Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Dance~

Yesterday, after accompanying my mother
to her eye doctor appointment
in a nearby town,
I was able to spend a few short moments
strolling the bank of the river
that runs through this quaint mountain community.

As I breathed in the crisp, damp air
and tried to soak in every bit
of the breathtaking display of Fall color,
I found myself dancing with a beautiful crane.

I first spotted it on a rock
in the middle of the river.
As I strolled along the bank,
peering through trees and leaves of gold
trying to get closer,
I lost sight of it.

Then,
retracing my steps
back to my original viewing spot,
there it was,
still on the rock.

As I moved closer once again, -
this time,
it took to the air -
but, only high enough to soar over the water
in a way that was pure beauty in motion.

And, it was then,
I found myself dancing with it -
moving this way
and then that way
just to catch a glimpse.

And, it was as if
in this brief moment of time,
we were both caught up in
praise to our Lord.

A dance of celebration for
the beauty of Fall,
the beauty of sight,
the beauty of life,
the very beauty of being alive.

And, I was -
truly alive!

Then, as quickly as this creature
had taken to the air,
it rested on a rock right by me.

It was only after the dance
that I was able to capture this photo -
a beautiful memento
of so much more
than just a bird,
but rather a beautiful moment
of praise to our God.









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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Listen Hard~

If you haven't been,
if you aren't already -
listen hard to the words of
your father and your mother,
your sister and your brother,
your son and your daughter,
a grandparent or a friend,
your husband or your wife.

Listen hard to what they say
and what they don't say.
And then, as best you can,
tuck each treasured word
and each shared conversation
into your heart.

For there will be days up ahead
when you will need these very words
to come alongside and help you
answer a problem,
understand a reaction,
solicit a response,
recognize a need,
provide an opinion,
determine a decision,
or simply strengthen your resolve.

For it is in listening,
we understand.

And it is in understanding,
we connect.

And it is in connecting,
we respond.

And it is in responding,
we act.

And it is in acting,
we are able to
transform a situation,
touch a heart,
change a life.

It starts with listening hard
to those around us.

Then, listening hard to our God
speaking to us
about those around us.

And,
for God to
transform our situation,
touch our heart,
change our life,
we simply and earnestly
and diligently and obediently
meed to listen hard to our God
speaking to us about us.

It all starts
with us choosing
to listen hard.








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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Bold, Beautiful, All Me Thought~

There are moments in my day
when a memory of my handsome honey
slowly and nonchalantly
meanders across my mind.

Usually,
the memory starts out as
something completely different
that somehow eventually
leads me down a trail of thought
that turns into something I remember he did,
or something I remember he said.

But,
there are other times
when the memory of my man
is front and center,
capable of standing all on its own,
just because of what it is.

It is bold,
beautiful,
all him.

And, it is in these beautifully bold,
all him moments,
that I often find myself wondering .  .  .
what bold, beautiful all me memories
would remind my man of me
if it would have been my heart 
that stopped beating
and not his?

And without a doubt,
today was a day
that would have found me
plastered all across my man's heart,
via a bold, beautiful, all me memory.

A day when
rain found its way to the desert
and clouds hung low on the mountains.

A day when -
with camera in hand -
I  would've kissed my man good day
and drove around town
in search of the perfect photo
to capture my ideal
of a near perfect day.

My man knew I loved a day like today.

And I couldn't help thinking
if he was the one here today and not me,
he would have looked at the clouds
hung low on the mountain
and he would have
instantly, boldly, beautifully
thought of me.

This is not a conceited thought.
This is simply a fact
that my heart is sure of
and more preciously, understands.

And somehow,
thinking of my handsome honey
thinking about me
as I was thinking about
the fact that he would be thinking of me
blessed my heart is a most precious way.

To know
and to be known.

To think of and remember
and to be thought of and remembered.

How precious is that?!

And to think,
my precious Abba Daddy,
knows me completely,
thinks of me continuously
and remembers me always.

This is not a conceited thought.
This is simply a fact
that my heart is sure of
and more preciously, understands.

He, too,
knows I love a day like today.

And somehow,
thinking of my Abba Daddy
thinking about me
as I am thinking about
the fact that He is forever
thinking of me
completely,
continuously,
always-
blesses my heart in a most precious way.










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Saturday, September 23, 2017

What Kind of Print~




I pray 
I am leaving 
heartprints of God 
everywhere I go.







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Thursday, September 21, 2017

While We Were Yet~

Looking across the drive,
I spotted this tree,
and in it,
I spotted me.

Against the backdrop
of the setting sun,
I noticed for the very first time,
if you see it not for what it is,
but what it resembles,
you can see in it,
the outline of a heart.

And, I thought of me -
a mere human to mere humans,
but against the backdrop
of the light of God's love,
my God sees me -
not for what I am-
but for what I long to resemble -
a heart like His,
a love like His.

And I thought once again,
of His precious love -
love that was willing to die
before I resembled Him,
before I even knew Him or loved Him, -
while I was yet lost
in my humanness,
imprisoned by my sin,
a sinner through and through.

While we were yet,
Christ loved us.
While we were yet,
Christ died for us.

And it is because of His love,
and because of His death,
and because of my new life in Him,
that more and more,
day by day,
I - like this tree -
can reveal to the world,
not me,
but the heart of the Creator,
the heart of my Savior.











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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Moment in Time~

The sun has bid us adieu
and dipped behind the hill.

As the sky hangs on tight
to the last light of day,
birds are chirping their goodnights.

Unlike the birds,
I am not ready to say goodnight.

Just like the sky,
I am desperately trying
to wring out every last bit of this day.

To be able to pause time
and just sit here and linger -
for another few minutes,
another few hours,
another day or two more.

But, I can't.

With every tick, tock, tick of the clock,
with every rotation of earth on its axis,
with every single breath,
life is moving on.

We are only given one moment, -
one moment at a time.

But, sometimes it seems,
we aren't given enough time
for each and every moment.

Such is the case right here,
right now.

As the cool of the "almost here" night
brushes against my face,
I breathe it in
and hold it -
for just a few seconds -
then,
slowly let it out.

As the sky grows dimmer and dimmer,
I soak in the sun-tipped clouds
and hold them, too -
for just a few seconds -
then,
I slowly close my eyes in prayer
and give thanks for this day.










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Sunday, September 17, 2017

When You Hear So Much More Than Words~

As I meandered
past the small table where she was sitting,
she looked up.

"Good Morning," I said,
as I smiled and made my way
on over to the counter.

"Excuse me," she said.
"Would you mind moving closer
so I can read the back of your shirt?"

Hearing her frail voice and her simple request,
I happily stepped back over to her table,
turned my back to her,
pulled on the bottom of my shirt
to remove any wrinkles,
and then listened
as she read the words written there,
out loud.


"Oh, I love that verse,"
 she exclaimed.

As I turned to face her,
her face lit up.

"I thought that was you!"
she said with an excitement
that took me completely by surprise.
"I think I've heard you speak.
You are a speaker,
aren't you?"

I couldn't help
but smile.

"Yes," I quietly answered.
 "I am.
As a matter of fact,
this T-shirt
is from a women's retreat
I spoke at several years ago."


"I knew it!" she said,
as she clapped her hands together.
"I've seen you on TV
speaking about God!"

"No, Ma'am, I'm sorry," I quickly interjected,
"You must have me mistaken with someone else.
I've never been on TV."

"Well, you will be, dear.
One day,
you will be!"

And in that moment,
it wasn't my ears who heard her words,
but my spirit.
And, I knew God,
as He always is,
was in this place,
in this conversation,
in these very words.

"I don't know what I would do
without God," she continued.
"You probably won't understand this,
being that you are still so young,
but I lost my husband 18 years ago,
and I still miss him terribly.
Every day, oh, how I miss that man.
God is the only thing that has kept me going
all these years without him.
It's a hard kind of missing
that you can't really understand
until you, yourself, have been there.
Losing him broke my heart,
but God has always been there for me."

Without even thinking about it,
my right hand met my left
and gently turned my wedding ring,
still on my finger,
a year and a half later.

"Life is all about
what you choose to see.
Like me, right now,
choosing to read the back of your shirt,
and finding encouragement for my soul.
Or, like the time we had car trouble
out in the middle of nowhere.
I've never forgotten that time.
There we were, -
Oh, I'm sorry -
I'm talking your ear off.
Do you have time for this story?"

"Yes," I smiled,
"I would love to hear it."

She smiled back,
a beautiful smile, heart deep,
and continued right where she had left off.

" . . .out in the middle of nowhere,
with no one around,
we were pulled off to the side of the road.
All my daughter and I could do
was wait for God to send some help.
Just wait for God to move.
But, do you know,
while we were waiting,
we saw the most glorious sunset!
And, then, if that wasn't enough,
we saw the most beautiful full moon come up.
No, I will never forget that."

"Are you ready, Stacy?"

The voice of my mother,
who had stopped by the restroom
on our way in,
floated into our conversation.

"This is my mother," I said
as I introduced my mom
to my new found friend.

"Hello," this precious lady said
as she reached out,
took hold of my hand,
and looked up at my mother.
"We've been having the most wonderful time."

Then she looked deep in my eyes.

"I've enjoyed visiting with you.
I'm so glad you took the time to listen."

And once again,
in that moment,
it wasn't my ears who heard her words,
but my spirit

I'm so glad you took the time to listen.

And, I knew God,
as He always is,
was in this place,
in this conversation,
in these very words.

And, I also knew
these very words
were just what my heart needed to
"grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

For this precious encounter,
for this moment of "listening",
for this moment of "hearing"
far beyond what was said -

"To Him be the glory
both now
and to the day of eternity.
Amen."







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Saturday, September 16, 2017

When God's Plans Come Together~

2002.
The year God led me north,
and into the home of my parents,
and into the title of Principal and Teacher in a brand new Christian school,
and into the lives of so many beautiful people.

2007.
The year God released me to head back south,
and into my own home and bed,
and into the title of Nanny and later, Director of Children's Ministries,
and into the remaining years with my husband.

2017.
The year God once again led me north,
and back into the home of my mom,
and back into the lives of so many beautiful people.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, 
and he delights in his way.
~Psalm 37:23

I certainly can't claim to be good,
but my God most definitely is.
The way He has beautifully woven together
the steps of my life
is a precious testimony
of His faithfulness and love.

This past Tuesday,
a perfect example.

As soon as I heard her voice,
lifted my eyes up to see her,
stood up to meet her,
and wrapped my arms around her in a huge hug,
the tears came.

I've always been a cry baby,
but there is something now,
since losing my husband,
that has me in tears
the moment my heart realizes
it is in the company
of someone that loves me.

And, this friend of the faith
and sister in the Lord,
loves me.
And, I love her.
The tears -
well, they simply had no choice
but to fall.

Having not seen each other
in almost a decade,
didn't matter.
Our conversation flowed
as easily and as freely
as our tears.

"I'm here to help you
in any way I can.
Really.
Call me anytime.
If you want someone to talk to,
or want someone to share a cup of tea with,
or need anything at all.
I'm here for you."

And,
my heart and I -
we both know she is.

Standing before her now,
ten years down the road
from the last time we spoke,
I realized this reunion
was strategically planned
and lovingly orchestrated
by the God who orders my steps.

Fifteen years ago
when He called me north,
when He brought me to the home of my parents,
when He brought me to a new job,
when He brought me into the lives of so many beautiful people,
He knew then
that I would need
these beautiful people now.

What seemed like an opportunity to
spend time with my ailing father,
help out my overworked mother,
and minister to children and their families,
was also an opportunity to
build relationships and a support system
that would be in place for me now.

"Lord, if only my husband was still here.
Oh, how I need his support."

This prayer has come from my lips
over and over and over
these past few weeks,
and yet,
this past Tuesday,
embraced in the arms
of one who knows and loves me well,
I knew God had already gone before me,
fifteen years before,
for such a time as this,
right here,
right now,
in 2017.

We don't always see it at the time.
We don't always understand His ways.
But,
in each step,
in each calling,
in each and every closed door,
and in each and every new opportunity,
God is at work.

Our God knows what we need.
And, our God knows where we need to be.

I needed to be here then,
and I need to be here now.
And God,
in His wisdom and tender love
designed, orchestrated and executed one beautiful plan
with another,
just as beautiful,
in mind.

It's who He is.
It's what He does.
It's how He works.

And, when we see it played out
and the pieces fitting perfectly in place,
it's where we come to know our God
in a way that causes us to
love Him
and trust Him
even more.

2002.
The year I came north.

2007.
The year I went back south.

2017.
The year God brought me full circle
and opened my eyes to see
more clearly than ever before

" . . . Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think . . ."
~Ephesians 3:20










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