Archives for posts with tag: hope

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Thankful for …Reunions. Reunions of siblings who happen to be my children. Surprises of seeing a son who has been in California for 8 months who, with the help of his sister, surprised us with a sweet, sweet visit. (Heard banging at 6 something in the morning and came down to see them both in the kitchen waiting ūüôā¬† Hope had gone to the airport at 4 to get Aus…¬† Sooo good to have him home for a time…Thankful that the trip coincided with birthdays of his younger sister and brother and included lots and lots of sweet surprises with family members who celebrated way more than birthdays. Thankful for my oh-so-different but oh-so-similar children who love each other and their differences and similarities. And thankful that we’ve had lots of time to catch up and sit on the deck and drink coffee, and laugh, and remember, and look forward a bit. My cup runneth over for sure…DSCN5545.jpg

Thankful for…once-full, now-spindly impatiens giving way to pansies as one season gives way to another. Thankful for the constant changing of seasons in the lives of those I love…. Am aware there are so very many transitions in the lives of 20-somethings…(and 5 of our 6 ‘children’ happen to be in this category right now, with the youngest only a few years away… )¬† Transitions are good as long as we’re reaching and moving forward. Momentum is good. Good not to fear change. Good to see the beauty in the old, but embrace the undiscovered things awaiting in the new.¬† Fear has a way of looking back, faith has a way of looking forward, empowering the now.New seasons in my life and the lives of those I hold dear that keep changing way more than four times a year. Praying for guidance with¬† doors opened and doors closed…and courage to run through them when they are open wide and wise, and to stay away when they are open wide but not so wise.¬† Prayer is a good good thing. So is counsel with those who know us. So is listening to our conscience and gut…and moms of course, ha!¬† (most times anyway ūüôā )

Thankful for …Laughter. Yes, out-of-control-laughter precipitated by familiarity that my new very favorite commercial brings up in me. Sometimes people may move at a bit of a s l o w e r pace than we might prefer.¬† I happen to work with a few of those children who are so very loved, but who definitely have their own pace.¬† Thankful for the awareness that my pace¬† doesn’t take precedence over another’s. Sometimes slowing down is a good thing…even when it feels a bit like this:

Geico Sloth…moving a bit slowwwwwww

 

I’m thankful for my youngest “child” who is now a co-manager for the basketball team. Thankful for this kid and for his friend, the other senior co-manager.¬† Tanner knows that connections and belonging are good, good things. He seeks them out. He knows that being a part of a team takes all kinds of skills, and that even though his best skills don’t include three point shots and lay-ups, he can still toss a ball or clean uniforms or take film of the games. Yep, love that we need all kinds of folks with all types of skills, and all kinds of paces (fast, medium, and even sloth-s l o w w w w ), for true community comes when we build on strengths, not play on weaknesses.¬† Oh, and I’m thinking we all have things that we’d be sloth s l o w w w at. Take me for instance… I might take a LOT more time to figure out a computer program than your average Joe, but if¬† you need a poem written or a dinner whipped up in 10 minutes, I might go at record speeds. Yeah, community allows for differences and celebration of strengths to be used for the common good.¬† Thankful my Tan man is finding his way.

Thankful for…provision on our most recent venture to Myrtle Beach. For old cars with no payments that sputter to the finish line of a 5 hour trip only to be welcomed and fixed by a family member who is anti-sloth-fast at mechanics and had the shop to do it. Thankful for brother-in-laws who are kind and patient and giving of their time to fix broken things. Thankful that that car could’ve broken down anywhere, but did it within an hour from where we needed to be. Thankful for humor and think time and sensors and lights on cars that give at least a little direction to this driver who had a husband on the other end of the line who called just as the car sputtered and ….STOPped. Yikes.¬† I like telling him about things AFTER they happen and are all fixed. Thankful that¬† I knew his anger was more fear and out of control frustration than anger…. Thankful for experience and years that remind me that things often only feel urgent and so incredibly heavy when the gravity of the situation outweighs the grace of provision in the midst of it. Thankful for a son who didn’t freak out but trusted my judgement in the middle of our little pit stop… He was just fine eating his lunch as his mom checked fluid levels and gages and sat ‘for a minute.’ Thankful for the perspective and realization that maybe I really am thankful for this old car after all! Yes, thankful for old cars with no payments and low insurance rates that can give reminders that we should be thankful for them too. Perspective is everything…

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Thankful for time walking with Tan man on the beach one morning. For walks and talks and sand and wind and crashing waves and the freshness that came with all of it. Thankful for freedom of running and laughing and watching birds fly every which way as Tan man charged on through.

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Thankful for…old friends and new who know your roots, your past, your beginnings, and for those who come later on the journey, and keep in step with you along the way. Thankful for times when that path seems narrow and bumpy and hard, and then respites, like today, when the path feels wide and smooth and dare I say, easy. Thankful for days when things just feel…easy.¬† But thankful that, like with my car, it’s all relative, in terms of what is or isn’t “easy”.¬† For what appears an easy path for some may be a difficult one for another.¬† We all have our own path. Our muscles and hearts and minds are prepared on prior paths for the paths ahead. Muscles developed on the not-so-easy paths are strong, ready, and prepared for the ones that might leave many by the way side. Thankful that path ahead is mine. Lots of choices to make even when you’re not a twenty something. Lots of opportunities taken or lost. Lots of amazing things to be involved in, and lots of things that also probably need to go by the wayside. Goals help to choose which is which goes or stays.¬† And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Thankful for dark nights with skies full of stars and the reminder that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Thankful for the realization that as I stepped outside one night to get a little perspective by looking up, that a son of mine was out doing the same thing. Yeah, it’s good to look up…and to see the vast grand sky, but to know that each star has its part, it’s little space to light up. Yep, a good reminder for sure. Thankful that morning light comes after the dark of night.

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Thankful for early morning walks, and quiet, and wind, and cold. For time to think and pray and process and just walk with no major tasks at hand. (Except maybe finding a way around a rabid raccoon…but that’s another story…yikes.¬† Big time yikes.)¬† Yep, love early morning walks…and then I love coming home to light and warmth and not-so-quiet.¬† Good to have a balance.

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Thankful for surprises like this bloom that keeps on blooming despite winds and storms and cold temperatures. Resilience is a good thing. It’s even better when that resilience is wrapped in a package that adds beauty to the world around it. Yeah, thankful for little things like flowers that beat the odds.

Thankful that I’ve got a full week ahead and a full week behind, but it’s quiet here right in the middle of it. It’s a gray, cold,drizzly Sunday afternoon with candles going,¬† dinner is on, and I have a must-read book that I must read by Tuesday. Deadlines, well, am not so thankful for those, but will push on through.¬† (The book is on trauma…yikes. tough read, but necessary for me in my position with some amazing students who are much like my mandevilla…trying to be resilient and beat the odds when surroundings make it difficult.)

Thankful for sweet readers who actually wade through these words…and the fact that we’re all in this together, and sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can remind us of that.

Blessings ~

Heather

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:28
(…on a Sunday…been a full week…)
 

 

 

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“Let go of the past, and the past will let go of you…”

Cool quote. Not sure who it’s by. But cool, powerful quote.

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

 

“I will do something new, Now it will spring forth…Will you not be aware of it?”

Tough to be aware of what’s ahead, what’s in front of us, when we’re looking in the past…in the rearview mirror of our lives, so to speak. When moving forward, it’s important not to be looking behind or accidents can happen. Yep, when moving forward, it’s important to be aware of what’s behind, but to be focused on where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Forward Steps. Not backward.

Gotta leave behind the old to get to the new. Leaves fall when trees let go. What makes them let go?¬† Gotta make room for the new, get rid of the old, before we can add more new.¬† Cool how the old,…the crunchy leaves soon turn to soft, and soon become a part of the soil. They soon become a part of the nutrients that feed the tree.

Yep, past is past, it’s there…it can remind us, feed us, fuel us with knowledge, wisdom, gratefulness and grace. But have you ever tried to keep, to hold onto a beautiful leaf?¬† It doesn’t stay beautiful…it fades and becomes dust. If we live in the past and try to¬† focus on and hold onto our little leaves of the past, we are left with a perspective that keeps us at bay and offers…dust. But if we let go, and let those leaves fall, yes, they become part of us, part of that soil that feeds in a good way.

I love how scripture speaks of the God who makes all things new. Redeems. Forgives. God grants hope that moves beyond the now to the what’s to come. A God that encourages us to remember, but not be held by former things. A God, who like moving waters of a river, calls us to move forward, to catch a ride with Him. Not stay in one place, for waters that do that quickly become stagnant. And stagnant is not good. It stinks. Literally and figuratively, it just stinks. Waters aren’t meant to be kept still. Not in streams, not in oceans, not in us. The heart that beats within us is constantly keeping our blood circulating, moving forward, and becoming full of life-giving oxygen with each beat.¬† The movement of that flow stops, then so do we…

But back to my little leaf metaphor ūüôā .¬† Leave behind the old, bring on the new. May the leaves be a reminder of the beauty of the past, but the letting go of it and the moving on toward the new. There’s a quote that I’ve seen a lot this fall and it’s beautiful. It says, “The trees are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.”¬† Yep. Definitely. In trees, and in me.

And like with trees, sometimes there’s a dormant season where you feel a little bare and don’t see the beauty of the new quite yet.¬† But it’s coming. Sometimes there’s just a little time to regroup, rest, and just be before the new comes swooping on in. And after winter of seeing gray and bare branches in the cold,¬† I know I sure appreciate the newness and beauty of Spring a lot more than if it had just marched on in right after the leaves left. Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics before the new comes….and then we appreciate and are ready for the new¬† so much more.

Just a few thoughts on leaves, the past, and the God who makes all things New.¬† Wonder what new things are in store? Wanna let go of the old to have open hands and heart to ‘be aware of ‘ that new thing. So here’s to Fall, and letting go, and believing that Spring is on it’s way.

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Blessings~

Heather

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 

 

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Silent Sunday

endings

are

beginnings.

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Thankful for …my walks at the river and that this time, when I asked, everyone said, “No, not today…” but then when I was ready to go, there were two sons and one husband ready to go along for the ride…and the walk. Sweet surprise. Love going for a walk, but love it more when there’s someone walking beside me.

Thankful for walks that include walking and talking, and walking and not. Silence feels right at home in the woods.

Thankful for wide-eyed wonder and little eclipse watchers. Thankful for ‘aha’ moments and the way they bring together whoever has eyes to see.

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Thankful for sweet moments with students…for dancing to sight word songs and laughing out loud when students get my stupid jokes on the side. Thankful for stubborn stand-offs and seeing the moment that the student realizes maybe this teacher is being stubborn because she really does care…and that’s why she’s willing to dig her heels in and draw her lines to help teach students more than math and reading. Thankful for breakthroughs that come after ‘stand-offs’.IMG_5283.jpg

Thankful for the amazing sunset that Tanner and I saw on the way back from a trip to the mall to get some new shoes. It was the night of the eclipse, and was different than any sunset I’d ever seen. Oh, and am so thankful for the “I’m going to do my own thing” kind of spirit that my LeBron-loving-Tan-Man had as he purchased …Steph Curry shoes. Ha. Quite the dilemma for a bit, but he’s defining his own little walk and not walking in another’s shoes. Thankful for that…and for the laughter and freedom that came after the dilemma was solved and he decided that he indeed could wear his Cavaliers hat and Steph Curry shoes at the same time because …he could!

Thankful for encouragement from friends. ¬†For verses shared and words spoken that hit the need spot-on at just the right time. Thankful for being able to walk with friends during the hard times and horse-laugh not just in the good, but in the hard. Yeah. It’s good to have people that know you and can see a broader view when you’re stuck in the middle. Sometimes laughter is the best thing to grant perspective for sure.

Thankful for my favorite quote of the week from a 5-year old little boy with an ultra-fun baby sitter ...”How do you spell ‘havingagreattime’? ¬† ūüôā

Thankful for the many details worked out in a week during ¬†yet another period of lots of transitions for adults in my life who happen to still be my children <3. Thankful for so many steps forward, and some back, but that that’s the dance of life. Am so very thankful for this dance of life. Thankful for the chances for ‘do-overs’, reboots, ¬†and ‘let’s try that a different way’-s that are about so much more than getting it ‘right’, but more about growing those heart and mind and spirit muscles in these ones who I’ll always see as my greatest gifts…

and last but not least am thankful for a Friday night when pizza is on the menu (and the cinna-bites that Tan-man wanted so badly that were worth every minute of the extra ten minute wait). Thankful for a Friday night  when I can kick up my feet and read and rest and be thankful for the week behind, look forward to the week ahead, but quietly sit here in the middle of it all and reflect on some of the sweet moments of the week.IMG_5300

Happy Thankful Thursday on a Friday ūüôā

Blessings ~

Heather

 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

 

Thankful Thursday

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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It’s happened quite a few times in the past few weeks. After dinner and a day of teaching, I’ll get in the car to run a few errands, and find that the car isn’t going from point A to point B in an efficient way. Nope,not at all. It seems to take the long way and end up gravitating to one of a few places with wide open spaces where I can see the sun going down..kind of melting into the horizon.

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I don’t know what it is. Of course, there’s nothing like seeing a good sunset. It’s beautiful and calming, and always changing. No two are ever the same. It’s also a reminder that there’s way more ‘out there’ than my little microcosm. Lots lots more. Of course there is. But being reminded of it by appreciating how vast our world is and how small I am, well, it helps get things in perspective in such a freeing way. ¬†Yeah, these little diversions aren’t a waste of time.

I can remember when my kids were little there were those moments in a day when they’d be playing and then just out of the blue run to me and give me a hug or kisses or flowers or reach for my hand. I remember so many of these sweet moments of them kind of touching base and then quickly returning to their play…, and those little diversions….those are what my sunset diversions are to me. ¬†In the same way that my kids ran to me, it’s like me taking that time out of my day to just run to God and acknowledge Him, thank Him, experience Him. It’s an intentional time to be grateful for the grace to see another day, for the beauty that is so easy to overlook, for the many many things in my life I have to be thankful for. The needs and deficits can have a way of making themselves known…They can scream loud in a day. Yes, needs are like the squeaky wheels that demand to be recognized. But when I take a little time to recognize the awesome things that can be taken for granted, well, it just helps me exhale and breathe a little better for sure.

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I love the verse that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” ¬†It’s not just saying Know….or think on…or believe…the verse is saying taste, see.…experience…savor. Savor the favor. Savor the moments. Savor the grace. Savor, taste, enjoy. ¬†Acknowledge that He is good. Acknowledge and experience His Presence. And somehow, I think that awareness that God is good, that savoring of His grace, so strengthens us ¬†when it comes time to address the squeaky wheels and needs and drudgery that can be in a day. And there sure can be a lot of that in a day. But there sure is always a lot to savor too. Sometimes we may just have to take some diversions to see it…Love that. Thankful for that. Strengthened by that ūüôā

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

the name of the LORD is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:3

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: ¬†God’s story never ends with ashes.”

~Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

Wordless Wednesday

I can hear it before I see it. ¬†Some days it’s louder and faster and more powerful. Other days it’s slower and ¬†more quiet and peaceful. But I can always hear it before I see it.¬†DSCN1597.jpg

I know plants can’t hear. But I’m sure there’s some sense of the water raging by.

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And spiders hanging by threads inches from the waters edge….I’m sure that they are aware of the powerful force of the waves beneath them.

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whitewater

And rocks,…more like boulders, that have been there in the midst of the water’s flow…they stand still as the river rages on. ¬†I’m sure there’s erosion, but it’s a little by little wearing down. ¬†It’s a standing in the midst of the raging waters…they’re still standing steady, well-grounded, as the waters rage on.

 

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The rock stands the test of time, but the flower…not so much. But then again perennials come back year after year, and if not perennial, well seeds reproduce and the flower lives on through its seed. But in its short life time as this flower? ¬†The delicate presence remains delicate and beautiful and present no matter the flow of the river a few feet from the ground where it has grown.

As my camera lens was  zooming in on the plant, the spider, the rock and the flower, these objects came into focus, into clear view.  But the more I focused in on the objects, the more the fast-moving waters became blurred. I loved looking through the lens and seeing the objects standing still in the midst of a world of water rushing by. And I loved it for a few reasons.

Sometimes life can feel like the world around us is in fast forward overdrive motion. And we can be tempted to focus on those waters. And it might cause us to lose focus…to lose a sense of a clear view of who we are and what our purpose might be. Yeah, raging waters, spinning worlds,…they move fast. But that doesn’t mean the rock does. Or the flower. Or the plant, or even the tiny spider hanging on its web. Yes, I loved seeing the steady standing still of the objects as the water rushed by.

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And I love seeing people stand strong and steady in the midst of the storms in their lives. I’ve witnessed it quite a few times just this week in ordinary souls who choose to stand strong when their worlds come crashing down with difficult news or circumstances. ¬† Steady hearts stay focused. But not on rushing winds or raging waves. Steady hearts stay grounded in truth. ¬†In love. In hope beyond themselves. Staying steady and faithful in a world that encourages people to bail on beliefs and get caught up in the waves of the next momentary trip,…staying steady in this world encourages people to have hope and maybe stay steady themselves. Yeah, it all seems to depend on where the focus lies… on lies or truth…on hope or defeat…on integrity or momentary choices that can get us caught up in a current we had never intended to ride. A wavering heart can lead to wind-and-wave-driven feet. Steady heart….steady feet.

Well, these feet were so thankful for the walk and exercise, and the FitBit was congratulatory when I hit my steps goal. But am most thankful for the encouragement that comes when there’s a little time to reflect, to think, to see, to wonder. Am thankful that God’s Creation speaks (LOUDLY) of His Presence, and that His steadfast love can keep the most wavering of hearts steady when they are stayed upon, focused upon Him.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S. I can hear the river before I see it. And the cool thing is, I can hear the Word of God and ‘see’ with eyes of faith things come to life before I see them. I can trust, believe, stay steady and hold on tight to the Truth…and I believe….that then it’s just ¬†a short walk or a long walk until I see it fleshed out in my life or the lives of those around me. Sometimes hearing comes before seeing, and believing comes before the answer is seen. But much in the same way that i can hear the waters rushing and then know the river is there, I can read the Truths of scripture and trust God with each prayer…because it’s only a matter of time before I catch glimpses of the answer…or better yet, catch glimpses of Him in the midst of it all.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for he who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10:23

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of Lord endures forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

¬†“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13

 

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