A special place

A special place
A porch swing can = Forever!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Where the good stuff happens.

We had family portraits taken over the holidays, what a gift and a blessing it was!  As I was looking over the prints I was transported back in time...

When I was a child and a young adult and I thought about my future, only one word came to my mind: NORMAL!!!!  I didn't want to stand out in any way.  I wanted long straight hair (lol, to those of you who know me), I wanted to live in a normal house on a normal street with normal neighbors (or any neighbors). I wanted to wear normal clothes and have normal parents who had normal jobs who bought normal food and on and on and on it went....Oh yeah, and I wanted to love a normal God. 

I think I spent a lot of my life trying to appear "normal."  not really having a whole lot of goals other than that.  If I did, they were a vehicle on the ride to "normaltown."  My wrong-thinking told me that if I appeared normal, then nobody would look close enough to see the real me.  The picture of a perfect life was much more preferable in my mind.

I love my husband so much..He came into my life and loved me whether I was normal or not.  He may have thought he got a normal girl, but in time he learned that I was a mess.  But you know what?  He didn't care, and he is still here, he loves me anyway!

When our boys were young, we did all the normal things in the normal ways.  We played sports, went to church, had great friends, family and a normal looking house. I even have a few family portraits to prove it.  I could finally rest, I had excelled at being normal. What????

There was one huge flaw in all of that...Our God is not normal, he can't be put in my box or anyone else's for that matter. He knows that until you let that thing go that you are holding on to sooo tightly, He can't work in your life.

As a result of that, over a series of events, the normal things I held so dear were gone, a flood, a restoration, a beautiful home, a call to a life of service, no permanent roots, NORMAL was gone...

All of these changes were not done at once, it was like the peeling of an onion, a layer at a time, some of those layers were painful, some were liberating (like shedding your shoes and socks and putting on sandals at the end of winter), some were even joyful, but all along, I wasn't alone, The God who was doing this surgery was making me more and more His, I had to worship at His feet, not at the feet of all the idols in normaltown. 

I have learned that there is more joy in the chaos of life, that normal is over rated, and who really is normal anyway?  That God loves us just where we are, He sees us all as a "beautiful mess." and the best thing is, that I am His "beautiful mess" and so are you.

Now, back to the pictures.  I was struggling so hard to find the perfect pose for a frame.  With 13-14 of us, there wasn't one single shot where we are all perfect and normal...and then I saw them.  There were two pictures; one of my husband and I with all of the grandkids, 4 of them are under three, and they are all screaming except Layla, our big girl.  It is hilarious really, but not at all normal.  Then there is another, it shows all of the parents and aunts and uncles trying to make the little ones stop crying or look at the family.  I asked the photographer to shoot that one! It's my favorite..Happiness dwells where Normal ends for me!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My word for the day.

Coke has  a new promotion right now that has a name on each label.  The point is, these are supposed to be the names of people you would like to share a coke and a smile with.  I purchased a drink on the way to work and when I looked at the label I just laughed.  Mine said FAMILY.  That is exactly who I would like to share a soft drink with!

But....Who is my family?

I immediately think of the old saying, "Me and mine" (I would add: and those who belong to "mine".)

But then I realized that in our lives we have all types of family.  My sister said,"God puts the lonely together in families". That's true.  There have been times in our lives that others have stepped in to fill the void of our families when we are absent from each other.  There is church family, work family, friends that come together as families,  and they are all "Me and mine" in some way, aren't they?

In just a few short hours our family is going change again...We are blessed beyond measure with children, their spouses and grandchildren.  Life is good!  We are adding a bouncing 16 hear old young man to the mix for a year!  His name is Jimmey and we couldnt be more excited than to add someone else to share a coke and a smile with!

Jimmey is from another country, he has different experiences to bring to our family, and hopefully we have some slices of  life to share with him!  We do, however have one thing in common:  We all love and serve the same God.

So, as Jimmey makes his final steps of his journey to Fairhope, We pray for his Mama back home,  we are thankful for the opportunity we are blessed with,  and we pray that Jimmey feels safe and loved enough to share a coke and a smile this year with his American family!

Feeling a little thirsty?

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!


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.