Saturday, July 2, 2022

Serene

 


Serenity.  Peace.  Where do we find it?  In the sometimes troubled living of our days, we all seek peace.  

My daughter, Becky Loar, wrote a Faith Breeze one morning while sitting in her peaceful place near her home.  I love it when my children share my vision of Faith Breezes and send them along to me.  Listen...do you hear the birds...feel the breeze?  These are her words:

"I love to come to this park.  It is right in the middle of an active city, but the park itself is so serene.  Birds chirping, a beautiful pond with koi fish, and lots of tree cover which makes it cool in the summer.  The trees are what is the most enticing for me.  As I sit under this huge tree cover listening to the sounds of life all around me, I am reminded that it must've taken a LONG time for these trees to grow to this height.  For the birds and wildlife to trust its serenity in the midst of an active city, and to make their home there.  

Many times we get so caught up in the hustle of the next thing, striving for more education, advancements at work, etc, that we forget to plan ourselves.  We need to remain grounded so that God can grow us with strong roots and bring us to serenity in our own lives."

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm in your faith in Christ is.  So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  

                                                                                            (Colossians 2:5-7 NIV)





Sunday, June 12, 2022

Anniversary Anecdotes


 From there to here, from here to there,

Funny things are everywhere.

- Dr. Seuss

Anniversaries elicit memories.  Some are wonderful, some are painful, and a whole lot are just plain funny. June 10, 1967 saw us plighting our troth and saying our vows at First Methodist Church, Vero Beach, FL.  It has been 55 years of the stuff of life and we're still here.  Like Dr. Seuss says... 

This morning in church, I was reminded of my Great-Aunt Esther and the part she played in our getting married.  I was reminded because our first hymn was Lily of the Valley.  Now what does that lovely old hymn have to do with Aunt Esther?  She was a giving soul and looked for ways to be generous to her nieces and nephews.  For some reason, she wanted to take me to Orlando in the days before I was married.  Since she didn't drive, I was the driver.  I can't recall our wedding-related Orlando errand, but we had a good day and headed home in the late afternoon.  Apparently, Aunt Esther determined that I might be getting sleepy and needed something to keep me awake.  So she sang...loud enough to scare the cows...along the two-lane highway through the marshes and meadows of Central Florida...just to keep me awake.  She didn't have the greatest voice, but it was intense and joyful.  And she gave a rousing rendition of a dozen or so choruses of "He's the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star, He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul."  That was 55 years ago, and I'll never hear that song without hearing Aunt Esther. 

Aunt Esther starred in another of our wedding funnies.  As I said, she was a generous and hospitable soul.  The day of the wedding, since all the female wedding party participants were being treated to a fancy lunch, she invited the men to her home for lunch.  I've often wondered what she fed that batch of down-home Florida Cracker men since one of her always-on-the-table items was tomato aspic but I never thought to ask.  It was such a lovely gesture.  She knew that men often played jokes on the groom so she offered Ed the use of her barn for storing his car on wedding day.  It would be safe and sound and no one would ever think to look there...right?  Well, only if she gave them the key.  Not only was it decorated, but something was amiss with the motor.  

We made it through the day and met up at the altar at 7:30.  By candlelight.  Whoever was in charge of obtaining the candles neglected to buy the no-drip kind.  But they put wax paper underneath the candelabra so the floor wouldn't get messed up with dripping wax.  About halfway through pledging our faith, the candle wax began to hit the wax paper...like shots from a BB gun...intermittent little drops of mirth.

My poor mama finished her part of her only daughter's wedding day with drops of another kind.  She got home ready to collapse but she realized she had left some very important items at the church.  Nothing to do but go back and get them so she jumped into the most easily accessible car in the driveway...MY car... and headed through the dark of night.  Retrieving the items, she once again headed for home and rest...only to run out of gas.  In the rain.  

  

(Find me online at www.sueholbrook.com. Your comments are always appreciated.)





Monday, April 25, 2022

On Being An Older


 When I was young, I wanted to be older.  This is not exactly what I expected.  

I envisioned older with the eyes of my younger self.  I would be healthy.  Energetic.  Laughing and full of fun.  An ever-ready helper for my middles and littles.  Of course I would. 

If you're like me, somewhere along the line you've begun to think "Whoa...what happened here?"  The truth is, sweet friend, our season is changing.  I'm not talking about menopause.  Heavens!  I sure don't want to go there.  No, I'm talking about Time.  Relentless, unforgiving Time.  It's coming after all of us, one season folding into the next.  Reminding us in so many ways that we are older...ever older and older.  I just had a birthday so these thoughts are pretty fresh for me.  

Several years ago, I found Jan Silvious's book Courage For An Unknown Season.  Filled with advice and encouragement, Jan has something helpful to say to all of us, whatever our season.  This book could only be written by an older, and she is.  (I can say that because we were born the same year.)  Not only is Jan an author and speaker, she is a life coach.  Hearing her speak is always inspiring.   In her book referenced here, she completes the thought of the above quote thus: "We all are living in a world we experience uniquely, becoming who we are and who we will be."

I now find my place in the chapter titled "Head Toward Ninety."  Well, crumb.  Really?  Yes, really.  And it's time to "Clean Up After Yourself."  When I talk to my friends, this cleaning up thing is one of the many topics of discussion.  What do we do with all the STUFF?  

There seem to be two schools of thought.  Either... "I'm leaving it all here and they can keep it or throw it away"...or  "I am not going to leave my kids the mess I've had to clean up."  I tend to the latter.   After living a life of acquisition and treasuring the treasures we were left with, many of us are hung up with the responsibility of "saving it for the kids."  No.  Like it or not, the kids don't want it.  Whatever it is.  Unless it's grandma's diamonds and gold which they will probably sell. 

As moms, we are also the repository of their growing-up stuff.  My daughters both live in other states.  Every time they come to visit, I let them know that anything they can haul out of this house would be greatly appreciated.  Especially all the mementos of their lives I've duly treasured all these years.  As they go out the door, they call over their shoulder "I'll get it next time, mom!"  The answer to that, of course, is box it up and sneak it into their car right before they leave.  I'm working on that.

Where do you stand on this timeline?  I would love to hear your thoughts on what to do with the stuff.  And any other topic of your season that might be on your mind.  Leave me a comment and we'll talk.  If you're a middle, you might find encouragement here.  

Ultimately, as Jan would tell us, this is all temporary.  Just a passing place as we head to our final destination with Jesus, where the earthlies have all fallen away and we are surrounded by glory.  How lovely is His dwelling place...the courts of the Lord.  (Psalm 84)




Monday, February 7, 2022

If Only We Seek

 


"If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you," says the Lord.
                                                                                    (Jeremiah 29:13  NLT)

Yesterday was one of those rainy, cloudy stay-home days.  As I opened the curtains in my office this morning looking for the sunshine, I took a quick look around the yard and the sight of the palm tree stopped me.  "Wow!"  I was amazed by the fern on the side of the tree.  I know for sure that just two days ago, it looked like a bunch of dried up twigs stuck to the tree...the grey tree trunk and the browny-grey dead fern.  I know that it always comes back...I've watched it for years.  This time was just a surprise because our rainfall had been scant.  Here it was...lush and full and so very green!

God is so often found in the small things.  We expect his glory and his presence to be in grand spectacular vistas and happenings.  Can we really see him in a batch of fern growing on the side of a tree?  My answer is absolutely YES!  When the fern is without water it slowly dries up and appears to be dead.  But a little bit of water...nourishment...brings it back to glorious life.  To me, this is God.  It's God manifesting his presence to us.   It's a message that he is closer to me than my breath if I will just open my spirit eyes to see him. 

Theologian A. W. Tozer says the omnipresence of the Lord is one thing.  We learn that in Sunday School; we expect it.  The manifest presence of God is another thing altogether.  We flee from that presence and from what it could mean on some deep level.  

As he told Jeremiah, he is here for us to find him.  Even in the fern living on the side of a tree.