Familiar backdrops

“I delight myself in You, captivated by your beauty,

I’m overwhelmed.”

These words sprang from my heart this morning as I jogged in the morning sunlight up the path, yellow flowers waving beside me.  Hills stretching out, melding into blue horizons as they rolled into the distance. A white spire of flower like a giant snapdragon rose into the blue of the morning sky.

The winding hill led me out into a neighboring street, a pink hibiscus floating by my peripheral view, then a bird of paradise sprouting up, flaunting it’s orange beak.

Gardens with white roses and bright reds overflowing their bushes.

It’s been 3 weeks and I still feel like California flowers are dressed in their best just for me. ( I also feel a bit like I cheated the system…leaving the20170412_184615 grey of Ottawa, and friends wishing for sunnier days.. and arriving to full blown spring. I feel a little ‘touristy’ taking out my camera to capture the neighbors rose bush… but hey I’ve never seen so many roses blooming in April!)

I don’t want to lose the enjoyment and the ‘wow’ of this beauty.

But I know how quickly in life the ‘wow’ turns into familiarity. The roses on the front lawn just become a blur as we rush in and out to the next activity. The bird of paradise becomes just another green plant as our mind spins with all that we have to do, or the things we wish we had.  No time to notice the little snail inching his was across the sidewalk leaving a dot-to-dot trail behind him, or the lizard stopping to assess the stranger on the path.

The gift we have been given become just another familiar backdrop to the day and it’s challenges. And instead of taking in the stunning beauty of a yellow daisy against the bluest of skies, my mind churns with the ‘have-not’s’ and the ‘not-yet’s’, the questions I don’t understand,  and the places ‘I wish I was’ in life.

Maybe the writer of Lamentations 3 didn’t want to lose his ‘wow’ either.  Maybe he had just enjoyed a sunrise over the Eastern sky, painting the hills with pinks and peaches in the freshness of dawn.

‘This I call to mind. And I have Hope. His Compassions are new every morning.’

Maybe he also was calling his heart…and ours…to never lose our ‘wow’ at the Compassions of our God. Fresher than a California morning. More vibrant than a pink 20170520_091656hibiscus. More lasting that the waving yellow flowers on the path ahead of my running feet.

New…every morning. When the sky is blue…and when its a grizzly grey. For every new need. Filling  His Word with truth, with promises.

No…I don’t want them to become a backdrop. Something I’ve heard oh so many times. But to jump out and make my heart sing even as I bump into the challenges and questions of the day, and my feet begin to lose their footing.

Because unlike the green of the California hills around me that are quickly turning brown with the strength of the sun and the scarceness of rain — This Word, His Compassions and Promises held inside — will not fade with time and weather.

“The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God will stand forever.”

Isaiah 40:8



I pedaled my bike around another corner, pushing into each turn, breathing heavily. Almost there… keep pedaling…so close…my thoughts were joining the rhythmic motion of my wheels.

It was one of those days when I just needed to go ‘up’. To push for a view. To move20170509_192305 towards the last rays of the setting sun.

I almost stayed in my room. I had writing to do. Papers to read for my Disability course.  I was tired…it was chilly. (confession…I guess I’m learning to measure ‘chilly in ‘California’ terms…)

And I didn’t have much time before the sun would sink below the horizon. But the path steadily forced me upwards, climbing around one bend in the foothills after another.

Then suddenly it was bending downwards, away from the setting sun, into the shadows. No! I don’t want to go down! I braked around the corner.

But on the next curve the path turned upwards again. Just a couple more hairpin turns and the view opened onto a vista stretching out to the Pacific ocean and the Channel Islands in the distance.  (I couldn’t see them that night, but I was told that they’re out there.)

My heart beat slowed and I propped up the kickstand on my bike.

20170509_193036The road was winding far below on it’s way to the ocean side. The rocky cliff of Boney Mountain was standing stately and firm on my left, and the sun was touching down on a peak to my right.


And it was all calling to my heart to stop. To take it in.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know.

Be still.