daily victories

 

Your guitar string pops. Your father takes you to the music store; the one on Main Street where the dog lays lazy behind the counter.

And you walk into the kitchen carrying an envelope of strings.

“Why didn’t they fix it for you?” I mutter awkward trying to balance the baby on my hip, the baby too heavy to hold.

“Because I need to learn how to do it myself,” you say matter of fact.

And soon the guitar is stripped; it sits an empty shell on the floor.

You’ve uncoiled and loosened the pegs.

String and tighten and tune.

I watch you, your brow furrowed, expression serious.

What you do with your hands amazes me. Your mind ticks creative.

String and tighten and tune.

“I don’t know if I can do it,” you murmur. The task stretches; but I know you well, you always continue.

And when this life stretches, pulling, tugging, please play the song of persistence. Don’t give quitting the traction it craves.

String and tighten and tune.

You finish. You smile silly.

“Take a picture,” you say. This is how we cement the day to day victories.

And I click just a few times because the day races too fast to catch.

And the music plays on. 

things you can’t buy

 

In those early years of marriage, I wanted it all. And I searched for it in magazines and catalogs and car lots and pretty little shops.

I craved and coveted what the world was selling.  

But quietly I watched a couple I’d known for years. They had been married much longer, their daughter close to my age.

They were kind. The husband always smiled, stepping back to let his wife walk into a room first. He pulled her chair out and she’d politely say thank you. They spoke gently to one another and she laughed louder than anyone at his jokes.

And I often watched them slip into a light brown Honda Accord. It sputtered before it took off.

And they never knew it, but their presence in my young married life began to make me crave things I couldn’t swipe at a cash register – respect and kindness, humility and grace.

Children, there is much for sale. But it’s those things you can’t buy that will fill your life to the brim.    

Lady Jennie - January 11, 2012 - 2:33 pm

We’re really working on cutting down on spending and appreciating what we have. This was a good reminder.

respond carefully

 

The little black and white kitten, sprinkled with white just above its nose, was not planned. But you saw it and began begging and praying; you wore us down until days later we brought it home. It lounged in our backyard, sleeping under the swing set. And every few weeks it would prance down the street to the house in the center of the cul-de-sac.

And in our neighborhood, whispers ran as fast as electrical currents about the family in the center of the cul-de-sac. The family that never smiled and complained of cars parked too close or children playing too loud.

And their newest grumble was of a black and white kitten that wandered into their yard.

Animal control was called, once and then twice, each time requiring a long drive and a check written to have the kitten released.

And on the third time picking the cat up from a cramped cage, I drove back into the neighborhood tense and annoyed. And there she was, the woman with the reputation, watering her flowers. And my car veered into her driveway. And I wanted to tell her she made children cry and her cruel antics had played out long enough.

But as my window slowly rolled down, in the rear view mirror I saw you both, my daughter and my son, waiting for me to respond.  To give this woman words she rightfully deserved.

I swallowed hard. “I’m sorry that our kitten walks in your yard,” I said trying to muster up a sympathetic smile. But as the words spilled, this woman with the reputation, looked less like a villain and more like a lonely lady carrying burdens too heavy for her frail frame. 

And it was the beginning of many conversations shared in the center of the cul-de-sac. And it opened a door, once tightly sealed, to share with her the love of Christ.

Children, carry your testimony carefully. It is delicately fragile. There are no words or arguments worth damaging it. There will be those watching and waiting for you to speak in haste. But please tread lightly, eternity may be at stake.              

Karen - January 10, 2012 - 10:36 am

So true and so powerful~

finding quiet

 

I wonder if we miss God in the busyness, the haste and hurry of life.

I wonder if we miss Him before our eyes open when we press the button that offers just eight more minutes of sleep.

Do we overlook Him in the morning news that talks excessive, inciting conversation as we drink in coffee and headlines?

As we slip on shoes, do we walk past God’s whispered words?

Do we seek the blare of music because the frightening quiet is an invitation to pray and thank and meditate on who He is?

Today, may your steps be slower, eyes observant and ears attentive.  And the static noises of life quieted until you find beauty in being still. 

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … We need silence to be able to touch souls. – Mother Teresa

Linking up this week with Michelle at Graceful & Jen at Finding Heaven

Tracey Soko - January 9, 2012 - 7:15 am

It is amazing how we miss God in our busyness and get annoyed when He fails to speak to us in the 5 minutes we give Him – he has been trying to speak to us all day we just have been too busy to notice. Thanks for the reminder to slow down.

Katie - January 9, 2012 - 1:34 pm

This is a lovely post. In the book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”, she paints a picture of meeting with God in the living room- and goes on to detail a woman running around, busy with life and all of the “urgent” things that need to be done, while God waits patiently for her to join Him. He doesn’t miss an appointment with us- we miss it with Him when other things become more important. This has been an image that has stayed with me for years, and your post is a wonderful reminder of all of the ways I am becoming too “busy” for my Father.

Amy Sullivan - January 9, 2012 - 2:20 pm

You’re back, you’re back! Your voice has been missed, big time. Your new home is just beautiful. Tell me you designed it, and I will be even more jealous of you than I am now. Amazing writer, crazy-good photographer, and really cute blog designer. Quit blushing…all true.

Looking forward to reading more from you, my friend.

Stacie - January 9, 2012 - 8:15 pm

Funny, our sermon yesterday spoke to the part of me that needs to intentionally seek quiet, to turn off some of the noise in my life. This is just reaffirmation.

Jen Ferguson - January 9, 2012 - 9:41 pm

Oh, I love your words and I carry them in my heart. May I never choose noise over Him.

Jen Ferguson - January 9, 2012 - 9:42 pm

No wonder I love your words so much. Just realized this was YOU, Amanda!

Michelle DeRusha - January 9, 2012 - 10:30 pm

I just LOVE your new place, Amanda, and I absolutely love this simple, beautiful, resonating post. That quote from Mother Teresa, oh my goodness.I absolutely do not have enough silence in my life. Who am I kidding? I don’t have ANY silence in my life!

HopeUnbroken - January 10, 2012 - 6:42 am

so much truth here. love the conviction, yet done with grace.
thank you for sharing. just what i needed to hear this quiet morning.

Branson - January 10, 2012 - 6:45 pm

This is a beautiful post. Thank you for this reminder to slow down. It is one I can’t hear enough!

tara@pohlkottepress - January 10, 2012 - 11:35 pm

oh, I feel this pull to silence, too. It speaks to me, draws me close. Wishing you well on this journey to the quiet.

loving the poor

“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house … and God is with us if we are with them.”  – Bono, U2

As day begins and your eyes are open to the routine of morning flow, know there are many struggling to stay afloat. There are those struggling to find food, work, warmth and a place to lay their head at night. This isn’t meant to discourage but serve as a reminder to recognize the pain of those you pass as the day wears on.  

When you see faces to the ground, clothes disheveled, let their lives be a magnet, pulling you to engage.

Loose change is easy to offer because your pockets will soon be full again, it’s conversation that will feel awkward and test your faith. As different as you may feel, we are all on this path together, each of our souls at one point waiting to be rescued.   

  

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imperfect prose - January 9, 2012 - 10:49 pm

i LOVE this.