012, all rights reserved.

I’m sharing a fun story at Internet Cafe Devotions today!

I’m like most women I see at the grocery store—I shop alone.

I plan our family meals, take stock of the bare cupboards, and venture solo to the mega store where, list in hand, I methodically hunt down and gather our food each week. It’s exhausting work doing it alone. Reaching, bending, lifting, carrying, and loading all those groceries into and out of that cart (and later into and out of the car and finally into the cupboards) is a workout!

I’m convinced the reason many women wear sweatpants to the grocery store is because they know how much they are going to sweat!

A few years ago I hurt my shoulder and had to go solo to the store with my left arm in a sling. I soon realized I could never pass the straight-line-cart-driving-sobriety test steering with only one hand, and the more items I put in, the worse it got. Weaving around the store, I became more and more frustrated and less and less in control of my cart. Then it dawned on me that I was going to have to load and unload everything with one hand too. I quickly pared down my list to the necessities and carefully maneuvered my way to the checkout.

I had unloaded about a third of my cart onto the revolving belt before the pleasant young man behind the bagging station offered to help. They usually don’t offer to help me, so I knew one of three things must be true—either I looked like I needed help because of the sling, he saw me drunk-driving my cart, or, more than likely, my slow, one at a time unloading was holding up the sighing impatient line of customers behind me. Usually fiercely independent on grocery shopping treks, this time I was embarrassed and grateful for the help…

Click here to read the rest of the story at Internet Cafe Devotions to discover how an arm injury, a Homecoming dance and a grocery clerk helped me get an important message from God!

Linda CrawfordHave a sunny-side up day!

~Linda

© 2012, Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up, all rights reserved.

Divine Creativity

It’s officially Spring and we’ve been blessed with warm weather and bright sunshine for weeks now. There’s sure to be more snow and gray days ahead, yet it’s hard not to be inspired by leaf buds and flowers stalks that hint at the promised beauty of the colors yet to come.

Every spring I find myself in awe of the creativity of God–the emerging sights, sounds and colors of the season inspire and challenge me. Birds sing in my backyard, purple crocuses adorn an empty garden, neighbors appear for afternoon chats and doggy visits. Life is stirring again after prolonged hidden-ness and I find myself wanting to embrace and breathe of it anew.

God is so creative. Life is so creative.

We humans are so creative.

Spring has me pondering our human creativity this week.  How do composers create music? Artists paint? Writers write? Singers sing? Designers design? Builders build? Cooks cook? Dancers dance? Actors act? Speakers speak? Mothers mother?

To create beauty–to be a planting for the display of His glory. That’s my tagline for this blog, and the desire of my heart as a writer.

So today, with the sun shining through my patio window and a robin singing in the backyard, I took a few moments to sit and write the desires of my heart for my creative process as a writer.

It started as a seed and bloomed as this:

What would it be like to catch a divine sentence in a butterfly net?

Beautiful, it flutters near to show off its markings, the colors of its meaning, and the rhythm of its movement.

Yet it has no sound to be heard, no melody—until captured and translated into crooked letters that are placed along a path.

Like crumbs of bread the words entice the hungry to eat, to follow their journey, to discover where they will lead…

Once studied, heard in song and transformed into words to hunger for, the divine sentence is released with gratitude to fly back to its creator.

This is how I wish to write.

If only I could capture a tiny piece of beauty, a glimmer of truth, a portion of His love to share in words–to put His glory on display…all the struggles of the creative process would be worthwhile.

Thank goodness I have a book filled with words of beauty, truth and love to guide me…

Every word you give me is a miracle word— how could I help but obey? Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning. Psalm 119:129-130 (MSG)

 They defeated him (the enemy of our souls) through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness. Revelation 12:11 (MSG)

The bold word of their witness…

Let’s keep speaking, singing, writing, dancing, painting and creating beauty to put the glory of the Lord on display!

Linda CrawfordHow does God inspire your creativity?

~ Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up, 2012.

Cartwheels for Jesus

Sharing a story about my amazing and wonderful daughter today at Internet Cafe Devotions!

As soon as Sarah could stand, she was dancing. We bought her every pink tutu and flashy leotard we could find. She wore glitter shoes to church—red, white, gold and silver ones. As soon as the music started she was out of her seat dancing in the aisle. Her favorite song to dance to at home was what she called “The Ha-yay-you-yah Chorus.”

Joy should have been her middle name. “Princess Joy” would have suited her well.

I was brought up in a much more conservative church than the ones she knew. No clapping, orderly hymn singing, and certainly no dancing! I still wore sensible black shoes to church…but I didn’t want her to be like me.

I didn’t want her to think believing in Jesus was black shoes and no clapping.

I wanted her to know about the “joy of the Lord” and that the Bible says we are to sing, dance, and make a joyful noise! So I indulged her love of all things glitter and encouraged her freestyle dancing.

After all, I had danced when I was a child too…

Click here to read the rest of the story!

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up, 2012.

Sharing at Internet Cafe Devotions today!

…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10 NIV


Helping OthersThis scripture hit me over the head like a two-by-four about ten years ago.
 I was grieving the recent loss of a dear family member and adjusting to a 6,000 mile move back to the U.S. after three years living abroad…then September 11, 2001 happened.

It was too much grief to bear and the darkness of it closed in upon me. To make matters worse, there was no “rewind” button to jump back into the friendships and church community I had left three years before. Things were different, I was different, and my old friends had moved on.

Except for the immediate family of my husband and daughter, I was desperately alone, and in emotional pain the likes of which I never imagined possible to live through.

I clung to my Bible for comfort to help me rest through the darkest hours of night and ransacked the pages during the day, desperately looking for crumbs of hope to live on.

It was on one of those desperate searches one day I found more than a crumb to live on—I found an endless feast of truth in Isaiah 58.

IF you spend yourself, THEN the light will enter your darkness…

Click here to read the rest of my story.

Have a blessed day spending away!  🙂

~Linda

Bad Days Happen

(This was originally posted on February 8, 2011, and it’s an amazing thing that God led me back to it tonight, February 8, 2012. Tomorrow I am going in for knee surgery, another step toward my healing from the injury that has sidetracked my life for 2 1/2 years now. I needed to read this tonight. I need to keep my perspective on the right things–the things of God. May it bless you today, whether it’s your first or second time reading it. Tomorrow’s going to be a good day, I just know it!)

I had a good day last week. Followed by a bad day. Followed by a moderately bad day, which was followed by a moderately good day. None of which were caused by my choice to quit caffeine last week.

This is just how I rate my life these days. Good, bad, and the moderate ones in-between. It’s become a habit, and another one (like the caffeine) that I’d like to break. But it’s tough, because I’ve been at it for over a year now, ever since that one very bad day happened.

Have you experienced one of those? I bet you have, and whatever your story is, I pray for you…because I know the pain. Literally. For me it’s been coping with unrelenting physical pain, but I know for others it can be unrelenting emotional pain. And so we rate our days: good, bad, and in-between…

On the good days I will call you and chat and maybe even go to the movies. On the bad days you won’t see or hear from me. Only my family sees, but I even try to hide the pain from them. So they won’t start rating their days good or bad based upon mine.

What really got me thinking about how I rate my days was an article I read last week by my favorite writer called 8 ½ Steps to Make it Through the Moderately-Worst Day of Your Life. It made me laugh but also gave me a good dose of God’s grace and hope:

“Even on days when absolutely nothing is going your way, and you watched your toast walk off the plate and jump to the ground butter-side-down, there is something you can control. You. Your outlook, your attitude and your level of optimism.” 

Yup, I can control me. I can control what I choose to focus on and what I choose to believe. And when I make the right choices my best days are the ones when God gets the attention instead of the pain:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

“Give my attention to what God is doing right now”…right now. Today, this moment, and every moment, pain or no pain, God is working in me. Working good things. Things that can only be formed in the heat of the furnace of my pain. And I’m a better person because of that.

So I won’t give up. And neither should you:

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)

Not a day goes by… I’m going to endeavor to stop rating my days good or bad based on my pain, and instead rate them all good based on God’s unending grace and love, and His promise for the blessings of my future. Besides, as my favorite author says:

“Bad days happen, but after they are over–that’s just it. They are over. Don’t give a bad day more recognition than it deserves, because it doesn’t deserve any. Stupid bad days.”

Stupid bad days indeed.

Have a good day!   🙂

                   -Linda

By the way, in case you were wondering, my favorite author happens to be Sarah Elizabeth Crawford. Who, in addition to ministering to her Mom, speaks to teen girls through her articles in SUSIE magazine. And you betcha I think she is great!

Copyright Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled) 2012. All rights reserved.

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