Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 2, 2011

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2 NASB – There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…A time to give birth and a time to die.

Life shifts.

Sometimes the shift is so pronounced making “life as we KNOW it” suddenly and forever become “life as we KNEW it”. That moment, whatever it may be, becomes a virtual line in the sand that now separates the two worlds.

On August 2, 2011, my father passed away. Today, I’m remembering life as I knew it and trying to adjust to life as I now know it.

As a writer, the last place I want to find myself, especially at a time like this, is at a loss for words. My personal expectation is to be able to write a lofty post worthy of honoring the man I love so dearly and who loved me so unconditionally. If I’m not careful, not being able to do so could begin to  heckle me or mimic the act of pouring salt on my gaping wound. But I won’t allow it.

The other day, one of my sisters wrote an amazing post about my father, entitled The Greatest Man in the World. Her words capture, quite vividly, the essence of my daddy and the moment he left us to live forever with Christ in heaven.  Instead of lamenting over what I cannot write, I was able to blanket myself in the warm and beautiful words of one who shares my pain. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to share her words with you, as well. I invite you to click here and take a moment to read the post she has written.

I don’t know why, but I just love this picture of my dad.

Dad at his 70th birthday party

In the midst of it all, I am thankful for and find great comfort in the never-changing, never shifting word of God and presence of His sweet spirit to comfort my family and I and to bring us peace. Until next time.

Completely. missing. daddy,

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year’s Pick-Me-Up in a Pair of Designer Jeans

My New Years Eve Pick-Me-Up

2009 is finally over!  YAYYYY!!!  Oh, I’m sorry.  Do I seem too excited?  Well that’s because I am!  YAYYYY!!!! For me, 2009 was the most GRUELING year I’ve ever recorded, and you know as a writer I recorded every blood sucking ounce of it!  LOL!  Yeah, I’m laughing now, but believe me 09 was no cakewalk!

It’d be so much easier if I could just blame the poking, prodding, stretching and breaking all on the devil, but I would SO  be lying.  As a matter of fact, this was all my doing.  Well, not all mine…  Without a doubt, the rigorous coursework and each painful lesson learned in the past 12 months was God’s plan of preparation for a much larger picture AND the answer to a very specific prayer I prayed a decade ago.  Talk about be careful what you pray for!! 🙂

On New Years Eve, I awakened wearing the leaden cloak of a challenging year coming to an end.  My knees seemed to buckle under the weight of it all, and the outlook for the day appeared pretty dismal.  However, after a conversation with one of my best girlfriends (thank you Dionne), I recaptured my resolve to leave the process of the passing year behind and carry only the weight of its wisdom with me into 2010.  This brand new year promises to yield the fruit of the labor of 2009, and I decided to enter in rejoicing!

So, I needed a little pick-me-up.  Nothing like a little shopping to lift a girl’s spirit, right?  One of my girlfriends gave me a little cash for Christmas along with some very specific instructions (Thanks, Phyllis!  The report is on the way!), so I drove to a nearby shopping center and placed a wager on the Ross department store.  After spending some time making my way around the racks, it was beginning to appear the only clothing I’d leave the store with were the clothes I was wearing.

And then it happened….  As my fingers did the walking, hanger by hanger through a sea of denim, I found them.  They were a perfect pair of beautiful dark denim blue jeans. It was love at first sight (for me and jeans, that’s a really HUGE deal), and I proclaimed at that very moment, “If they fit they’re going home with me!”  I whisked them off to the dressing room where those babies welcomed me like an old friend.  Ahhhhh!!!!  I was stoked!  It was as if God had placed those jeans there just for me , and I received them with open arms.  Now I know some of you are thinking, “Why is she so excited?  It’s just a pair of jeans.”  But for those of you who know what a “selective” (insert PICKY) shopper I am, well…..enough said!

And there you have it.  I would try to round this out with some deep, spiritual “moral of the story”, but I’d be grasping.  At the end of a painful yet purposeful year of process (didn’t do the P’s on purpose; I promise! LOL!!! There they go again!), God gave me just what I needed to send me skipping, with great expectation, into a brand new year – the perfect pick-me-up in a pair of designer jeans.  I’ll definitely be adding this one to my collection of “love stories” from God.  My 2010 is looking pretty darn promising, and I’ll be looking pretty darn cute in my brand new Michael Kors.  🙂  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Love Thy Nosy Neighbor?

The infamous Cinnamon Crunch Bagel....

A few weeks ago, I packed up my things and headed out to one of the local Panera Bread restaurants for a morning meeting and an afternoon of writing.  For those of you who don’t know Panera is hot spot for all types of “meeting” activities – business meetings, mommy meetings, bible study meetings.  You name it, someone is meeting about it.  And that doggone cinnamon crunch bagel is just RIDICULOUS!!!!  (And no, they didn’t pay me for that plug.  It’s just the truth!)  Armed with this knowledge, I decided to get there early, snag a good spot and do a little work until my meeting began.  Oh, the seating angels were certainly on my side that morning.  🙂  I posted up in a sweet spot, a bench seat along the wall directly facing  one of the huge windows that overlooks the patio and the street behind it.  It was a beautiful day, too!  I got comfy, put my earphones on, and bobbed my head to Anthony Evans’ new Christmas CD as I wrote a review on it.  I’m not sure which was sweeter that morning – my “office view” or the cinnamon crunch bagel I devoured.

It was a quiet corner.  Every man and woman was intently minding his/her own business until a tall, gray-haired gentleman appeared.  At first glance, he appeared friendly and thoughtfully prepared, I might add (He brought an outlet adapter so that multiple people could plug into one two outlet power source.  Thanks, mister!!).  However, I later realized that I should have taken notes from the young man parked across from me.  As soon as the older gentleman dropped off his things and disappeared to go collect his meal, this dude took off like the cops were after him.  I mean he packed up so fast it was as if he had gotten tipped off  or something.  It was really quite funny.  When the older gentleman returned, he commented, “Wow!  Was it something I said?”  I told him, “I don’t know, but he packed up pretty fast.” LOL!  I couldn’t help it.  It truly was amazing how fast this dude got out of dodge.  Later on I understood why.

You see my former neighbor must have had a radar detector that alerted him to the fact that the gentleman who had just “moved in” was going to be …DUN, DUN, DUN, DUNNNNN…a talker!  Believe me, he didn’t know the half of it!  And neither did I, but I found out soon enough.  This man sat down, positioned his “work station” and commenced to work very diligently ON INCLUDING HIMSELF IN EVERY CONVERSATION I HAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m not kidding.  Throughout the course of my stay at Panera Bread, probably about 5 hours that day, I had 3 visitors – one meeting and 2 other friends to stop by, and I promise you this man interjected his 2 cents into each and every conversation I had.  As a matter of fact, if he’d actually given me 2 cents each time he offered up an uninvited opinion, I probably could have purchased me another bagel to go!

The real kicker came at the moment when he heard me discussing the song “Sailing” by Christopher Cross, w/ one of my friends.  We were trying to determine when the song was released.  She’s an 80’s baby, so I was commenting on how it definitely came out before her time.  Next thing I know this dude is SINGING MY SONG!!!!!!  Ok,  that’s it!!!!  If you know anything about me, you KNOW I don’t take kindly at all to a stranger singing my favorite song to me, especially w/o an invitation (which it’s doubtful I’d ever give).  LOL!

I couldn’t help but think about this man on the drive home from “the office”.  I was so amazingly floored by his constant input into my conversations throughout the day.  What was even more amazing to me was the fact that I never ignored him, not once.  Oddly, I always felt like I would somehow be rude if I did.  How does THAT work?  I thought to myself, “There has to be a moral to this story.  There’s a lesson here somewhere.  God PLEASE show me where, because I don’t see it!”  So here’s what I heard:  1Corinthians 13:13 NKJV – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these [is] love.”  Love?  You’re kidding me, right?  What’s love got…. ?  Yeah, you know the rest; you’re rocking the song in your head as you read, aren’t you?!  🙂  God didn’t stop there, though.  He knew I needed a little extra understanding, so He graciously elaborated! LOL!  Here’s what He said next:  “Love thy neighbor.”  My neighbor?  You mean that nosy guy in the corner who was ALL up in my business today?  That neighbor?

Yep!  That’s the one.  And since I’m writing a bible study on love, this lesson was obviously an important one.  The phrase “love thy neighbor” is used in the King James Version of the bible 9 times.  Here is what James 2:8 had to say, “If  ye fulfil the royal  law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.”  So there it is.  One of Jesus’ greatest commandments to us was for us to love our neighbor, even the nosy neighbor who inserts himself in your conversations at your favorite free wi-fi joint. 🙂  Guess that explains why I felt like I’d be doing something wrong by ignoring the man, huh?

When I got home that day, my sister gave me another twist on what I now call my “Panera Experience”.  Stay tuned…..