Monday, May 23, 2016

The Best Part of Waking Up

Dear friends, here it is Monday again and sometimes just a walk through the house in the mornings is enough to remind me that my life is filled to overflowing with goodness. It is seriously the best part of waking up, and that's saying a lot, for I do love my morning coffee.

I seem to be short on words these days, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.









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Until next time, dear friends, I hope May is being kind to you. It looks like the rain might be returning to my little woods. Although we've had more than our share the last few weeks, I do not mind. It is often while the rain is falling that I find needed answers. I am hoping it will inspire me to find the words that are locked somewhere inside of me, to be more present in blogland than absent. We shall see.


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Monday, May 16, 2016

Don't Miss the Scenery ~ The Perils of Smart Phones

In this age of carrying around the world in the palm of our hands, when a single tap can connect us to anything we desire, I fear the days of enjoying the scenery may be slipping away.


People of all ages sit on shady swings in sunny parks, but they don’t see the beauty around them; they are looking down at the phone in their hand.


Source: Google
On a regular basis, I see families and friends at tables in restaurants, not talking to each other, but staring at their phones. It is a sad sight. I want to ask, "What's more important right now than your family, than your friends?"

A recent PEW Research study of adults sourced in a Wall Street Journal story found that in the U.S., 71% use Facebook at least occasionally. The report concluded that “we spend so much time maintaining superficial connections online that we aren’t dedicating enough time or effort to cultivating deeper real-life relationships. Too much chatter, too little real conversation.”


Commuters hop on a train, or subway, or bus, but they don’t gaze out the window as the world zooms by, allowing their minds to rest, their thoughts to form. Instead, they stare at the phone in their hands.

A road trip consists more of the passengers looking down than enjoying the view. In our travels, I see it all the time, nobody but the driver paying attention. I want to wave out the window and holler, "Get off your phone and look! "








How much we miss, whenever we stop looking.


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Saturday, May 14, 2016

One Book has the Answers


There are good reasons why the Bible—sometimes called The Good Book—continues to be the best-selling book of all times. Written on its pages not only you will find concise and specific guidelines for living, you also will find sensible instructions regarding how we should behave.

Consider the following:

On being a husband

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

“Husbands, be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect” (1 Peter 3:7).

“Husbands, love your wives; do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19).

On being a wife

“Let the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:33).

On being a parent

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

“Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17).

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21).

“Fathers, bring [your children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

“A child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Proverbs 29:15).

On being a son or daughter

“Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12).

“Hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8).

“Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1).

“Flee youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

On being a decent person

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31).

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor“ (Romans 13:10).

“Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:13-15).

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

“A wise man keeps himself under control” (Proverbs 29:11).

“Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).

“Be kind one to another” (Ephesians 4:32).

“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:10-11).

“Submit yourselves to God” (James 4:7).


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These are but a few examples of the wisdom found in the Bible. I don’t understand why anyone would object to such principles, and I wonder what kind of a world this would be if we turned to the pages of the Bible more often.

I say it’s never too late to start.



A version of this blog post first appeared in The Dallas Morning News. All rights reserved.




Linked with Spiritual Sundays.




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Mother's Day Weekend Report

My Mother’s Day weekend was filled with blessings galore. On Saturday, we drove over to honor my mother. She insisted on doing the cooking and it could’ve won a blue ribbon, as always. Each visit is just a little sweeter than the last one. What a blessing to have my parents still with me.


On Sunday, my beautiful daughter and granddaughter were in church with me, which was the only gift I needed to make my day perfect.


video

I am blessed to be able to take Arabella with me to church quite often, and what a blessing it is to me, just watching her. If the music is already playing when we get there, it isn't unusual for her to enter the sanctuary with her hands raised or clapping. Her mommy captured this 10-second clip on Sunday, and it makes my heart sing. 


Memaw and Papaw and our darling Arabella. How blessed we are.


Papaw and his precious girls.


After church, Papaw took us out to eat. We hammed it up while waiting on a table.



The day wouldn’t have been complete without a mini-photo session with cupcake. I do declare, she is the essence of cuteness! 

I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was as blessed and beautiful as mine, but life isn't always sweet, is it? You don't live as long as I have without having gone through some major storms in life. Sometimes you have to deal with loss and pain and with knowing that bad things happen to good people. Just know that God will have the final say, and He keeps meticulous records. In the meantime, we keep the faith and know that God can be trusted.

There are many who weep on Mother’s Day—both mothers and children. Some children have been abandoned by their mothers, some have lost a mother to death. Then there are mothers who have buried a child, or been abandoned by a child, and women who have yet to become a mother, dealing with the heartbreak of infertility.

I know at least a dozen people who are dealing with one or more of these heartbreaks. If you find yourself in any of these places, I'm sharing here what I shared on Facebook over the weekend. This is but a portion of the 56th Psalm and I recommend reading the whole chapter. I hope you find it comforting, as I did.




Until next time, sweet friends, thanks for keeping me company here. You are a blessing.


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Friday, May 6, 2016

Embracing Motherhood : A Recollection from the Past

It is 1986, the kind of August morning that promises rain. At 6:30, I am tiptoeing through the kitchen like a burglar, carrying a basket brimming with dirty laundry. My two-month-old daughter sleeps peacefully in the other end of the house. Her early feeding done, I am determined to get a head-start on the day—something I haven't done since bringing her home from the hospital. Besides, it's been a week since I opened the clothes hamper; things are getting a bit smelly.

Being a mother is amazing. I love my child so fiercely it’s frightening. But there’s another side to motherhood. Until my daughter's birth, I never knew the true meaning of the word, "tired.” I never realized how little sleep you can actually exist on. The days creep into the nights, leaving me exhausted and wondering if I will even live to see her start to school.

With heavy hands, I load the washing machine, sneak into the kitchen, put on a pot of coffee. In the darkness, I sit waiting for the brew to finish. I am exhausted. The living room resembles a garage sale. It's been weeks since I looked at a newspaper, listened to the news, heard my favorite song. My world revolves around a plump little girl named Anna Marie who makes great smacking noises and smells of baby powder and cotton gowns, and, occasionally, something a lot less pleasant.

As I gulp down the last swallow of coffee, I have one wish: three hours of uninterrupted sleep. But just as I sit the cup on the table, Anna Marie announces herself with great gusto. I can’t believe she is awake again. Didn’t I just put her down?

I rush to her bed, scoop up my bellowing angel, change her soaking diaper, powder her little behind, kiss her rosy face, then settle into the rocking chair in the corner. Holding her close, I am awed by her beauty, by the way she slaps my chest with her tiny hand while gulping down her breakfast… or is it lunch already? She is perfectly content. All of her needs have been met.

Suddenly and without warning, I have thoughts that surprise me. After all, I'd waited and prayed for a baby for four years, but there they were, selfish thoughts. When am I going to have all of my needs met? When am I going to get a good night’s sleep? Or get the house cleaned? Or eat a decent meal, or even cook one?

I am appalled by my feelings, but then, as gentle as the summer rain splattering against the window, the thought comes to me: I am a mother. God trusted me enough to give me this notable title. It isn't about me anymore.

Slumped in the curve of a rocking chair, I suddenly see the beauty of myself. I was much more than an exhausted body in a baggy housecoat; I was the keeper of a child. This revelation soothes and refreshes me.

I look down into the face of my precious baby and from somewhere deep inside I feel a stirring, an intense longing to be the best mother, the best teacher, the best nurturer. Right then and there, wholeheartedly, I embrace this hallowed assignment called motherhood.


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Happy Mother's Day!



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Mother's Heart

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always discover forgiveness.” 

~ Honore de Balzac


This post is part of the series, Black and White Wednesdays.



Monday, May 2, 2016

What You Missed in April ~ In no Particular Order


Many years ago, two darling little cousins played hard together, but stopped long enough to pose for pictures for their mommies. The blonde one belongs to twin sister; the brunette one is mine. I share these photos because of the little plaid dress mine is wearing.


As a confessed pack-rat, I've saved things from my daughter's childhood, including a number of dresses like this one. I had hoped that one day I would have a granddaughter and would get to, sort of, re-live the past.


That day came in April for our darling Arabella. Although she is younger than her mom was, the dress fit to a tee. 
Memaw was happy.





The Man and I, along with my two sisters, drover over and helped my mother celebrate her birthday in April, then posed for a pic before heading home.


In the food department, twin sister shared a recipe for Mexican chicken soup. I made it and "yummy" doesn't begin to describe it.


I tried my hand at making quiche. If you ever thought eating quiche was eating light, think again. Total deliciousness though, and I've made several varieties since the first attempt and they all turned out scrumptious.


One Sunday afternoon in April, I drove cupcake down the street to visit with her Aunt Gayle, whom she completely adores; I have no doubt she would move in if her mommy would let her. Gayle captured these precious images and wrote a poignant blog post about their time together.


Sometimes, you just need to get away with your sisters, so when twin sister asked if big sis and I would like to join her on the Island (all expenses paid), we were on it, lickety-split. The San Luis Resort never disappoints, but it can't compare to the company of loved ones.


When I backed down the driveway of twin sister's home one evening in April. A full moon could be seen through the trees, big and bright; God's nightlight, I like to call it. As I always do when I leave her house, I said a simple prayer. It's always the same prayer, specifically for her, and I end with a praise to the God of the impossible, the One who took nothing and made everything. And so, on this night, I said my simple prayer, then stopped and rolled down my window to get better glimpse of the moon. I never take good pictures of a full moon, but on impulse I reached for my camera and this was the results. When I looked at it, the way the light of the moon made a cross, I took it as a sign from God, a message from Him to my sister, a message we all need to hear from time-to-time: You are never alone.


As you can see, I've saved the best for last. Oh my ... I can't even. These two are too adorable for words, at least that's Memaw's opinion.

Until next time, dear friends, this post has been all over the map, but there it is. Thank you so much for hanging out with me. Your company is cherished.

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