Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Finish Well


Greetings Cottage Friends,

It's a new year and I'm back from a blogging break. Much of the intermission was spent recuperating from a cold.

There was an advantage to my being sick though. . .resting opened the door to quiet contemplation. 

Time to reflect on 2015 -- a year primarily spent on the building of our new cottage. A dream brought to life. (Thank you for sharing the journey with me.) 

And what of 2016? It's been my custom the past few years to choose one word to focus on in the new year. Actually last year I chose two words: Simplify and Beauty (you can read the post here). They're both good words and I feel no need to select new ones.

T
ime is passing at an alarming rate and I want the remaining years I have to be simply beautiful.


"How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. 
December is here before it's June. 
My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon?" ~ Dr. Seuss



Growing old isn't something I think much about, even though I'm clearly a senior citizen. Just in case there's any doubt, the government made sure I know I'm a Senior -- they sent me a Medicare card for my last birthday.






My mirror relentlessly affirms my age, too. Facial lines are deeper and there's a lot more silver in my hair. The good news is zits are a thing of the past and the Bible says, "Gray hair is a crown of glory. . ." (Proverbs 16:31).

No botox for me (not even if I could afford it). I'm embracing the wrinkles and wearing the crown. 

I like the following quote from Elisabeth Elliott*:


Elisabeth Elliot Gren
Elisabeth Elliott
December 21, 1926 – June 15, 2015
 
“George Macdonald said, 'If you knew what God knows about death you would clap your listless hands', but instead I find old people in North America just buying this whole youth obsession. I think growing older is a wonderful privilege. I want to learn to glorify God in every stage of my life.”



. . .growing older is a wonderful privilege.

“Well Honey, you just don’t let that rocking chair take over…
you get up and go even if you don’t want to.” -- Connie Reeves**, Cowgirl


"I often wonder if God, in His sovereignty, allows the eyesight of the aged to cast a dim view of the here and now so that we may focus our spiritual eyes on the ever after." 
 ~ Billy Graham, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well



I want to learn to glorify God in every stage of my life.




When I was in my 20's I met an older woman at Hume Lake Camp in Northern California. She and her husband had retired from their respective careers and moved to the camp where they worked as caretakers. One morning she took a break and sat with me on a log. We drank coffee and talked. She was happy and content in her unglamorous work, and told me that every day she was reminded of God's glory by looking up at the pines around her.  "Each tree points to its Maker," she said.



All these years later that precious lady's words have stayed with me. Every time I see a pine tree I'm reminded of what she said. . .


Each tree points to its Maker.


Glorifying God and worshipping Him doesn't only take place in a church service. It can happen while sweeping out cabins and changing bed linens, emptying trash cans and dusting window sills.

I've been reading the online version of "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence***:

It was observed, that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its season with an even uninterrupted composure and tranquillity of spirit.





“The time of business,” said he, “does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.”


I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees 
at the Blessed Supper.




Eric Liddell.jpg
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. 
And when I run I feel His pleasure." 
~ Eric Lidell, 1924 Olympic Gold Medalist, and Missionary



I recently purchased a twining loom and have completed my first rag rug.






I quite enjoy twining. The rhythm of my fingers as they weave the weft back and forth over the warp is soothing, calming. 

Creating under the watchful eye of The Master, I sense His presence. 

I feel His pleasure. 

My heart exalts Him in response.


"You make known to me the path of life;
    in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:11


Cooking, cleaning, running, weaving, blogging -- 
whatever we find to do
we can offer it up to God as an act of worship.



"The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshippers of God we can possibly be, and as we hope to be through all eternity." 
~ Brother Lawrence




To be the most perfect worshipper of God I can possibly be.
This, my dear Cottage Friends, is my goal for not only 2016, but for the rest of my days on earth.


long
to 
finish 
well.


This beautiful praise song by Selah 
is one of my all-time favorites.
I hope you'll take a few minutes to play it.







*Elisabeth Elliott was a missionary to the Auca Indians and best-selling author. From 1988 to 2001, Elisabeth could be heard on a daily radio program, Gateway to Joy. 

**Connie Douglas Reeves was the oldest member of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and one of the first women to study law at a Texas law school. She died at the age of 101, 12 days after she was thrown from her horse, Dr. Pepper.

***Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691) served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. Christians commonly remember him for the intimacy he expressed concerning his relationship to God as recorded in a book compiled after his death, the classic Christian text, The Practice of the Presence of God.

36 comments:

  1. An excellent post - I don't understand the compulsion in our society to reject growing old and eventually dying. I have embraced my white hair and aging body for years and couldn't be happier. I am not afraid of death.

    Your twined rug is gorgeous! Well done.

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  2. Love.every.word. Beautiful, and my thoughts exactly!

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  3. Wow, every post I read by you shows me more things we have in common. I read Brother Lawrence's book every year as I have both a Kindle and paper copy. Elizabeth Elliot was a heroine to me. And we both weave! I am interested in your loom...will look up exactly what a twining loom is.

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  4. Wow, every post I read by you shows me more things we have in common. I read Brother Lawrence's book every year as I have both a Kindle and paper copy. Elizabeth Elliot was a heroine to me. And we both weave! I am interested in your loom...will look up exactly what a twining loom is.

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  5. Wonderful insight to growing older. It bothers me too how people try to cover up their age. The beauty in their world around us is there to remind us how much we are blessed.

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  6. so much to think on and respond to in this post..
    will digest portions and be back. count on it. :)

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  7. Blessed be the tie that binds
    our hearts in Christian love ♪
    You leave me wondering who that "older woman" at Hume Lake was...
    No need to move on to other word(s) for 2016.
    May your life unfold simply beautifully in the days to come. ♥

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  8. Oh, I so needed to read your words today. Finishing well - yes, that's what I long for. In the middle of an extremely busy week of caring for loved ones with varying needs, Brother Lawrence's words speak to my soul. I loved seeing your beautiful rug. What a treasure - to relax and create and enjoy what you make. It's about time for me to start creating again!
    ~Adrienne~

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  9. Such an eloquent and meaningful post, Nancy. Your words are pure poetry and I love your attitude...and your rug. Gorgeous! :)

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  10. What can I say Nancy? You have said it so well, I don't know how I could add any more to your thoughts. What a wonderful way to look at the new calendar year. I am amazed too, at how quite similar our thoughts and focuses are, after just posting today my thoughts on the new year.

    I love Bro. Lawrence. I've read that book so many times, and its message is so timeless and true! Finding joy in the simple even difficult moments... it is something I long for and seek after daily.

    Your new picture looks great too! And your thoughts on aging - very well put. It is so sad here in America that the elderly are not honored and respected as they should be. I think this can be changed by starting to teach our children when they are very young to respect, care for, and love the elders in their lives. That is what we have done with our children. Indeed, all too soon, life passes by so quickly, as you eloquently put it, and the clock has moved us into a place where we may not recognize ourselves from the youthful face and body we once possessed. Good words to ponder on for sure, dear Nancy!

    Praying that the blessings of the Lord continue to encourage, bless, enrich, and multiply in your life! :)

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  11. This is beautiful, Nancy, in so many ways. Aging is a privilege, and I love the idea of finishing well. I am learning to accept, if not yet embrace, my sagging face and graying hair. They are the price I pay as I gather wisdom and strength along my journey. Thank you for some wonderful inspiration and perspective. (I love your hair, by the way.)

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  12. Finishing Well...we should all hope to do just that! Love this post, Nancy! Blessings, Cindy xo

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  13. Amen I say......such a beautiful post. I call you a "sister of my spirit" a "sister of my soul".......peaceful blessings! Nanny

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  14. Nancy thank you for this very beautiful post and giving me so much to ponder. Seems Nancy your soul too is on a journey to inner peace. Your rag rug is amazing.
    xoxo,
    Vera

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  15. Beautiful Nancy! Growing old is indeed a privilege. But oh my, I still get zits at 63. lol! Older people are full of wisdom and I hope to one day be included in that lot. :) Love your rag rug! Happy New Year!
    hugs,
    Jann

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  16. Wow Nancy what a beautiful post. I have never read Brother Lawrence's book but have heard it quoted often. I have 4-5 books to read every 3 months for my spiritual formation retreats, I have 16 months to go. I am putting this one on my list for later. Who knows, maybe it will be one of the required books.

    I cut my hair short when my husband was in treatment for his cancer. I also quit wearing makeup and buying shoes, my weakness. Oh how much simpler life is now.

    That recording by Selah just touched my heart, I must have it to listen to regularly.

    Finally, your thoughts are spot on and your pictures expressed them as well as your eloquent words. May God bless you with a simply beautiful life. Debbie

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  17. Beautiful post Nancy with a beautiful message. Love your outlook...and your rug. ;)

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  18. Hi Nancy,
    Love this thoughtful and moving post. XO
    As a breast cancer "thriver", I am thankful for every year of growing older.
    "Beautiful" is my word, has been forever...
    Wishing you a beautiful new year,
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

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  19. My dear friend, I unfortunately am in a rush to go to work but I need to come back to read this. On my first day back to work, I had a medical emergency and what you are writing here is SO important AND a must for me to read. It has come at a perfect time for me....just know that you have just BLESSED me at this moment. I will be back. Anita

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  20. Beautifully written & such an encouragement to me today.

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  21. Beautiful rug, congratulations on its completion. I am not a very religious person, but my first boss used to say. "Aging beats the alternative"! I live that way, I also do not mind waiting in line or at red lights, because the longer you wait the longer you live.

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  22. I earned every one of my grey hairs and wrinkles, and I see no reason to hide them! Finishing well is a desire of my heart, too, Nancy. Your rug is lovely, and I admire you for learning a new skill in your "advanced" (lol) years. You set a great example for we slightly younger "older" women. :-)

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  23. Thank you Nancy for this beautiful post and words of encouragement. Each task (no matter how big or small) is given to us by God and we honor him by giving it our best. It's nice to be reminded that his presence can be felt in each moment, if we just take the time to do so.
    Blessings & Happy New Year to you & yours :)
    Karen

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  24. Nancy, you are simply beautiful, your hair and those lovely bright eyes of yours! And I am so thankful to be allowed to still be growing older. So many of my friends have gone on home now.

    I never knew there was a craft called twining, it must bring immense satisfaction to see it growing before your eyes. So pretty!

    Thank you for sharing your love of cottages with those of us who love them too, and especially your own personal cottage.

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  25. What a wonderful inspiring post! Lovely pictures and lovely words and a perfect goal for 2016. I must embrace it also....to be the best worshipper and example of our Lord and Savior. Your rug is so fabulous and homey and tells the story of your cottage all in one piece! LOVE your hair cut short!!

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  26. You should have far more comments here. You should have people coming here to acknowledge the spirit of love and power that are in your words, your choice of music, your musings. Nancy, I am here again because this morning I was in my rush to get to work - a place where God is teaching me so much.

    When I first scrolled through this morning and did my speed reading trick, I did capture a very poignant and important message here, just for me. I have recently embraced a new phase of my maturing life, and by the grace of our Lord, am LOVING it all. Every single share here, especially the quote from George MacDonald gave HOPE, yet this hope has to be cultivated in the midst of a very strong (but defeated) spirit in our world: to glorify youth and divert everyone's attention to strive to stay young. Thank GOD for age, for time well-lived, for that earthly crown of gray that we trade in for a crown of pure gold that we will gladly cast at His feet. Thank you for sharing this; I am truly learning to LOVE that I am aging, that this outer shell is cracking like an egg, to reveal the winged spirit that one day I shall be. Hallelujah my friend....do all that you love, do it well and enjoy. Lovingly, Anita

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  27. One more....this quote:

    "I often wonder if God, in His sovereignty, allows the eyesight of the aged to cast a dim view of the here and now so that we may focus our spiritual eyes on the ever after." This really spoke to me as just this week back on the job, I had to go into emergency care to check out some flashing lights I was seeing in my vision. I am fine, thank God, but I will need to have my vision checked regularly to make sure I don't have a torn retina. This incident is the first true sign of aging I've encountered, but this quote help shed a TRUE LIGHT on vision and loss of it. Thank you!

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  28. What a wonderful post, Nancy, simply beautiful indeed. All the best for the coming year, hopefully it won't go by so quickly.
    Amalia
    xo

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  29. Hi dear Nancy ,qué bonito post..,espera que tenga un buen resto del día
    Cariños

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  30. What a wonderful post, dear Nancy !
    The photographs you've chosen, the quotes and its deep meaning, truly touch me in the deep, thank you, I've enjoyed this visit so much !
    Have a blessed end of the week
    Sending love
    Dany

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  31. I love and appreciate this post. I keep reading it over and over! Beautiful pictures, beautiful words. I still color my hair and worry way too much about the aging process. So, this speaks to my heart! Thank you and I love your blog!

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    1. Thank you so much, Donna, for these uplifting words. xo

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  32. What a wonderful, thoughtful post, Nancy. So many little bits of wisdom.

    I love the idea of making life simply beautiful (you certainly do!) and of our talents bringing God pleasure. Certainly your crafting of that lovely rug would do so. Love that photo of you working on it!

    Wishing you all the best in the coming year!! Thanks for all the inspiration and for all of your encouragement!

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  33. No words to say what I feel
    Great post indeed
    http://shilpachandrasekheran.blogspot.in/?m=1

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  34. Hi Nancy, I have been going back over your posts and looking at all the lovely cottages a second time and then I came upon this post. This may be the reason I choose to do this. I missed this the first time and it is a very beautiful post. There are riches here, with much wisdom . . . thank you for sharing.
    I cannot say goodbye, without saying how much a love the photo of you working at your loom and your rug is wonderful... how very talented you are :)
    Connie

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