Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Season of Changing Pace

As 2011 heads to the finish line, November has brought a change of pace for me. The fast track for the last few months has left me searching for that quiet corner, a place to retreat, collect my thoughts and reflect on what lies ahead for the new year.

October was so busy with each weekend crammed with activities and events, but as November opened the door on the last of the beautiful fall colors before the cold breath of winter comes blowing in, the weekends once again became mine.
                                                    
From the first one, celebrating my birthday with breakfast at Ace Diner
with nothing planned and feeling a little numb from the decelerated pace................











 .......to the second one touring the Rail Road/Civil War Museum in down town Dickson and lunch with my hubby once again at our favorite little eatery nearby (Ace Diner) .








The Museum holds so much history of the county we decided to make our home over 16 years ago. We never knew how much the Civil War had affected the lives of the residents and how the railroad brought so much industry into the area.....thank God for the time to slow down and connect with the community we have come to love.






Today was number three in a row.....4 girl-friends and I spent a Slow Sigh Saturday morning in nearby Waverly, TN in a wonderful, not so little, gift shop where we were in awe of the treasures inside. The ordinary looking gray building on the side of highway 70 did not give a hint as to what we would find inside. As we browsed the nooks and crannies of the unique gift emporium, thoughts of what would put a smile on the faces of our loved ones on Christmas morning danced in our heads and tugged at our hearts. Emerging from the building after almost 2 hours, we loaded our finds and headed further into town to check out a local Cafe for a light lunch.



The Waverly Cafe was just the spot to sit and talk and enjoy a delicious meal of Homemade Chili and a Provolone/Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese with a touch Italian. As we entered the Cafe the aroma of fresh brewed coffee welcomed us at the door, beckoning us to come in and have a cup......and what a cup it was.....bigger than the soup bowls, but just the size to wrap two hands around and sip as we chatted without a thought to the clock.








Leaving the sweet retreat of the Cafe, where not only did we enjoy the food and fellowship, we were also treated to a little bit of local history displayed on the walls through pictures from the past, we made a stop at a local bakery to take a few sweet treats home with us.

Thanksgiving Day will lead into the final weekend of November. I am so thankful for this beautiful time of the year, for the brilliant colors, the warm days and cool nights, a time when we can slow down and let our thoughts turn to family. The days ahead will take on a bit of magic as we enter the Christmas season and our thoughts will include our Blessed Savior and the celebration of His birth.





The new year will bring changes and adjustments, but I will put my trust in the Lord to guide and protect my family as we follow His plan for us in 2012.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hillsboro High Family Reunion

October 29, 2011..... almost 40 years after Hillsboro High School  in rural Williamson County Tennessee closed its doors on the last graduating class, the former students came together again!

What a reunion it was, with students from graduating classes as far back as the early 40's to the last graduating class in 1977......

As a Hillsboro High student for 4 years and a graduate of the class of 1973, I had the privilege of being in the "Hillsboro Family" of classes a few years before and a few years after my graduation. Hillsboro School was a small school in which the classrooms were filled with families, students who were more like  brothers and sisters and had known each other since kindergarten or 1st grade. As we came together to share in this reunion and reconnect with lost friendships of years before, it was difficult to remember exactly who graduated with who.......we were reunited as one family.

"Reunion" seems so inadequate in describing the day, the coming together of a family who had not seen each other in decades. The hugs, the smiles, the joy in recognizing that long ago friend....there are no words that fit!
 
Of course, everyone could not be there and it was evident that the ones missing left an emptiness as we gathered around the memorial table to remember and watch the familiar faces of friends who left us much too early.

As with any family reunion, it would not be complete without the food and food was abundant!!!






         Long ago teachers and the beloved principal came together to make the family reunion complete!
This day will live forever in our memories, friendships that were reconnected will flourish for years to come. This day was a long time coming, something we were holding our breath for, something we were hungry for ....... to bring us back to where we were one family.......yes it was *Epic!

*Thank you Donna Goodgine Schklar for the perfect word to describe our day.
Thank you Debbie Raines Flowers for starting the ball rolling!!!!

Turning the Page

How did it get to be November? Weren't we just welcoming in 2011 a few weeks ago? "Time waits for no man"; I read that somewhere and finally, I know what it means......

Today, the first Saturday of November 2011, has been a breathtaking day! One of those "Slow, Sigh Saturday's" that I dream about and only catch once in a while. This week has been one of those "stop the world and let me off" weeks, but if I can have a day like today waiting at the end of every week.....then bring it on! The reward is worth it!

As we approach the end of yet another year and I think back over the last 10 months, once again I count my blessings.....the blessings of a year of good health for me and my family, the news of an addition to our family, a precious grandson coming from the other side of the world, the birth of  a beautiful grandson right here at home, a grand son starting school for the first time, the joining of the military ranks of yet another grandson, five beautiful granddaughters all as teenagers, the high school graduation of a son and a grand daughter and watching them both go on to college, experiencing the empty nest for the first time in almost 40 years of raising children and having a first time ever High School Reunion in almost as many years ......

What will the next year bring?   I will start with an earlier posting in September 2010 titled "Down On the Farm".........

Early in 2004, we got restless to make a change in our lives.... as the kids grew, so did the need to find out what else was out there. Our daughter was graduating and our son was getting ready for middle school and work was becoming more stressful for me, so I knew the time had come.......


At the time of that posting in 2010, I went on to say, "Our daughter has married, our son is getting ready to graduate in the spring and that wander dust is starting to swirl......where will it take us? Only as we turn the page in our book of life will we find what God has in store for us..."

A year has come and gone, the pages have turned and a new chapter is being written.......

Fall 2011, My husband is preparing to return to Military Service, this time as a civilian in the faraway land of Kyrgyzstan. 

What does this mean for me? An empty nest? An empty house? Well, that wander dust has not settled yet......... 

Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Update 4 months later: My husband's contract fell through..... was not in God's plan.....instead, He needed him to stay home and help our son get ready for Military Service.........

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Holiday in Paris (Landing)

It was that time of year again; the leaves were turning brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red, the sky a breathtaking blue, and the ladies of the Branches Sunday School Class were hearing the gentle call of the Savior to come away and rest.
It was the 3rd annual Ladies Retreat at Paris Landing, where eight sisters came together to share a weekend filled with fun, fellowship, sharing in God's peace....... leaving behind the stress and tension of work and everyday responsibilities. As we arrived late in the afternoon, the sun glistening on the lake promised a glorious time as we unpacked our goodies for the evening meal of delicious homemade soup and sandwiches. A variety of delicacies was shared as we talked and laughed our way through an informal and relaxing dinner.

After dinner, the traditional game time began and so did the fun. This is always a time when the "sisters" take on the role of sibling rivals......sides are chosen and the competition begins! This year was no less competitive and the howls and sidesplitting laughter as these delicate ladies turned vicious in an updated version of Charades. We will never sing Happy Birthday again without remembering that night......and the smile or chuckle that escapes will leave people wondering!
 

Finally getting to bed around 1:00am, we awake to the most amazing day the Lord has prepared for us. After a wonderful breakfast of blueberry pancakes and fresh fruit, the walk begins. Drinking in the beauty of our surroundings, we walk though the park, enjoying  the gentle breeze off the soft blue ripples of the lake. We were exhausted by the time we arrived back at the chalet, ready for a light lunch and rest before shopping.....as usual, we shopped for shoes and  made a stop at the little Christian Book Store....our two favorite places on our retreat.




Dinner on Saturday evening was at the Paris Landing Inn, and what a treat! Good food, Good company and a beautiful view of the lake.....God is so good to us!

Sharing time on Saturday night began with a reading of a short story novel written by one of our sweet sisters. As we listened intently though tears and smiles, our hearts strings were pulled and our  emotions were challenged. From the reading to roasting marshmellows around the campfire, the question was raised, " what do you want to do when you grow up"? This question brought to mind an array of dreams yet to fulfill and thoughts of what God might have in store for each of us filled the night air. From retiring to the mountains to building a church in Kenya to publishing a best seller to a simple dream of a job closer to home......each of us know that God is not finished with us yet. As I continue to ponder this question, I know that there is more for me to do, more to make a difference in the lives of others and more to bring Glory to God!

Sunday morning devotion on the deck in the mist of the rising sun......what a way to start the day and such a beautiful way to end our weekend. Glorifying the Lord surrounded by His handiwork will be enough to carry us until we meet here again next year.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

College and Beyond

To my son,
As you begin a new phase of your life, remember to always trust in God to guide you, always ask Him for directions and listen to your heart where He whispers His love and answers to your prayers.
 

Live with intention
Walk to the edge.
Listen hard. Laugh. Play with abandon.
Practice wellness. continue to learn.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Lead or follow a leader.
Do what you lo
ve.
Live as if this is all there is.


*Mary Anne Radmacher

 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Plate Runneth Over

Have you ever had your plate so full you couldn't eat it all?
Have you ever had your "to do" plate so full you couldn't do it all?

Well, I have had both and neither situation is comfortable. A choice has to be made in what to eat and what to leave behind or in the latter case, do what is most important at the time.

August and a few months forward is always the busiest time for me; the school doors open and so do the gates of responsibilities, adjustments to change, working endless hours on very little sleep begin and "we are off". My focus can no longer encompass the many tasks, projects, activities and desires of my heart on my 'to do' list.  

As women, we always think we can do it all. Wonder Women, Multi-tasker, Mega Mom.......but at some point, it catches up with you. I don't care who you are or how much you think you have it all together, when you try to juggle too many things at one time, you lose momentum, your energy level crashes and you can not give any one thing your "all". You have to decide what is most important at the time, what is most beneficial to you and your family and give it your focus. Does that mean you give up the rest? Absolutely not!

My dreams and goals are clear and steadfast, but for me, they have to be achieved one at a time. God has a plan for us all and the things He has planned for us happen in his time, not ours. When we try to rush ahead and take power into our own hands, we disrupt God's timeline. God wants us to trust Him with our dreams and desires of our heart and He also wants us to be thankful for the gifts He puts in our lives, like a good husband, healthy children, loving parents, good friends and a great job! He also wants us to use the talents He has given us to influence the people around us.....for me, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 people I can influence or touch in some way on any given day while on my JOB. If I am not focused, many lives and livelihoods can be affected negatively.

I am not the kind of person who wants it all and wants it now. I want the simple things, the things that let me slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, watching the sunrise on a crisp fall Saturday morning, seeing the wide toothless smile of my precious grandchild, watching my son experience college life and providing him the means to do it, sharing a cup of coffee with a fellow worker at the end of a long day and listening to the challenges they face, watching people become interested in taking their talents to the next level and helping them do just that in the workplace, coming home after a long hard day and being able to "just be".

My dreams and goals are clear and steadfast and based on faith....faith that God has a plan and through His plan my dreams and goals are possible. I know I do not have the power nor the lasting strength to make my dreams come true or to achieve my goals, the power comes from Him."There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends".

My dreams and goals are clear and steadfast....they are not about me...... they are about how I can serve others with my God-given talents "just where I am" at this time in my life.

My dreams and goals are clear and steadfast but, I have to put them in proper priority.


Psalm 121:1-3; I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help comes from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth. He will not let your foot slip, He who watches over you will not slumber.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Going Home Again

"We grow up planning how we are going to leave home and then spend the rest of our lives trying to get back".

This is a quote from a former high school class mate, posted on our facebook site where after almost 40 years, reconnection is finally being made. After graduation from high school, my friends, some who had been class mates since 1st grade, and I all went our separate ways to find what life had in store. Now seeing and hearing about what they have done with their lives, where life has taken them and sadly how life has been taken from so many, this little sentence has spoken volumes.

As I read the comments and remarks of my long ago friends, it seems like we have been transported back to that little country high school where we had no idea what life was like beyond it's walls, we just knew we could not wait to go out and grab on to whatever was out there and let it take us to new places and new adventures. It seems that no matter how far away the tides of time have shifted us and the adventures we have experienced, the common thread I see running though the conversations, the pictures and mementos shared....we are all excited to be back "home''.

Hillsboro High was a small K-12 school in a rural community of Western Williamson County Tennessee. The kids attending this unique and last of it's kind educational institution were raised on country sunshine and a love for friends and family. In my mind's eye, we are still the same as we were in the early to middle 1970's, still sharing laughter at each others antics and jokes, teasing each other like brothers and sisters, sharing happiness for each others accomplishments and shedding tears for the lose of those who were taken from us way too early.

As we get re-acquainted and plan our get together, it seems this will be more than a class or school reunion.......a home coming is what families do...welcome home Hillsboro High School Family and thank you Debbie Sue for bringing the family back together.






Saturday, August 20, 2011

If I Had My Children to Raise Over Again

Alex will start college this week. Where has the time gone? It seems like we just celebrated his 4th birthday. Now as he starts a new phase in his life,  mom and dad will mark another milestone in theirs.....children born, children loved, children guided , children raised to be adults, children ready to make their way in life.....God's purpose for parents.
As I pondered the fast approaching empty nest, I found this little poem that pulled at my heart strings.


If I had my children to raise all over again
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less
I'd do less correcting and more connecting
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I'd do more hugging and less tugging
I would be firm less and affirm much more
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later
I'd teach less about the love of power and more about the power of love

*Diane Loomans, from Full Esteem Ahead

I thank God for a wonderful son who has grown into a great young man. We are so proud of him as he goes forward into a new world. We are proud of all our wonderful children and their beautiful families.

The prize God has waiting for parents at this time in their lives when they face the empty nest.....
Grandchildren!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

God Sings


The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Imagine hearing God sing....does it sound like the mighty roar of thunder or is it like a soft gentle whisper?

During my quiet time this morning, imagine that, I had some quiet time today! It seems like it has been forever since I had time to sit, enjoy the peace and tranquilly of no activity, no place to be, no clock staring at me, no one pulling me in different directions, no one demanding my attention...... and time to study God's word.

My life once again has gotten off track and I feel like I am being propelled though time at an accelerated speed, but today, on this beautiful Saturday morning, I find myself sitting on my porch, the sun peeking out through the full foliage of the summer trees, the house is quiet and I have nothing on my agenda today, so here I am God...fill me with your comfort, your wisdom and your love.

As I flipped through my study Bible, reviewing some notes and passages, I came across a study section in Zephaniah that tells me God will sing to me to quiet me when I am feeling overwhelmed, rejected, unworthy and fearful. It is not His power or His majesty that quiets me, it is His unfailing love (Psm.36:7-8; Isa.54:10). God's singing is powerful and strong, yet unimaginably beautiful, pure and sweet, but why would he sing over me?

Because He delights in me and I make His heart sing with joy! Wow....what a concept! But after all, He is our Father and as a parent, don't we do the same with our children? When our children face obstacles and their lives get turned upside down, don't we long to comfort them with soft words, warm hugs and sometimes a sweet song to quiet their fears. When our children overcome obstacles and joy is restored in their hearts, our very own hearts sing with joy. It just makes sense that God would feel the same way about His children.

Oh Lord, when I am overwhelmed and life swallows me up, keeping me from seeing the plans you have for me, please let me remember that You are there to sing a sweet song to calm and quiet me. Let my frustrated spirit be transformed, for I know my transformation brings you glory. Let me be an example of your grace, mercy, love and power. Let me take that step of faith, to grow and mature and to know that as my Father, your heart is bursting with pride and joy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

I can't believe it has been 5 years since you left us to go to Heaven to live with Jesus and Mama. I'll bet mama was glad to see you, but was a little ticked that you took 9 years to join her. Did you recognize her right away since she was given a new body? I'm guessing she looked like she did the many years ago when you were both young and just starting out your lives together.....and what a surprise to her when she saw the young man she fell in love with when she was just 16 years old! What a glorious reunion it must have been...............

Since it has been a while since we were able to spend a birthday with you, I just thought I would tell you what's been happening in the lives of your little girls and all those grand kids you left behind. We all miss you and were sad when you left, but we were happy you were finally home where you wanted to be.....

Life continued to happen as it always does; as you know days turn into nights and nights pass away, giving us a new day whether we are ready or not. For me, the "job"continues, but I am starting to see retirement on the horizon. Griff retired a few years ago and has become quite the farmer in the sense of taking care of our little farm. Since hard work was always a part of your earthly life, I am sure you understand and I want to thank you for teaching me that hard work never hurts, it only builds character and working for what you want and need is part of God's plan. You will be happy to know I have passed those "work ethics" along to my children, your grandchildren. Speaking of grand children....

Well, Brandon and Kellie are doing great, they are still working hard, but finding time to get away occasionally and play. Brandon took it hard when you left, he loves you very much and you were such an influence in his life. I see so much of you in him and am so glad he had you to walk behind growing up. They lost Prissy a couple of months ago and it broke their hearts, so if you see her running around on those streets of gold, you might want to scoop her up and take care of her until they get Home.

Crystal and Peanut are married and now have 2 wonderful little boys, Jaylon and Braydon, that you would be so proud of, adding more great grand babies to the family tree. Tell mama she sure would have a house full if she were here and her heart would be over flowing with the love of her precious great-grand babies. They live close and I do get to see them often. We always told mama she would never let us get away with what she let her grand kids get away with; now I know how mama felt about her grand babies and I understand.

Alex is graduating this year.....your name sake "Toll" Alexander; can you believe he will be 18 years old next week? It was kinda sad that you had to leave on his birthday, but he understands when you gotta go and Jesus is the one calling, you gotta go! He is growing into a find young man that you would be proud of, I just wish you and he could have spent more time together so he could have known his pawpaw like Trampas, Brandon and Crystal did. Oh, and speaking of Trampas, he is my prodigal son at the moment. I am sure Jesus has reminded you of that story again if he keeps you informed of what is happening here.....

Anyway, Trampas and Crystal have a beautiful little girl named Tia and of course you remember our sweet little Ty who is growing in leaps and bounds....TJ is graduating and has grown into a handsome young man. Tell God to work on Trampas' heart and remind him his family loves him.....Kids!! Oh, and remember Jeanie Dawn? I saw her a couple of months ago and she is a mommy of a sweet little boy.....I guess you could say that makes me a great grandmother since she was technically my first grand child!

As for the rest of the family, Sara and David are still on the hill. David finished your little house for you and we even gave him a pot-belly stove to put in it. We can just imagine you setting beside the warm fire in your comfy chair on those snowy days we had last winter and sitting on the porch talking to passers-by as the weather turns warmer. David is not able to work anymore but Sara is still working. Ricky married a beautiful girl named Katie and they have the most adorable little girl.....Jennifer is adding to her family soon with a new baby who will be joining Taylor, who is now a working young man and Wyatt who is growing up fast...and Amanda got married to a man named Chuck. I think you and Chuck would have been great buddies! Amanda has a precious little boy named Nathan and you would be so proud of him.

Gail and Nicky and their family moved into your old house after a year or so, Kelsey and Justin are growing up fast, already teenagers! Brian moved back home with little Austin after he and Jamie went separate ways. Justin stays with them sometimes and Cassie lives with her mother, all are growing up so fast.Tabitha is married to Andrew and little Andrew, who is not so little anymore, lives with them, but I don't hear from her much. Gail is active in finding a cure for Cancer and raises money every year though relay for life. I know you would be proud that she is working to find a cure for the disease that took you and mama from us in the prime of your lives.

Your baby girl, Trisha, is married to Jerry and they live in Spring Hill. She still works for the Sheriff's department and is a grandmother! Sam is all grown up and ready to find his place in the world. Jay and Laura have 2 precious little girls Haylei and Emma, that are the joy of their lives. Zachery married Megan and they have a precious little boy Danny and a precious little girl, Jordan and they just bought their first home. And you won't believe where Matt is....in Australia!!! He met a sweet girl from there and decided he wanted to be there with her and left in March. He got a job, asked her to marry him and she said yes.....our little Matt on the other side of the world building a life....hard to believe..

As you see, life just keeps racing by.......but your memories and the love you and mama raised us with remains in our hearts. Happy 85th earthly birthday to a wonderful daddy who will be forever young as he waits with our sweet mama at Heavens gate to welcome their family home someday.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Mother's Day




The Girl
I Used To Be

by Rowena K. Lewis






She came tonight as I sat alone, the girl I used to be.
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye, and questioned reproachfully:
Have you forgotten the many plans and hopes that I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame, all the wonderful things to do?
Where is the mansion of stately height, with all of its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you, and the jewels in your hair?
And as she spoke, I was very sad, for I wanted her pleased with me.
This slender girl from the shadowy past, the girl that I used to be.
So gently rising, I took her hand, and guided her up the stair
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay, innocent, sweet, and fair.
And I told her that these are my only gems, and precious they are to me;
That silken robe is my motherhood, of costly simplicity.
And my mansion of stately height is love, and the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls, for the dear ones who come and go.
And as I spoke to my shadowy guest, she smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw that the woman that I am now, pleased the girl that I used to be.
Copyright 1997 Rowena K. Lewis. Used with permission.


As a young girl, I was a dreamer. My dreams were big, always taking me to far away places where life would be adventurous, exciting and romantic. Books were my best friend so much so that "bookworm" would be a good descriptive word for me during my adolescence and teen years. I was addicted to romantic movies set in far away places, I even kept a journal of the movies I watched and the ones I could watch again and again.
I was totally mesmerized by Wurthering Heights........I can't remember which came first, reading the book or watching the movie, I just know Heathcliff and Cathy running through the Heather on the Moors of Wuthering Heights and sharing a love so deep that death could not keep them apart still lives in my heart the same today as it did so long ago.

My silken robe of Motherhood came to me in the form of a rambunctious 4 year old as I entered married life and 2 1/2 years later my bouncing baby boy joined his almost 7 year old brother.


Life with the boys....birthdays, bicycles, go-carts, little toy trucks, 1st days of school, Christmas's, scraped knees, scolding and discipline, sick days for Dr's appointments; Life with the boys revolved around mom's job that came about just after my baby boy turned 1 yr old...........
I took a little job that fit around my son's school schedule, I worked when he was in school and I was home when he was home.....my baby boy was safe in the care of my sweet mother or my loving sister while I was away at the workplace........What started as a job to bring home a little extra money gradually got bigger and the need for the extra money became more and more necessary. As my boys grew and the responsibilities of supporting our family grew heavier on my side of the scale, my days off, Christmas Break and Summer Vacation, became a time for a temporary job. Working part time in Tea Room type eateries offered a break from the regular routine of serving the nutritional needs of school children.

Now I am not complaining, I found that I loved to work and I worked at something I loved. I found that each day was an adventure, making new friends,  interacting with co-workers, sharing their lives, sharing ideas and most of all, learning about people and realizing I could be a positive influence in their lives with the service my job provided.
 
Many years have passed, life brought with it a beautiful baby girl who has worked along side her mother on many occasions and has learned the value of good work ethics. She is a fountain of enthusiasm in everything she pursues and loves with her whole heart. She has grown into a wonderful mother of 2 precious little boys.

Life has a way of taking you to new horizons as you come out of  difficult and trying times........
God blessed my life with another son who has recently gotten his first job, will be graduating high school and starting college in the fall.

I have also been blessed with wonderful step-children and beautiful grandchildren.........they are truly jewels in my hair and my heart swells with hope for their futures filled with dreams that will take them to faraway places..........
My boys have grown into wonderful men who seem to find work when work is hard to find.Their work ethics to provide for their own "precious gems" go beyond whatever dreams they may have had as young boys.

Have you forgotten the many plans and hopes that I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame, all the wonderful things to do?

Did my choice to take a little job that turned into a 35 year career take me off course from the dreams of the girl I used to be? Were my hopes left behind as I rushed ahead with life and the needs of my children? Was I selfish in spending my days serving other children instead of waiting for the school bus to bring my children home in the afternoon? ......My life is exactly what God intended for me. My "great career" has taken me to faraway places, has been the source of exciting adventures, has allowed me to see into the lives of people I would never have met otherwise and has introduced many great friends into my life  It has allowed me to stretch my imagination, use my talents and show my children hard work does not go unrewarded. What it has also given me is a chance to influence the lives of others including my own children.......

And my mansion of stately height is love, and the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls, for the dear ones who come and go.


"She watches over the affairs of the household and does not eat the bread of idleness. her children call her blessed and her husband also and he praises her. Many women do noble things but you surpass them all". Proverbs 31: 27-29
Happy Mother's Day to my children, as I put on my silken robe of motherhood and reflect on the gems in my life.



Saturday, April 30, 2011

Believing and Finding Contentment

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 
Hebrews 11: 1 (NIV)   
Faith requires a leap, a jump...everything is not neatly figured out. If I had all the answers, faith would not be required. As I struggle to find the answers, I search my heart and the scriptures, hoping for confirmation, but when I think it is within my reach, it slips just beyond my grasp.
Change is always difficult, uncertainty, fear of the unknown...fear of what is out there once we let go and free fall into whatever comes next. All those years of helping others find their courage though times of change and here I am looking for change and can't seem to find that courage for myself. Recently I typed an email to a friend trying to express my feeling and thoughts of recent weather events.......

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!! All this water…..feels like we’ve been here before….like last year at this time. Such extreme weather, we even had an earthquake drill last Thursday…..they had a recording of an earthquake played through the phone system and when we heard it, we had to drop where we were and get under our desks and hold on until it ended….scary stuff. More and more I find reasons to want to escape the workplace madness and be home to take care of and keep my family safe.

The day the tornado came though our little community, I was at work under a tornado warning there. I was watching the storm on television that was projected on a large screen. I could see the storm as it came over my house and could not reach my family on the phone. At the time I was watching it, my family was trying to find safety in my small office/hallway as trees were being tossed down and pulled up by the roots. Thank God they were safe and our house was not damaged, but we lost 8 trees, a tractor shed and several fences. Some of our neighbors we not as lucky with damaged roofs and sidings. The Fire House and Community Center across the street suffered the most damage with part of the buildings blown out. Of course, this was nothing compared to our southern friends last weekend……

In one of my favorite books, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World", I read that there are times in our life when God writes the end to a chapter in our lives and asks us to say good-by to something or someone who has been important to us. It can be a friend, a spouse, a parent and even a job. Endings in a sense are inevitable and sometimes we are reluctant to let go.....it is hard to let go of things we feel we have control over. The question is asked, " Do you ever find yourself clinging to the pencil, refusing to let God write on the pages of your life? We know that the Lord is infinitely kind and patient in his dealings with us. He will show us how to relinquish our rights for his best". The writer suggests if we struggle in relinquishing control, we should ask God to make us willing, to recognize we have an adversary and to let go one piece at a time.
 
I pray that God will make me willing to surrender control of the things that are holding me back from turning the pages to the new chapter He is writing for my life. "Sometimes we cling to control because we fear changes that we are not ready to handle, but God, in his kindness, takes us at a pace we can handle. If we simply obey what he asks of us at the moment, He will lead us to the next step when we are ready".
Is my faith enough? God has written my life story, "His periods may not be my periods, His commas may not be my commas, His ways may not be my ways, but He knows the plans he has for me", my purpose at each stage in my life.....can I let go and have the faith, the trust, to let Him take me in the right direction?
Lord help me to be willing to understand in my heart that "God's plan is released when I believe and obey".
"Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hurry Up, Wait and Fast Forward

Happy New Year and Have a Blessed Easter!!!!Where has the time gone? The last 3 1/2 months have come and gone without stopping to take a breath...or maybe it is just me who has not stopped to breath....

As I write this post I am sitting in my little backyard garden where the buttercups and tulips have already bloomed and faded and the gladiolas have yet to bud......we are halfway through April 2011 and for the first time since Christmas, I can sit and fully enjoy my surroundings of nature. How many days have passed that I didn't see the backyard and only saw the stepping stones from my front door to the car or the from the car to my front door?



As I think about the all the happenings since
the start of the new year, 2011 brought with it
more than usual snowfall in both January and February, closing schools and causing days of hibernation or staying overnight close to work. The stress and tension of getting back and forth on my 82 mile a day commute blurred the days that turned into weeks just waiting for the next winter storm...



As the threat of snow passed, early spring brought with it new life.....new life in the awaking of spring flowers, the singing of birds....and the first cry of our new grandson Braydon. What a joy to see God's blessings in the birth of a newborn baby and see the happiness it brings to the mother holding it....it's a double blessing when the mother holding the newborn was once the newborn baby I held....How easy it is to forget the blessings when the gray, menacing clouds of life's storms loom before us, consuming us with stress, tension and depths of despair, but when we stop and look for the blessings of our heavenly father, we don't have to look any farther than feeling the heartbeat of a newborn baby and hear the first cries of life to know, He is still with us, showering us with blessings.

This time of year also brings with it the longing to run barefoot in the new spring grass, to pick daffodil fuzz balls to make wishes on, to dig in the cool dirt and create life in new flowers, coloring our world with freshness......not to mention sitting idle for hours and listening to the song of the morning birds, watching the first rays of the sunrise, spending that quiet time with our maker who makes all these wonderful things for our enjoyment.......but life gets in the way and this time is only available for brief periods in between the busyness that consumes our hours.

Often, the desire for the simple joys of life over whelms me.....duty calls, the clock ticks faster and faster, hours turn into days and days run together......the simple joys of that quiet morning, the chorus of those morning birds, that beautiful sunrise, the blooms of those early spring flowers, the brilliant blue spring skies are gone.....each day is lived only once, what we miss, we will never get back.......we just look ahead to try to capture the next one.

During a recent devotional reading, the subject was "Burnout or Balance" by Chris Adams. It went like this; "Take a deep breath. Have you had a busy day? Are you caught up in the pressure to constantly go at full speed"? I looked around me and wondered when Chris Adams had somehow managed to secretly follow me around or look over my shoulder and know the fast track that takes me in and out of most of my days.....here she was asking me " do you cram more into any given time frame than one can possibly accomplish"? Well, I could be guilty of that sometimes, but how else can it all get done? Then she rattled off some of the symptoms experienced with stress and burn-out and I could identify with some of them......exhaustion? yes....loss of motivation? yes....anxiety? yes....discouragement, negative thinking, anger? sometimes......

Chris reminded me of what David said when he felt overwhelmed with life, "But I trust in You, Lord; I say, 'Your are my God' My times are in your hands, deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me". Psalm 31:14. She assured me that the Lord never over-assigns us. We have enough time to do everything the Lord wants us to do. The key is to glorify Him as we prayerfully seek His purpose for our lives and pursue His plan for spending the time and the gifts He has given us.........

Mark 6:31 says "He said unto them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest"......My prayer is that I can follow Jesus' example and find that time to rest, that my days will become simple and slower paced so I will be able to bask in His delight......I will trust in Him to guide me, to be my GPS, for He knows the plans he has for me, the destination of my purpose......thank you Lord for this time to rest and renew my spirit.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me". Psalms 51;10

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sometimes I Just Sits and Thinks and Sometimes I Just Sits

 

We haven't had a Slow Sigh Saturday in a while..... commitments to be met, appointments to be kept and just pure exhaustion from a too full week have taken it's toll on getting away....not to mention the weather and all the snow of the past winter!!!

This Saturday was no different. There was an appointment and grocery shopping to do....and yard work, laundry..... then all the energy was drained from us both. A nap really would have consumed us if we had given in, but instead we decided to just sit beside the pond for a bit. Of course, we couldn't just stroll
to the pond and leisurely sit in a "movie prop" setting, which is what I dreamed of doing.....first we had to pull a bench and a couple of chairs out of winter storage and load them on the wagon that is pulled by the lawnmower and haul them to the pond. We also had to entice the horse to the barn stall with feed and close the barn gate in order to keep her from joining us and breathing down our necks, destroying any tranquility we were trying to enjoy.

Finally, we were able to sit and drink in the sunshine and feel the calmness of the water soothe away the stress and tension of the week before and relax....just the way we planned 7 Spring-times ago when we fell in love with this little piece of heaven on earth....our little Greenacres....in the sleepy little community of Hooterville....aka.....Tennessee City.

As I sat, my thoughts traveled back to a carefree time when I had not learned the meaning of the word stress. This was not a word I heard often, if at all, growing up. If Mama and Daddy were ever stressed, we didn't know it and they didn't either. Life in the country was slow, the days were long and there was plenty of time to relax and dream.

Suddenly, the memory of a poem or a quote I had read somewhere came back to me, "Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." by Satchel Paige. I had this framed and on my wall as a teenager and I remember sketching a stool next to the words.......

As we sat for that brief few minutes, time stood still. We watched ducks bathing in the clear, calm water of a brimming pond, a gentle warm breeze stirring ever so lightly the new blades of spring grass......the quietness surrounding us made any other sounds seem far, far away.....

How I look forward to the moments when we can just sit and let the things that rob us of our sleep and put signs of aging on our face fade into the background? Oh, how much I look forward to the time when I can "just sits" and if I chose...."just sits and thinks" about things that will bring me joy, that will put a smile on my face......and not waste my thoughts on things that exhaust me, drain me of my energy or God forbid, raise my blood pressure!!!!



        Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.
Satchel Paige US baseball player (1906 - 1982)