Posts filed under ‘Sprituality’

Whittled

My grandfather whittled.

My uncles whittle.

I…am whittled.

I remember the smell of the wood, the leathered hands, the showing of little knives, the display of projects…names drawn…which of the hundred of us would win this priced piece to be shared with family?  Oh me!  Pick me!  And a few times, they did.  Baskets woven.  Little topiaries with painted stems.  Wall Hangings.

Why whittle?

Why take a branch and begin to form it, smooth it, shape it…into something else?  Why spend the time?

I don’t know.

I do know that working with your hands eases your mind.

I know that sharing something you’ve made is rewarding.  Simple.  Clarifying.

Faltering people.  Skilled hands.  Shaped gifts.

Lately, I feel whittled.

Things carved from my life that seemed the best things.

It continues.

On and on, seeming losses occur which I try to accept as part of the shaping.  I try to allow the smoothing.  I force rest under the pressure, the paring.

And there goes the other side…carved off.

And off.

And off.

I wonder if there will be anything left.

It doesn’t look very beautiful to me yet, I have to say.  I just feel stripped bare sometimes. I am not grieving as if with no hope.  I have hope…from year’s past with my Maker, I know there is something coming.  Something lovely.  Something more than I would have asked for.  Yet, at the moment, there is “feeling” to manage.

Depression.  Anger.  Bitterness.  Frustration.

Getting up in the  morning and feeling low.  Perspective dim.

Wondering

Asking

Waiting

Praying

Seeking

Worshipping

Refreshing

Carrying on

Low

Missing spring…

Not ready for it.

Still feeling very winter.

Thankful, yet stripped.

I could list the large events of stripping of the year, but I won’t.  None of them alone has done me in.  It’ s been the cummulative effect of all  of it that is wearing on me.  I wonder when the page will turn and when I will begin feeling the filling again rather than the empyting.

I wonder today if maybe it’s me.  Trying to fill with a lot of things that while distracting (and that is something good), do not really FILL.  Wondering if my habits are contributing to the problem.  Or lack of habits.  Wondering if I need to make some changes, get back into some disciplines, and find the filling.

I will try.

Lord, I need the filling.  The joy overflowing.  The sweetness of life.  The knowledge that the enemy is not stealing from me in my down-ness.  I want to possess the land you’ve given and not worry with what you’ve whittled.  Such small things, really, in the grand scope of all you give.

Keep my focus on you, Lord.

My eyes, fixed on you.

Grace me to do what needs to be done, even in disciplines, or I will not get them done.

Moving forward…

 

 

March 22, 2011 at 8:49 am 1 comment

Prayer for the Overwhelmed

There is so much going on in the world, in the community, in family…Lord.  I do not know how you deal with ALL this stuff, pretty much every day…seeing people hurt, suffer, make poor choices.

Just the small glimpses I’m seeing of it this week grieves my heart, almost to overwhelming.

I cannot stand.

I find a warm cup of coffee, a hot bath, a job done, and keep moving.

Yet my heart is not smiling.  Too much.  I am not you.  I cannot take it.  My heart cannot.

Lord, how can your people go forward with joy and some peace in the world unless you reign?!  Reign supremely, Lord!  I beg of you to reveal yourself in situations that are too big for me, too heavy for me…to much for me.  I am overwhelmed just watching, seeing impact, hurting people, all over the world, near and far.  I hurt!  It is like watching another woman in labor, which I cannot do as a casual observer.  It is too painful!

Protect us, bring your truth to light, bring your victory!

Cause us to rejoice in your protection, your provisions, your healing, your working! I long for true celebration!

We cannot just elicit a smile on our own.

We NEED you.

Come in power! Come quickly.

Be our salvation, day and night.

Shine your truth in the darkness.

Wake up those walking in darkness and untruth.

Do it big.

Let the world see and know that you love them, and you care, in whatever ways you can.

Restore our joy that we may shine for you more fully, Lord. Lift our heads.

Amen.

March 15, 2011 at 8:14 am 4 comments

Cup of Coffee on a Sunday Night and Some Burnt Toaster Struddles

Tonight, dark.  Stillness.  Fighting off a headache that hit at 1PM.

I woke this day, still battling the winter “blek”.  Virus after virus, strep, bronchitis…all since Dec. 1.  My feminine side can’t figure it out and takes revenge on me, too.  Wacky, mixed up, broken, self-crying-out-for-health.  Feeling the betrayal of being human.  Getting rested up, all for one event, then crashing low.  Time after time.  Wishing I were stronger.  Seeing myself in the frailty of weak people I detest, too weak to get better.  Get up!  Recover!  Rest!  Take care of yourself!  Slow down!  Watch balance!  Think well thoughts!  Eat and treat yourself!

And a micro step at a time, I feel some better.  And a lot of the time, I still feel tired, sick, and recovering from a long winter.  There were perks.  Time to take care of some quiet chores I save for such days.  Yet, there is a longing for eyes that don’t quint with pain from the new light of spring, but welcome it with the joy it deserves.

While the family is at church, I relish the intense quiet.  Dark.  Time to get real with God and pour it all out…what is bugging me.  Time to catch my breath.  To deal with me only.

I made some rich decaf, burnt some Toaster Struddels covered in self-made icing (why do the last two always fall out of the box into the recesses of the overstuffed freezer?) and sat down to a screen still open from earlier this week when I’d pulled it up, but not had time to read.  Waiting on me.  For this moment.

I have followed Ann V. for a long time and just feel in love with her heart.  Have talked with her by email several times.  The real deal.  Though our lives are different, our hearts our the same.  Always takes me back to center to read her strands of life.  I have thought often this week that I need to get back into the discipline of joy and thanksgiving.  No dread.  No fear.  No wondering what could possibly happen with my body next week to make me mad at it.  Our churches challenges to “God Sightings” is similar, and I will merge the two.

Though my head colds haven’t allowed me to enjoy much reading time, I get four changes to start over on the challenge to read the New Testament in a way:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.  Here we go with Mark.  I’ll try again this month.

I shared a thanks entry at Ann’s new Zondervan site tonight.  I’m so proud of what God is doing in Ann’s life and through her testimony.

“Be thankful in all things.”  Go, Ann!  God is with you!

For tonight, quiet worship, black and white keys, pecking out chords, searching for newness, for spring after winter.

Lord, help me to get there. To climb out, and go slow, and be willing to just keep moving, whatever the day brings. You are God. I am human. And it’s okay.

Amen.

February 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm 1 comment

What is Christmas? Part 1

So, I started making my Christmas cards in August this year.  Praise the Lord!    220 cards just about done.  Not all made.  About 80, I bought.  Necessity!

Lights up, thanks to my wonderful man.

Packages under the tree, thank you free internet shipping the first two weeks of December…caught onto that little trick last year.

Had my December cold, thanks to Thanksgiving with family.

Lost a few needed pounds, thanks to accountability partners who needed me.

Working out…until the head cold, thanks to a free treadmill that I requested be left in this house when we bought it.

House…not totally gross, not totally clean, thanks to all who live here.  🙂

Having family devotions with a lovely pewter candle holder with an engraved symbol that highlights each devotion, thanks to “The Jesse Tree”, and a yard sale earlier this year.

Giving Christmas clothes to kids younger than mine.  Cleaning out closets, by the grace of God.   Washing, delivering.

Getting kids to play practices, rescheduling for snow.  Snow days, school out.  Reschedules.

School parties…today!  Baking!

Finals:  first of the week to study for.

Christmas at my Dad’s this weekend.  Baking!  Finalizing gifts.

On track, for having been sick with a yucky cold.

So…my only regret is that by evening,  I am often short-tempered. Bothered by little things like redundant noises: chewing my ear while I’m on the computer, someone rummaging through a drawer beside me, digging through a cabinet, people munching on needless snacks (did I mention, while standing right behind my ear, while I’m at the computer?  Shopping?  Thinking?  Figuring out computer problems?)

Toilet paper not put on the roll, drawers left open, socks and coats still left all over the house after countless reminders.  Homework not done.

I can’t do it all!  UGH!  I’m feeling it again!!!

Irritability –perhaps due to overload.  Inexcusable.

What needs to be dropped next year to make room for more peace within?  Perhaps it’s not just about “getting ahead”, but doing LESS.

Commitments.

Late packages.

Bad news.

None help.  Still, irritability…inexcusable.

Looking for help, I read “The Love Chapter” again.  I Corinthians 13.  I love to go there when I’m “off”.

I Corinthians 13:4 leaps off the page:

Love endures long and is patient and kind.”

Yes.  This is what I’m looking for.

This is prayer for the rest of my season.

And I begin to pray: Lord, that I may endure long, and have your patience, your kindness.  You are SO patient and kind to me every day, not giving me as I deserve, but according to your love and faithfulness and mercy…you are so kind!

Help me, Lord to deal with all the added interuptions and demands.  Help me to somehow know when to play and enjoy people, to give the the hugs and kisses.  To flush the stresses.

A reminder I received today from a friend said, “This Christmas–STOP. Yes, just stop. Look around. You have a ton to be thankful for.  All the little things that may seem to be so important to get done so that your family can have the “perfect Christmas” really won’t make it so.  Sprinkle each day with love, laughter and lots of hugs. Tell your family you love them. Share the real reason for Christmas–LOVE. You’ll have a perfect one after all.

I heard a TV show say yesterday for the umpteenth time, “Family…being together!  That’s what Christmas is all about, after all!”  WRONG, I say!  I learned that the hard way last year when my Mom and step-Dad where in Iraq, being bombed over the holidays.  Thank God, they were never hurt, through other health emergencies arose shortly thereafter.  A very stressful time.

That’s not what Christmas is all about.

It’s not about traditions.

It’s not about family at all, though that is very important and should be very high on our priority list, because it’s very important to God.  Family is our grounding place, the basis of our makeup.  Family deserves our honor, help, and love.  We build one another up through the years, though others come and go.

But things come up.  Things interfere.  Schedules get whacked.  People get sick.  Feelings get hurt.  It all happens.  It’s not all holly jolly.  Details exist.  Reality happens.

Even in our priorities, it’s easy to forget…

It’s about Jesus, who came to help.

It’s about a baby born as a  Saviour –stepping into the darkest of days, a day no one looked forward to, that day’s “tax day”.  And he wasn’t born into lights, carols, and a decorated tree.  He was born in a hewn-out place of rock called a “barn”, an unsterilized, unprepared, stinky place.  He was born into controversy, uncertainty, “people talking”.  And yet, those looking saw him.

So no.  It’s not about the family gathering.  Not about the food.  Not about the little ones.  Not about the gifts.  Those are our responses to Him, but not “the reason”.  What truly blesses HIM.  Is it the stuffs, or is it our attitude?  Our humble response?

I was at one gathering last week where the host said, “To be honest, I just can’t wait until Christmas is over.”

And I felt like, “Then why did you do it?  I came for you.”

Instead, I said, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”

Do it out of the grace he offers, not out of obligation, or it doesn’t accomplish the intended effect.   None of it does.  It’s just “more stuff” to do.   Some years are just hard.  It’s okay.  He will be there for you, too.

Reading through the Old Testamant last year (only made it about a third of the way through, but hey, I’ll pick up there this year), I realized God is a God of celebration!  In the Old Testamant, he told the people to not forget or neglect their special celebration days.  He loved for them to remember what he’d done for them, and to celebrate!  Because when they didn’t remember, they got into all kinds of trouble, seeking after false gods and idols.

The festivities are important as they help us remember.  Take that time to celebrate.  But, it’s not in the stuff…he should be the reason FOR the stuff.  We get it so backward.

This year, having things as “in place” and “ahead of schedule” as they can be…still facing demands and irritability and “not enough time” feelings…I tend to think we forget the MOST IMPORTANT thing:  preparing our hearts to be giving people, to care for others, to take time to show we appreciate them, to be in “good grace”.   Yesterday, a teacher shared a kind word and a smile when I ran into the classroom looking for a math paper.  On my drive home, it brought warm tears to my eyes as I reflected on her kindnes,s as opposed to the glare I’ve often received for trying.   Undeserved favor and positive regard.  That’s grace.  People who are trying need it, crave it, long for it.  Do we give it?  Do we show them we care?  We love them?  We want them to experience joy?  Care?  Concern?  Take the time.  That’s Christmas.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  May Christ’s kindness fall on you daily, and may you walk in it, give it, cultivate it, and share it.

December 17, 2010 at 11:12 am 1 comment

Fall Cleaning

Back to school is here.  That means a house that needs “going through”.  It’s the quarterly job that I like having done, but so dislike the mess of the “doing”!

I’ve been taking a new approach this year.  I’m not asking the old quesitons I’ve used.  I’m asking myself, “What do I want in this space?”

That question makes it more irrelevant what is there now, especially if it’s not being used.  Everything else is currently in the floor, destiny yet undetermined.

It’s not really a good time for a friendly visit unless you’d like to break your neck.  Actually, it wasn’t a good time for a friendly visit before that…there’s just too much stuff shoved everywhere. The end result will likely not be the ipitomy of a fashion magazine, but the spaces will be pleasing for their purpose and decluttered.

I’ve been doing this all week.  It’s been tiring work.

This morning, I couldn’t help but wonder how this new approach applies  others aspects of life.  For instance, in my marriage, is what needs to be there in it’s right place?  Is what is “best” there?   It really doesn’t matter what is there now, why or how it got there, or if I like it there.  The question is…what SHOULD be there.

Hopefully, I can do the same this:  dump everything else out on the floor–get rid of it, and start putting things in order where they need to be.

And off I go…

August 14, 2010 at 10:19 am 2 comments

Calling?

If there was a teacher who was teaching three news classrooms with three different age students than she was used to…that person feels like me as a mom each year.  I am challenged, invigorated, and fatigued by the changing responsibilities all at the same time.

Right now, coming home from church or for the weekend and having everyone sit to watch TV while there are dishes to be emptied, re-filled, tables to be wiped a floor to be swept, clothes to be fluffed and folder…learning to keep working my job in joy is my job.

And training them to help.

I’m working on both.

And it’s taking all I’ve got.

No…I don’t know how working moms do it…at all.  Nor would I want to have to try.

I thought after they were out of diapers it would be easier, but the papers mound, the floor is still needing the same attention it always did, more or less, and the clutter and play of five is about enough to drive me bonkers.

Today the preacher talked about finding your calling.  I don’t know…I’ve had times in my life where I was called, and times where I asked God for things and he answered.  I don’t know if I’m walking in my ultimate calling or not, or what little thing I might have said or did really made a difference while all the jobs and roles may mean little.  A video we watched said that sometimes it’s not so much about what we do and or where we are as much as who we are and are becoming.  Perhaps that is true to some extent.  Right now, I know I am a mom and I’m becoming a mom, and it’s taking all I’ve got to be up for the job.

To have the laundry ready, surfaces cleaned for a meal, cooking done and cleaned and some odd jobs done for different ones…that’s all the time I have each day.

I volunteer here and there.  I help out here and there.  I teach some.  And whether than amounts to a calling or not, I don’t know.  I just know it’s all I can handle right now and then some.

Household manager…and lacking most days in all that needs to be done while I’m here.  But, hopefully I’m getting caught up, a bit at a time.  A drawer here, a closet there, a pile here, a refrigerator there.  Hopefully it will all get done eventually.  I can’t say I’m “finding joy” in doing it…but I feel like it’s my job and what I’m supposed to be focused on this season.  Much has not been gone through in a while and it’s starting to all feel heavy and crowded and is taxing.  So…that’s my great calling.  To just keep going.  I feel tired a lot of the day, and I’m drinking a lot of coffee and keeping a lot of mental lists.  All in all, it doesn’t matter.  And all-in-all, it does.

I read questions like, “If today was your last day to live, would it really matter?  Would you do the same thing you are doing today?”

I don’t think that’s a good question to ask.  I think I good question to ask is, “Lord, what work have you entrusted to me today, and what needs to be done next?”

Because, no…if it were my last day, I would not care about the dishes.  But, knowing it is my job and it’s the next thing that needs to be done, it is my act of worship and service to my family to wash the dishes.

So…in all the volunteering and serves and working and calling and ordinary…there is joy.  I find joy in knowing I’ve done a little…not so much in the realization that there is much to go.  Hopefully as I get caught up and spaces cleaned, there will be mounting joy in finishing.  And hopefully I will get some bonus things done in the meantime that are on my “etc.” lists and my “want to” lists and my “giving” list.

This week, I made and sent out eight cards.  That was a bonus thing that gave me joy.

I feel tired a lot lately and somewhat overwhelmed by all that must be done.  But, I am thankful to have the time, the health, and the support to be here to do it.  I hope it bears fruit and trust that it will.

In all that, knowing that people are first is a huge challenge because after tackling messes all day, loving people is the last thing on my mind.  Whipping them into shape seems to be the predominating thought!  Maintain it!  Hopefully that will also bear fruit, and they feel loved by the treats and order and just people doing what needs to be done around them faithfully and consistently.

For now, time to get out of these little 2″ pumps and out of this skirt and into some Sunday afternoon comfy clothes before hospital visits and worship planning and clothes folding.  {Whew.}  I make myself a little tired just talking about it lately, so there is more “doing” than “writing about the doing”!

Just touching base…

Maggie

August 16, 2009 at 11:54 am 3 comments

Mulling

Mulling James 1 this week:

  • prayerfulness

From the Message:  “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.”

  • direction

“5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

  • single-mindedness

“6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (NIV)

  • no doubting/wavering

“But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (The Message)

  • authenticity

“There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.”

  • joy and perseverance through hardship (not escapism)

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

April 28, 2009 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Stuck on a Phrase

strength

I found a notecard laying on my desk in the last few weeks, and I’ve not gotten beyond the first phrase of it, but wanted to post it here.  I love it.  It goes on to say “There is none like the God of Jesurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty.  The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…He is your shield and helper, and your glorious sword.”

March 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm 2 comments

Untitled

I’m at a different place today than I was a year ago.

I’m not sure that I can articulate it in a writing or a post.  I just know that things are different.

I know that I’m needed to be available here more, to have meals ready, to create “routine” and “order” and “flow”–not perfection, but good, well-executed effort and forethought.

I know that I’m needed to be in balance myself:  rested, eating well, and striving toward personal goals of fitness and good spiritual and mental health–if I’m not where I need to be…my family is not where it needs to be.  I suffer with less headaches and stress when I go to bed early (I am SO a late night person…love it, convince myself I need it!).  I do better when I eat less raw sugar, and eat more whole foods.  My body and mind feed better, I am on less “buzz”, I have less times of “coming down”, I have fewer headaches.  I feel less tired.  I exercise more disciplines in other areas when I’m disciplines in this area.

I’m trying, by the grace and help of God, which I pray for very regularly.  Well, I say “pray”, but honestly, “beg” is probably a much better word.  I want to be who I need to be, not only to give glory to God, not only to be what I’m made to be…but, mainly, now, at this point in the journey, so those around me can be who they need to be…those I love most, and who are most near and dear to me.  This is a big jump–to change personal habits, eating, sleep preferences so that I can be who I need to be for the group.  It is a dying to self.  It is a new perspective given to me, not one I am making.  The changes have been happening before I knew why they are happening, actually.  I just see the effects, and I thank God for doing something…some “things”, I have been unable to do on my own for many years.  I think the goals and scriptures, and prior striving probably play a part in how much easier it seems now, but ultimately, on top of it all, I still cannot do it without Him.  I am too “me”.  Not that “me” is bad…it is just filled with many preferences, and rationalizations, and learning that he has to deal with.

I read a scripture yesterday while sitting in church.  It said that if you examined yourself (before taking the Lord’s supper is the context), the Lord would not judge you as harshly, but if you did not examine yourself, that he would judge you more harshly (I Corinthians 11:27-32).  The passage wasn’t referring to the ultimate judgment after death, but a discipline and judgment here on earth that showed itself in sickness and/or weakness.  So, I guess God does allow those two things to humble us when we refuse to admit where we are.  No, that doesn’t mean that anytime we are weak and sick that it is a result of un-confessed sin, but it does confirm that God can use times of sin and weakness to humble us, slow us down, get us quiet, and have opportunity to deal with us.  It’s the same principle, I think, as that of “grounding” a child.  An imposed time set aside to pull away and get quiet and let God speak.   I know God has used them at times in my life when I needed to slow down and rest or just change course, or have time to “reset“.

It was interesting to me, though, that if we examined ourselves, he is more gentle with us. He wants us to be looking, and trying, and striving on our own.  He doesn’t want to have to do it all for us.  He wants us to look and see if the fruit in our lives is lining up, or if we need to work in some areas, perhaps even confess to other people and seek help.  Many of you have probably had times with a child when you said, “I know you were in a tight spo.  Perhaps you were afraid to tell me, but if you had only come to me, I could have helped you!  Don’t be so afraid of my punishment that you move away from opportunities I have to teach you what you need to know and help you make it through those times!”

I have.

Right now, I am inclined to look at myself.  To confess.  To try to deal with things.  To seek help.

We don’t have to make mountains out of mole-hills, but we do need to live honest lives, true to ourselves and to the God within us.

—-

With all that heavy thinking that comes from a week of heavy parenting and self-reflection as a result, today’s agenda is chicken pot pie (the chicken is pretty much ready to get in the oven now and I’ve been ot the store for ingredients this morning already–yeah!), rice, and milk.  It’s a hearty meal with veggies and bread already in it, so that will be it.  Lunch for me:  (unknown due to a need to be out of the house, working on that plan to keep up healthier less sugar and white breads I’m working on). I feel SO much better and level all day.  It’s wonderful.

Today:  helping the kitchen crew with the chain saw ministry.  People right now are here from South Carolina in disaster relief efforts to help with tree-limb clean up from the storm.  They are here from long distances, in the freezing cold, ministering.  It’s 25 degrees here today.  They’ve been here about a week.  Four more people are possibly coming today, and possibly a new team, or a second team tomorrow.

An angelic kitchen crew has been working through the storm, and now to help feed the crews.  I’m just now getting things settled enough to volunteer.  I hope I can a few days this week, barring home emergencies.

Though I can blog less, God is refreshing me and filling me with new energy from you.  One day last week, one of you sent me a new worship CD from an artist you know I love that just came out.  {humbled–it sang me to sleep last night when I couldn’t get to sleep with too much on my mind}.  Another day, one of you dropped me a beautiful and cheery card.  {smiling still}.  Yet one more day, one of you dropped a package in the mail with some fresh scrapbooking supplies, for dreaming of “me” time.  {tickled pink}.  A couple of you “heard me out” and gave me a pep talk, a smile, courage, hope.  Trials have rolled lately, and I’m still learning to roll with them.  Without the ever-presence of God, above all, I would be so very lost.  He keeps me singing.

I love you all.  Thanks for seeing, thanks for blessing.  Thanks for doing that little bit more that raises my head and causes me to take a breath of fresh air from a higher climate.  It goes a long way.

Wherever you are, many blessings to you this week as you “pursue” those things that bring glory to him:  righteousness, faith, purity, love, grace…may they ever more be yours as you seek Him.

February 23, 2009 at 10:07 am 1 comment

No Greater Joy

no-greater-joy-2

November 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm 1 comment

Referral

Love this post by my friend, Dori, today.  I hope to print that off and enjoy it over and over.

November 17, 2008 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Sunday: 1000 Gifts (247-278)

  • tiny hands on communion cups
  • the glow of the communion plate on The Hub’s face
  • children elated over the size of their communion piece
  • the hub waking me when my alarm didn’t go off
  • help singing again, “My soul, my soul must sing” (last Sun. night, my theme song)
  • playing praise band with my brother
  • getting to wear my new-used shoes, thank you, Lord!
  • fall pants that fit comfortably
  • sunshine
  • ribs in the crock pot, ready to BBQ, prepared yesterday for today
  • guests for lunch today
  • shared pains in Sunday School
  • hugs
  • space
  • warmth
  • purple
  • red hair on the kitchen floor
  • mom having taught me how to cut my boy’s hair
  • jumper cables and someone who knows how to use them
  • extra dessert when the cake burned yesterday
  • help when the spaghetti jar hit the floor for the top shelf of the fridge–glass and sauce all over the kitchen floor
  • laundry caught up
  • treadmill with cell phone music (my favs)…phone sits right on the treadmill panel without budging
  • concert tonight anticipated
  • no “sticky-uppies” for Red today (hair having to be slathered down with water)
  • nephews to give outgrown pajamas to
  • friends who are just there and show up…their very presence cheers me, even when we do not speak
  • the church, singing loud
  • a “prayer shawl” ministry starting up, what a blessing that will be–how I’ve loved mine
  • quiet in the house for a few moments to reflect before the lunch buzz begins
  • bottled water & chocolate chip granola bars–fast breakfasts when you need one on the go
  • the word of God preached, instilling faith in us all, patiently.

October 26, 2008 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Who’s Got the Weight?

Yesterday, just after our 7AM praise band rehearsal, I slipped in the back hallway behind the stage and laid on the floor, and to try to kick my feet back over my head so that I could roll the weight of my legs back down forward, one vertebrae at a time.  It seems to help.  So does rolling around on an exercise ball, but I didn’t have one handy.

My Navy brother is out of the navy now, finished with his commitment, and saw me back there.  He had already stretched my back and it just wasn’t releasing as much as I needed it to for a half hour of worship yet.  He came over and saw me laying on the floor, feet kicked back over my head, and he said, “Uh, sis, ya need some help?”

I said, “Naw, I just need to stretch out for a minute.”

He said, “Yeah, but your using your own weight.”

He grabbed my feet and pulled them back further over my head. I was a little afraid.

But, ah!  The release! He pulled and pulled upward and downward, and after fifteen seconds, I did feel better.

More than anything, the words he said continue to hit home today as much as they did then:  “Need help with that?”

“Naw, I can do it…I just need to…”

“Yeah, but you’re using your own weight.  Let me do it.”   And then, God takes hold.  He takes all the weight.  All the pressure.  All the pain.  And he gives sweet release, even when we are afraid of letting go.

August 18, 2008 at 2:05 pm 5 comments

There is Nothing to Wear!

This morning, Red got up and I sent him and his sister to get dressed.

He requested pancakes, so I got busy on that.  I was a little short on the Bisquick, so I was digging for some self-rising flour to make up the extra.

I was assessing the amount of oil I might need to add to make up for the shortage when I heard Red stomp to the kitchen disgustedly yelling, uncharacteristically:  “AGH!  I have NOTHING to wear!  None of my clothes are in there!  There is NOTHING to wear!  Mom, there is NOTHING in here that matches.”

I said, “Son, that is impossible.  I just washed everything you own this weekend.  You’ve had clothes to wear all summer.  What’s wrong?”

“There is nothing in there!” he cried, adding some tears and reducing himself to a heap on the floor.

This is not my child who is the first out of bed, and usually the first to get dressed.

I said, “We’ll go check on it together, okay?  Sister, see if you can pull down the top box of his shirts where he can see and see if that helps.”

She tried, bless her heart, but I could hear a small ruckus beginning, so I dropped by pancake ordeal and went in myself.

I soon realized the problem.  Last year, I sorted all his clothes for him by things that went together.  This year, in the new system, all his shorts are in one container, and his shirts in another.  Though there are TONS of clothes, he could not manipulate the sorting and matching.  So…we pulled EVERYTHING out and began pairing things quickly.  I put them together in a new way for him, as a smile began to wash over his face.  “Okay, so…can you find something you like now?  Better?”

He kept working on the leftover things while I finished pancakes.

I just got home and had to rearrange some things where he could now reach them better as well.

I shared with my oldest son, as I will now share with my readers, that my Mom last week was told of a position in Iraq that might suit her, working at the same base as Pop.  Let me just tell you, managing “going back to school”, losing my kids, and the prospect of losing my mom in the same week was quite the act of strength and dignity.  It is the Lord Jesus I serve, and none other, or that week would not have flown.  I basically had to put it on the back burner until I had all the kids settled and tended to on their big week.

We don’t know yet if they will hire her, but her resume has been sent in.

Yesterday in worship, the first song, it was mom and I only in my pew, worshiping together.  The Hub was at work, kids in children’s church.  When we got to “from shore to shore” in the song…that was the last straw.

By greeting time, I lost it.  I saw my SIL, and collapsed on her, not to let go.   I said, “I just don’t think I can do this.”

She ever so eloquently said, “Yeah, you can.  Let me get you out of here.”

Can I just say that I like those two sentences paired together.  Not, “Yeah, you can.  Stop sobbing on me.” or “Yeah, you can, toughen up.”  or “Yeah, you can, now let’s get back to worship.”  Nope, none of that.  “Yeah, you can…let’s get you out of here for a minute.”

We prayed, and she reminded me of all the things I knew, and I straightened up to teach my first new Sunday School class of the season with kid’s expectantly waiting on a teacher to wow then with fun and cheer.

I even had the opportunity at the end of the service to pray for my mom at the altar.  But, by then, I was ready.

Anyway, I woke to another day feeling weighted by this thing way too big for me to even begin to process in any lucid way.  And I walked back in to all the piles needing to be put together understandably for my Red, and I remembered a verse from The Message I read once a long time ago that I liked.  I just sat down to look it up.  It says,

“God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!”

Jeremiah 17:14

I know that when I feel squeamish, like Red, and in those times when I am on a heap in the floor insisting nothing goes together, even getting tearful at times, not seeing it all…God is telling me, “But, that can’t be, I have it all ready for you!  I know it’s all there.”  I know He sends other to help me, and that even He himself, My Helper, comes to show me how it all fits together. And I know, that I too, in those moments, will feel a smile wash over me and joy return.  Countless times a day.

August 11, 2008 at 8:44 am 5 comments

What Is the Difference In Bearing Fruit and Seed?

My morning devotion several days ago said we are called to bear FRUIT, not just to bear seed.

The author’s point (Dr. Paul Brand, God’s Forever Feast) was that we can often become so focused on bearing or planting seed that we forget we are called to bear FRUIT.

What are the differences?  How does this translate to your life?  Does it change your thinking?

July 5, 2008 at 9:06 am 1 comment

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ME: “MAGGIE”

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I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.

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Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

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"We shall not waste our time in looking for extraordinary experiences in our life, but live by pure faith, ever watchful and ready for His coming by doing our day-to-day duties with extraordinary love and devotion." ~Mother Teresa

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"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin." ~Mother Teresa

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A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in it's vicinity freshen into smiles. --Washington Irving

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When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. -Harriet Beecher Stowe

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