Archives for category: Uncategorized

“Birds of a feather flock together” is an old adage that describes how people tend to hang out with those who are similar to themselves.  On the surface it seems like it would be a good thing because we all know how comforting it is to feel a part of and accepted by those we esteem, but it can also create boundaries that stifle us from growing and feeling compassion and mercy for those outside the flock, and sometimes even for those within the flock who aren’t exactly…um…what is expected.

Sometimes there are different names for the same type of birds.  Doves and pigeons, for example, are both members of the Columbidae bird family but doves carry a pleasant connotation of peace and love, while pigeons are thought of as dirty pests.  How strange that these birds, members of the same family that are both made by God, could create such opposite perceptions.   I wonder if the birds have such prejudice against each other.  Do the doves welcome the pigeons to their tree?  Do the pigeons call the doves to feed with them?  I wonder if their poop looks the same.

Do you have an idea of what I’m getting at?

We in the body of Christ are called to unity. We are a family designated by God.  We are not the same and yet, we are.  Some of us have wicked pasts, some don’t.  Some of us are rough around the edges; some have learned the softness of being gentle.  Some are quietly reverent; some unabashedly praise.  Some LOOK more conservative than others, but they aren’t.  Some are forgiving, and some haven’t found that part of their heart yet.  Some give abundantly of their gifts and some haven’t yet discovered their gifts to give.  Some use fancy words to pray, and some are so simple a five year old could understand every word.  Some live their words, and others…..don’t.

It is through the Grace of God that all believers in Jesus Christ who call ourselves “Family” can actually love each other as Jesus calls us to love.  No aesthetic difference, no faux pas, no mistake, no immaturity, no intellectual deficit, no financial deficiency, or lack of social skills should ever pull apart the family of Jesus Christ. We are all His children. Amen.
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.   Romans 12:5

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.   1 John 3:1-2

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2: 19-22

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Trudging the path He has given me….
rockdov_2481_big

Not long after I got saved I read Matthew 7:7-8…

Image result for matthew 7 7-8

…and I asked for my eyesight to be restored.

You see,my prescription has been very strong since I was a second grader in elementary school.  I went through several pair of glasses a year for a while as my eyesight quickly changed, and then in middle school I had hard contacts, and then soft ones when they came out, and now I wear both except these glasses are progressives because I need bifocal lenses.  I longed to have 20/20 vision instead of 20/400 and I knew God performs miracles every day so on this particular day I prayed and asked Him to restore my eyes. I didn’t want to have to wear corrective lenses any more.  I was very sincere and expectant.

Later that same day I went out to do some errands and was just sitting at the stop light thinking when I looked across the street to see a young man with a long white cane push the button for the crossing light to change.  I intently watched as he crossed six traffic lanes  using his cane for guidance and the main thing that stood out like a beacon of light shot straight to my soul, was his huge smile. This blind man was happy!  I was immediately convicted of my selfishness and knew I had just received in no uncertain terms, God’s answer to my prayer.  It was “NO.  You need to learn about gratitude and contentment now”.

I looked up and said “Thank you, God….I get it”!  No more grumbling about glasses and contacts and being “blind” when I wake up in the morning because…

Image result for 1 thessalonians 5 18

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Amen!

I was out and about this morning, driving along my way, when I noticed some road work up ahead and was a little aggravated that we all had to slow down and move to the far right lane single-file to get past the work. It was apparent on closer inspection that the work being done was to the water lines or sewers below the street, as the Aurora Water Department had their marked big equipment out there. I thought to myself “here are these guys and gals working on this problem on a Saturday morning, covered in dirt and who knows what else, and I’m a little perturbed that I have to slow down”.

It occurred to me that these workers are our unsung heroes. The ones who for whatever reason may not have received a higher education and moved on up the ladder of success by this world’s standards. They have chosen to do the jobs that other people choose not to do, and they are greatly depended upon.

Really now…who on the weekend wants to think about clogged sewers, potholes, plumbing problems, bad roads, and any of the other myriad of 24/7 jobs that require a degree in service? I tip my hat.

“Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7

This is what I thought recently when the nurse at the care center said “What is this? Oh, you’re just a volunteer” when I asked her to sign the form to confirm I had been there visiting my hospice patient.  I have been volunteering for hospice for almost four years now.  Most of my patients have been suffering slow deaths.  They have been old and either have Alzheimers or one of the other cognitive diseases that take away a person’s speech, memory, mobility, independence, and dignity.

I have been visiting this particular patient, Mary, for a year and a half and am always amazed at her ability to maintain a pleasant, smiling, and laughing demeanor despite her affliction.  On her “off” days, she just exists.  No smiles, no recognition.  Just a blank gaze.  She has never been mean, as can be the case sometimes. Such a sweet lady.

Mary is confined to bed or a wheelchair.  She depends on others to feed, bathe, and dress her.  She is on oxygen.  She is incontinent.

I have never met Mary’s family but I know they send her cards because I see them on her wall.  I also see the Easter decorations they put on her window.  I don’t know how much they visit.  It must be very painful for them to see their loved one in such a condition.  I would not judge them.

Mary is a blessing to me.  If I go there feeling down or upset, I leave feeling at peace and thankful.  Her gift to me is the blessing of gratitude and a sincere heart brought about by her sweet childlike demeanor and dependence.

Yes.  I’m just a volunteer, but I love this woman whom I never knew any other way.  She’s like a child and I will be her advocate to make sure she is getting the care she deserves.  My gift to her.

UPDATE: Mary went to be with the Lord in August 2011.  In 2012 my own mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease and died in November 2017.  God prepares and orchestrates for His highest good.

 

Image may contain: one or more people, suit and sunglasses

When I see an exclamation point, I think of my Grandma Ferne who used them freely in her letter writing. Many sentences, even the mundane (sorry, Grandma) were punctuated with three or four exclamation points. She must have been excited telling about her life. The thing is, Grandma was not a very expressive person in real-time, and I can’t imagine her life being all that exciting in her later years.

Grandma kept diaries of her daily activities for over 40 years, and when she died in 1999 those diaries were found and a company was hired to transfer them onto CDs to distribute to the family. What a thrill to see notations made when I was a baby, or to have memories jogged of times long ago. She used exclamation points freely in her diaries but sometimes she did not. Those must have been her ‘period’ days.

Grandma wrote about being tired a LOT. She was a lunch lady and I, being a lunch lady too, in addition to working in our custom framing business, can empathize and feel her pain!!!! It’s a very physical, non-stop job where being on your feet all day is required.

I like exclamation point days. They add excitement and enthusiasm to life!!!! They are usually happy days, filled with good things, funny experiences, and happenings. Sometimes an exclamation point is used to convey urgency and you had better heed the warning. Occasionally, an exclamation point is used to stress negative emotions or experiences but somehow, using it means the bad part is over and there is a sense of relief.

Like all good or bad things, a steady diet of either one can cause complacency so both kinds of days are there for a reason. I’m having a ‘period’ week now for reasons I can’t disclose. Stress is coming from several directions, and a cloudy, rainy, cold day tops it all off. The thing is, I know exclamation point days will be here again. It’s God’s promise, and He never breaks His promise!!!!!

Image result for Galatians 6:9

I hadn’t slept a wink last night and remember looking at the clock the last time at 7:30 am this morning. At 8:00 I was finally in dreamland when I was awakened by the phone ringing. I ignored it.

Three minutes later the phone rang again and since my boys are known to call again immediately if no one answers, so I will know it’s one of them, I answered. It was some man who needed something framed. I was about to ask him when he would like to set up an appointment to come over when he told me he was already parked outside our place of business….our house.

“Give me 5 minutes before you ring the doorbell, please” I requested, then hung up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and threw on some clothes before stumbling downstairs, still in somewhat of a sleepy fog. I had never had someone at the door that early for framing, and I had the fleeting thought that my husband had already left for work and my son had spent the night with a friend, so I was alone in the house. Should I call Marty to let him know someone was on the doorstep? If he came home in the afternoon to find me missing or dead, at least then he would already have a lead! A framing customer did it!

He was a young man. Looked nice enough. Acted a little nervous. Hmmm….where was his artwork? It was on his phone, he said. All righty then. He sat down at the table and opened up with the story.

He and his girlfriend had broken up. He was a louse. He hadn’t cheated on her but she didn’t think he cared about her very much so she broke up with him a week and a half ago. He wanted to do something special for her. He hadn’t slept well last night (did anybody?), and at 4 am he got on the computer and found a loving email from her that she sent on February 18th but he just received last night. Was it a sign?

He was feeling a sense of urgency. He showed me the photo and we picked out a mat color. It was the first time I did design work using a photo on a phone! He said he wanted to print words from Proverbs 31 on the mat; a description of a worthy woman. My Bible was right there opened on the table and I flipped to Proverbs 31 to find that I had already highlighted that section and written a few key words in the margin. Wow…I was starting to get tingly!

I took him down to the basement shop to pick out a frame from our in stock moulding and on the way, he commented that I should have a dog. Another of those fleeting thoughts ran through my head; “I’m going down in the basement with a stranger and there’s no one else here!”, but it was way too late to turn back now.

After all was decided, he asked how soon I could have it done. I told him this week was booked with framing (true) and I could probably have it for him by Monday. I had quoted the price and he offered me double, in cash, if I could do it by tomorrow. Hmmmm….he wanted to know….did I think he was doing the right thing? He said he was trying to let go of the situation but God seemed to be nudging him. His girlfriend said she missed him. I told him the ball was in his court. Do this, and then truly let it go. The ball will then be in her court.

So, I cut the mat so he could take it home and do the writing on it. He returned four hours later with the finished mat and the printed photo.

He looked worried. I told him I would pray for him. He asked me to put lots of love into my work. I did. He will be here to pick it up tomorrow. I hope it all turns out for him.

This week has been an incredible week of framing. This particular job, which started out kind of flaky, turned into a labor of love and a real God shot for me. I love when He does that. I hope that somehow I helped this young man, with God’s help, by using my talents for His purpose.

UPDATE:  Not long after this experience we got our rescue dog, Chanse!

With Christmas almost upon us and tomorrow being the last day of school to exchange gifts before the holiday vacation, I was trying to think of something a little different to do for my boss, Martina, and co-worker, Bill, for Christmas. I’ve already bought a little something for each of them but it doesn’t seem like enough.

I came to my school in April of 2007. Martina had just been handed the proverbial “Golden Spatula” after the previous manager had left the position to move to California.  I understood that she was going to be a temporary manager until a permanent one could be found.  Guess what?  It’s three and a half years later and Martina has grown into a wonderful boss.  I’m so glad she decided to stay in the position!  If ever there was anyone with a heart of gold and the patience of a saint, it is Martina.  She listens, and always tries to be fair and do the right thing for her employees and our little “customers”, while still being true to her own boss’s desires.  That is not an easy task, let me tell you, but she does it with grace and patience and kindness.  Did I say patience again?  I, who have a hard time hearing sometimes, and find myself in the pantry with no idea of why I walked in there, and my affinity for structure and routine, am forever grateful for Martina’s patience with me and my eccentricities.

Bill….what can I say about Bill?  I adore him!  Bill came to work with us last January as a temporary and decided to stay on, just one year after having a heart attack and pneumonia which almost killed him.  He still carries his air tank on his back and must stop half-way through the day to get “tanked up” again with a spare, but it rarely slows him down.  The one thing about Bill that impresses me the most, is that he never complains about work and hardly ever complains about anything else either.  This man has another part-time job as a caterer in addition to this school job!  Bill does not feel entitled to any special treatment or favors because of his “disability”, and I find this so refreshing.***Disclaimer: What I am referring to is the refreshing attitude of someone who does not complain about every little ache and pain in their body and just about everything else, every day. Anyone who has worked with someone like this knows how draining it can be to morale, and it spreads like a virus.***  He knows his limitations, and I can tell when he is tired because he gets a little grouchy : )….but that’s ok because so do I!  The point is we can help each other and still get the job done the way it is supposed to be done.  As far as I know, no one feels like they are carrying a bigger share of the load than they are supposed to.  We are working together like well-oiled wheels. Also, Bill’s sense of humor is starting to come out more and more and it is such a joy to see.  “Burritos, Bill!  Did you do the burritos?!!!”

Oh, and the Greek treats he brings to work are fabulous! I adore his wife for making them!

So…I just wanted to say thank you to Martina and Bill, the best people  anyone could ever work with, and hope that we have many more happy and productive days ahead as we try to feed these kids the best meals we can.  You two help make the challenge fun!

Merry Christmas!   Καλά Χριστούγεννα!   Feliz Navidad!

Update 6/20/2018:  My wonderful co-worker Bill, died in May of 2014.  He worked up until the first week of April.  We didn’t know until he died that he had cancer.  He was such a nice man dedicated to his work and I still miss him.  I have moved on to manage a school kitchen of my own.  Martina and I still see each other at the manager meetings.

Sometimes my husband gets bothered because he thinks men are portrayed as stupid by the media (especially commercials). I think the media also portrays women as sex objects who are only successful and desirable when made to look like ‘ Barbie’.  I feel like rolling my eyes when I see a tv show in which an hospital administrator or PI is dressed in a pencil skirt, a super low cut blouse, and 4 inch heels.  Yeah, right.  Not practical or realistic, but we are told that is what the public wants to see.

The fact is, some men act stupid, just as some women do, and some women make themselves up to look like Barbies, just as some men do.  Uh…well, maybe not.  But men do have their own ways of feeding on the media frenzy.  Look at all the techno gadgets that they just have to have, the drugs for virility and hair regrowth, and exercise equipment to revisit that studly bod of youth.  What is wrong with just being ….us?

We all get old and there is no denying that.  I pray I can grow old with some dignity, knowing I have done my best to be my best.  No more, no less.  No feeling inferior because I may not measure up to the impossible expectations of a world that values youth and physical beauty despite the inability to hang on to them.   We all suffer because of the misconceptions spewed out by the all mighty media and the people who buy into them.

Sometimes it’s easier to just laugh.

UPDATE: Some things change over the years and some things definitely do not.

 

******************************************************************************************************************************

 

This is my first post.  Lot’s of work to do!

%d bloggers like this: