Friday, July 31, 2015

Children ~ The True Victims of the World


I'll never forget holding my granddaughter in my arms for the first time. I had almost forgotten what a delightful thing it is to hold something so exquisite and pure. As I watched her little face make all kinds of expressions, I was consumed with love and remembered the words of the psalmist David when he wrote, "Children are a gift from the Lord." 

At the same time, while I rejoiced for so many reasons, a part of me ached for so many reasons. Such innocence, such vulnerability, such helplessness. 

Children are the true victims of the world, the innocent sufferers, powerless to save themselves from the decisions of others. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, a life of crime, divorce, family conflicts, or a lack of insight as parents, children are the real casualties of society.

Have you ever watched the television drama, "Intervention"? It'll break your heart in a million pieces, children left to fend for themselves, while parents are strung out on drugs or alcohol, unable to care for themselves, let alone their brood of children.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture, and one that showcases how much value God places on children, is found in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. As Jesus spoke to a crowd of people, the disciples gathered around. Suddenly, one of them asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

“Except you be converted, and become as little children,” Jesus said, “you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Why would God choose a little child as the perfect model for those who strive to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Here are some possible reasons:

Children trust their parents to do what’s best for them.
Children are tender-hearted, not too proud to cry.
Children don't worry about tomorrow.
Children believe all things are possible.
Children enjoy life and laugh a lot.
Children forgive quickly.
Children love easily.

Whenever I look at the photo here of my daughter giggling many years ago, her innocence still tugs at my heart. It's been said that children are unstained jewels dropped from heaven. Indeed, they are. And they should be treated with the greatest of respect, and handled with the greatest of care.


In the latest disturbing undercover video, Dr. Savita Ginde, Vice President and Medical Director for the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, is heard discussing selling body parts of aborted babies with the people posing as representatives from a  human biologics company. Part of the exchange is between the doctor and a Planned Parenthood medical assistant. As they are surveying the pieces of an aborted baby in the lab, the doctor can be heard, nonchalantly, ticking off the body parts that she sees. She says, “Stomach, heart, kidney adrenal … I don’t know what else is there.” The assistant says, “Arms.” The doctor then says, “I didn’t see the legs. Did you see the legs?" After a moment, the assistant happily proclaims, “And another boy!”

As someone said today, “These people are operating with less than a soul." 

The current outrage over Planned Parenthood's willingness to sell body parts from aborted babies is well and good, but it is way overdue. Since 1973, abortion clinics have been slaughtering babies. There’s just no easy way to put it. As much as some try to sugar-coat abortion, it stops the beating of a heart, and does so in a barbaric way. I've written about abortion in the past and while it's not a subject we're comfortable talking about, I feel a moral obligation to speak out for the unborn babies who have no voice, no choice, and I will continue to do so for as long as there is breath left in me.

Until next time, dear friends, please pray for the little ones, both unborn and born. Without a doubt, they are the true victims of the world.



***


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Double Dose of Cupcake

On a recent Saturday, after spending the day with my twin sister, I came home and found cupcake looking all cute, as always. I sat down in my favorite chair and covered her in Memaw kisses. My daughter grabbed my phone and said, "Mom, let me take some pictures of you with her." Sometimes, it's those impromptu moments that turn out the best.

I don't believe I shared cupcake's three-month photos with you. Since she'll be turning five months in a couple of weeks, I suppose there's no time like the present. Yes, five months!!

So, from a shameless grandmother, my darling Arabella.





As I often say, I'm squeezing every ounce of goodness out of these fleeting days, for I know soon she will be crawling and walking and talking and running. Until then, I'm getting my sugar while I can.

Until next time, sweet friends, make the moments count.

***


Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Musings ~ The Small Things

When life knocks the wind out of you, when plans fall apart, when simply breathing is hard, there’s a certain comfort in the small, ordinary things—like a soft place to land at the end of the day, like having coffee in a favorite cup, like sharing fast-food with a sister, or playing a favorite song over and over.

Last week, I got a text from a friend that said, "I'm thinking of you." It is the small things that make the big things easier to bear, don't you agree?



***


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Have You Ever Been Mad at God?

On a scorching day in July of 1986, I found myself, for the first time in my life, angry with God. Have you ever been mad at God? Oh, I had questioned Him before, but I'd never really been mad at Him, and, this time, I was really mad at Him. 

In 1989, I wrote about the powerful spiritual encounter that came out of my experience and I'm sharing it here in these images, and with the good people who gather at Charlotte's place on weekends. You can click on the image for a larger view.




Thursday, July 23, 2015

What to Keep or Not to Keep ~ How to Choose

I have been cleaning out closets, filling boxes with things I no longer use, need, or want. It’s a therapeutic process, once I get into the rhythm of it, and I always wonder why I wait so long to take care of business.

But there is a drawback. Sorting and discarding pieces of my life can leave me in a melancholy mood. I remember the little pink Rothschild wool coat and matching hat that belonged to my daughter when she was just a toddler, and how I sold it for $25 at a yard sale one Saturday, and how, within minutes I regretted that decision and asked the buyer if I could buy it back. But even when I pleaded my case, she said no. A deal was a deal and I had to honor that.

For weeks—months—I mourned my loss and vowed to never be that hasty or foolish again. Maybe that’s why my attic floor moans from the weight of the toys and plastic tubs filled with relics from my daughter’s childhood. Maybe that is why it takes me awhile to get into the swing of cleaning out closets, of saying goodbye to my stuff. I want to be sure.

Once I’m sure, though, I’m happier for it. I enjoy walking into closets that have so much space they echo. The sight of barren shelves makes me smile. I feel free, released from the weight of it all, and I like to think my old things find a new home, a new life.

On Tuesday, I strolled around a couple of antique stores, searching for a small vintage alarm clock, the kind you wind up, the kind that works. My hunt came up empty, but as I walked the aisles, I kept thinking about the things we abandon and I wondered why we choose some and hang on to others, why one day we want it, the next day we don’t.


I passed items that appeared to have been well-used and, I hope, equally loved.


Other things seemed hardly used at all. I tried to imagine who sat at this desk. Who wrote letters here, by the light of a lamp? Who opened mail here, taking in the news of the day? The desk seemed to have so much life left to give. I think, as a writer, I felt a certain kinship with it. I wanted to load it up and take it with me, but there would be no room for it at home.

I’m an advocate for simplifying life, for clearing out clutter, but some things grow dearer with time, while others grow stale. It’s really all up to the heart. And I suppose I've just answered my own question. Why do we abandon some things and hold on to others? It's because the heart either sings, or it doesn't. At least that's the best explanation I have.

So, dear friends, if something still makes your heart sing, perhaps you should hang on to it a little while longer. And if not, well, you know what you need to do.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by and listening to my ramblings. Your company is always a delight.

***



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Joy of Old Things


I find joy, not in new things, 


but in the salvation of old things, 


those timeworn things, 


even abandoned things, 


things with a history, 


and a story to tell.


Joining The Scoop



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Postcards from the Road ~ Less Thinking More Feeling on The Island

Dear friends, we’ve been on The Island since Saturday. It is a destination not far from home, one I've blogged about many times in the past. It is here The Man and I often come for a quick escape, whenever life gets heavy, or we just need a change of scenery. And it is here we come when time is short, when duties at home keep us close.


This time, we brought a few loved ones along with us, to see and hear and do all of the things that come natural on The Island—sun, fun, water, sand, food, relaxation. 


Watching my granddaughter's response, when her mommy placed her tiny feet in the water for the first time, was pure joy for me. I believe I laughed out loud. From the expression on cupcake's face, I'd say she's a natural beach bum.


In the night hours, to see my daughter and her daughter sleeping under a quilt made by the hands of my mother ... no words.


I have soaked up these sunny moments for safekeeping, making memories to recall in the years ahead, because life is uncertain. We never know what a day will bring or what will be required of us.

But enough of my thoughts. There are times when I think too much, and thinking too much can leave the brain weary and the heart unhinged. So, this morning I decided it would be a day to think less and feel more, a day to see fully and let my mind take a break.

It's Wednesday morning as I type, and here’s what I’ve felt and seen so far today:

There was drinking down that first cup of coffee, a pleasure that never gets old. There was a sigh at the discovery of a heartwarming story in my Inbox, the kind that inspires you to be a better person. 

There were the warm tears that rolled down my cheeks whenever I came across dozens of photos on my laptop of two beloved people who have been taken from me, without warning or explanation. It’s been said that the saddest goodbyes are those never spoken or explained. Somehow, the heart must go on, but until we are together again, there will be empty spaces that no one else can fill, an ache that no one else can heal.


Outside, I saw the beach in the distance, felt the sun’s warmth on my skin, and the wind that whipped my hair about my face. 


There was the chatter of seagulls, and the collection of seashells, gathered with my bonus grandson, now filling up a cardboard boat on the picnic table, a perfect souvenir for him to take home.


Our time here is coming to a close. Yesterday, as the sun softened, leaving pastel ribbons around the horizon, I thought of the sea and how it speaks to me in a thousand ways. I believe it is the call of the Creator that draws us all to nature, for it is there that God’s handiwork can be seen from every vantage point, breathtaking and soothing all at once. God's art gallery. His museum. Nothing can match it.

As I sat on the beach, listening to the murmur of the waves rushing in and flowing out, they reminded me to not dwell on things that weigh me down, but to gently ponder them, to faithfully pray about them, and then, to release them again, to hold all things loosely, always with gratitude and love.

Until next time, dear friends, may your summer be sweet, your joy complete. Thanks for keeping me company here.

***

Linking up with Mrs. Olson
and Best of the Weekend


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