Friday, August 23, 2013

Love, Cake & Blessedness

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I tend to agree. One need only flip through a family photo album and instantaneously find themselves filled with thousands of words, memories and stories to share. Russian author, Ivan Turgenev, wrote, "A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound."

August is a big birthday month for our family. Both of my boys, Jack and Joseph, have August birthdays, and so do I. My friend, Susan, snapped this photo last weekend. The picture takes my breath away and gives joy to my heart all at the same time. One of my friends said the photo speaks, "love" (as in Joseph loves his momma) and "cake" (as in Jack loves his cake!). Others have commented with regard to the photo, "perfection", "framer", "magazine worthy", and "cute". But of the thousands of words this particular photo conjures up, the one that sums them all up for me is, "blessed"....

Do you see those two precious boys in the photo? I am blessed. Those are my two healthy, thriving, spunky, loves their momma and loves their cake babies. One of them had heart surgery at 14 months of age. The other, we were told, would need a heart transplant at birth. Praise God he did not.  You see them there? They are alive and well. Their hearts are healthy. They are healthy. I am blessed.

Do you notice the woman in the photo? I am that woman, and I am blessed. I just turned 39 years young. Seven years ago, I was fighting for life, filling out a living will and writing letters to my babies in the event I didn't make it through my battle with cancer. Now, I'm a cancer survivor celebrating life with those I love most. I am blessed.

Can you spy the pearl earrings in my ears? I am blessed. My husband gave me those earrings. I wore them 19 years ago on our wedding day. Each time I place them in my ears, I am reminded of his love for me and of our promise to one another till death do us part. Marriage is hard work, but we are willing to work at what God has joined together. I am loved and I am blessed.

Did you spot the cake on the table? I am blessed. The cake was made by someone who cares about me and my family. Someone who doesn’t have to, but chooses to selflessly give and invest in my life and my family. My heart is full and its brokenness is restored because of friends like that. I am blessed.

Did you catch sight of the smile on my face? I am blessed. The smile is that of a woman filled with hope and faith...a woman saved by grace and loved beyond measure by One who laid His life down for her own. Every good and perfect thing in my life is because of Him. 

"Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received, comes to us 
from above, courtesy of the Father of lights...." – James 1:17

Because of Him and Him alone, I am blessed. 

Most gracious Lord, thank You for the blessing of life and for every good and perfect gift You give. May every snapshot of my life, reflect Your love and Your blessings. I am blessed because of You.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shut Your Pie Hole

It started out as an innocent text, but quickly turned into a panic induced moment brought on by autocorrect. It didn't matter if he meant to say the words or not...there they were (in all their glory no less), and once he hit that send button, there was no going back.   

My husband, Todd, was organizing food and other items in our church fellowship hall when aforementioned texting snafu took place.  Todd sent a text to our pastor's wife to make sure
she was comfortable with him relocating some items to one central area. 

    "Should I group the funeral dinner items?" 

Innocent enough, right?  Uh huh...that is of course, if that text was actually sent.  Unfortunately, it was not.  But, the sweet little gem below was:
"Shut your pie hole."

Oh. Snap!  (insert face palm here)  Turns out Todd's initial text was sabotaged by autocorrect!  And, before he even noticed, he hit send on that amazing little nugget above.  How on earth autocorrect comes up with some stuff is beyond me – another of life's great mysteries I suppose.   I too have sent crazy autocorrected texts, and I too have been on the receiving end of some pretty strange autocorrected texts (animal should never ever under any circumstances autocorrect to, wow! just saying.)

I digress, back to the whole "shut your pie hole" deal... I'm not saying I totally laugh snorted when Todd told me about his autocorrect fail, and I'm not saying I didn't....  But, I am saying - if you can't laugh at yourself, then rest assured, your wife will.... (love you, dear.)

Thankfully, Todd and I are blessed with a wonderful pastor and his wife who understand Todd and I are a couple of crazed weirdos really sweet people who would never text anything like that (generally speaking).  Todd was able to save face and immediately sent another text containing not only the correct information, but an apology and explanation.  Whew! Crisis averted.  

Wouldn't it be great if we could blame all our regretful words on autocorrect?  And, wouldn't it be awesome to have our mean spirited words forgiven, brushed off, and possibly even laughed over just as soon as they fly from of our mouths?  Indeed it would....

Recently, I found myself wishing I could erase some regretful words I said.  They so easily slid off my tongue, but the damage and pain they could have caused would certainly not have slid off so smoothly.  Out they flew with frustration and spite and anger attached.  I meant them in a hateful manner and they did their job well by coming across as such.  Some laughed at my words – which of course, only encouraged me to say more.  After all, the spark was already there inside of me, and it didn't take much at all for that spark to ignite into a flame.  Oh, how good it felt when I was saying the words.  And oh, how the fire raged...At the time, I didn't care if the pride I felt came at the expense of someone least until I turned around that is. 

Open pie hole, insert foot.  There in front of me sat the family of the one I was so quick to slander.  It's a wonder the fire from my words hadn't singed the hair right off their heads.  I no longer wanted to be on the pedestal I'd put myself on.  Rather, I wanted to slink right on out of there cowering.  Suddenly it didn't feel so good anymore, and I was ashamed of myself and my words.   

"The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." – James 3:5 and 9-12

By the sheer grace and mercy of God, I don't believe this family heard my hatefulness.  I never meant to hurt them, nor the person I was speaking of so sharply.  In the heat of the fire though, I blazed on – never giving thought to the damage I could cause – and totally relishing in my moment of conceit.  Shame on me.  For out of my very own mouth I praise my Lord and Savior, yet I curse men.  Sigh...I could totally stand to shut my pie hole sometimes.  Maybe once I get my foot out of my mouth, I'll do just that! 

Thank you for coming here to read my blog, and for journeying alongside me.  I am not at all close to perfection (despite what my ego and words may try to suggest at times).   I'm just a sinner saved by grace...a girl who loves the Lord and who daily strives to work on her walk...a walk, on the road that is often slickery.   Praise God His mercies are new every morning...cause Lord knows this girl and her pie hole need some mercy!  I pray as I share the lessons I learn, they not only help me in my own spiritual growth, but they will encourage you too.  

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy; for Your forgiveness; and for Your unconditional love.  Lord, I pray when I open my mouth, You fill it with words of life.   Likewise, I ask that You shut my mouth when anything other than God breathed words threaten to ignite an unholy flame.  May the things I say edify those around me and point the way to You, Lord.   Not to me, but only to You.  I praise You for Your saving grace and for taking my feet out of my mouth and planting them firmly back on the road.  There is none like You.  None like You.