Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Little Five-Letter Word

In a blog post at the beginning of the year I mentioned the fact that I was not a person who chose a word for the year; one to meditate on, study and incorporate its meaning into my life.

I decided if I were to choose such a word, mine would be "trust." A little five-letter word, but oh, so powerful. It seems to have found its way into everything I read this year. Interesting…

Now that we've marked nearly half the days of the year off our calendar, I decided to check in on how I'm doing…with trust that is.

How many of us have grand plans and goals in January and then life sets in and we lose our way?

Picking a word sounded like a good idea, but the fact is, I have to trust when my heart is broken because the Word says:

 "I rely on your constant love, I will be glad because you will rescue me." Psalm 13:5

I have to trust when nothing is going right, or the way I'd hoped.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. " Proverbs 3:5-6

It's easy to trust when life is giving you everything you want or need. But when you get kicked around and life and circumstances seem to throw you to and fro, trust is something altogether different. Ask a cancer patient at the end of their treatment if they've learned to trust their doctors and caregivers. It's only when we're challenged in areas of our lives that we can truly develop and grow. 

Trust is a choice we make.

After writing this post, I opened Jesus Calling to read these words the next morning:

"Open your hands and your heart to receive this day as a precious gift from Me. I begin each day with a sunrise, announcing My radiant Presence. By the time you rise from your bed, I have already prepared the way before you. I eagerly await your first conscious thought. I rejoice when you glance My way…"

I believe I can TRUST the one true God who has a plan for my life and it is good. 

He has a plan for your life as well. No matter what you're going through, you can trust Him. We're not promised tomorrow, we must take each day as it is given. As Jesus Calling said, "I begin each day with a sunrise, announcing My radiant Presence." What more could I want or need, in this life? 

I think next year I'm going to choose a word such as "vacation" or "sabbatical." Yes, both of those words sound good! 

How about you, how are you doing with your word for the year? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dear Dad…What My Father's Day Card Would Say Today

Anyone who's lost a parent can identify with me on special holidays such as Mother's Day and Father's Day. It doesn't matter if you had a great relationship or a stormy one, these days evoke emotions in the core of our being. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll face our feelings, deal with them and live a healthy life, emotionally, that is.

If your relationship was one that was deep and meaningful, you treasure the memories you have and recall them with fondness. If not, you stumble through life with a hole in your heart.

For many years it was difficult for me to choose a Father's Day card. They were sappy and filled with lines such as, "You were always there for me," and, "I can always look up to you." I'd walk around the Hallmark store reading each one carefully until I found the perfect card that expressed my feelings…very difficult as I said.

While I knew my dad loved me, I questioned many things he did after my mom died, which shattered my trust, and eventually I came to question his love for me. We also didn't communicate well and that contributed to the breakdown in our relationship.

Because of the sovereignty of a loving God, my relationship with my dad was healed before he died. If I could send him a card today it would read something like this…

My husband and Dad at the only game he would
ever attend of his beloved WV Mountaineers
Thank you Dad for marrying a wonderful woman, my mom. Thank you for loving her completely, not perfectly, but faithfully and unconditionally for seventeen years until she went to meet Jesus. Thank you for taking care of her, for carrying the burden of her illness for ten long years, emotionally, physically, and financially. You paid a high price for losing a wife at a young age.

Thank you for taking me to church where I was taught about a savior, named Jesus. I met that savior personally in the basement of our little church when I was five years old. It gave me a foundation that would establish a pattern for my life. 

Thank you for giving me happy, early memories and shielding me from the ugliness of cancer. Thank you for making me feel safe. Thank you for your discipline…like the time I had to go to bed early, while everybody else was still outside playing, because I rode my bike in the street. I remember you tucking me in bed, telling me you loved me, but I had disobeyed.
Dad and Bailey celebrating her second birthday

I'm sorry we lost our way when you remarried.

Thank you for loving my children unconditionally and abundantly. They adored you. They were the life line that brought us back together. Children have a way of doing that. Thank you for remembering their birthdays and making them feel special with a trip to their favorite fast food joint. I'm not sure if I should thank you for all the candy you fed them. I turned my head on those days. Mom would have loved it since she worked for a dentist.

Thank you for trusting me, and my family to care for you and love you when you needed family most. I will never forget our time together. Every day, every hour was planned by God to knit our hearts back together again.

Andy and Dad at Christmas circa 1992
But most of all, my dearest Daddy, I want to thank you for your humility and your heart. It took a big man to admit he was wrong, that he made many mistakes. 

I'm so thankful for the man I called my dad. His memory will live on in his final, "I love you's, and his final hugs. And the way he could say, "awe shucks."

We still laugh at how he could never call my cat by the right name. Her name is "Livvy," but he called her, "Liddy, Libby, Linny and several other versions. He brought laughter to our home for a year and we will never forget him.

It took too many years for me to find the right card for my dad…I'm sorry I had to write this too late for him to read it.

Don’t wait too long to tell those you love how you feel. Offer and receive forgiveness where needed. Your dad won’t always be here to read your words or hear your voice. Trust me on this one.

Have a blessed Father’s Day,

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Treasure At The End Of The Rainbow

Have you ever made a plan to go somewhere and then everything went haywire? That happened to me recently. I won't mention where we were going for I would embarrass myself way too much. There's humility and then there is stupidity. I would fall into the last category.

This particular outing had been on my calendar for awhile. I'm notorious for planning something and then unplanning because of my love of home. This time, however, was not the case. The problem was I didn't make reservations for a place to stay.

The internet, credit cards, and fax machines allow us flexibility in planning or buying anything we want at the touch of a computer key, and I let that override my common sense. Also, the fact that spring is here and I've been spending glorious hours in my garden has left me in a pollen-induced haze.

All this aside, I SHOULD have been on top of this but I wasn't. The day we were leaving, I was still looking for reservations. Fortunately, my...ahem, persistence paid off and a place was booked. I was printing off the parking pass, literally, while the car was running.

If it could go wrong that day, it did. 

Our son could not find the title to a vehicle he was selling, and called, as we were walking out the door. I'm a meticulous record keeper. All the titles to our vehicles are kept in a folder in the safe, except that one. He needed it for something earlier and it never found its way back to the folder. That incident, and a dozen other things beckoned us to stay home.

But, we got in the car on a dreary day and went anyway. Rain poured intermittently. A latte helped improve my mood. He slept while I drove, typical for us.

As we made our way to our destination the most beautiful double rainbow appeared. The colors were the most vivid I've ever seen in my fifty something years. So of course, he had to take a picture, or two, or three…at my insistence. Because you never know when you might need a good rainbow picture.

By the time we arrived, it was already dark, still raining, and we were bone tired.

I couldn't wait to see the scenery that awaited as the sun rose. I was not disappointed, the view was breathtaking.

As I reflected on the beauty of my surroundings, it occurred to me the time spent away, the rest I so desperately needed, and the planning I was able to do were my treasure at the end of the rainbow.

God used the rainbow in the Old Testament to remind Noah He would never again destroy human life as a whole, with water. He set the arc of color in the sky to remind us He is God, He controls all things, even our plans and reservations.

What a gift that time was to me. 

We've all heard the myth of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There is a treasure far more important than gold. I've learned that time spent with Him is more precious that any pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The treasure He gives in the stillness of my soul is priceless. I could have found that at home too, but He had to move me out of my comfort zone to remind me to be still and know.

And my sweet boy, who is so much like me, found the title to his truck. He kept searching and found his treasure.

My prayer is that my children see the value of a treasure that is priceless…one that is found, not at the end of a rainbow, but at the feet of the One who made the rainbow.


Monday, June 2, 2014

A Blog Hop: My Writing Process

I'm participating in a blog hop this week thanks to my friend Kendra, whom I met at She Speaks last summer. Kendra is a sweet soul that you'd love the instant you met her. She has an inviting spirit that welcomes you into her world and makes you feel loved.

Blogging has been around for several years but gained in popularity in 2006-2008. Many of the trailblazers have moved on to establish themselves in the national spotlight earning six and seven figure yearly incomes. Their books have been published and some have found themselves in front of a television camera…and it all began when they hit "publish."

Each of us has a different purpose for writing our blog posts. Through this fun blog hop, maybe I can answer some of my own questions about why I blog.

1) What am I working on?
Currently, I'm working on a book about grief and forgiveness. The basis of the book is my life story but I'm not going year by year. I have a co-writer who is helping me with the early years. As I began the process of writing, those years were too painful to capture through the written word and I found it easier to speak the words. The later years, after forgiveness and healing had occurred, were much easier to write. My co-writer is translating my spoken words while I'm working on the process of how forgiveness and grief are tied together.

My part has been laid aside for now due to the planning of my daughter's wedding. I'll resume writing in September. Keeping up with my blog is all I have time for at the moment.

2)How does my work differ?
There have been many books written on grief or forgiveness. I'm not sure if there have been any written with both subjects linked together. The ingredient that makes mine unique is the time element. I didn't grieve until thirty eight years after my mother's death. I have an experience to share that differs from most people. Also, losing a parent as a teenager, then being separated from the second parent on a daily basis gives me a voice that speaks to another group of people.

3)Why do I write what I do?
I love what Kendra said in her blog hop post, "My writing is an extension of who I am and how I think…" That really spoke to me.

I believe that's why I write. I have something to say. Since I was a little girl, I've been an observer of people, all kinds of people. Most of the time I'm quiet, but on the inside I'm having dialogue and writing stories constantly. As I work in my garden, wash dishes, or iron, stories or parables come to mind to illustrate a biblical principle. I love sharing stories from my childhood or my children's growing-up years. There is a wealth of wisdom in the passing of time. I write to share what I've learned through this life journey to help those coming along behind me…and if I can share it in a way that promotes family or leads someone into a deeper walk with God, then even better.

4)How does my writing process work?
As I said above, writing for me comes through normal, every day activities. My ideas come through life experiences. I will write a complete post in my head. Most of the time, I try to stop what I'm doing and write down a few key sentences, then go back to whatever I was doing. The key sentences will be enough to jog my memory to fill in the gaps and write the post. The blog posts that have had the most page views have taken the least amount of time to write…thirty minutes or less. The post with the most page views took fifteen minutes to write. This doesn't include editing, but I get the general concept on paper and it's just a matter of adding commas and paragraphs.

I've found writing to be fulfilling and healing. Whether I'm blogging, writing on my book or gathering material by people watching, I'm excited to see where God leads in this new chapter in my life.

Visit Kendra's blog, Tending the Garden at