Author Archives: Cindy

About Cindy

I am a city girl turned country girl. I moved to the country for my first teaching job and 32 years later I am still here. My husband and I are blessed to have a son and a daughter and son-in-law AND we have two "granddogs" who we love to spoil.

Have Thine Own Way ~ Five Minute Friday

No WAY! Yes WAY! It’s Five Minute Friday already again!!! And, by the WAY, the prompt today is…. WAY! So aWAY we go and if you get carried aWAY you can make your WAY over to
http://www.fiveminutefriday.com to read WAY more!

Have Thine Own Way

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NIV) / Pixabay

Many years ago, when my daughter was young, she and her friend were in the kitchen cooking with a recipe they’d found to make play-doh.  I could hear their giggles from the other room and decided to peek in. Rounding the corner, what I saw made me squeal!  There stood one girl holding my best Tupperware bowl over a hot stove element while the other was mixing vigorously.  It was quite a sight because the tallest one was holding the bowl and the tiny one, standing on her tip-toes, was attempting to stir the mixture.  When I was able to finally get my words out, I asked what in the world they were doing?  Dismayed, they couldn’t understand why I’d be upset as they were just following the instructions which read: “stir OVER heat”! “Stir over heat” has since become a standing joke in our family.

There’s just something about play-doh and clay that children love. Adults too! (At least this adult does) I think it’s that you can work and work to make something just the way you want it.  It may take a few tries with a squeeze here to close a gap, or a pinch there to cover a mistake until ultimately you create the masterpiece you’d visualized.

There’s an old hymn that says: “Have Thine own way, Lord! You are the Potter; I am the clay” and the book of Isaiah shares with us, the same message.  God sees the masterpiece each of US can be.  His artistry created  through our good times and bad, the people we come in contact with, the gifts we have, and everything in-between as we journey through life. With a squeeze here or a pinch there, we are skillfully being molded into the Potter’s vision. I have to admit, it’s easier to say “Have Your own way” when things are smooth and coming together.  Not so much, when we’re being stirred over heat and there are mistakes to cover! But, just as play-doh in a child’s hand lovingly becomes a treasured creation; so are we, in the loving hands of our Creator who continues to mold each of us until one day, He will look upon His perfect design and say, “Well done”.

Oh Eve, What Have You Done? ~ Five Minute Friday

These thoughts have been tumbling around in my head since a friend and I talked about how many years we’ve been doing chores we don’t like to do.  For some reason, mopping floors, matching socks, and putting groceries away are jobs I don’t enjoy.  What are yours? Anyway, the prompt for today is “Done” at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com and this title just popped into my mind and so here we go:

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit y itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 (NIV) / Pixabay

Oh Eve, What Have You Done?

Have you ever stopped and thought of
All we wouldn’t do today
If it wasn’t for old Eve
Following her own selfish way?

Menu plans and grocery stores
Not used for our family to feed;
The garden would have provided
Everything we’d need.

Pills, shots, and doctor bills
Wouldn’t subtract from our wealth.
Living where God intended us to be
We’d stay in perfect health.

No ironing. No mopping.
No chores at all to bear.
In Eden, there’d be nothing to scrub
Or the need to wash what we wear.

Disappointment, pain, and grief,
Failure, sin, and strife.
Never part of God’s perfect place
Her forbidden bite brought them to life.

Without a doubt I know,
In my heart this to be true:
We’re not so different Eve and I
In all we say and do.

Way to often I listen to
That cold, slithery voice
Offering up tasty bait
And I bite at the wrong choice.

Full of shame, fear and guilt
I run for a leaf and hide.
I deserve to be kept from the Garden
Because of my own pride.

Yes, once Eve bit the apple,
It couldn’t be undone.
Banned from the Garden forever,
The serpent thought he’d won.

But God had another plan;
His Son died for our sin.
He’s opened up the Garden gate
For all to enter in.

Today like Eve, we have a choice
Take a bite or abstain.
Will you follow after the viper
Or with the Gardener remain?

Vacation or Planted?

It’s Friday again!  Boy the weeks fly by, especially for those of you on summer break!  You always read about the lazy days of summer but somehow, they seem to rush by way too quickly.  Today’s prompt at  http://www.fiveminutefriday.com is “Vacation”.  Pretty appropriate isn’t it?  I hope you’ll click over and see what the other talented writers have to say on the subject!

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)/ Pixabay

For me, it usually began in mid-May:  the countdown leading to the end of the school year.  There was something reassuring about those tiny numbers I’d written in the corner of each day’s lesson plan.  They somehow made it seem possible that I’d make it to the end; and believe me, some days it definitely felt more possible than others!

Despite my doubts, without fail each year the textbooks were counted and put away, final grades got added to report cards, walls carefully stripped of their decorations, and with a last glance over my shoulder I’d drag myself out the door not sure I could even make it to my car.

We’ve all been there. Life is busy and complicated and stressful! Whether it’s parenting, your career, caring for someone, an illness, or a million other things; our souls become drained and parched as if a drought has left us shriveled and burned up. What we desperately desire at that point is a vacation! A chance for respite to rest, recharge, and renew. Each year, summer break dangled that chance in front of me but somehow, despite several weeks off and an annual trip to the sea, the days always flew by and summer vacation just never seemed quite long enough to restore my drained soul.

Looking back, I now realize that it wasn’t the length of my vacation that was the problem; it was the depth that left me still feeling withered. I sought refreshment in a slower schedule with days of sleeping in, lingering, and doing less; when instead, I should have been seeking to be refilled by spending more time with God and His Word.

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” ” John 4:13-14 (NLT)

These days, when I get the urge to pack my bags or my thoughts head off in search of a place of replenishment, I’m learning to stop and remind myself where it is I need to be planted. Vacations are wonderful, but they only last until real life calls us back. Living day to day, deeply rooted in the hope of Jesus, the Living Water, helps us not only thrive in the midst of real life, but also eternally. And that my friends, is what truly satisfies the soul!

 

 

Share Four Somethings

I’m excited to be trying something new today.  As I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I happened upon #ShareFourSomethings at http://www.heathergerwing.com The idea is to share the four somethings: something loved, something said, something learned, and something read you’ve experienced within the past month.  I don’t know about you but June flew by for me.  The calendar page was full of appointments, meetings, special events, trips, you name it; but within the busyness were some very special “somethings” that I’ll always hold dear. So, here we go….

SOMETHING LOVED

 

June brought a double celebration of love! Two birthday parties in one day!  Not a feat for the timid! Our morning celebration, in honor of grandson, Owen’s first birthday was a delicious breakfast buffet that included Cinnamon Roll Cake no less!  How can he possibly be one already?  Owen’s smile is infectious, his curls adorable, and he’s the spitting image of his momma!

Later that afternoon we went “Up, Up, and Away” for Carson’s third birthday! Airplanes and toddlers everywhere!  The energy level was higher than this MiMi is used to! I can’t believe I’ve actually been a MiMi for three years!  Carson has changed so much!  He’s learning new things all the time, loves to cook, and looks just like his daddy did at his age!

I thought I knew all about love until these two precious blessings came into my life!  All the sayings about how wonderful being a grandparent is are true!  Carson and Owen are my something loved in June AND all year round, too!

SOMETHING SAID

It’s funny how what we perceive as reality often isn’t.  I love to write and my kids know about “mom’s little blog”, however, I’ve believed that at best, they think I’m silly and at worst I’m wasting time.  That all changed with the most meaningful words said in a belated Mother’s Day Card, one by the way, I’ll treasure forever! Accompanying a journal, these were the words said:

“This journal is for you to write down all your ideas so that everything is in one place and you can write many books and blogs from the ideas. We can’t wait to call our Mom/MiMi a published author because we know you can do it!”

As you might guess, the tears flowed as I hugged that card to my chest.  To know my family believes in me are some of the sweetest words ever said!

SOMETHING LEARNED

The end of June found me atop a mountain at a cabin retreat with some of my closest and dearest friends.  Now, whenever we are all together there’s laughter that rattles the rafters, food that satisfies every tastebud, stories that go on through the night, and gatherings around a campfire.  This trip was no different except…….the wind!  It was so windy that the fire queen couldn’t safely do her thing.  Did that stop us? No!  I learned that though the howling winds may blow, S’mores will be made and that an electric stove comes in pretty handy when there are six women craving roasted marshmallows and chocolate!

SOMETHING READ

As I wrestle with this desire I have to write, I’m trying to soak in as much knowledge as I can from those who ARE writers.  I belong to a writing group called Hope*Writers and I’m going through all the varied trainings they offer.  One of their recommended readings is “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, so of course I put it right on my Amazon wish list and low and behold it was given to me as an anniversary gift. (After 35 years he’s starting to know me HaHa) As I read it, a myriad of emotions come with each chapter.  I haven’t finished the whole book yet, but this I know from my something read so far……I have A LOT to learn about being a writer!

This was fun! Want to give it a try?  Share Four Somethings of your own in the comments! I can’t wait to read them!  I hope to share with you again in a month! Who knows what wonderments July might bring?

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What If ~ Five Minute Friday

The prompt today is “If”.  My first thought was to just type: “What if……” and let you fill in your own thoughts to finish it, but alas, some rhymes started popping into this head of mine and this short poem was born.  If you’re intrigued to read what others wrote about “If”, click on over to http://www.fiveminutefriday.com 

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT) / Pixabay

What If

What if that something we doubt we can do
Really could be done;
Because we stopped believing
We’re too old or we’re too young?

What if that great idea
We’re so afraid to start,
Could change lives forever
When from our fears we part?

What if instead of passing by
We reached out to someone new,
And through our actions they would learn
“Love thy neighbor’s” really true?

“What if, I can’t, Not me, I’m scared”
Convince us we’re alone.
It’s easier not to try at all
Than to step out on our own.

What if we stopped looking within
At all the ways we’re weak,
And remember Christ will strengthen us
If Him we’ll only seek.

So my friends, let’s make a trade
“What if’s” for His “I can’s”
There are no limits on what we can do
When we trust in our God’s plans.

 

Ocean Sojourner ~ Five Minute Friday

 

“You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.” Psalm 65:5-8 (NLT)

Ocean Sojourner

She beckons me from my mountain home
To her sandy shore. 
And whispers leave your troubles behind 
Find respite here once more. 
The rhythm of the waves will play 
In time with the beat of your heart. 
A chorus’ll join in from high above 
As seagulls sing their part. 
Remember the flavor of her salty kiss
Blown in on the tides that rise.
The caress of her warmth upon your skin
Shining down from clear blue skies.
A taste of Heaven here on Earth
Peace found that is so sweet.
The cleansing of your soul achieved
Where land and water meet.
Come she calls and I’ll sojourn there
Until it’s time to roam
Leaving the ocean renewed again
To return to my mountain home.

Joining http://www.fiveminutefriday.com writers today with the prompt “ocean”.  I love living in the mountains but the ocean calls me and touches me as no other place. My trips to the beach are more than vacations they are retreats. I feel whole somehow while I’m there. As I was writing this poem I thought about how we’re not only sojourners as we travel but we’re really sojourners here on earth – we are here temporarily~ Heaven is beckoning us to not only come but to stay!  True peace, respite, and renewal are only found through Jesus who made it possible for us to become whole once and for all and able to be permanent residents with him! (No suitcase required!)   Now that inspires “shouts of joy”!

 

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Secret Recipe ~ Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt is “Secret” and I’ve got a few, buuuutttt….I think I’ll keep them to myself for now and instead tell you about my search for a secret recipe.  If you’re intrigued by knowing about others’ secrets click on over to  http://www.fiveminutefriday.com 

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT) / Pixabay

There are memories of childhood we love to revisit and one that is vivid for me is a very special cookie.  I’m not talking about any old cookie.  No, I’m talking about a large, soft, melt in your mouth, sugar cookie!  What made these even more special was we knew they were “Adult Cookies” and so when we were actually allowed to have one, in addition to how delicious they were, my sisters and I also felt quite grown up!  What I realized later in life was that because they were so tasty and we didn’t get them often, my mom and grandma didn’t want to have to share them with us kids and so the “Adult” cookie came to be. These delicious creations were found in a little Ohio town where they were made and sold.  You had to get there early to be lucky enough to purchase some; but when you bit into the cake like disc and the sugar crunched between your teeth, you knew the trip was worth it! 

Several years ago I decided I’d like to try to recreate this childhood delicacy and so my search for the recipe began.  Finding sugar cookies made with unexpected ingredients was my goal because, like I said, these were not your everyday cookies.  Try as I might and as good as they all were, I didn’t find one that measured up. 

As I travel back and forth to visit my family in Michigan, I pass the quaint town that was home to Adult Cookies, so I just decided to stop one day and ask around  to see if I could track down the recipe.  Like any small town, people were friendly and enjoyed chatting, until that is, I asked about the cookies.  My inquiries were met with silence and cold stares.  What I discovered was, even after all these years, the recipe was and IS a well kept secret and so to my dismay, my search for the perfect combination of ingredients continued.

My life kind of feels like my secret recipe search right now. I’m trying to discover just the right mixture of things that will come together to produce the best version of the “Adult Me”! I’m deciding what too much of is included in my days and what those missing ingredients are that when added, will make my offerings to those around me sweeter. I haven’t found the exact recipe yet, but I’m learning that it takes patience, perseverance, a little heat, and a whole lot of the unexpected thrown in to create something special. I’m so grateful I don’t have to do this search on my own!  The One perfecting my “recipe” and yours, is the most important element in the mix! 

My recipe search? After a lot of trial and error, I’ve finally made cookies that are fairly close to those that I remember as a child. The secret ingredient? I’m pretty sure it’s the love they are made with! And isn’t that the truth in the recipe of our lives? God loves us so much that He won’t leave us “pretty close” to who we’re meant to be. No, He will continue to stir us up until we are exactly the divine creation He planned.  And that, my friends, is NO secret!

Just Breathe

I’m trying to stretch my writing wings a little so attempted something new yesterday…..”Story Tweeting”!  Basically telling a true story in tweets on Twitter.  The prompt was to write about a time you held your breath.  I didn’t expect to write about this situation and was surprised the raw feelings were still there!  That’s a mom for you!  Being it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow I guess it was exactly what I was supposed to write! Funny how that works.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

We hugged.  I didn’t want to let go!  It felt as if my heart was being torn in two and I didn’t think it would be possible to feel whole again.  A lump formed in my throat constricting my breath.  One last look and I turned.

Out the door! Down the stairs! Through the crowded lobby!  All the while holding my breath because I knew I was going further and further away from the scent of her and once I exhaled it would be gone and the tears would come.  And of course, I did and they did.

Leaving my baby, my daughter at college left ME full of emotion. Pride, excitement, fear, sorrow all weaving around into a tight knot around my heart.  I didn’t know how to be a mom without kids at home! It seemed impossible but there I was heading back to an empty nest.

Taking me by the hand, my husband gently told me to put one foot in front of the other and to just breathe.  Sounds simple doesn’t it? This momma’s here to tell you it takes practice and lots of prayer! And just when you think you might make it, you get a call….She’s engaged!  Oh boy, here we go again!

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Include ~ Five Minute Friday

Writing today with the Five Minute Friday crew on  the prompt “Include”. Lot’s of things ran through my mind when I found out that was the word we’d be writing to.  It will be interesting to see what develops!  You’ll find lots of “Include” inspiration if you hop over to Kate’s site at:
http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

Setting the timer now:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV) / Pixabay

On the first day of every school year I began my introduction in the same way.  I let the children know that their teacher was just a little (or a lot) crazy….different; and of course, I was telling them the truth.  Because that’s how I felt, my teaching career was spent trying to create classrooms with a family atmosphere. A place where once the children walked through the door they’d sense that they were loved, encouraged, and safe.  A place that would include and embrace each of our uniquenesses.  Some years were easier than others. Hard as I tried, there were times when a child just didn’t fit in. And honestly, there were times I didn’t fit in either.

Agonizing one day, over what to do to help a child feel accepted, it occurred to me (thanks Holy Spirit) that as Christians, we’re not to include ourselves into the world.  We’re supposed to feel left out, off-kilter, EXCLUDED! What a relief that realization was to this “different kinda gal”.  It’s so easy to answer the invitation to become just like everyone else; especially in this social media driven society. It’s uncomfortable to stand out and feel alone.  But, here’s the Good News!  We aren’t by ourselves! We are included in the family of God; a safe place where we are encouraged to become more like Him and loved every step of the way.

I never found one answer to helping all my children but I have found The One who offers to include “crazy me” in all His plans and a place where I fit in just perfectly.  How about you?

 

Adapt ~ Five Minute Friday

I was looking through old photos this week and when I learned that the Five Minute Friday prompt was “Adapt”, I thought this picture was perfect!  This is my first school picture as a teacher circa. 1982. Oh the hair!!! Keep reading to see how I’ve had to adapt and if you want to read more, hop on over to http://www.fiveminutefriday.com 

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

Time starts now…..

Teaching was my dream but when I arrived in rural West Virginia for my first job, where there was no stop light, no fast food, and no one I knew; I planned to teach for one year and then move on to a bigger and better place.  Little did I know back then, that God had other plans.  36 years later, I’m here to tell you that this naive city girl had a lot to adapt to in her new life! A life I hadn’t planned on. A life I wasn’t really prepared for!

Isn’t that just the way of life though?  We’re moving along with a dream and a plan in our heart and then…..SURPRISE! God has different ideas (and a sense of humor!).  If anyone had told “young me” that I’d live a life in the country where I would know the breed of a cow by looking at her (or would even know it was a her), would come to find the smell of manure familiar and not unpleasant, or eat eggs, meat, and vegetables that didn’t come from a store but rather from hard work, I’d have told them they were crazy! And yet, Here. I. Am.

God brought me and left me here because He knew this IS my “bigger and better” place! I always say that I’ve learned much more than I’ve ever taught . It wasn’t always easy, (I’m sure I whined more than a little to God) but I can’t imagine living any where else now.  I’ve found love, kindness, beauty, and yes, purpose…..my life is a living testimony that God’s purpose DOES prevail!  And oh! Guess what?  I now have to adapt to city life when I go home for a visit. I’m truly a country gal at heart and blessed beyond measure that God exchanged my plans for His!