Thursday, August 18, 2011

"And His Bride Has Made Herself Ready."

Happy Thursday!

Last night we watched a movie about Bobby Darin's life. There was a smoothness in his voice hard to describe. The crooners of his time sure could sing a love song! Currently, Sara Groves' song, "Fly" comes to mind. It is a beautiful love song, romantic and sweet- a wedding song. One of my favorites.

I recall the afternoon of my wedding. My highlighted, curly blonde hair was staying put with a lot of hairspray. I can readily remember applying light lavender eye-shadow and cinnamon-rose lipstick from Merle Norman. My knit dress from J.C. Penney's was dressed up by a double strand of pearls and button earrings with gold embossed edges. My shaky hands held tight to a handmade silk bouquet with flowers representing all the people that weren't there. Lily of the Valley for my grandmother Marie, dusty rose carnations for my Hantie, lupine-like purple flowers for my mom, regal yellow-gold roses for my grandmother Marilyn and a wild flower mix for the rest. My tall ivory shoes were hard to walk in, but I was in love with the man I was walking towards.

Preparing for that day, although mostly alone, was one of the most important things I've ever done. There wasn't anything more pressing or prominent in my life. 

This morning, in the chill of the early hours I read Rev. 19:7b, "And his bride has made herself ready." What a reminder that I am a part of another ceremony. This time I want everyone I love to be there! 1 Peter 1:13-16 gives me all the planning advise I need.

What have you learned about getting ready for a wedding?



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jane Eyre and "Until We Meet Again Cake"

Good Morning Porch Pals!

It has been a long time since we were together. I've missed you, and move ahead this morning with excitement.

There is something I've learned this summer, and that is some journeys of the heart are not to be public, and some stories, although written, are not to be read by everyone. Since June I have been living those stories and will share glimpses of them.

One story might be titled, "Reconnecting." Another might be named, "Letting Go." Still another might be designated, "Growing Season..."

This morning I am still appreciating last night. I spent the evening with my Titus 2 Girl saying goodbye our way. She is leaving for college in a week. There have been going away parties, and more to follow (that's how much she's loved!) but I needed time to reconcile her departure in a more personal way. A meal, a movie, memories retold, and mitigated pangs of sadness.

The most recent "Jane Eyre" movie was dark and haunting. I enjoyed it very much and silently pleaded for Mr. Rochester and Jane to be together forever. 

We baked a rich, opaque, dark chocolate cake to go with the film, that is only crumbs on a plate this morning. The kitchen has been our gathering place. A spot to examine our lives, our theology, our relationships, our families, and our futures. The walls stow a myriad of moments. Teaching moments, tearful moments, silly, nonsensical moments!

Tonight we said goodbye our way. A girl's night! Chick flick and chocolate. God bless you, sweet friend! Until we meet again.

From the porch,


Monday, June 13, 2011

What Wicker Can Do For The Soul

He kept his hands over my eyes tightly, and made me promise not to peek. Me struggling to mentally map out the porch so that I wouldn't fall.

"Now, open your eyes!" And there under the shade of the trees were two wicker chairs.

"Where on earth did these come from?"

"Up the street. A lady had them in her driveway. She said they were free."

"Did you talk to the lady?"

"Yes. There was a table too, but we couldn't carry it. She said we could have them."

"Oh my goodness! You carried these all the way home?"

"Yeah. They're old, white, and I knew you'd like them!"

A tender short story written on my heart by the youngest, on our twenty-second wedding anniversary.

"There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God..."

Sitting in an old, white wicker chair, under the shade of the tall trees. Or on the porch, in the same chair, under little white lights, imitating fireflies in courtship.

Little Man learned from his father that the best surprises don't have to be new and shiny. Some of them, in all their finery come from the heart of a boy on a walk.


Monday, May 23, 2011

My Trip Abroad

Hello Porch Pals!

I was both motivated and uplifted by Nina's morning meeting with us. She talked to my soul. Enough that coming home to the dog impacted, performing two dog baths, racing into town for a birthday gift, forgetting to change my clothes first, and skipping lunch, was manageable. Pretty much.

A snappy suggestion from the youngest to hit Border's Bookstore gained consent.

Yikes! I was starving! A decaf, nonfat, iced latte, and a chair by the window gave me some relief. What happened next, changed my afternoon! I decided to dive into the British Edition of Country Living Magazine. My "higgledy-piggledy" emotions quieted and I became a rover in a rustic new land.

I discovered a book called, Shropshire Teashop Walks, by Judy Smith. I was introduced to a fantastic pig named Rhubarb. Then I visited a fairytale English wedding in West Sussex. I learned how to plan the "perfect bathroom" and caught up with accentuating the colours of an arrangement by displaying it in a planter of similar shades. 

In my reverie I baked Rhubarb and Orange Loaf Cake, and toured the Aston pottery collection of hand-stencilled jugs. I admired the avian artwork of Richard Allen, lovely watercolors! Shopping, dreaming, speaking the local lingo, living vicariously through a proper English mum.

No passport required! Latte, optional.


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Ribbon/Caregiver Poetry

Good Morning, Sweet Friends!

The caregiver is an unsung hero who spends their daily caloric intake, (often interrupted, cold, and quick) to nourish another, who is unable to care for themselves. Next, they recycle their energy into enough sustainable force to care for their families and homes. They appear to strangers as derelicts, half asleep, on-the-run, in yesterday's clothes, and talking to themselves. Their immediate family has been on the back burner for so long that they've learned to live there. The caregiver prays for just a day to close themselves off, turn off the phone, and hide. Yet they can't. Even if they had the time, they wouldn't take it. Love, guilt, personal integrity, need, fear, they all push them to continue...

I was a caregiver. I never realized how exhausted I was until my shift was over. Would it sound strange to say that after four years, I'm getting rest?

For some, being a caregiver happens because they live the closest to the one in need. Others become caregivers because they were an only child or because they are a spouse. Still others have become caregivers by profession or calling. Planned, or unplanned, care giving is an enormous responsibility and weight.

Care giving is rewarding. It is gratifying to give all that we have to another. It is a gift of time. It is a gift from the Lord. It is redeeming. It can cancel debt, renew relationships, share secrets and dreams, and teach us who we really are or who we want to become.

Today I'd like to share a website with my readers called, The
It is caregiver poetry. My very special aunt shared it with me when I was a caregiver. The piece titled, Letting Go became an anthem of mine, of sorts.

One of my favorite selections is called, To My Children.

If I tell the story one more time,
And you know the ending through and through,
Please remember your first nursery rhyme
When I rehearsed it a hundred times with you.

Caregivers need care. Please join me today in praying for, administering help to, and loving a caregiver. If you are a caregiver, please read The Ribbon. There is a community of other people in your position that can encourage you.

With love,

I love you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

When He Says It First

Welcome, Porch Pals!

Seriously, it was hard to wake up! The alarm sounded and just for a minute I wanted to say, "I don't wanna go. Can I stay in bed today?" I'm just being honest. Last weekend was prom, and the Saturday Meeting, and...

But then I rolled over and our eyes met (through one-eyed squints!) and he said, "Happy Mother's Day!"

How many times have you stopped to consider, reader, what it must be like to be a husband and to put your trust into a wife with your home and children all day long?

As a new mother, while visiting my husband's family, I overheard a conversation between my husband and his mother.
"Does she like being a mother, Son?"
"Yes, and she's good at it. Really good at it."

That exhibit of respect and trust has lasted decades. So, Sunday morning when he said it first, before the greeting cards, the boys, or a meal out, I felt loved, and happy. Happy to be a mother, for him. Raising boys is a back-breaking, tear-inducing, continually amped, super-charged, daytime drama. By God's infinite grace alone, he has allowed me to share four walls with two boys and their father.

Thank you for rolling over and starting the day that way!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Repondez, S'il Vous Plait

Salutations, Sweet Friends!

'Tis the season to receive invitations for all sorts of gatherings- graduations, weddings, birthday parties, retirement soirees...
Have you noticed the letters, R.S.V.P.? The French words, Repondez, s'il vous plait, simply put, mean please reply.

Recently I had my hair cut and shared pleasant conversation with the young stylist. I listened as she expressed her plans for the future and tried to encourage her with analogous, "twenty-something" stories of my own.

At the station to my right, crude, curt comments were being made between  three 'tweens. I studied the way they spoke to each other. Earlier, my husband and I had been harshly spoken to by a fresh barista. I thought, "Doesn't anyone know how to speak kindly anymore?" So there in the salon I purposefully created an acrostic :

R-Reply or React with a right heart, or wait.
E-Enter the conversation on your turn. Don't interrupt.
S-Speak as if it doesn't matter who is listening-your boss, spouse, pastor, God
P-Practice eye contact, attentiveness, and courtesy.
O-Open up, don't clam up!
N-Never say, "You never," or, "You always,..."
D-Do not return insult for insult.

Much of the problem of hostility comes from responding to someone without thinking. Most of us would like to rewind several conversations and start over. Perhaps, this acrostic can help us as we seek to respond to one another in love. 

Sisters, in the book of Romans, we are reminded to never avenge ourselves. On the contrary, we are told to overcome evil with good.

How will you reply?

Swinging with you,