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Archive for the ‘Vintage’ Category

If you have kept up with me this last week (here and here), you will know it was a week where blessing seeking, finding God’s love letters had to be intentional. Not only sought after, but accepted. Part of me was tempted to push away blessing, to push away His sweet love letters.

329) Wednesday, I almost cancelled lunch with my sweet daughter-in-law and lovely Grandbaby Girl. I thought it traitorous, almost sacrilegious to find an hour of joy when my friends were suffering so, when my boys were grieving so and my heart ached so. I went, inwardly debating all angles.  Immersing in hour of listening to my DIL talk was such a beautiful thing. There was blessing there – because I had little voice for things, I gained greater blessing – hearing my DIL’s voice, her ideas. I needed that .Grandbaby Girl’s smiles, finding happiness in my arms – my heart needed that, too.Yes, sometimes looking for these blessings, accepting these love letters from the Father needs to be intentional- all types of encouragement and lifting up would be missed if we decided they were not appropriate when He leaves them for us. Only heart-ache would remain. God doesn’t want us to shove away blessings, especially in tragedy.“If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there;if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath” (Psalm 34:18, The Message)

330) Stouffers 4 Cheese Lasagna, 2 loaves of wheat bread, blueberries, strawberries and grapes in a lime green bowl, carrots and broccoli in a blue bowl, carried to friends. My heart needed to give comfort or it would burst.“We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

331) Being told how my 11-year-old son, in the midst of tragedy, ran for help with his friend, and then gathered 3 little siblings in the midst of sirens and EMS, comforting his friends big and small, praying for them, ensuring they didn’t see things their hearts weren’t designed for. The knowledge that in crisis, he walked out his faith, well, thank you God!
332) Neighbors standing in a circle praying
333) Bed-time prayers with unprompted inclusion of hurting friends – that they pray like that, believe like that:
As I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to Keep
God Bless . . . . .(list)
Give me peaceful sleep and restful dreams
That the Angels encamp about us and protect us
That I love you more tomorrow . . .And each added prayers for their friends here“We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part” (2 Cor 1:8-11, The Message)

334) Finally having time to plant 15 burning bush and 3 forsythea rootballs – that in the 3 weeks since the UPS man delivered them, we kept them alive.
335) Boys helping, carrying dirt clods to the mulch pile
336) A scratched up place for zinnia seeds.
337) The Hope of red, purple, pink, yellow zinnia’s cut and placed in mason jars throughout the house.“He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6)

338) Soldier son’s second interview for a job,
339) knowing there are people who care enough to be references
340) a call back for the 3rd interview contingent on reference responses
341) Having children who connect with all age groups to care enough for tears held back or released
342) Teachers who take good care of my son’s hearts
343) A window view at work of blue skies, big trees and shrubs cut back sprouting new growth.
344) A husband who tells our little one, “Life here is just a part of our journey. When we go to heaven, we continue living another part of our journey.”
345) Hot and Spicey Chinese Soup and egg rolls with hot mustard for a cold that keeps threatening
346) Coffee with my husband, outside early Sunday morning watching the red cardinals, mocking birds, doves, blue jays live out their backyard relationships.
347) The Hope of a Volunteer Cherry Tree, pulled out. A weary husband who says, “Maybe we should just let it die” as we hunt for a place to put this last transplant that we didn’t expect. The space available is rocky with Tennessee red clay. “Let’s plant it and give it hope. Otherwise, it won’t have a choice. Maybe it will choose to live,” I answered. He wrestled with the Tennessee red clay mixed with rocks and scraped out a place for it to live if it would.May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13)

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Stairs at Historic Locust Grove, not the house I am talking about

“Can I just sit in the stairwell?” I asked the owner of “The French Hen” – this antique store that had once been my home.

I am sure she hated those stairs; everyone did. At least everyone who didn’t grow up running up and down them a million times a day. They were old, tall and steep, the stairs of this house that grew when the dog-trot turned into a hallway once-upon-a-time ago.

I remember falling down them when they were occasional to me, little feet in tights slipping on old polished wood to fly out and . . . thunk-bump! on the slim cushion of my littleness. Tears would spring to my eyes even before my mind recovered its sense.

Yet, here I was, years later, sitting on those 200+ year-old-steps, hoping for what I am not sure. Maybe for my grandmother to walk past, the harness bells once on the front door to jingle, to pull off my grandfather’s work boots one more time, to catch bees in jars or slurp honey-suckle from the backyard vine.

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions” (Ecc. 7:10)

Better Days? They weren’t. I know that. I don’t want to go back. I never want to go back. God has brought me so far.

Despite life’s challenges, each year, each day is sweeter and sweeter – holistically so much better.

Redemption – given and taken – is a life improver. Faith means knowing there is sunshine behind the clouds. Hope means knowing God has goodness in store – no matter today’s salty tears. God’s love means that His love heals, wrapping around me warming away the cold soul-chills of brokenness.

He has led me to something so[ul] better best.

“In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling” (Exodus 15: 13-14).

So I sat in the stairwell, not because life here was better. Homesick maybe. Missing people I loved. Missing grandfather’s azaleas – or how he would hide on the ledge at the top of the stairs to scare the hee-bee-gee-bees out of us when we went up for bedtime, grandmother’s fried chicken, lazy summer afternoons on the front porch, life B.C. (before children). Standing in front of the big fireplace during the winter of ’77 and turning, turning, turning like a good roast over a fire pit – but I was in front – and it was an old house with floor furnace, a gas stove and this fireplace.

After my parents divorce, 5-year-old me climbing into my grandfather’s lap and falling half asleep. My grandmother came in asking him to do something. She hushed and walked softly away, letting my grandfather hold me until I was slept out. I understood Father-God love through my grandfather’s love.

“We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” (Num 11:5).

No, this is not like the Children of Israel being scared, not understanding the future and missing what was comfortable, what was familiar, not bondage to my past.

Stairway at Historic Locust Grove

It is a vintage thing.

Vintage whole cloth memory is not what brought me to the stairwell. What brings me to the stairwell is looking at my past fully and gathering the blessings left there.

Vintage: (verb) to gather or harvest (grapes)[blessings] for wine-making [remembrances] (1828 Noah Webster Dictionary)

To vintage my past, to sort through and let go of the bad and to press the good into my heart.(BCM sentence example of Webster verb definition of vintage)

To vintage (verb) is a joy-catching thing, catching things of God.(BCM definition)

Joy-catching moments like when God and I talked between the azaleas and forsythia. Where I asked Him to make me special to Him. Friday night steaks, my mother’s sewing machine where she made my navy blue prom dress with navy Bill Blass lace (a client where she worked had a son who worked for Bill Blass. He told his son that we couldn’t find pretty enough navy blue lace – and he sent beautiful blue lace to his father – free of charge), where I learned Saul became Paul, the feel twilight grass under my feet in the Spring, learning to trust God as I walked upstairs to bed in pitch black darkness, trusting that He wouldn’t let anything get me, where I learned love can be soft, tough, and graceless and that for love to endure and reach to all family roots one must love with forgiveness, the cardinal outside my window in the Oak tree in the sweet coolness of a summer morning after grandmother turned off the window fan.

I want to catch those blessings God left for me – more precious than the teacup my grandmother left on the wooden box at the foot of my bed one Christmas morning.

Some moments, memories, details you catch – and they are immeasurable, like dust particles floating in the sunlight. It is just a matter of looking for them in just the right light.

Some moments need to be discarded like memories of feeling like a second-hand child, seeing myself as the goose girl when I was a princess all along.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2)

I sat there that day in the stairwell remembering flying down those stairs on the way to living, climbing them to rest. I sat there, waiting. Waiting for what, I don’t know – but, something in my heart needed. . . something.

Sighing, I pulled myself up. Stairwells are not for sitting. Stairwells are passageways for living. The only thing left worth keeping are the joy-catching moments, the blessings.

Maybe that is why I went – to vintage – to gather the memory of those blessings, the worthwhile pieces out of the whole cloth.

I thanked the lady when I left and walked out.

This isn’t a Lot story. This is a blessing thing, a vintage thing, collecting all the sweet gifts God left me in the backyard, in the kitchen, on the front porch, in the stairwell of where I came from.

In the gathering, I discover how this Father that is God has been intentional in my life, been present for every event, big and little – and that it is never too late to gather the blessing, the joy!

They are still there. Gather them. Vintage them.

168) a menagerie of stuffed bears in whimsical arrangement in a yard, reminding me of how when I look for the blessings, I find unusual, out-of-the-box things

169) A group of red cardinals and their less colorful mates dealing with an afternoon frustration of a mockingbird.
170) Taco soup, an orange juice cake and chicken salad made by a sweet co-worker on the first day of my new job
171) My grandmother’s coffee cake going with me to work that first day
172) Generosity of spirit from my trainer and other team members who say, “It takes a year to learn it all. Be patient with yourself.” And I wish I lived life like that in every area.
173) A window view at my desk
174) Heart doctors taking care of my mom over 16 hours away
175) Praying friends
176) Brothers helping a brother move with good humor on a Saturday morning
177) Green spinach, yellow eggs, beige artichokes and brown sausage in a white pottery pie pan lined with a puff pastry baking into a weeks breakfast
178) A friend walking a couple of miles with me
179) Snowflakes, bunches of them, so many I couldn’t see my neighbor’s house
180) Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and grapes in a trifle bowl for a baby shower
181) “I’ll give you a hug for some pineapple,” a son asked. I readily agreed.
182) Leftovers
183) My candy jar filled with mini Cadbury eggs on my home desk.
184) A matching one on my work desk filled with M&Ms (so wish people would eat them so I could fill it with Cadbury Eggs)
185) Mini Cadbury Eggs in 1 lb bags
186) Boys who help with the dishes on their assigned nights
187) Bedtime hugs and discussions – not taking them for granted.
188) Cornering my teen in the kitchen and flinging a hug on him.
189) Being able to take lunch early on Fridays so I can spend time with my Friday morning knitting group
190) How all my aunts pull close when one of their sisters needs them
191) A Tide Stick removing a very frustrating situation, allowing nothing permanent to remain literally and figuratively
192) That long distance has changed so it is no longer an occasional thing and I can talk to my mother in the hospital at any time.
193) Yellow Post-it Notes for Prayer requests on my bathroom mirror, helping me to keep my promises.
194) My son graduates from his AIT training this week from the reserves. He asked me to help him with his resume because he knows he has a mom who can do that. So glad God put layers and layers of things inside each of us, enabling us to minister in ways unimaginable to our children.
195) Learning to intentionally vintage God’s blessings all around.

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