A special place

A special place
A porch swing can = Forever!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Are you a "Foot Person?" or a "Wings Person"?

     One of the earliest art projects that I remember as a child was drawing butterflies by tracing your feet. You just simply take of your shoes,  cross your feet on a piece of paper in front of you and trace around them.  You add some antennae in the cleft between them, color them beautifully and "Voila"...butterflies!  If you turn them around and trace them, the picture just looks like feet.

Buzzing about Bug Crafts: 10 Crafts for Simple Summer Fun

Many years later, I was a young mom attending a women's conference, and the topic was; are you a "foot person or a wings person?' The very first thing she had us do was to trace our feet and make butterflies, and then trace our feet the correct way.  You can guess the direction this is going...I am sure.  

Sometimes we are "foot people"  just putting one foot in front of the other, looking at the ground, or not too far ahead, and just simply "getting by".  Sometimes the heaviness of life beats us down and we just cant look up.  Each step is a heavy one, each mile a long one, each day  another one we just "made it through", the blessings are hidden, and the possibilities are few through the fog of life.

Other times we are "wing people",  soaring in the realm of possibiliites. We are doing what God created us to do, operating joyfully within His plans and seeing how blessed we really are. We see the person God intended for us to be.

I have to admit that I have spent way too many days being a "foot person" and way too few being a "Wings girl".  But when those "Wings" days come, I do not ever take them for granted. I find myself aching to live life in the realm of "possibilities"  not the agony of the "Feet".    Jesus never promised that we would live in the stratosphere and that all of our days would be "Wings" days.  He promised that we would never be alone, that we would have grace to make it through the "foot" days.  The foot days are made bearable by  the promise in Isaiah 49:31, "Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on Wings as eagles, They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

So, If you are a "foot person" right now, hang on, wait on Him, you are gonna soar before too long, and if you are a "Wings" person right now, enjoy the fabulous ride!

His...yours! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is a Breeze Just a Breeze?

This is absolutely the best time of year!!!  I love that first morning you step outside and the heat doesn't open the door for you; when cool air blows over your exposed toes!  You just want to breathe a little deeper and smile a little more.

Rejuvenation....It's the best way that I can describe it.  As coastal Southern Summers go, it was long, wet and hot.  Not terribly hot, but hot enough.   It makes me think of how lovingly God cares for us.  He knows when we are in need of a change;  in need a fresh brush of wind into our lives from the Holy Spirit. Where we saw the "sameness" of summer life each day, we now look around and see a bluer tint to the sky, a falling leaf or two and the whispers of the fall breeze.  Where our Spirits were tired and full of fatigue and weariness, we can now taste and feel and see a fresh wind blowing in us and through us and if we allow Him to, we can feel whispers of life, love and affirmation spoken into our lives.

Not every breeze that blows through our lives is calming.  Not every wind is a puff of air from the Holy Spirit.  Some are howls in a storm, some are North winds blowing a chill into our lives....

But for today, and this special season of the year, when I feel a fall breeze, I will thank my God for His incredible care and for the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit and reach for the rejuvenation that He offers to us everyday, and especially now.

An old Keith Green Song keeps blowing through my heart today:

Rushing Wind

Rushing wind, blow through this temple,
Blowing out the dust within;
Come and breathe your breath upon me:
I've been born again.

Holy Spirit, I surrender; take me where you want to go.
Plant me by your living water,
Plant me deep so I can grow.

Jesus, you’re the one who sets my spirit free;
Use me, Lord; glorify your Holy Name through me.

Separate me from this world, Lord;
Sanctify my life for you.
Daily change me to your image,
Help me bear good fruit.

Ev'ry day you're drawing closer;
Trials come to test my faith.
But when all is said and done, Lord,
You know it's been worth the wait.

Jesus, you’re the one who set my spirit free;
Use me, Lord; glorify your Holy Name through me.

Rushing wind, blow through this temple,
Blowing out the dust within;
Come and breathe you breath upon me,
For I've been born again.










Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finding Home....again.

     Years ago I had a cute little country plaque that said, "Home is where you hang your heart.".  A couple of years ago, I blogged about my Dad's saying, "If you lived here you'd be home now."  (Truthfully, I like that one better!),  but whatever the case, I  had a chance to remember that Home is more than just a place....

       We had big plans for the weekend, but at the last minute they were changed.  The trip was off, and a long weekend was ahead of us.  What to do now?   First, A restful Friday night, a productive and enjoyable Saturday some football thrown in.  Sunday was most relaxing, and then...yesterday.  Just the two of us, a whole day, and no demands.

         A little Gas in the car, an adventure, some rest, some time to watch old movies, and a swim, and some great supper at home.   Not the stuff that Lifetime movies are made of, but good enough for us.

          I realized (again), that I too often treat my home as a command center for the rest of my life. The place to wash the clothes for work, a place to replenish what myself and everyone and everything else needs to carry on.  I treat the most important person God has given me as a part of the command center, not as my "home" here on earth.  

          This weekend reminded me that I can live anywhere, I can function out of any command center, but My home is where I hang my heart, and as long as I live with him I am truly home.  He gets me; corny, stupid jokes and all, flip flops all over the house and all the rest, but I get him too.  I love nothing better than being at home, watching humming birds, riding in a car, laughing at James Bond's stunts, and sharing a meal and a beautiful ride.

         Grateful for the time to recharge and remember where and who HOME really is!
   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Turn around!!!!!

Have you ever been running to catch up with somebody in a crowd, or they may have been so far ahead of you that you just wish that they would turn around... but instead, you just tried to close the gap and catch up with them?

I feel like I have spent most of my life doing this.  As a teenager and young adult I loved to run, not too many first place wins, but I was always trying to catch up.  In my family, as everyone grew taller and got longer legs, I didn't! Yet again...always catching up or trying to get them to turn around. Whether my children turned around or not, I hope they knew there was always a "safe place" behind them .Now, my two speeds are "moderately slow" and "slow".  But the view from the rear isn't always a bad thing. 

In my foyer is one of  my favorite treasures.  It is a portrait of my three sons walking down the beach from the rear.  It was taken when they were in their late teens and early twenties and it speaks volumes to me.   They had left, or were leaving the confines of home, of our influence and were making their own way in the world, and as much as I wanted them to turn around, it wasn't going to happen.  Their plans were made, their courses were set, and it was time to rest in God's plan for their lives, Plans to give them a future and a hope!  From the rear, I trusted their futures to the One who held them anyway! 

When you are walking alongside someone it is very hard to see them, if you walk ahead of them, you can't see them at all. So over time, I learned that the view from the rear is pretty cool... you can see so much. I am learning that its a pretty good view to have. From behind, I see my children holding hands with their spouses, I see my grandchildren running and toddling or being carried by their watchful parents and Aunts and Uncles.  I see love and peace abounding in their hearts and lives.  Is everything always smooth??  No, but I am learning that it doesn't last long, because each of them has learned the secret about "turning around"... They know that as they travel on, they have a "safe place" behind them, One who will  travel with them much farther than I ever will!

Thank you Lord, for the view from the rear!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Laughter through tears and April Showers bring May Flowers

"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion"--Truvy, Steel Magnolias

"April Showers bring May Flowers"--Every teacher at Parker Elementary School (except Maybe Mrs. Houpt, the PE teacher)

"Weeping may last for the night, but Joy comes in the morning."--God

In a few days it will be a month since my Mama, aka "The pretty one" went home.  It was, as many people said, "expected".  After all, she has battled Alzheimer's Disease for nearly 20 years, why should it be such a shock?  Well, I have learned one thing...No matter how ready we think we are, we aren't.  Mama's bags had been packed for awhile, and she was probably the most ready one of the bunch.  I learned another thing...sitting and waiting and watching has its benefits.  Being with family and remembering the life we are escorting to eternity can be wonderful.  We laughed, got along, cried, and kept watch.  On the morning she left us and woke up in Jesus' arms, I was exhausted from crying, and from somewhere deep inside me, I thought that the world would never be the right again.  Although I didn't talk to Mom everyday, or despite the fact that we hadn't been able to have a heart-to heart conversation in a very long time, I still missed my Mama and  I still felt very alone.

But, as the family members and friends gathered, and each took their role, there was laughter through tears as each person remembered "Gram, Mom, Mama, Mimi or Georgie" in their own way. Babies, were held, hugs were passed around, and love was shared. " Laughter through tears" is definitely a favorite emotion of mine, too, Truvy."

The end of April turned out to be exceedingly rainy, and a little cool.  It suited my mood.  Upon returning home, I felt detached, sad, sleepy, angry (why, I don't know) and chilled to the bone. I snapped at people I loved, quit exercising and kept looking at the world through April's tears.

This past weekend, Some rest came and some time to relax. Laughter began to return, and Monday morning I went for a long walk.  The sun was up when I left home a little before 6:00 am.  I was immediately hit by the luxurious smells of the Southern Summer: Lagustrum in full bloom and magnolias just beginning to bloom, honeysuckle and confederate Jasmine everywhere, too.  The first thing I did was thank God  that I didn't have allergy issues, and the second thing I did was to take a deep breath and inhale all the way to my toes.  My senses came alive, and I realized that April Showers do give way to May flowers, and that it takes the April's rains to make the majestic beauty of May, that for me, it took the tears of April to feel the warmth of the May sunshine encompass me

So, was I ready to let her go?  No, Do I feel as though I am alone? No.  I have the calm reassurance once again that Laughter through tears is good, May flowers are majestic and that Joy really does come in the morning.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How do you describe one week?

Holy Week has always been a precious time to me.  When I say always, I mean it.  Some of my earliest memories are of carrying palm branches down the isle with all of the other children in my church and singing "Hosanna in the highest!".  I remember sitting in the dark on Good Friday, and I remember the smell of the lilies and fresh cut flowers on Easter Sunday.

No matter what is going on in my life during this special week each year,  there is a part of me that just "feels more".  When I hear a "rustle" in the trees, I can see palm branches and Jesus triumphal entry.
When I see people enjoying a meal, I think of how He must have felt doing the ordinary things of life that week knowing it would be his last time on earth to do them. When it was time for Passover how very heart-wrenching it must have been for Him, sharing that meal with His disciples, knowing He was the completion of the promise God made so long ago.  The complete redemption.  One year I drove by a construction site and heard the hammering of nails, and  wept ....just remembering.   When I take communion on Maundy Thursday it means so much more than bread and juice...it means that He completed the task, the sacrifice is complete. When It storms, I think of how the sky turned black and the veil was torn.  Would I have been scared like the disciples and hid, or been brave like the women and stayed at Jesus' feet....  hmmmm.

This year has been a year of trials and blessings. Joys and sorrows...   New life in our family, new challenges, new beginnings and running through it all,  there is hope and joy.  Why?  Because Jesus went before us, He took the bitter cup, survived betrayal, trial, the pounding of nails, the crown of thorns, death, a tomb and then, finally resurrection!! HE defeated death, darkness and the power it holds over us--- death doesn't get the final say!

Holy week to me is a time to remember, and in some small way, walk that road from Jerusalem on Sunday with the Palm branches, through the pain of remembering the Last Supper Passover meal, to sensing the agony of Good Friday and the cross and finally to feel the power of the Resurrection so strongly in my heart and in my life that there is no room for doubt, darkness or shadows...Just the Joy of my risen Jesus!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Even Angels Can

This one is a little longer than my usual posts.  It is a short story that I submitted to a contest, and was not accepted, but it is a little bit of Hamilton family history:

Happy Sunday, Everyone


Even Angels Can’t Look Sometimes!

            We were about to embark on the most exhausting season of our lives. It
was late June 1994, and our young family had decided on a beach vacation to our
 favorite set of cabins in Cape San Blas, Fla., but a couple of days before we were
to leave, we noticed a tropical storm churning in the Gulf of Mexico that was
headed straight for our destination. Ugh! we had taken a week’s vacation,
packed for 3 young children, made all the necessary preparations, it was the
appointed time to leave and here we were staring at the Weather Channel.
             By the next morning, Tropical Storm Alberto appeared to fizzle out as it
moved northward.  We were so excited that we threw our kids and our gear in
the car, and not wanting to waste another day, took off for the three hour drive
south at warp speed.
            One of the reasons that we loved this beach so was that it was virtually
uninhabited and had very little cell phone reception.  We had a perfect week
 of wonderful weather and great memories with our children.  We mentioned
over and over that we didn’t know what we had done to deserve such a blessed
life. Little did we know what was ahead.
            We headed home on a Saturday afternoon, and as my husband was
Searching for an Atlanta Braves Game on the radio, we heard frantic weather
warnings about shelters and preparations for homes and animals in nearby areas.
We noticed that all of the ditches were full and that there had been a lot of rain.
We couldn’t figure it out.  The sky was blue, not even a cloud, what was going on?
Surely it didn’t involve us!
             We arrived home and as we unpacked and had supper and got the boys
settled in I noticed the answering machine:  over 25 messages!  Wow!  What had
we missed?  I listened to a few, but they were all the same, “Are you okay?  How
bad is it going to get?”, “Call us!”  Then I got a little alarmed.  We turned on the
weather channel to see what was up.   It had begun to rain….and rain…
            Apparently, Tropical Storm Alberto did not give up so easily.  He rambled
through Southeast Alabama and Southwest Georgia and dumping 21 inches of
rain in 24 hours in our area and a total of 27 inches of rain would fall before he
was finished wreaking havoc.  Widespread flooding was predicted when the
rivers crested even without the additional rain expected.  Having not been home
for all of the rain, it was hard to imagine that this was not just a scare.  I went to
the grocery store to stock up and since we lived more than a mile from the river
we weren’t worried. But, I got to the grocery store and was unprepared for the  
mass chaos!  I grew up in a coastal area and was familiar with bracing for storms,
but this was crazy.  There was nothing on the shelves and people were fighting
over milk, bread and toilet paper.
            The next morning, we awoke to the sound of the back up beeps on heavy
equipment coming from behind our street.  It continued all morning.  My
husband was off, so I went to work and left everyone sleeping.  Then, the
nightmare began.  As I arrived, there was this persistent rushing sound
underscoring the sound of the heavy equipment.

I directed a day program for adults with developmental delays.  As my clients
began arriving, they were very anxious about the “storm” and the “big flood”.
Almost as soon as they arrived, we were told to evacuate the building.   My co-
worker and I scrambled to get their transportation needs met, and get them back
home and as we loaded the last bus, and as I stepped around back, I saw it.  
Flood water crossing the parking lot… not a wall of water, but a steady constant
ankle deep stream showing no signs of slowing down…not even a little bit. I
hurried the two blocks home and told my husband what I had seen, we stepped
outside, heard the dull but constant roaring of the water and realized that the
heavy equipment trucks were earth movers shoring up levees and river banks. 
We sprung into action, placing furniture and valuables up high, putting things in
the attic, loading the car, trying not to panic three bright and inquisitive young
boys .As both vehicles were loaded, we took another walk up to the highway and
saw the water less than a block away, then returned home and saw it
approaching our back yard.  We hugged each other, and returned inside and
prayed. 
            Not too much later we heard mandatory evacuation order for our street.
We agreed it was time to go.  The Boys, the dog, the important papers and I piled
in our mini van where  Marty hugged me and said, “I’m right behind you”, I just
need to close up a few things.”  With a look that said so much more.
            We set out for our friend Debbie’s house, our safe place across town, all of
us in stunned silence, even Shadow the dog (highly unusual!).  Marty wasn’t right
behind me.  It was about 3:00pm, when I arrived at Debbie’s.  Four o’clock came
and went, no Marty. We were only 10 minutes from Debbie and Milton’s with
traffic.  Five o’clock came, no Marty.  Then, at about 5:30, our friend Bobbie called
and said that Marty was with Her husband Jim, Jim had brought a boat and they
were loading up what they could and taking it to some storage that Jim had
available. It was then that I shed my first tears of relief, and hurt and panic and
fear.  It was also then, that the magnitude of the kindness of others was vividly
impressed again on me as an adult. In less than 48 hours, we had gone from very
blessed vacationers to a homeless family depending on the kindness of others. 
Later that afternoon, another dear friend in harm’s way and her family came to
Debbie’s house to stay.  It later turned out that their home was spared. As it grew
dark, the sound of helicopters grew closer,  Sirens were everywhere, and still no
Marty.  As we watched the news we learned that this was one of the greatest
natural  disasters of the 90’s .  The dams broke, the town of Albany was not only
flooded, but divided as the bridges over the river that separated the two parts of
town were compromised.  Lives were lost and thousands were homeless. The
National  Guard was called in, FEMA was on their way,  and President Clinton was
coming in to survey the disaster.  Marty and Jim finally arrived at around 10:00
pm,   wet, and exhausted.  I had never been so glad to see two people in my life.
Marty and I went to kiss the boys goodnight and I asked him the question whose
answer I already knew; “Is it gone?” He said “Yes, the water was coming in
when I left.”   We went to sleep that night thankful for our little family, for our
friends and not sure what to do next. The next eight days were a blur.  The next
morning, Debbie woke me, and told me that her teenage daughter would be
caring for the boys and took me to a shelter where we were to help serve a meal
 to others who were in need.    Marty was in state law enforcement and as all
those in helping positions were called to action I barely saw him for the next eight
days. He later told me many of the difficult tasks he was doing.
            Not only was our home submerged, but my place of work was also
under water.  I worked for a large agency, so I was able to fill in at other locations
and departments as many employees were unable to come to work and some
 parts of town were impassable.  I remember thinking that daily life was like
walking through jello.  I drew strength from our friends and family.  Each day, one
of us would drive by the house and get as close as possible, and wait for the water
to recede. I remember getting a FEMA number to register our family as flood
victims, my new routine involved getting tetanus shots for our family, before we
returned to our home, waiting in line for copies of records that I did not take with
me, trying to find a temporary place to live as soon as possible, going to church,
and trying to make things seem like an adventure for our sons.  I remember one
afternoon, I took them to the movie to see the Lion King as it had just been
released.  It was dark, they were engaged, and I could cry alone for a solid two
hours!
            Finally, the water around town began to recede and we were able to get to
our home.  Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.  Not only was there
flood water, but a sewer pumping station nearby had backed up covering our
neighborhood in raw sewage. We stood together looking at what we had spent
the last 11 years accumulating, things that were once valuable to us, and there
they sat, covered with mold, mildew and sewage.  What we had wouldn’t have
been much to anyone else, but to us, it was part of our identity, or so we
thought.  We had survived a flood, we were intact, the five of us.  Living,
breathing, laughing, crying, and we didn’t “need” a single thing in that house.
            We ventured out into the backyard, and were surveying the damage and
then we saw it…in the back left corner of the yard was a rose garden that I had
faithfully tended and my husband so carefully picked out each bush.  The roses
were dead, but in the center was a concrete angel, she had survived and was in
the same place, but she had one addition, one of the boys’ plastic batting
helmets floated around the yard and ended up right on the top of her head,
covering both of her eyes!  The joy of being blessed returned in the instant we
saw that silly angel.  We laughed...the laugh of those who had survived something
awful and had lived to tell about it.  We laughed because we would all be okay,
because life does go on, because the junk in the house that we once treasured
really didn’t matter.  What mattered were us. What mattered was the kindness
and love we had been shown by friends and family and strangers alike. Things do
get better and in the midst of it you are carried.  There is still good in the world
and, Yes, God does have a sense of humor, and I am so glad He chose to use an
angel in a red baseball helmet to reveal it to us!
            It’s been 18 years now; My husband went into full time ministry just a few
years after the flood.  We have made five moves since then.  The angel is still
with us, she is missing a wing now, but she serves as a constant reminder of all
that we learned in our backyard on a hot July day when she was adorned with a
red helmet!