Thursday, December 19, 2013

When A Simple Christmas Wasn't Enough

When I was a little girl in the 1960's, Christmas was simple...at least the ones in my memory were. They may have been hurried and busy for my mom but if they were I don't remember.

Circa 1964
We had a tradition of going to look at lights every Christmas Eve. New pajamas awaited us after supper, usually with feet in them when we were small. After riding around our small town, eyes wide in wonder at blinking, colored lights, we'd come home full of excitement.

The four of us would gather around our tree to open gifts from grandparents. We'd drink my dad's homemade hot cocoa. Simple. The four of us. It was enough.

And then life changed forever the Christmas of 1974 when Mom died.

When I married, our first Christmas together was spent in the log cabin. We weren't even going to put up a tree. On Christmas Eve, neither of us could stand it, so we went into the woods and found a "Charlie Brown" tree. We put a few scraggly ornaments on its bare branches and it was enough.

We were warm, safe and snug in our new home. Even though sadness enveloped me each year, I knew the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus had come to earth...Emmanuel had come.
Aunt Judy sends goody bags of surprises



After waiting nearly nine years to hear the cry of a baby in our home, God blessed us with Andy at Christmas. His birth announcement came within a few hours of the death of my mother twelve years earlier. That changed everything for me. Bailey came two years later. Our family was complete.



Christmas took on new life.

In my desire to make it the "Southern Living" Christmas, I conjured up all these images in my head of what it should look like. I wanted to make up for all my lost Christmases. I think I went looking for Christmas in all the wrong places. Somewhere along the way I bought into the world's image of what the holiday should look like. I heaped all these expectations on myself. I was let down and it had nothing to do with a baby, a manger, shepherds or angels. It had more to do with shopping, decorations, cards and baking. Jesus wasn't enough anymore.

I'd like to be able to say I have it all figured out...how to have the picture perfect Southern Living Christmas. All I know is that I was tired of the emptiness. I wanted the real meaning of the season to return.

Yesteryear-Circa 1995
I crashed and burned...threw in my Martha Stewart towel.

One thing I finally settled in my heart and that is...Jesus IS enough. He will always be enough for me.

This past Sunday and Monday night I was singing with my choir, the words to this song, "God With Us." They resonated so deeply with me..."Wonderful Counselor, never changing, never ending, beautiful, glorious, everlasting, ever living."

He has been all those things to me.

Our lives change from day to day, moment to moment. As I was writing this post, thinking about how my Christmases have changed through the years, yet, the One I sing about, and for, has never changed through eternity past, present or future. He is the same. He is beautiful, and He makes everything beautiful in His time, even a broken life. The beauty He cares about is not found in perfectly adorned homes but a heart that beats for Him.

So...you may come to my home through the Christmas season and I'll throw open my doors and welcome you in. I may or may not have it perfectly decorated or have the most recent Pinterest recipes prepared and festively displayed, but I can promise you, Jesus will be celebrated. He will be the center of our Christmas. I will not let the world take away the most sacred Christian celebration.

It's time we get back to simple...Jesus is enough. After all, Christmas without Christ is mas and that spells nothing.

Have a blessed Christ filled Christmas!

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy


Bailey's graduation last Friday night
Master's Degree in Education


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Unexpected Gift...The Sequel

After I post my blog each week, I usually go back sometime during the day and read it again, for the umpteenth time, for errors. No matter how many times I proof it before I hit publish, I miss something. Most of the time it's minor...but when I got to the end of last week's post I said out loud to myself, and the cat, "Cindy, you missed it. You missed a great message to share."

My heart was sad...

As I read the end of my post, "My gift is priceless, and one I'll remember for years to come, as well as the giver," it hit me...I didn't finish the thought.

I missed it...

If I were finishing the same post this week I might go on with something like this: In human terms, the Bible returned to me was priceless and unexpected, but the greatest gift ever given to mankind was Jesus.

He was the long awaited Messiah for the Hebrew people in biblical days, but He was the unexpected servant king, the upside down Savior of the world. He was not what they were looking for. His birth and entry into the world broke four hundred years of silence from a holy God who had never forgotten His people. His birth ushered in the missing link from the Old testament to the New, prophecy fulfilled.

God was waiting...waiting for time to reveal His plan of redemption. His own son, Jesus, would be the redeemer, the adopted son in the lineage of King David.

The shepherds were tending sheep out in the fields. Do you think they expected to see a heavenly host of angels singing about the birth of their Savior? Probably not.

If the kings of the east had expected this miraculous birth they would have left two years prior to be present for this spectacular event. They had the financial means and the power to make it happen.

Instead...

Jesus was given the lowliest of births as He quietly burst into human form...a baby, meek and mild. Unexpected, even by His birth mother. But oh, how she loved Him. She accepted all that was happening to her with grace and wonder. The Bible says she pondered all these things in her heart. Luke 2:19

As He grew, He found favor with God and man.

He did the unexpected. He healed diseases, turned water into wine, and washed feet.

He spoke to multitudes, not from a palace, but a hillside by the shores of the Galilee.

He wept with those who wept and mourned with those who mourned.

He proclaimed freedom for those in bondage.

When His days on earth were coming to a close, He chose to obey His Father...to be the ultimate sacrifice. He allowed Himself to be stripped, beaten, mocked, and humiliated, then hung on a tree to atone for my sin and your sin. He finally cried, "It is finished." And He died. At thirty three years old, He accomplished what He came to earth to do.

From the manger to the cross, His work was almost complete.

But that's not the end of the story because no one expected Him to come out of the tomb after He was dead. But He did. His Father in heaven raised Him from the dead on the third day. Over five hundred people saw Him alive and it's recorded for us to read today.

And just as I missed it last week when I wrote about my gift, many people in that day missed it too! They didn't believe until Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven after forty days. Even his half brother, James, missed it until after Jesus' ascension.

Some people are still looking for a savior. We look for it in material things, people, money, power, or fame. We can even look for it in ourselves. But the only Savior who was nailed to a cross for me, has come...Emmanuel...God with us!

And so...that's why the Bible my friend returned to me is so important. It's a reminder that God has been with me in the forty years we've been apart, even when I didn't realize it, He was there.

I'm so thankful for parents who were faithful to take me to church and teach me about Jesus. Because of my foundation, I came back after wandering away from my faith. He also reminded me that just as God did not forget His people in the four hundred years between the Old and New testament in the Bible, He did not forget me either. He has given complete healing from childhood wounds this past year, and for that I'm thankful.

Don't miss Him this Christmas...

O come let us adore Him...at Christmas and every day after!

But because of our sins He was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the punishment He suffered, made whole by the blows He received.
All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. 
But the Lord made the punishment fall on Him, the punishment all of us deserve.
Isaiah 53:5-6 GNT

Christmas Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, December 5, 2013

An Early Christmas...The Unexpected Gift

Christmas has come early for me this year. I wasn't expecting it and that's what makes it so special.

Sometimes the best gifts come from the unexpected, the long forgotten. My gift is coming in the mail. I haven't seen it in forty-plus years.

I know there are people who scoff at Facebook, but for me, it has been a bridge to connect with family and childhood friends who live in other states. When I married, I moved away from my hometown, and eventually from our home state of West Virginia to the beautiful state of South Carolina. We've been in South Carolina nearly 29 years. But I digress...

As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across the picture of someone who'd recently joined. I recognized her face immediately. I sent a friend request. She responded with a lovely private message.

The next morning, I awakened to another message from her telling me she had something of mine from when we were about eleven or twelve years old. She wanted to know if I would like to have it back, that she would be happy to send it to me. She said she'd kept it all these years hoping to find me one day.

Wait till I tell you what it is...if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know I'm a sentimental sap so it couldn't get any better than this.

Are you ready?

She has a Bible that was given to me by my parents. She said I'd loaned it to her when she went to church with me. Now for some, that may not seem like anything special, but for me, there couldn't be a better gift.

I've spent the last several months in counseling, finally learning how to grieve losing a mother to cancer, at the age of fifteen. Many things happened to me that prevented the grieving process. The anniversary of her death is approaching in a few days. To receive this most precious childhood Bible during this season of my life is truly a gift from heaven.

Losing a parent at Christmas is difficult...having a Bible returned at Christmas is a gift I will cherish.

Having a friend that cared enough to keep it all these years is even more amazing...as someone recently said to me...tears are my only response.

How can you bless someone this Christmas with the unexpected? It doesn't have to cost much, or anything at all. It can be a gift of time or talent. The best gifts come from the heart and cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

My gift is priceless, and one I'll remember for many years to come, as well as the giver.

Christmas Blessings,
Cindy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks...To An Unseen Guest

Thanksgiving. A time of giving thanks...of humbling ourselves before Almighty God and acknowledging His provision in our lives.

I have wonderful childhood memories of packing up the family car, making our way north, through snow and ice to my aunt's house in Ohio. It was tradition. My mom was big on tradition, and for several years we gathered around the table with cousins, aunts, uncles and delicious food. There wasn't a lot of talk about God's provision, but in my family, it was an unspoken truth.

We began our own traditions and they have changed some through the years as our family has changed. We've had to let some things go as family members have passed on into eternity. Whenever we celebrate in our home, one practice remains...each person seated around the table must share something for which they're thankful. Not a bite of turkey can be eaten until each voice is heard. It causes us to stop and focus our attention on our provider, the giver of all good gifts.

Sometimes I forget though and stumble through life. I struggle and lose my way. My heart becomes heavy and I ask, "Lord, where are you?"

As He always does, He leads me beside quiet waters to words...

Since I was a young girl, words have been my solace, my balm, my healing salve.

This morning I was reading "Jesus Calling," preparing this post, this is part of what I read:

"A life of praise and thankfulness becomes a life filled with miracles. Instead of trying to be in control, you focus on Me and what I am doing. This is the power of praise: centering your entire being in Me. This is how I created you to live, for I made you in My own image. Enjoy abundant life by overflowing with praise and thankfulness."

Words. Powerful, life-giving words that tell us how to live with joy.

Are you looking for a miracle? Maybe you're just looking for an abundant life. The answer lies in a life of praise and thankfulness to the One who made you...the One who created you in His own image.

I'm reminding myself of these truths as much, or even more than anyone else. Give thanks, not only today, but every day for his bounty.

Look around you to see what He is doing...you'll find Him. He will be the unseen guest at your table tomorrow. You'll see Him in the faces of your loved ones as you gather. You'll lift His name as you recall the many ways He has carried your family this past year. As you name your blessings one by one, your spirit will be lifted and your burden will be lightened.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise:
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever:
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5 NIV

As I gather with my family tomorrow, I'll be thankful for many things this year; one of them, the blessing of writing My Little Corner. I really and truly appreciate those of you who read each week and comment whether it's on the blog or on Facebook. You lift my spirit with encouragement and for that I'm thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Cindy

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"A Million Little Ways - uncover the art you were made to live" - A Review

Every once in a while a book comes along that touches, not only your heart but, your soul. That's what this book did for me.

I'm participating in the Revell Blog Book Tour for "A Million Little Ways," written by Emily P. Freeman. This book was much anticipated by Yours Truly after meeting her at She Speaks in July. Emily is warm, friendly, and writes from her soul about faith, family, and life in general. Her blog, "Chatting at the Sky," is read daily by thousands and gives us a glimpse into her deep, thoughtful personality. This book is the result of several years of study, observation and wonder of a holy, creative God.

She had me captivated in the first couple of pages and I couldn't put it down.

We often want to put God in a box, limiting Him in what He can do with an ordinary person. One of the beautiful messages of this book is the picture she paints of the creativity of God. He comes alive for me in a completely new way as I see myself designed in His image.

The perfect combination
She debunks the notion that art is reserved for a chosen few. We all have the ability to make art with our lives because we ALL are created in the image of the original Artist, who was intrinsically creative. We may be writers or teachers, construction workers or cashiers...our lives can be art if we allow Him to live through us and be who He designed us to be. If we are a mom taking care of babies at home, we can care for these little masterpieces and be fully artistic.

In a recent "Jesus Calling" devotional it said, "I view you as the one I created you to be, the one you will be in actuality when heaven becomes your home." My thoughts immediately went to Emily's book, "A Million Little Ways." This is one of the ways it spoke to me...God has ordained each of us and uniquely gifted us for a purpose. We won't fully be complete until heaven, but He sees the potential He created in us. He desperately wants us to see ourselves the way He sees us so we can reveal His glory through our lives. Ultimately, that should be the most important thing in our lives... to reveal His glory. That's what will make life worth living.

One of my favorite chapters is entitled, "Listen." As some of you may know, this past year has been a journey for me. It's been a time of being still before the Lord...of listening. This chapter caught my attention. It did not disappoint.

Listen to Your Tears.

Listen to Your Questions.

Listen to Your Heartbreak.

"I don't believe we have to have pain to make beautiful art - but when the pain comes, an artist knows she must face it. Grief does deep, important, sacred work. We have to pay attention to what grieves us and be willing to be fully human, both in what makes us come alive and in what has the capacity to shut us down. What breaks our hearts reminds us what is deeply important to us."

Is that not beautiful?!! Sometimes we have to uncover our pain and find healing before we can make art with our lives. Once the process is complete, the Creator can live through me freely, crafting the art He designed me to be.

This book has become one I will treasure. The author is a deep soul for her young age. She allowed the Divine Creator to write through her a profound work that, I believe, has the potential to live on and become a Christian classic for it has a timeless message.

May we all seek to uncover the art we were made to live, in whatever corner of the world you've been planted.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

*I was given a free copy of the book for my honest review by Revell Books.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What You May Not Know About Me...

I've been seeing these lists pop up on Facebook called "Things You May Not Know About Me." I'm not sure where it originated but thought I'd chime in with my list. I began mentally to compile my list and then sat down with pencil and paper and it was difficult. Having a blog, you put yourself out there in little, and big ways, I've discovered.

I decided to make mine in the form of a post and stop at five. As I said, it was difficult.

So here goes...

1. I won the "Miss Crisco Award" for Home Economics in 9th grade.
This photo covers #1, #2 and #3

2. My hair hasn't always been curly. Before 2005 it was straight as a stick. (Future post)

3. I was born with a space between my two front teeth. I wore braces as an adult due to some other issues with my teeth. Most of the women on my mom's side of the family have the space.

4. I have a teapot/teacup collection.

4.5 I'm running out of room due to my collections.

5. I've been to many countries around the world but home is still my favorite place. (That's probably not a secret)

We all want to be known don't we? We want to know somebody knows our name, knows our people, our history. We want to know we have significance in this world.

Ann Voskamp, author of "1000 Things" said something recently that I'll not quote for I would botch it. I'll paraphrase her words, but she was talking about being known. She said the most important one to be known by was the one who has our names engraved on the palms of His hands. He is the only one we should care about really knowing us.

I'm in West Virginia this weekend to see some of my people. Some of the very people who have known me since I was a little girl. I'm excited to see a girlfriend from high school and college and reminisce. I'll go to the cemetery and visit my parent's grave and have a chat. But I'm so thankful to be known by the One with my name engraved in the palms of His hands. I'm so thankful to be able to write and share my heart with you about Him, but at the end of the day, He is the One I want to please.

On the drive yesterday I got a call that my mother-in-law, Phyllis, had passed away. She was ready to go on to heaven. She had been fighting illness for some time now. She is in the presence of the One who engraved her name. If only she could shout back to earth and give witness, she would tell us to make Him known, not ourselves.

To be known by the world is good, I guess, but to be known by the MAKER of the world...well that's what you may not know about me.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Enjoy the Fall, There's Beauty in the Waiting

Isn't this a beautiful time of year? A season of thanksgiving, change, a season of waiting. We rush past the fall holidays to get to Christmas and then complain about where time went. I love the fall and would stay in this season, but then after awhile it would become mundane and unappreciated. God knew what He was doing when He gave us brief periods to enjoy the unfolding and wonder of His creation.

You could say I'm in the "Fall" of my life ... a time of change, a time of waiting.

When you're raising your family you think they'll be little forever, the laundry will never be caught up and the sports events on your calendar will never end. They do. There was always a project to be done and field trips to drive for and spelling words to call out ... oh, the spelling words, would they ever end? They did.

Then they go to high school and the subjects get more difficult and relationships get more complicated and you think to yourself, "parenting is so hard sometimes." But, you look at the children God gave you, and you know you're blessed beyond belief.

While they were "littles" you made friends in the carpool line and class parties, never dreaming they'd be lifelong friends. Now you share with them over dinner and talk about grandchildren and weddings, jobs and relationships. But your life is still wrapped up in the ones you hold dear to your heart.

God has been good in the waiting ... in the Fall of my life. As my babies have launched and are making a life away from me, there's still time left for me as the leaves change.

My neighbor and I, at my previous house, would chat as we watered our flowers. Andy and Bailey were preschoolers at the time. She was a precious woman, but she would fuss about "little old ladies" and their driving habits. She could not understand why they drove the way they did ... and did I mention she was 75 years of age at the time?!!

As I was walking recently I saw this beautiful tree. The leaves on the inside were still bright green, vibrant, while the leaves on the outside had turned red. It won't be long before they'll be on the ground or swept in a pile.  It reminded me of my neighbor. She saw herself as young on the inside ... much the way I feel. Winter had already arrived for her, but inside, she still felt young and vibrant, not ready to let go of life.

Whatever season of life you're in is a season to live fully. Embrace the gifts you've been given and share with those around you. There's beauty in the changing of the seasons.

The month of November is a perfect time to begin to practice loving with a thankful heart. Grab your "littles" or "olders" and seize the moments.

Change is coming. You can't slow it down, but you can make memories they'll take with them when they go. They last a lifetime.

As for me, I'll continue writing in the waiting...

Have a blessed November,
Cindy




Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Weekend of Worship at Allume 2013

Have you ever had an expectation of something and then your world was rocked when the expectation was met and replaced by the extravagant?

Ministries represented
That's what Allume was for me this past weekend.

Allume is a blogging conference, held in Greenville, South Carolina. This was the inaugural year for Greenville and I would say it was a success based on the smiles and comments of the 450 women who attended. I had the privilege of going with a dear friend and we were blown away by the experience.

My roomie and friend, Jerijo
Christian blogging has morphed into this community of writers with the purpose of intentional ministry of touching lives around the world, not only with words, but with their very lives.

Women writers in particular, have traveled with organizations such as Compassion International to third world countries where they've been compelled to begin ministries to meet needs in the most hurting parts of our world.

We were given opportunities during the conference to work on mission projects, not only with our hands, but with our hearts. More specifically, we were given tools and links to inform and educate through our blogs. We were challenged to be lights in a dark world, to use our voices for those who can't speak for themselves ... the hungry, the ones who are enslaved in human trafficking, the orphans, the widows and the homeless. The list is numerous because as time goes on, we become a people who are needier, and it would seem, more hopeless.

But, the good news is, we have a bigger God. He is not taken by surprise. He knows every need ... every child ... every person enslaved ... every hungry stomach needing to be filled, and He is calling us to make a difference.

Reuniting with sweet friend Robin
Every person reading my blog, especially if you live in the United States of America, has access to charities and ministries that can make a difference. Get involved in your community and do something. There's a hungry child waiting somewhere for you ... an abused child waiting for you to get involved ... a homeless child longing for a place to lay her head ... will you be the one to give her hope?

In the upcoming weeks and months I'll be writing about some of the ministries I learned about this past weekend. One of those ministries is The Exodus Road, founded by a young couple who moved to Calcutta, India with their two children. You can go to this website, www.theexodusroad.com for more information. On a future post, I'll put up a link of an actual rescue video. As they provide me with information, I'll pass it along to keep you informed with ways you can help them save lives. There are success stories that need to be told.

It's exciting to know God is working through ordinary men and women to accomplish His purposes around the world. It just takes a willing heart.

My little corner of the world has always been mission minded but after this weekend, it got a little bigger. I pray yours will too!

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Prodigal Returns...The Rest of the Story

A few weeks ago I told you a story about how my cat, Bucky Boy, came to be a member of my family. Well, what I didn't tell you was there was more to the story. Can we say drama?!!

It all began when my cat Bonnie disappeared...

After about three weeks of life with my new kittens, (and did I mention we also had a chocolate lab named Abbie?) I was at our surveying office one Thursday morning doing payroll. My husband gets a phone call and leaves abruptly, not even explaining where he's going. An hour or more passes and he sticks his head in the front door and asks me to come out on the porch. He says there's someone who wants to see me. When I walk out onto the porch, the first thing I see is a skinny, frightened, black cat, that is, no doubt, my Bonnie.

Tears of joy and happiness begin to flow unashamedly. She is covered in filth and the odor is almost more than I can bear, but it's my sweet Bonnie and at that moment, it doesn't matter. I hold her close to me while my tears soak into her fur. She is terrified though and as much I know she is happy to see me, the past three weeks have taken their toll. Her little body is shaking and as she tries pulling away from me, I want her to understand she's safe now.

Bonnie
My prodigal had returned dirty, scared and hungry. I didn't scold her for being gone. I lavished all the love I had to give on her. I whispered sweet words in her ears of how much she was missed. I gave her the best food I could buy filled with nutrients to put meat back on her bones. After I'd regained her trust, I washed away the filth of her wandering ways. She couldn't do it herself, there were places she couldn't reach. It took awhile for the sparkle to return in her eyes and she eventually learned to trust again.

Yes, she was just a cat but isn't that the picture the Bible paints of a loving God ... a God who runs to meet His wayward child. He doesn't care what we've done, how bad we smell from the stench of the world. He just wants to lavish His great love on us. He can cleanse us from the inside out ... reach those places of hurt and pain that we could never reach in our humanity.  He wants to feed us with the Bread of Life so we'll never be hungry for anything this world has to offer. He will clothe us with His righteousness for we are royalty when we belong to Him. He longs to embrace us and whisper His great love for us ... His unfailing love.

Do you have a prodigal in your family? Maybe they desperately want to come home but need to know they will be welcomed with open arms, no questions asked. Show them the love of Christ. They could be trapped in a situation beyond their control and can't make it home. God still answers prayers. Don't give up on your prodigal. As long as they're on this side of heaven, hope is alive.

Maybe you are the prodigal and need courage to go home. I've been a prodigal and can tell you there is nothing like being wrapped in the embrace of a loving God. He will welcome you home and never leave you. Your family will probably do the same.

My prodigal was happy to be home ... not so happy about the newest family members. And where had she been for three weeks? She'd been trapped under our neighbors house. The call my husband received was from the neighbor. You never know what a day will bring.

"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, 
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
Luke 15:20 NIV

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fun In The Son...Beach Reflections

We often think of the beach as a place of sunshine, laughter and warmth. And while all those things are true, sometimes, it's a place of reflection and quiet ... a place of solitude.

I've had one of those kinds of respites recently. The first part of my week I was totally alone ... except for  the One above who loves me unconditionally. I spent my days deep in His Word, hungry for Him to feed me, to fill me with Himself.

I needed Him to chase away the demons of doubt, fear and discouragement that would seek to devour me. And He was there. He carried me to the foot of the cross and reminded me of His nearness, of His very Presence.

I'm so thankful for the time of finding Him ... of hearing His voice.

He will meet you wherever you are in your deepest need. You don't even have to go anywhere to find Him, He's a breath away. Just whisper His name ... Jesus. He longs to hear His creation cry out. If we don't do it, the Bible says the rocks will cry out.

The end of my week was different than when it began. As His words and His Presence began to fill my heart, my countenance lifted. My husband arrived and then later in the week, old and dear friends came to visit as well.

I needed the time for writing, reflection and study. I needed to hear Him speak and sometimes God can only do that when He has us all to Himself. How does He speak to You? Do you allow Him uninterrupted time to be alone with you?

My encouragement to you would be to give Him access, even if it's only a few minutes a day. It's a beginning. He is so worthy of your sacrifice of time and effort. He will multiply your minutes and give you peace in your place of deepest need.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16 NIV

If Jesus Himself needed to withdraw to a quiet place to seek His Father, how much more do we, His children, need to seek Him from a place of stillness?

Don't be afraid of solitude, it can be your best friend in the midst of life's trials. Allow it to lead you to the One who can still your soul and bring peace to calm the storm.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy




Thursday, September 19, 2013

Birthday Ponderings...Chosen To Be Loved

I went for a pedicure this week. It just happened to be the day after my birthday and I was sharing a story with my technician about a birthday of several years ago...actually a double gift.

My cat, Bonnie, had disappeared and I was in deep mourning for I loved my cat, as I have loved every cat since my first at the age of 12. My husband said, "why don't you go the the animal shelter and pick out a kitten for your birthday." Well, I thought this to be a splendid idea. It would help me through the grieving process of losing Bonnie.

So, I ventured down to the local animal shelter and wandered the aisles till my eyes fell upon a cage with TWO pair of eyes staring back at me. They screamed, "take US home with you." Well what's a girl to do but oblige? We took care of the necessary paperwork and the next day I returned to pick up my two new family members.

Sweet "Bucky Boy"
My husband was very understanding for he knows my tender heart. That was 13 years ago and one of them is still living. My "Bucky Boy" is the sweetest, most lovable cat I've ever had. It's as though he knew I rescued him from certain death...I chose him.

I was chosen too, before the foundation of the world was laid. (Eph 1:4) I was chosen to know the one true God, but I lived my life wanting to be chosen for all the wrong reasons. It wasn't until I came to realize my worth was not in what I thought of myself, but what He says OF me and ABOUT me that my perspective changed.

He also says in Psalm 139:16: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. So not only did He choose me, but He wrote out my days in a book...my story. How deeply personal is that? Can any other religion even come close? I think not. It can't because it's a relationship between me, a human, and a holy God.

He chose you too! If you're breathing and moving about on planet Earth He wants to write an ending to your story in His book...The Book of Life.

For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish 
but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Read it with new eyes...as if you've never read it before. Christ can give you eternal life. My cat is going to die someday and I will miss him terribly....I certainly wouldn't give my life for him even though I chose him.

The One who chose me DID give His life for me...and you! I've received many gifts and celebrated many birthdays since, but none will ever equal the gift I received in His Son. Maybe today is your day to add a new name to the book, The Book of Life, real life, abundant life!

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Family...You Gotta Love 'Em

Family...we take them for granted until a crisis comes and the unthinkable crosses our minds. If we live any distance apart we know they're only a phone call away, a days' drive or we can hop on a plane and see their sweet faces and all will be right in our world.

I know all too well the facts of life can be harsh where family is concerned and yet I, even I, take them for granted. Makes me want to turn myself over my own knee and give myself a spankin'. I should know better.


Ruth(l) Alice(r)
Mom
(Circa 1954)
I have very few close family members left on my mom's side of the family. She came from a large family that scattered to different states. Her older sister, Virginia, moved back to West Virginia to my hometown from Florida, to help care for Mom when her cancer returned. Virginia was fourteen years older and more like a mother figure to her in many ways. They were very close. Her daughters, Alice and Ruth, were a few years younger than Mom so she spent a lot of time with them as they were growing up.

Mom loved her family dearly. She was constantly trying to get them together for a family reunion, even as sick as she was. Sadly, the last time they were all together was her funeral.

After Mom's death, Aunt Jenny(Virginia) gave me a home when my dad remarried. From one generation to the next, she was taking care of her family.

Uncle Roy, Aunt Jenny, Mom, Ruth(holding Doug)
Me on the left(goofy grin),
Debby, youngest daughter, died in Feb.2011
Circa 1964 
This past weekend I drove to West Virginia to visit my cousin, Ruth, who had surgery for a serious medical issue. While driving, I had time to think of family...of those no longer with us...those whose lives have made an impact on me as a child and even now as an adult. Our family is filled with an unusual amount of tragedy, cancer, addictions and trauma. And yet, there is a remnant of God's faithfulness.

My mom had a special relationship with her nieces, Alice and Ruth. When I went into ICU that Friday evening and saw the smile on Ruth's beautiful face, the face that looks so much like my mother's, the trip was worth every mile driven.

God left a remnant of her and her faithfulness to Him when He left me in the care of her sister, Virginia. Now, her daughters, Ruth and Alice, are the bearers of that remnant of faithfulness. They are the reminder to me, that God hasn't forgotten my mother's faithfulness to Him. They remind me of my place in my earthly family. They remind me that I am loved. My mother would be so proud of them for the way they have treated her daughter. And so would their mother, Virginia.

Who do you need to love on? Is there a lost child in your family that may need a reminder of their worth? Every child needs to know they're part of a family. There isn't an age limit either. So, go love on your family. Forgive those who have hurt you. Life is too short to do otherwise.

If you'd like to share your family stories, I'd love to hear them.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

P.S. My heartfelt thanks to all who prayed for my cousin last week. Her surgery went well and she will be out of the hospital soon. Now the waiting...




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Decisions, Decisions...One More Adventure??

Sometimes I like to go back in time through the pages of my life. Not only does it help me keep things in perspective, it helps me with the future. When I write it down in My Little Corner, it's a record for my children...a living, breathing part of me. A place they can return and know how their parents began their journey, lived their life and maybe someday figure out what made their momma tick.

It was about this time of year in 1978. We were young newlyweds with a dream of building our first house. After meeting with a builder with our house plans, those dreams were dashed, so we moved on to Plan B.


Earl (right)
My husband, ever the man of adventure, at 18 years of age, built a log cabin using The Foxfire Book as his guide. He did it the old fashioned way of cutting the trees and hauling them out of the woods with a team of horses. I'm told it was a sight to behold since we'd not yet met one another.

We decided to finish the log cabin into our first home instead of building a normal wood structure. We worked diligently throughout the autumn months and moved into our new home two days before Christmas. Nearly all of the work was completed by the two of us and we were so thankful that Christmas to have our little house to call home. We considered ourselves blessed, then and now.

I was attached to that little house. I kept it spotless...inside and out. Because of my childhood scars a home was sacred to me. We worked hard to make the house and yard something to be proud of. We rarely had visitors since we were on top of a mountain. It would never grace the pages of Better Homes and Gardens magazine but to me it was perfect.

So you can imagine my horror when he says to me one night, "What would you think of leaving West Virginia?" My answer to him was, "Well, I wouldn't!" And then I cried myself to sleep.

That was in October of 1984. We moved to South Carolina in January of 1985. I knew it then and I know it now, that it was God's plan for our lives. In July 1984 I made the statement while we were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, SC, "This is a nice place to visit but I would NEVER live here." Guess where I moved in January 1985? You guessed it...Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Leaving my log house, friends and family was gut wrenching....I thought I wouldn't survive, but I did. What memories we have on that little mountain and in that town.

But God....those two little words. He knows best. He had so much waiting on me in South Carolina.

I have to keep reminding myself of these things because that husband of mine is asking questions again. Questions I don't want to hear. Oh, he doesn't want to leave our town. He just wants to downsize. It seems we're always having house issues.

Ok, now here's where it really gets difficult for me. We've lived in the same house nearly 16 years...that translates roots...deep roots. I don't want to let go of my home and yet there's the future to consider.

So I'm torn.

As women, we're made to nest...to create comfortable places for our families to feel loved and welcomed...a place where they can return and know they're home. I've been building my nest and stuffing it with all sorts of twigs and leaves making it as comfortable for my family with everything that says "home" to them. I want them to have what I missed out on as a child...a home to return to after they're grown. So that's my dilemma...

I know there are far worse things going on in the world. But I also know that each of us have decisions in our personal lives to make every day...decisions that affect loved ones. You may be trying to decide something right now that is tearing you apart...whether to stay in a marriage that you desperately want out of...maybe a decision about putting an aging parent in an assisted living facility...a prodigal child...a better job, a serious medical problem...and the list could go on and on.

 Life can be complicated can't it? It's full of twists and turns. But there is One Who never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same tomorrow. He wants to be in the midst of our decisions every moment of our lives. That's why I look back at my past so much because I know that just as He guided me then, He will guide me now. He will give me peace as I wrestle with this issue. In time, He will give me the answer I'm seeking.

You are safe in His very capable hands. The hands that flung the stars in place can surely help us with our decisions. All we need to do is ask.

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have set in place.
What is man that You are mindful of him
and the son of man that You care for him?
Psalm 8:3-4 ESV

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy


P.S. I mentioned a sick family member a couple of weeks ago...she is having a serious surgery tomorrow and prayer would be greatly appreciated for her! Thanks so much!









Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time For Tea Anyone?

This summer has been a whirlwind for me. I have no idea where the days and weeks have gone but alas, my favorite time of year is approaching. I am crazy about the autumn months. Thoughts of curling up with a book and something warm to drink dance in my head. I'm all about making time for friends over tea or coffee. Unfortunately, our society isn't wired this way anymore.

One of the pleasantries of living in the old south was the practice of hospitality. Life was hard. They needed one another so relationships were of value. I love the ritual of daily tea time when there was a dedicated time of slowing...of visiting with neighbors. There were many things I abhor about the old south but they did get a few things right. While my ancestors did not originate here, I've adopted some of the practices into my home and made them my own. (I also recognize there were other practices in other parts of our great country. I just happen to live in the south.)

Recently, I was invited to the home of one of my closest friends for an afternoon Tea Tasting. We were presented with several different kinds of teas, set out in her beautiful dining room. As we drank from dainty china teacups, I imagined ladies a century ago doing the same. Though their clothing may have looked a little different and possibly their homes were a little different, their conversation probably centered around the same topics as ours...children, school, church and personal issues. I doubt that the deepest concern of the day was the weather, although it could have been if their crops weren't doing well.

Tea Tasting at Kim's (Third from left)
Women need each other...then and now. We need the community of friendship. My friend Kim, who hosted the gathering is busy planning her daughter's wedding, just sent another daughter off to the U.S. Marine Corps, and was preparing to return to her teaching job, yet found the time to plan this lovely afternoon. She not only nourished our bodies, she nourished our souls as well.




As we sat in the cool of her dining room sipping tea, sharing our lives, there was a sweetness, a blending of hearts that took place.

Time...we all have the same amount. We choose how we're going to use it.

So how will you spend your time as the Autumn months trek toward us? Will you be tailgating in a football stadium somewhere? Don't go alone...find another family to invite. Maybe you'll make a trip to the mountains wherever you live. A bonfire with smores is always a fun activity in the Fall. Rake a pile of leaves for your children to jump into. Invite your neighbors...get to know the people who live next to you. The opportunities are endless. We have so much for which to be thankful and family and friends are at the top of my list.

Slow down...smell the coffee...or the leaves...or whatever your neck of the woods is famous for. Your children are only babies once...trust me, they do remember and they will remind you...regularly! Our fondest memories are of the simple things...backyard cookouts with our neighbors...climbing trees...playing in the sandbox...homemade ice cream...a community of friendship. Don't let time slip away from you.

Our afternoon of tea tasting made memories for all of us. People are worth the investment of our time whether it's the nineteenth century or the present. Hospitality never goes out of style...hoop skirts maybe, but never extending an invitation to deepen a friendship.

If you'll excuse me, I hear the tea kettle whistling.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays

I love Mondays and rainy days. Put them together and I'm a happy girl. Most people dread Mondays but not yours truly. I look forward to a new week of possibilities, of list making and doing all the tasks not completed the week before.

This past Monday began as it normally does, and then...it fell apart...totally fell apart. It became a day I'd like to rewrite...one of those do-over days. One thing led to another and at the end of my day, I was a teary-eyed mess.

Have you ever had a day you wish you could rewrite the way you would like it to REALLY happen? My version would involve truth and no one's feelings would ever get hurt. My children would rise and call me blessed. The pantry would miraculously be filled and supper would be on the table at the end of a long day of writing my next best selling book. And my husband would send me off to the beach for a month long writing sabbatical in a secluded little cottage near the water. Chocolate and lattes would magically appear at just the right time.

But life isn't a fairy tale and we mess up. We hurt people and people hurt us. We live one moment, one breath at a time. We say we're sorry and lament over the wrong done to us and then we lay our head on our pillow...

For God's mercy is new every morning. Just as the sun rose on Tuesday morning, I had...we all had an opportunity, if we took a breath, for a do-over...another day to start fresh, to put one foot in front of the other and go about the tasks we're called to do.

I was still licking my wounds on Wednesday morning, feeling quite sorry for myself, when I was drawn to read of Stephen and James' (the half brother of Jesus), deaths. They died martyrs. And it wasn't pretty, I might add. They were both stoned. I hung my head in shame. I've let two days escape me while I wallowed in self pity. Lesson learned.

What are you wrestling with today? Is it a person? An issue that won't resolve itself? Today is the day for a rewrite...a do-over. Don't waste precious time like me wallowing when you can be the author of your best story yet. Or better still...let Him write the ending. He's a much better Author and Finisher of our faith.

Remember...new mercies! That's my rewrite!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

P.S. I have a close family member who has recently been diagnosed with an illness. I would appreciate prayer for her. Thanks so much!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blogging...Has It Really Been Six Months?

When I began this journey in February, I had no idea where I was going with it exactly. Getting up the nerve for that first post took all the courage I could muster. I've learned a few things I'd like to share but there's so much more to learn.

1. I've learned I have the best family and friends in the world. They comment and encourage me with their words of affirmation...PRICELESS!

2. People need you to be vulnerable with them. They need to know someone else has been hurt, feels inadequate, has failed or does not have it together. They need to know there is someone who identifies with their pain. They need to know there is a God Who does have it together and Who does have a plan for their lives.

3. Writing has helped me to heal, but sharing my story with others is giving me freedom.

My drink of choice
4. I've learned the more I learn, the more I want to learn...I could possibly become addicted to writers' conferences.

5. Technology is forgiving...just blunder through, you'll eventually figure it out all by your fifty something self...and feel pretty good 'bout that!

6. I've learned there are not enough hours in the day to write all I want to write and read all the books I want to read to make me a better writer...so what's a girl to do?

Drink more Skinny Vanilla Lattes!! That's what!!

7. One last, simple fact...blogging is fun and cheap therapy!


So...if you're someone who is teetering on the blogging edge, go for it!

It's a lot of work...and occupies your thought life...everything becomes a possible blog post.

However, if you love to write, do it!

It's your space. Be creative. Write from your Passion.

I'm so glad God gave me the courage to press "Publish" that first time.


I'm thankful to you, my readers, for stopping by My Little Corner to share my thoughts. Also, to my family, I say "thank you" for putting up with the many hours I while away on my computer up in my little corner office. Time flies by when you're doing what you love. Lastly, I'm most thankful to my Savior, for lifting me from the pit onto solid ground and giving me purpose when I thought life after the empty nest was over. I'm learning life really can be good...it's not just something printed on a t-shirt.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, August 8, 2013

She Speaks...and She Writes

"Chatting" at She Speaks with Emily Freeman
The last couple of weeks have been busy for me...the kind of can't catch your breath, where did the summer go kind of busy. I'm still coming down from my weekend in Charlotte at She Speaks. In a word, it was OVERWHELMING, yet it was all I could have wanted it to be, and so much more.

The keynotes, workshop sessions, worship times and food were amazing but that's not what will live on in my memory. That special place is reserved for several women, varying in age, background, size and shape. We gathered from the south, the north, the east, the west, the northeast, the northwest, the southwest and two precious girls came from Alaska. One sweet little thing just moved back to her home state from Switzerland. Most of these women left babies and husbands behind to get away to pursue her dream.

All of us are writers...we want to write...need to write...feel called to write. We spent the weekend sharing our hearts, our stories, our fears. Several submitted book proposals...very good book proposals. One day you'll be reading their books. I'm sure of it.

I've had the desire to write since I was a young girl. I've written stories in my head as I've washed dishes, worked in my garden, rocked babies, ironed, walked or any number of chores as a wife and mother. Most of my life I've journaled, but never really got serious about writing. My home and family and other responsibilities were my priority and writing seemed out of reach. Fear also played a significant role. Now that my nest is empty, my time has come. Those things are still a priority but I'm making room for writing as more than a hobby.
We talked last weekend about how hard it is to call ourselves a writer. For me, I think it's because I don't have a degree or certificate hanging on the wall that says, "You are a Writer." My husband has his degree hanging proudly in his office for everyone to see along with awards he's achieved. They clearly identify him as a Land Surveyor. The state of South Carolina and two other states have requirements he has to meet to maintain his license to practice in their states. My concrete mind has a hard time accepting something abstract.

So...as my friend Amanda from Alaska, boldly and courageously declared, "I am a writer, I will follow her lead and do the same. "I am a writer. I love to write. It matters not that I ever earn a cent or publish a book (although I am writing a book). I write for the pure joy of encouraging others in their journey in this thing called life."

With that said, I will lay down my pencil and type before I lose my nerve. Thank you for reading and offering your encouragement. You have been "Aaron" to my "Moses" many times when I questioned whether I could really do this.

As for She Speaks...He spoke loudly through 22 other women. He spoke through laughter, tears, smiles, hugs and lattes. He spoke through one woman and her wisdom to draw us together before the conference...women who didn't even know each other six weeks ago and are now sisters in Christ. She listened to Him speak...and now we have the courage to speak and declare our craft.

To my new friends, She Speaks was one of the best weekends of my life and an investment in how I feel God has called me to use the rest of my life. So thank you for sharing your hearts with me and your stories...I will treasure them.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Memories Of The Heart

She says I ruined her childhood with
"Kelly Kids" clolthes
I was cleaning Bailey's room recently, preparing for overnight guests, when I opened her closet door. I've written before about my empty nest and how I've dealt with that so I was not expecting the tears. As I stood there in the midst of her belongings a flood of memories washed over me...her childhood stared back at me from floor to ceiling.

There were her cheerleading outfits...middle school and high school...a little white blouse hung on the rack, size 6, with "Bailey" embroidered on its' Peter Pan collar. (Warning: never put your child's name on clothing in a visible location). Hanging in all their splendor...long forgotten prom and cotillion dresses...at one time the center of our lives as we sought the "perfect" dress...now, rarely noticed except by this momma. (ebay and I should become friends.)
The Closet of Memories
There were books and puzzles and shoes to go with aforementioned dresses and various other things left behind when she moved out. As I stood there thinking about her childhood, and the wonderful young woman she's become, I realized my tears were different than last year, I'm different. So...I gently shut the door and wiped away my tears.

My all time favorite prom dress
That's what God can do with our brokenness, our hurt, our pain. If we give it to Him, He can transform us, heal us and change us. He can take our memories and turn them into cause for joy.

I've tried to bury mine for so long and now that I've cleaned out the closet of my own personal memories,  I can finally begin to heal.

 A new blogger friend wrote a post recently about how God had transformed satanic tattoos into something He could redeem for His glory. It's beautifully written and reminds us how God wants to bind up the hurts of the broken, the bruised and the battered. Here is the link
 www.mypatchworkheart.org,  go to Tattoo Renewal-Revisited or June 17, 2013. It is an amazing story! I get to meet the author of the blog this weekend, along with several other amazing women with stories of how God has changed their lives at She Speaks in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He wants to heal us and give us new memories...change us and transform the way we view ourselves, but more importantly, the way we see Him. He wants us to see Him as the way to life, real life, abundant life. It will change the way we do everything.

So, what does this mean for me? I'm slowly, but surely beginning to gently close the door on old memories.

I waited patiently for the Lord; 
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord. 
Psalm 40:1-3

Peace and blessings,
Cindy

P.S. She Speaks is a Writers/Speakers Conference for Women hosted annually by Proverbs 31 Ministries in Charlotte, NC.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ain't No Mountain High Enough...

Is there a mountain in your life you want to climb and you haven't figured a way to get to the top? I'm speaking figuratively, of course, but let me tell you a story.

When I couldn't have babies, after several years of marriage, my husband and I decided to choose adoption. We were still young and naive and so defeated with infertility that adoption seemed to be God's answer and take us in a positive direction...a direction that would yield a baby to fill our empty home.

Andy-The day after we came home from Guatemala
We were living in South Carolina by this time, attending a wonderful church, when missionaries came to visit. While the missionary was speaking in our Sunday School class, my thoughts were drifting miles away to the country he was serving. I was thinking, "I wonder if there are any babies who need a mommy and daddy?" So...after class, we posed this question to our missionary who delightedly said, "why yes, I know of a home for children, run by Larry and Claire Boggs. Let me give you their address." I took that piece of paper in my hand and couldn't get home fast enough and wrote the most important letter of my entire life...and waited.

Six weeks later, a thick envelope with the return address stamped from Guatemala appeared in my mailbox. With trembling hands, I tore into the most important letter I've ever received and began to read...and read...and read. Several pages of typed instructions later, I was overwhelmed.

After my meltdown, as I was lamenting, "how will we ever do all that needs to be done?"...my calm husband, took both my shoulders, turned me to face him and said, "Cindy, we'll do #1 and when we finish #1 we'll move on to #2 and when we finish that, we'll move on to #3. I think you get the picture. Almost nine months to the day of the missionaries' visit to our church, my little Andy was born in Guatemala and made me a momma for the first time. Less than two short years later, we were blessed with bundle number two.


Bailey at two years of age
What is your mountain? I've had many since that one, but I always return to that moment in my mind and my husband's words to me.


Andy and Beau-2013
              Do you have a dream in your life...something you want to do and you can't get started? Don't be like me and be defeated before you ever begin. Recently, I wanted to have a blog and just about let fear stand in the way. I took a baby step, thanks to a wonderful friend who invited me to a writers' conference. The mountain crumbled before my eyes.

God is the giver of all good gifts. I'm so thankful He taught me that lesson all those years ago and my gift was a baby boy, and eventually a baby girl.  Ironically though, we had to go to the top of a mountain to get him, but he was worth the climb. Sometimes, the climb makes the gift sweeter.

Whatever mountain you face, you don't have to face it alone. There is One that goes before you and walks with you on your journey. He said He will never leave you or forsake you. That's always been comforting for me...I hope it is for you.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Friday, July 12, 2013

Laughter In A Rainy Season

We went to Greenville for dinner last night with some dear friends. As is our custom, we were deciding on a restaurant on the drive up there, mingled in with conversation, and before you knew it we were cruising down Main Street...a very busy Main Street. Everyone decided to get out and enjoy the beautiful, balmy night with nary a drop of rain.

We finally decided on a lovely restaurant on the water, made a quick reservation while we were walking and casually strolled in to be seated. We requested outdoor seating since it was so nice outside and were taken to our table by the hostess. She placed large black menus on the white linen tablecloths, our first and second indications of things to come.

We were giddy with excitement...until we opened our menus and looked at the prices. All of a sudden, as our eyes popped open, it wasn't as fun anymore. Someone, who shall remain nameless, said, "y'all wanna leave?" Well, I hate getting up and leaving, but I sure didn't want to pay those prices either...I am rather frugal. So...we politely lay our big, black menus back down on the white linen tablecloths and walked out.


Mother's Day
This makes me laugh
Then my friend and I ran...yes, we ran out of sight. We looked like two teenagers who'd just egged a house or car on Halloween...and then we laughed and laughed. Our husbands casually strolled along because, you know, men are macho. I hope you're picturing this with me because it was hilarious. We finally found a restaurant and had money left over for coffee...the cure for whatever ails you!

The Bible says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22 NASB

I was in dire need of some of that kind of medicine. My spirit has been feeling a little broken lately and laughter is just what it needed. It was the kind of real, belly laughter that I've needed. I've also met some new friends through writing that have given me encouragement lately. God always seems to meet our need right where we are, when we need it. I hope you can find someone to laugh with this weekend. People are hurting everywhere...laughter is cheap medicine but it can do a world of good.

I'll remember last night for many years to come as a night of letting go and having fun. In the midst of a dark world, God has given laughter and joy as medicine. Go spread some joy this weekend.

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy


Friday, July 5, 2013

Things My Mother Taught Me

There are times in your life when you take stock of yourself...where you've been and where you're going. This is one of those times for me. I've been on a long journey. It's taken me 38 years to get to this point and I'm finally getting to a peaceful place. The road before me hasn't straightened yet but then, I'm not sure I want it to be straightened completely.


Me, Mom, my little brother, Dougie
Circa 1966
I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and the curves are a little more exciting than straight, boring roads of interstate all the time.

I was blessed with only fifteen years with my mother but she taught me some valuable things. I would like to share some of them with you. Maybe you'll see some things of your own experience with your mother.

1. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

2. She taught me how to make a proper bed, and then we practiced...every day. ;)

3. She taught me how to keep going when you don't feel like it.

4. She taught me how to iron. I learned on my dad's handkerchiefs and pillowcases.

5. She gave me a love for music...she sang alto, just like me.

6. She instilled in me a love for family.

7. She taught me how to properly fold towels and sheets.

8. She and I "Spring Cleaned" together.

9. When life is darkest...plant flowers.

10. She showed me, by example, how to be faithful to God and His Church.

11. She taught me how to journal the important things, like my children's sayings and their birth records.

12. She taught me how to respect my husband even when I don't agree with him.

13. She taught me how to love your children sacrificially.

14. She taught me that painting your toenails makes you feel better, even if it's just for a little while.

15. She taught me how to die with dignity, with prayer on your lips and praise for your Savior.

Her words are still teaching me today. I found something she wrote in my baby book that I hadn't read in years. She reminded me that God's love is unfailing. Those words are never truer to me than they are at this point in my life. I wrote a post recently about the power of words and how they can heal. Little did I know God would use my mother's words in my own healing.

My mother taught me many things, not only how to take care of myself, my home and my family, but the most important thing...how to love God with all my heart. If your mother has taught you anything, and I know she has, never miss an opportunity to let her know you appreciate her. It's the little things in life that mean the most.

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5 NIV

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy




Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 Random Things...to make your day brighter

How's your week going? Mine has been a little rough...the book writing process has me peeling back layers of memories and it is ever so painful.

I thought I would do something a little different with my post this week. I got this idea from another blogger and as Solomon said, "There really is nothing new under the sun." I needed this for myself and thought I'd share my randomness with you.

1. It REALLY, REALLY is better to give than to receive.

2. My chicken won the "Chicken Flying Contest" during the Black Walnut Festival in Spencer, West Virginia in the early 1980's. (My picture was in the paper to prove it) :)

3. It's 181 days till Christmas or 182 days till the day after. You choose the one that makes you smile.

4. I may or may not have a lead foot when I'm driving....just sayin'.... ;)

5. Time will not stand still, so enjoy your babies now. There will be plenty of time later for cleaning grout.


Yes, it is what you think it is!!
Does anybody remember the cartoon "Underdog"?
6. I have a chocolate drawer in my kitchen...doesn't everybody?!!!

7. Friends can lighten our load when they share our burdens...I'm blessed with good friends. How about you?

8. I have every birthday card ever given to me...yes, even the ones heralding my arrival in 1959. Does the word "hoarder" come to mind? Oops, I just told my age. ;)

9. This one is for my friend Myrlene...we understand cats are special animals (no matter what Gary says) and some really do talk!

10. I'm in love with the creator of the universe and lover of my soul. Without Him, I would still be in a pit of despair and grief. He gave His life for me and desires an intimate relationship with me, His child. He wants the same with you.

Have a blessed day,
Cindy

p.s. I hope you're smiling! :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Kind Of Messy Life

This is My Little Corner...no really...this is literally my little corner of the house I call my home office. This is the space where I write, sew, dream, read, cry, pray, laugh, talk and work. These walls hold my conversations and a lot of my life and in this little corner I feel safe.


Me and Buck
I love antiques and my house is full of them. The roll top desk is a 15th anniversary gift from my husband and works beautifully for a bookkeeper. (That would be my day job). I'm surrounded by photos of those I love, some whose faces I can no longer touch, whose voices I hear in my memories. My sewing machine sits waiting for a new project while pictures lay on the floor begging to be put in albums. Baby albums are strewn about because I love to reminisce.

If you look closely at my photos, you'll see my little corner is messy. I took these pictures to show you just how messy it is. The rest of my house is neat, clean and organized most of the time but I allow myself this space to be however I feel at the moment. Sometimes I straighten, organize and clean it and sometimes...well...I don't...and you know what I've discovered? Life is not always neat, clean and organized.

I'm writing a book; A book about a messy life...my life. Most of my life has been neat, clean and organized. Controlled. Just the way I like things. There are some parts I'd like to forget. But something else I've learned...we can't always control life anymore than we can control the weather, or people for that matter.

I decided if I could be vulnerable enough to show you messy office pictures then maybe one day if my book ever gets published, my heart will still be beating when my story is in print. Maybe my journey will help someone else find their way home and to a safe place.

I'm learning to let go and enjoy life a little. I love writing in my messy little corner. They always know where to find me. Just give me a Starbucks latte or a cup of tea and I'm all set. Now, if my messiness starts spilling over into the rest of the house...not so good. ;)

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy and Buck (the cat)


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