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…
A song by Chris Rice, but also an undeniable truth –
Nothing much has really gone on with me out of the ordinary this week, but I did have the opportunity on Tuesday to go to a luncheon shower for one of the first children I ever babysat – she turns 30 on November 30 this year! EEK! I know I am aging myself to say that, but I will say, even further back, that her oldest brother was the very first child I kept and that has probably been about 34-35 years ago! We all laughed about that…..I absolutely do not know where the time has gone. Anyway, it was a small crowd for a shower, but as I sat there, I couldn’t help but to feel a bit nostalgic about what this family has meant to me for the bulk of my life. There is so much to say about them and what they have meant, but in making a very long story short, there are some things in life that you ‘just do.’ This shower was one of them. Work has been incredibly busy this month and I really didn’t have the time to take off, but since they have been like family to me since I was about 9-10 years old, there was really no discussion on the matter. There is no way I would have been anywhere else. It was wonderful to see the mom and daughter, but as nostalgic and sentimental as I get from time to time, it has made me very mindful of the impact that our lives can have on each other.
From my perspective, as a child at the time, literally 9 or 10 years old, the mom in this family was more of a friend to me than an ‘authority figure’ and is truly the first person I consciously remember God bringing into my life to make a real difference as a spiritual influence. Even though there was a 10 year age span or so (she and her husband were newlyweds), we developed a special friendship in that I would always race next door to tell her my newest joke (which I, of course, thought she was just DYING to hear), help with whatever she needed done, and eventually be the babysitter for the children mentioned above. She always made me feel like we were friends, and for that, I remain grateful to this day. Of course, time passed, they moved, I grew up and so much of life has changed, but I have absolutely no doubt that God put her in my life as a spiritual influence, an encourager and a role model. Age has helped me to see these truths soooo clearly and He has also provided us with a friendship that endures even to this day. The ‘moments’ we have shared are priceless and it was very sweet to sit across from her on Tuesday just knowing how God has worked in my life by her example and our friendship.
In tying all this together, this Chris Rice song came to mind because we are all given opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of the people we come into contact with whether casually or closely, and whether with a child or an adult. I'm sure I am as guilty as anyone else of letting those moments slip by unnoticed on occasion, but we never know when God may drop someone into our path that we may be able to encourage for a lifetime, or even for a day. We all have the same number of moments in a day, and our use of them can be powerful………
"I get so distracted by my bigger schemes
Show me the importance of the simple things
Like a word, a seed, a thorn, a nail
And a cup of cold water
You know the number of my days
So come paint Your pictures on the canvas in my head
Yardwork. Man alive if that is one thing I have not spent much time on, nor had much interest in, in my life! This whole home ownership thing has been a huge learning curve for me, but I have to say that I have enjoyed it. I am posting this picture because those who have been to my house know that when I bought it, there were two ugly trees out front where that big bed with one tree is now (other plants will join that tree later). I had the yucky trees taken down about two months ago and got other trees and plants from my dad's tree farm. I had two trees taken down and between the front and back yards, had 7 put in! My sister has a horticulture degree, so she is the one that decided what needed to be done. Believe me, I had NO idea what to even say I wanted! Keeping all of it watered has been a job, but it think it is all finally starting to settle in, so I thought it was time to post a picture...besides the fact that I slaved away when I got home today getting my grass cut in hopes of that ever elusive rain that they are sort of promising for the weekend...or at least that is what I last heard. Good gosh it was hot and I was WAY tired by the time I got though with of it, but it looks crisp and maintained right now, so I knew I better be snapping! Unfortunately, it won't last long!
A friend of mine has a devotional journal that she keeps online....the link on mine titled 'Inspirational Journey.' Below is one of the first posts she wrote. I don't know why this has been on my mind so much today since I was practically secluded in my office and didn't even see the light of day, but it has been on my mind LOTS, so I thought I would pass it along. It is sort of 'heavy' compared to what everyone else is posting today, but it is certainly worthwhile. She uses several 'everyday occurences' as the basis for her writings, so if you are ever in the mood for a good devotional, you should check it out. This one in particular is one of my favorites:
"Here’s an animated thought. What if our words could be seen? What if every time we spoke a word it would take form before our eyes? What would our words look like? Maybe our words would become what they represent, like the word “flower” would come out looking like a flower, and then literally turn into a flower. That’s easy, but what would abstract words look like? What would hate, love, selfishness or generosity look like? Maybe if we could actually see our words hanging in the air we would be careful how we use them. After all we would not want to bump into them later. I know I’ve spoken many words that I would not enjoy bumping into.
Since we can’t see our words after we speak them, we should remember that our words hang in the heart of each person they are spoken to, and they do take on a life of their own. Our words have the power to harm or heal, encourage or tear down. Proverbs 18:21 says, “… Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Then there’s that verse in Ephesians 4:29 that says, “When you talk do not say harmful things, but say what people need-words that help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” (NCV) Let us daily ask for the Lord’s help to make our words beautiful, and edifying. Sincerely let’s pray “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Since Tracey got busy posting pictures of her cats, I decided I needed to weigh in on the debate too, so, not one to be left out, here is mine....
Now THIS is one sweet kitty........literally! Actually, I am ashamed to say that 'Sweet Kitty' is her name since I was unable to think of one that I liked well enough to use....I found myself, when I would talk to her, saying 'Hey Sweet Kitty...' and never thinking beyond that, so it just sort of stuck. These days, she answers to 'Sweet Kitty,' 'Sugar,' or 'You dumb cat!'.....whichever one seems more applicable at the time.....It is probably about even on all counts! Actually, she came from a litter my sister had at her house and when I got her, I got another one as well. I got them back in 2001, I believe, and they were inside cats for a while, but after about 4 or 5 months of that, it was time to hit the big outdoors! Unfortunately, this is when I lived across the street from the church...I rounded the corner by the Worship Center on my way home one day and saw the other one had gotten hit, so hence, that left me a single cat owner, both literally and figuratively. She is sweet though and this picture was taken back in January. I was getting ready for work and she perched herself right there in my sink and begged me to take her picture. She's not big on being photographed, so when she begs (or at least cooperates), I comply. As they say, 'Dogs have owners.....Cats have staff.' As lovable as they are, this is true! To Jennifer, I say, 'Go for it.' They are independent, but it is WAY worth it!
Okay, so I spent a day not doing much more than getting this blog set up and figuring out how to upload pictures, talking on the phone, watching almost week’s worth of Days of Our Lives (don’t tell anyone!), and taking a nap, but I did go to Wal-Mart tonight for a few essentials. So as I’m standing in line to pay for my stuff and start to unload it from my cart, the lady in front of me turns around and starts looking my stuff over. I smile at her, wonder what she’s thinking about these items that are soon to be mine, and believe she’s just looking around waiting for her turn to pay, but then she says, “Wow….the big thing of orange juice!” I just said, “Yeah….” Then she says, “I can’t drink that anymore, it gives me heartburn too bad these days…” So I just smiled at her….I didn’t really know what to say, I don’t guess. Just stood there….looking and smiling…..smiling and looking. You know me. I mean, what do you say besides, "Ohhh"? Luckily it was her turn to pay soon after that, so she moved on and proceeded to tell the cashier that she and her friend were on their way to see their boss and they thought it would be nice to take his wife some flowers…..It just struck me funny….then she and her friend bounded out of the store on to their next mission…
Some people reach out to others no matter where they are.....Maybe I should take some lessons.....Who knows what I may be missing!
With several of my friends doing this now and knowing how much I have enjoyed reading their posts, I have been thinking about joining the ranks of the blogging world for days. I wasn't going to do it though until I had a screen name and a blog name I was happy with. My screen name comes from a nickname that I was given by a friend's child many years ago...he is well into his teens now, yet the name has somehow stuck, but that's okay because it's always nice to have a nickname that comes from special people and special times. The blog name is another story.....I have two nieces who I absolutely adore....Kate, who is 11, very soon to be 12, the other is 7. Her name is Grace. She knows the song isn't about her, but every time 'Amazing Grace' is sung in her presence, she blushes! haha. The theme of her third birthday party was 'Amazing Grace,' so that is probably where that thought started, but it is funny to watch her. At any rate, Grace had to get glasses a couple of weeks ago for reading and she was SO excited because her older sister wears glasses or contacts too. In thinking about this blogging experience and wanting to have a good name, somehow 'Glasses of Grace' just seemed like a good name because it is so easy to look around and see how many glasses we are given of God's grace every day....from the small miniscule provisions that we may not even think about to the huge things that can only be acts of God. So while I am new to this mode of communication, I am excited to have a new way to correspond with friends, near and far, and hopefully we can all share our 'Glasses of Grace' together!