Anticipation

Part of the enjoyment of something is the anticipation of it. Like a birthday or Christmas or a vacation.

I’ve noticed that younger ones burst with anticipation over the simplest things and aren’t shy about expressing it. An expected package can cause excited watching for days and days with my kids. And the excitement over Christmas or our annual family vacation starts months in advance.

With this anticipation comes joy and laughter and a readiness for the thing that is being eagerly awaited.

And then the day before the day comes……..Christmas Eve…….or the day before we leave on vacation……and the kids are so excited that it’s almost as good as the day.

And finally the day has come and the hearts of the ones who have joyfully anticipated it are enlarged and ready to take it all in. Then they delight in every moment and treasure it forever.

That’s how the good kind of memories are made.

Pace

After my awful run last Saturday I was truly discouraged. Instead of staying in that gloomy state I went back out there on Monday and ran my longest distance to date.

And I felt great!

The problem on Saturday was that I was trying to run at a faster pace. I was trying to push myself at a pace that my body couldn’t handle. It made all the difference on Monday when I ran at my regular pace. I just ran. One foot in front of the other…….my pace at my best.

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Photo from greatist.com

I make the same mistake with my schedule. Some weeknights are filled with meetings and appointments and classes. Those happen and are needed, but I’ve learned that I need open spaces in my calendar. I need evenings at home with no plan, no agenda…..just time at home with my family.

When I crowd my calendar with too much I become stressed out, irritable, overtired and if I go that way for too long, eventually I’ll become non-productive. I rush around from one place to the next without noticing the people around me. Missing opportunities.

NOT living like it matters.

I function best at a certain pace.

Not her pace. Not his pace. But my pace.

When I try to do life at a faster pace, I don’t take the time to say hello to the stranger behind me at Target. I won’t ask the single young mom at church if she needs help getting her three pre-schoolers to the car. I’ll ignore the waiter’s small talk. And my family’s needs are the first to go unmet.

When I’m going at a faster pace, I’ll get the task done. The meetings and appointments behind me. Items checked off the list.

But my creativity is stifled. Compassion is eclipsed by drivenness. And my relationships suffer.

There are fast paced seasons. We all have those. But we can’t keep the fast pace for long. It’s not good for me or you or the people around us.

So I am learning to go at my pace. Even better……God’s pace.

Because my pace matters. Yours does too.

Live like it matters.

We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.     Romans 3:28 (MSG)

Quicken

The Edge

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At the edge of my grandmother’s yard there was a rock wall that separated our yard from hers. My little sister and I jumped over those rocks a thousand times. We used the rock wall as a hurdle in the pretend race courses we created.

“Run around the pecan tree and back to the barn, from the barn to the apple tree then run and jump over the rock wall. To the gravel road back through the yard over the rock wall and down to the pines. Climb the mimosa tree and down the mimosa tree then up the gravel road to the mailbox. Whoever touches the mailbox first wins.”

I can’t remember who won most of the time. Maybe we took turns winning. I do remember that when we finished the course we felt we’d done something big. Our rock wall hurdle seemed tall way back then.

The rocks are still there……exactly as they were when I was a little girl. Now I can step over those large old rocks with ease.  img_4544

The rocks haven’t changed.

But I have.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”         Colossians 2:7

In response to the Daily Prompt Cusp.

This Place

This is a special place.

It’s not just the beauty here. Or the sound of the ocean here. Or the sunshine and the salty air here.

It’s not the awayness or that I don’t wear shoes and I feel the sand in my toes here.

It’s not just that I’m resting here and not working here.

It’s all those things but not just those things.

It’s the love here. From the people here. For fifteen years here.

It’s God here and what He does here.

My heart is especially open here in this place. Because of all those things. The beauty and the rest and the people and the time spent. The conversations and fun and laughter.

There are tears here too. And sadness sometimes. And hard stuff.

Because real life has happened and the beautiful sunrises and the waves and finding seashells doesn’t change that.

And the ocean won’t take away real life.

But to be with people that love you and know you and that you feel at home with in this place…..this place you love….. is good.

And it can heal you.

Because these people you love…..they love you back.

And God uses these people and this place to show you His love.

Because when you walk beside the ocean and the waves crash around your feet and you look toward the horizon and can’t see the end of it……….you see the vastness of it all. That God created it.

God feels big and that feels good.

And He loves you with an everlasting love.

In response to the Discover Challenge Finding Your Place.

Photograph

We’ve been here a month now. The entire house has been renovated except for one room. The room holds sentimental treasures….Dad’s pipes and briefcase and shoe shine kit, Mom’s rocking chair and her favorite trinkets. Some old furniture. Old letters and cards and photographs. Hundreds of photos in boxes and bins and old photo albums.FullSizeRender (1)

I started moving things around in the room. Trying to make space for when my sisters come and we go through it all. I accidentally started looking at some of the photos. Remembering moments I’d forgotten.

There are lots of old memories here. Good and bad ones. The good ones we treasure.

But mixed up with all those treasured memories are painful ones. Sad ones too. And some that made their mark on us forever. But God redeems those. He uses them all for our good.

And then we can help others who are going through trials and painful circumstances.

Because whenever He changes us or heals us it’s never just for us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.         2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

13 Years Here

The renovations on the inside of my childhood home are complete. The guys we hired to do the hard stuff have done a fantastic job and it’s beautiful.

Tomorrow we’ll begin to move our life from one place to another. I’ve already moved some of the small stuff. Boxes of old pictures, books, and wall hangings are there at the new house.

But the old house still holds most of our things. And memories. Lots of memories……13 years worth. It’s been a good place to us. Lots of good times have happened here. We imagehave the best neighbors in the world and the most beautiful country roads you’ve ever seen. The people here are hard working people. The kind that stop to talk to you when you’re walking on the country roads. They’ve heard we’re moving….so they stop and ask about it.

I’ll miss that. The community I’ve felt here. I’ll miss Mr. Billy and his wife, Brenda, stopping by in the fall and blowing the horn for me to come out of the house to see if I want to buy 25 lbs of sweet potatoes or some collard greens. We always visit awhile and I look at pictures of his sweet great grandchildren.

I’ll miss Mr. Jimmy. His 30 plus acres are right beside our place. He let the kids stomp and romp all over that land. They fished in his ponds, climbed on his hay bales, rode his horses, borrowed anything from his barn (as long as they put it back), and built forts there, too. They’ve long since outgrown all that but they will remember imageit forever.

I’ll miss our Christmases here. Our live tree took up almost the whole living room but it was okay because it was Christmas. And we barely had room to open the gifts when extra family was here.

I’ll miss the walks on my country road. The quiet and beauty. The cotton growing, the horses neighing, and the cows grazing.  The sound in the summer of the crickets and frogs and cicadas. The pecan trees and blackberry bushes.

We’ve grown in this place. Not just older, but better. Along with the good, there’ve been hard times here, too. We’ve laughed and cried here. We’ve been healed here and loved here.

It’s all been so good to us.

I’m so thankful for the years in our little home in the country.

In response to the Daily Post’s Neighbors

Mama

Mom’s wait was over one year ago today. Her last breath left her while all of us were gathered around her at home, holding her hands, telling her we love her, crying because we knew we’d miss her, but rejoicing that her fight for breath was finished.

One of my favorite memories of Mom is when I was a teenager living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She, my younger sister and I were at Eastgate Mall and she wanted to eat a sandwich at Glen Gene’s deli.  We sat down to eat our sandwiches and we talked and laughed. She listened mostly. I don’t remember the words said or what I was wearing or the taste of the sandwich. I remember the deli wasn’t crowded. I remember her happy and smiling and there. And I remember the song that played while sitting in those yellow seats at Glen Gene’s deli that day.  The song was, “True” by Spandau Ballet.

So true
Funny how it seems
Always in time, but never in line for dreams
Head over heels when toe to toe
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound 

“Always in time, but never in line for dreams…..”  Mom didn’t speak of the dreams she had for her life. She didn’t talk about how she thought her life would turn out. I wonder if it was what she thought or hoped it would be.

She loved Daddy and her quartet of daughters. She loved her home and the town she lived in. She was a woman of courage and she didn’t give up. She stayed in a hard marriage that turned into 51 years.

Mom was a hard worker and taught us to do the same. Anyone who ever tasted her cooking praised her work in the kitchen. She was a list-maker to the very end and funny, too. She had us laughing even in the last days.

She loved reminiscing and in the last year of her life she shared treasured memories with us as often as we would sit and listen.

She commented on one of my posts called “51” about a year before she left us and several months before Daddy passed.

Marie,

Thank you for the beautiful words you put together for Wayne and I. I do believe our four beautiful and wonderful daughters had so very much to do with us making the marriage work. Not only our girls, but our friends and families that were praying for us through all the difficult times. Ultimately, it was God and his love that got us through the rough times. Also, I knew Wayne was a godly person and did not want the life we were living with the drinking problem. I knew that one day he would ask God to remove the desire for drinking away from his mind, body and heart. God answered that prayer and today we continue trusing in God and his promises. Thanks to our four daughters for what they have given to us, their love and trust and our ten grandchildren.

Love,

Mom

Each time she spoke of her life she was thankful.

To God…..for us…..for Daddy….for her other family…… and her wonderful friends.  She was thankful for everything. She praised God.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.      Psalm 150:6 

I think she was in line for dreams and hers came true.

Our House 

There’s something special about getting to renovate the house I grew up in.

In the process of removing the existing floors I’ve discovered the floors I walked on when I was a little girl. The brown and gold flecked linoleum in the kitchen and the solid hardwood in the bedrooms.

In our attempt to remove the wallpaper in the back bedroom I found the green and yellow flower patterned paper that decorated my older sisters’ room when they were teenagers.
And I found pink walls underneath the wallpaper in my dad’s office which used to be the room I shared with my younger sister when we were in elementary school.

I’d forgotten the floors and the yellow and green wallpaper and the pink walls. These discoveries have unlocked a flood of memories.

Like the time I was sitting in my sisters’ yellow and green bedroom listening to Elton John’s Tiny Dancer on the radio one Saturday morning.

And now I remember sharing our bedroom with my grandmother for a while. She slept in a hospital bed beside our bed and I was scared.

And when Mom cooked oyster stew and I only put the milky part in my bowl to eat with oyster crackers because I don’t like oysters. Or when Dad showed me the way to eat cereal so that the little Krispies wouldn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. I sill eat my cereal that way.

I know other memories will come. Sweet, sad, and joyful ones. Maybe some scary ones, too. I am who I am because of the life that happened in that house and the people that loved me there. Those that taught me there and cared for me there.

Mom and Dad struggled there and forgave each other there. Dad took care of Mom there. We all learned there.

Learned to live and care and forgive there.

We all learned to love there in our house.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good. 

Psalm 52:8-9 

Heritage

Time

All the time I have is used up. My sisters and I have been going through our parents’ home, cleaning and throwing away, and organizing what didn’t sell in the estate sale. And there’s still so much to do.IMG_0238

I’ve sat down a few times trying to write but when I become too still, my body wants to sleep and the yawns come unceasingly. I have two unfinished posts but I’m just too tired to finish them now. I will wait until I have the time.

Or until I make the time.

Or even better, when my time is not filled up with additional obligations and an extra necessary “to do” list.

There is always the same amount of time in every single day but sometimes that time is more full than other times.

This is one of those times.