when things need mending

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I have a favorite pair of shoes.

They are nothing special.  In fact, one of the reasons I love them is because they reminded me of a pair of shoes a friend of mine had in high school a few…umm 20 something years ago.  They are a simple pair of Mary Jane black flats, made out of fabric.  They have a little ankle strap which I love- no chance of slipping out of these suckers!  They feel like slippers and go with everything.

So imagine how sad I was when I realized that my fur baby, Jack, made a little snack out of one of the ankle straps! Ugghh… I HATE it when that happens!  Totally my fault though, because I didn’t put them away and instead left them out in the middle of the floor so that Jack could nibble on them.

I couldn’t bear to part with them, so I put them in my closet for a while.  And then a couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a quick fix- a safety pin!  I could reattach the ankle strap to the shoe with a safety pin and no one would ever know.  It was on the inside of the ankle- hardly noticeable!

I wore my beloved black flats to church one recent Sunday.  I was only a little concerned about the safety pin, and was grateful for the comfort as I played piano and led worship.   After church we went out to lunch with a whole group of friends from church.  Those are the days I love.  I think of it as the “after church”… it’s like an extension of the service because we are truly breaking bread together and sharing in one another’s lives.

So I was sitting there and all of a sudden my friend looks down and says “is that what I think it is?”  I looked at her a little strange, not knowing what she was talking about.

“Do you really have a safety pin holding that shoe together??”

I busted out laughing.  She knows I am a little quirky sometimes.  We both laughed at the absurdity and I told her how glad I was that it held up and didn’t bust open and poke me in the middle of church!

When I got home,  I pulled out my sewing needle and found some dark thread (because, naturally, I couldn’t find any black thread… so I used what I had) and within a few minutes I sewed it back on, good as new.  In fact, I don’t think anyone would even notice that it had ever been a  Jack “snack”.

As I mended my shoe, I thought about all the times I want to take short cuts and look for the quick fix instead of really doing things the “right way”.  My husband always laughs  whenever he finds a half- opened box of anything in the kitchen- because I have a funny habit of opening things  just enough for me to get out what I need.

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Guilty of opening one corner… to desperately grab a K-cup!!

I also thought about how very blessed I am to have the kind of friends who are willing to point out things that need fixing- big and little things!  Those are the kind of friends that hold us accountable and make us better people.  And those same friends that can be honest with me- those are the friends that I can trust to laugh and cry with me about silly things and important things, too.

I am grateful for ALL of my Jesus girlfriends!!

Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Proverbs 27:17

walking with me

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stepping in time

we walk in stride

 thankful you 

are by my 

side… 

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with no one else

I’d rather be- 

all is right 

when you’re walking

with me

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I came home the other day to BOTH tv’s sitting on the floor- unplugged.

I’m not ashamed to admit that a wave of panic came over me.  Watching the Today show in the mornings for a short while is a guilty pleasure of mine.  Feet propped up, coffee cup in hand..that is a good morning!

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My hubby had tried to switch tv’s around, but it wasn’t working… there was a missing piece that was needed to mount the television on the stand.  So, there would be no tv until we got the part.  IMG_1580

And I have to say- it was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time!  We spent more time talking and sitting with each other than we had in months.  And while the girls were at a sleepover, we woke up early and walked a trail together.  It was a perfect morning.

I have walked this trail many, many times- but I noticed something I had never seen before… IMG_1577

The tree in the above picture is one of my favorites.  It marks the end of trail- the point at which we turn around and go down the mountain.  As I walked past it the other morning, I noticed for the first time that it isn’t just one tree- it is a combination of many trees.

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It takes all of them standing side by side to make one GREAT BIG beautiful tree!

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.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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I am so thankful for the  many “trees” that have stood with me and supported me throughout the years.  And I am grateful to be walking this journey of life-

with my husband

my family

and my family in Christ…

and you!

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O Light of light, shine in!

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O Light of light, shine in!
Cast out this night of sin,
Create true day within:
O Light of light, shine in!IMG_1321

O Light, all light excelling,
Make my heart Thy dwelling;
O Joy, all grief dispelling,
To my poor heart come in!IMG_1287

O Joy of joys, come in!
End Thou this grief of sin,
Create calm peace within:
O Joy of joys, come in!
 

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O Life of life, pour in!
Expel this death of sin,
Awake true life within:
O Life of life, pour in!IMG_1292

O Love of love, flow in!
This hateful root of sin
Deal with, renew, within:
O Love of love, flow in!
 

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O Heaven of heavens, descend!
This cloudy curtain rend,
And all earth’s turmoil end:
O Heaven of heavens, descend!IMG_1299

My God and Lord, O come!
  Of joys the Joy and Sum,
Make in this heart Thy home:
  My God and Lord, O come!  

*Lyrics by Horatius Bonar(1808-1889)

The weather this week has been amazing!  Spring is FINALLY sprung and so have the vibrant colors of the season.  The other day I walked my favorite trail with a couple of friends.
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The sun was so bright, I borrowed a friend’s hat to protect my eyes.  Even with the hat, I found myself looking down at the ground to keep from squinting.  I began to get a headache and felt sick to my stomach as I watched the wooden slats beneath my feet moving back and forth.

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I can’t remember ever experiencing “motion sickness” from walking!  But the odd thing was that the moment I mentioned it, my friend said she, too, felt that same way.

IMG_1287“We must stop looking down and keep looking forward, ” spoke my wise friend! 

A simple statement, but a profound reminder to keep my eyes fixed on the path ahead, and not the ground.

And maybe a pair of sunglasses wouldn’t hurt next time 🙂

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways. Proverbs 4:25-26

the fog lifted…

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perspective changes 

when the fog lifts- we see what 

was there all along

Speaking of fog…over the summer I got to “view” this gorgeous place-  Swannanoa Palace … and it just so happened to be under a heavy blanket of fog that day- adding to the mysterious but still lovely atmosphere.  I had the joy of going back to Swannanoa with my sister and a dear friend recently, to catch a glimpse of the clear mountain views and to take a few more pictures.

I am so thankful for the visit with my sister and our childhood friend!  It doesn’t matter how much time has passed between seeing each other- it’s like no time has passed at all when we are together…and it’s just like we’re kids again!

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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panoramic views from the Palace tower

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crystal clear view from the palace tower

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panoramic views from the tower

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the overgrown, but still beautiful pergola

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the pergola on a perfect fall day

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I found this little ivy covered bridge in the garden

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can you imagine waking up to a view like this every day?!

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a view to remember…the Blue Ridge Mountains

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The stunning foliage around the water tower

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Have you ever seen a hydrangea bush this big?!

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The best view of all… my girls and their cousins!

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The water tower (or Rapunzel’s tower… as I like to call it)

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the view of the gardens from the stairwell

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The best view of all… my sister, my dear friend, and our wee ones 🙂

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Swannanoa Palace

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The stained glass TIffany window

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The magnificent stairwell

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The only way to have a friend is to be one

– Ralph Waldo Emerson  

I thought I was the only one…

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We all need friends.

Friends who know the real  “you”- the good, bad, and the ugly.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just had to get out of the house.  Away from the dishes, piles of laundry, the never ending to-do list…and the raging thoughts that run rampant through my head… I had so many things I needed to get done, I couldn’t remember half of them, and I couldn’t get myself motivate to do anything.

I grabbed my car keys and bid farewell to my dog, and all the while I didn’t have a clue where I was going to go.

I prayed- in that sort of groaning, exasperated sighing kind of way.  As I drove down the street, He brought a  friend to mind- one I hadn’t talked to in months.

I grabbed my cell phone and was preparing to leave her a long, rambling message like we often do for one another.  And then a miracle happened- I heard her voice.  “Ahh… it’s Julia” she exclaimed in her most dramatic Spanish accent.

My mood was already better, and I hadn’t even said a single word.

And we talked.  About life, marriage, the pursuit of happiness, mamma guilt, saggy old-lady skin, how we’re getting older by the day and sometimes don’t know how to deal with it… and how even though it might seem like we have it “all together”- we still feel like little kids who are holding onto dreams. It was comforting to know that my friend knew just what I was feeling.

She said something to me on the phone that day that resonated with me-

we need to be invisible.

our SELF wants to be acknowledged in worldly ways.

but we must become invisible so He can shine through us.

He must become greater, I must become less- John 3:30

There is something special about picking up the phone and having the person on the other end know exactly what you are thinking and feeling before you even utter a word.

My friend said just what I needed to hear- once again showing me the beautiful way He works through others to speak truth into our lives.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

Alone in a crowd

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in a crowded room,

the only thing that mattered

was catching her eye

I felt so alone yesterday. 

It was the morning of my daughter’s end of the year awards assembly.  She told me to be there 15 minutes early- because she knows I have a tendency to be a tad behind schedule.  She’s a little “fashionista”, so I carefully chose one of her favorite dresses of mine to wear- just for her.  

I left the house 15 minutes earlier than I normally would have, so that I would get there early.  I got one of the last parking spots in front of the school and I hustled up to the front door.  As I approached the foyer, I noticed that there were clusters of people standing, waiting to get into the auditorium.  They were not yet ready to let us find a seat. 

I stood in the foyer and smiled as I watched all the other moms and dads.  Many of them had their own parents with them, and others were chatting with friends. They all seemed to be connected to one another.  As each new person entered the foyer, I could hear others call out to them- smiling and greeting their long lost friends.  

I didn’t see a single person I knew.  Not one!

My husband and I moved to a small community almost 11 years ago, and I consider myself to be a friendly person- but for some reason I have never felt like I “fit in”.  Many times in my life I have felt like an outsider, and today was one of them. 

In that moment, I longed to be in a place that was familiar- somewhere I had grown up all my life…where everyone knows everyone, a place where I feel “connected”… you know, like that “Cheers” theme song–  “Where everybody knows your name… And they’re always glad you came.”  And yes, I am singing this song now!

I longed to have a familiar face to sit with.  I thought about how great it would feel to have my mom with me, joking and being silly- cheering on our girl…or to have my sister beside me.  Or a childhood friend that I could identify with.  We would be cracking all sorts of childish jokes, like we were kids again.  

And then the time came to find a seat. I happened to see my neighbor, and I sat in her row.  

I scanned the crowd of children, hoping to see my Soph- and I spotted her in a matter of seconds.  I think us moms have a built-in GPS system for finding our off spring in a crowded room!   

And the look she gave me was priceless.  No longer did I feel alone.  She flashed her mega-watt smile and waved.  I caught her eye about a hundred times in the next 5 minutes and we made silly faces at each other. Her moment finally came to march across that stage, and I was so proud of her for making honor roll all year! The smile Soph flashed me was proof of how proud she was that I was there for her.  

As I sat there watching all those children and all those families, God reminded me- be content.  

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5

Maybe He has us here, sowing roots, so my girls and their children will have that very thing I have always longed for- a sense of community… and I am realizing He is still working on me to be content with everything I have and with everything I have not.

And once again, He reminds me how MUCH I have to be thankful for!  

I have called you friend

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Déjà vu… it happens all too often lately.  One simple statement from my kids and I am instantly whisked back to my own childhood. My daughter got off the bus with her usual cheery smile, but I sensed something was wrong.

“Who did you sit with at lunch today?”

Nobody.”

My heart dropped to the floor.  She said that the table where all the girls were at was full, and that she went to the empty table and no one sat with her.  As she spoke, I had to hold back tears as I remembered so many similar days at my school.

I must have been about my daughters age-there were 10 to a lunch table, and all the “popular girls” sat at the main table.  There were 12 girls in our class, and the 11th girl and I sat at the other table every day.  One day a girl from the “popular table” was not there and I made a bold choice- I decided to sit where I always did, because I didn’t want my friend to sit alone, and because,well- that’s just where I always sat.  So I got out my lunchbox… I can still remember where I sat, and how the light filtered through the cafeteria windows.  I watched in slow motion as my friend came through the cafeteria lunch line….and sat at the table of 10.  She chose them over me.  I was crushed.

I went home that day and remember thinking I could never go back to school.  Ever again.  I stayed home from school the following day. I said I was sick, and really I was!  Sick to my stomach because I felt like the only girl in the world without a friend.

And I tell my daughter this story and tell her that she will never, ever, find a truer friend than her sister.  As quickly as I tell her this, she interrupts me and says “No, mom!  JESUS is our best friend!”

Oh how right she is!

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  John 15:5

The next morning, as we waited for the bus, I told her to look for someone at lunch who needs a best friend- because she already has one- Jesus!  And there are so many people out there who don’t know this Friend of hers- and He wants to be their friend, too.  I tell her it is so simple- just love people and show them that you care about them.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

He is with us wherever we go, He will never leave or forsake us, and we are never alone.

Jesus is all the world to me:
  My life, my joy, my all.
He is my strength from day to day;
  Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go;
No other one can cheer me so.
When I am sad, He makes me glad;
  He’s my Friend.  

 by Will Thompson