Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lessons Learned

I had the distinct privilege not long ago of taking my niece out for a spin in my Jeep.  I'm a bit of a holdout when it comes to vehicle technology, preferring to drive a stickshift rather than the much more common automatic.  Not many of my sort left.  So, I was blessed when Kenzie said she wanted to learn to drive a stick, and especially blessed that she wanted me to teach her!

We headed out on the backroads where traffic was light, and found a roomy parking lot to start in.  After going over the basics, Kenzie gave it a first try.  The Jeep sputtered and lurched, and then finally stalled.  She tried it again.  And again, the same result.  Our heads were bobbing as the tires screeched, and the Jeep jerked forward and backward and stalled again.  Not one to give up, she tried again.  And again.  And again.  I was impressed with her resolve.

She must have tried at least a dozen times. And then something happened that surprised me.....she started to laugh!  It was a belly laugh that came from deep inside and pretty soon we were both laughing until tears came to our eyes.  

Now, I raised a son--a strong-willed one at that--and the last thing he would be inclined to do in such a situation is laugh.  I was frankly stunned by Kenzie's reaction!  She wasn't defeated, embarrassed or frustrated.  She laughed!! It was a delightful and surprising reaction.  

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."  Prov 31:25 NLT

I learned alot about my sweet 16-year-old niece that day. I had seen her as a little girl, but now had a glimpse of the incredible level-headed woman she was becoming.  What a joy to laugh in the face of adversity!  And, as one might imagine, it wasn't long before she got the hang of the stickshift and was feeling confident. 

Kenzie learned to drive a stickshift that day, but I think I learned a thing or two myself!  :-)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Such a Gift!!

A couple of years ago, my old hand-me-down coffee table bit the dust.  The loose leg that I had been reattaching fell off once and for all, and there was no choice but to leave it for the trash man. For weeks and months I searched thrift stores looking for just the right table, and then spotted it on Pinterest! An industrial-style table with rough wood boards on a base made with plumbing pipe.  I love this industrial style; just perfect for my old house!!  So, I pinned the table to my "wish list" with the idea that some day I might find a table just like this.   

Pinned table

Lo and behold, last week I received the most incredible gift....a handcrafted coffee table made exactly to spec for my living room.  It was a gift from a friend of my son. He couldn't have known it, but this table is EXACTLY what I had pinned on my wish list!  Up close and personal, it's even better than I could have imagined! Solid and well-made. Custom-crafted just for me. Beautiful!!

My new table!

I spent the weekend admiring it and feeling such gratitude in my heart. It's a joy to walk into my living room....which now looks complete!  My niece and I sat on the floor at the table this weekend coloring pictures for "Grandpa" for Father's Day.  So sweet!!

Sunday I had several hours of think time (aka lawn mowing) and my mind kept considering how to thank this young man for such a precious gift. Maybe I could make a meal for him.  Or buy him some sort of gift to express my appreciation. No matter what idea I come up with, it just seems so inadequate.  How can I ever appropriately say thanks for such a unique and perfect gift?

The American Heritage Dictionary says a gift is "something that is bestowed voluntarily without compensation."  

Funny, it's not necessarily easy to receive a's rather humbling.  I want to DO something, and yet there's really nothing I can do. It's not unlike the precious free gift of salvation God bestows on those who choose to accept it.  It pleases the Lord to give it lovingly knowing there's nothing we could ever do to earn it.

Gratitude swells in my heart like a balloon, for the sweet and precious blessing of a gift. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

God's Promise

Simply beautiful! So grateful for the beautiful spring in NE Ohio
and the reminder of God's eternal promises. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Last Hurrah!

Winter's last hurrah came last night.  At least I hope it's the last one!  Another winter snowstorm, this time with high winds and several inches of snow. The storm took with it one huge branch from my massive white pine (Cleo, named by my niece).  I hear a chain saw in my near future!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lion!

So, this ridiculous winter continues here in NE of the worst I can ever remember.  Oh, how my heart longs for SPRING!!  I did notice tiny buds on the forsythia yesterday....can't wait for that burst of yellow! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In the Face of Fear

I love it when God brings hope and insight in his word.

I opened the year talking about fear....and what I discovered in Genesis 3 to be the first emotion attributed to man (Adam).  And now I read the story of Jacob.

Jacob is by no means the perfect example of a man of character.  He certainly made errors in judgement.  And yet, in Genesis 32 is a turning point.

Jacob finds himself face to face with his brother, Esau, and 400 of Esau's men. Years before, Jacob had tricked Esau out of his birthright. Now, he faces the brother who had earlier promised to kill him and is "greatly afraid and distressed." What does Jacob do at this crossroad? In complete humility, he cries out to God for deliverance. He bows himself before his brother in regret. Ultimately, God bestows blessing on him and makes him the father of the tribes of Israel.

What a contrast!  In his fear, Adam hid from God, blamed others, and eventually was cast out of Eden.  Jacob confessed to God, confronted his fear, and found favor and reconciliation. 

"Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed."  


Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Where are you?"

A dear friend gave me a new devotional for Christmas: SOLO, An Uncommon Devotional.  It’s unique….designed not necessarily to teach you to study the Bible “but rather to develop a conversation between you and God.”  Lectio divina: reading, thinking, praying and living scripture.

Each lesson takes time, which is likely why I’m only on the second lesson.  And maybe it’s going slower for me, because I’m drawing so much from my time.  What joy!  It’s been a long time since I was so expectant in my quiet place.

Lesson One took me to the 3rd chapter of Genesis.  The beginning of man.  Adam.  And Eve. The serpent deceived Eve, and Eve in turn drew Adam into the deception. Then, the Fall. 

And then the line that jumped off the page for me:  "God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And [Adam] said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid...…and I hid myself."

Now, I’m no theologian, but as far as I can tell, this is the first emotion attributed to man in scripture.  FEAR

In my previous post, the first one in many months, I confessed that worry had overwhelmed me lately.  And isn’t the root of worry really FEAR?  And so, what do we do?  Pull away.  Go silent.  Hide. 

Wow!  I’m not sure I have my mind around it yet.  But God is teaching me something here.  And I’m keen to hear him, to not miss whatever it is that he’s beginning to teach me.  

To be continued... :-)