Another year come
Another year gone
365 days, like a vapor.
Now faced with the what’s to come.
Sitting, waiting, reflectively wistful.
The past seems to be so long ago,
Yet the taste so fresh upon the tongue
Should we hope, should we wish?
Will we remain the same?
The dawn of a new year closely approaches,
Excitement customarily it’s companion
Brings new emotions as it’s plus one this year.
Not sure what to feel or what to hope
Cautious not to breathe too deep
The worlds actuality suddenly vividly beheld
Yet in all this
This I know
The Lord is with me
Today, in a small backwoods town of rural Mississippi, I was reacquainted with the absolute. Finite. Unequivocal meaning of the season.
Today, it was in a moment of unexpectedness that I found myself again.
I have found that in this season of giving and getting, that it is the unexpected gifts, the unexpected moments that mean the most.
Stopped at an off the road propane fill station, I met a woman who touched my life more than she will ever know. As she filled our tanks, she also filled my heart. The kindness and warmth that poured from her revived my soul.
As she handed me fresh out of the oven muffins, wrapped preciously in a simple Christmas bag, the unexpectedness of her gift awakened something inside me.
Even if she wasn’t trying, she made me believe that coming out to help us on this frigid morning was what she had been waiting to do all day.
Even if she didn’t know, she enabled me to see a glimpse of Jesus, a glimpse of who He is and His love for me, in her simple action.
She was infectious, everything about her was utterly infectious.
In a year, that did everything it could to rob of joy, I, like many, was struggling to find it. The stress and debacle that was 2020 coming to a decrescendo with a frantic spending frenzy, coupled with expectations. Making it hard to see and easy to miss what is most important.
Yet in this single encounter, in this small act of kindness, joy came flooding back.
Much like the Grinch being stricken with the sudden beats of his growing heart, I felt the rush of the Father’s love flow through my veins.
This is what Christmas is.
It is the simple unexpected gifts. The simple unexpected laughter. The simple unexpected new friends. The simple unexpected kindness.
So, thank you, wonderful woman on highway 48 in Tylertown, Mississippi for the simple unexpectedness of our encounter today.
More than enough, this simple life we have weaved.
Stripping all that cluttered and bore heavy burden.
Weaving what remained.
The things we took for granted, what are in fact he backbone.
The things we once considered so priceless.
Cheap and flimsy.
What was so treasured, so coveted, actually the disease that had us so incapacitated.
Endless circles of mindless chatter for so long.
It took stripping it all away to see so clearly.
Clear as day now I see what truly is more than enough.
A hot bath for a weary soul.
Unexpectedly it drowns what dismays.
The fervid swoon of the lapping waves, release the frigid torments of this day.
As steam wafts off the sultry surface, chills scurry down the spine.
A candle flickers, the roar of the faucet like a thundering waterfall.
Instantly what was burrowed so deep, begins to rise.
As scents of eucalyptus dance through the air, stress releases down the face.
A hot bath for a weary soul.
Submerging beneath the sea of warmth, eyes closed tight, noise commanded to a muffle.
The world seems a bit less complex. if but for a moment.
Muscles relax, breath slows, worries cease. As the magic of this place envelops every sense.
No problems to be solved, nothing broke needing fixing.
Just a girl in a tub.
A hot bath for a weary soul.
Pain from bad choices is expected. Hurt, heartache, sadness, all deemed common side effects. We are warned of it’s likelihood. We are cautioned and told to take heed. Consequences…Be forewarned…like a label on a pill bottle.
Unexpected though, is the heartache and pain that can emerge from good decisions. Healthy, life giving decision, that come wrapped in nothing but. Not many warnings of this possibility. No one forewarns or shares a heads up. So when it occurs, preparedness is not choreographed.
Decisions like severing ties of a venomous friendship.
Being the whistleblower that is the savior of others.
Uprooting the life that is known to protect those closest to you.
Breaking off a relationship strangling the soul.
Removing a hand of protection from those refusing to accept the help.
All the right decisions made. Wisdom used. Nights of lost sleep. Prayers, tears, fasting. The right choice, absolutely. Yet regardless, no win. No joy. No happiness. No applause. No appreciation. No change. Just pain. Just pain so intense, it feels as though your heart is being ripped out of your chest.
Despite it, a decision you must stand in. Even when others don’t understand. Even as they question your motives, endlessly. You must stand. Stand in your decision and therefore, in your pain. Heart searing pain.
This is pain I have wrestled with for years. Pain that has built a kinship. This is the pain I am watching my daughter wrestle with now. Hard decision, good decision, massive heartache.
Days. nights. Weeks. Months of wrestling. Asking God. Angry at God. Negotiating with God. Complete lack of understanding.
It is in this pain the Father speaks.
“God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where your were scattered. “
It is in this promise, I stand.
Beside the pain.
I love this simple life.
Early morning coffee.
Hearty, soul comforting breakfast. Warm biscuits, sizzling bacon, crispy potatoes.
Slow starts, doing what I fancy.
Card games with my babies.
A cool drink with my beau.
Perhaps, a swim in the lake or bathing in the suns golden rays.
Food, laughter, music. Beats that pep the heart.
The warm glow of a fire. Crackle and pop of possibility.
Burnt marshmallow, ooey chocolate, sheer delight.
Shared secrets, hopes, aspirations whispered in the dark.
What a wonderful world.
What a wonderful simple life.
A grateful heart is a content heart. No….gratefulness doesn’t always come easy and no….it isn’t always the first (or second) reaction, but it is the most rewarding.
I choose to be grateful today. I choose to be obsessively grateful.
The more I live, the more I realize it is definitely a choice. Rather than griping about the heat, I choose to be grateful I can sit outside, sip my coffee, watch my dog sunbathe, and watch the sun come up. Rather than focusing on what I don’t have, I choose to see all the abundant much that I do have. Rather then complain about what on my body hurts, I will say thank you that I can walk and jump and run, even if it does hurt afterward.
When my heart is mindful of gratefulness, it often feels like it will burst. Like a snug warm hug, embracing my soul. This is the reward for choosing to be grateful. While complaining feeds the soul momentarily, it often leaves a bitter after bite. Gratefulness is long lasting and sweet tasting.
So today I will be grateful. For all that I have, for every person in my life, for my current situations. I will choose to see the blessing in each moment and express those blessings in my words and my actions.
I will be obsessively grateful.
I am constantly looking for ways to keep my English bulldog cool on these crazy hot Louisiana days! Recently, I found these awesome silicone muffin pans at Dollar General for $4.50! Everywhere else I looked they were $10-$20 which is nuts.
Just fill them with water, put them in the freezer and pop one out with frozen. My Betty Lou loves getting one when she’s hot and sweaty. The best part is, it’s just water, no sugar like a popsicle, she she’s getting hydrated and cooled down!
Here’s a link for the item on DG! https://www.dollargeneral.com/baked-with-love-silicone-baking-pan-silicone.html
Hope you guys love it!
Death came knocking a little too close.
What is it about death, that the mere mention of its name causes a deep consideration? It makes one stop just a moment longer. Requires reflection of ourselves and those around us. Our relationships are perused. Attention is paid.
It did just that for me, when I heard it. Its haunted knock. Seems feeble, but anything but. The thud of its finality, just a little too close. It is so very final.
When we die, we are placed in a box.
Funny, I am beginning to see the truth is this; we are in a box long before we die.
I remember as a child playing with cardboard boxes. These boxes could be anything and everything. With some tape and a knife, the boundaries were limitless. A spaceships for the worlds youngest astronaut. Top secret forts for the sneakiest spy. Breathtaking castle for the belle of the kingdom. The imagination was the only ceiling. But then it stops. It just stops. One day the imagination stops, we go into the box, that once had so many endless possibilities and we never come back out.
Oh sure, we like to vociferate that others put us in our boxes, circumstances keep us caged, limits keep us limited, but really, it is our own doing. We are the ones that allow the windows to be barred, the deadbolts to be installed. We allow it. They say what not to do, where not to go, what not to wear, how not to think and we listen. Tell us where to go, how to learn, what should make us happy and we let them. We accept it. We willingly embrace what they hand us and we affix them to our box or to the reasons why we must remain.
And we remain. We sit inside, discontented, miserable and depressed. We stop creating, imaging and living and we go in, shut the door and never come out. We scroll through pictures of others in their boxes, watch them as they pretend not to be in one. Maybe we lean out of the windows, wish, day dream, fantasize, hope, but that is all. We do not dare open the door, we do not dare wander out.
Perhaps, there are moments when we get close. Dare to break free. Events, such as death or a pandemic, cause a spark. Passion is resuscitated in our soul, but it soon fans out. It fans out, we blow it out, or watch as we allow others to snuff it out.
We have questions, so many questions.
We have doubts, fears, insecurities. A circular heyday of uncertainty runs rampant, destroying. So we cry, eat, shop, drink, spend, gossip, sleep, don’t sleep, anything to pacify the insistent, intense hole.
Refusing to exit.
Get me out of this box. Let me not wake up and it be too late to run away.
I love slow Saturday mornings. Really, any slow morning will do just fine. Mornings not burdened with alarms or schedules. Mornings not planned for me or requiring of me. Mornings that can drift slowly by while sipping coffee, practicing lazy.
The practice of lazy, is just that. For a recovering “busy bee” it is all about the practice. There was a time when slow was anything but enjoyable. A time when I had to go, had to do, had to be. A time when sitting still seemed torturous. Every moment had to be filled, every ounce had to be planned. And if I wasn’t going, wasn’t doing, I was terribly vexed and unsettled.
I am thankful for my husband in this regard. It is he who taught me to enjoy the quiet. He showed me how to slow down, how to enjoy being still, being content in nothing. Often he asks me why I love him, this is one reason. If not for him, I know I’d be shackled to busy, unsettled and discontent. So thank you my love. Thank you for saving me from busy and showing me slowness.