Sunday, November 22, 2020

Peace and Thanks

 


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were
called to peace.
And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Thanksgiving blessings to all.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Breezes of the Past

 



    October is a nice time of year in Florida.  The heat and humidity of the summer days begin to subside and comes the day when I walk outside and think, "O my, that breeze feels nice."  It's because it's not loaded with the heavy hot wetness that sits on us from June to September.

    With the added heaviness of this year's events, breezes of happy thought are equally welcome.  As October approached this year, it reminded me that this is the time of year when we often travel north to see our girls and their families and to sit in a rocking chair on a porch by a lovely mountain river and just look at the leaves.  I admit that I have whined - pouted even - because for us that trip is not a good idea this year.  

    "It's the same old same old," I fussed.  But then right behind that thought came another: only if I make it so!  Do different!  Think different!  When the world closed down at the beginning of this year, I had many projects in my mind.  Like so many others, thoughts of cleaning out closets and drawers and generally reorganizing life were at the top of the list.  The boxes of family pictures, however, is where I've really struck the happy chords.  Most of the pictures that pull the heartstrings revolve around the lives of the people in the pictures above.  My two oldest grands are in the picture at the top: Jack and Andrew are with their dad, David, enjoying the NASCAR race at Bristol, TN.  The bottom shot of Charlotte with those expressive dark eyes looking at her little brother, Nathaniel, was taken on the baby's first birthday.  We all cried because we knew he was our last baby and here he was already a year old.  

    My pictures have given me an Autumn gift of precious times past...breezes from the life of my family that only I can give myself.  As I look at those little faces, I remember things they've done and said.

    Andrew was five years old the day that he and I sat in his plastic pool in the yard of his home in Tennessee.  It was blazing hot and the water was getting warmer by the minute.  Still, we sat in sweet silence, just glad to be there.  His little hand patted my lower leg that hadn't seen a razor in days.  "Mimi," he said, "You've got splinters!"  

    Occasionally, the grands give us a reminder that their world is quite different from the one we have known.  Ed and I took Jack and Andrew to the movie when Jack was about four.  A very precocious four.  We arrived early and sat for some time in the theater waiting for the movie to start.  Finally, out of nowhere, Jack's little voice asked with definite seriousness, "Who's got the remote?"

    Nathaniel and his sister once enjoyed a ride on a camel at the Knoxville Zoo when he was about four.  When the ride was over, he cracked us up by announcing in a loud voice, "I never rode a goat before!"  You can read about that incident in my book Faith Breezes: Glimpsing God's Glory in Everyday Life, available on www.amazon.com. 

    Charlotte took our thoughts into the heavenly realm when she was about three.  As we rode in the car in the late afternoon sunshine, the beams from the sunset gave everything a golden glow.  Her baby voice exclaimed, "Look what Jesus made for me!"  

    And that's what I think when I ponder the lives of these truly unique people who are my grandchildren.  At this writing, Andrew is 23, Jack is 18, Charlotte is 14 and Nathaniel is 11.  They are good things to think about even when I can't go to see them.  Thankfully we have technology that lets us see each other across these Autumn miles.

    Look what Jesus made for me.  



Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Little Things

Sometimes it's a flower...a little hello...a quiet hallelujah...a gentle nudge to be grateful for small blessings.

It was just a little flower. Half the size of my usual hibiscus blooms. But I was so glad to see it since my plant hasn't been doing well lately. Half a bloom is better than none at all. And I saw in this small bloom a truth of life that has come even more clear in recent months. 

Be thankful for small blessings.

I've heard these words several times from my daughters. Both of them have amazing sons who have faced challenges in recent years.

As daughter Lyn mothers a 23-year-old son with Aspberger's Syndrome, the years have taught her to look for signs of progress—no matter how small—and be happy. She home-schooled Andrew until he completed his twelfth grade requirements. He is now taking classes at the community college.

"You have to learn to appreciate the little things...the small steps," she says.

Lyn's sister, Becky, is also well-acquainted with small victories. Her son, Nathaniel, is deaf and has two cochlear implants. We marvel at how well he has adapted to his challenge, but it surely hasn't been easy. Another road paved with little things...baby steps, often marked by steep learning curves as he adapts to the technology that gives him hearing. 

And grandmothers see these quiet hallelujahs in half a bloom of an ailing hibiscus plant. 

Because that's how Life works. 

However small it is, God's got it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sharing the Happy


The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.
William Morris, artist and craftsman


My sister-in-law, Joy, can grow stuff. She doesn't have a garden per se, she just plants things around her house. There's lettuce here, tomatoes there, a batch of basil over here...I mean, some people just know how to do these things. I'm not one of those people, but she is really good at it. For example, this eggplant. I've never seen one in the grocery store this size. It certainly has put a smile on her grandson Ellis's face!

Ellis is happy. And I want to share his happy because there is enough unhappy in the world. Christian speaker and author Patsy Clairmont says we walk past good stories every day. I agree and this is one of the best. Mostly I'm happy that Ellis is here to take joy in an eggplant. Thanks to vigilant doctors who monitored his mother's pregnancy, Ellis had lifesaving laser surgery before he was born. He is now four years old, a smart, happy little boy with no sign of the issue that threatened him. He has spent the days of the pandemic romping with his baby brother, Emmett. Together, they're a tornado of laughter and squealing.

When you're four years old, happy can be defined in the moment you find a huge eggplant in your grandmother's yard. From the time he saw it, I understand that Ellis anticipated cooking it and tasting it. As often happens, it was a case of anticipation being better than reality. Once the eggplant was sliced and cooked on the grill, for him, the tasting wasn't what he wanted it to be. The adults, however, declared it delicious.

The true significance of this little story is that the happiness of our days lies in how much time we spend enjoying the simple pleasures. Some will be terrific, others just so-so. Joy takes her joy (it's almost a pun!) in things around her home...growing things, making things pretty, cooking things. Sharing those things with her grandchildren and others gives her immeasurable pleasure.

Enjoying the simple things in life - that's one big lesson many of us are taking away from this time of enforced solitude. The world is full of big concerns. We can face those as God calls us to and  still practice finding contentment in the things that are right at our feet.