Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bloom where you are planted.

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"Bloom where you are planted" was my first thought when I noticed this petunia growing by my grill. But the more I've thought about it, the more I think this photo should be labeled "With God, all things are possible."

This petunia wasn't "planted". Obviously a very, very tiny seed (Have you ever seen a petunia seed?) fell from my window box last summer and got washed into this crack in our patio. Then, unnoticed, unloved, and uncultivated it not only made it to maturity, it bloomed!

As followers of Jesus we often try to plant "seeds" of kindness, love, forgiveness, and hope in difficult places - prisons, hardened hearts, and cracked lives. Many times our efforts seem futile. Can change really happen? Can love truly bloom? Can people honestly break free from the strongholds that control them?

God just smiles; for in His kingdom there is no one unnoticed, unloved, or beyond His reach. He can take the smallest "seed" in the hardest heart and cultivate into something beautiful. See the proof for yourself.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Blessed Memorial Day

This is the Memorial Day Cartoon which will run in Monday's local paper. A picture surely paints a thousand words.

Memorial Day Cartoon

Living for God

I wrote this in my old journal dated 12-25-00 and decided to ponder on it today:

We shouldn't spend all our time living for God, trying to do His will. He desires that we spend all our time living in His presence, in perfect unity with Christ. The former is us saying, "I will do everything in my power to please God." The latter is Christ saying, "Abide in Me; without Me you can do nothing."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Update on Kris

From Kris' mom:
Kris is still in critical condition. But Friday the Doctors finally said he had some hope. I never gave up hope!! He has pneumonia but that goes along with the lung condition. His lungs were badly injured in the accident and it is a long slow process to heal. His pelvis is crushed but surgery is not an option until he stabilizes. Keep us in your prayers and I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Please Pray...

...for Kris S. He is the 16 year old son of a high school friend of mine. He was recently in an auto accident with an 18 wheeler. His mom said all they have is hope and prayer. I don't know how serious his injuries are, but anything involving an 18 wheeler doesn't sound good.
Thank you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nice? To Her?!?!?!

The sign hanging from a pink polka-dotted ribbon boldly declared, “DO NOT DISTURB.” What better invitation did a twelve-year-old need to barge into her older sister’s room?

“Get out!” the eldest yelled, “And I mean now!” Rather than leave quietly, the younger began a volley of less than loving words. The older was more than up to the challenge. After several rounds, the younger finally ended it with a slam dunk and a slammed door. With determination she set off to find a sympathetic ear (a.k.a. me, her mom.)

In an effort to justify herself, my younger daughter let fly a string of examples to prove she is always mistreated by my older one. I listened patiently, finally counseling her to “just be nice to your sister.” (This seemed the motherly thing to say)

“Why?” She demanded, “Why should I be nice to her?” (With an emphasis on “her” as if uttering “her” real name might cause regurgitation.) Without waiting for a reply she proceeded to list all the reasons her older sister did not deserve kindness. And while there was some truth to her words, I knew her sister could compile a similar list. Exasperated by this time, I once again admonished the younger to treat her sister with kindness. She looked at me with her own frustration and demanded once more, “Why should I?”

All the good things her sister had done for her were on the tip of my tongue waiting to fly off like messengers of grace to bridge this valley in my daughters’ relationship. I realized, however, that the younger was not in the Land of Reason, so I decided to put it bluntly, “Because I said to.”

She gave me a bewildered look and left deciding, I suppose, the cat appeared to be more sympathetic than I.

I began to think.

How often do we, God’s children, exchange cross words with one another justifying each one? Do we explain to God why we can’t be nice to So & So, detailing all the reasons they don’t deserve kindness?

Perhaps the reason we are to treat our “brothers” and “sisters” with love is not because they deserve it, but because Dad said to.

That’s something to think about.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

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Sisters who usually get along.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Becoming My Mother Update

I called my mother today. Here was the conversation:

Mom: I laughed when I opened the card you sent.

Me: Why?

Mom: Because I bought the same one for Mamaw!(Her own mother!)

Me: Great minds think alike! I guess that means you liked the card.

Just another sign I'm becoming my mother!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jesus with the Little Children

When I was a little girl I owned a picture of Jesus with the little children. It was a cheap, cardboard print in a cheap, plastic frame. But, oh, that picture of the kind, loving Christ warmed my heart! Part of the charm may have been a little poem written at the bottom that made me wish I could sit at the feet of Jesus. Through the years the print has been lost and the stanza has faded from memory, yet there are still times I wish I could look at it once more, or even go back in time to put my special picture of Jesus in a safe place.

Then along came the internet.

A google search of "Jesus and the Children" brought up that long lost picture by Francis Hook entitled "Jesus with the Little Children." Another search with the few lines I could remember brought up the poem entitled "The Sweet Story of Old" by Jemima Luke! Please take a moment to follow the links and be blessed.

Here are the lines on my precious print:

I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,

That His arm had been thrown around me;

and that I might have seen His kind look when He said,

"Let the little ones come unto Me."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Becoming My Mother!

Becoming my Mother!
© Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005
It’s official – I’ve turned into my mother.

I suspected as much last summer when we were both caught wearing similar bathrobes and slippers. It became clearer upon discovering both our pre-Katrina preparations included boiling eggs and filling the bathtub with water. Let’s face it, for years we’ve laugh at the same jokes, enjoyed the same books and movies, and appreciated good puns. (Not everyone can, you know.) And in spite of the fact she loves squash, which I despise; my notion that I was becoming my mother were recently validated at the local Dollar General Store.

“I’ve got to get a pair of reading glasses,” she began. “I just can’t read the fine print on boxes anymore.” As she perused the reading glass rack my suspicion was confirmed, for it wasn’t my mother who was trying them on and speaking, it was me!

I’ve always had 20/20 vision and became slightly irritated when my mother would say, “Just a minute, let me get my glasses first,” every time I asked her to look at something. Over the past year, however, I’ve noticed a few changes. Manufacturers have changed the print size on their packaging, the light by my reading chair has grown dimmer, and people have been standing too close to my face during conversations.
Alas, the evidence mounted to beyond a reasonable doubt, so I scheduled an appointment with the optometrist. “When you reach forty your eye muscles start weakening,” she politely said during the exam. “You could use a pair of reading glasses.” What she meant was, “Nothing’s wrong with you; you’re just getting older.” Well meaning? Yes, but it brought little comfort coming from a twenty-six year old.

My mother and mother-in-law are forty…well, er... at least they were the last time I noticed. My mother-in-law’s fortieth birthday celebration was only yesterday. Wasn’t it? I was madly in love with her son at the time. The simple fact she was my boyfriend’s mother meant she was old. (Ahem…I mean old-er.) My own mother was forty when I married that same fellow, and we’ve only been married a mere…let’s see…twenty-one years. Twenty-one years?!?!? Yikes! That makes me…oh, my!...forty-one! How did that creep up on me?!?!?! That means I’m old! (I mean old-er.)

To be honest, turning into my mother isn’t such a horrid thing. She’s smart, caring, a hard worker, has a heart for God, and can make an awesome pan of chicken and dumplings. She has a great sense of humor and a love of books that’s been passed down to me and at least one granddaughter. She has a creative side I greatly admire, is a good listener, and repeatedly puts her faith into action. I consider myself blessed to be her child.

I modeled my new reading glasses for my own children the night I got them. “They’re cute!” one said kindly. Another wasn’t quite so tactful. “You look like Grandma,” she declared.

Actually, I hope I do.

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Me and my parents. How many years ago????

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Me with my youngest dd. She's twelve now!

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My mom and I just a couple years ago.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Just Like Everyone Else

Life is hard.
There is no way around it. Sooner or later everyone breathing on this planet will experience difficulties of some kind. The possibilities are endless:

  • financial hardships
  • family strife
  • sickness
  • relational issues
  • hurricanes
  • fire
  • tornadoes
  • cancer
  • alcoholism
  • drugs
  • flood
  • famine
  • war
  • depression
  • death of a loved one

As I said, the possibilities are endless. There are some who think, even preach, that hardships are brought about by sin in one's life, that "Good Christians" don't suffer like everyone else. And while I do concede some "trials" are self-inflicted, it is downright cruel and just plain wrong to say Christians are above the hardships of life. We weren't promised a "smooth ride" when we gave our lives to Jesus. (Sorry to burst anyone's bubble.) Christians experience life just like the rest of the world.

We are tossed, battered, and bruised by life's storms, but we have an Anchor keeping us from being totally demolished.

We sometimes lose our way and get confused, but we have a Compass to refocus us and put us back on track.

We sometimes get discouraged, depressed, and heart-broken, but we always have Hope.

We make wrong decisions, bad choices, and miserable mistakes. Often we don't resemble what "Christians" should be, but we have forgiveness, mercy, grace, and rest for our souls.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ~ Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." ~ John 16:33