Tag Archive | comfort

Say It Out Loud

Hands lifted highTalk about convicted.  I was driving home from a worship service this morning and was just thunderstruck by this thought.  Think of the words to this song. They just…convicted is not exactly the right term, but He just opened my eyes in a way that I haven’t seen before.

There’s not many things you can tell me that the Lord says or does that I’m going to go, “I know, I know, I know.”

Every time He tells me something–helps me realize something new, it’s always astounding. Earth-shattering, light bulb-blinking, whatever you want to call it. It’s always exciting.  Then I’m dumb-founded that I was so dense that I didn’t get it before now.

Today it was the words to this simple little song:

“I Love You, Lord and I lift my voice, To worship You, O my soul rejoice,

Take joy my King, in what you hear, May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.”

Now what was that? May it be a SOUND.  Loud.  Out loud. Verbal.  Not a silent thought in your own head.  Take joy my King, in what you hear; may it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.  He wants to hear it OUT LOUD.

I don’t know if you ever had a husband like some people have, (giggling here) I ain’t pointing fingers at anybody,…a husband to whom you’ve had to say, “you never tell me you love me.”  You know what I’m talking about?   And he’ll say, “yeah, well, I was thinking it”… Right!!

If it isn’t verbalized where you can hear the thoughts and intents of that person’s heart, the inflections in their voice, their very tone that speaks their intent–if you don’t hear it, for all intents and purposes, for all the effect it has on you, it just wasn’t said.  If my husband loves me but he doesn’t actually tell me, then how am I supposed to know?

So.  This is not about the husband at all.  This is about the Lord.  And how much he values hearing your praise, hearing your joy.  Hearing your love for him.  Hearing your broken heart; hearing your willingness to be forgiven.  Any, ANY emotions, thoughts, decisions that you are imparting to Father God…yes, He hears you in your head, yes, He hears you in your heart. Yet that’s one of the ways that we are created in His likeness.  He longs to hear that you care. How you feel.  What you care about.  He longs to hear you tell Him that you love Him.  Say it.

Say it. Out Loud.

(Maranatha sings “I Love You, Lord” on YouTube if you’d like to hear it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5DnUvrxpeM)

We’ve Got Drought…or Black Thumbs are Inheritable

Northeastern Oklahoma in all its beauty is becoming a dry and barren wasteland.  Claremore has water rationing in effect–voluntarily at this point, they say, but the end of all living things is in sight–and so my beautiful hydrangeas, hosta’s, and my prize possession and a special blessing–my brand new butterfly bush, is dwindling down to die.

We used to sneak out and offer a little comfort, we’d water in the dark late at night, hiding from the water police…but the situation seems so dire, we gave up and quit watering.

So I’ve watched the struggling, spindly plant shrivel up, turn brown and brittle, and basically die.  Besides, it’s only survived until now based on the fact that Vernon, my husband, has faith and has handled the watering.  You see, I have a huge black thumb.  I kill every living plant I come into contact with.  I don’t think it runs in my family, because my Mom on the other hand, could jab a yardstick in the ground and make it grow and bloom.  I’ve watched her!!  The great Atlanta Plant Whisperer of 1983!

My daughter Shannon phoned from Houston, Texas late this afternoon to share news of her promotion at work.  It was a real accomplishment for her, a career ‘star in her crown’.  I told her I’d love to send her a plant, but until we discover if we’re solvent or not (has to do with short-term disability payments), I said I’d just send her photo’s of the  beautiful peace lily we just received from our church following my husband’s shoulder surgery.  It would be a sort of “congratulations/plant IOU”.

We talked back and forth, touching on 43 topics in the space of 10 minutes or so–we had to be quick ’cause she was at work.  She started trying in her compassionate way to make me feel better about losing my butterfly bush, and shared a story.

“It can happen to anyone, Mom, it’s just the odds.  We planted three white oak trees that were a gift from a friend.  Two were placed in the back yard, and the third tiny one in the front yard.  We did everything exactly the same for them, yet no matter what we did, the one sad little guy didn’t make it.  So we pulled it up and threw it away.  It’s a loss, but it can happen to anyone, trust me,” she went on.

In our mother/daughter fashion, I started listing things she could have tried–‘did you water them well? Did you feed them like the directions say? Did you…’  I went on in my helpful, searching voice.  Then she began to giggle.

“Wait, Mom.  I figured it out.”

“What?  What’s different about your three trees?”

“Robert (her husband) planted the two big flourishing trees in the back yard.  It was ME that planted the one that died in the front.”

“Well, welcome to The Curse of the Black Thumb!” I cried.  Now you know why I don’t water the butterfly bush myself.The flowers of a peace lily plant.

We finished our conversation and I let her get back to work.

My next move was to take a few interesting pictures of the church family’s peace lily to send to Shan as her “IOU plant”.  I placed the HUGE peace lily with its satiny red ribbon, nestled in a woven basket on a table by itself.  It’s just spilling over with dozens of white blooms shaped like a shell, sort of a ‘jack-in-the-pulpit’ shape with the bumpy pistils each standing up in the shade of its own white shell.

I took a couple of shots of the entire plant, and then thought we needed a closeup or two of the blossoms.  As I pointed my viewfinder at first one cobra-hood shape and then another, the old brain decided to take a left turn…the plant began to come alive!  And I texted Shannon the following:  “This is a big green jungle of leaves, hard to get it all in the frame.”   “These white blooms are nodding at me.   There’s so many they’re starting to bob and weave.”    “Sheesh, Shan, I thought I heard them whispering…I think I’m going to give them names.  One just said something about ‘the neighborhood…'”  Realizing I sounded as nutty as I felt, I stopped all that and sent her the pictures…When it comes to plants, if ya can’t keep ’em, just fake it!A picture of Peace Lily along with its leaf. C...

Technology at Our House

My Toy Maltese, Miss Chantilly Lace—“Tillie” to a few of her closest friends—is a devoted old soul.  Next month she will turn 70 in dog years.  By the hesitancy in her eyes when I call her to jump onto my bed, or to dance a whirling jig on her hind legs for a chewy bacon treat like she used to, it’s evident that Father Time and aging are not being kind to her.  Her little knees ache at times, making her an excellent weather forecaster for those rainy days.  While she’s a bit slower to get going in the mornings, she still has spunk, making the rounds of her vast kingdom—my back yard—lecturing the squirrels, chasing any unidentified birds out of her territory and keeping it safe for her family.  Knowing Tillie is on the alert is a comfort and a blessing.

She loves me, has been deeply devoted to me since I purchased her as a puppy from a kindly retired veterinarian in Ardmore back in 2002.  Yet there’s a definite fickle streak in that tiny six pound body.  She will attach herself with wildly enthusiastic abandon to any visitor who comes through our front door.  Her captivating black marble eyes instantly charm, yet when sensing a new situation and not completely sure of her reception, she escalates her nervous habit  (we all have them, don’t we?).  In fact, the welcome mat at the entrance to my home says, “Beware: Dog cannot hold its Licker!”

There are those times when her lack of licker control can be a nuisance.  Yet she will always calm down, especially if you’re willing to perform an undercover operation.  Just cover your lap with one of our small fleece throws; then she immediately scoots under, settles in beside you, goes completely silent—and off to sleep.  Licker silenced.

But if you want to really see the blazing fast communications technology at our house, come around to the side gate.  Thomas Edison invented the telephone and the telegraph.  My Maltese created Tilliepathy.

Waiting for Daddy’s truck – in Colorado, 2005

I mean, just look!  The grass-worn path from our gate to the back door is getting deeper and deeper with use.  The instant Tillie sees her Daddy step out of his diesel F-250, she abandons her lookout post at the gate, makes a beeline for her doggy door, and meets him as his key turns in the lock.  Our Tilliepathy is pretty dependable; very appreciated; and a memory that I cherish, whether it kills the grass, tunnels through snow, or fills with seasonal rains…that’s love in action!

Comfort in Unusual Places

I want to share a little creature  comfort that found me about 10 years ago when I lived in Kansas City.  Bear with me; it can seem silly or superstitious, unless you just “go with it”.

 It was late spring when we moved into a brand new house, where I settled into a comfortable routine of planting and tending flower beds, new shrubs, all the plantings that help to make a house homey and inviting.  Just before dusk the grass was already dew-laden and shadows were lengthening.   I finished planting some lilies between the azaleas and straightened up, when a little brown bundle moved near my foot.  I sat perfectly still, and a tiny brown baby bunny slowly hopped by me, totally absorbed in his snacking.

 When he hopped away, I went inside and  told Michael, my husband, about the little guy when he just nodded, “Yeah, he’s been popping in and out around the shrubs for a week or so”.  We grew to expect our busy little visitor, and missed him whenever he didn’t appear for a few days.

 Turn the page in this story book to a sunny spring morning a little more than six years later.  Our house was sold and we were moving into a small apartment across the street from the local hospital to be near Michael’s chemo appointments.    The smile on his emaciated, lined face  when he noticed the furry little guy scooting across the sidewalk in front of his wheelchair is one I still remember.  No one could convince him that this wasn’t the same little rabbit.  And no one tried.

 Time wasn’t kind to us. Fall found me lugging boxes by myself into a tiny studio apartment down in Fort Worth, Texas, FMLA over and ready to return to work at American Airlines, a widow at 49 years old.  The complex of Spanish-style pink buildings was shade-covered with mature trees and in place of grass was a wandering carpet of English ivy.  Somehow when I saw little cotton-tail scamper across the sidewalk about 10 feet in front of me I wasn’t surprised.  It was as if Michael was still there, telling me he was watching over me.  I found comfort in the nearness of that little rabbit.

 It was almost six months afterward that I found a duplex to buy in Arlington and moved once again.  This time I expected that I’d find a furry brown presence somewhere around my door.  He was there, sure enough.  I didn’t see him as often then, but just enough to know he was still around.

 Turn another page to find me sometime later, reminiscing old times with my youngest daughter by telephone.  I had just laughed as I recounted the story of my little buddy, and she gasped.  She said, “Mom, listen.”

 She harkened back to when her stepfather was still alive.  She was plowing in the fields on her farm in North Dakota, frustrated that she couldn’t travel just then to be with us–we both knew his time was growing short.  She turned at the end of a furrow when something told her she needed to call me to check on him.  She noticed movement off to her right and turned to see a small brown rabbit just sitting in the middle of the road, watching her.  Not hopping.  Not running away.  Just watching.  He stayed there with her until she finished plowing, and then slowly hopped away.

 She drove on to the farmhouse and called me, only to discover that her Stepdad had just passed away.

 Now, all this is true; it actually happened.  Coincidence? Vivid, overactive imaginations?  Well, I know one thing:  it was a little comfort here and there, just when we needed it.