It all began one Monday morning during lunchtime on a snowy, cold winter's day. I had fed the children their lunch and was in the process of cleaning up. I opened up the fridge to put something away and realized just how empty my refridgerator looked. Now, an empty fridge is a sad thing for a home of seven people, but when half of those people can eat twice the amount of an adult, well, it just is unacceptable. It definitely was time to go shopping. Yet, as I gazed into that vast realm of emptiness, the dirt and smudges on the shelves seemed to mock me and suddenly I knew what I needed to do. I began furiously taking out the shelves and drawers, washing each one carefully so I would not break the glass, and began wiping down the walls. Joe even took the thing-a-ma-jig off the back of the inside wall and scrubbed it down till it shone. "No more yucky-uckies in our fridge!" we both said.
I had finished up the main area and moved onto the door as Joe worked on taping up some cracks in the bottom. Just as I was taking out the dressings from one of the shelves, I spotted something that made me jump. Now, everyone expects to find some strange items inside their refridgerator, but when it comes to finding something hairy with eyes staring up at you, you must admit that might put a little gasp of hesitation in your next move. Had I possibly left something inside there for so long that it actually grew fuzzy and blue? Here is a little picture of what I discovered inside there:
After my first initial shock, I had to laugh at the timing of my children. I never know what they will do and where they will put things, nor does it even make sense to try to understand just why they do what they do. All I know is that I got a good laugh out of it, but also inspiration (maybe it was insanity?) struck at the same time. I grabbed my camera and began putting the little Puffles all over the place. I felt like a kid again as I laughed and took pictures. My girls kept looking at me as if I had lost my mind, but they know perfectly well that I can have my odd moments just like them. Anyway, who knows what will come of these odd photos. Maybe nothing. But it was a fun way to spend a dreary afternoon - much more fun than cleaning out an old fridge.
"Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." Psalm 40:5
I love how God has little ways of showing His love for me, little 'I love you's' that never fail to warm my heart. A desire or want may not even be expressed out loud; it may be a tiny little thought that only the heart whispers, yet the answer often comes from the Lord with full force. It never ceases to amaze me when God stretches out His hand with a little gift of love set gently on it, handing it to me with a tag that says, "Simply because I love you." "Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done..."
We were invited to go on a field trip yesterday, with a group of friends from Heritage, to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. It had been years since we had been there, and I had to battle the fear of what had happened last time, where we all had come down with a horrible stomach virus afterward. It may not even have been the place where we picked it up because those things can be everywhere during this time of year, but that was our association. I armed myself with lots of hand sanitizer and prayed hard that we would be spared any of the nasties that might lurk in a public place.
We had decided to meet the others at the aquarium, so we left that morning, a little later than I had wanted, and drove down to Norwalk. I am glad the Lord nudged me to take the directions off the internet because our GPS is a little outdated and the roads had been changed quite a bit in that area. The poor thing sounded like it had gone crazy with its, "Recalculating!" every two seconds, so I simply shut it off.
We had arrived in town and had to turn left to get onto the road where the museum was. We sat and sat, the light never changing to the green arrow so we could go. The car in front of us grew impatient so he took a daring move and drove left on a red arrow, making a dash across two lanes of cars that were coming from the opposite direction. I did not know if I should follow suit, and seeing that I am not an aggressive driver I did not want to have to do something drastic.
A car pulled up in the left lane next to me and I said optimistically, "Maybe now the light will change because the other car will turn the sensor on." Then I said, "Let's pray that the light will change." I said a quick little prayer out loud and we waited two more seconds and then sure enough, our light turned green! I was so excited for the children to witness such a fast answer to prayer! We drove into the parking garage and began making our way up the floors, not seeing anything open for us to park. I had no idea where the others were and assumed they were in the museum waiting for us to get there. It was on the third floor when one of the children commented, "What if there are no open parking spaces?"
"God will take care of us," I replied. "You saw how He turned the light green for us. He will provide a space." It was not five seconds later that we turned the corner and there were our friends, pulling into two parking spaces, and right across from them was another open place just for us. Isn't God good?
Even the fact that our car ran well enough for us to take the hour drive down there was a huge blessing. You see, our car is very old - if you calculate car years like you would dog years, our poor van would be about 91 years old. When she was young and spry, she zipped around with lots of energy and gusto, but we also did not have five children (who happen to be as heavy as adults now!) sitting in the back weighing her down. It would have been fine back then, but a 91 year old carrying around that much weight can put a strain on a lady's back. I am extremely thankful for a husband who is so handy when it comes to fixing things (like garage doors!) and knowing what to do with the oils and fluids in the car. He did his thing and made that car work well enough for us to drive safely down and back. I believe God rebukes the devourer and keeps our car running as long as we remain faithful to Him.
So, as you go about your day today, look around for the little blessings God drops in your life. He has subtle ways of showing His children His love. He does not always drop them in our laps, but hands them to us in a quiet way, gently reminding us that He is always there and that He loves us so very much. His wonderous works are more than can be numbered! I am so glad He loved me first. Lord bless your day!
I was laying on my bed, staring out the window at the web of tree limbs that criss-crossed and tangled against the backdrop of the deep blue sky and thought to myself, "How can anything ever make its way through such a mess of branches? It would be crazy trying to manuever your way through that maze!"
Suddenly a little bird flew into view and landed on one of the tree branches directly in front of me and my eyes focused on the tiny, feathered creature. He had no qualms about how he was going to fly through, what seemed to me like a vast, endless, not-even-worth-trying mess of solid, tangled trees. Yet, without even a pause, he flew away into the woods, perfectly capable to go where he needed to go simply because God has given him the instinct and know how to deal with, again what seemed to me, tough circumstances.
I began to think about how easy it looked for the bird and moved my head a bit. It was then that the view changed and things did not seem so tangled anymore. My eyes focused on what was directly in front of me instead of focusing them on what seemed so far away. A little intrigued at the change one little move had made, I sat up and again the view changed so I could distinctly make out each tree, where each branch began and ended, along with the fact that I realized that most of the limbs were up higher and became less tangled and more open as I looked closer to the ground. It was all because my focus changed as my angle changed.
I have been feeling a little stressed this week, concerning different circumstances in my life that do not seem to be going as I think they should, or because I feel like I cannot take everything that life seems to throw at me. There are times I focus on the past and think, "This never worked for me before, so why should it work now?" Or I remember how I was hurt by doing something before and do not even want to try doing it again for fear of getting hurt again.
We all get tired and worn out, sometimes feeling like we cannot take any more, beaten down by circumstances in life that never seem to end. Whether it is by family, children, friends, jobs, sickness, you-name-it, there is always something around the corner that is ready to tackle us and hold us down in what looks like a tangled mess. Yet, the Lord is showing me, once again, to change my view a bit. If I turn my head slightly and stop focusing on what is far beyond my reach (what seems like an impossible end!) I can take the time to look closely at the next step, closer to the base of the tree, the Foundation, and carefully make my way down the path that He wants for me. Yes, I am to have goals and work to meet those goals, but in the process of striving for the perfect end, I must continue to keep my eyes looking to Him: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." He will make the path clear from all tangled webs, and make a way around the difficult bends. Remember, all we need to do is just change our perspective and we may see things the way God wants us too.
I am supposed to write a blog. That is usually what I do in this spot, yet my brain does not seem to want to gather her thoughts and get everything written down on here. And so I brainstorm...maybe it will all come together. Maybe the Lord will clear my mind enough to show me what He wants me to write about tonight. I could pull out my old story and write chapter three of 'Perfect Love'. I did kind of leave you hanging after poor Anna was arrested with her friends. Yet, I kind of like leaving you hanging. It might make you want to come back to see if I posted the latest section of the story, and in the process, see if there is anything else new to look at.
Last week was a little rough for me, emotionally, and sometimes I find that when I go through something like that, I tend to pull into my shell and try to hide inside it like a turtle does, trying to protect itself from something 'out there' that could hurt it. Things always seem to come in sets of three. I am not sure why that is, but if something happens, I can usually assume there are two more things that will come along my way, whether good or bad. God is gracious though, and always gives the grace and strength I need to go through every trial and hard time I may endure.
The other day, I was taking the children out on an early morning errand and one of the children started telling me about something that had happened to him. I tried to listen, I really did, but for some reason my brain was not registering what he was saying and I remember looking at him with a blank stare. I felt bad, but my mind could not take anything else in at the moment. With an apologetic sigh, I explained to him that usually minds are like sponges, able to absorb everything around it, learning and saving the info just like a computer would.
"I'm sorry to say, but my brain is not able to absorb anything new right now. It's like a soggy sponge that is leaking water out everywhere. There is no more room for anything new to soak in."
It was one of those 'ah ha!' moments, when suddenly I realized that the cloudy brain was completely full, but I suddenly knew what to do about it. I silently began praying for the Lord to clear my mind, to squeeze out the excess info that was not necessary, so I could listen to my children and be attentive to their needs. It is very important for me as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, child of God, etc, to always have more room in my mind for what God would have me learn. I must make sure I ask for wisdom in how to squeeze out the excess 'water' in my brain sponge, so I am always ready to absorb God's Word, His voice, and the important things that surround me every day. May we be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water, ever nourished by the Word of God, always able to take in the water of life that He has for us.
So, thank you for bearing with my brainstorm. Sometimes we need a little rainstorm to clear the path and made everything new and green again. My brain sponge is now ready to take in what is really important. God bless!
I am sitting on my grandmother’s couch taking in all the sights and sounds that surround me, loving how every little decoration, piece of furniture, clock tick, photo frame, even the slightest smell of cinnamon speaks of Grandma’s touch. Everything I see here makes me think of her. The only thing that is missing in this picture is my grandmother’s presence. I miss the sound of her puttering around in the kitchen, cooking up something yummy for me to eat, and the gentle patter of her feet as she softly walks around tending to everyone’s needs, making sure everyone is comfortable.
I am very happy to say that my grandmother is still very much alive, so do not feel too sorry for me. I am getting ready to go see her in a little bit at the nursing home where she is in rehab, and I know I will cherish every moment I have with her. Though it is not like it was when I was little, I still have the blessed opportunity to visit with her, talk with her, hold her hand, and give her lots of hugs. Yet, even as I sit here I cannot help the few tears that seem to stubbornly keep steaking down my cheeks. I want things to be just like they were. I hate the changes that come in life, though I am constantly finding myself dealing with a new change daily.
There are so many things in life that we do not like or that we do not understand. The verse from Luke 2:19 has been going around in my head lately, and the events of the last few weeks have made me relate to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a woman. The verse simply says, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” So many times I find there are no words to speak to express what I am feeling inside. Then there are other times when I find the words that are going through my mind, or that I would like to say, should not be spoken at all. Those are the times when I need to hold my tongue. Some things are better left unsaid. Some things are better kept inside the heart until just the right time. Some things will work themselves out without my help. Yet, some words are never spoken, simply because we do not understand the why or reason of an event or circumstance. Like Mary, she was told many things about her infant that she could not grasp just yet. How could this little baby save the entire human population? He was so sweet and innocent, like a little lamb. She could not possibly fathom how those soft, tiny hands would someday have nails piercing through them, or that someone would want to spit on His precious face. So, she had to keep those things that the angel and shepherds had told her deep inside her heart, where only God could see and hear her anguished inner cries of 'why?'
I do not know what lies around the corner of my life, or for anyone else who is in my life. I watch and observe everything around me, taking it all in, storing things away in my memory and in my heart, just like Mary did. Though not much is mentioned about her personality, to me she seemed so down to earth, so simple even, in the way that she completely trusted God with her life and circumstances. She was totally surrendered to Him in all accounts. She simply accepted His will, and the things that she did not understand, she kept in her heart for the Lord to answer over time. I want to be like Mary and take Jesus for Who He is. Taking one day at a time; storing the things I know and those that I do not understand inside my heart. Pondering means prayer, and prayer means drawing closer to the Lord. May I be like Mary and draw closer to my Lord in every way that I can.