redemption story

the truth is, we are all living a redemption story–
in any given moment we can change direction
make choices that take us on another path completely
rewrite our story
change up the cast of characters
have a set change and cull the props

at any point on our path
we can chart another course
and turn this life around
such that what was born of the dark times
can shine such beautiful light
eventually,
one day

and what was broken and caused all the pain
can lead others to the light, to beauty
and towards their own redemption story

all of us have that chance
for atonement and healing hearts,
as long we are on this journey
and putting one foot in front of the other
it is not too late

there always exists the choice
for small, great things
that can leave an imprint on the hearts and minds
of history
changing the course for all of us
if only we are strong and speak in truth
with courage
celebrating joy and leaving beauty marks in our wake

we are all living out our stories
it is for us to make it a good one

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be strong, true, joy / Walk in the Light / the story is always redemption

Note:  As I was making this picture with the Latin words, I used an on-line translator, as it’s been just a few years since my last Latin class.  To double check my translation, I reversed the process and learned the truest interpretation of the words here.  The one that made my the most joy-filled, the most hopeful is the last one.  Instead of saying “The redemption story is always possible,” it interpreted it to read, “The story is always redemption.”  So much hope there.  For all of us.  Love to all.  

another year older

another year older
older but wiser
none the worse for wear

I don’t know about that
I’m older for sure
but not necessarily wiser
I’ve just spent the better part of the past forty-seven years
watching and taking notes
at what happens when certain choices are made
and so if that’s wise, then so be it
but I just call it noticing and paying attention
and listening to what Mama and Daddy said

and I’m for sure worse for the wear
my mirror doesn’t lie and anyone who says
different might need to have their eyes checked
I’ve grown to appreciate the scars though
as they show that I can heal, come back from the wounds
of this life
and the cracks allow the most beautiful light to shine through
and to change how I see things
rose-colored glasses have nothing on a soul that’s been
broken and still carries on

tonight I got a message from a friend in another country
on another continent
that warmed my heart
and made me smile
it’s already the day there
and in other places it won’t be for quite some time

that sort of puts it all into perspective
another year older
but really it’s just another day
another day to get more right than I do wrong
to try once more to put the pieces back together
and paint a beautiful memory for the ones I love to
look back on and remember

another day to act like the person I was raised to be
and honor those who brought me up
all these years
and still surround me with the love they did
from my very first breath and before

another day to breathe out kindness
and banish hate from my vocabulary
and from the tone I use
and the way I see the world

another day to live out my story
intertwined with all of yours
a good story
one that is filled with laughter and love and
meaning and
forgiveness and
grace

another year older
another day to live
“let us rejoice and be glad in it”

The Sweet Sound of Lighter Notes

So one evening after a long day of discussing hard things over the phone and through messaging, Aub, away at college, sent me this message, referring to some specialty lemonade I’d picked up on sale recently and sent up for her to try:

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That made me smile.  Yes.  Lemonade.  Sweet and sour.  A perfect balance between the two.  And one of her favorites.

And then this exchange followed–

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Wow.  That is truth.  Sometimes the simple things, the little things, even those we might call petty can be beautiful.  In the moments they give us to breathe.  To step away from the hard things we face every day.  To simply, if only for a minute, be.

Lighter notes.  Filled with grace.  A sweet, sweet melody.

As we were closing our conversation, I thanked Aub for that thought, because I felt pretty sure that the next day and all it entailed would “stink.”  And then I followed with, “Sorry, God.”

I mean, if each day is a gift from the Creator, I’m sure the last thing the One who is giving wants to hear from the one who is receiving is, “I’m sure this is going to stink.”

And then my girl gave me even more grace.

“The Holy Spirit is present even in the little stuff and the stinky stuff so I’m sure God forgives you.”  

When did this little one whom I brought into the world almost twenty years ago become so wise?  How did THAT even happen?

Tonight I’m thankful for those words that I so needed to hear that came from the mouth of one I love so much.  I’m thankful that things like lemonade can bring joy and light in the midst of turmoil and change and hard stuff.  It makes me happy that I can go from discussing real and serious things to sharing happy thoughts with this one who makes my heart glad.

May you all have someone to share “lighter notes” with and to remind you of the beauty in the pettiness and that God is always there, even in the hard stuff.  That’s so easy to forget, y’all.

Love and light to all.

“This Is Not Your Week”

So my friend who isn’t Shirley found out there was going to be a conflict on the day of our daughters’ dance recital.  Her son, who plays baseball, had a tournament scheduled for that same day.  Smack dab in the middle of the recital time.  For those of you who have children or know children or were a child, you can imagine how hard this is for a parent.  How do you choose which one to attend?  How do you make sure the other child gets where he or she needs to be?  How do you keep everyone fairly happy, feeling loved, and still stay sane?

It’s hard.

And all of these things and the logistics for the day were running through my friend’s head when she first told me about the conflict two weeks out.  The girls had a makeup dance class two days later.  As we sat down to visit, she told me, “Yeah, this girl at work asked me if I’d figured out what we’re going to do on that Saturday.  I just put my hand up and told her, ‘Nope.  Stop.  This is not your week.'”

If y’all could have seen the determination on her face–I laughed of course, as did she.  She pointed out she had a whole lot of other things on her plate before she could even begin thinking about the following weekend and its conflicts.  So she refused to worry about something that far out.

Good for her.

And, as it turned out, the tournament was cancelled, and all of the worrying that didn’t happen (and the little that did) would have been for naught.

Good for you, Shirley.  You kept breathing.

Tonight I’m thankful for this wise and witty friend of mine who keeps me laughing and inspires me and teaches me a lot about peace.  And about letting things roll off my back.  She’s good at the whole peace thing–despite all that life throws at her. (Which is a lot.)  And I think the key to that peace might just be the fact that she prioritizes and has good boundaries.  She’s not going to let that ol’ devil Anxiety steal her revival.  She is smiling just about all of the time.  Really smiling.

I want some of that.

May we all learn how to throw up our hands and tell the worrying and all the stressing out over things, “This is not your week.”  So many times I have worried over things and situations that never came to fruition.  May we all learn to let that go, and in doing that, may our hearts be lighter and our smiles a little brighter.

Go tell whatever’s worrying your future, “This is not your week.”  You’ve got better things think about.

Love to all.

Words of Wisdom Waiting To Be Found

This evening we had the joy and honor of attending a service in the brand new Pierce Chapel at my alma mater, Wesleyan College.

This was only the second service to be held there.  It was quite lovely.  The music whirled and echoed throughout the hallowed hall, and it was beautiful.  The words encouraging us to be the hands and feet and eyes and ears of the One who taught us best how to love were empowering and challenging all at the same time.  Instead of foot washing, we washed each other’s hands.  It was a precious moment when our Princess grabbed my arm and said, “Mama, I want to wash your hands.”

Oh my heart.

Such a lovely service during this week of weeks.  I am thankful for the invitation and that our own Wesleyanne welcomed us coming and being a part of what is now her home, her alma mater.  It means the world to me that she doesn’t turn her head and wish we weren’t there.  She could, you know.  She’s nineteen, so it could go with the territory.  But instead she seems glad to see us.  Again, my heart is full to bustin’.

What I enjoyed most I think was realizing something.  As we wandered through quietly before the service began, reading the plates on the back of the seats (Cooter: Are ALL of these seats reserved?!), I looked down and realized that wisdom can be found most anywhere, if only one is looking.

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A legacy of wisdom: “Keep your blood pressure down and your chin up.” –Morris Beller

 

Out of all the chairs and the dedications and memorials–there is, tucked amongst them, this tidbit of wisdom.  I laughed a little (quietly of course) and gave thanks for Mr. Beller and his wise words of truth.  I don’t know him, but I find it wonderfully fun and delightful to find these words in the midst of all the others.

Very cool.

Tonight I leave you with these images of the long-dreamed of and much-anticipated Pierce Chapel.  Welcome.  And may you stand tall and remind ALL who enter that dreams can and do come true.  In time.  And may ALL who want to enter always be welcomed.  And loved.

Love to all.

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A view of Pierce Chapel from the loggia when we visited for the Party on the Green Sunday evening. Beautiful, isn’t she?

 

Pierce Chapel shining brightly when Cooter and I attended "Ain't I a Woman" two weeks ago.

Pierce Chapel shining brightly when Cooter and I attended “Ain’t I a Woman” two weeks ago.

And one more shot, simply because I love it.

And one more shot, simply because I love it.

 

Best Advice for Graduates…..and everyone else

I’ve listened to a lot of graduation addresses.  I’ve even given one once many moons ago.  Last year I contemplated how different that would have been if I were to write it now.

But now, now I have heard very possibly the best advice ever given in one of these speeches.  For graduates.  For all of us.

And it was offered by the salutatorian, Divine Francis, of Veterans High School, one of the local schools here in our county.

First Divine said that he didn’t know the secret of success.  He said if he did, he’d have already written the book and made a million dollars and retired to the Bahamas…..basically, not be HERE.  Then he described a movie.

“What if I told you there was a new movie coming out, two hours long, of watching paint dry?  And that if you paid the admission price, you could sit there and watch paint dry for two hours, up there on the big screen?”  He paused.  “You’d probably shake your head at me and ask, ‘Divine, why would I want to do that? Why would I want to waste two hours of my life doing that?  That’s dumb!'”

“But what if it’s the night before finals and you decide to go to a party instead of studying.  That’s just as dumb. I say, ‘Why would you want to do that?'”

“And I think that’s the best thing we can do as we go forth.  Don’t do dumb things.  That’s it.  Don’t do dumb things.”

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Y’all I’ve never been crazy about that word.  But I have to tell you this.  I clapped.  As did so many who heard the words of this still seventeen year old–“I have a late birthday.”  That pretty much wraps it up, doesn’t it?

In whatever you’re about to do, don’t waste your time on poor choices–instead make the effort to do the smart thing, the right thing.

Truth.  From a graduate about to set out on a new path.

I think he’s going places.

Y’all too?

Tonight I’m thankful for a young man who stepped outside the box and didn’t give the traditional speech filled with sentimentality and inspirational quotes and challenges to make every moment count–I’m thankful for his keeping it real and sharing simple wisdom and truth.

Love and an overabundance of wise choices to all.

 

 

Truth from The Middle

It’s a show I haven’t really sat down and gotten to know very well.  I’ve only caught it in passing, usually when I was focused on something else.  Sometimes I do that.  Have a show playing in the background.  I can be comfortable with silence sometimes, but then others not so much.  Which is what happened one evening.  “The Middle” was playing.

I hope to find it streaming somewhere because I’d like to watch it from the beginning I think.  I like Patricia Heaton, who plays the Mom, Frankie.  Of the Heck family.  You gotta love it.  And she tends to narrate from what I’ve seen so far, which is an interesting and not at all off-putting way of presenting their stories.  One night that I was actually paying attention to the show, at the end, Frankie shared this bit of wisdom:

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It struck a chord with me that evening, so I wrote it down.  And tonight I can say, unequivocably, this is the truth.

I find myself, when I did the internal emotional check like I do, that I’m okay.  Maybe even more than okay.

And as I did this check, I heard the littles in the background, giggling over something together.  Getting along.  Happy with their place in life at this moment.  My big girl came in and cheerfully said good night, smelling fresh and shower clean.  The windows have been open all day, fresh air is filling our lungs and good things are filling our hearts.  And my sick one is on the mend, with (oh please don’t let me put this out there and have it mess things up) no signs of anyone else catching the bug.  Good evening, happy children=happy Mama.

I think Frankie’s right–if any one of mine were less than happy, as has been the case on more evenings than I care to count, I wouldn’t be very happy myself.

Tonight I’m thankful for the sounds of simple joy and happiness in my home.  I’m thankful for shows that make the effort to share wise thoughts every now and again.  And most of all, I’m thankful for the peace in our home as the night settles in, the birds quiet down and frogs tune up their instruments.  Quite the symphony, and it makes me smile.

Love to all.