Archive for the ‘Serving’ Category

Can you hear me now?

My husband has said to me on multiple occasions, “For someone who doesn’t like change, you sure do change things a lot.” He’s right, I don’t like change. What I don’t like is huge, monumental changes like moving, changing jobs, death, illness, that kind of thing. I’m all about changing out my wardrobe. Like yeah, what woman doesn’t? I also like to paint, redecorate and move things around my house. Those are easy and refreshing changes that easily lift my spirits.

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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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A Penny for your Thoughts

kids-money1I’m a collector of found money. Not that I plan on being a millionaire one day with my knack for finding spare change, but I’m one of those people who’ll go out of their way to pick up a dime in the middle of the road. I find coins and the Executive (my husband) finds dollars—so unfair. The rhyme “See a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck” just doesn’t sit right when his return seems to be better than mine, but none the less, I pick them up.

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Spelt…For-GIVE-ness

“But she wished she had had the guts to go up to him and say hello.
Or possibly break his legs, she wasn’t sure which.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Meme & Jeff at fair

So cute with his pretty blonde hair and blue eyes and me with the mom jeans.

When I was a single mom, I had a lot of pent-up anger. One, I had a lot of previous life choices and disappointing situations that left me questioning my purpose in this world. Two, I was frustrated with myself for getting pregnant, but now looking back realize it was a blessing. Three, I was mad at my son’s father for lying to me about not being married when in fact he was. Also, when the little guy was 18 months old, his father sued me for paternity and custody. He had decided he wanted to be a dad after all; however, didn’t have his wife’s buy-in. It was a long, drawn out, ugly mess. There were many days I struggled with the assault on my motherhood and personal choices. Thankfully, I had a friend who talked me out of my desire to do sinister things to him like running him over with my car. The anger turned into depression and it stuck to me like chewing gum on the bottom of my shoe for the next seventeen years. Even though I had accepted a life with Christ, gotten married and went onto have another child, the anger was always percolating inside, and particularly when I had to see him every other weekend and hear his verbal insults come out through the mouth of my child.

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Standing in the gap, part 3 – The Lost Son

When I was a little girl my mom would do this rather therapeutic thing. When she was frustrated or needed fresh air, she’d go for a drive. These little excursions usually took place at night and it seemed that I was her traveling companion. Read the rest of this entry »

Standing in the gap, part 2. Emma’s Inspiration

My oldest son, actually my only son, turned 27 last week. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was in the surgical prep area waiting to have my planned C-Section (we knew he wanted to come out hind end first). I’m just amazed at how quickly the time has flown by as well as why I haven’t been able to lose the 20 pounds I put on as a result of that pregnancy.

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Standing in the gap

My friend and Bible study hostess, Susan (pronounced Shoe-Shawn you know by now that I give everyone a new pronunciation) lent me a book recently titled “Praying for Strangers, An Adventure of the Human Spirit” by River Jordan. (What a great name.) Susan told us about the author’s resolution to pray for a stranger a day in 2009 on the heels of her two sons’ deployment overseas. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific story of prayer. Susan herself was inspired by the book and took on her own resolution—four months running. She tells us every week about her various ‘stranger of the day’ stories and keeps a journal so she can pray continually.gap 3

Intrigued by Susan’s new found mission, I asked for the book and immediately enjoyed reading the stories River encountered willingly and unwillingly, yet all are filled with God’s hand. I wanted in, and as my mom would say, “Be careful what you ask for because you must might get it.” Read the rest of this entry »

What do you see?

I received a text the other day from Lis’r (Lisa my gal pal) who wanted to see if I could decipher the signature on a piece of framed art. (We do this kind of trade off of expertise and visual impairments on a regular basis.) The messaging went back and forth for a while about whether to buy it to sell it, original oil vs. print, size, sending a full picture, etc. all the while not really sure where the conversation was going. As it turned out, it was a painting by W. Amion of two very beautiful and vibrant painted parrots. She found it at the local thrift store on their Wednesday 50% off art sale. Can you guess how much she paid? Anyone? She paid $7. Yes, $7! Who does that?! We later found it on the internet for upwards of $500.

Original painting by artist W. Amion

Original painting by artist W. Amion

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What God wants for Christmas

Now that the Christmas season is fading fast and we’re onto the new year, I’m so disappointed how quickly the radio stations have gone back to their scheduled rotation of songs. I love Christmas music—it always lulls me into a deeper consciousness of who I am and what I want out of life.

I recently heard the Darius Rucker song, “What God wants for Christmas”, and as usual my mind went to wondering. What do you think God would like for Christmas? The song mentions things He might like such as peace on Earth, no more empty seats in church, every Bible with no dust, the devil giving up, more sister, more brother, more lovin’ one another. Wouldn’t all of that be great? But God being God, the creator of the universe, could do that all on His own–one word and He could make it so, but He doesn’t does He? Nope. Read the rest of this entry »