it’s the little things

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it’s the little things 

reminding me- 

Emmanuel

He’s here with me 

The girls are maturing by the day, and I can hardly keep up with their changing likes and dislikes.  In fact, just yesterday I lamented that this is the first year neither of them asked for a single American Girl doll accessory  or”toy” for Christmas.

  Gone are those special moments when they would crawl into Santa’s lap and take sweet pictures.  And much to my chagrin- gone are the days of fighting those crowded toy store lines trying to get them the hottest toys of the season.  (that I DON’T miss!!)

As I got into my van yesterday morning I was feeling a little melancholy thinking of how much they have grown, and a part of me longed to hear their giddy little girl giggles.

But then I looked up, and I saw my windows were covered in frost from the previous chilly night. The frost glistened in the sunlight and I saw a cross- clear as day- a “frosty” cross, I’ll call it 🙂

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And He reminded me again what the real meaning of CHRISTmas is all about.

There is no giggle, no toy, no present under the tree that could ever compare to the joy He has already given me.  And the longing in my heart will only ever be satisfied by more of Him.  

In the simplest of ways He shows me that He is here.

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”  Matthew 1:23

Brick by Brick

What do you think of me?
Wonder what do you see?
When I open up and let you in.
Fearing what you might say.
Afraid you’ll run away
If I open up and let you in
So brick by brick I build up walls
Till I cannot see at all
Take those walls and tear them down
every wall I’ve build around
me
Take those walls and tear them down
tear them down
let those walls come tumbling down
let those walls come tumbling down
Feeling like I can’t breathe
Thoughts like a movie screen
They’re paralyzing me
And I wish I could make it stop
I wish I could turn it off
Jesus is the only thing saving me
‘Cause brick by brick I build up walls
Till I cannot see at all

This is a song I wrote recently about praying for Jesus to help me STOP those anxious thoughts that run through my head.  When I was a kid, I was always worried about what other people thought of me. I was so afraid that people wouldn’t accept me that I didn’t even try to make friends.  It was easier to build up walls around myself than it was to be “me” and allow people into my life.

And even as an adult, I still struggle with wanting to put up walls to protect myself- because sometimes letting people “in” is scary. But it is so worth it!

I am so thankful for the many friends He has brought into my life.

He continually helps me to put my hope and trust in Him and in no other person- because people WILL let you down!  He is helping me love everyone-

even those…

who don’t like the Christmas movie Elf (gasp!!)

who don’t like dogs 

who voted differently than I did in the presidential election

who don’t look or think the same way I do 

who don’t share my interests 

even those who don’t love me back

And by His grace, He can help us see each other- and even ourselves– through His eyes.   Loving other people doesn’t mean we won’t be hurt at times, but that is what He calls us to do. And that all begins with letting Jesus into our hearts and allowing Him to tear down those walls we create to separate us.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John 4:7-11

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seasons in between

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I walked to the beat 

of falling leaves 

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beneath my feet 

leaves thick as thieves

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I watched the foliage 

drift and sway 

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on this breezy, balmy

autumn day 

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I wanted to hit the pause button again this morning. This is my favorite time of year… that time when we are still full with Thanksgiving JOY and yet we anticipate all the excitement the Christmas Season brings!!   And secretly, I wish I could hoard pumpkin spice EVERYTHING so that I could savor it a bit longer…

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Speaking of this in-between season, I’ve got a ‘tween at home…  She marches to her own beat, and I honestly don’t know what’s going to come out of her mouth from moment to moment.  A strong willed child, she’s also a delightful mix of sarcasm, humor and wit.  Her name is “Sophia” which actually means wisdom.

I was out running errands with both girls the other day, and my oldest commented that I’m getting old.  My jaw dropped as I turned to her with a look of disbelief that she would say such a horrid thing!

Well, I guess there’s a little bit of truth to that- I will hit the big 4-0 in June….ugghh….

Without skipping a beat, my youngest chimes in with her words of wisdom- “Mom, I like that you’re getting older- it means your more experienced!”

My heart warmed just a little bit as I turned to look at her lovingly.  “Soph, that’s so sweet!”

“Well, I just said it to make you feel better.  You ARE old!”

Sigh.   

But then, just a few days later, she surprised me again…

I went to my favorite grocery store the other day- Trader Joe’s.  If you’ve never been- you are missing out.  I love everything about this place!  The employees treat me like a long, lost friend- always eager to chit-chat and offer suggestions of new things to try.  I was desperate, I mean DESPERATE for more Pumpkin Spice k-cups, but, alas, they were all out.

At check out, the cashier asked me if I found everything I was looking for.  I told him how I wanted more Pumpkin Spice coffee.  We both commiserated over the ending of the “pumpkin season”,  and he shed an imaginary tear with me.

Then my  daughter piped up-

“But Mom, it wouldn’t be as special if you had it all the time!” 

So true.

Which reminds me to treasure those special days with these girls… because just like pumpkin spice- they are only young for a “season”!

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” – L.M. Montgomery 

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Now I See

 

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Clouds swirled in, I heard them call-

“come see us up the mountaintop!” 

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breezes swished in the apple-crisp air 

leaves swirled ’round without a care 

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the wind- it whirled and howled about

orchestrating a most glorious shout!  

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I felt the marvelous presence of Grace 

and His glory surrounded this heavenly place 

I awoke one recent morning to the most beautiful sight- streams of sunlight  were peeking through my mini-blinds in my bedroom, shedding light on blankets and girls and dogs strewn about our bedroom floor.  We had an adventurous evening the day before, and our girls decided to sleep on our bedroom floor, along with the dogs that night.

I was the first one awake the next morning, and I saw that moment as a gift from the Lord.  The girls looked like burritos- rolled up in blankets, and the dogs were curled up beside them.  My husband slept soundly beside me, and I was completely overwhelmed with God’s love.  In that moment, I realized everything that mattered to me was in that one room- and it was more than enough.  I had to fight back tears as I thought of the girls getting older, and how things will someday change.  I can’t bear to think of the day when they leave home…so I savored this rare moment when ALL of us were together, slumbering in the same room.

That overwhelming feeling of love was with me the entire day.  The girls and I went to the movies, and as we came out of the theater, we noticed the temperature had dropped significantly and the clouds were swirling in the sky.  On the way home, we went up to Carter’s Mountain to get some apples and cider donuts.  The view was just spectacular.

I have so much to be thankful for.

“…There is one thing I do know: I was blind, but now I see!”- John 9:25

 

 

 

a blanket of blessings

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stitch by stitch 

it was frozen in time 

I watched it grow 

and dreamed it was mine 

soft and warm 

like an autumn sky

an afghan brings memories

of days gone by 

 My mom recently and asked me if there was anything in particular that I would like to have that belonged to my Granny.  Oddly enough, something immediately came to my mind- an afghan.  Not just any afghan- it was one my mom had made for my Pawpaw nearly 30 years ago.

So I said to my mom- “Do you remember that old afghan you made for Pawpaw?  I would love to have it if it’s still at the house!”  She remembered it right away, and said she’d try to find it that weekend.

As a kid, I remember sitting beside my mom on the couch each night as she crocheted it.   I wanted that blanket!  It was soo soft, and I remember thinking about how much my mom must love her daddy to spend all that time making it for him!  I believe she gave it to him for Christmas that year.

And every time we went to visit Granny and Pawpaw, I saw that blanket folded neatly on top of his recliner.  I secretly wanted to sit in his chair so I could spread it across my lap and pretend it was mine!

Year after year, Every time I saw the afghan, the memories of those special evenings I spent sitting beside my mom, watching her crochet… those memories would come right back to me.

As I was sitting in church the following Sunday, I saw a text from mom.  They looked everywhere for the afghan, and mom went out to the garage to put something in the freezer- and there it was, in perfect condition tucked beside the freezer.

I was able to pick it up later that next week.  The afghan was a little stiff, and slightly musty from old age, so I carefully washed and dried it.  Now it’s as good as new!

Its not the afghan itself that’s special- it’s the precious memories it brings back to me…of being a little girl, sitting beside my Mommy on the couch…just simply being together.

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

You’ve captured my heart

 

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It’s a wonderful delight

in the absence of sunlight 

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to sit and gaze upon 

a yellow bloom 

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A flower big and bright

I smile at the sight

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a little bit of happy

fills the room

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We sang one of my favorite worship songs this past Sunday- Beautiful One.   I love how you can sing a song a hundred times, but God still makes it new in your heart!  I heard this line-

You’ve opened my eyes to Your wonders anew, You’ve captured my heart with this Love...

As we sang this song, I began to think of all the ways He has “captured” my heart over the past week… little things– like a random phone call, or a simple text message from a friend.  A compliment from a stranger, the perfect song on the radio at just the right time…

And yesterday He captured my heart again!

Last week, I had planned on going to pick sunflowers, but I ended up unable to go.  There’s just something special about sunflowers- I can’t stop smiling when I see them!  I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to go, but didn’t think much about it afterwards.

Well, just yesterday someone out of the blue brought me a bouquet of the longest, most beautiful sunflowers!  She knew how badly I wanted to go pick them last week, and wanted to brighten my day.  Such a simple gesture- but He captured my heart once again!

“You’ve opened my eyes to Your wonders anew, 

You’ve captured my heart with this Love, 

’cause nothing on earth is as beautiful 

as You”

…that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.  Psalm 30:12

 

 

 

 

joy will come

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when every beam of light goes dim 

trust that you can rest in Him 

His light shines in darkness 

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when you cry out but not a word 

escapes your mouth- you still are heard 

His ears hear in darkness 

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when all that’s left to do is wait 

In Him joy comes, His love is great 

His voice speaks in darkness 

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Recently, I took the girls out shopping so they could find a birthday present for a friend.  You go to the toy section, I’ll be in electronics– I told them.

I remember how desperately I wanted to feel close to God, and how far away He seemed.

I was hoping to find a new worship CD to listen to in the car on the way home.  He so often speaks to me through music, and I searched and searched…but the CD selection in this store was dismal.  I couldn’t find a single one. I went to find the girls, we made our gift purchase, and I pushed the thought of finding new music out of my mind.

And then just days later- after our Sunday service, a wonderful lady who loves the Lord came up to me as I was walking out to my van.  Here- someone gave me these, and I thought you’d like to have them.  She handed me a gift bag with several CD’s in them.

I dropped my husband off at work the other morning, and as I looked down in my van, I saw that same gift bag that had been handed to me days before.  I had forgotten about it, but felt compelled to look inside on this particular morning.  I grabbed a cd out of the bag and popped it into my cd player. The first words I heard were these-

I’m here to meet with you
come and meet with me
I’m here to find you
reveal yourself to me

As I wait, you make me strong
As I long, draw me to your arms
As I stand and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won’t you come, Won’t you come and fill this place

As I listened, God revealed Himself to me.  I cried tears of joy as I remembered the week I had before and how far away God had seemed to me.  In that moment as I listened to the CD, He brought to mind the day I wandered through that store- searching for music, wanting so desperately to be near Him…and then the picture of the lady from our church came to mind- how she smiled and hugged me so tightly as she handed me a bag  full of CD’s…

God is faithful.  Even when I can’t see or feel Him.  He filled my van with His presence that day. He breathed life into these dry bones again.  He filled me with joy.

I am thankful 🙂

Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning…Psalm 30:5

 

keep on going

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though the road

grows dark and gray 

keep traveling the onward way 

until the day our 

faith will become sight 

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always keeping Him in mind 

never stop to look behind 

steadfast, keep on walking 

towards the Light

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I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  

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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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I didn’t know what I was missing

 

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I didn’t know what I was missing… 

all those years that I spent 

looking at the ground

like there was no one else around-

everything came to life when I found You

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I didn’t know what I was missing…

the times I failed to see

the beauty of this place

God’s majesty and grace

I began to see in Living colour

when I saw You  

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I didn’t know what I was missing…

all the time I longed for

someone’s company

there You were- walking right along with me

a better friend I’d never known 

till I met You

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I didn’t know what I was missing…

until the day You

reached down from above

and overwhelmed my heart with Love

I found contentment, I found joy

when I found You

Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family.  Proverbs 18:24

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I began jogging for exercise when I was about 15 years old out of desperation to lose weight.  I squeezed into a pair of cut-off jean shorts, in hopes that one day they would become too loose to wear- as I jogged around the block.  I stared down at the ground, afraid of making eye contact with anyone.  I didn’t want anyone to see me, so I counted the cracks in the pavement…huffing and puffing and praying for it to be over with quickly.

I was so focused on myself, on my short-comings, on my own hang-ups- that I was oblivious to the entire world around me!

I didn’t know what I had been missing out on all that time.

But somewhere along the way, He got my attention.

When I finally changed my focus and made walking about spending time with Him– the whole world around me began to look different.

I started hearing birds singing

I saw other people walking- smiling and ready to give a cheerful hello! 

 Sunsets and sunrises became vibrant. 

I finally realized that I was not alone- He was walking with me!   

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.  

Isaiah 9:2