Wednesday, February 22, 2017

True beauty

I am standing beside many others; many others. Most of them wives...well, all but the man in the large blue shirt. Not that the shirt was large, but the man was large and therefore his shirt was large enough to cover him and it did that well. We were in an elevator going down to the lower terrace to eat breakfast. Well, not really true either. I was going back down to take pictures of the torrential rain on the beach. There were many clothing options in the elevator and I would bet that all of us thought when we got dressed that we were somewhat, maybe, perhaps close to being as beautiful as we possibly could be. Showered, hair done, clothes chosen, earrings in, make up on and we were headed out to make our impact on the world in Marco Island, Florida.
Why didn't we just crawl out of bed and walk downstairs in our varied assortment of sleep wear?  Because we are proud and vain; we want to be beautiful. Sometimes we forget that beauty doesn't come out of the suitcase for beauty  begins in the heart.
Being beautiful isn't negative, God created a world that we call beautiful. We are beautiful and being everything God created us to be is true beauty. True beauty is more from more important than the arrangement of clothes in the elevator, it is in the eyes of the women. Laughter, smiles, non verbal words affirming that the morning was more beautiful than the sound of the rain on the roof. (It's really dry here and they desperately needed rain). Beauty is the beach; normally this time of day the beach would be crawling with shell collectors, walkers runners and children who couldn't wait to hit the ocean to play.  Right now the beauty of nature would have to wait.
True beauty doesn't need circumstances to bring a smile. True beauty sees the tiniest break in the clouds and makes others smile. True beauty laughs when the blue shirt in front of you makes it so you cannot see anything but blue. True beauty holds the door rather than walking out first. True beauty... is action not clothing or physicial features. True beauty is the laughter from within. True beauty makes others feel beautiful; even on a rainy day in Florida....

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Laundromat and Inblessments

Laundromat and Inblessments
It's been many  years since I sat in a laundromat. Of all the things on my bucket list, going back to the laundromat wasn't there. However, since we are head long into Inblessments, the laundromat is necessary.  I am up north: my peaceful spot. Over 10 years ago I convinced Mr James Harry(husband) that we needed a cabin.  Of course my needometer was not simply for myself. My father many years ago had started the camp with that same idea: to bless others. I told Jim it was an investment. He seems to think that investments give you return on your money. So I have had to create a word: Inblessments.  The cabin has become a place we can offer to pastors, missionaries, people who need to get away or people that just need to be blessed.  They walk in and they walk out. The maid, me, then goes up north for a wonderful day of getting the Inblessments ready for someone else. We did have an old washing machine/dryer combo but the dryer never worked. So in winter, hanging the towels and sheets out to dry became a bit of a challenge.  So today, I am eating my salad at the local laundromat and feeling quite "local".  I am watching a gentlemen show his son how to do laundry... I usually just listen for my washing machine to sing it's cycle ending song. I have to go check here. And looking across the room, I watch 8 dryers go around and around and around. Laundromat are no respecter of persons. A grandpa looking man is folding clothes, a younger lady is loading a large machine, a seemingly college age student is sorting and the young man who learned which knobs to push a minute ago is sitting with dad, looking a mite bored..
This reminds me of life and the people we meet as we go about investing is what we call life. We can invest in them and expect something to come back from our investment, or we can inbless them and simply let God have the glory... now if only God would handle the towels and the bedding I would be blessed🤗... actually, reading the journal people write is is very humbling as to see how God works in a simply county cabin on a lake, when people slow down their lives long enough to listen to him talk to them and enjoy their families....that's another lesson I learned from my father....

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday morning and contentment

Oh the feeling of Monday a.m. The snow is lightly falling, all 9 horses are up and eating. No major dilemma's over the weekend except for sore arms, shoulders and knees from too much youthful activity without youthful body parts. The dogs are lying at my feet content. The cat is happy I filled the food pan and I am waiting. I am not sure what I am waiting for, but we sometimes think the other shoe will fall. Or perhaps, life is too good right now, what is waiting around the corner? 
 My Bible study is written, the power point is ready except for the silly parts. I do have a list of things to do for the day but all in all, I am on the couch with my Bible to my left and my prayer book to the right and feeling like something is missing. We have all felt that way; if we are honest. Life is good, but. No, life is great yet maybe. I think often we think we need one more cookie to make us feel that dinner was complete. We need one more helping of casserole to satisfy us. We need one more gift under the tree, one more card for the birthday celebration and we feel that something is missing if we don't have that one more little something.
 ! Timothy 6:6 reminds me, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." It's hard to be content. There is always something we think is waiting for us to make us happier, more lovable, make our life easier or give us that "feeling" we are looking for. It's a Monday. I don't need a feeling. I don't need to be "more love". I don't need more chocolate ( I can't believe I said that), as many gave me chocolate for my birthday, I don't need someone to call me and ask how things are, I am content with what's on my left and in my heart; God's Word- that godliness portion of the verse. If today goes totally up in smoke, I have had my moment with God and all is well. If I have an awesome day with extra perks, all is well. If I get the list done that's waiting for me on my desk, all is well. If I don't get anything else done the rest of the day, well we will have to dig for more clothes to wear, but all is well. Having had my time with God is first but the next thing I am reminded to have is Contentment. I can try to be a reflection of God's holiness but it I don't reflect contentment, it's not what God had in mind. I had to take a paper to the Clinic the other day. After standing in line for 20 minutes, it was my turn. The lady apologized for the wait and I simply said, I am thankful I don't need to be here. I can wait. I was content with dropping off a paper rather than dropping off my X-rays for a cancer consult. I am very content.
Where in today will you see God, where will you reflect godliness and when will true contentment be a part of your heart? It's not as easy as the verse makes it sound!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Snow....whiter than snow

I woke up in the middle of the night, my normal middle of the night walk about to the room by the stairs, and I saw the snow. It had been lightly snowing when I went to bed, but this showed the beauty of a night of snow covering the land. This morning, the bushes had probably 4 inches, the birds are sitting waiting for me to clear off the feeders, and fill them, and the world is a beauty of snow tapestry...and I begin singing, "whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow. Now wash me and I will be whiter than snow."
 It's an old hymn,,,many probably have no clue but it's a beautiful song about forgiveness, baptism, sin and covering the sin. It's hard to cover something. I have tried to fix a few bloopers in my life and made it worse. It's hard to cover something and make it look perfect, as if it had never been. But snow, well snow covers and beautifies at the same time. Yes, we know there is mud and grass below, but snow covers. We can see the bumps and rising and falling of the landscape, up the snow covers and makes it look beautiful in its uniqueness. My life and my past have all the signs of fallen logs, misshapen bushes, fallen limbs from trees and forgotten ceramic decor. Somehow with the dirt and ugliness, I focus on them and see the starkness of their failure, not the possibility  of their redemption... and then it snows, and suddenly I see beauty, creativity, unique forms and fun pictures. What changed?  Snow. God simply covered it with snow. I see something totally refreshing. God does that with my heart, my past, my fears, my failure, my feeble attempts and my successes. 
It's kind of like chocolate covered pretzels. I am not a pretzel fan, but cover them with chocolate and give me the whole bowl. So let the snow remind us of the beauty God sees in us. How he cleanses us and though he doesn't remove some of the thorns forms our life, he creates a beautiful picture of forgiveness for us and we see how beautiful God can make our life appear when he dovers us with his forgiveness.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Care full

So this morning I was reading Mattthew 5 out of the Message Bible. This verse grabbed me.... "you're blessed when you care. At the moment of being "care full" you will find yourself cared for."
I can have a pretty good pity party. I am good at it, I have worked my whole life at it and I do it well. Of course, no one else would know because I am doing the same things they are doing: smiling and saying I am fine.  It bothers me when my needs aren't cared for. It irks me when I have gaps in my heart and no one really seems to give a thought. I don't love people to be loved back, but yes, I sure do love people to be loved back. I AM HUMAN. That's what we do. So of course I care for people in hopes that some day I am cared for. However, the sermon on the mount just blew holes in my boat and I am sinking. Jesus just said, if I am caring for others, then I will be care full..that is what gives me the inside "wow" I am loved factor not when I am waited on hands and feet. When I am caring for others, that's the feeling God wants me to have...empty hands because I just served not empty hands because I am needing someone to fill them. He wants me sitting back on my heels because I am catching my breath not because I am waiting for someone to pull me up.  Jesus wants me searching for the wounded on the street, not waiting for my Good Samaritan.  Hmmmmm... my day will be spent being "care full",  not waiting to be cared for.  I wonder how I will see Jesus Today with this new perspective?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Passing shadows

I am reading through Psalm 144.
"Lord what is man, that you take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow."
I was cleaning out my drawer and came across several funeral flyers. I keep them, odd as it may be, to remind me of this very idea in Psalms.  This time last year, all these people were going about their lives...living. Now their lives are represented by a funeral flier. Of course their lives are so much more than that, but for them, life down here is over.  From Lucas, our five year old neighbor, to our John, our 50 ish year old friend, to the Mary, a dear friend we bought the farm from, to dear Thelma at 97 and more recently musical and caring Lee. Their days, their shadows are gone leaving the memories and loved ones.
But how about the shadow? What makes a shadow? Shadows are made by an n image and a source of light. We used to play shadow tag. It's fun to make shadow pictures on the wall. It's great to take shadow photos... the better the image, the stronger the light, the better we place our vantage position, the cooler and more impressive the shadow.
I don't really do New Years resolutions although with this cold snap, I have taken down everything off the walls and am changing things around in the house. I guess my resolution would be to paint and mend the holes in the wall and then come up with a new  decorating theme..but for my life, I need to be a stronger image, I need to seek the more brilliant light so if next year I am in someone's desk as the info on a funeral flier, my shadow has some substance. God is my light and my salvation and and he is also a great way to make a make a shadow. My shadow is passing. There is no changing that little fact. We all are. If we endeavor to have a strong, clear witness as our image and the God of all light to make our shadow, perhaps when we leave, the shadow will be the witness we want to leave.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

When there is nothing left but time...

when I was a busy mother of younger children, I thought about time;specifically time on my hands to do nothing. Time to choose my activity. Time to be quiet, ice to be busy, time to fold the laundry nicely and neatly, time for a cup of coffee ( I don't drink it but it sounds like such a nice thing) and time to read a book.  Now, they are gone. It's only the dogs and laundry looking me the eye and they don't demand my time, just my love...and to let them I. Out of the cold weather so I can walk over them all day.
Today, I have time on my hands. I still can choose how to use my time. I love winter because in our life that's a time to refresh. We are not busy. It's too cold and crappy to work horses. We do chore, check them over and come back in where it's warm.
Today I can read a book, should clean the house and do laundry, need to paint a window decor, make a couple frames for my canvas, I am playing at the school twice today, but all of that is optional. I have things I can do today,,,but what will I choose.
On the other hand I have a friend who has nothing left but time on her hands. A brain tumor has left her with time, but nothing to do. She lies in bed thinking but cannot express her thoughts.
She is ready for heaven, but left here on earth. I cannot imagine, and yet I think I know what I would do with time on my hands but will I?
We choose how to fill our minutes and hours.  We choose to be busy or relax. We choose to have a sabbath or to live in a frenzy. We choose to take a nap to refresh. We choose to add one more thing because we can't say no. But when time is all we have left, what will our minds wish we had filled our time with?
I am choosing peace. I a, choosing to serve. I am choosing to love. I am choosing to care. I am choosing to play the song one more time and explain positions to a 9th grade band boy who didn't realize the piano player also played trumpet through college. I am choosing to overlook the words
said that hurt my heart and give them mercy instead. I am choosing to fill my time with things that when there is nothing left but time, I will have no regrets.
This is one of the dogs that are in my way helping me do laundry many years ago...am thankful she isn't lying on the laundry now....