It may not be perfect, but we are blessed!

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Sixteen years ago today, Dave and I signed our respective names and initials no less than a hundred times. After renting for eighteen years, we were finally buying our first home. It was bittersweet for a whole host of reasons, but truth-to-tell, it was more “sweet” than “bitter”, and very exciting (and scary!) all at the same time.

After we finished the closing, we arrived at our little house and turned the key in the lock, stepping into not just the first home of our own, but a new chapter of our lives to start an awesome adventure.  In this “new” place (hardly…it was built in the late 1800’s!), we would make endless memories, of which I was certain. After taking a look around for the umpteenth time in all six rooms, sans the one bathroom, we made our way to the front porch and sat together on the 50+ year old glider, complete with bright yellow and green flowers adorning the vinyl cushions. It revealed its age by the few tears in the vinyl along with the squeaking of the springs that probably hadn’t seen a can of WD-40 in many years. I wondered how many people glided back and forth on it over decades passed.

As we glided to and fro, I kept saying, “I can’t believe it’s ours…we FINALLY have our own home.”

This house and all the previous acreage (split up and sold over several generations), was the “homestead” (and once a cow milking farm) of the previous owners for over fifty years.  The thought crossed my mind as to how many people, on how many occasions, sat in the kitchen having dinner, creating memories…all of the holidays that were celebrated here.  Love, loss, happiness, sadness…I thought about it all.

So now, sixteen years later, this house has witnessed two kids grow up, graduate from high school, attend college, make their way into adulthood and recently move out; one lives a few miles away, and the other took a big piece of my heart all the way to Texas.

The quaint front porch is my refuge.  Dave has his man cave, but I happily claimed the porch, sharing YEARS of laughter and tears with my best friend, his brother, who has since passed away.

We’ve had many family holiday dinners here.  This year marks the first without my beloved Dad, but “life is for the living; life goes on”, as he used to say.  Even as things continue to change, things that are beyond our control, we’ll still continue to make new memories in our little house and someday, when Dave and I are gone, I think about some new couple signing their names a hundred times, turning the key in the lock and starting their own new adventures.

Perhaps the future new lady of the house will also claim the front porch, and as she sits in the quiet stillness on a cool summer night she, too, will think about the family who lived here before her and wonder what their story was all about.

It may not be my “dream home”, but it’s what God has blessed us with, and for that, I will always feel humbly blessed!

 

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

 

Whaddya mean “God placed it on your heart?”

IMG_0149Photo Cred:  Vancouver Church of Christ

The first time I heard someone say, “God placed it on my heart”, I thought, ‘what the heck does THAT mean?’  It came at a time when I had pulled out of serving in my church’s kids ministry as I had just suffered the loss of my beloved Dad and I knew that I wasn’t in a good “head-or-heart” space to love-on and pour into these kids.  I was met with understanding and compassion, even though I felt guilty for taking myself off of the rotating schedule.

I continued to be strong in my faith; never being angry with God for calling my Dad home, but still incredibly sad over my loss.  A few months passed, when the woman who oversees our kids ministry program reached out to me via Messenger to let me know that “God placed it on her heart” to ask me if, instead of returning to serve (if I wasn’t ready), would I consider writing a kids ministry newsletter.  As I read her message and before I could let it sink in, she immediately sent another message saying, “You don’t have to answer now…please just pray on it!”

That same evening, I was on my way to a ‘Staff Recharge’ at church (having no idea what it was all about as I was still a ‘newbie’).  As I was driving, I was reflecting on 2017 as it was getting ready to come to a close.  I was still struggling with the loss of my Dad, and my best friend of nearly 40 years had just lost her son.  I was ‘SO OVER’ 2017…I just wanted it to end!  All of a sudden, it was as though Jesus was riding shotgun in my truck and reached over and gave me a dope-slap.  Then I clearly heard His voice, “Terri, I know that you’ve suffered trials this year, but did you forget that you found me in 2017?  That I saved you?  That you and your best friend were baptized on the same day?”  And just a few short weeks later, my husband, for whom my church family and I had been praying on for eleven months to come to church, joined me for Christmas service and returned the next week and was saved before the end of 2017.   Whoops…my bad!

After the Staff Recharge event, the woman that I previously mentioned came up to me and asked if I had prayed on her request and she reiterated again, that ‘God had placed it on her heart’.  She was so excited about it, as she animatedly shared why she thought He placed it on her heart, saying I was ‘a gifted writer’, and she really believed that I was being ‘called’ to do this.

I placed my hands on her shoulders, and when she had paused, I told her, “I prayed on it” :::insert dramatic pause here::: and then I told her that He guided my steps to say ‘yes’, which I believe was His way of placing it on my heart!

Since that time, I’ve learned to “Be still, and know that He is God”, and before I knew what hit me, He was placing all sorts of things ‘on my heart’. “Pay for the person who’s behind you in the Dunkin’ Donuts’ drive-thru; Offer your time here, and there; Increase your giving at church for My Glory; Be kind and gracious to this particular person”, etc.

If you’ve been unsure if whether or not God has placed something on your heart, I’ll humbly simplify it… When you are unsure about making a decision…if it’s unclear if it will truly be for your good, the good of others, and for His Glory, turn-off all of the other noise and just ‘listen’.  When you do, your heart will grow tenfold (quite similarly to that of the Grinch’s!), and you’ll hear His soft voice guiding your steps, placing it on your heart, and it will be an unmistakably clear message!

 

Proverbs 3:13 – “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.” (NLT)

 

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

 

N.B.  As I was getting ready to publish this, while listening to the Contemporary Christian music station, Chris Tomlin’s “Good, Good Father” began to play.  This song’s meaning is two-fold for me – “He” is such a good, good Father; and so was my beloved Dad.

 

 

 

 

That Unmistakeable High-Pitched Scream…

 

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Photo cred:  123RF

I was in my kitchen recently, the window over the sink open about ten inches as it was unseasonably warm for a beautiful fall day.  I was making my umpteenth cup of coffee, when all of a sudden I heard a young girl’s high-pitched scream. It seemed to have lasted for about three days, but truth-to-tell, it was probably only ten seconds.  It wasn’t an “I’m in danger and someone’s trying to kidnap me” scream.  It was that high-pitched, girlie scream, most likely the result of a young boy trying to put a spider in her hair, or trying to get her to hold his pet snake.

Whatever the cause of her high-pitched emission, I was immediately brought back to my childhood and in my mind’s eye, I remember a neighborhood boy handing me a clump of something that was covered in sand and he told me to squish it in my hand, in between my fingers.  Never one to back down from a challenge, I did so, only to realize it was cat poop.  All of a sudden, without thought or exertion, my mouth opened and then it happened.  Out of my little girl mouth came that high-pitched screaming and squealing that sent shock waves throughout my relatively quiet neighborhood.  The young boy started laughing and I went from screaming to being infuriated (although I’m sure at the time I had no idea that there was a name for that emotion).  That squished cat poop covered in sand wound up being smeared all over his jacket, a moment that I was very proud of at the time; now, not so much.  But hey, I was just a kid, doing “kid stuff”.

After hearing that girl scream (followed by squealing in delight and laughing), I wondered, “When and why do we lose that?”  When does screaming and squealing in delight leave us because it’s socially unacceptable as an adult?

Can you imagine pushing a grocery cart through a store when all of a sudden you see a spider the size of Rhode Island crawling around on a cantaloupe?  As a seven year old girl, that high-pitched scream would cause the soup cans to fall off the shelves, but as an adult, you’d gulp that scream down, jump on the back of the cart, downshift into second gear and high-tail it out of the produce section.

George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.  How true that is.  I’m not sure that children are aware of how lucky they are in being able to scream and squeal as necessary.  I’m envious.  Sometimes, I don’t want to “adult”… I want to be a carefree kid, running and playing and not having a care in the world.  I’m trying to remember the last time I “girlie-screamed”, and the sound I now make as it relates to “critters”, more reminiscent of a fire truck barreling down the street with its siren on…. “Woooooo OOOOOO Woooooo”, doesn’t count.

I don’t think my adult vocal chords could produce a high-pitched scream like I heard from that girl the other day.  Lord knows I’d like to give it a try, but at my age, it would most likely cause no less than four squad cars, a fire truck and an ambulance’s arrival at my door step.

So young kids out there…enjoy your childhood and go ahead and scream and squeal like there’s no tomorrow because someday, you’ll grow up and society and your vocal chords will preclude you from doing so.

 

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP