Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: The Wonder of His Love {and Ladies and Chocolate}


It’s Friday. I now look forward to this Five Minute Friday challenge with Lisa-Jo to write five minutes on a topic with many others around the globe. I stole five minutes this morning after my shower while my hair was still wet and wrapped in a towel and scribbled down this post, but had to come back later to throw in some pictures and links.
Five Minute Friday

The prompt for this week is: Wonder


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‘The wonder of His love.’

I sang these words just last night.

I went home. Back home to the Church I grew up in; to the people. I went back for a ‘Ladies Night Out’.

After a dinner of tacos and reading our first ‘Jesse Tree Journey’ devotional for this season, I took my daughter and we drove almost an hour for this Christmas Ladies Night Out that involved chocolate, in fact, we made truffles. Oooh, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. It was goooooooood!

I facebooked an old friend late last night after she had posted a picture and made the comment on her photo: ’It was a wonderful night!’

Not just the chocolate. The people ~ women who held me as a babe, prayed for my wee body to be rid of cancer, friends I ran around the subway with 22 years ago on a youth group adventure, friends I have swelled with promise and grown babies with, women I have broken bread with, my own Mom, and my daughter.

The wonder of it all.

The message we were left to ponder. Oh, the slack-jaw wonder of this season that love has come down that we might have joy.

In His presence there is fullness of joy. And in this season of ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ that we might stop and take in the wonder of it all; that' ‘Joy to the world the Lord has come’.

That we might seek Him and find Him and love Him.

Oh, the wonder of His love!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Perfected Praise

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Her blond waves bounce as she whirls and swirls and sways

and her feet glide softly along the floor.

Her eyes reflect the joy that spills from deep within.

Her button lips murmur praise to the One who has created her in His own image.

Her little body moves rhythmically back and forth, in time with the music.

For over two years as we sing she has been in my arms,

close to my heart and we make graceful movements together.

As she stands on her own she lifts

her hand

her voice

her song

her praise

her worship

just as she was created to do.

And she teaches her Mama to abandon all that inhibits.


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‘. . . and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?"’
Matthew 21:16




joining up here today

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays ~ With Laughs and Love

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.

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Here, this moment.
A quiet restful Sunday afternoon together as a family,
sipping hot apple cider, preparing for the Christmas season.
And a boy who picks up the camera to shoot his Daddy lovin’ his Mama.



Come take delight in the great works that the Lord has done! All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.


On Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Come, will you join me?

Come take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?

Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and
praise the Lord and give thanks.


A Soft Gentle Voice






Come back and link here with others. Join in the company of the upright and express His praise to others.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank You

Five Minute Friday


A Five Minute Friday Post. And the prompt is: 

Thank you

For life
For love

For salvation
For security

For faith
For future

For grace
For growth

For husband
For hearts

For cuddles
For children

For dreams
For daughters

For son
For Son

For family
For friends

For purpose
For peace

For truth
For time

For joy
For job

For words
For wonder

For notes
For news

For babies
For books

For kisses
For keeps

For Church
For community

For prayer
For power

For homes
For hope

For ALL things

I give You Thanks.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
( 1 Thessalonians 5:18)



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays ~ With Hobbit Holes

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.

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*****

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Here, this moment.
A little boy who can’t get enough of the book his Daddy is reading to him.
So he makes himself a little hole and gathers his friends and treasures ~ including
his Bible and his own 25¢ copy of ‘The Hobbit’.


*****

Come, join me. Come take delight in the great works that the Lord has done. All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.

On Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Will you join me? Come take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?
Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and praise the Lord.
A Soft Gentle Voice



Come back and link here with others. Join in the company of the upright and express His praise to others.




Monday, November 19, 2012

A Pilgrim of Eternity ~ A Prayer ~ Endless Thanks

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On a rainy day in November I scratch down #1000 for 2012.

I count these gifts; compose this gratitude list. I’ve done this on and off since 2008. At times, I jot the gifts down and remember. Other times, when panic pounces and anxiety ambushes I open my eyes wide and look for the endless gifts. Ann writes in her book, “The only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling…We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose–which emotion do we want to feel?” So I {try to} choose gratitude {most of the time}.

I turn the page and there in my journal I have pasted in these words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

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And I wonder how is it not good enough to just list the things I am thankful for. Don't I need to always give thanks to the Giver. Always remember that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." That the act of giving and the gift received is from the one who never changes ~ the eternal God.
"O Eternal God, though Thou art not such as I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, yet grant me this day a clear conviction of Thy reality and power . . . give me grace to understand the world I cannot see or touch is the most real world of all . . .
For the power Thou hast given me to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
                                       I give Thee thanks, O God.
For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of they glory outpoured in Jesus Christ:
                                       I give Thee thanks, O God.
I, a pilgrim of eternity, stand before Thee, O Eternal One. Let me not seek to deaden or destroy the desire for Thee that disturbs my heart. Let me rather yield myself to its constraint and go where it leads me. Make me wise to see all things to-day under the form of eternity, and make me brave to face all the changes in my life which such a vision may entail: through the grace of Christ my Saviour. Amen"
~ John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer

 
We boast, we glory in the one who is the Great I Am. 

I can boast because The Eternal One has made Himself known to me.

I can count His gifts, His grace because by His Spirit He has invaded my soul.

And for all the gifts that I see, oh, the marvellous wonder of all the gifts that by His power He has given to me of things unseen ~ the things eternal.

I search for things that are seen and unseen that I may give thanks to the One who practices steadfast love. And I keep practicing seeing and giving thanks for His steadfast love.


 




Friday, November 16, 2012

Sure to Stay

Writing with Five Minute Friday today. A community at Lisa-Jo’s, where people all over the world write for five minutes on one topic.

This week’s prompt is: Stay

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*****

The Pastor, on Sunday, he preached again from the Sermon on the Mount. This week it was the passage on divorce. He mentioned how even in the Church it has sadly become such a high statistic: that so many don’t ~ stay.

When it get’s tough they split. My heart aches for the ones that do.

This week my children popped in a 13 year old video and my eyes blurred as I stopped and watched for a few brief minutes. Watched as my beloved pledged his love, his faithfulness, his life to me.

We were talking, my beloved and I, as we were out at few weeks ago, our hands wrapped around warm mugs of hot chocolate, about how we have something rare. This love, this commitment we both have ~ secure to look deep in one another’s eyes and know.

Funny how the people laughed when the preacher said on Sunday that some are even wishing for death to escape their spouse. I want to grow old with mine.

It doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem fair somehow that I am the one told by a doctor in a paediatric cancer survivor clinic six months ago that my body is not going to age well. That I may not get to see a ripe old age.

And yet, maybe its not fair, but oh, I am filled with gratitude, that I am one that can look deep in my beloved’s eyes and be sure in his love, that he will stay ‘till death separates or Christ takes us home.


*****

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Cry for the Thirsty Soul

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O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.


I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.

I am ashamed of my lack of desire.

O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;

I long to be filled with longing;

I thirst to be made more thirsty still.

Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.

Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.

Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

Then

give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A.W. Tozer, ‘The Pursuit of God’

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Take Delight Tuesdays


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Life gets messy. Giants loom. Fears suffocate.

But what are we missing?

Why do we let these moments get the better of us?

The Psalmist wrote a hymn of praise ~ celebrating the great works that the Lord has done for His people. He has called us to be His. He cares for us. He delights in us. We see His great works in creation, in the mighty deeds of redemption, in His marvelous providence, His grace in our lives.

Come, join me. Come take delight in the great works that the Lord has done. All the works of the Lord are great ~ even the little things that He has done are great. Ponder the moments that speak of our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, and Gracious Lord. It is these works that cause us to turn our delight to the Lord and to give thanks to the Lord with our whole hearts.

I count the gifts. Turn my thanks to God. 

And here, on Tuesdays, I will just unwrap a moment that I have taken delight in. A moment that has turned my heart to my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

Just a moment some time in my week that I have captured. That I have carefully pondered the goodness of the Lord and delighted in it.


*****



Here, this moment. My family singing,
"My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,
there's nothing my God cannot do . . . for  you!"

A little moment,
but pondering the great works of the Lord in our lives.
Singing praise to Him.



Will you join me? Come take delight in the gracious works of the Lord?

Capture the moment, study it, delight in it and praise the Lord.
A Soft Gentle Voice


Come back and link here with others. Join in the company of the upright and express His praise to others. 



Friday, November 9, 2012

When you need your own 'Circle of Quiet'

Five Minute Friday


The word for today's Five Minute Friday is: Quiet













***

I am reading and savouring a book that Lisa-Jo recommended during her 31 Days series: 'A Circle of Quiet'. It is filled with so many gems. It appealed to me right from the very beginning where Madeleine L'Engle discusses how she came up with the title of her book. L'Engle shared her need for quiet. I can so relate:
'Every so often I need OUT; something will throw me into total disproportion, and I have to get away from everybody - away from all these people I love most in the world - in order to regain a sense of proportion.'
She describes the glorious place she escapes to - her own 'circle of quiet'  - 'where there is no visible sign of human beings.'

I grew up with 3 active brothers and 2 sisters, dog, cat, kittens, chickens ~ a loud household ~ that I am truly grateful for. Yet, being an introvert I discovered I needed to escape. I would wander off past the pool, I'd stop for a bit on the wooden bridge suspended over the creek, then up through the forest and find my way to a rock in the meadow where I'd sit, think, read, pray, and write. I run out there when I got a letter in the mail from the man I was beginning to love.

When I married and we moved to town, somehow I lost the priority of finding that 'circle of quiet'. I love being a Mama ~ it was what I always dreamed of ~ and I am thankful that we can educate at home, but it leaves very few moments of quiet. And although I needed it, I neglected to find a spot where I could retreat to on the days when I need to 'sit for a while, [that] my impatience, crossness, frustration, are indeed annihilated, and my sense of humor returns' just as L'Engle confesses.

I need quiet. I fancy my own 'circle of quiet' once again. I believe that it is important even in this stage of motherhood. That I may 'love those I love most', even more!


***


One of the other five minute fivers had her children join her last week. I thought it was a great idea so I gave my children the prompt for this week and allowed us a few extra minutes of writing. They did a great job of writing on 'quiet' and ironically it was fairly quiet while everyone was scratching down their thoughts.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hope in the Storms of Life


It was a cold, winter morning many will never forget. Freezing rain began to fall, bearing down on trees and power lines. It knocked out power for many for days, for weeks, and for some even months. Millions were left in the dark and cold. It took the lives of more that 30 people.

January 5, 1998. My Dad drove us into town in the truck. The roads were slippery and it was a slow drive in. I should have been going back to work after the Christmas holidays. Instead, I was on my way to have surgery that morning. The ENT Doctor had found a lump on my thyroid. After a horrible needle biopsy and a CAT scan it could not be determined if it was malignant. There was a high risk that it could be as a result of the cancer and treatment I had almost 20 years earlier. A total thyroidectomy was required.

I remember sitting in the waiting room with my parents. Wondering about the storm blowing in.

The storm did not affect us as greatly as it did some Canadians in worse hit areas. I actually can't recall many of the details of the storm as I was recovering from surgery the rest of the week.

The tests they did on my thyroid they removed came back negative. It was multi nodular goiter with Hürthle cells. Most likely, they said, it would have become cancerous. Now it was out and I would take medication to replace the thyroid hormone for the rest of my life.

I remember that the ice glistened and sparkled on the trees in the light. How could something that wreaked havoc in so many lives, that broke many trees and lines and lives actually be beautiful?

That storm became known and the Great Ice Storm of 1998.

Fourteen years have passed. And I wonder today, how can something that wreaked havoc in my life and left me broken actually be beautiful?

I had carried on with life as though nothing really had changed. After recovery, I simply began to take a little pill every morning before breakfast. I was married the following year and have had three beautiful children.

But it has been fourteen years of trying to regulate a synthetic hormone. Each time I swell with child my levels are thrown off. Dealing with symptoms as my medication changes gets discouraging.

I am left exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Low thyroid levels can leave one with depression, anxiety and other emotional issues. Honestly, I feel, at times, that I am walking along in a storm of ice beating down on me. Knocking me down and leaving me without power.

I have just come through months of appointments and tests to determine where my symptoms are coming from. I am still looking for answers. I do my own research to find out how I can better regulate my thyroid levels to see if that can help manage some of the health issues I face.

But, in the mean time, I keep on with the name calling. I feel defeated. Forsaken. I don't rely on the Power that is available to me. Why do I do this, when I know better?

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones would have said that I am 'listening to myself again instead of talking to myself'.

It seems as though I acquired the general causes of this condition of spiritual depression that Lloyd-Jones described in a series he preached at Westminster Chapel many years ago: the introverted temperament - this type of person who is 'particularly prone to spiritual depression',  and physical weakness - 'physical conditions do play a part'. And the final cause he expounded on - the devil - 'the adversary of our souls. He can use our temperaments and our physical condition . . .  There is no end to the ways in which the devil produces spiritual depression.'

So, what do I do when I am, as Lloyd-Jones called, a 'depressed Christian . . . a contradiction of terms . . . a very poor recommendation of the gospel'.

"Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me?"

What do I do when I am cast down? The preacher, Lloyd-Jones, he turned back to the Psalmist who talked to himself and we need to look back to him and learn to 'take ourselves in hand.'  These words, that Lloyd-Jones spoke as he exhorted his congregation years ago, still ring true:
I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing 'ourselves' to talk to us. Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to ourselves . . . Have you ever noticed that the most unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man's treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. 'Why are thou cast down, O my soul? he asks. His soul has been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands us and says: 'Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you' . . . You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself . . . exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope thou in God' . . . And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note; defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of his countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God."

And on a morning that I am feeling broken, when fear is paralyzing and my physical strength seems limited and I know I am hiding away and I feel stuck, I hear a message spoken by Patsy Clairmont on the radio. She says she will, as long as she has breath, encourage others to do three things: Refuse the negative thoughts, replace them with Phil 4:8 type thoughts and then repeat. She also says she would add: read in order to grow.

She speaks of the broken pieces and how when God picks them up and His light touches them they are turned into a kaleidoscope of beautiful pieces.

Do I believe that God can really take the brokenness, redeem it, and make it beautiful? On the days that I am physically and emotionally drained can I remember, as the Psalmist did, to preach to myself: 'Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.'?

What comes of this hope?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Ah, but the very God of hope, He will fill the ones who hope in Him with all joy {literally, an awareness of God's grace} and peace {God's gift of wholeness}. That through the power of the Holy Spirit those who believe may be strong.

He is our help. He is our strength. He is our hope.

When the storms of life come we can withstand the weight and press on to that which we have been called.


*Photo source

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Delight is in Her

Monday morning. He gave me a kiss good bye when it was still dark out. The one who delights in me and I can hardly believe it at times, but it's true. And our son came crawling in beside me just after he left for work. I shut off two alarms and turn over to stretch again. If I get up now, my son will be up for the day.

I know I need to start today with a time of quiet. But, if I get up now before my son settles back to sleep I am pretty sure that it will not be quiet that I get.

I can’t wait any longer. I get up and so does my son.

He clambers up on to the kitchen cupboard. He pulls out a white cereal bowl, and the box of Raisin Bran. He is off to the fridge and pulls out the ceramic milk container and does a nice job of getting himself breakfast as well as a nice trail of mess behind him.

Just as I am ready to sit down with Bible and pen and a hot coffee he is done his cereal and wants me to read him library books. It is not just one book he wants. He has a stack.



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I know I need to have this quiet time before anyone else is up. I tell him I am going to read the Bible first.

I open up to Isaiah. Where I have been reading in recent times.

And I read:
You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.
I recall reading about Hephzibah somewhere, years ago.

Yes, I remember reading it here. I remember Ann writing about the names she has called herself. I remember being very familiar with the same names.

I have called myself names. I have feasted on lies.

I still do.

I knew I needed to get up this morning and read truth. I just didn’t know that The Truth was going to remind me that He calls me ‘My Delight is in Her’; that I am the object of His and His Father’s love.

I am His bride. He has covered me with robes of righteousness and He delights in me and I can hardly believe it, but it is true.

I do this; I look for ways that He loves me. I count the ways that He showers love down. Grace. The ways that He delights in me.

I know at times I get lost in the lies, but how much greater to get lost in His love.



Counting more gifts from this year’s 1000 gifts . . .

For today gifts acorn-small . . .
983 ~ quiet Sunday afternoon with my family
984 ~ hot chocolate with friends
985 ~ a good bye kiss
986 ~ morning walk with neighbours
987 ~ chicken stock simmering on the stove all day
988 ~ peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch
989 ~ chapter one of a new read-aloud
990 ~ reading library books on the couch


and not so small . . . 
991 ~ how He has called me by my name ~ Hephzibah!
992 ~ that He delights in me ~ amazing grace




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Friday, November 2, 2012

Rooted and Grounded

Five Minute Friday


The prompt for this Five Minute Friday is: Roots

*******
Soft, sparkly snowflakes are flittering in the air and laying a white fluffy blanket on the ground.

My children, just out of bed, are dancing around, yelling, "It's snowing!" Excited about the first snowfall of the year. It covers up all the muck for all the rain we got in October. The drabbiness gets bright with white.

I look out the back window and can see the blanket of snow cover our square foot gardens. The first year we planted our garden we had squares overflowing with vegetables, vines bent right over with bright red tomatoes.

This year we used the same technique and the same recipe for the soil, but we did not reap what we sowed. We had two problems - the rabbits and the lack of rain!

The seeds we planted had no chance to take root. Most of the seeds that came up became food for the bunnies. The seeds that survived them thirsted in the drought. And some how life got busy and we didn't give them the water they needed regularly enough.

Those poor plants - they remind me of our spiritual strength.

Oh, how we need to be strengthened with power through the Spirit.

We need to be "rooted and grounded in love - that we  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

*******


Thursday, November 1, 2012

So, Who am I, Then?


That's it. 31 Days for 2012 ~ all but the four Sundays, that is. 

It was a great topic and a great book that is out of print, but is definitely beneficial to read if you are wanting to write and in doing so discover more about yourself.

The thing I have learned this month about this topic is that there is so much more I have to learn about writing and about myself. It was worth the effort to go through the discipline.

Last night I started a new book, 'A Circle of Quiet' by Madeleine L'Engle. A fantastic book (from what I have read so far) about the same kind of questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing with my life?

Maybe it has something to do with mothering. As I am trying to give direction to my children I find it is often a struggle as many times I am still trying to find out my own identity.

But, I do know that somehow wrestling through it is helpful for myself. Sharing it with others can be helpful for them. I realized that there is no point in doing this solely for myself because then I become completely self-absorbed. When we are completely self-absorbed we essentially have put ourselves at the center of the universe. Really, we need to attempt to discover who we are in such a way that takes the emphasis right off our own self so that we might be a blessing to others and bring glory to the Creator. 

L'Engle writes:
"I haven't defined a self, nor do I want to. A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. And self is always becoming. Being does mean becoming, but we run so fast that it is only when we seem to stop  - as sitting on the rock at the brook - that we are aware of our own isness, of being. But certainly this is not static, for this awareness of being is always a way of moving from the selfish self - the self-image - and towards the real.
Who am I, then? Who are you?"

I hope you have may have benefited from joining me on this journey this past month. What am amazing opportunity to know that is a process that we keep on getting to discover!

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