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LIVING WITH FRAYED EDGES

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I once refused to accept papers with frayed edges.  Papers with the fringe along the perforated edge were unacceptable, uncollected. Many English students stared in frustration as I handed papers back to be scissor cut smooth. These messy, perforated edges stuck out and awkwardly clung to other pieces of paper,  not making for a simply stacked, precisely packed, carefully clipped collection of papers.

Living with loved ones with Alzheimers is a journey of learning to live with these  unexpectedly torn edges, the edges that frustratingly force us to shock stop and search to restack hopes in a new package, acceptable shape.  Getting the dreams collected with the Alzheimers fray seems impossible when the fringe hangs loosely, clinging to every moment. Each change of the Alzheimers fringe leaves hearts torn open.  This Alzheimers perforated life is a series of holes punched and bored through dreams, separating our mind from our heart.  Every day it's a new sucker punched hole  to a per…

DUMP THE BAGGAGE (MY PURSE: A METAPHOR FOR PURSE=UING GOD

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We don't know how some days, like our purses, get so stuffed, so overwhelming, so messy, so unorganized, so unplanned, so not how we want them to look. But their contents snatches our breath at the overflowing and unmanageable, exhausting and exasperating. Sighs surface and heads bow as heavy hands relinquish to a draining heart.

Days that turn us inside out and upside down, we just can't carry them anymore; the baggage consumes us. The dump we cling to, the chaotic clutter, has to be dumped to find what we are searching for. We have to refuse the refuse that deposits in the middle of our days, the work spaces, the heart crevasses. Because there is a consumption that occurs from the inside out.  It is the separated soul suffocated in the abyss.  

There I was on the highway trying to drive to St. Louis while searching through my purse for the item I was certain I possessed. It must have  settled deep down in my purse, unable to be seen or felt. And deep down don't my frustrat…

EACH. SINGLE. PART. of this weekend

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My thirty-two hour visit home was a weekend snap chat of sharing life. With set aside schedules,  the text of our lives stilled space at a resting heart's rate where the soul's private oases became the basis of chatter. Indulging day dream talk of dreams suspended and bucket list chases as the sun reigned down and the wind danced  leaves above our heads. Mom's dream to sky dive was as high priced as dad's dream to continue to drive.  Walking the parkway the way we each share life with each other: ahead, behind, beside, quiet, and close. Blowing to cool home-made pot pies while we fanned the flames of  wishes and words. Oohing over the gooey cake and buttering the jokes thick. Searching and finding the owl in Carondelet park as we do the wisdom from our days: expecting and deliberate.  And then when life's end is discussed while sitting in the middle of these days, the mind's tunnels envision that   each.    single.    part.    of.     life.  should.    be.    h…

MY PURSE: A METAPHOR FOR PURSE= UING GOD. (THE CONTENTS!)

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I would suppose over the last year  my mantra or big pursuit has had to do with this verse:  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10)
If we were meant to have life abundant then  I challenged God to show me how to pursue this life.
When my heart exhaustion started sighing, “I don’t need this,”  I thought there had to be something that I was missing.
Metaphorically, my purse was a miniature life, and it surely appeared abundant. Like my life, it was crammed full, compartmentalized, and  organized to make the days easier. There were days of triple bags: purse, work bag, gym bag.
Is my purse a metaphor for my pursuit of God?
The clutter I cling to in my purse every day resembles my life.
Lists:  My notepad actually reads to do now or later. These lists are the immediate needs to meet the demands of my family, my home, my church, my job, my activities versus those that could possibly wait.  They are my desires …

MY PURSE: A METAPHOR FOR PURSE=UING GOD (How the idea began!)

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PART 1: How the idea began!
I was asked to speak before a group of Christian women by a dear wise woman whose genuine pursuit of God I have admired for years. Her confidence in my words undid me as I found myself at a loss for what to impart to women wiser, smarter, and more clear headed than I might currently be. 
When she texted me, she said I could just give one of my lessons I spoke at church from Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts. But the funny true story is that if you speak that into your phone it comes out Ann’s Vodka Camp.  I teased her that I was immediately comforted by the fact that I would be speaking at a place that people might not remember my name or thoughts.  It surely lifted the burden.     Days later, I moaned to another friend that I didn't feel I had any expertise to share.  Who am I that I should be speaking to others?  I ramble thoughts about words and events in life that make me think “Hmmm” here on this blog domain. It is mine alone and given with open invitation f…

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS

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My niece and nephew lose their precious baby boy two days after cradling him for nine months in her womb. Our hearts break with them, and we know there are no words we can give to glue the chasm in their hearts back together. 

When the dream of a life ebbs away, the hole creates a vacuum that siphons our lives with it. 

And  when it seems absolutely inconceivable that one day again we will sense sweetness in the silence, make melody in music, look high for rainbows, seek pleasure in public, find faith for the future, and pursue purpose in Your plans, You choose to continue to heal our hearts' holes. 

When there seems to be no reason to recall yesterdays, plans for tomorrow, or even remember that today is Friday or Sunday or Wednesday, you plant purpose. 

The fact that You are not frozen still like we are by our heartbreak, 
that we are not condemned by our flowing tears that weep of doubt and "whys,"
that we are not abandoned because of our throat choked voice harnessed by ang…

A PRAYER FOR DANIEL AT GRADUATION: TRANSLATING THE UPSIDE DOWN WISDOM OF GOD

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I am translating the upside down wisdom of our God for you because the world often taunts and mocks His ageless wisdom as lacking and shallow. I pray you  always find true life giving wisdom when you seek with your heart and mind and soul the everlasting words of wisdom.

May you embrace the beauty in the blemish, the bruise, the ugly, the damaged, the lost. Don't be distracted by the shiny, but be startled  awake by the lovely in the low and deep and wide and hard places.

May your hands always be dirty with the work that serves others' needs. There will be long tired days that will hurt your muscles,  but your heart will sing strong for joy.

May  worry and sleepless nights submit to an assurance of purpose that God will sing over you.

May you breath life into others with words that judge others as God sees them: holy and worthy creations.

May your tired and bruised soul only be blemished from the love you have given over and over and over. May you not count the days of sacrif…

WHEN A LEGACY IS ENGRAVED ON YOUR HEART

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It seemed to be a slow slide into spring, days patiently pushing the powder toward petals.

But with a turn of my head,  my heart began to race jagged across the pages of days.
Standing before twenty-two fourth grade students who could never have imagined their "Goodbye, Mrs. Pridemore" chanted one Thursday afternoon would be their last, I knew they feared to face the fade to memories as the sole source of honor for their song singing teacher.   



An aneurysm shook her body from her earthly throne, but her purpose patterned persistence designed the legacy now engraved on their hearts.
The balm of words and prayers ease the oozing ache of wounded hearts. 
Daily classroom life dulls the breathless, silent panting.
Tears sting less as confused anger subsides and lingering sorrow softens. 
And these ten year old souls I have come to know and who know the hope of Heaven will ever be lullabied the whispers of Amazing Grace by their witness from the clouds, Mrs. Pridemore.   

ARE YOU APPROACHABLE?

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"ARE YOU APPROACHABLE?"
---MICHAEL CHITTY
CEO, JUDAH CHRISTIAN SCHOOL



It was a simple question thrown across the interview table. The simple reply "YES" came with a quizzical look. Intuitively, I knew his desired answer was "yes."  I wondered in the realm of teaching how that answer could be anything but "yes" for a teacher. It SHOULD be "YES."  Looking back at that question, I realize my surprise in its asking and assumption at an obvious answer caused me to not really expound upon myself or my thoughts about that question. 

If I were interviewing myself, I would pose a follow-up question: "How do kids and parents know that you are approachable?"

After all, through the years with my own kids,  I have heard many teachers assert that they are approachable when students feel they are not, supporting their defense with this comment: "Kids know they can come to my room and ask me a question any time they want." 

To me both …

ENOUGH GLITZ FOR ME

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"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?
(Esther 4:14)




Sitting at my counter, I was distracted by a line on the to do list: clean the house for a group of women coming Friday night.

My eye flitted to areas that needed improvement.  Yet, there was nothing in this short amount of time that I could do, short of simple cleaning, to improve the facade.  My mind's-eye scattered across the wish list: curtains, stool seat cushions, throw rugs, completed pictures frames hung, couch, throw pillows for my bed....

What had so suddenly eclipsed my soul? On the day I  invited women to my home, I was comfortable with the vulnerability of exposing the imperfect places of my home, but now as the time draws near, I pant to paint a richer picture?  The trappings of this life shine bright, distracting me and corrupting my heart desires.

So today I learn from Esther.  Oh Esther, it was a long walk to stand and plead your heart before King Xerxes who offered …

THE TEXT OF YOUR LIFE

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I love my phone, but it sure does cause havoc at times.  

I spoke into the microphone (ahem and didn't review it before sending it); it told my friend that my son had to write an essay "for Lowes."  For Lowes?" my friend was totally lost when she texted back. I had to use my hand to text government "furloughs."  Wow, that really took us down a different path.

When I was driving to visit my friend Kim at her mom's house, I texted her that I was almost there (Hey, I was at a stop sign when I texted).  She  texted back, "Let me know when you are here, and I will help you carry your GUYS in." I told her this was a girl's weekend, no guys allowed.  I didn't bring any guys with me." She sure was lost in my response. Who knew BAGS could turn into GUYS?  We sure rolled with that for a few more laughs. I guess she didn't go back and look it over either.

Just recently, my friend Peggy texted me asking me to speak at her next ladies m…

THANK GOD---EVERY TIME?

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I  thank 
my God 
every time 
I remember you. 
(Phil. 1: 31)






Let's face it; life would be easy if we didn't have to get along with people.  Work would be easy if we didn't have to encounter others.  Driving would be easy if no one else were on the road.  Family gatherings  would  run smoothly if no one showed up. Teaching would be easy if there were no kids.... You get the easy road?  It is void of people.  But that road doesn't exist, and we are called to walk down the one that is clearly filled with encountering others.  So this scripture today really needs to sink in.
I THANK ....Seems we are called to be thankful for people.  I am thankful for things and situations and jobs and people, but every person?  What response should this thankfulness muster? 
I THANK GOD...Seems God is the creator of those people in our path because we are called to thank Him; Who are the people that are coming to your mind right now that you are thankful for?  Your mom, your husband, your kids,…

A PICTURE PERFECT IMAGE: SETTING THE SHUTTER TIME TO SHUDDER

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It's Ash Wednesday and the third day of substituting for a photography class.  Although, I claim very little knowledge of photography, it made  me clarify  how I picture my days ahead.
I really should understand the basics of photography since I vividly recall the unit in 7th grade science. Sadly, I was traumatized by the teacher sending me into a dark room with certain 7th grade boys.  Is that when I began to pray out loud? The rumors of the activities that occurred in that over-sized closet, make-shift dark room, would have shut it down cold had they reached Mrs. Leach.

I was reminded in class today of the difference between shutter and shudder, and how really the one affects the other. The SHUTTER TIME affects my SHUDDER TIME. Ash Wednesday for me isn't about giving up  but rather lengthening the time I spend exposed and aware of God 's blessings. The SHUDDER time that brings reverence and awe in place of crippling fear.

Shutter speed is the length of time that the cam…