Friday, October 17, 2014

Gemma...


I was in Chicago last weekend.
My daughter goes to Moody Bible Institute there and
My other daughter was running the Chicago marathon.
It was a weekend of cheering and fun with my girls and my son-in-law.
It was also a weekend of inspiration.

I was waiting for my daughter to meet me after her PCM (practical Christian ministry) in the projects.
She didn't arrive at the appointed time and wasn't answering her phone.
An hour and a half later, she arrived...
She had been listening to a girl...a transexual...tell of her twisted and heart-wrenching childhood...of her parents constant abuse.
She was so damaged...physically, emotionally, psychologically...
How can parents do that to their own child?
My mind doesn't compute.
My heart cannot fathom.
She shared details of her life with my girl and another...honestly...painfully...hopefully...
The girls listened and loved.
They didn't judge.
They didn't tell her what she SHOULD do...
They told her how precious she is...
And she is.
Whatever she's into or doing or fighting or addicted to...
That's residual.
SHE is precious.
I don't know her name, but I pray for her...

Then I was in the Lifeway bookstore that is housed in the first floor and basement of my daughter's dorm.
I shopped.
I flipped through books, admired artwork, examined Moody trinkets...
And then a small hispanic woman touched my arm.
She wanted me to help her choose a book to give to her granddaughter.
"She is in trouble.  I am so worried." she said in broken English.
Her heart was right out there for all to see.
Her face was etched with concern.
She loves her granddaughter deeply.
No question.
I asked her a few questions...how old is she, do you think she will read a book?
"God can do anything, a book is all I can think to do."
Yep, he can.
Even a non-reader will read a book if God prompts.  Touche.
We looked at devotionals for teenagers...then it struck me.
She's probably not a typical teenager and these cutesy devotionals are going to insult her perceived level of maturity.
And I wanted a book that was dated...that had devotionals for each day of the year.
It's always been uncanny how the devotion for any given date will always be apropos...God is like that.
I immediately thought of "Jesus Calling".
We put back the books we were considering and walked to the display.
She smiled and agreed, this was the one.
She thanked me profusely and I hugged her.
She asked me to pray for her granddaughter...Gemma.
What a beautiful name.
What a beautiful life.
I wonder if Gemma knows how deeply her grandma loves her.
I hope that Gemma will know that she has a Heavenly Father who loves her deeper still.
Pray for Gemma....for all of the hurting souls in Chicago...for that matter, in every city.
It's so easy to rest in our easy lives...in our loving families...
And forget that there are those that struggle.
Who have always struggled.
Who have never known love...
Yet...
May they know with certainty, that God Himself, loves them more than they can fathom.

Psalm 86:15
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Filing Cabinet Re-do!


We have a fabulous surplus outlet in our town.  I bought this awesome heavy-duty 3-drawer legal size filing cabinet with art deco-ish details for $15.  It needed cleaning up before I began my transformation and a little elbow grease produced this dark gray ugly cabinet...clean but unappealing otherwise!

Do you realize how many choices there are in spray paint these days?  We went to Lowe's to choose a color.  "It will only take a minute" I told my husband as he was speeding home to catch a football game after church last Sunday.  10 minutes later, we were still staring at the spray paint, although it had been narrowed down to three colors.  No, four.  Three.  Five.  Two.  Wait.  I can't choose!  It's not like paint is the ultimate commitment...it's easily changed.  But I wanted to do this once.  I chose.  Green with a hammered silver accent for the drawer fronts.  I asked my husband how he liked it and he picked up a blue which I hadn't yet considered.  I loved it and bought it and off we went.  Done!  Don't look back!

Turns out, the blue we chose is very similar to the color of our house.  No wonder we like it!  And the silver was returned and this champagne glittery color replaced it!  It's actually brushed nickel, but it looks sparkly and champagney...so there you have it!  It's a much happier cabinet now...I will print fabulously fancy labels for each drawer and it will store my writing resources and all of the writing I've done and have yet to do!  

So, go get yourself some spray paint and make an ugly file cabinet into a thing of beauty.  Honor it for its hard work, holding things that are important to you...you'll be glad you did!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Cleaning...


I'm partial to fall cleaning over spring cleaning.
I suppose I could do both.
But I don't.
I hate to clean.
Fall is the time I like to clean under sinks...
behind dressers...
under beds...
Mostly because I'm in the house all winter and I don't want to be in a dirty house all winter.
Makes sense, no?
This year I cleaned my blinds...
I won't tell you the last time that happened.
Because I can't.
It never has.
Don't tell anyone.
It never occurred to me honestly...
Yes, I saw the dust on occasion but I looked away and it disappeared out of sight.
Easy peasy.
Until my white blinds took on a mushroom color...
It was time.
FINE!
So I cleaned them...inch by inch...
Blind by blind...
I hear you can take them down and dunk them in a bathtub but I didn't.
I painstakingly cleaned each one.
First with a dust rag,
Then with a Lysol wet wipe,
Then with a damp cloth.
They're clean.
I wish I could say I was done, but today I cleaned under my kitchen sink...
Woah.
The nasty that was living under there!
I do occasionally clean under the sink but I hadn't in several months and it was, well...
dirty.
It's fall, though, so I didn't just clean, I fall cleaned.
I not only scrubbed, I replaced the shelf paper.
It's sparkling new!
I won't be embarrassed when someone wants to throw something in the garbage under my sink now!
"Go ahead, it's under the sink" I'll say with a wave of my hand,
Instead of "Here, let me throw that away for you" as I barely open the cupboard to hide it's filth and toss it blindly into the trash.
Which could be why it got even dirtier under there...
The miss factor.
When you don't want to see, you miss your target and dirt gets flung all over!

Which made me think...
Of times I've tried to hide things from God...
Secret sin that I try to cover up, usually making a bigger mess of things...
Which is silly...
God sees everything.
It's a lot of work to clean...first to admit it's time to tackle it,
And then to do the painstaking work of making things shine again...
To clean a house is one thing but to clean up my life, my attitudes, my thoughts, my actions...
Especially the corners of my heart.
That's hard work.
But so worthwhile...
It feels good to set things straight and shiny.
And the rewards are everlasting.
I pray that I will not let my life get as dirty as my blinds...!

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11


It’s been 13 years since the attack on our homeland.  I remember the day as if it were yesterday.  My husband was at work.  My kids had gone to school.  I was home alone.  I turned on the news and the pictures I saw were shocking.  The towers were standing tall, smoke pouring like blood over the city.  Then they fell.  I was speechless.  I couldn’t cry that day…it took quite a while for me to shed tears…I don’t know why.  I felt very numb…angry…unable to fathom the amount of hate the terrorists must have for us to do such evil.

I had errands to run that day.  We lived in Goldendale, WA…a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  As I drove the 45 minutes to the store, I felt safe.  Who would want to attack a tiny town in Eastern Washington?   Nevertheless, I watched the sky. I went to the post office and someone in line was talking about a cousin who worked in New York City near the towers.  It occurred to me as I listened to them and prayed silently for their cousin that the tentacles of sorrow would stretch and twist and curl all through our country in a very personal way. 

Life is precious…so many were lost that day.  In the aftermath of war, many more have perished.  This evil, this ideology of radical Islam…it still wars…whether we acknowledge it or not.  That’s the thing…when one group or side wars, the war goes on.  If someone is still swinging, the fight’s still on.  I hate war, but I’m not so ignorant to think that we can always avoid it by playing nice.  Evil doesn’t play nice.  It has to be answered with justice…it must be stopped.  I pray for our military and the job they have to defend and protect us from future attacks.  I pray for our president…that God would give him wisdom in the decisions he makes to protect our country and our military, and the conscience to do what is right.

Psalms 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saying "I do" again...


My sister and her husband renewed their vows today.
They ran off to Hawaii and got married 15 years ago.
She regretted not having a traditional wedding ceremony.
The whole she-bang.
All the bells and whistles.
The dress, the cake, the walk down the aisle, the gathering of friends and family...
So today they did it.
The whole she-bang.
The dress, the cake, the walk down the aisle, the gathering of family and friends...
Except something occurs to me.
This is really special.
Instead of being starry-eyed, youngsters in love,
They know what to expect.
They know what sickness and health means...they've been sick and healthy.
They know what richer and poorer means...been there, done that too.
They know what for better or worse is...in 15 years, there's plenty of worse...and plenty of better.
Fifteen years ago, they took those vows all starry-eyed and ignorant.
Like we all do.
But now they've repeated them knowing full well what each word means.
They know the gravity of the promise...
What the cost will be...
And they did it.
Again.
In front of God and all these witnesses...
And they pulled that knot tighter.
And we watched and celebrated as if it were the first time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy New Year!


The first day of school has always felt more like a new year than the new year!
Even though my kids are all grown and gone,
Seeing the busses...or...
Being stuck behind the busses...
Is a reminder that the new school year is starting...
A fresh year!
My heart jumps a little and I get excited...

A new thing is happening this new year...
I'm starting a new writing group with my new friend Marialyce...
So much newness!
And although we haven't yet had our first meeting,
The response has been really good!
Apparently there are many women out there with stories to share.
Women who want to get the stories out of their heads and onto paper!
Who knew?
I had an inkling...
I was one of them once...
Lots of stories and no encouragement.
Lots of dreams and no inspiration.
Then an invitation to a writing group and the floodgates opened.
Stories spilled out.
The deluge hasn't let up!
It turns out, when you turn the faucet of creativity on,
It doesn't run out, it actually multiplies on itself...over and over...
Inspiration overload...
Until the only thing to do is share it with others.
I can't wait to get started!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why do I do that???



So today I was asked - in front of a group - if I am published or do I write just for fun.
I said that I have been published a couple of times but I mostly write for fun.
Which is true.
Sort of.
I do write for fun.
But ultimately, I really do want what I write to be published!
So as the words flowed out of my mouth and I minimized the stuff that has been published as just little nothings...
I wanted to kick my ARSE for doing that AGAIN!

Why do I do that??
Why is it SO HARD to see myself as a writer?
I was a mom the moment I became pregnant...no experience, no successes to prove my worth...
I was a student before I learned anything.
In every paid job I ever held...cashier, assistant manager, seamstress, secretary, receptionist...etc
The title was mine before I ever proved I could do the job.
Then I began to design cards, jewelry and other artsy creations...
"What do you do?"  people would ask.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom" I would reply.
I was.
But I was also an artist...not the paint on a canvas type of artist, but an artist just the same.
People paid their hard earned money for the work of my hands...
One of my designs was featured on the cover of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine...
The cover!
Why couldn't I say it?
Why are "artist" and "writer" titles I deem too lofty for me?
I don't know.
But I'm going to work on claiming my dream...
Giving worth to my work.
Owning my endeavors as more than just something I do for fun.
I do have fun writing...I love to write.
And maybe that's part of it.
It doesn't FEEL like work,
This thing I do, fingers dancing on keys, creating words and sentences and paragraphs.
It feels a lot like fun.
But it's so much more than that.
It's a calling.
A deep desire to share what God places on my heart.
A longing to inspire other women to do the same...
To believe in their ability to write and to put their work "out there"...
"Out there" where with one set of finely positioned words, a life can be changed...
A muse awakened...
A woman, who once thought herself just a person who liked to write for fun...
Can finally say with confidence, "I'm a writer...I'm writing a novel and I submit articles for publication and I love to encourage other women in their writing too."

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.