Thankful Mudpies & Puddles

puddle jumping1     Go ahead, stomp in the puddle… Why not? It’s the stuff thankfulness and this time of year (really any time as far as I’m concerned) is made for. Puddles to splash in with bare feet or rubber boots. Heading into the holidays we need to look at the simple so we don’t get caught up in the must do’s…

Mud pies aren’t just for 3 year olds. I was putting in some new flowers by the front door and dumped out a pot of old dirt and mushed it up with water. Then I really looked – seeing the mud squish through my gloved hands, I couldn’t resist. I pulled off the gloves and…you know, I squished the mud through my fingers…and then…patted some together and held it up for inspection…

When I peered up towards the neighbors’ homes and sensibly put back on my gloves I wondered…Why are we so reluctant to have fun in the midst of…life? So when I rounded the corner to where the hose was (living in South Florida this can still be done in November) I kicked off my shoes and did a little happy dance in the puddle…

Less than one week from Thanksgiving and only, count them, 34 days until Christmas – before it all gets to you, make fun while your making pancakes (you know make some Mickey Mouses) or cut the sandwich in the shape of heart. Really want to let go – wear two color of socks (that’s what my granddaughter does, the brighter the color the better) and then show everyone.

Being thankful isn’t about all the obvious, it’s about all the extraordinary, wonderful little things – the dragonfly stopping briefly, the red petunia smiling up, the perfect sunset…

Dare you – stomp in the next puddle you find… (boots optional)…

perfect sunset2  dragonfly cropped1  red petuniasss1

EXTRAordinary…

??????????      Ordinary doesn’t exist – I have never seen an ordinary sunrise, an ordinary dragonfly, or ordinary child…

Have you beheld an ordinary starlit night, heard an ordinary thunderstorm, gazed into ordinary eyes, felt an ordinary kiss? How about an ordinary ocean wave, black bear, or geyser?

Even in the everyday – all is extraordinary – a best friend’s call, the buzz of the bee, the purr of a cat…

from phone 446

Ordinary only happens when we elevate self above others – and above God. Then the lined and weathered face becomes just another senior citizen, the train whizzing by just another delay, the Star Bucks clerk just another cup of coffee…

Today look for the EXTRAordinarysee beyond self — to feel the wild blowing wind, follow the wagging puppy tail, breathe in the fireplace scent. Glory in the smile sent your way, the hummingbird in motion and still all at the same time, the apple pie making your mouth water…

Know there is no ordinary and thank Him for the wonder called: l i f e…

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

 

 

 

Antique People…

hankies chest1     Antique stores are fun… I don’t know much about authenticity or values – my interest lies in the history, in the uniqueness, in the beauty (and a good deal of course)…

Actually I do cringe a little when I see things I had as a little girl or as a young woman proudly displayed in an antique store – ummm, gulp, do I say “Oh I had those dolls, lunch pails, glassware when I was little?” or do I say “Wow look at these old things, I’m sure somebody thought they were cool back in the day.” Depends on if the person I’m with is 20 something or 50+ something…

Once when I visited my mom I went in the kitchen to find her with a blow pop sucker in her mouth rummaging through the cabinet to find more snacks. I couldn’t help but laugh, for the moment all the wrinkles betraying her age were missing and all I saw was a little girl getting her sugar fix… She reminded me of the little wooden figurine I saw once that had a caption painted on the bottom of her dress: ‘Grandmas are just antique little girls…’

tea cups1

I think if I were to collect ‘antiques’ I would prefer people – people who have the lines to show the wear and tear, the memories to share, the wisdom to make a difference, the perspective of time… Antique people show this life can be survived, can tell stories that mesmerize, offer advice that’s solid, and can make today (and tomorrow – and yesterday) have the right importance…

So perhaps a visit a week with someone who doesn’t have a lot of others like them left around, you know a real antique with real value because its getting rarer by the day – maybe that’s the antiques we should wander around a few hours admiring…

catinchair1

 

 

Interior Decorator…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     Many years ago, when I was much younger and starting out with a home of my own, my husband and I were invited to dinner by a co-worker of his. As we pulled up to a very large and stately home, I couldn’t help but be impressed. We were invited into the entry as his wife descended the stairs. I thought I was in a scene from Gone With the Wind. When I complimented her on her beautiful home she replied “Nothing $50,000.00 and a good interior decorator couldn’t fix.” I have never forgotten it…

We seem never to be satisfied…

I was recently on beautiful St. Simons Island and, of all things, was touring a cemetery. It was a beautiful setting and I was clicking away with my camera. All the tress were draped in moss. This tree struck me – moss hung like tinsel from it’s branches, looking like someone had purposely hung each strand…

???????????????????????????????

I think God is a much better decorator than all of us combined – and I think the decorating He would most like to do is interior… Us on in the inside: a few tweaks to our ego here, a heart filled with wonder and gratitude there, a soul painted with His wisdom…

Whoever started shabby chic had it right… It’s not about what you don’t have, it’s about what you have to work with and making it beautiful for the only One who matters…

The Anniversary…

31 anniv     31 Years is a long time, a short time. Sweet are the memories – young years spent planning, child rearing years spent smiling, remaining years spent hand in hand…

Last year the longest married couple in America celebrated their 81st anniversary – they eloped in 1932! On that anniversary they were 102 and 98 – that is a long marriage, but hand in hand they are still smiling and it seems short…

A sweet couple we love married this year, full of plans and love and looking forward to life. A short time, yet a long time in coming if you ask them…

Photographs have captured the last few generations… Makes me sound old, but my earliest poses were in black and white. With my children it seemed like forever to wait a week to get our ‘snapshots’ back, all the while hoping they were in focus. Now we take instant pictures on our phone and share them in the same instant…

Couples blessed to spend a lifetime together will gladly share their secrets…laughter, respect, forgive quickly, most of all having Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior…

Most men would agree ‘Yes, dear’ is always the best answer, and most women would agree ‘You’re so smart’ works really well… Yet all who are blessed with a lifetime definitely agree, it’s not long enough…

 

Wooly Worms…

 worm3      Have you heard? In a little town in North Carolina there’s a round of races about to happen. It isn’t runners, it isn’t cyclists, it isn’t cars…It’s Wooly Worms! Back in the 1940s a scientist exploring the area started studying these furry guys. He noticed over the seasons that sometimes they had more orangey brown fur in the middle and other times less. He began to correlate the amount of brown fur in the middle to how mild or severe the coming winter would be. The more brown, the milder, the less brown the more severe…

worm1 In the 1970s the townsfolk decided to take the scientific research a bit further as sometimes there were worms with both a lot and a little brown fur in a given season. So they developed the Wooly Worm races. The worm who wins the final race predicts the coming winter.

 worm2    Here’s how it works – find your worm (or buy one if you must), give him a great racing name, enter the next race. When your race time arrives proceed to the stage where the race track of vertical lines of string line the billboard at the back of the stage. When the bell sounds place your worm at the beginning of the string and do whatever you think will spur your worm on to victory. (I blew warm air on mine and told him I had lots of juicy leaves – hey, it worked!)

    It’s a blast…Try it, you’ll be hooked (oops don’t say that word in front of your worm…)

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

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