Behold, the time is short. Be not entangled in the things of the world, for they are temporary.
Your heavenly Father knows your needs and he will supply them.
Miss anything else, but don't miss my voice.
Other voices may introduce disharmony, but my voice will always bring peace to your heart and clarity to your thinking.
Come Away My Beloved - Frances J. Roberts

Sep 24, 2014

Who Are You When You Write It Down?





www.dumpaday.com


Who are you when you have to write it down... on paper?
This is hard for me, yet clarifying.
 It's a commitment, as if I have signed a document swearing to uphold, protect, be... real.
It makes me dig deep, look inwardly for a few minutes to be sure my walk is lined up with my talk. 
I'm a slow learner but I'm getting there. My daughter is twenty four and she has known who she is for years. 
She helped process my gifts and talents and we understand how we differ and compliment one another. 
What joy that is. 
I recently needed to provide a bio. 
I've written them before, boring lists of information no one wants to read. How do you talk about yourself without appearing puffed up? Trust me, there is no puffing up going on over here.
This time I decided to just go with my heart. 


Bio
dale carroll-coleman

Married to the Bobster, mama to Sunny (Alexandria) and the Nino (Daniel).
Born and raised in N.Y., she and the hubs moved to the land of corn, Champaign, IL. to raise their family, and cheer for all things Illini! The family gravitated to Nashville, TN. for school and work and this is where community is being built. 

Dale is an ENFJ on the personality charts which means she rarely gets tired, loves to meet people, go places and do fun things…. while her family wishes she would just take a nap, so they could. 
Dale loves building genuine community, meeting people different from herself and learning from them. One of her greatest joys is watching people find their God given talents and use them for His kingdom. When we say, “Here I am God, have your way.” That is joy. 

Dale was The Director Of Volunteers at Living Alternatives, A Pregnancy Resource Center in Champaign, Illinois, where she learned what grace truly looked like. She credits her bosses and coworkers for showing her every day what it means  to lay your life down for one another. Dale was an active board member for FCA and Pinnacle Forum (Transforming Leaders to Transform Culture) and led the first Women’s Pinnacle Forum group. Pure Joy! She has mentored high school women through small groups and camps. 
She and her family are finding authentic community at Cross Point Church in Nashville and look forward to God’s continued opportunities that sometimes come through storms and other times sunshine. 

She clings to words that remind her of her purpose and goals. 

“I am to be about my Fathers business.”

“I will never regret the times I was generous, only greedy.”

and finally, “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.”

Dale writes at www.majorinthegraceofgod.blogspot.com

She also talks (a lot) and sometimes speaks, on topics related to life, loss, courage and when life takes that left turn. 



What would your Bio say if you put pen to paper right now?
Write it. Read it. 
Is it who you think you are or who you want to be?
If not, write a new one and start living it today. 

Sep 13, 2014

Mawwage Is What Bwings Us Togeda Today... The Princess Bride


The hubs and I just celebrated twenty two years of glory, fun, tears and mostly joy.
I celebrate him, us and our family.
We are blessed beyond measure... truly.
I am grateful forever for what God can do in two sinful, selfish people.
Glory to God.


Aug 20, 2014

Find It...


                   Today... I hope you find your sweet spot, because that is what you were made for.




1 Corinthians 7:7
I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.



                                                                         1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.


Aug 15, 2014

4 QUESTIONS..... What Will You Do?


One  of my favorite posts... short and sweet with tough decisions.

You have 4 blank cards in front of you. You are holding a pen. Write down what matters most to you, what is important to you... in this world.

Write down a choice on each card.
You have 4 cards.... no more, no less.

You are the only person who will know what each card says.

Be honest.
Don't cheat.... don't read ahead.

Ready?

There is a crisis in your life. You have to give one card away.....give it up. Which card will it be? 
Fold it up, tear it up... it is gone.

You have three cards left. 

You have to make a choice.... again. You must give up something very important to you. 
Choose one of the cards.
Throw it away, tear it up, your choice....it is gone forever.

Struggling?

Do not QUIT..... this is not a game. This is real.


You have two cards left.....
You have been robbed of something precious to you......

Which card will you choose?

Throw it away.
What do you have left in your hand?


I hope it is something that will last.... forever.


Did you hang on to your health, your family, child, husband..... your flat screen, your job?
None of those will last...... not even your family. 

God has His people, your people, in the palm of His hand. They are NOT your job.

Did you hang on to your faith? 
Not your religion... but your trust in Jesus?

That is the only thing that will last..... for eternity.

There is good news..... you can write new cards and choose differently, as long as you have breath to call on His name.



Think about your choices.

Aug 14, 2014

Back To School Happy Dance... Now What?


It's that time of year again. 
The day parents dream of come July 5th, and children wake screaming from nightmares... of arriving to school naked or worse, dressed like Beiber.

Transition- the process of changing from one state or condition to another.
Transition takes time. 
A season, a butterfly, a flower... takes time to be what it was created to be.

We tend to rush the process.
We don't like the stretching, the twisting, the shedding of comfort to new opportunity.
A potters wheel starts with a blob of clay and then....
well, mine would still be a blob but you understand.
The end result, a bowl to be filled... with nutrition, purpose, things of value.

I celebrated each school year with our kids.
 They will tell you my favorite days of the year. The day I picked them up for Christmas break and the last day of school. 
My heart sang. The idea that I had them back, all to myself, in our home, laughing, cooking, baking, singing. 
Joy to my soul.
We transitioned back to us, home.

Tomorrow my son starts his last year of college.
When he began his freshman year the hubs and I dropped him off, far from home and drove to a new home, in a new state, far away.
It was new everything which equaled a gapping hole in my heart.
Transition in real time, a new physical state with no ocean involved. 
Sigh...
That's another story for another time.

I've shared some of my transition in other posts, so I won't go into detail.
It was hard for me...
but not because of my kids.
I knew they were in the right place. It was me that seemed off kilter.
  I left everything that made me feel important, needed, worthy.
People do that for me.
Sometimes my flesh and blood, but also others. 
Many others. 
It was a time I had to get very quiet, listen, dig deep, soul searching to where the tears came easy and Truth showed itself. 
I learned where I needed to be humble, transparent, if I was going to be used for His kingdom again.
God provided a few women to love me and encourage me. He gave me small platforms to share Him.
It was enough. It had to be.
I waited, still hungry but giving it all up to Him... sometimes moment by moment.

This year is different.
For the first time in three years we live in the same community as our now adult children.
Yes, cheers all around.
But... to be clear.

I am not here for my kids.
I am here because of my kids.

Sound harsh? It's not meant to be. 
It's purposeful.

Of course, I am here when they need me and we enjoy each others company.
Yet, my purpose must be with God and where He is calling me.
My days of mothering babies are over and that is okay. 

God continues to provide people to love, encourage, do life with.
We need not share the same blood for me to love you.

I truly believe this is the kind of love God calls us to.
Agape
Agape ~ wide open with surprise and wonder.

This is where God lives and this is where joy comes from. 
When you find that love for others it's about as wonderful as this side of heaven can get.
Recently, I told God that while I was thrilled with the one on one time He and I were sharing, I needed a bit more. 
"Sorry God, I hope You understand, it's been three years and I'm about parched. Something has to give, You or me."
 I needed community that could grow deep roots.
That was on a Monday. On Tuesday it began and it hasn't stopped. 
He and I talked about this for the past three years. 
I'm just thankful He started listening.
Good Lord :)

My babies are grown, with a calling of their own. 
If you have met them you will understand, at least with the daughter. She is older than her years and wiser.
The son, well... he still needs a chaperone most of the time... 
and it's not me.

We have provided them wings to fly and if we get to watch... yay! 
All the more joy for the parents,
 yet... 
we must step back, regardless of the distance measured between our feet.

The transitions will continue.
We wonder as moms if we will survive when they go to kindergarden, then camp, then college. I remember them all.
Part of your heart goes along for the ride, never returning.

But alas, they grow up. 
That was the goal from the beginning, right?
If not, I'm really sorry for you today. 
This is going to be extra hard.
If this is where you find yourself today... 
you are not alone.
Repeat that.
It happens, but you can survive the transition.
You have huge purpose, besides raising your sweet, beautiful children.

I always wanted to be mama. It's the next best thing, to being a daughter of The king
 and wife to a prince. 
(see what I did there:))
I desired a husband and family.
 It happened. 
Yay... but it wasn't how I planned it. "God, are you kidding me? What are you thinking?"
Ha!
I learned through the hard moments the words of Dallas Willard.
These words ring true to the depths of my soul.

Dallas said, 
"You must arrange your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God."

No matter what.

Read that three times, repeat.
Contentment, joy, confidence.
They come from above, not within. 
They come from God, not you.
They come from what He did, not what you do.

Dallas said these words to John Ortberg, during a time of deep struggle for John.
He evidently listened, for as I read his book, Soul Keeping... I am inspired to dig deeper in the ways of God.

Dallas said, in everyday life... that's the day in/day out hard stuff, the joyful stuff, the stuff that tries to suck the life out of you.
The loss of jobs, sick kids, broken relationships, harsh words.
Find contentment, joy, confidence. 
What?
Yes.
Because we do not base our joy, contentment and confidence on
get this...
 our kids.
or our job,
even our mate.

We base it on God... our everyday life with God.

That's all that matters.
Truth.

My kids heard my mantra growing up. 
"I don't care what job you hold, where you go to school (okay, I kinda, sorta cared about this), what letters might go before or after your name. 
I care about your relationship with Christ and His sons and daughters."
I think they heard me.
Actually, I think they heard their Father God. 

The transitions will continue. 
Some hard, others happy.
But I dance the happy dance today because I get to love people everyday and 
because I find my joy, my contentment, my confidence in Him, my God.

Happy back to school time sweet friends. I hope you find your joy, confidence and contentment in the One who dishes it out lavishly. 
He has plans for you.
Go love people. 



Jul 28, 2014

Restless Gems... don't waste the minutes.


Restless...
Jennie Allen's book.
It makes me squirm, raise my hands, shout... "preach it sister"... a lot.

She quotes C. S. Lewis, "If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
Hand raise.

I'm not that deep into the book yet... but it's already a go to, go back, read again, kind of book for me. 
Jennie is writing this book at the foot of the bed of a dear friend in ICU. 
A young mama, who may not survive... this life.

Jennie hollers to God and He reminds her He is there. 
She imagines Him saying, "I have forgotten nothing. And I am not passive about my approach to this problem. I deal. I deal with this sickness and pain and death. 
I do not forget. I bleed out for this.
 So as you walk past me on that cross, Jennie, into a room that feels out of control and full of suffering, don't see a weak, distant, forgetful God. 
You see a God who tells oceans where to stop and a God who tells evil where to stop. You see a God who bleeds out for those you hurt for.
You see a God who suffered first. 
I AM with you. 
And I have a plan here."

Jennie is reminded that God is real, in control, and loves us.
She is reminded of Truth.

She talks about how her life is as fragile as her suffering friend and that while here we get to dream, seeking the calling God has placed on each of us. 

Then she says, 
"As much as I want an umbrella drink by an ocean somewhere, I just as much want to never waste a minute."

Those simple words got me, pierced me in the heart.
I want that. I want to not waste a minute.... because minutes are all we have.

Lord, help me not waste the minutes of my life, because You are worthy of those minutes, those choices, this life you have given me. 

 I am restless... for Him.



Jul 18, 2014

The Son I Wasn't Promised...

  Twenty one years ago today I lived in a cabin in the big woods. Summer would mean open windows that brought songs of birds singing sweet to my soul.
Fish to lure from the lake, that repeated the clouds passing overhead. 
Beauty to my eyes. 
A canoe and boat that would take you to the other side, where toads and frogs would hide in mud, ducking under water as you passed by. 
At night the fire flies would take wing and light up the warm air, but not enough to miss the glorious night sky of July.
This is where we brought the baby boy, the one that only held blue eyes for a day, quickly turning liquid chocolate. The boy I was not promised or even dreamed about if I am truthful.

None of us are promised a blue or pink baby, a family, a life planned by us. Some of us are given this opportunity to grow a baby and then grow them up. I do not understand why I was given this joy while others cry out and pray for years... I don't know... why are some prayers answered, as we desire and ask, while others seem to go unanswered?
I am still learning... these prayers are not ignored. 
God has not walked away. He has not left us. Remember Job? God never explained why He did what He did. He redeemed him in the end. He never left him and He never leaves us.

I am reading Christine Caine's book Undaunted. She reminds me not to fear in this life of unknowns. I am not in control and that is good. The struggle of faith and fear will stake its claim, never doubt who rules the fear... the father of lies and darkness. 
Mathew 28:19-20 reminds us, "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." 
Not sometimes... but ALWAYS. Christ's words to you and me. 
Boom!
Matthew 14:22-33 - Peter in the boat is a great visual reminder to us of how God reacts to us.
Peter stepped out walking on water to Jesus. Then a BIG wave rolls up... Okay now I'm gonna doubt you Lord. Surely you can help me in the calm but when it gets really stormy I'm gonna take my eyes off of YOU and trust in me.... what?! 
Peter was deceived by fear.
That's pretty much what happened.
And he goes down...
But not quite...
Jesus reaches down and catches Peter immediately.... not after he's near drowned, but immediately!
Don't miss that! 
Jesus says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?

I think back to my ultrasound with this boy. The technician moving the wand over my belly, holding it too long in a certain area. 
Placenta previa she stated... the hubs immediately thinking back to that six week OB rotation and the difference between placenta previa and placenta abruptia.  
This child I had not dreamed of two years before... now I hold dear to my heart. "Please Lord, protect this baby."
I had not dreamed of him because I was a single mom of a darling baby girl. 
A widow at twenty eight. 
A time that fear and doubt tried for a stronghold in my life... daily. 
God would prevail in my sorry faith... He would call to me, "Daughter of little faith, why do you doubt? I am with you always." 

So this boy I did not have the guts to dream of... he arrived and changed our family.
He melded us, softened us in rough places. A sister and brother of such sweetness... our family became a rich canvas I would feast my eyes on daily, always noticing something different, new, humbling me.
I am left in awe and gratitude to God for His mercy and grace on me. Though there will always be suffering among our joy, we must remember to look up, away from ourselves, our situation and draw on TRUTH. 
God may not explain or heal us as we ask, but His ways are better than our ways. 
He is good no matter what or where we find ourselves today.

Today my son turns twenty one. 
I have had the privilege to be his mama. To encourage, challenge and push him. To listen to his hopes and dreams... his fears and concerns. 
I am thankful that we never quit on one another. 
I am ever grateful today, as I am each morning, for another day to celebrate being a child of the Kingdom of God. To know the peace of God, even amidst life's storms.  
Especially amidst the storms.

These few short years we get to raise these babies... a fleeting moment. Even if you are home with four or five. Breathe deeply and pray. Pray for wisdom, contentment and courage.
You are brave mamas (and pops)... so we celebrate families today. 
Whatever you look like. Big or small or somewhere in the middle. The book nerd, the goof ball, the wanna be athlete, the kid who succeeds easily. 
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world... and we are all those little children. 

 Happy Birthday my sweet Daniel.




Jul 16, 2014

And All The People Said, "Amen!!"




This has been the song on my heart this week. 
The people God is bringing into my life, women who love Jesus and seek to serve others. 
The blessings to numerous to count... I have to say Amen. 
God you are good... thank you for loving me so much, no matter how many times I forget You and turn away.

Give thanks to the Lord, for His love never ends... and all the people said AMEN.

 Preach it Matt Maher

Jul 14, 2014

Good Monday Morning From Miss Colbie Caillat




                  When you start to doubt how beautiful you are... Listen to Colbie and smile.
    Dance too!

You are beautiful just the way you are. 
                                  


Jul 1, 2014

The Desire Of My Soul...



  John Ortberg quotes Kent Dunnington in John's book, Soul Keeping.

"We are limited in every way but one: we have unlimited desire." 

"We always want more: more time, more wisdom, more beauty, more funny YouTube videos ~ this is the soul crying out.
We all commit idolatry everyday. 
It is the sin of the soul meeting its needs with anything that distances it from God."
J. Ortberg

I don't have to search deeply to find my unlimited desires.
Most of them circle around my comfort and pleasure.
My soul must crave my Maker... to be healthy and engaged.
Then He will give me the desires of my heart, because they will be pleasing to Him and good for me.

 "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."
Psalm 20:4

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4


Jun 20, 2014

When You Are In A Hurry, Just BE...

                    Back Fence by David Rickert 2011

I was in a hurry. The goal was to get back home as quickly as possible.

It was going to be another day of painting, let's call it day number sixteen.. Not sixteen in a row, but sixteen days I've held a paintbrush in my hand.
Yes, I paint. I love color and then I don't love color. I love color and then...
I've been fired from painting by my husband and friends. I rehire myself, often.

One weekend when living in Champaign, I was finishing up a new color in our master bedroom. It was similar to Pepto Bismol, but not as nice.
The phone rang. It was our neighbor, our literal next door neighbor. He was upstairs in his bedroom looking down into our room and was calling to ask if I was going to make Roberto sleep in that room?
Yes, we were close. 
In fairness to him, the drapes were down, windows wide open and about 800 watts of light flooding into that sweet love nest.

The hubs, ever accommodating said it was fine. A year later it was a soft butter yellow... with possibly a tinge of pepto underneath.
None of this having anything to do with the brush in hand today or these weeks that seem to stretch into an eternal, whirling Spirograph of paint. I dream of paint at night. 
This job is a picket fence, painted a gloss black.
Yes, it's a beauty and seems to loom larger each morning. It's gone from an urban lot to the back forty.

So... I planned on leaving the house before the sun became a blazing ball of fire. Yes, I know it is a blazing ball of fire, but it doesn't always feel like one.
Unless you live in the south, which means its 93 degrees by 8:15am. The dogs are picking up their paws on the deck. Hot, hot, hot... it's like dancing puppies. I should YouTube them... I know, mean. 

I made my way to purchase paint can number six and seven. I know I should have bought the industrial size. I don't live in the past. My eyes only look forward. Each day is a new day to screw up.. that's my motto.

I bought my paint.
I was in a rush. My kids and hubs will tell you I am always in a rush when shopping.
I dislike the process of shopping. The driving to and back. The picking out, purchasing. It's wasted hours of my life...
I could be painting something.

I decided to stop at Kroger. Not Ghetto Kroger but kind of ghetto Kroger.
We have both in our neighborhood.
The first time I shopped at ghetto Kroger I stole a case of beer. No lie. Flat out stole it... but not on purpose, so it wasn't really flat out.
I just like the sound of it.
I paid for everything else, but the beer was under the cart.. forgotten. Some would say hidden.
When I got outside and realized it I started laughing, a lot.
I took it home and told the kids mom had street cred and don't mess with her. 

This trip, no thieving hopefully.
I needed a few things. Fruit, veggies, chicken. Hubs is coming in tomorrow night and we'll be grilling.

I was in the bread area. I love to look at bread. I love to smell bread. I love to touch bread. I love crusty breads, rye breads, hearty breads.
It's easy not to buy bread at Kroger because of these facts, but I still look.

As I walked over to the stand of bread I heard a voice, singing. A soft, pretty voice. I smiled. It immediately made me happy and I forgot I was in a hurry.
I followed the voice around the corner and saw a small, blonde haired girl singing as she dusted the shelving.
She stopped when she saw me, embarrassed.
I said, "Don't stop. Your voice is beautiful." She smiled big and said, "I love to sing gospel music."
She continued to dust and began singing a little louder, her smile a bit wider.

I forgot about my hurry, my painting plans and remembered my prayer each morning.
"Lord, let me encourage those you bring my way today."

Maybe I encouraged her, she certainly brightened my day.
She reminded me of the lies we believe. Whoever accomplishes the most, makes the most money, climbs the highest ladder, runs the fastest, the farthest, has the most friends, likes, whatever, wins.
Wins what?!
Nothing that truly matters.

This young woman will never graduate college or climb the ladder of success.
Her genetic make up has decided that...
however...
she has already achieved success. She loves gospel music and her smile makes others smile.
She wins.
We mostly lose.

I pride myself in the truth of what really matters, people and relationships. The daily dance of encouraging and loving others wherever I find myself. Yet, the idea that I pride myself in it, is proof of my failure.

I'm still mostly in a hurry, annoyed at other drivers (the south is so annoying). Just drive people, like you have somewhere to be.
I miss the mark most days, missing opportunity to just be.

Be available.
Be supportive.
Be quiet.
Be hospitable.
Be kind.
Be loyal.
Be generous.
Be loving.
Be joyful.
Be there.

I'll be looking for my new friend the next time I'm in Kroger. I think I could learn a lot from her in the art of being there and being joyful.
Thank you sweet blonde headed girl.
You are beautiful.





Jun 13, 2014

Your Blessing Indeed Today...

 

 Lord, this morning I ask Your blessing indeed. 
As Jabez cried out to you in 1 Chronicles, "Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territories. Let Your hand be upon me that You would keep me from harm so that I would be free from trouble and pain."

God, today may your face overshadow mine, that I would see a hint of Your glory.
A hint of Your glory shines so brightly that all I see is You.
Bless me through the twists and turns of this day. 
The joys and sorrows...
may I remember that
 You are a God of purpose. 
A God of mercy. 
My Rock and my Redeemer.
My Companion on the mountaintop as well as the ravine.
You are my mighty Warrior, yet gentle with me as a newborn lamb.
You are my Great Physician...
 the Lover of my soul.

My hope lies in You.
No one else can take Your place.
Only You can take my burdened heart, my broken places, my fears, 
my loss... and pour Your Holy Spirit into them,
into me.
Fill me with Your Spirit today Lord.
Fill me till I overflow
with You.
May the joy of You, my salvation
be evident to those you bring alongside me today.

Surely You are Good, Gracious, never ending in Love.

Thank you merciful God for Your blessing indeed today.
 


 

Jun 9, 2014

Just For Today... Believe



Just for today...
Believe in the ONE who made you.
Believe you are worthy, beautiful, and loved
because HE created you.
Believe you are here for a 
bigger purpose
than you believed yesterday...
HIS purpose.
Just for today... believe this.

Tomorrow when you wake
HE will be there
reminding you of this truth.
 
 

May 30, 2014

The Mystery Of God


 214509677_640

When we leave the mystery out
of the spiritual...
we are left with religion.
 
God is not a religion.
He is our mysterious, beautiful Creator.
 
 

May 27, 2014

Thirsty...


"As a deer thirsts for streams of water, so I thirst for You, God."
Psalm 42:1

This is my desire. 
To seek Your face each morning. To find You, waiting for me. 
To know You are there, not hiding in the shadows, but waiting patiently... for your daughter. 
To look up to You, hold out my hands and be picked up by my God, my Father... who adores me and has a plan for my life.

And so it is with you, my friend. 

If you are thirsting for water today, make sure you find the Living Water. 
He is waiting and He is more than enough to satisfy your thirst.

He is worthy to be praised. 

May 8, 2014

A Good Son.... Mother's Day Thoughts.


  Most days Molly the Weim and I take our morning walk.  
 There is a meadow where I let her run free. 
She romps and rolls in the white spring flowers chasing imaginary friends, reminding me of the puppy she once was, ten years ago this week. She digs her nose deep into the dirt and smells of her new home. 
Her eyes follow the paths of birds and squirrels she is yet to meet. I follow her down the hill as she finds her way to the stream that runs in the springtime.
Always relieved when I come around a bend to see we are alone, no other dogs. 
We skip rush hour of early morning and late afternoon.
 It's easier this way, even though our community is full of friendly dogs and owners. Molly the Weim is a strong German female, who feels the need to protect her mama no matter the need. Sigh.

Yesterday we followed the tree line and hill to our left and made our way down to the lake where the park opens up in full spectacular view. 
It's a lovely picture where on a summer Saturday people are fishing, music playing and children laughing. 
Yesterday it was quiet, except for the mower I heard on the high meadow.

There is a large covered pavilion, offering a respite of shade from the Tennessee summer sun.
I spotted a man sitting at one of the picnic tables under the pavilion. As we came closer I could see his back was to me. Molly the weim spotted him too. She was off, ignoring my calls and concerns for both their well beings. 
No doubt she was imagining the treats he would throw her way.
 It was nearing lunch though she doesn't do lunch and shouldn't be aware. 
She is a Weim with the belly of a Lab.

I continued to call her, she continued to ignore me.
When I got closer I saw the man was working on a weed whacker. His coworker was on the sunny side of the hill trimming grass to steep for a mower to cut.

He was a big man, red hair and beard, hard to tell how old as he looked like he had worked hard every day of his life. Perhaps in his sixties. 
I noticed blood had dried dark the length of his arm, running in two directions. It had been a fair amount. 
He payed no mind to it as he offered a friendly hello and complimented Molly on her beauty.
I asked if his arm was okay. He nodded yes, just a typical days work.

He easily chatted with me as he worked the screwdriver into the greasy weed whacker.  His talk was southern through and through, perhaps from Tennessee, maybe right here in East Nashville.

I've found this often in the people and businesses in my part of town.
 Many were born here, attended school here and never left. They share stories of homes on my street, owned by an aunt or cousin, sold for a pittance a few years ago.
Things may change but people here hold deep to their ways and memories of their community. 
I respect East Nashville and what it has been to the generations before me. I hope it can be held close and preserved as things will no doubt continue to change. 
Not an easy task.

I mentioned how lovely the day. He reminded me the real heat would be here soon so enjoy this day.
I said it must be hard work on hot days. He said he was hoping to retire one of these days, and hoped he could still walk. 
I looked at his arm, and wondered about his legs. 
No doubt this job was difficult for him. Outside work takes its toll on a body over the years.

Perhaps his own health reminded him of his mama.
He told me his mama had suffered a serious stroke in the last 11 years of her life. He said it was a bad one and left her in a bad way.
 He cared for her in her home.
He said he got the idea to build her a bunny pen in the yard one day.
He bought white bunnies that she could watch from the window...

I turned away for a minute. 
There was something in my eyes.

 He said he hoped it gave her some pleasure. 
His mama is gone now.

I told him he was a good son.
He said, "Thank you dearie" in the kindest of ways.
Whatever was in my eyes was back. 

When people share moments of their life with me, my mind creates pictures. I see this man building rabbit huts, holding the soft white bunny in his massive arms. Could his mama reach out, touching or just watch from a far off place?
 
 I wished him a pleasant day and he said, "You have a good day too dear."

I walked away thinking of how beautiful, painful this life is. 
This short mingling of life left me puddle eyed, sad and joyful all mushed together.
I am reminded how we are changed when we meet another God created person. 
This southern man, so far removed from anything I know left me humbled by his words and actions. 
His gentleness to me, my dog, and his mama....

You were a good son, sir.

Happy Mother's Day mamas.
Hug your babies, no matter how big or small.


 

May 6, 2014

Still Thinking About My Disney Inspired Life...

I'm Still thinking about this post....
The meaning of our lives.
Where do you find it?



A blog went viral recently... a man writing of not (really) loving his wife the day he married her.
 He goes by PopChassid, calls himself a Jew, trying to make the world a better place. 
Yes, we need more of you.

My favorite line was penned at the end.
He came to realize that love is not an emotion or a noun, but a verb.
He shared what he fears most of us do, in this short life we have been given.
He said we are,
  "Living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives."

Straight up one of the best lines I have ever read.

 I thought of Donald Miller's talk recently at a University. 
 He talked of the life we choose to live.
If we are to have a life worthy of something more than our sheer entertainment and fun, there will be suffering, conflict, stress.

Through suffering our character changes. 

The tough stuff in life changes us, builds us, grows our roots deeper.
We are not born with mature character. 
Look at a child, their desire for their own way. A temper tantrum, a cry fest, self absorbed little ones, not giving a care to a mamas need for rest.
As the child grows, a parent's role is to guide them, directing them in ways that build character.

The same with our Heavenly Father.
 He did not create us for the fun factor.
We are not here to be entertained.
 He guides us in wisdom... His.
If we accept it...

The problem is we would rather be in a Disney movie, believing every scene where boy gets girl. Life will be sweet... end of story.
We are entitled... so when life goes off kilter, someone gets sick, or heaven forbid... fat, the promotion passes us by, we don't get the big house... we call foul.
 Sometimes we quit on our co-star in the movie.

Some of us remain the small child wanting his own way, many years removed from diapers and bottles.
We haven't matured.
We haven't learned the hard lessons.
Perhaps our parents are at fault.
They never let us fail.
They saved us, every time.
Ugly.
Character does not grow there.

What gives our life meaning?
Is it a job that makes a difference?
Helping another human being achieve their goals?
Looking back at our journey, seeing the hand of God weave through our days?
Is it gratitude for all that we have, a healthy mind, body, friends, family?
We 
must 
have 
meaning...
or
 Donald quoted Viktor Frankl...
 "When man cannot find meaning he distracts himself with pleasure."

Pleasure is lovely and has a healthy place in our lives.
It's when we give ourselves over to it...
the pursuit of pleasure... instead of God
that we go off track.

We buy into the Disney movie, and our lives become a tragedy.

 The days may be long... but the years are short.
Don't live a tragedy or an animated movie.
Live the life you were created for.
One full of meaning and gratitude.

What gives your life meaning?






May 2, 2014

23... A Psalm Of You and Me.

Happy Birthday Dad.

 I'm reading through the Psalms...
 If there was ever a Psalm of me... and you, it would have to be Psalm 23.
 I, me, my...

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need." vs1
One my and two I's in the first sentence.
It gets better with each line.

Just what I needed this morning when I woke, thinking of my dad's birthday, though he celebrates in heaven.
Yay for him, sad for us on days like today.

Thinking of a gal on Instagram. Her name is Joy. Though we have not met, I pray for her. She is young, married and her husband is sick, really sick.
This brings deep emotion for me. Memories of hard days, fear, sadness. 
She is there, waking in the morning, tired from a night where the darkness tries to overtake her heart.
She must trust moment by moment.
It is a breathing in, breathing out, lifting those breathes up to the Giver of life.
He knows.

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. 
Your rod and staff protect and comfort me." vs 4

Psalm 23 promises a Shepherd of details.... who knows our needs, provides rest, safety, comfort. Blessing, anointing, unfailing love and strength are part of the deal. In the end we live in the house of the Lord... forever. 
Did you get that last part?

"Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."
It's real, not a fairy tale.
There will be an end to our earthly lives, the joy, the pain... and we will spend eternity with GOD.  
If we have accepted His gift of life. 
That is where dad celebrates his birthday today.

The God of details. 
Life is proof...
The melodies of the birds each morning. The flowers, foods, colors of the sky and fields we witness.
A witness of Himself, His power.
Gifts from Him... and reminders that 
God cares... about our details.

He is with us in our pain, our joy, every moment.
Maybe you are celebrating today or praying for answers.
If you are where my friend Joy is today...
hold on to the truths of Psalm 23.
It's your Psalm.
It's all about you.

"My cup overflows with blessing." vs 5

Life can be hard, crushing some days... don't quit, but don't do it all alone.
Allow Him to overflow in your life today. He is able and because of that.. so are YOU.





Apr 15, 2014

And There's This...


Two devotionals this morning pointed me to Colossians. 
Both provide purpose and direction, showing the power of God.
 If I miss this it's because of my desire to please myself, ignoring the words of my Father. 
My choice.
 My freedom to choose.
My God...
how great You are.


1:17 reads, "He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together."

3:17 reads, "Everything you do or say should be done to obey Jesus your Lord."

What will I do with these eternal, perfect words today?
What will you do?