Around The Bend In The Road

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One of my passions in life is to listen to people’s stories. To know people through their stories. To see people through their experiences. To try and understand the meaning behind the expressions.

Everyone has a story inside them. With some, the story leaks out slowly, while with others, it pours out, causing a flood of emotions. Some stories bring sweet memories, and some bring bitter tears. Funny, sad, mesmerizing, sweet. Stories of what is right, as well as some difficult lessons from regrets. Anyone that has lived for any amount of time on this spinning orb, has that story.  Their story. The story that only he/she can tell.

The stories become real and personal. The words wind their way through time and memory, etching meaning into the mundane as well as the miraculous.

This week I am going to begin to tell a story. My story.

I hope you will join me.

 

Finding Beauty

The older I get the more I want to find beauty. To see it in people’s faces. To recognize it in their laughter. To find it in their tears. Life is a struggle (for us all), and so many times I find myself weighted down with all the things that are going on in the world, but yet still…I look for ways to list all the ways that people are beautiful. The smooth, sweet smelling skin of my five month old grand daughter, her contagious laughter instantly changing my mood. The older lady in the store parking lot, smiling at me. The UPS delivery man who is always so friendly and kind, even though I know he is tired. My husband who works hard for me and for his family. The neighbors who offered help, and unconditional support when we lost our beloved dog. My friends who know me, and know my heart, and I theirs. There is beauty. I just keep my eyes open for it.

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I enjoy being outside. I like to take sky pictures… And field pictures… And animal pictures. And yes, people pictures, in my search for beauty. The other night I walked out on the deck, waiting to call the dogs in for the night. The cold, crisp winter air was still as I peered up. The sky was blacker than ink, with sparkling glitter. I find moments like this to be holy. I am reminded how small I am, and how big God is. The intricate workings of the Milky Way, created by the sound of His voice. Beautiful.

Scented soap homemade from a friend, texted messages and voicemails from family and friends, iced tea, and iced coffee, holding hands and holding hearts, baby laughter, and giggles, good books and timeless stories, friendships that have withstood both time and distance, children who are now adults, but still say, “I love you”, pictures on the refrigerator, and smiles from strangers at the grocery store, dogs that lay their heads in my lap and lick me until I pet them, wedding rings and commitment, love and loyalty and fun. God is so good and He chooses to gift me with beautiful people and beautiful moments and ……..

I am so thankful.

 

 

Showing Grace

We always have a choice.

To show grace to others, or not.

Yep, I get it.

Sometimes people do things, and we think we are justified to let them know they are wrong…even if we don’t express those thoughts with words. Many times actions speak much louder than our words ever could. We take the moral high ground, because we are right after all. That’s what we think. We didn’t make the poor choices. We didn’t make the wrong decisions. The “unforgivable sins”. If we act like everything is okay, doesn’t that appear like we are condoning whatever it is? That attitude is so easy to slide into. That we are better because we didn’t do those things.

And yet, it is when we show grace to others, that we are the most like Jesus. Choosing to love….in the midst of the mess. Choosing to forgive…is not accepting less.

When we acknowledge our own brokenness, the darkness of our own hearts, our own poor choices, mistakes, and mess ups, we begin to understand the amazing grace shown to us by Jesus. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t say, “I’ll wait until you are perfect.” Instead He said, “I love you”.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

 

 

 

 

Love People

 

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I have always been a writer ever since I was a little girl. Diaries. Journals. Notebooks. Scraps of paper. Lists. Poems. Stories. Reading and writing, have always been “my thing”. I readily admit, I am not the writer of great novels (although, I can  (and do) truly appreciate those that are gifted in this way). I am much more a writer of human experience, both mine and others. I write my opinion, how I see life, and the events that have touched me. I see things in a rather aesthetic way, and yes, sometimes get teased for that. After all, who writes about the colors of the changing leaves, or the chilly autumn air that is an omen of what is to come? Or how the geese sound as they land in the lake across the road?  The creases of time etched into a person’s forehead, or the way the little girl who can’t stop hopping, has lopsided pigtails? How the cracks in the sidewalk make a pattern? And how complete strangers, driving by, will wave at you when you go to get the mail, if you wave first? I like to observe and remember the smallest details, because it is sometimes those details that tell the truest stories of our lives.

Sometimes people’s stories are short and sweet, and sometimes they are long and drawn out. I find that when I listen, I usually learn something………..

Yesterday, a friend sat with my family at our church luncheon. We were having a “kick off” for Operation Christmas Child . This man, has the gift of words. He talks to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or how old you are. He wants to know people. He said something, that caused me to ponder, mostly because I’ve had the same thought myself.  The gist of his statement went like this: People are so busy these days, no one talks to each other. No one really knows what someone might be going through. If you have the opportunity to talk, and then really listen to someone, it is amazing how much gets said. It just pours out, because people, really DO want to tell their stories. They want to be heard. I smiled. I told him I thought his ability to speak words, to make friends, and to listen was a gift, and did he know that? He just smiled, and said, “I love people”.

Wouldn’t we all do well to love people more?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13 NIV

 

 

Love In Action

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I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes I say things that I later regret. Occasionally, I have less than stellar opinions. At other times I can nail it, clearly making my point. Many times I even get it right. I am still just human, with human frailties. Can’t we each relate to that?

Lately, it seems like every time I get on the internet, watch something on TV, or read the latest magazine article, there is something about “tolerance”, “being non-judgmental” or “showing acceptance”. Tolerance used to mean, I have my opinion and you have your opinion on an issue. We might never fully agree, but we were able to accept that differences exist and move on. There need be no hateful words, or name calling because of it.  That is no longer the case. Now, it seems as if someone disagrees on any number of subjects he/she is considered wrong, bigoted, or even worse. How is that being tolerant–for either side?

The main stream media tries to eviscerate anyone who dares to say anything differently than what they deem as right and appropriate. Now, I don’t know about you, but I most definitely do not look to the MSM for my core values, or how I conduct myself. The media is looking for the story, what will sell, and how to get people talking. That is the whole point. Most main stream media sources will sell their soul to the devil for a good headline.

I don’t have to love every single thing that people do…and that is okay…but, I can still love them. I am called to love them, even when it is hard….and sometimes it definitely is. This does not mean that I cheerfully accept everything that a person does so I can proudly proclaim, I’m “non-judgmental”, because that would be for the wrong reasons and born out of fear, not love.

If love is truly real, it will not just be words, but will be shown through actions…. Because love without action, really isn’t love at all.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbora]”>[ and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. —-    Jesus words in Matthew 5:43-48  

It Always Is A Choice

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The toilets need cleaned. Again.

The kitchen sink has scuzzy stuff in the drain covers. Ick.

The cats have scattered their litter all over the floor again…and I step on it, in my bare feet. Ugh.

Frayed nerves and not one more thing!

Poor decisions and consequences that are felt by everyone in the family, cause struggle.

Mud and dirt, and mess and mayhem…

And I  just want to crawl in a dark corner, light one of my scented candles and not deal with it.

Life Is Hard.

It is, isn’t it? Don’t we all feel it?

Yes, there is a lot of good in this life, but why is it so much easier to see the bad?

The lens zooms in on the imperfect, the marred, and the spoiled.

And just when it seems under control, the fabric of life rips wide open.

It is a choice.

I preach to myself.

I know this is true.

God is good, He is always good. His ways are right and His decisions are solid, in an otherwise unstable world.

It is in Him and through Him that I can really see.

With Him I can choose joy. The lens is clearer, sharper somehow.

A choice.

It always is a choice.

 

 

Feel The Love

Going through my blog archives today….   This post made me smile, then laugh out loud. I do love the men in my life:)

Men…And Other Scary Animals


A couple in the dark

I like men. I actually love some of them. I think that a lot of time men get “bad raps” in the media. Not fair. They have a lot of good qualities that oft times get overlooked. On this note, I am dedicating today’s blog to my loving husband and sons, and all the other men out there that make the world a more crazy…eh hem….delightful place. I would also like to state for the record that this blog is MY opinion, and on MY blog that is the only one that counts. If you are a male basher don’t read this blog—because I am all about flowers and sunshine:)

 

1. Men like to fix things. This is very helpful to me when I have no clue as to what I am doing. “Honey, the thing- a- ma- bobber just fell off the what-cha-ma-call-it….do you think you can fix that for me? Sure. ( I love him!)

 

2. Unless the food is completely toxic and inedible men will give it a try…and sometimes ask for seconds. I love that they are not so picky.

 

3. Men are usually good with calculations. Math is not really my forte’. Well, upper level math is not my forte’ is what I should say. I also appreciate my husband’s precision when measuring for whatever it is that he is building for me.

 

4. Men are great foot warmers in bed. Most of the time they don’t complain, even if one’s feet are cold, most of the time they are just glad that you are snuggling with them.

 

5. Most men work really hard in their chosen career. (or even if it’s not their chosen career) They want to provide for their family. It makes them feel good–which in turn makes the family feel good:) Which makes them feel good. Which makes us feel good. See the circle of love?

 

6. Most men are really about 12 years old mentally. Some people see this as an obstacle that needs to be overcome. I see it as well…..let’s just say that burping contests, lawn mower races and wrestling each other to the floor is dangerous after a certain age, and leave it at that.

 

7. Men can look totally cute in the morning…even right after getting up. The messy hair and unshaven face just add to the mystique.

 

8. Men like to have female friends. Why do you think that so many men get married? ‘Cause they love us, girls. They really do. They realize how cool we actually are and they like to hang with us. This shows they obviously have good taste, right?

 

9. They are brave and courageous. Even if they are scared out of their wits they, most of the time, will be the one to get up and see what the scary noise is out in the living room. They also crawl under houses to fix things…braving snakes, possums, mice, or other vermin. They are supermen!

 

10. They are fun to have around and they make us laugh. They help to make the world a little more goofy, and less tense of a place.

 

11. They are not rattled when they take a wrong turn. “We’ll just drive around until we see something familiar.”

 

12. There is nothing better than a hug. Even if he is stinky, and sweaty and in need of a shower. ( I wonder if he will use that new lavender shampoo I just bought?)