Inspiration Board

Above my desk I have a bulletin board. The board is filled with pictures pulled out of magazines, things that I found interesting, or beautiful, or both. Quotes written down. Swatches of fabric. Favorite recipes. I call it my inspiration board. If someone “read” my board, they’d get to know me

a little bit better.

 

Words. That have meaning…

Best chocolate chip cookies I've made in decades.

Pictures that create a story.

 

The story of a life.

 

How many times do we intentionally think about our life’s story? When others look at us, what do they see? What would we like for them to see? What will our legacy be? Do we live in the moment, enough? Heart full of love or longing? Grateful or grating? Hopeful or hopeless? Thanking or thankless?

 

While we should not live our lives for the opinions of others, we should be aware of the impact that we have on those around us. It matters not whether your domain is a house full of children, or managing CEO of a fortune 500 company. Warm chocolate chip cookies can taste just as scrumptious as any Parisian fare. Trips to the Grand Canyon, or trips around the world. A helping hand, a quiet smile, changing diapers, or changing an attitude. Our circles of influence are unique to us.

 

We all have a life to share. I think of my life, much like my favorite books. Some of the pages are dog -earred, favorite lines are highlighted, sometimes there is a note in the front pages from the giver of the book, maybe some smudges from fingers that were….um…snacking while reading, the cover may be a little wrinkled and frayed because of being well loved and the binding might get worn from opening up so much…..but, that is alright. A well read book is usually valuable for what it has on the inside.

 

What does your story reveal?

 

What will be in your next chapter?

 

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Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever… Psalm 23:6  NIV

 

 

 

Magical Memories

Dusk in the Smokies

That November evening was clear and cool. Early darkness had settled in, as happens on the cusp of winter.  The park, nestled in the Smoky Mountains, was lit, seemingly just for us. Very few people were there that night. The trees twinkled with Christmas lights, music filled the air, the sweet taste of warm chocolate chip cookies and steaming cups of hot chocolate felt good to both the body and soul.

My aunt was visiting, and she, along with my mother and six year old son, made my evening complete. Every light, every sound was just for us….the beauty was ours to savor.

The previous year had been a struggle, learning how to live as a widow…my new role in life….but, that night…..was different.

That evening was a special celebration–a time to enjoy. That evening God granted me time to delight, to feel, to really see and just be in the moment. I still hold that special time close to my heart, over a decade later.

Memories are something I am thankful for.

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This day I am thankful for:

* good memories that continue to make me smile

* hard memories that I learned something from

* the opportunity for second chances

* eggs for breakfast

* the opportunity to go to Finders Keepers one more time before the stored closed

* pets, I love my animals so much!

* old friendships renewed

* painting word pictures

* lunch out with my husband

* chores completed

* my head on a soft pillow

* new objects to decorate with

* warm sunshine

* things I look forward to

Eat Your Nutritional Bits!

Shelves of dog food. Includes Beneful and Pedigree

Image via Wikipedia

Life has come to me arguing with the dog.He is not participating in the argument, so really it’s just me pretending to argue with the dog.

Okay, so maybe cajoling him.

Oh, alright! Begging him. This is so humiliating.

Tonight I was trying to get Lonnie, the wonder dog…all 19 pounds of him…to eat his nutritional bits.

I buy him the dog food that is supposed to be good for him. Healthy even.

The nutritional bits resemble little chocolate chip looking things. Yum.

Lonnie refuses his nutrition. Instead he roots through all the rest of the dog food, spewing bits as he goes. How in the world does an animal that has no fingers pick all those teeny, tiny bits out of the bowl? He must spit them out like watermelon seeds. I will have to make a point to observe this. I’ll have to be sneaky if I want to watch, Lonnie tends to be covert.

I called the little terrier to me when I saw the mess he made. I gave him the “stink eye”. He stared back. I proceeded to lecture him on his canine health. He licked me. I continued to inform him of his need for good teeth and a shiny coat. He actually yawned. At this point I placed my hand on my hip, got the mom stance and said (with a straight face) “Lonnie you are like a five year old who pushes his peas all around the plate. You need to eat your nutritional bits!”

I thought for sure that I had made my case.

Sigh.

On a good note, the cat seems to enjoy eating them off the floor.

Eucharisteo

Jan and I made some vegan chocolate chip cooki...

Image via Wikipedia

EucharisteoGreek.   yoo-khar-is-teh’-o. Verb. Definition: 1.To be grateful, to feel thankful. 2. Give thanks

In chapter two of One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is the key word. The meaning behind it, the challenge of this entire book.

To Give Thanks.

(pg. 30)”On this page Ann asks herself if she needs to see the world, visit the exquisite, before she faces eternity? Or isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? (31) Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?”

This is so true for me. It is easy for me to skim over the very real miracles of today, not seeing them. Blinded by the busyness of life, thinking I need to do something more. Something big. Something significant. Before I am witness to the incredible.Could it really be something as simple as giving thanks? Being grateful for what I have? Even if it is a simple thing…The simple things become the big things, if they are appreciated. If I remember to offer thanks for them.

(pg. 37) “What precedes the miracle is thanksgiving, eucharisteo, and it is a Greek word with a hard meaning that is harder yet to live. Do I really want to take up this word?”

Should I really take up the challenge of gratitude? Will it change me? Will my eyes begin to see the ways that God is saying “yes” to me, on a daily basis? Certainly it is true that God acts in big ways, when He chooses. But, isn’t it just as true that God acts in small ways? The small things that touch us in the grind of the every day? Shouldn’t I be as appreciative for the beauty in the quiet stillness of freshly fallen snow, as I am for the healing of a loved one? Shouldn’t I thank Him for hugs from children that he has blessed me with? As much as I see him in the faces of the forgiven? Shouldn’t the smell of freshly laundered towels be as heady to me as the view from a mountain top?

Isn’t God big enough to have everything under control? But small enough to to have communion with me as I thank him for the warm chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven? Why does my eucharisteo have to be small? Or only for certain things? Can I not thank God for ALL he does? All the ways he blesses? Even when I don’t understand? Even when things don’t go “my way”. Can I not thank him for being in control–even when I’m so out of control? For being sovereign when I can’t even see a second into my own future?

And with that…the Father of Lies whispers in my ear. He spits out the word eucharisteo. A whisper of irritation. A scratch of ungratefulness. “You don’t need eucharisteo. It’s useless. God isn’t listening.” And I am taken back to the garden. In the beginning he convinced Adam and Eve that ungratefulness was normal. That it was okay. That what God gave them wasn’t good enough…and with that they sunk their teeth into that glorious fruit. The same fruit that turned bitter and rotten in their mouths. Communion with God was fractured, and the ungratefulness started to fester. It has been that way ever since.

And yet…

I want to take the challenge….the dare….to give thanks. To live eucharisteo. To see with my own eyes the difference it makes.