June 27, 2020

Lesson in Unexpected Places by Lorilee Guenter

When life gives you fallen trees, make mulch
All of life is a gift from God. We can ignore the beauty - the sights, the sounds and lessons all around us - or we can listen, enjoy and learn. I prefer to learn both from my surroundings and from my reading. This learning and simple everyday observations show up in both my writing and my artwork as I connect the various pieces in sometimes unexpected ways.

This week I have been pondering Psalm 34, especially verse eight. "Taste and see that the Lord is good." I found this verse repeated in different places and times as I considered this post. The psalmist makes this statement in a poem about trusting God with everything; our anxieties, our troubles and our life. The more I contemplated the psalm, the more I realised one of the themes that shows up in my writing reflects this psalm.

Anchored in the Rock
I often write about overcoming fear, especially fear of failure. I had an aha about healthy risk and overcoming as I sat watching pole vault at a track and field meet a number of years ago. Every athlete competing, including the winner,  would fail at least three times before the event was over. These athletes recognised failure as a stepping stone to improvement. Alternately, I have watched a young robin perch on the side of the nest and flap its wings before returning to the nest. It reminded me that risk is necessary for growth. Until the robin trusts its wings and tumbles to the ground, it cannot take the next step to maturity. Both of these vignettes were the result of paying attention to my surroundings and recognising the lessons in front of me.

"Taste and see..." A call to trust the God who created all that is around us. A call to observe with all our senses what He is doing because that is part of how we understand who He is. This brings me back to where I started, observation. I don't have to go somewhere exotic or do something amazing instead I need to pause and notice what God has provided here and now. He will teach me whether I am weeding the garden or climbing a mountain. Lessons come in any place and at any time. Many of these lessons find themselves repeated in the themes of my writing. This creates a quirky and eclectic mix of creativity which is just the way I like it. Thankfully the Lord is indeed good and He continues to teach and encourage me in the daily details, beautiful or not. I pray my life and my art reflect this.

 Psalm 34: 8
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.


  1. Thanks for this Lorilee. The popular saying holds true - what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

  2. Taste is a wonderful sense. But we can only taste something if it's on our tongues or in our mouths. We all need to ingest God's goodness, not just stand back and admire it.

  3. Beautifully said, Lorilee. Thanks for reminding us to taste and see what is right in front of us. Jesus told stories about everyday things that are close at hand: the seeds and how they fall on different ground; the five loaves and two fish that could feed thousands; himself standing at the door of our hearts and knocking. . .


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