Spoken like a queen bee



Friends and family have a powerful effect on the life of an individual, because it is within each stage of the individuals life that you are shaped.  By sharing in another person’s life, even though you are separate, you still are in conversation and response to what the other is experiencing.  Unfortunately, the last stages of life are the most difficult for a friend to witness to a once strong, vibrant, and in this case, a positively motivated family friend.

Sometimes when we visit our friends that have health declining, we may think that we will find them in a terrible state of depression and defeat.  We may not we sure of the words to say or the method of joy and hope to bring them.  Especially when our friend or friends have been struggling with cancer for months or years, it is like going to see a friend that has an archenemy slowly draining the vitality and passion from their spirit.   However, this was not the case when visiting a friend having had different forms of cancers over the years.  In fact, it sure was nice to sit and talk to my friend now in the retirement home.

Two years ago, this same friend was a busily active Christian lady that cared for a growing family of children, grandchildren, and eventually great grand children.  It surprises me how fast this process happens.  Once you begin to forge and architect your dwelling like the life of the honey bees, the whole process is started and your roles begin to adjust to the foundation that has been building and accelerating.  The process begins with the parents, but soon the children move the family forward at different speeds by their own life experiences.

Quietly, she thinks of what she will voice, and what she will voice whether there is anyone available to speak to or not.  At the same time, she has sat among others that may not be able to hear what she has to say.  I am sure that as one ages, he or she begins to think of all that could have been said if possible to reverse the time.  I wonder about what I may have already wished I had spoken more confidently and boldly about.

This day we spoke of confusing life situations and what we did not understand about what was still going on in our world.  We shared some blessings; there were still baby showers and vacation bible school pictures to talk about.  With her, I am reminded of the need for touch and concern, and access to touch and concern needs to be greater for all mankind.

People are hungry for for care and concern because of the expectations put on them to do.   When life has wrung one out and love is low in supply, we need more love to fill these chambers of our hearts.  This friend demonstrates daily how much love and faith she has to give still to others.  She is filled with joy and the Lord’s peace.  Telling her how much she inspires me with hope, gives me greater appreciation for the basic gifts of touch and concern.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (N.I.V.)

The touch and care of a friend can fill the heart with hope in healing ways; I am seeking to be more mindful of the needs of friends around that could use encouragement.  Do you have a friend that maybe you have lost touch with and would like to reach?









Power of the backyard



via Daily Prompt: Hideout

The yard was modestly arrayed with a busy street out front hosting a large walnut tree in the front yard with crab apple trees lining the side of the drive way.  The backyard, the hideout, was a place for a young child to search and find adventure.  Growing up with three younger brothers in this small fenced in backyard, we had everything.  We had a hideout that was a place for us to find our wild side and be louder than our parents could tolerate.  There we could even get away with throwing sand which later became a problem in the swimming pool.

Blue Spruce trees guard the entrance to my children’s yard.  Our yard is not fenced in but partially wooded.  They play football there, and there is not a weekend that they would not wish their hideout to be filled with a new game going.  With the cousins playing, they can create the bare bones of their favorite rival football teams.  They are crazed Madden players, and in their hideout, they do their best to try not to tackle during their game.  When they were younger, they would also stretch the boundaries in their free zone.  The age gaps between them, were so large that a stolen tackle would leave someone in emotional alligator tears only to quickly resume their dearly loved game.

It was in my backyard that I began a love with my three brothers for softball.  We threw, batted, and ran the bases like pros in our own minds.  Even though, none of us would ever grow to become baseball players.  We all thought we were José Canseco and loved the game more and more together.  In remembering this hideout, I remember my dad even joining our sport and having him help us in our pitching and our aim.  I could tell he must have enjoyed a space like ours and that being a catcher younger grew his love of the game.

The closer I come to my children’s backyard, I remember my own backyard not smaller but just as big.  There I see like my own life that the rules, expectations, and responsibilities seem to roll off my children’s frames.  It is almost as if outside you are allowed to be as youthful and energetic as you want to be.  The warm energy of the sun and the beauty of nature beg of you to be yourself and to enjoy what is there.

The developing masterpiece



Everyday we are challenged with feats of courage for ourselves and others.   I know we are able to gain understanding from each other during the process.  One of the greatest feats of life is to determine and continue to determine which way to raise the blessed little ones that are given to us for our instructing.  The reality that one strategy does not work for all children haunts even the most well-informed parents.  Always the question comes did I try enough with this little one, elementary child, and eventually high school masterpiece?

One of the strategies that I seek to encourage more and even more at night is prayer and reading.  Yes, the children have spent most of their days in school, but they have read about what their schools and their teachers are interested in.  It is the parent that influences much of the children’s own personal interests, their priority to read, their developing psychology, theology, and common everyday habits.

It is during our evening conversations and readings together that the parent begins to cut past the surface of the routine.  Each evening there are general tasks that have to be done that weigh heavily on the events of the parent and children’s evening.  Homework is to be accomplished usually taking at least twenty minutes or more to complete, showers, dinner, and if there aren’t any other sports or extracurricular events, some reading to do before bedtime.  When the parent accounts for the children’s free-time after school, he and she notices there really isn’t very much.

During my prayer time and Bible reading with my children, I have begun to notice what takes place that I would not have mysteriously uncovered any other way.  It is during our reading of the the Bible, discussion, and prayer, that most quiet, concentrated time I have to hear their thoughts.  One conversation was really very special.  In one of my children’s prayers after talking about faith he said that he wanted to be better about living out his faith.  He said how happy he was that he did not have to have a faith in God that is found all at once so to speak, but that he prayed to have “faith ablaze.”

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (N.I.V.)

As parents, we have the joy of mysteriously “cracking the code” and discovering who our children are becoming each day through our interactions with them.  Praying and reading the Holy word of God brings up discussions that test the integrity of the their development and ours.  What will we discover about our children over this year that would not been revealed without that quiet space built into our routines?





Dream on that for a while



A dream allows one to see past a problem and to construct the dream that is a size too difficult to  conceptualize.  The dream can be even too large for our own imaginations.  During our remodel process, I was hoping for the effort to be useful for a purpose even greater than my own needs maybe to help someone else to tackle their own pain staking adventure or to create a place of retreat for a lonely or tired friend that needed the feeling of a relaxation and a breath of fresh air.

For this reason among with the overall creativity and functionality of the hoped finished project, the walls came down, the boxes were packed and moved out, trim detail was constructed among doors, window detail and all.  What a large scale project this had become!  Could we have moved?  Should we have moved?  Of course one can always move, but that was not the decision we chose so we needed to work with the demolition we had created.

When we discussed expanding the kitchen, we could have talked about all of the drywall that would be missing from the ceiling.  Each of these pieces would require us to engage fully with a dream that would take several steps and several people to be involved.  This should not have seen so new to us since we had already built this house once, after our first son was born, with all kinds of construction help needed then.

The project which initially only required a carpenter now required multiple carpenters, painters, movers, heating and air-conditioner experts, plumbers, and home decorators.  So, our dream had expanded as our kitchen and closet design expanded.  We needed better heating, air, and water systems as well that had to be updated.  It seemed when one job was complete and an area appeared it could be moved back into, another job would take place in its path.

Now, the project is not fully accomplished, but it is getting there and more than 90% along.  When you look at the size of the task, and the plan doesn’t appear to be captured by your imagination, I try to imagine it at least in a written or picture form.  Now, although remembering the level of stress during the task, I can see how this built patience in myself and our family.  I can also see how a dream of this kind but more importantly a spiritual dream can begin by seeing a problem exists and arriving at multiple conversations and a consorted effort of a team to accomplish the “God sized” dream.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (N.I.V.)

It  may be often that you or I notice that a problem exists, this experience like many others, continues to artistically remind me that great solutions come with great dreaming and God’s forming of our plans.  Do you have any God given dreams that you would like to consider? I hope that you and I will take all of our plans and dream on them for a while.