Category Archives: Joy

“Help Me To Be”

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We are blessed to have sweet Nancy as a member of the church here in Dripping Springs. She is from Fort Worth, and, as a matter of fact, she and my mother knew each other as children, because Nancy’s mother and my Grandma were friends. Nancy has been blind since birth, and she has some other impairments as well. Her father and mother have both passed from this life.  Nancy now lives at Hill Country Care, the same healthcare facility where Grandma (who will be 102 on August 3) resides.

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Nancy is not bitter in the least about her condition. If you ask her how she’s doing, without fail she will reply “Hap-PY!” with decisive emphasis. She loves Lawrence Welk, and she LOVES to sing. She sings her heart out. Bless her heart (and you know, when a southern girl says “bless her heart”, something uncomplimentary might follow, but I mean this sincerely) she sings with gusto – the kind of gusto that makes small children turn around and stare.

We sat in front of Nancy yesterday, and as we sang the song “Purer in Heart” I couldn’t help thinking to myself that there might not have been a purer heart than hers in that assembly. As she warbled her way through the song, with some squeaks that might not have been pleasing to human ears – I thought that God’s heavenly ears must have been pleased with her pure, heartfelt worship.

In fact, there are probably other aspects of worship that aren’t pleasing to us that are pleasing to God. Looking back to Old Testament worship – sacrifice in particular, I wonder what it was like to be present as animals were slaughtered. It’s hard to imagine a pleasant scene – but numerous times it is described as a “sweet savour” or a “pleasing aroma” to God (Exodus 29:18,  Leviticus 1:17, 8:21 and many other places). I’m thankful it’s different today.

But who am I to have a different opinion than God? My opinion is unimportant. He is seeking people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). Nancy’s voice may not win any singing competitions, but she is not competing for any reward except for God’s favor. Shouldn’t that be the goal of every Christian?

One of Nancy’s favorite songs is “Amazing Grace”.  “I once was lost, but now am found – was blind, but now, I see.” I wonder if perhaps Nancy doesn’t see better than any of us.

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I Want to Look Like Her

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Earlier this week, I went along with a group of Christians in Hamilton to visit several ladies who reside in assisted living centers there. I could not take my eyes off one woman in particular. Her name is Bobbie.

photo (3)She was beautiful. Her face was wreathed in smiles. She was so happy to see each person who walked into the room. She sat smiling, with her eyes closed, listening and joining in with the songs we sang.

I don’t know any of Bobbie’s history or circumstances. From what I could see, she had few earthly possessions. She was bound to her wheelchair. Her clothes were plain and her surroundings, though comfortable, were spare.

And in the few moments that we were there, I felt my eyes sting and my heart twist.

Because some women *my age* tend to be absorbed in keeping the wrinkles at bay and washing the grey out of our hair. We examine ourselves critically in the mirror to see signs of aging and fading. We spend a lot of money on creams and sprays and potions. We rue those extra pounds. And we look at Brooke Shields and Jane Seymour and wonder how they manage to look so timeless.

But Bobbie exemplifies beauty, to me. She knows the joy of the Lord. She loves His people. His people love her. Her physical appearance may not be the world’s icon of beauty, but the Lord’s idea is different. “…The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

I want to look like her when I grow up.

My Silly Personal Pity Party

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I have a confession to make: today, I had a tiny bit of a personal pity party.

You see, I woke up with a headache – the kind that doesn’t go away. And John is out of town again. Then I didn’t push my coffee cup lid down hard enough, and I poured hot coffee down my chin (so it has been cherry red all day) and on my shirt (the one I wanted to wear) and it dribbled on my white pants (which I wore anyway.)  Then on the way to take Micah to school, someone a few cars ahead decided to be nice and let another car in…but it slowed us all down, and the teenybopper with the phone in her hand behind me didn’t slow down with us. By the time she did decide to slow down, I could see her uvula reflected in my rear-view mirror. THEN, Flores put beans on my taco, which (as Mike Rowe is fond of saying) was unfortunate.  And when I went to have a pedi to make myself feel better, the lady (who was very sweet, but I think we were each having a conversation that neither of us understood) rubbed some kind of lotion on my legs that I must be allergic to, and now I have these cute little red bumps.

And it was my birthday, and I had absolutely no plans. With anyone.

I felt sorry for myself for a while. I didn’t feel very special. Then I started feeling really ashamed of myself. I was humbled. And I started questioning myself.  How often have I made other people feel special on their birthdays? (Not very often, I’m afraid.) Have I been as thoughtful towards others as I should? (Not always.) Have I been self-absorbed, instead of serving others? (Yes.) How spoiled am I, to think everything must revolve around me? How silly, to feel sorry for myself when I have so much to be thankful for! How blessed am I, to have been made to feel special all of these 45 years I’ve been on this earth!

Every time I’ve looked at my phone today, I’ve seen birthday wishes from treasured friends everywhere.

The most wonderful man on the planet loves me. ME!

My family is happy and healthy.

I ate a Flores taco (which I haven’t allowed myself in two years.)

I enjoyed my pedicure (despite the bumps.)

I got a birthday call from Rig!

My dog just licked my elbow, which I take to mean “Happy Birthday” (or maybe, “may I please have the leftover chicken?”)

And Micah and I are about to sit down for another few episodes of LOST.

Life is good. I am blessed beyond measure. Thank you, God! Happy birthday to me!

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No Regrets

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While digging through cabinets looking for our missing Christmas DVD’s, John discovered our old video camera and some tapes. They contained footage of old Christmases, Jacob’s *stellar* performance as Daddy Warbucks in his 8th grade musical, and Jordan’s summertime 7 on 7 football games.

Plenty of laughs. There were Jordan and Jacob in 1998, with their arms around each other, standing on the hearth singing “Joy to the World, ‘cuz Barney’s dead…they barbecued his head…” (Wow, really? Where did they come up with such violence??) Micah’s statically-electrified bedhead hair flying around on Christmas morning as he pushed his new Fisher Price Toddler Trike around the living room. John and me, both at least 50 pounds heavier, which didn’t exactly make us laugh but DID give us extra incentive to head to the gym tonight. 🙂 And there was my Dad at one of Jordan’s middle school basketball games, with considerably more hair on his head.

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I found myself swallowing tears too, and wondering why. It’s just so bittersweet. At the time, you might not think much about your little boys throwing their arms around you with unrestrained happiness and unfeigned love. It’s easy to take little things like that for granted.

But I got to thinking about how much more “sweet” we have than “bitter” – and how thankful I am that God gave us a handbook to guide our steps. Thankful for a husband who led our home spiritually and emotionally – and in every way. Thankful that our memories are a blessing and not a curse. And thankful that we don’t have serious regrets about our boys.

Food log….been kinda iffy on that for the last week or so, for obvious reasons. I think I’m going to start posting a screen shot of my Weight Watchers log instead of re-typing it here. Starting tomorrow. Because I’m regretting the food choices of the last week. 🙂

Bacon Makes Me Happy

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Last Sunday, John made us miserable but today he made us happy. 🙂 One of the things that he said that stood out to me was this:

“The world promises a lot, but delivers little.”

Isn’t that the truth? We love to be given gifts and pampered and showered with adoration and praise – we think THAT is what makes us happy. But God gives a much better picture of happiness:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

We also think that being skinny will make us happy. But today, Oreo Balls and Holiday Bacon Appetizers made ME happy – at least temporarily. Here is the link for those of you who asked:

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http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/holiday-bacon-appetizers-recipe/index.html

They don’t look too pretty, but they were tasty!

Food log today – cottage cheese and one scrambled egg for breakfast, and about 10 almonds. Lunch – 4 oz meatloaf (made with 96% lean ground beef), 1/2 of a baked potato with a Laughing Cow swiss cheese (you can have TWO for ONE point!), green beans. A 1X2 slice of Tim’s birthday cake. Supper…finger foods at our Care Group meeting. I had 3 of the bacon appetizers, some pita chips and hummus, two boneless Wild Wings, some carrots, and a naked Oreo Ball (no chocolate coating – probably cut the calories by a little bit!) 🙂 Not a great food day. Oh, well – tomorrow is another day.