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… a moment …

I told you about that facebook chat didn’t I?

  It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories. 

I shared that a little slice of time was so precious … and that God loves our little slices of time with Him.

But, as I re-read the post, I know I didn’t tell you.

It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories.

There are moments that shine in our lives; moments that exhilarate; moments that suffocate; moments that feel like hours; moments that sweep us off our feet.

The moment I saw Titus’ message was a moment that took my breath away.

           It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take
but by the moments that take our breath away.

~ Hilary Cooper

That was a moment … that is what life feels like.

 

… lavish some love …

Thanksgiving week is upon us.  To many that means Black and pre-Black Friday. 

But in the truest sense, it is a call to return to a fundamental need of the heart…that of offering praise to something bigger, better, and greater than ourselves…praise to God. 

This will be a very full week because shortly after Thursday, a huge praise event will happen in our family…Titus will return from Afghanistan!  It’s been six long months, and these next few days will be longer. 

I was visiting facebook on Friday, shortly before lunch hour ended.  I noticed the little green dot indicating that Titus was on the system.  I messaged him quickly…no response.   Wait for it …. ugh. 

“Titus PLEASE be on here, I have to go to work soon!”   … “Titus is typing…”

YES!

 “yes! im on!
hi mom!!”

Sweet words!  It’s just been a couple of months since we chatted before, but oh such sweet words.
 
So, after pulling myself together, we had a nice little chat.
 
I am so thankful, even still, for that small amount of time with him.  A small amount of time to connect, to share, to lavish some love. 
And a living lesson that I don’t always have to have a huge slot of time to talk with God.  He does love that too…but so He also loves a small amount of time to connect, to share, to lavish some love.  amen amen amen.
 
Lavish some love today.
 
 

 

… warning signs …

There are warning signs in our lives that we have moved off our purpose.

A couple of those signs are …

Planning to do it tomorrow.  Sometimes I get a great idea.  Yes!  I’ll do that tomorrow.  Sometimes I see something that I really need to do.  Yes! I’ll do that tomorrow.  Sometimes I’m prodded about a mission of mercy.  Yes! I’ll do that tomorrow.  Tomorrow promises a rich and full life, does it not?

Another sign is the loss of joy in the journey.  I love that phrase — “joy in the journey.”  I believe I first heard it from a Michael Card song.

There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

This has been my warning sign.  Loss of joy in the journey.  My purpose is muddled, mish-mashed by an array of urgent responsibilities many of which I don’t like.  From many of which I don’t receive a sense of fulfillment or validation.  So I have pushed my way through, like a highway truck without the snow plow, in an attempt to accomplish the tasks that are necessarily a part of my life.

From the first, I had begun this blog with the very firm conviction that I would not dwell upon the dark, whisper my whines, or lament life.  I have come to see that this is a noble but unworthy, unrealistic thought.  For each of our lives veer into darkness, dip into whines, and sometimes delve into lusty laments.

What in me wants to hide that from you?  At first, it was truly a desire to be an encouragement by sharing the uplifting parts of my life.  Later, it became a stubbornness to be transparent.  Two extremes, same result.

But how can you know the highpoints of what God is doing with me if I fail to reveal the low points?  And how can you believe me to be real if my life sounds like a fairytale?  Rest assured, I don’t want to be a melancholy momma.  But I also don’t want to be a flibbertigibbet.  (Ok, confession.  I just learned that word and had to use it…isn’t it great?)

Back to “joy in the journey” . . .

I think I’m finding my way again…I see snippets of joy in my journey.

funeral friday 4

It seems like the funeral director in your town or neighborhood has been there forever, right?  The turnover rate is so low in some places that you get the impression that he was born in the funeral home.

But when a new director does come, it’s a transitional period for the community as well as for the funeral director.  He has to learn all the names, the relationships in all the families.  He needs to learn where all the churches and cemeteries are located; develop relationships with all the pastors and cemetery sextons.  He will learn all of the town and village clerks and the local veteran’s services agent.  He will also build bridges with other area funeral directors and service organizations.  I think you’re getting the picture.

Life for the new funeral director is very interesting, indeed.  And in the early part, it’s like you never really catch up, and you’re praying like mad that things go well.

I remember Mrs. C, an amazingly gracious woman.  Her husband had passed away in during a cold, snowy winter.  She no longer lived in the area, but she understood the plight of the new funeral director; where he needed assistance with information that the previous director would have known, Mrs. C amicably provided it.

It turns out the cemetery was quite far away and it was not one that was utilized by this funeral home often.  For peace of mind, it was necessary to drive out, look over the cemetery, and develop confidence in the route for a successful processional.  Having done that, it seemed we could relax a little about logistics and concentrate on service.

The calling hours and funeral service ended, it was time to proceed to the cemetery.  An accurate and orderly processional was created and off we went.  Driving, slowly, but just driving.

And then, we noticed out the driver’s side window that Mrs. C’s car had pulled up along side of our car, having pulled out and passed the hearse to make the maneuver.  This was about eight years ago and cell phones had not migrated into the elderly portion of the population at all, so this was her only method of communicating with the funeral director.

So we pulled over, lowered our window, and heard Mrs. C kindly say, “I’m not familiar with this route to the cemetery.”  Which was enough to send a creeping pink line up the funeral director’s neck (my dear husband) as he looked around to determine our location.   They discussed the situation and decided how to get things back on track for that successful processional.

As there was no cross-road nearby, a turn-around was the course of action chosen.  The “about-face” went amazingly smooth, as numerous cars executed the needed maneuvers to stay out of ditches and snow banks.

Mrs. C was, indeed, very kind about the whole situation keeping the intimate details of that conversation discretely to herself.  And we now know where all the cemeteries are and have not repeated this mistake!

I needed a jump-start today–this week.

My motivation has been so low.  I tend to blame it on the weather.  The dreariness just keeps hanging on, with a deep chill that hits me hard.  Ah, but then it’s not a tsunami.  What do I have to complain about?  As I watched the destruction last week, my mind went immediately to their weather, or climate.

The Sendai area has an average 30° low with 50° high for March.  I cannot imagine being wet, homeless, devastated, and COLD.  I am blessed.  The thermostat is just here beside my desk–and it works.

Forgive me Lord.

Subject change–

There is a beautiful verse in Psalm 84. (v11)

The Lord, God is a sun and shield; he will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

That’s the Baker paraphrase.  I learned it in KJV and have altered the words slightly…but that’s how I say the verse.

The Lord is a sun:  this turns my mind toward Provider.  The sun is the source of energy that grows our plants which results in food for animals and food for us.  The sun supplies our bodies with Vitamin D.  Lack of sun results rickets.  The sun heats our planet…ah yes, heat…

The Lord is a shield:  Protector.  What else is a shield for?  Windshield, battle shield, police shield, and…

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great.  (Psalm 18:35)

Total Protection through the shield of salvation…Jesus and all He did for us.

The Lord God is my Provider and Protector… that’s the part of the verse that stays with me today.

My daughter just informed me that it’s an AWESOME day outside … so I’m going to go absorb some Vitamin D, and chase out some of that deep chill.

weekdays

I’ll be posting on weekdays.  Weekends are just too crazy.

funeral friday 3

Memorials.  They are a sobering vision.  We look at them in Arlington Cemetery, in national parks, in city parks–they’re all around if we just look.  That statue in your city circle is a memorial to a brave person of long ago–or maybe even of recent events.

Memorials are about a remembering a an event, a culture, a life.  In Joshua 4 God instructed the Israelites to build a memorial.  This was an altar of rocks.  The purpose of the memorial was that the story of the crossing of the Jordan would be repeated.  And then, “all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

Each life will be remembered for some thing.  Some for bravery; consider the marine statue of Iwo Jima.  (There was one Navy corpsman as well.)  Others, perhaps more for a whimsical, cultural impact such as the Jim Henson Memorial.

Memorials are in the fabric and life of our culture.  Not everyone will get a statue in front of city hall, but everyone is worth honoring by a memorial.

Funeral services are about remembering.  Taking time to celebrate life–the life that was and the great impact it had on you personally–and cherish memories is the essence of the memorial.

How is this done?  In your own way.  Display Dad’s work tools, set up photo boards, hang Mom’s quilts, put the Harley on the funeral home porch, write a poem or essay about your good memories.  (The bad ones are just trash, put them on the compost pile where they should have been years ago…)

Remembering through a memorial is not ignoring the reality of life, nor is it implying perfection.  A memorial simply selects worthy moments and characteristics and allows us to shout out “Look!  This was important to me.”

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