Your Magic Power

You have a magic power.

Did you know that?

Within you lies the power to change the world, to change the lives of those around you, one smile at a time.

Today I saw this video, and it amazed me.  Each one of these precious souls is beautiful in his or her own way.  But after being told he or she was beautiful, can you see what happens?

Go ahead.  Watch the video.  I’ll wait.

*elevator music playing here*

Do you see it?  Do you see what happened?

Yep, each one of them became even more beautiful.  Their lights shone brightly!

All because of kind words from a stranger behind a camera.

We can do this for each other.  We have that power.  We can speak the truth and light into each other’s eyes and hearts.  With a sincere and kind word that encourages.  When we are brave enough to reach out to another with a gentle touch, the possibility of good grows exponentially.

How will you use your magic power today?  Start by telling the person in the mirror how beautiful he or she is, and then carry on from there.

Because you are.  Really.

Love to all.

 

 

 

The Stick and the Stalk and Their Stories

Six or seven years ago I was at the Super Savings Store with the littles.  I remember going in through the gardening section and seeing they had a lot of “plant type” things on sale.  I saw that they had Iris bulbs.  For less than a dollar.  I grabbed them up–a couple of packs.  We paid for them, brought them home, and as a part of my daughter’s school project, she planted them in little shallow holes in the ground.

So much that could have gone wrong.

Old cheap bulbs.

Amateur planting.

The fact that we had no idea what we were doing.  At.  All.

And yet, they grew.

And they have every year since then.

I love the Iris.  It started with the Fella bringing me some when we were courting.  We had one printed on our wedding napkins.  And when we had to travel to Okinawa to have a Level II ultrasound done in anticipation of our Princess’ arrival, the room we stayed in for that trip had a painting of irises on the wall.  It just seemed…..right.

This year.  This year the green stalks came up out of the ground.  They looked weak and wimpy and were easily blown over with the wind or rain.  I just knew that it wasn’t happening this year.  It had been a good run.  I mean how long can those little brown knots keep growing such beauty?  Surely not much longer.

After all, everything else has long bloomed and moved on.

And then yesterday–

The tea olive, a gift from another sweet friend, has grown up so lovely, and the irises seem to be happy rising up amidst its branches.

The tea olive, a gift from another sweet friend, has grown up so lovely, and the irises seem to be happy rising up amidst its branches.

they took my breath away.  I forgot how elegant they are.  So graceful.  And that color.

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Perfection.

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They bring me great joy and what an amazing story they have.  Each one of those lovelies can claim a little brown knot as part of  her family tree.

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That gives me hope.

So does this.

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This “stick” came to us in a box.  It was a gift from a friend who can grow anything.  And her heart is as big as her green thumb.

She told me to put it in some dirt and pray.

So I found this old pot that was Mama’s in its previous life.   I put some soil in and planted the stick with the long root.  I gave it a home on my back porch Roost, and I waited.

It has earned its nickname “Hope Plant,” because each morning I walk out there to check on it, hoping to see some sign of life.

And then two days ago–voila!  That’s exactly what I found.

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Have you ever seen such a beautiful shade of green in your entire life?

Not me.

Today that little leaf was unfurled just a little more.  I shared this picture with friends on Facebook.  It’s been quite entertaining hearing everyone’s guesses as to what it might be.  Hydrangea?  Fig?  Mimosa?  All I know is it is not a Mimosa, because my friend said it’s not.  I promised to keep everyone abreast of its growth through #HopePlant updates.  To see how intrigued this has everyone is too much fun.  I am looking forward to the big “reveal.”  I can’t wait and yet I can.

It’s all about the journey too, isn’t it?

Tonight I’m thankful for the joy and hope that new life brings us.  I love the message that nature shares if we only pay attention.  Beauty can come from the plainest of things.  Good things come from dirt.  And from friends with giving hearts.  And what looks like a stick or a wimpy green stalk might just be filled with a wonderful story.

Just like us.  And our stories.

There is more than meets the eye.

May you find a message of hope in something that crosses your path today.

And everyday.

Love to all.

No Frowning in the Mirror

We were driving up the main road to campus to see our college girl when I saw a sign in front of a restaurant that had me doing a double take just to confirm that my eyes did not deceive me.

I was driving so I wasn’t able to take a picture.  But trust me on this, you can’t make this stuff up.  The sign said,

“Our Salads Will Make You Skinny”

 

Are you kidding me?

This makes me angry on so many levels.

First, is this what our society is coming to?

Never mind, don’t answer that.  I know that it is.  The skinnier the better, right?  Frankly, that really ticks me off.

Second, what about “our salads will make you healthy”?  Wouldn’t that be a better selling point?  A better thing to focus on?  Health?

Right, I know.  Skinny is equated with healthy.  But that’s not always the case.

Skinny does NOT equal healthy.

Third, this sign is less than a mile from the all women’s college campus where my daughter lives and is attending school.

Yeah, this restaurant knows exactly what it’s doing and who its market is.

Wrong.  On.  So. Many. Levels.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many law shows, but as my blood started boiling, I thought about what lawsuits I could throw at them and what I’d say to them in court.  False advertising, emotional distress, child endangerment (some of those young women aren’t quite 18), and just plain out indecency.

Signs like this, businesses like this, and the people who run them and choose to advertise this way are playing on our insecurities. In that one moment that business owner is saying, “Hey, you, the one driving over there…..yeah, you.  You are not perfect or beautiful or well-proportioned.  Your body is not all that it can be.  But hey, if you eat our salads, you will become skinny, and since this is something everyone wants to be, you should come here and eat our salads.  And then the world will be yours.”

I’m calling them out on this.  This is nothing but blowing hot air.  No, it’s worse than that.  It’s made up of the stuff I used to walk around and avoid stepping in when I was following my Daddy through the cow pasture.

And I say No More.

It is time that we all stand up and say that there is no perfect body shape or size and turn away from those who would have us believe otherwise.  My friend Lisa who writes over at My So Called Glamorous Life asked a great question: “How many people make money off of our insecurities?”

Exactly.

So to my daughter and her friends:  You are beautiful.  You are young and you are learning, and there is so much to life that is hard.  Don’t make looking in the mirror a part of the hard stuff.  Love who is there.  If you feel healthy, that is wonderful.  Keep on keeping on.  But if you don’t feel healthy, do something about that.  Find a friend to join you and make wise choices–in all areas of your life, including eating and moving your body and keeping good company.  If you feel like eating a salad, go for it.  But please don’t do it because of a promise to “make you skinny.”  Just.  No.  Salads can’t do that.  At least not alone.  And sometimes not at all.  Look in your mirror.  Smile.  That woman in front of you is beautiful and deserves to be smiled at and loved.  So love her, and go do you.  As a friend once told me, ‘You are the best you there is.’  A salad’s not going to make you more awesome.  Loving yourself and then those around you–now that can fine tune and amplify all that is wonderful about you.  

Ain’t nobody got time for false advertising and empty promises.  Or frowning in the mirror.  Life’s too short for all of that.

Love to all.

 

Mud

I’ve been thinking about mud.

Yes.  Mud.

Lately I’ve been reminded of the grime and grit and dirt that is left from the past.  Leftovers from hurts and loss and betrayal.  The residue of pain.

And it occurs to me that no amount of sweeping or thinking or “letting go” will ever get rid of all the dust and dirt from the past.  It hasn’t worked so far.  There’s always some lurking in the dark corners waiting to drift back into view.

Always.

And then, overwhelmed, the tears come.

Suddenly there are drops and rivulets flowing.  Down into the dust and dirt and grime of memories and things better left unremembered.

Then, as it all runs together…..

there is mud.

Remember playing in the dirt when we were little?  It was really hard to do anything with the dirt alone, but if you added a little water…..

mud.

And all kinds of things could happen.

Things could be built.  The mud was cool and soothing on our hot bare feet. Frog houses were made and pies were “cooked.”

The versatility of mud is nothing new.  Long ago it was used for all kinds of things, including putting together a house.  In some cultures it still is today.  Mud is also used for beauty treatments.  Imagine that, beauty coming from mud.

And there’s even a story in the Good Book about a blind man being healed, given his sight, when a caring man named Jesus made mud and applied it to his eyes.  His vision became clear.

Mud.

The only difference between the residue of pains past–all that dirt and grime–and mud is our tears.  If we can stop holding it all in and be brave enough to let the tears flow, a beautiful transformation can occur.  All of that from the past can become something we can build on, that we can create something new from.  Beauty can be found in the midst of the brokenness.

And I’m guessing our perspective, our vision, our view on life might change for the better too.

It’s okay to cry.  Let the tears flow.  That’s how the healing begins.

Love and wishes for the healing powers of mud for all.

 

 

What the Gnats Are Really For

When I was on my evening walk, possibly exercising my arms and lungs more than any other body part–as I waved and blew at gnats–I realized I couldn’t open my mouth without risk of swallowing those ever-present insects.

It was when I looked around, mouth shut tight, that it occurred to me.

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If only for a moment or two.   And what I saw was glorious.  Spring has sprung, and summer isn’t far behind.

And it sure beats a postprandial snack of gnats.

 

Love and wishes for a nice evening walk to all.

 

Good Job, God!

When Aub was about 18 months old, we started going to a little Wednesday afternoon playgroup.  From this little group our Mother’s Morning Out program began. Aub had a friend she met there, Kayla.  Little Miss Kayla’s Mama worked as a church secretary part-time at the church across the street from ours.  Occasionally, if her Mama had to work later, I would take Kayla home after our program ended.  Those two little blonde-headed girls had so much fun playing and giggling together, and after lunch we would all climb up in my bed and take a nap together.

One day we were driving home, and we saw a rainbow up ahead.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.

Suddenly from the backseat there came a loud and enthusiastic shout.  “Look at that rainbow.  Good job, God!”

It was Kayla, bless that sweet girl.  She saw God’s artwork in front of her and couldn’t help but share her approval.

That became a part of our family jargon after that.  Looking for the artistic stylings of our creative Creator and giving two thumbs up.  Like a purple field of flowers or the river of birds that fly over us on their way somewhere in late winter.  I’m reminded of the artist who said that each of us has an artist inside of us because we are created in the image of a Creator.   When we see it, we can appreciate it, because we are artists too.  Even if just a little bit.

I was reminded of Kayla and her precious praises tonight as we drove to Evening Prayer.  Driving into the sunset, and what a glorious one it was.  Even the littles stopped their playing in the backseat and said, “Oh wow.”  I smiled and whispered, “Good job, God!”

The sunset tonight.  God used all the colors and his most special paintbrush tonight.

The sunset tonight. The Artist used all the colors and the most special paintbrush tonight.

Just breathtaking.  We stopped as we were walking in just to soak in this view.

Just breathtaking. We stopped as we were walking in just to soak in this view.

The sky was on fire, wasn't it?  I would not even begin to know how to mix those colors.

The sky was on fire, wasn’t it? I would not even begin to know how to mix those colors.

When the Geese flew over us and honked, I felt like we'd just had a blessing said over us.  Peace be with you.  And also with you.

When the Geese flew over us and honked, I felt like we’d just had a blessing said over us. Peace be with you. And also with you.

Then as we were leaving Evening Prayer, the sky gave its benediction.

The moon was full and gorgeous tonight.  And it had a slight orange tint--like it knows it's October and wanted to dress appropriately.

The moon was full and gorgeous tonight. And it had a slight orange tint–like it knows it’s October and wanted to dress appropriately.

Tonight I’m thankful for that precious little girl all those many years ago who taught me to look for, appreciate, and praise the beauty in the world around me.  I am thankful for a beautiful welcome and sending out from Evening Prayer tonight.  The challenge, of course, is to look for the beauty in the gray clouds as well as fiery pink and orange ones–to marvel at a dark, cloudy night as well as one filled with magical moonlight.   I’m not always good at it, but more and more, I am learning to look at the world, its places and people, different and similar, foreign and strange and familiar, and say, “Good job, God!”  If we could do that about all kinds of days and nights and folks that walk this earth, imagine what we could make happen in this world.  Just imagine.  Kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

Beauty and Sorrow

Pieces of home

Pieces of home

Today was a beautiful spring day. The sun gave everything the glow of highly polished gold, reflecting the beautiful blue of the sky. The wind kept the sun’s rays from being too warm. The day started off just cool enough to make me appreciate the warmth from the rays this afternoon.

Lunch with my sister and her family, an impromptu and entertaining visit with my cousin over at Mama’s. The joy of being with family, folks who know what lies behind the smiles and laughters and make no demands that it be any different. Just comfortable. Understood.

And yet, in the midst of the good moments, I found myself laying on the floor in the middle of the hallway at Mama’s. I lay there and closed my eyes. I could hear the past, Mama calling us for supper, Daddy calling my name to come help with something, or his patience as he helped me prepare for the state spelling bees, our whispers and giggles after lights out, all four of us piling into one bed early on Christmas morning, waiting until we could wake Mama and Daddy up.  I could see the sun shining through the windows at my favorite time of day. 4:30 p.m. Usually I had homework done by then, Daddy was almost home, and it was too early to prepare the table for supper.  A peaceful and sometimes quiet time in our home.  I could smell the brownies or chewy bars or peanut butter bars Mama had made for our afternoon snacks, which would welcome us as we came in the back door home from school. I could feel the heat from the baseboard heaters against my back in the middle of a cold winter evening. I remembered the way the attic fan would draw the refreshing night air in through the open windows on hot summer nights, billowing curtains cheering the coolness on. I saw Daddy’s coats hanging on the wooden hooks in the hall. I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. And listened to the echoes of the past and then…..the quiet. How could it all be so close but I cannot reach out and grab it and keep it close to me? This. This is the thin place where I live.

I walked barefooted outside in the yard. I have a wise cousin who would say this helps ground me. It does. Being at the place that has been home for over 35 years also grounds me. It brings me joy and peace. And it also brings me tears and longing. For all the pieces to be back together. Today the ground was damp under my feet as I walked across the grass showing off with its new green sprigs popping up. Tonight my cheeks are as well. The longing for the people who made this home, for truly it is only the people who ever could, that longing–the reason for the unanticipated, uncontrollable sobbing when I found myself in that rare moment alone. The moment when it all hits me how suddenly and unexpectedly it was all taken away.  Broken.

There is beauty in this day and there is sorrow. And the two cannot be untangled, as it was the beauty that brought the memories that led to the surfacing of the sorrow. I do dearly despise platitudes as I told my cousin today. And he said, “Well pretty much all that can be said is, it will be different. Nothing will ever be the same again.” For those words, for the absence of the need to fix things with his words, I am thankful.

And I am thankful for the moments that are thin–when for a brief period of time, it is the same. For just a few minutes today, memory was real and all was whole again. There is beauty in that.