Friendships and Tea Sets

True friends are such a blessing! I wanted to share this sweet post to remind us to count the blessing of friendship every day.

Proverbs 18:24 “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

The Chicken Grandma

Well-Loved Tea Set.JPG

For some reason tonight I am struggling to organize my thoughts.  I keep rearranging them and sorting them out in my mind while I try to get them typed into this post. Perhaps it is because the day was full.  It was full of laughter, joy, sharing and love. The day has left so may thoughts swirling through my brain that it is difficult to know where to start and where to end.

It was a great day spent with two close friends. I have known who these two women are; for probably 16 years.  It is only the last few years that I have really come to know these two women. We met at a Christian retreat and have met at that same retreat for many years.

When you have shared life stories, shared tears and shared laughter you realize what a gift friendship and relationship can be. These…

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Video

Beautiful Thing

This song captured my heart.  It’s just so adorable that I can’t help but smile.

It is written by a young girl named Grace VanderWaal, who performed it on the America’s Got Talent TV show this week.

I hope it brightens your day as much as it does mine.

~~~~~~~

“Beautiful Thing”

by Grace VanderWaal

You think that you know my heart,
And you probably do.
So I’m always with you.
I could stay with you for hours
In an empty room.
Never get bored.
Never have nothing to do.
You’re my other half.
You’re what makes me, me.
What makes me smile
When I fall down and can’t get back, get back, get back up
On my feet.
You’re a beautiful thing.
We’re a beautiful thing together.
Even when the weather is low…
You’re a beautiful thing.
We’re a beautiful thing together.
Even when the weather is low,
We can find the rainbow
Up in the sky.
You’d say, “Don’t you cry. It’s all gonna be alright.”
That’s a beautiful thing.
Make hours into seconds together,
The weight of the world feel like a feather
Cause we’re holding it right in our hands.
You’re my other half.
What makes me, me.
What makes me smile
When I fall down and need to get back up on my feet.
You’re a beautiful thing.
We’re a beautiful thing together.
Even when the weather is low,
We can find the rainbow
Up in the sky.
You’d say “Don’t you cry. It’s all gonna be alright.
No, it’s all gonna be alright.”
That’s a beautiful thing.

Life Lessons from Carrots

After gathering carrots from the garden one rainy August day, I placed them under cool running water in the kitchen sink and began to scrub them clean with my old, stiff veggie brush.  A thought occurred to me in that moment…

Have you ever paid attention to how all the carrots in the grocery store look so long, straight, and perfect?  That’s not the way they all look when they are harvested.

carrots of different sizes and shapes in a stainless steel colander

When I pull them up in my garden, they all look unique:  different sizes, different shapes, different colors.

I’m sure this happens with part of the carrots in commercial farms.  We just never see the unusual ones because, even though they taste exactly the same, the imperfectly-shaped carrots are rejected from grocery shipments and are ground into pet foods or used for other purposes.  Either that, or they are trimmed into matching shapes and sizes to be sold as “baby-cut carrots.”

I realized then that the uniqueness of carrots could be applied to people, as well.

orange carrot split into two roots

Society may use advertising and peer pressure to try to convince us to strive for a certain ideal in our appearance or lifestyle — to fit the mold of what is considered “normal” or “perfect.” Yet, the reality is that we are all unique in our appearance, physically and socially.

Unlike the misshapen carrots, we must never reject people that don’t fit our ideal of physical or social perfection; and we must never try to force them into matching our personal standards.

If we do not all look like Ken and Barbie dolls with the perfect figure and features, perfect skin and hair, perfect height and weight, perfect speech and mannerisms, perfect wealth and status, it doesn’t matter because the reality is that on the inside

long fat orange carrot beside three tiny carrots

we all taste the same.

Oh, wait…maybe I’m mixing my metaphors…but you get the point, right?

pale yellow carrot split into five roots

One of the scribes … asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus answered, The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.

~Mark 12:28-31

Do you see what I mean?  The scripture says “love your neighbor as yourself,” not “make your neighbor into yourself.”

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!  Now get out there and show some love!

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

Let brotherly love continue.

~Hebrews 13:1

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

~1 John 3:18

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one who loves is born of God, and knows God.

~1 John 4:7

Moments of Joy: July 2016

In last month’s post, I mentioned the pleasure gained from having a simple family vacation and then coming back home to sleep blissfully in my own bed.  In today’s story — oh, baby! — how I’m reminded that pure love comes in small, sweet packages!

collage of adorable baby girl from birth to four months old

A vehicle pulls up to our house, and I look out the window in surprise.  I step outside with my daughter and call toward the driveway, “Hi!  I didn’t know you were going to come in your police car!”

My friend steps out of the car in full uniform and returns my greeting as he reaches into the back seat.

“Oh, no,” I add, “my neighbor is home.  He’s really going to give me a hard time for seeing your car at my house!  He teases me all the time.”

Pulling a baby carrier out of the seat, my friend stands up and faces me.  “What does he tease you about?”

“Everything!  He has quite a sense of humor!”

The words barely escape my lips before I hear a loud voice behind me slowly calling,  “Haaa!  Haaa!!  Haaa!!  HAAAAH!!!”

I shake my head and look over my shoulder as Mr. Ferguson‘s screen door clicks closed across the street.  My friend and I look at each other with raised eyebrows and burst out laughing before heading into the house.

The cool air conditioning feels refreshing compared to the midday sun outside.  “You can set her carrier on the couch for now, if you want,” I suggest as we cross through the kitchen and into the living room.

As he places the car seat carrier onto the sofa lounger, my daughter and I eagerly crane our necks to peek inside.  The beautiful blue eyes of his four-month-old baby girl look back at us, blinking sleepily.

I, of course, comment on how adorable she is and then begin to chat about her with my daughter.  Suddenly, I realize that my officer friend has grown silent and still.  I look up to see him staring at his tiny girl with a serious expression on his face.

“This is so hard,” he states aloud while continuing to stare at the precious bundle cradled in the car seat.

After a fleeting moment of contemplation, I ask in a surprised voice, “Is this the first time you’ve left her with a babysitter?”

“Yes.”

“Not even family?!”

“No,” he answers, briefly glancing my way before continuing to gaze at his daughter.  (He later explains that they had left her in relatives’ care before, but “not for long” and “we were never more than a block away.”)

I gape at him incredulously.  “Wow, I’m honored! I’m really honored that you trust us to watch her!”

After several cuddles and kisses with his baby daughter, my friend reluctantly leaves to attend a special police training drill for the afternoon.

My daughter and I thoroughly enjoy an hour of entertainment with the now-alert infant.  We watch her explore her wiggly toes, work her gums over on her teething toy, and react to the silly faces we make at her.  She practices her new-found skill of rolling onto her stomach, but becomes more fussy each time she is unable to roll back.  It’s easy to see that nap time is overdue.

Rocking in the recliner fails to lull her to sleep, so my daughter hands her to me to try a different method.  I hold the tired babe against my shoulder as I walk around the room, patting her rhythmically on the back as I had seen her mother do during past visits to our house.

She is such pleasant and quiet girl.  Even her loudest cries seem to be half the volume of most babies I’ve encountered.  Her protests dwindle as I stand near the living room window gently swaying back and forth.  Her sweet smell and warm snuggles send memories flooding back to my mind — memories of dancing my daughter around her room each night while singing “Jesus Loves Me” into her tiny ear.

That bedtime ritual was especially loved by my daughter.  As she got older, she would sometimes ask me to sing to her “like you did when I was little.”  The last few times, she was so tall that her feet nearly dragged the floor when I held her.

I am stirred out of my reverie when I notice a small forehead tapping on my shoulder.  Our young guest is finally losing the fight to stay awake and can successfully be transferred back to my daughter’s arms in the recliner.

My tall teen smiles in pure contentment while studying the sleeping baby on her shoulder, and I get a glimpse of what the future may hold for her in a few short years.  How amazing…where has the time gone?  My heart swells with feelings of love and peace, and perhaps a twinge of nostalgia, too.

Link

Links to Joy: Mourning

Yes, I know, that’s a strange title for a blog post.  It is an oxymoron that has been on my mind of late, as I have attended several funerals recently with family and friends.

King Solomon stated in the book of Ecclesiastes that “it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting…”  But how could that be possible?  Who wants to sit around and pout when they could party, instead?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of loved ones who have passed away and about friends who have moved out of state that I no longer get to see frequently.  Sadness and mourning fill my heart at these times, so how could that make me happy?

Look at the rest of the scripture to understand the answer:

SCRIPTURE -- Ecclesiastes 7:2 written on the photo of a teary eye

It’s easy to float through life when things are going smoothly or when you are busy with schedules and/or physical possessions.  Loss and tragedy can make you pause long enough to re-evaluate your life.

Sitting in the crowd during a funeral service, it’s hard not to think that some day I will be the one lying in the box.  It helps me think about and take stock of my life:

  • Why am I here?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • What have I contributed to this world that’s of any value?
  • How many days to I have left on this earth, and am I using them well?

Such sobering thoughts help me organize my priorities and live more conscientiously. This pause for thoughtful self-evaluation is how mourning can lead to a joyous lifestyle and help you develop a meaningful, peaceful life.

When I slow down to examine my life and look around this world, I see the patterns, the complexity, the balance…I see the hand of the Creator.

When I seek His truths in His Word, I find a pattern of living based on relationships, love, and unselfishness.  Walking in His footsteps, I make choices that lead my life down a wonderful path which grows brighter every day.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

~Matthew 5:4

 

One last thought: “We’re all in this together,” as they say, so I encourage you today to pay extra attention to those around you and support them.  Whether you feel like laughing or crying at the moment, “this, too, shall pass;” and like it or not, we need each other.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

~Romans 12:15

Love and the Cabbie

In college, when my professors were training the Special Education majors to one day become teachers themselves, they called this idea “Catch them being good.”

They talked about how a young child (or anyone, really) becomes what they are labeled and what they focus on. They said things like:

  • Don’t call a student shy; praise them when they speak up.
  • Don’t say “You are bad at math;” praise them in detail about why they got a certain problem right.
  • Don’t harshly tell a student to sit still and be quiet; calmly redirect the student who is distracting the class and quietly praise him when he is behaving well.

This idea of sincere positive praise seems to work in a multitude of situations — even with my hubby!  Shhhh!  😉

Ofthestory

healing_power_of_words

‘I was in New York the other day and rode with a friend in a taxi. When we got out, my friend said to the driver, “Thank you for the ride. You did a superb job of driving.”

The Taxi driver was stunned for a second. Then he said, “Are you a wise guy or something?”

“No, my dear man, and I’m not putting you on. I admire the way you keep cool in heavy traffic.”

“Yeah,” the driver said and drove off.

“What was that all about?” I asked.

“I am trying to bring love back to New York,” he said. “I believe it’s the only thing that can save the city.”

“How can one man save New York?”

“It’s not only one man. I believe I have made that taxi driver’s day. Suppose he has 20 fares. He’s going to be nice to those 20 fares because someone…

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Visiting Your Parents

This post impacted me today because I struggle with this one myself.

The business of life has overwhelmed me. I spend day after day frustrated that things always seem to get in the way of me visiting my parents and contacting my friends. It’s time for me to reevaluate and make my actions line up better with my priorities.

When you’re trying to juggle all the parts of life, it’s okay to let some of the less-important parts drop to the floor. I try to do my best on keeping God and relationships first in my life, but I think I am failing in certain respects.

Life flies so quickly…put your loved-ones first. Someday I will be the lonely parent, and what am I teaching my daughter?

Life - Happiness & Joy

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LOVE YOUR PARENTS.  We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old.  (your daily love emotions on 16 quotes.com)

I remember when my husband and I left Arizona and moved back to Arkansas –  we did not drive the 20 miles to his parents house to visit often enough.  I loved my husband’s parents like they were my own. Jobs, raising kids, and other activities seemed to consume our time.  Both my husband and I regret to this day that we did not spend more time with his parents.  Suddenly, my husband’s parents were old, they became sick, and they left this world.  You think back and you wonder why you did not give 2 older, lonely people more of your time. They often told us when we did go for a visit that we did not stop by enough. What is life about, if…

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