Inside my Soldier’s cap

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My Soldier's cap

My Soldier’s cap

While in the process of doing laundry during Nate’s eight-hour pass from Ranger School, my Soldier’s filthy patrol cap appeared among the pile.

“How can a person’s head get so gross?” I wondered this in the confines of the hotel laundry room. Ew.

But that Army cap became a thing of beauty when I looked beyond the grime.

Oh how I love this child.

Oh how I love this child.

Unbeknownst to me, prior to starting Ranger School, my Soldier had written in black Sharpie pen these words found in Philippians 4:12-13.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,     whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

As the Hubs and I were scrambling around to help him on his eight-hour pass from Ranger School, it was clear that Nathan wanted us to see those Bible verses on his combat cap.

When our tired boy spoke about these words that afternoon, it was like he was speaking of a great, uncovered treasure. Although Nate has read Philippians 4:12-13 many times before, he understood them now in a more profound way. His current circumstances made the Scripture come alive. It’s so powerful when the Lord speaks to us so individually, don’t you think?

IMG_0037I guess when you only gobble down two MREs a day, get maybe two hours of sleep a night and are pushed to your absolute physical and emotional max, you really do know what it is like to be in need and to have plenty. I can’t even imagine.

Though I try, it’s beyond my grasp, my heart will only allow me so much understanding or it would crumble.

Judging from the letters Nate has sent, in many ways, our Soldier has learned contentment and joy really are found in Christ alone. The strength he summons forth is the result of training, determination and ultimately Jesus. We do what we can on the home-front but Nate realizes that the Lord is his supply. We come up alongside him best we can but the truth found on that combat cap is what really gets him through the rough patches.

Oddly enough, Nate didn’t intentionally write those verses on his hat with the foreknowledge of their relevance. It was only when the chaplain came around to visit the guys during the mountain phase of Ranger School, that Nate put the pieces together and saw how cool it was that he had chosen THOSE verses for such a time as this! He’ll never be able to read Philippians 4:12-13 the same again. Neither shall I.

So today on Memorial Day, I’m deeply humbled, proud beyond words to be the mama of a Soldier. I’m also a grateful cousin, daughter-in-law, sister, grand-daughter and friend of military service people.

Thank you isn’t enough gratitude for all those who have served.

Pray-for-Our-Troops

Check out this beautiful patriotic artwork by a military mom!

Five minute Friday – home

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I came home to these people.

I came home to these people.

I became a full-time stay-at-home mom 15 years ago on my husband’s birthday. I wanted to mark that significant day on a day I wouldn’t forget. March 6th is now a day of double celebration for my family.

For so long the ambition of my life was to get respect and recognition.

My observation of full-time motherhood was that it was rife with disrespect and sadness. Obviously I wanted none of that. So I had my own business, attended graduate school, practiced writing M.Ed. at the end of my name.

Individually these things are not wrong. But ultimately they were not what the Lord had for me.

On March 6, 1998, I started working for a new boss. I no longer served myself. A cataclysmic shift occurred in my heart.

God wanted me home.

With only five minutes to write, you'll have to trust me. This is what happened to me when I decided to stay home. Thanks be to God.

With only five minutes to write, you’ll have to trust me. This is what happened to me when I decided to stay home. Thanks be to God.

When I made that decision, priorities changed. My three olive shoots no longer attended day care or after school programs, they returned home to me. The significance sought outside in the world, was comfortably discovered within. Parts of me I had long denied began to blossom.

Within my home

Within my soul

There are times when I don’t always feel appreciated but I felt that way in the business world as well. This is where I belong. Home.

We rock one word for FIVE MINUTES! It's the best! Join the fun!

We rock one word for FIVE MINUTES! It’s the best! Join the fun!

Pleasure and fulfillment rest with my decision, something I will never regret.

Some Good News for a change!

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I want good news. I long to hear joyful stories. Often it seems as if there is one sad tale after another, do you know what I mean? Can I get an amen?!

Seventeen years ago, while pregnant with my orange hair, freckle face olive shoot, I knew a mother at church who lost her newborn baby. My husband attended the memorial service; my emotions were too intense as to offer any comfort to the grieving family.

When I told an acquaintance of this news, she followed by telling me an equally sad story about a mom who had lost a child. Every time I shared the tragedy that I was familiar with, though my belly was full of baby, it was guaranteed the listener had to tell me something worse, usually about a child.

Soon I learned to not share information like this while pregnant. It felt like the world was competing to tell me the most heartbreaking lament. Plus the OJ Simpson trial had also started. Bad news loomed everywhere.

Today I want to share Good News!

First, it is Penguin Awareness Day (my favorite animal) = yay.

Second, Jesus loves you and cares = He alone is freedom and redemption, a mushy kind of love you have never experienced. I made a mess of my life, Christ cleaned it up. I continue to stumble and goof up, Jesus grants me new mercies each day.

I like to read the Bible in French. It’s such a beautiful language and God’s Word speaks to me differently when I employ these parts of my heart and brain. I have my English Bible and my French dictionary nearby just in case something doesn’t make sense since I’m quite rusty. But today as I read Marc 1:1-8 (La Bible du Semeur version) these two words stirred my soul.

Bonne Nouvelle

Bonne Nouvelle translates to Good News. In English we say “Gospel,” I just like it better in French.

This is the Bible reading I'm going to do for the next three weeks.

I’m doing the Deeper Into Scripture study for the next three weeks but the other ones look great too! Click here for info. 

Whatever language you speak, whatever your cir-cumstances, Happy day, sad day, seriously you need Good News, Bonne Nouvelle as badly as I do.

Different versions of the Bible in French! Formidable!

Different versions of the Bible in French! Formidable!

For the next 21 days, I’m participating in a Deeper Into Scripture: A 21-Day Plan Reading Plan through YouVersion. Although I’m involved in a weekly women’s Bible Study, I need more time with the Lord. I’m praying that this simple commitment will help me connect with God daily through His Word. I’d love some friends to join me. We can share Good News together, Lord knows we need it!

Here’s the link if you want to learn more. Scroll down the page on the link for all the options, you will find one for you! What have you got to lose? Reading the Bible could truly change your life!

“Thank you, Cindy”

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I took this picture just before going to meet with Charlotte. I had no idea what to expect.

I took this picture just before going to meet with Charlotte. I had no idea what to expect.

I began my career as a stay-at-home mom when my youngest olive shoot was 18 months old. I had experienced a spiritual conversion to Christianity in December 1997 and instantly felt the Lord beckon me to be more present with my husband and family.

What I didn’t know is that just before leaving the corporate world, apparently I had made a profound impact on a person’s life. Honestly I only have a vague recollection of the small effort I exerted. A competent professional was deserving of the referral I offered. For me it was no big deal, a no-brainer. But for Charlotte, it was life-changing. Don’t we all want to positively influence others and make a difference?

Today, I’m privileged to have Charlotte as a guest blogger. I’m sharing her words with you today to encourage YOU.

Charlotte carefully wrapped a beautiful gift for me. She even carefully picked the ribbon.

Charlotte carefully wrapped a beautiful gift for me. She even carefully picked the ribbon.

Now, here’s Charlotte…

In 1997, Cindy recommended me to one of her corporate clients. Fifteen years later, I am still providing consulting services for that company. My sincere thanks to Cindy for the referral and for her confidence in me and my business. I met with her a few weeks ago to celebrate the 15 years and to give her a special gift. As I reflected on the great gift she gave me in 1997, I thought of these “Three R’s”:

Receive – Through Cindy’s generosity, I was given an opportunity to receive. It was clear that I could never repay her for what she did for me. Yet I could pray for her, for peace and prosperity in her life. In addition to the gift of the referral, it is a gift to be able to receive without any strings attached.

Remember – I am intentional about remembering those who have blessed my life and my business. Cindy’s name remains on that list. Though I could never repay Cindy for her generosity, I do take time to remember her and to express my appreciation. This year when we met, I gave her a gift of art and it was a total surprise. We shared updates with each other and through our laughter and tears, we remembered, reflected, and relaxed.

I just sat there stunned at the kindness. I had no idea.

I just sat there stunned at the kindness. I had no idea.

Repeat – Another way to express my appreciation for the referral from Cindy is to make sure I support others by making referrals, connecting people, and cheering them on as they pursue their dreams. Each time I do so at the company I mentioned, Cindy’s one act of generosity in 1997 continues to be shared with others.

This is Charlotte!

This is Charlotte!

Thank you, Cindy. You have made a big difference in my life, my family, and my business. May God continue to bless you and your family today and always.

With a grateful heart,
Charlotte

Whether you are a professional career person, a retiree, a college student or a stay at home mom with a side business selling soap nuts and stuff (um, that would be me!), employ the three “R’s” more often. Your efforts, however seemingly insignificant they may seem at the time, can bless others in ways you never imagined. Expressing gratitude can help move someone from the miry pit to a place of hope. Charlotte did that for me and I guess I did the same for her. Blessings replete with potential and healing await, truly!

What “R” are you going to do today?

Charlotte Purvis is a communication coach and highly rated professional speaker. Since 1985, she has partnered with individuals and organizations seeking to take their communication skills, customer service, and presentation styles to the next level. She’s also a lovely and generous person I call friend. To contact Charlotte, here’s a link  and her email  charlotte@purviscommunications.com. 

Twice in a summer

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We argue. We fight. We disappoint each other and intentionally do things to annoy. These are some of the rather unsavory characteristics of my family.

On occasion our clothes are left on the ground, someone “forgets” to empty the dishwasher, the carpet needs vacuuming and the kitchen floor hasn’t seen a broom in a few days.

We battle big things too in this house…depression, anxiety, temptation and Ambien, to name a few.

But then there are these halcyon moments –

And it’s like one of us is a polished diamond

And we get it right

I didn’t grow up going to church. Raising a Christian family means so much to me. Sitting next to one of my guys makes it even sweeter.

Maybe not for the whole day, for that might be too strenuous

But for a snapshot of time, we experience a flash of heaven

Which is what happened Sunday morning…

Aaron helping lead worship. He did a great job and found it to be a very emotional experience.

It was Aaron’s last Sunday at church before leaving to attend college in Chicago. This summer Aaron has acted as one of our church’s interns. For a small church of about 50 people, I must say, they put my OS to work like a boss. In addition to holding a paid, part-time job as a pool attendant, Aaron had many church projects to accomplish. Whereas many nearly 18-year-old young people are majorly chilling the summer before going off to school, Aaron has been learning Greek, reading church leadership books and writing reports about them. Aaron worked tirelessly compiling a hymnal for our church filled with rich, beautiful hymns that are still reverent and true. Each time my OS showed me progress on this hymnal, he beamed with excitement and joy. Aaron and the two other summer interns led an entire church service and my middle OS was so moved by the experience, he ended up in tears before our small congregation recently one Sunday morning. Incidentally as a result, most of the congregation was equally emotional especially the mama with pink highlights in her hair = me!

The three pastors poured into our boy’s life and gave him a glimpse into how to truly minister and shepherd a flock of people. They showed Aaron the inner workings of a healthy church body, how to receive feedback before and after the sermon (something I’ve never heard of pastors doing before attending this church). Through their personal investment in my OS’s life, Aaron is developing into a vibrant and active young leader.

And on Sunday, our pastors blessed him in a grand way before sending him off to the Windy City. Although the Hubs and I knew about this previously, it came as a surprise to Aaron when he was asked to come up to the front of the church. Jerry, one of our pastors, explained to the crowd that Aaron was leaving to attend Moody Bible Institute and this would be his last Sunday with us. He then asked the men of the church to come forward and to pray over my boy. It wasn’t creepy and it didn’t offend my former feminist ways in case the mere thought of this bristles you.

Twice in a summer I have witnessed a moment like this.

My sandy-haired boy bowed his head and I realized at that moment, wow, this is the second child in a summer that I have seen kneeling before Jesus and his followers. (Click here to read about the first time with Nathan). We weren’t at West Point; we were in the suburbs of North Carolina but another one of my olive shoots was submitting his life to the Lord and receiving from His people, words of blessing and protection. Honestly, I think the statistics for something like this happening twice in a summer are quite small. And when I consider my wretchedness, I think it is nothing short of miraculous that something this beautiful could happen to me as a mother. And furthermore, this is the second time the orange hair, freckle face OS has laid hands on a brother and helped usher him into a new season of life. Not your everyday, run of the mill brother stuff but something lofty, holy and lovely.

The prayer didn’t last too long, no one spoke in tongues, snakes were not handled. 😉

Seeing godly men praying for my olive shoot, thank you Jesus for this glorious moment. That’s my orange hair, freckle face guy in the black shirt, his hands on his bro.

As the prayer finished and the men made their way back to their seats, Pastor Rob asked Aaron to stay up front for a moment.

And that’s when they gave Aaron another gift as if the gift of prayer, love, protection, shepherding, accountability and manly, godly leadership weren’t enough.

Sitting next to my boy one last time before college, Aaron getting his hymnal, the actual hymnal

He sweetly handed my boy the very first copy of our church’s new hymnal. The project Aaron had devoted hours on was finished and my OS got first dibs. Aaron hugged our pastors fiercely and shined like a diamond holding that hymnal in his hand. He sat down next to me and while he began flipping through the pages, I patted his knee, tears in my eyes. As sad as I think Aaron might feel about leaving his family, I think he feels even sadder leaving his church. He will be a part of our fellowship even if he’s thousands of miles away.

Here’s one of Aaron’s favorite songs, Jesus, Savior Pilot Me which can be found on page 82 in our hymnal. Surely I will think of the precious child who sat and snuggled next to me even as a teenager each Sunday morning. As a benefit of birthing this fine olive shoot, I too, was handed a copy of the hymnal which Aaron will be signing for me. I cherish it already. (Btw, yes, I’m crying while writing this.)

This is a cool song. Beautiful, timeless words. ❤

So today, we’ll see how it goes. One of us might be grouchy. The Hubs and I might bicker, the guys might not initiate folding the mounds of laundry. We are alas a very human bunch. Still, I will praise the Lord. I will exalt His name. I will rejoice in the blessings I am given, those moments when we transcend our selfishness, stubbornness and foolishness and I see extraordinary beauty in the land of the living. May it be so with you and those you love as well. ❤

Cycling is like life – another woman’s story

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My inbox held a special treat. A friend from a former church had written me with something to share. Honestly many times a feeling of nervousness comes over me just before I read an email or a message. Am I in trouble? Did I tick someone off? Are they going to tell me something really sad or disappointing? That’s honestly what I wonder but whew, that wasn’t the case with Debbie’s message.

She told me that after returning home from a recent solo, very warm bike ride, many thoughts flooded her mind. Although not typically one who uses writing as a creative outlet, she felt compelled to write about an epiphany of sorts she had experienced on this ride.

As I read it, I knew I wanted to share it with you and so with Debbie’s permission, here are her words. As you read these, I encourage you to think of a daily activity or passion that you have…how does God speak to you through it?

This bike has taken Debbie on quite a journey

cycling is like life:

Super cool pic of Debbie and her hubs out hiking, one of her favorite pics following a really long hard hike in TN/VA

some rides I anticipate, look forward too, am excited for,
others I dread, look at as a chore, see as mundane,
some rides I encounter difficult climbs or easy descents, others rolling hills,
some rides I encounter beauty beyond compare, others not so beautiful,
some rides I encounter bee stings and accidental ingestion of bugs,
others I have witnessed awe-inspiring butterflies, birds and animals,

some rides I get a flat tire, many I don’t,
some rides I have been cursed at, spit on (yep), given the finger when I was doing everything right,
others I have been shown immeasurable grace when it was me who made the mistake,

I mean seriously, how could anyone spit at this lovely woman while she’s biking?

some rides I have been disliked just because I am a cyclist on the road,
others, maybe, I have inspired another,
some rides are extremely hot, cold, or surprised by storms,
others beautiful, sunny and calm,

some rides I have met wonderful, ‘want to be around’ folks, others not,
some rides I have gossiped unfairly, others I have been gossiped about,
some rides I put my best effort forward, some I have not,

Here is a huge turtle Debbie and her cycling buddy stumbled pon this summer!

some rides I have encountered dogs that want to attack, others that don’t,
some rides have unknown potholes, rocks and gravel, others smooth and beautiful,

some rides I am inexplicably weak, others I am inexplicably strong,
some days I have great ride, others not so great,
but no matter how the ride was,in the end,
I am so glad I have gone,
I am joyful to accomplish the ride
I am thankful to be healthy enough
thankful for my experience,
thankful for the journey.

Like my bike rides,
some days are smooth with perfect temperature,
sunny skies, dog free,
full of stranger kindness and feelings of strength,
other days are wrought with potholes, heat, bugs, winds, meanness and weakness.

Pic of new freeway intersection – this stretch of road actually promoted Debbie’s writing. Old US 1 just reopened after putting the bridge for 540, an ominous intersection for cyclists “out in the country side” in the heart of North Carolina

In spite of my anticipation and preparation, each ride has a life of its own.
I choose to embrace the journey of each ride, each day, for I know it will make me stronger and I will be glad for it, but I can only do it if I rely on the One Who is bigger than me.

cycling is like life

The more I read Debbie’s words, the more I relate to them. The more I want to take my bike to the repair shop and get on it! Thank you Debbie for inspiring me and trusting me enough to share it. I’d love to hear from you also. If  you have a story to tell, let me know, maybe I can help you speak your words to others.

A few other things about her: Debbie Douglass is married 25 yrs to a wonderful man, Jay  and mom of two sweet college aged kids. She’s also been a cyclist for 30 years. I’m not a biker but Debbie and I have a few things in common, we both are a lover of pretty tables and we’ve both been Christ-followers for 16 years (and oh SO thankful!!)

It’s truly a privilege to share her lovely message.

Ambien, part one

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Too many bottles of this

I’ll never forget the day I began taking Ambien. I was visiting my brother and his wife and meeting my baby niece for the very first time in Chicago. My mom and I stayed at a nearby house and when it was time for bed, I took the little pill

and can’t remember a thing after that…

but I slept and that was important for me because slumber was eluding me

The next day I was looking for the ice cream we had bought and my mom told me the strangest thing.

She said that I had eaten all the ice cream the night before.

The news both surprised and frightened me but the possibility of not sleeping concerned me more

And so I began taking Ambien every single night 😦

And did so for 11 years…

When I heard about all the goofy things people have done on Ambien. Tiger Woods, Kerry Kennedy and others, I have felt embarrassed for them

and for me

And I would remember when the Hubs told me about a few of my incidents. Like the time when I came downstairs late at night in a dress, stood in front of the tv, looked at him, didn’t utter a word, turned around and then went back upstairs.

I found the dress by the bed in the morning with no recollection of ever having worn it and I was wearing pajamas. (Ok, that is unusual behavior…)

And the times when stupid words would come out of my mouth and my family would tell me they didn’t like the way I was behaving. (Just try to laugh it off and apologize)

Yuck

And my OS sometimes had to escort me to bed because they weren’t sure I could do it on my own or they would find me asleep on the floor a few steps from the bed. (Oh why did they have to see me that way?)

Oh how I hated these moments, they were dreadful to me. I felt cursed and broken quite honestly.

But for 4,017.66 days, Ambien was my “friend.”

And when I would see the commercials that spoke in cautious tones about Ambien being habit-forming, my head dropped in shame

because that was me

Until two weeks ago

and that’s when I stopped taking it

cold turkey

and last night

by the grace of God and I truly mean those words, I slept eight glorious hours free from the hypnotic effects of Ambien.

It hasn’t been easy but I’ve been doing it

and I want to tell you about it because you or someone you love might want to know it is possible

These are tomatillo husks I am dehydrating. In a way they represent freedom and beauty to me.

I am breaking free…

Hoarders, part two

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And now for a deeper hoarding issue…


The washrag is gone. I am ok with it. At times I feel silly like, seriously, Cindy, get a grip. It was a stupid washrag. A Barney washrag at that. I probably spent less than $2 on the thing. And if I’m being real here and it’s my blog so I can do with it what I want, I am pushing away feelings of sadness that the threadbare Barney washrag is loosed from my home. It has absolutely no emotions, no nerve endings, it was a totally inanimate object but if I allow myself, I can feel sad for the washrag. Like it’s missing me. Just being real here.

Which then evokes feelings about other things I miss or anticipate missing. Loved ones who are gone, children who are growing, family members who are aging or ill, friends that disappointed me, hopes, dreams, the list goes on and on.

Which then brings forth feelings that I sometimes hoard.

Resentment, fear, bitterness and anger come to mind. Because of Christ, I have had great victory in this area. Nothing of my own doing, that’s for sure. Before coming to know the Lord, my list of hurts was very long. I embedded a lot of pain and used it as a weapon when necessary. But God in His faithfulness, not only removed all the items on that list, He also took care of the even longer list I had created for myself. Sins that are none of your business, others that I have shared here on this blog and publicly.

So I’m learning to let go and clean up. And like the clients featured on Hoarders, to maintain order, one must be vigilant. It doesn’t take too much time for physical and emotional issues to pile up. I must make room in my home and in my heart for new things. Getting rid of the Barney washrag was something the Lord prompted me to do. I hung onto it for days and had it near the trashcan and it took days for it to go. Something that weighed mere ounces suddenly was too heavy to move. Until last night, that is.


Enter dreamlike sequence…

Years ago, I found a diary from middle school. Not much was in it but the usual 12-13 year old girl drama. However, amidst the boy crazy musings, I flipped through the pages and discovered an entry about a family member I chose not to name. In this entry, I wrote about an especially mean thing this person had said to me. Now 3o years later, I held the pages in my hand and it was excruciating.

In my middle school girl’s handwriting; my adult woman’s eyes fixated on those nasty words. What was I to do? I brought the diary to my husband and showed him the entry and started crying. I am a frequent crier. Don’t believe me? Click here and here and here and here and here.

I didn’t need that memory or that reminder but how could I throw out MY diary??? How could I let that go?

It was then that the Hubs offered to do some-thing I could not do for myself. In a beautiful act of love, he offered to throw it away. I nodded and I never saw that diary or those words ever again.

The diary, the Barney washrag, old wounds and hurts need to be discarded. It is time for a new season. Those items were weathered and useless. I can no longer cling to them.

Tears are welling up in my eyes as I type but I need to share this. Maybe it’s just for me and this is a completely selfish post but if it’s for you, let me give you permission, let it go. Whatever the “it” is. Let. it. go.

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under heaven:


2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away…


Hoarders

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Have you seen the A&E program Hoarders? I watch the show every week on Channel 161 on Monday nights from 10-11pm. If I don’t watch the new episode, I DVR it. Yes, I am a faithful follower.


One of the reasons I like the show is I have a celebrity connection. I have worked closely with a frequent expert on the program.

A few years ago, hoarding and organizational expert, Geralin Thomas helped me transform my home office. I was NOT her first client nor am I a hoarder but wow, she was amazing! My home office had previously been a place of embarrassment and dread but with her assistance , my office became a thing of personality and beauty! As I watch Geralin work with her hoarding clients, I often hear her saying things to the hoarders that she said to me. I’m sure that is mere coincidence, right?

Another reason I like the show is that it’s fas- cinating. There are these distraught people living in absolute squalor and they toil and lament throwing out the smallest thing. A piece of paper, a withered basket, a mildewed book, everything appears to be impossible to dispose of properly. There is filth and dust everywhere and they agonize over minutiae! It feels like a personal victory to me when the people seem to make progress but I admit the show can produce anxiety in me as I see their mess flash over the tv screen.

And as I sit in my family room on Monday nights, just as I’m ready to kick my judgemental side into full gear, I am chastened. The reason is that on each Monday night, during a commercial or when the program ends, I begin looking around my own house and discover things that need to go. In my purse, my closet, my dressers, there is stuff that has long overstayed its welcome and usefulness. It is freeing to release things that are no longer needed but honestly it can be sad.

I originally had this post almost ready to go several days ago. I didn’t publish it because I hadn’t accomplished the thing I was going to write about. But I’m mustering the courage to do it today. I am going to do it no matter what!

I am saying goodbye to an 18 year old washrag.
I cannot tell you the age of any other washrag in my house but this one is special to me. I might even say I love this washrag. The threadbare cloth belonged to my oldest OS when he was a little boy. Nate will be 20 in a few months and it is/was a Barney washrag. Most of the purple dinosaur has been scrubbed away but it’s been the first washrag I reach for in my linen closet for lo these many years.

My OS has long since parted ways with Barney. He’s a yearling at West Point and has no affinity whatsoever to this thing.

But I’m a sen-timental mama. This silly washrag represents an adorable, toe-head boy who is my pride and joy and is now a remarkable young man full of ambition and integrity.

When Geralin helped me in my home office, I would find myself struggling with getting rid of things. She gave me permission to dispose of things and assured me that if I threw something out, it didn’t diminish the love I have for that person! What a revelation!




So with that in mind, thank you Barney washrag for the memories! Thank you for doing such a great job all these years! You’ve cleaned a lot of body parts! 😉 You certainly outdid yourself but I’m making room for new memories and really hoping Nate will find the West Point gift shop has a West Point washrag or a Digital ACU towel for Mother’s Day!

Fancy Scraps

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I have been making eyeglass covers for El Salvador. I learned about this need during a Friday meeting with the Hannah’s Hands, Intl. coordinator and as soon as she left the house, I googled eyeglass covers.

To my surprise, I found a decent amount of entries for sew your own eyeglass covers along with a million other things, check it out. That’s what’s great about the Internet. I hate it when I stumble onto icky things when I am innocently surfing the Web but in this instance, I came upon a free eyeglass cover pattern. No sicko stuff! Woot!

What I really love is that I haven’t spent a penny so far. All I did was look on my shelf and in my drawers to find loads of fabric just waiting for a project. I have cotton fabric, fleece, satin flannel coming out of my ears, just ask my husband! Ok, on second thought, let’s pass on that idea.

The material has been cluttering my home for years. Some my sister Lorri gave me a long time ago, I think she bought it at a thrift shop. I have also stashed away bits of extra fabric from past projects. And, quite honestly, I have often wondered what I could do with all of it. What good could come from some of the fabric and the scraps I have collected? I haven’t had enough of some of the material to do aything useful and I’ve even toyed with throwing it out just to get rid of all the stuff. Never did I think to myself, “Hey, I’ve got an idea! I’ll go to El Salvador and I’ll use that pile of material to make eyeglass covers for impoverished villagers!”

But I guess God did and this got me thinking about my life. Do you ever do that? Wonder why you’ve gone through or are going through something? Is it just me, or do you sometimes hang onto emotional remnants or scraps of struggles you’ve experienced? Do you ever dare to think about how that stuff could find a useful purpose? 

Well, as I reflect upon my life, I have collected my fair share of “material,” if you know what I mean. I have pondered and prayed, “Lord, what good can become of that? And, how are you, God, going to use that (insert sin of your choice)? It’s so ugly and worthless!”
I‘m like those scraps that have been sitting on my shelf. Like many, I have vestages of my past stuffed away. Yet, firsthand, I have seen how my Jesus has used those things for His good! In my work with teenagers, it still blows me away that I am able to share the fabric of my life and offer them hope. I am an example of what God can do with our material.  Mine. Even yours. 

He has used each one of those pieces and trust me, that is testimony to God’s goodness. I had no idea how that would be possible because they’re not too attractive. It excites me each time I now sew a simple eyeglass case to find the spiritual parallels in my Christian walk.          
   

So far I have made about 20 eyeglass cases. The pile of spare material is shrinking and I am so proud of myself because they look pretty good! I feel satisfied and am in wonder. Not because of my mad sewing skills (said like Napoleon Dynamite) but rather for how the Lord is so resourceful.

“I will praise the name of the Lord, who has worked wonders for me, never again will I be shamed.” paraphrased and personalized from Joel 2:26.