Initially, ‘Glasses of Grace’ started because my niece, Grace, had to get glasses for reading. Since grace is such a spiritual topic and the fact that my niece is such a doll, I started thinking about the ways God shows us His grace on a daily basis. From His servings, His glasses, of grace to us - to seeing the world through the eyes of grace (or Grace, since she had new glasses and better sight), it made sense in more ways than one, so a title was born. Blessings and all, this is my life…

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kate...one Super Chick!

My nieces at Christmas...Grace and Kate

My oldest niece, Kate, has an ipod and had me listen to two songs she had downloaded the other day. I must say that, even at 12 years old, she is very compassionate and has a good head on her shoulders about relationships and things that are most important in life, but I was really taken with this song she had me listen to the other night when I was at their house. For so long when she was little, I would never leave without telling her that I love her and giving her a good dose of emphasizing how special she was. I still never leave without doing that, but about a year and a half or so ago, I was leaving and she was heading off to take a bath...I was about to tell her 'bye' and that I'd see her later, then those sweet words came out of her mouth before I could say them. 'Bye Aunt Dianne...I love you.' Well, that was the first time she had REALLY beat me to saying that before I left, so needless to say, I was beyond touched that she had uttered those words first and I immediately turned around and went to get one last hug. I am so grateful that God has given me Kate as a niece and that we share the relationship that we do. She's growing up much too quickly, but even as I watch her turn into a young woman, I know the compassion and heart for others that she has now will last her whole life through. I also know that these sweet traits are what led her to love this song and I could not be more proud. The song is by a group called Superchick and I think Kate has earned a new nickname...because she IS a super chick!

We Live

There's a cross on the side of the road
Where a mother lost a son
How could she know that the morning he left
Would be the last time she'd trade with him for a little more time?
So she could say she loved him one last time
And hold him tight
But with life we never know
When we're coming up to the end of the road
So what do we do then
With tragedy around the bend?

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

There's a man who waits for the tests
To see if the cancer has spread yet
And now he asks, "So why did I wait to live till it was time to die?"
If I could have the time back how I'd live
Life is such a gift
So how does the story end?
Well this is your story and it all depends
So don't let it become true
Get out and do what we were meant to do

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

Waking up to another dark morning
People are mourning
The weather in life outside is storming
But what would it take for the clouds to break
For us to realize each day is a gift somehow, someway?
So get our heads up out of the darkness
And spark this new mindset and start to live life cause it ain't gone yet
And tragedy is a reminder to take off the blinders
And wake up and live the life we're supposed to take up
Moving forward with all the hands up cause life is worth living

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cause the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love.



Were it not for Kate, I would have never heard this song. God is good, there is no doubt!

Like never before, my prayer is that we will all live, love and treasure what we've been given in the new year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

About pictures

Don't you hate when friends post pictures on their website that are better of them than they are of you? Good thing I have a sense of humor....MAN! How funny! This was from my visit this past weekend to see Tracey and Gary in Montgomery. SHE is the one that had all the good pics taken of her....this one is better of me than the one she chose for her blog....fewer chins! I couldn't let her get away with that other one!

And about the laughing that Tracey mentioned on her blog...this is evidence. I LOVE when she laughs as hard as in the picture below. We were cracking up! It makes me laugh to look at it, even now. She said she'd kill me if I posted it though. Hmmm...we'll see.

Thanks for a great visit Tracey...I'LL BE BACK!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Timeless truths

I was looking for some blank notecards tonight and came across this. This was the Christmas card I sent out about 3 or 4 years ago. I first read it on a sweatshirt in one of those millions of catalogs you get this time of year and just fell in love with the words. I was determined I wasn't going to stop until I found it on a card to send the next year. I lucked out and it remains one of my all-time favorites. When getting older serves to 'fine tune' the things that are most important in life, I have no complaints. Timeless truths never go out of style!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Grace

Just an update on my niece, Grace...She's lost all four teeth across the front and one of her two front teeth is growing in right in the middle of that big ol' gap! :-) I know I am partial, but it is an absolutely PRECIOUS look! I can't help but to giggle when she smiles real big though. She went to see Santa on Thursday night and even he got a kick out of how many teeth she is missing and how that one tooth is growing in right in the middle of all that gum space! I got her to let me take her picture yesterday. Once those others start coming in, I know I'll be glad I have this one.

Cute, huh?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Appreciation for Christmas and Mrs Ball

I love Christmas. I love everything that it means from a spiritual perspective, from a personal, reflective perspective and I love hearing from (and getting pictures from) people that I don’t always stay in touch with through the year. I love that Jesus and His birth and life are the focus, I love the way it touches my heart with appreciation for so many people who have been a treasured part of my life for so long. I love the way God brings people into my life every year…people who I just know are part of His plan for my life because of their influence. Sometimes these are new friends He places in my path, sometimes they are people I already know who God chooses to bring to the forefront, but every year, there are a few relationships that really stand out because they have personally ministered to me in one way or another through the year and this year has certainly been no different in that regard. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, my mind and heart are so appreciative to have yet another chance to experience the miracle of what Christmas truly means. How I pray that I never lose that feeling.





I got a Christmas card in the mail yesterday from my third grade teacher, Mrs Ball. There is a huge story behind this, but I’ll make it as short as possible. – When I was in elementary school, there was this one third grade teacher that everyone said was so mean and so hard. Her name was Mrs Ball. The night before I was to start third grade, I was in bed bawling my eyes out because I just knew I was going to get Mrs Ball and I was scared to death. My mom heard me and came into my room to ask why I was crying so hard. I explained to her that I didn’t want to get Mrs Ball for my teacher and told her I was scared. In true motherly fashion, I remember her telling me to just go to sleep, that there was more than one third grade teacher and that I may not even get her. At any rate, we would find out in the morning. Well…the next morning came, and guess what…MRS BALL! I was terrified! I couldn’t quit crying! My mom went in and got me all signed in and taken care of however it used to be done back then (WAY back then!), then came to the desk where I was sitting…still crying. I was trying to hide my face by putting stuff in my desk, etc, so the other kids wouldn’t know I was crying, but my mom just told me it was going to be okay and I’m sure patted on me a little bit. I don’t remember anything of that day after the shock of that morning. Well, needless to say, Mrs Ball wound up being a fantastic teacher who I absolutely adored. She was (and remains to be) one of the true highlights of my life and I cried just has hard when I had to leave her as I did when I had found out she was going to be my teacher. She had nicknames for everyone and she wound up being pretty dog-gone fun, but I do think she had a special place in her heart for me. She had this way of dismissing us from the lunch table and a certain smirk that I knew was just for me. She cared about her students, she read to us from the Bible before lunch every day, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance without fail. Whatever she did, she taught us right from wrong. She was the teacher God chose to give me the year my grandmother died, my mom's mom. I remember that experience and realize that it was probably her influence that truly made me begin to think of death from a spiritual perspective even at such a young age. She fed me morally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As I’ve become an adult and watched my own nieces grow up, I’ve come to realize what she poured into that class of children and I have no doubt that we were all a part of her prayers. I went back every once in a while the remainder of my years in elementary school and was always the recipient of a warm hug, warm smile and sometimes silly, but always encouraging, words.

About 4 or 5 years ago, I was talking to a friend at church whose mom was my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs Tanksley. (I absolutely adored her too, but that’s another story). This friend told me that she believed Mrs Ball was still around and still in the area, so I can’t remember exactly how I did it, but I managed to find out where she was living and got her address. By this time, my oldest niece (who is now 12) was in third grade herself, so I could see the age I was when I’d had Mrs Ball and just how young and impressionable I had been when God put her in my path. I sent her a Christmas card that year and a long letter thanking her for her influence and what she had meant to me. I went through the whole story that I just shared above and told her that I’d only had 4 teachers who had really impacted my life like she had. One was my Kindergarten teacher, one was Mrs Ball, one was a teacher in high school and the last, a teacher that I had in college. I got a Christmas card back from her that year with a sweet note thanking me for my letter, even giving me her phone number, but I’ve never called. I don’t know why though because I really would like to look her in the eyes, hug her and thank her again for the influence she has been on me, even to this day. Every year since then, hers is one of the first cards I receive, always with some sweet sentiment…this year she said, “It’s always a joy to hear from you! Hope your year has been a blessed one!”

Well, guess what Mrs Ball, my LIFE has been blessed because of people like you that care and pour their lives into mine.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A word from Max

CHRIST IN ME - - - - -
by Max Lucado

Like Mary, you and I are indwelt by Christ.

Find that hard to believe? How much more did Mary? No one was more surprised by this miracle than she was. And no one more passive than she was. God did everything. Mary didn’t volunteer to help. What did she have to offer? She offered no assistance.

And she offered no resistance. Instead she said, "Behold, the bond-slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Unlike Mary, we tend to assist God, assuming our part is as important as his. Or we resist, thinking we are too bad or too busy. Yet when we assist or resist, we miss God’s great grace. We miss out on the reason we were placed on earth-to be so pregnant with heaven’s child that he lives through us. To be so full of him that we could say with Paul, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." (Gal. 2:20)

What would that be like? To have a child within is a miracle, but to have Christ within?

To have my voice, but him speaking.
My steps, but Christ leading.
My heart, but his love beating
in me, through me, with me.
What’s it like to have Christ on the inside?

To tap his strength when mine expires
or feel the force of heaven’s fires
raging, purging wrong desires.
Could Christ become my self entire?

So much him, so little me
That in my eyes it’s him they see.
What’s it like to a Mary be?
No longer I, but Christ in me.
____________________________________
From Next Door Savior
Copyright 2003, Max Lucado

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The best friend...

This was on my calendar for last Friday:

"A friend listens with her eyes
and her heart....and understands what
you can't put into words."

I love this! Where in the world would we be without these types of friends in our lives?

When I read things like this, it humbles me in a huge way and makes me realize that I am not the only one who has ever been blessed to have friends who are able to know my heart and thoughts with only a look – when I have either been unable to speak because of a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes or when no words have been necessary. I know it happens with everyday silly things too, but it seems to mean the most in those critical turning point moments where we just need someone to stand, understand and be with us in the storms of life. I have been blessed enough to have a precious few people who immediately come to mind and for those of you who have been ‘that friend’ to me, you know who you are and I could never be more grateful. You are loved and appreciated more than you know.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Congratulations are in order!


Just a word of congratulations to my friend, Beth, who got an AWESOME new job on Friday! She will be working for Chick-Fil-A in their corporate office starting at the beginning of the new year! Compared to others' stories, it has been a very quick process for her and a total answer to prayer. It has been so cool to see how GOD HIMSELF has orchestrated every single area of this happening. I don't remember when I have been happier for a friend than I am for her right now......I am just absolutely elated!

Such an awesome company to work for, such cool, cool person for them to hire!

I couldn't be any happier or any more proud!

Congratuations, Beth! I can't wait to come have lunch with you and check out your 'new digs'!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A new development


I'm a little freaked out right now. When I got home from church tonight, I had a subpoena waiting for me in my mailbox regarding the guy who broke into my car back in August. I've never been subpoenaed before and the thought of it all makes me a little nervous. I did get a letter a few weeks ago saying that the court date was coming up, but that it was not necessary that I be there unless I just absolutely wanted to. This matched what the police told me when they fingerprinted my car back in August. They told me then that they wanted to get my prints to compare back to the ones they lifted so they would have a 'sealed' case and I probably wouldn't hear any more about it. When I got the letter a few weeks ago, I was neither worried nor concerned because nothing was taken from me, no damage was done and I just thought justice would take its course, whatever that may be. I put it out of my mind.....until tonight. I don't know why it scares me, but it does. All I know is that they had to come get me out of the choir loft that morning and I have about 1,000 witnesses to that! I don't know what this guy looks like or anything about him. I figure something must have happened at the earlier court date to make them have to subpoena me, but I just don't know. I am going to call tomorrow and see what more I can find out.

Second, believe it or not, regarding my post earlier in the week about my doctor's office, believe it or not, those prescriptions STILL have not been called in! Thursday night. I was told Monday they would be called in that afternoon, but I gave them this week because last week was a short week due to the holiday and this week I have been too busy to go pick anything up, but there is no reason why this should have not been done before now. I am going in late to work tomorrow so I can go by the doctor's office, get these prescriptions in writing so I can drop them off myself, then I am going to have lunch with my sweet 7 year old niece, Grace. I hate when my weeks are so busy that I don't get to see her or her sister as much as I want to. I usually go down there one night during the week for dinner....my sister has always been nice enough to have me over at least once a week for dinner and to spend time with them. I miss it when that can't happen! They are getting older and more involved though, so I know things will change, but for tomorrow, I am just happy to get to have lunch with Grace, even if I have to move my own schedule around to do it. Besides, tax season will be here before I know it and I won't get to have lunch with her until April!

Life is good even if I don't understand it sometimes!

Does anybody know about subpoenas or have any idea why I may have gotten one at this stage of the game? I'd be curious to know if anyone else has had any experience with this stuff.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Your greatest power...

(Sorry y'all, but I love this stuff!)

Your greatest power is the power to be.
To be more loving. To be more courageous.
To be more joyous. To be more friendly.
To be more sensitive. To be more aware.
To be more forgiving. To be more tolerant.
To be more humble. To be more patient.
To be more helpful.
To be a greater human being.

Wilfred A. Peterson
Author and Essayist

Monday, November 27, 2006

DO YOUR JOB!!!!


This post is just to vent because I am a little irriated about something.....for you Tracey, that would be "irra-irra-irritated!".....but still, the point is that I went to the doctor the week before last because the prescription I have for my blood pressure medication ran out and she wanted to see me before she would refill it. After they got my blood work back though, someone from their office called and said that they were upping my thyroid medication and putting me on something for cholesterol as well. Good heavens! I asked her to fax those readings over to me because she was saying it all so fast and I wanted to have it in my hands to look at and to compare back to prior numbers. Everything else was really good. I was a little surprised. Anyway, I don’t mind the medications and all because my dad’s family has high blood pressure and my mom is on cholesterol medication, so I just figure I get the best of both worlds! I’m glad these are things that can be controlled, my problem is with incompetent people in the office. When the girl called me last week to tell me all this, I asked her first of all if she could fax that page she was reading from over to me. She never did, so I called the next day and had someone else in their office send it to me. Second, when this girl originally called last week, I her if she could call the prescriptions in or if I needed to pick something up from their office. She told me they could call it in, so I gave her the number she needed. This was last Monday. I called the pharmacy Tuesday afternoon and they said they hadn’t heard from anyone, so I called the doctor’s office again and spoke to this same girl. She said that she hadn’t had a chance to talk to the doctor and wanted to be sure what the doctor wanted before she called it in. I calmly told her okay, but that I was hoping to have this done before the holiday weekend got here. What I wanted to say was, "Jiminy Christmas! Why do you need to talk to the doctor??? It is written there in black and white in her handwriting on the page I was faxed.....JUST DO IT!!!!" I called again Wednesday and their office was already closed for the holiday. AARRGGHHH!!!!

Well, needless to say, I haven’t heard a word yet, so I called again this morning, the Monday AFTER the holiday weekend, and spoke to this same girl. She seemed to BARELY REMEMBER our conversation last week then eventually said again that she would have to talk to the doctor and then asked ME what the prescriptions and changes were! Golly Pete.....HELLO! I reminded her of them and she is supposed to do it today, but we’ll see. My problem is now that I have church stuff all week and it’s going to be hard to get there to pick anything up without it being a real inconvenience.

DANG! I’m just irritated and want people to do their job!

Can you tell? :-)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A great article

I know I've kinda posted something like this before from my own perspective and based on a conversation with a friend, but this is worth sharing as well.
-----------------------------------------------------------

The Value of a Thank You!

Imagine yourself holding a small package of note cards. They cost around three dollars for a package of eight cards done with nice paper and with accompanying envelopes. The cost for each card is about thirty-five cents. When a postage stamp is attached, at around 40 cents, the total cost is 80 cents -- not what I would call a big investment. These small cards, although inexpensive, are one of the most affirming and valuable things you can do to show your appreciation and delight to someone who has taken time to express love, or concern, or thoughtfulness, toward you as a friend!

As you have probably already guessed, the note cards I am writing about are "thank you" notes!

So often, we assume that our friends know our appreciation for their acts of kindness. That's why so many good deeds go un-thanked. Some folks say that they don't send (or expect) thank you cards and that people just need to get use to this in them. The truth of the matter is most folks don't send thank you cards unless it is expected of them. How sad to miss such a wonderful opportunity to bless others.

Ah, but this is where the Lord knocks on the door of our hearts to give us a little reminder. He uses the apostle Paul to remind us, "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

He wants us to give thanks in everything? Even when things aren't gold plated or silver lined?

So often we forget that when things are tough in life for us, others are also suffering — sometimes in much worse ways than we ourselves are suffering. We get so caught up in our own agendas and personal struggling that we see no one but ourselves and our own disappointments. We even become blind to all of the blessings in our lives, and begin to focus only on the negative problems and difficulties.

When a friend brings by a loaf of warm banana bread and says, "I was baking today and thought that I would share a warm loaf with you," how often do we quickly accept it with a doleful, "Thank you," and then quickly devour the treat, never to think of our friend's thoughtfulness again? Out of sight, out of mind. Maybe we could say it, "Out of sight, out of thankfulness."

Perhaps a private, unnamed person sends money, or food, or clothing to you in a time of need and wishes to stay unknown? Does this mean also that they wish to remain un-thanked as well? Sending a thank you "through the grapevine" is not terribly difficult! Half the joy of giving is knowing that the item given was enjoyed by the person receiving it!

If God's will for us is to "give thanks in everything," I truly believe that he had a great reason for wanting to act on this principle.

Our human nature is often very negative and self-centered. We look for the big things in life to be taken care of rather than being aware of how many small, very important things have been given to us and provided for us. We complain about the color of our kitchen counter tops and the butcher block pattern, wishing for a new bright ivory ceramic tile. We forget to be thankful for having a place in which we can cook a hot meal or live in a country where foodstuffs are so readily available. We can complain about people touching our new carpet or furniture or messing up our house, forgetting to be thankful for the gift of friends with whom we can share the blessings God has given us! "What?" you ask.

Wow! Somebody cared!

Even in times of great sorrow and grief, there are things to truly be thankful for! How about the ability to cry? Without it, we would never understand the joy of it's opposite. Laughter! When we struggle, we usually find that it drives us to a place of re-prioritizing our way of living and eventually, we find ourselves very thankful for the crisis or event that caused us to get our lives back on track! We receive the grace of friends who support us in our sorrow. Even our hardest grief is a reminder of the blessing of a person whose absence we will deeply miss. Yes! "In everything give thanks!"

How often have you been given a small gift or a word of encouragement by a friend or a fellow employee, but have taken for granted that your thanks was graciously expressed? It shows a tremendous amount of character in an individual when she is willing to invest a few moments and around, oh say, 80 cents to send loving words of thanks! (Big
hint!)

In our society, the three words "I love you" can become shallow and empty. Often the statement "prove it" is the follow up reaction, spoken or unspoken, from the opposite party. I personally feel that the two words "thank you" can also be very "surfacy." They are often just two, quick, auto-programmed words that are just "thrown out there" due to socially expected etiquette. Underneath, in our hearts, the graciousness of what we've received escapes us.

Let's not let our lives get so busy and so self-absorbed, that we forget to communicate genuine thank you's to those who have blessed us. Let's not let our frantic lives rob us of the gift of saying "Thank you!" to others and to God.

When we take the time to quiet ourselves and write out our feelings of gratitude to someone, something truly wonderful happens -- both for them and for us. As we remember the act of kindness or gift given, we get to re-live the moment. We get to taste the feeling we had all over again! It also causes us to realize that the giver of the gift truly invested some of her or his valuable time, money, talent and soul in our life! "Wow! Somebody cared enough to take time out to show love and concern for my well-being! They proved it by their actions." So! If we really appreciate what someone has done, let's prove it by our words of thanks expressed in the form of written words they can read and keep.

I would like to challenge and encourage you to love and value those who have extended their love and friendship to you. Take time to clearly and sincerely express your thanks in written form. Friendships are deepened, relationships are strengthened, and above all the desire of God's heart for our lives is fulfilled by our giving thanks ... in everything!
---------
(c) 2006 Mary Lindow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving -


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Chris!

My friend Gina's son, Chris, turned 14 this past week. I can hardly believe he’s already that old. It has been fun to watch him grow up, but I can’t believe how quickly time has flown. I went to dinner with them and some other people for his birthday and Gina e-mailed me a few pictures, so I am posting one from the other night below so that those who haven’t seen him in a while….mainly you two, Tracey and Joan....can see how tall and cute he is. The first picture though is one of my all-time favorites. When he was little, he used to LOVE dinosaurs….I mean eat, drink and breathe them, so we were reading a book about, of all things, dinosaurs. I love when he used to lay his head on my shoulder like that and let me read to him. He was such a snuggly kid. One morning on the way to school, he asked Gina if he could be anything he wanted to be when he got to heaven. She asked him why he was asking that and what he wanted to be in heaven. His answer, “A T-REX!!” We still laugh about how adorable that was. Besides becoming a great young man, he’s a fun, thoughtful, protective friend to me as well. I’m so proud of him! It’s hard to believe he’s already almost grown!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chillin' on the chaise

I went looking for Sweet Kitty last night and she was nowhere to be seen. It was dark and she didn't answer or even stir when I called her, so I started searching, calling, pleading for her to come out....not like my house is that big, but still....you would think I could see and hear a cat! She was in the den...the same room I was in, dark as it was....totally ignoring me. I was surprised when I saw her and had to look twice because she has never really been on this piece of furniture before, but she sure seemed to have made herself at home! She was nice enough to pose for a few pictures, so I thought I'd share. What a sweet baby!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Listening and leading...


Sunday morning on the way to church, I put in a CD that I have had for a long time but never really listened to. I thought it had one particular song on it I was looking for....one that our choir has done before. It didn't, but it did have one on there that was equally as powerful. I just cried over and over all the way to church listening to it. Some songs can just do that. Anyway, I came home tonight all ready to post the words because I've been listening to it over and over in my car since Sunday, primarily with one friend in mind. BUT, I got home and had this e-mail from another sweet friend that I thought I needed to post first. I know the picture above doesn't go along with the 'horses' theme below, but it certainly exemplifies the bigger moral of the story.....listening.

Two horses

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.

If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell.

It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see.

Good friends are like this ....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle".

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And a child shall lead them -

Last night in children’s choir, we were going around the room and asking the children (Kindergarteners) what they were thankful for since Thanksgiving is on the way. Well, you know they are thankful for everything from their shoes to the hair on their head, but one sweet little girl, when it was her turn, in a precious soft-spoken voice, said, “I’m thankful for my heart.” Terri said, “That’s a great thing to be thankful for. Why are you thankful for that?” That sweet baby said, “I’m thankful for my heart because Jesus lives there….”

WOW.

Out of the mouths of babes.

14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Take the time

"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean.”
-- Henry Adams (American Historian 1838-1918)

I got this quote from a friend a couple of years ago via e-mail. It struck me as powerful, so I printed it and taped it to my computer at work. Now that I am used to seeing it there, it gets overlooked in the day to day of life, but for some reason, the topic of words and how we use them has been on my mind lately. We use so many of them in the course of a day……for speaking as well as writing, for sharing with others, for conveying both minor and important messages to people who are listening. It just makes me wonder how many words we may say that we don’t mean, how many words we leave unsaid that we really should say and how many we actually do use to encourage others. They really can have a lasting impact.

I lost a very dear friend 10 years ago this year. She was a champion of encouragement in word as well as in deed. She would call just to say hey and that she was thinking about you. She was a hugger. She was good-hearted. She was the one who had cute nicknames for everyone. She never had anything ill to say about anyone that I ever heard. She was humble. As we all do, she had her insecurities, but she was just the one that everyone loved to be around and be friends with. Unfortunately, at 33 years old, her life was cut short by a co-worker who robbed two young children of their mother, a husband of his wife, a family of their daughter and sister, and countless friends of a thoughtful, selfless example. I learned a lesson then that changed me at the very core of my being. My last conversation with her was rushed as it was one morning when I was late to work, so I was in a hurry to get off the phone and on the road. Although there is no way I could have known that would be my last conversation with her, I cannot tell you the number of times I have kicked myself for being in a hurry. It took me a long time to get past that. I was/am a little late to work most mornings (!!)……why was that one any different? Although I still hate it tremendously, time has allowed me to take comfort in the fact that almost every time she would call, I would thank her for being so good at keeping in touch and for her friendship. Since her death, I have come across several notes that she sent me in the mail that I had forgotten I had even kept. I guess I kept them because she made me feel special and appreciated. She was such an encourager. She spoke from her heart. She said what she meant and she didn’t overlook people, no matter who they were. In friendship and in life, she was the real deal.

Life experience teaches a lot of things, and as mentioned above, I learned huge lessons from her life and from her death. I learned that it’s okay to be silly. I learned that it’s okay to tell others that you love them, that you appreciate them and that they mean something to you. I learned that it’s okay to reach out to someone who may be hurting or need encouragement. I learned that it’s okay to just ‘be there’ and that words aren’t always necessary. Although I struggle with this one, I know it’s okay because I saw her live life with her whole heart. Most of all, I watched her live her life being the kind of friend that I want to be. I learned that none of us know how long we have.

Take the time
To love somebody
Oh take the time
To show someone you care
Will you have another chance to be
The answer to a prayer
Take the time
(lyrics from ‘Take the Time’ by Michael English)

Take the time. Say the words. You (and others) will be glad you did.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Wishing you...

...a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just something fun to do

This is fun. I found it on another blog site and thought it was cool, so here it is. Let me know how many people have your name. I'm curious!

HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
18
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tributes and prayers

Life has been a whirlwind lately. My sister and brother-in-law went with Justin’s mom, wife and some other family members to Ft Hood, TX last week for something they do to honor the service men and women stationed out of there who have died serving our country. Evidently they do this every 4 weeks. For some reason, I assumed they did it once a quarter or something, but when my sister told me they do this ceremony every 4 weeks, it was just another thing to drive home the impact that this war is having on so many families. From what my sister said, it was a very powerful and touching ceremony and I'm glad to know that they have something like this for these families that have lost loved ones. It is still hard to comprehend all that has happened so far this month, even to me. I still just can't imagine that Justin won't ever be there to eat my sister's cooking at Christmas again! He absolutely LOVED my sister's cooking, and she's even made the comment that she doesn't know if she'll be able to make oyster dressing again for a while. The little things like that are the hardest, you know? While they were gone to Ft Hood, I got to play ‘mom’ to two sweet girls. We had fun and stayed on schedule the whole time, believe it or not. I was glad! I am also glad that I am close enough to my nieces that I can step in and take over without too much change to their schedules. The circumstances are sad, but I was glad to be able to fill in.

Aside from all of this though, I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the topic of intercessory prayer. I suppose this is on my mind and heart so much because of all of this with Justin, but just as much, because so many people I know are going through such hard things right now. There are several people who immediately come to mind…and I don’t mean people who are acquaintances, I mean close friends. In the midst of remembering these people and praying for the needs that I know about, I have been reminded of something I read in an article once about intercessory prayer and how often we may say we will pray for a need someone has shared with us, then go away and never give it another thought.

WOW.

That is still an extremely powerful and convicting sentence to me because I am sure I have been guilty of this at some point, no matter how mindful to remember I may have tried to be. It got my attention enough to make me respect and honor the promises of prayer that I may make to others. It made me make a mental note to not let requests and needs of others fall between the cracks of a busy life. My friends deserve better than that. They have given me a glimpse into the things that are most important to them…how can I possibly not honor that?

Being single, one of my main focuses is on my friendships and the people God has placed in my life for whatever reason. The older I get, the more I realize how much I have just in relationships and I realize more and more how much of a gift I have been given in having the trust, transparency and openness that I do in my friendships. With this being the case, intercessory prayer for these friends and their needs is not only a responsibility, it is an honor, and one I am glad to fulfill!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

9Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Realities...

This was in my Sunday school book this past week and it really got my attention...

"Is there a tool that can measure how much we are like God? Maybe someone can invent a video recorder that captures our actions and gives us a percentage of how godly we are. But would that suffice? A camera that captured our actions couldn't judge our motives. Just because people read the Bible or attend church does not mean they are like God. Paul encouraged Timothy to commit himself to the spiritual disciplines so that Timothy might serve as an example to others of how to remain committed to the principles that helped him to grow in godliness."


I would venture so say we could all afford someone to come along side us with that kind of encouragement from time to time. My most immediate thought when I read this is that I certainly wouldn't want to see any measurement of how short I fall because I already know that my thoughts and my motives are not always what they should be. When I see that in print, it makes me sad and I almost cannot believe that I am putting that out there for anyone to read, but Paul didn't necessarily want to see perfection in Timothy, only that he was making progress in his growth toward godliness. We are examples to a watching world and while perfection isn't possible....a commitment to growth and progress is.....and THAT gives me hope.

And now, another picture of Justin and Flat Stanley....just because I LOVE that he did this for Grace.....


And an update on arrangements...

His funeral will be Sunday at 2:00 our church. They met with Pam and others and got it all ironed out today. He will be buried in North GA somewhere. So now they wait for the weekend. I know that many people are praying for them and I truly believe that Kathleen, Justin's wife, has that assurance in her heart. There were news crews there yesterday interviewing Kathleen, Justin's mom and my brother-in-law and I was very proud of Kathleen when I saw the reports last night. I've only been around her a few times since she and Justin were together here for such a short time, but I was amazed at the strength she seemed to have, at least on camera. I know that our prayers and God's strength are the things that are carrying her right now, I just pray that we will continue to remember them after this week is over because that's really when the hard part starts.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A hero in more ways than one...

This is a picture of Justin in Iraq. I have seen it before, but my sister brought it over tonight to have me scan some things to put on CD. I love this picture because I know Justin was proud to be doing something for our country, but if you will look at his chest, he has a little guy on him named 'Flat Stanley' that my niece, Grace, sent him in Iraq for a school project last year when she was in 1st grade. The idea is that 'Flat Stanley' is so thin he can fit in an envelope and therefore go anywhere in the world. The whole class did this project, each with their own 'Flat Stanley,' to see how far he could travel. The recipients, like Justin, would then take pictures of 'Flat Stanley' while he was out with them as they were going through their daily routine. For us regular people, it would be eating out, going to the post office, filling the car with gas, shopping, etc, but in Justin's case, he was propped on his gun, riding on some piece of equipment or whatever his day entailed. The recipients would then write a small journal about his travels. It was a fantastic project and it thrilled Justin that Grace sent this to him. He sent her a very sweet letter back telling what all 'Flat Stanley' had done, but that 'Flat Stanley' didn't like MRE's!! (....the 'meals ready to eat' that they have when they are on the go.) It was a cute, sweet note and now Grace has a fantastic thing to remember Justin by. I am sure with time she will realize what a treasure she now holds in her little hands. My brother-in-law said tonight that Justin's buddies were cutting up with him for doing this, but he told them to laugh all they wanted, he was doing it.....and he did!


I asked my sister if she had a picture or could get a picture of Justin and his wife and children from when he was home a couple of weeks ago and she didn't have any. I'm sure she will get one with time and I plan to post it so that those of you who don't know them will have an idea of who you are praying for, but my sister did have the above picture that was taken about a year ago, not too long before he left. Justin is on the left, his mom is beside him and his brother is in the back. My nieces are in the middle, then my brother-in-law and sister. After the fact, you look at pictures like this and realize how much there is that we probably take for granted in everyday life....just 'regular' events like getting together for dinner, which is where they were in this picture. Who would have ever thought that this would be one of the last times they would be together? I know I certainly didn't when I saw this picture a year ago. It truly does seem that the 'small' moments end up being the ones that mean the most, you know? This has been a very busy and very hard week for all of them just in coming to grips with the realization of what has happened, but more hard times are to come once his remains make it home, so please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Iraq hits home

This is not normally something I would post about, but I wanted to let those of you who read this know so you can pray for this family.

My sister called me about 30 minutes ago and said they just found out that their nephew, the son of one of John's sister's, was killed in Iraq. He was 21. I don't know when or how it happened yet, but she said he was a scout and was probably going into one of the areas ahead of other troops. His wife had been visiting our church and joined only a month or month and a half ago. She and Justin have a 9 month old and she also has a 4 year old child from another relationship. She is only 20 herself, so she is very young as well and to be given such a hard thing to deal with, I just can't imagine. Justin was home just two or three weeks ago, so he had not been back in Iraq long at all. From what my sister said, he had only a few weeks to go before he would have been home for good. I can't remember if the baby had been born or was just an infant when he left the first time, but he was amazed at how much she had grown. I'm glad he was able to be here and have that time with them recently. I called the church to have their family put on the prayer list and have them contacted and ministered to in some way. It's just a very sad situation all the way around and unfortunately, it is being played out with many families.....this is just the first time I have known it to happen to someone I know or someone whose family I am familiar with.

If you think about it, please keep them in your prayers, and Justin's mom too.

I appreciate it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Through the eyes of a child...

Junior high school students in Chicago were studying the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of the lesson, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following received the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal in India
3. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
4. The Panama Canal
5. The Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall


While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help."

The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

1. to touch...
2. to taste...
3. to see...
4. to hear... (She hesitated a little, and then added...)
5. to feel...
6. to laugh...
7. and to love."

The room was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. May this story serve as a reminder to all of us that the things we overlook as simple and ordinary are often the most wonderful - and we don't have to travel anywhere special to experience them.

Enjoy your gifts!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Grace....who knew?


When I first started this blog, never in a million years did I imagine that God would use it to bring the topic of ‘grace’ to the forefront of my life like He has. The blog title ‘Glasses of Grace’ started because my niece, Grace (7), had to get glasses for reading. With grace being such a spiritual topic and the fact that my niece is such a doll (and yes, I know I am partial), it seemed only natural to use that word in the title somewhere. I started thinking about the ways that God shows His grace to us on a daily basis....His servings.....His glasses....of grace to us, then it went to seeing the world through the eyes of grace (or Grace, since she had new glasses and better sight). It made sense in more ways than one, so a title was born.

What I could not have realized though is how God would begin putting this topic in my path everywhere I turn. It’s like God started saying to me, ‘Okay...you’re going to act like you recognize it and practice it, so I am going to make sure you know what grace is all about!’ Not long after I started blogging, I realized that this was becoming a recurring topic in my life and with all of this totally unknown to the person from whom I got it, I was given the book ‘Putting a Face on Grace’ by Richard Blackaby. It was a good book and it drove me to see how we can often show grace to others in the circumstances of everyday life. The pieces continued to fall into place.

In the spiritual realm, I’ve always heard of grace defined as ‘God’s unmerited favor,’ and although I have never thought I deserved Jesus going to the cross for my sins, I don’t know that I’ve grasped the true spectrum of God’s grace until these last two or three months. That realization alone has broken me several times lately. I am just amazed that I have lived this much of my life being a Christian and knowing what I know, but not having a full grasp of what grace truly is! It is amazing how God works to put things in our lives that we need to drive us closer to Him....even something as simple as a blog name. Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

In addition to God’s grace though, there is the issue of showing grace to others. I’ve not ever viewed ‘going the extra mile’ or ‘turning the other cheek’ as being an act of grace toward others, yet as I read the book mentioned above, my thinking began to change. I started seeing how what I have always viewed as being kind and/or helpful in everyday circumstances can actually encourage others and show them a measure of grace that they may need to experience in their life as well. For every person we meet, we can only see what is in front of us or what they share with us. There may be specific reasons that people are put in our path and God can use that contact with us to give them hope or a better outlook if we are just attentive to God’s leading. My neighbor, a single mom, was sharing with me one night how her grandmother had died just a few days before. Although I don’t really know her very well yet, I knew she was trusting me with something that was a huge personal loss to her. I gave her my copy of '90 Minutes in Heaven' to read. There is no way I could have known the questions she had or how much she evidently needed to read that book, but while we were walking one night a week or so later, she made the comment, “I told my friend at work today that God must have told you to give me that book to read because it has answered so many questions I’ve had.” Then I saw her a few weeks ago and she made the comment that she’s lived this much of her life and now finds herself questioning everything she has ever done. I know the loss of her grandmother has been a huge wake-up call to her. I’m not patting myself on the back for giving her that book by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I saying that I realize every time these opportunities happen, but it is cool to see how God can use us and our actions in others lives if we pay attention. I didn’t really think I was doing anything except giving her a cool book to read that gave specifics about heaven, but God evidently spoke to her through that book and I was humbled when she told me what she told her co-worker. You just never know.

There are times when it isn’t that easy to be obedient though and I am sort of experiencing that right now. In the scope of life, it is a very minor thing and I probably shouldn’t even really share this, but since I am putting my ‘lessons’ out there, this is part of it. People who know me know that once my mind is made up about something, it is usually hard to make me change my mind, but without going into detail, one circumstance has been dropped in front of me recently that I am just going to have to accept and deal with, probably for the long haul. I’m not thrilled about it and I hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it has and as much as I don’t want to, I am going to have to accept it. I have no doubt that this is God forcing me to be kind and show grace when I really just want to roll my eyes and make it go away, but I am also realizing that He is only asking me to give what He has already given to me, only on a much smaller scale. I mean, what if HIS mind had already been made up?? THAT is a scary thought. Very scary!

So I say all this to say that God is working on me about the issue of grace, both personally and with others……and it all started with this blogging experience! It is amazing to think about it that way and how many times God has put the topic of grace in front of me recently. The reality is that He can use whatever He wants to in order to put us where He wants us to be, I’m just glad He has chosen a creative way this time! I have had to learn other lessons that haven’t been quite as ‘fun,’ as I’m sure we all have. As I said above, I am simply dumbfounded that I have lived this much of my life and not totally grasped the depth of it as I should have. Right now, I can tell that I am growing and learning……about grace as a whole……in giving grace and receiving it. It feels good and I am thankful.

I know this is a longer than normal blog for me, but I’ve been carrying these things around in my mind and heart for a while and just needed to get them out. I really appreciate those of you who read this that bear with me through the ‘every day’ of life. I know I still have a long way to go, but at least the ball is rolling……God is at work and I am excited about that...

"Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace"

Life changing words, no doubt.

Friday, September 22, 2006

All for one...(and one for all!)



"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face us with the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."---Henri Nouwen


Tracey, I just wanted to thank you for your call yesterday, but most of all, for knowing in your heart that so many of us here stand with you as these days with your dad unfold. We are all powerless, but we love you, we care and you have our support. Remember that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Influence



"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
-- Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What a bunch of people!


WOW! We had a family reunion at my dad's today. HUGE crowd.....70 people were there....or at least that's where we lost count! Guess that's what you get when there are 15 kids in a family! I know this doesn't mean much to anyone but me, but I couldn't help but to blog about it. I tried to post a picture of the whole crowd, but it was nowhere near clear enough, so above is a picture of my dad (middle row on the right), four of his brothers and four of his sisters. Five uncles and one aunt are missing! MAN...what a lot of people! Maybe they'll be able to make it next year. Anyway, the oldest (front row on the right) is 71 and the youngest (front row on the left) is 46....a 25 year age span! What a grandma I had, huh? haha. And believe it or not, she was shorter than me...poor woman! She actually had 18 kids, but three died in infancy. In the middle of the front row is my grandmother's sister. Today is her birthday. I have no idea how old she is, but I absolutely love her to pieces. She is a treasure. We laugh until we can hardly breathe every time I am around her and we are soul-mates from the word go. It's nice to have people like that in your own family.

SO anyway, I am pooped, and even if I didn't know all the people there, it was a fun day!

Friday, September 15, 2006

New post in Beta



I switched to Beta too and these pictures are just to test how quickly they would upload. I do want to say to you though Tracey that the first one is of me and Beth. She signed that birthday card we sent and is one cool friend. She's one of those people that, once you meet her, you will think you've known her your whole life! She's just fun. I used to pass her in the hall at church before we met and think, "I bet we'd be friends if I knew her!" haha. How funny is that? I was right! Michelle took this picture at the reception for Pam on August 6 (or I believe that was the date). She's just cool and I've been meaning to post this one so you could have a face to put with a name. The second, of course, not to be left out, is Sweet Kitty. She was taking a little siesta last Saturday morning just relaxing and looking out my bedroom window, so ever the camera ready mom, I had to get a picture. At least both her eyes are open....usually she blinks or turns her head. You know how they are....

Anyway, on to posting so I can see how quickly that happens in this new mode....so far, so good!

Monday, September 11, 2006

In God We Trust


I read the following shortly after September 11, 2001 and after reading it again today, am reminded of the unity and comraderie that we had in the aftermath of this horrific event. There are few events and images that have shaken America and the world to its core and had everyone transfixed. Of course, television hasn't been around for all of them, but most notably, the death of President Kennedy, the death of Diana (although not an attack, a shock nonetheless), and now the images of September 11, 2001. I was less than two years old when Kennedy was shot, but in watching the retrospectives over time, grainy as they are, I can't help but to imagine that the sadness and the way we feel about the events of September 11 in some way reflects the shock and horror Americans felt they were experiencing then as well. It only takes a couple of good pictures from either of these events, to know what Americans were feeling. In both cases, there was, and for us still remains, such uncertainty about the future, such shock that anyone could, indeed even would, think to commit such atrocities. It is still so very unthinkable, but this is the world in which we now live. Despite border control issues and things that we think are so important on a daily basis, tragedy has a way of driving us to our knees, to realize what's important...and to God. He can make himself known even in the worst of circumstances, our job is just to trust and hold tight to His promises.

He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you' —Hebrews 13:5

Thank heaven!

On Monday We E-mailed Jokes
Author Unknown

On Monday we emailed jokes.
On Tuesday we did not.

On Monday we thought that we were secure.
On Tuesday we learned better.

On Monday we were talking about heroes as being athletes.

On Tuesday we relearned who our heroes are.

On Monday we were irritated that our rebate checks had not arrived.
On Tuesday we gave money away to people we had never met.

On Monday there were people fighting against praying in schools.
On Tuesday you would have been hard pressed to find a school where someone was not praying.

On Monday people argued with their kids about picking up their room.

On Tuesday the same people could not get home fast enough to hug their kids.

On Monday people were upset that they had to wait 6 minutes in a fast food drive through line.
On Tuesday people didn't care about waiting up to 6 hours to give blood for the dying.

On Monday we waved our flags signifying our cultural diversity.
On Tuesday we waved only the American flag.

On Monday there were people trying to separate each other by race, sex, color and creed.
On Tuesday they were all holding hands.

On Monday we were men or women, black or white, old or young, rich or poor, gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian.
On Tuesday we were Americans.

On Monday politicians argued about budget surpluses.
On Tuesday grief stricken they sang 'God Bless America'.

On Monday the President was going to Florida to read to children.

On Tuesday he returned to Washington to protect our children.

On Monday we had families.
On Tuesday we had orphans.

On Monday people went to work as usual.

On Tuesday they died.

On Monday people were fighting the 10 commandments on government property.
On Tuesday the same people all said 'God help us all' while thinking 'Thou shall not kill'.

It is sadly ironic how it takes horrific events to place things into perspective, but it has. The lessons learned this week, the things we have taken for granted, the things that have been forgotten or overlooked, hopefully will never be forgotten again.
Author Unknown

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Love Lucy....and Ethel

I don’t normally read Oprah’s magazine, but I bought the August issue because the topic was friendship and there was an interview with Oprah and her friend, Gail King. I knew they had been friends for years, before fame and fortune really hit, but just being honest, I have always thought that Gail was sort of ‘riding on Oprah’s coattails.’ Once I read that article, I didn’t necessarily think that to be the case as strongly as I did before and even caught myself laughing at one or two instances where it was obvious that Gail still thinks of Oprah as a regular person, no matter what the rest of the world may think. Oprah was actually very frank about Gail too, so it was a nice, everyday glimpse into a relationship that is overshadowed by fame and big lifestyles. I was quite impressed with both of them and I admit the errors in my thinking. I was wrong.

In that same batch of stories though was another one about two other friends that we all know and love. We know them as Lucy and Ethel and I just wanted to share this because we ALL grew up knowing about Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel.


It’s not really a long story, but I thought this was intriguing from an article by Madelyn Pugh Davis, one of the writers of I Love Lucy:

‘The first time Lucille Ball met Vivian Vance, at a script reading for I Love Lucy, she wasn’t sure she was right for the role of Ethel Mertz. "You’re too attractive," Lucy said. "I want a dumpy landlady wearing an old terry cloth robe and fuzzy slippers, with rollers in her hair." Vivian answered, "You got her. That’s exactly how I look in the morning when I get out of bed." Lucy shot her a skeptical ‘we’ll see’ look. But then we read the script and it was obvious to Lucy and everyone that Vivian was the perfect Ethel. Thus began a friendship that lasted all their lives, on and off the screen.’

‘Someone once asked Lucy if she looked at her old shows on TV. She said, "Sometimes. And when I do, I watch Viv." She had a good point. Whenever Lucy was doing one of her hilarious scenes, the camera usually cut to Ethel to catch the look of disbelief on her face, which made everything even funnier. The two actresses had great admiration for each other’s talent. Vivian respected Lucy, the fabulous comedian, and Lucy respected Vivian, the great reactor, known in comedy as a second banana.’

The article went on to tell of a specific time when Lucy didn’t want to do a scene that they had written for her involving an elephant. She was scared to death. It was Vivian who finally coaxed her, ever so subtly, into doing it by telling her, "If you don’t want to do that hilarious scene, I will." Not to be upstaged, Lucy did the scene.

The article ended with this though:

‘When Lucy did her last series, Life with Lucy, in which she played a grandmother, she didn’t want a character to play her "best girlfriend ." Vivian had died and Lucy couldn’t stand the thought of replacing her. For a long time after Vivian’s death, Lucy would tear up whenever she talked about her. Everyone needs a best girlfriend she can confide in, someone who will always tell the truth and back her up. It really helps when you’re doing a comedy show, and it doesn’t hurt in real life, either.’

I don’t really know what my point is here except to say that I loved this article because, to me, it goes to show that whether famous like Oprah and Gail or Lucy and Vivian, we all have need of people who are real friends. I loved ‘Lucy and Ethel’ growing up (and still do!), but even more, I love the fact that they were such friends in real life too. Fame and fortune can buy many things, but at the base of it all, it is heartwarming to me to know that even famous people are sometimes like us ‘regular folk’ in that we all need friends to encourage, support and simply to share life, no matter what scale we live it on.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A sweet girl turns 12


My oldest niece, Kate, turned 12 this past Wednesday and there was a birthday party for her today. These are pictures. They had a great time. This is, of course, a fun pyramid shot that they insisted on doing. I would have hated to have been on the bottom! Kate is the one in the middle row on the right hand side.







......Another friend shot. There are never enough of those! Kate is second from the right on the top row.








One sweet birthday girl...




This is Grace, the little sister, who got dog poop on her foot because she wasn't wearing shoes! After this, she decided shoes weren't such a bad idea after all!





This was a VERY fun party. They had a scavenger hunt. My sister had gone around town and taken pictures just enough that they had to try to figure out what it was a picture of...like the corner of the Best Buy sign, the top of a fire hydrant or something, then she had three or four sets developed, one set for each team. There were 10 pictures, three drivers and 8 girls, including Grace, so off we went in search of the items. We 'drivers' let the girls figure out the clues and tell us where to go, so armed with pictures, check-off lists and digital cameras, off we went. These girls are VERY competitive! I felt like I was on 'Amazing Race' or something. It was a great idea! My hat is off to my sister for finding that idea and following up on it so well. Once we all got back, they had a taco bar for dinner, looked at the pictures from the scavenger hunt, played outside for a bit, then had a cookie cake and ice cream bar for dessert. It thrills my soul that Kate has such good friends. They all had an absolute blast and I told my sister I think this was one of the best parties ever!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Are you using your gifts?


Grace is spending the night with me tonight (Kate is having friends over for her birthday which was this week. I am keeping Grace so the older kids can have some time alone), so I will post a picture or something about that later, but in the meantime, this came via e-mail this morning and it is too thought-provoking not to share...


The Good Steward
Stacy Hawkins Adams

Thanks to one of my neighbors, my third grader is developing a green thumb. The opportunity is a reminder that God can and will provide the means for us to blossom where we're planted, because if my daughter had to rely on my example, her gardening skills might qualify her for a "semi-green thumb" instead.

This neighbor and her husband left the country yesterday with a group of the middle school students they both teach. The couple is traveling to Thailand with the youth for an international sports competition.

While preparing for the 10-day trip, they realized they'd need someone to care for the beautiful hanging plants that adorn their front porch.

So over the weekend, the wife came over and asked for my daughter's assistance. She brought a watering jug and transported the six plants to our backyard, where they're providing a splash of color and beauty that is breathtaking.

Yesterday, as my daughter carefully filled the jug to the rim and slowly watered each plant at its root, her confidence level visibly increased. She was proud that an adult (besides a parent) had believed she could handle such an important job.

Entrusting her with a task that could mean life or death for these plants was akin to telling her that she is smart, responsible and good at caring for something and someone besides herself.

As I watched her work, I thought about the similarities between her experience and the relationship God seeks to develop with us.

Just as my neighbor handed over her beloved plants to my daughter for safekeeping, God has given us talents, gifts, dreams, opportunities and relationships to nurture into something beautiful.

Yet how many of us ignore the whispers from deep within to follow a certain path or complete a longed-for goal? How many of us who are given important tasks devote so much time to assessing the obstacles that we give up before we've really begun?

When we make those choices, have we considered that we may, in a sense, be telling God we really don't believe He has the power and the wisdom to see us through?

Have we considered that we're sending Him the message that He must have made a mistake when He gave us a particular set of skills or personal connections, because there's no way we can accomplish what's set before us?

If your gift is singing, are you using it today in some way that brings God glory - whether through participating in a church choir, recording an album, or entertaining an older friend or relative?

If you have the ability to naturally encourage others, do you regularly cheer people who cross your path in moments of crisis, despair, fear or doubt?

If you're a parent, guardian, or someone who plays a significant role in the life of a child, are you preparing that youth to someday fulfill his or her life's purpose? Certainly, that purpose may not be readily event, but do you consider your presence pivotal in helping that youth discover where God is leading?

My daughter's future could include a long-term affinity for gardening. It's too early to tell.

At the very least, she'll be better prepared to assist with the Children's Garden her school planted last spring as a teaching tool for the students.

More importantly, I hope she'll learn a lesson that many adults would do well to remember: When God blesses you with an opportunity, it's often preparation for where He wants to take you next - only if you're willing and trusting enough to go.

James 1:16-18 - Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

May we ALL be aware of the opportunities before us......I know lots of them probably get by me unnoticed!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fun, friends and 40!!!

My friend faces 40 with dread

I try to tell her it's all in her head,

but she'll hear none of that,

she's ready for combat --

she's 39 and holding instead!


Tracey,

A joke of course, but in all seriousness, I am so grateful for your birthday because it is a chance to celebrate YOU. In thinking about what I would write this week (and believe me, I have racked my brain all week!), I’ve been trying to remember how we actually met, but for the life of me, I just can’t. It seems like I simply went to Jay’s Sunday school class one Sunday, we talked and that was it.....friends ever since.

I want you to know that I have honestly met few (and I do mean few) people in my life that I’ve had an instant connection with, but you happen to be one of them. No need to get to know each other....it was just ‘BOOM’......and you were there! Solid as they come. It was so much fun when you lived here but perhaps what touches my heart and means even more is that we’ve been able to maintain and even deepen our friendship since you’ve moved. I simply don’t know what to say. The older I get, the more I appreciate these things and more than you know, I appreciate you giving me a friendship that is still so solid. You remain just as important to me as ever and I am grateful.

I love you and hope you have an excellent day, Tracey......one that is filled with every blessing you deserve. I wish we could all be there to celebrate with you.....

You are loved and appreciated.

Welcome to your 40's....you'll have a blast....I promise! :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Test yourself

I have a couple of things I am thinking through before I blog them, but I came across this puzzle.....challenging to say the least:

There are 30 books of the Bible in this paragraph. Can you find them? This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the book in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi lemonade booth set a new sales record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, the books are all right there in plain view hidden from sight. Those able to find all of them will hear lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind that punctuation and spacers in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember there is no need for a mad exodus, there really are 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in the paragraph waiting to be found.

I printed this out so I could write on it to keep track. I found them all, but it took about 45 minutes or so. Just a little something to keep our brains sharp...I'm all about a challenge!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Life lessons...from kids and adults


I won't bother explaining why I came across these, just enjoy!

10. I've learned that first graders are the only ones who think it's cute when their teeth fall out. -- Age 25

9. I've learned that when you're at a family picnic, you shouldn't say you don't like what you're eating because the person sitting next to you might have prepared it. -- Age 18

8. I've learned that every time I tell my mom that I'm bored, she tells me to go clean my room. -- Age 13

7. I've learned that 'yuck' is not the best response when your mom tells you what's for dinner. -- Age 12

6. I've learned that when your grandma says your feet smell a little, they really stink. -- Age 12

5. I've learned that I shouldn't call my identical sister ugly. -- Age 12

4. I've learned that you should never tell your little brother that you're not going to do what your mom told you to do. -- Age 12

3. I've learned that when you are really stressed out, the cure is to put two miniature marshallows up your nose and try to 'snort' them out. -- Age 11

2. I've learned that if you cut your meatloaf into pieces, your parents will think you ate some of it. -- Age 11

And my personal favorite:

1. I've learned that when I eat fish sticks, they help me swim faster because they're fish. -- Age 7

Even with all this 'wisdom' though, perhaps the best truth is this:
I've learned that no matter how old or how experienced you are, you can always learn something from a child. -- Age 20

Monday, August 21, 2006

Small word, big meaning...



I guess since my life is pretty much the same day in and day out, I can’t imagine that much that happens in it would be of interest to anyone, so I find that I am using this mode of communication to share things that are on my mind or that have caught my attention in one way or another. If you find these blogs boring, just disregard and check back later......maybe there will be something of interest in the future.....who knows! That’s the beauty of blogging!

My thoughts right now though are of a simple word that caught my attention the other night and I have had it on my mind since it was spoken. That one word is ‘thanks.’

I called a friend over the weekend who has been going through a super tough time lately. I called because I wanted to talk to her, know how she was doing and just catch up. We had a great conversation, funny and serious, then before we hung up, she said, "Thanks Dianne, for making me LAUGH!" Now we never have a problem laughing together....that gut level laugh that always feels so good....and even joke about how much we think alike, but knowing what all she has been through and just the inflection in her voice, I knew she meant those words from her heart. I think the inflection of it is what has stuck with me the most. I said something to blow it off like it was no big deal, but for some reason, even days later, I keep hearing those words of thanks in my head and it is making a huge impression. It was just a sweet thing to say and it meant a lot to me that she felt I was able to help get her mind off things even for a little bit, but in turning it around, it has made me wonder if I say ‘thanks’ as often as I should to people who make a difference at certain times when I may need it. I do make a habit of saying ‘thanks’ to cashiers in stores, to people who hold the door open for me, to waiters and waitresses, to people I work with, etc, but I wonder if I say, ‘thanks for listening,’ ‘thanks for thinking of me,’ ‘thanks for helping with that,’ ‘thanks for including me,’ ‘thanks for.....(whatever may be happening),’ as often as I should (and with the emphasis that I should) to the people who really do have a place in my life. Granted it has been a while since I have had a true crisis situation to deal with, but I want to be mindful that I never show more gratitude to a stranger who is passing through my life than I do to friends or family, crisis situation or not.

Life is just filled with SO many lessons. It took nothing more than a heartfelt conversation with a friend to show me how much simple words can mean when they are from the heart. I have no doubt that we are made to be encouragers, but isn’t it funny how we can both GIVE and RECEIVE encouragement at the same time?

I was the one thanked, but I was on the receiving end the other night in a BIG way. I stand amazed at how God works!

"Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Take the time......it is definitely worth it.