Life is Beautiful

We moved to this lovely mid-west town, affectionately known as The Burg, two and a half years ago. Little did we know that we would fall in love with this town and it’s people.

Sure, it has it’s frustrations like all relationships, but the people here and the countryside puts you right back into perspective.

Shortly before we moved here we met a great couple that were part of us feeling at home. We became fast friends.

Early in our relationship we found that the wife, Shirley, had been battling cancer. We became fast warriors in prayers of complete recovery.

Complete recovery can have perspectives just like a painting. We never seem to see all the outcome or the image at once. Some see victory on earth, some see the battle and the hard work associated with it, and some see the victory being the dance and the songs in the courts of Heaven.

As humans we would like the earthly answer. It’s where we are now. So many have overcome the ravages of cancer and some the overcoming came too early and continues in eternity with no more pain.

That was our Shirley. I had plans with our friendship. We were going to tramp through woods and see wildlife. She was going to feed them as I took pictures. I chuckle as I write this. Not to mention her husband and her children and grand children had plans of a future together.

We just don’t know. As a Christian I believe in healing. I’ve seen healing. I believe we can, scripture says, raise the dead. But sometimes that terrible, yet beautiful, mystery of our God takes us to where we  humans do not want to go. Death.

If we could just step back and see our life here, on this earth, is a part of the picture. Our lives continue into eternity. It hurts to lose. I know this.

As painful as it is I get to still be a part of the earthly tribe. The parts of Shirley that still live one. The heart of her husband that beats with joy, though pained, and a giving heart so big. Her daughter carries her mother’s heart for her own children and husband that shines with faith and love so deep for so many. Her son carries her creativity in levels that go so deep I am sure Shirley is rejoicing over them! And those grand children! An amazing legacy!

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That brings me to the images I want to share. There is a property in Russellville, MO that has been in Shirley’s family for quite a while. It is beautiful! If you go there and sit on the front porch with her son and his wife you feel completely at home.

There is a peace there and a piece there of Shirley’s inheritance that I cannot find words for. There is hope there. There is vision for the future there.

A vision to help those who have struggled to come and farm and learn and use their talents to make their life better. A vision of hope for the hopeless.

As this project develops I will write more about it. But right now I honor Shirley and her inheritance. It is so wonderful to see that it never ends when our pained and broken bodies fail and leave this earth. Life does go on. History teaches us that. Memories are like gold and seeing someone living on in the hearts and talents and actions of those still here is priceless.

In the old barns they found the original tools for farming – made of wood!

Enjoy!

Cate B

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Out With The Old…….

 

Here we are already five days into the New Year. I decided to take down the Christmas tree and all the decorations that go with that wonderful time of the year.

Sigh. I hesitated. If you read my post O Christmas Tree then you know that we cut down a fresh tree. A VERY fresh tree. I hadn’t watered it but once since we first got it (the day after Thanksgiving). Very few needles had dropped and it was still fresh with sap.

Sadly, I decided to strip it of it’s magical lights and simple, nostalgic ornaments and send it on it’s way. We decided to stick it in the backyard where the birds can enjoy it and who knows, maybe saplings will pop up. Maybe not, since I have no idea how they come about.

But as I sat there, thinking about taking it down, all the ornaments piled on the coffee table before me, I got to thinking (a dangerous past time I know ; ). I got to thinking about the other reason I was hesitating. You see, I have a lot of thinking and hoping stock in this New Year. The last two and a half years have been a somewhat temporary situation. Mostly with our housing. It’s been alright for the most part, but having a landlord who just loves to save money any way he can has proven to be quite uncomfortable in many ways.

We are ready. We are so ready to find a better dwelling place. I don’t need large, I just need slighter bigger. I don’t need a dishwasher, but I do need central air. Just to name a couple. As a matter of fact, I want simple.

So back to the hesitation of taking down the decorations. That whole act speaks to me about moving forward. And I’ll be honest here, I hate moving forward IF there will be no change. That sounds silly to some, even to me a little, because the very act of moving forward implies there will be change.

Here enters that awful player called irrational fear. I hate him. He’s a bad actor and a liar. I cannot let him convince me he is good in any way. So there! The fear of things not changing is daunting. BUT, I am intentionally choosing to ignore that limelight stealer!  I am moving forward! Tally-Ho! and all that goes with it!

And I know I am not alone in this. So many of my friends are anticipating change, for the good. Good changes in health, life, jobs, homes. The list can go on and on! My prayers are that we all get there. And that we surrender our fears and stress to the One who can take us all the way through, no matter what the path is like.

Enjoy!

Cate B

Another Cup Please…….

I just poured myself another cup of coffee. Join me as I sip and ponder, music playing in the background, thoughts circling and swirling in the lyrics with a sense of assurance and breathing in and out the colors of hope.

We have lived in what we call The Burg for just a hair over two years. While culturally I am still adjusting and trying not to voice my strong north eastern opinions on how wrong they are here (said in sarcastic jest), I feel almost at home.

I think it is real to say that this is the second place in my life that I feel at home and welcome. You see, when you are one who “travels to the beat of a different drum” it can be quite hard to fit in. But that’s just it, fitting in and different drums don’t always go together….. yet they should. It’s like having an orchestra or a band without that one different instrument that takes it over the top.

There is a place for us “drummers“. Not all will see it or see you for who you are but I, for one, have to remain true to myself. True to who I was made to be. Good grief, it has taken me years, decades, to find who I am and to walk confidently in who I am.

And then you move to a small mid-western town with strange definitions for words and ideas that are so different than you ever knew and POW! There are people here who like you. Just last night I was with a group of people who see me. They enjoy me. They encourage me. Some don’t get all of me and guess what? I don’t get all of them. But we flow together in similar philosophies of life.

And best of all we accept each other for being different and thinking differently.  I do believe they call it love.

Have another cup and ponder. May you find you and find your symphony in life.

 

Enjoy!

Cate B ❤

 

Honesty and Truth

I have always loved music. I have always been searching for the music that touches my heart in honesty and love in the deepest way. Music and words that speak truth and human emotions.

That is one reason that I have always related to David of the bible. Particularly, I have always loved the raw honesty in the Book of Psalms.

I came across this article and video today. It is truthful and honest. No religion in it just pure relationship.

I happen to like Bono very much. His spiritual journey has been an inspiration over the years. And Eugene Peterson of The Message translation fame has been a breath of fresh air in bible reading for me.

This video touched my heart. It speaks of thoughts and expressions I have felt for a long time. Please watch it and hear it with openness and not judgement.

I’ll leave you with that……….. my heart is joyful.

Cate B

More, Please

I’ve been thinking about what I have. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I have a relationship with a living God that is fantastic.

I feel loved. I feel accepted by my God and by my closest friends and of course, my family.

But what do I have? Particularly, what do I have in the relationship I have with my God, Jesus and Holy Spirit?

I could list what I potentially have, but do I use those things to the fullest? I do not. Ashamedly, I do not. Most of what I have I am most likely not aware of.

Here’s a true story that happened to me along the lines of what I possess as a Christian. We lost our daughter, suddenly, in 2005. It was the worst of times and the best of times. I needed my Father God to bring out all of His power to get us through this time, this life.

He did. He does. I never knew grace until this tragedy. I thought I did. But when I found myself in a place of total weakness He came and picked each of us up and held us tight and carried us through. It truly is amazing grace.

But did you know that there are some of us who do not believe that for themselves? I’ll tell you how I know this. A friend talked to me during this horrific time in our life and said, “I don’t know how you do this. I don’t know how you go through such a thing. I couldn’t do it.”

I was shocked at what they said. This was a person who hears from God on a regular basis. A person who received a miraculous healing from God when medical professionals saw no way to fix them.

Now I was in heavy grief at the time and shock of what happened to our family. But do you know what I wanted to say? I wanted to ask if they knew Jesus? If they actually knew what He did for them at the cross.

What are we doing? Are we just thanking Him for salvation on the cross and His resurrection, etc? Just? And then taking that gift of salvation and not opening it? Putting it on the shelf somewhere hidden within to only open when we need it or saving for a rainy day or perhaps, never opening it and seeing the fullness of His gift to us?

Come on Dear Reader. He has given you so much more than a mansion in heaven. So much more than eternal life with Him. It doesn’t begin when we pass this life and go to His arms. It begins here. In this life. He has mysteries to unravel in that gift you didn’t fully open. He has dreams and blessings on this earth for you to open now. Life isn’t just to survive until we get there.

I want it all. I want as much of Him that I can possibly get. I fall short of this every second of my day but I know He is still with me. He knows I fall short. He knows I can only handle so much at a time.

The beauty of His love is that He waits for us. He waits with gentle prodding and I  believe anticipation. He loves and longs to spend time with us. To walk with us. To be part of our decisions (even when it involves insane presidential candidates – LOL). He wants to be a part of all our decisions. He wants to be one with us.

But we have to allow Him. Welcome Him in. Let’s do it. I’m sure you all want a fuller life. A closer walk with God. It’s scary. I think mostly it’s the hardest thing to do – to let go and let God. Yet, it’s the simplest. Find kindred spirits so you don’t walk alone. Easter is coming and it’s a great time to turn around and open the gift of our Savior.

Love you guys.

Cate B

And The Beat Goes On……….(my personal musical)

Fear. Sadly, I know it all too well. I have come a long way, but I am always trying to be aware of the unwelcome fear creeping in.

I have learned that most of the fears I entertain are irrational, for me. Fear of worms, caterpillars and Dentist visits.

Fear of rejection is a bit bigger in my mind. Fear of not being heard or fear of being misunderstood is even bigger to me.

Scripture says that perfect love drives out fear – 1 John 4:18  New International Version
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Ouch. I am more aware that if I fear then I am not walking in His perfect love. Oh how I want that. Always a work in progress. And I am really glad to be a work in progress.  That means I’m still alive and we’ve got work to do – Him and I. I love it. Even the “ouches” I love. It means fellowship with my God, my Friend who totally gets me and enjoys my company and I, His.

“No Longer Slaves” Bethel Music

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
‘Til all my fears are gone[2x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again
Into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

[4x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God…

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God

Yes, I am
I am a child of God
I am a child of God
Yes, I am
I am a child of God
Full of faith
Yes, I am a child of God
I am a child of God

[3x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Cate B (also posted on www.churchsetfree.wordpress.com)

Life’s Journey – Music and All

A movie or a TV show without background music can be rather dry. The music score sets the mood.

My life’s journeys are usually accompanied with music. You can chuckle here. I would like to share with you a couple of songs that describe my journey the past seven years. Notice how different they are and how I have come through that last leg of my journey in what I would call “Victorious”. Enjoy!

Seven years ago today, Groundhog Day in the USA, February 2nd, 2009, my husband and I along with our Siberian Husky and Grumpy Cat, arrived in Kansas City, Missouri with all our earthly possessions. The first song was my theme song for the next few years:

“New Soul” – Yael Naim

I’m a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit about how to give and take
But since I came here
Felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…

I’m a young soul in this very strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout what is true and fake
But why all this hate?
Try to communicate
Finding trust and love is not always easy to make

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…

This is a happy end
Cause’ you don’t understand
Everything you have done
Why’s everything so wrong

This is a happy end
Come and give me your hand
I’ll take you far away

I’m a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit about how to give and take
But since I came here
Felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la….

Now, after moving an hour southeast of KCMO, my theme song has changed to this:
“Home” – Phillip Phillips

Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave (wave) is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble—it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Ooo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo. Oo-oo-oo-oo [2x]
Aaa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa. Aa-aa-aa-aaaaaa [4x]

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

(Come on!)

Ooo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo. Ao-oo-oo-oo [4x]
Aaa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa. Aa-aa-aa-aaaaaa [4x]

And there you have my past seven years in a nutshell.  Life is good.  God is better. Enjoy the music videos …….
Cate B