Saturday, November 25, 2017

Like a Pattern: Teaching gratitude to our children

Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
—Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT

The morning air was chilly and the wind howled outside my window, but inside I was cozy, propped up in bed, pillows behind me and a warm quilt thrown over my legs. I sipped hot coffee as I read from Jesus Calling: “A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows” (Young 341).

Pausing to ponder those words so fitting on the day before Thanksgiving, I heard footsteps from somewhere else in the house, a sound quite unusual in my home occupied solely by myself. The steps grew louder as they approached my bedroom. The door flew open and my four-year-old granddaughter, Layla, padded to my bed.

“Good morning, Grandma,” she said sleepily, as she climbed up.

“Good morning!” I threw back the quilt so she could slide in, then snugged it around us.

“I like your blanket,” she noted.

“Thank you! I do too. My grandma made this quilt for me a long time ago. Do you see the pattern?” I pointed to the squares, “See the bow tie here and there and there.”

“Uh-huh,” she said slowly, surveying the colorful pattern. “Sometimes Papi wears a bow tie. But bow ties can be different.”

“You’re right, there are different kinds of bow ties. Bows can be tied to wear in your hair too, and bows can be tied around a gift,” I smiled, as I heard my own words.

There was my granddaughter wrapped up in a quilt with bows all over it. A gift. A glimpse of Glory.

It wasn’t hard to be thankful in that moment with the blessing beside me. But can we always be grateful? Can we teach our children the same?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pain in the Chest: What do you do?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
—Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

I can still feel that pain in the center of my chest every time I cough, sneeze, or pick up my grandbaby—even though the injury occurred well over a month ago.

I was working on establishing a regular exercise routine, which included daily low-impact aerobics. One day when my 4-year-old granddaughter joined me in exercising, I found it difficult to keep from stepping on her and quickly adjusted my footing, twisting my ankle in the process. My podiatrist prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a period of rest—no more aerobics. But upper-body exercise was not off limits.

That’s how I found myself in the kayak on a beautiful afternoon in August. My friend, Michael, joined me, and we rented the boats for an hour—an hour that passed all too quickly. Before we knew it, we had overstayed our limit and had to hurry back to shore. I reached the launch first, then turned around to see Michael way behind. I was worried about getting out of the kayak and putting pressure on my injured foot. Although Michael had assured me he would help, just sitting there waiting on him seemed silly. With both hands, I gripped the sides of the boat and attempted to lift my body. At that moment, something popped in the center of my chest, shooting severe pain straight through me. Tears stung my eyes. I couldn’t move.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Good Morning Gratefuls

A little deviation from the usual...a poem inspired by the events of the day

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

I am grateful for…

summer mornings

my father who still drives at 83

he picked me up at 8ish
and drove me to the auto repair shop

the repair only cost $86

a detour on the way home

the lovely road that wound through lush fields
leading me to the quiet shore

the river’s tongue lapping the sand

a fishermen’s wharf beckoning my feet

lavender wildflowers lining a field of beans

a doe missing my car when she leapt from the corn

a pause at the post office with a wide front porch,
an inviting rocker,
and hours that don’t start till noon

the rhythm of the road’s twists and turns
and ups and downs that lulled my spirit

all these reminders

that when I came to the crossing of Hurry Road
I drove on through

because I wasn’t.

Dear Father, thank You for Your bountiful blessings and for reminding me to slow down enough to notice. May I be forever grateful. Amen.

What will you do when you come to the crossing?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who Are You: Where are you from and where are you going?

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

My friend was bubbling with excitement over her AncestryDNA results. As she shared her findings, I couldn’t help wonder what my results would show. Would they confirm what I thought? With a surname like St. Clair, I had to have some French in my blood.

When Ancestry advertised its sale price on the DNA Kit, I couldn’t resist and quickly placed my order. Just as quickly, I returned my saliva sample and waited.

Finally, it was my turn to bubble with excitement. I immediately opened the email and scanned the results—98% European with a breakdown as follows: