Archives for category: a few thoughts on…

DSCN4017

So yesterday as Tanner and I were talking about the start of school, he said, “Yeah, Mom…it’ll be your  ‘last first’ day of school…”  Now I had expected him to say HIS last first day of school…but not mine.  And yep, I had a little difficulty seeing through the sudden pool that welled up in these eyes of mine…and all I could see as I looked at my senior in high school was the little boy with the blond hair and the blue smiling eyes.

And a flood of memories came.  My first first day of school with Zac’s first day of kindergarten…turning around as he got on the bus and waving so bravely with a smile. The mom who was waving back was trying to be brave too. And the many, many many photos on couches and porches and driveways of 2, then 3, then 4, 5, 6 children posing with their new shoes and back packs….and then photos of 6, then 5, 4, 3, 2,….and then this morning only one posing. One taller than me senior in high school ready for his last first day.

‘Last firsts’ are milestones…for our kids. And for us.  Am thinking that on milestone days we need an extra dose of grace (and chocolate or ice cream or your go to of choice…) for them and for us. We need to let ourselves feel and let the well that comes up from the deep spill on over in tears or words or laughter or whatever. Because life is so short…and the milestones need to be seen as precious treasures that we don’t just pass over.  For them and for us. 

I’ve been so in the ‘function’ mode recently that I hadn’t even let myself think about it being my “last first”.  I had thought about it being Tanner’s ‘last first’ day of high school, and had tens of balls juggling in my brain of things that need to get checked off for our family in the midst of lots of transitions and changes.  The list is long and broad and includes details, details, details, with needs for communication and planning and determination all crammed and crunched into a short period of time. But I don’t want to let the details squeeze out the moments that need to be celebrated, relished, and enjoyed. My mom-hat-of-function often bids me forget to let things seep in to my brain when it has to do with me.  But the cool thing is…with this great gift of motherhood… my firsts are multiplied with each new venture in my children’s lives. Because even when they go alone, my heart, my prayers, my love goes with them. …on the first day of kindergarten, or college, or walking on down the aisle…I’ll always carry the child that I carried. Might be in my heart, or thoughts, or prayers. Might be in my dreams or hopes or mind, but I’ll always carry the child that I carried. The ‘carrying’ just looks a bit different…

Am thankful for Tanner’s awareness, kindness, and words that helped me not just look at his ‘Last First’, but at mine as well. Am thankful for the reminder to treasure the day and be in there with each other. We don’t know what the next day holds.  And here’s the thing…we may all be experiencing our own ‘Last Firsts’ and not even know it. Am thinking being ‘all-in’ and ‘all-there’ is something that we will never regret. Ever. Sometimes I so need to be snapped out of the busy-ness to be able to see it.

So, Tan man, thanks for the ‘snap’, and reminder to your so-often-distracted, scatter-brained mom (who adores you by the way!). It’s your Last First day of high school, and it’s my Last First day of watching my 6 gifts go to school.  Definitely something to  both contemplate and celebrate. Am thinking that celebration and contemplation might need to include carry out dinner …and chocolate.  Or ice cream.  Or both.  All with extra extra doses of grace, grace, grace. (Because those pools of both celebration and contemplation just keep welling up in my eyes and I’m thinking it has quite a bit to do with this whole “Last First” thing.)

Blessings~

Heather

And to my 6 amazing gifts who have brought me a thousand firsts and a thousand lasts and a million in betweens…this little compilation of firsts and lasts is for you for today, for this moment in time. Because as Tan-man reminded me in the car yesterday, it’s good to be reminded of milestones and celebrate them.  Now, Tan and I are off to celebrate with carry-out and some sweet concoction.  It’s a good thing I had decided on doing carry-out, because the past hour and a half I’ve spent going through photos of you all. Love you all so much and so thankful for all the many, many first and lasts in our past…and the million more firsts and lasts to come.  Love you. Hugs and Kisses ❤ Mom

 

DSCN4017

Yeah…thanks for the reminder Tan.

“Wherever you are, be all there…”  ~ Jim Elliot

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” ~ Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

  “Love one another…”

John 13: 34

 

IMG_5262

Yesterday, I took a little time out to sort beads. I went outside on the deck to be in the sunlight where I could see the difference between navy blue and black, and dark purple and brown. Amazing the difference of sunlight versus inside light on color. True colors show through so much more in the natural light of the sun. And on the deck, I get fresh air, and hear the birds, and, it’s amazing how people from inside the house will come and sit next to me outside of the house when I just sit down out there. Love that. Tanner came on out and started sorting beads with me…

IMG_5258So why am I even wasting the time to write about sorting beads?  Because the thing is that I had one of those awful gut feeling, restless, unsettled nauseous kind of vibes today. Woke up with it.  I couldn’t shake it. Not with prayer or reading or even coffee. I had even had a sweet session of playing guitar and working on a new song, but that restlessness kept creeping back in. Like a slow moving fog that fills a void, it kept taking up space. My mind kept racing from one thing to the next, and speaking truth to myself to calm the crazy feelings was just not working.  There were no new worries…but today, my take on things was just not good. And I couldn’t concentrate for the restless thoughts racing around my brain.

So…that’s when I decided to get some mind-less chores done.  I did laundry. I finished the dishes. Then I decided to sort beads. Because my mind could race all it wanted and I could still tell the difference between blue and green. Yep, mindless work can be a good good thing. It gives a way to be productive when my level of productivity at more complex tasks wouldn’t be so great. Not so great at all.

As I sorted the beads, I was thankful for the light. Because some of the beads I had previously sorted were  in the wrong spots. I’ve learned that purple can look like brown and deep, deep greens can sometimes appear black until the light shines. Sunlight helps me see. I was thankful for the beauty of the colors…all of those beautiful colors….a spectrum of light.

IMG_5259.jpg

There’s that word again. LIGHT.  You know the cool thing about light?  ROYGBIV always gets in line perfectly. Every  shade and hue of each color knows their place…it’s part of the Grande Design. When a design is in place, when there’s a master plan, there’s no effort in having to recreate the (color) wheel. Every color has its place and every place has its  color.  They just naturally fall into line.

My life sometimes feels like an array of a million beads splashing the surface, in all different colors in mish-mash mess.  (Tanner said today, as a bead bounced across the deck,  “You sure drop beads a lot don’t you, Mom?”  Yep, no doubt. I sure do….  Not just literal beads…am dropping balls all the time….”) But see, that’s the thing. I think of God as that Master Artist who uses that color spectrum to paint beautiful things. In the Universe, in the world, and even in me. And what may appear to be a mish-mash mess of beads in disarray to me, may one day be beautifully aligned just the way He wants them to be. God can change things in an instant, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. He can and He does and He will. And the cool thing is, the more I seek Him, the more I see Him, and the more Light just invades my world. And when His light,…Son-light…shines in my world, it’s amazing how I see things in a whole different light and can say…”Oops…that bead is not black…it’s dark green…that goes over here….”

All of us may have a different array of beads, but oh the beauty when they are aligned by the One who created us with a purpose, with a plan, with a Love that surpasses all the darkness in a world that often has the lights turned off or down low.

Here’s a funny thing…as I thought about the colors and the beads and the Light, that queasy uneasy feeling in my stomach, that restlessness that invaded my thoughts and had my mind racing in the morning, it all started to fade away. Sometimes when we can’t figure things out, well, we’ve just gotta keep moving our feet and staying busy. Sometimes the mundane tasks in a day can be a great gift of diversion. Fogs that cloud our thoughts can invade the empty spaces in our hearts and minds, but so can light. Light can flood any space and fill it. And today for me, thinking on God’s love and light did just that for me. I’m sure hanging out with my Tan-man  helped too. Thankful.   Just sharing a few thoughts and gratitude for being able to sort through some issues by simple tasks like sorting beads and laundry.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  Funny…today is the day that many have been waiting for…total eclipse of the sun.  So I can’t leave without this little thought. May we be me moons that reflect the Light rather than block it. Reflect. Light. See. Shine. Good words for a world that sure does have a lot of darkness.

 

 

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than

sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

~Martin Luther King

 

LIGHT VALUE OF ONE

Some ignorance is bliss. Like when you don’t know something that your child did but it was all worked out and you find out ten years later and are mortified, but realize that everyone survived and lessons were learned without you having to be the key interventionist.  There’s an element of bliss in that. Or when you don’t know about a meeting that you were supposed to go to but didn’t really want to go to but would have gone had you known.  Or ignorance is bliss when you get to walk in sweet oblivion of conflict that doesn’t concern you and it’s all worked out by the time  you get wind that there was even an issue in the first place. Or ignorance can be bliss when you have little awareness of the price of something and you just get to enjoy the beauty without the expense.

Yes, some ignorance is bliss. It frees from responsibility for a lack of awareness. But some ignorance is not bliss. It’s downright dangerous.  Ignorance that moves to quick judgements and rash words is dangerous. Ignor-ance that ignores principles of respect, truths, consequences and makes blanket statements that rile the masses…this kind of ignor-ance is lethal. People die because of words. Not even just the ideas behind the words.  They die because of ignorant reactions to the words. They die because of perceptions that might or might not even be consistent with what the words were intended to mean in the first place.

tombstone

Seems to me the most dangerous “ignorants” are those who don’t even know that they are. People who make rash decisions without thoughtful consideration or contemplation or education (not formal, just a desire to learn) are often those who are the most extreme…because balance takes into consideration views other than our own. Balance comes with a weighing of more than one side. Balance comes with awareness of variables outside of our own sphere of importance.  Ignor-ance IGNORES. It becomes more and more extreme the further it gets from being aware of views that differ from it’s own.

There are good things to overlook in life. But there are basic rights that should never be overlooked. In a country that calls itself “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”, there should be freedom to speak and stand. Brave stands up for the oppressed, but doesn’t glorify that which is making them oppressed.  Acceptance of diversity is different than a glorification of differences. That builds walls once again. To me, “Brave and Free” are  balanced. “Brave” guards, protects, …”Free” accepts and respects. The walls they build are to protect, the walls they tear down are to accept.

DSCN4774

It’s hard to stare into the trauma of all that is going on in the world. And it’s crazy, because we can literally do that in this day and age….Through social media we have a birds eye view (or skewed representation) of things going on all over the world. Good things. Terrible things. Like the ignorance that is bliss, some can be ignored. But some things…some injustices should never be ignored. Ignorance is like darkness in which extreme views  breed and grow and thrive.  Awareness is a turning on of the light that dispels the dark views. It’s calling things what they are while still having the heart to protect and accept… It’s having the courage to not just see, but to speak words that protect and accept balanced views that protect and accept human rights.

Teeter-totters are children’s playground gems. Up and down, up and down, up and down they go. And in the middle is a fulcrum, a strong base on which the teeter totter rests. May we become fulcrums in a world with extreme disparities that serve as eyes and ears that listen before speaking, see before reacting, and consider before counteracting. May we turn the light on the darkness of ignorance and avoidance. May we not turn away when it’s too hard, but be tenacious in our determination to keep the light turned on.

I do not want to be ignorant…therefore, I can’t ignore injustice. And it’s rampant in the streets. And people are dying…not just physically. Some ideas and philosophies are so full of hate that it’s my view that they’re eating people from the inside as well. As a Christ-follower, I must hold tight to the belief that God is love and calls us to love Him and love others. Period. No room for narrow-minded views that plow over and trample people under their feet (or tires). No room at all. Hate kills. It kills. And giving credence and tolerance to ideologies that kill is dangerous and ignorant because it ignores the power that hate has. Because hate has power. We’ve seen it through history.

I know there are no easy answers. Just giving my two cents to scratch the surface, and lighting my one little candle. Because I know that one candle plus one candle plus one candle ….makes a thousand candles and a flood of light. This darkness is not gonna thrive in the perimeter of my little light because I aspire to be a lot of things…but never, never ignorant. And the world needs  light. Who’s to say what impact a little light can have, even for a person who’s full of hate?  Who knows what a little light can do. Yes, the world needs light shed on darkness. The temptation is to fight hate with hate. Doesn’t work. Just makes more darkness.  And the world desperately needs people to stand with their lights turned on.  Darkness cannot be ignored, but light…light won’t be ignored. Light changes how everything is seen.

I started out with a MLK Jr. quote that was new to me. But this quote is one of my favorites, and a go to for me at times. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  One candle at a time.

Blessings ~

Heather

DSCN5387

Backyard view, Shelby, North Carolina

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

~Helen Keller

Amen ❤

Maybe because dear friends reflect the light we so need to see during darker times.

Maybe because sometimes we need others to remind us of what is true, who we are, who God is.

Maybe because perspective changes when we know we’re not alone.

Maybe because friendship is a gift that gives and takes at the same time…gives encouragement, takes a share of the load.

Maybe because courage to take the next step into the unknown can come from being encouraged by one that’s in there with us, through it.

DSCN2243

Shelby, North Carolina

And sometimes we might not want to share the darkness…we might want to pretend that all is light, that all is al-right or “fine”. We might want to isolate ourselves to protect others from any of the “darkness” going on. Not a good strategy I’d say, no matter how noble it may appear. Here’s a tidbit:…”isolate” comes from the Latin root “insulatas” which means, “made into an island.”  And we all know, “No man, (or woman) is an island” (John Donne).

DSCN9999

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Am thinking it’s kind of cool that friend-ship has the word “ship” in it because sometimes we need a ‘ship’ to go rescue a friend that has a mental blip when they think maybe they need to be an island…and that ship sails in and reflects and reminds and rescues one that’s emotionally needing to be drawn back in. In the same way that a ship navigates the very waters that isolate the island, friendship can permeate the walls that keep us locked up ‘in our own worlds’ and keep others locked out. Friend-Ships sail through those rough waters to bridge the gaps…

DSCN8866

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Yes,”Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” And here’s the cool thing that Helen Keller seemed to know as she wrote the above quote, There is often beautiful-pared-down-for-real connection that comes when things aren’t all smooth sailing. There’s an awareness of need, a gratitude for others, and a sincerity that often comes with darker times. Silver linings don’t only come on clouds. They come in stars. And stars shine when it’s dark.  They seem to shine really bright when they are furthest from the light.  Friends that walk along side in the dark can help us see clearly the beauty that’s there in the midst of the reality of what isn’t. They can remind us of the truths of scripture that are anchors to our souls and hope to our heart.

DSCN8453

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

So I’m not sure whether life is smooth sailing for you right now, or whether you’re on rough seas. Or maybe you’re finding yourself drawn to become an island. Am thinking we all feel that desire to just check out for a little from time to time. My encouragement is to draw near. Draw near to God. Draw near to friends and family who know and love you well. (Not perfectly for that’s way too much pressure for any of us to bear, but well….well like a deep well that knows you to the depths…and what they don’ t know, they’re willing to…)  Yes, draw near…fly that white flag of surrender if you find yourself isolated on an island and call in the ships.  Friendships, that is. Call. Seek. Move toward.

DSCN7987

Austin, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Take it from me…there’s treasure when the ship meets the island. Even Helen Keller who lived in darkness chose friendship and companionship over light and sight. That’s incredible! Am thinking she really knew what she was talking about for I’m sure she knew a thing or two (hundred) about isolation. Yes, there’s something to be said for smooth sailing, and light-er times. But oh, the depths of knowing that no matter what you’re facing, there are those who are with you in it. That’s a tangible heart-encouraging gift. And I’m so so thankful for it. More thankful than I’ve ever been for you see, I’ve had my turns at being ships and islands.  But recently took my turn as an island. And am so very thankful for the sweet ship that sailed on in. Thankful. Renewed. Back on track.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) That’s the verse ringing in my ears right now. When we fly our white flag, He’s the “ship” that will always, always come in, no matter how far the island or stormy the seas. Love that.

 

 

 

treasure2

Outside of the Southern Arts Society Building, Kings Mountain, North Carolina

“God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

~Mother Teresa

I love this quote by Mother Teresa:  “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold. I’m thinking that applies to stuff. Am also thinking that applies to us and the ‘gifts’, those unseen talents, abilities and passions, that we have to share with the world. That ‘world’ may be one person, one family, one community…or that ‘world’ may be internationally reaching people on a global level.  But yes, she was so on point again when Mother Teresa said, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

 

That’s quite a convicting statement for me as I try to declutter stuff that’s been stuffed away for years with more stuff on top of that. It’s also quite convicting as I try to figure out how to use use the gift of my years, days and moments. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, for as Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So cool. Our passions so often parallel our gifts. What we treasure is so fleshed out in what we love to do.

What we hold on to and put our time and energy into is so what holds us, and if that doesn’t line up with what I say I treasure, well, it might be time for a bit of a priority re-boot. I’ve been doing a lot of examination and re-boots lately, for sure. And it’s been a good thing as it’s been a kind of taking-out-the-trash, and holding-onto-treasure type of thing….with stuff, and with my mindset. One more quote, a good one…”Where your heart is, there your treasure will be….” Matthew 6:21 Love that. Our actions kind of show us don’t they? Gulp. Yes they do. That can be a great thing or a convicting thing or both. It’s been both for me.

DSCN2040.jpg

Treasures….Boxed up note, keepsakes, and heirlooms from Grannie

One more thought on treasure-holding.  My morning duty at school has been to be a greeter/ door watcher of sorts at our school. I stand at the door and say “good morning” and make sure these young students make it safely from the cafeteria to the main school building. And do you know what I see EVERY morning?  Students holding hands as they walk to class. Young siblings, friends, cousins caring for each other. Holding hearts by holding hands. I see goodbye kisses and hugs at classroom doors. I see older siblings ensuring not only that little ones are safe, but that they are encouraged. Maybe these babies remember what we as adults can so often forget…that we are the treasure…

 

DSCN2027

Another ‘break it down’ simple statement came from Jesus. In Mark 12, He told us to Love God and Love others. Bottom Line.  Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love others as you love yourself…  We are admonished to treasure what gives priority to these two statements. Love God, Love others.  Period.

left-behind-5

Castles in the Sand, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Many treasures can slip through our hands. They come and go. But am thankful for the reminder from the example of my students holding hands to hold onto the treasure of those we love. Yes, I think Mother Teresa so had it right when she said that “God gives us things to share, He doesn’t give us things to hold.”  I know that she knew the things for holding were hands and hearts and belief.  And the cool thing is, those aren’t things at all….Human hearts and hands and beliefs were categories that so transcend any ‘thing’.  Anything. And if what I treasure gets in the way of these, then maybe it’s time to trash it, let it go. And then as I let things go, to be sure to hold on tight to those hands, hearts, and beliefs that we treasure. In a world that loves alienation and fragmentation and a glorification of stuff over souls, yeah, it’s important to make a determined effort to hold on tight to what you treasure

.DSCN2037

I’m thinking the more we let stuff go, the more our hearts and hands are free to hold what’s precious and truly matters. As my inspiring principal (with a background in drama that impacts her speech(-es) greatly) once said to me, “Heather, what can God put in your empty hands that He can’t give you with what you’re holding on to?” She of course added to the impact by holding out both hands wide over her head and closing her eyes.  Point made. I wasn’t happy with her that day, as she was encouraging me to get rid of lots of materials that we needed to move on, but she was totally on point.  Point taken <3. Again. And I’m so thankful for her words not just with regard to my classroom, but more importantly, with regard to my days.  Days are definitely a gift to be treasured.

DSCN2011.jpg

Just a few thoughts on treasure from one who wants to remember daily the reminder that yes, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold…”   and that’s a truth worth holding on to.

Blessings ~

Heather

“…Hold on to what is good,reject every kind of evil.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 I Thessalonians 5: 21-24

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:17-21 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard the Sadducees arguing. He noticed that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer. So he asked him, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’  And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment more important than these.”

Mark 12:28-31  

 

DSCN0767

In the Spring, my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful mandevilla plant. It’s been growing beautifully and is filling up the trellis behind it. But one day, I noticed that a vine had reached the top of the trellis. And there was nothing close for it to cling to. Day after day, it grew in the same direction…seemingly reaching for something to cling to. It grew and grew and was just floating in the air, apparently searching for a landing spot.

DSCN0773

So, me and my rescuing self decided that I’d go ahead and help that little plant find a support, something to cling to. I gently took the tender shoot and led it back to the trellis. I thought it was no big deal and that the vine would go on growing, and twist and twirl itself around the trellis.  I was wrong.

Within a few days, the shoot was turning brown, and soon, part of the vine fell off all together.  Where was the point of decay?  Seemed to be right where me and my well-meaning self moved that vine. I was pretty shocked because when I had moved it, it was done slowly and easily and seemed to place no stress whatsoever on the plant. But obviously it had. It wasn’t ready to cling. Not to what I had chosen. And me choosing what and where to cling to for that plant wasn’t helpful. It was damaging. It was forced…and the mandevilla plant would have no part of that. Instead of helping, I hurt it.

(Case in point. See the healthy shoot on the left?  It’s doing just fine without me. And the one on the right..far right kind of whitish looking shoot…it’s still recovering from my ‘helping’.)

So here’s the thing. We’re made to cling. We are. Like mandevilla vines searching for a trellis, we are made with hearts and minds and bodies that yearn for connection. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us stronger, wiser, and more productive. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us weaker, stupid-er,  and ill-equipped. And we, the cling-ers get to choose. But you don’t get to choose what another person clings to. Nope. They’ve gotta choose that for themselves.

As a mom, as a wife, as a friend, there have been so many times when I thought I knew what (or Who) might be best for my loved one to cling to. And no matter how well-intentioned my thoughts or desires were, interventions that force issues could be more damaging than helpful. ( Note: I so know interventions can help lay things on the table, and persuade, and bring things to light, but bottom line, a cling-er chooses what it clings or does not cling to.)    Kind of like with my mandevilla.

Like a mandevilla vine that is not yet ready to cling, sometimes folks need time on their own to decide when and to what to cling to. We can know something is so good and right and true and ‘gently bend’ their little shoots of a son or friend or husband toward the trellis of truth. But if that plant isn’t ready, it won’t cling. Might have to be floating in clouds of in between for awhile.  So often, well-meaning folks can ‘arrange’ (force) connections that aren’t healthy. Seems to me that timing is important.  It also seems to me that willingness is important.

So now, lesson learned, with regards to the mandevilla at least! There are three shoots flying in the wind above the trellis, and I’m not intervening. The mandevilla is on its own. I’m pretty sure it’ll find its way. And I’m believing that for some of those in my life as well. Gonna pray, encourage, and ensure some supports are available….and then wait. Am often amazed at how well things work out when I pray and get out of the way.  With mandevilla plants, and with people.

DSCN0760

Am believing there’s a Sovereign Hand of grace that knows a bit more and has more power than I do. For me. For you. For those we love.

DSCN0778

Blessings ~

Heather

DSCN0756.jpg

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word…”

Psalm 119:25

DSCN8725

I so enjoyed watching the interaction of these two birds this morning. Yes, believe it or not, there are two birds in this photo. It’s tough to tell, but the female (who is moving so very fast that she is barely visible…just a blur…) is rocking the feeder a bit…and the male seems to be ducking for cover.

Kinda funny.  And oh so familiar!

In our homes, we women can tend to flit and fly about a bit in a flurry of function. Yep…flitting and flying around making sure that our nest is set and our little birds are fed, fit and ready to face the world. We flit and fly and function.

And oftentimes, the male, the very present and attempting to be-in-there-with-it-all-male, is ….ducking for cover. Yikes. He might need cover from words of what we need to flit about next. Or words of what should’ve been flit over yesterday. Or words of where we’ll be flitting tomorrow. Or maybe he’s in a flurry of what his part in all this flitting about should be according to the head flitter.

Yeah, the moment of watching the birds brought a grin to my face, and a cringe to my heart.  It was a bit too familiar.

I don’t consider myself a nagger by any means. (Only because I’ve learned from experience that has zero effect.  Correction. Zero effect in a positive way. It def has an effect…the opposite of what I’d hope for.) But I’m definitely a flitter…one who’s rushing around trying to get stuff done. Sometimes I flit in a flurry with people in my wake ducking for cover…just like my poor little purple finch friend.

Yesterday, I read a quote that made me pause and remember and simplify this whole marriage thing in my  mind a bit.  Here goes:  “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” (Martin Luther…yeah, him!)  Yep. Pretty plain and simple. Pretty profound at the same time. And it made me stop and think about how getting back to simple basics is so important.

And I remember as a young bride and young mom literally running or rushing to the door to welcome my man home. The kids followed suit to welcome their Daddy.  And when people came to our house, we’d have lots of little ones filing out to welcome whoever it was to our home.  They followed the lead… Lots of years later,  when Buddy comes home, there’s still a welcome, but rarely the same, “WELCOME HOME” that he used to get way back when.  Back then, a lot of the ‘flitting about’ included moving toward and catering to that all-important relationship. The focus was so on family…not just on family function and a flurry of activities on the to do list.

Here’s another little lesson from the birds…I’m pretty amazed by how often birds come two by two to the bird feeder. Mourning doves,chickadees,  and cardinals all regularly come two by two. They linger, feed, and interact. It’s a beautiful sight to see….and it reminds me that being together, side by side, in the ordinary stuff of life matters. Spending time together is crucial. No matter how invincible we think we are, or our marriage is, couples need time together.  Not coming together just to function. Coming together to have fun and be and rest…(and let the other bird rest as well…) Like the birds, coming two by two  is a key to a good solid relationship.

DSCN2839

One more thought on the quote by Martin Luther. It states that we take ownership of our tasks…not that of the spouse. (Ouch.) Let the wife make his husband be happy he’s home. (That takes her looking at his needs and thinking of him.) Let the husband make his wife sorry to see him leave. (That takes him looking at her needs and thinking of her…) Yeah, this is not about telling the other spouse what to do. It’s about taking ownership of giving. Giving, giving, giving seems to be key in any good relationship. Not necessarily giving stuff. Giving time. Credit. An attentive ear. A good laugh. A encouraging word. Giving grace. Giving a little breathing room.

 

spare

Like the birds, we’ve got lots of necessary things to do in a day. And yes, our nests require upkeep and job delegation. But it’s important to know that the flitting and function is there for the family…not the family there for the flitting and function. Kind of an important distinction, I’d say (to myself).  Because, we don’t want to leave our partners ducking for cover while we’re flurrying through our day.  Just a few thoughts and reminders from my friendly little finch friends.

Blessings~

Heather

“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” 

Ephesians 4: 2-3

Tonight, as I was taking photos at a rehearsal dinner, it started to rain…and the wedding party quickly moved to shelter. Of course. I mean, that’s what you do when it rains, right?

Well… most times yeah. But I was standing under a huge oak and  took the opportunity to linger a bit and take some photos of the gently falling rain while everyone got situated a bit. The few minutes of gazing at the drops through the camera lens were pretty cool.

DSCN9032.jpg

a pond somewhere in western North Carolina, June 30, 2017

DSCN9041

And then I went to take more photos of the wedding party rehearsing for the sweet day tomorrow, but my camera kept turning to this little guy. He was having quite the time playing in the rain. And his mom smiled as he played in the water, for it wasn’t a cold rain, it was a gentle summer rain, and it was the perfect thing to keep him occupied as adults did their adult things…

 

DSCN9100

 

He danced around and looked up and smiled quite a bit. Couldn’t help but smile watching this little guy. And then he raised his little hands to feel the rain. Sweet. And it brought me back to times of letting my kids play in the rain. Lots of sweet memories there.

DSCN9129

And this little girl in flip flops twirled and danced as well. Yeah, the rain was a good diversion for sure.

DSCN9220

I love the quote, “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet…” (Bob Marley).  Yeah, these little ones felt the rain.  They enjoyed the rain…and made the most of it. Funny how children can sometimes lead the way. Adults weren’t bemoaning the rain quite as much as these little ones brought smiles to their faces. Yeah, a little rain didn’t hurt the wedding rehearsal. Nope, not a bit.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  (V. Greene)

I think I’d have to agree.

Now, off to editing more photos. (But I think the rain ones were my favorite….)

Blessings~

Heather

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 6.59.20 PMScreen Shot 2017-05-13 at 7.14.09 PM.png

So, Mother’s Day is a sweet one. Memories kind of fill the air on this day as we stop and remember our moms, and being a mom, and the mom-figures in our lives. And it’s a day to celebrate the incredible gift that it is to be a mom and to have a mom.

But…this year..am especially aware of so many who have an ache right around now. That ache is a  pit-in-the-stomach, ache-in-the-heart, kick-in-the-gut kind of feeling that comes from the void of knowing that their mom is no longer around.

So, I just wanted to share a card that I made for a friend of mine whose wife passed a little over a year ago.  There are very few words to fill the huge void that grief can create, but, sometimes, just being remembered can help fill the voids. So, to my dear friends and loved ones who have experienced the deep loss of their mom or wife or loved one, and it makes Mother’s Day sting, well, just wanted to share that you’re being remembered today.

And, I want to thank you as well. Because through watching others grieve the loss of their moms, and say the words, well, I’m so reminded to cherish the day. To cherish our loved ones. To say the words, embrace those we love, and make the most of the time we do have. Because each day is a treasure, a gift. Even the days that we grieve. Am thinking that the ache of grief and loss, and beauty and gift and of what we have lost can walk hand in hand. Am hoping that the beauty of the gift of who she was in your life outweighs the ache for you today… and that you can remember her with a smile and laughter and tears that cleanse. I have a feeling most moms would long for that for you. Just a few thoughts on this Mother’s Day…

Blessings,

Heather

DSCN5159.jpg

Bloom  (Taken in Old Salem, Winston Salem, North Carolina, May 5, 2017)

So, when the word “spent” is used as an adjective instead of a verb, well, it doesn’t have the best connotation. It alludes to being used, depleted, …spent.  When we say that someone is ‘spent’, well, we’re saying that they’ve given and people have taken and they are depleted, done, spent.  And yes, that tends to have a negative connotation.

But recently, I’ve been looking at that concept from another angle. Maybe being spent is not such a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe, we are meant to be spent. Meant to be spent? Yes.  Not in a self-made-martyr kind of way that draws attention to self and exhausts to the point of being use-less, but in a ‘leave-it-all-on-the-field’ kind of way that empties one self out, letting in no regrets.

DSCN5188

…one bloom rising above the masses…

So often I have more regret over what I have not done rather than what I had. I regret the half-hearted attempts that breed half-hearted results. I regret the phone calls not made, the letters not written, the songs not shared.  (Oh, and I know a certain someone who presently has almost 400 un-finished, un-shared blog drafts…yikes.) I regret the good-intentioned, never completed things that go by the wayside. I regret the wasted use-less time that often empties me rather than fills me. I regret the things I supposedly have “learned”, even spoken, but have not yet truly applied. I regret the not taking time to look in the eye and ask the questions and say the words and get in there in real and tangible ways.

Being spent for the right things has a way of crowding out the wrong things or fillers in our lives.  Weeds don’t grow where flowers are blooming, where other seeds are planted. Being spent for the right things also has a way of filling up…motivating, encouraging, inspiring not just me, but hopefully those around me as well.

DSCN5191.JPG

It is only when a flower sheds its beauty in full bloom, full array, the last hurrah before the petals fade, that the seeds are formed. A flower in reserve is a flower with no blooms, because once the unfolding comes, the petals will fall off. Yes flowers that save, conserve, reserve, would merely be un-bloomed buds. But as we hopefully learned in elementary school science, flowers produce seeds. So blooms not only color our world in the now, they hopefully reproduce…and multiply the beauty shared.

DSCN5194.JPG

Poppies in a Garden in Old Salem, Winston-Salem, North Carolina May 5, 2017

And the beauty shared?  I loved that it comes in  all colors, sizes, and shapes that make for a beautiful bouquet. When one stops to see, to really see, they can’t help but behold the beauty. Yep, we all have different ways to be spent for our world… And I’m thinking it’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

DSCN5203

So here’s to being spent. Yep, spent in a no-regrets-kind-of-way that makes our pillows soft and our sleep sweet knowing that we did what we could …that day. And here’s to knowing that even when mistakes are made, that they are to be learned from. I love that flowers are seasonal…and perennials get a chance to bloom and re-bloom over again…to be ‘spent’ over and over again.   To be shared over and over again.

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 8.29.42 AM

Jesus knew a thing or two about being spent. Not on futile things that are so temporal. But on being spent for life-changing, mind-blowing eternal things.  Am thinking Christ-followers should too.  A few thoughts (and reminders to myself) on being spent from a garden of blooms somewhere in the middle of North Carolina.

Blessings ~

Heather

“This is our time on the history line of God. This is it. What will we do with the one deep exhale of God on this earth? For we are but a vapor and we have to make it count. We’re on. Direct us, Lord, and get us on our feet.” –Beth Moore

 “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” –Mother Teresa

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” –Jim Elliot

 

%d bloggers like this: