Moments of Joy: November 2016

Last month, I described my favorite parts of fall party fun. Today’s story tells of another gathering of friends, this time away from home.

All-Region choir concert filing on stage

My best friend in the world is pregnant.  What a surprise for her and her family, as she and her husband assumed for years that they could not have children.  With her last few nauseous months, and my busy family’s schedule, I have hardly seen my friend this fall.  That changes today, however, because my daughter is participating in an All-Region choir concert near my friend’s house!

I leave the house with a smile on my face, eager to enjoy the afternoon with my buddy and the evening concert.  Forty-five minutes later, I pull into the Target parking lot, search briefly for my friend’s distinctive vehicle, and park near it.  We often meet here as it is on the edge of town, and she frequents the Starbucks coffee shop in the store.

Searching the coffee shop area, she is no where to be found.  A quick phone call later, and I meet her with a big hug in the Christmas decoration area.  We shop, we chat, we share thoughtful conversation that only best friends can, and before long it’s time for the concert.

We luckily find the venue without much trouble and find a parking space near the long line of school buses.  An image of my daughter’s face from this morning flashes into my mind, and I chuckle to myself. The least-favorite part of this day for my daughter was getting up at the crack of dawn to ride the very crowded bus to choir practice.  Overall, the experiences of the day definitely outweigh the inconveniences to her, and she loves the trip every year.  I’m proud that she is so successful each year in this chosen interest of hers (singing).  I’m also thrilled that from this year forward, the public school choir class is at 8 a.m., forcing us to get an early start on our homeschooling each day without any teen fussing about needing “five more minutes” to sleep!

My focus is brought back to the present, as we get out of the vehicle and follow the crowd inside.  This is the first time the All-Region concert has been held at this location, but we easily find our way around and luck into great seats on the third row.  At the last minute, family and friends file in and settle beside us.  I turn to check how my pregnant friend is faring, as evenings are usually her worst time of the day.  Luckily, it’s a good day for her today!

The lights dim and teens begin filing onto the stage.  My daughter is easy to spot in the crowd for a change, due to her burgundy and gold choir robe.  The girls’ typical black dresses weren’t ready in time for today, and this is the first time in all the years of singing that I’ve seen my daughter in a choir robe.  She wasn’t thrilled about it when she tried it on at home the day before, but we had some good laughs joking about how many of us could probably have climbed into the giant costume with her.

After a brief technical difficulty with the microphone (“What?” one person in the back yells, “We can’t hear you!”), the show is under way.  The singing is beautiful!  My daughter seems to do well on all the songs, even the new song they were required to learn earlier today in a different language.  A second choir files onto the stage after my daughter is finished.  One of their songs is an improvised piece, accompanied by bongos. It is interesting and lively, just like the comedic conductor. The final song of the night is a powerful spiritual that elicits booming cheers from the crowd and a couple of tears from my eyes.  What a great show!

It takes a while to reconnect with my daughter and gather our friends before we decide on the spur of the moment to have a late dinner together.  I’m thrilled that my pregnant friend even feels up to eating at this time of day — yay!  So, off we go, trying to follow each other across the busy town in the dark to the restaurant.  On the way, we get briefly separated in traffic and get a close-up view of a departing school bus swiping the side mirror off a small SUV.

Finally making it safely to the restaurant, we prepare to nosh on southern home cooking at Cracker Barrel.  We have a great time asking the waitresses to snap photos of all of us in front of the large, stone fireplace while we wait for the tasty “grub.”  Then we settle back in our chairs, and conversations fly back and forth across the table with lots of smiles and laughter.  My daughter tells the details of her day, with only one sad bit of news to report.  It’s sad to her, anyway…her teacher found it so easy to spot her students among the sea of black dresses and suits that she’s decided they will wear the giant burgundy robes again next year!

We eventually admit we all need to end the fun and head home for bed.  In the restaurant gift shop, we mill around and enjoy a few more minutes together while the tabs are being paid.  I notice a couple of people sneaking up to the register to purchase Christmas gifts after someone “Oooos” or “Aaaaahs” over an item in the store.  A few final hugs are exchanged and another blessed day draws to an end.

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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Moments of Joy: September 2016

In last month’s post, I showed you what kind of clothing is worn by large shade trees. (Yes, you read that correctly.) This month has been unusual and hectic.  Since two computers “died” on me this summer — the second one is currently off for repairs — I lost my list of fun memories I had collected for September.  Since it is late in the evening, and I’m just now realizing this is the end of the month (already?!), I’ll share with you the thing that gives me many happy moments every month…

SCRIPTURE -- 2 Samuel 22:2-4 written on a photo of mountains

There’s a song on my “PRAISE” page which will help you memorize these bible verses.

black-and-white image of pregnant belly with ribbon tied around it

Oh, and here’s another happy moment to wrap up this month:  My best friend of over 20 years called me today to say that the firstborn child she is carrying is a girl!  Ahhh, such excitement!  I’m so happy for her!

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Thanks for stopping by today!  My blog has been neglected the last couple of months.  Maybe things will slow down soon, and I’ll have the luxury again to enjoy playing in the world of WordPress.  Though, I hear from many, many people that time only seems to fly faster the older you get!  How could that be?!  Wow!

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.

Video

The “Happiness Advantage”

A fellow blogger posted this great video on her site, and I feel it perfectly shares part of the message I seek to convey with this Merry Hearts Medicine blog.  It’s worth your time to sit and watch this TEDx Talk by psychologist Shawn Achor.  If nothing else, you’ll come away from it with a smile on your face! He jokes around a lot, but the message rings true.

Proverbs 17:22 written in gold letters on a photo of a rainbow, Merry Hearts Medicine

A Voice of Compassion

This is why I love WordPress. Thanks so much to my daughter for unintentionally turning me into a blogger. And thanks to those of you who open your hearts of compassion to total strangers.

“Do I know exactly how you feel? No. Do you know exactly how I feel? No. But what we do know is this… we can share our life experiences with one another so that no one feels alone when they are hurting… physically or emotionally… when they are sick… in sadness… or lost within the darkness. We all have that light within us that can be shared with another… ” ~ by Michael33

Vision of Hope 33

Recovery Update #2

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I hope that all of you are already enjoying or about to begin enjoying a beautiful weekend filled with love, smiles and laughter.  Perhaps I should leave this post with that comment instead of bringing you up to date on my recovery.  But, then… that would not fulfill my ‘vision of hope’ that this site is intended to bring.  So I’m going to whine… complain… gripe… whimper… perhaps even snivel a bit… I would even throw in some mewling… but that bothers the kitties and they gather on the coffee table and stare at me with that special kitty look that says… “Really?… Mewling?  You’re seriously going to mewl right in front of us?”  So, I suppose I’ll just stop at sniveling…

The shortness of breath is the most serious of the side effects at this point and I actually can’t say for…

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