Thursday, January 19, 2012


Life was definitely simpler before the age of technology came almost full circle.  I've felt lost the last two or three days.  Our internet connection has been on and off, mostly off!

In the midst of an online writing class, I felt lost without access to email or the ability to find the answer to a question I needed to include in my work.  I felt disconnected, detached from the world out there, separated from family and friends.

What would I have done before?  Pick up the phone and call family and friends.  Go to the library or the handy home encyclopedia set for my answers.  Since I wouldn't have signed up for an online class, no problem there.  And anything I wanted to send someone could have gone via the good old U.S. mail.

But here I am frustrated, confused and bemuddled without my internet connection.  Bottom line means we're in the process of getting a more reliable provider in place, but it will take awhile.

Meantime, please don't forget I'm here.  I'm just asking your patience until I get back in the swing of things with my blog and my connection.

Perhaps another connection is calling . . . perhaps I should answer.  Yes, God -- what is it?

“I call them sacred echoes because I noticed that throughout my relationships,
daily life, and study, the same scripturally sound idea or phrase or word will
keep reappearing until I can no longer avoid its presence."  ~~The Sacred Echo
Margaret Feinberg

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Out of Touch!

Ever feel like your out of touch with the times?  Maybe out of touch with things your children or grandchildren are interested in?  If you have great-grandchildren, are you out of touch with their ideas and understandings?

Over the Christmas holidays, we celebrated time with our son and his wife as well as their children's families.  Among those present was sweet Kylie who is now 3.  She is tiny for her age, but her mind is bigger than she is!

With my Nikon Cool Pix, I was taking lots of photos.  I said to Kylie, "Do you want to see the picture I just took of you and Uncle Ty?" 

She came running to where I was sitting, and I showed her the picture.  Kylie then asked if she could hold the camera, and I replied that she could. 

I looked down at the camera in her tiny hand, and as I watched, Kylie began to slide her finger across the screen.  Some of us chuckled, and I said to her, "Kylie, great-grandma just has a camera.  It's not an iPhone."

"It's not?," she said.

"Nope, just a regular old camera," I told her.

"Not an iPhone?" she queried.

"Afraid not," I said.

With that, Kylie's interest in me and my camera ended.  But she had made a good point.  Times have changed and are continuing to do so.  And each generation will be using something newer, faster and better than the last or the one before that.

This treasured memory of Kylie teaching me a good point will stick with me forever, I'm sure.

Q4U:  Did anything happen over your Christmas or New Year's holidays where a younger one taught you something?

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Heart Full of Thanks: Counting One Thousand Gifts (295-307))

What is a gift?  The Free Dictionary defines "gift" as "(s)omething that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation."  Imagine receiving something from someone and not having to do or pay something in return!  No strings attached!

I know it's a little early to be thinking about Easter.  After all, we just celebrated Christmas.  But if you'll bear with me, I can explain.

Looking at the image, what do you see?  Three empty crosses, you say?  Look again.  Close in on the one in the center.  Don't you see something else there?  Can't you see Jesus hanging there?

Jesus hung on that cross because God chose to sacrifice him, to give him up for each of us.

"God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die."
 (John 3:16) (CEV)

God's gift to you and me.  All we have to do in return is have faith in him.  And then we are privileged to give him thanks for the many gifts, the small gifts, in our lives.

295.  Freedom from pain.
296.  Fresh eggs for breakfast.
297.  Sun up above.
298.  First daffodils of spring.
299.  Blue skies.
300.  Earth turning green with signs of spring.
301.  Loving kitty rubbing against my legs.
302.  Words whispered by my husband, "I love you."
303.  God's whispers.
304.  Listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
305.  Healed relationship with my mom before she died.
306.  Spared life of a young physician friend.
307.  Changes taking place in our grandson's life.

Have you thought about counting your gifts?  Linking up over at Ann's today to share.  Come join us!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Remember Saturday Night Preparations?

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."
Exodus 20:8

And I'm sure you may remember this verse from Exodus.  My mother took this verse and not only applied it to the Sabbath day, or Sunday.  She began our preparations for keeping the Sabbath holy on Saturday night.
Not to imply that this was our bathroom, but there was the requisite scrubbing at the hands of a mother who took cleanliness to heart and often to extremes.  So, in turn, we all got our Saturday night scrubbing.

And this included the head of hair we'd been blessed with, each thick and hard to dry but clean it must be!  The shine must be there on Sunday morning if no other morning in the week.  So, our scalp's got a good massage too.
Sunday best was laid on each of our beds, and these were clothes we were not allowed to wear on any other day, except for weddings and funerals.  My dresses were starched stiff and sometimes were scratchy.  The boys' pants creased knife sharp, and they had fake ties to wear.  Remember those?
Most often, my dressy shoes were black patent leather, which meant that the worst I had to do was take a damp cloth and remove any dust, dirt or scuffs.  The boys had to do the entire cleanup, polish and buff routine.

But Mother wanted us to look our best for church.  As I grew older I understood this as I began to study God's Word.  Not only are we preparing for the Sabbath.  We are preparing to go into God's house, and he is due our very best in all respects.  This is where Mother's true heart resided -- in God and in honoring him each and every day.  And she was teaching us to do the same.

Q4U:  Do you have similar memories on Saturday nights, or maybe it was Sunday morning?  Or were you perhaps born at a later time when we had adjusted our thoughts to an understanding that what we are on the outside is not as important as what is on the inside?  I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Worry?

WordTrace Wallpapers

Why do we worry?  An age-old question to which no one has come up with a satisfactory answer.  Speculations include anxiety or fear, stress, negativity, insecurity, and any number of other issues that might bring a person to the threshold of worry.  There are indeed some good reasons perhaps to worry, among them some faced by people in our society today:  homelessness, hunger, joblessness, loss of retirement savings and others.

My mother was the consummate worrier.  She worried about things that were already past and whether she could have done something differently.  To those worries, she added those thing that had not happened yet.  And to the top of that pile, she added her worries for today.  Mama was a hand-wringer, had a quick Irish temper, and yet a faith as strong as Gibraltar.  

She would have told you that the verse above from Matthew 6:26,

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

was something you could take to the bank and rely on as long as the earth spun on its axis.  Yet, she continued to worry and unfortunately her worrying taught each of us three kids to worry and even some of the grandkids.

I wish I knew the answer to the question of why worry, but I don't.  I do know that God placed in my life a man who has the ability to remain positive no matter the circumstances.  We married 30 years ago, and slipping the wedding band on my finger didn't change me.
During the first few years of our marriage, my husband gently and softly guided me into understanding just how much energy and how much of myself I was giving away to worry.  Just like mama, I worried about yesterday, today and tomorrow, even though tomorrow was still on the horizon.  Over time, I understood that he loved me so much that he wanted to see me give myself more to God, our family and especially to him and our partnership. 

I'm so glad I believed on this verse in Matthew, and I'm so glad that more than once my husband said to me, "You know you're behaving just like your mama, don't you?"  That would do it!
Q4U:  What do you worry about, or are you able to turn things completely over to God?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Asking for Help Isn't Easy

The last few weeks have been humbling.  Asking for help doesn't come easy to me.  Cast in the role of daughter, sister, wife and mom, it seems that ordinarily I am the one offering help to others.  It is almost as if it is genetically built into women by some unheard command.

Now, counting off the days until my limitations are lifted, I'm not happy having to ask for things to be picked up for me, or put up high for me.  Even worse is having to have someone pull on your socks and tie your shoes.

The other day we were shopping in Walmart when I realized that my right shoe was slipping up and down on my heel.  I looked down and there it was -- a loose shoe string about to become a wiggly mass resembling nothing close to bow on my foot!

Only one solution existed -- ask my husband to tie my shoe!  While he's doing me a favor, a young clerk walks by and laughs.  I quickly said, "I wouldn't ask him to do that except I can't bend down."

My husband was quick to point out to me I had no reason to feel an explanation was necessary.  I knew immediately it was part of me that has never become comfortable in asking for and receiving help.

I suppose the beauty is found in that moment and these words much like a wake-up call.  A way of letting me know there's something I need to work on changing!  I doubt it will be an easy task, but I've committed to try.  There could be worse things I'd be nudged to do.

Q4U:  Are you comfortable asking for and accepting help?  Share with us, if you're willing, the  manner in which you handle doing this.

A Heart Full of Thanks: Counting One Thousand Gifts (261-287)

A Holy Experience
Have you read it?  Maybe you've heard of it.  Have you been counting?  Maybe you're asking, "What is it? And what would I be counting?

It is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and reading this book is and can be life changing.  Ann's unique style of writing transports the reader, at least in my case, to a height of awareness that may have never been experienced before.  The senses become more perceptive to even the smallest of gifts, God-given gifts, around you.

And then you begin to count, each tiny gift, each awe-inspiring gift, one by one until you reach 1,000!

But in this new year of 2012, a new challenge has been brought to the forefront.  It seems Ann agreed with a radio interviewer to challenge the station's listeners to count 1,000 gifts in this year.  And Ann agreed to count with them.

Now, she has challenged her community of followers online, via Facebook, and throughout the space we know as cyber to count along with them -- counting 1,000 gifts in the year 2012.

It won't be hard to do -- 1,000 gifts in 365 days equals out to three gifts per day, and Ann provides on her site, A Holy Experience, a month-by-month Joy Dare list of things to be looking for in your life's days.

I don't know about you but I'm accepting this challenge.  I had started counting last year, but hadn't come close to the 500 mark when I read Ann's post about Joy Dare.  So, here I go covering the first nine days of January:

261.  Good health
262.  Attitude of compassion
263.  Giving nature
264.  Sun breaks
265.  Loving husband
266.  Fresh fruit
267.  "My grace is enough for you."
268.  "The Lord is my Shepherd."
269.  "And you shall call Him Jesus."
270.  Memories
271.  Everett's growth in these three months of life
272.  Peeks of blue sky
273.  Book of James
274.  Working on baby quilt
275.  Hints of spring all around
276.  Time to work on cardigan I'm knitting
277.  Healthy food
278.  Promise to practice more grace
279.  Patience from my husband
280.  Prayers from Margie
281.  Compassion from Genevieve
282.  A tiny ray of sun
283.  Seeing myself in others' eyes since surgery
284.  Hummingbird feeder's shadow on family room floor
285.  Ability to reach out
286.  Buds showing on the hellebores
287.  Sitting next to my husband at a concert

I'm joining Ann and others on her site to share our counting of gifts.  Won't you join us?

A Holy Experience

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Essential Identifiers
Welcome to my blog's new home and more specifically its new name, Not Just a Name!  Looking fresh as a daisy was my goal when I sat down with Blogger today to revise and rename my blog.

You see, God has been nudging me in many directions, and sometimes I'm overwhelmed by how many he seems to be laying out before me.  Often I feel almost lost in trying to make up my mind where to place my priorities and which hat to wear.

When someone calls me by name, they call for Sherrey.  If we went to high school together in the 1960s (I'm dating myself), they call me by my middle name Alice.  I suppose as a fourth grader, when my family left the city for the suburbs, I experienced a bit of identity crisis and changed to my middle name.

However, I started out life as Sherrey and as a daughter and a sister.  Then I graduated to wife and mom.  In more recent years, I've become grandma to four and great-grandma to two.  All these names identify who I am.  And yet, I'm called by many other interests and activities.

It seems people I know don't seem to recognize or realize all these things are important to me.  What are they, you may ask?

Well, I am an avid reader with at least 4-5 books going at once.  I have a passion for needlework and sewing/quilting.  I volunteer at our church as a mentor mom in the MOPS chapter and from time to time as a Sunday School teacher.  I'm in the process of learning to play the flute taking lessons from a very accomplished instructor.  That means I'm a "practicer" too!

Google Images
Add to that I manage the web site for our little cottage industry, Noteworthy Music Stands, and assist in maintaining our government standing and handle correspondence.  And last, but definitely not least, I have always longed to be a writer, and I am definitely attempting to practice this craft too.

With all these identities clamoring for my attention, sometimes I feel as if I'm losing control of who I really am.  So, today in order to give myself a chance at finding that identity, I redid my blog name and look.  It feels fresh, and I feel it doesn't appear I'm setting my life aright as my last blog title did.  After all, I'm happy with my life as it is now.

I am writing my memoir, but there are also many other things I want to write.  This new look and blog gives me that opportunity -- to awe you with many aspects of my life, not just the writer, blogger, reader me.

Q4U:  How do you balance all the demands or activities in your life to make time to enjoy each of them?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Improving the World Moment by Moment

Holocaust Research Project

The photograph here is probably one you've seen many times before.  Anne Frank is an image that reminds us of what horror and destruction was done to the world in the 1930s-1940s.  Hers was a story that none of us can even imagine, unless we had family who survived the Holocaust who shared stories with us.  In reading The Diary of Anne Frank, one can hardly fathom life under those conditions.

Yesterday I came across the following quote attributed to Anne Frank, and it has made consider the possibilities inherent in these words:

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single
moment before starting to improve the world."

Her words stopped my reading and my mind begin to swirl as if it were caught up in a tornado.  What could I do to improve the world?  That seemed rather heady -- me? change the world?  Huge assignment.  And like many others might do, I thought, "Not me!"  

Then it came to mind the hungry, empty faces of children everywhere with no food to eat, no medical care, perhaps only a few days left to live.  Or how about the children in the schools in my own area who go home at the weekend and because they're on the breakfast and lunch program at school, they may have nothing to eat at the weekend.  There are mentors needed to work with students who have trouble reading, in mathematics, and so on.  Volunteer for Meals-on-Wheels, check in on elderly neighbors especially in extreme weather, read at the library during story time.  Whatever you feel comfortable doing! 

So, my husband and I stepped out and volunteered to assist in a program that our church participates in to help feed local hungry children.  It's really easy -- take a backpack from the program leader, check out the list attached to it, and shop filling it up for $15 (a list of grocers is provided that offer pricing that can do this!).  Here's a link to the Facebook page of one of the programs in our area (Portland Backpack Lunch Program).  And there are so many other ways to make a difference.

Here's to each of us reaching out to improve our world moment by moment in 2012!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Heart Overflowing: Counting One Thousand Gifts (#252-260)

Grace Magazine

Grace isn't easy.  And during this last year, I've worked hard to be more gracious in many ways.  Grace is not a stranger to me -- God has blessed me with His grace a thousand times over.  Grace is sensual, warm, intoxicating, diaphanous -- you know it when you feel it wash over you.  But physical limitations aside, and they could be used as excuses for not being gracious, this wasn't my most gracious year.

So, in 2012, my desire is to grow closer to God not only to experience more of His grace in my life but also to experiment with touching others with that grace in ways I've never tried before.  I read just yesterday of a man who decided one year to resolve to write thank you's, not emails, not text messages, but handwritten notes to people who'd done something nice for him -- the barista in his coffee shop, the teller at the bank, the person who straightened out a discrepancy on a bill -- you get the idea.  For each of the 365 notes he gave out, he most always received a very positive response in return.

What does this tell us?  Grace given is grace returned.  Fairly simple, but often hard to put into action.  What are you doing to extend grace to those around you?  Do you need to experience more of God's grace to you?  Then draw closer -- God will provide.  Come with me, won't you, on this journey to Grace.
252.  Sounds of rain and wind
253.  Beginning signs of tiny green shoots and buds
254.  Progress in recovery
255.  Connecting with two high school friends I've not seen since 1964
256.  God's incredible goodness in 2011
257.  Frost painting patterns on the ground
258.  Sunny Sunday to begin 2012
259.  Sweet little girl at the Children's Sermon, the only girl among all those boys
260.  Dappled sunlight to begin the day, telling me it's working hard to wake up too

What's Past Is History -- The Future Awaits!

"Leave the broken, irreversible past in God's hands,
 and step out into the invincible future with Him."
~~ Oswald Chambers

To read Oswald Chambers is to step into the sacred place of another soul.  Chambers definitely wrote from his heart, and in so doing as a reader we are privileged to "hear" what another individual felt, experienced, and believed in a beautiful writing form.

is now history, and the events of 2011, both personal and global, are not irreversible.  There is nothing you nor I can do to change what has happened in our lives.  As Chambers says above, they are "in God's hands."  In other words, we must move on.  To cling to these irreversible events will only root us in bitterness and anger, and neither is a positive catalyst for tomorrow.

A new year has begun!  2012 now stands before us and it is time for us to step out and take chances, take risks, try new things, forget the ugliness and tears of the past.  We've turned the last page on the calendar of 2011, and the slate for 2012 is waiting for you to begin the next chapter.

In the word cloud to the right are the months of the year as well as a number of descriptive words such as beginning, resolutions, joy, fresh start and others.  Isn't it time you found descriptive words to speak to your heart about what you're going to do with this new year, the next 12 months, the only 2012 that will come along in your lifetime?  Do you want to write a book?  Are you feeling a nudge to begin afresh on that college education you put aside to be a full time mom?  What about volunteering and giving back to the community?  Perhaps something else that you've always thought you could but never tried.

Yes, the past is gone from us but opportunities await.  With God beside you, no journey is too tiring, too difficult, too challenging -- actually with Him beside you, the journey is invincible!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...