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Archive for March, 2012

Forget-Me-Nots

Three years ago about now I was visiting family and friends in Indiana.  When I arrived at one friend’s house she soon had a spade in my hand saying “Come with me!”  We walked down the hill to the back of her yard where she took me to one of her gardens.

“There. Dig that.”  She pointed to a lovely plant covered with tiny blue flowers.  It was breath-takingly lovely.

“Where are we taking it?”  I asked.

“You’re taking it home.”

“Me?  Why?”

“I want you to have it.  Do you know what it is?”

I shook my head.  “No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.”

Very quietly she tried to say off-handedly, “It’s called Forget-Me-Nots.”

I gasped, and we both sat right down and had a good cry.  You see, we both knew, but were still unwilling to admit that she was losing her fight with cancer.

After the sob session, we got to work.  I dug the flowers and we carefully watered them and the next week I planted them in a shady corner of my Pergola Garden here in Virginia.  That winter, Bonnie went to heaven.

It was a long, sorrowful winter.  I missed my dear friend desperately.  Even though we had been living several states apart for the past year, we still talked on the phone often and visited one another probably just as much as we had when I lived in Indiana.  We’d raised our children together.  We’d gardened together.  We’d been through good times and hard times together.  Bonnie was always there for me and believed in me when I could not believe in myself.  I felt bereft.

Spring did finally come that year, and even though by that time I’d forgotten the little plant at the back of my garden, the intense blue of those tiny flowers drew me and comforted me that spring.  Soon, as was my nature, I started dividing the plant and sticking it into other gardens.  And now, each spring I have those little blue flowers to remind me of Bonnie all around our yard.

Our house is now for sale, but this spring I have one small little blue plant earmarked to be moved when we move.  It’s not Bonnie, but the reminder after a cold and gray winter is just like a hug from my friend.  And as much as is possible for me, I’ll always take a start with me wherever I live.  I don’t know if people in heaven are ever bothered with us back here on earth, but if they are, I know Bonnie smiles each time she sees me caring lovingly for my little blue forget-me-nots.  She knew I didn’t really need a flower to remind me, but as was natural for her, she just gave me a bonus!

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Rested

Being rested isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!  I’m well-rested this morning, but my heart feels hollow.  Can I never be content?  Maybe not in this life…

Our home is empty of clutter today.  The toys are stashed in their places of rest, covered against the inevitable dust and out of sight.  The smell of well-used diapers has been moved from the house to the trash bin, the high chair is clean and silent in its own little corner, and the furniture is once again spread and arranged—filling the spaces I’d opened up for play.  Yes, you guessed it—our granddaughters visited last week and have now gone home.

Our son and daughter-in-law have once again blessed us (and I believe their daughters were blessed too) with another almost-week-long visit from our two granddaughters.  Yes, it’s exhausting.  Yes, it’s noisy.  Yes, it’s WAY busy.  Yes, it’s demanding.  But most of all…YES!  It’s fulfilling and joyful and just plain fun!

We took walks and made cookies and swung (and swung and swung!) and played in the bathtub (granddaughters in, me kneeling beside) and had tea parties and visited Mickey D’s for ice cream and read lots of books and just generally had lots of fun together.

What a special time it was for us!  I’m amazed at how quickly it wears me out and how demanding it is to keep an eye on an almost-three-year-old and a just turned-one-year-old at the same time.  I did it thirty years ago, and I don’t remember it being so physically draining!  But oh!  How sweet the time is!  What a treasure to get to witness their imaginations and to hear their thoughts and to answer their questions and to enjoy all those precious little kisses and hugs.

Why can I not sleep well when they’re here?  Well, we took them back yesterday afternoon and I slept like a rock last night, but now today I see them everywhere I look—even though all evidence is put away and cleaned up.  The house is now filled with sweet memories everywhere I look.  I want another little hug.  I want to feel that little hand encircling my finger.  I want to answer all those questions.  I want to hear the new words and be the recipient of those glowing smiles.  And I sigh.

But I am thankful.  I am thankful that our children allow us to be such a big part of their lives.  I’m thankful for the time we had with them.  I’m thankful for their healthy little bodies and their quick little minds.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to watch their lives unfold and for the influence we can be in shaping them and helping them know a sense of security and love.  I’m glad we can show them Christ and help them begin to know Him.  And I’m thankful that there’s always next time to look forward to!  And believe me!  I’m already making plans.  After all, we don’t want the bears to be lonely!

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You’ve Got Mail

There’s just nothing quite like walking to the mailbox and finding a note inside that’s been sent to me from someone I know.  It’s all I can do to wait until I walk up the hill and into the house to open it.  I turn it over and check for a return address and even sniff it to see if it has any trace of fragrance that will remind me of the sender.

Most of what comes in our mailbox is not even worth the paper it’s printed on and I don’t give it the time of day but drop it right into the trash immediately.  I guess its value is that it keeps the post offices running, but it seems such a waste and I wonder if there are really people out there that look at the junk.  But, when a note comes in a familiar handwriting with my name on the outside, well!  That’s a whole different story!

As easy and inexpensive as it is to send notes to one another, I wonder sometimes why we have stopped doing it.  Don’t we all love getting mail?  Now that Hallmark has cards for less than a dollar we can pick up a card and a stamp all for less than a buck-fifty, write a sweet note and send it off to some unsuspecting friend and make their day!  (Yes!  They have a whole section of cute 99-cent cards.)

I have a drawer full of special cards and notes that I have received from dear friends and family and I love to re-read them from time to time.  I love to receive cards with pretty pictures, or funny inscriptions and words that uplift or make me chuckle or better yet, laugh out loud.  I love to receive letters that have been written to me personally.  I love to know that someone thinks of me sometimes when I’m not around and that it may have even brought a smile as they remembered a good time we had together.

Email is good.  It’s quick and it’s cheap and it takes less effort, but there’s just nothing that compares to getting a note in the mailbox.  I have a friend that works at our post office downtown and she says they are going to have to cut way back in service because of the lack of use these days.  I dread to think if there is ever a day when we cannot send a card to a friend or receive Christmas cards or letters.  I can’t fathom a world without mail.

And so…I want to encourage you to accept this challenge:  Find a card or even a scrap of paper and envelope and jot a quick note to someone you care about.  Put a pretty stamp on it and send it off and then smile all the way home.  You have a right to smile because I think you will have just made someone’s day!  And then…try to do it at least once a week!  Send a note or a card to someone who is NOT celebrating a birthday.  Thank someone for just being your friend, or for an encouraging word they passed your way, or a smile you noticed across a crowded room.  Or just tell someone you love them and are thinking of them today.  Trust me!  The one who is blessed may just be YOU!

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I was just sitting here alone with God this morning and thinking of the many ways He provides for not only our needs but many of our ‘wants’ as well.  And then there are the bonuses.  Oh, how I love His bonuses!

There are just so many times my Loving Father drops something into my lap for which I hadn’t even thought to ask.  And sitting here this morning thinking of some of them it makes me wonder…does He enjoy planning the surprises and anticipate my joy?  You know, I really think He does!

I wonder how many times He planned a special surprise and when it happened I just smiled and thought, “Huh!  Isn’t that cool?”  and never even stopped to take notice or mention my gratitude to Him.  I know I do that!

My mind replays a few little things I’ve done or given to someone anticipating their joy and they barely smiled.  I remember the sense of disappointment, and yes, even frustration.  I want it to be noticed.  I want to see their joy and their happiness.  But it’s not to be.  After enough of those kinds of things happen, I may even begin to feel taken for granted; as though the little ‘bonuses’ I give are expected.  And then…yes, it’s true…I begin to do less for that person.  There may be even less time spent with them; less thought given to them.

But when I forget to say ‘thank You’ to God, or take His many wonderful bonuses for granted, He doesn’t stop.  He loves me so much that He just keeps on giving and giving.  He often gives me what I ask for and gives me lots and lots that I haven’t even thought to request.  There’s an old song that uses the phrase ‘He just keeps on giving and giving’ and it describes Him so well.  And the best part is that when we think of heaven, well, we haven’t seen anything yet!

As I sit here looking across the street at our neighbor’s magnolia tree that’s just beginning to burst into a glorious cloud of pink, with the blue, blue sky behind it and the white fluffy clouds seeming almost transparent in the morning sun, I’m thinking about God’s amazing faithfulness to me and I think, “Why would anyone not want to serve Him?”  It’s more than I can fathom.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”  (Joshua 24:15b)

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