Walking Away. . .

Walking Away

“This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Taking the less traveled path, today I lay down this blog–this beautiful collection of beautiful moments and memories–as an offering of praise and worship to my creator, deliverer, and sovereign Lord.

I’m off to reclaim the history of my life in its totality through the writing of my redemption story. Afraid, but doing it afraid. 🙂

Let us not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now, receive it with gratitude, and see it in the light of a loving God who guides us day by day.  -Henri Nouwen

May God’s beauty and blessings fill your life every day of your story.

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

The Face of Beauty: Those Who Dare Greatly

Cheryl

Amanda

Pope Benedict XVIbailey

Pieta Jesus

LOVE in the Face of EvilThe Legacy of Lygon StevensEvery Tuesday for the last 3 months I have shared a face of beauty–those who have put the beauty of God on display in my life.

There have been dear friends, the Pope, LOVE in the face of evil, and even my dog.

I wish I could share with you ALL the faces of those who display the beauty of God in my life. So many, who dare greatly to serve Him and reveal His love and grace to the world. But I know you see them, because they are all around you in your life too.

So as I say goodbye here, and lay down blogging to turn to walk the less traveled road the Lord has called me to, I have one last face of beauty to share with you. We just happened to bump into each other yesterday as we were crossing paths in the road…

I’m turning right, she’s going left.

I was writing my farewell blog post of yesterday, and she had just written her very FIRST blog post. We both wrote about the less-traveled road.

This was no accidental, meant to be brushed off, “hey watch where you are going” collision of the shoulders. As I read the comment she wrote on my post and then read her blog, I knew God wanted me to stop and look her in the face. See who she was. Hear her story. Listen to her voice.

We’re turning in different directions, but we each have a baton to pass to the other. Mine is encouragement for her as she starts her writing journey. She passes me the courage, along with the spirit of youthful faith, that will sustain me when I start to feel too old for such a change!

ArikaTake a look at the beautiful face of Arika.

She sings for the Lord. Writes of her journey. Smiles. Puts God’s beauty on display.

She dares greatly.

To walk her less traveled path.

Stop for a moment today. See her. Listen to her sing.

Encourage her.

And encourage all whose shoulders you bump into, who are daring greatly to walk into the beauty of the road less traveled.

And dare greatly to walk your own.

salt and sparkleRead Arika’s first blog post: Finding Beauty in It All

Listen to Arika’s first song: Think About It

Like Arika’s Facebook fan page

Keep on sharing the beauty! Keep on sharing the love!

Looking forward to bumping into YOU someday when our paths cross again. 🙂

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

Writing in the White Space: Taking the Less Traveled Road

walkalone

In the beginning, when choosing to walk on the less traveled road, there’s no need for a destination–the joy of the journey is enough to inspire and sustain the strength for each step.

So it has been for me on my journey to share beauty minutes.

Joyful. Beautiful. Inspiring. Strengthening.

And then, last week, I found myself at a fork in the road, with an even less traveled path on my right. I stopped and searched for direction:

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

I asked. And heard this:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Turn right, said the voice behind me.

Lay everything down here and walk alone for the next leg of the journey.

Write your story, your WHOLE story and finish it.

Pursue your healing, your WHOLE healing, and finish it.

Enter the cocoon of my transforming grace, and allow me to complete the work I have begun in you.

Because the soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.

I must leave you here, dear friends and fellow beauty seekers. I must turn right and follow this road less traveled–alone.

He is always faithful to lead us upon the path He has uniquely crafted for each of us.

We must be faithful to follow.

Even when it means letting go of something dear. Wandering into the unknown. Testing our survival skills in the wilderness. Acting the opposite of what the world tells us to do. Daring to discover. Downsizing. . . to the divine.

On May 1st, 2013 I will turn right. This blog will be laid on the path as an offering of praise and worship.

I thank God for this journey, for teaching me how Beauty chases us, catches us, and propels us forward into living wholly for Him.

It’s been a joy sharing the journey with you.

Praying for His beauty to propel you forward on the path He is revealing to you.

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

Six Minute Sabbath: Nothing is Wasted

    This song has touched my heart this week. I pray it touches yours too.                                                 

Nothing is Wasted

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It’s from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what’s lost will be found again

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

Nothing is wasted

Email subscribers click here to watch the music video.

Prayer for You: Promise

Promise

Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting . . .

He launches his promises earthward—how swift and sure they come! He spreads snow like a white fleece, he scatters frost like ashes, He broadcasts hail like birdseed—who can survive his winter?

Then he gives the command and it all melts; he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

Psalm 147:1;15-18 MSG

Hallelujah for spring!

Lord, we praise you today for your promise of the coming of spring after the cold, dark days of winter. At times, the darkness we experience in life feels like it will never end, never change. But you have promised, you give the command to melt the cold of our sorrows and breathe the breath of new life into us . . . new life that comes from the transformation you have wrought in the dark.

May those who have experienced dark and sunless days break free today.

Linda CrawfordMay we all turn our gaze heavenward and behold . . . the beauty we long to see, and the beauty we are meant to be!

Linda Crawford

 

 

The piece of art above was created for me as a birthday gift by my dear friend Becky Schultea.

See more of her inspiring art at:

Becky Schultea

 

The Face of Beauty: Our Therapy Dog

baileyIt was a Sunday afternoon in May, warm and sunny outside, but we barely knew of the day’s beauty. Focused on savoring the last breaths of our beloved “Grammy,” all seemed gray.

Hospice had become her home and ours, a temporary dwelling of swiftly moving fears and tears. Moving — away from earth connections — to heavenly realms.

“You’ll see Jesus soon,” I told her on this day. “I know, and I can’t wait!” she did a little wave with her hands and exclaimed with all the joy her weak body could muster.

The phone rang in the room, a friend who had babysat our daughter, offering condolences on the sad news, and offhandedly mentioning they had to give up one of their dogs to the shelter.

“She won’t come out from under the bed anymore and she runs away all the time. She’s too afraid of the other dog and we just can’t keep her.”

I started shaking, thinking absolutely crazy thoughts . . . oh, man, I love that dog! She must be ours!

When I first met her I told my husband that if we ever got a second dog I wanted one just like her. Furry, cuddly, and oh, so cute. She was the only dog  other than Shadow, the one we already had, that I ever fell immediately in love with . . . and now she was abandoned to who knew what future.

Imagine trying to convince your husband that you need to go to the shelter to meet a dog to adopt when his mother has only days to live. As crazy as he thought I was, he agreed . . . “just to see.”

That’s all it took, and for the next five days she happily went everywhere with us, including spending whole days in the Hospice unit. Grammy even gave her approval.

Suddenly gray days full of mourning had glimpses of joy. Bailey needed walks, to play fetch with toys, and to be petted . . . petted a LOT.

We started calling her our “therapy dog.” On the night of Grammy’s passing, she was there, with us, curled up next to my daughter on a cot in the Hospice room.

She was there for us. To hug. To cry tears into her fur. To calm and comfort us while our loss was still too raw to be calmed and comforted by others.

It’s difficult to imagine how we would have made it through that grief and the days of grief to come without her. Or the twelve years we’ve shared with her since.

Therapy Dogs at Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial

Therapy Dogs at Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial (Photo credit: AnubisAbyss)

She was, and still is, our therapy dog.

We hugged and petted her a little more over the last week, finding comfort for our unspoken grief in the softness of her fur and her face of unconditional love.

It’s what dogs can do for us in such times.

Linda CrawfordPraying for your comfort and a return to joy this week.

More Faces of Beauty:

LOVE in the Face of Evil

LOVE in the Face of Evil

Wounded-Healer-Warrior

Wounded-Healer-Warrio

Writing in the White Space: Playing Until My Name Looks Like Me

Writing in the White Space

White space is where creativity can breathe and come to life within us.

I wrote this piece a year ago as I was emerging from a long, dark winter of pain into the spring of new beauty and life . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a new journal.

I fill it with words that flow lazily from a high mountain stream. It’s a trickling of water really, looking for a path to forge as it wanders along cracks in the hardened soil and around the strewn pebbles of my abandoned creative self.

I write in

new journal handwriting

hoping the flowing curves and hidden joy of simulating swoopy “a’s” and “g’s” on the screen will help the words find their own curves and rhythm.

Fearfully, timidly, clutching my tattered memory of a yellow Easter bonnet with long flowing white ribbons that danced and fluttered joyfully in the spring breeze, I open the latched and rusted iron gate of my creativity.

old rusty metal padlocks on chains

Opened to the infinite, vulnerable in the newness of this life, I am young again, and I struggle to breathe the air here.

I no longer know who I am. I don’t know where the words come from, how they will shape themselves, or where they will go.

I’m too old for this nonsense, a distant school teacher voice scolds me for trading “serious work” for play.

The little girl with the bonnet turns away in shame . . . ribbons drag in the mud.

Turn back and play. This is right, this is life, the voice of the yellow bonnet whispers.

But my bonnet’s dirty now, I protest.

Turn back and look again.

I obey . . . not with faith, still in fear.

The ribbons dance again. Joy can breathe again.

I write my name with a stick in the dust:

names

girl hat 2I gently snap the elastic thread around my chin and secure the bonnet to my head so I can sit down and practice some more.

This is where I must start.

I’ll learn to breathe here drawing curvy lines in the sand until the rhythm is just right.

new journal me

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

Six Minute Sabbath: If We Could Flashmob Boston

If we could flashmob you for six minutes Boston — gather from the far corners of the world to stand together and sing over you –this would be our music, our offering of joy:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,

God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.

(Email subscribers watch the music video by clicking here.)

Linda CrawfordLord, may we join the happy chorus, for we are brothers in love, victors in the midst of strife, and we march onward singing the triumph song of life!

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

To Create

To Create

Pushing back the dark

Pushing back the Dark

Beauty from Brokenness: Sunflowers After Sorrow

Vincent Van Gogh had a favorite expression: “sorrowful, but always rejoicing.”

Henri Nouwen said of Vincent:

“His life and paintings illustrate the three components of the spiritual life.

In solidarity we cry out with those who suffer.

In consolation we feel deeply with those in pain.

We offer comfort by pointing beyond our shared human pains to glimpses of strength and hope.”

Vincent himself wrote: “In a picture I’d like to say something comforting, in the same way as music.”

Art has a way of re-framing the darkness we experience in our sorrows, and helps us to see the light and the sunshine of hope that brightens life once again.

We have cried with those who suffer and felt deeply with those in pain this week.

We need comfort to be pointed beyond our pains to glimpses of strength and hope.

May we find this comfort in a glimpse of the sunflowers after the sorrows.

van Gogh Sunflowers

“I’m thinking of decorating my studio with a half dozen pictures of sunflowers, a scheme in which raw or broken chrome yellows will burst forth against various backgrounds — blue from the palest Veronese green to royal blue — and framed with thin wooden strips painted in orange lead.

The kind of effect you get with stained-glass windows in Gothic churches.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8 VOICE

Help us Lord to decorate our lives today with sunflowers, to rejoice again in light and life, and find comfort in the beauty of the glimpses of strength and hope all around us.

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

 

 

 

More Beauty From Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Recycled Orchestra

Recycled Orchestra

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist