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Posts Tagged ‘God’s GIfts’

cw13-16Sometimes, the worst place to live is in my head. You know how you avoid those dangerous streets, take another route – and find yourself in bigger danger? Well, there are days it’s like Fagan and his gang are trying to steal the peace in my head – and the sad thing is it’s like I’m Oliver – and I’m picking my own pocket, stealing from my own patch.

I’m facing a challenge right now, trying not to lose any ground. It doesn’t really matter the challenge, between you and me. Challenges can’t be compared. How He made us, planned for us, all that He stuffed inside us – we’re like snowflakes – all unique and one-of-a-kind. What pushes my buttons might not push your buttons. Because of that – judgement and quantifying need to just be set aside.

It’s not that you haven’t walked in my shoes – and I haven’t walked in yours. That’s just one dimension of the walk. It’s how we each were designed to walk. That’s why you might go from point A to point B to Point C while I travel from point D to point B to point G to point A to point C.

Maybe that’s why all snowflakes don’t fall the same way.

cw13-15I’m standing my ground, swatting at distractions like flies in a summertime kitchen while I’m canning – swatting and focusing on Him.

Focusing like a pitcher in a little league game focuses on signals from his coach. Waiting for the go-ahead.

It’s hard, this not running ahead on the spur of emotion. I feel Him standing there beside me, staying me with His hand, telling me to wait. He knows the perfect moment.

Most importantly, He knows what I am waiting for.

What I am seeing and feeling right now isn’t what He is seeing – though He knows my feelings – knows the battle being raged in this mind of mine, that risks becoming a run-down trap without Him.

No – right now is not where I wanted or planned to be. Yet, it is where I am in His plan – and while I’m standing here – He puts His arm around my shoulder, saying, “Look at the blessings I bring you. Think on them. Focus on what I give you today – and tomorrow, when it is right – you will see how it has all worked out for your good.”

“you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together” (Philippians 4:8-9)

In the middle of broken washing machines and boys learning to hand-wash shirts and pants, and Thanksgiving coming and I’m living behind on time, when thoughts finally are released to chase themselves down a rabbit warren of ideas – the boys come tumbling in bickering, needing help, needing a mom who is engaged and not lost in idea rabbit warrens – in the middle of all this – I need to be intentional in looking for these Father gifts He leaves me – gifts from the King to His daughter.

This week, I am finding them – intentionally, engaged –
as I sit on the opposite side of the counter talking to one son make a Normandy Pie for a school pie-baking contest
or watch a son read directions for homemade ice cream for his Mocha Mud pie – and we end up sharing. He gets the bowl; I get the paddle
tallying up the Freshman’s spiritual gift test – and seeing I did know him after all
Reading results from the Stanford Test, which was the country used until sometime in 2000, to test general knowledge – not tests over textbook content – and seeing my sons shine brightly.
sitting over chili and chicken noodle soup with friends talking about Sticky Faith, Spiritual Gifts and communication for our growing teens
a new washer and dryer, team-folded clothes
A splash of peppermint sweet cream in a blue and white coffee cup
a corn-beef sandwich with Havarty cheese on pumpernickel bread
snow flurries
a son learning to understand himself
grandbaby girl calling out to her Papaw
standing in the midst of these tall boys, trying to get a Christmas photo, their humor bouncing off and swirling around.
A friend willing to come push the camera button
my littlest, so like his daddy, whose robotics team came in 3rd place and is going to state – his first year and he handled his responsibilities coolly, smoothly, wonderfully.
A friend who has gone out of her way to care for me
My Mother-in-Law looking so good and sounding so strong after we almost lost her about 2 weeks ago
Watching my husband’s humor – with me and others – bring a big smile to my face
Nice people in the market place
God protecting my husband when he had another flat tire, this time during the snowburst, on the interstate, after dark (again).
Sons who enjoy coming home
Planning Thanksgiving with my family
Red cranberries, cinnamon sticks and cloves
Lavender Vanilla candles
Sweet people who don’t make me feel graceless in the daily
This Father that helps me when this mind like a house becomes run-down and falling apart.

“People with their minds set on you,
    you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
    because they keep at it and don’t quit” (Isaiah 26:3)

cw13-14All photos taken by Blue Cotton Memory in Colonial Williamsburg, Fall 2013 – all houses/buildings which I would love to live in!

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When my littlest came home with his poetry prose in paragraph formation, we had to edit the content into standard, complete-sentence prose. The poetry was edited out. It saddened me because so many penny words were added, fading the imagery, leaching the strength of action – and, well, just diminishing the over-all effect.

A kind of “you-had-to-be-there” resulted in the retelling.

Poetry evokes – sometimes more can be said with incomplete sentences. Not in a court of law, not when contractual things need to be established – but sometimes with pulling something valuable out of a day, a moment – that something trumps the other 23 hours, the other 1,429 minutes in a day.

I remember reading e.e. cummins in the 8th grade. He threw language rules out the window and made art. The entire class chimed in, “So we don’t have to use correct grammar rules. Here’s a grown-up who didn’t and made good.”

Our teacher loosened our grasp on that hope: “When you know grammar like e.e. cummins, you can write like e.e. cummins.”

e.e. cummins manipulated language – and its rules to re-create moments, like “riding through the woods on a snowy evening” – so you could feel it from the inside of your soul out – no “you-had-to-be-there” excuses because he took you there.

My son’s unintentional poetry lost something in the translation to intentional prose. Sometimes, to capture the essence of a moment, a weekend, a blessing – it comes out better in poetry, without penny articles, verbs and nouns.

Yet, also like e.e. cummins had to become skilled in the knowledge of  language arts in order to write poetry that reveals a moment from the inside of your soul out, you and I – we need to become skilled in the knowledge of God’s true, hands-on love for us  in order to recognize blessing that has the power to change our lives from the inside of our souls out.

Are you ready to live like poetry? Allowing a moment of blessing, regardless of size and importance, – a squirrel running across your window pane, a fleeting hug, a genuine smile, a cup of cider – are you willing to let that moment, that gift from the Father, define your day, your week, a year, a lifetime?

The coolness on your cheek from a breeze rustling out of the trees as the hand of God touching your cheek? And, in a second, the recognition of it changes everything – from the inside of your soul out.

Have I lived a life of blessing? Every minute counted from beginning to end, –  refreshing moments, just-right moments, forgiving moments, revelation moments, soul-inside-out moments would seem miniscule in comparison to all the penny-word moments.

However, those fragmented moments like poetry, whittling the prose of it all into poetry,  if I were to just pull them out, those moments would say I am richly blessed. Maybe they would say my life filled with blessing, reads like poetry.

747) Lumina white, Jack-Be-Little Orange, Jarrahdale green and Rouge vif D’Etampes – “Red Life of the Times” pumpkins, pulled from the flat-bed of a truck to my door steps, heralding a new season
748) ladling out homemade chicken noodle soup with bow-tie pasta to woodland stories of Blue Stones and Acorns for currency, brotherhood and neighborhood friendships creating a world of their own in the woods. Practicing democracy in leadership elections under God’s canopy and choosing blue stone and acorns for currency. Blue Stone turned memory stone in a friendship has lived lifting up when hearts are down – a living poetry experience

749) Nests emptied of backyard baby birds. No more cat birds screeching and squawking at my cat on the steps, on the porch, under the car, under the tree staring up. Chirping, solo songs and choruses, merry autumn sounds of troubles left behind.
750) Squirrel cheeks filled with winter nuts, filling the storehouses in tree nests, repetitive forays onto the grounds, storing security for e.e. cummins-kind-of-snowy evening
751) A to-do list reminding me of the things I want to do – and each one checked off, one-by-one.
752) Determination to complete actions and tasks that change the hue of everyday living – when making myself light a candle, knit one row, read one chapter of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – one small action at a time is a brush stroke that paints my life. I can either choose through inaction how my life will look – an empty canvas – or I can choose through action. I chose to act – even though the brush strokes and colors don’t always turn out how I intend.

753) A friend blessing me with kind, un-looked for words
754) The energy to make Saturday what I wanted it to be: filled with homemade chicken-noodle soup, tortilini soup, cheesy bread, store-bought orange-icing cupcakes, pop-eye bread, simmering apple cider – boys saying, “Who’s coming for dinner” – and I just say, “You! All for you!”
755) A kitchen filled with chard, peppers and tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market
756) A squirrel running outside my window at work, through my shabby-chic picture frame
757) 15 minutes with God in a mid-morning break; 15 minutes with God in a mid-afternoon break. We two sitting together on a bench
758) Energy at the end of a workday to live fully through the most valuable parts.
759) Demands for bed-time tuck-ins
760) The Bed-Time Chronicles
761) An orange carrot juice, red beet and mango smoothie – that I stuck to the determination to include it in my day, making it at 6:45 a.m.
762) Frogs hopping on the road side during an evening walk
763) All the boys’ work turned in at the end of a quarter – punctuated by a Friday beginning a 2 week Holiday for the boys.
764) Open windows, cool morning air, the sound of the air-conditioning shutting down, yielding to Autumn’s superior coolness

765) Post-it-Notes reminding me to pray
766) That joyful euphoric feeling like flying when a problem’s potential solution makes itself known in the loudness of the problem, in an un-looked for area.
767) I heard that there are 21 million people who cannot read in America – and am so blessed that my mom secured the best possible education for my brother and me.
768) That I have the desire to read – the bible, fun literature, books to my children, legal documents – and historical documents like Common Sense by Thomas Paine – so that it will not be through ignorance that my freedoms are taken away.
769) The anticipation of good things –  like next week’s beach Holiday.
770) Pulling close the poetry moments out of the day that say more about my day than what the whole of the day says.
771) Hot Apple Cider on a lazy afternoon on my porch
772) Seeing the sun-rise in pink and yellow streaks Sunday morning
773) Watching my boys enjoy a bottomless bowl of pasta after church Sunday while I enjoyed a bottomless cup of steamy coffee
774) Sitting beside my husband on the porch, watching the moon, pulling the blanket close.

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