Thursday, June 11, 2015

a gift of living, trusting, joyful {grace}


{grace}



Have you ever thought that you've learned 
quite a bit about something
only to discover that you really don't know so much at all?

I thought I had learned a few things about grace.
Undeserved favor.
Unmerited.
A gift.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found.
Was blind but now I see.
Grace.
The kind you ask for, 
search for or at least put your heart or hands out for.

Last week, in the middle of the night 
I found myself sitting in an emergency room
 in great pain with many unanswered questions.
The diagnosis was undetermined.
The cause of the problem was a mystery.
The cat scan showed cause for very real concern.
My husband sat exhausted in the corner 
slumped over in a chair.
As I returned to the room from my second cat scan 
I could hear whispers "How serious is it, Doctor?"
Worry. Fear. Concern.

I felt cushioned, insulated from fears and worry.grace

As the team of medical staff looked over lab results 
and discussed my prognosis I sat quietly, peaceful. grace
I usually pray about things. Everything and often.
I am a mom. I am a wife. I am human and in this world
there are always things to talk to God about.
But I didn't even do that.  I just sat. Peaceful.grace
I thought "I'm ready.  I'm ready to go"
But I have children, children that aren't grown yet.
And my husband... he'd have to find a new wife. 
Ugh. So much hassle.  ;)
So a thought slipped into my mind with such ease 
like oxygen enters the lungs while in a deep sleep.
Effortlessly the thought came as I looked at my tired husband
"I don't have dying grace.  I have living grace."grace
At first it was a silent thought that entered quietly and gently
into the corridors of my mind.  
Then deciding that the thought deserved merit
I contemplated it a moment then gave it a soft megaphone.
"I don't have dying grace.  I have living grace."
And I repeated it again for three reasons.
I needed to hear what I just said.
I wanted my husband to hear again what I just said and
it carried the watermark of hope, wisdom, 
comfort and peace that surpassed mine.


 (sending a text to a group of men who pray)

Several years ago my mother's health declined.
It was a time filled with challenges of all kinds.
There were days and moments filled with hope and determination
and days sprinkled with questions, disappointments and grief.

One perfect spring afternoon, the kind you'd see on a cartoon or Sesame Street, brilliant blue with white puffy clouds
Mom took flight into eternity.
I got to be by her side when she departed her shell of a body 
and flew with a circle of birds upward.
I saw grace.
Grace to go.
Dying grace.
And also helped an aunt take Grandma a few years ago 
across a cold windy parking lot from her nursing home
 to a dr. appointment to check on her lungs.
They suspected pneumonia. 
As they tried to take her blood pressure on her frail little arm
the nurse could see that bone and skin alone 
couldn't give a proper reading.
So the nurse paused and removed the cuff and then listened to her lungs and heart.
She sweetly looked up at my aunt and then she was gone.
She told me weeks before that she wanted to go home.
She had grace to go.
As I sat in the ER another thought:
And an image of a little girl clinging to a huge iron anchor.
Trusting. Resting. Waiting. Clinging. Joyful.
Yes, joy.grace
My husband says it was the pain management but I know better.
I was so darn funny! I was cracking one liners all night/morning!
After seeing the second cat scan the doctor 
asked in a concerned tone
"Tell me, where is your greatest pain?"
Swiftly answering with mouth off to the side 
and one eyebrow raised I said quite matter of fact 
"In the black shirt, sitting over there in the corner." 


After deciding to admit me into the hospital 
but to transfer me to the main campus
an ambulance service was called for transport.
When they arrived I walked out of the ER 
and asked them if I could drive.


(post limo, pre arrival into 'med spa' suite)

When we arrived at the hospital and was being taken to my room
I was asked if I preferred
to be carried into the room or if I wanted to walk.
I said I could walk and as I got up to walk added
"Thanks for the limo ride guys!  
I'd tip ya but I left my purse at home!"
I called the hospital my med spa.



(room service, really?)

Room service?  They actually call it ROOM SERVICE!
Of course, I wasn't hungry but I had to eat something
so I could take my meds so I had a salmon fillet
and it was perfect.


Seriously, things have changed since I had my last baby!
A menu?  Spa-cation.
  No cooking or cleaning, no dog hair or dogs barking, ahhh...


At last all tucked in and ready to go to sleep at 5:40am.
Well, that's what I thought...
Wait.  I'm in a hospital.
Time to take your vitals.
Hi we're from lab and we've come to take a gallon of blood.
Time to take your vitals.
Hi, we're from lab and we've come for another gallon.
Time to take your vitals.
Hi.  I'm your surgeon...
Hi.  I'm your surgeon's resident...
Time for vitals...

I asked if there was anyway I could sleep just a bit
since I had no sleep Sunday night.
The nurse compassionately smiled and said I'll be right back.
When she returned she carried a little spa kit:
ear plugs and a room darkening mask and graciously stated 
"We will coordinate lab and vitals so you can rest this afternoon."
Grace.

I have tests and more tests this week and next.
I will be found clinging to the Anchor
with gratefulness for His gifts of grace.

Trust really is the opposite of fear.
The image of the anchor and the little girl 
was a picture of where I was at in my thoughts.
Trust brings peace providing space for being at rest
and having true joy, freedom from carrying a load of worry, fear...
"Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy loads
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke..."
He has us covered.
He truly has our back.

Living grace.
Healing grace.
I didn't ask.
I didn't fight for it.
I didn't even pray.
It was just there, a gift.
I guess that's what grace is.


Light shines brightest in darkness.


Have a grace filled day!

Deborah



Friday, April 3, 2015

a lamb and a lion


Today we remember the lamb.

The sacrifice. 
Pure.
Clean.
Willing, not forced.
Mocked, yet focused.
Accused, yet silent.
Finished.

Sunday morning, we celebrate the Lion.

Conqueror.
Overcoming One.
Triumphant.
King.


Happy Resurrection Weekend!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

plans {and an "I'm ok with it" a blurry destination}




planner.
strategic.
goal setter.
visionary.





Words that we use.

Highly effective people have these traits.

I love lists, planners, brainstorming sessions.

But sometimes, we just don't know.
We cannot see ahead no matter how hard we squint.
I love strength finders.
I took a test.
It told me that I am strategic,
that I love to learn, that I'm responsible,
that I love people and that I'm focused.  
We have a busy home.
And way too many pets!
A wise man recently told me recently that
our home has to resemble controlled chaos.
I completely agreed.
Charts and graphs, compasses and ledgers
help us to navigate but then something happens.
Changes, illness, loss, grief, the list can go on and on
{and I've been told that I can too}
these things are not planned.
Not in our control.
And I guess they are not supposed to be.
I asked for wisdom.
Help.
Guidance.
And I heard again, trust.
And I thought "again, Lord?"
"Yes, again."
And then a discovery:
I needed to trust because I had fear.
Just a little bitty one.
Couldn't be that debilitating, right?
I was wrong.
I don't know much about fishing 
but if you were going to catch a whale by mouth
you might just need a huge hook.
And if you want to catch a little fish you'd use a smaller hook.
Both are effective.
Both catch what the one holding the fishing pole are after, right?
I had a little remaining hook called fear.
And I didn't know it until it led me around like a fish
being drug to shore.
The discovery of the hook came by revelation of the truth.
I had to be open.
I had to become aware that something was off kilter
 and I had to cooperate with the Physician to remove it.
Actually He had me do it.  
He just showed me what to do.
Recognize the hook. {revelation}
Repent. {of fear resulting in a closed handed grip }
Renounce. {withdraw pattern of behavior}
And renew, refresh. {in the trustworthy Truth}
God is the engineer, He holds the compass and the charts.
He sees the 360* view, above and below and He can be trusted.
In all of my strategic planning and visionary ideas for days ahead
I had swallowed a hook of fear.

I used to think that faith and fear were opposites.
Not anymore.
Trust and fear seem more opposed.
I'm a word person so here's my out loud thinking:
{not all inclusive or conclusive}

faith: what you are believing determining 
who or what you believe
fear: having a frame of mind of not being sure and certain
of where to rest our worries, concerns so we carry them
around creating more heavy luggage in our minds and emotions

trust: the gift of grace, the choice and the determination 
of the will to place worries, cares, concerns, destiny, etc
into the hand of One much, much more capable than I
to navigate, direct, care for and reroute when best.

"All of our ambitions, hopes and plans.
I surrender these into your hands.
For it's only in your will that I am free..." 

Sounds like a great plan to me.

Deborah
{junque shed} & {the white chair}









Tuesday, December 9, 2014

simple {and yet veiled} treasure


I can hear treasure.
It is piping through speakers in malls.
Whispering in elevators in hotels.
Floating through airwaves in airports and shopping malls.

Can you hear it?

It's sound is soft and gentle and it's easiest to hear
when I slow down and listen.

It is an ocean of guidance, truth and wisdom.
Something much deeper than the 
tiny to scale performance platforms
and faux trappings of wealth, titles, 
position and power that so many of us reach for.

With it comes peace and joy.

Hope.

A gift
all wrapped up in the melody of a song.

Can you hear it?

Perhaps you live in a place that these songs are not common
but would like to hear them.
And even where it is common to play these songs
many do not hear. 
Sometimes I don't hear because my mind is full of movement.
Tasks. To do lists. Typical stuff.
Stuff.  Yes, holiday stuff.
Holiday stuffing is best for dinner
or as a verb, best for stockings.
So I have to intentionally slow down and be quiet so I can hear.

It sounds something like this:

"Joy to the world. The Lord is come.
 Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room...
He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove 
the glories of his righteousness and wonders of His love..."

And then: "Come and behold him
born the King of angels...
Glory to God in the highest...
Jesus to Thee be all glory given.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord."



May your Christmas be warmed
 by truly hearing the eternal truths in song 
throughout every road you travel!


deborah



Thursday, November 20, 2014

{thankfulness} under-armour cold gear, cold hands and candles


{intentional thankfulness}

I love this time of year.
{choice}
 Snow often appears literally overnight
blanketing everything with a peaceful white dusting
to welcome an expected and welcoming warm golden sunrise. 
The children are giddy with anticipation of snow activities.
Candles, fireplaces and little fairy lights become well used
to warm the evenings and light up dark corners
and the sounds of holiday music is heard throughout our home.
And outside gets all dressed up for winter, too.
We painted our whole kitchen in chalkboard
a few years ago and I use the walls quite often 
to write lists, verses to remember, thinking processes
or just funny things that the kids say.
This morning, the kids helped to make a list called
THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS
about winter.
The list is quite long I am happy to say.
Sledding, hot cocoa, our advent calendar, stockings, hunting,
hockey games, basketball, Christmas light drives,
snow, secret Santa, turkey with stuffing, 
Grandma's corn casserole (not mine. just grandma's)  
making deer and goose jerky with Dad, white lights,
candles, fireplace, baking, giving, Christmas music, 
family gatherings, pine trees, snow angels 
and building a snowman, hot cider, warm soup...

I realize that my attitude and outlook about the coming 
inevitable sub zero frigid temperatures
is as real as the choice that I have 
physically before me right now.
I am sitting in front of a window and can feel the warm sun 
on my face and at the same time my fingers are freezing.
We haven't turned on our furnace yet and there are areas in our home that are nice and cozy with a space heater.  
There are also areas that remind you to wear 
your slippers and long johns!
I recently read an article written by an adult 
reflecting upon memories from childhood about the heart
 of their mother when it would snow.
She would look out the window and smile.
This mother's attitude left quite a positive impression
on their, now adult, child.
"She smiles at the future..." Proverbs, The Bible

What a good thing to teach.
Smiling at the future.
Smiling in gratefulness out the window
 seeing with the eye what is, 
hoping in the heart for what is yet to be
Looking ahead, shunning worry and fear, 
while embracing hope, joy and peace.
There is a prerequisite I believe:
Trust.
That mother had to have trust in something much bigger 
that could go much farther than her physical eye could take her.
Faith, not sight.




'"In everything, give thanks."
"Really?" I would ask.
"Everything?" I asked in my mind as I would read that verse.
That sounded crazy.
Often impossible.
Ah.  Must be supernatural.


We may never understand the depth of the rewards
of being grateful.
It releases something within us and around us
that promotes joy, peace, contentment...

And just ask my family.
They will tell you I often fail in this, but I'm trying

Several years ago I wanted to fast,
to give up something that can get in the way
of physical, emotional and spiritual health.
As I was praying about what to give up: food, coffee, media, etc.
I had a thought.
"How about grumbling? Complaining? Discontentment?
Oh, don't get me wrong, it's not that I have
 a nature bent towards negativity.
It's just that I had a house full of busyness with normal 
loads and loads of laundry, lots of messes, chores,
an unemployed and thus unhappy husband, bills,
a dying mother and uncertainty all around me.
"Give thanks."
"Really?"
And a wise friend stated 
"Give thanks in every situation...
not for...
but in."
It is a truth that is simply profound.
I may never fully understand it
but I believe it.

Oh, and we finally broke down and turned on our furnace.
It was 9* the other night.
I'm grateful for heat...

Thanks for reading.
Have a thankful day!

deborah










Saturday, May 3, 2014

reduced to memory {on a stick}


{blogging, photograph files and a deadly yogurt drink}



What seems like a lifetime ago,
our youngest daughter was using my laptop
to play music so she and a friend could practice a routine.
Then came the news.
"Mom? Mom! I need a cleaning towel and the spray bleach!"
I thought it was just another spill 
or even a 'pet accident' on the carpet.
We had a houseful of company 
{I was distracted}
and so she went to work cleaning up unsaid mess...
After attempting to fix the mess of a thick gooey yogurt drink
that had emptied on the keyboard... 
we decided that we needed a professional goo remover
{the computer repair, tech guy}
Weeks later, after sending hundreds of my photos, 
blogging tool and etsy listing device,  I mean my computer
 off to the hospital or to that techy guy,
my husband walked in the front door with a little
stick.  I mean little.
That's it? Gone? ugh.

So I now have a new, yogurt free, photo storage device,
 blogging and etsy listing tool, I mean laptop!

The photo above of my father's white horse 
is just one that I transferred from my instagram {photo file tool}.
I'm thinking that I should get to work and put that print 
on canvas to list in my etsy boutique. I think it's beautiful.

Other scenes from Dad's farm:


{Lily and Jake}


{Jake, Chloe's favorite}


{My husband and our youngest son enjoying guns and nature}



{My desk, a salvage from Dad's shed}


{Dad}

See you next time!
Hopefully it won't be so long. ;]

Deborah





Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mud Pies and Tiaras


{my china cabinet}

Mud Pies and Tiaras

I have a good friend who said to me
"That picture.  That's it. that is who you are.
That is what to write about."

I love to tell stories,
not because I'm so important.
Or want to be narcissistic. 
But to be real and encourage others.

{To En Courage}

I'm fine tuning.
Waiting.
Learning.
Seeking.

We'll see.

Happy weekend!


Deborah





Saturday, July 13, 2013

a quote {in due season}

   
 I read a quote recently.


     

     

It was one of those "Yes, that's where I'm at summarized"
type of quotes that resonates with your thoughts and emotions 
and helps to reinforce, redirect and focus your will. 
 The words that you make into 
a wall hanging or make your screen saver.

  
{my newest screen saver}



There is always something or someone
telling me how to spend, yes spend time.
Time is a lot like money.
I can use it to invest wisely or I can waste.
I can spend it on me or I can give it away.
Depends on my priority grid, I guess.
I have heard "When are you gonna get a job?"
off and on for years from a couple of particular
well meaning individuals...
(may or may not be relatives)


I told my husband the other day that the next time
someone asks me that 
I think I may just punch them in the nose.
Hard.
But I really can't do that.
I have had carpel tunnel like symptoms in my wrist
and hand so I might hurt myself...   ')
(disclaimer: for those who may not know me... 
I'm, kind of, kidding)

We all decide in our own lives, what's important.
We establish priorities based on what we value.
No right or wrong here.
Just different.


I am really not an expert on anything in particular,
but I do love to learn and then live with intention.
I found a little piece of information and wrote it down
inside the cover of my planner/calendar years ago
that has served to be helpful.
It goes like this:

PRIORITY GRID
Establishing Priorities/ Family Values
1.  Am I passionate about this?
2.  Does it fit my/our values?
3.  How will this affect my marriage? my children?




Only I can answer that for me.
Only you can answer that for you.
I love that!
I also love that this grid simplifies and clarifies
values and priorities,
 eliminating the lethargy of indecision, confusion and chaos. 
Or at least gives a beginner's road map to help navigate
a more peaceful and orderly life. 

Have a great weekend.
deborah


  








Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thoughts, Oatmeal and Grandpa...

Oatmeal and Grandpa

I spent this morning catching up on housework
that got a bit out of control 
from taking an afternoon away to the lake.
(but so worth it!)
All the kids, plus four friends, 
are volunteering this week at a friend's church
to be group leaders at Vacation Bible School.
So after dropping off a truck load of smiling kids
(well, most of them...the ones with their eyes open anyway)
and husband to their designated places of responsibility,
I came back home and got to work.

After I finished the massive mountain of dishes
I decided to take a breakfast break.
(I'm not a breakfast person)
"What sounds good?" I wondered.
Oatmeal.
With strawberries.
And almonds.
And maybe even a banana.

I always think of Grandpa when I eat oatmeal.



{photo taken with my I pad... After breakfast, actually, just for the visual. 
Sorry, no banana. I ate the last one
and the peel in the trash can didn't seem to...photogenic}

As I sat and ate my breakfast my thoughts settled on Grandpa.
And I thought of all the times he would feed me and my two older sisters and younger brother on our way to school.
Oatmeal.
Malto-Meal.
Grandpa passed away two years ago.
Every one knew him a bit differently.
To four kids, he was Dad.
To Grandma he was Edward Charles, her husband of 70 + years.
To me, he was the one who called me Peanut
and gave me attention.
He gave me Oreos and black licorice, my buddy as a child.
Grandpa.
And just like any other friend and family gathering,
whether wedding or funeral, 
stories were shared at Grandpa's funeral.
and I looked down at my bowl of oatmeal.
The strawberries were quite ripe when I added them
to the mixture of fruit and almonds.  
They were almost bitter, sort of like dehydrated fruit might taste.
And I thought of some of the stories that I heard 
at Grandpa's funeral.
Nothing to horribly terrible.
Just a bit obnoxious and surprising, to say the least...



{Overly ripe, almost tart and bitter strawberries}

We all see what we want to see in certain situations.
I needed a hero.
I looked for it in Grandpa.
We all remember what we choose to remember.
And then my thought turned towards how 
God sees us.
And how He forgets when we ask His forgiveness.
In fact, there is a sea named after this.
It's called the Sea of Forgetfulness.
He even spans the horizon with 'remembering no more'
in a statement when He says he forgives
as far as the east if from the west.

Like the bitterness of the almost dehydrating strawberries
in my oatmeal,
so can all my failures, mistakes and disappointments
season my perspective of myself or those around me.

My phone is ringing!
Kids are out of VBS!

A reminder to: 
Believe the best.
Hope.
Forgive.
Seek forgiveness.
and Dream again.

deborah






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