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…

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.

Friday, August 18, 2006

"At Day's End"


Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight in parting
with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother
of the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing
over what you did or said;
Does the man whose hopes were fading
now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness
or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber
do you think that God will say,
"You have earned one more tomorrow
by the work you did today"?

-- John Hall

This has LONG been one of my favorite poems. I continue to be reminded that we don't always know what another person may be going through so my prayer is that we would all take the time to be this kind of blessing to someone each and every day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My namesake and my mom



This is from the wedding I went to on Saturday night....the end of my busy week. It is a picture of my mom (on the right) and her friend Brenda, one of her best friends that I am named after. (The other person I am named after is Brenda's sister, Dianne....funny, huh?) Anyway, it was a very nice wedding...absolutely HUGE, but very nice. Unfortunately Brenda's husband died last March, so the bride's nephew gave her away. That was both extremely sweet and sad at the same time....my sister didn't even need to look at me, she just passed the tissues! Good thing she knows me so well!

Anyway, my mom sent me this picture tonight, so I thought I would post it along with a funny story from when they were teenagers. My mom didn't have the best home life with my grandparents, so she spent LOADS of time with Brenda and her family growing up. One time when they were teenagers, before they could drive, they were in the car with Brenda's mom, Mrs Bowman and they asked her to drive by the house of this guy that was good looking and they sort of liked. Well, this guy lived in a cul-de-sac and was out in the yard cutting grass, so my mom and Brenda both hit the floorboard to hide so they wouldn't be seen as Mrs Bowman went down there to turn around. Brenda was yelling at her mom (rather anxiously!), "Just turn around....turn around mama!" So, here's what Mrs Bowman does...she rolls down the window and hollers, "David....DAVID....I have Brenda and Anna Jean over here hiding in the floorboard. They just wanted to drive by and say 'hey'!" Brenda is, in the meantime yelling at her mom, 'MAMA!!!......Just go!' If my memory serves me correctly, he came over and poked his head in the window and spoke to them! This story STILL makes me laugh to this day. Brenda's spirit is infectious and I just adore her, but with a mom like that, it is easy to see where that comes from! I was glad to get a chance to visit with Brenda and her mom last night. I asked my mom how old Mrs Bowman is now and my mom said she has to be at least 81 or so, but she still looks great, has a sharp mind and has her fantastic sense of humor. If I get a picture of her via e-mail, may post it too just because I love her and want to.

Aren't blogs great?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Time flies


(Not an original, of course, but applicable to children and adults in our lives...I know it spoke to me!)

One Sunday I was entertained in a farm home of a member of a rural church. The intelligence and unusually good behavior of the only child in the home, a little four-year-old boy, impressed me. Then I discovered one reason for the child's charm.

The mother was at the kitchen sink, washing the intricate parts of the cream separator when the little boy came to her with a magazine.

"Mother," he asked, "what is this man in the picture doing?"

To my surprise she dried her hands, sat down on a chair, and taking the boy in her lap, she spent the next few minutes answering his questions.

After the child had left, I commented on her having interrupted her chores to answer the boy's question, saying "Most mothers wouldn't have."

"I expect to be washing cream separators for the rest of my life," she told me, "but never again will my son ask me that question."

Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Busyness, break-ins and blessings


Don’t you hate weeks when you feel there is hardly time to breathe? This is one of those weeks for me. I am glad to be busy, but looking down the tunnel of this week, I can’t help but to say, ‘UGH!’

It all started Sunday, which I knew would be busy, because after church I was going to the mall to get a gift for my sister and I to give at a wedding we are going to on Saturday, help set up for a reception at church on Sunday night, attend a bonus rehearsal for choir, then church and the reception.....but what I hadn’t banked on was my car getting broken into during church! In making a somewhat long story short, we had already gotten into the choir loft and church had started, then someone told me I was needed in the back hallway.....after about 3 tries of getting me to understand what he was saying....since church had already started and I couldn’t imagine anything that couldn’t wait....I crawled over everyone on my row and got out...only to be told that my car had been broken into and the police needed to talk to me. So I was taken around to a policeman who put me in his car and drove me to where my car was parked. They made me look through it to see if anything had been taken, etc, they asked me a bunch of questions, then I was fingerprinted. If you can see me in your head, in my choir robe, standing in the parking lot with policemen all around, being fingerprinted. I am sure it was such a sight. My hands were all nervous and shaky. They had already caught the guy that did it, they just needed fingerprints to positively identify him. After all that, the same policeman who took me to my car rode me back up to the church and I got back just in time for the sermon. I eventually calmed down, but I was distracted for a while, no doubt!

Anyway, this is the rest of my week:

Monday: Dinner with friends
Tuesday: Dinner with my mom, her husband, my sister and her family (my mom is here from Florida)
Wednesday: Children’s choir planning meeting and choir practice
Thursday: Birthday celebration for my mom (she will be 65.....hope she doesn’t know I do this and find out I printed her age all over the internet)
Friday: CD recording for a CD the choir is making
Saturday: Wedding

I really do like being busy, but it makes me tired just looking at this week! I am already looking forward to my Sunday afternoon nap.

I do want to say something else though about the guy that broke into my car. He did not take anything, there was absolutely no damage and there was nothing to entice him to pick my car over any other one in the parking lot. If anything, I would have thought that the ‘anti-theft system’ sticker on my window would have deterred him, but it evidently didn’t. I had left my windows cracked because it is so hot these days, but he evidently picked the lock then grabbed the top of the inside of the window to open the door. This is where the police got his fingerprints from as far as I know. A neighbor had seen him trying to get into my car and yelled at him to stop, the guy yelled some obscenity at him, then the neighbor called the police and I suppose gave them a description of what this guy was wearing and that is how the police were able to catch him so quickly. I wish I knew who the neighbor was so I could thank him.

I find my thoughts this week going to my appreciation for the person that reported this and also to the poor guy that broke into my car. The police said he was evidently homeless and was probably looking for money. This area has changed so much since I grew up and it is very sad to think that there are homeless people here in this community. Everything always seems to happen to ‘someone else’ or somewhere else, but now that this has happened to me, even though it is a very minor incident, and again with no damage except the fact that I was shook up for about an hour, I have found myself, even during church, praying for this guy and that something would make him turn his life around or that he would get some break to help him get on his feet. I understand that what he did was a crime, but I am sure he felt there was/is nothing else to do about getting money, so he did the only thing he felt he could. I am not sure how I would feel if I were having to deal with all of this if he had broken a window or something and I was having to haul my car around to leave it to be repaired, but this is how I feel for now. After all, it is only a car.....

I guess mostly this drives home to me the point that I am a very blessed individual even if I don’t realize it as fully as I should a lot of times. I have had an easy life and have never faced the issues I am sure the guy that broke into my car faces. I am the first to admit that money is tight sometimes but that is usually a monster of my own making. I have certainly never been without a roof over my head, clothes to wear or a little money for a meal. I think that I take those things for granted. I don’t mean to, but I think I just do. I am grateful, I just don’t think that I stop to realize exactly HOW blessed I am a lot of times. I had parents who taught me what was acceptable and what wasn’t and who provided MORE than what I needed materially for a comfortable life even if I didn’t realize it at the time. I had parents who took me to church as a child and I have had a few good role models as well. I have never been without a Bible, the knowledge of God, positive influences in my life or discipline.....believe it or not, I did get spankings.....quite a few! I haven’t always made wise choices, but I have never had friends who have tried to sway me into anything I didn’t want to do. I’ve just had a blessed life so far and I know it. I have thought a lot this week about the contrast of the life I have had versus what this guy that broke into my car has probably had, so I am going to be praying for him and others in this community that may need it.

I hope you will too.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Two sweet girls


Some of you have either met or seen my nieces before, but my sister took pictures before they left for school on Thursday morning and e-mailed them to me, so I thought I'd share one of them since so many of you have posted pictures of your children......I feel like these are mine! I certainly would take both of these girls to raise in a heartbeat. They are as different as night and day in so many ways, much like my sister and I, and indeed we have even joked about my sister raising 'us' on occasion....funny how that works! They have been nothing but a blessing since the day they were born and I am so appreciative to my sister for allowing me to have such an active role in their lives. I am definitely one grateful sister and one lucky aunt!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A matter of perspective

Just something I found and thought I'd share. Unfortunately, I have probably been guilty of praying this way myself at times.....
As my five year old son and I were headed to McDonald's one day, we passed a car accident. Usually when we see something terrible like that, we say a prayer for those who might be hurt, so I pointed and said to my son, "We should pray."

From the back seat I heard his earnest request: "Please, God, don't let those cars block the entrance to McDonald's."

There is nothing like the honesty of a child's heart!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A word about teachers

I have two nieces in school in Henry County. One goes to Mt Carmel Elementary and the other to Luella Middle School. My sister is going to be the PTO President at Luella Middle this year, so with their open houses both falling on the same night and my brother-in-law working, the charge fell to me to take Grace to her open house at Mt Carmel last night to meet her teacher, visit with her friends, and visit for a minute with the teachers she'd had in kindergarten and first grade. It was a fun night, but it got me to thinking, yet again, about what a huge responsibility teachers have to educate these children. Following is an e-mail I got a while back and kept because it speaks wonderfully well of the honor some, and I hope most, teachers feel about their roles in these children's lives.

What Do Teachers Make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

To corroborate his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?" Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied, "You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence."

"You want to know what I make?! I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math and perfect their final drafts in English."

"I make them understand that if you have the brains, and follow your heart, if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention because they just didn't learn." Susan paused and then continued, "You want to know what I make? I make A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?"

Just food for thought......and my sincere thanks for all of you who are teachers.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For cat lovers only

Rules for cats to live by --
(Although these are not original, they are true and good for a giggle at the very least.)

BATHROOMS: Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

DOORS: Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get door open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.

CHAIRS AND RUGS: If you have to throw up, get to a chair or bed quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, any quality carpeting is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so it is as long as a human's bare foot.

HAMPERING: If one of your humans is engaged in some activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called "helping," otherwise known as "hampering."

Following are the rules for "hampering:"

1) When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.
2) For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.
3) For paperwork, lie on the paper in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure as much of the work as possible. Or pretend to doze, but occasionally reach out and slap the pencil or pen.
4) For people paying bills or working on income taxes or Christmas cards, keep in mind the aim: to hamper! First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. When being removed for the second time, make all four legs flail around wildly in order to push pens, pencils, and erasers off the table.
5) When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. Humans love surprises.
6) When a human is working at the computer, jump up on the desk, walk across the keyboard, bat at the mouse pointer on the screen and then lay in the human's lap across arms if possible to hamper typing in progress.

WALKING: As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

BEDTIME:Always sleep on the human at night so he/she doesn't move around too much.

LITTER BOX: When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter out of the box as possible. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes.

HIDING: Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause the humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and you will probably get a treat.

ONE LAST THOUGHT: Whenever possible, get close to a human, especially their face, then turn around, and present your butt to them. Humans love this, so do it often. And don't forget guests.

Any other 'rules' you can think of?