Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Musings

Over the last few months, I've thought a lot about my life and what it will mean when the lights dim and the final curtain falls. Death happens to someone every day, and even though I’m not sick now, I could be dead before morning. Will I have impacted anyone at all?

In reality, each sunrise is a gift from God, unique and irreplaceable. Its hours may be used or misused, invested or thrown away. The choice is mine to make, and I make that choice every day.

In a discussion with my dad last night, I mentioned that life is filled with so many distractions. Instead of seeking quiet moments of solitude, where God can speak to my hushed heart, I gravitate toward noise and busyness. Radios. Televisions. Cooking. Shopping. Facebook. You name it. Going and doing. Seeing and saying. Making time for everything except silence.

As 2010 unfolds, I want to use my hours more wisely, not allowing this life—and all its alluring trinkets—to become my focus, my passion, what drives me every day. I want to close the door on outside forces, make time for looking upward and focus on things that will truly matter when the final curtain falls. ♦

The gorgeous sunrise picture was taken by my twin Dayle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

An indescribable feeling of peace settles over me as I snuggle under my afghan in my comfy leather chair. Michael BublĂ© croons in the background. Coffee brews in the kitchen. A freshly-laid fire crackles in the fireplace. Home, sweet home.

How well I remember those initial post-divorce months of stumbling in the dark, wondering if I’d ever feel at home again. After 20 years of marriage, how could I set up house and start over?

I read books that spoke of brighter days ahead. My family assured me. My friends hugged me. But fear kept lurking, and tears often fell. I wanted brighter days now. I didn't want to travel the long, winding road before me. I wanted a helicopter, a way out, a miracle of vast proportions.

But, of course, no helicopter appeared. No miracle lifted me to mountain heights, where mighty eagles soar. Instead, like everybody else facing the inky darkness of the dreaded unknown, I had to walk that long, winding road as best as I could. It was the toughest assignment of my life, but with God, family and friends, I found the courage to put one foot in front of the other and move forward—inch, by tedious inch; mile, by tedious mile.

Seven years later, life isn’t bump-free—I still inch forward on occasion. But no matter how bumpy the road or foggy the trail, coming home brings blessed relief.

Thank you, Father, for guiding me each day. Your provisions amaze me. Your mercies restore me. Home is sweet because of you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mosaic Monday - Wonders Outside My Door

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament shows his handiwork,"
Psalm 19:1

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marvelous Works Don't Come Easy

The year I turned 20, my mother—an expert with needles and threads—asked if I’d be interested in learning to crochet. I wasn’t interested in the least, but she repeated the question often enough that I finally gave in and said OK.

Three decades and umpteen afghans later, I remain grateful for her powers of persuasion. Not only has crocheting brought me hours of tranquil pleasure, it is a reflector of life in so many ways.

Each piece of crochet begins with a single strand of shapeless thread. Red, yellow, black or white, the possibilities are all the same. An afghan? A doily? A sweater? A shawl? Whatever the creator wants, the creator can produce. All she needs is patience and a plan.

Likewise, we all begin life as common, shapeless human beings with infinite possibilities. Red, yellow, black or white, we’re all precious in the Creator’s sight. And although we might view ourselves as nothing more than shapeless threads rolled into fuzzy useless balls, the Creator doesn’t see us that way. He has a plan for the threads of our lives, and he longs for us to surrender the crochet needle and let him do a marvelous work.

Of course, surrendering is easier said than done. Too often, we expect the “marvelous work” to be finished overnight. Now! Pronto! Yesterday!

But, alas, marvelous works don’t happen overnight—I’ve made a few in my time. They require staying power, resolute focus and a steady stream of unvarying stitches.

How well I remember ripping out rows, and rows, and ROWS of one of my favorite afghans because I got in a hurry, lost my focus and skipped a line on the instruction sheet. It was a painful experience—ripping my beautiful afghan apart—but if I wanted a marvelous work, the ripping had to be done.

Similarly, our Creator longs to make something beautiful of our lives. He wants us to be useful in his Kingdom, but he won’t force us to surrender the needle and let him design his plan.

Like the good Father he is, he waits patiently while we crochet our own dreams and goals (making boo-boo, after boo-boo, after boo-boo) hoping that, one day, we’ll examine our lives in the light of his Word, conclude that something is terribly askew and surrender the needle to him.

Yes, the ripping might be painful. But the marvelous work will be sweet.

I'm linking up with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays. I hope you'll join me there for spiritual insight and inspiration.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Show and Tell Friday " - Poochies In A Basket

My mother has wonderful what-nots. One of my favorites as a child was this basket of poochies. In reality, it's a mother dog and her pups, but I always believed it represented me and my two sisters. The two puppies were me and my identical twin. The bigger dog was, of course, our big sister. Today, the poochies sit in my home office, reminding me of Mother and those carefree days of yore.

Hurry over to Cindy's delightful blog, "My Romantic Home," and see what other bloggers are sharing on this "Show and Tell Friday."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Lesson From Elaine

It was a balmy day in Mississippi. My big sister was about to tackle Driver's Education, chief instructor - Daddy.

Feeling adventurous, the entire family climbed aboard the Falcon station wagon, anxious to watch Elaine drive.

The Falcon was a stick shift, and Elaine listened attentively, as Daddy explained the gears. “Here’s first, second, third.”

Next, came clutch procedures.

“As you give the car gas, ease out on the clutch,” Daddy explained, demonstrating the procedure as he talked. “Give it gas and ease out,” he repeated, emphasizing the word ease.

After a few demonstrations, Elaine felt confident enough to take the wheel.

"Remember,” Daddy cautioned, as she settled into the driver’s seat, “ease out on your clutch.”

It sounded simple enough, but, alas, it wasn’t quite so simple.

Within seconds, the station wagon was bucking like a bronco in distress. Buck, buck, buck, buck. Down the dusty road we went.

Sprawled in the back of the wagon, my twin and I laughed uproariously, without a clue. Mother and Daddy had a clue, but they were laughing too hard to say anything.

Only Elaine remained calm as the Falcon lurched madly along, her hands on the wheel, her eyes on the road. She didn’t know how to improve the situation at hand, but someone on board did. She would wait for further instructions.

Perhaps your Falcon lurches madly along the King’s Highway today, and you’ve no idea how to reign it in. What sounded simple wasn’t simple after all. Buck, buck, buck, buck. Down life’s road you go.

Well, take a lesson from Elaine: Don’t panic. The Chief Instructor knows where you are. Just keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the prize and wait for His instructions.

"I will instruct thee…in the way which thou shalt go."
Psalm 32:8 

Prayer: Lord, when I don’t know how to stop the turmoil, help me remain calm and wait for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blue Monday - My Blue High Heels

I'm linking up with Smiling Sally's Blue Monday. It's my first time to share anything blue, and I'm anxious to see what everyone else has to offer. Here's mine...

Despite calluses, corns and notable crashes, I’ve been a wearer of high heels since I was 13. Here's a pair that I wore over 30 years ago, and they still make me smile. I think I kept them because of their uniqueness. (Or maybe I kept them because a guy friend called them "the sexiest pair of shoes" he'd ever seen in his life.) At any rate, they're still mine, and although I haven't worn them since 1978, I don't envision parting with them anytime soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Won't It Be Wonderful There

It was a four-hour trip from where I lived to my sister’s front door, but on this cold, rainy night, it seemed forever. My head was splitting, my muscles were aching and my less-than-ideal windshield wipers were driving me insane.

It didn’t help matters that, every five minutes, my young daughter asked, “Are we almost there?” “Are we almost there?” “Are we almost there?”

Indeed, the thought of being “there” urged me onward.

I’d been “there” before, you see, and I knew what awaited me: a roaring fire to warm my bones; an array of candles to soothe my senses; delectable smells coming from the kitchen—not to mention, my sister’s warm embrace.

No doubt about it, the house nestled among the pines was tailor-made for rainy nights and weary travelers.

But inviting though it is, my sister’s house can’t begin to compare with my Father’s house. Quite frankly, it doesn’t even come close.

No, I’ve never been to my Father’s house—I’ve never even seen it—but I know what awaits me: walls of jasper; gates of pearl; streets of gold; loved ones who’ve gone on before me.

It's a place of perfect peace, where death is a stranger. No hate. No crime. No war. No bills to pay. No clocks to punch. No telemarketers calling. Nothing but happiness while eternal ages roll.

Songwriter, James Rowe, put it this way: “Won’t it be wonderful there? Having no burdens to bear? Joyously singing, with heart bells all ringing. Oh, won’t it be wonderful there?”

Indeed, it will be, Mr. Rowe. And while I don’t wish to annoy anyone, I must ask: Are we almost there?

Is that the lights of home I see? Is the marriage supper of the Lamb about to begin? I smell something delectable coming from heaven’s portals, and I’m longing for my Father’s warm embrace.

“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

Dear God, when the road seems long and the rain unending, help me remember the joys that await. Amen.

I've blogged among friends for years, but thanks to some nudging from my twin sis, I'm easing out into the deeper waters of blogging. This is my first time to link up with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays. I hope you'll join me there for spiritual insight and inspiration.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Show and Tell Friday - My Wedding Ring

This is my virgin voyage aboard Cindy’s “Show and Tell Friday.” In fact, it’s my first time to dive into the vast sea of bloggers. I’ve blogged among friends for several years, but never left the shore for the deep water. Thanks to a bit of nudging from my fellow blogger (and beloved wombmate), Dayle, I decided to join in today. Cindy’s blog (My Romantic Home) is a delightful place to roam any day of the week. Hurry over and see what other bloggers are showcasing.

My husband put this ring on my finger at our wedding in the summer of 1982. My attendants were swathed in pastel. The groomsmen coordinated beautifully. Mother looked ravishing.

To the casual observer, Daddy appeared sad, walking me down the red-carpeted aisle that day, but believe me, he wasn’t. I was the last of three daughters to wed, and he couldn’t have been happier.

After delivering the marriage vows, the minister pronounced us man and wife. We sealed it with a kiss and exited to the sound of classical music.

As helium balloons soared toward a cloudless blue sky, the bride and groom dashed to the waiting limousine. The wedding was over. The marriage could begin.

I wish I could say the newlyweds lived happily ever after, following that lovely afternoon in May, but I can’t. In 2002, 20 years after saying I do, the groom decided he didn’t. Thus, my diamond ring now sits in a closet in a briefcase filled with “important things.”

When my friend Ann’s husband divorced her (after 30-plus years of marriage) she took a ride in a hotair balloon and tossed her ring as far as she could throw it. It represented her freedom to be whatever she wanted to be and to do whatever she wanted to do. She smiles everytime she tells the story, and I smile with her.

Maybe one day I’ll do as Ann did and rid myself of this ring that graced my finger for 20 years and symbolized forever. But for now, I’m keeping it in a closet in a briefcase filled with important things.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patient Love

Some days I wonder if it's all worthwhile. If my efforts are even noticed. If I'd be missed if I died in the night.

But then I think of God, and his unending love for me.

He gives. I take.

He loves. I leave.

He waits. I wander.

He calls. I ignore.

Yet, he still gives. He still loves. He still waits. He still calls. That's how unconditional love works. As the song says, "Love hurts."

Sometimes, yes, it does. But you keep on loving anyway.

"Love is patient, love is kind." 1 Corinthians 13:4

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 In Pictures

January - A Difficult Good-Bye

February - Delectable Desserts

March - Debuted in "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Twins and More"

April - Mom's Birthday Celebration

May - Mom's and Dad's 60th Anniversary Celebration

June - Father's Day with Dad

July - Fireworks

August - My lovely niece says, "I do."

September - Lunch with Michele
October - Another birthday with my beloved twin.

November - Thanksgiving at My Place

December - Family Christmas in Branson