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…

Monday, July 30, 2007

A sweet celebration

I took a couple of hourse of vacation time today to attend my friend Melanie's 20th anniversary celebration at Chick-Fil-A Headquarters. What an awesome, awesome thing! I have heard from others that these celebrations are fantastic, but this is the first one I'd ever been to myself. It started off with a slideshow set to the song "Legacy" by Nichole Nordeman. This has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it, but hearing it in conjunction with a sweet slide show of Melanie's life, her boys, her parents, etc....BOO HOO! It was just awesome. After that, they did a hilarious skit magnifying, of course, some of Melanie's quirks and personality traits. I think there were several times that I was laughing louder than anyone else in the room! They nailed it from her every morning drive through Dunkin Donuts for coffee to her dedication to her job, her directness, and the way she strives for perfection, of course, poking fun all along the way. After that, some of her bosses spoke, Truett and Dan spoke, then Melanie had her chance to offer her thanks to the people who have truly been 'family' to her these last 20 years. She did a great job paying tribute to the many co-workers, family and friends who were there. Melanie has been a great friend to me, especially during some very trying times, so I've known my own appreciation for her for years, but it made me even more proud to be her friend when SO many awesome things were being said about her. She lives her life by very high standards and I'm honored to have her and several people like her in my life.

One thing someone said toward the end though, I can't remember who, mentioned that someone else had said at their 20th anniversary celebration that doing this was a bit like being at your own funeral because, as a whole, we don't always take the time to tell our friends (and family) all we may want them to know of our love and appreciation for them. I thought about that all the way home and although I feel this is a standard I try to live by since the sudden death of a friend several years ago (you can go here to read about her), I am sure I fall short at times. It made me think of this poem I read a while back:

The Dash
(by Linda Ellis)

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

I guess what I'm really thinking here is that I am thrilled Melanie had a chance to hear, while she can, such a great tribute to her, to have so many kind words spoken about her, and I'm thrilled that she was able to have so many people just let her know that they love and appreciate her on a personal level. Great job Melanie....I am proud of you and I am proud to be your friend!

Like so many people did for Melanie today, we also need to be sure we stop to thank the people who make our lives complete because it's such an encouragement to that person and as I've heard said before, 'you never know how soon it will be too late.'

I saw how much it can mean today, and it's powerful stuff.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Check it out...

I have a friend who just started a blog a couple of weeks ago. It's listed on my sidebar, Being Transformed. She was on vacation last week and had an awesome experience that she shared on Friday. Definitely worth the read...and leave her a comment to let her know you've visited. She's so awesome!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who's in your 'front row'?

Everyone Can't Be in Your Front Row.

Life is a theater - invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships/fellowships!

Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention to:
Which ones lift and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?
Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse?
Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know and appreciate you and the gift that lies within you?

The more you seek God and the things of God,the more you seek quality. The more you seek not just the hand of God but the face of God, the more you seek things honorable. The more you seek growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

You cannot change the people around you... but you can change the people you are around. Ask God for wisdom and discernment and choose wisely the people who sit in the front row of your life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kate and her dad.

This may not be the height of interest to anyone but me, but the picture above is of Kate and her dad this past weekend when they were in St Mary's. It looks like they will not be moving totally to Florida after all, just to the last place they can get before the state line. In my mind, every little bit of space closer to 'home' is fine with me. They were out of town last week at my mom's condo on vacation, but made a couple of trips back up to St Mary's to look around and see if that's where they want to settle. They've talked about St Mary's and Brunswick, but for now, St Mary's is what seems to be on their mind. I have to admit, from the pictures, it looks like a nice little town.

I know I have said over and over that I am not moving, and I still have no intention of it at this point, but here's something weird: For those of you who read Tonja's blog, Gatherings, she had a post back on July 13 titled, 'Name Your Spot.' This was a quiz to find out where you would be most suited to live in the United States. I took that quiz and two of the places on the list of about 20 that it gave me were Brunswick and St Mary's! I thought that was really weird. I told my sister about it and she wanted the link, so I asked her last night if she had taken this quiz....she said that she had but neither of these places were on her list. Isn't that just weird that of everywhere in the US, for me, it has to pick two places they are thinking about? The others were mostly in Tennessee and Kentucky, but I just thought that was weird. In hopes that Tonja won't mind me sharing this on my blog as well, you can go here to take the quiz yourself. It's pretty interesting.

Anyway, mostly I wanted to post a picture of Kate. I've posted so many pictures of Grace over time and this picture was so good of my sweet Kate that I thought she deserved fair time too. :-)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Psalm 1

I have no idea why this Psalm has been on my mind and come across my path so much lately, but it has. It was on my mind about two weeks ago, then again yesterday as I was puttering around the house. I remembered that Kim Hill sang it when I was at AtlantaFest back in the late 80's-early 90's (did I admit that??? It seems like an eternity ago!), so I looked to see if it was on YouTube in case I had any huge realizations that I needed to post about. Imagine my surprise to hear our pastor refer to it this morning in his sermon....

His sermon was titled, "The Power of God's Word," and the part that he used referencing this is that the Word of God is like WATER......cleansing, refreshing, life-giving, and encouraging.

To be honest, I've been in a bit of a funk recently for some reason, but now that I'm putting two and two together, I'm guessing this Psalm, song and message is my clue to get busy studying and trusting God bit more, because after all, Psalm 62:1 is true as well: "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him."

It's pretty cool that I already had the answer I need, even if I didn't realize it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sweet mail.

My sister, nieces and brother-in-law are out of town this week, so it thrilled my soul to get this in the mail yesterday:

It doesn't get much sweeter than that, but isn't it funny that Grace would think to say that she can't 'wate' to spend her money rather than that she can't wait to see me again? I LOVE stuff like this. She's so funny. And Kate, she's just so sweet.

This is a 'keeper' though, no doubt.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who would have guessed??

About a week ago, I was totally blown away to have Jill at Who Could Ask For Anything More leave a comment on one of my posts to say that she had nominated me for an award and that I needed to go to her blog to pick it up. Of course, my curiosity was piqued, so I padded right over there to find out what it was. Imagine my surprise to find that it was this award. WOW....I just stared at my computer and shook my head, because if there is anything I feel I am NOT, it is what this award entails. I am grateful and humbled though Jill, so thanks for thinking of me!

I came across Jill's blog a few months ago as I was hitting the 'random' choice on the Christian Women Online Blog Roll. I was first drawn in by her adorably cute blog design, but it took only one post that I really identified with to know that this was one that I needed to add to my own blogroll. I have enjoyed my visits to her blog immensely. To you Jill, I appreciate the time and effort you put into making your posts both thought provoking and fun. I know that is a real feat at times because I know I have trouble with what to say sometimes, but you do a great job and I am thankful for your openness and all you put into it.

Now, about this award, it was started by a teenage girl named Jocelyn and you can go here to read more about her. Below is the background behind this award in Jocelyn's own words:

As for my award, it is called The Blogger Reflection Award. Why? The reason for the title is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who, when you reflect on them, you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them. This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you're going to do the award don't just write a few words and slap it on your blog. Write real thoughts about these bloggers and what they've been to you, and if the bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don't be afraid to give to them again. They deserve it as many times as it's given.

So here goes.....I nominate the following people, for the way they inspire me:

Jess at Bittersweet: Another random find, besides Jill, that I just love. She finds great lessons in the ordinary things and right now has a great post about the change dishes you find beside registers in stores. I'll never see one of those again without thinking of her post on this....WOW!

Kat at Justabeachkat: Found through a link on another friend's blog, she has a great life and posts sweet things about her family, friends and God's blessings. Always lots of fun and interesting things here.

Jean at MusicalJean: Also found through a link on another friend's blog, she has a heart of gold and has shared it with with numerous foster children and seemingly, anyone else who crosses her path that just needs to know someone cares. It's been heartwarming and astonishing to see how God used her in the lives of so many people and how He has used them in her life as well.

Tonja at Gatherings: EEK! Dare I say, another link from a friend. Tonja has a huge zest for life, fun, and all that is good. Life has dealt her several things that would be too much for so many of us, but she has turned them all into blessings and no doubt encourages everyone she comes into contact with.

And last but not least,

Tracey at Show Me State...of Mind. She's the friend who three of the links above came from and the friend that started me on this blogging journey to begin with. We've been friends for more years than I can remember now, but it was an instant connection whenever it was, so it seems like I've known her forever. Her blog gives a great glimpse into her life and on many counts, her humor is not to be missed.

So there you are, my nominations. If you not one of these girls, give them a visit....if you ARE one of these girls, pass it on, sisters! :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My cool day.

I love when stuff like this happens:

My sister told me earlier in the week that she was having their friend Edith down to dinner tonight. Edith lives in their old neighborhood and is about 90 years old, no kidding. She's as spry as they come and has an adorable personality. It's a real hike for my sister to drive up to where Edith lives to pick her up, go back home, cook dinner, spend time chatting, then take Edith back home and drive home herself, so I offered to get off work early this afternoon, pick Edith up and get her to my sister's since I work only about 10 minutes from Edith's house and would be heading toward my sister's anyway.....besides the fact that I stayed for dinner too!

Anyway, my friend Gina is out of town again, so I went to let her dog out before I went to Edith's. I was running a little ahead of schedule and needed to stop at the drug store, so I used that time wisely and got that errand out of the way. When I went to pay, the cashier kept talking to this man (who had already paid) for a couple of minutes (which seems like an eternity when you're the one waiting to check out!). You know how it be totally honest, in my mind, I was thinking....."Yooohooo! Quit talking! I need to go get Edith and I'm going to be late!" When it was my turn, she asked how I was, I said "Fine" and asked about her,not expecting much of an answer. Her response surprised me though....She said, "Not too good right now." Well, normally, cashiers don't say things like that, so WE started chatting and she started telling me how she has recently moved here from another state for a fresh start and just can't find a job in the field where she has a degree....Criminal Justice! Well, HELLO! I would think around here these days there would be NO trouble finding a job in that field (!!), but evidently she hasn't had any luck. I told her I would pray that she would find something soon. She said she appreciated that and she told me her name. We chatted another minute or so and I asked her if she attended church anywhere. She named a church and said she'd only been a few times because she's had to work, then she went on to say that she told her boss she would like to be off on Wednesdays and Sundays because she would like to attend church, but he keeps scheduling her because there aren't enough employees to cover the shifts. I could just see the disappointment and sadness in her eyes that things aren't working out for her like she had envisioned they would when she moved here. I didn't really know what to say to all that, but then it popped into my mind to tell her about this new women's ministry at my church that I mentioned here on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It came to mind, I know, because there are so many things to take advantage of on days of the week besides Wednesday and Sunday and possibly some things she can attend to meet people and get some sort of encouragement. I didn't have any with me right then, but in my car, I had some Women of Purpose brochures, so I left to get one of those to leave with her. I also left my name and phone number and the church's address because she asked. She sounded pretty interested, so who knows what may happen. I am going to keep my eyes and ears open though because I did get an honest sense that she would like to be involved somewhere.

The thing is that I NEVER go to that drug store I went to today. It's probably been a year or more since I've been in there, but when I left, I knew why I had stopped there. It was such a cool feeling. It felt good to know that I had offered her a positive opportunity for involvement and it felt good to know that I belong to a church that wants to reach out to our community. It felt good to let her know we have a women's ministry that offers more than Wednesday and Sunday involvement. I felt lucky that I had a brochure to share....AND it let me know that I always need to have a few of those brochures with me! You just never know.

Before I left, she mentioned that the guy in front of me had some connections with the police, court and legal system here and said he would see about helping her get in touch with some people who could maybe help her find a job in her field. She told him she didn't get off work until 10:00 and asked if that was too late to call. He said he needed to talk to her tonight because he's leaving in the morning to go out of town, so I'm going to be praying that they have a positive chat tonight and that he can help her get her foot in the door somewhere. I just can't help but to feel like something is going to work out for her.

And who knows, I may even see her at church or one of our women's ministry events one day...wouldn't that be cool?

Her name is Cheryl Bush and if you'd like to pray for her too, that would be super!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Flat as a fritter!

Here's how my cat has spent her evening as I've been perusing blogs (like I don't have anything else to do!):

While perusing, I followed a link from a comment on our friend Kathy's blog and found a hilarious story tonight that is worth reading. I'm not much of a camper, but did have to do it when I was a child and we were on vacation. If you've ever been camping, you will identify with SOMETHING in this story.....Go HERE for a laugh! Hope you find it as funny as I did.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What color are you?

I saw this on Lynne's blog and decided to try it for myself. (If you do this, I want to know how yours turns out too....)

You Are A Blue Girl

Relationships and feelings are the most important things to you.

You are empathetic and accepting - and good at avoiding conflict.

If someone close to you is in pain, it makes you hurt as well.

You try to heal the ones you love with your kind and open heart.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Catchin' up

Nothing new to post, but I just thought I'd check in...

My week has been fine and yesterday was a nice holiday. I went to my friend Gina's and had late lunch/early dinner there. Not the traditional cookout stuff, but salmon and talapia! YUM! I took a black-eyed pea salsa recipe that we all love (and it's easy as all get-out to make....just my kind of recipe!). Speaking of....I went to Target yesterday morning to get the things to make that and for about $10 of stuff....and left....$62 later! I hate when that happens, but unfortunately after I got home and looked it all over, there was nothing that I wanted to return! I obviously need a list and I need to stick to it! I did not have that much money to just blow, but I guess I did it anyway. It certainly goes out much quicker than it comes in!

Saturday morning, my sister, nieces and I are having breakfast with my step-mom (who we LOVE!) to work on plans for a surprise party for my Dad in a couple of months. He turns 70 on August 27. It's so hard to believe he's going to be 70! WOW. He still works circles around people half his age and works sun-up to sun-down and beyond most days. He has a tree farm that is about 87 acres (my sister works for him and they both have houses on that land) and until recently, was partners in a landscaping company for about 20 years. He amazes me. He could definitely work circles around me as well! UGH! He was raised on a farm working like that and it is obviously still in his blood. Anyway, I'm sort of excited about this party thing and I'm sure I'll be even more excited after we talk about it on Saturday. I just hope we'll be able to pull it off and have it be a true surprise. We'll see.

Anyway, like I said, not much happening this week, but it's sort of nice. Sometimes there is too much going on, but this week has been a good balance. I've decided I really could get used to working two days, being off one, working two days, being of two, etc. Wouldn't that be the life?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Wet night, rich worship

Well, as a follow-up to my last post, Celebrate America got rained out last night, so we had to move it indoors. I know that God's ways are higher and better than ours, but it is SO beyond me how it cannot rain for WEEKS, then the one time you plan something big outside, there it is! Last night was no exception to this rule.

We were supposed to be at the courthouse on risers at 5:30 for a soundcheck. My understanding is that some company who does outside concerts was handling the sound and everything that goes along with that. We just barely got started with that and it started rumbling thunder, then a few little blinks of lightening. The thunder was okay, but the lightening made everyone a little skittish and we were all ready to head inside. We no more than got across the street to The Cafe where we'd left our sack dinners and it started pouring rain. I mean it was coming down in much so that at several points, there was no visibility to even see outside. After a while, they did a little 'raise your hand thing' to see if we moved it to tonight how many people could have been there. It looked like a good number to me, but about 6:30, the decision was made for us to move it all indoors. As much work as I know it was for such a last minute change of plans, it went off like clockwork. I was somewhat disappointed as were a few friends I was sitting with, but in true 'God' fashion, it wound up being one of our best programs ever...and this year was the 20th year we've done this program! Our Worship Center was absolutely packed, front to back, wall to wall, main floor and balcony. Absolutely amazing.

There was a bluegrass band that played for about 30 minutes. They were absolutely fabulous, talented and so incredibly funny. A true crowd pleaser. After that, our orchestra played two or three songs, then we joined them for the remainder of the program. We had the pledges to the flags, the Bible, and the presentation of the flags for the different branches of the service, the Memorial Flag, lots of patriotic songs, etc. Below are a few pics that Gina took from the balcony. Some are blurry, but I'll post the best ones.

Fireworks were planned to close the program. The company that was doing them is the one that does them for the Braves, Atlanta's baseball team. They are evidently used to all sorts of weather and wanted to do them anyway, so they did! Fireworks were a first for our program and they set them off from the roof of the Worship Center! They were very good, even in the drizzly rain. The good thing is that all the rain set to rest any worries about fallout catching anything on fire.

Rick, our Minister of Music, said it best....'God must have felt that Jonesboro needed a good rain more than we needed an outdoor concert.' It's just cool that the rain and a last minute change of plans couldn't dampen the spirit of about 2000 people ready to show their thanks to God and patriotism for our country. It was a fabulous night after all. We are lucky indeed.