Before…After (God is Doing a New Thing)

My precious sister-in-law gave me a wonderful idea. Just look at the photo above. She took a used, empty can and transformed it into a vase sitting in her kitchen window. I loved the idea and that particular can so much that I actually purchased the same brand of crushed tomatoes just to have one so I could do the same. And today I did.

After making spaghetti sauce yesterday, I carefully removed the can’s lid, and thoroughly washed out the can, hoping to eliminate the tomato sauce as much as possible. Then it sat empty. And it looked pretty. Or maybe I should say it looked pretty good all by itself.

Today, I happened to do a little gardening and pulled out a small begonia plant that just wasn’t happy where I had planted it. I was on my way to tossing it out when I saw the can and voila! I was hit with the idea to use that can and try to nurse the begonia back to health. So that’s what I did.

And while the pink doesn’t necessary go with the color scheme of the tomato can, the can itself looks so much nicer now, doesn’t it!

Not only is my crushed tomato can pretty on its own, it’s now looking even better, and it’s serving a great purpose.

And right away, I could see our wonderful Father in Heaven using this as an illustration. He sees us as a vessel and we look pretty good. We serve some good purposes. But then He does a little cleaning and a little repurposing, puts us to work possibly in a whole new way, and just like that, we are re-beautified (my word), given a new assignment, and can radiantly portray God’s glory.

Job 8:7 reminds us “Though your beginning was insignificant, yet your end will increase greatly.”  And Isaiah 43:19 states that we should “Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?”

Great reminders that God uses empty vessels willing to yield themselves to the Potter’s hands. He is never finished with us. He is always prepared to use us in new ways. And whether or not we feel insignificant like the empty can, our end will increase greatly. Hallelujah, thank you, Lord.

Yup, all that from an empty tomato can. I just love how the Lord talks to me…in clear, every day illustrations. How about you? How does God speak to you? Please share.



Warm hospitality greeted us in Murphy, North Carolina.

There are lots of ways to spend Memorial Day weekend. Watching parades, honoring our Vets, doing nothing at all, catching up on your recorded television programs, making up for lost sleep, taking a short trip, etc. And taking a short trip is just what we did.

Traveling with friends, we drove to Murphy, North Carolina to see some other friends who live in the Bear  Paw lake community where it is secluded, wooded, quiet, and absolutely lovely. The photos here don’t do it justice.

While there we took a boat ride, did a little walking, went to several potluck suppers, met lots of friendly people, and partook in a few naps as well. There’s just something about sleeping with windows open and the birds singing that lulls you to sleep…even in the middle of the day.

What made this particular adventure so much fun was that we were all so completely taken care of by our hosts John and Marie. We were welcomed with open arms and we left rested up, with precious memories, and tears in our eyes.

There was not a thing we needed to do or bring to make our stay wonderful. All was provided down to packets containing toothbrushes and toothpaste in case we had forgotten ours. While we were invited to help ourselves in the kitchen, we were also soon to find out that John and Marie wanted us to enjoy a relaxing get-away so they took care of all the meals from food prep to cooking to cleaning up afterwards. And Marie is quite the cook. I think we all ate a little too much of her delicious meals!

It had been awhile since I was pampered to such an extent. And while my first instinct was to insist I wanted to help, I realized John and Marie were giving us a gift: of hospitality and relaxation. So, I graciously accepted everything they did for us and enjoyed a wonderful three days with people I love.

The Bible has much to say about hospitality and caring for others. John and Marie were shining examples.

  1. Love others. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also area to love one another” (John 13:34).
  2. Put others first. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
  3. Work tirelessly on behalf of others. “And let us not grow weary of doing good…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

Our Beautiful Hosts

It’s easy to be on the receiving end of hospitality, yet the giving end, though often joy-filled, can also be exhausting. But let’s rise to the Scriptural challenge to extend hospitality as we look for opportunities to serve others, to warmly invite them into our lives, to be willing to work without ceasing to meet their needs. And to show them the amazing, astounding love of Christ.


Callan Turns 6

This week it’s my delight to talk about my sweet grandson, Callan, who just turned 6 a few days ago.

This little fellow has brought joy since he was born. He’s just so amiable. So sweet. So happy.

Case in point. I offered to make him cupcakes for his birthday party. He chose the flavors and then we talked about the decorations. At first he mentioned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I said that sounds difficult, I’m not sure I can do that. He replied OK. Then he made another suggestion and I stated that also sounded a bit difficult. He came up with a third option for me which I also felt too hard to do. And at that point, still happy, he said, “Just do what you want Mimi.” And he meant it. He would be content no matter what I designed.

As most of you know, I watched the boys one day a week from the time they were born until they went to school. What a delight! One of the things that fascinated me was how they each saw the world. Konnor began talking early and had no problem sharing his observations about…well, about everything. Callan, on the other hand, was on the quiet side, like his PopPop. Content to let others do the talking while he listened and observed. Oh, he talked, but lengthy conversations were not his thing.

This went on for a while and I grew to enjoy our time together even without long conversations. Then one day, he just started talking…and talking…and talking. And singing, too. Loudly. Car rides became noisy and entertaining. The house seemed to be filled with twice as much activity and fun. His enthusiasm was contagious as it continues to be today.

Callan seems to find great delight in life and wants to share that with the world. And I think the world needs more people like Callan. Enough with the Debby Downers and Sour Susans. Give me a parcel full of Happy Callans and life will be very good indeed.

One of Callan’s big thrills this year (the biggest being getting an X-Box from Santa) has been in learning. He seems to really enjoy discovering new things and takes great pride in his academic accomplishments. Often, for fun, he just gets out a math workbook and completes page after page. (Yup, I said he does math for fun!)

His sense of humor is also expanding. When I ask occasionally about his homework, he states “Mimi, I’m in Kindergarten; I don’t have homework.” Then he rolls his eyes as if to say “Gee Mimi, you should know that.”

It’s also fun to watch him work the controls of that coveted X-Box. It doesn’t seem that long ago when he was content to push buttons and pull levers that had nothing to do with the on-screen action. Now, he’s like all the other big kids. Without needing instruction, he pushes and pulls, breezes through menus and just figures things out for himself.

Like his cousin Addie, he’s growing up. Much too fast. But I’m trying hard not to rush things and to just enjoy him for today. It’s easy to find myself wondering about his future endeavors but for now, this Mimi is content watching T-ball games, seeing him play in the rain with his brother, enjoying his interactions with his cousins (my sweet granddaughters). In short, I’m completely happy just watching him as he grows up. And I’m completely blessed.

My friend Karen recently posted a picture of her blessing wall…a wall with photos of her grandkids. Isn’t that perfect! My grandkids are my blessings as well. And I thank the Lord daily for the joy they bring to my life.

Happy 6th birthday, dear Callan. I love you…to Heaven and back!


A fresh start.

Recently, daughter Kate sent me a photo of a little project she completed and her caption was “Never throw away that which can be repurposed.” Immediately I could imagine our Lord saying this about us. He never gives up on us and always views us with the eyes of Someone who knows what we are becoming or what we are capable of becoming. And He sees beyond what’s currently there and looks instead on the potential to come.

Old to NewJust look at the photo. What was once a very old metal kitchen colander that most would throw away has been transformed by Kate because she saw its potential. A coat of primer followed by a fresh new topcoat and that colander has become a beautiful, purposeful planter.

We are reminded in Scripture that this is exactly what God does with His kids. He doesn’t see us as cast-offs without a future. Instead He repurposes our lives for His purposes.

Reminder from 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT): This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Feeling rusty? Feeling like a has-been? Feeling a bit tossed aside and useless? Cheer up, my friend. God isn’t finished with you. And a new life has indeed begun!


National Grandparents Day – September 13

Hi all, just passing along some info I received from technology giant Intel wanting to inspire families to celebrate Grandparents Day by offering activities the generations can use for fun ways to bring them together by trading favorite skills that may become lost.

Please check out their great ideas. And whether your families are together or miles apart, the activity sheet provides some terrific ways to celebrate the day, especially with help from technology.


Link to Intel’s Activity Sheet for Grandparents Day

This Mimi didn’t have a clue!

Clue GameSummer is winding down and there are only a few Mondays with Mimi before school begins on August 24. No sleepover this week; instead I drove to the boys’ house to spend the day with them there. And boy did we have fun!

I went prepared with a craft and some cookies to decorate. As you can see from the pictures, decorating and then eating the cookies was a big hit.


We never did get to the craft as the boys elected instead to play some games. We started with Zingo which is a Bingo game with pictures instead of letters. That one was great for both a four-year-old and a nearly seven-year old.

But each time I suggested a different child’s game, Callan (age 4) would point to the adult version of Clue and insist that’s the one he wanted to play. He even broke down in heart-wrenching sobs when I told him it was for grown-ups and he wouldn’t know how to play it. He continued to sob and state emphatically that he did in fact know how to play the game so I finally relented and got the game.

And I quickly found out Callan was right—you don’t have to know how to play the game to enjoy it. The three of us just did our own thing, making up everything as we went along. You should have seen how happy the little guy was to play Clue with his brother and Mimi. I think we ended up playing for nearly an hour.

The lesson: this Mimi didn’t have “a clue” as to what really mattered. In my rigid mind I thought the game was only appropriate for adults who could play by the rules. But I was wrong! We had a blast despite never following a rule or reading the instructions.

There was such a clear contrast between the fun anticipated by Callan at doing his own thing with Clue and the fun I didn’t think was possible because the game was not age-appropriate. It all boils down to being able to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Rules, schmools! Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and GO FOR IT!

So that’s my encouragement for the week. When it comes to enjoying time with your grands, just go for it. Don’t worry about how you look dancing to the Wiggles. Don’t let a little rain keep you from playing in it. Who says you can’t dress up in ridiculous clothes and pretend to be someone else or enjoy smearing purple icing on cookies and covering them with sprinkles.

Let’s abandon some of our restraint and embrace our inner child and just enjoy the moment, especially when those moments are spent with our grandkids.


Racing Sandals in the Rain (more summer fun)

Dancing in the rain, Mondays with Mimi, summer rain, Pinterest pins, summer fun, fun with the grandkids, playing in the rain, Mondays with Mimi, friendship, enjoying time together

So the grands are coming in a few hours for an overnight and I’ve been telling myself all day I need to look at my saved Pinterest pins to find some fun projects to do with them. I’ve diligently saved all sorts of craft ideas and treasure hunt lists so I was fairly certain I’d find just the right thing.

Then two minutes ago I was reminded once again that the simple things that don’t require expense, time, or planning are often the most fun. Case in point…racing sandals in the summer rain. Take a peek.

A simple spur-of-the-moment idea that obviously thrilled both boys and Mom, too. It reminded me of when Konnor was about 2 and we had one of those famous summer downpours Orlando is famous for. Part of our yard contains a swale and it filled with water to the point that when you walked on it, you sank about 8”—which was just perfect for entertaining a two-year old for quite a while.

And while I know grandkids can be easily satisfied, sometimes I forget it’s that way with adults, too. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. You have a friend you want to invite over but think you need to put on the Ritz to show how much you value her. Because you don’t have the time to do that, you skip the visit hoping to reschedule in the future.

Or you make plans to meet at a nearby restaurant lamenting that you’ll each be spending $15 just to have a gab session when a coffee at Panera or enjoying the Wendy’s value menu together would serve the same purpose.

Let’s put away our own preconceived ideas of what constitutes a fun afternoon for the grandkids or a good time with friends. After all, it really is about being together and enjoying time with each other. Let’s not be so hard on ourselves or expect so much that we miss the wonderful every day opportunities God provides to connect with others.

Now, this Mimi needs to close right now because my swale is full of rain and calling me to do the sloppy, muddy happy dance outside with my grands.