I don’t do waiting so well. Waiting for cars to move on down the road. Waiting with expectation for a phone call or response. For me, waiting on just about anything is tough. When I get an inspiration for something, that can be even worse. Leaving forethought in my dust and fueled by delusions of grandeur, not waiting on wisdom, I too often leap before the proverbial look. Sure that I can float or fly, more often than not, the wind flutters out of my sails. With my hopes and expectations fizzling to the ground, “What happened?” swirls around my head. Aagh! That’s the problem with us optimistic ones. If it seems like a good idea, it’s full steam ahead. After all, the glass is half full, never half empty. Right? Continue reading
With Christmas pushing through the door, seemingly shoving Thanksgiving aside, a small bit of anxiousness grows as I look at the still unfinished Christmas stocking for my grandson, Henry. When I last posted the picture of the woe-begotten state of affairs of my pitiful knitting project, I had actually come to a point of being a tad bit hopeful. Finishing the white trim on Santa’s hat, I left my friend—who is walking with me through this painful learning experience—with a quickness of step, and a lightness of heart, ready to jump in, sure, that this time, nothing could stop me.
I know how to knit.
I know how to pearl.
And more importantly, I know how to tink.*
What more could anyone want?
“You’re ready to start the black,” was emblazoned in my head and heart as I left Joan’s house that day. Sitting down later that night with knitting in hand, I grabbed the black yarn, knitting, knitting, knitting, pearling, pearling, pearling, then knitting again three rows back and forth. Looking at the stocking, because I was proud as punch—and the stitches did look nice—I noticed for the first time that something was terribly amiss. How could you possibly see black eyes in the middle of the black yarn? Bursting into laughter that was so hard I couldn’t speak, my nose running and my face covered in tears, I sent Joan this text: Continue reading
Well. Here we are again. Summer is gone and with each falling leaf gently dancing to the ground, the grey, chill days of winter move closer. Already, the rush of Christmas is in the background, with the anticipation of Thanksgiving just ahead. And while we are grateful and look forward to the joy this time of year brings, “Weren’t we here just yesterday?” moves in whispers around us—a startling reminder that our lives are fleeting and truly, just a breath. (See Psalm 39:5.) Continue reading
It seems, as of late, that our world as many of us knew it, is no longer. Unprecedented mass killings, terrorism, and nightly shootings broadcast on the early morning news, are more the norm than not. Earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires causing unheard of disaster and loss of life, are motivating more and more to ask, “What is happening?” People stand stunned as if in shock, and while moments of silence are observed, a pervasive sense of helplessness seems to blanket and thicken the air. While being silent is a reverential expression of respect, does this quiet solemn response bring hope?
Going on two years now, I have been knitting a Christmas stocking for my grandson, Henry. It truly is a labor of the deepest, giving-of-myself kind of love, for in doing this, I have made a painful discovery; knitting is not my forte. My hour of delving into this craft—I have been told that is all you should attempt at one sitting— goes something like this. Knit five. Tink twenty. Tink, which is knit spelled backwards, means to unknit or undo what you have just done. My knitting is more like a boat rocking back and forth caught in a sludge that allows very little headway. Instead of moving forward, it feels as if I’m in the Twilight Zone of the land of no progress.
It can be so disheartening. My dear, sweet friend, Joan, who is teaching me this fine art, has become my cheerleader. I don’t know quite why she puts up with me except that I must provide endearing comic relief. Encouraging my efforts, she often genuinely tells me, “You’ve got this now. You know what you’re doing. Look at you go.” And she’s right. For a minute. Until I walk out of her house and all by my lonesome stumble into my next mistake that I have no idea how to fix. Not even an inkling at all.
My real problem is not that knitting is so difficult, but that I have too many irons in the fire. It’s not that I don’t have the brainpower to succeed at this endeavor—which can be intricate and exacting, often resulting in beautiful sweaters, afghans, and yes, even Christmas stockings—it’s that there are too many commitments in other areas of life and far too many distractions. Like a kid in a candy store, there are so many fun, wonderful, and interesting things to try, to do, and to see. If I had a bucket list, it would be full to overflowing.
So what it comes down to is picking and choosing, deciding and making….
Choices. Continue reading
Jerry and I love to cook. We enjoy experimenting with recipes, adding ingredients that you normally wouldn’t, to what’s tried and true. For instance, a dash of cinnamon in just about anything, in my opinion—Jerry is not always on the same page with me on this one—brings about a wonderful flavor. Plop overripe apple chunks into a beef stew and—even though you might find this hard to believe—you will experience an aroma and taste that is superb!
Likewise, the smells of spices and herbs by themselves, are delightful. To pinch off a sprig of rosemary and rub it in your palms or pluck a leaf of basil and smell its pungent aroma, there are few things that are more refreshing. But when two or more opposing ingredients—that would normally cause us to raise our hand in protest—are mixed together, we sometimes are deliciously surprised. The outcome is far better than we could have ever imagined.
The same can hold true in our lives.
The television show, CBS Sunday Morning, featured a story a few years back about a man who decided to do an intriguing sociological study where he began to follow the lives of children, checking in with them to see where they were every seven years. One boy’s story really caught my attention. Continue reading
I listened yesterday as my friend told me what happened. The hurt, confusion, heartache, and guilt of being misunderstood and of misunderstanding was written all over her face. As she recounted her side of the story, almost as the words were tumbling out of her mouth, she could see the mistakes she had made and those that were made toward her. She loves the one she hurt and was hurt by, and just wishes she could go back in time and make it all go away.
Miscommunication is never easy to go through, and it never happens to just one. It takes two for that tangle to occur. Even when you’re talking face-to-face and can hear both what someone is saying and see their expressions, misconceptions can occur. An intended joke is taken as a serious jab. A feeling of empathy is misconstrued as patronizing. Add in what happens when texting, tweeting, and Facebooking come into the picture and those subtle cues of voice inflection, a smile, or a gentle nudge on the shoulder are no longer there, conversation and connection is further compromised. Losing those signals that allow us to read between the lines, makes relating to one another so much more difficult. Without the benefit of sight, twinges of offense begin to take shape in our minds. Judgment is not far behind. Continue reading
Yesterday, sitting in my optometrist’s office that plays a continual stream of movies, I was able to catch a glimpse of a most memorable scene from one of my all time favorites, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Indiana Jones, the main character in search of his missing father, who is an archeologist, finds himself—along the way with WW II Nazis, and others looking for eternal longevity—in pursuit of the chalice Jesus drank from at The Last Supper. In the last scenes of the movie, Indiana is clasping a series of clues woven with Scripture written in his father’s notebook, and he must use them in order to successfully find what he is looking for.
Among those many challenges, there is one that always mesmerizes me. An abyss of such unthinkable proportions, it looks impossible to cross. As Indiana reads from his father’s scribblings, Proverbs 3:6 always pops in my head. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. A pastor once told me that the literal translation of that verse is, when you put your foot out, the path will be there. When Indiana made the choice to step out into what looked a chasm of sickening heights—one in which he would surely die—his foot landed on a granite-like crossway bridging the gap. Hands down, it is the best picture imaginable of what it means to walk in faith. Every time I see that scene, I want to slap my leg in affirmation while jumping up exclaiming a resounding, “Yes!”
Now we may not have an actual physical canyon to cross, but I think we all face our own personal abysses everyday. Some, on the richter scale seem smaller than others. And then there are those that are gargantuan. Continue reading
I love Mondays. It’s the day I pop out of bed, to-do list in hand, and scurry around the house and office, putting away the weekend, organizing what’s ahead. It’s a beautiful thing really, even when the mountain of what-needs-to-be-done far outweighs what’s already been checked-off.
It’s not always been that way though. I used to not only dread the day-to-day of everyday, but especially the start of the week. Waking up to be greeted by what had to be done was sometimes overwhelming. Pulling the covers over my head was all I wanted to do. But it wasn’t just when there was work to be done. It trickled into even having fun. Taking time away from what I thought I had to do, countered by the crushing weight of guilt, of I what I thought I should do, topped off by if I don’t step in, who will, sometimes was just too much. No matter how burdensome those thoughts were, they stoked in me a flame of pride. At the same time, the slavery to them, created exhaustion. Having barely anything left to give, the good intentions of compassion and grace were lost. Continue reading
Recently, Jerry and I made a decision that caused me to come face-to-face with Lot’s wife, the woman from the infamous town of Sodom. Not a comfortable thought considering in the Bible, she is nameless. But more importantly, when fleeing the historic destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah she is the person who by looking back, disobeyed God and was changed into a pillar of salt. Not knowing her reasons why, but realizing that some of those same motives which might have caused her disobedience—not wanting to leave family and friends, wanting the security of the past by holding onto what is familiar—all of which are alive and well in me, was enough to give me pause. To stop and listen. To pay attention and trust God in what Jerry and I feel He is leading us to do. Continue reading