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Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Cows of Azerbaijan and A Prayer for Joy in God's Creation

A Prayer for Joy in God's Creation
(from the Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church)

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today, I had a look through some photos from my treks last summer and found a set of photos of the drive from Georgia into Azerbaijan. What a gorgeous setting, in spite of the fact that it was at least a million degrees (actually about 105) and extremely dry. I hadn't yet discovered the funnel web spider holes all over the fields (and thank goodness for that!) so I was quite at ease when we stopped to rest and so I could take this photo. This scene reminds me again that we are but a small portion of God's creation and need to keep that in mind. What would we be without the rest of our planetary residents? I, for one, love cows. I always have. The docile (for the most part) creatures in this scene give me the utmost sense of peace. It helped that I could hear faint bovine sounds and feel a gentle breeze. Even though the sun was blazing, it gave me an opportunity - and a duty - to stand still for a moment and observe life.
The Fields of Azerbaijan, summer 2015 by C. Carson

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Little Fun Churchy Humor

A few of my favorite church memes - I love these! :-)
             
 
           
                  
                  
                      

Snowmageddon and AT-ATs

I forgot to post this on here last week when it would have been more timely, but here are a couple of weather photos - be careful out there! Watch out for AT-ATs in the snow! 
What's that? 
You don't know what an AT-AT is? Here you go! The second picture is of my nephew Jasper's Lego AT-AT in the Brooklyn snow! :-)


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Never Take Life for Granted: Tomorrow is Not a Certainty, but TODAY I Am Happy

I'm sitting here pondering life. I should be working, but I'm not. It struck me yet again this morning how every day, every moment is truly a gift. So many of us take this for granted time and time again. I've always had an acute sense of time passing and its very vastness. Even as a child, I used to sit and "be" and just listen: to the sound of the waves, to the breeze under a starry sky, to the thoughts that came and went. Even so, I catch myself "suddenly" realizing yet again how brief our time on Earth is.
Tomorrow is not a certainty. 
I try to actively engage with life and not let my frustrations or ups & downs of particular situations peel away my inner peace and / or my excitement in general. This is easy or tough, depending on the day, but I try not to take ANY moment for granted. For the past couple of years, it's been every day that I've inhaled deeply and ask God where my journey was heading. 
Prayer is a privilege.
It allows us to connect with the Divine, a greater and eternal being, outside of ourselves. For me, this is God. The Holy Spirit is the aspect of the Trinity with whom I feel that I connect most closely. I am making a wild assumption here, but I feel that might not be common and that perhaps most people who believe in a Trinity feel more closely connected with either the Father or the Son.
                        
Think of how time - and I mean - Time as in ALL Time from the existence of anything and everything and continuing into an infinite future - think of how we fit onto this linear path. 
WE ARE SO SMALL.
It is breathtaking to me.
When I consider this, I am in sheer awe and amazement at life and being a part of it. It's what helps me live in today and live in the NOW.
Tomorrow isn't given, it is a hope.
I recently became a Postulant for the priesthood in The Episcopal Church
I AM SO OVERWHELMINGLY EXCITED AND HAPPY about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After years of pondering this calling and either ignoring it or pushing it away in various ways, a few years of spiritual direction, a year of being an Aspirant, prayer, discernment committee meetings, more prayer, ponderings, journaling, seeking advice, and paperwork, I could not be happier about it! The past year has been very affirming for me and living into this call - out loud - has become pure joy! (It has also had moments of humor as I tell people I'm on the road to becoming "Parson Carson" :-) I am extremely grateful for those who have prayed for me and continue to do so. I'm also eternally grateful for my Bishop (Morris K. Thompson), my rector at St. Paul's Episcopal (Fr. Rob Courtney), my discernment committee, and my St. Paul's Choir. In my bishop, I find a kindred spirit, inspiration, and friend; in my rector an advocate and friend; in my friends, choir, and committee a family.
                        
It has long been my soul's hope that God could use me in ways other than through music (but still through it too!) and that it could be official and affirmed, although I do love my current career. I have no idea whether or not I will make it down this road, get into Seminary, get enough Financial Aid, or whether other factors will rise up and prove insurmountable, BUT for this time in my time:
I am happy!
I'll sign off with one of my most favorite words (with an added blessing):
My friends,
Life is short, and we do not have 
much time to gladden the hearts of
those who travel with us, so be quick to
love and make haste to be kind.
And may the blessing of the One who
... made us, and the One who loves us, and
the One who travels with us, be with
you and those you love this day and always.
AMEN.
Adapted from Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881)
                               

A Collect for Today

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought
us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty
power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by
adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your
purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(as found in the Book of Common Prayer)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Jan. 22 Midnight Moon

Last night / this morning around midnight, the beautiful moon peeked through a windy sky full of cloud cover. These are three of my photos from my Canon Powershot 50x zoom :-)
I love that little camera! These I've posted here are copied from my FB post so quality isn't as fabulous as the raw file on my laptop at home, but still looks decent enough.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Prayer for All People

A Prayer for All People 
(from the Prayers of the People in the Book of Common Prayer)

Let us pray for all people in their daily life and work;
For our families, friends, and neighbors,
and for those who are alone.
For this community, the nation, and the world;
For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.
Hear us, Lord;
For your mercy is great. Amen.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

EPIPHANY 2016 Fun

Because Wednesdays are my most busy days and also because I forgot, TODAY I'm sharing here some of my very favorite Epiphany cartoons and memes :-)
     
                     
and because it's Carnival in New Orleans and everywhere that holds it dear....

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Sweet Bluebell Kitty :-)

Ok, I have to overshare a bit this morning! I went to take a selfie with my kitteh Bluebell and her morning snuggles and she gave me a kitty kiss, AWWWWW! She is such a sweetie!
                     

Monday, January 4, 2016

God’s Word is in All Creation - Hildegaard of Bingen

Just found these words of Hildegaard von Bingen. Inspiring!

God’s Word is in All Creation

No creature has meaning
without the Word of God.
God’s Word is in all creation, visible and invisible.
The Word is living, being, 
spirit, all verdant 
all creativity. 
This Word flashes out in every creature. 
This is how the spirit is in the flesh 
– the Word is indivisible from God.