Tag Archives: secret

What is The Secret Ingredient?

The Secret Ingredient 

On our march towards Christmas we are delighted to welcome PJ Paulson, author of Summer of the Phoenix. What is the secret ingredient?

In 2002, “it hit the fan,” as they say. I lost my job while a quirky medical condition progressed. My romance was on its last legs. I lived in town while pioneering my middle-of-nowhere ranchland – there was lots of driving back and forth. Outbuildings were burglarized. There was a severe drought. People in my life were behaving badly. 

I couldn’t afford a move to Tuscany. A Spiritual Journey to Tibet was out of the question.

Where could I go to awaken my True Soul…

find a relief from pain (mental and physical)…make sense of the chaos…find the good in people…and just get by from day-to-day? 

I needed to figure out why my life was falling apart, how to heal, and how to eventually get back in the game. I needed a sanctuary in which to look closely at life – both physically and mentally – and to heal. 

I made the unconventional choice to forego my city apartment and embrace a simple, stripped-down, country life absent amenities such as plumbing, electricity, and central heat. I drew serenity and strength from Mother Nature to savor life off the grid. During my retreat, I contemplated my life philosophies and direction, eventually transforming a bleak outlook in the face of what appeared to have been a world gone mad. 

Living in eastern Colorado is like having your soul lightly sandblasted. In a high wind it may be literal, but life here is just harsh enough to keep your spirit a little raw. While the subtle discomfort may be disregarded, you feel your environment more intensely. It’s inspirational, like nowhere else I’ve lived.

The ever-present irritant of sand in the oyster creates the pearl. 

My pearl was the inspiration to write. And one day, to understand what I loved so much about that summer here. Then to realize, too, that by practicing the little things that I appreciated so much, other people might learn how to heal in place, too.  

Summer of the Phoenix is my story about that summer, how I coped, and how I turned my life around. Come along with me, and we’ll taste a sample…. 

The Secret Ingredient 

The light changes as sunset approaches; the breeze stills. Shades of green in the field are touched with gold, then with salmon, before becoming dusky. The horizon far to the east turns from blue to blended watercolored bands of violet, salmon, and rose, fading upward to white, and reaching further upward to pale sky blue. 

The waving fields of knee-high blue grama going to seed become still. 

A Says Phoebe, quiet at this season of year, perches on a young Gravenstein apple tree, or on a leaning Autumn Blaze sapling now dead. Moths flit here and there. The phoebe darts out for a meal, and returns to its perch to dine before moving out of sight to another perch. He (or she) has been roosting, I think, in the little thicket of Rugosa roses outside the family room window. 

It’s a soothing view, and I breathe deeply a few times and consciously relax. 

As an exercise, I make a mental composite of the best bits of places I’ve lived, to imagine a place I might consider ideal. 

The remoteness, the peace and quiet, the acreage of this place. 

The love I felt for the home in which I was sheltered for the first thirteen years of my life. Surrounded by fields, woods, and a creek through which to roam and play, and by good friends and family, I had felt secure. 

The creek, pond, and woods of the small farm where we lived when I was first married. Its little bird sanctuary along the pond outlet. There, trees overhung the little cliff east of the mound of shale and clay that had been dug and heaped up, many years before, to make the spring-fed pond. 

The beauty, lushness, and fecundity of the farm on which we had lived in the hills of Pennsylvania. The dogwoods in spring bloom. The sandy beach at the swimming hole. Fresh trout. Raspberries. Wildlife and singing birds in abundance. Forest through which to wander and explore, and fields in which to grow gardens, crops, and fruit trees. 

Put it all together, and set it on the shore of a small lake where I could have a little boat. A little wooden boat with a sail and a set of oars. The little boat would be moored at a wooden dock, patiently awaiting a still dawn, when I would take it out, beyond the majestic sheltering trees of the yard, to fish for breakfast trout. 

I looked for a long time at my fields and trees, watching the light and colors change. I thought of times I’d spent among those trees and fields. I thought of that summer of 2002 when I had spent hour after hour, day after day in July watering those young trees. And it came to me that what I was doing now, in this moment, was what I had done all that summer: Savouring. 

I was savouring my land and the trees I had planted and nurtured. I savoured the fields and the sky. The birds, the singing insects. I savoured Nature. I savoured Life. And I savoured Myself. 

Then it struck me that that – the Savouring of Self, of Soul, of Nature, of Life, and of Spirit – was what made that year of 2002 so special. I had slowed down, taken a deep breath, and Savoured it all. 

The sun has gone to bed, and a meadowlark sings to me his song, “Goodnight! 

Summer of the Phoenix is available on Amazon in Kindle eBook (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP927P4), black and white paperback (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0976323532 ), and color paperback (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0976323524 ). 

About the Author 

secret ingredient 

 

PJ Paulson lives on a small ranch in rural Colorado with cats, dogs, and cattle. She has been described as a benign non-conformist who lives life on her own terms, and is not overly concerned with how humankind at large may judge that life path. This assessment is certainly borne out as she turns around her life in Summer of the Phoenix! 

Disclaimer:

I have not read this book but it does  sound fascinating.

Secret: Does God Keep Secrets From His People?

Does God Keep Secrets From His People?

I had to check through God’s Word to see what He said about the word “secret”. I know it’s not good to keep secrets if it hurts someone but it’s also not good to spread news – gossip. The only way we can figure out what God says about secrets is to go to His Word.

secret

Are you looking for a group to help you on your way to growing closer to Him?
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Join us at Artists and Writers Grow Through God’s Word.

It’s time for Five Minute Friday – we have 5 minutes to write on a prompt. The prompt the word is “secret”. Join us and meet others who write for Him.

Surprises are lovely. Keeping things a secret helps with the surprise. We have had 3 big surprise parties.

Surprise Number 1:

I remember my husband’s 30th birthday party. He came in the back gate and found a whole bunch of people in his yard. His first thought was, “What are all these people doing here?” SURPRISE.

Surprise Number 2:

Then he surprised me on my 40th. Our kids were visiting – that was normal. We were going away to Europe the next day. Not normal. I had things still to figure out. But Hubby talked me into having the kids come to celebrate. But then there was the doorbell and people started arriving. Party time. I had fun but told him to time it better the next time – I need time to plan. But what a sweet SURPRISE and well-kept secret.

Surprise Number 3:

Our children surprised us on our 40 wedding anniversary. In the early evening my son-in-law decided to vacuum the carpets – clue. But I thought oh he is being so nice. Then the doorbell rang and I answered it. A friend was at the door. I said, “Oh what’s wrong? Can I help you?” She said, “surprise!” And that was that.

Those were all lovely surprises by keeping them secret.

But today when I heard the word “secret” I immediately started to sing “It is no secret what God can do”.

IT IS NO SECRET written by Stuart Hamblen

Sung by Anne Murray

I chose Anne’s version because I love her voice and she is Canadian.

God does keep secrets for now. But all will be revealed sometime.

Mark 4:22  “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.”

Matthew 10:26 “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”

Luke 8:17 “Nothing has been covered that will not be exposed. Whatever is secret will be made known.”

Things may be murky for now – but we will know everything some day. In the meantime I know we need to work hard to discover Who God is and how we can communicate with Him.

God also wants to reveal Himself.

This song gives me that knowledge. His promises make it clear. We can know Him.

God is shows us what He can do – if we look around. Watch, look, pray.

Be aware and you will see Him.

Are you looking for a spot to learn more about the power of God in your life?
Are you searching for a way to take time to study His Word?

Please join us a Artists and Writers Grow Through God’s Word – a closed Facebook Group. We welcome you with open arms.

secret

secret

PERSON AT PRAYER

Person at Prayer

by Judith Lawrence

One of the most tender images is the human person at prayer. When the body gathers itself before the Divine, a stillness deepens. The blaring din of distraction ceases, and the deeper tranquility within the heart envelops the body. To see people at prayer is a touching sight. …It is as if they have chosen to enter into a secret belonging carried within the soul; they rest in that inner temple impervious to outer control or claiming. [To see] a person at prayer…reminds us that we are mere guests on the earth, pilgrims who always walk on unsteady ground, carrying in earthen vessels multitudes of longing. John O’Donahue, Eternal Echoes Page 184.

When John O’Donahue speaks of choosing to enter into a secret belonging carried within the soul; it reminds me of how Christ tells us that when we pray we should go away by ourselves, shut the door behind us, and pray to our Father in secret. Matthew 6:6

When we pray, it is as if we enter a different realm of being from where we normally exist. As an astronaut goes into a different realm of physical existence when he travels into outer space, so does a Christian go into a different realm of spiritual existence when he prays.

We may think about God at all times of our daily lives but, when we consciously pray to God alone, it is as if we are wrapped in a spiritual tranquility, going down deep into our soul’s being where God alone exists, and where the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

Here is where God dwells in secret within us and where we dwell in secret within God our Creator. This is where we are at home in one another—God in us and we in God; it is where the praying Christian is totally at home in God’s love and in the temple of the Holy Spirit, and where we are new born in God every prayer moment.

Judith Lawrence

Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca.  Judith’s latest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey is now available. You can purchase it through Wipf and Stock Publishers.