Joy Comes

We planted a baby magnolia tree in our yard several years ago. My husband was gifted it by someone at his work, and we had been thinking of planting something in the center of our circular driveway for some time – so it was the perfect addition to our yard.

Well, knowing my lack of gardening skills, I followed the instructional pamphlet to the t. I watered it with exactly the amount it said, and as often as was instructed -and I couldn’t wait to watch it grow and bloom. After all, magnolia blooms have the most wonderful fragrance.

And it took forEVER to see a flower. At first, there was just one or two. Then the next year there were a few more. And again, at the beginning of the summer it didn’t look like we were going to have any blooms. But after all the rain we have had these past couple of weeks, I looked out and saw not one or two, but a bunch of little flower buds!

It’s amazing how God created all these beautiful trees and plants, and they grow and bloom and reproduce without anyone or anything telling it what to do! It really is a miracle when you think about it!

And as I was out there this morning enjoying the blooms, God reminded me of all the days I saw nothing. All the while that tree was growing and faithful to do what it needed to do to produce the “fruit”.

Be faithful

Keep waiting to see the blooms.

Joy comes in the morning.

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning- Psalm 30:5

How you doin’?

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As Joey from my favorite sitcom, Friends, would say-

“How YOU doin’?”

I have written lots of half posts but haven’t actually “published” one in a while.

It’s kind of funny, because we used to be so busy- with work, taking kids here there and everywhere, after school activities… in fact eating meals as a whole family was very rare for us- except for Sundays.

And then Corona came.

By the way- am I the only one that sings “My, my my, myyyyy Corona” (instead of Sharona)?!  every time you hear that word?!  

Ok, I gotta focus…

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Anyway, I guess it’s sort of a blessing that life as we know it has come to a screeeeeching halt.  Now all four of us are pretty much together- all.the.time.

I try not to lament and think about what if’s…but today I am sad for all the kiddos and everything they are missing out on in these coming weeks like:

all the musicals and plays that won’t debut

the spring band and chorus concerts that have been postponed or cancelled 

the competitions that are cancelled

the spring trips that have been cancelled 

the sporting games that won’t get played 

every high school senior who may not go to prom 

all the graduations that will be postponed 

The list goes on and on.

And though life looks a little bit different right now, life goes on, too.

But I am also so thankful that I get a little taste of what life might be like if we were to”homeschool”-

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-we get to sleep in every day 

-our schedule is less rushed and more adaptable to what suits our family 

-the girls are able to help more around the house and with preparing meals

-our dogs are in HEAVEN having everyone at home all the time

-we get to take long walks together and talk about life 

-I get my daughters ALL TO MYSELF- a rarity for two busy high schoolers! 

I have always been a “glass-half-full” person, so I’m going to make the choice to focus on all my blessings.

God is good.

All the time.

And I’m going to repeat this verse and believe it-

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.  – Psalm 27 

 

 

 

this much

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How much does God love you?

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my dad asking me and my sister if we knew how much he loved us.

This much? – he would say as he open his arms a little bit.

Thiiis much?  He would open his arms a little bit wider.

Thiiiiiiiiiis  much!  And then he would stretch his arms out as wide as they could reach.

It is hard to quantify love and our capacity to love in tangible ways, but yesterday I saw a glimpse of how much God loves me.

I tweaked my back yesterday morning- simply bending over to give my dogs a treat of all things.  The pain was so severe- I felt sick to my stomach all day from it.

And since both my oldest daughter and my hubby are working all day,  my youngest daughter and I were supposed to spend the day together doing whatever she wanted to do.  Shopping- of course 😉

If you have a teen, you know that shopping days aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.  Shopping with her brings back a flood of emotions from my own childhood.  Nothing ever fit me- and anything that I liked, or that actually fit- was waaaay out of my price range.  Shopping always sounded like a better idea than it actually was.

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So after trying on lots of clothes and not finding anything, my daughter picked out a pair of earrings.  Earrings ALWAYS fit-  and she really needed another pair.

We went to another store and after trying several things on, we left empty handed.  Again.  

As we sat in the car, I began to tear up remembering what it felt like to go clothes shopping at her age.  The earrings she was wearing were hurting her ears, so she took out the new pair to put them on.  As soon as she got the first one out of the box, it slipped out of her hand and lodged itself in between the car seat and the middle console.

 Now we were both crying!

My back was hurting so bad, but not as badly as I wanted to find that earring for her!

I hobbled around to the back seat and could see the earring laying on the floorboard- but it was on the crease of two pieces of carpet.  As soon as I reached for it, it slipped between the crease and then it was out of reach.  I tried everything I could to get it and then out of the blue a man and his daughter came over to the car.

Is everything ok?  He asked me.

Yeah- my daughter just lost her new earring….

Let me see if I can get it.  

And like that- he was on his knees, pulling the carpet back, pushing the car seat to and fro. At one point, he was trying so hard to reach it, he cut his hand on something under the seat.

It’s ok- we will look for it later- I said, knowing this earring was probably not going to be found.

Let me keep trying- I might be able to get it! 

He looked for at least 15 minutes for that earring.  He could feel it, but was unable to grab it.  It meant so much that this stranger and his daughter cared enough to try to help us.  Even though he wasn’t able to get the earring for us- it was like he felt my momma heart breaking.

He asked me how much the earrings cost.

I said several times that they were cheap, it wasn’t a big deal.  And then without a second thought, he pulled out his wallet and handed me money.

I can’t take this, I told him.  The earrings didn’t even cost that much.  Really- it’s ok! I’m just thankful you tried to help us! 

And then he said something I won’t forget-

“I love making people happy.  I don’t want your daughter to be sad.  It makes me happy to make others happy.  I want her to be happy today.”

I began to cry tears of joy.

My daughter and I both hugged this man and his daughter.  I told him he was an angel and that he had really blessed me today.  Not only did he go through all that to try to get the earring- but then he actually gave her money to replace it?!  It didn’t make sense! I tried to give the money back to him but he wouldn’t take it.

He and his daughter disappeared into the store and as I got into the car with my daughter, I was overwhelmed by God’s love.  That random act of kindness came at the exact moment we needed it.

Do you know how much God loves you?

Thiiissss much- 

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Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 63:7

more than a feeling

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focusing on feelings 

leaves my heart reeling 

and my goal becomes 

a far distant dream 

but when I instead

plan each step ahead  

the destination’s 

not as far 

as it seems 

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I had an “aha” moment this morning.  Yeah, that happens occasionally- but not as often as I’d like 🙂

I really wanted to start working out again- for no other reason than it’s good for your body to move.  I needed to do something that was easy and didn’t require a lot of thought, so I decided to download one of those “couch to 5k” apps.  I love those because it takes the guesswork out of your workouts.  3 days a week, all I have to do is start the app and get on the treadmill and it tells me when to run and when to walk.  Easy enough!

Until this past week.

I have been doing this for 4 weeks now, and instead of getting easier- it is definitely getting more challenging.  I haven’t missed a single workout, and I have run/walked every minute the app has told me to.

But this morning I got up and dreaded it.  I knew I’d be running for even longer bursts today… and I was already tired before I even got out of bed! But I had already laid out what I needed to “get my workout on” the night before

“Stop thinking about how you feel, ” I kept saying to myself over and over.  “Just do it!” 

I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, and slipped on the headband.  I went through all the steps… and then my oldest daughter saw me in the kitchen.

“What in the world are you doing?” she asked me when she saw my crazy head gear and my outfit.

“I’m trying to get in the mood to do the treadmill this morning.”

And as I had this conversation with her this morning, I was struck with the idea that my girls are always watching me.  Not just what I say to them- but what I do.

I want to be a person of my word- someone who follows through. Someone who sets goals and accomplishes them.  I always talk to the girls about how important it is to not to be led by their “feelings”… and here I was, ready to take the morning off from working out- simply because I didn’t “feel” like doing it.

But the simple action of doing what I had planned on doing the night before kept me on track.

My shoes were by my bed when I woke up.  Headband was put on my night stand.  And I slept in my workout clothes (yes- they were clean!)

So I went downstairs and as soon as I took the first step on the treadmill, it was like He was carrying me.  He gave me every ounce of energy I needed to complete my goal.

I finished, and came upstairs to both girls sitting on the couch.

They asked how my run was.

It was hard, but good.  It wasn’t easy- but nothing worth doing ever is!

And the best part?

My daughter said she’s going to get on the treadmill when she gets home today, too.

“Failing to plan… is planning to fail.” 

Set your mind on things above- Colossians 3:2 

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made new

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making old things

new 

let the vintage

shine through 

cleaned up to

perfection 

for the 

clarity of my 

reflection 

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This past week, my hubby went with me to pick up a few of my granny’s things- a couple of dressers and her china set.  It’s hard to believe my granny passed away over three years ago… so many memories- especially Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings- revolve around her home.

My granny and pawpaw bought these dressers new and used them for many years.  By the time I remembered seeing them, they were used in the guest room- where my sister and I would stay overnight when we were young.  I remember thinking they were so beautiful and fancy.  I have always loved old things- especially things that remind me of joyful times- like staying at granny’s house.

I remember always wanting to look inside the dressers to see what was in there.  I didn’t ever snoop- but when I was little, I imagined these dressers held fancy dresses and all sorts of treasures!  More than likely- it was extra blankets and boring things like that, lol… but it was fun as a kid to imagine and pretend 🙂

After my husband and I got the dressers safely home, I searched the internet and found a vintage ad for the exact same bedroom set!  It was in a Life magazine in 1959…

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How cool is that?! I remember sleeping in the same bed, but they must have gotten rid of it at some point.  Amazingly, the dressers are in excellent shape for being 60 years old! All I need is to find a couple of new drawer pulls for the tall dresser.

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The china was a perfect fit in my china cabinet.  I am looking forward to using it and making NEW memories around our own dining room table.

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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are NEW every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”- Lamentations 3:22-24

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rainy days and Mondays always get me up!

I’m a little weird, I guess.

Because I absolutely LOVE rainy days… and Mondays, too!

Mondays are my favorites because I am usually at home alone- which means I can get so much done!  The rest of the week is go-go for all of us.  Between work, school, church, teaching music lessons, running the girls here and there, doing errands…the weeks sometimes feel like a rat race! And for me, the the weekends are spent preparing for Sunday’s church service.   I end up putting off a lot of things I need to do until Monday, because I know that will be a quiet day when I can get a TON done, because I’m usually home alone.  Monday is my “home base” day-  and, did I mention- I love Mondays?!

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And when it rains, too?  Well that’s just an extra blessing for me.  I have always loved rainy days!  I think it’s so strange how people dislike the rain.  There’s something so real about it- it’s not like we melt in the rain!  Sure- it might make your hair a little flat,  and it might make you change your plans to stay inside- but sometimes that’s a good thing!

When I feel the rain on my skin, it makes me feel alive!

It makes my car all shiny again! (who needs a carwash when you get a good rain shower?!)

The rain reminds me that I have showers of blessings to be thankful for.

Oh- and it reminds me that I really need to go water that poinsettia my husband brought home from work the other day 🙂

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.  Isaiah 45:8-10 

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Morning Praise

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O God, inspire our morning hymn
Of love and gratitude;
Oh, bless the sacrifice we bring,
Thou Source of every good.

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Thy miracle of love so sweet
Preserved us all secure;
While helpless in unconscious sleep,
Thy presence kept us pure.

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’Tis blest to rise, O Lord, and join
With nature’s minstrelsy;
To hymn Thy praise at early morn,
And offer thanks to Thee.

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Sweet morning is the time to pray;
How lovely and how meet,
To send our early thoughts away
Up to the mercy seat.

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The glorious sun has driven far
The mystic shades of night;
So in our souls the morning star
Hath shed His wondrous light.

A Hymn of Morning Praise by Daniel S. Warner

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Color

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a backdrop

of sky blue

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a picture- portrait

of You

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evidence

how profound

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I sense Your presence

all around

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I love walking and taking in all the beautiful things He has made.  The sky was cerulean blue, the air crisp and clean, and the color of the trees glowed against the autumn sky.  I woke up feeling especially thankful today-

-for the beginning of a new week

-that I have a car that I could drive to the trail

-that my hubby has the day off and that he could go with me 

-that I remembered to wear socks on our walk (so I wouldn’t get blisters!) 

-for changing seasons

-that I have a Heavenly Father who knows just what I need- at all times! 

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain

– Psalm 139 

 

I “Press” On

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Over a year ago, I decided to share a blog post I had written on my Facebook page.  It was a story about me and my daughters that happened several years ago- one that was especially dear to me.  Within about 5 minutes, I had a notification from Facebook that my article had been reported because it violated their “community standards”.  My website had been blocked.  Not only was my website blocked, but every single post that I had ever written and shared on my personal page was also removed, and I got a notification for each one.

It didn’t make any sense.

What I had written contained nothing offensive, other than it was a heart-warming story about a mom and daughter.  I did everything I could to appeal it.  I spent hours googling and looking for anyone to talk to about it.  And if you’ve ever tried- you know that it is absolutely impossible to find anyone from Facebook to call, email, message, or talk to about getting your site “unblocked”.

So about 6 months later, I paid to “upgrade” my WordPress site- hoping that I would then be able to share my posts to Facebook again.  Unfortunately,  it didn’t work- my site was (and still is) blocked.

To be honest- that is a big reason I haven’t written on this blog as frequently.

What bothers me even more is how I used to be so apprehensive about sharing things on Facebook… and then once I let go and started not caring- well, it was too late.  

But who am I writing for?

The Audience of One.

I have allowed the Facebook blockage to also lead to writer’s block.  Do you know that I wrote a blog post every single week (sometimes more than one) for almost 6 years straight?  That is an amazing accomplishment for me!

It has been good to take a break.

But it’s good to be back 😉

I “press” on- Philippians 3:14 

twenty five

take a step 

one at a time 

as your fingers

lace through mine 

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you go first 

I’m right behind 

other times 

I lead the line 

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give and take 

we step together 

twenty-five years 

closer than ever 

My hubby and I often talk about life and how blessed we have been.

“If you could see what your life would be like now when we were first married, would you even believe it?!” 

“We are so blessed.” 

That about sums up our conversations lately.

Thankful.

Grateful.

This past Monday we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our first date.  In some ways, that date is more special to me than when we actually said “I do.”   I remember everything about that evening.  He wore a bugs bunny baseball t-shirt and khakis.  I wore checked shorts and a t-shirt.  We went to the movies, and then we got ice cream and sat in McDonalds and talked for several hours- about life, our future kids… what we wanted to be when we “grew up”…

I was barely 17 years old, but by the time he dropped me off at my house that night, I knew he was the one!

And he still is.

So I met him at his office at the end of the day the past Monday, and we walked to a local restaurant.  We ate a fabulous meal, and then drove around and watched the sunset and took in the beautiful mountain views.

And we talked and dreamed of our future…

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—   1 Corinthians 2:9 

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