Monthly Archives: May 2017

How blessed we are <3

Yesterday I got a big old piece of white paper and a marker and I mapped out some areas of goals and dreams and tasks and plans for the next few months.

Later my sister-in-law sent me a pic of her kitchen table all spread out with calendars and papers and pen in hand…making plans.

A new season has opened wide before us as spring has dropped the last of her blossoms and the tiny shoots of green in the fields nearby are growing into corn stalks right before our very eyes.

Honestly…

they seem to be an inch taller by the time we make it around the circle and back on an evening walk.

Time is a gift, you know.

The days and the seasons and even the years.

Oh and even as I say it…I can tell you I struggle to let go.

Because to embrace the new…we have to release our hold on what was.

To make room for today, I have to let go of yesterday.

Because the only thing that never changes is …

well…you know…

that things are constantly changing.

I secretly envy people who make these transitions so easily.

They seem to have mastered the art of “out with the old and in with the new”…

free of the strings of over-thinking the passing of time.

The ones who could always sort through their children’s closets in an hour and pull out the too-small-for-this-year items to be donated.

It was done and done.

And then off to the pool or the ball game.

Me…

I would sit there holding each one.

Remembering the events around the item…the little being that wore it…holding tight to it so I wouldn’t lose the memory with the garment.

This morning my readings included Psalm 102.

I find in them a kindred spirit.

I wonder if this one was also one who sat and lingered as days passed into seasons and then to years that slipped away a bit too quickly.

I wonder if he also wistfully watched each day come to an end hoping for just a few more minutes to hold tightly to it before it was gone.

Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.

They will perish, but You will endure;

Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;

Like a  cloak You will change them,

And they will be changed.

But You are the same,

And Your years will have no end.

The children of Your servants will continue,

And their descendants will be established before You.  vv 25-27

I don’t know how to be any different than I am.

I will probably always be a mix of emotions as time marches on.

But I am learning to lift the bitter…and the sweet…and the bittersweet of my memories and my treasures from today and yesterday as an offering of praise to the God who gave each to me as a gift.

 

To return them to our God-Who-Never-Changes.

A fragrant offering to Him.

And then with hands and heart wide open….

to journey onward into today.

Our memories can only be entrusted to Him.

He holds them as safely as He holds our hearts.

He is a tender and loving God.

In His hands our past is redeemed…healed…made holy.

We can trust Him with the preciousness of all of our Best Day Ever’s…

Forever

<3

 

 

Summer Start 2017

As a creature of habit, Memorial Day is the official start of summer for me.

And this one started with a road trip…

across a good portion of God’s country to celebrate this one’s graduation…

our beautiful niece Regan.

After some food…

and fellowship…

we hopped in the car and started making our way back to our neck of the woods…

with a few stops as needed…

Next on the agenda was a special birthday extravaganza…

where one of us decided to make his grandsons happy by supporting the Cubbies…

and ended up making even the big boys smile.

We had cake…

played in the water…

laughed…

loved…

hugged our good-byes to the birthday bunch…

and headed home to unpack and regroup so we could go have brunch in St Louis with this one…

Thankfully Russ came to his senses and dressed appropriately…

so we could enjoy the beautiful weather and atmosphere at Busch Stadium…

And even though the Cardinals never did really show up for the game ….

all in all…

Best

Weekend

Ever <3

 

 

To simply say thank you <3

Thank you to those who went before us and believed that America had a calling to stand for freedom…

to defend ours and to help others gain theirs.

Thank you to those who love this country and what they believe it stands for.

Who understand the sacrifice of leaving home and family to serve others.

Thank you to those who fought in “unpopular” wars.

Thank you to those who were disrespected because politics got in the way of people.

Thank you for bearing scars we cannot see with our eyes.

Thank you for understanding better than any of us what it is like to lay down your life for a brother or a friend.

Thank you every day for the freedom you have preserved for us and extended around the world.

We salute you…men and women of the armed forces today.

We remember those who went before you.

Thank you <3

Before the week slips completely away…

As we head into the big Memorial Day weekend, you just might find yourselves eating some graduation cake and something or two cooked over the grill, putting flags on graves and gathering with friends and family for some fellowship.

Russ and I have a graduation and a double birthday celebration to look forward to…because some little dudes in our lives will be turning another year older…

So before all that merriment ensues, I wanted to share a little about our visit to City of Praise Church last Sunday.

Our church has begun a partnership with this congregation and quite a few of their members ventured out to visit us one weekend.

Russ and I were kind of touched that they would make the effort to worship with us, so we found a weekend where we could go there for their 11:00 service. We were joined by three other class members this past Sunday.

Pastor BJ told us we would be welcomed warmly and promised it would be a lively service.

He was right on both counts.

I have never been hugged so many times by so many people nor have I been so blessed.

I don’t just mean I felt blessed.

I mean THEY kept blessing me…just speaking blessing over me.

Then there was the pastor who in the midst of the worship songs admonished us to just focus on the Lord…whatever we brought in with us…leave at the door.

He said that over and over…

Leave it at the door…just leave it at the door…don’t bring it in with you today…just leave it at the door…..

because he must have realized some of us are slow to listen and there may have been a blonde lady in the third pew that needed to be told repeatedly to forget everything except how wonderful Jesus is.

Cause she finally did.

Finally forgot about the worries and the cares and the things I am always and forever asking Him to do and fix and take away and give.

And I just entered into praise about who He is <3

And they just kept inviting and welcoming the Holy Spirit and He most assuredly felt welcome because it was impossible to not sense His Presence among us.

The message was honest and powerful…about asking ourselves all the time…”Why do I do what I do?”

And how if it is for recognition or thanks or notoriety…well…that’s not the right answer.

We do what we do…I do what I do…because I love Jesus…and it is my joy…and my job….to serve Him.

We knew it would be a longer service than we are used to so when the pastor apologized to the ladies who were going to be setting up the bake sale in the back that he was ending early …

so they better get scooting to get the table set up…

I looked at my watch for the first time and realized we had been enveloped in this precious service for 1 hour and 58 minutes….

Apparently we were two minutes shy of the usual service time.

All in all….

Best.Day.Ever.   <3

 

Just a random from the Journey <3

I have been reminiscing a bit about my piano lesson days thanks to attending a recital at our church and having about ten days worth of life application lessons in my morning devotions because the author was a concert pianist of sorts.

While she is able to pull all kinds of teachings from her years of disciplined practice and study, my recollections produce a gamut of emotions including slight trauma, minor pangs of guilt, heavy doses of longing and fits of giggles.

I would probably need counseling to sort it all out; but in a nutshell, I had a great desire to play the piano well but no disciplined drive to motivate me to do the work and no natural musical talent.

Or at least not the in the measure that my dad had.

My dad could play a song just by listening to it. He tuned pianos after he retired from the Air Force and he did the fine tuning by ear.

By ear.

Perfect pitch.

He understood rhythm and timing and it was more than he could stand when I didn’t.

And that would be where the minor trauma came in…but let’s skip that and move on to the guilt and fits of giggles.

Because back when I took piano, recitals were as rigorous as boot camp.

There was no carrying a book up with you or having your teacher lovingly sit beside you on the bench with her arm gently resting behind your back.

Oh no.

I grew up in the 60’s when piano lessons and teachers were as serious as the white patent leather shoes and ankle socks we wore with our spring frocks as we sat in hard-back chairs and waited our nervous turn to be called up to play.

I was probably in 5th or 6th grade the last year I took piano.

My recital piece was Beethoven’s Fur Elise. With two dots over the u…but sorry…not sure how to produce that either.

I still get kind of sweaty when I hear it played on the Pandora Classical station.

That spring I was more interested in playing outside and riding my bike than practicing, so my mom would set the timer and call me in every 30 minutes to play through my sheet music.

The idea was that retention would come from the repetition.

Good idea…but I would zip through it as fast as I could and then head back out to my friends.

Well…apparently all that discipline helped me get the first bit down because to this moment I can tell you it goes like…nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah naaaaaaaahhhhh nah-nah-nah-naaaaah nah-nah-nah….repeat a time or two and then…

I hit a blank.

Just like I did that fateful Sunday afternoon in the basement of the Lexington Avenue Baptist Church as my hands would hover over the keys, willing my mind to remember what came next.

Our teacher had told us if we forgot, we should just go back and start fresh.

In front of all those eyes, I started that piece over and over and over…until…well…I have blocked from my memory how it finally came to the place where I could get up and slink back to my seat.

However; I still vividly remember my mother’s reaction. In living color and surround sound.

Apparently I had given her the apex of the most embarrassing moments of her life, and considering she was older when she had me so that was pretty impressive.

She also informed me, in no uncertain terms as we exited the building, that my piano lesson days were F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D.

I was both completely mortified and strangely elated.

It was weird.

It still makes me sad that I couldn’t muster the discipline to play through that song mistake free on that Sunday afternoon.

And there is still a longing somewhere in me to be able to sit down at a piano and produce music.

But it also makes me laugh in the way that I was actually super relieved to be freed from the lessons and practice.

And she was wrong.

I did way more embarrassing things than that over the years.

I don’t really have a point to this today except maybe that I hope you can laugh at my eleven year old self.

We need to laugh and share our stories.

The real ones…the ones with no point except to share the parts of the journey that contributed to who we are today.

The parts where we were red-faced and goofy and that still make us stop and ponder just what happened there and how would we do it differently.

It’s what makes us human.

In a photoshopped world where we can carefully calculate our persona and create a phony sense of “this is the real me” even though it is only the cute parts of our quirkiness that we are willing to expose, it’s kind of freeing to ponder those moments that are filed away…and sometimes to just share with people you care about.

People like you.

Thanks for sharing the journey every week.

And if you are getting stuck on the opening bars of the song you were supposed to know by now…maybe it’s nice to know you are in good company <3