Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Life Well Lived

1913 - that's the year she was born.  What a life; to have experienced the '20's, the Great Depression, the birth of rock and roll, the era of television, microwave ovens, mood rings, earrings, dishwashers, computers, and movie theaters.

I think of the many, many Thanksgiving meals her hands have prepared and the countless shirts she's ironed for her husband.  How many times has she vaccuumed the same living room carpet or sat with her neighbor at the kitchen table and laughed over a few cups of coffee?  I think of her weathered hands searching through her Bible for her favorite scripture relying on God's strength and comfort in every season of her life.  It was her dish that was the most sought after at every pot luck gathering, and the beautiful fresh flowers that graced the altar each Sunday morning were hand-picked from her garden.  She gave tirelessly to her husband, her church and its people always giving of herself.

All the joys, the victories, the tears and struggles she's endured over the years; and all with unmeasurable grace.  What an awesome example she is for those of us still in the midst of life with many years of trials and triumphs ahead of us.

She's now face-to-face with Christ after 98 years of serving him.  I can only hope to be a fraction of the kind of Christian woman she was.  She will be deeply missed, but dearly admired for years to come.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the Garden

I'm so excited about our community garden tour we're having next month.  I went last year, and absolutely loved the opportunity to visit some beautiful garden spaces of our local gardeners.

This year, I'm going to finish off the tour by opening my garden up to those in my church.  Some are into that type of thing - others aren't.  Either way, I'm excited about offering refreshments on the patio at the end of a warm spring day and sharing the fruits of my labors.

Of course, none of my visitors will ever know how my garden has evolved over the years.  It started out as a dirt patch interrupted by a fruitless apricot that inhibited my planting space but offered wonderful shade where the kids and I enjoyed many an afternoon snack. They won't see the footprints of my children when they'd pounce around my garden in their bare feet and toting little watering cans.  The greenhouse is gone now too, as is the little topiary tree I started from a cutting; the one that housed the little finch nest and provided shelter until each little bird was strong enough to fly away.

The memories held in my garden are dear to me.  The hours I've spent on my knees digging, planting, creating and listening to my thoughts, the birds, the water and the gentle breezes have emotionally tied me to my little sanctuary.  So much of me and the past 15 years is in there lying quietly just beyond the garden gate.  It's the place where I recharge my batteries.  It's where I go when I'm frustrated.  When I'm happy.  When I need a place to cry.  When I want a few moments of peace.

It's a small, quiet little space that would never even begin to compare with the gardens on our community tour.  But to me, it's the most spectacular one of all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'll Take It!

My heart goes out to the parents of teens.  Plain and simple.  Whether you have a "good kid," or one who brings constant heartache and turmoil to your home, the pressures and temptations that surround our high-schoolers these days are enormous.  Many kids who began kindergarten with my son, now a senior in high school, have given in to evil desires by turning to drugs, violence and promiscuity.

I've been grateful for the bond of friendships both my children have made through their involvement with the school band.  Yes, I have to admit, we're a band geek family.  Granted, band is not without its problems, but it has given the kids involved a core group all working toward a common goal and purpose.

I've had my teary-eyed moments of pride watching my kids on the marching field or participating in their rehearsed and impromptu performances.  But yesterday, my heart swelled with happiness and pride once again over a very simple thing.

My son and his two best buddies (a.k.a. The Three Stooges), all piled into my kitchen to make lunch.  Now, this is my newly-remodeled kitchen with the granite counters and stainless steel appliances - the ones I meticulously clean each day.  I took a deep breath at my son's announcement of the three of them creating breakfast burritos in my little domain.  Afterall, the kitchen is "command central" in our house. I don't hand over the reins to just anyone.

So, I hung around for several minutes before returning back to work from my lunch break.  But before I left, I found myself actually laughing at the run-away raw egg left to roll across the counter and splat on the floor.  I admired their resourcefulness as they mushed up tater tots and called them hash browns.  And it's amazing we didn't have a kitchen fire as the other boy vowed to cook the bacon until it turned black and crispy (and smoking!).  And I watched as, for some reason, little pats of butter went into every pan to "add flavor."  I just shook my head, begged them not to burn the house down and figured I'd clean up whatever mess I found when I returned home.

As I left, I realized how blessed I am.  The boys coming over to cook lunch in my kitchen was definitely something I could handle.  And, I was pleasantly surprised that my son cleaned up their mess before I got home.

Thank you, God!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A little discouraging

So, I write.  I rewrite.  I move things around and tweak here and there.  Then finally, after weeks, even months of staring at the same article, I take a deep breath and hit the "send" button.

That's when the agony starts.  I check my email every hour on the hour in hopes of placing well in the contest I've entered.  I spend 2 solid months hoping the judges will "get" my sometimes twisted sense of humor and at least toss me an honorable mention when all is said done.

Finally, the results are in!  I click the link with bated breath.  There, in a bright red congratulatory font the winners names are spelled out.  Below it, those receiving an honorable mention.

I don't see my name!  How can this be?  There has to be some mistake.  The 3 people who read my article were nearly rolling on the floor with hysteria!  Don't those judges know an entertaining read when they see one?

With trepidation, I run my cursor over the name of the actual winner, and in an instant I see why she won.  Her essay is pure genious, I sigh and shake my head.  She deserves to win with writing like that.

So, I spend the rest of the day licking my wounds and search through my works in progress for the most promising.  And once again, I'll write.  And write some more.  I'll move things around and do a fair share of tweaking here and there.  Then, I'll take another deep breath and hit the "send" button.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Relying on the Lord

I am weak, but thou art strong 
Jesus, keep me from all wrong
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, dear Lord
Close to thee

Just a closer walk with thee
Grant it, Jesus,
Is my plea
Daily walking close to thee
Let it be, dear Lord
Let it be

I find that lately, I'm relying on God for absolutely everything!  I need him to help me love the unlovely.  To forgive those who have trespassed against me.  To provide compassion when I have none.  To open my eyes to understanding.  And to guide me in making tough decisions.  He's there.  Hallelujah!  He's always there.

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