Sunday, October 8, 2017

On Being Aware in October


My times are in Thy hand
Psalm 31:15

*******



"It's" out there.

You know it is.

It is October, and the Pink reminders are everywhere.


Still...


You don't think "it" will ever happen to you.

Honestly, you may not think about it much at all!

You know it exists... but it exists somewhere out there.

Not here.  Not in your house.  Not in your family.

Not in your body.

Until it does.

And now they call you a fighter. But you don't feel like a fighter.

And they say you are brave.  But you don't feel brave.



You just get up every morning and like everyone else, you tackle the things that are ahead of you.

Things a lot like every one else before...

But now those things may include surgery, chemo, or radiation.  It may involve losing your hair.

The days of innocent ignorance are over,

and you can't ignore it anymore.

Yep...

No one wants to think that this could happen to them.

So I am asking you to do this one thing.

Think it.



Think for a moment... how would I live today if I knew tomorrow I would be told that I had cancer or some other hard thing that could show up and change your life in big ways.


Believe me, I know that you don't want to think about this, but truth is you are not immune to hard.

So,  just in case.

Think.

And ask others.  Others who have walked this journey with grace.
You can learn a lot from some people who have gone through this.

Ask how they handled it...
the diagnosis, the fear, the way they face an unknown tomorrow.


When I was diagnosed, these were the things I wanted to know ...


I wanted to know what it looked like to walk through this ...faithfully trusting God.

And fully trusting that my God is good even if the story is not.

I wanted to know on the days that I felt harsh, how to still be kind.



I wanted information to help me deal with this new way of living in my day to day interactions with others, when the medicines affect your sleep and pain is the new normal of treatment.


I wanted to know how having this disease would impact my family; my husband, my adult children and my grandchildren.


I wanted to know how to make the most of each day.
Even knowing things like this are out there, and they do affect people we love.


Thankfully, I found people who shared their stories honestly and with vulnerability.

Some of their stories were a lot like mine,
but some of them did not end like mine.

In both cases, I learned so much from their words... their gracious discourse.

For instance...

Make a habit of memorizing scripture now so that when you are too tired or weak to get through the day, the rich promises of God that will get you through are already ingrained in your mind.

Writing down prayer requests builds your faith as you see the answers recorded. This is a habit to start before the needs are heavy...

And it is equally important to gather in your heart the songs that hold the truths that will carry you through the long nights.

If you haven't started keeping a gratitude journal, now would be a great time for that as well.
When there are dreary days, it helps keep your focus on the things that matter.

Like finding out that you are not immortal, or immune to hard stories?  That realization is gift.

Learning to live "not in control"?  Gift.

That your strength is not enough for this?  And that is ok because His is?  Great gift!

Maybe most important...
You will need to learn to view time in a different way.
Time is not guaranteed.

And walking through this story means that there is never enough time to spend a moment of it by being impatient with others...

Or unforgiving or unkind.

I wonder... is there really a time that is good for being like that?


And those big little things we take for granted?

The things we think we can always do some other time?

Time for hugs, for friends and for loved ones.

Time for walks in parks, for sunrises on the ocean and for curling up with that good book you've been putting off for another time.

For that extra good night kiss

And  listening to birds

Time for a quick text, just to tell someone you love them.

Because you see the people in your life as your true treasures, there is even enough time to make a trip to spend a day with a longtime friend who lives an ocean away.

There is time ...to be still and listen.

The best things.  The things you really want to be doing...



Now is the time.

... Think about it.


   _______________________________

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
                                                     _______________________________


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
It means that we need to join together and fight this.
Fight all cancer really... if there is a cure, we need to find it!

But it does not mean that only people with breast cancer are facing hard things this month...
or next month.

Pray for them...

_______________________________

The words of Kara Tippetts are such a gift for anyone in this story.
Her books, "The Hardest Peace" and "And it was Beautiful"
are highly recommended.
Wise counsel from a precious sister indeed.






Thursday, August 11, 2016

On Life After Treatment



I can see it in your eyes when you ask if the cancer is gone.


You are so hopeful.

I know that what you want to hear me say is that it is gone.

That it is gone forever

and that it will never ever ever come back again.


So I tell you what I know.

I tell you I am well now.

But as far as the cancer coming back?
I don't know.

Even the doctor's don't.

That is why I have to keep seeing them.  
That is why there are so many appointments these days.

All of those appointments don't help you feel like I am well.
I understand that.

But try to remember.
These doctors have done a good job of taking care of me in this.
And I know they are keeping a good eye on me now. 

 Just in case.

But for now, let's not dwell on the "just in case".

There aren't enough moments in our lives to waste a single one of them that way.

We can leave that up to the doctors to think about.

We need to think about getting back to living life like we used to.

Before everything changed.

Things are different since the cancer.

And sometimes we just really miss the way things used to be.

I understand that and it makes me sad too.

I get tired a lot faster.
My feet feel weird and my brain doesn't work so well.
There are some who say this brain of mine always has been a little odd..even before chemo!
 :)
(Remember where we found my phone that time? In the fridge?)


I wish it wasn't like that.
I wish life could be exactly as it was before all of the hard things happened.

But life doesn't always stay the same for anybody.

And the fact is that our life is different and will probably never be the way we remember it again.

But guess what.

I can still be happy because it is still life.
And I am so thrilled to be living it with you.


There are too many courageous women I know of who aren't here 
even though they did the very same things I did ...
for the very same reasons!

 They did them in order to be able to be here.

No one can say why it didn't work for them.

It makes it more important to me now.
To get this right..

I may not be able to do things like I did before cancer, 
but there are so many things that I can do!

The main thing for me is that I can still enjoy you.

I can watch with amazement as I see the person you are becoming.
And be so thankful to see you trusting God in your life.

I can always love you

I can have long chats with you and I can sit with you and read to you.
I can even listen with amazement while you read to me.
I can laugh with you.
And be sad with you.

I love seeing your excitement at watching lizards race and finding rainbows on the hallway floor!

And what could possibly take the place of sharing your excitement over a lost tooth!

I simply adore the twinkle in your eyes and dimples on your cheeks.
And those freckles sprinkled across your nose?  

Awesome!

My heart gets happy to hear you explain everything that I need to know
about Doctor Who and Pokemon.

I love that I get to watch you put that really tough Lego set together 
and celebrate with you when it is complete..
You make me so proud to be able to marvel at your creativity.

And cheer for you in your soccer games.

I love that I can still be your biggest admirer 
(though there are others who insist that role belongs to them).

I am delighted that I can answer your silly texts in the middle of the night.
While my eyelids fight to close again.
Even when you say I'm a corndog. 

( I can imagine you at the other end giggling away. )

Never doubt that I consider it an honor to be able to pray for you.
And that I do pray for you.

  Even though this life is not happening the way we would have chosen...it is life.

And I am thankful for every moment!

Every wonderful moment of this amazing grace filled life that I get to live with you.

Looking forward to more of the moments.  Years full of them!

Ready to enjoy life no matter what is ahead.  

Because this life is a gift.
















..

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On Beauty Made



It is covered with a cloth to keep dust from collecting on the threads.
But when I remove the cloth, I always have the sense that I have just uncovered something special.
From the glistening pins, to the delicate lace threads and on down to the bobbins, it is almost magical.
Something to behold, to wake up my senses.






Every time I uncover my lace pillow, I have to just stop a moment and admire it.

Every single time.

And I know that when someone else is watching, the reaction will be the same.

Bobbin lace is the fairy tale of the needle arts.

I have talked about bobbin lace and lace bobbins before.
How bobbin makers in England decorated their bobbins in ways no others did.
They made what most would consider a common tool into a work of art.

Each lace bobbin unique.



Some were inscribed with names and dates, some inspired by English architecture and some with romantic phrases.  They were adorned with beads and tinsel. And you know that each one was a treasured possession of the lacemaker.

A lacemaker's pillow could contain her whole life's history represented by the bobbins there.

A lace pillow filled with bobbins can nearly take your breath away..

But a lacemaker is not content to admire the beauty of the lace pillow.
She uses the bobbins and the thread and pins to make more.
More beauty.

She makes lace.

She uses beautiful things to make beautiful things.

Because we all can appreciate beauty.

And because we like beauty, 
we take the time and put forth the effort to make beauty in our surroundings.



We make these little displays of beauty.
A vase gets placed here, a picture there.
We decorate the place we live. The place we call home.
Creating art out of ordinary.

Oh, we may say we aren't creative, but it's just not true!

We actually create in lots of different ways.



Arranging things on a desk, or combining new ingredients into a delicious meal.
Singing a lullabye to hush an anxious child.

We all have inside of us a pull to create, to make beauty.

I think this pull to create goes back to our own Creator.

In the beginning God MADE...
And it was good.


He made it all.
And He made it all to delight us.
From small so small we can't see it with our eyes,
to large so large it's hard to imagine.

And it's important to realize this one thing.

The Creator is the one who defines beauty in His making.
And it is for one reason.

So that we will look for the Creator.

And we will find Him.

Because of His great love for us.


And it makes me wonder.

Since we are made in His image, could the purpose behind our urge to create be this as well?
To extend our love to others?

We plant flowers, write stories, fluff pillows. and surround ourselves with music.
And in our creating we are showing our love to others.

And in showing our love, do we help them to see His?

When we make beauty, are we also showing a glimpse of His love?

*******************************

Beauty
How do you define it?

How do you respond to it?
Wonder?  Awe?  Praise?



Who do you acknowledge when you see it?

I recently watched a video of color blind people seeing color for the first time.
The expressions of awe on their faces can't be imitated.

There is a word for it.
It's "wonder".

We experience it when we receive a gift from someone who loves perfectly.
In the myriad hues of a flower picked by a child,
the far reaching beams of light in sunrise as it reaches out across the horizon,
the swaying branches of a delicate willow moved to dance by the gentlest of breezes
and
the awe we see as a child hears their mother's voice the first time

WONDER

Things we feel when we see a "soldier comes home" surprise,
or of kittens seeing their reflections

When a child gets tickets to Disney or news of an upcoming sibling.

When we are shown how a young man in love offers an invitation to someone to join him in life...
and the tenderness of it moves us to tears.

Wonder.

Beauty brings that kind of response.



i hope i never lose my own sense of awe
of wonder
at the love of the Father
in the gift of His Son
or the grace revealed in each moment by His Spirit.

I want to enjoy every moment of His grace.
I hope I will get to the point when I stop ever taking them for granted.

I don't want to miss a beat...
A child's voice in song...
The smell of salt water in the air...
The kindness of a stranger...
Crickets in harmony...
Morning joys...
Bird song...
Coffee's aroma...
Traffic noise...

the way a car stirs up dust on a dirt road.

The way freckles scatter across his nose.

Wonder at His creation, and His love for me.

His love for each and every one of us.

Join me?

___________________

We can make our surroundings more beautiful in so many ways...



Decorating our environment with kindness.  
Filling the space where we live with the sounds of gentle discourse and of beautiful music.

With inviting smells of coffee brewing or something yummy in the oven.

By making the place we call home more comfy and inviting.

We miss the point if all we do is create beauty for our own enjoyment.

By reflecting our own Maker in the things we do.
Showing all those He loves that they are worthy of our love as well.

And sometimes by placing a vase in just the right place.

How do you make beauty?


Psalm 27:4
I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord, and seeking Him in His temple.






Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On Looking Back



Hindsight is 20/20, it has been said...
often after someone has admitted a huge mistake.

It is a lot easier to see where you went wrong after the fact.

Looking back can also help you see some good things.

Some things that are seen more clearly when you look at them backwards.



The different view may also provide a new understanding.

We see things that we missed when we were walking through the situation.

We may even see where we missed God's involvement in our life at the time.

Like fingerprints on a wall give us a clue that a certain toddler was there.


God does not sit idly by while we struggle here.

He is involved in the details of our lives and if we look for Him, we can see Him;
present and active in our lives.

Looking back helps us to see how God has moved in our lives.

But when things are hard?
It is often easier to see only the hard when we look ahead.

Things tempt us to face the unknown days in fear instead of faith.

We stand in our hard, and can't imagine that it won't always be this way. 

Or we find it hard to believe that He cares enough to be involved in our little struggles
when there is so much pain in this world.

But then...
Then from the past, a perfect scripture verse that reminds us how very much He does care.
Or the song that meant so much to us in days past.
And encourages even more in this day.

And we see firsthand that His Grace is sufficient.

It's almost as if a light came on, and we just know...
He was there with us.
He loves us.
He cares.

But IN the hard, it can be almost impossible to see that there will be good.

I found a post in my gratitude journal dated October 2011.

It simply said, "I never imagined things could be so sweet."

I wonder why not?

What was lacking in my imagination that could keep me from imagining things could be sweeter?

I wrote that in 2011 at the start of my gratitude journal.
This place where I record those fingerprints of God's presence in my life.

There have been small things and there have been big,
but keeping this list into my sixth year now,
what I notice most is that they are constant.

They point always to the love of a good God.
To His grace that is unending and undeserved.

Now, here I was in 2015 having learned some things since 2011.

We had no idea when I wrote those words in 2011
that we would face the things we faced in the next few years.

So in 2015, I wrote:
"How time has shown me that all our imaginings fall so short!  
I have now seen what "sweet" really looks like! 
After accidents, diagnoses, surgeries and treatments.  
After casts and slings and bald heads. 
How could I in those days even begin to know the sweet I know now?"

And you know what?

I imagine that I haven't seen anything yet.

My imagination is growing to be a better informed imagination;
able to anticipate His grace in my hard instead of feeling dread.

Reminding myself just who it is that is walking with me, and continuing to trust Him.
Taking each day ... each step ... one at a time.

Just a result of expecting Him to show up.
Looking for Him

And one day as we live day to day expecting Him to work in our lives,
we will see it.

The result will be something marvelous. 

Most likely, something you never imagined.

************

A Gratitude Journal...
Kind of like a bound version of an Ebenezer Stone.
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" 

************
My 100
A list of 100 things I wrote at one time... right in the middle of 2011 and 2015

1) You being my Savior
2) Forgiveness
3) Amazing Sunrises spent at the Ocean
4) Sweet Sunrises spent in my recliner at my living room window (with a grandchild)
5) White African Irises blooming out like crazy
6) Tulip Memories
7) Azaleas Stunning Pink
8) English Blue Moon Roses
9) Blonde Waves on a Little Girl's Head
10) The Twinkle in a Little Boy's Eyes
11) Dimples
12) Moonlight on a Cloudy Evening
13) Glittering Stars on a Clear Night
14) Foamy Tops on Crashing Waves
15) Toes in the Sand
16) Little Fishes at the Edge of the Water
17) Dolphins in the Waterway
18) Cardinals in the Florida Bush
19) Ducks in the Backyard
20) Canadian Geese by the Pond
21) Light Reflecting off a Brass Trombone
22) Creative Clutter
23) Water Views in Front & Back
24) My Sweetheart's Smile
25) Your Mercy
26) E ...
27) I...
28) C...
29)H...
30) A Friendly Voice on the Phone
31) The Play Chat of Grands
32) My Sweetheart's Voice
33) Music that Calms on Stressful Days
34) Praise Music
35) The Sound of Instruments Tuning Up & Anticipation
36) The Soothing Sound of a Flute
37) The Majestic Sound of a French Horn
38) Mathematics in Music
39) Thunder Crashing
40) Loud Crashing Ocean Waves
41) A Newborn's Cooing
42) Laughter
43) A Friend Who Gets You
44) Mellow Sax Music
45) The Hum of a Car Engine that Works
46) Musical Bird Chatter int he Morning
47) An Acoustic Guitar
48) Hymns - Deep Truths in Music
49) The Sound of Someone Praying for Me
50) The Words "I Love You"
51) Your Nearness
52) Your Goodness
53) The Way You Make Beauty out of Broken
54) Your Strength
55) The Smooth Taste of Caramel
56) Fresh Fruit
57) Ice Cream with the Grands
58) A Vegetable Tray that includes Celery
59) Anti-Nausea Meds given with Chemo
60) Psalms
61) Chocolate Cake Celebrations
62) Birthdays
63) Your Promises - Always Kept
64) The Sound of Singing Kids
65) H's future
66) The Hum of a Working Computer
67) Faxes Incoming and Outgoing
68) Email & Texts
69) Chocolate
70) An Early Cup of Coffee Kind of Morning
71) Bacon Cooking Smells
72) The Smell of my Favorite Lotion
73) Fresh Cut Watermelon
74) Chap Stick
75) Ice Cold Tea :)
76) Fuzzy Slippers
77) A Purring Kitten
78) Heaven One Day
79) Kara Tippetts and her Book, The Hardest Peace
80) Grands Hugs
81) Ann Voskamp and her Book, One Thousand Gifts
82) Mentor Women in my Life
83) Our Family
84) A Dry Comfy Place to Live
85) The Soft Fur of a Baby Bunny
86) My Big Wooly Blanket
87) A Warm Shower or Bath
88) Waves Wrapping Around my Feet and Ankles
89) Sitting on my Back Steps at Sundown
90) My Old Mimosa Tree's "Wings"
91) Cozying Up by a Fireplace in Winter
92) Building Snowmen
93) My Jesse Tree Devotions at Christmas
94) Being Able to Homeschool
95) Losing Control and Loving the Freedom
96) Your Magnificence
97) Just This ... It Is Well !!!
98) Eucharisteo
99) Psalm 27:13,14 - I Will See the Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living!
100) Psalm 73:28 - The Nearness of God IS My Good!!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

On Fear and Snakes



On a recent trip to the zoo, I watched a rattlesnake and a tortoise who shared an enclosure.

The tortoise decided that he wanted to move into a nearby hollow log.
The snake was in the way.
And the tortoise stepped on the snake.

The snake coiled up ready to strike.

But it never did.

It rattled its rattles,
but stopped short of actually striking the tortoise.

Perhaps it had learned that it hurt too much to attack a tortoise.

He flexed his fangs for a bit, as if remembering a recent battle.

The tortoise just continued on, oblivious to the threat.


_____________

Locked in an intense battle,
One we could not afford to lose
But one that we could not win on our own.

We called for help
And he showed up, taking on our battle as if it was his own.

With his help, we defeated the enemy, and our reason for fear was gone.
________________

So, if the reason was gone... why was I still fearful?
________________

Ever been there?  
No matter how much they say not to be afraid?
That place where fear has moved in and taken up residence?

There are good fears...
As children we were all taught to avoid a hot stove for fear of being burned.
Good fear.
We were taught to look both ways before crossing a street.
Good fear.

The kind of fear that I am talking about does not serve a useful purpose. 

This kind of fear just drains your joy.  And your peace.

When we were only a few years into our married life, 
we planted our roots and our cute little mobile home 
in a small mobile home park.

Those were our early married years before children, and our little home was perfect for us.

We were actually three at the time, because we had a dog.  
His name was Samson in the hope that just shouting, “Go get them Samson!” 
might deter any would-be-bad-guys from trying to break in!

Sweet Samson.

He could never have been a real threat to any bad guys because he was just a little thing! 
All white except for two little black marks on his nose that made his nose look like a heart.  

And anyway, he was afraid of his own reflection!
Scared himself silly when he accidentally walked up on a mirror one day.

In those days, we lived close enough to where Bud worked that he was able to come home for lunch.  
One day as he was walking up to the door,  I let Samson go out to greet him. 

At the steps, Bud looked at me and said, "Get Samson back in the house!".
I called the little pup in and he bounced back up the steps as quickly as he had run out.

I looked down at the ground to see what the concern was all about.

It did not take long to recognize the markings. 

That was a diamond back rattlesnake.

And it was lying right next to our front doorstep.


There was nothing handy to use to fight the snake at that moment.
So the snake shook his rattle for a few seconds and then made its escape
... underneath our little home...

and we began the task of getting it out.

And moving it far far away. 

As in forever away.

We asked out park owner to come and help.
He was the only one we knew with the right equipment to rid us of the snake.

The whole thing took up most of the afternoon, but when it was over there was no longer any reason to be afraid of that snake.

Seriously, the snake was gone and would not be returning.

Ever.

Just the same, fear had moved in, settled down and made itself comfy. 
And now fear did not want to leave.  

"What if" was the question of the day, of the year!

It was a long time before I could just walk out of that front door without wondering...
Is there another one?  Another snake?

 I would open the door slowly and look all around before stepping outside of the door.
Just unsure about what was waiting for me.

I felt as if my fear gave me some kind of control to keep bad from happening...

Fear can't keep you safe.

One day there was another snake.

It was right next to the same steps by our same front door.

It all happened just the same.

Only this time, the snake was not a dangerous kind.

Unfortunately for the snake, I did not know that.


This little event shook me and my faith.  Where was God when I needed Him?
Why couldn't He keep snakes away for good?

Why couldn't I just have a safe life?

A safe life became an idol of sorts.
I longed for that kind of life.
The life where everything settled into a beautiful place.

I was certain at that time that if I did not have safe, then I would break.

But God...
Time and again He showed me that hard was not going to break me.

Because time and again I did not break.

But it was not because of me. It was not my strength.  I have none.  

It was because He was holding me through it all. 

And I grew closer to Him in it all.

He isn't letting go. 

The things I fear, the unknown things that keep me awake at night?

They can not keep their false promise to destroy me.

Because God keeps His promise to be near.

His nearness is the only good thing I can depend on.

And when fear starts to creep in, I am learning to ask myself this question.

Even if - what then?

Even if the worst thing happens... what then?  

Even if I lose everything?   I will never be forsaken.  

Even if I fall apart?   He will hold me together.

Even if I break... 
He will put me back together in a more beautiful way than I could ever imagine.

I can't say that if you trust God, bad things wont happen.  They will  happen.  

But we don't have to fear them.

A safe life, one without trouble, is not our good.  No matter how good it may look.

His nearness is our good.

Sometimes things like the snake that "was" make me worry about a possible snake that "is".

Something bad happens, and fear takes hold.  Fear doesn't let go easily.

I worry that some little "is" might still be lurking around just waiting to make an appearance.

I can't live my life in fear of "is".  

So, even if... what then?

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.  
I'm absolutely convinced that nothing-
nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, 
thinkable or unthinkable- 
absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love 
because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Romans 8-the Message

We don't know what tomorrow holds
or even what may be waiting when we take that next step out our front door.

But He does, and His grace will supply every need...even if.


We just can't let fear win this.

________________

Locked in an intense battle,
One we could not afford to lose
But one that we could not win on our own.

We called for help
And He showed up, taking on our battle as if it was His own.

He defeated the enemy, and our cause for fear was gone.
__________________

Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me,
guarding, guiding all the way. 
Psalm 23:4 (TLB)
__________________







Saturday, May 7, 2016

On Being the Treasure Keeper



Instead of a normal Sunday School lesson, 
the 6th Grade Girls Department chose to do something different. 

The whole department gathered together in one large room. 
Moms and their girls were invited to be our special guests that day.
There was food with some surprise treats,
 and a different kind of lesson.

The theme for the day was Mothers and Daughters.  

A dear sweet woman spoke as the proud and excited mother of a brand new baby girl.  
and I spoke as the humble and proud mother of a grown daughter. 

The section that follows was my part of the lesson from that Mother's Day, 12 years ago:


**************

Being a mom is a blessing.  
Being the mother of a daughter is a treasure box full of blessings.




My daughter is not a little girl any more, but a 25 year old young woman;
and still the best girlfriend I've ever had!

I asked her to think of the things we had done over the years, 
and to come up with one thing that meant the most to her.

Her answer surprised me.  
It wasn't that I had helped her memorize scripture.  
It wasn't that we brought her up in church ... or the prayers we'd prayed with her and for her.  
It wasn't the ballet lessons or bread baking or Jane Austen movies.  
It wasn't even homeschooling!  

Her one meaningful thing was that I'd kept the "treasures" she'd given me as a child.




So, yesterday, I got out that treasure box, to look through these things that were so important to her. 

One thing for sure, these items wouldn't be the highest priced things to ever sell on Ebay!

First to get my attention was Waldo.  
probably because of the warning note inside on the top of my treasure chest: 
"Warning - Waldo lives in here now".  

A side note here...Waldo is a rubber roach that made lots of memories for our family.  We would take turns hiding him from each other.  When he was found, whoever found him was the person who would hide him next.  From the top of the refrigerator door (so he would drop down and scare the starving unsuspecting victim as they opened the fridge) to my own pocket where he showed up one afternoon since I had put him there for safe keeping...only to forget he was there. 
 I may have jumped. Quite high - I was younger then.

Having a daughter in your life is fun! Like the shoe switch she pulled off in my closet.  
One of the girls on the Middle School elevator asked, 
"Are you wearing different colored shoes?"  


When she was in school, one of her teachers said, "You must laugh a lot at your house."  
We did!
We still do.

Second was the item she had specifically mentioned to me when we talked.  
The heart shaped leaf. Really, it is a leaf that was not formed the way most leaves are.  
Some might say it is deformed, but she saw a beautiful piece of God's handiwork 
so we framed it.


She is still like that... seeing beauty where most people only see broken.  
The kind of tenderness that is pictured by the word, "mother".  
Or even as a reflection of the compassion of God Himself.

Speaking of reflecting God...

That is God's plan for us after all.

John Piper says that God does not exist to make much of us, but that we exist to make much of Him.

Max Lucado puts this thought this way, "the moon is our example".

He talks about all the beauty that the moon brings into our life, how moonlit landscapes carry such beauty, and moonlight can bring even romance.

But, as he says, the harvest moon does not shine on by itself.  
It is just a really big rock.

Yet the moon never complains about its purpose in life. 

It just reflects the sun's light and we are better for it.

We could even say we are alive because of it.

We have a great responsibility and honor 
as mothers of daughters (as well as sons) 
to be a reflection of God, 
because as we focus on Him, He changes us.

Then, as they look to us, hopefully they will pick up His reflections 
until they learn to focus their eyes on Him 
for themselves.  

II Corinthians 3:18 tells us, "Beholding in a glass (like a mirror) the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord"

(At this point, I used an object lesson with a flashlight and some mirrors.  I asked a mom to come up and hold the flashlight.  She represented God.  Another mom came to hold a mirror, and we reflected the flashlight's light into the mirror.  Then I had a middle school girl come to hold another mirror.  She reflected the light from the mother's mirror as an example of a mother's influence in the lives of her daughters.)

Today, think about all of the treasure box blessings that have come into your life 
because you have a daughter 
or because you are a daughter...

Tell you moms how thankful you are for the blessings you have shared together!
Happy Mother's Day precious girls!

************

Just a quick note here - 

Please don't think my son is left out. Remember the lesson was for daughters of daughters!
Here are some of his additions to the treasures in the box.





Update on the box:

I re-used an old wooden purse that I had decoupaged many years before as a my treasure box.

 I had became inundated with small gifts that I did not want to lose, 
and decided that it would be the perfect box for these treasures from my children.
School fair prize rings, poems, church gifts, and other little trinkets.
It soon filled.
And was put away.

Until the grandchildren came along, 
and I found out they loved sitting on the floor and going through these things with me.

And there were new laughs... laughing at the things their mom and uncle had done!

Of course, that meant that Waldo started to show up again...outside of his box.

I now have a new box...a grandma's treasure box.

And Waldo will be staying there.
Complete with his warning note.

(But please, don't tell Bud!!)


************

While the Bible says that the stars sing, it never says the moon laments.
There is something there to ponder...

************

Want to sing with some stars and whales?
Louie Giglio with a different kind of soundtrack to How Great is Our God!






Sunday, April 10, 2016

When You Can't Hang on to Familiar



After the celebrations end, 
there are some things that can be a little rough for a new bride.

Especially when the adventure takes place in a setting away from home.

There is something that you may not have prepared for...
An unexpected loss of familiar.



We started our life together by moving on the day after the wedding.
Our new home was four and a half hours away. 

Now, I am well aware that four and a half hours is not far,
but to me it was a world away from the things where I found comfort.

Things I was accustomed to that were just simply gone.

Favorite spots.

Even the grocery stores around us now had unfamiliar names!

Little details, yes.  But familiar little details.

The life before, the life that I took for granted.

Add to that the physical absence of a support system.

Family and friends who were no longer a few miles down the road.

There was after all, no facebook.  

And now just a phone call away carried pretty hefty long distance fees
especially for newlyweds on a tight budget!

At first all of the "new" made everything even more of an adventure.

Finding new places that would now be "our" spots was exciting.

Intriguing to explore the new surroundings together.

As long as we were together this new life was nothing but an adventure.  

Did I mention that I had a husband who was frequently sent to work in other places 
... away from home.

Away from me.

Of course, we were able to find a new support group in friends at a new church.

It was a huge blessing as well when I found older women who mentored me.

But all of that came later.  Community like we had known does not happen overnight.

And being alone at that time was a huge change to the life I knew.

A house with four girls can be a chattery place.

When Bud was gone, the house resonated silence.

Being by myself made the silence more intense.

So I filled the silence with music.

Music has always been a healing balm.
And now it became a healing balm for my lonliness.

And one song in particular stood out.  

It was sung by Danny Gaither, Bill Gaither's brother.
An old hymn called "O Love that Will Not Let Me Go".

The arrangement moves slow and his voice is beautiful
and the words filled the empty spaces in my heart
and pointed me to Jesus.

Always choose songs that point to Jesus.

Just recently I found a new arrangement of this song by Indelible Grace.  It is not so slow. 
Instead of a peaceful tone, it takes on a more joyful one.
I really like it.

The story of the hymn  brought a fresh perspective 
and made the message of the song new for me again.

A timeless message for loneliness... as well as the struggles of days yet to come.

God loves you and you are not alone.

His presence can change any situation you face.

His nearness always has been and always will be our good as we lean hard into His love.

The words for this song were written by George Matheson 
and it was written at a time of intense loneliness for him.

Written on the night of his sister's wedding.

A beautiful tribute to a good God whose love never ever ends.


So check out this hymn and its story and let it remind you.  

God loves you.  He has you.  You are not alone.

If you know the pain of loneliness or you have found yourself in unfamiliar territory.  

If you are living life without the support system of friends and family you had grown so used to.  

If you are way outside of anything resembling a comfort zone.

Jesus knows where you are and what you are going through.  


He knows the hairs on your head and every healthy or rogue cell in your body.  

He holds you tight in his hand and He will not let you go.


He is never ever ever ever going to leave you.

He loves you that much.

So thankful that George Matheson got it
and wrote ...




________________________


The lace bobbin used in the pictures was made by Anthony Archer and purchased when I lived in England during the 80's.  The message on this bobbin may have been inspired by a quote in the corner of a movie poster for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", but for me it spoke loud clear of this hymn that had meant so much to me and still does.
"We are not alone"

_________________________


Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.
Ps. 23:4