Category Archives: Life

Whatever’s left after I give to God and my family.

I Hate This Shirt…or Do I?

IMG_4020OK, so you all know I’m a Mom and as much as I hate to admit it, I often do such stereotypical Mom things that I’m embarrassed.  My favorite commercial currently is the Progressive Insurance commercial and my favorite line is “Why is the door open? Are we trying to air condition the whole neighborhood?” It just makes me smile to think that we all do share some of the same memories.  Today, though, I may have struck out some new ground of my own…or maybe not.  Do you other parents sometimes make things disappear in your house? Maybe it’s your kid’s cell phone that is overused and you just hide it under a newspaper for a while just to have some face to face conversation? Maybe you hide that last candy bar and say that they all must have been eaten? Do you ever pretend to NOT see the remote for the TV when they are looking in hopes that the kids will find something else to do for a bit? If you don’t, maybe you should give it a try. However, the above tricks of the trade in the parenting business are harmless, but my following confession may not be. Here we go…

Do you ever permanently make clothes disappear? The too short shorts? The too tight T-Shirt? The stained jersey? The handmade school spirit shirt? The one with a beer ad on it (that was “accidentally” worn to church?) and the ever-popular mismatched socks? Well, I do.

Today, the harmless T-Shirt that is pictured above almost met its’ demise. The threat was made the last time she wore it. “I am so sick of that shirt that the next time I see it in the laundry, I will make it disappear!” There is was today. Clean, fresh, appropriately crumpled in the laundry basket. I picked it up, began to fold it and realized that my chance was right there. I could cut it up and make a dust rag or I could throw it in the bag for the Salvation Army. With it in my hands, I paused and then I decided to fold it gently and put it on her pile of clean clothes to put away. What’s the big deal? What is so wrong with that shirt? It won’t fit forever. I’m sure she’ll decide to stop wearing it someday. Why on earth would that harmless shirt be something that I allow to upset me?

We are heading into the teen years. I will need all the help I can get and I need to work now on a relationship that will weather the real storms that we may face. This shirt cannot have the power to upset me and potentially cause a rift between my daughter and me. The next time I see her wear it proudly (which I am certain will be tomorrow when she sees it on the top of the pile,) I will say a prayer that we will be very careful in choosing our battles. I will be grateful for my healthy daughter and the blessing she is.

Now, I think I will go and let down that cuff on those jean shorts that I think are too short…I don’t think she’ll even notice.

Take a minute to be grateful for the battles you choose not to fight and also click on the commercial link above and have a laugh. I hope it makes you smile as much as it does me!

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give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                         –1 Thessalonians 5:18 

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A Community Mourns

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I woke today, just another day. Tuesday. I headed to Bible study, the chiropractor, took my mom to an appointment and went to the grocery store.  Everything pretty typical.  Just another day.  Yet, it wasn’t just another day.  It was a day that I was super aware of the gift of this day, of this time.

A family in our community lost their son/brother/grandson/nephew. A real tragedy.  A family of 6 became 5 overnight. In an instant, their world changed.  My world didn’t change…or did it? Today I mourned along with my entire hometown.  Everyone I know knows someone in this family & we would like to help, but unfortunately, there is nothing we can do. We are at a loss, but we long to find something we can do. The town can think of little else and as we go about our “normal” day, we know that inside the walls of that home there are tears, hugs, and folks poring over photos of happier times. This family is surrounded by love and I have no doubt that they will survive, but right now they are in pain and the community wishes we could take the pain away.

Not having a better idea, I decided to buy some paper products and drop them off at their home. When I pulled into their driveway, I noticed their garage doors were open. I got out of my car with my packages and walked up to a garage full of drinks, cases of water, paper plates, jugs of juice, etc. I was struck by the overwhelming amount of items that people had been dropping off. I didn’t see a family member and I didn’t need to.  They know that people are heartbroken on their behalf because they would be hurting if it happened to any other family.  They would be the first ones there with gifts and prayers. No words can express our deepest sympathy and paper plates and cases of water can’t either, but maybe the love behind all of them will be felt and ease the burden a tiny bit.

Today was just another day, but as I went through my normal routine, I was aware that there is nothing normal for them.  They will need to figure out their new normal and it will take a long time, but from the looks of it, they will have enough paper plates and love to get them until that time.  Until then we will keep on praying.

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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”        2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”         Matthew 5:4

 

 

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Lenten Blessings

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I have had the privilege of hosting Wednesday evening suppers throughout Lent. Our community is pretty unique in that we celebrate Lent together among denominations.  So, on one Wednesday,  the Presbyterian pastor preaches at the Lutheran church, another one the Reformed Pastor will preach at the Methodist church, etc.  We all worship together and grow and learn with different congregations.  It was truly a blessing and as we head into Holy Week, we will have a few more opportunities to worship together.

This year, my husband and I decided to host supper before each service.  It has been a fun time to get together and socialize a bit before church.  It was a huge blessing for me.  And, speaking of blessings, I printed out a couple and made table tents of them so that they could be on display so if someone arrived late, they could say their own prayer before eating.  As the season progressed though, we started just holding up the printed cards and everyone prayed together. We used two different blessings.

The first one was handed down to me from my mother’s father. John Dunlap Wise.

Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you for the many blessings that are conferring us from day to day. Bless this food now to us. Watch over us and guide us through life, and at death, accept us. Amen.   I can hear his voice and his cadence as I pray it.

The second one I found online:

For food that stays our hunger, For rest that brings us ease, for homes where memories linger, we give our thanks for these. Amen.

They are great blessings to share. Happy Easter!

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This is Us….Really

This_is_usThe television show This is Us played after the Super Bowl last night.  A night we’ve all been waiting for.  Not the Super Bowl, but the show. Spoiler alert: Jack died. We knew he would, but we just didn’t know exactly how.  (Isn’t that true to life…we will all die, we just don’t know when or how.) I don’t usually stay up past eleven, but for this show, I had to.  I actually wanted to get it over with.  These teenagers were about to lose their father and I wanted to get it over with. As you may have seen, a young, vibrant, healthy father died of a widow maker heart attack. Sometimes these things happen.  I know, because it happened to me.

I was 16 when my father died of a heart attack and the show This is Us portrayed the gamut of emotions that those teens faced pretty true to life. I’ve wondered about my last words spoken, I’ve mourned my father not knowing my husband, and I’ve talked to a tree to tell my father my troubles. Yep, I’ve done it all and though those characters were fictional last night, the pain they emoted is real for many. I cried along with them….but not as much as I expected I would. I’ve relived the moments that I shared with them and I’m sure I’ll relive more as next week’s episode promises funeral scenes, but I didn’t actually relate as well with them as I expected. You see, their grief is new & raw, mine has been with me for 38 years. Time really does heal, but it never erases. I found myself watching the show and then comforting myself that the “Jack” character wasn’t really gone, he’ll be reappearing in flashbacks for months. In real life, that is not the case, or is it? Actually, the thing I remember most about the night my dad died was not wanting to close my eyes because when I did, I was afraid that I wouldn’t remember what he looked like. What if he vanished from my mind and my memory? How can I preserve the images?  Well, Kate (the daughter on the show), even if you lose that videotape of him, he will remain. My dad was only a part of my life for 16 years but he, too, reappears in flashback scenes. A saying he used, a smirk, even someone jumping to the front of the line at the grocery store will make me think of him. I didn’t forget, I won’t forget, so that fear is gone. Thank God.

This is Us.  This is many of us. This is some of us, yet to come. I don’t know exactly how Kate, Kevin, and Randall are going to cope with it, but I now know how I did. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. –Philippians 4:13 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.        –2 Corinthians 12:9

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Daily Bears Our Burdens

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Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,

who daily bears our burdens.

— Psalm 68:19

I know that praise means to express warm approval or admiration of, I know bears means to carry or support and we all know what burdens are and indeed we have them daily so it’s good news to hear that the Lord is daily bearing them. But, what does it look like for Him when He hangs out with me?

In this week alone, my burdens have looked like a washer full of bubble gum, a trip to the ER, making dinner, preparing notes for a meeting, disciplining children, laundry, a sick cat, sixth-grade homework, chauffeuring to scouts, administrative paperwork, and making plans for a bathroom remodel. The Lord bore all of that!

When I wanted to take a look at my daily burdens, I consulted my to-do list.  As I looked at the items I crossed off, I immediately felt blessed that with the Lord’s help, I accomplished many of them. I also felt blessed when I looked at each item and tried to determine if it truly was a “burden” and realized that most of them weren’t. My list included:

  • Prepare Sunday School Opening Lesson
  • Email Pastor Joe
  • Write Katelyn
  • Write Martha
  • Send books to Diane
  • Make Ice Cream cake
  • Virginia Christmas plans

It also included some pesky paperwork items, but when I looked at the items individually and tried to decide if, in fact, my to-do list represented my daily burdens, I realized that wasn’t the case. Most of what I do each day isn’t a burden, it’s an honor, it’s an opportunity, it’s a blessing. I recognize that I unintentionally turn some of my blessings into burdens by listing them as “tasks” to do when in reality they are incredible gifts and opportunities.  Writing to a friend in the service, sharing an enjoyed book, making a cake for a celebration and studying God’s word for a lesson are all incredible opportunities for me! The burden is not the task, it’s in the heart of the one who does it, my perspective of it. Is it a chore or a gift?

I think I need to be more aware of this new insight and celebrate those blessings and cling to the truth that God is available to help me daily bear my burdens. Thank God, HE is here to help me clean the kitchen

 

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It’s Fall!

IMG_6197I just got this wave of excitement.  I’m all of a sudden really excited about something.  And, the fun part is that I don’t even know what it is.  The sun is shining and the colorful leaves are falling from the trees onto the green grass. My husband headed out to the church to help pare apples for the apple butter making tomorrow. I have some camouflage clothes hanging on the line for his outing into the woods tomorrow. I have a cinnamon candle burning. I’m thinking of baking some cookies…maybe pumpkin shaped or pumpkin flavored for the Children’s Pumpkinfest in a couple of weeks. I look at the calendar and see that my son and my mom’s birthday are approaching.  There is so much activity, so much fun. I’m excited because…..it’s fall!

Yesterday, I was sharing something with a friend and I said, “things have been good all fall.”  She reminded me that fall has only been in for less than a week.  I usually designate the first day of school as the first day of fall. But, in reality, fall began last week and today feels like fall and fall feels like fun!  Enjoy your day!

 

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A Dictionary, My Date Book, The Bible & The Yellow Pages

IMG_1661A dictionary, my date book, the Bible, the Yellow Pages,…..Things that no one uses? Things that are obsolete? Things that we don’t need? Things that have been replaced by smart phones?

Seriously, today I looked up a word in the dictionary. I still do this often, maybe once or twice a week. I still find the dictionary amazing, full of so many words with the meanings right beside them! Oftentimes when I read a word in a book, I guess at its meaning and move onto the rest of the sentence, but a dictionary….aaaaah….there is no mystery, the meaning is right there. Amazing.

The Bible. Also another book I use often. I read it daily and there are many words I do not know in it and frequently I go to the dictionary for help. The dictionary aids me some and can define words, but the true mystery of the meaning may not become evident to me immediately. Actually, for the true meaning, I have to consult the author and not the dictionary.

I mentioned my date book, and the yellow pages too.  Books that my millennial children see of no value whatsoever.  They have apps for all of that! They also could or may have apps for the dictionary and Bible too, so all of these books can be removed from your bookshelf and put onto your phone and placed in the palm of your hand.  Could using them be made any easier? And yet, it seems that the ease and accessibility have not made most people read the Bible more.

I think it comes down to making reading your Bible an intentional daily act. Whether you grab a cup of tea and your leather bound bible off the shelf or if you have your phone sound a daily alarm to alert you to follow your daily reading plan (yes it will even do that for you,) you must be intentional.

You may have heard the story about if we treated our Bibles like our cell phones how much better the world would be…I will share it below…but I bet if you held your Bible in your hand all day, you’d eventually open it and read.

The dictionary, my Bible, my date book and the Yellow Pages – Things I value and refer to often, (except for the Yellow Pages….who needs it?)

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