Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Master Planter

I awoke this morning to the smell of jasmine wafting through my bedroom window.  I kept my eyes shut and just enjoyed the fragrance for a while.   I rarely take for granted the significance of these plants climbing up trellises on the side of my house.  My father planted them nine years ago.

Daddy came for a visit when my children were small.  It was the only one he ever made to my home by himself.  And he stayed for almost two weeks.  It's a treasure I will never forget.  We had a high old time. 

Went to the Getty museum (he loved the marble which covers almost every square inch of the grounds...he also got in trouble by a security guard for almost touching one of the paintings...hilarious!  True to form, he was teaching me, giving me a lesson in oil painting brush strokes.) 
We went to the beach,
went to the theater (Phantom of the Opera),
went out to eat at Maggiano's (Daddy charmed our way out of a 20 minute wait...we got in in 30 seconds). 
Daddy even got to see students of mine perform 3 shows for sold out houses. 

My favorite times, though, were the quiet ones.  Walks around the block, Daddy painting and repairing some benches in my backyard (He asked if he could paint my house!  Luckily I talked him out of that one.), painting a table with oils, and planting my side patch of grass.  He said, "You really need some greenery there."  As usual, he was right.  We went to Lowe's together where he suggested climbing jasmine.  I wanted the $40 per bucket ones that were already lush and blooming.  He said, "No, just buy the $4.99 ones over there.  They'll be as big as the $40 ones before you know it."  I humored him even though I was a little disgusted to not have what I wanted, when I wanted it...which was right away!! 

Daddy got to work, planting those tiny plants and installing small wrought iron trellises behind them.  They could not have been more than a foot tall.  Oh, me of little would I ever be able to wait to see them full and blooming?

I thought of that this morning as I lie, eyes closed, inhaling the splendor of these most gorgeous of God's creations.  And I thought of the joy I experienced over the past nine years, watching the plants grow.  I would carefully wind the tendrils around and behind the iron to make sure the jasmine was climbing properly.  I watered them (praise God that they don't need much!) and cared for them.  They climbed and climbed and grew and grew.  So gratifying. Again...glorious!

What I would have missed had Daddy just acquiesced the lesson he wanted to teach, and we had just bought those $40 full growns and plopped them into  place. 

I would have missed the wonder and the miracle of cultivating life. 

I would have missed the reward of careful time and attention to a cause. 

And I would have missed the feeling of connection to my dad each spring when the jasmine came back to me in bloom. 

So much I would have missed in my impatience.

Thank you, God, for sending me the father I received. 
Another valuable lesson from him,
the master planter.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Angel Sighting

My dad has been in the hospital for the past few days.   One sister has stayed overnight with him each night while the others have been trading off back and forth throughout the day since my mom needs the help.  It's times like these that I am so glad to be Italian and a woman.  I awake in the morning to find 4-5 emails telling details of the night's happenings...nurse visits, what he's eaten if anything, what they talk to the doctor about, etc.  I am so grateful to have sisters who communicate like me, telling every single event in vivid detail.  I can't get enough!  It's so hard not being there.  My sister, Theresa, has been so lovely throughout having to stay up.  (My dad has barely slept in three days.)  One of her emails from last night started, "Well, here we are, 3AM and still having a rollicking good time!"  It takes lots of grace to have humor after one of those kinds of nights.

We have too much experience with overnight hospital stays - more than any young family should have.  This situation with Daddy got me thinking about the many nights we had to stay in the hospital with Braden.  SO many asthma attacks in the early years.  (It turns out, almost nothing beats being admitted immediately to the emergency room than saying you can't breathe. We basically had a fast pass into Miller's Children's Hospital. Until the time Drew took Braden and was about to sail by ten people waiting - when all of a sudden, a guy came in with chest pains. Note to all, possible heart attack trumps asthma every time - just so you know!)

Anyway, you'd think that once the child (or adult in my dad's case) was finally resting comfortably, the patient could just sleep.  But no...a nurse, therapist, doctor, or cleaning crew come in and out all night, switching lights on, poking, prodding, talking too loudly, waking everyone and everything in their path. It's pretty miserable.

The occurence that comes most prominently to mind, however, of all the hospital stays, was the evening we were admitted and received a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes as the reason for Braden's numerous symptoms.  To say we were in shock is a huge understatement.   I feel like I slept walked through the four days we were there.  I don't remember much (thank goodness for selective memory shielding us from that which we cannot handle) but I remember with great clarity my third morning there.

It had been another aforementioned long night with people in and out, making me get up and start learning to check his blood sugar on my own.  They really had to push me to do it.  I was thick with denial.  I had slept not at all when morning came.  An especially compassionate nurse came in and looked at me, saying, "Why don't you go get something to eat?  He's sound asleep, and you need a break.  I'll keep an eye on him while you're gone."  I glanced down at my 6 year old sleeping angel whose life had changed forever in one hideous night, and I realized it was all coming up in me.  I had to get out of that room for a few minutes.  So I ran down to the cafeteria to get a quick bite, even though no part of me had any appetite whatsoever.

I found myself at the bagel station.  I grabbed a white one and set about trying to slice it with one of those fancy industrial slicers.  I put the bagel in one way, then another, took the lid off the machine, turned it a different way.  I was so muddled and so emotional, I couldn't even figure out how to slice a piece of bread!  So instead, I just hung my head and wept.

I wept for the loss of my child's future as I saw it in my mind...
I wept for the knowledge that he would have to be poked and prodded numerous times a day for the rest of his sweet life...
I wept for myself and my husband and the new wrinkle that had been thrown into our lives...the assurance that it would limit our activities as a family or as a married couple...
I wept for fear of my son's ultimate health...
I wept and wept and wept some more at that bagel station.

Suddenly I noticed a woman who had sidled up beside me.  She wordlessly took my bagel and put it in the slicer, cutting it effortlessly.  She looked at me and asked, "Toasted?"  I mutely nodded my head.  She put cream cheese on my tray, pushed it down to the end of the toaster, put my bagel on a plate and carried all of my things to the cashier.  "Let me pay," she said.  I just stood there while she paid for two trays, both hers and mine, then she squeezed my hand and said something like, "It will get better."  I watched her walk away, then carried my tray back to Braden's room to eat my beautifully toasted bagel with cream cheese while beside him. 

I cannot explain it, but I knew in that moment, I had met an angel
There is no doubt in my mind. 
That woman's gestures of kindness buoyed my spirits at a time I didn't think I could get lower. 
Her simple acts of selflessness showed me in the flesh that God sends messengers to us when we are in need. 
I knew with no doubt that I would not be walking this journey alone.

My hope and prayer is that throughout the next bit of time, be it days, weeks, or months, that my family will experience the presence of angels in their midst. 
Angels walking among them,
paying the price so they don't have to. 
Angels sent from our Father for our father with love.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Covert Prayer

Have you ever begged an iffy plea
In strangled sobs down on one knee
Of Him who died upon the tree,
Who gave His life for you and me?

"Your servant, good and faithful, true
Who sacrificed our time and who
Proclaimed Your Word, gave You your due.
He's ready now to be with You.

Oh, Father God, he feels so lost.
Please weigh the good against the cost
Of mental pain, so torn and tossed
Such burdens born, such deserts crossed.

The water's dry, the well is bare
Your mercy, his reward so fair
For him who daily lives despair
'Who am I? What's this? Why?' and 'Where?'

His fertile mind which questioned all
Philosophies and theories small
But never questioned You, his call
Or faith when held against the wall."

That mind is faded, glimmers less
And for that reason I confess
I wish him peace, no more unrest.
No more crying, no more mess.

Let not our conscious minds be burned
With thoughts of help, in anger, spurned.
"We've got it God.  The lesson's learned!
Let grace seek him as he has yearned."

"He's waited steadfast through the years
To live with You without his fears.
Only laughter, no more tears
As the Heavenly gate appears.

My conscience seems as though it's done.
But his race ran, his vict'ry won...
It's time, Lord, please call home your son.
Just beckon, calling home your son."

Photo credit:  free_will07

Monday, May 14, 2012

Flying High on Faith

Well, they're gone....finally flew the nest.  I watched them leave today with a mixture of joy, sorrow and excitement.  I hope they'll be okay.

It seems like only yesterday I wrote my post, Nesting in the Rafters, about the birth of two exquisite baby birds hatched in the outdoor speaker at my home.  This morning when I was walking through my kitchen, I heard a call.  It was a cross between the pitiful, hungry, high peep of a baby and the full-throated response of its parent.  The sound was older than three weeks ago but still possessed an immaturity born of caution.

There it was right outside my window!  The birdie had somehow managed to get out of the nest and up to the garage rooftop.  It hopped and chirped, hopped and chirped, hopped and chirped, clearly looking for assistance - or at least a bit of reassurance!  His wings beat furiously to get from the rooftop to the flagpole about 4 inches down.  (Hop, chirp, hop, chirp, hop, chirp.)  Then furiously again to the next level down past his home.  He was so timid and confused.

"Now what?" I thought. 
I could tell that precious baby wanted to get back to the security of his nest. 
But flying down is a lot easier than flying up. 
Gravity and all...

"Faith," I thought.  How similar our soul trusting and leaping to this new life trying to fly.  Trusting in something so wholly, instinctively, that we let go of our inhibitions and try to take off.  To leave behind the comfort and familiarity of home and hearth - sometimes a job or a career - sometimes a state or a country - and venture out in faith because our hearts hear the call.  To beat our wings relentlessly in the pursuit of finding our path, hopping and chirping and hoping that's enough to find us help when we need it.

Sometimes it takes fear or hurt or anger or being stuck in the bottom of that prickly nest to take the leap. 
To spread our wings. 
To reach for God. 
Because truly when we need Him least, we often stop reaching. 
But when life is challenging our very purpose, that's when we need Him most...
To help us soar.

I opened the back door, startling my baby.  A quick chirp and mechanical movement of his head then off he went, all the way UP to the telephone wire at least 20 feet away.  Wow!  He did it!!

Fear made him do it, but his success was no less meaningful.  He took the plunge and did not fall.  He trusted his instincts and they led him to the sky.  I trust that baby will be okay.

And just as he sings and soars free, so too will I trust my instincts...
and let my faith fly high.

Photo credit:  Aleigh1223

Sunday, May 13, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - Weekend Update

Here, a continuation of the One Thousand Gifts challenge by A Holy Experience blogger, Ann Voskamp.  A reminder of God's love and all the things for which I have found thanks throughout the week.  I hope you find it meaningful and that you are encouraged to take pause to reflect upon all of the things in your life for which you are grateful.

One Thousand Gifts #21-38
#21  For my mother and all the gifts she gave me
#22  For the gift of motherhood, the greatest of all treasures
#23  For my firstborn - a beautiful, loyal, funny, intelligent, giving almost woman
#24  For my second (and last) born - a hilarious, diligent, sensitive, courageous tween little man
#25  For my husband who helped give them life and honors his job as father each day
#26  For a safe trip out of town for my husband and also (#27) for his safe return
#28  For the strength to get through four days of stomach flu, barely scathed
#29  For the example set for me and mine by other women and other families who take care of others not blessed in the way of worldy things...for their example of service and compassion
#30  For my sister, Christine, and all she does for our family
#31  For the task of cooking dinner which my children took on this week while I was unable
#32  For their ability to ALWAYS be okay eating breakfast foods, no matter the time of day
#33  For my new computer and the ease with which it helps me access the writing world (I was ready to chuck the old one out the window - so easing my frustration is an added #34 bonus!)
#35  For my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and each of my sisters, all mothers and all teach me lessons
#36  For my most current paid writing gig - it's really happening!!
#37  For the writer, Kari, at Sacred Mundane, who opens my eyes most frequently to the gratitudes I am overlooking
#38  For Deidra at Jumping Tandem whose words speak to me like friend who has walked the road before me and is leaving me clues to how to "get through" along the way

For these and so many more things in my beautiful, blessed life, I say "thank you, God."
I am forever grateful.

(last week's)
One Thousand Gifts #12 - 20
For friends who check in on and write to and support and love me and mine
For the mama and daddy birds sitting on a telephone wire, singing their songs of protection and praise
For their baby birds, nestled in an outdoor speaker, singing songs of need and reminding me of life's fragile beauty
For the opportunity to write for friends, helping them expand their dreams
For the healing of my daughter's traumatized mouth after extraction of her wisdom (teeth, that is!)
For the strength of my body, growing each day with care, time and diligence (not to mention buckets of sweat!)
For the restoration of my father's peace
For a growing online community of faith writers, prayer warriors and strong women where I find comfort, familiarity and acceptance
For God's word which heals me and is a "lamp unto my feet"

For these and so many more things in my beautiful, blessed life, I say "thank you, God."
I am forever grateful.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The 1000 Moms Project

In honor of  mothers everywhere, but especially my mother, I am writing my blog today for the 1000 Moms Project.  For every public word and sentiment written about mothers on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, posts everywhere, a much needed gift will be given to a mother and her baby in Haiti.  Oh, the generosity of the family who is hosting this invitation. 

Actually, the task is to share the most important gift my mother gave me.  But I don't think I can relegate all of my gratitude for the gifts she has given to only one thing.  So instead I will honor Mama with these words...

Thank you for the gift of...

My voice
The white meat chicken even though you didn't like the dark
My sense of order (notice I did not say neuroses?!?)
My great ability to plan
Laughter at most everything I mean to be funny (Mama's a great audience!)
New clothes when I'm sure there was no money left in the till for yours
My eyes
A great love of music and filling the house with it
Great collarbones
A sense of duty
A big, fat, Italian family
A firm hand
My ability to cry at anything slightly sentimental (Hallmark commercials anyone?)
Playing with my daughter on the floor when she was a toddler
Cleaning my refrigerator
Delicious food every night of the week
A great moral compass
Piano lessons even when I didn't want to practice (little did I know I would need them so desperately later in my career)
Flying out to help me when I had my babies
The gifts you shower upon my children 20,000 times a year
My very life
Faith to move mountains
Memories to last a lifetime

There are so many more things you gave.  Things, I'm sure I have no idea to this day even, that were sacrificed for my benefit and that of my sisters.  (Like hanging laundry from a clothesline for seven people for years!!  Good Lord, I can't even imagine!)  There are no words to adequately describe how grateful I am to you.  And in these later years - though I know it was the commitment you made 50 years ago - you have no idea how much I appreciate what you do for my father each day...especially when I'm sure it gets hard...and lonely. 

But I want you to know that these sacrifices do not go unnoticed. 
I want you to know that you have set the bar SO high for each of us girls. 
I want you to know that I hope to be half the worker,
half the generous mother,
half the woman of faith I know you are.

So to my beautiful, Italian, song-filled mother...
Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

I love you...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whispered Wisdom

Yesterday, still feeling weak and sickly from my stomach virus, I had to go to the grocery store.  No part of me wanted to go.  No part of me felt strong enough.  But my husband was unavailable, and there were things the children and I needed.  So I gathered my energy and my keys, got in the car and started out of my driveway.

As I was beginning to back up, looking over my left shoulder into the street for oncoming traffic, I heard a whisper in my ear...

"Choose joy..."

I stopped the car and looked around for a moment.  I heard it again...

"Choose joy..."

This faintest wisp of instruction turned me around inside.  It was like a healing balm on my heart.  My facial muscles, until then contorted in discomfort, relaxed into an easy smile.  The rest of my day was better.  I didn't physically feel better...but spiritually I did.

This morning I awoke to a blog post I receive each day from (in)courage.  The message written in bold typeface?  Choose joy...

So there is no question about what I'm meant to impart to you this day.  My stomach flu lingers.  I would be lying if I said I didn't want it to go away.  But throughout last night and today, I have chosen joy.  Through the mire and the muck, I'm choosing joy.

My hope and prayer for each one of you is that,
no matter what you are currently going through...
No matter how difficult the circumstances...
No matter how heavy the load...
No matter the sadness and despair, the sickness and the physical toll...
Some way...
(His way...)
You will choose joy.

Photo courtesy of bing images on "metalsgirl"

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Push in the Right Direction

Was it really only yesterday that I was commenting (maybe boasting a bit?) on the fact that I had been blessed with endless ideas for this blog?  Now here I sit, feeling dry and a little withered as I approach it.  What changed? 

I have been sick all day.

I was on the phone with my mom when all of a sudden a wave of nausea swept over me like the riptide at Gulf Shores.  Hot flash...mouth watering...I grabbed a quick carb choice on which to graze since low blood sugar is often the culprit when I feel this way.  (I'm sure my mother appreciated it as I attempted to answer her questions with a mouth full of banana.)  Anyway, the snack didn't help and I found myself in bed throughout the afternoon, feeling weak and sick, stomach churning and yucky.

What do you do when you have a job to do or a commitment to honor and you just aren't feeling up to the task?  It's difficult to be inspired when your stomach is cramping.  So after I dragged myself out of bed to pick up the kids from school, I sat staring at my computer screen.  Finally I said sadly, "I don't feel good."  My 12 year old looked up from his homework and said, "Push through it, Mom."


Such honesty and integrity from my little man.  You know what?  He's right.

What should I do when I feel weak and dizzy, nauseous with life's challenges?
Push through it.
What should I do when I feel under attack, angry and vengeful?
Push through it.
What should I do when everything I touch turns to stone instead of gold?
Push through it.
What should I do when I am down and out, sad and disappointed...
Self-doubting and self-loathing...
Uninspired and ordinary...
Lousy and small?
Push through it.

Push through the pain of rejection...
the fear of nonacceptance...
the dry spells in work and in love...
the frustration with those around me...
the frustration with myself for my faults.
Push through it.

Fight the good fight of life.  Because the fact of the matter is, it is our job to honor the knowledge that we are children of our beautiful Father in Heaven, and He believes we can do anything, no matter how bad our circumstances. 

Push for grace...push for glory...push for gratitude.
Push through (to) it!

I Am the Vine; You Are the Branches

I have been reveling for the past week or two in the fact that I have not had a problem finding things to write about and share in this blog.  It has come fairly easily.  It's never a horrendous chore but there are times where I feel more prolific than others.  Still the last few weeks have been especially enlightening, and I have found a wealth of messages in everything around me.  Far be it from me to question this blessing rather than enjoy it.  But of course...

This morning as I was straightening my, go to Mass, I was reflecting on this very thing.  In trying to analyze exactly what I have been doing differently, if anything, it hit me that I have awaken each morning over this time period and spoken to God before I did anything else.  I have truly been making a conscious effort to do so.  I have also let some personal things go that I was spending WAY too much time worrying about...the time spent agonizing was robbing me of more time in His presence.  "Could this be the reason for the constant bombardment of messages?" I wondered.  Right before church started, I entreated God with a request, "Please show me Your word as You want me to hear it."

Then Deacon Shane proclaimed the Gospel today from John 15:1-8:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already [b]clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [c]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so [d] prove to be My disciples.  (my emphasis)

Amazing the blessings are born of this teaching when I actually follow it!  The more I include God, the more He gives me.  That's just the way it works.  He's honoring my inclusion of Him in the little things; the daily details; the giving over of fear and anger; the requests for help (when it used to be requests for "things."  I'll admit it!); the awakening in the morning with Him on my mind; the final words with Him before I drift off to sleep.  He showers His grace in celebration of my devotion.

And His branches in me will bear much fruit.
More and more ideas...
Inspired messages...
Words I could never write on my own without
His help...
His voice...
His grace...
His inspiration.

So here I will share for the first time a picture of the branches that I've prayed will bear the fruit.  (Ironically, I had not absorbed the above message from John when I asked for this to be designed.  But since He gave me the tag line, apparently He knew I would finally somehow make the connection.  Lord, am I dense...sigh...) 

My niece Amanda, is the graphic designer responsible for this gorgeous interpretation of my vision. 
I couldn't have dreamed of something better.  I look forward to continue branching out with words...with books...with vision...with work.  And I know that as long as I remain in Him, so He will remain in me through all of the blessings to come.

(More information soon on the website which will eventually house this blog.  Please pray for me as I move forward with this endeavor.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Drinking from the Wellspring

Do you recognize this?

How about this?

What if I showed you a different view?

Still another?

I love to be surrounded by beauty.
But I am not known for my green thumb.
The 'gardens' portion of "Better Homes and Gardens" will not be visiting me any time soon.
Unless they create a new segment called "How NOT To..."

Still when I came home to this yesterday....

I took care of business.
Hours later, this was what greeted me...

How did I do it?
What miracles of modern horticulture did I employ?
What savvy method of ingenuity?

I watered it.

It takes so little to be nourished...
To blossom...
To flower and grow...
To become beautiful.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:4-6

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  John 4:9-11

And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:28-30

After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,
Matthew 3:15-17

Me and my beautiful hydrangeas....
baptized with water and the Spirit...
walking on the healing water of His sacrifice...
drinking from the wellspring of His word...
wilting when we do not drink...

when we do...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Generation "Why?"

I have a confession to make.  I'm becoming a potential dementia creeper.

Ever since my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I have been on a subconscious covert operation to diagnose other elderly people in my path and help them.  I'm sure it stems from the fact that I wish I could be in Alabama helping and caretaking.  It pains me to think of other families suffering without the support they need to cope.

So this morning, on my way home from dropping my daughter off at school, I almost had to skid to a stop to avoid hitting an elderly woman crossing our small street.  She lives two blocks away from me, and I can only recall seeing her twice in the almost 11 years we've lived in our house.  She was shuffling slowly across the street, carrying a paper that it appeared she had removed from another person's yard.  So my dementia detective skills shifted into high gear:

"Has she been home ridden and now she's starting to wander?  Oh my gosh, does she deludedly think that is her paper?  Is she going back into her house or is she going to start traversing the neighborhood unsupervised?  She doesn't look very able bodied.  Oh no, is she going to fall and hurt herself?"  These and other thoughts raced through my head as I waited for her to cross.

Finally she reached her side of the street, and I proceeded slowly forward, glancing back to make sure she was okay.  This is what I saw:  A lovely lady in a clean and pressed lavender matching track suit, perfectly coiffed and fully made up.  Clear eyes looked steadily ahead of her.  She was the picture of "put together."  Full makeup at 7:00 AM?  Amazing!

Then I glanced down at myself and this is what I saw:  Unkempt baggy sweatpants and an unmatching too-tight, T-shirt.  Staring back at me from the rear view mirror was a full Afro instead of the tight, luscious curls of my hair when styled....a sallow face with the vestiges of last night's mascara still black under my eyes which happened to also be sporting deep, dark, Italian bags.  To complete the picture, eyes full of "I got stuff to do on four hours of sleep" looked wildly around.

Who needs the supervision here?!?

And then I realized as I passed her beautifully manicured lawn, newly painted house, and blooming Gerber daisies in clean and sparkling window boxes just how different this noble generation is from my scattered one.  There is focus and pride found in the lives and homes of the elderly.  Where I may buy a new couch just because it has one too many stains from one too many spills that I didn't take care of in time, this beautiful woman probably has the same couch she had 25 years ago - and it probably looks as good as new.  Where I fill my day with saying yes to everyone and everything around me, the elderly I know have perfected the self-control that comes with not overextending oneself to the exclusion of taking care of their responsibilities.  Where I often throw out vegetables or fruit which have gone bad because I bought too much in an effort to make one grocery run, the elderly I know carefully plan meals and money spent so there is no waste.

Turns out I am the deluded one.  Deluded into thinking that busy makes a principled heart.  Deluded into taking on too many projects and thinking it's the honorable thing to do - ignoring the fact that I can't do ANY of them beautifully when I am overextended.  Deluded into thinking housework and care of my family and home is a bother, an afterthought.

No, I need to remember this moment when I make assumptions based on image.  I need to remember that there is a reason wisdom comes with age.  I need to remember that God saturates us in the quiet and reflective moments of our lives, not in the chaos.  I need to remember that old age doesn't have to mean a loss of thoughts, words and language - and middle age doesn't necessarily mean one's thoughts, words and language are focused and sane.  I need to remember that, whatever the age, God's presence - and His presence only - is that which makes us clear.

Photo courtesy of Photobucket, Susan 0928