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

 

 

 

Feeling Homesick

chocolate chips cookies

Image by timlewisnm via Flickr

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave,

and grow old wanting to go back to.”

—-John Ed Pearce

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Farm houses

creaking floors,

Shared bathrooms

opened doors.

Milk and cookies

and PB and J,

Cozy evenings,

long summer days.

Popsicles

and friendships,

Bicycles

and home movie clips.

Family pictures

and church socials,

saying goodbyes

are always emotional.

Growing up

and moving out,

leaving home

great things, no doubt.

Moving forward

looking back,

time stands still,

fade to black…

 

 

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.


Precious Memories…And Sugar Cookies

Floral sugar cookies.

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The young girl got off the school bus in front of the big farm house. She walked up the driveway, hearing the crunch of gravel beneath her shoes. She turned at the sidewalk that led to the tiny side porch. The door opened…..

The elderly lady stood at the door, smiling. As the little girl got closer she could smell cookies. Sugar cookies. The older woman knew that the little girl loved her home made sugar cookies, warm out of the oven. She ushered the little girl inside to have a seat at her worn Formica kitchen table. The kitchen was warm and cozy. The woman quiet and kind. The girl happily munched on cookies while telling the woman of her school day. The older lady nodded and smiled. The girl asked about the horses, that she could see from the kitchen windows. The grandmotherly woman told stories about her Petunia and Judd and their antics. Sometimes the girl ran through the backyard and over to the fence near the big, red barn. She liked looking at Petunia and Judd up close.

After the sugary snack, there was much to explore…and the woman always let the little girl explore. There was a parakeet to say hello to, in the living room. There were three steps to “no where” in the living room, near the back porch door. The girl imagined it was a secret hideout, instead of what used to probably be a back stair case to the upstairs that had long been covered up. Then there was the organ in the parlor. It looked pretty sitting in there. Formal and quiet. The kind woman even let the young girl explore her bedroom and tiny bathroom, with all the colors from decades past. The bedroom was small, but warm with braided rugs on the floor.

The little girl enjoyed her visits. Time passed, the girl got older, and her visits were more sporadic. In 1982 the older woman became ill. She went to the hospital. The little girl was now a teen. She saw her friend in the hospital bed. Someone had tied a bright pink ribbon in the elderly woman’s snow white hair. A splash of color in an otherwise sterile room.

The little girl, was me. My friend was Mrs. Saylor. She was like a surrogate grandmother to me. To this very day when I make a trip back to the place of my youth, I cannot pass by her house without remembering her. She might be gone for many years now, but she lives in my memories….and in my heart.

Don’t ever think that you can’t make a difference in a child’s life. I know you can…just like Mrs. Saylor.  All it takes is a cup of kindness, a heaping spoonful of time, a dash of a listening ear, and some really good sugar cookies to munch on.