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…

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Imagine my happiness...

...that I would get home yesterday afternoon and find that my power and water had been cut off for non payment! :-) I had only come home to get my card reader and kind of 'regroup' before I went to meet my friend, Terri, for dinner before heading to Terri's to show her how to download pictures from her camera to her computer. Needless to say, that little 'no power, no water' notice forced me into a major change in plans. I KNEW I had paid it, but came in and looked and there it sat on my counter, under some other bills that I need to pay.....needless to say, an oversight! About the time I was standing here wondering what I was going to do, Terri called to tell me that our friend Connie's husband was out of town and that she and her sons would be joining us for dinner. I told her that I'd had a little change myself and that I was still planning to meet her, but that I was going to have to find somewhere to spend the night since there would be no 'necessities' here to come home to when we got through with all our computer stuff. I had already called Gina and left her a message telling her to call me ASAP because I had an emergency, but as it turned out, Terri's husband was out of town and I wound up spending the night at her house. It actually all turned out fine because after we had dinner, Terri and I went to her house, fed their horses, she did a couple of other things, then we hooked up with Connie again (she lives in Terri's cul-de-sac too) and went for a walk....about a mile from what Terri said. When we got back, we got to work on computer stuff and did that until almost midnight, so that worked out pretty well all the way around.

I told Terri this morning before I left that I was bound and determined to find some sort of 'silver lining' in that little episode with my bill and had determined that it was much better that it had happened yesterday than today or tomorrow because I would have been so late getting home from choir practices that it would have been really inconvenient to find somewhere else to go at that later time. Plus, with Terri's husband being gone, it gave us some great one-on-one time to spend just doing whatever. One-on-one time is really my favorite kind with friends just because the conversation tends to be so good, so I really think it all worked out like it was supposed to.

Except for the $50 reconnect fee I had to pay when I went to get all this settled this morning! :-)

Here's the other thing...I was on my treadmill Monday night and was deciding that I needed to start doing that everyday and use it as my 'prayer walk' time. Romans 12:1-2 kept coming to mind:

"I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing unto God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

I thought it was cool that after I'd made that determination of walking on Monday night, even without the power of a treadmill, God knew I was serious and gave me the opportunity to do it again last night with Terri and Connie. Even if the 'prayer' part wasn't there so much, the exercise part of it was and it was really cool to me when I realized that.

After I got through on Monday night though, although I knew what it said, I went to Romans 12:1-2 in my Bible and read the rest of the book. It wasn't that much more, just a few chapters, but there were a few verses in Romans 14 that got my attention too. I've been dealing with some things internally that these verses spoke directly to and when I read them, I was just like, "Wow." I could not have known when I started recalling Romans 12 that Romans 14 would have such words that I needed to heed as well. I am always amazed when God works like that.

We have practice tonight and tomorrow night for our 'God and Country' program on Sunday night. It is going to be on the lawn of the old courthouse in town and hopefully there will be a great community turnout. They're telling everyone to bring blankets and lawn chairs and flyers are out around town. We're all hoping for a great ministry opportunity for the community and a great chance to reflect on what we believe about our God and our country....'the land of the free....and the home of the brave.'

Lastly, below is the picture from Carabba's that I promised a few weeks ago. Our children's choir group had gone to dinner with gift cards we had all gotten for Christmas. Terri's camera was the one that had the picture in it, so when I was over there last night, I e-mailed it to myself so I could get a copy printed and post it here as well. Just to give you faces to go with names, since I've mentioned them here, Terri is the third one from the left on the back row...Connie is the first one on the first row on the right, next to me.

Hope you're having a great week!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Catching up....

I don't know what my deal has been this week, but I have had such a range of emotions and it has all just flown by....I can hardly believe the end of the week is already here!

My Dad called me Tuesday night and said that he had heard that the son of some family friends had committed suicide. He was only 30. After some internet search, I found the info I was hoping to find, but had unfortuately missed the funeral since it was that same day in Alabama. I definitely would have gone if I had known. I've just been filled with a sadness for that family because I can only imagine what a huge thing that is going to be to deal with. They moved in next door to us when I was in my mid-teens and lived there until after I moved out of my parents house, so I'm not sure how long they lived there, but I babysat them several times and saw them all the time when I would go back home to visit my parents. They eventually moved to Alabama and I've only seen them a very few times in the last several years, but I can't help but to remember that sweet little boy that used to play on his Big Wheel or tricycle in the driveway next to ours. He and his older brother were alway so shy...SO shy....but they were such sweet children....I just keep playing those pictures of him and his siblings (all 5 of them, 6 total!) over and over in my mind and just hate so bad that anything in his life made him feel he had to do such a thing. The obituary said he'd had two tours of duty in Iraq and he was evidently quite an accomplished young man. It just makes me sad, both for him and for his mom because I know she is going to have a real struggle with all this. They all will, but I feel particularly sad for the mom. I need to get a card in the mail soon....I need to decide exactly what I want to say. I am one of those that will NOT send a card if I don't have the words just right. That is going to be high on my list of things to get done this weekend. I think I know most of what I am going to say, I just need to get it down on paper.

Then last night before choir, since children's choir is out for the summer and I had some time before my choir practice, I went to my friend Gina's house to hang out until I had to leave for choir. This is so NOT a big deal, but Gina had made this big pile of stuff for tacos, etc, and had a house full of people there....her, her husband, her son Chris (who's 8th grade graduation I posted about back in May...that handsome thing!), 3 friends of Chris', me, and then Gina's in-law's stopped by. Long story short, there was a lot of confusion, but after Chris got his food, he went and sat down over where his grandfather was and said, "Hey Grandaddy...we're glad you could join us." That comment in and of itself is no big deal and I know that, but Chris is just such a thoughtful young man and when he said that to his grandfather, I just got all teary! I looked at Gina, she started giggling, then said if I didn't quit, she was going to start too.....Well....I just couldn't help it! Chris looked up, saw me wiping my eyes and biting my lip and wanted to know why I was crying. Of course, I wasn't about to tell him it was because he's so sweet and thoughtful, but that's exactly what it was! I may tell him when there aren't so many people around, but I didn't feel the need to do it right then! Sweet stuff just wipes me out, there is no doubt about it.

Tonight I went to my sister's for dinner. They got back from the beach on Monday night, were busy Tuesday night, I had church last night, so tonight was the first time I've been able to see them since they've been home. I had fun just hanging out with them. Before I left, Grace wanted to do my can just imagine what that looked like (!!!), so I let her. It was fun and I meant to get my sister to take a picture and e-mail it to me so I could post it here, but they have a new vehicle and we were all outside looking at it before I left and it was getting late. I'll get Grace to do it again sometime soon and hopefully get a picture then. My sister did look up at me while we were outside though and say, "Nice blue eye shadow..." Grace was sitting there just a-smilin' so I said, "Yeah, I thought so too....thanks!", and winked at Grace. Kate was busy stretching out showing us how the back of one seat folded down could be her footrest, but I'd had to remind her earlier when she was giggling that there was a day she used to always try to make me up like 'Sporty Spice.' (Remember the Spice Girls??) Those days are precious and gone all too quickly....I've made it my mission to savor them all!

Anyway, this has been the week in a nutshell, emotions and all. Sometimes I hate that my heart gets touched so easily, but in all honesty, I know I would want it no other way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The best kind of garden

Christians are like the flowers in a garden, that have each of them the dew of Heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.
-- John Bunyan

This is the Heartlight quote to the left here on my blog today and I thought it to be particularly poignant in regard to the relationships around us on a daily basis. I am fully convinced that we, as a whole, don't realize the power we have to 'nourish' another person in the simple course of daily life. I need these reminders every now and again!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Just because she's sweet!

would believe such pleasure from a wee ball o' fur?
(~Irish saying)

(This is such a nothing post, but my Sweet Kitty was outside tonight basking in the sunlight and I couldn't resist. What a sweet baby!)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Old Farmer's Advice

(I got this in an e-mail today and a lot of it sounds like good advice!)

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

* Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

* Live simply.
* Love generously.
* Care deeply.
* Speak kindly.
* Leave the rest to God.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Women of Purpose

At the beginning of this year, our church kicked off a new Women's Ministry entitled 'Women of Purpose.' You can follow this link to read more about it, but it's a great new ministry that reaches out to women in many different areas through various venues of interest. There are events planned every month and undoubtedly, there is something that will include practically everyone:

Bible Study
Blessings of the Cross - ministry for crocheters
Book Club
Brown Bag Dinners - first Tuesday of each month there are designated homes in surrounding counties to just take your dinner and fellowship with other women
firstmonday.prayer - a ministry to pray for spiritual renewal and needs of the church body
Fitness/Wellness - high and low impact aerobics
Intercessory Prayer Room
Next Chapter - for those who have lost loved ones and are indeed facing a 'new chapter' in their lives
Scrappers for Christ - a time of fellowship and scrapbooking
Sewing Ministry Group
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Retreats - offers both on campus day retreats and off campus weekend retreats. Loads of good things here!
Tapestry - women mentoring women
WMU - ongoing missions for girls, women and groups at all age levels

...and last but not least, Luncheons and dinners. One of these was this past Tuesday night and it was entitled "Flip flops-n-fun." It was complete with a beach scene, speaker, fun, food and obviously, a photographer. :-) (Thanks Michelle!) The attendance was great and a fun time was had by all. The picture below was from that night and, except for one person, all these people are in my Sunday school class! I think our class had the best attendance of anyone and I was thrilled.

Here's the acrostic (um...yes, I did have to research what it's called!)....may we all be Women of Purpose:

P -- Persevering
U -- Understanding
R -- Restoring
P -- Praying
O -- Out Reaching
S -- Serving
E -- Encouraging

Clever, huh?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Family can say things others can't! :-)

I've had some great time with my nieces these last couple of days...well...Thursday and Friday anyway. My sister called me at work on Thursday morning in a panic. Kate, my oldest niece, had something loose with her braces in the back of her mouth and Patty, my sis, had called to make an appointment since they will be at the beach next week for vacation. The only time they could see her was at the end of the day, even working her in at that, and they were going to be closed on Friday, so that was all that was available. My sister had a scheduled PTO meeting (she's PTO president, so she had to be there) at 4:00 and they'd said to have Kate there around 4:30. Needless to say, her call was to see if I could possibly take Kate to that appointment. Of course I could, so I picked both Kate and Grace up that afternoon and off we went to the orthodontist office.

While Kate was in the back getting her problem taken care of, Grace was in the lobby with me making me look (but not look) at a big guy who was sitting behind us with a partially shaved head and a ponytail. He also had tatoos. She kept grinning and snickering and couldn't help but to watch him. After that, she decided she needed to practice juggling with two balls she had in her purse, then we had to do those hand things to rhymes like we did when I was a kid. She had taught me two or three of them the weekend before when she spent the night. Grace is just hilarious to me and her interests right now are exactly the same as mine were at that age. It's just fun to try seeing things through her eyes.

Anyway, in the course of all this, I finally hugged her and told her, 'Grace, you remind me so much of me when I was a little girl. I liked to do all the same things you do and you just are a fun kid to me. And you know what....even some of the people who read my blog think we look alike.' She looked at me kind of puzzled, so I continued, 'I guess because we have brown hair and brown eyes and all that kind of stuff.' Here was her reply, with a grin, '...and we're both kinda chubby!' Well, hello!! :-) It was all I could do not to lay my head back right there and just roar with laughter...that absolutely cracked me up!

Kate came out a few minutes later and they decided they needed a snack, so off we went to Dairy Queen, their choice. We had so much fun just sitting there talking and goofing off. When we got home, Kate went in and turned on the TV and Grace and I went outside to play a little bit. It got to be a little late and I kept trying to get away, but I just couldn't. We were having so much fun and Grace kept saying, '...but I don't want you to go.' I kept staying, but finally it started raining a little and it was time, so Grace went slinking off toward the house. I called after her and told her I loved her, then she came back over to my car and said, 'Aunt Dianne, don't you ever sometimes just feel like crying??' My reply, 'Yeah Grace, I do....come here and let me hug you.' So she let me hug her for a few minutes and we talked a few more minutes, but by the time I was finally pulling out of their driveway, I was a mess...all the way home!

How is it that kids can have you roaring with laughter one minute and bawling your eyes out the next?

I picked them up yesterday about 1:30 and brought them over here to swim again. It was a fun afternoon. When I took them home, I stayed there for dinner...just pizza...then I left. It was much easier to leave that time and I was glad!

Whatever am I going to do when they move??

Isn't that Grace hilarious though '...and we're both kinda chubby!' I don't think that would have been quite as cute coming from anyone else!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Free hugs...

I posted this here the other night because I saw it earlier in the week and thought it was cool, but then I took it off before anyone saw it, I think. For some reason, it is still on my mind...I just think it's a cool thing and something that isn't done enough sometimes even with people we know, so here it is again:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sister, Sister!

There aren't many of these. This is a picture of me and my sister at the dinner party thing we went to Saturday night. See how much we DON'T look alike? She's skinny, blonde and green eyed, and I'm...well...not! :-) Not the best pose of me either...I was actually sitting in the chair to the side behind me when I saw Bill's camera pointing in our direction, so I had to jump up and get in the picture real quick. We're not only different in looks though, our personalities are rather different as well.

I once heard someone ask James Dobson how kids can grow up in the same family and be so very different sometimes. His answer intrigued me...."No two kids grow up in the same family." How? The answer made sense. He said that when the first child is born, the parents are elated at this new birth..amazed at all their child does..etc, then the second child comes along and the first one, although still special, is no longer the center of attention, no longer the only child for the parents to tend to and love, etc. The whole family dynamic changes from one child to two, then for each child after that. It kinda makes sense that no two kids grow up in exactly the same family.

About my sister and me though, she is four years younger than me and much more stong-willed. She is THE boss...and I guess I let her be! (Here's an example: For Mother's day, we were going to my dad's and I was going to take a dish. I mentioned something that I thought sounded good, then my sister says, 'Nah...I think 'xxx' sounds better. I have some of the stuff here, but I'll get the rest at the store and you can come make it over here.' So guess what I took to my dad's....what SHE wanted me to take! haha! I didn't think about this being what really happened until I was driving home from my dad's and told my mom about it later in the day. I just don't know how it happens...I guess it's a good thing I'm passive, huh? Anyway, she is the boss! :-)) Our recollections of our childhoods are very different and things that stand out in her mind are not even on my radar, and vice versa. We weren't always so close as kids -- I was the tomboy and she was the one who played with dolls -- but as adults, we've formed a pretty strong bond. My nieces have been a huge part of that, but the other part, I think, just comes from growing up and knowing that we're simply sisters....for good and bad, no matter what. We have different views on some things and our personalities are so very different at times. She's much more cut and dried about things, I'm more 'gray area,' and I am definitely more sentimental. She will even agree to that. We are both pretty compassionate, but still sometimes, when things tug at my heart she's like, 'Yeah, right!' :-)

I guess it's a good thing we aren't all alike after all, huh?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A weekend of Grace :-)

What a fast weekend...It went quick, but I had some great quality time with Grace...time that I wouldn't trade for anything!

I checked her out of school on Friday, we did some errands, then we came home, goofed around here, then went to her house to get clothes, pj's and her bathing suit. The pool and playground for my subdivision are just behind my house. This is my backyard, looking up to the pool and clubhouse....first standing at my back door, then a zoomed in view.

Rest assured my back yard doesn't look this big unless I am mowing it! :-)

I only post these so you can see why Grace couldn't get swimming off her mind...every time she looked out the window, there it was! I took her for about an hour and a half on Friday night, then Saturday morning, she woke me up at 7:30 informing me that she was ready to go swimming again! :-) Needless to say...we didn't! :-)

After going to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, counting PTO money and hanging around here until it got a little warmer, we went back to the pool for about 2.5 hours. Other kids were there, so she played with them for a while which was fine with me. She and Kate both have taken swimming lessons for years, so they are like fish in the water, but I didn't get in this time because it is still too cold for me. I need it MUCH warmer! How is it that kids can just jump in water like that and take off? WOW. Anyway, after all that, we came back home, I fixed her lunch, we played games and watched TV, then I took her home about 4:30. When I got back, I took myself a little nap! :-)

Last night, some friends of my sister's hosted a murder mystery dinner party for her birthday which was a couple of weeks ago. I went because it was for my sister's birthday, but I am not much of a gamer for stuff like that, so I had a non-suspect role. It was pretty fun, but I was GLAD I wasn't one of the main characters. I don't know what my deal is, but I do NOT like being the center of attention....which is probably why I don't always understand why people want to read about my personal stuff on this blog, but if I don't post....well....hmmmmm......

Anyway, today has just been a great day. A great sermon this morning about selfishness and self-centernedness and how damaging it can be to a marriage and family. That's what our sermon series is about at church right now. Being single, I don't always like these kinds of sermons, but this one today could apply to any relationship.....just don't be self-centered and selfish and all our relationships will work:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also so the interest of others." (Phil 2:3-4)

Another thing he said that I thought was noteworthy, the definition of EGO...Edging God Out. WOW.

One of our ensembles sang one of the best songs I have ever heard..."The Great I Am Still Is," then our choir did a song titled, "I Will Trust in Thee." FABULOUS. I am just SO blessed to be a part of my church!

I thought I'd wait until the end of my post for these, so at the risk of 'Grace overload,' here are pictures of her at the pool.