Yellow

I saw it – a small flash of yellow – as I wiped a tear from my eye. 

Growing in an unexpected place, a small buttercup splashed its color as the breeze gently kissed it.

Another tear slipped from my eye as I plucked the flower with my heart and carried it inside in my memory. 

Tomorrow, after my sorrow has faded and the sun returns to my soul, I will visit the lone flower and mark its location.

And, as Winter fades from my heart and Spring warms the ground I will build a flowerbed around the sweet surprise.

Thank you, God, for the blessing of your love – and the reminder sent by the little yellow flower. 

 

 

…a janitor

The book was new to the Media Center and the first grader hugged it tightly to her body, the bunny on the cover faced out and peeked over the girl’s arms. 

A tall young man spoke to her, “What’s the name of the book?”

She turned the book around and looked at it.  Her shoulders shrugged and she looked up, up at him and smiled.

He asked again, “What’s the name of the book?”

She replied, “You know what the name is, you can read it.”

He shook his head and whispered, “No, I can’t.”

She looked at him, surprise and disbelief evident on her face. In child-like simplicity she uttered one word – “Why?”

I held my breath, waiting.

“Because I’m a janitor,” he quietly answered.

The girl looked at the book and then at him.  She shook her head and watched as he nodded his.

He pointed to the two word title and asked again, “What’s the name of the book?”

She hesitated and then opened her mouth to reply – but the Librarian had walked up on the conversation and called the young man’s name, then said, “You can read the title of that book! (and laughed) You know you can! (and then to the girl) Is he teasing you?”

And, the little girl smiled and nodded her head.

The librarian then said, “Bunny Cakes is a cute book, don’t you think?”

The young man said, “Bunny Cakes! I knew the name, did you?”

The little girl nodded her head as the young man said, “I just like teasing with the kids – I tell them I don’t know what it says and when they ask why I tell them, you know, that I’m a janitor.”

The librarian assured the girl that being a janitor was no small thing and that the young man could indeed read and was quite smart.

With a flash of a smile she and Bunny Cakes hopped over to the circulation desk to make arrangements for the book to accompany her home.

The young man laughed at his joke and waved at the little girl as he exited the Media Center.

I’ve racked my brain trying to remember if I’ve seen this young man on a computer, reading anything, or putting pen to paper. And, to be honest, I can’t remember a single time. 

This young man’s face is burned into my memory of today’s events and I will be “eyes open” to see if indeed this young man can read and if not, will offer him the opportunity to learn.

— Written in fond memory of Frank – the janitor at my elementary school, almost 50 years ago.

Entertain Me

I treated myself to lunch at my laptop and asked foxnews.com to entertain me.

And, entertain me it did!

Scientists are going to drill down to a lake buried 2 miles beneath the Antarctic ice. It “could uncover previously unknown life that has been cut off from the world for millennia.”

Um…ha ha ha.  I’m entertained.  Maybe the unknown life doesn’t want to be uncovered – maybe it prefers to be cut off from the world. Maybe….

Did you know some scientists are talking about putting sunshades on the earth? or think we should plant light colored plants and paint our roofs white? or brighten clouds with sea water?   

Can we say “ice age??”  Oh, yeah, I am entertained! 

And, this – oh, my…this is Leap Year with Leap Day on February 29.  And, now June 30 we will have a LEAP SECOND to keep up with the earth’s rotation! 

And get this – wind farms are distorting radar readings! At least that’s what scientists are warning and it’s “leading the Department of Defense and the National Weather Service to spend millions in a scramble to preserve their detection capabilities.”  

It appears hurricanes are unpredictible.  Hahahahahahahahaha.  Ahem…it appears the advance predictions about hurricanes aren’t accurate. Two Colorado State University climatologists have been independently tracking and predicting the severity of hurricanes for almost 30 years and they are abandoning long-range forecasting efforts.

Duh – I didn’t need a degree to know that.  They could have saved a pile of money, fed a Third World nation, built houses for homeless families, rebuilt cities and towns devastated  by hurricanes…. 

Hmmm…what started out to be entertaining quickly became “grrrrr.”

Ok, here’s another – did you know the Loch Ness Monster’s Home is not on the level?  I was “into” the article until I came to one paragraph.  

The depth of the loch changed by 1.5 millimeters (0.06 inches) at its different ends depending on whether the North Sea tide was in or not, according to researchers at the National Oceanography Center in the UK and the University of Porto, Portugal.

Changed by 1.5 mm. 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha – oh, yeah, I’m entertained! Lots of money and time and manpower – the article is a serious piece and the information was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.  But it still struck me funny – and I am still shaking my head over it.

Thank you foxnews.com for such an entertaining collection of seriously newsworthy articles.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

 

 

 

Grace

I googled “grace.”

Perhaps I should back up just a bit. 

A friend suggested I look for grace in my life and be obedient to what I see.

Another suggested I respond with love when dealing with difficult people.

Both suggestions sound like the “grace” I’ve heard of all my life – God’s grace.  

So, I googled “grace” thinking I would find a simple definition and an easy understanding of something I have difficulty grasping, even at this age and stage of my life.

From the list of possibilities the search window offered I’m guessing I’m not the only one confused by grace.

Possibilities in the drop-down-window included:

grace definition

grace definition catholic

grace defiintion webster

grace definition christian

…bible

…wikipedia

…name

…religious

…greek

…biblical

So, which “grace” is it?

I think I’ll take them in the order in which they appreared on the drop down window – as they are above.

grace (definition)  1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion. 2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement. 3. A sense of fitness or propriety. 4. a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill. b. Mercy;  clemency. 5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence. 6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve. 7. Graces Greek & Roman Mythology Three sister goddesses, known in Greek mythology as Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, who dispense charm and beauty. 8.  a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people. b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God. c. An excellence or power granted by God. 9. A short prayer of blessing or thanksgiving said before or after a meal. 10. Grace Used with His, Her, or Your as a title and form of address for a duke, duchess, or archbishop. 11. Music An appoggiatura, trill, or other musical ornanment in the music of 16th and 17th century England.

Oh…wow.  That didn’t help much.  4. and 5. perhaps touch on it and, of course, 8., too. But, something’s missing.  Even this list of definitions for “grace” doesn’t clear my confusion. 

As a Protestant, I’m not sure if looking into the Catholic definition of “grace” will be a help to me, but if I’m to be fair – well…how can I not? 

How can I not? I can hardly understand what this says – if I can ‘t understand the jargon how can I understand the Catholic view of grace?  And, if that’s not enough, there’s another page talking about a different kind of grace…I think.  No…I’ll move on and find something easier to understand.

The last time I used the online Webster’s dictionary, my PC developed a virus so I think I’ll skip that one.  I’m sure it’s similar to the definitions obtained from thefreedictionary.com.

Christian is next and I hope that means it will be familiar.

Ha ha ha.  Oh, no….  What should be simple is all too often not.  Take this site as example. The title is “What is the Meaning of Grace?” Three sentences into the first paragraph I came across this sentence:  “Any diligent student studying a subject in college would not remotely expect to thoroughly understand that subject without a proper understanding of the fundamental words of the subject.” (Loyd Hohertz)

What?

Next – the Bible’s definition of grace. 

And, once again I am confronted with a multitude of possibilities – how to choose?

In Lonnie York’s article, What is Grace?, two sentences beg to be posted here – one from the first paragraph and one from the fourth.

“Whenever the word “grace” is used in a religious context, the thought of “God’s unmerited favor” comes to mind. ”

“One problem of misunderstanding the doctrine of Grace is assuming that the word “Grace” possesses only one meaning.”

No thanks.  I’m not after a Bible lesson or theological discussion. I want a simple answer to the question – what is grace?

Next on the list is Wikipedia. Dare I trust it? Perhaps the better question is – which link do I choose?  There are several Wikipedia entries on grace.   Divine Grace, Grace (Christianity), Prevenient Grace. So confusing! 

I settled on Grace (Christianity) – Wikipedia.  And, I quote:

In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man – “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved”[1] – that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most manifest in the salvation of sinners. Christian orthodoxy has taught that the initiative in the relationship of grace between God and an individual is always on the side of God. Once God has reached out in this “first grace,” however, each person has the option to accept it or reject it, and a responsibility for the continuance of the relationship, though the Calvinist idea of irresistible grace says that a person cannot resist the efficacious call of God to salvation.

The concept of grace has been called “the watershed that divides Catholicism from Protestantism, Calvinism from Arminianism, modern liberalism from conservatism.”[2] The Catholic Church holds that grace is bestowed in a particular way through sacraments, while Protestantism almost universally does not. Calvinists emphasize “the utter helplessness of man apart from grace.” Arminians understand the Grace of God to be cooperating with one’s abilities and will. According to Christian theologian Charles C. Ryrie, Modern Liberalism “gives an exaggerated place to the abilities of man to decide his own fate and to effect his own salvation entirely apart from God’s grace.” He writes that conservatism holds that God’s grace is necessary for salvation.[2]

And, of that quote I will remove the first part – “…grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is…a spontaneous gift from God to man – ‘generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved’ – that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency.”

Hubby glanced at my thoughts earlier and set about creating a document.  It lies before me printed, two sheets, and stapled.  Bless him. On the first page is the simple title: GRACE.  The first paragraph follows:

Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that same person deserves.  Grace is one of the key attributes of God. The Lord God is ‘merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.’ (Exodus 34:6). Therefore, grace is almost always associated with mercy, love, compassion, and patience as the source of help and with deliverance from distress.

The third paragraph begins: “The grace of God was supremely revealed and given in the person and work of Jesus Christ.”

With thanks to my pastor hubby (and Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers).

What a shame…it took me – a Christian and believer in the person and work of Jesus Christ for over 45 years – hours to find out what grace is. And, if it’s this difficult for me – how impossible it must seem for those who truly do not know grace, have never heard that it is “unmerited favor.”

Or, perhaps without religion to cloud one’s vision and scramble the mind, it’s easier to understand grace outside of the religious framework.

Now – there’s a thought.  

 

 

 

 

Friday the 13th

I heard there will be three Fridays that fall on the 13th this year.  How lucky can we get?!?

Hubby just asked me if I thought he should rewind the DVD before taking it out…. Ha!  And, the funny thing is I paused before answering.  Ha ha!

Today has been truly blessed – nothing lucky about it. 

Hubby wanted to take me to Red Lobster for lunch and I suggested we buy groceries for several days with what we would spend at lunch.  He agreed and so we grabbed a quick burger at Wendy’s spending less than $5 then headed to Kroger to pick up some things. 

This afternoon our neighbor came over to see if I could watch his children while he went to the store…at my convenience.  I slipped on shoes and headed across the street.  Thoroughly enjoyed my time babysitting and upon his return, headed home.  On the way out the door he handed me an envelope upon which was written Thank You.  At home I opened it and found a note of thanks and a gift card to…

Red Lobster! 

My hubby and I laughed because of the blessing provided us unexpectedly.

Just had to share that – for my sake – so I don’t forget.

Thursday the 12th

It’s been one of those days.

Well, actually, the day was great up until 4 pm.

Funny, how a couple of disappointing events can sour the whole day. 

Two things happened and I’m left stunned and feeling I had a Friday the 13th kinda day on Thursday the 12th.

I’m amazed that I allowed these two things to color my day in a negative light.

I cannot change the people responsible any more than I can edit their words.

But, I can take responsibility for myself.  I can change my outlook and my reaction.  I can change myself.

I can refuse the “bad” and embrace the “good.”  I can move away from the wrong and toward the right. I can set my thoughts on positive and wholesome things instead of rehashing things said and done.

I can’t change the ignorance and thoughtless actions and words of others, but I can choose to act in wisdom.

And, wisdom dictates I declare Thursday the 12th a great day! and that which miffed me as not worth consideration.

It is what it is.  They are who they are.  And, I am who I am.

And, the latter is where I begin – with myself.

 

 

True Colors

I am a woman of color.

Peach skin.

Pink cheeks.

Aqua eyes.

Light brown hair.

Gray matter.

Brown freckles.

Red blood.

Ivory teeth.

Yellow cowardice.

White fear.

Scarlett sins.

Green envy.

Gray mood.

Blue funk.

Golden laughter.

Orange love.

Purple passion.

What’s lacking?

Ah…. 

Clear conscience.

Possible?

Yes.

Black sin – mine.

Red blood – Jesus’. 

White forgiveness – God’s.

Green life – mine.

Golden future – mine.

These are my true colors.

Smiles in My Pocket

I volunteer in the media center of our local K-5.

My roles run the gamut of possible media center/library activites and more – circulation worker, book put-er up-er, computer in-puter, book repairer, errand runner, paper pusher, new book put-er out-er, box emptier, WD-40 wielder, and…gatherer of children’s smiles.

That last one is my favorite.

Today, a small girl quietly entered the library.  In her hand she held a book. 

This Kindergarten student and I had discussed the very book she held in her hand the week prior when she checked it out.  It was a book about cockroaches and on the front was the picture of a HUGE one.  I had inquired as to whether she really wanted to check out such a book and she had smiled sweetly and assured me she did.  In fact, she said she liked cockroaches.  I had given an exaggerated shiver and she had laughed. 

Today she was returning it and wanted to find another book.  After greeting her, and inquiring as to whether she might choose another of our new bug books and requesting that if she decided on the spider book, displayed on the easy reader rack, would she please take it to the librarian and not bring it to me because I was afraid of spiders.  And, I then gave a shiver that was far more real than exaggerated.

I returned to my task at the table at the far end of the library and quickly turned my thoughts from the girl and her “bug” books.

It was only a few minutes that passed before I looked up to see a small boy standing before me with a book in his hand.  The book looked familiar and as my eyes focused on it I saw that he was taking home the cockroach book.  I smiled and asked if he knew what that book was about. He assured me he did and pushed the book toward me.  I pretended to be frightened and pulled away with a whispered shriek.  He smiled and stepped aside to allow an even smaller lad to step forward.  This lad, too, had a book in his hand.  He had discovered my “secret” and pushed another “bug” book toward me.  I repeated my horror and he delighted me with another bright smile.

The little girl had disappeared and I wondered what book she had chosen. 

It wasn’t long before I found out.

I was working the circulation desk when she returned with her book in hand and a frown on her face.

Before I could inquire as to her displeasure, she offered with a scowl, “fly eggs look like rice!”  I laughed and agreed – and silently wondered how she would feel about the next rice dish her mom served. 

Off she went to search the stacks for another book and it wasn’t but a minute before she returned carrying a bright book and a huge grin.

Barely tall enough to see over the edge of the circulation desk, she plopped the book on the desk and eyed me keenly. The bridge of her nose rested lightly against the edge of the desk top and all I could see of her was from the edge of the desk upward to the top of her head. 

I reached for the book and pulled up short.  It was the spider book.  A quick look at her told me she was awaiting my reaction.  I didn’t disappoint her.  With a shiver I shook my head and waved my hand toward the book and said, “I can’t touch that book! You KNOW I’m afraid of spiders!” 

She giggled and her eyes sparkled.

“Are you SURE you want to check this book out? There are other new books, you know, pretty ones that don’t have spiders in them.” 

Again she giggled and I watched as her hand and forearm appeared above the edge of the desk and she poked the book indicating that was the book she wanted.

I paused and then said, “Well, I’m not going to touch it.  You will have to pick it up and scan it yourself, okay?”

Oh, how her eyes shown and I imagined her whole face lighting up.  With great flourish she took the book in hand, making sure I saw that SHE was not afraid, and with the instructions I offered scanned the book and checked it out to herself. 

She was delighted.  And, so was I.

In the few hours I was present, I had collected a “pocket full” of smiles. Each smile elicited was carefully tucked into my “pocket” for safe keeping.

Some of these smiles have been shared with you through this blog. And, as I’ve shared I’ve found that each smile pulled from my “pocket” produced a smile on my face – in fact, I am smiling now.

Present and active in the lives of children = smiles in my pocket.

🙂

Favorite

“I’m the favorite,” that’s what the young woman said to me as we ate lunch.

She was to my right and her older sister, who sat across the table from her, was to my left. Their mother had just left the table to browse the buffet bar. 

She continued, “I am, Daddy said so. He said that I’m Momma’s favorite. And, he said everyone knows.”  The young woman paused and looked at her older sister who sat with arms draped across her stomach.

The older sister cleared her throat and after glancing toward her mother’s location, offered, “Yes, I’ve always said she was Momma’s favorite.  I was always the one she fussed at and who had to do my chores and her’s, too (indicating her younger sister with a nod of her head).” And, then with a shake of her head she grew silent…reflective.

I waited, looking from one sister to the other. And, when neither spoke, I asked the older sister how that made her feel.

Again, she cleared her throat.  Her eyes lifted to hold her younger sister’s across the table and she began: “Ever since I knew the truth about my birth – that I was born before she and Daddy married – I’ve understood her anger toward me and her love and preference for my sister.  I guess I’m a reminder of her…every time she looks at me she is confronted with the fact that she…my existence is proof that she’s not perfect…that she did wrong. I’m a constant reminder of something she’s never owned up to.”    

Both young women looked toward their mother who continued to graze at the food bar.

I asked again, “how does that make you feel?”

The younger sister shifted in her seat and leaned forward, toward her older sister as though to offer support or understanding.  The older, responding in like manner, leaned in to whisper, “to be honest it doesn’t make me feel very good about myself – I mean, I understand why she acts the way she does toward me, but she’s blaming me for something that’s not my fault…and that’s not right.  And, it makes me feel like she’s a hypocrite because she talks badly about others who do the same thing she did.  I mean, she wasn’t married and she got pregnant with me and when I was born she wasn’t married to our dad yet.  What she did was wrong but she acts like I’m the one who did wrong by being born.”

A quick look told me that Mom was now grazing at the dessert bar and would soon return to our table.  I looked at the younger sister and asked the same question of her.

“How does this make you feel?” 

The younger sister, the favored, responded. “Well, I guess I’ve never really considered how she felt.  I mean, I knew I was the favorite and I knew she (nodding toward her older sister) was aware, too. And, I mean, it’s just always been that way.  I have always been Momma’s favorite. But, as far as how this makes me feel…I’m not really sure.  I mean, I was sure at first because it made me feel really good, you know, special – I am the favorite – that makes you feel pretty good, you know? But, when I try to put myself in my sister’s place and understand how she must feel, then it doesn’t make me feel all that good at all.”

Mom had begun to work her way back to our table and I had one more question for them.  I asked – “so, what are you going to do to change things?”

The older sister shrugged her shoulders and acknowledged there was nothing she could do to change her position.  All she could do was make the best of it and realize it’s not her, it’s her mom who has the problem.

The younger sister glanced at her older sister and then turned toward her mother as she said, “what would I become if I stopped being the favorite? I would be a nobody, nothing special.” And, then she smiled at her mom who had arrived at our table with a plate full of food.  The favorite “oohed” and “aahed” over her mother’s choices and gladly received offerings from her plate. The older sister sat quiet and still, watching as this played out before us.

The younger sister reminded me of a baby bird who begs for attention and food from its mother who has returned to the nest.  Much activity and attention and begging – and receiving. 

The older sister sat with arms crossed and asked nothing – and received nothing.  Not even a glance until Mom had settled herself.  And, then the older sister received the following: “What’s the matter with you? Sit up! Don’t you want any dessert? Get up and go get something to eat! I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with you today!” 

The older sister rose from her chair and looked at me with a funny twist of her mouth – not quite a smile…not really a grimace. 

“I’m sorry,” I offered.

“Don’t be,” she said. “She’s the one to be sorry for” and indicated the favorite who was being preened by Mom and begging another bite from Mom’s plate. 

Mom watched the older daughter leave the table and then turned to me and asked, “what was that all about?”

What indeed!

A favorite ice cream flavor, favorite color, favorite memory, favorite shirt, favorite child – when we designate one as favorite we debase all others (lower the value of). 

The opposite of favorite is…

Dislike

Despise

Loathe

HATE

“I am the favorite,” that’s what the young woman said to me. 

Four simple words, yet those four words define not only her standing and position in the eyes of her mother, but the worth/value of her older sister as well.

May we as parents embrace our children and lovingly value each as the special individual she/he is and save our favorites for flavors and colors.

Moanday

Am grrrr this morning – waited last night until the “urge” to write hit me like it does sometimes between 11 and 11:30 and the only thing that hit me was the urge to crawl into bed and sleep. 

Ha! 

And so this morning I’m moaning about my break in blogging…my failure to post something every day and my OCD need to post two today to put things back in order.

Ha! (again)

There was so much I could have written about yesterday, so much on my mind and heart.  Perhaps the “so much” overwhelmed and inhibited my ability to gather my thoughts and choose something upon which to ponder and about which to write..

Ha ha!

Ah, my mind thinks back over yesterday as she searches for the perfect topic and two seem to have settled out of the mix.  Now, the question is – will I choose one and thereby decide the direction and audience of my blogging effort from now until?  Or, will I find a way or a topic that can allow me to remain neutral and thereby open my blog, and myself, to people different than I. 

There are many topics I wish to address here and hope to develop my writing and myself to the point where I am able to see beyond my own narrow-sightedness and speak circumspectly.

I am who I am – my experiences have crafted me and honed my individuality.  Yet, I am a person in flux – growing, changing, becoming. 

Suzan says – opinions mark a person’s place in life, in growth, in experience – much as a bookmark shows how far into the story you have journeyed.  My opinions, thoughts and comments mark where I am, from whence I have come, and show how far I have journeyed – and as I learn and grow and experience, I reserve the right to change my opinions to mark my place in life’s journey. 

Ok – so two thoughts settled out of the swirl of yesterday’s mix. One will receive voice this evening. 

Now…to turn this Moanday into Monday!