Today has been a bit of a challenge for me as I mourn for my son, remember my brother, and feel the pain of betrayal from people who call themselves members of God’s church. So, what does that mean for me and the blog? It means: no inspirational story, thoughts or quotes for today. Inside my head it is too dark tonight.
Instead of rushing around looking for Black Friday deals on gadgets, toys, electronics and various paraphernalia for the house and spending money on things that will clutter up my house and life, today I stayed home with my hubby and son. I took the time to enjoy my coffee and my couch. I cuddled my cat and even took a nap! I watched T.V. and caught up on some of my email. This story is one that was shared with me some time ago and put into a folder to read when I got “a round tuit”. Today I read it.
The message within the story touched my heart and reminded me that within each of us, in our failures and our graces, God sees the amazing possibilities! I hope that you also enjoy the story, but more importantly, I hope you can see the possibilities within your struggles and disappointments. Be blessed my friends:
Three children stand on the front porch of their small, weather beaten home. Three pair of brown eyes squint against the blazing Georgia sun. A huge dust cloud billows behind the white El-Camino mail truck. Three pair of long brown legs race outside, and three pair of hands reach for the mailbox. Jen-et, Junior and Peaches are hoping the boxes will arrive today.
Every year the children wait for school supplies and clothes from their northern relatives. Weeks pass and nothing arrives. Their disappointment turns to panic. Finally, Aunt Ruby sends money for clothes. Lillian sends school supplies and Uncle Melvin sends new shoes.
Ma and Pa spread everything out on the white wrought iron bed. There are school supplies, matching outfits, underwear, socks, shoes, and two coats. Pa sighs “Jen-et needs something warm.” Ma nods, “Tomorrow, I’ll look through the trunk. Maybe there will be something I can use.”
The beautifully carved trunk has been in Ma’s family for generations. It stored all kinds of interesting and unusual things. Ma and Pa always found what they needed. The children believed the trunk was filled with unlimited possibilities.
The trunk held white quilt batting, colored buttons, odd shaped fabric scraps, and all sorts of brick-a-brack. Nothing seems just right for a little girl. Something tucked in the corner caught Ma’s eye.
The fabric was perfect for a little girl’s warm winter wrap. Peaches said it felt fluffy like a cloud, and thin like a pancake. Junior said it was bright like sunshine and dark like a moonless night. Jen-et said it smelled sweet like a gardenia and fresh like a cucumber.
The wrap buttoned under Jen-et’s chin, and flowed over her shoes. She wore the wrap to school, to church, and to visit all the relatives. By spring, it showed signs of wear and tear. The wrap was tucked away in the trunk of possibilities.
Summer quickly passed. The relatives sent everything, except something warm for Junior. Ma found the worn wrap in the trunk of possibilities. Enough good fabric was left to make a warm, winter jacket. Junior wore the jacket to school, to church, and to visit all the relatives. By spring, the jacket was frayed and buttons were missing. It went back into the trunk of possibilities.
Again, the relatives sent the children’s school needs. Peaches needed something warm. Junior’s old jacket was in the trunk of possibilities. Enough good fabric was left to make a warm winter vest. Peaches wore the vest to school, to church, and to visit all the relatives. By spring the vest was frayed and buttons were missing. It went back in the trunk of possibilities and remained there many years.
The children grew up, and finished school. One by one they got married and moved away from home. They often talked about the trunk of possibilities at family dinners. The trunk remained closed until Jen-et had the first grandchild.
Ma wanted to make a special gift for the baby. Nothing seemed just right. Late one evening she opened the trunk of possibilities. There was Peaches old worn vest. Tenderly touching the fabric, Ma remembered Junior’s jacket, and Jen-et’s wrap.
She fashioned a blanket from the vest. The blanket was fluffy like a cloud, flat like a pancake. It was shiny like the sun and black like a moonless night. It smelled sweet like a gardenia and fresh like a cucumber. The baby used the blanket at home, at church and when visiting all the relatives. Tattered and worn, Ma placed it back in the trunk of possibilities.
The blanket stayed there until Junior’s first child. Ma made a tiny pillow for the baby. The baby used the pillow at home, at church, and when visiting all the relatives. The Continue reading
Advent is the season when the world prepares for the coming of Christ. Customarily it is the season following Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas Eve. For those of us who serve on church staff, we get to enjoy “Pre-Advent.” This is the month of October when ideas and calendars lay scattered upon every flat service of home and office, and a few places in between. Pre-Advent is when Advent materials are ordered and devoured. Although it is the millionth time I hear the story, there will be little people and others who will be hearing it for the first time. I have to be ready. I have to have a profound sense of wonder and a building sense of excitement for a powerful story that is all but mundane.
As a Mom, I have constantly found myself immersed in the “Mary” side of it. J. Ellsworth Kalas call Christmas, “a chick’s holiday,” and I must agree. Kalas contends that the majority of what we know as the Christmas story took place at a table where two pregnant women, Mary and Elizabeth, enjoy one another’s company in a home where the man of the house, Zechariah, can’t speak a word. For three months, the conversations, the laughter, the food prep, the prayers of these two women hold them both for a lifetime. Somewhere around this time is when Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father and Mary’s fiance, hears that Mary is pregnant. But how? When did he hear? What an awful afternoon for a man who finds things are “not as I had hoped.”
I am a Jesus girl who doesn’t struggle with the scriptures. He said it, I believe it. But the details fascinate me. I praise our God of details.
Adam Hamilton’s “The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem” begins his second chapter with a few details that have just delighted me this Pre-Advent.
Discovery #1: The maps matter. Nazareth is Mary’s hometown. It may not be Joseph’s. According to the census, each man had to go to his own town. Joseph’s hometown, according to the Gospel of Matthew, appears to be Bethlehem. Bethlehem is 4 miles from Ein Karem, the traditional hometown of Elizabeth and Zechariah. Mary travels the 9 days from Nazareth to Ein Karem to spend her first 3 months of pregnancy with Elizabeth a 90 minute walk from Continue reading
Count Your Blessings
“I recently talked with a friend of mine. He told me despite taking 2 jobs, he brings home barely above $1,000 per month, and he is happy as he is. I wondered how he can be as happy as he is – considering he has to skimp in his life with the low pay to support a pair of elderly parents, in-laws, a wife, 2 daughters and the many bills of a common household. My friend explained that it was because of one particular incident that he saw when he was visiting in India…(that happened a few years ago when he was really feeling low and touring India after a major setback). He said that right in front of his very own eyes, he saw an Indian mother chop off her child’s right hand with a butcher’s knife. The helplessness in the mother’s eyes, the scream of pain from the Continue reading
It seems to me ...
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
One Sunday in a Midwest city a young child was “acting up” during the morning worship our. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.Just before reaching the safety of the foyer the little one called loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”
A daddy was listening to his child say his prayer “Dear Harold.”
At this, dad interrupted and said, “Wait a minute, why did you call God ‘Harold’?”
The little boy looked up and said, “That’s what they call Him in church. You know the prayer we say, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold be Thy name.”
And this particular four-year-old prayed: “And forgive us our trashbaskets as we forgive those who put Continue reading