Of Daffodils and Doughnuts Along the Red Sea

Like a leaf disappearing in a wind storm, days pass without significance. At one time special days rose with a new sun each year, causing a flurry of activity—a wind storm—of preparations, celebrations, and acknowledgements.

A birthday, a milestone, a remembrance, an anniversary… These occasions of cherished celebrations etched into the pillars of my life. Folks around me shared a deep appreciation of these particular days because they were integral to the celebration. The uncomfortable stillness after the storm passes produces a strange, still unfamiliar reading on my emotional barometer as I pass through a day without a mention of those no longer here.

When my mother died all her days blew away with her departure. The birthday our entire family once colluded to acknowledge has passed unnoticed. The marking of the years beyond completion of her education used to be commemorated by her colleagues and I looked forward to hearing the news obtained from her cronies. Many of those individuals have passed away as well and the leaves of their lives have settled off in a foggy, unknown but very real destination.

On my parent’s anniversary, especially in the late years of life, I made the cake, bought the flowers, sent cards and invitations, and listened to the re-telling of the old, old stories. How they were so young and poor they couldn’t afford a honeymoon thus visiting a local doughnut shop for coffee and a shared treat before returning to their jobs. How they worked for years refurbishing the house my father was born in. Or how many times they threatened to divorce each other but finished out sixty five years of marriage, a decreasing accomplishment in modern society.

When the Lord established the feasts of Israel, He instructed to continue celebrating through every successive generation. New Hebrew children must never forget the bricks and captivity, the grand deliverance before exodus, or the departure through a great sea as their ancestors crossed into a wilderness that led into their promised land.

My family’s stories can’t compare to Israel’sID-100135268 but I can learn from their tradition. To pause from the windstorms of life and remember important events, stilling the rushing tempests momentarily, provide focus, appreciation, and comfort to me.

On this wedding anniversary of my parent’s marriage sixty six years ago, I rest and honor the memories. Doughnuts are no longer on my menu so I’ll select a few emerging buds of daffodils and reflect.

Like the Hebrew children I celebrate, remember, and thank a great God who goes before me and leads to a promised land where His family will once again gather. The flowers sit on a windowsill seen by no one but me, yet testify to a very real and sure destination. I am reminded that my leaf will soon disappear but today enjoy the sun, the flowers, and the God who created all.

photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Flowers_g74-Daffodils_In_Spring_p135268.html

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Bling Somebody

ID-100227003And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
(Acts 15: 31 NASB)

Death takes a bite out of the survivor’s spirit. In between the logistics of taking care of belongings, policies, paperwork, and memories, I’ve spent some time meditating on loss and grief. Mom’s hospice took care to distribute caring pamphlets for the bereaved but the one which I remember most is “Life after Loss” by Tim Jackson from RBC ministries. Almost anything associated with Discovery Series is a good resource and this little pamphlet was no exception. Mr. Jackson shared from his own losses of his parents and I easily identified with his emotions.

It’s a valley most of us will walk through. The silence without a loved one is at times deafening. But, the Lord has gifted me with His presence and grace to move forward. Mom is gone and I’ve got to get back to work!

Recently I had the joy of hearing from Donna Mynatt. Follow the link to her interview and book review of book one in my Cotton Springs series, Erased with Grace. (There’s a giveaway!) Find it at: www.donnasbookshelf.com. Donna and her daughter, Rachel Miller, are both authors and reviewers and belong to my AFCW group that meets in Middle Tennessee. Being around fellow writers inspires but fellowship with fellow Christians heals and soothes.

Blogging and writing have suffered in the past few weeks and Donna’s sweet words of encouragement have been like a balm to this weary traveler. My thoughts turned to good ol’ Barnabas, Paul’s companion during a missionary journey. During one Bible study I attended, the leader pointed out how initially the two were listed as Barnabas and Paul. Later, as Paul became bolder and stronger in his witness and presentation, the two became Paul and Barnabas. The presence of this son of encouragement prompted Paul to continue on without him and become a prolific author and church planter.

We all need a lift every now and then. More than an atta-girl, real encouragement works its healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m convinced many times I’ve missed an opportunity to infuse a helping hand into someone’s dark day. I know I can’t solve someone else’s problems but I can help bear the burden by sticking just a little joy under their cart. The Holman Bible version says in Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.” Is there someone close by who could use just a little bling at the right time today?

As you’re thinking of the person you will encourage, don’t miss a visit to Donna’s site and enjoy the scenery.(Read this.) She seems to be a positive, inspiring gal and I believe you’ll find an apple or two to snack on. Go ahead. Bling somebody!

 

Photo by mapichai. Published on 14 January 2014
Stock Photo – Image ID: 100227003, http://www.freedigitalphotos.com