Pick Me, Pick Me…

PumpkinPatch1    I volunteered to work once a week at the ‘pumpkin patch’ – to raise money for kids for camp. Pumpkin patches aren’t really something you see in south Florida – we just import the pumpkins and pretend we live where its fall. Heck, we’ll even put on a plaid shirt and boots with our shorts when it’s still 88 outside just to make sure we are part of fall.

Its fun to watch the kids look for a pumpkin, the youngest ones pick up the first one they see, the more seasoned pickers (you know 5 year olds) they roam around a little longer. Seems like the boys always want the biggest ones and girls always want the ones with a curly cue dried up stalk or one that has bumps on it.

Years ago when my children were little we went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. One little girl’s grandparents came with her. After carefully assessing the candidates she made her decision. Her grandmother asked are you sure this is the one, what makes you choose that one “Oh, grammy, this one just said to me: ‘Pick me’ “.

That’s how I feel when I go to the garden center. I’m quite sure each rose bush is broadcasting: ‘pick me’. I know that when it’s viola time of year all of the violas shout at me: ‘pick me’.

That’s how we are all our lives – when we’re young we hope to be picked to be on the team, when we’re adults we hope we are the ones picked for the job opening, we want to be picked as the one he/she will marry, we want to be picked as the winner of the grand prize – always hoping to be picked…

In Christ you don’t have to shout ‘pick me’ – life with Him is a gift he gladly hands your way, all you have to do is accept…

 

Share Your Bench

bench1  My hairdresser told me about her three year old granddaughter who liked to get really close to whoever she was talking to and stare right in their face. She was trying to teach her about ‘personal space’ when they were out in public. She told her “Now, Taylor, people you don’t know well, don’t want you to come real close, so give them their personal space.” A few days later she took her to the doctor’s office for a check-up, they sat on a bench in the waiting area. A few minutes later a man came in and sat down next to Taylor. She looked up at him and said “Oh please, personal space!”

So often we don’t want to share our bench. Last spring I took a walk down to the park. It was a work day so not a lot of people were around. I came upon a lovely bench shaded by a tree blooming bright red flowers. I sat for a long time and looked out at the water and thought about a lot of things. It was my bench. An older gentleman who lived across from the park walked his dog down to water’s edge and asked if I would mine if he sat for a few moments.

He told me how his wife had died years ago, how he was from Chicago, he had served twenty-five years in the Navy, had a son who didn’t visit much. I quietly listened. After a short while he said “Do you live nearby?” When I explained that I did he said “You were so kind to share your bench. Not many people want to listen to an old man go on. Next time you walk by wave hello.”

I think I will never think of a bench as ‘mine’ again…

 

Living Courage

Living Courage (5)   31 Days to BRAVER! This site is about living courageously. So often we are presented with opportunities, challenges, things not in our comfort zone and we let fear dictate our actions. A friend of mine, Renee Ratcliffe, recently said “The risk of failure outweighs the regret of never trying.” That, my friends, is a profound statement.

Think about a time you “didn’t” because of the risk of failure and how after the opportunity was gone you lived in regret so wishing you “had”. I want to live in courage and I want to explore what that means with you. From October 1-31, 2014 I will write what I am learning through God’s grace and leading. Walk with me into Braver and please leave your comments as you grow in courage…

Use the Good Stuff…

ice tea2 with text     Sipping iced tea from a wine glass makes it even better…

Recently I served tea to my girlfriend and I in wine glasses. She thought it was wonderful. It reminded me of something: my grandmother always ‘put away’ her nice things to use for ‘good’ – meaning she would only use them on special occasions. When she passed away all the pretty night gowns and bathrobes my mother had given her over the years were nice and neat in the bottom drawer, never worn.

It disappointed my mom – she loved using the good stuff all the time. I on the other hand have tended to be one who uses the good stuff only on special occasions. I thought how much it must disappoint God when He blesses us with all we have and we only use it on special occasions.

All the tucked away fine china, linens, jewelry, clothing, etc. We also tuck away our special gifts or talents. All these things only brought out for ‘special occasions’. Wouldn’t every day be special if we used the good stuff? Wouldn’t we reach more hearts if we used our talents for all and not just some?

I think I’ll serve oatmeal in the red garnet bowls tomorrow morning, use cloth napkins when we eat burgers, and send a just because poem or note to someone – just because! Wear your best jewelry to the grocery store sometime – use the good stuff! Enjoy today because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone

X Marks the Spot…

x in sand 2   We walked the beach at end of day – the time when light lingers long enough, but night is not too far.

Purposing to see everything the shore had to offer. Not to just walk and come back as though it were checked off a list. But to walk and return knowing we had witnessed the beauty and impressed it in our hearts.

Waves crashing, drowning out all else. A welcome breeze pushing humidity and cooling our skin. Pale crabs, nearly the color of sand, scurrying into holes. Sandpipers running as fast as their little legs can carry them. Still there was something more I was to see, keep walking…

Clicking pictures of everything I kept sensing Him. Feeling His nudging – look, look at all this, this small piece of life, this right now moment. It was this right now moment as I looked down into the sand – where little sandpiper tracks had crossed each other. Their pattern a perfect X in the sand…

Mark this memory, mark this time, this sharing of life with your friend, this breathing in of the salt air, this cacophony of sound. Mark it in your heart for though life is full, this moment, this time is now and you will only have it this once.

“…let all your words be good for benefiting others according to the need of the moment, so that they may be a means of blessing to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 WNT

 

Love In The Cement…

Some ordinary days turn extraordinary – especially when you have a dust rag in your hand…

My afternoon was humming along, checking off the list: bathroom clean check box, floors vacuumed check box, laundry folded check box, dusting (underway). My hubby was being helpful by getting the black speckled walkways pressure washed after a hot, humid summer.

He came in and said “Taking a break, got a phone call.” I called out “Do they look any better?” “You tell me” he says. So we walk out and it’s looking good when we get to the driveway…

love in the cement

Love is truly blind because at first I didn’t see the artwork, I saw a particularly black area off to the side and commented. As my mouth finished my eyes caught sight of the important…

This man has put up with a lot and if you could have seen me in worn out shorts, old t-shirt, and unwashed hair, you would have asked, ‘What does the man see in her?’

I wish I could say at that moment that I acted like a teenager and threw down my dust rag and wrapped my arms around him in adoration. Instead I smiled and said “That’s too cute, are you going to leave it for my friends to see?” And that was it, back to check boxing off the boxes.

God gives brilliant blue sky sunrises, paints pinky orange sunsets, and sets the birds in formation across the horizon and we say ‘Isn’t that beautiful’ and drive on down the road. He gives us furry cat antics, wet dog kisses, and little mud pie hands and we say ‘These kids and pets are making a mess.’

Oh for a rewind button that we could see with eyes that acknowledge the gifts – and imprint them in our hearts and memories forever…

Tears & Terror

bunny1withtext      Daily the world sheds tears – it cowers in terror. It has been so since the beginning of time. Yet, in this day and in this time, it seems magnified. So much sorrow and pain, so much fear and anxiety.

Yet the bunny outside my window eats the grass in peace. The bird sings and builds her nest in peace. But we, God’s highest creation, wring our hands and despair.

“Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken… When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:26&28 NIV)

News tonight will tell of those who wreak terror, of security breaches, of Ebola, of volcanoes and earthquakes. It will tell of death and sadness.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)

Our strength is not in man or medicine, in money or position, in government or armies… “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) Rest in Him and find your strength. The tears and terrors of this world will only increase, but take heart He has overcome the world…

GLOVES…& Simpler Times

Gloves2   The year was 1963. Ladies never left home, to go shopping or anyplace in public, unless properly dressed, children included. Never mind it was the middle of summer in Florida. This five year old had to wear a dress, with a slip underneath, ankle socks with lace, and… gloves.

It was proper. It was how ladies, even at five, presented themselves. And, no, I wasn’t high society. We lived in a rented little house, in a little nowhere town on the Florida panhandle. We did laundry in the tub and hung it on the line and we thought chocolate milk was a special treat.

Buffalo nickels were something you put in your piggy bank. A Thumbelina doll who could move her head was all I could think about since I had seen her on our black and white TV. We didn’t have seatbelts or car seats and I stood in the seat next to my momma or daddy whenever we went into town.

That was a mere fifty-one years ago. Some things have improved or changed for the better, some definitely not so much. I think, looking back, there might be something to be said for caring about how we present ourselves in public. What do you think?

Will You Pass This Way Again…

will you pass this way again   A tree lined park, a shady path, a stream – things painters illustrate, writers help us imagine, and we often take for granted.

Winding our way along such a path my husband noticed the bark of certain trees was peeling off and laying in long coils on the ground. He handed one to me and I said “Hey, I could add this to my collection of cool things in the bowl at home.” He asked if I wanted more and I said “We’ll pick up more on our way back.” We didn’t go back the same way; we didn’t pass that way again.

My mother passed away a few years ago. The last time I visited, before the aneurism ruptured and she went into the hospital, I spent a couple of precious days with her. Yet I was anxious to get back because I had a business to run. How I wish I had spent a few more days, more lingering moments. I cannot pass that way again.

A chorus from an old song says:”We have this moment to hold in our hands ~ And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand; ~ Yesterday’s gone. And tomorrow may never come. ~ But we have this moment today.”

In the rush of our days let’s not take for granted those moments, people, sunsets that may not come our way again…

The Crab In the Pool

Crab1  This crab really is ‘pretty’. Definitely a female – she had on a blue mask, red lipstick, her larger claw was polished and white. But she found herself in a pool she didn’t bargain for…

At times I’ve found myself in pools like that. When I was younger I often jumped right in without weighing the outcomes: is the fun right now worth the pain/shame/guilt/whatever tomorrow (I didn’t always stop to ask).

As I began to mature, I occasionally ventured into a pool that didn’t quite suit me. I made friends that weren’t in a healthy place. I made buying choices that sometimes didn’t fit the budget. I watched movies not quite right for a Christian/wife/mom.

Like my new friend, the crab in the pool, I have sometimes spent more time on how I look on the outside than who I am on the inside. Then try as I might to get out of the slippery edged pool, I found myself stuck in the comparison pool.

Fortunately for the ‘pool crab’ I had a net handy. Even though she fought my attempts to rescue her, in the end I set her on dry ground and she ran for cover. How like us… We fight change, ignore sound advice, or get wrapped up in self. Our heavenly Father comes along with His net, precious forgiveness, and sets us on dry ground. Unlike the crab, we don’t need to run for cover, we can stand in the warmth of His light, a new creation…

HAPPY TODDLER PLAYTIME

PLaY CReaTivEly WitH YoUr LiTtLe OnE

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