Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hope Said...

The telephone rang; Lisa wondered if I would join her for a walk in the neighborhood.

After a long work day, I hesitated to go, but hope said: "Sure!  Stop by as you wind around the block."

Lisa, Chrystal, Hope (soon to be 4 years old), Casey (the dog) and I met up and began walking.

Hope asked me why the fence posts were pointed;
she walked in open-eyed wonder.

Chrystal (Hope's mother) and Lisa (Hope's aunt) shared with me a story that continues to ring in my soul.

Chrystal and Lisa looked through a book to seek discussion questions for a group of women. 

Hope listened.

Lisa and Chrystal found a question: if you could have any person's heart, without them having to die, whose would you want?  The ladies thought.

Hope said: Jesus.  She wanted the heart of Jesus.

As I pondered this story, I thought: "I want what Hope said; I want the heart of Jesus."

Jesus did have to die for me, for us, to have His heart.  So wonderful to know that He is alive forever!
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26
I am grateful for this heart transplant.  Thank you, Father.

With heart,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brimming Over with Hope

May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace.  so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!  Romans 15:13 (The Message)
Ten days after my daughter arrived in this world, her pediatrician contacted me to say she may have have a genetic disorder that  prevents the breakdown of milk sugar.  I had to stop nursing her immediately because the very substance I viewed as nourishment could harm her.

My husband and I purchased the special formula that would replace Mommy's milk.  We asked for prayer from our church family. Along with our daughter, we underwent genetic testing. 

The results: no genetic disorder!!  Our hopes and dreams came true!

Fast forward almost three years later.  I am pregnant.  My doctor orders a blood test.  I test positive for the trait of a different genetic disorder.  My husband gets the test; he, too, tests positive.  We prayed throughout the pregnancy.  We hoped throughout the pregnancy.

Ten days after my son arrives in this world, the pediatrician contacted me to announce that my son definitely had a genetic disorder that affected  his blood. 

We asked for prayer from our church family.  Our son underwent additional testing.

The result: the genetic disorder indeed existed in our son's body.  Our hopes and dreams fell in our laps.

Over the years, challenges came and so did victories.  Over the years hope grew - first small glimmers.  Perspective changed; I learned to savor moments rather than lament over possibilities.

I learned that I could not create hope just with my hands, my mouth, or my thoughts - for me or my family.

The powerful presence of  the Holy Spirit enabled our believing lives to brim over with hope!

I am brimming over with hope as I reflect on the Good God's Grace gifts:

#383 -400

young adult daughter living out God's destiny with grace

young adult son persevering and living out God's destiny with appreciation

husband loving, serving,  giving, living passionately and wisely

Lisa dreaming, building, and advancing in her life's purpose

Jennifer dreaming, building, and advancing in her life's purpose

Alicia dreaming, building, and advancing in her life's purpose

Joy dreaming, building, and advancing in her life's purpose

Dream-boosting group monthly calls

Reviving joy in creating photographs

Hearing of friend's successful surgery and recuperation

Sharing dinner with friends

Surprising friend on her birthday

Stopping to watch children playing

Sitting and reading in the quiet

Worshiping with uncluttered mind and heart

Swallowing deeply the truths in Romans

Receiving grace for the day

Slowing down long enough to see butterflies flitting over flowers

I wrote this post as part of Ann's Multitude Mondays 1000 Gifts.

How is hope manifested in your life?


holy experience

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Place Matters

While vacationing in Virginia, my husband and I came a cross the Gilmore Farm.  On the farm is the restored home of George Gilmore, a former slave at Montpelier who lived there with his wife Polly and their family.

George Gilmore built the house in the aftermath of emancipation  from slavery.  This small one and a half story home provided shelter for a family busy with farming. 

 The tall (6'4") Mr. Gilmore would have had to bend over to walk about the single room on the first floor.
After living in a slave cabin with much less room, I think Mr. Gilmore would not mind bending to walk about the home he built for his freed family.  Place matters; a place to lay your head after a long day among crops.

Place matters; a place to share meals and play time with family. 

Place matters; the warmth from a fire you built for food and family - for living and learning...

I have lived in several homes in my adult life.  With each move, making a home involved more than brick and mortar preparation - hearts ultimately make homes...

Place matters - my heart home influences the atmosphere in my physical home.

I am yielding to the Master Builder as my place (my heart) continues to be built.  Place matters.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hands at Work

I stand amazed at the perseverance, wit, and skill of my co-worker, Miriam.  This week, we celebrated her 93rd birthday with a party at the office.  Yes, I said 93!  She has 46 years of service in the agency. 


I was in the mood for freeze framing life, so I asked Miriam if I could take photos of her hands at work.  She graciously let me into her space - hands at work...

Miriam says we are her second family.  She regals us with witty words.  She remembers our families by name and events.  I needed to capture the moment; capture the hands at work. 

Happy Birthday, Miriam; so glad you were born!!

With joy,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Capturing What Counts

"It is always so good to be in the arms of family...the roots are deep there."  Linda
My friend Linda wrote these words as she shared the joy of visiting  family for an extended time this summer.

Summer found me intentionally spending focused time with my mother, who turns 86 this month.  She lives in her own apartment and enjoys her neighborhood.  I am learning that my presence is the present she wants.

You may understand why Linda's statement resonated with me.  Being in the arms of family calls to mind the roots that influence my life.  My mother is so special to me, to many.  She gave me roots and wings.

Her mother died when my mother was 7 tender years old; her father died when she was a still maturing 14 year old.  I marvel at the grace of God that allows this woman, who spent only a short time with her mother, to be called Mom or Grandma to so many more than those she gave birth to or their offspring. The one who lost her mother early in life became that which she longed for herself - a mother.

So, it was with joy that I read Claire's Freeze Framing Life photoplay project.  The picture below freezes a moment with my mother (on the left) and my mother in law chatting away the hours.  This photo captures what counts: relationship with the ones who nurtured and encouraged - and who still do.

Mama and Mom-in-law

Monday, August 16, 2010

Praise River

"My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness.  I pour it out in a poem to the King, shaping the river into words."  Psalm 45:1 (Message)
This morning's walk and a weekend of activated senses brought praise after praise after thanks after thanks to the King of my heart, the Lord of Lords.  Today I am  shaping this praise river into words as  - -I give thanks for:

#373 - 382

smelling honeysuckle and basil in the garden

smelling flavors from food on the grill

seeing five orioles on my walk

seeing the fog roll away as sunlight appeared

hearing my husband pray for youth going off to college and the military

hearing my mother give thanks to God for provision

feeling the heartbeat of a young child pausing for a hug

feeling the warmth of water as vegetables get rinsed

tasting food prepared for gathering of church family

tasting and seeing that the Lord is good - always good!

Today, I pour my river of thanks to the joy

Join Ann's Gratitude Community today - thanks is contagious!

holy experience

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Window with a View

Since initiating this blog in January 2010, I have encountered skilled and gracious writers who model, inspire, and encourage.  This post is inspired by Cassandra at the MoonBoat Cafe.  Cassandra writes from the heart with skill and creativity.  She shared her window view; an update of what is happening in her world.

Window view from Gilmore Farm.

Seeing Life from My Window

I intentionally sought to reframe aspects of my life this summer, and reframing abounds!!  Rekindled dreams are a wonderful product from the process of reframing.   So, while I continue my work-a-day world in policy development: dreams unfold in the background. 

Dreams are manifesting in actions I added to my life this year:

Blogging provides an outlet for my desire to encourage and nurture.

Counseling adolescents opens the door for communicating encouragement, nurture, and hope.

Reading and learning and listening opens my heart, mind, and spirit to next steps.
As this summer of reframing moves forward, I relax, more than ever before, in the faithful, loving hands of the Lord.  Change is in the air; I am listening; I am waiting; I  am moving...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reframing Leisure: A Walk in the Park

During shortened summer days and waning flexible schedules, I am reframing leisure.  The past: Leisure is often appended to full months and multiple tasks. 

The present: Not this time! How refreshing to spontaneously plan for a weekend away...special time with my loving husband. 

Leisure can be a walk in the park when I:

turn my heart to re-creation

open my eyes to splendor in the ordinary

feel the pull of yielding to rest and releasing stress

hear the whispers that encourage full embrace of the moment

For your viewing pleasure, scenes from a walk in the park:

With joy,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Free to Be

While visiting Monticello, Montpelier, and the Gilmore Farm, the reality of the cost of freedom glared before me.   Choices made; consequences paid.

The ultimate price, the Ultimate Life,  sacrificed for freedom.  Love lied bleeding; rose victorious...leaving us free to be...


"It  is for freedom that Christ has set us free...  Galatians 5:1

I rejoice and give thanks that Freedom rings:

#363 - 372

from the depths of my soul set free by Grace

in my spirit made alive by Love

in the laughter of a baby walking for the first time

in the heart of a child who no longer fears

in ringlets of curls covering the head

as we serve one another

when loving our neighbors as ourselves

as fruit of the Spirit fills the heart

as we keep in step with the Spirit

when I choose to yield to My Father

Got thanks?  Join the Gratitude Community giving 1000 Gifts.

holy experience

Friday, August 6, 2010

Privilege of Presence

During this summer of the reframing project, I find myself thinking of childhood memories.  I suppose because the framing of many of my thoughts on faith, fun, rest, relationships, and more were formed, at least partially, during those years.

Today, I thought of the joy I felt while sitting in the kitchen watching as my mother prepared meals for the family or for one of her catering jobs.  I can still feel the sense of contentment that sprang from simply sitting in the same space with Mama.

Being in Mama's presence yielded more than contentment.  Without trying hard, I mimicked her cooking skills.  From preparation to presentation, I learned how to produce a  family meal.

As I recall those moments, sometime words bubbled up from my lips.  At other times, I quietly watched without a word spoken.  The privilege of being in Mama's presence alone  brought joy to this girl, one of seven children.

Words in the Psalms remind me of the privilege of being in the presence of the Lord.   Like the fragrant smells of apple/peach cobbler and freshly prepared potato salad, the fragrance of the  Bread of Life brings joy to this girl, one of multitudes of children.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

31 Years, One Flavor

31 Years, One Flavor

Covenant made 31 years ago;
Young man and young woman pledged love so true
Living out marriage vows, how could we know?
With each blessing and each sorrow love grew.

Within six short years our love multiplied;
Rachel and Marques arrived bringing joy.
Now mother and father teamed to provide;
Nurture and teaching to our girl and boy.

The years seemed to quickly move us along;
We laughed and we cried and sometimes stretched far.
We promised to stay and right any wrong;
The fruit of our love no trouble could mar.

Thank you, dear Reggie, my gift from above;
Thirty-one years with one flavor, our love.

Monday, August 2, 2010

So Good to Give Thanks!

One of the traditions we practiced while my children lived at home involved a simple acknowledgment of the arrival of a new month.  The acknowledgment could be a simple as a "Happy August (or whatever the current month was) to reading books or making crafts related to the month.

With child-like anticipation and joy for this new month, I give thanks for:

#353 - 362

evening surprise celebration of niece's happy birthday

weekend of sharing meals with covenant friends

moments of sister laughter, so rich

week of learning in new environment

anniversary month praise

vacation anticipation

words heard, words spoken, strength arising

growing, fragrant lavender

cool breezes in the early morning

insight from wise youth

What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God!  To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night.    Psalm 92: 1-2
holy experience