Thursday, May 30, 2013

Weaving A Legacy

I'm not new to writing but I am new to letting anyone READ my writing. Writers are their own worst critic and biggest fan, if that makes any sense. We know the heart and soul behind what we're trying to say. When I go back and read what I've written I often think I write too much about my past, but I think it's because I'm trying to make peace with it.

Logan County, West Virginia
I'm on my own personal journey you might say. A journey of healing and wholeness.

I've just returned from visiting family and old friends in my home state of West Virginia. I even made a visit to my mom's hometown to visit family and what a wonderful day it was.

There's just something about returning to the West Virginia mountains that brings out the little girl in me. A flood of memories washed over me as I made my way home through mountains and tunnels and valleys. Sometimes you see things through new eyes that cause you to pause and take notice.

God reminded me it's much like Biblical times where they built altars to remind future generations of all He had done for them. I want my children to know the blessings and the faithfulness of God to our family.

It's like a beautiful tapestry woven with different colors and blends. One day when it's turned over to reveal the finished masterpiece we'll see the perfect work of a loving God. Our tapestry won't look like anyone else's and that's what makes each one unique. We'll be able to recognize our family tapestry because of every tear shed, every battle won and lost, every moment spent together and every tragedy endured because the One who holds the world has knit us together to form our family, past, present and future.

I want my children to have this legacy to pass down to their children and so on...until the Father turns to the Son...

to be continued...

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Letting Go and Grabbing Hold

I want to tell you a story about learning to trust my husband, but more importantly, learning to trust God.

We'd moved to our little town in the upstate of South Carolina in the summer of 1989 and started a Land Surveying business. If you can remember, there was a recession at the beginning of the new decade, but shortly thereafter, the economy began to take off. In my humble opinion, Wall Street and all the forecasters look in the wrong places when they're trying to predict what's going to happen in the financial realm. They need look no further than the local Land Surveyor. If he's busy, then look out, good times are ahead.
Bailey standing in my dream basement!
She looks so tiny!
Business started picking up and our little enterprise started growing. I've been my husband's bookkeeper all these years and if you call our office you will more than likely hear his voice. He's very much a hands on boss and sees the company as a mission field and his employees as family.

Because we've been frugal with our money, we were able to purchase some land in the country in 1993. I. Was. Ecstatic. My children were going to have room to roam...we would have a garden...there was a pond...and we were going to build a house. My dream house. A farmhouse. The angels were celebrating with me. No, I made that up. But, maybe they were, for they know my history. House plans were ordered...basement dug...much time and dreaming were spent at the farm...

Until ... one day my husband begins acting strange. He comes to me in March of 1993 just as we're preparing to begin construction. He says, "Cindy, God has told me not to build this house, and there's more...He also said to sell the land." Well, you can imagine my reaction. I was so mad at him, not God. I thought he was using God to get out of building.



On Golden Pond
I had made plans ... I had already placed my furniture in each room ... I already had my children growing up in this house. Well, let's just say, "if momma ain't happy..." I'm ashamed of myself when I look back on this time in my life but because of deep childhood wounds and scars, I have a hard time of letting go of things, people, relationships, memories ... you name it, I hold on to it.

However, I agreed with him because he is the head of our home and that's what I'm commanded to do, but my heart was not in it. He felt so bad, and yet, his burden was lifted because he knew he was being obedient. He also told me at the time, "I believe this is what we're supposed to do and I believe I'll build your dream home within five years."

Now, let me make very clear, this post is not about getting the house you want. This is about trusting God with every aspect of your life. We sold the land and God has used that incident to teach me multiple lessons as well as my children. They probably learned more than us but I'll save that for another post. My husband did build my dream home in three years and we still live in it. The most incredible thing about the whole story is that God built it debt free. His way of doing things is so much better than anything we can plan.

Whatever you're going through, He will guide you and go with you. He won't let you face it alone but you have to let go ... you have to be willing to give up something good for something that's best. He's walking with me right now through one of the most painful seasons of my life and it's about letting go ... He will not disappoint you. It may not look exactly like you envisioned but His way is always best.

I write a lot about trust ... am I going to trust myself, my husband, government, life circumstances? Or, am I going to trust my Creator and the lover of my soul ... the One Who has said, "He will never leave me nor forsake me ... the One Who said, He has gone to prepare a place for me?"

I think I shall trust the One Who said, "I love you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:3 ESV He is the only One that's worth letting go of everything this world has to offer to grab hold of His hand.

What are you holding onto that keeps you from the best things He has to offer?

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy 





Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Purpose Driven Fisherman

The Fisherman
I know I've written about my husband the Turkey Hunter...well, now I'd like to introduce you to my husband The Fisherman. Yes, they are one and the same. Now that turkey season has concluded in the state of South Carolina we can go back to normal living. I can sleep till 6:00 a.m. No more waking at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. so he can be in the woods before the birds descend from the trees. You might ask, "why don't you just go back to sleep?" Well, that's like telling the sun not to come up in the east...and that's not gonna happen!

My "to do" list has gotten kind of long but his "catch up on trout fishin" plans have kinda trumped my "to do" list right outa the proverbial water. All joking aside...he's a good fisherman...I mean a REALLY good fisherman. He's got one fishing buddy that's been missing him during turkey season and I think they're making big plans so I may never get that list done.

You know if you're gonna catch any fish you have to go fishing. You have to prepare yourself, take the right bait and go to the best fishin' hole. Sometimes you put your line in and catch something right away and sometimes you have to be patient until just the right fish comes along. If the fish aren't biting you move along to another hole where they're a little more eager to take your bait. As my husband was just telling me, sometimes you have to change the bait. You have to figure out what will get their attention...what will get them to bite the hook. The idea is to catch fish...get them on the line and reel them in.

Jesus taught is parables to a bunch of rugged fishermen. He taught them in stories they could understand. If we want to be fishers of men, women and children we have to be willing to prepare ourselves by becoming students of the Word, immersing ourselves in the knowledge of how to be better at our trade. We must then use the right bait and that can look differently depending on what kind of fish we're trying to catch. If it's a baby fish it might be a new playground that attracts young families that says, "we love children and we care about young families." Let's say we're trying to catch a college/career aged fish we might put a coffee shop in our new building where they can meet to socialize and study.

And finally, we have to go to where the people are. That may be across town to the homeless shelter or to the local women's shelter. It may be through the children, youth, or senior adult ministry or it may be across the world in another country. We have to put our line in the water and use our knowledge, our skill and our bait but it's up to the Lord to reel them in. He just wants a willing fisherman or woman.

So, my list is growing...let's see...when is fishing season over?!!...oh no...there is no season on fishing!!!

And so it is in the Kingdom of God!

The season for being "fishers of men" is open 24/7...year round...no license is necessary except the one that gets you into the only Kingdom that matters.



Happy Fishing!
Cindy

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Tribute...The Greatest Of These Is Love

There is a special woman who lives on a busy corner in West Virginia with a wonderful man by her side. Once upon a time many years ago that corner wasn't so busy and there was a beautiful woman who would push her baby in a stroller around that corner. At least that's what I've been told. You see, I was the baby in the stroller and the special woman who lives in the little house on the corner would come to know the beautiful woman pushing me.

The story never gets old to me...the first time she saw my mother pushing me in my stroller. It's a connection between the two most important women in my life and me. One gave birth to me and loved me until the age of fifteen and the other who took over from there.


They came to be best friends. Her name is Wilma. My mom's name was Juanita, but they called each other "Sally." As the story is told to me, Wilma says, "I had never laid eyes on a more beautiful woman, and because I lived on a corner, I went from window to window watching her walk around the corner." Well, what daughter doesn't want to hear how beautiful her mother is? Wilma said she had to meet this beauty and discovered she lived close by. A friendship was born. They eventually began attending the same church and grew very close.

The Bible says a lot about love and friendship. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay one's life down for one's friend." John 15:13 NIV Wilma is one of those people who doesn't like attention brought to herself...the mark of a humble servant of God. She answered the call in the deepest way a friend could possibly do, with a servant's heart.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was five years old and my brother was only a baby. As close friends often do, Wilma was there for us. She cooked. She cleaned. She ironed my dad's shirts. She did whatever needed to be done...for ten years. Most friends would have wearied and fallen by the wayside, but she didn't. She was my mom's hands and feet when she couldn't care for her family. When my mom couldn't eat because of the horrible affects of chemotherapy, Wilma figured out what she could eat and made sure it was on the stove when she returned from her treatments. In the seventies, chemo wasn't readily available where we lived so she had to travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, which was four hours away. This caused an extra hardship for my dad who was already under a tremendous amount of stress. Her help was immeasurable.

Sadly, my mom lost her battle at 38 years of age, leaving behind a grieving husband, a 15 year old daughter and an 11 year old son.

My high school graduation
Wilma quietly stepped in to do whatever she could to help me. In the beginning, it was lunch at her house. I walked from my high school, one block, to the most scrumptious lunches, prepared by loving hands...every day. The commitment this took humbles me. She would slip money into my pocket, not much, just enough to get a Coke or a pair of hose for church. The most important thing she did was listen...and talk about my mom. She told me stories of their friendship, of their "Lucy and Ethel" moments. I got to know my mom as a woman. She was well and whole, not sick, in her stories. What a gift she gave me.

Andy, Wilma and Bailey at Mom's grave
Wilma has decorated her grave for 38 years

As that first Mother's Day approached...the first one I would live through as an orphan...for that is the way I have always viewed myself, I stood in a card shop weeping. Something caught my eye and I knew what I must do. The card read, "You're Like A Mother To Me"...and so since Mother's Day of 1975 I have honored this woman with a card, for she is worthy, and I know my mother would agree.

She has honored their friendship by doing what most people would only do for a couple of years but she has blessed me for 38 years. She and her equally wonderful husband have been there for me through all the stages of my life...graduation, marriage, babies, deaths, and everything in between. We have aged together. When I go home, it is to their home I return and they greet me with open arms. She even waited up for me when I was home last summer for my class reunion. Throughout the years, they have modeled for me and my family what marriage, faithfulness, contentment and a servant's heart are all about. There are no finer people, in my opinion, on any little corner, anywhere in the world.

They have a son, daughter-in-law, two grandsons and their wives, and two great-grandchildren that they adore and yet they've found room in their hearts for my children. I can't say enough good things about the love and respect their children, grandchildren, and the community have for them for they inspire greatness.

I'm so blessed she was looking out the window that day on her little corner. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without them in it.

Happy Mother's Day Wilma! I love you!

Blessings from My Little Corner to yours,
Cindy

P.S. I have searched and searched for pictures of the "Sally's" together but I don't have any. My mom didn't like her picture made. She thought she wasn't pretty anymore because of the affects of the chemo, so there are very few pictures of her. Sad isn't it? Wilma has some of them at a younger age but because this is a surprise I couldn't get them. Maybe when I'm home again I'll borrow them and post later. Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do You Have A Dream?

As I shared in an earlier post, reading has been important to me since I was a little girl. I would say it's my primary source of leisure entertainment. When I need to unwind or destress, I love to stop for a latte or make a pot of tea, get my favorite reading material or whatever I'm writing at the moment, and head out to my backyard to sit amongst the birds and flowers, and read. Yes, I'm one of those geeks... nerds...really wild and crazy girls.

Actually, I would label myself an introvert, unless you ask me about my children, books, gardening or birds. I do have other interests that I love to talk about, but most of the time I'm quiet.  I love one on one time with friends rather than loud, crowded venues. I'm very loyal...but that's enough about me..more about books.

I wanted to share with you a book I've been reading. Now, for all of you who read blogs or on-line devotions you may know the author. Her name is Holley Gerth and I discovered her through a podcast called Simple Mom. If you've never listened, you must download the app and tune in. Tsh Oxenreider (yes her name is spelled correctly) is the author of the Simple Mom blog and also the host of the podcast, which goes by the same name. Her guest on February 28, 2013 was Holley Gerth and they were discussing her new book, "You're Made For A God-Sized Dream." Other topics they covered were the book writing process, The Oscars and Downton Abbey. She was such an interesting guest that I made a note to myself that I was going to buy her book.

Well, I went to Sam's the next day and, as I always do, perused the book aisle. Whose book is the first one I see? If you guessed Holley's book you would be right! That book went in my buggy so fast it looked like magic right before your eyes.

I began reading it as soon as I got home. It's pages are tear stained for it seemed it was written to me. She could have began at the beginning, "Dear Cindy," and it could not be any more tailored for me. I am in awe of how God provides for me through the words of a complete stranger. I listen to something one day and the next it's in my hands, ministering to my soul.

Maybe you're like me, at a crossroad in your life or maybe you just need some encouragement to go for your dream. This book gives practical steps to take as well as biblical wisdom in becoming all God intended us to be. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Holley is the co-founder of (in)courage, a website for women, and is also the author of several books. You can find her at www.holleygerth.com

Please comment and let me know if you've read anything interesting lately. Have you found any good blogs that you'd recommend? There are so many good writers online these days. My friend Katy's blog, Re-telling Retail, as well as my friend Laura's, A Word of Encouragement, are on my sidebar. Check those out sometime, they are both excellent writers. We have only a limited amount of time to spend in blog land and we want to be good stewards of our time.  Also, I've enabled my blog so that you can comment without needing a Google account. There is moderation time so that I can read the comments and answer them. It also gives me an opportunity to filter anything offensive, which has never happened, but just in case, I have that option. I do appreciate you reading My Little Corner. Until next time...

Blessings from My Little Corner,
Cindy

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