The Lost Ring

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Two years ago, while drying my hands in a public restroom, I noticed my silver ring was missing! It was a favorite ring I wore every day. Where could I have lost it? I actually dug through the paper towels in the restroom trash can looking to see if my ring had slipped off while drying my hands. It was not there. I looked in the car, I looked at home, I even looked in the yard. After searching for days and, coming up empty, I decided that I had lost the ring for good and would probably never see it again. I knew it was just a ring and there are worse things to lose, and I realized it would probably not be valuable to anyone else but me….still, I was sad that I had lost it.

Now, this is going to sound crazy but, here is the story. A few weeks ago I was looking at my hands and noticed my wedding ring/bands were sliding around on my finger. Noticing my rings and worrying they might slide off made me think about the silver ring I had lost. I wondered if it had ever been found, and was now being worn by someone new? Sigh….. I thought to myself, “God, I know it is silly, but I miss that ring.”

Yesterday evening, my husband and I were cleaning our car, getting ready to trade it in for a newer vehicle. My husband down on the floor of the car, vacuum in hand, was reaching under the front seat. He said, “Look what I found!” I looked over at him and he was holding my long lost ring! A smile lit up my face.

Yes, it is a simple thing. Yes, there are much more important things in life than a lost ring. Yet, the story of the ring reminds me that there is nothing too small for God to care about. Often times we only want to come to God with the big things. The heavy burdens. The things we feel are worthy. We forget that although God is big, He still cares about the small. He knows our hearts.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7 NIV

October, How I Love Thee…

Oh, October! How I love thee. Let me count the ways…

1. A cool morning breeze, that begs me to wear a sweater.

2. Low hanging gray clouds, allowing only a peek of blue underneath.

3. Pumpkins at the grocery store, pumpkins at roadside stands, pumpkins at the Farmer’s Market.

4. Spiced coffee and pumpkin flavored muffins.

5. Cozy blankets to snuggle in.

6. Warm candles in apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon scents.

7. Sweaters and fluffy socks, and boots.

8. Fall festivals and harvest time and corn shocks and drives on the country back roads.

9. Brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red.

10. And football.

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Living in Grace

The past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a long term substitute teaching job at a local middle school. The school is about twenty minutes from my house. I don’t really mind the drive, because most of the roads I take are out in the country. I take the time to admire the late summer corn surrounding the white farmhouse and barn in its sea of green. I stop and watch a mama deer and her two babies (still with white spots on their backs) cross the road. I wind through turns and pass by more farmhouses. I notice some trees with the slightest hint of beginning to turn from summer’s green to autumn’s golds and oranges. I always watch the black and deep chestnut colored horses. Friday morning they were standing close together, right next to the fence, looking as if they were whispering to each other.

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As I drove along, radio turned down low, I started to think about my life and how it has played out thus far. Driving alone tends to make me contemplative. I started to list all the ways that God has shown Himself to me….throughout my life. The good times, the hard times, the thrilling times and the heartbreaking times. My life, much like yours, truly is a tapestry of the moments of each day, woven together to create something unique to each of us.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Life has not always been easy or fun, but even in those difficult times, I can look back and see God at work in my life. Like most of us, I’ve made some good choices and some poor choices through the years, especially as a young adult. I shudder to think what might have been. I realize and am humbled to know it is only because of God’s unending mercy and grace that I am where I am today. My life is no mistake. Neither is yours. Dwell on that for a minute. On that early morning drive, I thought about that. Tears squeezed out the corners of my eyes and slid down my cheeks. I tried to stop, because I didn’t want to mess up my make-up on the way to work, but a few more slid out leaving me with a tear stained face. When one truly understands God’s mercy and grace as it pertains to him/her personally, it SHOULD overwhelm you, because His grace truly is amazing. Mercy is when God chooses to withhold the consequences of punishment for what we DO deserve, and grace is when He gives to us, and gives to us (unmerited favor) …all the things we DON’T really deserve. The realization is humbling. How can we not give thanks, with each breath that we take?

“Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; ‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.” 

Small Miracles At The Grocery Store

This Friday morning found me at Aldi, doing the weekly grocery shopping, enjoying the stroll up and down the aisles. It was around 11:30am as I was finishing up, ready to check out with my overly full cart. There was only one check out line open, and so I let an older gentleman in front of me. He only had a couple of items and a dozen, beautiful red roses, that I had just watched him choose from the store’s flower bin. He thanked me for letting him “cut” line. I gave him a big smile (I make a habit of smiling often when I am out shopping. I get a lot of smiles in return–a great experiment, you all should try it). I asked him if someone special was getting the roses? He got a grin on his face, and said, “Yes. My wife. This is the anniversary…it is the 21st, right? (I shook my head “yes”.)…..of our very first date.” I replied,”I am sure your wife will love the roses, and that you remembered your first date. That is so sweet.” He smiled and said, “I hope she thinks so.” After he paid and was turning to leave, he looked back at the cashier and at me and said, “We’ve been married 43 years.” I had a big grin on my face…… I hope that loving husband and his dear wife have a very special day celebrating their first date. 

I am thankful for the small miracles in life that God allows me to come across each day, even at the grocery store. 

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Allow The Beauty To Shine Through

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Over the next month, the vibrant greens of summer will begin to fade. The evenings will take on an early, almost- autumn chill, and the leaves on the trees will turn. I enjoy this time of year. This time of anticipation that leads up to full blown Fall in all its glorious splendor.

How many of us feel we are in the late summer of our lives? Youth has faded, and the days take on a different hue. Some people mourn the passing of time, and long for the fresh days of Spring…..but, not me. I am living in anticipation for what is about to come. Life in autumn, that is ablaze with color, with the warmth of family and friends, and filled with thanksgiving.

The older I get, the more I have learned to appreciate the gifts each day offers. This mysterious truth: When I am thankful for all things in this life, at all stages, the more beautiful life becomes.

Thanksgiving in big and small ways, allows the beauty to shine through.

I am thankful: For a fresh mowed yard and a daughter who actually enjoys the job. Morning glories winding their way over the porch banister. A fluffy puppy who loves to play fetch and head butts me until I play too. The smell of the home made vanilla bean lotion that I picked up at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. Fresh, ice cold water that satisfies my thirst. New exciting ideas for my new business. A supportive husband who has faith in me. Rides in the car with my adult children and our conversations that make me laugh out loud. Slow sunsets that melt into the horizon. Standing out in the yard at night, with my family, watching as the space station flies overhead. Marveling at the wonder of it all. My faith in Jesus Christ, the Name above all others….who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Life is good.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1

Only A Short Time To Live

On this warm Sunday evening in mid August, I take a few minutes to read back through some of my old blog posts. It is interesting to me how the words I wrote years ago still apply today. My own words remind me to keep the proper perspective.

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ONLY A SHORT TIME TO LIVE

I’m currently watching a movie about a young man that found out he had terminal/stage 4 cancer. In the movie he takes off on his motorcycle, on a journey of self discovery across his homeland of Canada, seeing things through new eyes. It’s the knowing that he is dying that causes him to really live…to truly see. To appreciate.

His perspective changed.

What would I do if I was told I only had a few months left to live?  This question makes for a good movie plot, and allows for me to view some gorgeous scenery while watching this man’s trek across the country…..but, the truth is….

for all of us, it is the change of attitude that causes the change in action.

What are the things that are important to us? Are we thankful for what we have? Or do we take what we have for granted? Who do we thank for this day? This moment? This life?

Do you believe that your life is just a cosmic experiment, and therefore your life is not really important in the big scheme of things? That you are here and then you are gone? That death is final?

Or do you know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made, by God that loves you? He that knows every hair on your head? That understands your motives? That catches all your tears? That sees and knows your heart better than you know yourself?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

It depends on your perspective…in how you choose to live your life.

None of us is promised tomorrow. Oh, we like to think we have eighty or more years on this earth. That we will die peacefully in our sleep. That we have all the time in the world to….live.

Not true.

The doctor gives the diagnosis. The other car crosses the center line. The heart stops. The brain ceases thinking. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The accident happens. Not waking up.

We are all terminal.

God tells us not to worry about tomorrow, not to live in fear, but to remember that our lives on this earth are like a vapor.

A mist. A swirling mist that is seen in the early morning, soon dissipating with the rising of the sun.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14  NIV

My life is for a purpose. I am here for a purpose…and so are you.

God chose each of us. There are no mistakes with Him. He is not caught off guard by surprises.You are no surprise.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17  NIV

That changes perspective, doesn’t it?

Although it is good, in my opinion, for each person to take stock of their life, to explore new and exciting things, to change what we need to change, to check off the wishes on the “bucket list” ….. it is equally important to be grateful for the life that we have.

This is the life we were gifted with.

I don’t need to travel the world, to see the sights, to know…

that God infuses wonder in each moment.

Whether a person lives only one hour on this earth, or lives to be one hundred years old…in the scope of eternity, it is all a short time.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22 NIV

Blessed Be Your Name

Life has been hectic these last few weeks. My calendar is full and the days are overflowing. My to do list feels never ending. Sometimes life strangles the joy, with the chains of calendars and clocks. I haven’t posted on my blog very much in the last couple of weeks because I’ve not had the time to pull my scattered thoughts together. We all have days like this….or weeks…or months, when life is busy and we just need to stop, but we can’t. Or it feels like we can’t. Tonight I am taking some time. Taking a break from the race, to slow down. Catch my breath. And whisper in the quiet, to God who hears it all, my words of thanks. Once I begin, I don’t stop……there is so very much to be thankful for.

Father God, I acknowledge that You are the Creator and Sustainer, whose mercies are new every morning. You are the Giver of good gifts, and whose love never fails. If you never gave me another thing, what You have already given is enough, the gift of Your Son, Jesus. It is through Him that I have eternal life. I am underserving, but Your love toward me is never ending. Blessed be Your name above all names.  Amen

Today I am thankful to slow down and to savor all the gifts wrapped up in this day: *morning  sunlight filtering through curtains *my husband laying next to me *children that are sleeping soundly *bare feet on the floor *morning barks, meows, and crowing*rubbing the horse’s soft muzzle*morning sunlight setting the metal barn roof in a display of golden*a mowed yard*a good breakfast*the aroma of fresh coffee*the ding that the computer makes reminding me of friends far and wide that are making comments or are leaving me a message*a new website my husband created for me, that will help me to help others*a mama deer and her baby crossing our side yard*church service with fellow believers*singing praise*relaxing on the couch*eating popcorn*laughing*talking with my son about college and work and life*friends that make me smile*new adventures ahead*and God who is wonderful.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”… Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV

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All Of My Days

Time has a way of sneaking up on a person. Do you, too, feel the sands of time slipping through your fingers?  The other day a friend mentioned that she could not believe how in a few short years she will be celebrating her fiftieth birthday. I can relate. I have young adult children—young ADULT, for cryin’ out loud! Next month my son will be going back to college for his sophomore year. I was starting my sophomore year of college in 1987. Weren’t the ’80’s, just the other day? Sigh…….I’m feeling a little old today.

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The months slip by and the seasons come and go. Today, on my way back from the mailbox, I looked up at the gray sky, felt the unseasonably cool temperatures, and realized just a mere three months from today we will be smack dab in the middle of Fall! You know, brightly colored leaves, pumpkin flavored everything, and football games. From there, it is a short and fast trip to Christmas. Then the year is over.

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Holding on to the moments, by letting go of time……..appreciating the memories and not worrying about the future. Resting in the One who already knows all of my days.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

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Slowing Down

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The sky loomed dark on the horizon when I went out to feed the animals. It was going to rain, and I hoped I could get back from the barn before the rain started. The air was moist and a cool breeze was blowing. It felt wonderful against my warm skin. I do not enjoy the uncomfortable heat and humidity, it is for those reasons that I tend to not like summer very much. On my walk across the yard I allowed my gaze to rest on the newly sprouting corn, the stalks and leaves covering the field with vibrant green. The sky was smeared in gray all the way to where it touched the horizon. I saw (and heard) the killdeer letting me know that I was intruding on their space. Jack, one of our male barn cats, followed along with me, as did the dogs. The raindrops started to lightly splatter to the ground. I imagined the countryside scene on this rainy morning looked a lot like a scene from an Old English storybook. I’ve never been to England, but this is what I see in my mind’s eye. I think I might have read too much Beatrix Potter as a child.

Life seems to have slowed down a bit on this late June morning. I don’t have anything pressing for my schedule, aside from needing to finish up some necessary paperwork. I like days like this. Quiet and peaceful with time to reflect. God is so good, and there is so much to be thankful for.

Philippians 4:8-9   Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and  received and heard and seen  in me—practice these things, and  the God of peace will be with you.

Snapshots Of Life…Written In Ink

I am currently reading If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name by, Heather Lende. Mrs. Lende wrote about the ups and downs of life in small town, Haines, Alaska. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes.  My next reading selection will be Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon. I love books about small town life, and can get lost in them for hours at a time if left to my own devices. I love to read, I always have. I also enjoy writing. I was the child that always had a diary, then, as I got older, a journal. As a young child I made a family newspaper of all the happenings going on with my relatives. As a teen, I wrote poetry and nine years ago, I started this blog.

The other day I was looking through keepsakes. I have letters from my Nannan, from when I was in college. Her familiar handwriting allowed memories to wash over me, even though nearly three decades have come and gone since she was here. I keep notes and cards from my mom and read them over and over again when I need encouragement or reminders. I even keep snippets of paper that I’ve left simple notes on for the kids. Snapshots of life…written in ink.

Words…..

Reading.

Writing.

Meaning.

Memories.

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