"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Do-Over Done

"O God, give me a second chance to be a living link between heaven and earth!" This was how I ended a blog post dated July 9, 2010 and which I named Second Chances, mainly because I was in desperate need of a "do-over" with a fellow I had met beneath an artisan tent some several hours away from my home.
I write today to shout it from the mountain, "GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!" Yes, just as I had posted earlier, I was keeping my eyes open -- for almost 2 years ... looking ... watching. And then I saw him -- once again beneath a tent selling his wares. But this time I knew. I looked him in the eyes. I extended my hand. We exchanged names. And before all was said and done, life was spoken.

This one whom I first saw as someone so different than I had now become a character in my own story and journey ... and I had been given a chance for a do-over. Heaven forbid that I miss it.

Just an ordinary moment...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dancing With the Real Stars

Dancing With the Stars made its 14th season debut last week.  I only became a fan last year when Nancy Grace joined the team.  I'm not sure if I pulled so for her because she's from my neck of the woods or because she and I are the same age ... and if she could do it then maybe I could, too.  And I have to admit I'm a little intrigued this year that 67 year-old Gladys Knight has taken the dance floor.

For any who are not familiar with the show, there are 12 celebrities paired with 12 professionals, and each week they prepare a new dance routine -- anything from the quickstep to the cha-cha to the foxtrot.  From the Charleston to the jive to the jitterbug.  And each week, one more couple is eliminated.  But one thing is certain as we are given a view into the rehearsal rooms: the professionals call the shots and press hard in order to make the dance go smoothly and seem effortless.

Though not a true dancer by any stretch of the imagination nor the body, I've always loved to dance.  I even had my stint on the "big stage."

I wonder what judges Bruno, Carrie Ann and Len would have to say about my form here?  Let alone the wardrobe...

And there was that time in my later years when I got to actually dance the waltz with a professional instructor.  I don't know if I've ever been lighter on my feet ... or heavier on his.  But truthfully, it was one of the real highlights of my life to be carried along with such ease and with such grace.  Or so I felt.

And as recently as today, I've been rehearsing a piano piece for the Easter church service: the 19th Century Shaker hymn Lord of the Dance.  So I guess I've just got dancing on my brain.

I'm aware that some churches and denominations frown on dancing, but not me.  In fact, I think it's quite Scriptural.  Zephaniah 3:17 reads, The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  

That word "rejoice" is the Hebrew word giyl which is often translated "to rejoice, exult, be glad."  But the Lexicon takes it further and says it means "go in a circle, to DANCE."  Is THAT not a picture of God?  The Mighty One whirling and twirling over us?

The 4th Century Cappadocian Fathers, a monastic group who promoted early Christian theology and were highly respected in both Western and Eastern churches as saints, defined the communion of the Trinity as the "Great Dance."  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the real Stars, flow and frame their lives in a dance of perfect love.  The cool thing is that we have been invited to join Them and make our moves across the dance floor.

Maybe this desire to dance is a God-thing after all.

Anyone care to rumba?

Just an ordinary moment...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


When I donned my shorts and tennis shoes tonight, I had all intentions of going to the gym for my evening workout.  But then I remembered my morning study.  I've been reading lately about the rhythm of the day ... and trying to get into its cycle. This morning I learned about the portion of the day that is called Vespers.  It is the celebration at sunset, when darkness begins to descend and lamps and candles are lit.  It is the hour of peace of heart, of serenity.  It's a magical time when the sky begins to turn colors of fire and trees become silhouettes.  When sounds of lawn mowers and power blowers give way to crickets and frogs.  It is a time when, in some tranquil way, we gather in all the contradictions of the day and find healing.

And so rather than getting in the car, I walked down my driveway and began my "exercise" around the block.  This particular night was not going to be about how many minutes I had left on the treadmill or elliptical but rather an exercise in experiencing this particular moment of the day ... while getting my heart rate up, of course.

And so instead of hurrying past the rock garden with the rushing water and vibrate orange goldfish dashing about underneath, I slowed down and invited myself into a neighbor's driveway and experienced a moment of peace and tranquility that only a running pool can bring.  Rather than just return the wave of the little girl sitting on the steps with her mother, I engaged in some repartee.  And before the laps were done, I had felt the cool of the evening on my wet skin, stopped to smell the tea olive, examined the individual blooms on a red bud, and even listened to the buzz of a bee. 

But the most stunning encounter of all happened on my first complete lap of the block.  It was the second time meeting the woman, having only casually spoken on our first pass.  But this time as we met, she said, "Aren't you my neighbor?" to which I responded, "I could be.  Where do you live?"  And to both of our shame, we have shared a portion of a backyard fence for 13 years.  13 YEARS!  She stuck out her hand and said, "Hi, my name is Karen." 

With a heart awash with emotion, I returned home, lit some candles and recalled the very last sentence I wrote in my journal this morning: "We move closer together when it gets dark.  The hour of Vespers is a call to neighborliness."

Yes, Lord.

Just an ordinary moment...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Year Later and Still Smitten

It was exactly one year ago tonight that I got the call.  I was at a girl's movie night at my church but had left my phone on low "just in case." 

"Hey, Mom.  Just wanted to let you know we're at the hospital.  Kristin's in labor."

I still haven't seen the end of that movie.  I was out the door with few goodbyes and on the way home to pick up my toothbrush ... and my husband, of course -- who was unaware that we were actually suppose to get in the truck and go right then.  He thought you were suppose to wait until the baby was born (and until the sun rose) and THEN go to the hospital. 

Oh, but we got there.  And the wait wasn't too long. 

Up until this point, we didn't even have a clue as to the sex, much less the name.  And so as our son walked out, the anticipation of all those months of waiting finally came to fruition.  "The baby's name is..."

"Jude Robert"

I was a grandmother.  And I was smitten.

Numbers of people, grandmothers and grandfathers themselves, had told me there was nothing like being a grandparent.  Each time I would shrug it off thinking to myself, "I've had children.  I know what it's like."  Well, I'm here to say today, "There ain't NOTHING like being a grandmother."

The very first time holding my grandson.
From the first time I held that small bundle in my arms to this very moment, my heart has pounded with love.  And I'll be the first one to admit that I'm just plum silly over the little fellow ... if not downright obnoxious.  But it's my grandbaby.  It's my prerogative.  It's my right, for crying out loud.  And I have a feeling if there is any grandparent reading this, he or she attests to the same privilege.  We're all a bunch of smitten idiots!

So what does a smitten grandmother do?

She rocks.

She goes on hayrides.

She plays.  (#1 grandmother job!)

She feeds.
She rocks some more.
She sings and dances.

She gives baths.

She drops everything for impromptu visits.

She smiles a whole lot.
She babysits.
She gets lots of sugar.
She goes to the fair.

She always keeps a camera ready.

She picks pumpkins.
And did I say LOTS of sugar!
Yep, they were right.  There's nothing like being a grandmother.  And a year later, I can still say I'm more smitten than ever. 

Happy 1st birthday, Jude Robert!
You are GREATLY loved!!!

Your Geezer and G-Nan bless you in the mighty name of  our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.  Jude 24-25

Just an ordinary moment...