Thursday, June 25, 2009

Looking for a City Who's Builder & Maker is God

I was restless in my sleep last night with lots on my mind. Everytime I would stir, I thought of LouLou, lying in a hospital bed with a broken hip. She fell night before last and they wanted to do surgery yesterday on her hip but they were concerned about signs of trouble with her heart. After 102 ½ years, it’s weak and tired.

Last night, I saw a scene that was so beautiful and comforting to me. As I was praying for LouLou, I saw her standing on the bank of a river that was deep and wide. She could see a beautiful, verdant land on the opposite bank. It was infinitely more beautiful than the side of the river she stood on. The lush and beautiful landscape sloped up to what appeared to be a glistening city that was obscured somewhat by soft clouds and a refreshing mist. She sadly thought “I don’t have the strength to swim and I’ve no boat to cross in.” Immediately, a host of angels that had been hovering unseen to her eye surrounded her and spoke “We will carry you on wings as an eagle.” She lifted her arms and was gently lifted off the ground and I heard her laugh with delight.

No one but God knows the moment and the hour that she will make this journey. But as I prepare to leave today on my trip to the Rainforests of Central America, I am at peace that she has a company of angels attending to her.

I return next Tuesday night and will look forward to sharing the amazing sights, sounds and knowledge gained from my trip.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Love Smells Just Like Peach Cobbler

While shopping for peaches this weekend, I inquired of the woman at the vegetable stand if she might have some in the back that were bruised and too ripe to have on display. I told her I prefer those for making cobbler. She wanted to know the occasion and it started a conversation about cooking and marriage that inspired me to testify about something that works for me.

I never aspired to be a good cook. I burn something in the kitchen at least weekly and create culinary disappointments on a regular basis. But my family insists I’m a great cook and I suppose 30 years of experience give me that claim to fame. For me, cooking is not about blending the right spices and seasonings to create just the right flavor. It's a way to say, "I love you".

People talk about knowing your spouse’s “love language”. Before I’d ever read Gary Smalley’s book on the subject, I’d figured out how to speak Jim’s love language and it’s not words. The gift of my time is what means the most to him and the gift of my time spent in the kitchen is worth twice as much.

Over the years, I’ve heard more than a few catty remarks from women who don’t understand or appreciate my desire to have a home-cooked dinner on the table for my family every night, ideally at the preferred time of 6 o’clock. They’ve implied that I’m in bondage to some “old school” thinking that demeans women.

If caring enough about the love of my life to speak in his food language that there’s nothing more important to me than him is “old school”, then sign me up for that school, please. It works for me.

Tonight at my house, love smells like peach cobbler. And that’s sweet.

I've decided to submit this last-minute entry to Scribbit's June Monthly Writing Contest just for the fun of it. The subject this month is food and I can't resist the chance to win a picnic basket that brings back wonderful childhood memories of picnics on a red checkered tablecloth!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Portrait of My Father

My dad has been gone for 19 years. I was thinking about him alot this week with Father's Day approaching and instead of writing something new, I pulled out something that I gave him for Father's Day when I was in high school. Looks like I've loved words for a long time.

Portrait of My Father

He sits quietly in the comfort of his easy chair. His feet are propped on the stool in front of him and his hands rest in his lap. His head is tilted to one side as he listens to the conversation of his family.

He wears a pair of faded bermuda shorts and a loose fitting cotton shirt. It is tattered like a weather beaten sail that has seen many storms. A pair of thongs hang on his dangling feet.

His hands are long and lean like the expressive hands of a master musician. They are smooth and unmarred by the rigors of manual labor.

The face is calm and thoughtful. The features are softened by a pleasant expression that radiates tranquility. But you see the eyes. The eyes are alive and dancing. They are the vivid blue of a summer sky on a cloudless day. His eyebrows are set gently above the cloudless blue. They move up and down as he ponders what is being said and sifts it, like one sifting the chaff from the grain.

His face is framed by curly black hair. The hair begins to take on a new color just above the left temple. It is gray like an evening fog moving in to envelop the harbor.

Slowly, a smile begins to light his face and he chuckles softly. Then he returns to the serenity that is his gift.

Robin at Pensieve is hosting a unique blog party that had me looking back at things I've written. (She didn't expect me to go back 30+ years!) The challenge: to link your ONE favorite post from your blog. So far there's 47 links and I can't wait to read as many as I can, there are so many talented bloggers!

Hope your weekend is filled with love. And air conditioning. We've hit 100 here the past 2 days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's About Time

Have you ever picked up a book that everybody else is raving about and it’s flat and dull to you? Then you pick it up 6 months later and you love it? It’s all about timing.

I’ve been pondering the importance of God’s timing. I honestly believe that we are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history and that you and I can make a difference in the way things go. I won’t get too heavy today, because I have my “Expector” turned up. I’m expecting good things and am declaring that and speaking it into my environment.

Everywhere I turn, I’m hearing words about timing. I heard a message on Sunday about the word kairos. It’s a Greek word that means the right or opportune moment. The other Greek word for time is chronos, which refers to chronological or sequential time. Kairos implies qualitative time while chronos implies quantitative time. In the New Testament kairos means "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts.

I’m alert for those moments in time that I am to do or say something that can precipitate what God wants to do. I want to experience qualitative time; it’s an exciting way to live! Is your “Expector” on?

Monday, June 15, 2009

I’m the Barnyard Chicken Around Here

I’m surprised I’m even telling you what’s new around our place. It doesn’t quite fit with my image of myself to say that I own chickens.

Builderman has gone on and on about wanting chickens until I said, “Fine- as long as I don’t have to see them, smell them or help in any way at all… get your chickens.” He called me on Friday morning and said, “I need a favor. I need a poultry pick-up.” My response was “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” No. No he wasn’t kidding.

This is what I picked up at the post office- who knew they ship real live peeps in the mail!

I’m going to quote my friend Diane who’s husband recently decided they need pack goats. Yes, you heard that right. She writes, “Maybe your first question, when you are finished laughing, is: Why did Rod and Diane get a goat? And I'm not gonna lie. There is a small part of me that is slightly embarrassed by the fact that we own a goat. That is probably why I usually refer to him as the "puppy-goat." I guess I have a certain type of person in mind when I think of people who own goats. I need to get over my biases. So do you.”

Oh, Diane, I know exactly how you feel. At least I can commiserate with one of my fellow bloggers. And I will quietly admit that the little peeps are cute for now. I'm thinking that's a temporary state.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lighting the Past

As I carefully carried the heirloom chandelier from my car, the prisms tinkled daintily, transporting me to another time in another place.

This chandelier’s home had been in LouLou’s dining room, a shadowed, chilly room that was only aired and used on formal occasions and holidays. In winter months, because it was seldom heated, it was used as a refrigerator for the overflow of food stockpiled for hordes of visiting relatives. I can almost taste the rich dark chocolate sheet cake that was a favorite comfort food and stored on the marble sideboard.

Because the house was old and its off-grade foundation had settled like an old woman’s bone structure, it was virtually impossible to walk across the floor without causing the dozens of prisms to start their chorus. I recall the reprimands directed at me and my cousins that we sounded like a herd of elephants tromping through the house.

The light that shone on countless family gatherings is being passed on to the next generation. I like being the courier.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Old Switcheroo is Making Things New

I usually consider exercise to be almost as fun as a trip to the dentist. In other words, it doesn’t even make my list of things I like. At all. However, like going to the dentist, it is on my list of things I have to do whether I like it or not.

I will say that my love of blogging has resulted in a new level of fitness for me. Participation in 2nd Cup of Coffee’s Fitness & Food Challenges that began in March has actually pushed me to achieve a goal I’ve had for several years; adding weights to my regular exercise regimen.

When I won Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred just before this last challenge when we were asked to switch up our exercise routine, I figured it was providential. (A special thanks to Jamie - this was her first blog give-away.) Do you want a work-out that is fun, inspiring and easy to do? Then don’t get this DVD. I loathe it. BUT… it has turned my wog into a run that actually feels like a vacation after working out with Jillian. It's quite effective as Jillian is a tough coach in every sense of the word. I use the DVD 2 or 3 times a week. Forget daily.... you'd hear my groaning from here to your house.

A Shout Out to Linda for helping inspire the following changes I’ve experienced over the last few months:
* A new habit of exercising an average 5 days a week. I used to set my goal for 3 and if I missed 1 or 2 days, it simply wasn’t enough exercise. This is working much better for me.
* I feel stronger, my clothes fit better, my posture is better and I feel toned. (No more arms flapping in the wind! Yay!)
* They say that weight bearing exercise is vital for peri-menopausal women in order to prevent osteoporosis. I’m very happy that I finally found a way to achieve this form of exercise. (I’m using 5 lb hand weights – I’m no Hercules but it counts.)
* I’m enjoying new snacks and healthy recipes that my blog friends have let me know about.
* The encouraging words that friends in Bloggsville leave in the form of comments are amazing inspiration. Ya’ll are awesome. I have observed that there's alot of healthy relationships that include friendship and mentoring in Bloggsville.

For more inspiration, go on over to Linda’s . She'll teach you the Un-Cha dance and it's FUN!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Laughter is an Instant Vacation

Mondays often seem like a good day to discuss stress-relief since mine are always busy. Last week I promised I would try to find some new hilarity for this week. This very short clip titled "Are Women Born Like this?" found at Richard's creations, fills the bill nicely. Happy Monday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Drive Thru

1. I met with a small group of women this week who wanted information about blogging, social media and basic internet etiquette. I had fun taking them on a blog tour; they met some of you! I was able to hook up my laptop so that it was displayed on the large flat screen TV. It was especially fun when I showed them Mocha with Linda's site for book reviews and awesome give-aways and she had just posted that I was the winner of a book! All of us learned alot from the session. They encouraged me to teach a class like this and charge for it. I never ever had considered it but I bet there would be a good response.

2. A friend passed along a complete wardrobe of tiny pink dresses and adorable clothes ranging from “Onesies” to the new “kiddopatamus” swaddler. Who knew? It’s been almost 20 years since my last pregnancy and it is so much fun to see all the neat new things devised for babies. It’s been like Christmas in June as I’ve enjoyed helping to prepare for this gift of a grandchild. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time playing with baby clothes this week and loved every minute of it.

3. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fruit that’s in season. Peaches, blueberries and watermelon are tops on my list. I wouldn’t want to leave out the fresh squash and tomatoes our garden is producing. What a treat!

4. It’s Friday Fitness Day and National Donut Day, which are obviously mutually exclusive. Since you didn’t need to know this is, I heard that Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme have give-ways going on. I’m delivered from temptation by virtue of living in the boondocks, not by virtue of self-control. ; ) Please pass the squash.
5. I meant to say "pass the ice cream." Want a chance to win a year's worth of free Blue Bunny ice cream?? I thought so! Details Here
ice cream giveaway

5. Fridays seem to be a good day for a random run-down. I’m usually not geared up to write a focused post yet have things to share. Shelly and I have entertained the idea of hosting a “Friday Quick Takes” with Mr. Linky. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Surpassing Greatness of His Power

I’m reading a book I bought because of the title; it comes straight from the book of Ephesians. The truth of those words has been ringing in my soul for several weeks. It’s part of a prayer that I’m going to turn in your direction today.

I give thanks for you today and pray that the Father of glory may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe.

Wow. That puts wind in my sail. After all, faith is the sail that catches the wind of the Spirit and hope is the anchor of the soul when we’re waiting for the wind to come up.

Sail on. See you on the water.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Living with Passion

Monday, Monday. Did you know that…

• Medical researchers estimate that up to 90% of illness and disease is stress-related.
• Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death.
• Stress is manageable, and reversible.

Did you get that? Stress is manageable, and reversible.

I’ve discovered that walking in joy instead of stress is dependent on making a place in my life every day for the truly important things. When we’re using our gifts and talents and have a constancy of purpose, the clamor of the small stuff is muffled to a tolerable level. It’s all about finding your “YES!”. Doing that thing which makes your heart sing, even if only for small increments of time, keeps things in perspective.

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night and as you started thinking about your list of things to do, broken out in a sweat? You’re lying in bed wired and awake but it’s ludicrous to get up at 2 AM to start the day. Then you wake up at 6 tired from working on your problems all night. I think we’ve all been there, done that. But in the light of day, those details which grew to heart-stopping proportions in the middle of the night are in reality much more manageable. It’s all about perspective.

If God removed the rocks, the brook would have no song.

In making time for what we feel passionate about, it's usually necessary to sort the good things from the best. Not always a clear distinction. So that brings me to my question.

What are you passionate about today?

For me, it’s encouraging people through the vehicle of LifePoint. I have a vision and the best is yet to come! That puts fire under my feet.

As a follow-up note, thanks for your input when I asked for Team Brain help. I decided on Life Notes for my newsletter title and my tag line is
Motivation, Inspiration. Mastery.

Oh mercy, now I have people signed up for a newsletter that has yet to be created. But that's fun, since I'm not often at a loss for words.

Coming soon: My second major stress-management technique is to LAUGH! I’ll see what hilarity I can come up with for a post on that. : )

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~William James