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Posts Tagged ‘Ann Voskamp’

According to dictionary.com, aesthetic means “having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.”

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In no way does the above definition define aesthetics as something visual, and yet, I think we often put that word into a box labeled “what our eyes see.”

C. S. Lewis said,

“We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.‚ÄĚ

To have a sense of, or love for beauty is to be able to seek blessing in the curse, joy in the sorrow, peace in the storm. Sometimes we are able to seek it on our own, and sometimes it is thrust upon us and we have no choice but to say that God, by His grace and mercy have opened our eyes to the beauty that life sometimes tries to hide from our view.

I feel as though I have been surrounded with the subject of beauty everywhere in the past few weeks … in nature, in my reading, in devotions shared by others.

As the season of spring emerges from every piece of the softening terra firma, tree, bush and plant beauty emerges in the pattern set by our Creator in the beginning of time. Some weeks it seems as though a symphony of visual music is being performed in front of my eyes.

Although these visual images of beauty take my breath away, there is a beauty that is even greater.

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In our household, whenever someone says that a particular ‘thing’ is shiny I cheekily respond with, “like a diamond?” (Rihanna song, “Shine Bright like a Diamond”). My kids roll their eyes, big time, then they always respond, “diamonds don’t shine, Mom, they reflect.”

Ann Voskamp, in her book, “One Thousand Gifts”, would seem to echo my kids response:

“All beauty is only reflection.
And whether I am conscious of it or not, any created thing of which I am amazed, it is the glimpse of His face to which I bow down.

To look at the beautiful does create, as C. S. Lewis said above, a longing to not just see it, but to be a part of it. And maybe it is because we want, not to be a part of the beauty, but that which the beauty is a reflection of …

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I awoke on Saturday morning, realizing that I am speaking at a women’s conference in exactly four weeks!

The cold sweats, the tummy rumblings, the tension headache all began to surface … reminding me that time is moving along, and my preparations are not moving as fast as the days on the calendar!

I resolved, then and there, that my goal of memorizing the scripture that I would be speaking from (Psalm 139) would simply not happen, and I would need to put aside this lofty goal, so that what I plan to say would be well prepared … ah, instant relief!

And then, I started through my Saturday morning ritual of reading blog posts from others …

Once again, God spoke clearly to me as I read the words of Ann Voskamp (maybe I need to stop reading her posts … just joking ūüėČ ).

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Ann, author of the bestseller, “One Thousand Gifts,” writes a wonderful daily blog called A Holy Experience. It is worth your time to check it out.

In the post that has convicted me (once again) to continue to work towards memorizing this beautiful passage, Ann creates music with a combination of left-handed piano playing, the value of hiding God’s word in our hearts, and the hard parts of life.

Check out what Ann has to say about, How to get Through Lifes Hard Parts

“Your life doesn’t sing unless you play.”
Ann Voskamp

PSALM 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
¬†¬†¬†¬†and the light become night around me,‚ÄĚ
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
¬†¬†¬†¬†they would outnumber the grains of sand‚ÄĒ
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

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Last week I wrote about how just doing ‘good’ is not enough, in my post If I … but don’t have Love.

The day after I wrote it, I received a post from one of the people whose blogs I follow, and I thought how timely it was, for where my head was on the issue of love, and social justice.

I love the heart of this woman!

Ann Voskamp, book writer (One Thousand Gifts), blog writer ( http://www.aholyexperience.com ), mother to six, wife to the Farmer, child of God.

This post had me silently ‘amen-ing’ her thoughts at 6am, smiling and eyes filling with the fluid of the heart.

images-3Ann deals inwardly, and then with words, with the plight of too many young women around the world. She deals with the need for revolutionary change, and where that change can be birthed. She deals with the message of the world (one of good intentions … but … without … love) and with the message of the power of gratitude, of love … in making the change.

The post, How Women Can Get Really Radical For Their Sisters, moved me. I encourage you to take a read.

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As we continue with all of the last minute preparations for the ‘big day’ obligation, guilt and fatigue can begin to take over our existence and moment by moment lives. Our duties, our jobs can come to feel as weights upon our lives.

The guest post today is by Ann Volskamp, who was also my guest post two week ago. It is short, and sweet and will put breath back beneath your sails as you look for purpose in your tasks.

After reading The Best Way to do Christmas Cleaning I think you might just have a new understanding of what it is to do holy work.

Oh, and you might want to purchase Ann Voskamp’s book, for someone you love (or for yourself), “One Thousand Gifts

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How do I introduce a guest post whose writer’s words have so fed my soul, filled my heart, made me weep and taught me that I’m still a newborn in learning to be thankful? As I lay across my bed, with dark shadows of fatigue and stress from choosing to carry the weight of the world all by myself, there are also lines of mascara from the leaking from my tear ducts just minutes ago, as I was gently massaged with words like ointment on my scarred heart.aholyexperience-logo

Let me introduce you to a woman who knows about
delight,
joy,
fear,
pain,
Eucharisteo (Thanksgiving)!

I was introduced to the (Canadian) New York Times bestselling author of “One Thousand Gifts,” Ann Voskamp by two co-workers who said that I NEEDED to read it. I am cheap and thought that signing up for her blog would do just fine, thank-you … I was right … and wrong.

The blog was good, no great! And so I bought the book. I bought the book in early September, and have only read three chapters in the three months, not because it is not good … Quite the contrary, it is too good to rush through! I am savoring it like aged cheese, sweet wine, dark chocolate … No! Not even those favorites can compare. More like those moments when you held your newborn baby and looked into their eyes praying that God would imprint every detail of that moment into your memory … that is what this book is like!

And so today I am offering to you a treat that I think might send you to the bookstore too! Enjoy A Holy Experience

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