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…

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Total Praise

Our choir singing Total Praise....an awesome song!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The things God uses....

Hard to believe it's been almost three months since I've posted anything here! To be honest, not only have I not posted anything, but I have rarely, rarely been checking blogs either. It's funny how things can run in spurts like that. Anyway, it has been a eventful (almost) three months. But first things first...I will post more in the coming days, but this gets the ball rolling.

The last time I posted was March 29. Looking back, all I could think of or see then was the end of tax season on the horizon. Little did I know what was in store just a few short weeks later.

There is always a huge sense of relief that comes with April 16, just knowing life is returning to normal, we have one more bonus check coming on May 1 without having to work the extra hours...now THAT is what truly feels like a bonus! :-) It just feels like a huge relief.

I don't know how to approach what I want to say here without just pouring out my heart. My goal is not to be overly dramatic, but to just share what has been going on.

When you are single, as I am, there are a precious few friendships that take on true 'family' types of relationships. I am the first to admit that I have great friends and have been blessed beyond my fair share in this area. I realize these relationships are God's provision for me because it's not always easy being single in a 'married' and 'family' type of world. These people wedge themselves into my life and into my heart and when things happen with them, I am deeply affected on personal, emotional and spiritual levels.

Getting to the point: My friend Dee has been cutting my hair for probaby about 18 years. When I was looking for a new hairdresser, little did I know, when I got her name and number from another friend, what a huge part of my life Dee would become. She has her shop at her house, so when you're there, you're the only one there, unless you bring someone with you. This set-up gives a great opportunity for sharing and personal conversation and we have had many great discussions and laughs through the years. She has been a sounding board, confidante, just everything that makes a good friend a good friend. I can only hope I've been half that friend to her. I have no idea where we crossed the line of being hairdresser/customer to fabulous friends, but it's one of those things that seemed to happen quickly. We just clicked. I have often told Dee that getting my hair cut, highlighted, or both, every few weeks is like having a birthday every month because I LOVE that time with her and it's like I get to celebrate every month! I have meant that from the bottom of my heart, and she's known it! I should also add here that Dee, her sister Melanie, and their whole family....and families....are among these people that have 'taken me in' as family over the years. We all go to church together. Additionally, me, Dee, Melanie, and another friend of ours, Connie, celebrate each other's birthday every year with dinner and movie....the birthday person's choice, of course. I just really could not be any closer to any of these three girls. We are all in choir together as well.

At choir practice on May 6, during our prayer and devotion time, Melanie was given the floor to speak to us that night. She shared that Dee had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Hard news to hear. I was stunned. Dee was there that night and after Melanie got through sharing all this, Rick, our Minister of Music, asked Dee if she wanted to come down front and let some of us come pray with/for her as she headed into all that was in store. Now, Melanie and Dee are altos, and Connie and I are sopranos, so we are on opposite sides of the room, but when Dee got up to go down front with Melanie, Connie and I quickly sprang from our seats to join them, as did many others. Rick prayed a great prayer, and we continued on with practice. Connie couldn't quit crying, I was pensive. Not emotional....yet. I am a thinker. I have to look at things from all angles and get the facts. It took about a week for the emotions to hit me, but when they hit, they really hit!

At this point, Dee has been through 2 of her 6 chemo treatments. This last one was a bit harder to bounce back from than the first one, but her only real side-effect has been fatigue. She's had touches of other things...but the fatigue has been the most prevalent. Her blood counts have been good and her outlook has been fabulous. She is just amazing in the way she has handled it and in the peace that has filled her. God is giving her an awesome testimony in the midst of all this. It is humbling to see Him at work and it is inspiring to see her move through these days.

I have long known that God uses things in our lives to drive home the fact that He is sovereign and in control. This has been another one of those things in my life. I have shared here before about the lessons I learned when my friend Tracy was killed many years ago. I learned then that I don't need to take people for granted and just assume they will always be there. I have kicked myself over and over for being in a hurry the last time I spoke to Tracy on the phone, which wound up being the last time I spoke with her. I have learned not to leave words of appreciation unspoken. People need to hear them, and we need the assurance that we've done our part in speaking them. Luckily, I had always done that with Tracy, but with her life being cut short at such an early age (33), it just proved to me that you never know and it's best to say too many words of appreciation than not enough! I am so thankful that I've done this through the years with Dee (and she has done the same with me) because it gave me a natural position to step into with this diagnosis. I didn't have to try to step in and draw close because these are hard times. We were already there! What a blessing!

While these lessons are being driven home yet again, God is dealing with me deep in my soul in very personal and spiritual ways about this stuff with Dee. I am seeing Him at work in ways I've never seen before. I am seeing her live a testimony before my eyes that touches me and humbles me in ways I've never experienced before. I am seeing, as it says in Isaiah 26:3 - "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." She has this perfect peace and a strength that leaves me envious. I just don't have it right now. I want my friend well. I am beyond confident that our prayers are being answered and that God is healing her, but I hate like everything that she has to go through all that she does. I know that God has given me the role of being a supportive, encouraging friend to her, and that, above everything else, is my goal right now. This is all SO not about me, but I can see, and feel in my heart, that God is using portions of it to 'grow me' and stretch me to places I've not been before and I am grateful for that. I am grateful that He's using Dee to take me to these places because I know once this is all over, my spiritual life will be deeper and stronger, and the closeness and friendship that Dee and I have will be even sweeter. I'm thankful for these places, and the lessons, even if they hurt.

Dee has a website at CaringBridge.com that her sister, Melanie, is facilitating. Dee is writing the journal entries, or most of them, and Melanie is posting the entries and adding pictures. It's a great place to go and be encouraged, so if you're interested, you can go HERE to read her story, from her perspective. (You may have to enter your e-mail address and a password to get in, but it's only a formality.) You won't be sorry!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New stuff....believe it or not! :-)

It's been SOOOOOOOOOO long since I've posted anything, but I've not done anything except work and regular life stuff...no huge goings on to report, etc, BUT, I am finally working on the new blog site I mentioned a while back posting only sermon notes. However, I've been to a couple of things this year where I've heard great 'words' as well, so I'm going to use it not only for sermon notes, but other 'insightful' things I attend or come across. Right now, I've only got a couple of new things on there and am working on getting the posts that are already on this blog moved over, but after that, I'll start with the new stuff. My intent is to have it all by date, by month, by sermon title, and by sermon series if all goes well. Hopefully I'll get it all done this week, or I will make that my intention anyway. Too bad I've let so much time slip by....I've got a LOT of posting to do in getting up to date!

Hope all is well with all of you blogger friends. I know many of us are keeping up on facebook now as well, so it's not like we're totally out of touch. Cyber-friends are a good thing, huh?

Check back later this week. I'll have the new blog title and website posted.

Have a great week!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My friend's book

Oh yeah, I meant to mention on my post last night that the friend I have had longest in life, Connie Ellis, has had a book published! It's a devotional book titled, 'Don't Eat the Chicken Livers.' I haven't gotten the lowdown on the title yet, but I intend to!

Connie is, seriously, the friend I have had, literally, ALL my life. Her dad and my dad were friends before we were even born, so it would just follow suit that we would be friends as well. We didn't always live close to each other, but when we were in Jr High, her family moved up the street and around the corner from us and we just picked back up like we'd been together all our lives. It is so rewarding to have friends like that in life. I can think of things we've experienced together so many years ago and still just get tickled. We went through Jr and Sr High together, I was the maid of honor in her wedding and if you are on facebook, one of my albums, 'My first nieces,' is of her daughters. They are a blessing just as she is...as they say, 'the apples don't fall far from the tree."

I am so proud of Connie and this endeavor. I am eager to get my hands on a copy of her book soon and hope YOU will do the same. She was posting devotionals online at one point and I had a link to get to them, but somewhere along the line, this book started coming into play, so she couldn't post them anymore. I had wondered over time what was going on, but had never asked, then the other day on facebook she used her status bar to announce that her book had been published! I was, and still am, SO happy for her and will be getting my hands on a copy of her book soon.

'Don't Eat the Chicken Livers' by Connie C Ellis.

Check it out!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Once again...

So here's my big question, yet again....'Where in the world does time go?' I can hardly believe I haven't posted anything since December 26. WOW. It looks like I started a post on December 31, one about New Year's no doubt, but didn't finish it enough to post it. So, where has time gone?

All I know is that tax season 2009 is here! Our long hours didn't start until this past Wednesday, but tax season began with a vengeance on January 5 and hasn't let up since. I've probably only had about 3 hours of non-billable time since then! As slow as it had been at times, I am glad, but boy have I been tired! It would be easy to go on here about the economy and how many of our clients, as well as our firm, are affected, but that's really something we all already know, isn't it? Here's what I know...I have a job...God is in control...and I am blessed! It is hard though to talk to clients who have small businesses that are having to lay people off or having to close altogether.

While I admit that I didn't vote for Obama, I am eager and ready to see where he takes us as a country and what is in store. There's no sense in bucking anything now, all we can do is to pray for him and his administration and support him the ways that we can. Hopefully it won't take as long as they are projecting for things to turn around....that is my prayer anyway.

With that said, I am sad to see George Bush leave office and I hate that he's taking the beating in the press that he's had to take because much of what he's inherited to deal with was started prior to his taking office...he's just been left to deal with it the best way he and his administration could. There have been days when his approval rating was very high and when the unemployment rate was very low....it's too bad he's leaving office with both of these things in such contrast to what they have been in better days. I can only hope as time passes, his presidency will be viewed differently than it is right now. He's gotten a bum rap, in my opinion. Deedra at 'Down on the Farm' has a great post about Bush.....you can go here to read it.

Nothing much has really been going on except work, so I don't have that much to post about, but I did want to at least leave a quick note to say I'm still alive and well. I have really fallen off the wagon with the sermon notes, so I need to catch up on that as well. I actually thought a little earlier today that it might not be a bad idea to start a new blog of just sermon notes....I need to decide that before I get any further behind. If I do, does anyone have any idea if I can transfer the ones I've already posted to a new blog instead of having to retype them?

Thanks for stopping by. I'm off to catch up on more blogs. Hope you have a great week.