Gift Ideas - Handmade and Other

Friday, April 25, 2014

What is a Friend?

Every Friday Lisa Jo Baker invites us to join her for Five Minute Friday, a time to write, free, unfettered, and unedited for five minutes - 300 seconds. Today the prompt is "Friend."

Ready, set, write . . .

In the fall of 2007 I was entering a period of transition. I was letting go of a ministry I loved with my whole heart, to move forward into some unknowns. There would suddenly be time in my life and a hole in my life and heart that hadn't been there before. For some time I had considered getting a pet, but my life was too busy. I was away too much. It wouldn't be fair. But now, that would be different.

So I said a simple prayer asking God to bring along just the right kitty for me and a few days later one of the girls walked into youth group and announced that her cat had had kittens and her Mom was bringing them for us to see at the end of youth group.

There was one little black and white kitten . . . so very tiny he fit in the palm of my hand. I picked him up and nestled him just above my heart . . . and I fell in love.

I searched and searched for an appropriate name for him. I wanted it to be meaningful. Finally, I found just the name.
Dakota. "Friend" in the Native American language.

He has been a friend for the last 7 years even when other friendships failed. He was a gift from God. Two legged friends with skin on are awesome, but the value of those with four legs and fur should not be overlooked either.

Stop . . .

Friday, April 11, 2014

If I could Paint a Masterpiece

Many Fridays I join Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday link up, and this is one of them. Lisa Jo invites us to write unfettered and unedited for 5 minutes, to free what waits within us and then to share it in a safe, encouraging community of friends. If you'd like to join in, visit Lisa Jo's site here. I'm very glad that I did :-)

Today's prompt is PAINT. Ready, set, go . . .

 If I could paint a masterpiece, it would be the same basic scene depicted in four panels. In the background I would place a wooded glen with a rushing stream of water bubbling and foaming as it falls over rocks. The real picture though would be in sharp focus in the foreground, a narrow branch, almost a twig.

In the first panel a caterpillar would be crawling along the narrow branch. A small fuzzy thing. In the second panel a chrysalis would hang from the branch, a womb waiting for new life to appear. Then the third panel would be a tiny head and folded wings just starting to emerge. Finally, in the fourth panel a vividly colored butterfly would be soaring toward the sky . . . free, beautiful, and transformed!

Life goes through stages like the caterpillar becoming the butterfly. We are the caterpillar - important, yet in many ways unrecognized. Life circumstances combined with a Father's loving hands, create a chrysalis where through time and His love, we are transformed into something we never dreamed we could become to soar in freedom and beauty . . . fully changed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Surprised By Motherhood Launch - "She's Still the Same Girl"

Lisa Jo Baker's book Surprised by Motherhood is launching today. Although I am not a mother, I am drawn to Lisa Jo's writing, to her authenticity and to the way she takes the common makes it wonderful and extraordinary. I encourage you to check out her site - click here. And her new book - just released today - Surprised by Motherhood found here and here. Lisa Jo challenged us to write a post about being a mom or having a mom . . .

"She's Still the Same Girl"

My Mom is entering the winter of her life. Some days she struggles to remember names and is confused about many things. Some days she's more like her old self. Lately as I watch her confusion growing, I am reminded of a song I heard many years ago, "She's Still the Same Girl." The jist of the song is that even though the woman in it is aging, inside she is still the young bride, the young mother, the one who laughed and danced and lived a full life.

My mother married young at age 19 and had her first baby 11 months later. Her friends could always tell when another baby was on the way because she would start painting rooms in her home. Four more children followed that first baby and for 10 years her life was full of ironing little dresses, helping her husband manage the family farm, gardening, keeping little ones out of trouble, and tending to her home. Five children seemed like enough.

Then at age 37 she was surprised by motherhood again. I was born less than a month after she turned 38. She has been many things to me - my mother, my teacher, my advocate, and my protector. As I became an adult, she became my friend. I remember day long shopping trips and sitting at the kitchen table late at night, laughing so hard the milk spewed from her mouth across the table. I also remember the times she nearly choked on a pill she had to take and my father had to perform the Heimlech maneuver and realizing how quickly she could be gone and how precious she was.

Sometimes these days she seems so different that it is hard to remember what was . . . yet underneath the confusion and forgetfulness she is still the same girl. She's the same girl who raised 6 children to adulthood. She's the same girl who loves her husband to this day, while he's in Heaven. She's the same girl who made special desserts with her sister-in-law, who planned family vacations, who taught young girls in Pioneer Girls and her Sunday School class. She's the same girl who welcomed others into her home with graciousness and warmth. She's the same girl who sewed for her children, husband, and home. She's the same girl who loves Jesus and wants others to love Him too.

One phrase in the song says, "and she needs you so . . . " Yes, as the forgetfulness and confusion take over her mind, she needs her family to remember who she is and to love her just the same . . . or perhaps even more.