Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Soup that Warms the Soul

I woke up the other morning feeling like someone had a foot on my chest. All that congestion was gathered together to make it difficult to breathe.
I laid in bed for quite awhile since I didn't fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, but there were things to do. We are leaving for Florida in the morning.
I plodded through my To Do list.
Then lunch time came. I found a can of Campbell's Chicken Soup and in 15 minutes, my body had a wake up call! Yay!
There is something about chicken soup that warms the soul.
Lord, make me good chicken soup for someone's life today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Living a Life of Thanksgiving

There is the eagerness to get there and the hard part of leaving so soon. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. This year my daughter, Margie, is cooking the dinner and she has invited Lori and her family over.
Since I have so many children in so many places, it is rare for us all to be together at one time. Sometimes I think that is best for I so love the one on one time with each child. You don't get that opportunity when you have all of them plus their children and grandchildren.
I am a rich woman to be able to go to so many places and receive love.
This year the visit will be shortened because we have to return for a memorial service for a friend who died in a car accident. Although I would never wish a long illness on anyone, when someone dies unexpectedly in an accident, it takes me longer to get my head around it. I know it is real, but my mind doesn't want to accept it.
So when I am in FL for just two days I will have an abundance of gratitude that I do have a life. It's not perfect, but I have life and love. I have so very much to be grateful for.
I have a husband that loves me unconditionally. He loves me when I am completely unlovable. For this I am grateful.
All of my children are not where I would hope for them to be, but each is healthy and alive. For this I am grateful.
I literally have friends all over the world from Ireland to Africa to Israel to China and from coast to coast in the United States. For this I am grateful.
Happiness is indeed a choice and when you make that choice, you will find so much to be grateful for.
A doctor once told me I would never live to be 60. I am 65. For this I am grateful.
I am blessed to attend a church that is as much a family to me as my own flesh and blood. For this I am grateful.
I love Thanksgiving and it is my heart's desire to live each day in gratitude for the bounty I have been blessed with. May I always remember to give more than I take.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I haven't Got Time for the Pain

I go to a pretty free church where on Friday nights we sing and dance to Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum version) and other songs that we have redeemed much like they did over 100 years ago when revival swept Europe. The bar songs were adapted to the hymns we sing in church today. Martin Luther and John & Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Church) rewrote popular music from the taverns to accompany some of their hymns as did William Booth, founder of Salvation Army.
Anyway when I sat down at my computer this morning, I thought of the song by Carly Simon "I Haven't Got Time for the Pain." So I pulled it up from YouTube and it was definitely a good fit for the freedom the Lord gives us.
I really don't have time for the pain. I have a life to live for Him!
So if you are willing to be stretched, watch this video and think about your life before Jesus came in and you allowed Him to make a difference. When you release the pain, there is so much room for His love. A great exchange!

All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep
Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore
'cause I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

You showed me how, how to leave myself behind
How to turn down the noise in my mind
Now I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain

Sufferin' was the only thing made me feel I was alive
Thought that's just how much it cost to survive in this world
'Til you showed me how, how to fill my heart with love
How to open up and drink in all that white light
Pourin' down from the heaven

Haven't got time for the pain (no pain)
I haven't got room for the pain (no pain)
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Healing Rain

I awoke to rain this morning, not a thunderstorm, but just a nice steady rainfall.
I love the sound. It makes you want to grab a cup of coffee and sit in front of the fire.
When growing up, we lived three houses away from the St. Johns River. When an afternoon rain came, many times I would walk down to the river. There I would sit under a majestic oak tree that was so dense that it provided shelter from most of the rain. I would watch the rain fall on the river. It was my secret place that seem to cleanse my soul from the conflict within my home.
In the rain everything was clean and fresh. The smell after the rain was intoxicating.
Since I was raised in Florida, I saw many hurricanes. Only a few were devastating, but for the most part they seem to bring an intense winnowing away of the filth of life. Dead, lifeless branches were pruned by the storm. When it was over, even in the chaos, there was a cleanness in the air.
Now in my senior years, I look back and see that there were indeed many storms. Some I was sure at the time that I could not weather. But I did and the things that really were not necessary in my life that I was not willing to release, the storm pruned. My soul was cleaner after each storm. Sometimes there was a time of healing and restoration that had to take place, but when I yielded to that, I was stronger.
What needs to be washed out of your life today? What has been pruned so severely that you ache?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jingle and Mingle

As Ray builds the village and I create baskets, anticipation of our Jingle and Mingle mounts.
This is a special time when I invite family, friends and customers to an open house and we catch up with one another and do some shopping from my Mary Kay studio. I love company. Just that sitting down time and sharing with one another makes one realize how very rich we are in the things money cannot buy. I have customers who have become special friends and I am always eager to catch up with them. Invariably, I will hear answers to some of the prayers we prayed together whether for a job for a daughter or healing for a mother, it is always a time to rejoice.
Then there's the cookies. I love to have many kinds of cookies and just as many kinds of tea. Did you know tea tastes better in a cute cup.
I do hope you will join us this year. We are having on Saturday and Sunday, December 4-5 from 2-5 pm. Do drop in and mingle. I'll provide the jingle. Here's a preview of a few of things I have been working on. http://vimeo.com/16803270

Building the Village

We had gone to Hobby Lobby earlier in the week to buy styrofoam for the platform of the village and it was going to cost over a hundred dollars. So Ray bought a hot wire cutter instead and then checked at Lowe's and Home Depot for a better price and found none. So we went dumpster diving for packing styrofoam yesterday. Three dumpsters later we were in business.
Ray took the hot wire cutter and pieced it together like a puzzle. Now the fun begins as we build our Christmas village. We have begun placing the 30 plus houses and buildings. We move them from one side to another. Mother called to say she was sending us a town hall. So we decided to create a town square like we have here.
Up went the shops to go to the Square.
Life isn't that simple. We don't always get to choose our neighbors or where our house is located. We can't pick it up and move to greener pastures without great expense.
So while we are where we are, we should live life to the fullest.
How may times do we have to be told to bloom where we are planted.
That neighbor next door isn't there by accident. At the very least, she needs your smile, but I bet she could use an encouraging word and a hug.
Perhaps you are there to pray for them.
We are told to love our neighbor as ourself. So perhaps the crux of the problem is that we really don't love ourselves.
Can I just be gentle with myself and just BE the best ME I can BE? After all, I am just a girl.
I found this song on YouTube. It reminded of Irish pub music and the singer reminds me of Lori Ann. Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Though I am working from home and trying to recover myself, emotions sometimes play havoc with the best intentions.
A dear friend was killed in a car wreck last Monday. The first day I was just numb, my processing mode. Then I was able to cry. Then I began to grieve. I tormented myself with the undone deeds and the unspoken words.
Just the week before she had said, "Diane, your heart will be just fine. I've got a pacemaker and fully expect another 20 years for both of us."
She didn't live even 20 more days, much less years.
Of course, when I had lunch with her Sunday, I had no idea that would be the last time I would see her.
Where does the time go?
Are we so busy doing that we forget to BE. We are human beings, not human doings.
In John 5:19, Jesus,says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
In other words, He saw what His Father was doing and He joined Him.
If we would follow that simple formula, look to the Father and do it as He would, there would be no stress, drivenness nor performance.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Breakfast Bread

Traditionally Publix Breakfast Bread was reserved for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then it found its way into vacations.
Now whenever we drive up to Fayetteville, we stop at Publix to get a couple of loaves so that there is a spare in the freezer. When you get older, every day is a gift and a reason to celebrate.
Their breakfast bread is chocked full of walnuts, cranberries, apricots, apples and a smidge of pumpkin. Two slices with butter and coffee make a perfect breakfast. Because of all the fruit and nuts, you really don't want anything else.
Maybe it is the hour plus drive that makes it so dear, but for a girl raised on Publix, it has the taste of home and love.
It is the simplest of memories that are the most enduring.
I can remember that on Thanksgiving Day the family decorated Grandma's house inside and out. She was too old to do the outdoor decorations, but loved them dearly. So this was a gift she could enjoy for weeks. No two years were alike. There were always additions and deletions.
Let me encourage you to include some simple traditions in the upcoming holidays. Don't make it so difficult that no one wants to do it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

That Cozy Time of the Year

When it is cold outside, I can always find fun things to do inside.
For many years, I made crafts to sell to make extra money especially for Christmas. Some years things were so tight, that I used what I could find outside free for the taking to create special things. From tiny pine cones brought home by my truck driving husband who gathered them in North Carolina to the sweet gum balls from the tree in the front yard. In the fall the kids and I would gather kudzu and make everything from trees to wreaths.
I had an excellent teacher and friend in Sally Swift. She is about 10 years my senior and a gifted artist. We would spend evenings together creating. She patiently coached me through new techniques.
Since moving to Georgia, I have missed that time spent together more often that not with a hot cup of tea.
Sally continues her passion today. You can see her work at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/allthingshomey

When Mom still lived in Jacksonville, I got to see Sally more often and frequently I would leave with a shopping bag of snippets and treasures she had saved for me to use on future projects. I always felt I came home with a bit of Sally with me.
The other day I was rearranging a cabinet in the Mary Kay room and came across a jar of buttons from Sally. I couldn't help but smile.
Today I thank God for special friends. Lord, bless them for all they have poured out in the lives of others and then some.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Weather Roller Coaster

Last week we ran the air conditioning. Tonight the temperature will drop to 33 degrees. Each day is a surprise.
I personally love fall with pecan falling from the trees and gathered for baking. I love the crunch of leaves as I walk through the yard. I love a good roaring fire and sipping hot cocoa.
Perhaps it is the cocooning that is necessary to keep ourselves warm that makes us a cozier, nicer person. The pace slows a bit, more so in the North than the South.
When we are still, the things within us that need to be perfected have a chance to percolate within our soul. There are things that the busyness of life impedes. When we slow down, they waft through our spirit and that longing for dreams forgotten stirs.
We are body, soul and spirit. Unfortunately, we do not give each part of our being the full attention it needs to blossom. The weeding is deferred until it chokes out hopes. It is in the slower pace that we take notice of such things.
A crackling fire can ignite our spirit and a warm cup of tea, our soul.
Eanjoy each day fully as if it were your last. It is a gift.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

There is always more

Wherever you are in your journey, there is always more.
You can do more, be more and even rest in what has been done more.
If you love the Lord, you can receive more of His love and pass it on more often.
The more that destroys you is striving for more.
It is the striving, feeling like you are not good enough unless you do a little more, that amps up your hypothalamus and peace is no where to find.
Could you just enjoy the moment? Listen to the sounds around you and focus on one. Right now the football game is going in the living, a truck drives by outside, but from my bedroom I hear worship songs. That is what I will choose to hook up to. You see when we try to relate to everything, do everything an cover all of the bases, we find ours selves frazzled.
Find your place in the world, by listening as much as you run. Listen to your Father. His plans for you are for good and not evil. Jer 29:11

Monday, November 1, 2010

It Takes Man to Build a Village

For years my mom built a Department 56 village. Before she sold her house, I believe it grew to about 4 foot by 10 ft. She placed in front of her picture window and people often came in the evening to watch it. It had many moving parts.
When she sold her house, the village was disbursed primarily to grandchildren. Still Ray has continued to build his village with his "inheritance" and has already added on.
We live in an old Craftsman style bungalow. So the village finds its home in the wide hallway. Ray is already plotting and planning. It takes about a week to get everything in place.
As in life, it is the details that make a difference. From the walkways to the cemetery next to the church we recreate life as it was in the time of Charles Dickens.
Sad that life doesn't allow us such artistic expression to move things around to become aesthetically pleasing. Or does it?
Food for thought.