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Archive for August, 2013

Last month in a post titled A Hidden Treasure, I shared pictures and a story of a desk that I found on the side of the road.

It was rather a purple monster of a piece of furniture (see pics below), sitting at the end of a driveway, with the word FREE on it. My weakness for things broken had me hauling home to my workshop garage. When it was unloaded, my dreams of making it a fresh and inspiring place to tap my fingers on the keyboard were making my mind explode.

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In no time the blood, sweat and tears that I poured into that train wreck of a bad paint job, dust and rough edges began to produce the dream that was forming the moment I first set my eyes on it.

I was imagining a simple, clean and classic look … I love how it turned out!

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Plus it is in the most sunny location of our house … a great bonus during monsoon season on the Pacific Wet West Coast.20130821-212621.jpg

I loved the character of the paneled sides and back … adding depth and architectural interest.

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A place to sit and smile at some of my favorite faces …

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And yes, that family picture is of every member on their cell phones …

if you can’t beat them …

… redeem them 😉

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Whenever I have a question, wonder how to do something, and need that quick fix, I Google it.

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Just in the past few days I have ‘Googled’:

-a recipe for Greek salad dressing

-a recipe for a marinade with pineapple

-how to lay carpet

-how to transport a refrigerator

-health issues

-weather on the east coast

-the meaning of “to be or not to be”

and more!

Sometimes I wonder how I ever survived the curiosities of life, before there was Google, to answer my every query.

When we were first married, and hubby needed a quick fix he reached for duct tape and WD40.

That man could use duct tape and WD40 in massive amounts, and in a massive variety of places.

If something was making a noise, or did not operate smoothly, out came the WD40.

If something was coming apart, unattached, out came the duct tape.

Recently we ‘forced’ our son to watch the movie, A Big Fat Greek Wedding. We knew that he was at an age when the humor of the movie would delight him (and it did).

In this movie, the father, Gus, uses Windex to solve every problem and ailment, from pimples to aches. For Gus, Windex is his fixer upper of choice.

What about when Windex doesn’t eliminated the pain and bruises? What about when duct tape won’t repair what is broken, and put it back together? What about when Google doesn’t have the answers?

There is another fixer upper.

The Bible … the word of God.

It has been around since the beginning of time …
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

The authority of it is THE authority on truth … our heavenly Father …
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16

It is true and trustworthy …
“For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does.” Psalm 33:4

It offers protection …
“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” Proverbs 30:5

It is a guidebook …
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

It has always been and always will be available …
“Grass dries up, and flowers wither, but the word of our God will last forever.” Isaiah 40:8

This is the best fixer upper!

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Morning.

We sit, feet touching, naturally, intentionally, on the shared stool.

Laptops on our respective knees … catching up on the happenings around the world, while we had slept.

The beast participating in nap number one, after the hard work of eating and taking her morning venture into the great outdoors.

Silence …

except the occasional noises made when sipping our hot, fresh brewed drink.

We awaken …

together.

“It’s so quiet,” he says to me, with a childlike look of total joy.

I smile, sharing this moment, this joy, with him.

This is the beginning.

The beginning of a new day, the beginning of fresh choices.

“To be, or not to be”

That is the question.

When Hamlet asked that question he was asking the question of all humanity, though we do not all ask it out loud. The question he (we) asks is:

do we choose to keep living this life of heartache, of pain, of rejection?

or, do we lay down, and allow the eternal, gentle sleep and dreams of forever to take us away?

But, that peaceful sleep … it is eternal. There is no return, no turning back, no escape clause.

And so, we choose to continue to inhale and exhale.

Choosing to be

This is not the easy choosing, not the simple choosing, not thoughtless choosing, not the choosing of that which comes with guarantees.

But, it is good.

Choosing to be

It is the choosing to be intentional, to try, to start fresh … to love

… from morning until night …

together

choosing oneness over separation,

with no guarantees that it will be reciprocated, returned,

with no guarantees that you will be loved back.

Ah,

but if you are …

Lights off, alarms set, beast guarding the bedroom door.

Body fatigued, mind emptied, eyes heavy …

We crawl into, fall into … our bed.

Bodies meeting in the middle,

arms swaddling each other,

prayers spoke

endearments shared.

This is the stuff of real … battered and bruised, damaged and dirty, kissed and made up …

dreams.

The dreams that are born out of living, and choosing to be.

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today,
that I have set before you life and death,
blessing and curse.
Therefore choose life,
that you and your offspring may live,
loving the Lord your God,
obeying his voice and holding fast to him,
for he is your life and length of days,
that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers,
to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Deuteronomy 30:19

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Main-Street-Baptist-Church-image-1-129656914499250000This year, the church my hubby grew up attending celebrates it’s 250th anniversary. The building, itself is well over one hundred years (and hubby says there may still be a few original members 😉 ). It was a place of great learning, of inspiration and of feeling loved and accepted by hubby from birth to adulthood.

This anniversary makes me think of other ‘old’ churches.

I am not sure of the age of my grandmother’s little county church, but there are tombstones in the cemetery behind which date back to the late 1800’s. I remember, as a little girl, staring at the beautiful stained glass window image of Jesus cradling a lamb in His arms (while the pastor preached of the need of salvation, living ‘rightly’, and loving your neighbor … and probably a bit of fire and brimstone). . The window stories solidified my flannel-graph Sunday School lessons.161

I remember visiting the beautiful St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown, PEI, a number of years ago with our young children. It was build in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s (a fire of the original structure delayed it’s completed construction). There is something about a place so old, so ornate in it’s use of dark wood, and colorful window story-telling that ‘oos and awes’ emanated from even the youngest among us.

114982872_e311f849e7One of my favorite churches, because of it’s setting, is the Saint Thomas de Memramcook Church (in New Brunswick). With it’s tall center spire, and perfectly balanced stained windows below. It sits atop a hill, overlooking flat lands that the Bay of Fundy flow into. It always takes my breath away when I look at where it sits … like a beacon, a lighthouse, for weary travelers.

When I was younger I scoffed at the wasted money that went into the maintaining of these aging structures. That money could be used to meet the needs of people today, rather than to do upkeep on history.

I am starting to see, now, the benefits of these still-standing, brick and mortar, structures.

You see, these physical structures are evidence of God’s faithfulness, evidence of hundreds and thousands of people who put their trust in God to see them through to the completion. Not just of a church building, but of living a very real, skin on, life. Life with illness, and death, and abandonment, and struggle, and heartache … and joy, and celebration, and redemption, and saving, and love.

These buildings are memorials to faith.

After the Israelites followed the art of the covenant through to the center of the Jordan River, Joshua was told told (by God) to have one man of each of the twelve tribes, to pick up a rock from the middle of the Jordan and bring it to the other side. Later on God explained the significance of these rocks:

“He (God) said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:21-24)

When I look at, and think of, old churches (and there are certainly more in the world that are much older) now, I find myself paraphrasing the words from the book of Joshua:

In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stone and wood buildings mean?’ tell them, 

“People …

simple, hard-working, fallible, messed up, people …

they lived, they loved, they gave, they ached, they got sick, they suffered …

they didn’t have all the answers, couldn’t see the big picture …

they didn’t have the strength to go on, didn’t have the funds to go on, didn’t have the support to go on …

but, they had God.

The one, true, living God …

and they trusted Him …

with EVERYTHING!

And, He carried them through to dry land (carried means that He never left them … ever).

He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.

And another stone of faith that was written in 1837 …

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I have to say, I fully understand the feeling of speechlessness when speaking to a parent who has a child with a disability. I also have to admit that in my lack of ability to know what to say, I have fallen back into the use of trite, thoughtless responses.

When I read this post, by a lady I do not know, and whose blog I had never read, I heard the heart cry of many parents I have known, over the years, who have been forced to be captive audience to the things we have said to them. The things that, although not intended to be hurtful, they echo in the hearts of those mere human parents for days, weeks, and even years to come.

Adrienne Jones and hubby Brian, live with their family of three sons and one daughter, in Albuquerque, NM. Their youngest child, Carter, lives with special needs that keep their family on their toes.

It is the raising of Carter that, I feel, gives her the right to speak to us today, in her post Dear People Who Do Not Have a Child With Disabilities. Please click on the link, and read her story at her blog site.

 

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I have to say, I am not, nor ever have been, a celebrity follower. I feel that every word they say, every thing they do in public cannot be taken as reality for those of us observing and hearing, for (I feel) the media ‘creates’ them to be what the media chooses. My feeling is that the fishbowl that a celebrity lives in is an impossible one … and they are to be prayed for, not on.

The other night my daughter, knowing my views on celebrities, asked me to watch a video. It was a video from the Teen Choice Awards that were handed out on Sunday night. It was a video of the recipient of the Ultimate Choice Award winner, Ashton Kutcher.

I rolled my eyes.

She set up the video.

When I saw the the recipient was Ashton Kutcher (of Two and a Half Men fame … a female-degrading, inappropriate, finger-down-my-throat sort of TV program … just sayin’), I rolled my eyes again.

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She adjusted the video to full screen, and upped the volume.

It started as I would have predicted, with ‘simple’ self-deprecating humor … I rolled my eyes.

Then, about 1:40 into the video, Mr. Kutcher’s words, and message became uncharacteristic for celebrities. His words, his message, seemed to ooze sincerity. He shares three things he learned up until he was nineteen and changed his name from Chris to Ashton:

1. opportunity

2. being sexy

3. living life

I am not sure if working on the Steve Jobs movie (opening today in theatres) has given Mr. Kutcher these epiphanies or if the depth of his character has been hiding in the shadows when the bright lights are shining on him. What I do know is that he presented a fantastic message to the group in society who needs most to be encouraged in this way.

After listening to his speech, I too would have to say he was a wise choice.

In case you missed it, or do not have the time to watch, here are the three things he shared”

1. “opportunity looks alot like hard work”

2. “the sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap … I promise you”

3. “build a life, don’t live one”

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coffee-beans-and-womans-handsYesterday I wrote about the struggle to make coffee before having had that first cup of morning coffee, in my post Making Coffee.

There are many tasks that are difficult to accomplish without first having gotten to the main event.

It can be difficult to get a job without having experience.

It can be difficult to make a recipe when you have never tasted the food it makes.

It can be difficult to play football against a team you have no prior experience competing against.

Such is the same when it comes to faith in a living God.

To believe in the existence of, in the power of, the living God, one needs to have faith in what is unseen, not experienced.

Many people say, “if I could only see God, or see Him perform a miracle, then I would have faith in Him.”

Faith does not work that way!

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.” We cannot have that assurance, that certainty in God without first going through the leap of faith to believe what we can only hope for, what we cannot even see.

It would be so much easier to believe in God if He would just simply show Himself to us first. But we must believe first (faith), and then we will get to see. The apostle Paul said, “for we live by believing and not by seeing” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

faith first

sight second

Paul continues his focus on faith and sight in Romans (8:24) “for in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

Faith breeds hope … faith breeds trust …

… faith before sight …

Coffee would be easier to prepare in the morning if only we could have a cup first.

But …

make coffee before taste

Faith would be easier if we only got to see God, face to face.

But …

faith before sight.

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