Sheltering Mercy

Short but sweet this week! I figured ya’ll are like me and up to your eyeballs in Easter Preparations, so another thought from me is just adding to your list… but I did want to share a little something that I have been dying to get my hands on since it arrived in my mailbox. Besides, it’s been a while since my last book review and I figured it was about time.

Let’s dive in. “Sheltering Mercy” by Ryan Whitaker Smith and Dan Wilt is described as “prayers inspired by the Psalms”… and it is exactly that! A little purse-sized hardcover containing a collection of poems or writings based on the first 75 Psalms. The writings are not exactly scripture, nor paraphrases, but, as the writers put it, “free-verse prayer renderings”. For me, they are perfect for quiet meditation, and I have been dying to do some journalling, artistic illustrations to go along with each collection! (If only there were more time in the day, right?). I think this little book would be perfect for that type of meditation as the paper is heavy and the margins spacious. There are a few black and white illustrations scattered through the book, but a splash of coloured pencils would be perfect!

If you’ve been reading mittonmusings for any length of time, you know that I have a love-hate relationship with David and the psalms, not to mention my own practical versus artsy personality. I’m just not sure where I fit in. This little collection hits home when I need to foster the creative side of my devotions. In case you didn’t pick it up, Ryan Whitaker Smith is the son of worship singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith. That collaboration is a lesson in itself for worship, reflection and artistry in the contemporary Christian world. Why wouldn’t these potential song lyrics be just right?

So, if you are itching for some traditional written prayer meditation for your Easter Season, or maybe you are looking to branch out with your artistic side, give “Sheltering Mercy” a gander. Published by Brazos Press and lovingly donated to mittonmusings by Nuts About Books, I’m looking forward to marking it all up over the holiday weekend!

Happy Easter, my beloveds, until next time!

The Simple Pencil

It’s been said that back in the 1960s during the space race, NASA spent a whack load of government money on designing a pen that would write in zero gravity. After all, how will ink run down a page if there is no gravity to pull it that way? How would the astronauts make notes on all the scientific stuff they had to do up there? A new and improved writing instrument must be designed! The Russian astronauts took a simpler approach: they used a pencil.

Photo: Yoann Siloine

All joking aside, I was musing this week about the simple pencil. I’m not sure why… it just happened to come to my brain. So, I looked it up. Faber-Castell, the who’s who of pencils, has been producing top-quality pencils for over 257 years. The leads (both coloured and the typical grey) are made with a clay-graphite mixture that is mixed, dried and basically glued between a sandwich of wood. The wood has to be strong enough to not snap under the weight of the writer’s hand, yet flexible enough to bend slightly for the stroke of the letter. That wood can be shaped in the round, hexagonal or square shape that we all know and love. Not to mention, sharpened to the perfect “tip”. Final exam writers, rejoice!

I love a sharp pencil. It just evokes great memories of the start of something new. A blank canvas if you will. Plus, it makes for remarkable colouring and shading. (re mark able — see what I did there?) Anyway… Have you ever thought about a simple pencil and the possibilities it holds? A funny little muse, isn’t it? Did all sumptuous writers think about the ink or the pen or the pencil they used? Plain paper or ruled? A notebook? Does everyone use a keyboard now? Have we lost touch with the true art of letter writing and letter making? They don’t even teach penmanship in schools anymore (and believe me, it shows!)

The ancient scriptures are one of the most unique collections of writing on the planet! I have no idea how the writers penned the scrolls… ink? chalk? Graphite pencil? Whatever method they used, we can be assured that the words bring promise and hope from an eternal God who cares for His people. And the simple words are our guides for both now and for all future generations! It always amazes me that the Bible is timeless. People have been reading it for hundreds of years… and the words still ring true. It’s because there is something supernatural immersed in those written words. Psalm 119 tells us it is a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path… our truth and our hope”.

Nothing like a sharp pencil — and the words it can make!

I’m guilty of not diving into the Word enough. There is such richness in the written word, and I don’t take full advantage of it as I should. Perhaps I should write out passages. Does anyone do this? I hear it is a great discipline to adhere to, especially in these days of digital screens. Graphite pencils and loss of handwriting skills be banished! Please share in the comments if you’ve tried this. I’d love to hear how it impacted you! Perhaps you’ve journalled with coloured pencils and brought scriptures to life. Share!

And so, my faith journey continues as I think about simple things and how they influence the complex. Oh, and that thing about the space pen? Apparently, some guy named Paul C. Fisher did spend millions in developing what later became known as “the space pen”… which uses a pressurized cartridge to make the ink flow. Even the Russians began using them. Who knew? We earthlings can purchase one for about $50. Maybe I should get one for jotting down sermon notes. Nah, I’ll stick with the simple pencil.

Joy Week Devotional

Greetings, my friends! The tree is up and cookies are baked… I am behind in my shopping but the Christmas season is upon us, whether I am ready or not. It’s the third week of Advent… Joy according to my list. Let’s have a chat about that word, shall we? Joy. I loved this post we did about Joy in Photographs… and I’m always interested in seeing what brings different people joy. I love that we are all uniquely wired and have our own individual things that spark that joy within our hearts. (check out this post).

I delved into a little e-book this week (thanks @studygateway.com) that has helped me organize this post; I hope that it enlightens you as much as it did me.

Photo by Kolby Milton on Unsplash

Joyful Light

How many times have you been overjoyed at light? Our dog starts bouncing up and down everytime a set of carlights round the corner. As does my momma’s heart when the headlights pull in the driveway after a late night or a snow storm. Or how about securing your fears with the flick of a switch in the middle of the night, or that toddler’s fears about monsters under the bed? Of all the ways God could have signaled the coming of His son, He chose to light up the night with the brightest of stars. One so bright, that the wisest men on Earth had to take notice. “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2:10

Joy Shared

What is good news unless it is shared? Why do you think social media is such a big hit in our society? We just love to share things! How many of us could barely contain the secret of a new baby on it’s way or an engagement announcement? Joyful news is meant to be shared! We were designed to interact. Our stories tell the good news and spread it’s joy! “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

The Joy of Making Room

Most of us have way to much stuff. Our closets, our pantrys, our garages, our basements are filled to the brim with gizmos and gadgets that are unnecessary. Yet many of our neighbours will go hungry or alone this Christmas season. If we all made a little room at the dinner table this year, do you think it would bring you as much joy as the one you serve will have? I’m all for re-gifting and sharing what we can’t use ourselves. We need to make it normalized. Sharing brings joy — not stigma! “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” John 3:11

A Legacy of Joy

Many of us consider Christmas a time for family. We travel to visit, to celebrate and to reminisce. We miss those who have passed on and recount their stories with laughter and joy. The next generation bring smiles to the faces of those of us who are reliving Christmas morning joys through them. How many of us have learned from family… both in struggle and in peace? How do you want to be remembered? As one who sparked joy or strife? It starts with our attitude for today. “The memory of one who lived with integrity brings joy…” Proverbs 10:7 (VOICE)

Joy in Jesus

Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that our only true joy comes through the babe born. None of us, not even Mary, His mother, can be saved without the baby who came to die on the cross for us. How many times have I marvelled about how do people survive this world without the Hope that Jesus brings? I know I could never do it alone. Being “good” doesn’t cut it. We all start out in the same sinful boat. Truly this is the Joy fullfilled in the advent season. “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Luke 1:46, 47

Blessings this Joy week, my friends! Until we muse together again…

photo via: Kendrickhome