Category Archives: Love

A Divided Heart ~Wise Wednesday 6/28/17

“When a child is born, so are grandmothers.” ~Judith Levy Pixabay

Divided: separated; shared; to diverge; cleave………..

I have decided that being a grandparent causes you to suffer from a “divided heart”. Beginning at the instant you learn your child is having a child, it’s as if a magnetic force immediately draws your thoughts, dreams, prayers, and overwhelming love in the direction of that tiny, beating heart, hidden from the world. 

Fast forward to that breathless moment when the miracle that will call you “MiMi” (replace this with whatever your grands call you or will call you) is placed in your arms.  Everything else fades away. Cradling this precious armful, older heart to brand new heart, it seems they beat in unison, filling a place you didn’t know was empty, and nothing is ever the same again.

Time is both precious and tormenting. The longer you want to savor the sight, breathe in the scent, and caress the tiny fingers and toes of this new person in your life; the faster the minutes, hours, and days seem fly by. All too soon you’re faced with saying goodbye. Your stomach clenches.  Tears flow.  A heart divides.

A temporary condition?  Afraid not. A one time thing? Nope! Carson is two now: my heart?  Still  pulled in different directions.  We’ve recently been blessed with Owen: my heart? The chasm has grown.   The struggle is real! While my very being wants to wipe every tear, experience every milestone, calm every fear, and read bedtime stories every night with my grandsons; I’m also drawn home. My normal: the routine, responsibilities, schedule, and those that wait for me, beckon. Yes, a heart divided….wanting to cling to one place while yearning for the other.

Pondering this heart situation, it has occurred to me that we suffer in a similar way as Christians.  

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)

Above?  Earthly Things? Earthly things? Above? A heart divided! I  often find myself torn between a heart that is focused on me and my wants and one that is looking to follow God’s plan for my life. Maybe you do, too. And while we want to be home with Christ, where our fears will be calmed and our tears wiped away; to get there, we are faced with saying goodbye to THIS home. We cling to our earthly life and yet yearn for Heaven. Thank goodness God sent Jesus to bridge the gap of our broken hearts! Jesus said:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.” “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1-4, 6-7 (NIV)

I wasn’t prepared for the powerful love that comes with being a grandparent. I’m blessed to only live four hours away from the boys and technology helps keep us connected in-between visits.  Goodbyes will always be hard. As my heart continues to pull me in different directions, I pray it reminds me to always stay connected to the One who, with the greatest love of all, is preparing a place for me where my heart will be divided no more.

 

 

 

 

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Sisters ~ Wise Wednesday 9/21/16

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It’s been there from the beginning.  That bond. The connection. Stronger at times than others, but always there…..sisterhood. I’ve recently returned from seeing my sisters. It was a quick trip, but being in their presence, even for a short time, fills an empty place in my heart. I’m lucky, no, blessed to have the two beautiful (inside and out) sisters that I do. They get me. They challenge me. They support me. They cheer me on.  We may be separated by miles but we share a relationship so close that when one of us is suffering, we all three experience the pain. Celebrating? Joy abounds! Sad….tears are shed in unison. My sisters are part of me as I am of them. We walk through life together sharing experiences, observations, frustrations, and victories. And laugh?  Oh my! Do we ever laugh! (mostly at each other and ourselves)  As the big sister of the family, I couldn’t be prouder of the women my sisters have become!  They truly are my “Gifts from God”!

“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (KJV)

Scar Story

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“He bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 NIV

Ever find yourself lying unconscious in the gutter? No?  I never expected to either! So imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes to find myself wedged between the tires of a car and the curb…literally lying in the gutter!  It was one of those moments that moved in slow motion and seemed like a dream or in this case a nightmare.  As I looked up from my undignified position a crowd of unfamiliar eyes stared down at me.   Sprawled on the pavement, one flip flop on, one off, my clothing askew, and a throbbing head made me want to disappear down the drain I was laying on!

I was a teenager on vacation and I’d fainted as we were walking along the sidewalk, souvenir shopping. I’d had too much……….not what you’re thinking…….sun. As it turned out, I had to get stitches in the gash near my eye. I still bear the scar on my face from that embarrassing adventure long ago that I’d rather forget.

Scars are like that. They stick with us. They tell the story of imperfect moments in our journey through life. Everyone’s are unique.  You NOW know that some of mine tell of accidents, some say I’ve survived health issues, and still others remind me of times I might not have used good judgement or paid close enough attention.

We don’t just display our scars on the outside, though.  Our story continues with the ones we wear on the inside, too. Maybe we’ve been “stabbed” in the back by a friend. Our heart’s been “pierced” by someone we love. Words have “cut” deep into our soul. Insecurity has “carved” its way into our thoughts. These scars can feel as if they’ll never heal. And they don’t if left on their own. Here’s the Good News for you and me….we’re NOT left on our own!

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

What a comfort to know that God not only knows every hair on our head but also every hurt we endure. And just as He designed our skin to repair itself on the outside,  He takes our inward pain and layer by layer knits the damaged pieces into a place of strength.

There have been times I’ve wished my scars weren’t there, but as I’ve grown older I realize that inside or out; each bump, bruise, scrape, and gouge has been stitched together to create who I am today. It’s my scar story. A story that’s full of hurt, disappointment, and fear, but it doesn’t end there.  It’s also a story that tells of this girl’s healing through forgiveness, love and grace. Now THAT’S a story that will stick with you!  What’s your scar story?

If you want to read more about loving your scars, click on over to http://www.tsuzanneeller.com for #livefreeThursday wisdom.

What Could Be Worth More?

My name is Cindy and I am a recovering Perfectionist.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the signs, even though looking back they were there. It wasn’t until I heard the words; words that caught me totally off guard because they came out of MY mouth, that I realized there was a problem. “If my own father could leave me, I can’t be worth much.” Where did that come from?  I’d never consciously had that thought before the very instant those words tumbled from my heart onto my tongue.

I’ve come to realize that somewhere in the traumatic moments as my dad turned his back on the sobbing eleven year old me and walked out our front door, a lie seeped into every crack of my freshly broken heart.  A lie so painful that typing about it now brings me to tears.  A lie that told a little girl that if she’d only been better, her dad wouldn’t have left.

Funny thing about lies, they’re often easy to believe and this one grew and intertwined itself in every part of my life until I was convinced that to be loved, I had to be perfect. Well, we all know how that turns out, don’t we?  Trying to be the best student, teacher, wife, parent, Christian…doing all that I could to give that flawless performance so others would see my worth…. so I could see my own worth… backfired.  The harder I tried, the more failures I experienced, the more failures-the more guilt I felt, so what did I do?  I tried harder. Striving to be perfect was exhausting!

Speaking those words that had been hidden in my heart for so long was the beginning of a journey I’m still on.  A journey of recovery. A journey of freedom. A journey of grace.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Did you catch that?  It’s taken me a long time to embrace this wonderful truth. God’s love doesn’t wait for us to be perfect!  We are loved when we’re angry. We’re loved when we are judgmental. We are loved when we fail. And yes, we are loved when we are imperfectly doing everything we can to be perfect

I am a recovering Perfectionist.  I am Cindy and I am loved! Friends, you are too!  What could be worth more?

Linking up again today with Suzanne Eller’s #livefreeThursday at http://www.tsuzanneeller.com Today’s prompt? “When you’ve done all you can” Enjoy!

Small Things Change Everything

Our First Meeting

Our First Meeting

How can something so small change everything?

It’s a question I’m asking myself because life as I’ve known it has been permanently altered by a tiny baby being born….my grandson!  This little guy with perfect fingers, soft hair, and a cute nose has made most everything else fade into the background.  My priorities have changed and things I used to think were important aren’t now. My heart is overflowing!  Yes, one gaze upon this small miracle has forever redefined who I am.  I am still a daughter, sister, woman, teacher, friend, wife, and mother, but now for the first time I am “Mimi”!   All the paths I’ve traveled have been leading me to this destination.  I’ve had no map.  It’s been a journey of hard lessons, great happiness, accomplishments, disappointments,  adventure, heartache, forgiveness, and strong love.  Step by step, climb by climb, slips, slides, and sometimes by just hanging on for dear life I’ve gotten to this place of overwhelming joy.  He is my child’s child. She, who I held in my arms, now holds the future in hers.  The depth of emotion I’m experiencing leaves me breathless and my prayers for them roll down my cheeks.

I know I’m not alone.  Maybe you are also a new grandparent or parent with a wee bundle of your own.  Maybe a minute spot on an X-ray has changed everything.  Maybe a tiny seed of friendship has grown to true love. Maybe a still, small voice has guided you on a new path.  Small things DO change our world.  I’m reminded now more than ever that God knew the effect of small things when he sent his Son, a tiny baby to change all of us.  What a gift!  Perfect little hands that would one day be nailed to a cross. A miracle that would redefine who we could be and change our priorities. A life’s beginning who’s journey would be full of overflowing forgiveness and great love. I look at the world around me now and I wonder what the future holds for my precious grand baby. I don’t know of course, but what a comfort to know that He, the creator of all small things holds it and us safely in His arms and THAT changes everything!

Nutty Generosity

I enjoyed my quiet time on the front porch this morning.  It was “peacefully noisy”.  The melodious chatter of the birds filled the air.  A cool breeze rustled through the leaves.  The goats next door loudly conversed with each other and a rooster somewhere in the distance crowed his good morning to the world.

While I sat in my rocking chair contemplating life, a squirrel crept through the yard and stopped to partake of birdseed and nuts that had spilled from my feeders above.  He watched me as intently as I watched him.  Believe it or not, squirrel watching brought back sudden memories from my childhood.  Funny, how memories are.  They can come on at anytime, out of the blue, and they bring with them intense feelings.  This particular memory is of my childhood neighbor, Dale.  He always carried peanuts in his pockets to feed the squirrels while he worked in his yard.  “His squirrels” became so accustomed to this that they actually would climb up on Dale as he slept on a lounge chair in his backyard and take the peanuts out of his pockets themselves.

Dale’s generosity didn’t just extend to squirrels.  From the moment my mom, sisters and I moved in next door, he did whatever he could to make us feel welcomed!  This is where the intense feelings come in….We moved in 1971 after my dad left our family.  We were all grieving and brokenhearted.  As I look back now, I realize it didn’t take Dale long to know that we were in desperate need of someone to care for and look out for us.  He took it upon himself to do just that.  We never knew what to expect….big signs on our doors, poems and stories adorned with pictures cut out of magazines, or a snowman holding a welcome home sign built out of the first snow on our back steps.  He was quick with a smile and a joke.  He and his wife, Lois quickly became more than our neighbors, they became family.

Generosity……something that is harder and harder to find in the world today and yet needed more than ever.  I regret now that I never expressed to Dale what his kindness meant to me.   I don’t think he ever knew how important he was to us and how much his freely given love did to begin to mend our hearts.  It is 42 years later and his actions are still an inspiration.  I would like to believe that my attempts at putting others first and looking for little ways to reach out are a direct result of having been so generously treated.

Dale’s actions were unselfish, creative, and yes, sometimes a little nutty, but just like the squirrels that grew to trust him enough to feed them, three young girls and their mom grew to trust him too.  You see it wasn’t just Dale’s pockets that were filled to overflowing it was also his heart.  Today’s rush of memories are an important reminder and a challenge to me to more freely give of myself and my time.  What about you?  Is there someone in your life you need to thank for being generous or is there someone who needs to be touched by the power of YOUR generosity?  Don’t wait until it’s too late, because speaking as one who knows,  there’s no doubt that we would all be much better off if we were  just a little nuttier like Dale.

 

"Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:16

“Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16

Simple Love Notes

It took six days but I finally have my classroom cleaned out of 32 years of saving, creating, collecting, and reusing stuff!  It only took five or six wheelbarrow loads a short trip to the dumpster and a LONG walk down memory lane.  Deep in the corners of drawers, cupboards and shelves I found trinkets, artwork, and gifts I have received through the years.  Precious things that a teacher just cannot throw away.  Amongst these treasures were a variety of love notes from former students.  Some scribbled on scraps of paper.  Others drawn with crayons or markers and the paper filled with colorful drawings.  Reading those forgotten notes brought back vivid memories of children I taught who are now adults with children of their own as well as students I have had more recently.  Many letters had no name on them to identify the writer just the words “I love you” in a child’s print, but I saved them all just the same.

The offering of love is a precious gift. One that we should all freely give.   Children seem to understand this better than we adults.  Four little words,  You’re the best teacher”, scribbled on  the back of an old wrinkled spelling test years ago, filled me with such joy when I received it and again when I uncovered it last week.  Six words…..”I wish you were my mother”.  Three words….”I love you”.  It seems so simple….feel something and express it, but we know that giving love is risky.  We might be hurt or made fun of.  The feeling may not be returned.  We can think of many reasons for not opening our hearts to others.  It seems easier just to keep it to ourselves.

After experiencing the overwhelming warmth of love I felt as I read each note I found, I’m determined to be braver and more willing to show others how I feel about them.  Maybe it will be through a smile, a hug, a gift, or who knows, even through a love note.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate.  It doesn’t have to be planned.  It just simply has to be shared.

Before I started cleaning out my classroom, I promised myself (and my husband) that I wouldn’t bring too much home with me.  I must confess though, that I could not bring myself to throw away those precious acts of love I had been so freely given.  I tucked them away in a special box to be gone through again when my heart needs reminding about the wonderful power of a simple love note.

A Simple Love Note

A Simple Love Note