Looking Through a Curtain

I slid the curtain letting the early morning light filter in the room; the sun just beginning to rise over the woods. My mind, still slow from just awakening, wondering if the curtain should be slid closed to keep the sun from warming up the room.

My hand rested on the curtain as I calculated how long until the rising sun reached the dark, looming, yet beautifully colored dark cloud. The sun would no longer pose a threat to my feeble attempts at keeping the room from heating up during the heatwave. Yet, the sun’s brightness would not fill my little corner of the earth if the cloud won.

Brightness which seems to make one feel all is right in the world. Brightness to see the beautiful blue sky and white fluffy clouds.

Yet, brightness to warm up the already warm, humid weather making it extremely difficult for those who labor in the sun.

That is when it struck me–me in all my fickleness.

I ride along enjoying life when it is going the way I want it (sun). The minute life throws rocks (I’m past lemons) at me, I get angry, hurt, cry the “it’s not fair” card (cloud). Yet, as the saying goes, the sun is always there no matter what is hiding it.

My perspective is not everyone’s. Some enjoy the cloudiness of life. Their perspective is different than mine. Some find it as just another bump in the road with a new problem to solve. They take it in stride instead of my dramatic (that hurt to admit) responses.

Perspective.

Shortly after this too-early-in-the-morning thought, I turned to Psalm 100 because sometimes I just need to be reminded…

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Let’s Talk Tuesday

I so just made up that title on the fly. Now I’m wondering if this could be a start of a “thing”. Because Tuesday is the new Monday. Or something like that. I should probably Google that title because some people get a wee bit crazy over titles and copyrights and all that jazz. I’ll do that another day…read that as I won’t and say I did.

Tonight, lets talk about TV shows. More specifically So You Think You Can Dance. I know, right?! Pirouette if you are excited about this season which appears on television sets everywhere on June 12? I see a few of you spinning like a top out there…

I am really looking forward to this season of SYTYCD (and don’t write me on the inappropriate moves and clothing. I’m old, give me one last joy on this earth.) Last season, well, if I am honest, which I am to a fault, I was disappointed. Last season was only for children. Yes, I know, cute as a button children and talented beyond belief but something was missing. So, as you can tell I am super excited.

Why am I gushing over SYTYCD? Art. Dance is art. Art is dance. (okay, just making things up as I go but you get the picture) Certain dances move me. Put the right amount of emotion, connection and moves to a song and you had me at the first spinning note. Dance can speak volumes when done tastefully. Let’s not talk about when I’m confused as to what that dance was “about”. Let’s focus on the good.

Home Town on HGTV. Let me hear the hammers pound if you discovered this Fixer Upper look-a-like. Let me say this, as much as I love my TV best friends, Chip and Jo-Jo, Ben and Erin Napier (Home Town hosts) are so stinking cute! I prefer Joanna’s decorating style as Erin’s is a bit too cluttered for my taste but it is still super cute. So, if you have a chance and can find someone who has cable, dish or whatever it is people have nowadays and invite yourself over, do it. So worth it.

Have I told you lately how much I love the book, Start With Amen by Beth Guckenberger? No, well I do! Seriously, it is such a wonderful book filled with so much truth. I’m on my second reading and learning so much. If you didn’t read my gushing on here last month, read it here.

Well, I could go on and on but I will spare you. If I start a regular “thing” like this on Tuesdays, what do you want to hear me babble about…I mean, really. Books, recipes, pet-peeves from the mart of wall . . . ? Let me know in the comments! This could get very interesting.

Have a great night!

 

 

Time

When I moved to this little corner of the bloggy-world, I told myself, “Self, you will write on this blog at least once a week.”

Yeah, about that.

Is it me or has this thing we call time kicked into hyper-gear? It feels like someone has yelled, “Turbo boost, K.I.T.T.!” as I’m hanging on with all my might.

I cannot believe I just used a video of Knight Rider as a reference. What is happening to me?!?!?!

Time has a way of flying. Growing up, I was told, “The older you get the fast time flies.” I hate to admit that nugget of wisdom is true. We are all getting older by the minute. (sorry if you didn’t know that but, alas, it is true because SCIENCE)

And, I’m not sure how this post has made such a drastic turn toward aging. Because WRINKLES. So, let’s all pretend I didn’t write this. Yes, I could do the obvious and delete all these words but that would require more work on my part and you know I am getting older by the minute and therefore I should conserve my energy and do more constructive things like write this terribly long run-on sentence. My elementary English teachers will be proud.

Hey, I am so glad you stuck around to read this nonsensical post. I promise my next post won’t be so all over the place. I promise.

Have a great day! And, avoid aging. And, wrinkles. And, grey hair. And, K.I.T.T.

The Unfinished Quilt

Eighteen years. Eighteen years without my mom.

Yet, pieces of her live on. I see a few of her features in a couple of our children. I see her in pictures scattered here and there. I see her hands when I look at mine. When I see the quilt she labored over for my high school graduation gift, I remember.

At some point after a death, the deceased belonging need to be gone through. Given away or kept. My dad asked for my help to go through her ‘things’. He was ready. Yet, in some ways, I was not.

A few long forgotten items in the “give away” pile ended up in my van to find a home in my house. Some ‘things’ are still in their new home. Yet, some ‘things’ never made it past our porch. For those items, home was our porch. I’d walk by the items every day until one day I was finally ready to let go and allow someone else to find joy with a few of my mom’s treasures.

I had forgotten about an item until today. I was with my dad and he began talking about the cross-stitch squares my mom never finished. Those squares were going to become a quilt.

Many years ago he asked if I wanted those squares. Immediately I said no even though the squares she had finished were very pretty. My mom, bless her heart, tried to teach me cross-stitch. It was a battle no one won. Sewing, of any kind, and I are like oil and water. It isn’t pretty.

Since I didn’t want the unfinished squares, my dad found someone in his church to finish the rest of the squares. Another person in the church patched those squares together with other material. Now it is in the quilt frame ready for the church sewing group.

His church’s sewing group quilted on it today. The group invited my dad to see, what they called, the beautiful quilt but other plans detoured him today.

When he told me the story of the quilt and how he still would like to see it, a need arose within me. The need to see, for one more time, something she touched long ago. Something she enjoyed. Something to remind me of her.

Calls will be made soon to find out if there is a way to see the quilt before it is finished and put away. In the end, it will be given to a local auction to raise money for a cause. Oh, how I would love to have all the money in the world to place the winning bid and bring that quilt home.

I teared up as dad told me of all the hands who knew mom, and even those who did not, coming together to finish what mom had only just begun with those first cross-stitch squares. I imagined her friends touching those floss stitches she sewed. I imagined how many people sat around the quilt frame talking as they sewed. Perhaps even praying with each stitch for the person who would wrap up in its warmth. It touched me.

Eighteen years later. Eighteen years and something as simple and as sentimental as a quilt can turn all my thoughts to her. Maybe it is because Mother’s Day is this weekend. And, maybe one never stops missing her mom.

 

Start With Amen

Where do I start? From the title, it is obvious I Start With Amen , a book by Beth Guckenberger. But what I really am trying to say is, where do I begin to tell you how much this book has affected me?

The first time I heard of Beth Guckenberger was at a church conference last summer. She and her husband, Todd, are co-executive directors of Back2Back Ministry. The theme for the conference was “God Writes the Best Stories”. Beth’s stories drew my attention especially since our daughter had just come back home after a few years serving as a missionary with another mission group.

Beth told story upon story how God used her and her family in Mexico. How God provided for the orphanages and her family. It wasn’t always easy but it God is always good. When I saw openings for Start With Amen launch team, boy did I jump at the chance!

And, guess what? This. This.book. There is no way I can even begin to tell you everything I’ve learned as I soaked in the words. No, I’m not putting this book or the author on high pedestal. Nope, she is only human. But, I firmly believe God gave her the words.

What’s it about? Well, read on…

start with amenYears ago, author Beth Guckenberger began inverting her prayers. She began with “Amen” and ended with “Dear Jesus”. What she discovered by starting with ‘amen’, meaning ‘so be it’, it put her in a place of surrender from the beginning. Surrender. Obedience. Essentially, Thy will be done right from the start.

This story-teller author packed truth upon Biblical truth spoken in word-stories. I liked how the author didn’t beat me over the head but gently, through her experiences, led me into a deeper understanding of surrender and obedience to God.

When I began to put into practice what I was reading, honestly, it felt a bit strange. I would say, “Amen” and then…nothing. I was in the habit of sticking ‘amen’ at the end so it felt like I was finished before I even began. However, the more I practiced inverting my prayers the more I began to feel a deeper connection with God.

For example, “Amen, I trust you Lord. I know you have a plan.” and proceed with requests and end with, “Dear Jesus”. It isn’t a formula, by any means, but a place where one can come before the Lord in a different posture.

Start With Amen is more than a book about prayer. Beth has a deep understanding of the Bible. This book is so marked up with so many “ah-ha” moments. So many thoughts written in the margins…some hard questions I’m asking myself.

Growing up I was taught not to mark, underline or dog-ear the pages of a book. I broke all the rules in this book. I honestly do not think I have ever underlined so many sentences in one book, besides the Bible, in my years of life.

I highly recommend Start With Amen! It is available for pre-order (yes, I’m the boss of you so go purchase it now!) with the release date May 9.

What are you waiting for? Go order it!

“If I wring my hands over our country, the economy, my kids, or our future, to what end does that angst provide? I can’t control… …but I can listen. I can intercede. I can offer. I can trust.”

**I received an advance copy from the author and publisher for my honest review.

Eyes to See

Dark clouds twirl as news of another shooting in this country hit my ears.

“What can be done, Lord,” my heart cries. “What is going on?!”

Man against man. What is it that creates such a deep, dark hatred for one breathing soul to want to take a life of another breathing soul.

In the beginning God created.

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

In his own image.

In his own image.

Created by God. Every human. Created in HIS image.

What are we doing, Lord?

What would you have me do, Lord?

May you give me eyes to see what you see in every living soul. The person you love. The hurt in the heart  – the heart you created. Help me to see . . .

The living at work.

The living at play.

The living at home.

The living when it isn’t pretty.

The living masking pain.

Amen. Give me eyes to see the living as you see and love, dear Lord.

Awaken Me

Words and Music By: Bethany and Shane Barnard

awaken me

A Little Bit of This and a Whole lot of That

I’d like to thank the academy for giving me this award for the longest title which makes little to no sense what so ever. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Whew. What a week. Okay, two weeks or 52 weeks. Same thing.

Have you ever felt like time was flying and you are just trying to hang on and breathe? You know, our parents warned us when we were young whipper-snappers waiting foreeevvver for our birthday that time would fly when we grew up. I hate when they are right.

Speaking of parents. My dad and his twin sister (yes, I was all kinds of paranoid when we were having children since they are not the only set of twins in the family…on both sides of my family) turned the big 9-0 last week. I know, right? And, just to make it clear since I hear those calculators coming out, he was older when he and my mom married therefore older when I graced their presence.

Our families decided to celebrate them by meeting at a restaurant in my aunt’s neck of the woods. Oh, what a grand time. Hugs, smiles, laughter, and food. And, everyone seemed to take note of my dad and his twin sister wearing the same color shirt and pants…without calling each other and finding out what each would wear. And, if you want to get even more twinning, when they turned 80 years old what did they wear? The.same.color!!! Talk about twinning.

Even in the joy of celebrating them, it was especially nice to talk with my cousin whose wife lost her fight with brain cancer last year. I was so glad we could both say her name and remember the good along with the terrible at the end. I hope it felt freeing for him as it did for me.

When we celebrate birthdays around here, we do it up big. Spread out the birthday love? Pfffttt. Not around here. Our son’s birthday was a few days later. Oh my. Our youngest is twenty. I am trying to figure out how he is twenty when I’m only twenty-eight. Go figure. No. Seriously. Don’t figure.

In other news you need to know . . . I need a new clock for the living room. I know, earth shattering! I purchased one of those big clocks for the wall. You know the kind. The I’m-not-getting-any-younger-and-my-eyesight-isn’t-either clocks. I paid a whooping $7 for said clock in a box store during Black Friday. Don’t look at me like that. I waited until the afternoon. I haven’t totally lost my mind . . . yet.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Huge clock. Anyway, it was perfect. It was silent. No tick-tock noise for that bad boy. I was in love. Until last week when it decided to give up the good fight. It took a nose dive off the wall. Sad day.

It may or may not have been a little, tiny bit my fault. Maybe. I’m past the point of putting nails in our walls to hang something. I mean really. I’m past, “Where is the hammer? Why isn’t it in it’s spot?” “Where are the nails? Why did you move them and not tell me? How am I supposed to find anything when someone keeps moving things where it doesn’t make sense?!” You know. Common stuff.

A woman, I’m sure, decided to solve the marital bickering by inventing Command Strips. It was like a whole new world opened up for me. So why would I not hang up my perfect, seven-dollar clock on the wall with one of those nice little Command Strip hooks? Well, it lasted 6 months before the Command Strip gave up its fight. And, that also may or may not have been my fault. It’s a textured wall. And, perhaps the hook wasn’t big enough. Sigh.

So, now we are all looking at a blank wall and “ugh-ing” a lot because we are people of habit. Do you know how hard it is to purchase another big-ole clock when this one was only seven dollars. Clocks who are not a black Friday price are way-too-many dollars!!

Maybe I should have titled this, “Hey, Warning. Extra Long Post A Head. Save Yourself!”