My best friend and I really, really like blackberries. You have to if you plan on picking them yourself . Blackberries ripen in the heat of summer, yet the briars surrounding the sweet treasures require heavy armor, like overalls, long sleeve denim shirts and in my case very large sun hats. We have a ball though. We coined the phrase blackberry wisdom, after a particularly fun day. I have a tendency to eat a considerable amount of berries in the field, bugs, dirt, dust and all. Perhaps the sun had started to addle my brain a bit, but we got terribly tickled when we noticed the purple droppings from the woodland critters that were also eating the blackberries. So began our deep, wise musings: “He who eats too many blackberries, poops purple.” We have added many wisdoms since, most of which have little or no meaning, but it makes for a delightful giggle now and again.
(Originally posted in July, 2010 )
After months of preparation and uncertainties, my daughter and son-in-law pulled out-of-town yesterday headed for their big adventure. Accompanied by my mom and dad pulling the 5th wheel travel trailer that will become their first Montana home, they will spend the next week touring the sights between southern Missouri and Billings, Montana.
They first began making noises that they would like to move to Montana sometime in the future late last summer after their first visit. Jarrod grew up there and he was excited to reconnect with family that he hadn’t seen in years. Sometime in the future certainly didn’t equate to less than a year! No way, no siree!
My daughter said she didn’t care if she ever went to the ocean again (it was one of her favorite, “I want to go back to” places). She described the wide open spaces, the beauty of the sky, the sense of freedom and people who liked life just a little slower and a little more simple. Her photographs depicted sunsets that looked like an artist splashed his paint tray across the sky in bold, vibrant hues of reds, purples and golds while horses grazed lazily by the winding creek.
Parents since the beginning of time have watched their children grow up and leave the nest. Early pioneers said goodbye to their folks, knowing that at best letters and visits would be few and far between, at worst, they would never again see them. How hard it must have been for those mothers to hug their daughter’s neck and in that one hug, pack all the love they held in their heart. I am grateful that all I had to say in my last hug, was “see you in September”. John and I are even now making preparations to fly out this fall, and see for ourselves the land that has stolen our daughter’s heart.
I am excited for them. It is a new beginning, a fresh start and an endless opportunity. They are young. They have no children and for now, they have very little debt. It is good timing. Yes, I will miss them (the grandpups, too) but I carry in my heart such hope for their future. We will adjust. We will take more vacations especially since we have taken only one official vacation in nearly 30 years of marriage. We will continue to pray for their protection, their health and their success. After all, God knows no boundaries and He loves them whether they are three hours or 22 hours away from the safety of mom and dad.
I never really liked my sewing machine. I tried, rather galantly I might add, when my children were toddlers to sew for them. Huge failure. My head would begin to throb, my palms would get sweaty, and my seams looked like the crooked back roads of the Ozark hills. Then I met a purse that I liked way more than I feared the machine. And so it began…not only my first purse creation but a fabric addiction rivaled only by my scrapbook paper stash. When my daughter took a job as a waitress, she was required to wear a bar apron. Our uniform shop only had one dreary and oversized apron available so Cara, turned to her grandma and I to spiff it up a bit. I created a shortened base that fit her better and added cute smilely face fabric. I mailed her a new apron every few days until she had over a dozen. Her friends at the diner asked to buy hers and so Happy Strings was created. When she left the restaurant business, I quit making aprons until a few months ago. Since substitute teachers don’t get paid in the summer, I have hit the road with my own, Happy Strings Trunk Show selling aprons and sampling the great food in local diners across southern Missouri. Watch for pictures to post soon….
I am continually amazed at how long the little things in life take. It has been weeks since I have posted to this blog. Shame on me! Life just gets in the way. I had such good intentions. I know we are all given the same number of hours in a day but for some reason, others seem to get so much more done in theirs than I do. I make the bed as soon as I stumble out of it and pick up the clothes my hubby has left strewn on the floor. I don’t mind because he sure tolerates the enormous amount of craft projects that I have in every corner of the living room. Then there is the morning dishes, the dust bunnies running rampant, the dog toys on the floor, feeding the pooch, taking the pooch outside, checking email, and of course the list can go endlessly on. When am I supposed to catch up on all the extra stuff I need to do not to mention the stuff I want to do! Sometimes I just feel like the only thing I accomplished was another muddy mess on the wall from spinning my tires all day!
Luke 29-31 offers me hope. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (NIV) Even though I have all the daily chores to get through, my focus still needs to look to Jesus first. It gives the day the right perspective from the start. The chores will seem less demanding, less fruitless and less repetitious if I concentrate on working as unto the Lord and listening for His leading and guidance for the day. Who knows, His plan may be entirely different from mine and it might even be more fun!
My mother has long wanted a small portable fire pit, the kind you can build a small fire in and warm your toes around on a cool fall night. Recently while at an auction, I won the bid on a fire pit. It was dirty and partially rusted but for $12 it was a fire pit. A little bit of elbow grease and grill spray paint and it would do the trick. I took it home excited that I had found one for way less than retail. My husband just didn’t have the vision I did. He insisted that I store it down in the field away from the house!
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend, the conversation centered on her upcoming Fourth of July celebration. Her son had requested permission to dig a fire pit to roast hot dogs and marshmallows but the concern was the extremely dry conditions. Plan B was to buy a fire pit but it seemed a waste of money for only one event. Wow! How is it that less than two weeks earlier I had unexpectedly purchased a rusty old fire pit. God is so good to me. More than I enjoyed winning the bid at the auction and bringing home my treasure, I thrilled at the opportunity to tell my friend I would be glad to loan her the fire pit. I am like that. I like being the hero–Ginny to the rescue, sort of thing. I think the Lord likes making provision weeks ahead of time to allow me, in His perfect timing, to meet my need to be the hero while at the same time meeting my friend’s need for a fire pit. You see, the lunch was not planned. It was a spontaneous meeting, the conversation was casual and the mention of the need for a fire pit was only in passing. Yes, the Lord is good to me.
Years ago, I was asked by a friend to paint a plaque with the words, “Sufficiency, so fanciful” next to a cornucopia filled to overflowing. With a quote like that I knew there had to be a story. She explained that it was a favorite saying of her grandfather, a godly man who had come to trust the Lord for his every need and often his wants as well. He believed the Lord promised in His Word that He would supply all our needs and that it would be sufficient. It need not be the highest priced or name brand as long as it met the need. However, as the years passed, experience taught him that often the sufficient supply was more wonderful than he himself could have imagined covering not only his simple needs but also abundantly blessing him above and beyond what he would have thought possible in his own strength.
For me, painting that sign confirmed the honesty and truth of the phrase. God does meet my every need. Not always my every want but definitely my every need. He does it in such a merciful way that I can not help but recognize His hand reaching down to help me. His blessings continually abound and sometimes, when I least expect it he provides in such a fanciful way. Like this past weekend when I attended an auction with my dad. There was a crate that had an old cotton sheet in the bottom that I wanted. I got the bid for a dollar. When I collected my loot, I discovered that there was a set of wind chimes all tangled up. I saw the signature stamp of a very, very expensive brand of melodious wind chimes. Ten years earlier, I had worked in an elite gift shop and we sold the wind chimes. They forever changed my opinion of wind chimes and at the time, I wished that I could afford them. Even with an employee discount they were way over my budget. Today, I own a set that sings with the sweetest harmony. As if that wasn’t good enough, I dislike high-pitched sounds. My set is one tuned to a much lower octave than many that we sold in the gift shop. Imagine that. The very set that came wrapped in my old sheet was hand-picked just for me! Yes, His sufficiency IS so fanciful.
Life is Fragile
…I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Tim.4:2
The voice on the phone was somber as my great aunt asked for prayer. The tumor was malignant–six months, maybe. A friend from church had just buried her only son killed instantly in a sudden, unexpected accident. My grandmother’s sister had been in church on Sunday visiting as usual then on Monday she lay helpless, hovering on the brink of life, having suffered a stroke.
That month, death and tragedy seemed overwhelming. The balancing factor became an unwavering faith that God is an Awesome God and is in the ultimate control of every situation, big or small. The experiences of that month served another purpose: A harsh reminder that we do not know the day nor the hour of our time on earth. A Greek sorority pledge states in part: live each day to its ultimate good. We are responsible only for the quality of life we live while here. We cannot control the circumstances. We can only control the way we react to the circumstances.
God has placed in each of our lives a helpmate. For some that helper is their spouse, for others, a friend or family member, each one, none the less, chosen only for you, to support, strengthen and encourage. This is a special plea to take a moment each day to really look closely at that person. Have you said all that must be said? Have you expressed your joy and delight at his or her presence? Are there walls of misunderstanding separating you which need to be torn down? What memory of today would that special person hold dear if you were not reunited tomorrow?
These thoughts are not intended to be discouraging but rather to be a wake-up call, a reminder that life is fragile and each day is a gift from God. It is our gift to Him to make each day a blessing to be shared not wasted.
Father, thank you for the gift of life, for the joy of loving another and for the One You sent to be our closest helper, Your Holy Spirit. This day, help each of us to reach out in love.