Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Thing About Words...


Did you watch American Idol both nights this week?

Oh dear. On Tuesday night I was very bothered by the things Randy, Paula and Simon said to Katharine McPhee after her song. I mean, I've watched this show for years, yet rarely have Randy and Paula's comments, to me, come-off sounding over-the-top-critical-bordering-on-cruel. 

As for Simon, well, that's just old hat for him to sound mean. Yet on Tuesday night? His dreadful comments to Katharine humiliated her in front of millions of people and I admired Katharine's enormous courage in not running off the stage in tears.

I, certainly, would have done that.

In fact, Tom missed that part of the show so the next morning I told him what happened and I got all-teary-eyed-choked-up just recounting the details for him.

The whole thing was odd. I mean, hey. I'm a big girl and I watch American Idol every week and by the next day, generally, forget which kid is even still left in the competition. But this was different. 

Off and on all day Wednesday? Simon's especially-sarcastic and unjust treatment of Katharine haunted me. I must have said some kind of prayer about it, but don't ask just what I prayed. I can't remember exactly.

Then along came Wednesday night. Ryan said that many people had called in complaining the night before. (Good for them!)

And then Simon nodded and did something I'd never seen him do. He said, after watching the tape of the previous night's show, he felt he and the other judges owed one of the contestants an apology. Oh my, you should have seen me. I jumped up and shouted, "Katharine, right? Say it! Say it's Katharine!"

And that is just what he said.

Wow, I squealed, jumped up and down (Tom was at work, so I was alone and free to act silly).

Yet, when all that happened, this verse immediately came to my mind:

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pitchers of silver." ... Proverbs 25:11

It was as though Simon's apology brought a type of healing--certainly for Katharine-- but in a way, for me, also. I felt such a release from that nagging feeling of injustice suffered by another person, the heaviness which had haunted me all day.

Words, apologies are powerful. And healing. And I wish we'd all get over the lie which tells us we will appear smaller if we apologize to others.

The exact opposite is true.


******

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." ...Proverbs 18:21


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I Live Where ...


Okay, I confess... I am overdoing this creative writing thing. But I'm blaming it all on how enchanted I was by the I Am From idea which I first discovered at Ilona's blog.

But it's just that this morning I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist's and afterward when I walked through the waiting room, I noticed a few jackets sitting on the chairs with not a soul around to guard them. You can do that here. Everywhere there are little nooks where people leave their coats and hats and scarves unwatched and then actually find them when they return for them later.

I don't think you can do that in every town now... can you? But we still do it here and rather than take that, and other things, for granted, I thought I'd write about what it's like to live where I do...

I Live Where...

I live where most of the houses stand two or three stories tall and are old and close together ... where huge trees line the streets and meet over your head in the middle... where during Autumn, you feel like you're driving in a parade because all the leaves fall and twist down upon your windshield like confetti... where neighborhoods look just as they did 70 years ago, except that the cars are newer.

I live where people of any age still hold the door open for you at convenience stores--even if you walk a little slow they will wait for you... where you hear happy chatter and laughter in the supermarket, yard sales and the Farmer's Market--so much so, that you expect to see people dancing in the streets.... where the Spring morning air makes you feel ten years old again... and when company drives away, they beep the car horn twice.

I live where church bells chime songs three times a day... ice cream trucks bring children racing out of houses in summer... and many homes have a tiny latched door for the milk delivery guy ... where Henshaw's Dairy still will bring you milk and ice cream in their 1950's tan truck and newspaper boys pull blue wagons down quiet Sunday morning streets.

I live where, when you take a weekday afternoon walk, you'll see women hanging their laundry in the backyard or sweeping their sidewalks while wearing aqua dusters and with their hair wound in a scarf... where estate sales in old houses are like trips back to the 1930's and neighbors sit on front porches in wicker during summer evenings so humid that little wisps of steam hang mid-air like fog... where, with your head upon your pillow late at night, the horns of trains sound like the trumpets of Benny Goodman's band.

I live where you can forget sometimes that it's 2006... where I'd love to live for the rest of my life--but if I should leave, I will take this place with me wherever I may go--and then plant it like a seed while hoping it will grow into something as sweet somewhere else.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Just An Evening Note




Well, my husband moved next door today.

Next door to 50, that is, for today Tom turned 49. (Did I scare you?) γ‚·

Of course, I am teasing him about being so old and certainly, he'll tease me when I turn 49.

So happy birthday to the man of my dreams. Even after all these years, he is still the one for me.


******

Oh! Would you like to read three incredible 'I Am Froms'? Each of these brought tears to my eyes and gave me hope for Tomorrow's adults. I think Mary is raising a whole houseful of future poet laureates. 

Seriously. I am in awe.

I Am From by Mary's 11-year-old son.
I Am From by Mary's 14 year-old son.
I Am From by Mary's 16-year-old daughter.
I Am From by Mary's 18-year-old daughter.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Calm One


Way back when Naomi was 12, or so, and we were in our Nevada Years, we all spent one 4th of July evening at the home of our friends, Donna and Galen and their 2 daughters. The other guests that evening were mutual friends, Don and Darcy and their daughter and son. After a wonderful picnic dinner in the backyard and lively chatter until dark, a few simple fireworks were brought out. Nothing fancy, big or dangerous, you understand, just simple little noisemakers and such.

Our little crowd sat together in the summer desert darkness while Jacob, age 11, and his dad lit the various fireworks just almost at our feet. Suddenly, a pop! sounded and then Jacob screamed. A spark, or something, had flown at his eye. Instantly, his dad was next to him, asking if he was ok and we could hear that parental fear one hears in a parent's voice at such times.

But then here is what I remember best... Galen, our doctor friend, very calmly, even nearly on the lighthearted side said something rather like, "Come here, Jacob, and let's see what you've gotten yourself into." Both Galen and Don then led the crying Jacob calmly into the house, sat him on a table beneath a light and then Galen examined the eye. The whole time, Galen spoke lightly, smiling, saying stuff like, "These things happen sometimes on the 4th of July," and that he'd bet Jacob would laugh about this while telling his grandchildren someday.

After Jacob calmed down, Galen suggested that he, Don and Jacob go to his nearby office where he could look at the eye closer. He said it looked as though there was just a tiny burn mark on Jacob's face and that the eye, itself, looked fine, but they'd go to the office just to make sure and that besides, all the fireworks had been set-off so it was time for a ride anyway.

And after they left--and the other two moms cursed all fireworks and their ilk--I stood in the kitchen thinking how comforting it must be to have a doctor around all the time. Someone who could stitch you all up if you broke apart in an accident. Someone who knows what he's doing. Someone who wouldn't faint at the sight of blood or go crying or screaming into a corner just when you most needed him.

Someone whose calm demeanor can leave a whole room serene when it could have, instead, been filled with panic.

But mostly, how wonderful to, in any situation, have a person around who can keep his head when everyone else is losing theirs (as the saying goes). How amazing, nowadays, to know people who don't fall apart whenever things go wrong. People who stand calmly in a storm and walk through this life bravely with courage and hope from God, Himself, and thus help others to stay calm.

And well, that's how I want to be--a reflection of that same strong spirit of God. Someone who's, ok, not a doctor, but who can still be counted on to bring healing and peace into any room in scary, difficult times.



******

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cheering Alone




Until I was 41, this pretty much had been my life--

I was a strange little kid. When I was 7, I'd cry happy tears during the reunions on Truth or Consequences and This Is Your Life. 

While junior high friends played rock music, I preferred classical and show tunes.

I collected blue-bellied lizards while the other girls loved Kiddles and bracelets. My family preferred stream-lined, brand new houses and I adored leaning, paintless-brown barns in the middle of wheat fields.

As a teenager, I read Jane Eyre while my friends read Jaws. I watched Carousel while church friends discussed American Graffiti. I adored the people who my family barely tolerated. I hated college while everyone else reveled in it. My friends attended loud parties and I loved quiet heart-talks on the seashore.

As a young wife, I aimed at being the best homemaker on Earth while other wives returned to college and got jobs. I wanted to spend time with my young, blonde daughter while my friends schemed each week to get babysitters. I read dusty old books and Gladys Taber, (who nobody had heard of) and I watched the tv shows no one else could stand. I spent hours in the kitchen and at the sewing machine while everyone else went out and bought ready-made.

I'm skipping a lot of other examples, but well, you get the idea, I'm sure.

I say this went on till I was 41 because it was then that I went online. And finally--finally!-- I found all those people I'd imagined in my head since I was a child. Finally I discovered that yes! There are other people out there who love best what I do. 

And finally I stopped feeling so odd.

But you know? I'm grateful for those decades of left-out feelings. Something happens when you must stand alone--you're forced to make decisions. Either you give-up who you are or you become strongly, you. 

And God can use people who have grown-up feeling alone, weird.  Sure it's nice having others help us stand, yet on that Very Last Day, each of us will stand alone before God. 

Perhaps then we'll find that, He was preparing us for that very day--and we knew it not.



******

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hooray! No More Vacation


Finally, after two weeks, Tom is flying home today from his business trip.

Never before have I spent two weeks home alone. It was the best of times. It was the not-so-best of times.

I'd awaken, smiling and wondering, "Where shall I go today?" I'd take my time getting dressed and ready and then drive to the cute little shops I'd not visited since autumn leaves still hung in trees. I'd play European Lady and go shopping for only enough food for that one day and later I'd watch sweet, mushy movies, fast-forwarding (with my very own remote) through any dialogue which, I felt, slowed the movie down--all the while sitting in the most comfortable chair in the house, normally reserved for Tom.

I got up when I wanted, went to bed when I wanted, puttered, dreamed on the front porch in the sun and tried never to make dinner.

It was terrific. For about a week.

There's something that begins to creep in when you always get to do whatever you want. It's a little like selfishness, spoiledness and unappreciation all mixed together. You begin to take things for granted because, suddenly, there's nothing negative vying for your time, making easy times, sweeter.  It's like Spring arrived but you didn't really notice or care because you didn't have a real Winter this year--just strings of warm, sunny days.

It's like too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.  And well, I already knew that, but it was good to be reminded. 

It's good to remember that if we only had good times, they would, after awhile, plateau into a boring kind of goodness. If we always got our way, we'd soon get bored and start demanding bigger and better times to top what we'd grown bored with.

Or something like that.

All I'm really saying is that I'm glad Tom--and normalcy--are returning home today. And thank-goodness for them both.



******

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

To Complain or To Create? That Is The Question




This past week (as Tom has been away) I've considered driving to Barnes and Noble, but have I gotten there? No. 

Why? Because it comes to me that I have my own Barnes and Noble right here in my house. I mean, oh! The books not read here, the classical music, comfortable chairs and the scent of coffee brewing everywhere. 

What more do I need?

There is a Starbucks near our Barnes and Noble which, years ago, I visited a few times. I'd sit there with a book, but actually, I studied that room. I made mental notes of all the colorful details and why they made me feel warm and happy. 

I took notes: How could I make my home feel like this?

Do you ever do that? I recall being 12 and looking at the luxurious, damask and chandelier-topped rooms in the 1971 issues of Better Homes and Gardens, then jumping up off my bed and rearranging my whole bedroom. I'd place my furniture at the same magazine-room angles then throw my rugs around in the same slap-dash style. Looked not the least bit similar as the magazine--but hey, my heart felt happier.

I didn't see it then, but what I was really going after was a certain feeling.

I often remind myself (firmly) that I can either create or complain, but I cannot do both simultaneously. "Just create, Debra,"I tell myself. "Skip the complaining and just create."

Anything which makes me feel like that creative 12 year old girl is all right to me.  πŸ˜ƒ




***

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter


Happy Easter to all my readers!

Want to know which song I will be humming all day long? Click here.

And peace be unto you and your family...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Love In The Night Watches




"I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches." Psalm 63:6


***

Saija brought up the night watches first. This is one of my favorite subjects.

There are many reasons we awaken at night, the reasons would make a book.

I believe sometimes it's God who awakens us and when we cannot return to our dreams we recall, "Oh yes! Perhaps God wants me to pray for someone." Then upon our pillow we pray until we sleep again, often awaking in the morning without even remembering those prayers.

And that's a Good Thing, even a God Thing.

Other times we awaken because God wishes to teach us something since He was unable to slow us down in our awake hours. Those were fast-paced and filled with the noise of tv, computers, people, traffic, errands --so our bed at 3 a.m. becomes the Quiet Place we missed and now, finally, He can whisper what we need to hear. 

And that, too, is a Good Thing, a God Thing.

But another Time, another Reason, the one I love best is this. It's when you awaken, in the silence, sometimes with moonlight warm upon your face, and you open your eyes wide because you sense Jesus is there again, sitting upon the edge of your bed. Smiling down upon you, He's taking a night watch and you're the one He's watching. 

Tonight it's your turn to know He is that close.

And you smile in the silver light and tell Him, "I wish I could see you." To which He replies, "Why do you need to see me if you know that I am here?"

And the room, even the corners, become full of His love, so much so, that you feel it heavy, like your grandma's old quilt upon you. So warm, tears drip from your eyes, happy ones whisking you away to dreams and morning light and a knowing smile when you awaken--

--and a sense of His presence all day long. All because of love in the night watches. All because of Him.


******

Fame




If you remember the tv series, Fame, give yourself 50 bonus points. 

Oh my, Fame was so removed from my own life as a 23-year-old wife and mother back there in 1982, but still, you'd always find me sitting on the couch, all avid and rabid, in front of the tv each Thursday night for Fame. 

I loved that show--its characters, especially, and the singing, dancing and plot lines, too. Everything.

Fame's School of Performing Arts' teachings hit squarely on my own ambitions. In high school, I'd been a gold medal gymnast (tiny, school--do not be impressed), so the dancing fascinated me. And I'd been known for my poetry,too, so during Fame when they'd talk about never giving-up and doing whatever work necessary to achieve your dreams, I was so there. I'd envision myself as the next Emily Dickinson, though of course, hoping my own drawer of a thousand poems would be discovered and appreciated before I died, not after. γ‚·

Every much-anticipated episode, Fame fed my ambitions, causing them, sadly, to grow too big to fit inside my little house. So, well, I mostly became dissatisfied and frustrated with my perfectly-fine-God-given lot in life.

But it wasn't Fame's fault. Those kids were doing what they were called to do--and they knew it. And in my tiny home, I was doing what I was called to do, yet I didn't know it. At least, not for absolute certain--it was a come-and-go, wispy kind of feeling.

Way back during those years I still believed that fame, (the thing, not the show), was something that could fix the wrong and missing parts  inside of me. I thought if everyone knew my name and appreciated me and my talents, well, that would made me truly happy.

Wrong. At least, wrong for me.

Later, in my mid-thirties I finally had the 'fame' and appreciation I'd craved years before, but oh-so-fortunately, it came after something new happened between God and me. It came after friendship with God and paled by comparison. 

Also by this time, I didn't want to be or do anything apart from Him.  The credit, the appreciation would always belong to Him because every idea and word and ounce of strength came from Him to enable me to do anything of lasting value.

In finding closeness to God, I finally found my 'fame.' And it was enough--and will always be.


*********

Oh and Fame (the series) finally came out on dvd. I was scared, though, to buy this series, since I'm such a different woman now than that earlier one. Would I still love the series?

Oh yes. The love is still there.

But really, Fame is like watching tv from a different planet. Fame still makes me laugh, dream and remember what being young felt like it was like being young, just beginning adulthood. And it still greatly inspires and motivates me, only in different ways. 

It's as though I'm watching Fame through totally new blue eyes. And actually, I am.


******


To read more about Fame, click here. Scroll down.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17


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Monday, April 10, 2006

When You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do




I like positive people. I need positive people and I wish I knew more of them.

Oh my. Give me more people who collect Touched By An Angel dvd's and who'd rather treasure what that series did, rather than tear and pick it apart for what it didn't say or do.

Give me friends who can, in a flash, list ten things they love about their spouse, instead of the things they hate.

Give me people who have problems, but still have godly, supernatural joy and those who don't dread cloudy days or Mondays or April 15th.

Or give me people who have the wisdom of an adult, but the faith of a child and those who say they're Christians and who, much of the time, react like Jesus might.

Well, you get the idea.

Sometimes you have to fight to stay above your problems, not under, defeated and kicked in the head by them.Other times you have to release the pestering, negative influences in your life, whether they're newspapers, a tv shows, or even friends.

Sometimes you have to fight to stay positive, even if that means you are misunderstood by people dear to you or struggle to stay up so that you're able to help friends who are down.

It takes a fighter to keep one's joy and thus remain strong. May we learn about the joy fight and may we win.


******


"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life..." 1 Timothy 6:12

"...for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold..." Nehemiah 8:10


******

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Speaking of Movies...




Tom's away on a business trip so I'm foot-loose and fancy-free (as they say). 

It's fun being temporarily alone--I admit it. Getting up whenever I want and taking the car whenever and driving to cute shops I've not visited in eons and idly browsing there. Or taking-in a matinee without having to let anyone know or leave a note on the kitchen counter and not having to make dinner (and isn't that the best part?).

So anyway, this morning I got up before the sun did, made my pretend coffee, turned on the little heater in our Cozy Room and popped in a video which I found on the dusty Family Shelf yesterday at our local video store. I sat in Tom's recliner (another plus of these days alone--his chair is much more comfortable than mine), and I watched Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Paris, an older (1992) movie with Angela Lansbury.

Oh my. Now, my men readers might not like this one (unless you appreciate Miss Lansbury), but I majorly recommend this film. It reminds you that one person can make a huge difference in other people's lives and you feel like jumping up, racing outside and being kind to everyone you meet. Classic Angela Lansbury--I watched the whole last half with a lump in my throat. Two thumbs up!

And speaking of movies, I've updated my movie list here at my blog, the one I throw at share with anyone who says, "They just don't make good movies anymore." Okay, they might not make as many good movies anymore, but they do still make some good ones. 

Yes, they do.

So if you'd like to see a list of the movies I've enjoyed the last, oh, 14 years or so, please check out my list here

 These are the movies I can recommend with a clear conscience (especially if you own a tv guardian in some cases), but I'll warn you-- it will be obvious by some of the titles that I am often easily entertained. 

The starred titles on my list are the movies I have loved most--try not to laugh too hard at some of my choices!


******

Are there any movies not already on my list which you would recommend, ones made after 1992?


******

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fall In Love With The Gardener




I've discovered the secret to not dreading, despising the times of great pruning in our lives:

Fall in love with the Gardener.

When you love the Gardener, you won't scream when He steps through the tall weeds toward you with those huge hedge clippers.

Nor will you pull up your shallow roots and run, crying, toward a hiding place, hair caught in the brambles. You won't cower there and tell Him, "______ needs to be pruned--not me! He's the one with the problem."

Nor will you squeal, "Noooo! Don't prune that away. I adore that part of me. It's who I am, right?"

Fall in love with the Gardener and you'll have passion in the middle of the prunings, love in the middle of the surgeries, a shoulder to cry on when the pruning becomes humiliating, a heart to grow close to while parts of you are dying.

You'll prefer this Gardener, this Friend, who sticks closer than a brother (who gets busy or leaves). You'll have an encourager who is never out to lunch.

You'll have a God who comes down to your ever-changing, blossoming garden to walk with you in the cool of the evening.

And there is nothing, no one better than that.


******

"Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit." John 15:2

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

That Awful Woman(?)



I'm no fool. I know lots of women hate/abhor/distrust that Proverbs 31 gal. You know, the smug lady also known as The Virtuous Woman. 

I wish that for every scathing article about her I've read, a dollar would suddenly appear in my hand. I'd be rich. 

But personally, I don't understand where all that hatred is coming from. I mean, how can you hate any scriptures which give you permission to SHOP?:

"She selects wool and flax ...
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar...
She considers a field and buys it. She sees that her trading is profitable...
All of her family are clothed in scarlet...
She is clothed in fine linen and purple..."


You gotta love those shopping verses, don't you? Especially that part about her bringing her food from afar--if that isn't permission to order new-to-you, exotic foods from other countries online, well, I don't know what is!  γ‚·

When it comes to this Proverbs 31 Woman, can't we lighten up? Can't we just use her example as something to aim for? (And no, not with a gun. Heh.). But instead, can't we take a verse like this one,

" She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks."


--and simply let it motivate us to get escape our funk (or off the recliner) and have a better attitude about our work? Can we let it inspire us to work-out, exercise, and become strong so we're not always throwing-out our back?

And could we possibly let this next verse help us keep a sensitive, giving heart?:

"She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy."


Can't these verses simply bring some balance? 

Personally, I love being challenged.
I appreciate a hard-hitting sermon, rather than a "just-keep-doing-what-you're-doing" one.
I long to be inspired to do and be something greater.


And if you've read this far, I believe you want something higher to aim for, too.

Good for you. You are a Virtuous Woman (or a Virtuous Man) in-training. Keep up the good work. 

Already you may be an inspiration to many people, whether you've seen them watching you, or not.


******



Be sure to check out SarahLynn's post about the Proverbs 31 Woman in her bedroom. I was absolutely inspired by all her words and pictures!


******

Saving Time




Well, I wrote about saving money, so now here's a post about saving Time. 

Years past, I was a Saving Time Artist, in fact, I used to tell everyone, "I am the only non-busy person you know." I've loosened up a bit now, yet still, I cannot stand hurry-hurry. Where's the time to smell the roses?

Some of these are more time-saving concepts than tips, and too, I'll be skipping some of the obvious hints you've read a zillion times before.

1. Whenever possible, I practice the All At One Time principle:
I create my own baking mixes All At One Time so that I'm not having to drag out the flour, sugar, spices, baking supplies, etc., all over again and then store them away again.
The same goes for the vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, laundry (wash a large load, not 3 small ones), etc. I do each task All At One Time, until it is finished.

2. We video tape many of our favorite tv shows and watch them later. This way we save lots of time by fast-forwarding through all the commercials. When we do watch shows 'live,' I jump up during commercials (sometimes, not always) and do little tasks around the house-- rather like playing, Beat The Clock. Fun, and it's amazing how much you can accomplish during one hour-long show.

3. I buy postage stamps online. I love not having to stand in line at the post office or supermarket.

4. I buy many gifts online, ones for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc. Also packages of greeting cards. This saves hours(!) and gas money and my patience (nerves), also.

5. I immediately throw away junk mail when it arrives, rather than letting it stack up and having to sit down later and wade through a big mess.

6. In the rooms where I spend most of my time, I keep a tablet and a pen so to list any tasks which come to mind, rather than walk around later asking myself, "Now, what was I supposed to work on in here?" 

7. On our refrigerator I keep a list so Tom and I can jot down the items we've run out of. Then I just whisk away this list with me when I drive to the supermarket.

8. I remind myself that the less I own, the less time I'll have to spend caring for it.

9. And basically, I'm learning that Wisdom always has a better way. It just remains up to me to choose whether to listen to Wisdom or to my own bright ideas (which never end up being very bright at all).


******


What are your favorite ways of saving Time?


******

Monday, April 03, 2006

Of Empty Nests




A new online friend of mine asked me last night about this empty nest thing. I thought I'd answer her here instead of in an email.

The empty nest, for me, has been incredible. Fun. A starting-over place. A time-to-make-my-dreams-come-true place.

But oh my! The hard, awful, painful parts were the prior years to the empty nest. The releasing of Naomi. The Really Letting Go, not the saying (lying) that I had and yet still aching inside at just the thought she'd someday be gone and my major days of motherhood would be no more.

That was tough.

But because God is so good, He walked me through those years, letting me take baby steps, not laughing at me when I fell at first. No, He'd just pull me up and remind me that motherhood, mostly, is His transient gift.  Those I'm-your-mother-let-me-help-you years are here for just a season. 

Yet after the flying away? There does exist amazing seasons.

That has been the biggest surprise.

After one year of an empty nest, this feels good, this life on the other side of a child at home. Over here, I glimpse delights I never saw on that other side.

I see the possibility of--

--doing what I have always wanted to do. 
--making old dreams come true and creating new ones and helping people along the way. 
--playing and puttering and dancing and making something only I could dream-up. 
--even cutting out paper dolls if I want to, realizing I don't need a child in the house as an excuse.

Of acting as young as I feel, instead of too often acting like somebody's mother.

Oh my. Lately I've felt more like the teenager I once was, well, the one from my non-moody happiest days. I've become reacquainted with the girl who peered into the future, saw possibilities of the dreamy, endless variety and believed she'd be able to conquer anything which got in her way.

But now I have a husband! And that's super cool, indeed. Fun. Adventurous.

And too, now I have some wisdom--thank-goodness. And hopefully wisdom will guide me to the places God means for me to be. Those places? I know they'll be good and right because He is good and right--even over here in the empty nest. 


******

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Coming Closer


"It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is most certainly as full as he wants to be."

A.W. Tozer said that and many people might think they disagree. But not me. I've found it to be true.

Certain people will dogmatically tell you that few people were meant to have close relationships with God, but as for the masses (i.e. the rest of us poor shmucks), we're just supposed to muddle along in unfulfilled longing and acceptance of being at-arm's-length unchosen ones. (I even read that in a blog yesterday, though not in those words. But awfully close, though.)

Hogwash! All of it. I mean, ok. Maybe there will never be another Abraham or Moses or David and yet there will never be another me--or you--either. And today, as Tozer said, I am as close to God as I have determined in my heart to be. My walk with Him is not the same as anyone else's, but it's as amazing and fulfilling only to the point that I've opened my heart and laid down my earthly life so that God could give me something better. Namely, Himself.

And I guess what I'm really saying to you is this: Never, ever let anyone's sad, disappointing experience with God become your standard for belief. 

Never let another person's excuses discourage you from believing that, with God, there is always something more. Because there always is more. He is endless, after all.

And never let another person's lack of hunger for more of God dictate your own level of hunger. It is hungry hearts which are filled. It is the dry, parched throat which needs water most.

And should you have lost that hunger to know God better, or perhaps never known it at all, just ask God for it. Keep on asking until it becomes yours. Because even the hunger to know God comes from Him--it takes God to know God. 

He's blessed, not offended, to be asked for the longing for a closer friendship with Him. From beginning to end, it's all of Him.


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"To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love, scorned by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart. " ... A. W. Tozer

"...Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons..." ... Acts 10:34



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