Archives for category: a few thoughts on…

DSCN2239So, my son and I went to Verizon today. I usually dread it because of the wait time, but it was only a 15-minute wait tonight, so I just walked around and looked at the oh-so-upgraded phones that dwarf my little iPhone 4s (which I am a proud carrier of by the way.) Anyway, as I looked at one of the phones, it was kind of in the case catty-corner and so I tried to straighten it, to fix it….

Wrong move.

I soon saw flashing lights and heard an awful alarm sound.  Oops.  Big oops. And then I saw a man running around the store looking for the turn-off-the-alarm-key.  And then I raised my hand and smiled and said that this phone over here was the one ‘ringing’. Ha. He waved back and did not look in the least bit concerned that I was a threat to his phone or to him. (Maybe I should be offended by that, but I so was not…)

Now years ago, I would have been ultra-embarrassed and possibly mortified by setting off an alarm in the store. The running-around-man finally found the key and he smiled and said, “No worries. It happens all the time.”  And maybe, that’s part of the reason why I wasn’t embarrassed. (Well, I was a little embarrassed, but not totally mortified.)  Maybe it was partly because I have made enough mistakes  (they ‘happen all the time’) to know what are those mistakes to stress over and what are those to just laugh at myself about and move on.  We all got a good laugh (yes, at my expense), and thankfully within about 3 minutes, we moved on.

But after the fact, I did decide that I would no longer browse the phones, but would rather choose to sit with my hands to myself  and wait. I think it was a good choice, as no other alarms went off in the meantime. (That’s the beauty of making mistakes…learning from them!)  But as I was sitting there I kept thinking about the whole propensity to fix things.  Sometimes we moms get in that mode of ‘fixing’. Fixing collars, fixing hair, fixing this, fixing that, (even catty-corner phones).  Sometimes we wives do as well. Trying to fix an unwilling ‘fixee’ might turn out to be a dangerous path. Depending on who is or is not wanting to be fixed, it can really backfire. A lot. I can remember a dear mentor of mine joking (sort of)  with her husband in her strong New York accent  “You’re not my Holy Spirit…” And that’s the bottom line. There’s a readiness factor in being fixed. Sometimes pre-mature fixing only slows the process and builds resistance.

So here’s my two cents. Sometimes, it’s so not my place to fix things or people. It’s my place to observe, to see, to pray through, but to not try to wade into the waters of fixing things that aren’t mine to fix. It can create lots more chaos. Sometimes that chaos might involve damaged relationships or enablement of wrong patterns, or heeding off natural consequences that would be the best teacher.  And sometimes trying to fix things might create chaos that comes with alarms and bells and people running around crazy trying to undo the ‘fixing’.

So, my two cents says, that fixing things that I am responsible for…am all for it.  But when it comes to fixing things that other people are responsible for, well, maybe it’s best to sit back, pray, and keep my hands to myself. We all have our own paths to walk…and our own mistakes to learn from. Take it from me and my little trip to Verizon.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S.  There may be some of you who were concerned about Tanner’s embarrassment or mortification factor. He handled it just fine. Am thinking he’s had some practice with not being embarrassed by his mom’s blunders (although this was the first one involving flashing lights and alarms. oops…I mean it was only the second one involving alarms and lights …there was that speeding ticket…). My little blunders have helped teach my teenagers to let it roll…and Grace abounds 🙂

P.P.S. And of course, there are definite times of helping, fixing, and aiding…but one thing I always need to remember is to make sure I’m working on fixing the stuff in myself before I try to fix the same issue in someone else. Walking alongside and mutual encouragement /accountability is a lot different than “fixing”.  Like Jesus said in Matthew 7, we’ve gotta make sure we have the plank out of our own eye before we try to take a speck out of another’s. Humility can be a huge advantage when the time for fixing does arise. My two (more) cents.

 

IMG_4778

Anxiety. If you listen, or scroll, or read for any amount of time these days, that word will most likely pop up pretty quickly. Worry, anxiety, depression…these are battles  of the mind and heart that so many face in their lives. About a month ago, I was dealing with a lot of worry about a current situation in our lives. I couldn’t see how things would play out and it was really eating at me from the inside. It was pretty all-consuming, and I was making bold attempts to not feed the worry (cause yep, as I’ve said ad nauseum, “What we feed grows…”), but I was having a tough time. Worry seemed to be winning. But then, then… I read this quote: “Faith is rest, because it believes the work is done.” (Dan Bailey).

I stopped.  Rest.  I’m not sure why it hit me so incredibly hard, but it did. I smiled big.  Faith, belief leads to rest.  Not just rest like a nap. Rest like a quieting of the heart’s hamster wheel of worry. Rest like an ability to be ‘all in’ in the moment we’re in because we’re not pondering what the future will hold. Rest like a holding out of our empty hands instead of wringing them in anxious waiting. Rest in the soul that allows me to go all out in the daily stuff of life. Rest that says, “You’ve got this” not to me, but to the One who really does. God has got this.

He knew what would come before I did. He knows what is to come. And He’s right there in the middle of it all. When we take those situations, heartaches, worries to Him and lay it down, we make room for Him to do what we can’t. When we trust Him with it all, it frees us up to be wholly devoted to Him in the big and little stuff of our daily lives.

We are much more present living life with the people in our midst, working hard, loving well and reaching those in our world, when we’re not so busy trying to keep the world spinning…or worrying about it not spinning.  So, “Faith is Rest”.  Trusting is Resting. That’s been my new ‘go-to’ when worry crops up. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting.  When fears for my (adult) child crop up.  Trusting is resting.  When the uncertainty of future weighs on heart and mind. Trusting is resting. When my friend and her family were in a car accident yesterday and her neck was fractured. Tears were flowing, but my heart was knowing that God is in control and because of that I can trust Him with her and her family. Why?  Because trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. That’s what I spoke to my heart.  Truth. And Truth sets us free to rest in our hearts in situations that are difficult, trying, even terrifying.

If I believe God is who He says He is, I can trust Him with it all.  And the cool thing is?  He can use it all. For our good, For His Glory, He can use it all as we lay it at His feet. We put our spinning worlds down, and He, the Creator of All, can get our wobbly worlds back in sync.  When we put our worries into praying with faith, knowing that God can use it all, we put the reigns back in the hands of the One who Loves and Knows and sees beyond what we ever could. He’s a bit more adept at spinning the World than I am. That sun comes up every single solitary morning whether I see it (or worry about it!) or not. Just saying.

So, when worries crop up (daily, hourly, even momentarily!), am learning to speak truth to myself…to remind myself that I can trust God with it all.  Trusting is resting in His Sovereign Will, in His undying Love.  Trusting is Resting.

Blessings~

Heather

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”  

Romans 8:26-28

P.S. ( Always, right?  Sorry!)

Romans 8  I have  to include the link to whole chapter of Romans 8. It is so incredibly rich on any given day, but it is especially full when battling fears. No condemnation. He works all things for our good. He loves us. He has provided.  Yes, rich words and Truths indeed that can fill the heart that needs to remember who they trust and why they can rest.

DSCN2523.jpg

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Matthew 6:26

DSCN2660

I planted some seeds in a pot today. The pot has seen so many flowers through the years, but most times, they’ve been the  pre-grown kind I just pick up at Wal-mart and stick in a pot. But these?  These little seeds are going to take a little time to grow.

I took out the little hand shovel and dug a hole, put some seeds in and for now will wait to hopefully see some little sprouts grow. Impatiens seeds (for those who are  not so very ‘patiens’…) takes only about 21 days to germinate.  So, it won’t be long until we see the sprouts break the surface of the soil and begin their debut. I’m so looking forward to seeing these simple little carefree beauties bloom.

And do you know what?  When they start to flower and bloom and fill up that pot…they won’t be daisies or tulips or lilies.  They’ll be impatiens. That’s what I planted after all.

Because what we sow is what we reap.  Not always right away. Sometimes there’s a short germination period, and sometimes it takes years and years to see what we’ve planted  reach the surface and bloom.  But the principle stands….what we sow, we reap.

Daisies beget daisies. Verbena begets verbena. Willows beget willows. Violets beget violets.  Impatiens beget impatiens.

And…much more importantly…Kindness plants seeds of kindness. Hope breeds hope. Lies beget lies and distrust. Love multiplies love. Stealing multiplies voids and needs. Yep, what we sow, we reap.  Not always right away, because, yes, even with these, there can be  years and years of waiting (or dreading depending on what we’ve planted), because like seeds, the way we treat people are seeds sown that may take a little time to germinate.  But, what we sow we reap.

DSCN2663

Am thinking I’m glad that I like impatiens. I’m glad (hoping) that I will see the beauty of that sow~reap principle before my eyes every day this summer.  Why?  Because I want to be reminded to sow well. To be diligent about planting seeds that will reap a harvest that blesses others and honors God. A harvest that gives. And I want to be diligent about tossing the seeds and actions that I don’t want to multiply in my life or in the lives of others. I definitely don’t want to be multiplying negative stuff. The world is full of enough of that.And it definitely takes diligence and honesty and tenacity to see the yuck in my own life. Gotta see it before I can toss it. And I’ve gotta plant the good stuff before it will grow.

Here’s to reaping what we sow, and sowing well because we know that daisies beget daisies, verbena begets verbena, and impatiens beget impatiens. Am hoping that this summer my pots will be full of impatiens…and my own little world will be blessed by the harvest that comes from the seeds I choose to plant in my life and the lives of those around me. Yep ~ am so thankful for the reminders that these little seeds gave me today…hope you are too!  Happy Planting, friend.

Blessings~

Heather

“Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.

Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD,

that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Hosea 10:12

dscn2029

Yes, I have a few thoughts on husbands.  Correction.  Husband. Singular. Meaning mine. I’ve joked (sort of) in other posts that my husband is a ‘man among men’ in many ways. (And sadly, this was said more humorously than amorously…)  He is stubborn, thinks he’s invincible, and often doesn’t filter his thoughts through his brain before they come out of his mouth.  He will probably admit to all of the above freely.  He lives with an extreme intensity which has probably greatly contributed to his success in playing football, being an undercover cop, and coaching sports. My husband is one of a kind and like him or not, he is who he is. (I happen to like him, most days anyway.)

Well, this weekend, I was reminded of a few things about the man. You see, he’s living about 4 hours away right now, building a home on the coast of NC, so we are traveling back and forth to see each other. This weekend was my turn, so on Friday after work, my son and I jumped in the car and made the trek to Wilmington. On the way, my son got a call from his Dad.  I could tell that Buddy was asking Tanner what snacks he wanted because Tan started listing things like ‘Oreos’ and ‘chips like Doritos…yeah Doritos’.  And I kinda wished that he would ask me what I wanted because I was so in the mood for popcorn, but I kept quiet and just asked that we have coffee in the morning. I would definitely need coffee in the morning.

And when we got there, we all hugged and brought in  our stuff to his little apartment (that he affectionately calls his ‘bachelor pad’, ha.) and what did I see?  Coffee already made, two mugs, with ‘my cup’ on one and ‘your cup’ on the other. He of course got Tanner the Oreo cookies he wanted, but remembered from way back in the Fall that I had tried the Lemon Oreos and loved them. Yep. They were there too. And do you  know what else was there?  Pop corn.  The man notices.

And I guess that’s what this post is about. It’s about …noticing.  Noticing the little thing, the little things he does that are so thoughtful.  You see, this man who drives me crazy in every possible way and doesn’t pick up  his socks, communicates in one word answers and is as stubborn as all-get-out….this man knows me.  He notices things I don’t think he sees, and cares about the little things.They aren’t always the things I care about, but that’s what happens when you have different takes, view, perspectives on things. When the kids were little, he knew what every one of them wanted on his or her sandwich (that’s no small feat with 6 children). He works hard for our family. And the man who may not be seen as the greatest communicator makes sure that he talks with all of our kids almost on a daily basis.

And it’s good for me to notice what he notices. It’s good for me to step back and appreciate those little things. It’s so easy to see what’s lacking, the gaps,the falling short. I know that as women, often long for more and have a vision of what we hope things could be.  But there’s so much that is. And the cool thing is, is that the more I notice what is,  it seems, that there is so much more to notice.  There it is again…perspective changes everything.

They say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” I can only speak for myself, but it sure has helped me to appreciate my husband. In his absence, I see what is. Like a puzzle with pieces missing, I realize what was there that maybe I didn’t see before.  I so wouldn’t wish living separately on many couples. But it sure has helped me and my husband. I have a feeling he’s seeing some of the missing pieces too, and appreciating what is. And even though he may not communicate and have deep conversations with me about this or that, he’s showing me in his own way that he’s all in and he cares and he notices. And I can’t help but notice that.

Oh, and he called tonight to make sure we got home okay and said he’d definitely be coming home next weekend. In the midst of all the absence and gaps and loss, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. And what we don’t have?  Well it seems to make us more thankful for what we do.

DSCN2035.jpg

What Bud sees when he walks out the door in the morning….and what we get to see when we’re there…Kind of the best of both worlds, I’d say.  At least that’s how I’m choosing to see it…

Blessings~

Heather

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7

dscn0539

 

December Prayer

I’m determined to remember
I’m determined to forget
On this last day in December
I choose to move beyond regret

For it is often in the choosing
Of what to hold and to let go
for what we focus on will hold us
And what we feed in life will grow

I’ll forget what lies behind me
Those things I cannot change
But hold dear the lessons learned and
Find the beauty that remains

I’ll ‘forget’ the things that held me
The things that weighed me down
The regrets and prayers unanswered
to live a life that just resounds
Of the simple Faith that moves me
So simple yet profound
The truth that God has given grace
The Truth that I, the Lost, am found

So I choose to remember
And I choose to forget
On this last day of December
I know God’s not done with me yet

I forget what lies behind me
I focus on the prize
For so often destinations
are merely where we’ve set our sights

I’m determined to breathe in
I’m determined to breathe out
To embrace the moment where I stand
And pray that God’s grace will allow
Us to see some more Decembers
To make the most of each new Day
To live a simple life that speaks
Of God’s Amazing Grace

For the Alpha and Omega
Redeemer, Lord, and Friend
Was there at the beginning
And will be there at the end
Always endings bring beginnings
When one stops, one must begin
I will journey on just knowing
That He is with me till the end
And then with me…
when…
whatever is next
begins…

So
I’m determined to remember
I’m determined to forget
I’m determined to hold on to the Truth
that I am not Home yet

I pray the days ahead are many
Filled with passion, purpose, hope
I’ll forget and I’ll remember
And pray that others come to know
The freedom that comes-
The joy, the faith, the hope-
in forgetting and remembering
And in trusting God alone

It is He who remembers
It is He who forgets
The Creator of all that lives and breathes
Forgives and forgets
As far as the East is from the West.
Oh my friend, do not forget
The Lord and His benefits.

Psalm 1, Psalm 103DSCN0539.jpg

A few years ago, I started taking a different way to work.  Even though it’s not the quickest way for me after dropping off my son at the high school, I still take it every morning .  I start out on winding roads and see glimpses of the sun through the trees. And then I come wide open spaces  and see the sun rising over a hill to the right.As I go around the bend, I see a field of cows with mountains in the background.   And when I come home? If I time it right, I see the sun peeping through the trees ahead of me, and then settling into a vast field to my left as I enter my road, the last little stretch before I reach home.

theridehome3This afternoon, the sun was so bright it was hard to see.  But what I did see was beautiful. Grays, blues, greens all joined by a warm glow that drenched it all. Short cuts may be good for somethings, but for me?  When I can, I’m taking the long and winding road.  It’s the one that helps me keep perspective. It’s the one that helps me realize it’s not all about the quickest and fastest. It reminds me to breathe. To appreciate.  To take the moment in.  To not rush home to rush to the next thing, but to just kind of be in the minute I’m in. It probably only takes one or two minutes more than the other way, but the visual pay out way more than makes up for a few minutes lost, because there’s a whole lot that can’t be measured that’s gained.

Just a few thoughts on my way home.

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“Cease striving and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

dscn9294So, a few years back,  I made a wreath…a Christmas wreath. It was simple-only consisted of the greens, a few pine cones, a purple sheer ribbon, and …lights.  It was simple, but for some reason, it brought me lots of profound joy. Yep. Just did. It just reminded me of the good things of the season, the simple good things and it was there to welcome friends and family home.  Here’s the blog link for that…Reading it will add to the understanding of what I’m about to write..  …the little things…, but it’s not necessary.

So, for the past few years, I’ve just enjoyed having that wreath ready to go on the door. Other than the little ceramic Christmas tree, and the year-round lights around my kids’ photos, well, the wreath has been the first thing to go up.  dscn9350

So, two nights ago, I got the wreath, put it on the door, plugged it in and …voila!…NOT. Nope, nope, nope….no lights turned on.  So I tried again.  Maybe a different extension cord, maybe…nope, nope, nope.  And instead of that wreath giving me joy, it just kind of sat there, cold and dark and I just stood there in the cold and dark, disappointed. Not quite what I thought my favorite wreath would bring out.

So yesterday, I bought a $2.25 pack of lights, and when I had the house to myself, I turned up the music and set out to fix this wreath…because  the light added so much to that little wreath.  Well, it was a ‘pre-lit’ wreath…and so it had about 100 or more little plastic tab things that held the lights into the wreath. By the time I realized how big of a job this was to undo those tightly held tab things from that wreath, well, it was too late to turn back.  dscn9275

It might not look like much, but trust me…there were tons of those little tab-things and it was no small feat to get the lights off. I’m talking over-an-hour-no-small-feat.  And as I was taking them off, there it was.  The culprit.  The teeny tiny little culprit that had stripped my favorite wreath of it’s brightness. I’m sure you probably guessed that, well, one of the bulbs was cracked.  And because of that, the whole string, every strand attached to that wreath by 100-some TIGHT tabs, was robbed of it’s light because one bulb was out.

And it hit me. And I smiled, cause I love how deeper truths can settle in as we see the ordinary stuff of life and how things work. It hit me that when one bulb is out, all are out. When one missing piece isn’t there, it impacts the whole deal.

We have all sorts of traditions, to-do lists, hopes, dreams, festivities, expectations and things wrapped up in our Christmas celebrations don’t we?  All sorts of expectations are in our heads as we try to prepare for the big day.  But if Jesus isn’t part of it, well, we’re just kind of putting a dull, dark wreath on our door that has the potential to shine a warm and welcoming glow for all who come to our homes.  That one missing piece, that one missing bulb that can make all the difference is Jesus.  Because Jesus…isn’t just a myth or a man or a reason to have a holiday.

Jesus is a Savior.  Redeemer. King.   A Savior of me, Redeemer of me, Light of my World.  And when I can see through all of the other things to the heart of Christmas, well, it adds joy and meaning and light and life and a smile on my face as I do the stuff.  It helps me see the reason for celebrating.  Not just that, It helps me celebrate instead of just checking through my to-do lists and dreading the countdown of this Advent season.

dscn9293

I do love Christmas. I promise I do. But to be honest, I often dread a lot of it.  The expectations and busy-ness and financial demands…it all seems so very distant from a Star in the night sky , a simple stable, manger in a straw, and a Savior coming in the form of a baby.  Yeah. And I know there’s a bridge, a balance between doing too much and not enough, but I think it’s more than that. For me, I don’t want to lose the Countdown with dread…I want to celebrate the advent with joy. Way too often, I’m like a dark wreath that has all the right things on the check list, but the joy, the light, the spirit of it all is gone. Maybe that’s why I smiled as I saw that broken bulb.  I needed to be reminded of the obvious….that if I’m celebrating Him and His Life, then the other things will fall into place.  They just will.

Purple Ribbons

So, if things are feeling rushed and dull and hard and busy and kind of futile as you approach or even dread the 25th, maybe you can remember me and my wreath. Maybe you can think on that one bulb that made all the other bulbs go dark…  Maybe we can all pray and ask God to help us to truly grow in our awareness of God’s love for us that was so beautifully demonstrated in the coming of Jesus.  Maybe the difference in the light that we’re able to shine out lies in the light that we’ve allowed to shine in our own hearts.Just a few thoughts on wreaths, lights, and anticipation of Christmas.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S.  I finished the wreath.  Love it. It’s on now, along with the ceramic little tree and a lemon verbena candle.  Lights shining all around, Light shining in ❤

LIGHT VALUE OF ONE

‘The people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”

Matthew 4:16

 

 

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  

I Peter 2:9

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-14-36-amLove the words of Ann Voskamp, and the reminders to live intentionally each day.  ‘Grateful joy’…love that she has the word ‘grateful’ before ‘joy’  because am thinking that joy often follows being grateful, thankful, aware of the gifts in our lives and around us.  Am thinking ThanksGiving leads to  ThanksLiving, and ThanksLiving leads to Joy. And here’s the thing. Like Ann said, “Any amount of grateful joy changes the present.”  It just does.Love that amazing truth.  May you and yours (and I and mine) live in those moments of grateful joy today ❤

Blessings and Happy ThanksGiving~

Heather

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

Psalm 28:7

puzzles.JPG

So, today in my classroom, we took a little bit of time to do a puzzle. We’ve been needing to work a bit on teamwork with this eclectic strong-willed little group, and we worked like a team.  “We” were black, white, and multi-racial.  “We” were blond haired girls and dark skinned boys and a white  middle aged teacher whose olive skin is darker than some of her students who are African-American. “We” were the team.  We talked about team work and we had a goal…to finish the puzzle…to make  all of the many pieces fit.

And some of us tried to force pieces to go where they wouldn’t fit.  And some of us tried to fix it. And some of us sat back and turned all the pieces to the same side and others of us found all the edges.  Some of us were good at looking at shapes.  Some of us were good at looking at colors and patterns.  Some of us were good at encouraging.  Some were good at organizing.   We were a team, a very diverse, team of strong personalities that quietly sat together and put together a puzzle. And there were only six of us.

After 20 minutes, we realized that we probably wouldn’t finish the puzzle before it was time for these students to leave and the next students to come in. And do you know what “we” decided?  The students volunteered, “why don’t we let them finish?”  as the next group filed into my room. I was so proud of them.  Because they realized that sometimes it’s not about us.  But all of us wanted that puzzle finished because there’s just something unsettling about seeing all these pieces laying around when they are made to be one.  One picture. One vision. One big piece made of lots of little pieces. The second group did gladly finish what the first group started and fit right into the Social skills lesson of teamwork that we were discussing this week. We all felt a feeling of accomplishment.

And as I drove home feeling a bit discouraged with regards to wondering what I’d find when I turned on the news regarding the election, I smiled.  I smiled because I thought about the puzzle.  I thought about the pieces, and those young minds and hearts and bodies that worked as a team to get the job done.Trust me, for this little crew, that was no small feat!  And for some reason, that gave me a bit of hope.

I think it gave me a bit of hope because in a world where there a million pieces and a thousand different views and ignorant people that are vocal and wise people that are silent and every kind of people in between, I remembered that we have today.  We have today to build puzzles and work like a team with those in our midst.  We make a difference in the way we do or don’t work together with people who will or won’t see the big picture in our homes, in our families, schools, churches, synagogues, streets and communities. We are part of a whole. Each and every one of  us are an important part of a whole.

Our nation is a nation divided.  It is a complicated puzzle with fragmented views of what the whole is supposed to look like. It’s more obvious now than I ever remember it being. Now as I sit and watch the TV screen with the map of the U.S. (the ‘us’) with red and blue states that look like little puzzle pieces fitting together, I am choosing to remember that irregardless of the outcome of this incredibly divisive election, we are part of a whole.  And the way we treat each other in the process matters.  It matters so much. Win or lose. Democrat or Republican. Black or white.Conservative or Liberal. Christian or Atheist. We are part of a whole. United we stand. Divided we fall.

My students got that today.  The only way they got anything done was by listening, contributing, working together and showing common courtesies. And maybe seeing the ugliness of the past year can help Americans to have a mirror held up to ourselves to determine that we need to pause.  After the election and before the inauguration, I hope and pray that adults in our nation will step back, pause, and breathe.  That collectively and individually people could stop long enough to listen and hear and respect.

I so believe that we are one nation under God, because I believe God is Sovereign.  Whether we acknowledge God or not is up to us.  The consequences will follow based on the choices we make. Consequences of a lot of these choices are a slippery slope, and there are many who refuse to acknowledge the way one choice will lead to another. There are those crying “Danger ahead!” and  I so see the slippery slope our nation is on…financially, morally, ethically.  I’m praying for mercy. I’m praying for vision. And I’m praying for team work that can come when very different strong-willed people can quietly take a little time to accomplish a small task at hand.

Puzzle pieces are meant to be put together. Praying for peace-makers…..piece-by-piece peace makers…who are both tenacious and kind, determined and resilient, focused and hardworking…because those little hands that were putting the puzzle pieces together in my class?  They will be reaping the benefits or curse of what we do with this fragmented country. One adult, one voice at a time will help lead.

Yes, the problems facing our country are all too big.  They are enormous. Like a vast million-piece puzzle, the problems facing our Nation are so complicated. But in the midst of this discouraging political climate, let’s not forget that puzzles are put together piece by piece, one piece at a time. We can’t do the whole puzzle, but we can try to make a positive impact in our little corner, with the little pieces we have.  I’m not naive enough to think that I can make a huge difference in this incredibly big nation of ours.  But one thing I can do….I can do my best to be a contributor, a peace maker in the lives of these little ones around me who are with me right here and right now.  And maybe… that will make a world of difference to them, and to our little tiny corner of this great big puzzle we call the United States of America. Because puzzles…puzzles are meant to be put together.

puzzles

Choosing to remember that every piece of a puzzle matters.  Every single solitary one.

P.S.  Oh, and I do want to add one more thing (always, lol…).  When you hold up one puzzle piece, one might wonder what in the world it is.  But when all of the pieces are put together, we see the big picture because all of the pieces blend into one, and it all makes sense.  We so see in part these days…with puzzle pieces and with each other… And I think a lot of times, instead of accepting, we stereotype and categorize and analyze and think we see in whole when we see a teeny tiny part. It’s easy to get so caught up in the minutiae that we don’t understand, that we sacrifice the truths that we do. Maybe if we spend less time trying to analyze and figure each other out so much, we’d be able to see each other for who we are. Just a thought.

 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:12-15

  •  *love that “binds everything together in perfect harmony”..kind of like a puzzle…<3
 Blessings ~
Heather

 

 

 

coldwater.JPG

So, the problems today are rampant.  Watch the news for 5 minutes and it can be so  overwhelming if you let yourself really take in what’s being reported.  And the political climate?  Honestly, I don’t even want to go there.  There’s so much distrust, disrespect, and disarray…and the games being played are so obvious to the average citizen. I’ve never felt quite so disconcerted with it all and have always taken the privilege to vote as a gift and responsibility.  But now?  I find myself rolling my eyes when the candidates start their little rhetorical games as the problems in our state, in our nation, in our world, just seem to be grow so incredibly big. Giant. Astronomically Huge.

And what can one person do?  That’s the thing that concerns me about all of this. The problems are so embedded and intertwined and “solutions” go so far to the left or right we never find common ground,  we never find viable solutions.  Give. Take. Never Share.  All. Nothing. Very little compromise and reason from all sides.  I am not going to get into my religious or political views now because I just wanted to share something that was a light bulb of sorts for me this week.  And I’m thinking it can apply to every one of us no matter where we stand on the spectrum of political and religious views.

I was driving past the mall and saw a very skinny, long-haired, bearded man who looked like he hadn’t showered in quite a while.  He was holding up a sign that said “Homeless”. I had a lot of thoughts rush through my mind.  You know the kind.  “I can’t give him money because he’ll probably use it on drugs.” or “Me stopping wouldn’t make a difference anyway.”  or “It’ll take 15 minutes to go get him something and come back and I’m in a rush…”  But I took the 15 minutes.   Just got him some bottles of water, peanuts and granola bars. But do you know what the pervading thoughts and feelings were as I drove back to give him the little offering?  Embarrassment that the gift was so small and that maybe I should just turn around because it’s so small.  But I trudged on and continued to  feel this very real sense of feeling that it’s almost humiliating to give him something so small when the problem is so big.

As I turned into the mall, a person in the car  in front of me  was giving him some money.  He said thank you and walked back to the curb.  And then it was my turn. I hoped that the person in front of me was able to give him more than I was about to give.  I pulled up and handed him the bag as I started to say, “I’m sorry it’s not…” but I didn’t finish my sentence because he said, “OHHH!  Thank you so much!! THANK You!”  It was a 90 degree day where the sticky hot air must’ve been exhausting him and the feel of the cold water bottle in his hand was what he needed at that moment.  At that moment.  And at that moment I felt a flood of relief and a different kind of emotion.  Thankful.  A new sense of Hope.  An understanding like that of a dim lightbulb being turned up to illuminate more…

Because yes, yes,yes, the problems are so big.  But then again, some of the needs are also so small.  And in that moment, some needs…some very temporary, very small needs were met. I almost didn’t bring him water. I mean, I couldn’t solve the homelessness, the poverty, the isolation …and so I almost turned around.  Would he be thirsty and hungry again in a short period of time?  Yes.    But for this moment, something was done.  So this is why I felt hopeful—even though the problems are so incredibly big, that doesn’t mean that our little cups of water can’t make a difference for one person, in one moment.  And I want to have the courage to bring my small offering rather than no offering at all. 

I’m so concerned about our nation, our world.  There’s a growing sense of such disdain for politics and being involved because the problems are glaringly apparent and the solutions are not. I’m concerned for young people as they throw up their hands and say that they aren’t going to vote because they don’t have any respect for the candidates and ‘it won’t make any difference anyway’.  But for me, today, I felt a glimmer of hope that maybe differences can be made in a small way, and I got a very real visual of what that can look like. I heard the joy and saw the look in the man’s eyes that said it made a teeny tiny difference at that time.

I’ve joked (but I’m serious) that my kids can put “She did what she could” as an epitaph on my tombstone. There are countless things that I will absolutely never be able to do or accomplish, for them, for me, for the world around me.  But I have to daily ask the question, am I doing what I can in the here and now?  And if I am, maybe it will make a teeny tiny small difference in the lives of those around me.  I am so incredibly thankful for the reminder that even little things can make a difference. Even if it’s a little difference, it’s a difference. Thankful for that.  Just some thoughts to continue to ponder…

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  There are those who will speak loudly with messages much like that which I was telling myself as I drove back to the mall.  The “it won’t make a difference-” sayers.   The there’s “no solution” -tellers, and “might-as-well-nots”.  They can be very loud. Very very loud.  And deeply discouraging.  Am thinking we need to turn down the volume on those messages, whether they are own internal voices, or external, because, bottom-line, in order to make any kind of difference, there’s gotta be HOPE that the difference can be made in the first place.  That’s what the homeless man’s smile and “OHHH!” did for me. It turned up the volume to the ‘might as well’ thoughts  and ignited hope in making a little difference. Hope is a key ingredient for any change for sure.

P.P.S.  There are also those who will tell us exactly when and how we should give the cold cup of water.  This can be well-meaning. It can be offering wisdom.  But it can lead to a lack of doing anything and cause paralysis as well.  I am all for wisdom, but advice will often vary  with the giver  and it can lead to apathy for fear of never doing it “just right.”  When this is the case, maybe we need to take that with a grain of salt. Just a thought.

P.P.P.S.  Oh brother.  Sorry.  But just gotta share one more thing.  I just got back from running a lot of errands. Last stop was the gas station.  For some reason, when I tried to run my card through it said “See attendant”.  So I went in and immediately there was a man following  very closely behind me who told me I was beautiful, asked if I was married, etc. (No taking this as a compliment -it was obvious that he was intoxicated.) He started asking a lot of questions. He knew I was a teacher, and although I don’t know  him, I recognized him as a parent from school. He was pretty aggressive with his words.  Of course, it was taking a long time for my card to work.  I didn’t feel threatened, but was feeling uncomfortable.  When  the card finally worked and I walked out to pump gas, a man was waiting outside the door.  He smiled and said, “I just wanted to make sure that you made it out okay.”  I said thank you.  Probably looked awkward and then went to pump my gas.  He pulled around as I was pumping gas and said, “I don’t usually get involved, but I was really uncomfortable with how he was talking to you.” I thanked him and thought, he probably went through the same little battle of the will that I had gone through with the homeless man.  He listened to his gut and probably heard the same, “don’t get involved” thoughts that can easily prevail.  But because he did get involved, I felt encouraged a bit safer. I really did.  I don’t think anything would’ve happened, but it felt so good to feel that someone was watching out for things at that moment.  At that moment, a need was met. I guess I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was feeling until I felt the relief wash over me, and that was only because the man was willing to step up when he saw a need. Collectively, we have so many needs.   And yet, collectively, we have so many ways to help meet those needs.

I’ll probably have a lot more p.p.p.p.s- es through the day, but will leave it at that.  This is not comprehensive by any means…just a few thoughts on big problems, little solutions and the hope that bridges the gap between the two.  Here’s to choosing hope.

 

“For I know the things I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: