old school prayers

these last few months i have thought a lot about life, faith, and the role of prayer in my life.

friends, co workers and such have shared their thoughts on the subject. folks talked about speaking life and positive thoughts, to pray specifically, to pray like the widow to the king in the bible. all which at some point in my faith walk i have actively practiced.

 

yet one afternoon i was talking to a friend at work and i shared how certain i am that He is working in our life, yet neither the mr or i have any strong leading as to what is next for us. we continue in our days with our routines and active steps to seek what is next, yet after all these months we have no clear leading as to what is next.

for the longest time, behind my desk was a sign i painted years ago with key words to remind me of this verse ……

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

the sign now hangs next to our front door as a reminder to set my mind on His principles.

today we are traveling to New England and i have lots of quiet moments. moments to ponder. moments to remember simpler days. sermons and youth group challenges of years gone by. one challenge in particular to pray for His will to be made clear. the kind of prayer that is open and abandoned. the kind of prayer the leaders of old prayed. early morning faith chats knowing His provision would be what was needed and when needed. giants of the faith who made time for prayer no matter how busy the day’s calendar noted.

another memory which has filled my wonder was the series on Nehamiah, the builder. the builder with a specific purpose.

in these days of uncertainty, i am not certain the specifics of some areas of our lives, yet, i am certain each day has it’s own specific building purpose. i want to be a builder. one who looks for a solid future. one who trusts the promises.

i say all this to mean i trust in His peace. i have lived this life long enough to know our days contain both sunshine and rain. seasons of plenty and seasons of want. yet in all He promises peace and joy.

this week i found myself looking for His moments in all the everyday tasks of my life. in the comings and goings. in my words, thoughts, plans and quiet moments.

i still have no clear leading on what the coming months will bring, yet there is this peace i can only explain as his promise.

feathers from my nest

 

 

Everyone loves a parade.

Clearly I wrote this weeks ago and just never got around to posting. For the sake of my online journal …. maybe better late than never.

For me, the passage of time is measured by the seasons. Each season unfolding with signature plantings, celebrations and quiet times. I am a celebrator. Always have been. I love all the trimmings, gathering moments unique to the moment in time, memories to be made.

Our home is a reflection of my passions. These days, stars and stripes, quilts, hydrangeas, hosta plants and books abound.

For as long as I can remember patriotism runs deep in who I am. I was the kid who loved reciting the pledge of allegiance. I always wanted to own my own home so I could display our our flag. I still cry each and every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner. And the day I was sworn in as a naturalized citizen, I brought my own flag to hold and I pledge my allegiance. A few weekends ago our girl child gifted me with bouquets of flags. YAY Bouquets to brighten little corners of our home. Hurray for the red white and blue.

This year the Mr and I were home alone for Independence Day weekend . We had enjoyed simple meals, quiet reading by the pool and afternoons chatting on the deck. One night I proclaimed, “let’s watch a movie tonight!”. He suggested a movie about the Cuban revolution. The suggestion was not exactly my general to go of a romantic comedy or a British TV series. Yet, a movie I wanted to watch for a long time so we grabbed some snacks, a quilt, throw pillows and settled in.

I danced in my seat to the Latin tunes, turned my head during the violent God Father like scenes and cried. The movie gave life to the stories my family shared about life in Havana during the revolution. A good part of the movie took place when I was born. I was thinking about my parents and siblings and bringing home a new baby with gun fire in the streets.

I cried when I saw the beautiful city filled with life and people so passionate about their city. I cried as I watched family sitting around the table sharing a Sunday meal … all together as a family fearful of what the future would hold. I cried when the revolutionary nephew delivered a message from Castro the government was confiscating the man’s land, crops and homestead as the government took over everything.

But what broke me and caused me to sob was the scene when the main character was preparing to leave his city on a flight to New York City. As the soldiers took his family treasures, demanding the family ring from his finger, his fathers pocket watch …… and I remembered the stories of my parents leaving Havana. The soldiers taking my Mother’s wedding rings.

In that moment the movie brought to life what it must have been like for my parents to leave their lost city.

Freedom, liberty, pursuit of happiness are treasures.

We are a blessed people. I am a Cuban American. Holding fast to the heritage of my family and living deeply grateful for freedoms we hold dear.

feathers from my nest …… many weeks later … giggle

mary poppins and maria

1465121857_full.jpeg

I am a huge fan of classic musicals.

I am a huge, really huge fan of Julie Andrews as Mary and Maria.

Recently our daughter and I were talking about the plan to re-make Mary Poppins. I am a bit of a purest. I cannot imagine improving perfection.

So what is it about Mary Poppins which stirs my imagination?

1) Never underestimate the power of a great bag … especially one of the carpet variety.

First I will readily admit, I am not the super Mom who has in my possession anything and everything a person could need. That talent escaped me. My mother in law and daughter on the other hand, totally epic. You name it and they have it. I believe they could win big on Let’s make a deal.

2) Keeping a tidy home matters. Making the job fun even better.

I am domestic by nature. I am a bundle of constant energy. A tidy home offers me the opportunity to rest my mind. Wiping counters while chatting is my perfect choreographed moment. I have been known to sing and dance while I vacuum. Really, just ask my kids.

For me, cleaning, picking up, shzoooshing grounds me. Knowing the calm after the storm is what fuels my desire to get the job done.

spit spot …. giggle

3) Imaginative adventures fill the heart with wonder.

Ok. I have yet to dance with penguins. Truth.

Sharing a few dance moves, giggling and smiling well, there is a reason why I love the song dancing queen. Just this past weekend the girl child and I were working together at a Market. A variety of musicians graced the pavillion filling the afternoon with tunes. She and I shared a few shoulder shrugs, hand waves and well a strut or two.

smile and continued giggles

4) Words mean something.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Thank goodness for google.

Words are powerful. They can comfort our hearts, inspire our soul, fuel our passion, and fill our minds with wonder.

5) Feed the bird

Some of my favorite folks in life feed the birds. Folks who know the simple act of filling a container with food promises visits from feathered friends. Much like life and people. When we choose to give of ourselves to others we often find our life’s moments are filled with purpose and meaning.

6) Let’s go fly a kite

Never underestimate the power of quality family time.

Family moments are most often best cultivated in simple moments. Walks on the beach, learning to fish, play dough, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, yard work, fixing a roof, bike riding, camp fires, car rides, Saturday morning doughnut runs, yard sales, Friday night pizza, Sunday afternoon Disney movies …..

Moments which provide time.

Time for talking or not talking.
Laughter.
Sharing our hopes and fears.

Moments which speak …. no matter what, I will always be here for you.

So thank you for the lessons Mary.

feathers from my nest

recess and nap time

Remember when you were younger, how you looked forward to recess? My elementary school days were celebrated at a small Catholic school, St. Anthonys. As with most small private schools, our recess moments were enjoyed on the parking lot blacktop. One of my favorite memories is of skipping along the school yard with my Footsie. Remember those? A plastic ring around one of your ankles, with a string and a bell at the end. Skip, jingle, hop, skip, jingle, hop. Good times.

I would skip around the school yard, daydreaming. Happy go lucky, not a care in the world …. skipping along.

Other days hoola hoops, Chinese jump rope, regular jump rope were the play of the day …… simple play. I think in the end the actual activity was less important than the laugher, daydreaming, and momentary getting away from the routine of the day.

Another pastime I remember was nap time.

Closing my eyes, listening to the happenings outside my open window. Funny how as a child I often begrudged the interruption imposed by nap time. Having to stop the play of the day to rest and re-charge. Clearly a plot on the part of the grown ups ….. giggle.

Recess and nap time.

As an adult I relish the quiet, sleepy afternoon moments when I grab my favorite pillow, pull down a cozy woven throw, and slip into sleep with West Wing playing on Netflix. The moments when the scent of my favorite candle beckon me to pause the day’s tasks, to quiet my mind, to rest my mind and soul.

Some people are not nappers. I simply cannot relate.

Recess. What does recess look like for an adult. Well, if we are talking about exercise, for me recess is time at the gym or steps on the streets of Georgetown at lunch. If we are talking about get away moments, days at the ballpark with family are a happy go lucky kind of recess days.

I was reminded this week, you are never too old for recess and nap time.

Some weeks you have to step away from being an adult and enjoy the simple childhood happenings.

Today I am off on recess. A mid week walk away from the routine to wander along with the Mr.

Here’s to recess and nap times.

Feathers from my nest.

coffee, tea and he

DSC_0276

I Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

 

Kindness and encouragement are traits we encouraged our kids to live out in their day to day happenings. Lessons were taught by action rather than words. Meals were one measure of kindness. Some days the meals were delivered to friends or friends to be. Other times folks were invited to share a meal around our family table. Something about sharing food around a table in the comfort of a home was a means to offer not only hospitality, but also encouragement.

I received a text message from my brother asking me what kind of coffee I liked. I replied these days I am a bit more of a fruit tea kind of girl and the Mr enjoys a dark roast blend. A few hours later our kitchen counter was graced with 6 or 7 pounds of coffee and 7 or more boxes of assorted fruit teas.

I giggled and cried at his thoughtful kindness.

He is a quiet one, this brother of mine. He calls me Honey. And while he shopped for his weekly groceries he messaged to ask … what do we love. He asked because he is thoughtful and kind that way.

So often in life it is the little things. Coffee and tea are little pleasures we so enjoy. He picked Starbucks because he knows that is where the Mr loves to get coffee. And for someone who knew nothing about tea with fruit flavor, well, I am going to enjoy a wonderful variety of my very favorite teas for weeks on end.

So every morning before I go to work, when I pack my morning’s tea, I will smile and sigh knowing by brother cares for even the little things of my days.

So each morning as I sip my tea, I pray for an opportunity to be a blessing to some one because kindness matters. Encouragement makes a real difference in the life of others.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.Ephesians 4:32

feathers from my nest

breathing

1458946953_thumb.jpeg

Remember this is my online journal. Some days I chat about home and decorating and other days I record the thoughts of my life’s journey.

When I get stressed, really stressed, I have to remind myself to stop and breath.

And when I get sad I go to my comfy places. At night when I can’t shake the sadness, I reach out and touch his back. Something about the simple act of touching his back settles me.

Numbers don’t lie or so they say. This week was all about numbers. Numbers and timelines.

The responsible thing to do is to put it all on paper.

Our lives. Summed up. Literally summed up with the numbers on the page.

I was sad and stressed.

The thought of everything changing makes my head spin.

Plans centered around finding work to provide for the living.

Work which may for a season require us to live in separate homes.

The thought of having to live separately steals my breath. How will I reach out at night when I need to be settled. How will it be home to me when he is my home.

The other night I cried for the first time. That massive lump in my throat gave way to tears.

Tears at the thought of our life changing. When did change become a four letter word to me?

A few months ago I made peace with where we were in life. A three year lease, possibility for a promotion, plans, promises of goals for the next three years.

Then one sentence changed everything. “I was laid off”.

The words on the screen stared back at me with a power to take my breath away. In one fleeting moment all our plans, hopes and dreams changed.

I am a do-er, a make it happen kind of girl. I am wrestling my thoughts. The wrestling is exhausting.

I run to the word, to my devotions. The words settle my mind and heart. This week I was re-visiting a study about Mary. The study spoke of Gabriel’s visit to Mary. I was reminded of Mary’s willingness to follow in His will. Mary’s sweet spirit of obedience.

The study goes on to say “it is one thing to want God’s will, it is another to do it”. I can in my heart and mind want to live for Him. Yet when the journey involves total surrender and walk of faith total and complete surrender ….. well now there, right there is where my wrestling begins.

I have no problem following when I have a good idea where the path will lead.

This time, the path’s journey is uncertain.

The verse, “They word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”Psalm 119:105 is an analogy of when in Biblical times lamps were somehow strapped on to foot coverings to folks could journey at night. The lamps provided just enough light for the very next step.

This is where we are …. light just for the very next step.

And by His grace, I will walk one step at a time. Living. Trusting. Faithful.

Breathing.

car rides

Music we love plays in the background. Some our favorite artists, tunes from years gone by transporting out thoughts to days when we were younger; memories of our dating days, early marriage and now our empty nesting days.

Scenes constantly changing as we travel through one state to another.

The highway’s congestion reflective of the city living. Folks in a hurry, horns honking, a bit of tension as everyone seems to be in a hurry.

Highways with rolling hills, views of smaller towns, neighborhoods with single family homes, the pace slows.

Then my favorite part of the highways, farmlands.

Farms, barns, fields turned ready for seeds to be planted.

And my mind ponders. Planting, watering, harvest and provision. The seasons of the farm. Farming days begin early and end late. Days dependent on the rain and sunshine to bring the harvest. Crops are lost in seasons of too much of either.

There is a gentle balance to life.

We are in a season of planting in faith. Going about our routines, doing what we know to be needed. Not certain of the harvest but resting, in faith, in who provides the harvest.

feathers from my nest

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

a change of plans

DSC_0258

I am a planner. Lists are my happy place.
I am a nester. What calms my inner crazy is when the house is all picked up, a candle is lit, a cup of tea in hand and a good read.

 

I am a daughter of the King. I know He has plans for me. Plans to prosper and not harm me.

I know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities.

I am not going to lie, the wrestling it real. My thoughts, dreams, hopes, and comfy spots are in major wrestle mode. Yet, all at the same time I am in perfect peace.

A bit of a roller coaster and merry go round all in one this wrestling and peace place of our lives.

I have no idea what the future holds for he and me. Everything is on the table and what lays before us is a blank piece of paper.

Here am I, speak Lord.

Lessons from the weekend visit to New England.

We enjoyed meals around the table. The house was alive with hustle and bustle in the kitchen.
Left over roasted chicken makes for amazing chicken salad.
He makes this awesome eggplant lasagna.
She is crazy good at solitaire and translates those skills to Kings in the Corner. I, on the other had, rule at rummy. Well at least today I did. giggle

Change is not always bad. There I said it.

I will carry the lessons from this weekend to the the next days’ changes.

This journey is not what we planned. This journey was not on our bucket list.

This journey is real and together he and me are being still and knowing He is God.

feathers from my nest

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

Putting feet to your knees

Today he messaged me to share his name was on the roster of the next round of lay offs. I was on the phone with a co-worker and finished the call before stepping away to take in the understanding of his words.

 

As I walked away to catch my breath my thoughts were scattered in a few directions. All while mechanically making a check list of to do’s, my soul was whispering to me such a time as this. I found myself in one of those life’s moments when I know that I know, as I always do, that He has a plan. His plan of perfection. A plan which includes, for me, to remember in all things I live for His glory.

So often my days are blurred with the rhythm of the routines. I get comfortable and self reliant.

This storm came out of nowhere and yet somehow I knew it was coming.

Even today, in the midst of the winds and crashing waves, my soul reminded me of lessons learned these last few months to prepare for the next steps of the journey.

Even today, in the midst of the storm, He provided this un explainable peace.

Even today, in the midst of the storm I was reminded of the lyrics of a song not sung for almost a decade.

….. for you say step out on the water and they say it can’t be done
we will fix our eyes on you and we will come.

feathers from my nest

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matt 14:29

laughter is the best medicine

Not really sure the origins of some sayings, still I know them to be true.

 

 

I bundled up like a kindergartener preparing for a hill top adventure in mid February. No really, tights, 2 pair of leggings snow bibs and 7 layers on the top and a partridge in a pear tree. All in preparation for the single digit temps on the mountain.

The Mr prefers the roads less traveled. Roads with rolling hills, farm houses, out buildings, ponds, trees, both evergreen and deciduous. Each and every scenic story capture through the lens of my eyes to my heart. Someday I may travel back with camera in hand. This weekend, living the minutes and moments was the present I needed, wanted most.

I am more than a little afraid of heights, yet mountain views speak to my soul in ways second only to that of the sea. Most think of mountain views as the heights with the endless views. Views which speak to the soul of the those who invest in themselves to pause the day’s happenings for moments to be still. Be still and hear His sweet and still voice through His creation.

The mountain top is a treasured destination best experienced when the journey itself is also valued. The two lane roads, twisting, turning and winding the way through farms, woods, national parks, and rural somewhat lonely places where our minds clear of the everyday goings on.

So what about the laughter?

This week’s mountain top experience included a tube, my hubby and my sisters. I was promised moments which would make me feel like a kid again. What she forgot to mention was the laugher.

Tube in hand I walked to the top of my lane as if I knew what I was doing when all the while my heart was pounding. Years have passed since my last moments on the resort snow. Three, two, one and the rubber circle donut under my backside sailed the ups and downs of the hill with speed and spins and giggles.

giggles from the deep inside, freely shared for all to hear. No inhibitions, complete childlike wonder, time standing still moments only made better when riding in tandem with him.

His eyes echoed my laughter and together we were reminded of much. Together we purposed for more moments like these.

feathers from my nest

both the winding, twisting roads and the mountain top experiences reminded me of these recent weeks. in all of our life’s experiences, He is there.