Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sufficient and glorious grace.

Grace, just what my dull heart needed.

As I watch the twinkling Christmas lights across the neighborhood, it reminds me of the gift of grace.  Children delight in the new fallen snow and make pretend angels on the white blanket in their yard.  Neighbors reach out with cards, cookies, and calls of cheer.  They have forgotten their summer plight with weeds or noisy neighbor children. 
The world looks different during the holiday season.  People are smiling more, singing the carols that have lived in their hearts since childhood.  Sparkling eyes from the granddaughters remind me this season is truly magic and majestic.
Adult children return home to sniff the fragrance of the fresh evergreens and favorite recipes baking in the oven.  Stacks of frosted cookies remind them of their childhood.  Silver and red packages hold a mystery of what is to come on Christmas day.  Everyday has some precious memory of the past or that is being realized this day.
I call all this God’s grace.  I remember how unexpected His grace was on a sad and lonely day.  I understood His grace at the loss of my parents.  I embraced His grace when I first held my newborn sons.  I hunger for His grace more than for the roasting turkey, baked cookies, or seasonal cranberry recipes.  I see His grace as a white blanket that keeps me warm regardless of life’s turns and trials.  Because of God’s grace, I see with new eyes this season the birth of Christ. I know that it is grace that lifted my dull heart into one of expectancy of the second coming.  For grace, I am thankful.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Living life is hard work.

Hurts, heartaches, horrible depression, and more
Art work by Betty Fraley

I have been mentoring, encouraging, and learning from friends with bipolar disease and severe depression, a life long depression, or a deep hurt that plagues them every day, every hour.  God keeps sending these folks to me and I hurt for them.  Their daily lives are plagued with unrest, hurt, despair, and unimaginable mental and emotional pain. 

It puzzles me why God sends these people to me because I know nothing about how to fix them.  I do pray for them.  I try to write encouraging messages or share positive thoughts and views with them.  However, I am so inept, so insecure in this ministry that I totally lean on God.  I am weak.  Weak in a way that I just don’t know what could keep these folks encouraged or how to experience daily joy.  My only answer is Jesus, the healer, the provider, the counselor, and the one who is always faithful.  How do I impart that answer into them?

Spending over twenty years as a Young Life teacher and counselor taught me one clear principle.  Begin where they are.  Relate to their life this day.  Sometimes that is so hard for me because God wired me as a positive, mostly happy woman.  I forgive quickly and don’t hold grudges.  Nothing I do; God just made me that way.  I can find silver linings in most lessons and experiences in my life.  However, when I talk with these friends, those silver linings are more difficult to find and explain.  So, I am back to all I know to do.  Pray.

I do know that scripture makes it clear that grace and truth are Jesus’ provisions to us.  He has a plan for our lives. He’s got my hand and I’ve got His.  That is all I know to impart to my hurting friends.  He’s got their hand and all they need is to hold tightly. I think my plea today is for us all to be sensitive to others.  We don’t know their story, hurts, or pain.  Be diligent to pray for those the Lord brings to you.  That’s all I know.  Pray and pray some more.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Are you making history today?

Each day is the past in making.

            Since we are on vacation and viewing a lot of historical sights, I realized that each day we are making history.  As I walked by Civil War heroes’ statues in Savannah, I read quotes from them and read engraved markers about their strength and courage.  I wondered when these men and women made these decisions, if they realized they were making history.
Every time I visit Savannah, I take a walk along River Street to visit the statue of The Waving Girl. It is one of Savannah’s favorite stories.  The legend is that Florence Martus was the daughter of a sergeant stationed at Fort Pulaski. Florence, feeling alone, moved to a cottage along the river near the entrance of the harbor with her brother George, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse keeper.
I’ve read several versions of the story, but most agree that she was lonely and daily with her collie companion she would stand by the water and wave a white handkerchief to passing ships.  Soon sailors retuned her greetings by waving white flags or rags.  Often, they would send a horn blast to return her welcoming gesture. She continued this ritual for 44 years.  At night she would wave at passing ships with a lantern. 
The romantic in me enjoys the other legend that at eighteen Florence was courted by a sailor and fell deeply in love.  He gave her his Navy white handkerchief when he had to depart with his ship to unknown ports.  It was a promise that he would return.
I think there had to be a personal relationship that motivated her for 44 years. I think she wasn’t thinking of making history; yet, she did.  Perhaps he had a waving girl in every port, or maybe he was killed in battle.  No one knows, but her constant greeting of the ships made her a famous historical figure in Savannah.  Who knows the real truth? Only Florence I guess, but it is history today. 
Do any of my readers have a better motivation for a woman greeting boats for forty-four years?  I’d love to hear from you.  In the meantime, remember that you may be making history today.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Learning from a child.

Memories of the heart and lessons learned from a four and seven year old.

            For the last two weeks, we have been keeping our granddaughters, so Christine and John could enjoy a long deserved vacation alone in Italy.
            Meanwhile, I have had to resurrect my parental skills of bedtime rituals, packing lunches, and playing every available second of the day.  Sometimes my play is Uno, Barbie doing pretend ballet recitals, or creating art and doing craft projects. On sunny days, it is helping girls climb trees and walking in the park.  Every moment is utilized for fun if at all possible.  The day must stop for meals but other than that the girls have reminded me of the importance of play in life.
         I must admit I have a childlike spirit and enjoy play too.  My play usually is writing, painting, reading, or meditating.. Theirs is constant and changing. Diversity is important to their day. So, as I write this I am short of time but long in thoughts.  I am making a list of  a few of the  things these two gals have taught me in two weeks. 
          1. Do it now. " Mimi, let’s not wait one more minute."
         2." Can we have one more fairy story?" Creating a tale everyday keeps my mind writing and creating.
         3. “Well, let’s eat. You know Ava and I like different things.”
         4."Girls, settle down. Stop giggling and go to sleep." Older child says, " You giggle, Mimi."  Giggling is good for all of us.
         5. When everyone playing Uno gets beat by a four year old three times in a row, it is humbling. Little people need victories too.
         6. Ellie says, “I don’t brush my hair.  Curls don’t need brushed you know.” Appreciate the pluses of yourself.
         7. " Mimi, run, run, run fast as you can. Try to catch me."  Why walk when you can run to your next activity?
         8.” Stay focused, Mimi, stay with us when we are looking at these toys.”
         9. Art should be free spirited, fun, and your own interpretation. “Mimi, didn’t you know using all these colors feels good?”
        10.  “Mimi, put the remote back where it belongs and we all can find it.”
They have taught me so much more and blessed me beyond measure.  They have made a lasting heart memory and reminded me of daily steps needed in my journey. Life is good when you allow a child to lead you.