Monthly Archives

November 2016

When The Sparkle Fades

November 19, 2016
If the corner of a room can look tired, mine did.
An empty porcelain mug and wrinkled, tea stained napkin sat atop the pale gray desk, recently re-purposed and painted for a cozy creative nook I worked hard to transform.
Behind the desk, a soft down pillow sagged, flat and lopsided against the slightly crooked chair, setting the backdrop for a stack of books, laptop, and open notebook that added to the disarray, along with a power cord snaking through the mess.
Taking it in, I surveyed the new white rug below, now more shag than fluff, and disappointment whispered through my thought process at the lackluster appearance.

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Gone was the fresh, bright look of weeks earlier. And in its place, worn and disheveled greeted the eye.
How had it happened so fast? The same cute spot that took hours to clean, clear, organize and paint now held the tone of a well used space.
A long exhale escaped parted lips as thoughts of glossy Pinterest images and home decor sites played peek-a-boo in my mind, the subtle current of discontent stirring inside.
Until realization dawned.
The room hadn’t changed. It was my own mindset, tilting into a gradual drift of complacency. The slight shift in value toward a project I recently held in esteem gave me pause, bringing to mind thoughts of life in general.
Whether at home or at work, in lifestyle or relationships, a lack of contentment can take on many forms, slowly slipping into an unguarded heart.
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On an ordinary Saturday morning, sunlight piercing pale window sheers, I pondered the root of the problem. And while powering up the vacuum cleaner, pieces of the puzzle began to fall in place.
Not long ago, I read a quote that really resonated with me, and perhaps it will hit home with you as well.
“In life, it’s not about what we have, but what we do with what we have.”
Though simple, the statement holds great wisdom. Whether channeled toward people we love or possessions in our care, when we cease to feed the energy of appreciation in any area of life, you and I tread a slippery slope toward the pit of discontent.
Appreciation and contentment go hand in hand. And when the sparkle of our reality fades, more often than not, it can be traced back to a lack of care and attention to what we once held dear.
At some point, new and shiny will always disappoint, but a thankful heart can fuel the fire that illuminates beauty in what we already have.
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Although life isn’t always pretty, I’m learning that contentment grows with seeds of gratitude, and the mindset we nurture is the one that will flourish.
Sometimes it’s good to press pause, remembering that we are stewards. Through routines and responsibilities of life, sparkle doesn’t just happen. It takes conscience effort to bring beauty to light, over and over again.
On this week of giving thanks, what do you say we gently steer our hearts from the longing of what we don’t have toward a focused determination of caring for what we do have?
Maybe it’s time to fluff the pillows, shake the rugs, clear the clutter, and most of all, lift eyes of gratitude to the One from whom all blessings flow.
It might be just the special blend of ingredients we need to see renewed sparkle come alive again.

 

 

 

 

For Your Weekend

November 12, 2016

Hello Friends,

As the sun sets on another week, here are a few inspiring reads from around the internet lately. I hope you find them enjoyable, and may your weekend be blessed!

A 7-Day Challenge Guaranteed to Make You Smile by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Let’s Linger Longer And Fall In Love by Courtney Carver

Fresh Take On Your Seasonal Table by The Cottage Journal

Seven Tips To Help You Take The Best Pictures Ever by KariAnne Wood

 

The Best Medicine For A Weary Soul

November 11, 2016
I struggled with indecision, longing for the ability to transfer strength and peace of mind to my Grandmother.
Lying curled on the small bed that has become her resting place most days, it was a blend of ingredients she desperately needed, but a combination not found in her daily list of prescriptions.
Weariness etched into the fine lines of porcelain skin as recent life transitions and the grip of time took their toll.
Moments earlier, Grandma had gingerly chosen between spaghetti noodles and fresh orange slices on her dinner tray, engaging in a bit of conversation about the day. But now, all spark faded as she succumbed to white cotton sheets and the soft pillow beneath her, silence filling the room.
Moments like these left me uncertain.
Should I go? Or stay?
Her chest rose and fell to the rhythm of even breathing as I struggled to make my decision. Looking down at soft curls framing Grandma’s weathered face, I felt at a loss.
Until my eyes fell on the large leather bound book on her nightstand. The book she prized and handled with great care over the years.
And I decided to take a chance.
“Do you want me to read the Bible to you?” I asked, voice low, not sure she would respond.
I was surprised by the soft reply. Grandma spoke quietly, eyelids still closed against pale cheeks.
“That would be nice, ” she said, just above a whisper.
With little sign of responsiveness, I read through various Psalms, looking over to see if she had drifted off to sleep.
But it was hard to tell.
Until my fingers rested on an underlined passage, the words settling through the stillness of her small room.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”
That’s when it happened. The faintest flicker of a smile brightened her face, letting me know she was absorbing each word. The cruel grip of age and hardship had robbed her strength and energy, but they couldn’t steal the timeless comfort of God’s Word.
The simple reaction touched me. And perhaps it will strike a chord in your heart also.
Like many of us, the story of Grandma’s life is a blend of hardship and joy, a mix of tragedy and triumph.
As a teenager, the pain of losing her beloved father came too soon when his life was cut short from an unfortunate accident in the Minnesota farmlands.
Years later, Grandma faced separation from family and friends as she and my Grandfather moved south to raise a family in tough economic times.
And in a rural community of southern Georgia, they nearly lost one of their young sons to a devastating kitchen fire. A tragedy that brought a lifetime of physical and emotional scars.
Yet through it all, the words of an inspired psalmist from long ago still resonated in the vulnerable places of her heart. Time and again, God’s strength shone through adversity. And even in the most difficult seasons, He was there.
At age 91, Grandma is a fragile shell of the woman she once was. But her smile spoke volumes as she absorbed comfort for her soul. The curve of thin lips sent a message that needed no words.
It struck me as a beautiful reminder for all of us.
In an unsettled world, there is a foundation that cannot be shaken. And no matter what age or stage of life we find ourselves, there is an elixir that provides strength where human ability fails.
It is the power of God’s Word.
You and I may face different circumstances, but the strength hidden between the sacred pages of  a holy book remains the same.
When weariness of life and all its uncertain ways threatens to overwhelm, let’s remember to rest in His promises. And let’s remember the words that comforted a woman in the evening shadows of life. And take heart that we, too, can find strength in their timeless, healing balm.
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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”