Saturday, December 24, 2011

God With Us

On this Christmas Eve, I'd like to share the words of John MacArthur from his devotional book, "Truth for Today," because they so perfectly sum up what we have to rejoice in at this Christmas time.

"For there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."  Luke 1:45

"Isaiah 7:14 says, 'The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.'  That virgin's name was Mary.

The name Immanuel, however, is the key to this verse--and the heart of the Christmas story.  It is a Hebrew name that means literally,'God with us.'  It is a promise of incarnate deity, a prophecy that God Himself would appear as a human infant, Immanuel, 'God with us.'  This baby who was to be born would be God Himself in human form.

If we could condense all the truth of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: 'God with us.'  We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ.  The greater truth of the holiday is His deity.  More astonishing than a baby in a manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!"

May you find joy and peace in this wonderful truth that the Creator of all heaven and earth is with us this Christmas season and every other day.  Rejoice!  God is with us!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Spirit of Christmases Past

I received a wonderful Christmas gift this evening.  I had just pulled the first batch of Christmas cookies out of the oven and was reaching for the second cookie sheet when my phone rang. 

If I'm being honest here, I have to admit, that for a brief moment, I was irritated at the interruption.  But then I heard the voice on the other end of the line say, "Hello, Laura?  This is your Uncle Dan!" and every bit of irritation melted.  I was overjoyed to hear his voice!  He was just calling to say a quick "hello" and to wish us a Merry Christmas in lieu of sending out Christmas cards.

My Uncle Dan is my dad's younger brother.  He and his wife, Pat, are the last of that generation in our family. We don't see each other very often anymore.  The large, extended family get-togethers have pretty much ceased as our own families have become "extended."

But hearing his voice tonight on the phone took me back to the Christmases of my childhood.  In that brief conversation, I was reminded of Christmas dinner at my grandparents' house with all the aunts, uncles and cousins.  I was a child again surrounded by my mom and dad and sisters. It was such a sweet moment.

This fleeting memory lasted only for the short duration of the phone call.  But it was a gift!  I'm so glad that my Uncle Dan and Aunt Pat chose to connect through a Christmas conversation rather than through a Christmas card.  Their words were sweeter poetry than anything Hallmark could have composed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vacation!

I decided I'd better do a little something about my recent vacation to Southern California before I totally forget what I did there!  Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I returned from a wonderful week-long visit with my daughter, Elizabeth. And while I could go on and on about it, I think that I'll let a few pictures tell the story!


The first of several trips to Starbucks...like old times!  However, I learned that not everyone who frequents Starbucks in California is nice.  Yes, there is a story behind that!


A little cheap entertainment and relaxation!  When was the last time YOU did a jigsaw puzzle?  It's been years for me and I loved every minute and every stiff neck that resulted from it.


So this was "Burger No. 1"  after church on Sunday at the "famous" In- N-Out Burgers. Delicious burgers; wimpy fries!

This was "Burger No. 2"...mind you, that's half an order...from a cute little restaurant in Claremont. By the way, there is no picture of "Burger No. 3" since it was from a McDonald's outside an outlet mall...not really photo-worthy. :)


Surprise!  A free trip to Disneyland, courtesy of Elizabeth's wonderful neighbor, Mike, who works there and shared his Friends and Family passes with us.  Yep, it is still the happiest place on earth...especially when you walk in for free!


What can make the happiest place on earth even better?  Decorate it for Christmas, of course.  This was only the third day that the park had been all decked out for the holidays.


My first trip to California Adventure...also free!  We rode the Mickey ferris wheel but got short changed on our ride. Oh well...did I mention it was free?


The nice lady who took this picture for us didn't quite get the concept.  We wanted the castle right behind us.  You'll have to use your imagination...


Waiting for the Christmas parade for a VERY long time while sitting on a VERY hard curb.  But it was worth it, just to feel the Disney magic again.


And finally, a little crafty relaxation at home, making a Christmas wreath for the door. Truthfully, those were some of my favorite times, just being with Elizabeth in her own home.  That and the dozen or so trips to Target and various other shopping expeditions.  What can I say...it was the perfect vacation!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Thanksgiving Thought

With the Thanksgiving weekend rapidly coming to a close, I'd like to leave you with a final thought about thankfulness. I have heard this expressed in a number of different ways, and it always reminds me of how much I take for granted and how often I fail to give thanks.

"If God were to remove everything from your life, that you failed to thank Him for today, what would remain?"

Food for thought, and a little reminder to "give thanks with a grateful heart" this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flying High!

I'm not much of a traveler. The fact that I flew down to visit my daughter last week was very exciting for me.  It's actually been three years since I've been on an airplane. Before that? About fifteen years. So flying isn't something I get to do very often.

Last Saturday, flying home from California, I had a window seat...and I took full advantage of it.  As the plane gained altitude, I peered out that small window and almost laughed at the ridiculousness of what I saw.  Outside the window...BELOW me...were the fluffiest, white clouds.  Yeah, that's right, BELOW me! It was a carpet of white, rather than the normal ceiling of white that I'm used to looking at. 

Mountaintops peeking through the clouds.


Brilliant blue skies above the white clouds.

I was flying...along with a bunch of other people inside this giant bullet of a plane. And everyone just seemed to take it for granted! As we crossed over the vapor trail of another jet, I thought about all the amazing things we do in these modern times, without ever giving them a second thought. It's a little embarrassing how numb we seem to have become to the wonders of our age.

But on Saturday, I was taking in the thrill of it all!  Flying!  Perhaps not soaring as gracefully as the birds that we were sharing the skies with, but it was pretty cool, nonetheless!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Homes Sweet Homes

This past week has been wonderful!  I've had the chance to visit my daughter, Elizabeth, in California while her husband was out of town.  I know that I'm second-best and she's delighted to have her hubby back (after all, they are newlyweds!), but we've had a fantastic time together!

This is the first time I've been able to see Elizabeth in her own home.  Until now, she has either lived in shared dorm rooms, apartments, nanny quarters, or in a flat in St. Petersburg, Russia.   But now, as a new wife, she's finally had the chance to set up a home that is warm and inviting and reflects both herself and her husband, Joel.

As a mother, it's fun to see how your grown children establish their own homes.  Their individual styles and tastes are evident in every piece of furniture, every piece of artwork on the walls, and in the books on the bookshelves.  In a strange way, it feels familiar, yet so very different! It's all so new and just waiting to be filled with memories.

I remember feeling the same way when my son and daughter-in-law were married and I visited their first home together.  It was a sweet experience to see the next generation taking shape right before my eyes!

So, this week has been delightful. Elizabeth and I have done so many things that I'll need to report on in coming posts.  But for now, I'm soaking up my last few hours in this newly established home, so filled with love.  And tomorrow morning, bright and early, I fly back to my own home that is packed full of years of memories that led up this this wonderful week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You for Your Service!

First, I'd like to say that I didn't forget, I just didn't get to my blog to recognize the fact that yesterday was the Marine Corps' 236th birthday!  As the wife and daughter of Marine Corps veterans, November 10 never passes without a "Happy Birthday" shoutout from me!


Photo Courtesy of Google Images

But today is Veterans' Day and I would like to say "thank you" to the men and women of all branches of the service who have served this country at great cost to themselves and their families.  May we never take for granted the freedoms that we enjoy, for they were purchased at great cost and sacrifice.

So to these countless men and women, I want to express my gratitude and recognize your service to the United States of America and to her people.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Communion

Today was Communion Sunday at church.  With the autumn sun streaming through the windows, I watched as the ushers approached, stopping at each row to offer the elements to those of us waiting to be served.  With a mediative heart, I thought of the countless times I have shared this special moment with my Lord.

In my mind, I could see my dad's hands offering the Communion plate and cup to the congregation as he served as usher to our church for so many years.

I remembered a beautiful Sunday morning, sitting on the beach with fellow college students with whom I had just shared a wonderful weekend retreat.  We passed paper cups and whole loaves of bread to one another as we sat on driftwood logs and re-committed ourselves to God's service.

I thought of the first time for both of my children that I was able to help them partake of Communion because they understood what the elements meant and desired to take part in this most sacred ceremony.

There have been times when I taken Commumion while my heart was breaking and other times when it was bursting with overflowing joy.

So many different Sundays, so many different people with whom I have shared the sacraments.  And always...always, God has met me in those moments. Sweet communion, God's richest blessing for which I am so thankful.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Inspiration in a Can

It's probably hard to believe, but sometimes the life of a blogger isn't as glamorous as you may think.  You're going along fine with one post idea popping into your head after another. You can hardly wait to write the next inspiring post.  Then BAM! You run right into it...THE WALL.  Writer's block extraordinaire!  And that, dear friends, is where I have been for the past couple of weeks, staring down a blank computer screen.  The well of ideas had run dry.

But this afternoon, inspiration hit and you'll never guess where I found it.  My kitchen cupboard.  I know.  Crazy, huh?  But as I opened my cupboard door to find something for lunch, inspiration was staring me in the face in its bright blue can.  How could I have missed it?  There it was.  A can of...


I'm ignoring those gagging sounds that I'm sure some of you are making (my immediate family included) because I LOVE this stuff!  And I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Aside from its delicious, overly salty flavor (even the 25% less sodium variety) Spam is packed full of wonderful childhood memories for me.

When I was growing up, my family was always on a tight budget.  Seven people on a single teacher's salary meant that my mother had to be pretty creative when it came to meals.  And she was real pro when it came to stretching a meal so there was enough for all of us because, trust me, we never had two cans of Spam at one meal!  Maybe it helped that not all of my siblings were as found of this mysterious meat product as I was.

When Mom served Spam for dinner, she would slice it and fry it up. Or if she was feeling really elegant she'd take the whole loaf, score the top of it in a diamond pattern and insert whole cloves at the point of each diamond and bake it, as if it were a cute little ham. Classy and delicious! 

We'd have fried Spam sandwiches or Spam and cheddar cheese sandwiches.  But my all time favorite recipe was, and still is, Spam spread sandwiches.  To make this delightful concoction, my mother would take a can of Spam and put it through her meat grinder along with some dill pickles and hard boiled eggs.  Then this was all mixed up with a generous helping of mayonnaise and spread on the whitest bread you could find.  Yum...makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

So this afternoon, when that brilliant blue can caught my eye, I knew what I had to do.  I put the eggs on to boil, pried that piece of meat from its can and set about making a bowlful of Spam spread.  Unfortunately, I don't have a meat grinder like my mother's, so I have to settle for a chunkier version of her spread.  But the flavor was all there!

Once my sandwich was made, there was one thing I needed to do before I could take a bite. I sent a picture text to my sister, Martha!  Her response?  "I'm jealous." Yup, good taste runs in our family!


So, sometime if you're up for it, why not try out this delicious recipe for yourself.  Just remember three things and you'll be fine.  Don't skimp on the mayo, don't use that healthy wheat bread and don't read the ingredients on the side of the can! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Enjoy the Ride...Again

This past week I experienced two things that I love.  The first was reading a post by another blogger that really nails it for me.  The second was experiencing one of those moments that only God could have orchestrated.  And the really cool thing was that it was really all part of one amazingly encouraging experience.  Here's how it all played out.

Since I have a new position at work, I'm going to be moving to another work space in a different building eventually. So I was taking a few minutes at the end of one day to sort through files and papers that have collected over the years.  In the middle of some files I came across a copy of a post from a blog I follow. I had printed it out at home and had brought it to work to share with a friend because it had really inspired me at the time.  The interesting thing is that this post was dated August 18, 2009.  Obviously, I need to clean my desk more often...or maybe not.

You see, as I read through the post again, now over two years later, I realized that this page held the exact words that I needed to hear during this time of transition and stress in my life.  Sarah, from Life in the Parsonage had no idea when she was writing about the experiences of her life in August, 2009, that her post would speak so profoundly to me, two years later.  But God knew.

There, in an unlikely corner of my desk, I found God's words of assurance and encouragement to me, penned by a blogger friend I have never met!  I love that about blogs and I love that about Him! 

With that in mind, take a couple of minutes to read Sarah's post, Enjoy the Ride.  Because this may be the exact moment in your life that you need to read it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Prayer for the Journey

O Christ, do not give me tasks equal to my powers,
but give me powers equal to my tasks,
for I want to be stretched by things too great for me.
I want to grow through the greatness of my tasks,
but I shall need Your help
for the growing.

E. Stanley Jones

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Are You Seeing?

You just never know where you might stumble across words of wisdom.  It could be on a billboard, a refrigerator magnet, a popsicle stick or in a fortune cookie.  Or in my case, I found some food for thought on my calendar when I went to scribble in an upcoming engagement so I wouldn't forget it.

It's already October, and I just now noticed that each month has a pithy saying printed in the corner of each month's page.  These are the words that got me thinking today:

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for."

The veracity of that statement runs deep.  How often is the truth skewed because we are looking at it through a filter of our own making?  And how often do we miss beauty and joy because we are blinded by a lens of negativity or distrust?  To see the truth, we need to be objective and aware of how we are looking at things. And that's not always easy.

Sometimes it's easier to see the bad than it is to see the good.  But maybe that's because we have fallen into the habit of only looking for the bad.  What would happen if we changed our focus and starting looking for the good in people or in situations? I can't help but think that our vision would improve immensely as well as our attitudes.

So, my goal is to be more aware of how I look at people and circumstances and to try and focus on the good before the bad.  Oh, I'm also going to go back and read the sayings on the past nine months of my calendar!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Words of Wisdom

I've said before that I'm not a fan of Dr. Seuss.  But the good gentleman nailed it with the following statement:

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

I'm trying to take that to heart tonight.  Today was my last day in my old job, working with the team that I've been a part of for over four years.  Layoffs and cutbacks go into effect on Monday, and my old job is gone.

I was blessed to have shared the last few years with coworkers who became friends and then family. It wasn't my choice to leave,  but sometimes that's how life plays out. So I'll try on the smile...but I'll probably keep a tissue handy for a while.

Then on Monday, a new adventure begins.  Do you have some words of wisdom for that, Dr. Seuss?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Service of One

My nephew, Kevin, left today for the Peace Corps.  For the next 27 months his life will be all about helping the less fortunate in Africa.  It will certainly not be easy, but he is excited about this opportunity.

My own children and their spouses have served others in Haiti, Russia, Ukraine and here in the United States after hurricane Katrina, working to make a difference.

So what prompts someone to choose a path that requires self sacrifice, uncertainty, even physical discomfort?  It comes from a belief that change happens one person at a time, and a willingness to be that one person.  Without that, nothing happens.

Whether it is overseas or in our own communities, countless individuals selflessly work to help the disadvantaged, the poor, the elderly, the lonely, the abandoned, the hopeless.  And for the most part, they do it without fanfare, recognition, or monetary reward.  They do it, simply to make a difference.

So, I'd just like to say "thank you" to Kevin and to all those individuals who sacrifice to make this a better world.
                                                                                           






Sunday, September 25, 2011

She's Home

I read last night on the blog, Gitzen Girl, that Sara Frankl a.k.a. Gitz, died peacefully yesterday with her mother and brother at her side.  She is home.

She was an incredible young woman who used her nearly unbearble circumstances to bring glory to Christ and to live a life of joy and victory rather than one of bitterness and defeat. 

I thought of her today at church during worship as we sang the following words:

"And I will worship You in the beauty of holiness.
And I will worship You for the things You've done in me.
And when my life's complete, I'll lay my crown at Your feet,
And I will worship You, on bended knee."

I know that Sara is now worshipping her Savior in complete joy!

For a glimpse of the beauty and strength of this incredible young woman, take a moment to read this post from her blog written nearly a year ago.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beautiful Berries!

Ah, what a wonderful Saturday!  It was warm and sunny and I got TONS of stuff done that I've needed to do!  Nothing feels better than being able to check items off of that never-ending To-Do list.

One of the things I finally managed to get to was picking some of the blackberries that grow in the area.  Obviously, I wasn't the first neighbor to get out there with my bowl, because most of the easily accessible berries had already been accessed!

After challenging an army of sharp, thorny branches, I wound up with a sizable bowlful of beautiful blackberries.  This is the only time during the year that we are thankful for these ubiquitous plants.  The rest of the year, they are a major pain.  Although, come to think of it, the scratches on my hands and arms, attest to the fact that they were pretty painful today also!






So the question is, what am I going to do with these little beauties?  In the thick of the "berry battle" I was pretty sure that a cobbler was in order.  But once I got them in the house and washed up, I decided to freeze them.  That way, they can add their deliciousness to some fruit smoothies this fall!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Gitz

I have been sitting here with tears streaming down my face for someone I have never met.  Yet if you look to the right of this post, you will find a link to her blog "Gitz," where I just read that she is going home to be with our Lord. 

I wish I could have known her in person, but through her courageous, sweet, funny and inspirational blog, she has touched my life.  Her name is Sara Frankl, "Gitz" and she is a young woman who has lived with a debilitating illness for years.  Unable to leave her home and in constant pain, she chose not to give in to those circumstances. Instead she has been an inspiration to so many who found her blog and have been encouraged by her life.

I "borrowed" the lovely green "Choose Joy" button from her blog because it was such a necessary reminder for me in my life.  I have a choice. I can choose joy in my life!

Tonight, I have spent quite some time reading her words.  And on the tab on Sara's blog that explains about chronic illness, I found the words that seem to sum up so much of who she is. It is those words that I leave with you along with an encouragement to spend some time with Gitz because you will be touched and and inspired by this courageous young woman.

"I love what I have instead of yearning for what I lack. I choose to be happy, and I am. It really is that simple, people. Start every day by being thankful and celebrate your life instead of devaluing it."   Sara Frankl

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Last Ones

I had to make a Costco run tonight.  On my way home I drove past our Borders store and noticed that this was the last day of their liquidation sale.  Everything in the store was 90 percent off. So I decided I'd stop by for one final visit.

I walked into the vast, blank space where empty bookshelves stood looking quite forlorn. Some tables had a few books scattered on them. As I glanced at the titles, I wondered what made these poor, unwanted volumes the last to be chosen. And I felt inexplicably sad.

Then suddenly, I was back in seventh grade gym class, standing with another girl, waiting to be the final, reluctant choice of a team captain for some sports team.  Arrgghh...I should have bought one of those books!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Answer the Question

I just completed answering seven reference check questions about a friend of mine who is interviewing for a new job.  The first six questions were pretty standard: How did I know the candidate and for how long; describe the candidate's management and leadership style; comment on their people-to-people skills, etc.  Pretty basic stuff.

And while the last question was also pretty standard, it got me thinking. The question was:   Anything else you would like to say about this candidate? 

That leaves a pretty wide open forum for all sorts of comments.  I started wondering how the people I know would answer that question about me if they were really being honest.  I'd like to think that their comments would all be positively glowing, but let's be real...I'm not always positively glowing. 

It's easy to think that I don't really have any control over what people say about me, but that's just not true.  If others answer that question honestly, then I have complete control because it all boils down to what they hear me say and see me do. And if I live my life with integrity and love in those two arenas, then all is good.

So, every now and then, I think it might be a good idea to stop and consider how that question would be answered about me. After all, I never know when I might need a good reference!

P.S.  I gave my friend a glowing reference which was richly deserved!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Lesson from a Feathered Friend

My husband and I returned from a wonderful, sunny walk this morning and I decided to water the plants in our courtyard before it got too warm.  I grabbed my watering can and made my way over to one of the windowboxes when suddenly, I saw a tiny little yellow bird just sitting on the ground.  It startled me and I expected it to fly away.  But it didn't. It sat there, absolutely still, with just its eyes moving back and forth.

I called to my husband to come out and see the bird.  We figured that sometime before we had returned from our walk, it must have flown into the window and was now completely dazed.  I quietly went into the house so I wouldn't cause the bird any more trauma and checked on it several times from an upstairs window.  The poor little thing sat there, perfectly still, for the longest time and I began to fear that it wouldn't survive.

A bit later in the morning, I went outside again, and to my delight, the bird was gone.  I called to my husband that the bird was gone and told him that I hoped a cat hadn't been in the courtyard.  He reassured me that the bird had just been dazed and needed to rest before it could fly away.

Sometimes, our lives are like that.  Difficult, painful circumstances often hit us unexpectedly, leaving us feeling dazed and unable to move forward.  In those times, remember that it's okay to take some time to rest and recoup. Allow yourself a season of healing when there's been pain.  Then, just like my little feathered friend, when the time is right, you'll have the strength to move on.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grandma's Day

Yesterday was a red letter day for me.  It was my first all-day babysitting gig for my granddaughter, Ella.  I'd like to pretend that it was due to my great skill that she didn't cry or fuss at all. But the truth is, I was probably just lucky...because she didn't cry or fuss at all!

I'd also like to say that when I got home, I was ready to clean my house, go for a walk and do a little gardening before bed.  But again the truth is, I was tired!  God knows what He's doing when He gives us our children when we're younger!

But I'm up for it again, whenever the opportunity arises!  How could I say "no" to a sweetheart who smiles at you from behind her pacifier when she wakes up from her nap...which only lasted five minutes? 

Sorry for this faint cell phone picture! She deserves better :)

The next time she fell asleep, I decided it was best just to hold her on my lap. At least, it was best for Grandma!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fashion Sense and Nonsense

I've spent the last few days with my sisters on our annual Whistler B.C. vacation trip.  And this year we have had the good fortune of enjoying gorgeous sunny days in the upper 70's and low 80's.  It's been great weather for hikes around the lakes, lazy walks along the "Village Stroll" and plenty of time for people watching... always one of my favorite pastimes.

One of the most entertaining things about people-watching is the endless variety of fashion choices that are on display.  Whistler seems to draw quite the international set, which no doubt adds to some of the, shall we say, interesting choices. 

Perhaps its due to the warm weather this year, or the fact that with most folks on vacation, they go into the "What-happens-at-Whistler-stays-at-Whistler" mode, but the revealing necklines and short shorts have certainly been in abundance. Either that or the Annual Hookers Conference has been meeting this weekend.  Okay...moving on.

Sometimes when I look at the combinations of clothing that some people are wearing, I have to stop and wonder, "Did you actually look in the mirror and think 'Yes! I'm lookin' good now'?" Then again, maybe they are looking at me with those same thoughts.  

I do know that there will be a few people going home with some really interesting tan lines.  One woman was wearing a pair of long leggings with an open weave design going down the outside of her legs.  I'm sure she ended up sporting some very unique leg art by the end of the day.

It's hard to even begin to capture the plethora of fashion choices that have been paraded up and down the streets of Whistler this weekend. Let's just say that there is never a dull moment.  And the number one fashion accessory?  The camera, of course!








Monday, August 22, 2011

A Riddle

I have a riddle for you:  "When does a couch become an anchor?"

Before I give you the answer, I want to share a little background and then a conversation that I recently had with my daughter, Elizabeth. 

The summer before Elizabeth's senior year of college, she went overseas to serve in an orphanage in Ukraine.  It was during those hot summer days, surrounded by so many broken and abandoned children, that God laid claim to her heart and she has never been able to forget the poor and hurting of this world.

In the months and years that have followed, Elizabeth has tried different paths for her life. But it seems that whenever she begins to settle into the "expected" path of a job, home, family etc. God steps in and reminds her of another path; a path that He seems to have chosen for her.   A path that is more costly and possibly painful yet one that leads to peace.  

As recent newlyweds, she and her husband, Joel, moved to southern California in May.  This move hasn't come without some emotional struggles for Elizabeth.  Leaving behind family and friends hasn't been easy. It's been difficult to feel settled. 

Okay, enough with the background.  Now, on to the conversation.

Several days ago, I was talking with Elizabeth on the phone, and she told me that for some reason, ever since she and Joel moved into their little apartment, it had become really important to her to have a couch.  Their apartment is furnished with the few belongings they were able to pack into a small moving unit and some purchases from their favorite local Ikea store.  But she felt that if only she could have a couch, she would feel more settled. A couch had come to represent a home and a future.

Yet, Elizabeth said that when she and Joel talk about what their future might hold, there is always the possibility of them being called to serve the Lord overseas again, or perhaps in a poor area of the United States. So, while having a couch might help her feel settled, it could also be...you guessed it...an anchor.   An anchor that would, at least symbolically, hold them back from feeling free to go where God might be calling them.

It was with tears that Elizabeth explained how she had given up her desire for a couch so she could have the freedom to do what God calls them to do.  And in that decision, she found peace.

Now, for the really cool part!  Right after releasing her desire for a couch, Elizabeth got a phone call from her friend, Karen.  It seems that Karen is going to be moving into a house to live with a family for a couple of years and is putting her furniture in storage. And she wanted to know if Elizabeth and Joel might want to use...her couch for a couple of years!! Don't tell me that our God doesn't love to pour out good things on His children!

So here's the question I'll leave with you (and with me).  What is the "anchor" in your life that is keeping you from wholeheartedly saying "Yes!" to whatever God is asking of you?  He can be trusted with it, for He longs to give us good things.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sharpening

There are lots of changes going on in my life right now that will continue over the next several months.  While I survived the layoff at my work, my specific job is going away and I'm being moved to a new position.  New responsibilities, new people, new location, new challenges.  Not my favorite thing in the world.

So while I try to focus on my gratitude over still having a job, I'm struggling with what lies ahead.  And a large part of that struggle comes from having to leave my current coworkers and having to move to a new location where I'll be working closely with different people.

I know these people, and some of them I'm happy to be working with.  But there are others who would not be on my list of "Top Ten People to Spend Nine Hours a Day With." Yet I believe with all my heart that God has orchestrated this move, so I can trust that it is for the best. 

My good friend and coworker, Rene, has been very kind in listening to me voice my concerns and struggles, and she is quick to offer encouragement. She graciously reminds me that God is putting me with people where I can perhaps be a positive, encouraging influence and share His love.  That's good.  I really like that.  I want to help them.

But somewhere in the back of my mind, I keep hearing a small voice that says, "Or maybe, those people that you are not so keen on being with, are there for YOU.  Maybe this is an opportunity to purify and change YOU."

It's amazing how much nicer it is to see ourselves as the ones who offer help rather than the ones who need the help.  But God loves us too much to let us off the hook when He sees areas in our lives that need to be chiseled and burned away until we reflect Him rather than ourselves.

Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." That goes for women too.  And I have a feeling that this woman is about to experience some extreme sharpening. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Gift of Hospitality

We received a wonderful gift this past week.  My husband and I had the great fortune to visit our dear friends, Paul and Martha, in their home, nestled in the mountains near St Maries (pronounced St Marys), Idaho. And while we were there, they gave us a most precious gift...the gift of hospitality.

If you are fortunate enough to know someone who is blessed with the true spirit of hospitality, you understand what a treasure it is.  Because time spent in their presence leaves you feeling like royalty.  And for five days, that's what we were - royalty.

From the moment we stepped into Paul and Martha's home, my husband and I were pampered.  We were fed delicious food that they had spent days preparing in advance so they would have the time to spend with us instead of working. 

We slept in a pillow-soft bed in a our own room with windows that opened wide to the starlit sky.  Every morning we sipped coffee out on a deck that looked through giant trees and down to a glorious, lake filled valley. We watched hummingbirds feeding so close we could have touched them.

If we simply wanted to read, we were free to simply read.  If we needed a little nap, our bed was ready and waiting.  We shared morning devotions at a sunny breakfast table.  We lifted each other up in prayer. And we laughed together!

And all of this was made possible because Paul and Martha truly have the gift of hospitality.  Now in retirement, they are blessed to be living on the side of a beautiful mountain.  And it is their greatest joy to be able to share this special retreat with people who need a time of refreshment, a time of renewal and peace.

So, to our dear friends, thank you for a much needed respite from a stressful life.  This post is a tribute to you!

Morning coffee on the deck

The first sunset, with a sliver of a moon!

Looking through the pine forest

Dutch Baby for breakfast.  Yum!

Friends enjoying the beautiful mountains

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Sad Story

One of my favorite movies is "You've Got Mail." It's a kind of David and Goliath story that pits the future of "The Shop Around the Corner," a small neighborhood bookstore, against the arrival of the big, bad Fox Books chainstore.  Unfortunately, in this story, David loses. The giant bookstore puts the beloved "Shop Around the Corner" out of business.

That movie was made in 1998.  Ironically, 13 years later it is the giant bookstore chains that are fighting for their survival and losing the battle to the Amazon.coms of the world. And that makes me feel just as sad as I did when Kathleen Kelly walked out of her beloved "Shop Around the Corner" for the last time. 

I love bookstores. I love to browse through row after row of books. I'll pluck a few random volumes from the shelves and take them to a quiet corner where I can sit down and read a few pages to see if they will capture my interest. Looking at the covers of the books is like taking a mini tour through an art gallery.

I nearly always end up in the children's book section for at least a short while. I feel a sense of joy as I look at the stories just waiting to become a child's favorite. And I reminisce about the books that were my favorites or my children's favorites. It is a sweet time.

Recently I received word that my local Borders Bookstore would begin their liquidation sale. Sadly I planned a trip to the store.  I didin't go with the anticipation that I was going to score some sweet deals on books.  I went for the memories.  I went because I don't want to let go of the experience of a real live bookstore.  It doesn't matter which bookstore it is.  It doesn't matter if it is large or small.  What matters is that it is an actual  place that brings me joy and pleasure in a way that I will never experience from browsing for books online.

I don't like to think of the rows of empty shelves that once housed classics and bestsellers alike.  I don't like to imagine the echoes of thousands of stories bouncing off the bare walls of an abandoned bookstore.  I don't want to shop for my books online.  I want my shop around the corner back.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hungering After the Good Stuff

Last week our son called and asked us if we wanted to Skype with them so we could see our five and a half month old granddaughter, Ella, eating rice cereal for only the second time.  It took us all of five seconds to fly up the stairs and turn on the computer so we could sign on to Skype.

When we finally got linked up, Ella was already wearing a layer of rice cereal around her mouth and she was going to town! It was hilarious to watch as her mom filled the spoon with cereal and Ella lunged toward it with her mouth open, eager for the next bite.  Then there was some substantial lip-smacking as the good stuff went down.

With tears of laughter, we watched this scene play out over and over again.  She was filling up on the good stuff!  Then suddenly, Ella took one more bite and did a funny little shivery-gag thing and was done.  She had reached her limit.

The next day, I was thinking about how excited Ella was when she was eating that cereal.  It was good and she ate until she was filled.  And it reminded me how God calls us to feed on His Word.  The Bible is God's food for our souls.  I long to hunger after the "good stuff" that fills and nourishes me spiritually.  And the neat thing is, no matter how much I "eat" I will never be overfilled! There is always room for more of God's Word in my life.
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." Matt. 5:6

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Remembering

It was five years ago today that dad went Home.  It was a release from a body and mind that had held him prisoner.  But thankfully, that is not how I remember him. 

In my mind, he will always be the man who cherished and honored his beloved bride of 45 years.  The loving dad who was proud beyond measure of his five daughers.  The grandpa who was crazy about his seven grandchildren.

He was a leader; a man of great integrity, intelligence, wit and humor.  He always stood firm in his beliefs, even if that meant that he stood alone. 

His legacy to me was an example of a life well lived.  Today, as I remember him, I know how blessed I was to have him as, not only that example, but also as my dad.


My handsome dad.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lo-Tech and Lovin' It!

Sometimes we take things for granted.  We just get so used to having them that we don't even realize how important they are. 

A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly recognized one of those oft-taken-for-granted items in my life.  Its size and simplicity made it easy to overlook until I realized that I would be lost without it!  What is it?

The Post-it note!


Before expressing my deep gratitude for these simple little notes, a bit of background from the ever-popular Wikipedia:

"A Post-it note is a piece of stationery with a re-adherable strip of adhesive on the back, designed for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces. Although now available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, Post-it notes are most commonly a 3-inch (76 mm) square, canary yellow in color."

Truly, I don't know what I would do without these multicolored wonders.  First of all, there are no on/off switches to worry about or batteries to recharge.  I don't have to worry if there is enough memory because, hey, they basically ARE my memory!  I have little reminder notes stuck on my desk, my glasses case, my lunch bag, my car keys...and occasionally on the back of my hand. 

I know that there are scores of fancy techie devices designed to help us get organized.   But for me, a few simple scraps of paper bring order to my life (is that as pathetic as it sounds?).

So here's to that marvelous little invention!  Three cheers for the indispensible Post-It note!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Fine Line

A few weeks ago I took a class at work called "Surviving a Layoff" in preparation for the impending layoffs.  One of the things that stuck with me was a statement by the instructor. She said that should you receive a layoff notice, expect your coworkers to be sympathetic and supportive for about two weeks.  After that, you'll notice that they have moved on with their lives.  It won't be that they don't care, but it's just the way that we survive and keep functioning.

That wasn't a surprising statement to me since I have experienced this with the death of both of my parents.  People are there to offer love, support, condolences for a short time after the loss, but then they have to get on with life even though you remain in this shattered place of deep grief.  They are not being cruel.  It is simply how life works.

Last week, I witnessed this again.  Even though it has only been a few days since the layoffs, I have seen several examples of people who retained their jobs, who are eager to just move on.  It's not that they are cruel...or even unsympathetic...but for them, what lies ahead is what matters, not what has been. 

Personally, I can't let go quite that quickly.  I need to grieve.  I want to be available to grieve with those who have lost so much.  I want them to know that they matter and will not be forgotten the moment they walk out the door. 

It's a fine line that we walk when it comes to letting go and moving ahead. I want to be sensitive and caring about what has been.  I want to acknowledge that while change may be inevitable, it is also painful and requires a time for healing.  I don't think that's not too much to ask.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grateful and Brokenhearted

It's an odd combination of emotions that I'm feeling right now.  This week we had layoffs at my work and 150 people lost their jobs.  My heart and prayers go out to these coworkers and friends whose lives have been drastically changed.

I am very fortunate in that I still have a job.  I am so deeply grateful for God's provision in this.  I've believed all along that He is in contol and that belief would not have changed even if I had lost my job.

But tonight I'm struggling with battling emotions.  Because while I still have a job, it is not the same position that I have held for several years within a wonderful group of coworkers who feel like my family.  So along with the sincere gratitude that I feel, I am brokenhearted.  We have gone through so much together.  As a pastor of mine used to say, "We have tangled our heartstrings." I know that God put these wonderful people in my life and I have been blessed beyond measure through their friendship and support.

But in a few weeks, I'll move to another group of coworkers who are also all starting over.  I know there will be challenges and struggles but also new opportunties.  And I'm grateful for that.  But just for a little while, I can't help but feel brokenhearted.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reverting Back

It's weird.  Now that I have a granddaughter (check out the previous post), I feel like I'm going backwards in time.  I find myself doing things that I thought I had given up for good. 

Example: Once again, I check for diaper coupons in the ads that come in the mail.  I used to have a regular stash of coupons even though I used cloth diapers on my kids for the most part (and I didn't have a diaper service!)  Now, I try to keep an eye out for them to either pass on to my kids or use to use to buy a box of  gold...I mean diapers...to give to them.  The problem this time around is remembering to get the coupons to them before they expire. Yeah, I'm not so great at that.

This past weekend, I hit the garage sales for the first time in a very long time! GARAGE SALE signs used to act as a magnet for me.  But I figured that this was the way to find cheap children's books and toys.  And SCORE!  I found both!  I also found and bought a second waffle iron which was not on my "to buy" list, but it goes so well with my first waffle iron that I bought at a garage sale nearly 25 years ago.  I figured it was time for a back-up iron.

I also bought a stroller this weekend from my niece, Sarah, for $30.  It's a great stroller.   However, it took a little while for Sarah to take me through the training session on how to use it.  I can now open and close this little buggy with one hand!  And as long as I can remember that anything that is "red" on the stroller means it is meant to DO something, I'll be alright.  But if I'm being honest here, I kind of miss the simplicity of my little umbrella stroller that required no training for me to be able to push my kids in it.

When I go shopping these days, I once again make a quick sweep through the baby section. I haven't bothered with that area of the store for years.  My daughter-in-law has told me that Ella doesn't need any clothes right now.  But somehow that didn't stop me from buying her two pairs of sandals over the weekend.  Well, technically, sandals ARE NOT clothes! 

But what really makes me feel like I've gone back in time is the amount of baby equipment that is spread out around my house...and aside from the aforementioned stroller...I haven't bought any of it!  Thanks to family and friends, I have a Pack-N-Play bed, a baby swing, a high chair and a BIG Exersaucer toy.  And these are all decorating various rooms of my house. 

Of course, there is one thing that reminds me that I'm not really reverting back to days gone by.  And that's the fact that "my baby" goes home at night. And I admit that I don't miss getting up in the middle of the night.  Oh, wait a minute.  I DO get up in the middle of the night. But now it's because I have to go to the bathroom! Hmm, maybe I am reverting back...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

I've had a great week with family coming for  the Fourth of July and my daughter visiting from California.  I could write about it, but this is one of those times where a picture...or pictures are worth a thousand words! And it's funny how having a baby around brings out the cameras!








Monday, July 4, 2011

God Bless America!

This Fourth of July, take a moment to consider the many blessings, we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. For when we take these blessings for granted, we trivialize the great struggles and sacrifices endured by the generations of Americans who went before us. 

So for a few minutes today, be deliberate in thinking about what we are celebrating.  It's more than just barbecues and fireworks.  It's the celebration of a freedom dream that started over 200 years ago and lives on today.  May we never lose sight of that dream or lose the heart to defend it.

God bless America! 



Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summertime

Well, I did it.  I finally hauled out the little bistro table and chairs for our courtyard, all the while saying to myself, "I believe, I believe!"  Yep, I'm choosing to believe that the sun, that is forecast for the next several days, is just the beginning of the summer weather that we are craving.  After all, it's July 1, for crying out loud!

Last weekend, I went so far as to buy a new table cloth for the picnic table.  Now, I just need to get myself over to the nursery and find a few more plants to brighten the place up.  Because, darn it...I'm READY for summer! And if the weather people are right, we are even going to have a sunny Fourth of July!

You can be thankful that you can't hear me right now, because I'm doing a mighty fine rendition of "Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!" I figure it can't hurt...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!


On Father's Day, I always think of my dad.  He was a man of great intelligence, integrity and humor. But it was his family that was always most important to him. He cherished his wife and five daughters.  Next month, it will be five years since we lost him, and I miss him so much. So, today, I honor him. 





On Father's Day, I always think of my husband, Bud. He is a man of strong convictions who loves his God, his country and his family...especially his new granddaughter!  He has a tender heart that is easily touched by the blessings in his life as well as the hurting of this world.  I love him so much and have been privileged to raise two incredible children with him.  So today I honor him.

And today, for the first time on Father's Day, I think of my son, David.  A dad of only four months, his life was completely changed by the arrival of sweet Ella!  I love to watch the two of them together...they are totally smitten with each other!

So today I honor him.  Like his grandfather and father before him, he is a man of integrity who loves and serves his God, and cherishes his wife and daughter. And he knows how to make us laugh!   I could not be more proud!








Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Walking Companions

Nearly every day on my way to work, I drive by two women who are out doing their morning walk together.  One wears a bright fluorescent yellow safety vest and the other wears a bright fluorescent orange safety vest. And regardless of the weather, they are out there pounding the pavement at about 6:15 in the morning.

Over the past year my admiration for these women has grown as I have watched them plod on through the darkness in pouring rain, and freezing snow, bundled up to the max.  And to be honest, there have been a few times that, due to the weather, I've thought it might of been wiser to just take the morning off.

But yesterday morning was beautiful with glorious blue skies and early morning sun.  So when I spotted the walkers it made me smile because I knew they were soaking up the beauty.  Actually, I envied them that they had the time to be out there taking this early morning walk  instead of on their way to work. 

And it made me think...not for the first time...what makes them get up and out there every morning regardless of the weather.  Last winter when it was literally freezing and slippery outside, what possessed each of them to climb out of a warm bed, pile on the layers of clothes and those vests and head out into the dark, cold morning?  Was it the desire for exercise? Maybe.  But I'm a walker and I know that when it's really nasty outside, I choose my elliptical or...just being honest here..my couch.

I have to believe that the reason for the success of this daily routine is a commitment to their friend and walking companion.  Somewhere along the line, they must have agreed to do this thing together and to hold each other accountable. 

So when that alarm goes off in the wee small hours of the morning, signalling that it's time to get up, the fact that someone else is waiting for them, ready to face the elements together, has to motivate and encourage them to do it.  They are willing to keep going through the darkness and cold.  And then when they get a beautiful morning like yesterday, they get to share the beauty with their friend!

These thoughts ran through my mind as I drove past the women yesterday and it made me feel good.  Then I heard God saying  to me, "Laura, I'm your walking companion.  I've made a commitment to be there for you on every one of those dark, cold mornings. Together, we'll make it through.  And together, we'll rejoice on the bright sunny days!  The only question is, how committed are you to Me?"

You see, it just doesn't cut it in a relationship if the commitment is only one-sided.  I know that God is committed and He will be there for me when that early morning alarm goes off.  The question is, will I get up, put on my walking shoes and meet Him or, simply turn over, pull the covers over my head and remain where I am?

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth."  Matthew 28:20

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Friday Night Thought...

Yesterday I learned that layoff notices will be going out at my work starting the week of July 11.  Around 185 people will lose their jobs.  There's a part of me that wants to yell, "It's not fair!  It's not suppose to be this way!"

Tonight, I read this quote from an email my husband had sent to me the other day.

"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

In the coming days of pain and upheaval for so many people, I want to make the difference.  What are the circumstances of your life that are not the way they are "supposed to be" but where you have the power to make the difference?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lordy, Lordy, It's Been Forty!

A couple of weeks ago, this little gem arrived in my mailbox! After a brief moment of confusion followed by a slightly longer moment of denial, I realized what I was looking at.  This was the invitation to my forty year high school reunion! That noise you heard was me choking on the word "forty."

I'm not good with math, so until this arrived in the mail, I could almost convince myself that it really hasn't been forty years since I graduated from high school.  But this changes everything. That big 4-0  printed on the postcard makes it pretty hard to deny. It was a very long time ago that I cheered along with my classmates, "We are the Vikings, the mighty, mighty Vikings. Everywhere we go-o, people want to know-o, who we are. So we tell them.  We are the Vikings...." Wow!  There's a blast from the past.

Then tonight I had another blast from the past when Sally, one of our cheerleaders, called to talk to me about the reunion.  Let me just say right here that never...I  repeat...never did Sally ever call me while we were in high school.  Not that she wasn't a nice girl, it's just that we didn't quite hang out in the same circles.  Go ahead and guess which group I belonged to:  popular-had-a-boyfriend-since-first-grade girls or quiet-shy-always-blushing girls.  Yeah...

But tonight, Sally and I were practically BFFs. At least we were once she figured out that I wasn't the Laura that she thought she had called but another Laura whom she insisted she remembers.  And she probably does; we didn't have a very big graduating class.

Anyway, we chatted and chatted and chatted. I kept waiting for her to get to the part where she asked me to volunteer for something.  But she never did.  She just wanted to invite me to the reunion.  And you know something, I think she would actually be pleased if I did show up.

Still, I don't plan on going to the reunion.  I did attend my twenty year reunion and had a fairly good time.  But I remember thinking then, "I don't need to do this again."  And that was twenty years ago!

So, in August, when those members of the Class of 1971 gather for our forty year reunion, I hope they have a wonderful time together.  I'll be picturing them fondly...all looking like their senior pictures in our yearbook!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lessons from My Garden

I love yards with beautifully manicured lawns and gorgeous flower gardens.  I love them... I just don't have one because, truthfully, I hate yard work. Maybe it was all those summers growing up when my sisters and I spent hours weeding flower beds before we could go play. All I know is that I would be very happy if I could afford to pay someone to come and weed my gardens. That, however, is not going to happen.

So over the past couple of weekends, I have made an effort to spend a little time getting to know the weeds that have overtaken a very large flower bed in our front yard.  And while this weeding project is still a work in progress, I have gleaned a few lessons from my garden.

First, my stiff joints and sore muscles have been reminding me that I'm not as young as I used to be.  It's been hard to acknowledge that I'm really not as strong as I once was and that there are definite limitations as to what I can and cannot do.  To admit this to myself is a bit frightening.  To admit it to others is humbling.  I realize that I don't want to move into this stage of life where I occasionally need help.  I much prefer being the one able to give help. 

When I first approached this rather overwhelming weeding project, I knew that there was no way that I would come close to getting that bed cleaned out in one morning. So I decided that I would only work for an hour and I would focus my efforts along the front edge of the flower bed.  With my gardening gloves, trowel and kneeling pad, I set to work pulling out the enemy weeds. 

I hadn't been at it for very long when I noticed that I was having a hard time sticking with my original plan.  Sure I pulled weeds from along the front of the flower bed, but there were a whole lot of them a little further back in the garden that seemed to be calling to me.  Suddenly, I realized that I was in the middle of a classic case of "scope creep."

I had never heard of "scope creep" until a couple of years ago when I started working on a few projects at work.  The idea is that when you start a project, you set the parameters and the limitations that will define what the scope of the project will include. However, if you aren't vigilant, it is very easy for other things to creep into the project that weren't part of its original scope.   It's a sneaky thing, and a sure fired way to sabotage a project.

And there I was, allowing "scope creep" to derail my plans for my morning of weeding, making my limited time less effective than it should have been. My time in the garden showed me the value of discipline and focus in accomplishing my goals.

My garden taught me one more lesson:  If you are making progress, it doesn't matter if anyone else can see it. 

Did I mention that this is a VERY large flower bed with LOTS of weeds in it?  I worked hard for the hour that I had allotted to spend in my garden.  At the end of that time, I stepped back to admire my work and it was clear to me that I had made a difference! 

However, someone driving by my yard, would only see a garden that still needed a lot of work.  There are still lots of weeds in it.  But because I knew what it looked like before I started working, I was able to see how much better it is now. 

My garden taught me not to become discouraged if others can't see the progress that I'm making in my life.  They don't see the big picture...the before and after shots.  But I know the changes that have come through hard work and that encourages me to continue working until all the weeds are gone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Act of Kindness

I just got home from Costco where I was the recipient of a random act of kindness.  I know!  With their giant carts that take up half an aisle and their congestion-causing free sample stands, patience and kindness aren't always at the forefront of people's minds when they are shopping there.  Or maybe that statement just reveals something less than stellar about myself...hmmm.

Anyway, it's Friday, I'm tired and once again, a little bit grumpy. But after dinner I made a quick dash to Costco to pick up a couple of things that I needed for tomorrow.  Since it was still dinner time, the number of shoppers was waning so I was able to get my shopping done pretty quickly. 

As I pushed my giant cart through the parking lot, I heard another cart approaching over my left shoulder. When I stopped to load my purchases into the trunk of my car, a woman went past me, stopping at her car which was parked a couple spaces beyond me and right next to the cart corral.

I had just reached up to pull down my trunk lid when suddenly, there was the woman, reaching for my cart.  I looked at her and she said, "I'll take it.  I'm parked right next to the carts."  I'm sure that my surprise was written all over my face as I thanked her.  "You're very welcome," she said. "Have a wonderful weekend!"
With that she retraced her steps, heading back to her car and the cart corral.

I have no idea what prompted this woman to go out of her way and come back to my car just to save me a trip to return my cart.  We hadn't spoken, or even made eye contact.  But somewhere in her heart there was a spark of kindness that she heeded.  It was unexpected and certainly unmerited but so very much appreciated.  I can only hope that she felt as good on her way home from the big box store as I did!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Here Comes the Sun!

It was here.  It really was.  And I was ready with my shades! 
Now what happened to that ol' sun?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Foreign Object Sighting

A foreign object was sighted in our area today. People headed outside to get a better look at it. Folks left work early and traffic clogged the highways as residents sought out views of this unusual sighting.

No one knew how long this was going to be visible and people were giddy at the opportunity to witness this phenomenon. But after a while everyone seemed to relax a bit when it became apparent that this was not going to fade away quickly.

As a matter of fact, according to the weatherman, we can expect to see this object for several days.  We're no longer doing the rain dance because the experts have identified that foreign object as the sun that went missing months ago! 

So we'll be soaking up the rays over the next few days! And I guarantee that a lot of people are going to return to work on Monday sporting sunburns...without a single word of complaint!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blessed by Text

Sometimes it's the smallest things that bless our lives.  I had a tough day today.  Work was frustrating.  It rained when I headed out on my walk.  The library was closed when I got there to get some new books.  I received an email from a friend with some very disappointing news. 

Nothing major.  Just a lot of little bits of yuck.  Then my phone buzzed, alerting me to the arrival of a text.  There on the glowing screen were three little words from my daughter.  They said, "Love you, momhead (her nickname for me). 

I couldn't have asked for a sweeter blessing!  God knew just what I needed and my daughter delivered it!  The two of them are quite a pair :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Object Lessons

Lately, God has been using my commute to and from work to teach me things I need to learn, or remind me of  important things I already know but need to remember.  It's been good.

There has been a darkness in my life for the past few months, both physically and emotionally.  The weather in the Pacific Northwest has refused to let go of the gray, wet of winter.  Here we are on the first day of June and it is pouring rain outside after another day of heavy overcast skies.  After a while, it takes an emotional toll.

For the past several months, there has been a gray cloud at my work as well we wait to hear who is going to be layed off from their jobs.  We are looking at  possibly 200 people being let go.  The uncertainty and distrust is also taking an emotional toll.

So last week as I was driving to work on another rainy, gray morning, the heaviness that I felt was almost palpable. With my windshield wipers going full blast, I looked out the window at the road ahead and felt like crying.  It's been hard for so long. And I truly try to look for the positive in the middle of all of the negative.  Sometimes I'm successful.  That morning...not so much.

But as I continued down the road, I noticed that there was a lightening of the clouds ahead.  And eventually, I could even see some pale blue on the far horizon.  The weather was changing.  I was still in the rain, but the road ahead promised blue skies. 

With rain still splattering my windshield, I felt God reminding me that there will always be dark days.  It's the way life is.  But during those times, I need to keep moving.  For a while, I may have to travel through clouds with no sign of the rain letting up. Or, I might have a glimpse of brighter skies ahead while it's still raining where I am. But I need to keep going. There will come a time when the clouds are in my rear view mirror and I'm under glorious, blue skies.  Because, that too, is the way life is.

So, tonight as I type this with the rain pouring outside my window, and the threat of losing my job as real as it's ever been, I'm choosing to keep moving forward.  And when I finally chase down those blues skies, I'll appreciate them even more because of the dark journey that I've been on for so long.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Day Thank You


I grew up in the Viet Nam war era. I remember seeing videos on the evening news of our servicemen in the jungles and rice paddies of Southeast Asia and pictures of body bags on the front page of the newspaper.

Young men's futures were determined by how high or low their draft number was.  And as in all of the wars in this nation's history, so many of those young men never came home.

Today, as I hung our American flag, I thought of those individuals who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that are mine. Their lives were cut short and their family's lives were changed forever. 

 As a citizen, I am grateful for the freedoms I enjoy that were purchased by their sacrifices. As a nation, I hope we take a moment today to remember them.