Places I love

Friday, August 15, 2014

Glorious Display


The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1

God showed off in Colorado tonight, romancing my heart with the changing colors of the sky and the sounds of the hummingbirds and the deer grazing nearby. He knew I needed a display of his love, of his character, of his creativity. 

My words will not be enough to do justice to the artistic display God gave Colorado this evening, but maybe my pictures and video will give you a moment to see Him, the God I love. 

Thank you God, my Abba, my Lord, and my strength. I love how you display your glory. 

It was good to see you,
Your Aimee








video

 Have your sound off when watching this video, otherwise the neighbor who decided to practice his drums might distract you from enjoying the peacefulness of the footage. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Love in the Lightning

Sometimes a day is needed in which the backpack gets thrown over the shoulders and the hiking shoes get a little dirt on 'em.

Yesterday was that day.

My mister and I had worked really hard the day before and as we drank our coffee and looked outside, the fresh mountain air beckoned to us with a whisper to come and play.  Well, actually, it went more like this...

"Hey Mister, let's get dressed and go for a hike." 

"Hmm. I don't know." My handsome man walked to the railing of the wooden deck, looked out at the mountains, raised his face to the sun and changed his mind. "Ok, I guess I could go for a hike today."

We had been meaning to check out this one park near where we are living, so off we went. We packed our backpacks, I made trail mix, and we made the short drive. This park has trails leading off into all kinds of directions, and we had fun choosing our adventure. Little did we know how adventurous we were actually being. 

About 15 minutes into our hike, we topped a ridge and were met with the pitter patter of rain. It was kind of nice and cooled off what otherwise could have been a warm climb. Then the lightning flashed and thunder rumbled in the distance. We took that as our cue to descend down from the ridge. Mountain bikers and other hikers passed us, some going up, some going down. We wound down this trail and came out in an open space with trails and rock cliffs rising on the other side. The sky was getting darker, the rumbling of the sky a little louder, and the flashing light in the sky much closer. 

My husband calmly looked at my nervous face. "Let's find a place to sit for awhile, drink some water, and wait it out." 

I took off ahead of him making a beeline towards the trees and rock cliffs on the other side of the open space. Surely there would be a nice unoccupied cave for me to climb up into that was not near a tall tree nor too far up the hill.

"Wow, Dear, you can walk fast when you want to."

I stopped and glanced back at my husband who I had apparently left in the dust. His smile made me smirk, but I waited and let him take the lead. As we ducked under branches and headed toward the cliffs, Chris found another trail where we found a rock to sit on for awhile. We pulled our water bottles out and sat down to have a snack. The lightning started to flash much closer and as I looked up, I realized we were sitting under one of the tallest trees this side of the park. My husband wasn't as concerned, he leisurely ate his protein bar while I scooped the trail mix into my mouth like a squirrel on crack.  

This hike was my idea. I love the outdoors and the thought of adventure. I like to hike because I love to be out in God's creation. I get to exercise while enjoying things like animals, the beauty of the mountain landscapes, and the companionship of my husband. I even love to walk in the rain!

But as the dark clouds thickened, I will admit, I kind of started to freak out. I asked my mister if we could try to find some better shelter that wasn't directly under a tree that reached upwards as if to say, "Strike me oh mighty lightning bolt!" The trail seemed to only be leading up higher, so we turned and headed back down off trail. A flash of lightning in front of my mister and an immediate thundering noise stopped me in my tracks. Chris turned to find me frozen in place with hands to my mouth in the panic prayer position. 

"It's ok, Dear."
"Um, yeah!  That lightning was like right in front of you!"
"It's ok, Dear."

He led me down into a grouping of bushes and short trees. Resting his backpack down in a pile of leaves he sat down and I took the perfect rear-end shaped rock next to him. Well, let's be honest, my butt formed to the cracks and crevices, but those who are seeking shelter from electrocution can't be choosy. Anyway, there we sat, not talking, just looking around and up. 

Then the rain really came. Quickly my eyelashes dripped and my pants clung to my skin. Another thunder crash, but this time, it came from behind us. Thank God, the lightning was moving away. I looked over at my husband. He looked so handsome in his hiking hat, leaning in such an unworried manner against his backpack, water running off the brim of his hat. My fear was passing away with the lightning and the peace of a beautiful rainfall took its place. My mister looked at me and smiled and that is when the joy came.  We started to laugh so hard. 

My joy was full. My husband does not like to get wet or walk in the rain, but his smile was huge and his laugh matched mine. We looked ridiculous sitting under the bushes dripping wet!  But, once we knew we weren't going to die, it was so much fun! I risked the functioning of my phone to document a bit for you. You can't see how much it is raining, but you'll get the idea. 

 


This is the view from my rock.
You can see the open space we had run through to find shelter. 
When the rain stopped, we continued our hike up the rock cliffs. We felt alive!  I mean come on, we were alive, but the adventure of not being sure if we were going to stay alive, and then knowing we would be fine, it just infused us with this fresh life. I guess that is what the good kind of adventures do. 

The rest of the day we spent taking pictures, sitting on a rock ledge and letting the sun dry us, praying, reading, watching birds, talking, and eating trail mix at a normal pace. It was a great day. 

I've included some pictures so that you can enjoy creation like we did. Well, almost. 

It's up to you to go get yourself stuck under a bush in a downpour. Find your adventure this week! There is a lot of beauty to be discovered and enjoyed after, and even during, the storm...thank you Lord for a beautiful place in which to walk.

Blessed for adventure!

Aimee





You know how when you pee in the woods it always feels like someone is watching you?





I LOVE COLORADO! 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Goodbye my Sydney Girl

I lost a friend today.

My sweet girl. My honey bunches of oats. My Sweet Pea. My Blondie. My Syd-dog. My Sydney girl. 

I watched as she closed her eyes for the last time tonight, and yet since I got home, I've found myself looking for her, wanting our routine.

We would walk in and she would shyly get up and come to us, tail wagging with her forever puppy-like face and sweet eyes. She would lean her head against my leg and press in just a little to let me know she wanted some cuddles. I would rub her soft ears as she snuggled my leg. 

When I would make dinner, she would be at my feet just in case. She knew I didn't like to sweep, so she was always there to pick up for me so no one would know what a mess I had made.

If she got wrapped around a tree when she went out to the bathroom, all I had to do was look at her and tell her to back up or tell her how smart she was and she would unwrap herself and proudly bound up the hill back to me. She also would take her own leash in her mouth and lead us up the hill at the beginning of our walks. She'd flip her head as if to say, "This is great! Let's go this way! I'll help!" 

She was famous for stealing socks and slippers. Standing in front of you with a mouth full she made sure to let you know you were missed and that she'd gathered your belongings for safe keeping until your return. 

My sweet girl was so tenderhearted. Whenever anyone in the house was sad or feeling sick, she was right by their side. She would assess you with a sniff and an exhaled breath, lay down, and then turn her head and place her chin on the couch or bed to see how you were doing. 








Don't even get me started about how great she was with babies and little kids. There reality is that there was no one like Sydney. 

I could go on and on and tell story after story, treasures in my heart, but there is one story in particular that sums up to me who my girl was. About 8 years ago I was going through a horrible time in my life. I was sitting on the couch with my head in my hands, sobbing. Sydney was sitting on the other side of the room and she watched me for awhile with concern in her big brown eyes. Crying and feeling so alone, I was distraught. Then, a few minutes later, ever so gently, I felt a black wet nose reaching up through my hands to find my wet nose. She just sat there with her nose against mine until I opened my hands and looked up. There was my girl, sitting there in front of me looking at me with sadness in her own eyes. Then as I continued to cry and look into her beautiful eyes she reached up a paw and placed it in my lap. I wasn't alone and she made sure I knew it. 

That's the kind of friend I lost today. Even as I have been writing this, I have looked at the floor to see if she is sleeping at my feet. Light shifting in the room has made me look to see if she is rolling over or getting up for a drink of water. As I go to bed in a little bit, I'm sure I'll have to stop myself from saying, "Come on Sydney girl, time to go to bed." Chris and I will pause for a moment at the top of the stairs, not to wait for our old girl to get her footing before she goes downstairs and settles next to the bed, but because she is no longer with us. 

There are many tears yet to be cried. Many memories left to be remembered. Many moments where I will have to remind myself that she is really gone. 

On our way home, the sunset was beautiful and I couldn't help but think that Jesus was showing Sydney where he keeps his slippers, just in case she needs something cozy to lay her head on. 

I love you Sydney. You were the best dog and my best friend for so many years. You felt the ups and downs of my heart right with me and never left me.

And, oh how you loved my Mister. I think you fell in love with the man I married as much as I did! He was your best buddy, the one who walked you most, took you out, gave you your vitamins and brushed your beautiful hair. Thanks for loving him so much. He misses you. 

I know that everyone who reads this, everyone who got to look into your deep brown eyes will feel the loss of you passing. You were my special girl. Our special girl. Jesus, thank you for creating animals and for giving me my friend. She's all yours Lord.

Rest well sweet Sydney. Run with Jesus. I'm sure He's giving you some good pats on the head right now and has a nice comfy couch for you to snuggle into. There's no place like Heaven. 

I love you.

Aimee  





Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Finding Nemo Faith

Photographer Unknown
I struggle with fear. Anxiety, panic, an irrational thought or two, these are not unfamiliar terms to me. To many of you, I would guess they are more familiar than you'd like to admit.

Fear is often like an unspoken elephant in the room, especially with people of faith. In reality, no one can see your elephant, but in the midst of a fearful moment you would swear your elephant was trumpeting loudly and wearing neon shorts. Yet, as you drown in your own fear looking for a life line and not wanting to reach out a hand, life goes on around you, totally unaware.

For some reason, it is assumed that if we have faith we do not have fear. We secretly sit in condemnation when we feel afraid in situations where we should have faith, hoping those around us don't see our palms sweating and judge us for not believing enough in God.

I don't think it's that we don't believe enough in God, but more so that the place in which we have grounded our faith may not be secure. Let me explain.

A week or so ago, my husband was having a rough day. I love my husband dearly and my heart ached that he was having a hard time. I wanted to do something to encourage him. I took a moment from the work I was doing and looked in my Bible. I thought that maybe I could find a verse to text him. I flipped open to the psalms and landed on Psalm 91.  One verse in particular poked my heart.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
 I will protect him, because he knows my name."

I saw this...

14 “Because he holds fast to me IN LOVE, I will deliver him;    I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Sometimes, well let me be honest, most of the time I can't explain how this book, the Bible, changes something in me. It's like it nudges my heart and life squeezes in. As I read those words, all I could think about was all the times I have "held fast" to God in total fear and panic. 

I didn't feel like God was shaking his finger and saying, "Shame, shame." I did feel like he was saying, "I love you." I began to think about how different my life would look if I "held fast" to God in love instead of fear. What would that look like?

For the sake of bringing some humor to the subject, watch this short clip:


I think this is one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way. The thing I noticed that I want to relate to this issue of holding fast in love versus fear is that Dory holds fast in love while Marlin holds fast in fear. Look at the poor guy, he's terrified. 

I've been there. In that place where you question everything. Where you can't even take in what's going on around you, let alone listen to anything because fear is making you blind and deaf. Marlin exhibits much of what we do when we are afraid: anger, despair, outbursts of rage, irrational thoughts. And then, we have Dory.

Dory is holding fast too, but she is listening. She is able to listen because she trusts the voice is telling her the truth. She doesn't question that she can trust it. She knows it's not promising a perfect life with no troubles, but she knows the voice is speaking something that is for her. She speaks whale after all, and like she speaks whale, we as believers speak the language of faith. 

We all have been given the ability to hear God's voice through His word and through the love of others. Yet, how often are we paralyzed and forget the language that is love?

Dory enjoys life. Marlin survives it. 

I continue to be challenged in my own faith that God wants me to live out of an assurance of love, rather than a response to fear.

This is what God says FAITH is:

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Do we have fear sometimes in our faith? Sure, we are not perfect. But we also hold to the conviction that the hope in our hearts is true and real and guaranteed. Our faith may fail, but the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, will not. He can be counted on.

Our faith will be secure if it rises from the foundation of knowing the love of God and trusting in His love for us. His love never promises that there will be no trouble or pain, but it does promise that love will be with us and carry us through to the other side. 

You can't control the ride or where it goes, but you can decide how you are going to ride it.

So, from one Marlin to another, let's try to be a little more Dory this week. Grab your exit buddy and hang on for the ride. "Hold fast!" That means clip on and rest secure in the one you are attached to. 

No matter what happens along the way, the love of our lives is at the other end. 

Going for it,
Aimee


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Holy, Known, Made


I'm reading in the book of Ephesians right now, and this morning my eyes stopped on one word, the word BLESSED. I couldn't help but think that I hear and see this word all the time and yet, if someone were to walk up to me and say, "Hey you, define the word blessed for me," I probably couldn't do it. I'd most likely fumble through what I thought it meant or use examples of it in sentences that made sense to me, but the actual definition? Yeah, the brain was blank.

So I defaulted to something I've been doing lately. I've been trying to pick out a word as I read the Bible and not just assume I know what it means. So, being the inquisitive woman I am, I looked up the word blessed.

Holy, consecrated.

Ok, then I looked up consecrated, and you can see where this is going...

BLESSED: Holy, consecrated
HOLY: Specially recognized as or declared sacred by authority
CONSECRATED: To make or declare sacred, set apart with purpose

Yep, this is what I love about God's word. I hadn't barely gotten in a few sentences when things got deep.

All of these words have nothing to do with my own choosing, but they have everything to do with what God wanted to do with my life.

The word of God says we are BLESSED. God is the authority, he has given me special recognition, and he has declared me sacred and set apart for a purpose.

I personally think this is pretty awesome. Think about it, the God who does stuff like part the sea, raise people from the dead, and bring life where there is only death is the same God who decided to choose me, not as servant or slave, but as a daughter.

Ephesians tells us that he chose us to be adopted into the family of God through his son, Jesus. I like this. That means that in God's family you will never find an only child. It means God's house is a place where you are valued more for who and whose you are rather than what you can or should do. It means that the Father of the home has always had a plan and a purpose for his family and is committed to carrying it out. Pretty awesome stuff.

As I sat down later in the afternoon to think on this word blessed, I decided to go to the Wordle website and make a collage of words that have to do with being blessed and words that are found in the first fourteen verses of Ephesians. Up above is what came of that creative endeavor.

Three of the words that stood out to me were: Holy, Known, Made

God declares I am holy because he is holy and his family is a holy household.
God gently reminds me that I am known by him, he calls me by my name.
God declares that I am not an accident, but that I was made in my mother's womb by his very own hand and that as he made me he was purposeful in doing so.

See what reading a few verses in his word can do? My heart is encouraged. I'm so thankful that he nudged me to take the time today.

My friend, I have a challenge for you. Read the verses below slowly, but then take time to look at the picture of words at the top of this blog post. See what pops out at your heart and mind and then think on those things.

I pray he delights your heart as he did mine.

As I go, I won't say be blessed, but I'll say to you that YOU ARE BLESSED.  He has declared it and God's words cannot be changed.

Aimee

Ephesians 1:1-14
English Standard Version (ESV)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Birthday!!!

Today is my birthday! 



I woke up this morning and my sweet mister handed me a Starbucks coffee. I love my husband and his special gestures. In honor of my birthday we had someone else make our coffee. Ha! My parents also gave me a sweet card and gift and even my golden retriever kicked a card my way. She is very talented. 

Today I feel content that life is going in a positive direction. I am trying to find peace with myself in the midst of the craziness of this life. And I've decided that this year I want to enjoy, with more freedom, this life I've been given. 

I realized that those three things match up with what this blog is all about. It is a place for me to share about my romance with God, His word, and His creation and hopefully in turn, encourage you in these same areas.  

In honor of my own birthday and in honor to God for giving me more time with all you wonderful people, the below are some things that reflect what this blog, and hopefully my life is all about. 

I'm keeping it simple because I'm about to be taken out to breakfast, but please enjoy some pictures I've taken recently, enjoying relationship and creation.  Have a wonderful day and even if it's not your birthday, celebrate your life!  It's a precious gift!


Enjoy the people in your life and be fully present with them! We were made for relationship, so be brave and let yourself be known. Take the time to truly know them too, each life is a gift with so much to offer.


 
Take time for this book. It isn't a book of rules to follow, it is the most beautiful love letter from a wonderful God to his children. He wanted you to be able to know who He truly is...and if you don't know where to start, start at the beginning. That's what I'm doing... 










Let yourself enjoy God's creation. He put a lot of beauty and adventure out there for us to enjoy. Stop for a moment, gaze upon a sunrise or an animal's eyes, or the clouds in the sky. Then give him some joy by clapping your hands at his marvelous works. 

Be blessed dear friends, thank you for visiting my blog!

The birthday girl

Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow Joy

I’m a Colorado girl through and through and today’s snow rocked! I love snow and as this blog is about three things, one of which is my romance with God’s creation, I wanted to share with you some of what I experienced today. I pray some of what God shared with me will be something that brings joy to you as well. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Driving home today, I saw this beautiful girl grazing away. 
I pulled to the side of the road and watched her for awhile. 

I love this kind of snow. It's the kind that makes the arms of the trees reach downward. 

I love how accomplished I feel when I can look backward and see a clean row of no snow. 
Shoveling is so satisfying. Plus, it makes you buff. Really. I'm sore and everything.

So, as I was shoveling and talking to God and thanking Him that I wasn't even cold, I felt the need to turn around. I looked behind me, taking my time looking at the snow covered neighborhood, and then I saw him. I was being spied on by this big boy.

























Isn't he HANDSOME?!  I kept telling him so. 
He stayed awhile, eating the bush one bite at a time, and keeping watch over me. 

                     
Here I am drinking some hot chocolate (mostly eating the whipped cream off the top) and staying warm. My sweet mister is sick right now, but he still braved the cold to give me this sweet nectar. Love him.

Finally, what heavy snowfall Colorado day would be complete without a proper snow angel? 
Yes, I'm in my late 30's and I'm making a snow angel. You should try it. 
It will bring that childlike spirit right back! I don't remember the last time I did that, but it was glorious!

Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for the way the small flakes this morning were followed by big heavy flakes that left soft white blankets behind. 
Thank you for bringing that huge buck into my yard. 
Thank you for a husband who cares so tenderly for me. 
Thank you for keeping me company and keeping me warm while I shoveled. 
And, thank you for enough snow to fall into and wave my arms and legs at Heaven. I love you.