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Another goodie from Joshua Rogers: The Lord is your Keeper.

Missing your dad? Had a sad Father’s Day? Need some encouragement and direction as you raise your kids or grandkids?

I’ve got just the story for you today. Use the link to read Joshua Rogers’ latest post. He shares a powerful reminding about what it means when God says He is your keeper.

Let me know what you think by sharing a comment.

The story of two dads, two boys, and one Father

Love, Mimi

Hidden from View

Hope your Father’s Day was enjoyable. We spoke with the kids and with Dad. Everyone is well. Everyone is content. But most of all…everyone is loved.

The pics that begin this post are just gross. Disgusting even. Hidden from view, I knew the yuck was there and Sunday morning was the day we finally pulled out the stove to take a peek. It was as expected.

Spills, drips, and dropped items were revealed and it nearly made me gag. Funny, isn’t it? That yuck was there all along but it didn’t bother me until I saw it. Then the realization hit me that it had been there for nearly four years. Yes, FOUR YEARS. That’s how long we’ve lived in this house.

What you don’t see is the complete picture. Greg had already started vacuuming before I called out to stop so I could take a picture. So, it was worse. Much worse.

God’s Revelation

It didn’t take long for me to realize God was showing me a picture of…me. There’s lots of hidden stuff in my life. Some has been carefully hidden by me, on purpose. Perhaps there are actions or thoughts I’m not proud of. Maybe I’ve even repented and spoken with God about them. But I’m not ready to share them with others so they hide behind my cheery smile or acts of kindness.

No doubt, there are also hidden things I would be surprised to discover: things I’ve said or done, feelings of jealousy, actions I should have taken but didn’t. I’m sure the list is long. If I remain content to “leave the stove untouched” I may never discover what God would like to clean up.

But if I bravely allow Him to bring to light that which is hidden, and if I acknowledge and repent of sin, then glorious freedom awaits. Freedom from shame, freedom from the oppression of sin, freedom from carrying burdens by myself.

God tells us in Ephesians 5: 11-14 to expose sin, to shine light upon it as light makes everything visible. Easy? Not really. Scary? At times yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

Questions to Ask

Is it time to allow God to do some deep cleaning? Are you willing to let Him move the stove of your life away from the wall to see what’s behind it and out of sight? I’m right there with you asking those same questions. And when we answer YES, we can be assured God will expose, clean, and forgive.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

Love, Mimi

Something Beautiful

While visiting some friends last week, the wife excitedly showed me what the hubster had recently completed. A beautiful inlayed wood cutting board.

Most interesting is that the cutting board is made from wood scraps. Using various leftover pieces such as pine, oak, mahogany, he creates one-of-a-kind masterpieces. It will be used for years and only need a little mineral oil or an occasional light sanding to keep it in tip top shape.

Unlike my stained and discolored plastic cutting boards which are kept hidden in a cabinet, this one will be kept on display for all to see.

I love the story behind the cutting board because it reminds me of how God views us. We may see ourselves as worthless piles of scrap wood but our Creator and Father sees way beyond that. He sees us through eyes of love.

God ever so carefully and lovingly gets to work.

He doesn’t require anything top of the line, but instead uses what we have to offer. Then, sanding off the rough parts, fitting the bits and pieces together, putting on some new color, and a protective top coat, He’s now ready to showcase His beautiful new creation. Out of the old, comes something precious and beautiful to Him.

The Bible reminds us we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), that we can forget the former things because God is doing a new thing in us (Isaiah 43:18-19), that we are being renewed each day (2 Corinthians 4:16-17), and that God sees everything He makes and calls it good…very good (Genesis 1:31a).

Feeling a bit like scrap wood lately? Roughed up and useless? Don’t despair. God’s got a plan and it’s a good one. As you offer up whatever you have, He’s going to make something beautiful out of it.

Something Beautiful

(Bill Gaither)

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion, He understood
All I had to offer him, was brokenness and strife
But He made something, beautiful
Of my life
He made something, beautiful
Of my life

With love…Mimi

Blind Spots: We all have them.

Hubby has been playing more golf the past few years so he decided some lessons were in order to help improve his game. Six lessons later, he is still amazed at how helpful it’s been.

The pro watches Greg in action and is quickly able to make an assessment. From a full swing to putting to lining up a shot, she is able to see what he is not aware of. Greg then makes the suggested corrections and adjustments and the change is often immediate. After each lesson, he is greatly encouraged and anxious to put what he’s learned into practice.

This week he talked with the pro about lining up a shot, something he has great difficulty with. Don’t know if it’s because of his lazy eye condition but Greg will take his time, carefully line up his shot, only to see it go way off the intended path. And that’s not only frustrating but it changes up his game.

While the pro was unable to change how Greg “sees” things, instead she helped him learn to compensate for how “off” the shot is. It’s really a simple solution. And while Greg is now applying it to his golf game, it has many life applications as well.

Compensation doesn’t have to be negative.

Learning to compensate for our blind spots enables the possibility of success. And while we do this in many areas of life such as wearing hearing aids when our hearing fails or using a cane to help with stability, there are other areas where we feel compensating for a deficiency is a bad thing—as if it shows a failure on our part.

My retirement is one example where a giant blind spot threatened to keep me from doing the right thing. I had a retirement date in mind that seemed good to me. It was a well-thought out plan and made sense.

But things began to change with my mom’s health at the same time my work environment became a bit less friendly. I was dreading work and not happy being there while simultaneously wishing I had more time to visit my mom. But with skewed vision, I felt trapped and stressed. There seemed to be no answer.

Blind spots keep us from seeing the truth.

My blind spot bound me, causing an inability to change or make a decision. But Greg’s advice, coming from a different perspective, was able to get through. In the same way his golf pro showed him how to compensate for his inability to properly line up a shot, Greg was able to show me a different way of looking at my work situation and suggested I retire one year early.

Peace immediately washed over me because I knew he was right, and two days later I handed in my resignation.

The definition of compensation is something that counterbalances or makes up for an undesirable or unwelcome state of affairs. Thankfully, Greg did this for me when he compensated my lack of wisdom with his wise suggestion, and it made all the difference.

Let’s celebrate how God created us and rejoice knowing He provided His body (of believers) to help us. A blind spot or weakness no longer holds power over us, if we gratefully embrace His wise provision.

A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body…God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. (From 1 Corinthians 12—read entire chapter for context.)

Love Mimi

A simple feeling of joy…and appreciation…to God.

05-25-2020 answered prayer Two weeks ago, I received an answer to prayer. An answer that was nearly 4 years in the making.

Prior to our 1999 move to Florida, we had a bird feeder right outside our dining room window that provided all sorts of enjoyment with the wide variety of song birds who came to visit for a quick bite.

Once we moved to Orlando, there were plenty of birds but we now had a pool between our house and the backyard which meant any bird feeder would need to be placed on the other side of the screen enclosure and it would be very difficult to watch the birds. They were simply too far away. We tried various feeders and positions over the years but finally gave up.

In 2016, we moved to beautiful, hilly Clermont. Our development, begun 5 years before, was still in the building phase. The more established neighborhoods were quieter and a large variety of birds soared overhead, singing as they went by. This encouraged us to hang a feeder outside the kitchen window of our new house. With great anticipation, we waited…and waited…and waiter.  Three and a half years later, we were still waiting.

At first, we thought they weren’t coming because they were still building in our neighborhood. But within a year, the building was finished, and still no birds. I kept filling the bird feeder to no avail. They seemed content to sing nearby and fly overhead, but they had little interest in what we were offering. After a while, the feeder went into the garage…until a few weeks ago when I renewed my interest in trying to lure them to our house by filling it up once again and hanging it in a nearby tree.

I completely forgot about the feeder.

Once the feeder was hanging outside my kitchen window, I simply forgot about it. A few days later, though the hubster noticed the seed level seemed to be down a bit. Then one day, two weeks ago, while sitting at the table I heard a song bird. Hoping against hope, I quietly arose and looked through the shutters to discover not one but two little birds enjoying a mid-morning snack.

I had to snap a picture through the shutters and the screen so it’s not great, but I share it with you along with a picture of what I believe them to be: red finches. I couldn’t wait to tell Greg and show him the pictures.

05-25-2020 birds            05-25-2020 red finch

 

 

 

 

Delighted as I was, I wondered if they would return. They did. And continue to. Yesterday there was just one and he completely charmed me as he dipped his entire head into the feeder to grab his seeds.

I talk to them and encourage them to invite others. What a joy it would be to have several varieties stop by. Maybe they will…in time.

God is so kind.

With great kindness, God has answered my prayer to bring me some song birds. What He creates is just beautiful and my heart is full.

Whether it takes 3-1/2 years or even longer, God cares about everything in your life. All the big things but all the little things, too. A song bird may not be at the top of your prayer list, but here’s what I know. My Heavenly Father loves me beyond measure and chose to bring me a couple of song birds recently, just to express that love. And I’m enjoying every moment of it.

Mimi

It’s downright shocking!

As with everyone, I’ve been spending a lot more time in the house these past two months.

And I’ve noticed something. My house has a lot of mirrors: over sinks, near dressers, on the backs of doors, decoratively placed on walls. They’re EVERYWHERE!

Yet, I’m grateful for them all.

The magnified ones ensure no strays are out of place in my eyebrows or on other areas of my face. The brightly lit ones in the bathrooms ensure my teeth are clean and it’s okay to smile. Others provide a once-over helping me see if my outfit is workable. And the few decorative ones bounce light around the house which just makes me happy.

The problem is with some of the larger mirrors on the backs of doors. When I shut those doors, I’m confronted with the truth. I see myself completely; there is no escape. And it can be shocking indeed.

Here’s what I see. My hair is now grey. Instead of pepper with a sprinkling of salt, it’s now salt with a sprinkling of pepper. My saggy eyes I had fixed years ago, are saggy once again. My arms have no fat; instead they have droopy skin that nothing can fix other than surgery. (No thank you.) My legs only look good if I lay on my back and lift them in the air. That way, the flab disappears somewhere in my middle, and what’s left looks pretty darn good. The face is lined and dotted with reminders of a youth with no worries about future sun damage.

But is that all I see?

Thankfully not. I also see a 66-year old woman who is able to look beyond the physical and see some truth. I see a woman who lives a blessed life. I see a child of God who is wise in many areas and still learning in even more. I see a wife to a wonderful man. I see a mom to two outstanding kids who make me proud every minute of every day. I see a Mimi who loves her grands beyond words. I see a daughter who is outrageously blessed to still have her daddy and have him so close by. I see someone who has given of herself but still has more to give. And I see someone who has lived a bunch of years, and who hopes to live a bunch more…saggy skin and all.

It’s easy to look at the outside of something or someone and make an assumption or judgment. We do it to others and we do it to ourselves as well. But today I hope to encourage you, and to remind you that what you see on the outside is rarely a complete picture of what’s on the inside.

That wrinkly old person who shuffles with a cane may be just the person who donates regularly to an organization that feeds kids and their families. The feeble person who no longer leaves their house may be a great prayer warrior praying for you right this minute.

The person in the mirror who you see every day, and think has no value or purpose just because they no longer work, walk a little slower, or hear a little less, is still God’s child and still has a mission for as long as they remain on earth.

God has more for you.

And that child of God is you. God is not finished with you yet. And He is not finished with me. There is still purpose. There are still plans to be carried out. Each day is a new day and you will find God doing a new thing in and around you.

He (God) gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Mimi

A Lesson in Trust

With extra time on my hands, I find myself turning to something that isn’t always enjoyable to do, but provides a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Something that makes me smile and actually feel less stressed.

What am I talking about?

Glad you asked: organizing. Or in my case, re-organizing. I admit it’s sometimes hard to get started but the end result is so worth it. Knowing me, you are aware that I tend to keep things relatively organized. Typically, once a year I go through the house, tossing, donating, rearranging, and relabeling.

I would love to buy all matching organizer containers but I’m typically happy using whatever is on hand. Hence the pictures of my drawers with all manner of containers. But don’t they look nice?

A treasure.

While going through my night table, I discovered just one Monthly Musings With Cindi, a family and friends newsletter I created and maintained for awhile in the 90s. I remember using these newsletters as a creative outlet as well as to share family news and often a little tidbit of a story to show God’s love.

What fun to read through this particular issue and the story I shared on trust. It seems fitting for what we’re experiencing so I’m sharing it with you today. Hope it brings hope and a reminder of how wonderful and trustworthy our God is.

From September 1995

The story takes place while hiking with the family along the Black River in New Jersey. Our lack of rain that year meant the water level was low and many of the rocks were exposed and dry. However, there were plenty of mossy, slippery ones you had to watch out for. Katie and Tim hopped from rock to rock with great agility. Even Greg made great headway with his long, steady stride. Meanwhile, the way for me was at times slow and tedious.

I was able to jump from rock to rock rather easily when they were dry and close together. But I really struggled when they were farther apart. I often simply stepped down into the water rather than trying to make a jump I knew I couldn’t complete.

At one point, Greg was a few steps in front of me. He had landed on a large four-foot rock that was just far enough away from where I was that I couldn’t follow him with the same ease. However, he turned back toward me and without even thinking about, and with my head looking down into the river to see what I needed to avoid, I reached out my hand and began stepping toward the big rock without ever looking up. In the process, Greg grabbed my outstretched hand to ensure my safety.

How here’s the real picture.

I had not been watching Greg to see if he was going to take my hand. I didn’t wait for a signal from him that it was safe to proceed. I went without thinking about all that and without any hesitation. Immediately upon landing on the rock, I realized what had just happened and was absolutely astounded. I had so completely trusted that Greg would be there to help me that I not only didn’t have to see it with my own eyes, I didn’t even have to consciously think about it.

Now that’s trust; and that’s just how God is with us. Without even having to be consciously aware of His presence, we can totally depend on Him in every single circumstance in our lives.

Lately, we’re all having the opportunity to lean on God more than ever and to learn more about trusting in Him. We can take these verses to heart:

Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go. (Joshua 1:9)

You, LORD, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you. (Isaiah 26:3 NCV)

My prayer:

May the God who is completely trustworthy hold you close. Even when you are not consciously aware of his presence, and when you don’t have answers to the many questions we all ponder, may his love surround you and bring you peace and joy.

Mimi

God knows your name.

Good Monday morning all,

I realized recently that every news or social media source I open, contains an abundance of info on one specific thing. It is everywhere. And while we definitely need up-to-date info, too much info can also be overwhelming. And can make our thoughts fertile ground for fear and concern.

So, I’m not going to say a thing about you-know-what. Today, I’m just going to share one thing that is absolutely precious: God knows your name.

Greg and I have the two grandboys with us this week. Each day we do some craft kits, play baseball in the backyard, ride bikes while they scooter nearby, work on puzzles, read, etc. And since it’s in the mid to upper 80’s, closing in on 90, the outdoor activities are done early in the morning or after supper.

Colorful Sand Dunes

This morning’s activity is a favorite over here…climbing our colorful sand dunes. These things are amazing. They look like boulders but are simply compacted sand. In shades of pink, orange, and purple, the kids have a blast romping from boulder to boulder. And while they act like gazelles as they easily hop around, it’s quite different for Greg and I. There’s no hopping for this Mimi; I’m just thoroughly grateful that I can slowly walk across the surface without sliding and getting a boo-boo.

While I took my time walking around and taking video of the boys, Greg found a sturdy stick and entertained himself in typical Greg fashion—artistically. Check out his creation where he was able to etch his name in that hard sand.

As soon as I saw it, I snapped a picture because it immediately reminded me of the Lord and of something I don’t ever want to forget. God knows my name. Which means God knows me. Almighty God KNOWS little me. Wow.

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…(Isaiah 49:16)

Seeing Greg’s name etched in the sand reminded me of this amazing verse in Isaiah where God tells us we are engraved on His palms. Not with ink that can fade. Not with pencil that can be erased. But with a permanent reminder. My name is engraved on His hands forever!

I hope this will encourage you as much as it did me.

Have some time on your hands while you practice “social distancing?” Find a stick and some dirt, write your own name there, then stand back and look. Just look. And then ponder Isaiah 49:16. Soon your spirit will soar as you begin to marvel at our amazing God and how much He loves you.

Mimi

I love you to Heaven and back.

I don’t know how many, if any, caught how I ended last week’s Mimi story. At the very end, I told my dad “I love you to Heaven and back.” I sure do!

That phrase “I love you to Heaven and back” has been a part of most of my life. My mom used to say it to me often and I said over and over to my own kids while they were growing up. And as Mimi to my grands, it’s a phrase I often say to them as well. In fact, it’s so meaningful to me, I use it whenever I want to express my profound love for my grown children as well.

It’s a family thing.

A lot of families have sayings, traditions, rituals that they have incorporated into their everyday lives. It’s part of what cements their family together. They become almost sacred in that whenever used it’s a very special family moment.

We often think of family traditions occurring at Christmas when the same star is placed on top of the tree by the oldest (or youngest) child each year. An advent calendar is eagerly opened each day by the children. And let us not forget Elf on a Shelf!

What’s so special about a saying or tradition?

But family rituals and traditions happen every day and they hold a special place in our hearts because they evoke a memory or a wonderful feeling. Because my mom so often told me “I love you to Heaven and back,” I go out of my way to say it to family members because it expresses my unending love for them.

Repeating it also brings up sweet memories of my own mom saying it to me.

And when I say it to my grands, I’m instilling in them that same sense of boundless love, family, and tradition within them.

I would love to have you share some of your own family traditions or meaningful things you say to each other to express your love or appreciation.

Thanks for reading, and remember…I love you all to Heaven and back!

Mimi

p.s. Happy birthday to my very beautiful (inside and out) niece Jacquie!

Happy Father’s Day…say what?

Just look at my dad. Quite dashing wouldn’t you say?

Last week I got to spend a bunch of time with him as we drove a distance to an ophthalmic specialist about an hour away. Time spent in the car along with a nice long lunch just made my day.

I often wonder how many people my age still have a dad around, a dad they can spend time with, a dad they can still seek advice from, a dad to love on and be loved by. I would venture to say…not many.

I am so blessed.

I am so blessed. As is my entire family. It’s coming up on four years since my dad suffered a fall that could have ended his life. A fall, that when he survived it, could have drastically altered his life in a very negative way. A fall that could have taken him from us around the same time my mom was called home to be with God.

Instead, my dad nor only survived his fall and subsequent injury, but has thrived. Oh sure, some things changed. He no longer drives and his balance was affected. But that’s no big deal. He lives independently where there’s transportation. Plus, we’re right around the corner and happy to drive him places. And to help his balance, he simply uses a cane. Easy peasy.

Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility are key elements to a person continuing to find his or her value as they age. Or after a life-changing event occurs that necessitates change. They are essential to helping someone feel as if they make a difference and have something to contribute. And they become crucial to a person finding their place in life and learning to be content.

It all takes time, effort, and often a change in mindset. But the rewards are so worthwhile. I can’t imagine my life without my dad around. Oh, I know he won’t be with me forever. But what he continues to provide to me and the family is gold. It’s beyond measure. He provides a treasure to us all just by being here.

So, last week when I spent that day with him, my heart rejoiced. And I decided I didn’t have to wait until June to know it really was a happy Father’s Day.

Love you, Dad…to heaven and back!

Mimi