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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cycles of Thanksgiving
     As we get ready for holidays, memories filter from my past. Nostalgia creeps through brain waves and reminds me of my blessings, losses, loves, and beginnings. 
      Thanksgiving as a child meant it was closer to Christmas.It meant eating my mom’s hot buttered rolls, southern style sweet potatoes, and key lime pie. I didn’t have time to stuff myself because kids are too busy playing and laughing with cousins and friends.
       As I grew older, Thanksgiving meant coming home from Ohio University to eat my mother’s gourmet cooking. I rejoiced at the delicious cornucopia of aromas. The dressing was fluffy and perfectly seasoned as was the gravy that smothered the heavily buttered mashed potatoes. Thinking about the sweet potatoes and cranberry salad still makes my mouth water. Admittedly, I selfishly looked forward to Thanksgiving break to devour scrumptious food and sleep. When I awakened, I‘d go see high school friends to catch up on their lives and share my latest news. Since we had no cell phones or tablets, we had a backup of stories that needed to be shared. I did little toward making the food or spending time with my parents. I was twenty and read to trot.
     As a young mom, my focus and understanding of Thanksgiving began to change. It was about setting an artful table, and planning and cooking the entire meal.  I rushed the little lads from the kitchen to play with dad and worked laboriously trying to create a tasty meal as my mom had done through the years.  I invited folks who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and relatives who would drive to Muncie to spend the holiday with us. I worked all week cleaning, cooking, and preparing a special meal. I realized all the standing, peeling, baking, and cooking my mom had done for me all those years was exhausting. I understood the pressure of getting every dish to come out on time, together, piping hot, and delicious. Thanksgiving meant a lot of hard work, but it was worth it when I heard the “yums” from those sitting around our table, and the smiling faces of my husband and sons.  Men waddled into the living room to watch the Detroit Lions, children played board games, and I was back in the kitchen cleaning up the mess with help from a couple of my aunts.
      As a mom of college kids, I cooked furiously to provide the dinner that fulfilled the guys’ expectations.  I couldn’t wait to see them, hug them, and hear of their adventures abroad or at the Naval Academy. I was obsessed to make the perfect meal. They, like I, came home, stuffed themselves with turkey, dressing and a boatload of gravy.  They inhaled pumpkin and pecan pies like a vacuum sucks up dirt. Then, off they went to see their friends and catch up on what had been happening. Den helped me clean up the mess, as adults chose to snooze, play cards, or watch football. The cycle was the same. I understood but wanted more time with our sons. I am sure my mom wanted more time with me too. But, soon the holiday was over, and the guys returned to college. 
     My focus has changed through the years.  It is important to be a part of serving the less fortunate and providing food products for families so other mom’s can cook. I pray for the needy and hungry. I understand now that Thanksgiving was so much more than about my perfect meal.  Many had no meals, no fancy table, no kids that returned to them for a family time.  The elderly have an institutional turkey dinner in the facilities where they live.  Dinner is humdrum and tasteless unless there is an unexpected visitor or invitation by a family member. These elderly ladies yearn to return to their kitchens to mash potatoes, grind fresh cranberries, and be exhausted from serving. 
     I understand that I have almost made the full cycle of Thanksgiving. Den and I are the older aunt and uncle invited to dinner. I will bring pies and rejoice with younger cousins about their tales of travel, hear the stories of how illness has altered the lives of my beloved aunts and uncles, laugh with cousins about all our genetic flaws, and reminisce on all the wonderful Thanksgivings in our past. I am thankful for all the memories of sitting down and giving thanks for our lives, family, friends, and the mother, who taught me the importance of sacrificing, cooking and creating a welcoming table so loved ones could come and share the day.
     Enjoy your Thanksgiving in the cycle where you are this holiday.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paris brings opportunity for us to pray for peace.

What’s your rabbit’s foot?

Today there is a great out powering of grief and suffering in Paris.  Explosions and guns were used to bomb Frenchman going to Friday celebrations and living life.  There were other countries represented in the crisis, but it was focused on Parisians.  The terrorist destroyed the beauty of architectural over 200 years old.  The enemy destroyed families, young and old people, spirits, safety, and peace.  ISIS strikes and will continue to strike.  This grief permeates our soils and souls.  We understand the enemy will continue to grow.  We need to a plan.  A big plan.  A prayer plan.  A war plan.  How can this happen in time to save our country or others?
Ancients used lucky charms like rabbit’s feet to ward of evil spirits or create a safety net within if they carried the animal’s foot.  They relied on this to bring them luck and protection.  Some of us still carry rabbit’s feet in other forms.  Sometimes we sit in our warm home in front of the fire sipping tea and feeling so content, secure, and safe.  We push away the thoughts of those grieving from disasters, the hungry and homeless, and those Christians that have been persecuted and killed in North Korea, China, Syria, and more.  Denial becomes our rabbit’s foot.  The burden is so heavy, so difficult to comprehend that we just need to escape.       
What if we used this advent season to pray?   Peace begins with prayer. Choose a specific time to sincerely seek God’s word and pray for our hurting brothers and sisters.  Pray for those being persecuted for their beliefs.  Pray for the heart of a terrorist.  Try to visualize one of the terrorists that make the news and see his heart softened.  Diligently pray every day of advent that Jesus will intercede and safeguard our country and others.  We will create a prayer wall around our brothers and sisters, peace-seeking countries, and our families. 
Do not throw away your confidence with your used tea bag.  Instead, “…my righteousness one will live by faith.  And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.  We are not those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. “ Hebrews 10:38,39
We will be richly rewarded if we ban together in prayer every day.  In these times, we need to stand together.
Please take the time to name the time you promise to pray from now through December. Pray for our country and those being persecuted.  Your responses will be an encouragement to commitment and a blessing to all.  Please add your strength to our prayer wall.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Grace of God


I have been studying how Jesus lived for many years.  I so want to be like Him, see like Him, serve like Him, but I always fall short.  I think that’s okay as long as I keep trying and seek His grace.
            I have specifically studied how Jesus would greet people and how He invited them into His life.  As a disciple, I  am encouraged to be an imitator of God.  That sometimes doesn’t feel like encouragement, but instead, a bar so high I can never reach it. So, these are the times I seek God and ask, “ How can I ever be all you intended me to be?”
            Gently He nudges, “ I will give you grace, my dear child.”  Grace undeserved but given to me for just trying to be like Him.  He gave that same grace to the women at the well when He told her all the things she had done.  She knew she was forgiven, didn't ask, just knew.  That was His first miracle in Galilee after turning water to wine in Cana.  Jesus invited her to be all that she could be now.  She accepted his grace and told others in the village.
 The second miracle was when the royal official begged Jesus to come with him and heal his son.  Jesus answered, “You may go.  Your son will live.” The official took Jesus at his word and departed.  While the official was returning home, his servant met him on the road to tell him the news that his son was living.
The third miracle He performed in Galilee was to tell the man, who had been crippled almost forty years, “Pick up his mat and walk.”  Just do it.  The man accepted his greeting and walked. He didn’t even know who Jesus was.  He was healed by the grace of Jesus.  The crippled man did nothing.  In fact, he saw Jesus later and then knew who had created the opportunity for him to be healed.
Each time I read these scriptures in John, I am amazed at how grace is the greeting, the vessel, and the end result.   Jesus’ grace flooded over sin, sickness, and honored obedience. 
May the grace of God be with you.  (1 Corinthians 16:23).