{re}fresh

Changing up the daily grind

by Dawn Aldrich

Image Coffee -7
Flickr.79787320_de0c43dc5e_CC BY-ND 2.0

I like coffee. More so in the cooler months of fall and winter than through the warmer spring and summer months. But one thing I’ve noticed of late, I like to change up my daily grind to coincide with the changing season.

For instance, in the warmer seasons, I prefer the light, fruity flavor and scent of blueberry coffee. I don’t know, maybe it’s good marketing or good aroma therapy, but it reminds me of summer as a kid, eating fists full of wild blueberries from my grandfather’s farm.

In the fall, of course I’ve fallen for the ever-popular pumpkin spice or salted caramel flavors. Who doesn’t want to be reminded of sitting in a pumpkin patch or biting into a caramel apple at the local fair minus all those sugary calories?

And winter? Well, there’s the holiday blends that brew up memories of cinnamon sticks and Christmas sugar cookies that seem to carry you straight through the worst blizzards and comfort your soul.

Well, you get the idea. I like change…beyond changing seasons or my coffee flavors. I welcome change in my faith walk. I confess, I’m a human being that, while I find comfort in the sameness of a season, I can also easily grow complacent if I’m not challenged to think outside my present “faith box” if you will.  Sometimes a change in the daily grind of my faith walk reminds me that I hold Kingdom purpose and I need to refocus.

Sometimes change is voluntary and sometimes its forced upon me by life’s challenges, emergencies, or tragedies. I’ve experienced spiritual change and growth in both instances.

Voluntary change is best. It’s when we voluntarily refocus our attention on Jesus; seeking Him with all our hearts, and desiring the Holy Spirit to move us forward and further into our God-led desires. God delights in His people, especially when they seek Him with all of their hearts. It’s in this precious relationship, this give and take, soul-honest conversation and worship that God speaks intimately and we hear effectively. It’s here we’re able to move forward with joy and fullness of life.

Involuntary change comes through life’s challenges, emergencies or tragedies. Not a fun time of refocus. (And, please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying God causes these situations to draw us nearer to Him. God does not cause tragedy. A broken world, poor choices by ourselves or others, and our Enemy cause tragedies). But, through these messed up times, when life is out of our control, that God has used these experiences to grow my faith, to open up new opportunities, or to make relational connections to further His kingdom purposes down the road. It’s through life’s unwelcome surprises where we must trust God to guide us through every moment of every day until we realize there’s a new normal and we’re experiencing a new flavor of life.

Whatever causes the change, scripture reassures us “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

Whether you find yourself ready to voluntarily change up the daily grind of your faith walk, or you find yourself in the midst of an unwelcome life surprise, trust God to work for your good. Seek Him with all your heart, mind, strength and body. And if you need to borrow some strength, call upon someone you can trust to come alongside you and bear your burdens.

 

Advertisements

3 Steps to Scheduling a Soul-cation

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by Cristian Bortes_Flickr.com_4987916470_ef94f0d7bb
CC BY-ND 2.0

I anticipate summer all year, yearning for sunny days and warm temps when I can throw off my jacket, fling off my shoes and plant my feet on the cool green grass of my back yard, or bury them under the hot sand of the seashore. or swing them off the side of shade-covered hammock.

Summer’s when I reacquaint myself with nature, close up; when I dig in the rich soil of my vegetable garden and smell the sweet scents of the phlox growing by my back deck. It’s when my work seems more like play and the daylight hours linger long enough to make me tired. A good tired. A tired that says, “That was a good days work,” or “You played hard today.”

Summer rejuvenates and revives me and reminds me I’m part of something bigger.  Read the rest of this entry »

But I’m not tired! or When we act like a toddler

by Dawn Aldrich

Tantrum by Yong Thye
flickr.com_4041515933_2acb86dd84_CC BY-NC 2.0

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3 NASB

We’ve all seen it. Every toddler does it. When someone mentions the “N-word” they stomp their feet and declare, “I don’t want a nap! I’m not tired!”

And don’t you find yourself saying, “Oh, please. Would someone send me to bed for a nap? Pretty pleeeease?” Well, yes, I say that all the time…er…except when God asks me to rest. That’s when I take my toddler stance: place my hands on my hips, form the best pouty-face, stomp my feet and say, “But, God, I’m not tired!”

Can anyone else relate? Why do we do that? Read the rest of this entry »

One Passionate Prayer

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by Eelke
flickr.com_3231400982_94ae0f9b5_CC BY-ND 2.0

“…tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer.” James 5:16 TPT

 

Hearing only chunks of their phone conversation set my adrenaline running.

“Accident. Car hydroplaned. Rolled over. Car is toast. I’m okay. Thank God for German engineering. State police.”

Instantly, I knew my son’s life had been miraculously spared and I knew who had tried to inflict the worst. My first response after, “Thank you, Jesus!” was “Call your prayer warriors. This is all-out war!”  Read the rest of this entry »

Centered

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by Natallo
Flickr.com_25593058045_abdbaf3ccf_CC BY-ND 2.0

May He keep us centered and devoted to Him, following the life path He has cleared, watching the sign posts, walking at the pace and rhythms He laid down for our ancestors.

1 Kings 8:57-58 The Message

 

“What good is an island no one can find?” grumbles a pirate sailing upon the Black Pearl.

“What good is a compass that’s broken?” asks his mate. “It doesn’t point north!”

“Who’s looking for north?!” retorts Captain Jack Sparrow. Read the rest of this entry »

He’s in the waiting

by Dawn Aldrich

tantrumby Kerrie Butterfield

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you.”

2 Peter 3:9

A few years ago I went shopping on December 22nd  to do a little last minute Christmas shopping, when I stumbled upon a sweet Mom and her very determined toddler who Papa used to talk with  me about my own heart:

I was waiting in the express line with one tiny item when I heard the screams of a visibly upset todler. He was having a massive tantrum. You could see he was deeply distressed,  sad, and his despair was overwhelming him and His Mom. This is what I overheard:

Mom: “I ‘m not buying that for you. Christmas is just 3 days away.”

Little boy: “I’s never coming!! Christmas is never going to come. It’s 700 days away!!!!” (more crying, and angry tears)

Mom: “It’s just 3 days away.”

Little boy: “It is not. It is never coming. It’s never going to happen.”

Mom: “I wouldn’t lie to you, it is really close. I promise. Three isn’t a lot. Just a little.”

Little boy: “It’s forever!!!” Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons in the Vine

by Dawn Aldrich

Grape Harvest Gouveia Vineyard, Wallingford, CT
Image by Peter Aldrich

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 (NIV)

In the early morning sun, grapes hung fragrant, ripe and heavy from the vine.  The vineyard buzzed with activity from both man and bee as we harvested our community’s first autumn crop. I met the challenge cheerfully, anticipating time spent outdoors tending the vines alongside my husband and neighbors.


Conversations in the field were as plentiful as the grapes. Some were boisterous and jolly, awaiting the end-of-harvest drinks shared in celebration. Others were soft spoken and patient as they taught their little ones the proper way to cut the fruit from the vine.

There was so much going on around me but the more grapes I harvested the more I found my spirit contemplating the lessons in the vine.

Read the rest of this entry »

Covenant: more than a pinky promise

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by All Holding flickr.com_12315726084_7583df5247_CC BY ND 2.0

My mother never made promises. “I can’t promise you anything because I don’t know what tomorrow might bring,” she’d say. All spoken from her shattered heart knowing full well the pain of a broken marriage. Those words haunted me, (probably still do since I’m compelled to write about them), for years. I’d even avoid childhood pinky-promises, for fear of breaking them, so upon my own engagement, I trembled.

My husband and I spoke often of covenant promises. There was more at stake than a pinky promise held. This was our future, our family, our legacy. I could not–would not–face a lifetime of uncommitted tomorrows where we left open a window of mistrust or an opportunity to slink away. We either entered our marriage covenant fully committed–promising to fight for one another and our future together no. matter. what.–or not at all.  Read the rest of this entry »

How I found Jesus while breathing

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by c3lsius_bb
Flickr.com_29514102416_7965434bd8_CC BY-ND 2.0

The quiet attracted me instantly. Where else, besides a library, gives an introvert permission to be silent amidst a small crowd? Yet, as attractive as the silence was, I sat cross-legged, shaking in trepidation, upon my yoga mat, fearful that I was foolishly opening my heart to some Eastern religious practice and would somehow be sucked into paganism. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep It Simple

by Dawn Aldrich

Ethiopia Innocent Prayers by Steve Evans_flickr.com_3405971322_23eae03cac_CC BY-ND 2.0

For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. Romans 10:9 (The Passion)

Auntie Lou’s passionate gospel flannel graph story-telling captured my nine-year-old heart. With every new layer she added to the story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension, my heart raced faster and faster.

She shared how Jesus sacrificed everything that I might stand blameless before God and experience everlasting life in His presence, if I simply asked Jesus into my heart. It was so simple. I didn’t question it. I simply responded, “yes” to Jesus.

Maybe that’s why Jesus liked children so much? Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: