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Sometimes on social media I hear from someone I had forgotten about. This past week it was an ex from wayyyyyyy baaaaaack in High School. I haven’t spoken to him or thought about him in probably a decade or more…probably more.
But the second I saw his name it was like BAM POW KA-BLAM.
I’m suddenly 17.
I see him pull up to take me out for our last date before he leaves for the military.
He looks somber & his eyes are red.
He takes my tiny hands in his big muscular ones…then slowly slides his class ring off my finger. The ring I’d meticulously wrapped with fuzzy yarn so it would fit.
All he said was, “I’m sorry.”
Then he left.
I remember everything about that moment except how long I stood in the entry way of my house in shock before my mom discovered me there.
I remember hearing Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting For You” when I opened the door. That song still makes me cry, but until today I couldn’t remember why.
I remember I hyperventilated from crying so hard that night.
I remember realizing that I really loved him, and wondered if he ever really loved me.
I had all but forgotten about that guy…so it amazes me how vivid and tangible that single memory of him remains.
I’m getting ready to move out of the house I’ve owned since 2007. Moving isn’t really new to me, I’ve moved close to 20+ times in my life. No big deal really.
But when I was packing my kitchen today my eyes got teary at this sight. To you it’s just spices in a cabinet. But to me it’s the cabinet my Nana painted and lined for me when I first moved into the house. In fact she painted my entire kitchen. The walls. The ceiling. And every cabinet inside and out. To me this photo is my Nana showing me she loves me. To me this is what love looks like.
This photo is of my weathered mailbox. The mailbox that has been hit and knocked down sooo many times that I stopped putting it back up and got a P.O Box. Then one day I look out my window and there’s my Papa out there digging a hole in my front yard. He was at Home Depot and decided to buy me a mailbox post and install it for me just because. He’s not a big talker, my Pops, but that mailbox spoke volumes. To me that’s what love looks like.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:18 NIV
Something to ponder while you wander…love isn’t just an emotion to be felt, it’s an action to be shown. That’s why to me love looks like this cabinet and mailbox post.
About 30 years ago, on a blustery, snow-filled winter’s night, I crossed the Mighty Mac for the first time. Mom was driving; white-knuckling it actually because of the poor visibility and wind gusts.
My five year old inquisitor brother starts grilling with questions, “Whoa, Mom, how deep is that water down there? How far up are we? Is the water cold? Would we…”
My Mom never answered his questions or found the answers for him, as she usually did…due to her intense fear at that moment.
This past Labor Day, half of our family walked the Mighty Mac during the annual Labor Day bridge walk, including the now 35 year old inquisitor. While we were enjoying Mackinac City, Mom finds a paper with Mackinac Bridge fun facts. She smiled and said, “Jeff, I have the answers to your questions. The water under the bridge is 95 feet deep and the bridge is 199 feet above the water.”
We were all laughed, heartily!
But there’s a lesson here too. Sometimes people cannot answer your personal questions. Usually it’s because they don’t know or don’t want to appear foolish or that the truth might embarrass them.
But sometimes it’s because they are flat out terrified. Fear prevents people from being honest with themselves and with you. Fear is the enemy of intimacy and vulnerability. Fear corners people and causes them to behave oh so squirrelly…or mean…or rude.
My mom always tried to help us get answers to our questions, but her fear caused her to be short with my brother & tell him to just shut up.
I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make…other than I love my family and I loathe fear…but this has just been rolling around in my head and I needed to get it out.
PS Random funny..me, my mom and my niece all prefer walking the Mighty Mac to driving over it. We feel safer. Weird but true.
My Nana says my Mom was a tow-head. My Mom says my sister was a tow-head. And now my sister calls my adorable niece a tow-head.
We all know tow-head means a kiddo with light blonde hair, but have you ever wondered where does that expression come from?
Yeah, me too!
Well I discovered two options.
1. Tow comes from an old German word touw. Touw means flax or hemp fiber. The color of flax is very close to blonde, hence tow-head.
2. Back in the day, families grew their own flax to make their own clothing and ropes. The process of turning flax into thread was a tedious process. But since they were without malls and on-line shopping in Colonial days, what option did they have?
The flax would be harvested, and soaked in water for several days to soften it. Then the inner fibers would need to be removed from the stalk. (Whomever figured out how to make clothes from plants is seriously brilliant.) The flax would be pulled through a bed of nails or combed in a process called towing. The short fibers that were removed were called tow. People who had hair that resembled this tow were called tow-heads.
I think a brother started it, intending to insult his little sister, but eventually it became an endearing way to describe adorable little curly heades, blondies like my niece.
In case you are one of those truly curious people, here’s why most tow-heads end up with dark hair.
I was waiting in line the other day, when I noticed the woman being waited on was vintage. Late 1920’s or early 1930’s vintage. After she finished, she gathered her things, and moved to the table directly across from me to reorganize her bag.
When I saw her face I though, “Wow, I bet she was stunning when she was young.”
And I heard the Lord say, “Look again.”
So I did.
I saw that while she was thin, she wasn’t frail. I saw her face, wrinkled and crinkled with smile and laugh lines. I saw her well-loved tan sweater over a lovely, feminine button up shirt. I started to see she was one who lived her life intentionally, she wasn’t just floating through.
I was admiring her wide-brimmed straw gardening hat when she looked up.
I saw light and wisdom radiating from her eyes. I instantly wanted to have tea with her, and listen to her story.
I smiled at her. She smiled back.
I realized in that moment she wasn’t only a beauty then, she IS a stunning beauty now.
This got me thinking….Outside of the true narcissistic few, most of us dismiss our own beauty. We see our flaws, and areas of our body we want to shrink, grow, or change. But we don’t see our own beauty.
I know I don’t. I see the beauty in sunsets and nature but not in myself.
Truth is not all of us will be super models or grace the covers of magazines, but all of us are beautiful. That’s how God made us and how Jesus sees us.
This is from Song of Songs chapter 1 in the Passion Translation:
The Shulamite Woman: “In this twilight darkness, I know I am so unworthy–so in need.”
The Shepherd King: “Yet you are so lovely.”
The Shulamite Woman: “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads.”
The Shepherd King: “Yet you are so lovely–like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.”
Jesus is our Shepherd King and He calls us lovely.
In Genesis 16 Hagar was a runaway maid, pregnant by her boss’s husband. She was in the desert, alone. Desperate.
“She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, You’re the God who sees me! Yes! He saw me and I saw Him!” Genesis 16:13 MSG
The one who spoke to her was no mere angel, it was Jesus, Himself. And He saw her.
Something to ponder while you wander…Just like He told me to look again at the vintage beauty, take another look at yourself. See you how Jesus sees you. Because Jesus sees you clearly, and He calls you lovely.
PS Give a fellow human a genuine compliment today. They need to be reminded of their beauty too. ❤
6 reasons why I am thankful for rainy days in the summertime.
1. My polka-dot rain boots.
2. My inner 7 year old gets to gleefully splash in the puddles.
3. I get to dance in the rain. For maximum enjoyment, I highly recommend looking up and feeling the rain on your face while you twirl.
4. My grass turns bright summer green and my flowers get watered.
5. The possibility of a rainbow. Who doesn’t love a rainbow?
6. Blue-skied, sunshine-filled days always pressure me to go and DO something. Rainy days let me BE. If I want to read all day in an over-stuffed chair. Rainy days will not judge me.
Something to ponder from under your umbrella…”Those who believe only the sunshine can bring happiness have never danced in the rain.” – Unknown
Having one of those nights where my brain just will not shut off, so I got out of bed and turned some worship music on & started making the fruit salad I need to make for a family event today.
As I was making my favorite kind of salad, I was thanking God for all the brightly colored, interesting textured, flavorful fruit. What a blessing it is to have access to so many kinds of fruit!
Today is a random pondering day for me. I’m thinking about the change and why I love to hate it. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Heraclitus of Ephesus,”The only thing that is constant is change.”
He also said, “Everything changes and nothing stands still. You could not step twice in the same river; for other waters are ever flowing onto you.”
It’s why I love photography so much. Capturing a moment in time and preserving it forever. A baby’s first smile or steps. Your childhood best friends who you swear will always be there. A flower in full bloom or that ever flowing river that will never be the same again.
The danger is holding so tight to those moments that we get stuck and refuse to move forward. I can’t ever get yesterday back. I can’t stop my nieces and nephews from getting taller than me or my grandparents from aging. There are times I want to go back and relive moments and times when I want to go back with a giant eraser. But I can’t. None of us can.
All we can do is find a balance of taking the memories with us but not letting them paralyze us from embracing the new day we are in right now.
I like the quote by W.Somerset Maugham, “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”
Embrace every day and every new season. Be all in. That’s my goal right now. To really live, not to just exist. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. He didn’t come so we could just survive.
I know I’m all over the place but it’s where I am right now. I’m in a time of serious transition. I don’t have any idea what will happen tomorrow. Hence my quoting of quotes and rambling. I feel like I’ve been in a season of constant motion. I feel like I’ve got motion sickness and the speed of which the days and weeks are rolling by are making me dizzy with a tinge of nausea. I feel like I spend so much time trying not to fall down and figure everything out that I’m wasting these precious days I should be living to their fullest. I feel like a fan, vacillating back and forth between fear of failure and fear of missing out on what my life could have been.
That being said, here’s a change quote from me…”There are two constants in this life;one is change and the other is a God who doesn’t.” -Jill Nicholson
I have to keep reminding myself that I can rely on God to constantly love me every day. He loves me whether I’m embracing life that day or I spent it sitting on the couch with my knees pulled up sobbing. I can trust that He is the same every day. He is forever faithful and keeps His word. I need those reminders daily lately, because all my safety nets are gone now. I have the words God gave me and the promises. That’s it. And it’s scarier than vampire clowns to someone who has grown accustomed to schedules and routines.
I have always trusted God in theory. I mean He’s done some spectacular things through random and ordinary people. I know he can do anything. But I also know me. I tend to be like that ever changing river that flows down the easiest path. I’m not a fan of mountains or climbing. I like the view but the risk of the fall vs the spectacular view…well I choose to purchase the photo of the view from someone who was crazy enough to climb said mountain.
Do you know what happens when you trust God only in theory? He tests your theory. When God tests your theory, He proves it beyond any doubt. I’m witnessing with my own eyes how faithful He is. I am experiencing what peace in chaos actually feels like. (FYI it’s awesome) So while I still have no idea what will happen tomorrow or how all the chaos in my life will be worked out. I know that it will be worked out for my good, because that is the God I serve and love. He does not change. He is always faithful. He is always trustworthy. He always loves and reacts in love.
This is what I am telling myself today. Change is constant. But so is God.
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 NLT
“I am the Lord,and I do not change.” Malachi 3:6 NLT
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NLT
While I was working in the yard today, I found this new little tree (see photo) and it blew me away. The seed wasn’t even in the ground, it was lying on the ground, but it had sent the roots down and the stem up. Without any assistance from anyone the seed did what it was made to do, it grew.
Seeds are fascinating. They are tiny seemingly inconsequential things. But inside them are plants of all kinds…mighty oak trees, fruit trees, beautiful flowers, vegetable plants, weeds, and even poisonous plants.
There’s a lot in the Word about seeds and reaping what you sow. All seeds are designed to take root and grow. That’s just what they do. So be careful what seeds you are sowing in your life and the lives of others.