Sunday, December 30, 2012

Near in the New Year

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”—Psalm 94:19

It’s one of my favorite Christmas gifts—a handmade (with the help of technology) 2013 “Addison” calendar. On the cover my 10 month-old granddaughter holds a 2013 sign, her big blue eyes wide with wonder.

Flipping each page of the calendar sporting a picture of Addie taken in the same month of 2012, I recall those precious moments—her debut in February; her first Easter in March; Mother’s Day when my whole family gathered for a photo on the church steps. And the summer months when I took care of Addie while her parents worked.

I remember cradling Addie in the crook of my arm, rocking in the old porch rocker, both of us lulled by the sounds of the morning, birds chirping, bullfrogs croaking, and a tractor chugging in the distance.  Addie’s curious blue eyes brightened, as she babbled in response.   I remember trail walks, Addie strapped snug in her stroller, mesmerized by bright green foliage and yellow butterflies, soothed by the rhythm of the carriage. I remember car rides that without fail calmed Addie to sleep. I came to know Addie’s cries, signaling food, sleep, or attention. I knew what would make her smile and gurgle and what would comfort her. Except for one day.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

From the Nest

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”—Isaiah 46:4

Time for another coloring, I decide, examining my reflection in the vanity mirror, my silver strands decorating my head like tinsel on a Christmas tree, reminding me that I’m not getting any younger.  I wipe the sleep from my eyes.  But I can’t wipe away the wrinkles—or the knot in my stomach.

Slipping two slices of bread into the toaster, I somehow know that breakfast can’t ease the ache either.  Christmas goodies line the counter, but overindulgence isn’t the culprit for the pain.  Handmade by my daughter and step grandsons, the desserts serve as a reminder of the happy time we shared just four days prior, my tiny cottage bursting at the seams with eleven loved ones squished together on every square inch of my well-worn furniture, shreds of gift wrap and “Ooos” and “Ahhhs” flying through the air.

Not a voice can be heard this morning, though—unless you count the occasional whine from Kobe the dog, who misses them as well.

Some call it the empty nest syndrome. I call it loneliness.  All my children are on their own.  Well, almost.  My youngest is due to marry in a couple months.  Meanwhile, she’s in college—and the college bills are coming my way, adding to my already overwhelming stack of bills for her sister’s education. With the number in my household dwindling along with my finances, I’m struggling in more ways than one.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
—Deuteronomy 11:15 NIV
Rip. Chomp. Rip. Chomp. There’s a rhythm in their eating. Do they even take time to breathe?
From my front porch, I am mesmerized by the Black Angus cows grazing in the lush pasture just yards away.  The lush pasture extends right into my yard, separated only by an electrified barbed-wire fence.  The result of recent rain blessings, the grass in my yard is a foot tall. 
The lawn service was unable to come to my rescue last night, so I attempted to tackle the vegetation myself.  I dusted the seat of my mower, which had remained idle for months, checked for adequate fuel, and then successfully started the engine. But after just one lap around the side yard, the mower began to complain, groaning with utterances beyond understanding.  A quick glance over my shoulder told me my mower had quit the job.  I had only succeeded in riding over the grass, laying it down in my path but not cutting it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Solid Food

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.—Psalm 119:131

One of the delights of being a grandmother is seeing all the changes in my precious granddaughter Addie.  Recently Addie began eating solid foods—well, pureed foods.  Her mother Tara prepares good, wholesome meals for her six month-old, starting with fresh, nutritious foods, like squash, carrots, and apples.  She cooks them till they are palatable and then purees them till they are of a safe consistency for Addie.  The other day I was honored with the pleasure of feeding Addie.  But first I had to situate her in her seat, snap a bib around her neck, and stir the heated food. All the while, Addie eyed the food and wriggled in her seat.  As I spooned the mixture, she opened her mouth and uttered a sound. And so the feeding frenzy ensued.  As soon as she swallowed one spoonful, her mouth was open and panting for the next, longing for more of her delicious meal.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Battle Scars

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”—Luke 10:27

It’s been 10 days and they’re still there.  Battle scars, I call them.  One on each wrist.  I had received a call for help from a friend, but before I set out to assist, I checked the oil in my Jeep. The “Add” warning was clearly visible on the dipstick, so I went to the shed to retrieve a quart (or two!) of oil. I reached into the box and searing pain shot into my right wrist.  I cried aloud, as several angry wasps swarmed around me, one becoming entangled in my hair.  I swatted it away, and a second dose of pain shot through my left wrist.  Again I cried aloud and left the shed as quickly as I could before the fury escalated.
I made my way to the house without sustaining another blow and whipped up a remedy of baking soda and water.  I applied the paste to both wrists, and then poured both quarts of oil in the Jeep—enough to register in the “Safe” zone on the dipstick—and was on my way.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keep a Look Out!

I just stumbled upon a new hobby, inspired by a product I saw in an eclectic shop.  Framed photos of objects that resemble letters of the alphabet are strung together at the customer’s choice to spell a word or sentence.  Way cool!  I figured I could take my own pictures and come up with some creations.  Now I’m obsessed--to the point of embarrassing my daughter.  “Oh, no, Mom, not here!  There are too many people around!” 
Did that stop me?  Not at all.  It’s too much fun!

Has one of your friends ever purchased a new car—a model that you weren’t familiar with—and right thereafter you see oodles of them on the highway?  Why is that?  Because now you’ve been “introduced” to the car, so you recognize it.  You may even look for it.  That’s the way it is with this hobby I’ve been introduced to.  I can’t stop looking at objects and recognizing letters!  A ladder resembles the letter “A,” a stick pin looks like an “i,” and a street sign makes a great “T.”

It works that way with God.  If you’ve been “introduced” to Him, you will recognize Him in your everyday life—at home, at work, at play.  You may even look for Him.  That’s the premise of my upcoming devotion series iSights.  Look for it to hit the shelves—or your iPad—in the near future.  Meanwhile, keep a look out for Him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fit 4 Service

Have you heard of Fit-to-Fat-to-Fit (aka Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit), an experiment by fitness instructor Drew Manning who wanted to relate to his clients' struggles to lose weight?  According to The Blaze, Manning gave up exercise and ate unhealthy food from May to November 2011 to gain 70 pounds on purpose.  Now back at his original weight, Manning describes how difficult it was to get back into a fitness routine to take off the excess pounds.

I could’ve saved Manning a lot of trouble, if he’d have just asked me about it.  I know how difficult it is! Two years ago I began a healthy-living group at my church.  Over this two-year period I shed 20 pounds through eating healthy and incorporating daily physical activity.  Straying from my healthy lifestyle for the past few months due to emotional issues put me right back where I started two years ago.  Getting back into the fitness routine seems even harder this time around.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Endowed by their Creator

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands"--Isaiah 49:16

On this day that we celebrate our country’s independence, we may reflect on these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Just two days ago I visited a government building in Delaware and noticed the meditation benches surrounding a sculpture dedicated to the evolution of our legal system.  Words of the Declaration of Independence are engraved on each bench.  I posed for a picture on a bench inscribed with this segment:  Endowed by their creator with.
Fill in the blank. Besides rights, what else have we been endowed with? Let us meditate on the fact that we have been endowed by our Creator with certain gifts that are to be used to fulfill His will in our lives, to bring Him glory.  What is your gift? Is it the gift of music, art, writing?  The gift of encouragement, hospitality, speaking, administration? The Master sculpted all of us perfectly for His purpose. Let us use our gifts.  Pursue His will.  Until we do, we will not truly experience Life, Liberty, or Happiness.  Let us give back to the one who gave His all for us.  The proof of which is engraved in the palms of His hands.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.—Ephesians 3:20-21

If you know me, you know of my desire to publish my children’s Christmas book, The Prettiest Sight to See:  A Story of the Holly Wreath.  You may also know that some of my friends gave me a beautiful berry-laden holly bush for Christmas last year and that I planted it in a symbolic act of faith, trusting God to bring a fruitful harvest.  As suggested, I planted the tree alongside my driveway so I would see the gentle reminder every time I drove by.  In front of the holly, I positioned a yard ornament emblazoned “Believe.”  Perfect!
Several months passed by, and without fail, each time I passed I turned my eyes toward the shrub, believing one day my prayer would be answered.  Then one day I noticed that the once beautiful plant with lush green foliage polka dotted with red was bare.  I gasped.  What happened?!  A few scraggly brown sticks was all that remained.  What does this mean, God?  Certainly my dream hasn’t died, has it?  I believed, God. Why would You allow my symbol of hope to succumb?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dust it off!

Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.--Isaiah 33:2

I wearily entered my classroom at the start of the day and switched on my desk lamp.  Light flooded my desktop revealing coffee rings and a layer of dust too thick for me to tolerate a minute more.  I yanked a saturated wipe from the dispenser and pushed away piles of papers.  Scrubbing away coffee stains, I eyed the rest of the mess decorating my desktop. 

A handmade card, an origami crane, a starfish, a plastic frog, a puzzle cube, and a pencil sharpener disguised as a little smiley-faced blue man who seemed to say, “Here I am, ready to serve!”  I laughed and shook my head.  What an odd assortment of items!  How did this collection find its way here? 

Then I remembered. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rainbow Words

By Desiree Glass

The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.—Psalm 145:13
I call it a “brain ingrain”—a repetitive activity to teach a lesson, that is.  I’m not sure what Jacob’s teacher calls it, but she certainly implements it with her pupils.  Her daily homework assignments include a spelling activity designed to ingrain proper spelling of designated words.  Once a week I assist my 7 year-old nephew with his homework.  He can choose from an array of spelling activities, like writing each word three times or writing each word in a sentence.  But most often he chooses rainbow words, in which he must write each word in pencil and then trace it three times using three different colored pencils.  Sometimes he doesn’t feel like doing any of his homework.  I sit next to him.  I encourage him and coax him.  Sometimes I demonstrate the letters.  Other times, when Jacob gets tired and wants to quit, I promise rewards for completion.  Is spending time with me making a difference for Jacob? I wonder.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Could You Give Me Directions?

By Desiree Glass

At the close of the service, Pastor called the congregation to kneel at the altar to seek God’s direction for our lives. 
My thoughts turned to technology—specifically to GPS—and how we use the device for physical direction.  Perhaps my mind is too consumed with technology (being the technology teacher that I am), for I’ve often thought I would like to text God.  “Hey, God, how are You?  Whatcha up to?”  I imagine what He might reply, “Watching over you, my child.” 
“What do You want me to do today, Lord?  Can’t You just be my GPS?  You know, tell me to walk 5 steps and then turn right.  Continue to the end of the hall; then turn left.  Get me to where You want me to be.  Direct me.”