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Friday, July 25, 2014
Epiphanies and salt shakers (10/07/12)
One thing I miss about a long commute to work is the epiphanies which came along the way, brain in neutral, thoughts focused on not much at all because you had done this drive every day for ever so how long. Some clarity comes from that place, of being disengaged...
Blessings worth the wait (09/09/12)
My columns are usually a journey through what ever God and I are processing each week. That's incorrect. Actually, I'm the one doing the processing, and He's being patient (and amused) as He watches my struggle. The thing I've been percolating about lately is so crazy, so impossible, so ... radical, I can barely even frame words around it. If I say it out loud, they might just kick me out of Shelbyville...
A pencil in the hand of a writing God (08/05/12)
I was listening to comedian Tim Hawkins' latest rendition of his tribute to Chick-fil-A this week, which led me to revisit other performance clips of this former grocery truck driver from St. Louis. A self-taught guitarist, Hawkins is a singer and songwriter, known for dead-on impressions and clever parodies -- all poking fun at family-friendly topics. "It's not like I have choice. Comedy is my only life skill," he jokes...
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief (07/22/12)
I've been trying to keep a prayer journal recently. Not only does the practice of writing in longhand provide a reprieve from the hours I typically spend facing a keyboard and monitor, I find it helps to keep my thoughts focused. I've always admired folks who have journaled throughout their lifetimes, and as I contemplate (finally) writing a book, I now wish I were one of them...
Meditation and resubmission (07/08/12)
I began the week with this, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)...
The joy of being simple-minded (06/24/12)
In the Wednesday night class I attend, the ladies got a bit off topic, ruminating about what heaven will be like. "I know there will be singing and dancing, but what about after that? What else will we be doing?" There are of course, many mansions in heaven. What will those look like?...
A father's love makes all the difference (06/17/12)
This week Margie finally surpassed me in height. My husband had lined us up against the doorjamb and made a pencil mark for each of us. It's just a half inch or so, but now, at 14, even the baby of the family is happily taller than Mom. Watching our children grow, I've often marveled that God seemed to have squished my DNA together with Tom's, like play-doh, and shaped a son that looks just like his dad, but has his mother's heart...
A new song in my mouth (06/03/12)
I have the fortune of having a six-CD changer in my 10-year-old SUV. I hardly ever listen to the radio, just a selection of (mostly) praise music that never changes. (Slot six is reserved for rides with Margie. She'll say, "Baby, baby" from the back seat, and soon we're cruising town blaring The Beiber.)...
The art of the girlfriend (05/27/12)
I was meeting with a group of ladies from my church this week. As the meeting ended, I stopped a few of them. "Could we talk a moment? I need you to pray with me about something." I had been carrying this concern underneath my Brave Face for many weeks. ...
Planning not to plan (05/20/12)
When I laid down my Wonder Woman persona, I recognized a conundrum. I've lived a life making plans, setting goals, and dedicating myself to them. What is my destiny? How can I earn a promotion? How may I earn more money? If interviewed, I always had a ready answer for 'Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?'...
A long journey to a happier place (05/13/12)
A good friend of mine achieved another rung on what she thought was her career path last year. Her education, experience and drive made her a perfect fit for the job. But it was all-consuming, and she has a son at home and a husband who both miss her energy...
Setbacks won't shift my focus (04/15/12)
I took off last week to enjoy spring break with my children. When we moved home last year, we left the Beautiful Miss Brooke in Phoenix. While she was home to visit, everyone we bumped into had the same comment, "I've never seen you look so happy." Moms of grown children know the feeling of having all your chickens together in the same nest. I delighted in the time we spent together, and held my tears until I left the terminal after taking Brooke back to the airport last Friday...
Overcoming the Worst Thing moment (04/01/12)
There was a point in time many years ago in which I very consciously made a decision to do something I knew to be wrong. In fact, I was praying to God just before I got out of the car, "Please help me not do this thing." The skies didn't darken, lightning didn't rend the air, and the earth didn't open up and swallow me. So I did it...
Memorable old hymns still live (03/25/12)
The lyric had been running through my head, "All I have needed Thy hand has provided ..." but I couldn't remember the title of the song. I tried singing it to my husband, but was pitifully out of tune. I could have Googled, but instead grabbed an old hymnal off the bookshelf. I love the memories the old hymnal holds for me. My dad, smelling of Old Spice, and singing the low parts like a Statler Brother, "In the sweet (in the sweet) by and by ..."...
Sweet, and sad, thoughts over a busy week (03/18/12)
Hope you'll indulge me a collection of random thoughts this week: My week got off to a sweet start last Monday as I stopped by Calvary Baptist Church on Lane Parkway for prayer and coffee. It's not my home church, but I wouldn't let that keep me away from a blessing. I skipped the coffee part, but got much love from pastor Tom Henry and his team. They are 'serving' each Monday between 6 and 8 a.m., and I'm looking forward to visiting them again tomorrow...
Messages from God: Just look, listen (03/11/12)
I've heard folks tell of God speaking to them audibly, or in a dream or vision, and with very few exceptions, I never doubt their assertions. I believe God's relationship with us is so individualized, when He has a Big message to convey He uses means of delivery which we can personally grasp -- one whose source we can't doubt or dismiss. ...
Keep God in your walk of life, son (02/19/12)
This morning my son will begin his second day at Chrysalis, the young-adult adaptation of the Walk to Emmaus. Part of this weekend of worship, prayer and fellowship will include letters from close friends and family. This is the letter he will open from Mom:...
Small bowl carries a big message (02/05/12)
Many years ago as I sorted through the collection of items my bachelor brought into our marriage, I discovered a small china bowl, chipped on the rim and faded by years, a product which came free in boxes of laundry soap decades ago. "What's this?" I asked, by now expertly flipping items into trash bags when Tom's back was turned...
God's care reaches where ours can't (01/27/12)
I had to explain the notion of death to Margie this week after we lost one of the critters we had brought home from Phoenix. A teenager with special needs, we've long accepted that Margie processes the world in an entirely different fashion than our other two children. Mostly non-verbal, part of the challenge lies in her inability to communicate what she's thinking to me...
Through trials, love endures no matter what the mistake (01/22/12)
The 13th chapter in 1 Corinthians is among the Bible's most beloved, but it's the last few words in the chapter which have resonated with me in particular this week. "... but the greatest of these is love." Maybe it sounds silly to say it out loud, but I know my church loves me. ...
A new, flowing spirit -- and a new life (01/15/12)
Parents of otherwise well-behaved 15-year-old boys know this to be true: At home, sometimes they can be real stinkeroos. Such was the case the morning I was getting him ready for a New Year's Eve trip with his church youth group to Winter Ramp in Dalton, Ga. The process of getting him showered, dressed, packed and out the door was stressful and loud. By the time he boarded the bus to leave, my blood pressure had spiked and I prayed under my breath, "Lord, help him."...
Another October, another attempt to heal (10/16/11)
Nineteen years ago today, I lost a son. Bearing a child is a thing sacred in womanhood, it touches the core of who we are, links us to the women in all the generations and ages before us. Since then, nearing the end of August, I find myself entering a time of mourning in my spirit. After the first decade had passed in which I inexplicably found myself fighting to crawl out of the black hole of depression, I finally made the association: "Mum gets a little wonky nearing October."...
Dancing before the Lord (09/04/11)
In Bible Study last week one of my classmates said something which amazed me: "I love watching Margie dance during worship." Another lady quickly agreed: they see the joy and purity in the way my daughter participates within our church family. "I get tears in my eyes watching her."...
Life from a much higher perspective (07/31/11)
When it comes to perspective, one of my favorite word pictures is crafted by Dr. Tony Evans. Imagine you're stuck in traffic, frustrated by what you can see ahead - nothing but bumper-to-bumper traffic - and you're certain you'll be late to work. High above you is a traffic reporter in a helicopter. ...
Return is an answer to prayers (07/24/11)
After I lost my job at the end of May last year, I finally got around to blogging. In my very first post I wrote about my sense of the impending: Change is coming. I feel it, I see it. God is up to something in my life. For the moment, I'm holding on fiercely, as if I have some measure of control, as if I've ever controlled any of it really...
A tearful lesson well learned (07/17/11)
I've long been convinced that God grants us the gift of children in order to help us understand both His nature and His capacity to love us. As my children grow into adulthood, this message gains a clarity that takes my breath at times. As I settled into my seat in church Sunday, my heart became tender, and tears began to fall. ...
The great man I've never met (06/19/11)
Whatever logic drives the shuffle function on my iTunes, each time the song arrives on my speakers, my heart catches and I pause. Every time - whether I'm driving, cleaning or typing -- the lyric conjures the image of two boys, ages nine and 11: I'm gonna wrap my arms around my daddy's neck...
Margie gets a chance at a dream (05/29/11)
I sat down to put to paper a lot of really elegant words. Then I realized that simple ones would suffice. This is Margie Simmons. She's 13 years old. She loves Justin Beiber and the Black-Eyed Peas and is looking forward to the June premiere of Transformers 3. ...
Tracy Simmons
Spirited Scribe