NICE DAY!

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“CHILDREN ARE A BLESSING AND A GIFT FROM THE LORD.” (PSALM 127:3) CEV

I used to think that verse meant one’s own children, but after watching a couple of generations growing up, I realize it is certainly not a blessing exclusive to the parents. Littles of our friends and relatives, or even a toothless smile from a shopping cart at a much-needed time, can just MAKE. YOUR. DAY!! Right?

As much as I feel “nearer to God in a garden”, I know where you really can get as close to the heart of God as anywhere this side of Heaven – sitting with a three or four-year old!

Three year old Grayson, one of my great nephews, found Spring peeking into the back door of Winter, and able to go outside after a nasty round of influenza A, was observed enjoying his own blessing. Kids are the best at observation and appreciating!! At three and a half now, he is so old and accountable that he is allowed to go into their fenced backyard by himself. Last week his daddy shared with me what his neighbor observed as the door slid shut between Grayson and his grownups. He said the boy looked each way, taking it all in, then proclaimed in as manly a voice as possible, “Nice Day!” Knowing a thing or two about this little guy, I wrote the following for Grayson.

GRAYSON

As in any good family yard, we have many things to do. There’s mud for playing, and a dog, uh-oh, what’s on my shoe? Toys, a trampoline, a slide and swing set; I can’t wait to play ball, but it’s not summer yet. The neighbor is grilling, but I am not. Dad said we’d play – I think he forgot. No flowers yet to pick, nor grass for bare feet, but with that bright sunshine, life is sure sweet! A look to the left and a look to the right, I breathe in the air and I feel alright! Not a worry in my pocket, just one thing to say, with a nod to my neighbor, I shout, “NICE DAY!”

Yes, children are a blessing for a number of reasons. They ground us, in more ways than one! Getting my head out of the air and back down to basics is one of the best reasons for being around them. God said “…But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b) Who is more honest than a three or four-year-old? Who  needs more mercy than a little child? Humility – oh my, they are the best at that! They have no other choice, being so dependent on all of us. They are the best reminders of how God wants us to be.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 18:3-4) NKJV

Part 2 of  “Nice Day” is taking form already as I recall several other touching or funny ways our “Littles” have blessed us.  They really do say the funniest things! So, bye for now, I hope your Monday is going just right! See you back here in two weeks, with a few quotes from Katja, Isabella, Alan, Sara, and more!

 

 

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MAKE WHAT YOU WILL OF IT

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Happy first Monday of DST! I’m sure many more households had their version of adjustment, and ours was typical of needing to be reminded – again – that it is what you make of it. Yeah, yeah, the facts of an hour darker, and the weather, can be called “it is what it is” but that’s as far as our attitudes have to be dictated. The day, the moment, the situation, whatever you are living, is lived in light of what you make of it. 

I am a light-lover; no, not one who loves lightly, but a lover of light. I was not looking forward to daylight savings time because if the sun ain’t up, neither am I.  Well, not voluntarily anyway.  It actually is my favorite to be up and watch the sunrise – I stress BE up; it takes a grand alarm clock system to do that, but once up and awake I am happiest just about dawn. My first awakening today was a phone call about 20 minutes before my alarm was to sound. Viewing what appeared to be wet outside again sent me back under the covers grumbling about the weather man. I fell asleep and dreamed about the outcome of that day-opening phone call. Next, the old-fashioned clock radio blared a ten minute warning that my cell phone alarm would soon be calling me out. One peeping eye confirmed the dreariness of the day. Back under the covers. As I took the ten minute snooze, a cold little nose in a furry little face told me to stop snoring please, and as I did, he snuggled in between my husband and me, luring me to doze again. When that dogged cell phone commenced its irritating tune that I really need to change, I saw no promise of sun. Clouds, drizzle and dampness outside caused a Monday malfunction – I went back to sleep. Another phone call brought me to my senses and I faced the day, about an hour late.

As sluggishly as my day approached the starting line, it is pacing itself pretty well and I hope yours is too. I found a few markers along the route to point out how to make more of the race. Those would be prayer for hope; scripture for direction,  and love for endurance. That first phone call – one requesting prayer for her day; my sweet daughter was concerned about some who were about to lose their jobs today, and she asked my prayer for their sakes. And I thought, yes, how wonderful that we have an intercessor to take all our concerns to God Who sustains us not only in hope for eternal life, but in our day-to-day matters. That sweet Holy Spirit! He comforts us and understands our groaning from dawn to dawn, all day long, never leaving, no matter how many clouds overshadow the way. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26 NKJV)

Next came the morning walk with that fur faced alarm. Chilly air on my face and bird melodies in my ears, made it good to be alive. Once he had communicated with the world, you know the sniffing input and the output which should be self-explanatory, we happily returned to a warm house and hot cup of coffee. Ain’t life good?

Scripture – a big part of my writing – came into play as I sat down to work toward a deadline for an article submission. Reading again those steadfast promises lifted my mood and attitude like sunshine themselves. The fog was clearly lifted!

That last phone call was from my sister. Bless her heart! May I say again, Bless Her Heart! Still wearing a back brace, she needed help to take a rectal temp on her 19 pound grandbaby; (maybe a little moral support?) and later finding 3 out of 4 grandchildren have influenza A, and the fourth with a stomach ache – well the whole family really needs blessing, right? And I counted my blessings at that moment! Only love – L. O. V. E. – took me into the house with my flu vaccine already four and a half months old. Get it? (I hope we don’t.) By the way, the sight of that sweet baby boy melted my heart. Even sick, they are so worth it all!

Arriving back home and greeted by my fur baby spinning in circles, I knew it was a good day. I am alive. With loved ones. A modern washer and running water. With hope, and scripture, and love. And the sun came out! OK, I tried to have a bad day, really I did, but God just kept pushing all that good stuff under my nose, and here I’ve gone and had a good day after all. Key words (I have emphasized) for making it a great day are in the following verses.

17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind.
18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6 NLT)

IT TAKES PRACTICE: Cultivating and Turning the Other Cheek

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“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAPlant zinnias, reap zinnias.

February 24, 2019. My apologies to those who may not be enjoying sunshine today! You will eventually.

It’s been two weeks since I shared a thought or two here; (thank you Linda Pugh for missing me) and as of Wednesday, I was finished with 2018 tax preparation for our farming operation. Whew! I don’t know which was worse, that, or the torrential rainfall of this month! Neither one inspired me to write (Understatement). The sunshine of this morning couldn’t be more welcome, and I know you were happy to see it too!

We had a truly inspirational Ladies Retreat this weekend with four fabulous speakers who brought inspiration from the depths of their hearts. Chelsea Hendrick, Rebecca Simons, Vicki Simmons and Kelly Mackey each filled us with encouragement from real life hard stuff, and I applaud them for allowing us to warm our hearts by the fires of their own trials. The light from all the beautiful hearts present this weekend helped me find my way through another otherwise gloomy weekend.

Speaking of light, have you noticed how one color takes on different hues according to the light around it? Paint on the wall in morning light, a dress on the rack under fluorescent light, or even your make-up in daylight compared to the bathroom bulbs, have all looked so different in varying sources of light.  Just like those colors, my understanding can change somewhat under the light of different moods. I know I’m not alone in this. So, I’m thinking it was this glorious sunshine that made me happy to get out of bed, even before the alarm sounded, and even made me wear a purple shirt! No, I’m not a purple girl; give me greens and blues, yellows and browns, but I leave purple to my daughter, Stephanie. She loves it. Maybe it was even the bright morning, on the heels of the awesome speakers, that made me see something I hadn’t before, as we looked this morning at the sermon on the mount by Jesus.

The meaning of turning the other cheek, blessing your enemies and praying for persecutors is still what I’ve always thought – be like Jesus. And it is still in hopes of helping them see God, and pointing to Jesus. I also believe it is to praise God since we are “in His image”.  But what struck me this morning – and I’m sure most of you already knew this – is that it’s also about the one being spoken to here; the stricken, the persecuted, the wronged. God loves His children like we love ours, but more. And He is perfect in the instruction He gives us, for our own sakes! As I read Matthew 5, I thought of the heart as fertile ground, which we all know sprouts what is planted in it. The more it is cultivated, the more it produces, and eventually you no longer see the ground, but the leaves, vines, and blossoms of the garden.  What if God said, curse those who curse you, go ahead and stir the strife when another starts it, and tell the world how unfairly you were treated. Oh my, what a harvest of hardened hateful feelings we would be growing; and rather than perfecting the peace of Jesus, we would be perfecting the practice of evil.  He knew that to cultivate peace and goodness, we need to practice it in the fertile soil of our hearts. Oh yes, I’ve done it both ways! And I can tell you first hand that in the days when I spit back in the spite of others’ meanness, I felt the strife. When I learned to pray for them, I felt the peace and warmth that God desires us to feel. Isn’t He wise? How marvelous to bask in the sunshine of His love for us!

Verse 45 of Matthew 5 finishes Jesus’ thought: “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Have a beautiful week, whether rain or sun, bless others and be blessed!

 

 

YOU GOTTA ASK TO GET SOMETHING!

Hoping to warm my hands around a nice hot cup of coffee for the drive home, I stopped by a coffee shop and saw one of my favorite flavors was featured. “I’ll have a medium with cream please” was answered with “drive up to the window and we’ll have it ready”! The window opened, I extended my card, and heard, “well, I’m sorry, I can have that flavor brewed in about 5 minutes, or I still have our other flavor if you’d like that”. Uhhhhh…..weeelllll… with the menu long behind me, my mind went blank, and I sort of stuttered out something to the effect that I would just take a regular coffee with cream. (Wasn’t that what he sort of just offered me?) Well, my husband must have felt sorry for me because at that moment, he leaned over and suggested, “hey, you oughta just give her a cup of coffee for that”, to which my face turned red and I handed my card out to the guy anyway. No, he said, it was on him. I drove home holding a LARGE cup of coffee for a 50 cent tip. Gary asked me how I liked that; I said, “you mean besides the embarrassment?” With a shrug, he said “You gotta ask or you get nothing. Put that in your blog.” I guess he meant put that in your pipe and smoke it.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NKJV

So often, I’m afraid, we go without answers and assistance because we do not ask. And I happen to know our Heavenly Father is way more eager to give, than the coffee guy is, although I have to say he was awfully nice!  James 4:2 tells us that though we may lust, covet, fight and even murder to have something, we do not have because we do not ask. Those are strong words! A child of God has the most powerful ‘amazon’ ever; no credit cards needed. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” Psalm 23:5

 

Variety: Love it or Hate it

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February afternoon

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019

There are clearly some advantages to our Western Kentucky weather. Today is a prime example. While we hate the ever-changing never-know-what-you’ll-get weather patterns, it’s when we get a bright, warm, taste of spring like today that makes me grateful for the changes. I also relish occasional snow days when the whole world looks pure and clean and the only choices I have to make for the day is which flavor of coffee do I want to make. Variety really is the spice of life.

I also enjoy variety when it comes to writers’ thoughts, though not too wide a variety, as I’m a more conservative thinker. But no matter how you think, if you put effort into your own sharing,  you will enjoy the penned thoughts of others that are different. One such writing form that is different, but one that I can truly identify with, is Adventures of a Labor Nurse. Warning: it is not for the faint of heart. She puts it all out there, and if you haven’t looked into the face of the smelly, bloody miracle of birth before,  then you might tread lightly going there. I love it!

Foods! What can I say that wouldn’t take volumes of cyber space to even begin to do justice to the rich cuisine we enjoy every single day. I’m even talking about the beans and tater meals – I mean how many varieties of beans and potatoes and methods to prepare them are there? See what I mean? We have all benefitted from our cultural stew pots.

As nice as the spice is, there is Life beyond change, with more important things than blogging, coffee and food. I am completely ‘fall on my knees’ grateful that the Lord God is faithful to stay the same. No variation there! His way, His love, His opportunities, His grace, all of it, every part of Him is forever the same. That’s because it’s already perfect. Nothing is needed besides it and nothing is complete without it.

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

“Barnes’ Notes on the Bible” enriches the phrase ‘no variation or shadow of turning’ penned by James. Because God is the Father of lights, James wanted to be sure we understand that God the Light, is different from the sun, our light, this way:  whereas the sun changes every day, causing all sorts of variations in climate, weather, shadows and so forth, with God there is none of that!  Barnes notes “the word which is here rendered “variableness” … occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means change, alteration…and would properly be applied to the changes …in astronomy.”  James knew his science from the master!

So, no matter how our lives change we can be absolutely sure that the One who created all this beautiful (and sometimes not so pretty) variety, is holding it all together; steady, unmovable, eternal in all His purpose and plan. Variety is the spice; God is the Life.

Eternally His, Trisha

Sundial

About 3:15 Sundial time

Thoughts on Visits, Rest and Mamas

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A Visit

I visited Mama this afternoon. Oh, it was so wonderful to see her looking so well; productive, happy, and in good health. We talked a bit and I helped her find the missing part of a small crib she had about finished putting together. She was holding a little baby and it was for that baby that she was assembling the crib. Someone who looked familiar walked through the house where she had lived on Miller Ave, called my name and left, and she was trying to tell me who it was. He wore a large black fireman’s hat. My husband walked through next, in a red jacket. (Yes, we do dream in color.) Then I woke up.

Needs:   I wanted to get this written down before I had time to forget this happy feeling I have from my dream. I no longer feel depressed like when I lay down for a nap this afternoon, nor do I feel quite as dissatisfied with myself as I did. Not normally a depressed person, I had chalked it up to mid-winter ho-hums, even though it was a beautiful sunny day. I wanted something; but couldn’t put my finger on it. I felt torn between funeral home, hospital, hospice and shut-ins, and a strong desire to sleep. Several people I know have passed away lately, and some others are hanging on the edge of eternity, so I felt sad about those situations. I think I wanted to be in so many different places at once, that I just crawled into the middle of it all and went to sleep. Or, maybe I just needed sleep. My sister says I’m a real mess when lack of sleep takes over.

Retreats:   Now, where was I going with this? Oh yes, sometimes we just have to retreat. Pull the quilt over it all and leave with Winkin, Blinkin and Nod. Life’s a battle as well as a journey. Scripture says the battle belongs to the Lord and that He has planned our journeys, but as we live it, effort and emotions can take their toll so God said rest. I admire those folks who seem to never wind down, energizer bunnies, who amazingly make it to every wake; visit, cook and care, spreading themselves among their communities tirelessly. God still said rest. I’m thinking those industrious people must know their own limits, though we can’t see it, and still make space for rest.

Rest For The Weary:    One of those who we’ve lost this week is Dr. Ron Wuest. He cared for his patients in body and spirit. My family and I have missed him very much since his illness forced him out of practice. Missing his wake and funeral, I felt like I had let him down. But I know he would be right in saying, “when you feel you need to rest, rest!” Another one gone is a friend’s mother, also a sister in Christ. Knowing they are saying goodbye to her is likely what triggered my dream. Besides those two, there is sweet Peggy Carraway, who decided her battle here is about done, and is now at the hospice house. She has a bright eternity to look forward to, and deserves a rest, but it is just one more reminder of the brevity of life. There are so many good friends suffering now in many ways, and I carry them in my heart. I pray for their peace, comfort and healing. In the past, when I carried a load of concerns I could always park it at my Mama’s house, and it would be much lighter when I picked it up to leave again. Now, with her gone, I forget now and then that I need to unload. I do pray, and always feel comfort there, knowing God hears and will answer. But sometimes there is that something else; God knew and I didn’t. I really needed my Mama lately and He gave me a beautiful dream – a visit and a rest. Indeed, I thanked Him for it when I awoke.

Now, if I get to helping myself to too much rest, I hope somebody will rescue me and put me back on my hamster wheel! Have a great week friends, and don’t forget to rest when needed.

I’LL TAKE A SIDE OF FAITH WITH MONDAY’S MEATLOAF

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Sweeping over an icy crust of snow, the 20 degree wind made quite a statement. Dear friends had just made their 0700 exit out of the driveway for their eight-hour trek home. The house pulled its quilt of quiet over my ears, and I felt secure, knowing my God hears my heart and would take Kim and her family safely home; and that I could retreat into a warm house and begin plans for the day. Priority #1, another cup of coffee with my fur baby and the newspaper. How suddenly that security can flip.

On my way through the hall, I tripped on a small bag that my friends had forgotten. Calling to see if I could catch up to them, I received no answer. A couple more calls and texts, coupled with finding out their family back in West Virginia knew nothing of their visit to Kentucky,  left me feeling a bit less secure. Another hour later I had imagined them knocked in the head and their car taken along with daughter, phone and Lifesavers! Whoa, how fast I can go from “God’s going to take care of them” to “they’ve met with disaster’!  A look at the newspaper was NO help – headlines of shootings, accidents and the like. Oh ye of little faith…

When Peter asked Jesus to command that he walk on the water to his Lord, his faith and the Lord allowed him to do so – walk on a boisterous sea! Even then, while accomplishing that amazing feat, Peter saw the contrary winds tossing the waves, and he began to doubt. He feared. And began to sink. Thank Goodness, Peter cried out to be saved, and grasped the extended hand of the Lord. Jesus said, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: 28-31)

I knew Who it was to whom I prayed; I believed He heard and would deliver. But as soon as I caught a glimpse of a possible situation, I left ‘Amen’ and let ‘what if’ rev up my heart. So I wasted a little time I could have spent in that peaceful morning calm, but was again reminded of His faithfulness and goodness. A sweet text let me know it was a matter of her phone being on vibration, and the other two passengers sleeping. Stopping for gas, she saw my (several) calls and messages, and apologized for my worry. No, Kim dear, it is I who apologize to our Lord for taking my eyes off Him and looking into the world of possibilities. And, yes, we had meatloaf this evening, it is Monday!

Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33 NKJV

 

BEAUTY AND THE DEEP

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a little beauty mask fun – clean pores and laughter

There’s an innocent little lie that many a young girl was told through the ages. “Beauty is only skin deep” was meant to make adolescence somehow less painful for those of us who saw freckles, crooked teeth and plain hair staring back from the mirror. Which wouldn’t have mattered if we didn’t leave the house and meet the golden curls with a button nose and rosy complexion, and hear how pretty they were but because they were immature enough to flaunt it, that it was only skin deep. Hearing that beauty was only skin deep made me think not only that there was not much under those lustrous locks and long eyelashes, but even worse, with no outer beauty, I was a lost cause. Nothing. Not even skin deep. It’s probably why I love Anne of Green Gables.

Well, I grew up in spite of it; and praise God, His word expounded on the issue of beauty. In fact, it put the old adage to death.

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” I Peter 3:3-4

The thing we girls should have been told is “beauty is what lies beneath the skin, in the heart”. Even if I’d been afraid of a ‘skint knee’ bleeding out my beauty, at least I would’ve known it wasn’t all that outward stuff. Anyway, kids eventually realize the difference between flesh and bones, and the invisible heart and soul. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all for teaching children to appreciate and compliment others for their accomplishments, and there’s no way around recognizing a pretty little cocker spaniel versus a scrawny old mutt. But boy oh boy, have I ever loved some of those mutts! Why? Because we find out real soon that they can be loyal, smart, and clean up real well! There’s nothing wrong with attractiveness, as long as there’s acknowledgement that it is in the eye of the beholder – an opinion, and that true beauty is defined by the Maker – a thing of the heart.

Notice that Peter used the word adornment to speak of outward beauty. But he used the terms heart and spirit to describe incorruptible beauty. Adornment can be changed on a dime. The heart and spirit of a person are developed over time, formed in a furnace of trial and error, and have a way of becoming a permanent fixture. A gentle and quiet spirit, and the inside heart of a girl, not the outside looks; those are the things of beauty. Don’t let the world tell you or your daughters or your sisters that they need a certain body type, eye color, hair style or hip shoes to be beautiful. Point out how beautiful their grandmothers are (yes the ones with wrinkles, gray wiry hair, and chicken wing arms) because of the love they lavish on others. Point out how pretty the mentally challenged child is when her eyes sparkle at ‘hello’. Remind them that babies are so beautiful because of their innocence. When you are looking into their eyes right straight into their hearts, every single day, when they are at their worst – tell them they are beautiful! They’ll know what you mean.

The valuable and virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 has 21 verses of descriptors and none of them say anything of her looks, but one points out that if she does have charm and outward beauty, they are deceitful and passing (vs 30). Yes, girls, beauty may start at skin level, but goes SO much deeper than that. Our grownups didn’t mean any harm, bless their hearts; they were just repeating what they’d been told, I’m sure.

RESOLUTIONS

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I read yesterday that to submit a photo to someplace or another, it must be of ‘high resolution’ with at least 300 something or others, and I do not know what that all means but I do know where I’m going with it. First, I’ll learn what it means in case I want to use that knowledge; secondly, I am using a play on words, and setting for myself ‘high resolutions’.

Many years ago, I made the New Year’s resolution to never make another New Year’s resolution. I kept it. I was tired of setting new goals or plans just to let myself down by Spring. That was because I had been resolving to the wrong person to do this or that. I’ve grown since then (in more ways than one, and that’s due to some of those lost resolutions). Last evening our congregation was challenged to “turn your world upside down” as a way of encouraging us to reach out to people and do it for the sake of Christ. I have no idea what form that will take, and I doubt if my world looks rearranged, let alone upside down, but my heart is certainly taking on new shape. New resolutions, to the One Who Cares whether or not I do. Not for me, for Him. Jesus. Lord.

Several other things have worked to realign my heart lately. First, my wonderful friend Linda, mailed to me a devotional/journal titled “40 Days of Prayer” and a sweet note that she would like for us to begin January 1, doing this study together. Now that’s inspiration! Forty days, I can do that. Prayer, I can do that, always have. How hard can that be? Well in just 6 days, I am growing in my thoughts and faith about prayer and in the ones Who hear my prayers, that beautiful Godhead three. (John 16:23-24) Next, my husband watched for his first time “The Passion of the Christ” about a week ago, and sobbed, followed by a discussion about what Christ did for us. Then, there are the many needs for prayers just in our circle of friends alone, reminding me daily of the brevity of life, and of what really matters.

So today, when I am usually scurrying about with laundry, cards, pick-up/clean-up house detail and such as will have to be done over and over every week, I am writing. Working on another project yesterday, and mulling over all of the above, (resolution issues), I felt too scrambled to write. But this morning, I knew what it all came to – a daily resolve to pray more personally, do what I do as unto the Lord, and love fiercely.

There’s an exercise class at ten o’clock; I just may make it in time! No promises for a year, or even a week. But today – a day at a time – I will appreciate and use the things God has made available to be a better me for Him. It all takes on a higher resolution when it’s for the right Person!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 4:20-21 NKJV

 

WHERE DOES THE NEW YEAR FIND YOU?

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Ten fifteen P.M. on New Year’s Eve my date and I have finished a silly movie where Adam Sandler’s character babysits his niece and nephew and they sort of live out the bedtime stories they make up the night before. We have had our tray of cheese, crackers and olives, drank our Diet Coke, and I added on a brownie topped off by a cup of Christmas Wassail. Just the two of us. And our Yorkie. Oh so different from the New Year’s Eves of the past!

Looking back in time, mid 70’s I see us newly wed couples all getting together to bring in the new year. Well, usually we were home by midnight, but it was so much fun! Whether at the Murdock’s, the Doron’s, or others, we had a great group of friends for laughter, games, and food! I learned back then how to make the REAL chex mix, thanks to Debbie Rogers Doron. And Mississippi Mud cake, thanks to Becky Burkeen Nance. I think I usually took peanut butter balls, dipped in chocolate; yep, always love my chocolate! Especially Hazel Carson Morton’s brownies!

After that decade, we were raising children, juggling debts, and working. And working. And working. Sounds like a stuck record? It felt like one too. New Year wishes were a bit more solemn for some of us; we began to be distanced from our friends of younger years. However, I was blessed with the sweetest kids I could have ever imagined having, as well as a fun-loving mother, so new years eve parties were always about family. I recall hubby and I hosting one year when my brother’s wife was expecting their first child. He was serving with the Marines in Desert Storm, and Julie, his wife, was staying with Mama. Julie really enjoyed the food I served, so her abdominal discomfort was at first thought to be the result of my food. The birth of my niece on New Year’s Day proved that theory incorrect!

The 90’s started out no better in the work realm, but by mid decade I had earned my BSN, and began working as an RN so my husband began to feel a bit more relaxed in the bread-winner chair. Still, with my schedule, and our having been out of the socializing habit for so long, we just never again had a group of friends where we felt that ‘couples camaraderie’. That’s probably true for many families; but on New Year’s Eve, I missed the festivities. I grew up in a house where the midnight hour was celebrated, even if my parents were away from home and we were with a babysitter, so I guess the notion carried over. Anyway, other than a few years when the kids and I were part of a church’s food and games evening, we were at home. I recall dropping by Mama’s one year on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, and her house was decorated so beautifully complete with candles and wonderful refreshments. She was prepared for her ‘girls’ to come over for games and laughs. Those ladies hold important places in my heart. Barbara Ramsey, Jean Bird, Betty Hassell, Frances Hargrove, all such loved friends of my mother’s. I don’t know who all came that night to help her celebrate another year, but those four were almost always in the mix.

Turn of the century! New Year’s Eve 1999, my sister Kathy invited us to her and her husband’s party! We had little plastic ‘champagne glasses’ with sparkling grape juice, some assortment of noise makers and I happily watched a new century drape the calendar in the midst of good people and good fun! Nineteen years later, I am happier than I ever believed I could be, without a party, without noise makers, at home. Just the two of us. Happy NYE texts to our loved ones, from the safety and warmth of our own home, be it ever so humble. By the way, do you younger ones see how fast another decade passed in this paragraph? Well, that’s life. Faster than a speeding bullet!

Forty five years of marriage has seen many changes, good times and not so good times, like most folks. But for the life of me, I can’t think of one bad thing that overrides the joy of watching our kids grow up; working side by side to pay for our home and farm; celebrating our loved ones’ accomplishments and learning daily to praise God together for every day of every year. I guess all that work was good for me; my doctor tells me every year how healthy I am in spite of a few (well several) pounds over weight and arthritis. My ‘unparty’ hubby is right beside me about to fall asleep, and always has been. Our empty nest holds no grandchildren, but we have the sweetest dog in the world that was dropped right into my lap by a couple of high school friends. (Thanks again Janie Hughes Guizlo and Gwen Russell Hymer!) And both our kids are exceptionally attentive to our well-being; but that’s mutual of course!

Ten minutes before midnight now, and I didn’t know where this was going when I sat down to write, or even if I would post it. I think maybe that the movie we watched tonight has a faint connection – our lives are somewhat played out by the stories we tell ourselves. We may not know exactly what we are asking for when we make our plans, but for my life anyway, there seems to have been a master storyteller, (thank you God) watching and listening, knowing where my heart was and here I am. There really is no place like home! Happy New Year Friends!