Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Family Gifts

My parents sent me these photos of art they have in their beautiful home in South Carolina.
They were painted by my great Uncle Robert who was an artist.
He was my Grandfather's brother. I knew he was an artist, but I had forgotten about some of his works. I think these are gorgeous and hope that maybe I inherited at least a little of his talent. Please take a look at my new sketch by clicking on my Home and Heart Art blog to the right under the welcome message. Thanks for visiting me here today!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just wanted to stop by my little blogging room. I have come to appreciate this little place. Not only can my friends and family have a peek into my life, but I am somehow touched and find a greater sense of peace by having this little nook to share. Writing things whether a little or a lot is a great way to encourage oneself. And hopefully along the way, others come along and are also built up by your life. It makes being transparent worth it even if being vulnerable can feel uncomfortable at times.

It is Monday. It is a normal day. But each day is a bouquet. A gift to appreciate! An opportunity to grow and learn and love deeper and deeper. I have said this more than once here. But as each day passes, I grow more grateful in the simplest of things...a hug from one of my sweet children or maybe from all of them at once! I bask in a sweet kiss from hubby and the kindness in his heart.
I revel in the morning light and the treasures of each moment.

I am especially grateful today for my mother. She had an irregularity in her yearly heart exam. So she had to have an outpatient procedure performed to check for blockages in her heart. Her test came back clear with no blockages. Also her doctor told her she has a strong heart!

I spent two hours on the phone with her Friday. It was a wonderful visit as she lives in South Carolina! I love my mother. She is a wonderful friend and encourager in my life. And I am so grateful that she is doing okay!

My Daddy is growing a beard. I have never seen him with that much hair on his face. I love my Daddy too. He takes good care of my mother. I am grateful for them both and very proud of them.

Today is filled with raves! Raves radiating from a grateful heart for family, friends, love, and faith!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Morning Glory

What a lovely surprise to start our day! We watched hundreds of butterflies flutter and play!
The morning was cool and the leaves seemed so green.
It was a glorious morning, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen!
With bare feet and PJ's we darted outside. There were so many monarchs. No way they could hide.
Watching the butterflies flutter and flit. Oh what glory! We had such a fit!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From the Privy

The real life of a mother is filled with little mundane moments that are filled with messages waiting to be revealed! Many times my quiet moments are only when I am in the privy. Just being real here! And often, even there, I have one,two or three little visitors following me or finding me there.

On the back of the toilet I keep some little books stacked up. However, the one I always seem to pick up is the classic devotional titled, "Streams in the Desert". And as Spring has arrived and everything is in bloom or is blossoming, I have felt this is a new beginning for our family. We have been in AZ for 6 months now and it has been the most unique time of my life. New Beginnings! I keep hearing it , feeling it , sensing it in the air. So why is it that I sway back and forth between feeling hope and excitement to loneliness and perplexity of,"Why are we here?"

So many days in my "Privy" time, God will speak to me and prompt me to pick up the little devotion book. On March 16th I was encouraged by that day's entry. I would like to share a bit of the story with you.

The Parable of the Canyon

"At first there was no canyons, but only the broad open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking over his great lawns,where there were only grasses, asked the Prairie, 'Where are your flowers?' and the Prairie said, 'Master I have no seeds.'

"Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses, and roses and buffalo bean and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers that He loved best of all. And he said to the Prairie, 'Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?'

"And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But again when the Master came he could not find the flowers He loved most of all, and he said,

'Where are those my sweetest flowers?' And the Prairie cried sorrowfully:

"'Oh Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.

Then the Master spoke to the lightning and with one swift blow the lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart.And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day, moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound.

But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mould, and once more the birds carried seeds and strewn them in the canyon.
And After a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams. Everywhere the violets and windflower and maiden-hair grew and bloomed till the canyon became the Master's favorite place for rest and joy.

The fruit (flowers) of the spirit are love, joy, peace,long suffering, gentleness- and some of these only grow in the canyon. The canyon flowers are gentleness, meekness,long suffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace, bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon."

Some many times I have asked the Lord why there always seems to be so many valleys or canyons in this journey of life. And He sends little stories like this to encourage my heart.

Also there is the reminder that with all new beginnings there comes a time of adjustment and hardship. Much like when a new baby is born, the family is over- joyed yet there is a dose of stress as we readjust our lives the birth of another precious person into the family. And in addition to the transition, there is also healing that has to take place in the mother. Even the children and Dad have to heal from lack of rest due to schedules being off or having different caretakers in the home.

This is a message to myself. Yes it has been six months and it seems that things should feel more normal by now. I struggle with being frustrated because I am not where I want to be with change. However, His tender grace reminds me that I am on His time table, not mine. He is doing more than meets the eye.

So here I share my heart and story from the privy! I always said I do not pretend to be anyone other than who I am. I hope just being myself encourages someone today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Berry Fruitful

It is amazing how something as simple as strawberries can get me so wound up! Last night we bought 8 lbs of them for only a 1.19 a pound. And these are gorgeous, sweet and juicy. Just to look at them makes me taste their plump succulence.

Strawberries are one of the family's favs. They will be gone quickly. As I was thinking about our berry find, my mind began to mull over the word fruitful. Fruitfulness is much more than accomplishments and getting things done. I find it to be more a stance of the heart and a byproduct of gratefulness. The more I find myself thankful for even the simplest of things, the more fruit I find myself bearing in my daily tasks. Seemingly insignificant things carry a lot more meaning and I find that getting a great deal on lovely strawberries is a big deal after all.

The more I think on each day that I am grateful for, I find that stress and and anxiety have less a hold on me. It is Thursday and it has been fruitful week so far..... more so on the inside of my heart than the external things I have accomplished.

Fruitful days
Are made by
cultivating single moments
of gratefulness.
Then seemingly plain things
mean more.
Simple things
are genuinely valuable.
And the heart
Is purest when
adorned in gratitude.

Please visit my art blog as I have added and changed it a good bit. I am very excited about it. I did a collage with Pearls, Paper and Paint. Then I used it as a background for the trinkets on top. My sweet son took the photo! Click on Home and Heart Art at the right of this blog. Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me

This morning my heart continues to be stirred in places where I have had many questions and ponderings. A dear friend recommended this New York Times best seller about a month ago. I felt impressed to get to the book store as soon as possible to purchase it. I read it in just a couple of days. Now I am reading it aloud to my whole family and my son in Atlanta is also reading it.

This story is about racial barriers that were overcome between a black man and a white man. However, it runs further and deeper than that. It is a picture of pain,betrayal, greed, anger and hate that is touched by the love of God and transformed into lives transporting love, freedom, and fruitfulness.

I do not care if one is in church, out of church, black, white, Chinese,young, old , or middle aged. If one is rich, poor, unemployed,single or married, this is a read for everyone. This true story has answered many of my questions about God's heart and has challenged me to rethink what the church is really supposed to be about. And even more importantly what this life in which we are placed here to live is all about. I have been disrupted by this miraculous story. I am challenged and I am frustrated. I believe it is a good thing!

For the last six months my family has not attended church. Since we have been in AZ our lives have been so different. The reason I mention church is because church is all we have ever known. John and I are going on 25 years of marriage and for most of those years we have been very involved in the churches we have attended. We have always taken our children to church. The older kids have been in Sunday School and youth groups. John and I have been involved in children's ministry, youth groups, marriage and family groups, counseling, and single's ministry. You name it we have done it.

Now we are disconnected totally from the church. At least for now. Or are we really? My older sons have seen so much in the church that they do not want to go back to get involved with any youth group. My oldest son recently posted on My Space that he is tired of the institutionalized church.He expressed that people do not want to go to church because they are tired of feeling like dirt when they leave there. I have to agree with him.

I could feel guilty about that. I could blame myself as a parent for his attitude.I could internalize it all and say it is a parenting issue. However, what I am reading between the lines is not such a bad thing. No, the church is flawed and always will be until the King of Glory splits the sky and takes us out of this world. However, what troubles me is that with each passing day, the church is being less effective than being fruitful. I researched a statistic recently that stated that church growth is mainly people who are moving from one church to the next. The growth of churches in our nation at least is not because of the lost joining our churches. This troubles me.

Another point I want to make is that we have taken our children to church all of their lives. Now all they see is what they do not like about it. Why is that? Our older ones do not want to go. My 16 year old even shared that he is fatigued by all the drama!

I am thankful that I can talk to my kids about this. My faith is very important. My biggest and most repeated prayer for my children is that they will love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and strength. If they choose to not attend church that is okay by me. However, I have to believe that it will be out of their relationship with God that brings them to love and serve others....not their relationship to a church.

The fact that the children have expressed their frustration is a positive thing. It shows they care enough to say it and to be bold enough to verbalize it. Frustration can be vented in the right direction to make a difference. This is my prayer for my children. That God would take their disappointments, wounds, frustrations and godly anger to make a difference in how God really wants His Kingdom to be built.

I think of Jesus and His righteous anger in the temple when the people were using it as a market place. He was furious that the temple was being used for selfish motives rather than for a place of prayer and worship. To be honest,I think we can learn a lot about the "religious facades" as we listen to our young people. Instead of labeling them as cynical,obnoxious, or as "sporting a tude" (attitude), maybe we ought to rethink our judgements of teenagers and young adults. Maybe we should credit them that "maybe they are onto something here". Just maybe God in them is frustrated too at what the church has become.

Now what does all this ranting and raving have to do with this book that I am promoting? Well you need to get the book to get what I am really trying to say.
This is a perfect story about love and compassion. It is about two men who come from totally different lives and backgrounds. But the genuine love and faith of one woman changed them both. An ordinary woman took time to touch one life in a very deep and profound way. It was enough for her to just love this one person. She loved him into being changed. And the result was her seed of love burst open to touch other lives also. Her love was simple, yet extravagant. And it lived beyond anything she could have mustered up herself. She was a modern day example of Jesus and of the way church is supposed to be.

One thing my son stated on his My Space post is that he is concerned that those who are truly living out the Word of God are so few that it is not enough to make a change. I see his point. It is a lot like Gideon and his army. God kept reducing the number of men until it looked like a hopeless fight. Then the Lord fought through them in strange and mysterious ways. In the end, they were victorious! God moved in and through a few to win the fight.So it can happen. Much can be accomplished through a small number.

So if enough of those who are frustrated,righteously angry, and passionate about God's heart for people are only a few, then Hallelujah! May those few will be as Gideon and band together to make a difference.Maybe some of the seemingly "cynicals" will be the very ones God will raise up to usher in the Kingdom of God. Maybe through the seemingly hurt, pained and sarcastic few there will be a revival of righteousness in the land. If one is frustrated...great! Now what will we do with it?

God is changing the face of the church. The overall church (not all) has truly drifted away from love and mercy. I am tired of seeing poor souls come into the church and not being loved. In my years of being very involved with the church, I can honestly say that I could only maybe tell you about 2 or 3 sermons I have heard. I can maybe tell you a little about some of the bible studies that I sat through. And they were good.

But listen up folks! What I remember the most about my years of being in churches are the few people who really loved me. These were people who invited me into their homes. These were people who gave to our family when we were in trouble. We did not have to ask for help. They just knew we needed help and they gave it. These were individuals who simply loved me for me and wanted to be my friend. I was not their spiritual project in which they would pull me aside long enough to try and discern all my demons and get me delivered.These people just loved me and encouraged me. They truly wanted to see me soar and to go even further in life than they had.These sweet souls would encourage me and point out all the strengths in me rather than picking out my weaknesses. And because of that, I opened my heart to allow the Holy Spirit to change the things in me He wanted to change in HIS timimg.

When we first moved here, one of the first things on "my" list was to find a church. I went to websites, sent emails to churches to try and make connections. You name it , I did it. The truth is, I was putting pressure on myself and on my family that God was not applying. After attending one church where no one would hardly talk to us, we became even more frustrated. After praying and talking,John and I agreed that the Lord just wanted us to rest and relax for now.

Sometimes God will remove you to heal you. And that is exactly why we are so far out here. I have been so ingrained to think that God moves you so He can use you. God does not "use" people. The word "use" is a terrible word. It is as if HE uses you for His agenda. But I am learning more and more and being set free! I am learning that He just wants to love on me! I can rest! I can be creative and do fun stuff! I can talk to Him and walk around my house with Him. I can be! Just be me and relax!

And as I learn to do that more and more, I can truly live in love! I can just love people with His genuine love. I can just be friends and enjoy people no matter who they are and where they come from! I can go to the grocery store and be His light! He will bring people into my life and I can love them freely. There is no other motive than love. And this is what will ultimately build the kingdom of God. It is not about building some other person's vision. It is about His vision. It is about what is really beating through the heart of God. And to really know what that is, I have to join my heart to His in a tight relationship with Him.

Oh how I wish I could find some of these genuine people and thank them.They were the mothers and fathers of the kingdom that had a secret we need to recapture. I want to be like them!!! And if I never get to thank them here on earth, I know that I will be one of the jewels in their crowns! And I will have that chance to say,"thank you! Thank you for loving me for real! Thank you for giving! Thank you for seeing the greatness in me and not withholding words to make it known. Thank you for imparting life into my spirit."

In addition, there are a few that may read this that have genuinely loved our family. I want to also say thank you. Your love and friendship are priceless and I do not take it for granted!

I know I have vented alot in this post. And no one may even read it. That is perfectly okay with me. I am healing. I am frustrated. I am recuperating. I am honest. I am real. And I love the church! I love His house! But what is that really? What is it supposed to look like? I so long for the day when we see more and more of the people of God going! Going like Jesus to where the poor in spirit and heart dwell. That is what He did! He was not into building His buildings and congregations through a man made motive! He was all about love.....with no stings attached! Praise His Name.

Friday, March 13, 2009

West Winds Whisper

This is my very first sketch. And I am excited to share it. It's like when one of my little ones colors a page and runs to me, "Lookie mommy! Lookie at what I did." I kind of feel like that little child. I also put it on my Home and Heart Art blog site.

I absolutely love the palm trees here. And when the breezes come, the palms wave with mystical beauty. I do not know why I am so drawn to the palms but they inspire me.There is such a unique loveliness here in the Valley that moves me. Friends are few, but I am not lonely. I pray, spend time with my family and visit with the hidden artist within me. Maybe I would have never found her had we not moved here. Life is interesting. A divine journey for sure!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Giggle a Moment


Okay folks!I gotta share this little tidbit from my world of "mommyhood" First take a look at the mommy monkey above with her little kiddo! That was me yesterday! At least that is how my brain was operating.....flat with no waves of activity. Or at least that is what it felt like.

After lunch I decided to pull all the kids together to do a bit of cleaning. Literally people, I have not dusted my living room furniture in 3 weeks or is that 4? Shame on "supermom"! Shame Shame on me! Maybe that is why mommy monkey is hiding her head. Maybe she is embarrassed. No she is probably just taking a nap which is what I had to do yesterday afternoon after my "ditsy moment"!

So I went into the laundry room where I keep all of my cleaners and detergents. I grabbed my little dusting cloth and my yellow can of furniture polish. As the children were picking up toys, I started dusting the coffee table and side tables.Buff! Buff! Shine! Shine! Boy,I was really getting into my "wax on, wax off" movements! I was feeling so exhilarated with what I was accomplishing! My cherry finished furniture was looking sleeker by the moment.

Okay. I am spraying that fresh lemon polish all over the tables and dusting away. My 6 year old looks at me strangely and asks, "Mommy, are you trying to keep the bugs out?" I was confused as to why he would ask me this. "No." I answered, "I am dusting the furniture."

Again he asked me if the bugs would go away since I was dusting. Honestly I was getting annoyed by his ongoing questions that did not make a bit of sense. Then suddenly it clicked. I was using the Raid bug spray to polish my furniture!

Can you believe it? Oh how I am reminded each day how much I need the Lord! Anyway, the whole family got a huge laugh out of it. And thankfully the bug spray didn't damage the furniture.
So remember everyone, "A little Raid each day (or every three weeks) will keep the dust away. Raid ! It kills dust on contact! Keep out of reach of children!

P.S. Please do not try this at your home.

Now I would like to know if anyone can beat that one???

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Write Because....

Recently someone made a comment that she did not understand how I had time to write and blog with so many children. My reply was, "Everyone can make time to do what they really want to do." So yesterday as I was cooking dinner I started asking myself, "Why do I write?" I pulled out a little notepad and began to answer my own question as I baked chicken, steamed rice and asparagus and boiled peas.

The thing is that I really do not have large increments of time to sit and write. However, when I have 5 minutes here or 20 minutes there, I can write or even think on things to write. The way I see it is if I have extra time even in small amounts, I can choose to use it usefully and creatively or I can waste it.

Think about the Bible. God inspired men to write. He wrote through them using each individual personality and gifts. If God chose such a way to give us His word, then He must think writing is important. Why do we enjoy writing emails? Because we are able to write and we enjoy doing it! So here are some reasons I came up with yesterday. And one thing I am learning is that the more I do it , the easier the words flow and the ideas come more often.

I like to!
I write because it lifts my mood if I am down.
I write because I am a happy person, even if I do not feel happy.
I write because I am able.
I write because I enjoy creating with my heart and words.
I write because my pen is a paintbrush bestowing beauty upon a blank page.
I write because little things inspire me.
I write because I find healing in penning my heart.
I write because I somehow want to make a difference.
I write because I am free to do so.
I write because I love.
I write because there are plenty of negative words. I want to catch up with positive ones.
I write because I am real and void of fake masks.
I write because I feel.
I write because I have short moments to do something meaningful.
I write because words breathe, words laugh and words cry.
I write because I feel like it.
I write because I don't feel like it.
I write because my words will outlive me.
I write because I can dance through my words.
I write because others need hope.
I write because good words are as a lamp to the dark.
I write because it is simply fun.
I write because I should write.
I write because...because....just because!

Sweet Kinda Finds Part 2

Yesterday's post is not complete. I just kept thinking about the one other "sweet kinda find" I failed to mention. When I was in the grocery store Saturday, I needed help with the pricing of some of the meat I was purchasing. As I ventured toward the back of the store, I spotted a woman stocking cheese. I approached her with a smile. But she was not smiling. In fact, she looked as if she hoped I would not come any closer. "May I ask you a question about one of the sale items?", I asked. With a grunt under her breath she mumbled,"What is it."

As I inquired of her, she became very sharp toward me. She pointed to the coupon I was holding and snapped, "IT IS RIGHT HERE IN WRITING. ONE COUPON PER CUSTOMER!" In my normal tone I answered, "But the coupon says, "one coupon per deal". I wanted to know if I could purchase more than that."

She looked again at me in disgust as if I had no intelligence. I felt my anger rising up somewhere in me. Then I began to think ugly thoughts like. "Who does she think she is? Just wait until I find the manager! I am going to tell on her!"

Then some other Voice in me said, "No, just be calm and kind." I had a bit of an argument going on in me. I thought,"What? She is treating me like dirt! I do not want be nice!" However I somehow found some strength in me that I know was not my own. I looked at her again and smiled. "Thank you so much.", I said, "I really appreciate your helping me. Have a great day!" It was not 5 seconds later that the woman came rushing up to me, "Wait! I will ask and make sure." As she found the meat manager, she came back to me, smiled and sweetly asked for forgiveness. "Please forgive me. I am not thinking straight. I have had a migraine headache all morning and just do not feel well."

A wave of compassion washed over me and I realized the real reason this woman was so rude to me. I know I have had my share of migraines and pounding headaches. And she is right. When your head is hurting that much, it is hard to be kind and to think straight!

So my point is that we are to be like that light post in the photo above. We do not know what kind of darkness we may encounter each day as we go about our daily routines. Everything in me wanted to be ugly and hateful right back to this lady. However, I chose to do the opposite of what I wanted to do. The result was that this woman apologized and shared with me why she was rude. It gave me an opportunity to talk further with her and to share how sorry I was that she was not feeling well. That morning I walked out of the store with 6 packages of steak. However, it meant more to me that Someone above was reminding me of the more important things in life.

This little encounter reminded me that as we engage with others in the world, we really do not know what path they are on. Many are on a rough and rocky trail. Some are wondering how they are going to make ends meet. Some may be going through troubled marriages. Others may be dealing with terminal illness. It goes on and on. I can look at the rocky trail and know that I have hiked through many and there will be more to come. When I am walking over the ruts and rocks of trials in my life, I want others to understand me when I am having a bad day. People just want to be understood and they simply want someone to care.
Have you ever felt like you were living on the edge? I know I have. And when I am in those seasons when I feel like I am on the verge of tipping over the ledge of hardship, I just want someone to forget about themselves and be kind to me. Tis the season for kindness. Tis the season for compassion even in the smallest forms. I want to contribute in every way I can. The sweetest kinda of find is digging deep down to pull out kindness to share with another who is having a bad day! Tis the season to spread light and hope in the darkness of our times.

My Prayer

Give me strength
That is not my own
To Love others
Within and outside
The walls of my home.

Help me to guard
My heart from strife,
or unkindness
polluting my life.

Make my heart pure
as white, soft snow
So I will not withhold
Sharing kindness
others so need to know.

When I act on my own
I surely do fail
But with Your heart
moving through me,
Love will prevail.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sweet Kinda Finds

This weekend was filled with some "sweet kinda finds"! I've discovered that I am appreciating tiny moments and small things more each day. Maybe one reason is because it seems that since we have been living under all of this Arizona sunshine, the kids are growing faster than ever....like little sprouts popping out of the soil and blooming the same day. Life is so short and I am determined to enjoy each detail of every day God gives to me.

Saturday was quite adventurous as my trip to the grocery store loaded me up with a mound of meat to pack into my freezer. I saved half on my bill and we ate steak two nights in a row. What a treat for our crew! However these were buy one, get two free. Those "babies" were at least an inch and a half thick and "melt in your mouth" tender!

After leaving the grocery store I had a little urge to stop by a garage sale just to see if I could find anything. I hit the jackpot and ended up with 25 and 50 cent finds to add to my collage art collection. There were beautiful fabrics, a large box of unused greeting cards, and other little tidbits.

Sunday afternoon we packed a large basket filled with simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, chips, and chocolate chip cookies. We ate out in the desert park in the "coolish" breeze. A little protein out in the open air was enough to energize me for a wonderful nature walk. We spotted lovely blooms as it is actually wildflower season in Arizona.

Here is a little cactus piece one of the children found. It was really prickly so we had to let it just barely rest in our hands. What a unique little desert treasure.

Here are a couple of wildflower blooms. As I look at these little delicate flowers I cannot help but ponder how amazing such beauty can push through the tough ground of the desert. It is obvious that the heavenly husbandman intensely tends to the gardens of our earth. He shows us His own desire to take care of our tender hearts that sometimes become hard and arduous through life's difficult moments. However, if we allow Him to tend to us, beauty will spring forth through the toughest places.

The scorching sun
Alot like the storm
which brings violent winds,
soaking rains.
Its violence rips
and damages.
Burning rays
eats holes
Not seen by most.
When I linger too long
In the devouring heat,
Like life's adversities
and cruelty,
I may wither
and fold.
Then a rain
rises within.
Then a plea.
For help.
Calling out.
To someone greater
He was there all along
Wanting me to ask
Reaching out
Hard calloused heart
Now moist with peace
Rest and assurance.
Then springing
A little bloom
Like a desert blossom
Out of the rugged plot
In me
I know
Not made by me
But by the One
who tenderly tends
To me!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dainty Things

I love little things that are elegant and delicate.When I look at simple little things I gain peace. When I gaze upon things that may not seem like such a big deal to others I reach out and embrace inspiration. It enters into my spirit and heart like fresh air blowing through leaves causing them to dance.

This morning I awoke and my first thought was that 19 years ago I was giving birth to our first son. I prayed and asked God to give me joy throughout the day because of such a special life that has made mine fuller and richer for the past 19 years.Needless to say a little beaded tear escaped my heart and eye as I pondered the life of my son who lives far away.

I arose out of the bed as dawn was just breaking. Coffee was brewing as my dear husband has it fresh and ready every morning. Pouring a cup, I wrapped up in a big blanket and tip-toed bare foot onto the cool patio to watch the sun rise and to inhale the whispering breezes. Across the horizon, the colors of orange and blue stripes were as a fresh painting of the Master Arts man.

As I sat, more became visible as the drapes of the night were folded back. I watched intently as two little ground doves quietly transported twigs and leaves to construct their little nest. Husband dove worked as diligently as mother dove. It made me think of my dear husband who labors faithfully to support our family. I thanked God for Him.

Then as if my ears were unplugged, other birds of various sorts began to sing all at once as if they knew the curtain of night had been rent and the new day held much hope. I thought to myself, "If such a little creature can praise like that with confidence and hope for what the day will hold, so can I!" My heart and spirit began to soar with gratefulness that God had given me the gift of this day.

Then I turned around and peeking through the glass door was my lovely little 4 year old daughter. I thought, what a dainty little life...so lovely and sweet. Through the morning my senses were awakened to more and more the "dainty, little things" that I sometimes take for granted.

My thoughts wandered to some new friends who stopped by two days ago with 10 boxes of clothes for the children. Maybe not such a big deal to some. But it is God's provision for us. And I think about the sweet lady who called me today to just say hello and to thank me for some simple cookies I had made for their family. And I sit here now and savor the aroma of turkey breast that has been simmering in the crock pot all day. Thanks God for Crock pots! There are so many blessings in store for each day.

And as I have pondered all the wonderful heavenly gifts bestowed upon my heart and household, I was inspired to make this little piece of art(above) as a little marker for this day. A reminder that the most simple and little things are usually the most precious if we would slow down enough to notice them.