Archive for February, 2010

Dish Towels

Some women look at a dish towel as a thing of the past.  Or a symbol of enslavement.  Another indication that a woman’s work is never done.  That everything is expected of us, and nothing given to us.  They are blinded by society and the truth has been hidden from them.

In reality, a dish towel is an opportunity.  It is an opportunity to serve the ones that mean the very most in your life.  When we look at a dish towel, we should see the towel Jesus used when he washed his disciples’ feet.  He, the King himself, was stooping down and washing the dirt and mud from the tired feet of the weary disciples.  That is LOVE.

With a dish towel we can wipe dry and polish the dishes we use to serve those we love.  We can wipe up spills from accidents as we gently teach our children to ‘be careful, set the cup back a little further next time but it’s ok really—everyone makes mistakes.’  With a dish towel we can polish our pretty things as we anticipate the visit of a loved one.  Old dish towels make the best scrub rags as we wash floors, wipe out sinks and tubs and toilets, dust furniture, wash windows—all the things that make a house a home for those that we love most.  With a dish towel, we can be like Jesus—serving those we love.

And serving them and making them happy is what brings the most joy in the world.  Material gifts will rot and decay and be cast aside.  But the love of a wife and mother will be cherished forever.  And many warm memories will someday come back to be cherished as we remember how we used that old dish towel!

So from one woman to another I say enjoy!  Get out those dish towels and give joy and receive rich blessings!


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Unsung Heroes

Have you ever thought about how many people there are that touch our lives each day that often are totally taken for granted?  I’m sorry to say, I often overlook the kindnesses—or at least opportunities to share the good in folks I know.  On my blog I want to take opportunity to correct that and tell you about some of the ones that stand out to me.

One lady in particular comes to my mind today.  Her name is Linda Thompson.  She and her family were part of a church in Wabash, IN that my husband and I had been assigned to start for the denomination we were with at that time.  Linda was there from the very start with her young family.  Her children were several years older than my little boys at that time, but she still was always ready to lend a hand when I had a need.

A few years into that church assignment, Linda’s husband took off with another woman, leaving Linda to raise her four children alone.  Yes, Linda was grief-stricken and terribly hurt, but after a period of grieving I saw her pull herself together and make the most of her life.  She worked full time and raised those children and participated in church functions and still helped me whenever I needed a hand.  And I never heard a word of self-pity escape her lips.

Now, what I haven’t mentioned is that one of her boys is a downs syndrome young man.  He is precious and our family has always loved Kevin dearly, but still and all, he takes a lot of supervision and care and discipline that the other children do not need.  He will always need her care, but I have never heard one word of complaint.  She takes things that come her way and keeps moving on.  What a tower of strength!

That was years ago.  Her children are long grown and married and even beginning to have their own grandchildren, making Linda a great-grandmother, and she delights in every one.  Just before Christmas she told me she was making a quilt for every child and grandchild, and I believe great-grandchild.  I forget how many she had made, but it was unbelievable!

We now live half a continent apart, but earlier in the year a box came to my doorstep with Linda’s return address.  My own children have blessed us this past year with a grandson and a granddaughter, and the box contained a grandparent quilt for our home, and a special quilt for each of our sons’ children!  They are beautiful, and the handwork on them is impeccable!

And now, Christmas is past and she has been asked to make quilts for a mission in West Virginia.  Is she doing it?  You can bet she is!  And I just shake my head.  What a giving heart!  And I get to call her ‘friend’!

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A Rose by any Other Name…

Sunday was Valentine’s Day.  It is a day set aside for showing love to someone special.

Friday evening I had just walked in the door from a grueling day helping my husband at the bookstore when our doorbell rang.  Rick was already in the basement and I had just hung my coat, so I went to the door.  A gentleman in a brown uniform handed me a long brown box.

I looked at the box and at him with questions all over my face.  He shrugged, smiled, and headed back for his truck.  So I closed the door against the cold February air, turned back into the house and looked at the label.  My name was on it and I could tell it was from a florist.  With all the craziness of the past few weeks, I had completely forgotten—or at least had given no thought to—Valentine’s day

By the time I had read the label, Rick was standing beside me saying “open the box!”  So I opened the box and found a dozen gorgeous long stem roses!  There were 4 deep red ones, 4 deep pink ones, and 4 lovely white ones!  They were nestled amongst fresh boughs of baby’s breath and I was speechless.  I’ve been married to this man for well over 37 years, and he can still surprise me!  I won’t tell you what the note said, but it was obvious from whom it had come!

I cut the stems and put them in the vase that came with them and have enjoyed them each day of this gray week.  There they sit on our table:  LOVE in a vase!  What a beautiful expression of love they are!

But as I watch those flowers fade, I have to think of our lives and our marriage.  Instead of drooping and growing tired and old, it has actually grown settled and deep and secure.  We often laugh at the way we read one another’s minds.  But it does happen!  We are starting to think alike and many times we even know what the other is thinking.  We are comfortable with one another.  We know what makes the other happy, and are happiest ourselves when we are doing something to please the other.

And now we have reached the age where some of our friends are losing their spouses.  It’s a frightful thing.  I can’t bear to think what my life would be like without this man,  and I hope I never have to know.  But I can rest, knowing our lives are in God’s hands and He knows best.  All I have to do is trust…and enjoy the roses!

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Foggy Day

Today is a foggy, overcast day here in southern Virginia.  The skies are gray; the snows are nearly gone with only dirty patches left here and there in heaps to remind us of our gloriously white days of the past weeks.  It’s cold outside and the world seems sullen and old.

But I refuse to let the weather dampen my spirits.  I have the fireplaces glowing, soft classical music playing, fragrant candles shimmering and giving off their cozy scents to comfort the senses.  It didn’t take long to walk through the house and put everything in its place and lay a warm throw across the arm of a chair here and toss a fluffy pillow into the corner of a couch there and make a perfect rainy day nest.  I’ll probably bake some bread or cookies later on.

I love a gray day here and there because it makes me truly appreciate the Spirit that lives in me.  God has been so very good, and sometimes it takes trouble or grayness or sorrow to make me focus on all the good that there is in my life.  I guess it’s sort of that old ‘half empty/half full’ conundrum. Do I want to focus on the grayness of the day?  Or would I rather focus on the coziness of my home and my life?  Do I wish to remember all the hurts and messes and wrong choices of my life?  Or will I let them go and hold on to God’s forgiveness and blessing?

There isn’t a person alive without problems and sorrows and grievances.  The difference is where we place our focus, and what we allow to shape our lives.  Me?  I choose good and beauty and forgiveness and, well, I choose GOD!!!  And He has never failed me yet!

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Ordering my book

I have heard from many that would like to order my book that was just released last week, but are having difficulty with amazon’s site.  In case you are interested, go to amazon.com and note the menu on the left of the opening page.  “Books” is the first on the list.  If you place your cursor on that, it will give you a menu with ‘books’ again being at the top of the list.  Click on that ‘books’ option.  Now, when you get to the page that it opens, look at the menu again on the left side of the page.  Place your cursor on ‘Christian Books’ and click on it.  When that page opens for you, THEN put my name in the space at the top and click on ‘go’.  It will now open a page that gives you the option of ordering the book either for kindle or in paperback version.

Now, here’s some food for thought.  They are asking $15.20 for the book, plus you will pay $3.99 for shipping.  The books are so new and I am almost totally unheard of (so far!), so your Christian Bookstore probably does not stock the book as yet.  However, if you would go to them and request it, and if they will agree to order it in and stock the book, they don’t have to pay shipping and you can get the book from them for $16.95 or less and give the opportunity for the book to be on their shelf and for others to see it and (hopefully) want it.  Just a thought……

At any rate, I thank all of you ahead of time, for buying the book.  I pray you will enjoy it and be challenged by it.  And I pray that if I don’t know you yet, that we will have opportunity to meet someday.  But if not, I’ll see you in heaven!

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Jigsaw Puzzles

Years ago I found that I love to do jigsaw puzzles.  Ok, let me go back even further.

I grew up in a home with no television.  Yes!  Television HAD been invented then!  But my parents chose not to have one in our home.  And I will always be grateful.  We had so much fun playing games and reading good books, riding bikes in the summer and playing softball with the neighborhood kids and with real toys instead of sitting on our backsides watching someone in a box having all the fun.  We learned to think, to interact, and to have an opinion based on our own research—not on what someone blabbed at us from that same box.

In the winter, on a Sunday afternoon, usually there would be a monopoly game and a BIG tub of popcorn on our kitchen table.  Oh, what fun it was!  My family still has a bunch of games going when we have a get-together.

But, my home now consists of just me and my husband who did not grow up loving games.  So…yes, I can play computer games and I do.  But I love the challenge of a good jigsaw puzzle.  There are all kinds of puzzles available, but I love the beautiful scenery ones or the ‘quaint village’ ones.  And I love to do winter pictures in the winter and summer pictures in the summer; Christmas pictures in December and autumn pictures when the days begin to grow short.

I keep a table in our family room that is dedicated to jigsaw puzzles.  No matter how I might re-arrange that room from time to time, there will always be a place for my puzzle table.  And there’s almost always one in process on that table.  It’s just a small table with a good light and surrounded by comfortable chairs (with hopes someone will join me from time to time).

Puzzles are a good interactive tool also.  It’s amazing how many times visitors drop by and end up sitting at the puzzle table with me, helping me find just the right piece.  And I keep a paper inside each puzzle box on which I note when I last put that puzzle together and who helped me.  Then it goes back into the cupboard and when it comes out again a few years later, I see the different times I did that puzzle and remember the good times I had with the various friends and relatives that helped.

A couple of years ago our son and daughter-in-law gave us a wonderful puzzle of our grandson!  Ruth had ordered a puzzle made out of one of his pictures.  That one is a special treat I will always cherish.  There’s just nothing I love more than a good jigsaw puzzle unless it’s my grandkids!  (And kids!)  So that was a particularly wonderful combination.

This winter I read a snippet in a magazine that I subscribe to that said jigsaw puzzles were a good brain exercise.  (Is that why I’m so smart?  HA!)  Well, whether or not it’s a good brain exercise, there’s just nothing like it when my husband is watching football or basketball.  I may be at the other end of the room, but we’re still together and we both enjoy that the most!

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Celebration Day!!!

Today my first book is available!  It can be ordered through OakTara.com or from Amazon.com so far.  There are other sites listed, but since this is the very first day the book is out, the other sites do not show it as yet.  So far it is too early to see it in bookstores, but it is not too early to request it in your nearby Christian Bookstore if you have a mind to do so!  (Be sure to tell them they can order the book from OakTara.com.)

This book is the first in a trilogy of historical novels.  They are little books—a quick read for Sunday afternoon readers!  But still the thrill of seeing my own creation in print is indescribable!  Well, not my own creation really…….

I am a very non-traditional writer.  I have tried doing it the way I was taught with the outlines of completed plots and smug endings, but it does not work for me.  The stories would not come together that way for me.  Instead, I prayed each day I wrote for God to pour this story out through me and He truly did.  I had a general idea of a plot, but God took these books where HE wanted them to go.  Rick and I still laugh about the day he came home and found me weeping at the computer.

“What’s wrong?” he asked with no small alarm.  (I’m not a particularly moody person, and when I cry it’s for a good reason.)

“She died!”  I said sorrowfully, between sobs.

“Who died?” he asked, still puzzled.

When I told him a character in the story died he was speechless.  “So change it!  Don’t have her die!”  To him it was such a simple thing.

“Oh, I can’t change it!  I don’t know where it’s headed, but I want to see what happens.”

He shook his head at the time, but since has come to understand the way I write.  God truly pours these stories out through my fingers at the keyboard and they are SO much better than anything I could contrive in my own head.

So…did she stay dead, you ask?  Well…buy book two (On the Wings of Grace) in a few months and find out.  But I will tell you this:  it’s a great story!  Much better than one I could have written.  Even though my name is on the cover, it’s a much better story than one I could have contrived.  They wouldn’t let me put God as the author, but He is!

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