I Believe God’s Creation is Awesome, by Janet Lanza

As I sit on a shaded breeze-cooled porch at the beach and experience the ocean’s vastness and rhythm, awesome is an easy word to think of.  The ocean with its size, waves, currents and ever changing colors is truly a work of art.  My favorite thing to do at the beach is to take an early morning walk along the water’s edge.  As I’m walking, I sing familiar hymns such as “This is the Day the Lord Hath Made” and “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow.”  It just seems like the right thing to do and it is here in this awesome place and time that I feel closest to God.

I love to garden and I am constantly in awe of nature.  How did this huge thick stemmed okra plant grow from that tiny seed?  How did that small tomato plant produce the bright red home grown fruit that tastes like heaven in your mouth?  And how in this huge world did those squash bugs know that I was growing squash and decide to show up for an unwelcome visit?  It’s mysterious and awesome and all a part of God’s creation.

I imagine my family may tire of my excitement over the sky.  So many times I call out their names or text them and tell them to join me or go look at some marvelous sight in the sky.  Sunrises, sunsets, colors, pictures in clouds, a full moon and the beautiful “Jesus light” that streams from the sun when it starts to peak from behind a cloud are majestic and awesome and I’m so grateful that God created them and gave me eyesight to enjoy them.

Have you ever watched a bird build a nest?  How awesome is that?  How does that little bird know how to construct a nest that will withstand the elements and keep the eggs and baby birds safe? And the color of bird’s eggs and their beaks and feathers and the grace with which they soar through the air…that could not have happened by chance.  It is surely the handiwork and creativity of an awesome God!

During my 25 years of training students to work with preschool children with communication disorders at TCU, I had the opportunity every day to experience the awesomeness of the human mind and spirit.  TCU students overcame their fears to provide effective speech and language therapy to the children.  Families diligently brought their children, followed through with home practice and surrounded them with the love they needed to face their hurdles.  And oh my, those sweet children!  Some of them had so many barriers in their way, but continued to work hard to communicate in ways that most of us take for granted.  Thanks be to God for creating all of those awesome people and putting us together.

If you have had the privilege to experience childbirth as a mom or a dad, you have been in the midst of God’s amazing creation.  There are no words to describe the feeling of awe and love that come with that newborn baby. I believe that we are all children of God and God created every awesome one of us.

Each time I had to change my password at TCU, it took me forever because I tried to come up with a word or phrase that would inspire me when I logged on to the computer.  One of my favorites included the phrase “in awe.”  I wanted to be reminded often not to become too grown up or jaded, but like a small child learning about her new world, to see the brilliance and awesomeness of God’s creation everywhere we look.

I wish the same for you.  Being “in awe” helps you stop and appreciate your time on earth.

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GA TIB BOOK Janet LanzaJanet Lanza has recently retired from 25 years on faculty at the Davies College of Communication Sciences and Disorders at TCU and 38 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  She is currently enjoying gardening, cooking and all of God’s awesome creation.  She is an active life-long member at Ridglea Christian Church in Fort Worth TX.

I Believe in the Power of Creation and Planting Seeds, by Rev. Vy Nguyen

For most of my life growing up I was always in transit, moving from one country to the next in Southeast Asia, in one community to another, all before I turned 10.  At each place there was always a different community, completely new surroundings, new friends, and a uniquely different culture to engage with and figure out.  It was always difficult but positive at the same time.

What was always the same in each of these communities were the ways in which we grew our food together, and the sacred moments of bringing the food to the table every day to enjoy a meal with the people who were also in transit with us.   Our days would begin with our hands deep in wet soil in the early morning, moving seeds and planting them so they would fully soak up the nutrients of the earth and provide nutrients for us to feast on.  When our day ended in the field, loud noises in the kitchen would fill the air as we cooked, and the start of musical conversation at the table would begin.

I believe in the beauty of Creation, in the holy ground on which we live, and in the life-sustaining connections that the earth provides to all of us, bridging cultures and struggles and bringing us to one another.  I believe that when we put our hands in the dirt together, in the rich soil of the earth, when we get our hands messy and participate in the Creation that has been given to us to care for, that we connect with our Creator in ways that unite us and remind us we are children of God.  These reminders we get when planting seeds for the future and when we enjoy and share that future with one another are sacred moments.  They are not only life giving but also life-changing.

I believe that we should plant more seeds and eat more meals at the table together, so that we can continue to create, share, and celebrate the connection that we have with each other through the many gifts that Creation has given us. When we plant seeds together with our hands, the earth grows, and we are reminded of God’s Creation, and the presence of God that surrounds us and is within each of us.

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GA TIB Vy NyugenVy holds a Master of Divinity from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and earned his B.A. in religious studies with a minor in environmental sciences from Texas Christian University. He now serves as Executive Director of  Week of Compassion after serving more than 5 years with Church World Service for the Southwest Regional Office where he worked with congregations and donors to increase their fundraising portfolio. Prior to his work with Church World Service, Vy worked with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps office in Berkeley, CA where he strengthened relationships between volunteers, congregations, and non-profit agencies. Vy and his wife, Linh Bui, live in Oakland, CA.