“Mommy, be my safe”

IMG-1434When my eldest was around 3 years old, she began to express her fears or concerns with her own original phrase that I thought was just precious.

When we found ourselves in situations where there appeared to be a cause for concern, she would nestle her tiny little body up close to mine and quietly say, “Mommy, be my safe.”  She meant, protect me and shelter me until the threat has passed.  It could be stormy weather or a creepy noise, or that stranger in the grocery store who got a little too close for comfort.

Whatever the peril, she trusted that I would save her from it.  Wrapped around mommy’s legs, with one sticky little hand in mine, she could be at peace.

Yesterday afternoon as the sky darkened, it started to thunder and the wind was bending the tree branches and lightning cracked across the sky.  We went from sunshine to eerie skies, with the promise of a good storm.  My youngest granddaughter came over to me and buried her little head in my lap and then looked up with her big blue eyes and said, “Nana, what noise?”  She’s always said that when she hears a noise that upsets her.  We have always speculated that all the time spent in the NICU and the strange noises might have affected her in some way, so we are always quick to reassure her that all is well.

Her cuteness reminded me of my daughter’s cuteness years before and I smiled thinking of the all the times that we have cried out for help from our Father.   What do our cries for help sound like to Him?  Are there times He thinks we are “cute”?  Do our petitions ever bring a smile to His face because of the way we phrase them?  I think so.

The storms of life roll through without warning, we are exposed to traumatic things all day on whatever type of media we choose, there is so much noise.  Noise, by definition,  is “a sound that is loud or unpleasant that causes a disturbance”.  Yes, there is much noise in our world.

Thankfully, like my daughter and granddaughter, I have a safe haven, a place where I can run to find peace and comfort.  I can cry out to God, “What noise?!?!”  As He stills and comforts my spirit with His still small voice, I can lean in and say, “Be my safe.”  And, He will, every time.

Thoughts on a summer day

Feet planted in a little green pool painted to resemble a watermelon, I’m thankful for the cool water while sitting on a scorching hot back deck.  I silently wonder how long my feet will be safe from toddler pee or if they have already been contaminated.  Considering I just polished off a blackberry after she licked it and offered it to me, I suppose I will live.IMG-1718

The cardinal showing off his vivid red coat on the fence post looks as if he would love to join Cali in the little pool for a midday bath, but he is staying out of reach.  Smart guy because I am positive he would get more than he bargained for.

Cali, sitting in the shade of her umbrella, is oblivious to the cardinal and seemingly to the heat as well as she munches on blackberries and strawberries and repeatedly dumps water from one bucket to another while singing bits and pieces of “head, shoulders knees and toes”.

I am thankful for my day out shopping, the mani-pedi and a long lunch with two of my favorite people.  I was anxious to get home and babysit this little rascal though tonight after my errands were complete.  With Cali and her mommy living back at home, that means I am the primary baby sitter when Morgan works.  Sometimes, Nana gets a little tired.

We were empty-nesters for a couple of years and I got quite used to my free time.  Time to read or write for hours without interruption.  Time to take a long nap on a Saturday without a little munchkin banging on my door.   Yes, there are times I long for more solitude.

At these times, however, God always reminds me of my prayers to Him when we didn’t know if Cali would make it.  Those long drives to and from Miami filled with fears and tears and prayer.  The months in ICU, the surgery days, the ups and downs.

I’m reminded once again that life is a journey.  We travel through seasons with all kinds of weather.  The seasons will never cease, but we can learn to face them with His strength and grace.  He is our great Help and Comforter.

It is how we handle the journey, it’s our attitude while we walk it out, it’s our abiding in His sweet vine.  Don’t kid yourself into thinking that the next big milestone is the destination, that once that “thing” happens you will forever by happy or you will have finally made it.  There is always something (good and bad) around the corner as long as we walk this earth.  If you acknowledge this, it makes the unknowns a little less intimidating.

Take joy in moments, learn to find the lessons in the trails, look for God’s plan in the middle of your messes, be grateful and find your peace and rest in Him.

Blessings,

Lisa

Door number two

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Let’s face it, some days are just harder than others.  Every once in a while you wake up realizing immediately that your attitude needs adjusting and sometimes all seems well until a challenging situation comes out of nowhere.

You wake up on time feeling ready to take on the day.   The aroma and taste and just right temperature of your coffee pleases 3 of your senses.  Your devotion reaches down to touch you in the very depths of your soul and your prayer time is heavenly.

Your cereal doesn’t get soggy and your toast doesn’t burn and you find the perfect outfit on the first try.   You get out of the door with time to spare and notice that your hair looks almost perfect in your rear view mirror.

You run some errands.   Everyone is pleasant.  Traffic is light and you find a nice shaded parking spot.  You’re in a marvelous mood.  That’s a pretty easy accomplishment when everything is going your way.

Then boom, out of the blue, just like that it can all change.  The day that was so agreeable just a few moments ago takes a turn for the worse.  Sometimes its a call or a text.  At other times, it is something more subtle and sneaks up behind you and grabs you before you know what hit you.

Either way, from this point forward something shifts, the atmosphere around you that was filled with peace and hope now feels like turmoil and dread.   Your once sincere smile turns into a pinched and pained one.  Tension hovers over you like a cloud ready to burst.

It is what you do at this point that sets your course.  You can choose door number one, the one our flesh wants to chose every time, and open it up to continued strife.  You can embrace the sour mood, wallow in the unpleasantness, welcome the surly attitude and guarantee more negativity.

Or you can choose door number two, and press in to prayer and worship.  Find your strength, peace and love in Christ and let Him be your rock.  Lift your head up, forgive quickly, remember to Whom you belong and encourage yourself!  Amaze yourself (and others) in your reaction to what the enemy tried to use to defeat you.

I’m learning to choose the second approach and save myself a lot of stress and grief (and repentance).  I don’t always succeed but I can definitely say my percentage is improving and that’s a start.   Mom always said, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines”.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Uncharted territory

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Life is like an expedition of uncharted territory.

We start out wide eyed, confident and seeking adventure, anxious to see the spectacular sights along the way. We want to see, smell, taste, touch and hear it all to our hearts content. We don our traveling apparel and forge ahead.  We are explorers, making our way across the great unknown. We are blessed to have direction and signs along the way but we don’t always pay attention. Sometimes we choose to go our own way and end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

At times the terrain is flat and easy going, filled with fragrant green grass and flowers. At other times it can be cavernous, cold or treacherous. There may be perils ahead, hiding in the darkness. The mountains loom, the seas rage and the valleys can be daunting. We often travel on with scars, hungry and afraid. At times it doesn’t seem as if we will ever make it, but when we think all hope is gone, mercy shows up and alas, we continue.

Our companions come and go and we meet new friends along the way. Even in this, we must use discernment as everything isn’t what it appears to be. Some are sent by the one who would kill, steal and destroy to make us lose our way.

As the seasons change, we learn new lessons if we are wise and teachable. We are given the tools for a successful journey if we but utilize them properly.
The scenery is beautiful and changes frequently, but time begins to become more precious as it seems to pass by ever so quickly. We live and laugh and love and experience so many new things along the way. We also hurt, cry and mourn the loss of hopes, dreams, and others.

We alone can choose how we will participate in this expedition and where our journey will ultimately take us. The trip will be much more pleasant if we choose love, hope and joy; if we choose a positive outlook and have faith. If we on the flip side, approach it with negativity, dreariness and dread, we will certainly find more of that ahead.

When our final destination is looming, we become more thoughtful and realize more than ever what was really important. If we are granted more time on this earth, we attempt to impart that to others.

Time withers away like grapes on a vine and finally, our journey must come to an end. After all, we were only pilgrims passing through! Let us pray we have left someone better than we found them and shared the way to heaven with many.

Slow and Sure or Fast and Faulty?

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Like much of the time spent in my car, I had my music on low, enjoying my time alone with my Father.  Driving down one of the major roads in my area, I was again touched by the beauty that we pass every day, often taking for granted.  I thanked my Creator once more for the profound splendor He freely bestows on us daily, if we just take the time to notice it.

If you live in SW Florida during season, (Jan/May’ish), you know what it’s like to be at the end of a very long caravan of cars on a doubled lined, two way road with plenty of curves and no hope of passing.  The little green bug at the front was going all of 40 (in a 55) and I decided to just fall back and enjoy the drive.  Yes, I could start passing one of the 10 cars at a time, or pass on a double line like the maniac in front of me with a death wish but I know from experience that the best thing to do, in order to retain my peace, is to keep my distance.  I remembered someone saying how they had passed every car on this road, only to see those they passed pull up beside them at the first red light. Slow and sure won out.   This decision was likely influenced by the fact that I was in the midst of prayer at the time.

I looked ahead and saw a couple of older gentleman standing on the side of the road, waiting for the procession of cars to pass.  I slowed down even more as I noticed one of them, who just couldn’t wait another second, begin his jaunt to the other side.  He had a fishing pole in one hand and a tackle box in the other and he practically skipped to the other side.  I chuckled at his very apparent excitement to get to his fishing perch.

His friend however, stayed motionless on the side of the road, likely realizing I was the last car in the line.  He would just wait and take his time.  It might take him a little longer, but he would get there safe and sound.  I looked in the rearview mirror as he cautiously ventured out and across the road at a leisurely pace.

It may seem silly, but it warmed my heart to see these aged men out enjoying themselves on a beautiful day.  Watching them made me think of how some of us are like the first man, always running out ahead, leaping out in faith that we’re on the right path, anxious to move forward and arrive first.  This is great, but sometimes we find ourselves in a dangerous situation because we bolted ahead and didn’t think things through.

Others are like the 2nd man; we might be in pursuit of the same goal, but we approach it more cautiously, we wait for just the right moment and the best conditions and then we slowly and carefully progress, eyes wide open for danger.   But, could this cause us to miss out?  Doesn’t the early bird get the worm?

For a few moments, I focused on trying to ascertain which man used the best method to reach the goal.   I think I am little of each but I think I often tend to be more like the 2nd man.  My desire is to be as sure of the outcome as possible, before I venture out.  My goal going forward is to be a little more like the 1st man and just jump right in sometimes, especially in matters of faith.  Where faith is concerned, I don’t want to wonder and ponder; I want to dance to the other side knowing Who is in control.

I found myself unable to pick an all-out winner though because either scenario could serve us well, dependent on the particular circumstances.  One thing I do know;  in this case, they both arrived at their intended destination, with their bodies and equipment intact.

Life is a saga

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Life is a saga, a long and complicated story with many details. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you live very long at all this applies. Our life begins on page one, with our birth and if you have ever been in a room of women discussing childbirth, that can be a saga in itself. We live, we learn, we grow and we change.

We all have a story but it’s what we do with our stories that can make a difference. I was discussing this a little bit in my Sunday school class this morning. We go through things sometimes that make no sense, seasons filled with trials and tribulations. They are going to touch each one of us, but oh the difference when we allow God to teach us through them instead of sinking and wallowing in a big warm pile of self-pity.

I’m not saying not to grieve or that it’s wrong to cry, but when we’re done, get up and move on and let what we have learned, even when it was a tough, teach someone else. Some of the things I have been through in my life have allowed me to counsel or encourage other mothers or wives who are now going through the same thing. Can God really take that year of weeping and hurting and use it to impart healing in someone else? Why, yes He can and I can attest to having been on the giving and receiving end of both trial and help.

At times we try to pretend like we don’t know the meaning of grief or affliction and I’m not sure why, as we all are familiar with its sting. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, as long as we are this side of heaven, we will encounter difficulty. It’s how we deal with it that sets us apart.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that your saga didn’t end at your death because even after your demise other lives were still touched because of you? I think we all want to leave this world knowing we have imparted wisdom, hope and truth into others.

I was cleaning out a closet the other day and found an old journal of my mother’s. I’m sure I saw it and positive that I would have looked inside near the time of her death. The other day coming across the old treasure again I opened it up and saw that old familiar handwriting on the yellowing front page. For some reason I leafed through the other pages and buried in the middle were about five more pages that I had never seen before. They were written in and around December of 95’ and into the first months of January 96’. Mom died in June of 96’ so these “new” words were like gold to me. They were a new discovery of some of her personal thoughts in her final months. More of the saga of her much shortened life and they meant so much to me. They touched me and as I read them, I again felt her faith and strength. She imparted another precious gift to me almost twenty years after she met Jesus.

I was blessed to have a mother whose wisdom and guidance has served me well over the course of my life. Whether we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or friends, we too can choose to let our stories help us grow into better people and use their lessons to love on others. Isn’t that part of what love is all about?

 

Daily Prompt:  Saga

Daily Prompt: Adult Visions

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Adult Visions.”

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?

At best, it was grossly inaccurate.  I couldn’t wait to grow up, to reach that pivotal 18 year mark and be my own boss, do my own thing, make my own decisions.  How many times since have I said, “If only I’d known then what I know now”.

Oh the joys of being provided for, loved unconditionally and yes, even the guidance and direction given to help me navigate the treacherous passages of youth.  At the time, all I desired was more freedom from my parents; these older folks who surely had never experienced anything quite like I was going through.   If they had, they had forgotten it by now.  They just didn’t get it.  Just wait until I was in charge!

Words of wisdom went in one bejeweled ear and out the other.  Advice was received with a nod of the head a smile, with a closed heart and mind.  You see, I already knew everything; well actually more than they did, or so I thought.

I don’t think I really “got it” until I was married and even more so after my first child.  Being a wife, mom and productive member of society was more difficult than I had anticipated.  The bills kept coming, emergencies happened, life didn’t go at all like I planned.  Even in my twenties, I was still making some bad choices, feeling like I had forever and I was invincible.

In my thirties, I lost my mom and found myself dialing her number for months after she was gone, craving words of wisdom, spoken from a heart of love.  I wanted her to help me make decisions, to tell me what to do and she was gone.

At fifty, I can tell you from years of experience, that I was wrong about being an adult.  I thought it meant all fun, frivolity, and doing what I wanted to, with no interference.   Although I have had my share of fun and I love my family dearly, I can tell you that being an adult isn’t all fun and games.  I love the wisdom that comes with being older, but the sheer reality of life is hard sometimes.   I didn’t realize the responsibilities of being a parent, that your love and devotion would continue to grow, even as your influence waned.  I didn’t know that my choices would all have consequences, some of them life long.  I couldn’t have imagined the joys of parenting, nor could I have anticipated the fear of getting it all wrong.

Yes, I was most definitely wrong about what I thought adulthood would be, but I am still happy I am here and glad that I am open to learning from those wiser than me.  I am blessed to have had so much great influence in my life and pray I can be a good example of an “elder” to others as long as I have breath.

The Power of a Memory

Irish blessing with background of Everglades sunset.

Irish blessing with background of Everglades sunset.

Everyone has them, we make more every day.

Though unbidden at times, our minds obediently display

Some are quite wonderful, insisting we smile

Others, nostalgic, take us back for a while

Then there are those that we’d rather forget

The bad ones, the memories that leave our cheeks wet

If we are smart, we will learn from them all

About life, faith and friendship, and to answer God’s call

How to fail, yet get up again, stronger than before

How to embrace this brief life til’ we reach yonder shore

I am thankful for memories, no matter which kind they might be

You see, the power of a memory is a wondrous thing to me.

By:  Lisa

If your life was a parade

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If your life was a parade, what banner would you wave?

Would you hold it really high, so all could see as you passed by?

Or would you hide yourself behind, so that no one knew your mind?

Would you lead from the first row or would you follow those you know?

Would you lag behind feeling numb, or would you march to your own drum?

What kind of music would you play?  Joyful?  Bluesy?  A mixed array?

As you passed the people along the way, would you really see them or just look away?

Marching on, towards the end, are you pleased with what awaits, my friend?

By: Lisa

Next season please

Sure sign of Spring - Robin - Bird

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

 A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 A time to gain, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to throw away;

 A time to tear, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons this week.  It’s so funny how they do parallel our lives.  The bible even says to everything there is a season.

When I’m asked what my favorite season is, I often say fall and winter.  I think this has always been due to the accompanying holidays and knowing I’ll be spending quality time with family and friends.

However, after contemplating it more carefully, I have realized that my favorite season is the one that’s around the corner.  The one that isn’t quite here yet, the one I’m currently longing for.

Take right now, for instance.  We’ve had our fill of winter (some more than others, depending on our locale); the cold, dreariness, the bare trees and raggedly looking lawns and landscapes.  We are ready for spring.  We desire something new; the flowers, the birdsong, a change in the weather, some refreshing showers.

I remember at the end of last summer, I was dreamily desiring the arrival of fall.  I could almost taste the fall flavors of pumpkin and apple cider and smell the cinnamon and feel the slight dip in temperature.  In my mind were visions of scarecrows and carvings and leaves turning and descending to the earth.  It was something to look forward to and thinking about it filled me with anticipation.

When the temperatures began to drop and I began my Christmas shopping, I was already giddy with excitement for winter and the hopes of seeing snow (if I traveled out of my home state).  Bring on the sweaters and scarves and boots.  The love of Christmas and thoughts of enjoying more time with those I care about made me anxious for this glorious season.

And around it goes, year after year, season after season.  I guess the old saying is true, “we always want what we don’t have”.  We eagerly anticipate the next chapter, the next season.

It’s like our Creator to know this would suit us; the changing.  We change; our lives are lived out in seasons.  Our short lived attention spans and longing for more is somewhat satiated by the change in seasons.

So on this last day of winter, I say,  bring on the spring!  May yours be filled with a spring in your step, March madness and April showers, Easter and excitement over things to come and abundant love, joy and peace!

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