Clean Your Drawers…

 

drawer messy2   Ever wander around the house and even though you have a hundred things to do you don’t know what to do?

Sometimes I think we need to clear the cobwebs out of our brains… We need bright blue sky vision even when its cloudy. We need a walk with the wind in our face when we can’t leave the house. We need flowers in a vase when a bloom isn’t in sight…

rose vase2

I’m one of those people on a guilt trip if I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing something. I can’t just pick up a magazine and clear the cobwebs that way…

So recently, in one of those moods to do something but not wanting to do anything that ‘had’ to be done, I opened a drawer… Wow, what a mess, I wasn’t even sure what all was in there. The first drawer was filled with note cards and stationery stuff. A couple of desk drawers later and I was hooked…

I went to the bathroom and pulled open drawers. To the kitchen, to my bedroom… I filled a box of ‘give aways’ and a trash can of ‘get rid ofs’…

There’s something freeing about getting rid of clutter. Will I really use the that old lipstick, the sticky nail polish? What’s up with the old keys, the free stress ball?

This is just the beginning, a few drawers isn’t enough. There are boxes and paper piles and, oh my, closets…

Maybe stuff crowds out who we are… Maybe clearing some breathing space let’s us exhale some simplicity… Next time you’re walking around in circles with a million things to do, clean out a drawer…

drawer2

 

Lighthouse for the Soul…

lighthouse soul     A few years back my best friend visited the area where I live. One outing I planned was to visit a lighthouse, climb to the top, look at the awesome view, and have lunch…

To the top was about 108 feet of winding corkscrew steps…It wasn’t until we were about two-thirds the way up that I noticed she was pale and trembling. Loving friend that I am I asked what was wrong – come to find out she has a fear of heights (I had no idea). As only a best friend would do I said ‘So you want to go to the top or not?’ (she did). Needless to say lunch was delayed while she regained her composure on firm ground…

Funny, isn’t it – we think we know someone so well and yet what should have been an obvious fact, goes unnoticed. We need a beacon showing us the way to the hearts of those we love. Shedding light on their fears, their dreams, their victories, their vulnerabilities…

lighthouse to their hearts

Being a lighthouse keeper meant sacrificing a lot of comfort. It meant risking danger and well being to keep the light burning – so others could find safe harbor. Perhaps a bit more sacrifice on our part: time-giving, truly listening… Maybe we could light the way to safe harbor for our friend’s, our husband’s, our children’s unknown souls??

Fast forward a few years and outings since that lighthouse trip and once again we found ourselves where there was a lighthouse – one I hadn’t been to yet. This one towered 175 feet up. Walking in we craned our necks to see as far as we could.  Up to the first landing we went, looked out the window, came back down, and…went to lunch.

Rather spend a long lunch knowing each other even better than trekking to the top to see the view….

lighthouse stairs 2

 

 

Wander or Wonder?

butterfly labeled     Don’t we all wish we could retire (no matter what age we are 26 or 56) and just wander…

I love east Tennessee and the times I’ve been able to spend there always find me wandering… Wandering along a hiking trail, beside the Little River, driving through The Great Smoky Mountains – wandering in and out of antique stores, in and out of local restaurants or museums…

I wander around where I live now and then too – along the beach, a drive along the coast north, in out of the grocery store, the post office, the bank – oh yeah, I was setting the scene for all those perfect vistas…

I can wander without leaving my chair – my mind wanders to long ago days of childhood, or my children’s childhood – long ago days of newly married of young and full of energy – to times spent with girlfriends and now adult children…

We all wander whenever the opportunity arises – but how often do we wonder?

Take a look at the lizard on this rose leaf, if it wasn’t for his tail he wouldn’t be as long as the leaf, and the leaf was not much more than an inch long… what a wonder so tiny can be so perfect…

lizardonleaf3

Don’t you want to wonder? The Creator of all that’s around us, in all the places we have been and have never been, has made everything a wonder – so that we can be awestruck and that we can give Him praise. It is wonder that we are knit in a womb, that a caterpillar emerges a butterfly, that a seed emerges a stalk of grain, that water invisibly evaporates and becomes cloud, that the earth spins at a 1,000 mph!

It is a wonder that man’s brain can conceive a light bulb, a telephone, a computer, the internet – transplanting a heart, soaring into space…

Take time this week to wander into wonder – as the old song says ‘What A Wonderful World’ – may this week be Wonder-Full…

world 2 labeled

 

Fresh Pillowcases

pillowcase2     I have a favorite chore: laundry. I don’t understand why people don’t like doing laundry – you put it in the machine that cleans it, you pull it out of the machine that dries it…

No other chore is that easy – guess it’s not that way everywhere, but I’m guessing most reading this do have the luxury – even if it means going to a laundermat to use theirs…

I remember the first laundermat I ever went to, I was about four or five living in a tiny little town. The laundermat was next to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. At this laundermat you put the clothes in the washer but when they were done and water drained out, there was a ringer attached to the top that you rolled them through to get the excess water out… and then we took them home and hung them on the line outside.

We’ve come a long ways – thank goodness. I love the smell of clothes out of the dryer – (I don’t use scented dryer sheets) – especially the cotton loads… Pillowcases and cotton night gowns pulled fresh from the dryer – I bury my face in them and breathe deep…

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I can’t put my finger on why I like that smell so much – but I’m certain it must remind me of some time in my life that was really pleasant or maybe the smell just reminds me of simpler times…

Fresh sheets on the bed and fresh pillow cases are always a treat that first night you crawl in. Such a simple pleasure, one we take for granted…

I’m thinking we shouldn’t take any pleasures for granted for they could be gone in an instant – we never expect this time to be the last time, or surely we would savor every moment. But what if we did live a little like this time could be the last time? What if we linger over the clothes fresh from the dryer, the drive out of the neighborhood, the shopping cart we push through the store?

Fresh pillowcases – a reason to pause, inhale and exhale, take in the ordinary to see how fabulous now is…

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!  Click on the Living Braver link at the top, perhaps fear is an issue you would like to chat about…

D.I.E.T.

 

diet1     Nine days into the New Year – stores have workout clothes, workout videos, healthy food options, and so on as their big displays. Diet looms in the air. Generally, I think everyone hates that word (me included). So I decided diet needed a new meaning this year – something we could get behind and stick with for the year…

In a world full of unpleasant, unwelcome, and sometimes downright heart wrenching things, how about we decide we don’t want to add to any of that if at all possible?…

Can we:

Decide to be more conscious of our mouths that often betray us: give our opinion only when asked, think before we blurt out our own defense, soften our tone…

Remember that there is almost always two sides to every circumstance and weigh the other party’s perspective instead of our narrow viewpoint ruling the day…

Consider the long-term outcome of our decisions instead of the short-term satisfaction…

And finally, how about we decide the glass is indeed half full (not half empty), that we get a lot more with ‘honey’ than we do with ‘vinegar’, that its best if ‘We don’t have anything nice to say, we don’t say anything at all’ ???

So this year I’m putting myself on the Do It Every Time… d.i.e.t.  The It is: consider others more highly than myself – and do it every time…

So for me before I honk at the driver in front of me, before I mutter under my breath at my spouse, before I lose patience with the person currently unnerving me — I will try to consider them more highly than myself… 

Want to join me on a New Year’s D.I.E.T.  and see if we can make our little world a happier place? Do It Every Time…

On Your Mark…

On Your Mark1     What? It’s 2015? Wait, wasn’t it just summer, just fall, just the holidays…

In the whirlwind we can miss it… The uniqueness of each day gets lost in the 365 that turns into New Year…

I’ve turned over the garden bed, turned over my resolutions, turned over the calendar page – with each turning am I turning over me?

Life isn’t stagnant – it’s ever changing, not just around, but in us. Can we go a whole year and not feel changed? I’ve noticed as I age the sunset is prettier, the sky is bluer, the wind is more refreshing – those things haven’t changed… my appreciation, and thus me, have…

The returning hero with one arm missing, appreciates all the more his ability to still pick up his little girl. Someday, she will ask ‘Why, daddy?’ and he will tell his story…

The recovering alcoholic now ten years dry, appreciates all the more his ability see life without the blur of alcohol. Someday he will be asked ‘Why’d you stop?’ and he will tell his story…

The aging grandma once young and vibrant appreciates each day left to watch her children, grandchildren, cat. Someday she’ll be asked, ‘Write it down?’ and she will tell her story…

All our stories are full of ups, downs, smiles, frowns – a weaving of time. But stories shared to tell of self leave the reader empty – all stories must point to the Author of that life. A life well-lived is a life lived for more than self – lived for the Life Giver. Those stories stand the test of time, inspire the reader/hearer, those stories show eternity is for real…

So, On Your Mark, Get Set – Live ….. in such a way your story inspires…

Story Inspires

Next Year…

Frog Pic2     Next year I will…, kind of like ‘tomorrow is another day’ from Gone With the Wind…  The Stories of Our Lives is so much more… Your story, my story, the 90 something story, sometimes even the story of a 10 year old, is extraordinary…

The frog (pictured above) on my window is a reminder of how the tiniest of creation can be a call to us to see: open our eyes, be aware, take it all in, don’t blink – to see how extraordinary the everyday is. I would bet, where I live anyways, a frog appears somewhere everyday on a window or wall outside someplace…

One brief moment in time, however, this one appeared on my window… Like a greeting: ‘Helloooo, stop for a minute, look at me! See my big eyes, look at the suction cups on my toes, notice how parts of me are almost see-through.” All that detail and he wasn’t more than an inch or so big.

I could have missed it, but extraordinary caught me: ‘grab the camera, quick before he’s gone’. Sure enough one shot was all I got of him…and he sprang away to some other locale.

Extraordinary catches us when we’re in the midst of ordinary, because ordinary is never ordinary! The rainbow in the dish soap bubbles is not ordinary. The movement of clouds across the sky is far from ordinary. Extraordinary happens when we pause just long enough and…..look.

2015 is Next Year and it’s almost here, but guess what? You don’t have to wait. Decide now to pause at least once each day and this time Next Year, you will have memories of 365 extraordinary days…

Joy…Full, Joy…Full

snowmanjoy closeonwreath1     There is a song now 107 years old that starts off Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, God of love…

With Christmas just six days away is our joy…full? Even in the absence of happiness, joy is to be our heart’s outlook…

Over 2,000 years ago an angel declared “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10 NIV)

Today is a tribute to a friend who may not still be with us this Christmas but who lived life with great joy, her name is Lorrie. Wife, mother, grandmother, friend to all – and daughter of God. Upon meeting her almost thirty years ago I thought the person who introduced her said her name was Glory. Being a new Christian, I thought ‘Wow, how spiritual’… Well if anyone should have ever been named Glory it was Lorrie. I have never known a more giving person, never known anyone who smiled at life the way she does, no one who ever brought glory to God more than she has…

A brain tumor has plagued her for a couple years – when she is gone she will be sorely missed. But guess what – her joy will indeed be great as the very one whose spirit indwells her and made her the joy-full person she is all her days, will be hugging her, restoring her, and calling to our hearts to remember her joy in Him…

I wish each of you a Merry Christmas – let joy rule no matter the rush, the mess-ups, the craziness, (even the sadness) of the world… Joy-full, Joy-full, adore Him, give Him the glory…

joy wreath1

 

Starry Night…

Starry Night1     Have you ever gone camping? How about a cruise? How about lived or visited an area without many lights? Far from man made lights, gazing up at the night sky, its breathtaking to see the number stars…

If the naked eye can see that many, just imagine…imagine how very many there are, each one unique…

I have never had the opportunity, as many of us never will, to gaze out into space through a powerful telescope – the pictures that have been recorded are a sight to behold…

Sometimes when I gaze at that starry night I don’t want to blink, I don’t want to forget, I want to see even more…

Eternity has been set in our hearts and in the perfection of eternal I can only begin to fathom what sights we might be able to take in…forever — flowers we’ve never seen, birds we’ve never heard, ocean depths we’ve never dived, vistas we’ve never climbed…endless and forever – and oh, the stars of the universe in their brilliance and colors our mind has never even imagined…

Imagine

Have you seen the internet pictures of the brightly colored frogs of the Amazon rain forest – there’s even more spectacular than these awaiting… Have you seen the pictures of the Northern Lights – there’s lights of colors we don’t know exist… Have you seen pictures of frozen beauty, coral reefs, rainbows from airplane view – these and more someday ours to behold — FOREVER!

This starry night go out away from the lights, look up, imagine…

FOREVER

 

Take My Breath Away…

 snow at morning1    How can we find the hush even in the rush… Find quiet for our souls… Let our breath be taken away???

In the excited face of the impoverished child opening a gift – let us give that his face can shine…

In the flurry of snow caught in the moon light, later breaking into a crystal clear morning…

In the shelter dog cleaned and groomed with red ribbon on his neck walking through his new home’s door…

In the crystal clear voice that sings Angels We Have Heard On High and Joy To the World and Silent Night…

In the great grandmother holding the next generation both staring in astonishment…

In the wounded soldier returning to cheers and hugs and kisses and his momma…

Breath taking moments aren’t in the gifts, in the decorations, in the programs, in the shopping… Take your breath away comes in the hush… When one more day is given to the ailing parent, a clear memory for even just a moment to the Alzheimer’s spouse, energy enough to open gifts by the child with cancer…

Breath taking is a God who won’t leave you as you are but constantly tugs at your heart, breath taking is His love so deep that He would trod the same earth we do, breath taking is a splintered and blood spattered cross, breath taking is His death given that we might live forever…

In the noise and chaos it is the silence of the moment that speaks to our soul and takes our breath away…

 

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Mandy Hughes

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