Archive for the ‘Loving’ Category

When the crown slips

Sometimes I wish that when I was younger I had taken up either ballet or gymnastics. I say that because on many occasions I now find myself less than graceful. I’m familiar with the question, “Did you have a nice trip, Grace?” I’ve been known to walk into parking meters, miss the final step on a staircase, have my ankles buckle while walking in heels, and realize a rolling chair had wheeled itself away once I fell to the floor. All this coming from the girl who used to ride her pink bike by standing on one foot atop the banana seat. Not sure what happened since. (head scratch)

Recently I had another unsanctioned attempt at gymnastics. My petite self was carrying one end of a sofa while my 6’2” male employee carried the other at what I’ve deemed an “unnatural” height. We made it out of the receiving area; however, as we made entrance into the showroom I asked if we could pause for a moment so I could regroup. As I began to put the sofa back to floor, I hadn’t taken into account the leather tufted turtle ottoman immediately to my right. There began my twisting and turning as I fought to keep my feet under me without losing the sofa. In what I’ve been told was slow motion, I was able to save the sofa (Yay, I think), but fall wrenched in pain onto another sofa nearby. Read the rest of this entry »

Best Gift Ever

We had a great sermon at church this past weekend. Pastor Gordon asked the congregation to think about the best Christmas present we’d ever received. Oh my! The audience was abuzz, and my mind took me right to 1971. I had just turned 11 and my parents were separated. My father showed up for Christmas with presents for all the kids, one of which was a large wrapped one that had my name on it. I was as fidgety as a cat wanting a bath, as I waited to open it. When I could, my feverish little fingers tore through the paper like a confetti snowstorm during a Super Bowl parade. My treasured gift was a “Movin’ Groovin’ Velvet” doll. She was the epitome of all things groovy and she was all mine and I couldn’t wait to show her off.

How groovy was she? For starters, Velvet had purple eyes (I longed to have purple eyes) and her outfits were made of polyester and lace. She had blonde hair that could be pulled out from the top of her head, so she could be styled a long do or shortened by winding the knob on her back. For a girl of 11, creating interchangeable hairdos and fashions was a dream come true. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing Hide & Seek

“A bride at her second wedding does not wear a veil. She wants to see what she’s getting.” – Helen Rowland

The Lil’ Miss playing dress-up.

I’ve always liked June weddings even though I married in July. My 20-year-old daughter disagrees and thinks a fall or spring wedding would be so much more romantic with its vibrant colors and blue skies. She also loves the show “Say Yes to the Dress” and to her delight recently after signing up for a free 30-day trial of Hulu, the movie streaming app, she found it on the menu. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a program that features a bride or two every week in search of the perfect dress. The bride is typically accompanied by the family naysayer, an overbearing mother (or mother in-law) and/or an outspoken friend or aunt, all of whom believe they should have some input into what the poor girl wears. It’s really kind of painful to watch.

After binge watching one day, my daughter asked to see my wedding dress. I gushed thinking how sweet she was to even consider wearing her mom’s wedding apparel. Nah, she just wanted to play dress up. She proceeded to parade around the house, take selfies and find her favorite future wedding songs on Pandora. We then sat on the couch laughing about how industrious she is at planning her wedding (just check out her Pinterest board sometime), but has yet to find a husband. I must say though, she looked lovely and it made me sad thinking that one day she’ll marry and leave.

In the process of her dress up time she asked why brides wore a veil? I explained that in some cultures it was to hide the bride from her future spouse (think about poor Jacob who unknowingly married Leah instead of his beloved Rachel) and in other cultures it is a sign of purity. Today many brides still where a veil or some semblance of one.

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My friend, Christopher

It’s funny how God works. Just the other day I got majorly blessed. Don’t get me wrong, God blesses me every day and I work hard to recognize those blessings everywhere I step, in every situation and in every breath, but that Thursday He met me right where I was at. Let me explain.

I was working alone in my store when I noticed a man ride his bicycle up to the front door. He was casually dressed and clean. He came inside and said that he’d been trying numerous places to get his 250 pennies changed into dollar bills and large coins, but no one would take the pennies without them being rolled. I told him I’d take them unrolled and he enthusiastically went to his bike to retrieve the bag of coins. I in turn handed him $3. Now I can count and know that 250 pennies doesn’t equal $3. I just felt that it was what I needed to do. I guess the man wondered how good my math skills were as well because shockingly he said, “You gave me $3!” “Yes, I know”, I replied. To which this nice man I’ve never met said, “Can I pray for you?” Really? This man who had so little, gave all that he had at that moment and it was Jesus. We then prayed and he thanked God for His provision and the extra $.50 cents he was now blessed with. He asked God to bless me as well.

Photo courtesy of rethinkhomelessness.org

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Five Golden Rings

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” – Alexander Pope

 Expectation -a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

In 1995 when I married the Executive, I knew that I was marrying into what would become a blended family – two step children and one of my own. It would be mine, his and eventually ours. My expectations were that the marriage would be stronger than both of our divorced parents, I was going to be the loving wife, work hard to keep a nice home and job, the step kids wouldn’t have to call me mom, but learn to call me friend (Ps 125:3-5), and that in the end we would have a Brady Bunch life. Not so much.

My expectations were squashed by apathy from the step kids, name calling and manipulation from my husband’s ex-wife, the repeated trips to the courthouse for revisions of visitation and child support, all compounded with snide remarks every other weekend tempered with hostility from my son’s father. We tried to stay involved and active in all of our kids’ lives, provide an open door place of respite for them to come to, and give them a model of how a Christian family functioned. It was a struggle as I dealt with my failings of not making the blended family model work.

This feeling was exacerbated by the failed expectation I had of my husband as well. If living with someone for the first time wasn’t hard enough, I expected him to be the knight in shining armor who always came to my rescue when the ex reared her ugly head or the kids shot off hurtful remarks. I expected him to fix all that was wrong. (In my mind, 2/3 of the problem was his.) Most times he was silent where I wanted rant and lash out. From him, crickets.  I saw this as weakness, but since learned it’s not. The silence ended any ongoing dialogue because he didn’t contribute to the “conversation”. He literally took the fuel out of the fire, except of course when it came to my son. There were so many arguments in which I was refereeing or acting as my son’s attorney, as the Executive worked hard to be the father, life coach and disciplinarian my son desperately needed.

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She Sells Seashells

“She has trouble acting normal when she’s nervous.”

I grew up in Florida and hurricanes didn’t bother me when I was young. They always seemed to hit in the middle of the night, so my parents just put us to bed. I might wake up a time or two to the sound of rain hitting our taped windows, which always made me think large volumes of people were clapping in our yard. Now that I’m older, I’m far less comfortable. Call it age or just plain reality, but I don’t like feeling vulnerable. Hurricane Matthew wasn’t going to change that.

This is a great drawing (credit unknown) that circulated on Facebook on how God extended his hand of protection.

This is a great drawing (credit unknown) that circulated on Facebook on how God extended his hand of protection.

Yes, Hurricane Matthew. The one that recently devastated Haiti and the Bahamas to then skirt the coast of Florida and flood places like St. Augustine, Jacksonville Beach, parts of the North and South Carolina coastlines. That one. The one many of are still grappling to clean-up and recover from.

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It’s all just a peace of cake

First, let me apologize for taking a HUGE break since my last post. We are now settled into a routine with the new house, business has been slow; however, my presence is always needed there. I’ve been busy as well with the non-profit Board I joined earlier this year, and to top that off, I’ve been a little more than distracted with all of the hoopla and whatever’s going on with our election candidates and processes.

I can honestly say that I have never seen so many vulgar, spiteful and mean spirited people (Christians included) who’ve taken to task to openly and relentlessly share their opinion about the impending election. There’s no words of encouragement, kindness and certainly, no peace. I can’t wait for November to be over, but somehow I believe this rhetoric will go on well past that. It’s rather disturbing, but I still recognize that God is in control and that His will, will be done.

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He gets it…

Can I just say upfront that God is incredibly awesome? Sometimes I struggle with topics to write about and other times, not so much. Lately with our home move coupled with the demand to be at my store more frequently, I’ve struggled with what to write and hence, the lag in getting the blog updated (I apologize for that.) As trying as that can be for me, this week God pointed me where I need to go. Sometimes, it’s in the middle of the night or like today, on my new shorter drive to work.

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Don’t be a pawn

Pawn: (noun) a chess piece of the smallest size and value; one that can be used to further the purposes of another.
Synonyms: puppet, dupe, hostage, tool, instrument, “a pawn in the battle for the throne”

Pawn 2Most people who meet me think I’m a fitness enthusiast. Not really, it’s just a vivid dream I have that maybe one day that’d be the case if I actually did some regular exercising. Growing up, I didn’t have much self-confidence and I longed to be athletic like some of my classmates. And as you’ll recall, I’m the ignored center-child and likewise, my dream then was to be a cheerleader. Yes, I longed to be the Paul Revere of town criers (or at least football rally cries) and the Nadia Comaneci (Gabby Douglas of the 1970’s) of gymnastic form and poise.

One thing I wasn’t and still am not, is a strategist. I could never grasp or even care to grasp the concept of Chess. My favorite game was called “Aggravation”, which was a simple roll the dice, move your marbles and hope you can make it to home base before your opponent, kind of game. Chess to me, required too much thinking and I’ve always believed that too much thinkin’ wears out your brain.

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When the big toe met a big God!

 

Rare dinner date with my dad and his mom.

Rare dinner date with my dad and his mom.

Growing up, my dad was a hard nut to crack. Pretty much like a hazel nut—hard on the outside, but soft on the inside if you were able to get through the dense layers. He was tough to talk to, equally tough to get to know and on more than one occasion, downright mean. But I recognize now that his past was difficult and for the most part, sad. That being said, I only have a handful of happy childhood memories of him and one of them was the ‘toe incident’.

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